Hannah Mayhew

ID# 966, (1635-1722/23)
6th great-grandmother of June Hall
Ancestors of June Hall West
     Hannah Mayhew was born on 15 June 1635 in Medford, Middlesex County, Massachusetts.1 She was the daughter of Thomas Mayhew and Jane Gallion.1 She married Thomas Doggett, son of John Doggett and Hepzibah (Alice) Brotherton, on 23 September 1657 in Edgartown, Dukes County, Massachusetts.1,2 She died on 7 February 1722/23 in Edgartown, Massachusetts, at age 87.1

"Hannah was evidently quite a woman. When she turned 18 in 1653 she was the only woman on the list of lots of Martha's Vineyard divided up by the proprietors. As Dr. Charles Banks observed: "About four years later she surrendered her name to Thomas Daggett, but from subsequent views which we can obtain of her it was about the only thing she surrendered. It could be fairly stated that Thomas Daggett was merely the husband of Hannah Mayhew. She was the Governor's favorite daughter and she knew it.

"She may have been a very early feminist. Over succeeding years 10 little Daggetts came along, but Hannah wasn't rocking the cradle all the time. Twenty real estate transactions are of record under her name and she did the business herself. This was unusual at the time and it appears to have caused some strain in a marriage where the woman refused to be known merely as the 'wife of Thomas Daggett.' Towards the end of the old Governor's life the son-in-law evidently attempted to exercise some control over his wife's business, forcing the Governor in 1679 to extract a promise from Thomas not to do so, referring to that promise in his will: 'My son Daggett hath given a note under his hand not to meddle with aught (of Hannah's property).'

"That she was the 'Deputy Governor' of Martha's Vineyard it seems that she was bound and determined to maintain the control that her father had placed and maintained on the little island. Following about 1660 the Governor had experienced increased resistance to his little autocracy, and his daughter. She evidently carried on the good fight for him, for in 1675, in a letter to the Governor of New York explaining some of the problems the people were having with Governor Mayhew, Simon Athearn wrote 'Thomas Dagget's wife, Mr. Mayhew's daughter (which woman the people of Martha's Vineyard very generally call the deputy governor...'. This was towards the end of the governor's life; he was still well in hand of the government of the island, but as Banks writes, 'All this while Thomas Daggett had been holding the office of assistant to the Governor, and theoretically 'rulling the land' but no one can have any illusions as to the real 'power behind the throne'.'

"When the governor finally died and his grandson Matthew took over the duties of governor, Hannah's contributions to the life of Martha's Vineyard drop out of the record books. It's possible that she prudently stepped aside for a nephew who didn't want her meddling, or she continued to 'rule' behind the scenes. We'll never know. She remained a widow for 10 years after her husband's death in 1691 whereupon, at the age of 70, she remarried to Samuel Smith of Edgartown and lived another 10 years."2
Last Edited=25 Nov 2008

Child of Hannah Mayhew and Thomas Doggett


  1. [S31] The Wall Family Website, online (http://worldconnect.genealogy.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi).
  2. [S36] Tammy Lynn Parker, Family Website, "Ancestors of Tammy Lynn Parker" (http://www.familytreemaker.com/users/p/a/r/… : accessed 10 Jan 2006).