Katherine...was she a Gridley?

Over the years it has become fairly widely accepted that the surname of George Darling’s wife Katherine was Gridley. This has become the coarse due largely to source materials, Torrey’s New England Marriages Prior to 1700 and Pope’s Pioneer’s of Massachusetts. However, finding material which backs up this claim has been elusive to say the least.

Pope’s The Great Migration Begins states that Richard Gridley did not have a daughter named Katherine and that the famous quote from his will “To my daughter Dorlum who doth live at the Eastward” is NOT attributable to a daughter Katherine married to George Darling. Rather she is Sarah Gridley who married a John Dorland. Two noted Darling researchers, Henry E. Darling and Carlos Parson Darling also reached the conclusion that whoever Katherine was, she was not a Gridley.

The following is taken from The Great Migration Begins;

“GRIDLEY, RICHARD [1631, Boston]




ORIGIN: Groton, Suffolk



The bequest to "my daughter Dorlom ... that doth live at the eastward" poses an interesting problem. Some have identified her as Katherine, wife of George Darling of Marblehead. This cannot be, as she was his wife as early as 1641 [EPR 1:46], too soon to be a daughter of Richard Gridley. Furthermore, "to the eastward" generally means east of the Piscataqua, which Marblehead is not. For all these reasons no daughter Katherine is included in the lists of children above.

Another attempt to identify "daughter Dorlom" is to make her wife of John Dollen of Monhegan and Pemaquid [GDMNH 198]. This is certainly the right location, and may be correct, but no evidence is given beyond the similarity of surname.”

The full out take from this source material concerning Richard Gridley may be read here.

Others have attempted to give Katherine the surname of Moore, this theory is put forth largely by Kenneth P. Darling and John Wesley Darling In the files of the Darling Collection at NEGHS there is reference to George's children and his wife being called 'Katherine Moore'.

For myself, one way or the other, the only thing I can say with fair certainty is that Katherine is not the daughter of Richard Gridley and Grace Surrey. Katherine's lineage still remains a mystery.

I always welcome additions, correction and more information. Please E-Mail me.

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