The name was at first Summoner or Somner,—the title of officers whose duty it was to summon parties into courts.
Roger Sumner died at Bicester, in the county of Oxford, and was buried in the church of St. Edburg, Dec. 4, 1608.
William, his only son and heir, from whom descended Charles Sumner, in the seventh generation, was baptized in St. Edburg, Jan. 27, 1604-5.
About 1635, he came, with his wife Mary and his three sons, William, Roger, and George, to Dorchester,
Annexed to Boston, 1870. Massachusetts, and became the founder of an American family, now widely spread.
Many of the first settlers of Dorchester were from the southwestern counties of England.
They arrived in 1630, less than ten years after the settlement of the Pilgrims at Plymouth.
They were attracted to the particular site by the salt-marsh, which lay along the bay and the Neponset River.
This furnished an immediate supply of hay, and dispensed with the necessity of clearing at once large tracts of forest
The following are reliable authorities concerning the genealogy of the Sumner Family: Memoir of Increase Sumner, Governor of Massachusetts, by his son, William H. Sumner: together with a genealogy of the Sumner Family, prepared by William B. Trask; Boston, 1854. New England Historical and Genealogical Register, April, 1854, and October, 1855. History of East Boston, by William H. Sumner; Boston, 1858; pp. 278-307 (with a drawing of the St. Edburg Church). History of Dorchester; Boston, 1859.
The Sumners who remained in Dorchester and Milton during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were generally farmers, owning considerable estates in fee-simple, and blessed beyond the usual measure with large families of children.
The Jacob or Jacobs family,—the maternal ancestors of Charles Sumner,—begins with Nicholas Jacob, who came to this country from Hingham, England, in 1633, settled in Watertown, and removed two years later to Hingham.
For the genealogy of the Jacob fa