An American Family History

Magdalen Dwinnell Holgate Clough


Various spellings of Dwinnell
Doenell, Donell, Donnall, Donnell, Duenell, Dunnel, Dunnell, Dwaniel, Dwaniell, Dwainel, Dwennel, Dwinel, Dwinell, Dwinnel, Dwinnill, Dwonill, Dwynel

ye is an archaic spelling of "the."

Magdalen Dwinnell Holgate Clough was born on February 24, 1679 in Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts. Her parents were Michael and Mary Dwinnell.

In March, 1703, when she was 24 years old, she married Doctor James Holgate in Salem, Massachusetts. James was born in 1638 and was a surgeon in Salem. His first wife was Deborah Williams Gray. She was the widow of gunsmith, Joseph Gray and the daughter of Isaac Williams and Margery Collins.

James and Deborah's children included:

James Holgate (1692, married Jemima Davis Rideout and Lydia Sawyer) and
Deborah Holgate (1694).

James and Magdalen had one child:

Michael Holgate (1709), married Sarah Curtis (daughter of John Curtis and Priscilla Gould).

Her father died about 1717 he provided for her in his will

Joseph shall pay to my daughter Maudlin Wholewright Five pounds. . .My son Holgate, shall have the use of One Acre of Land in the Corner of ye part of my home Road, as is to my sons. Michael, John & Joseph, next to ye high way by Mr. Joseph Porter Line, if said Holgate shall see cause to come, and live upon it, in his life time.

When she was 46, after James died, she married Daniel Clough of Bradford, Essex County, Massachusetts on July 17, 1725. Daniel was born about 1677 in Kingston, Plymouth County, Massachusetts. The name on the marriage record was Mertin Hollgate. Some researchers believe that Mertin was a daughter of James, rather than his widow.
Children of Michael and Mary Dwinnell
  • Mary Dwinell Hovey
  • Dr. Michael Dwinnell
  • Thomas Dwinnell
  • John Dwinnell
  • Elizabeth Dwinnell
  • Magdalen Dwinnell Holgate Clough
  • Joseph Dwinnell
  • Joannah Dwinnell Hood
  • Susannah Dwinnell Devenish Kilham
  • Surgeons in colonial America were often barbers who used their cutting tools to perform surgery.
    Physicians were university trained.
    Midwives assisted women in childbirth.



    Essex County, Massachusetts was created on May 10, 1643 by the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, when it ordered "that the whole plantation within this jurisdiction be divided into four sheires."
    The town common (commons) was a small, open field at the center of the town which was jointly owned. It was used as a marketplace, a place for the militia to drill, or for grazing livestock.
    Estate inventories give us a glance into the home life of Colonial Americans.

    Historical Collections of the Danvers Historical Society by Harriet Silvester Tapley published by Danvers Historical Society, 1918

    A Treatise concerning Bleeding at the Nose. By Tho. Brugis, Doctor in Physick, London, Printed by E. C. & A. C. for Thorn Williams, at the Sign of the Bible in Little- Britain, 1670.

    How many different physicians have owned this book cannot be said, but Dr. Samuel Holten inscribed his name on the leather cover, it having come into his possession through the Princes.

    Among the numerous remedies mentioned in this book, which were doubtless prescribed for the ailments of Danvers people of Dr. Prince's and Dr. Holten's time, the following are good examples:

    Oil of Brick-bats, and Tylestones. This Oil is also called Oil of Philosophers, the oldest is the best; it doth attenuate, and penetrate upward, digesteth and consumeth all excremental matter, and is profitable for cold affections of the spleen, veins, bladder, nerves, joynts, and for the Lethargy, apoplexy, and falling sickness, and many other the like griefs, and is thus made: Ex. Old bricks digged out of the ground, and broken in pieces to the bigness of an apple, heat them red hot in the fire, and quench them in Oil of Eosemary, or clear Old.Oil Olive, until they be full of Oil; then beat them small, and put the powder into a glass retort, or cucurbite, well fitted in a furnace and surely luted, and distil it by sublimation.

    Oil of Whelps. This Oil is of wonderful force to assuage pain, to bring shot-wounds to suppuration, and cause the falling away of the escar; it is thus made. Ex. Oil of Lillies or Violets, four pounds. Boil in it two Whelp until the flesh part from the bones then put into them of Earth-.worms prepared, one pound. Boil them again, and strain them hard and put to the Oil, Venice Turpentine, four ounces, Spirit of Wine, one ounce. Mingle them according to Art.

