Death in a snowstorm, December 1, 1722

Daniel Rogers, born in 1667, was the son of President John Rogers of Harvard and Elizabeth Dennison, daughter of Gen. Daniel Denison, a distinguished and much honored leader of Ipswich. He graduated from Harvard in 1686 in his nineteenth year and first became the teacher of the Ipswich Grammar School. Fifteen of his students at the Grammar School subsequently entered Harvard College.

In 1702 he was admitted to practice law in the Ipswich Court. Rogers’ associate in the practise of law was Captain John Appleton (2), who married Roger’s sister Elizabeth (2). Rogers married Sarah, daughter of Col. John Appleton (1), and they had eleven children. In Ipswich Daniel Rogers served as the Register of Probate and later as Justice of the Court of Sessions, Town Clerk, and was one of the feoffees of the Grammar School.

On the cold wintry afternoon of December 1, 1722, Daniel Rogers was returning to Ipswich from a court case in Hampton, got lost on his way to the ferry that crossed over the Merrimac, and took a wrong turn that led deep into Salisbury marshes. Nighttime came upon him, and becoming increasingly bewildered and frightened, he called twice at the only house, asking for guidance to the ferry. Daniel Rogers never returned home, and his body was found a few days later near Salisbury beach.

Daniel Rogers

Suspicion fell on one Moses Gatchel who lived in the house upon which Rogers had called in desperation. Gatchel had a bad reputation, and it was suspected that he had robbed and murdered Rogers. Gatchel admitted that Rogers had come to his home, and was even seen riding Rogers’s horse a few days after its owner was missing. He was arrested on suspicion and an investigation ensued, but no charges or indictment were filed, there being a lack of solid evidence. In 1731, we find Moses Gatchel residing in Topsham, ME.

Daniel Rogers’ body was brought home and he was laid to rest in the Old North Burial Ground in Ipswich.

His tombstone reads:

“Here Lyes Buried
Ye body of Daniel Rogers,Esq.,
who deceased December ye 1st, 1722, age 56

Turbidus ad Laetos Solari Lumine Portus
SoUicitos Nautas per mare fert Aquilo :
Me Borealis Agens Nilidum super Aetheris Axem
Justitiae Solis Luce beavit Hvems.

Translation: The stormy North wind drives the anxious sailors over the sea to the harbors rejoicing in the sun light. The Northern Winter, bearing me above the blasts, has blessed me with the light of the Sun of Righteousness.


6 thoughts on “Death in a snowstorm, December 1, 1722”

  1. Did John Appleton have a ‘first’ wife, and children by her? If John Appleton married Daniel Rogers sister, Elizabeth, then Daniel married one John Appleton’s daughters – wouldn’t that be his neice?

      1. Mr. G. Harris:

        Thank you for presenting various subjects of Ipswich history. As a former Town Historian in Dracut, there is a an Interesting connection between the towns through the Shatswell Family that relates to the settlement of our town. When time permits, I will forward that information.

        Thanks so much for the Web Page-Historic Ipswich

  2. Mr. Harris: I thank you for the re-direct to George Varnum’s Genealogy. However, I have an original copy just to the right of me as I write back to you. At present time my wife is critically ill in a nursing facility, and is not expected to recover. I would much would like to meet you in the Spring or Summer in 2019 at which time we can discuss my several great grandfathers from Ipswich and particularly the original dwelling home of John Shatswell , my ninth great grandfather. I must tell you how much I enjoy reading various subjects concerning the History of Ipswich and it’s people. You have one of the greatest history pages on the net. Best regards, Barry

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