An American Family History

Austin Kilham and Alice Gorball

“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists."
― Franklin D. Roosevelt

Dedham, Norfolk County, Massachusetts
Wenham, Essex County, Massachusetts


Wenham, Essex County, Massachusetts was settled in 1636. The first settlers called it Enon or Salem Village. It was officially set off from the Town of Salem on May 10, 1643.

Austin Kilham and Alice Gorball married in England. Sources vary on where they lived. Some (Preston) say Dennington, Suffolk County and others (Fiske, Allen) say the parish of Kilham in Yorkshire.

Their oldest children were born in England. Daniel Kilham was born about 1620. Elizabeth Kilham Hutton was their daughter. John Kilham was born in 1630.

The Kilhams sailed from England on the ship Mary Ann for New England and landed at Salem where they lived for a few years. They established a permanent home at Wenham after living at Dedham until 1649.

Lot Kilham was born September 11, 1640. Sarah Kilham Fiske was born in 1642. Preston believes that they also had a daughter named Mary Kilham.

Austin died on April 5, 1667 and Alice on May 18, 1667. Their wills were executed in 1667.
Old Style Calendar
Before 1752 the year began on Lady Day, March 25th,. Dates between January 1st and March 24th were at the end of the year. Old Style (O.S.) and New Style (N.S.) are used to indicate whether the year has been adjusted. Often both dates are used.

Various spellings of Kilham: Callum, Killam, Killiam, Killom, Killum
Children of Austin Kilham
and Alice Gorball
  • Daniel Kilham
  • John Kilham
  • Lot Kilham
  • Sarah Kilham Fiske
  • Elizabeth Kilham Hutton
  • Mary Kilham
  • 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.


    Dedham, Norfolk County, Massachusetts was settled in 1635 by English Puritans.

    The Fiske Family: A History of the Family (ancestral and Descendant) of William Fiske, Sen., of Amherst, N. H. by Albert Augustus Fiske, 1867

    Austin Kilham, with his brother Daniel, emigrated from the Parish of Kilham, Yorkshire, England, the same year, and probably in company with the Fiskes. Both settled and were freemen in Wenham before 1645, and are presumed to be the ancestors of all New England families of that name.

    Austin, by wife Alice, had Lot, born in 1640, who settled and died in Enfield; and Sarah, born in 1642, who married deacon William Fiske, and died January 26. 1737, (as the record says,) aged 98. Her father, and probably his brother, followed Rev. John Fiske to Chelmsford, 1657. Her cousin, Daniel Kilham, Jr., figured conspicuously in town affairs for many years and his son, Hon. Daniel Kilham, (a democrat), was the formidable protagonist of Hon. Timothy Pickering in many a hotly contested campaign in Essex politics.

    Any man entering a colony or becoming a a member the church, was not free. He was not forced to work, but his movements were carefully observed to see if they followed the Puritanical ideal. After this probationary period, he became a "freeman." Men then took the Oath of a Freeman where they vowed to defend the Commonwealth and not to overthrow the government.

    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."
    It was common for bequests to include wearing apparel.

    The New England Historical and Genealogical Register by Henry Fitz-Gilbert Waters, 1902

    Austin, or Augustine, Kilham (Henry1) came to America in the ship Mary Anne, in 1637, with his wife and at least three children. He was doubtless the ancestor of all of the name in this country. He lived at Salem two or three years, and at Dedham till 1649. From there he moved to Wenham, which he made his permanent home. It is on record at Wenham that he took letters of dismissal from the church in Dedham, 14th of 5th mo. 1649, when "Brother and sister Austin d. June 5, 1667, and his wife, Alice, July 18, the same year. His children were:

    i. Daniel, b. about 1620; m. (1) Mary Safford of Ipswich; m. (2) widow Elizabeth Gilbert: m. (3) widow Mary Maxey.
    ii. Elizabeth, m. Richard Hutton.
    iii. John, b. about 1627; m. Hannah Pickworth.
    iv. Lot, b. in Dedham, Sept. 11, 1640; m. Hannah Goodale.
    v. Sarah, born in Dedham, Jan. 4, 1642; m. Dea. William Fiske, Jan. 16, 1662.

    Estate inventories give us a glance into the home life of Colonial Americans.
    ye is an archaic spelling of "the."

    History of Captain Roswell Preston of Hampton, Connecticut, His Ancestry and Descendants by Edward M. Preston, 1899

    Austin [Kilham], son of Henry and Alice (Goodale) Kilham, born at Dennington previous to 1600, married Alice. They were residents of Dennington, Eng., where they had several children; Daniel, the eldest, being baptised in that parish in 1620. In May, 1637, Austin, with his wife and children, sailed from the port of Yarmouth for New England and landed at Salem, Mass. They lived for brief periods at Dedham and Chelmsford and, in 1638, established a permanent home at Wenham, Mass. From the wills of Austin and Alice Kilham, executed in 1667, we learn that they had three sons: Daniel, John and Lott, and three daughters: Sarah, Elizabeth and Mary. The following entries are to be found in the town records at Wenham:

    Austin Killam dyed ye 5th of ye 4th mo. 1667.
    Alice Killam dyed ye 18: 5 mo. 1667.

    Daniel, eldest son of Austin Killam, m. Sarah Fairfield, lived at Wenham, had four sons, some of whose descendants settled at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, where there is now a large colony of Killams.

    Lot2, son of Austin Killam, born at Wenham, 11 Sept., 1640, m. Hannah Goodale 21 May, 1666, settled at Enfield, Conn., where some of his descendants are still living.

    John2, second son of Austin and Alice Killam, born in England, m. Alice Pickworth, lived at Wenham, Mass., where the birth of his children is recorded as follows:
    " Hannah, daughter of John Kellam, borne 29 April, 1660."
    "Samuel3, sonn of John Killim, borne 1 August, 1662."
    "Anne, daughter of John Killam, borne the 4(1) mo. 1673."
    "Benjamin3, son of John Killim, borne 3 February, 1674."

    Chelmsford, Middlesex County, Massachusetts was incorporated in May, 1655
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    ©Roberta Tuller 2023
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