    Another name written on two different pages of the volume is that of "James Houlgate, bourne 1638." And this has lead to some investigation as to the identity of this, apparently, first owner of the book.

    It appears that Dr. James Holgate was one of the early Salem chirurgeons or surgeons. He may have been a son of either James or John Holgrave or Holgate, who were in Salem as early as 1636, John having a part of the Eea farm as a grant. His name first occurs in Salem records upon the occasion of his marriage on June 14, 1690 to Deborah (Williams) Gray, widow of Joseph Gray, gunsmith, whom she married in 1675. She had several children by her first husband.

    Two children were born to Dr. Holgate and his wife Deborah in Salem, James, born Dec. 4, 1692, and Deborah, born Nov. 14, 1694. By the will of her first husband who died in 1690, Deborah was left the use of his house during her life, after which it was to become the property of the children. The house was located on a lot half-way between the present Washington Square west and east, originally granted by the selectment of Salem to Nicholas Manning for his son Joseph Gray, Apr. 5, 1672. According to a petition filed in the Essex Kegistry of Deeds, Volume 14, leaf 14, the neighbors of Dr. Holgate are given, among which will be found several familiar early Danvers names.

    Here Dr. Holgate practiced, nearly opposite Dr. John Swinterton's house, as it chanced. On May 4, 1697, Joseph Gray, eldest son of Deborah, conveyed the house to Dr. Holgate for five pounds. Mrs. Holgate died, and the Doctor married at Topsfield on Mar. 3, 1702-3, Magdalene Dwinnell, a sister of Dr. Michael Dwinnell of that town, where she was born Feb. 24, 1678-9.

    After his wife Deborah's death, Dr. Holgate, in 1712, conveyed his interest in the house in Salem to her son Benjamin Gray, turner. This old house was removed before 1760. By this last marriage, Dr. Holgate had a son Michael, who was living in Topsfield in 1734, when on June 6, he married Sarah Curtis of that town and died in Ipswich in 1757, leaving five children. Dr. Holgate died before 1725 and his widow on July of that year married Daniel Clough, a widower of Bradford.

    Dr. Holgate's son James was also a physician and probably studied with his father. He settled in Haverhill, where he married before 1720, Jemima (Davis) Hideout, widow of Abraham Kideout. Seven children were born to them, five of whom died in one week during the terrible epidemic of throat distemper [probably diptheria] which attacked Haverhill in 1737, when over 250 children under ten years of age succumbed.

    On Feb. 3, 1720, Dr. Holgate bought of his wife's mother Mary, widow of Stephen Davis, the latter's farm at Huckleberry bill, where the Doctor devoted much time to husbandry. Of his remaining children Priscilla, who was born Feb. 3, 1730- 31, married on Jan. 3, 1754, David Bartlett of Newbury; and Elizabeth, born June 19, 1737, married June 20, 1754, John Morse. Mrs. Holgate died in Haverhill Apr. 19, 1746, and the Doctor married Mrs. Lydia Sawyer of Tewbury on Apr. 2, 1747.

    He deceased in 1756, administration being granted to her two sons-in-law. The inventory did not mention any articles pertaining to the medical profession, which leads one to the conclusion that the latter part of his life was given up to the cultivation of the soil. He always retained the title of Doctor, however. He left a good estate, with evidences of all the comforts and necessities of his time.

    How Dr. Prince came into possession of Dr. Holgate's book is only a matter of speculation. The Holgates in Salem were near neighbors of Dr. Prince's cousins, the family of Richard Prince, and it is not improbable that Doctor Prince may have studied with Dr. Holgate at one time. However, the book is one of our earliest possessions and was owned by a man who was born when the Salem settlement was but ten years old, when our town of Danvers was like the forest primeval, before a clearing had been made or a house built from the hewn timber within its boundaries. It is possible that Dr. Holgate may have served the "Farmers" at Salem Village as we know of no settled physician here between 1700 and 1729, when Dr. Prince began practice.

    American colonists continued to use British monetary units, namely the pound, shilling and pence for which £1 (or li) equalled 20s and 1s equalled 12d. In 1792 the dollar was established as the basic unit of currency.
    The New England Meetinghouse was the only municipal building in a town. Both worship and civil meetings were held there. It was customary for men and women to sit separately and the town chose a committee once a year to assign seats according to what was paid, age, and dignity.
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    ©Roberta Tuller 2023
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