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1400's - Present
From Yaxley, England to Massachusetts to New York to Michigan

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Margaret Alice (Bell) &
Charles Elmer Sherman

about 1875

Charles Sherman Family
Charles & Margaret
Ida, William, Minnie, George & Clara
about 1894

Charles Sherman Family
Clara, Charles & Margaret
Ida, George, Minnie & William
about 1920


(click on a selection below)


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The Sherman name first appeared among some Savony people living along the Rhine River as far back as the 10th century. The Shermans could have come to England during the migration by William The Conqueror in 1066. The Normans ruled England until 1154, and they were Northmen (Norsemen) or Scandinavians who had conquered Normandy, on the coast of France, in the 10th century.

The earliest record of the Sherman name in England was on June 8, 1174, when a license to trade in wool was granted to Richard Le Sherman, a merchant in Huthe, Essex County. Because of their profession as wool merchants, the Shermans could very likely have come to England from Flanders during the 1300's. England used to export raw wool to Europe, especially Flanders, and then import the woolen cloth to make clothing. Immigrant craftsmen skilled in the making of cloth were lured by the English rulers from Flanders to England.

The meaning of the name Sherman apparently comes from some early progenitor whose occupation was a "dresser" or "shearer" of cloth. That profession was referred to as "Shermancraft". (Information obtained from "Our Sherman Saga" by Janet Hess)

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Many of the Sherman families in the U.S. today are believed to have descended from the 5 Sherman brothers/cousins listed below, who entered the U.S. between the years 1632-1640.


  • Rev. John Sherman - born 1613 in Dedham, England; died 1685. He came on the ship "Elizabeth" from Ipswich, England, in April 1634.
  • Capt. John Sherman - born 1612, Great Horkesley, Essex, England; died Jan. 25, 1690/91, Watertown, MA. He came with his mother, Grace, and her second husband, Thomas Rogers. Capt. John was admitted as a freeman in Massachusetts on May 17, 1637.
  • Hon. Philip Sherman - born 1610, Dedham, England; died 1687, Portsmouth, RI. He came about 1630-33, first to Roxbury, MA, then to Portsmouth, RI in 1638.
  • Samuel Sherman - born 1601, Dedham, England; died 1643, Massachusetts. He came about 1636-37 and settled in Boston, MA.
  • Hon. Samuel Sherman - born 1612 in Dedham, England; died April 5, 1700, Fairfield, CT. He came about 1632-33 with his father, Edmund Sherman, first to Watertown, MA, then to Wethersfield and Stratford, CT.

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SHERMANS OF YAXLEY is a very friendly online group of amateur family history buffs interested in researching their Sherman roots. They offer a variety of help to fellow Sherman researchers.


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Where the heck did these people come from?


My line of Shermans originated in merry old England in the 1400's (or earlier). The first Sherman in my line to sail the ocean blue in search of freedom in the New World was Captain John Sherman (see "Immigrant Shermans"). Captain John came with his mother, Grace, and her second husband, Thomas Rogers. He was admitted as a freeman in Massachusetts on May 17, 1637. In the early 1800's, my Shermans moved to "greener pastures" in upstate New York (Wayne County). Then, in the 1860's, after the death of her husband William Sherman, Clarissa (Thompson) Sherman moved to Port Huron, St. Clair Co., Michigan (the "thumb" area) with her children. I believe there are descendants of this line still living in the "thumb" area of Michigan (Sanilac and St. Clair Counties).

Anyway, below is a brief synopsis of my Sherman ancestry. If you'd like more detail, I'd be happy to share .... just zap me an e-mail message.

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Some of the "characters" that make up Lisa's family tree.


  1. SHERMAN, THOMAS, b. Yaxley, Suffolk, England, d. 1492, Yaxley, Suffolk, England, m. AGNES
  2. SHERMAN, JOHN, b. Yaxley, England, d. 1504, Yaxley, Suffolk, England, m. AGNES FULLER
  3. SHERMAN, THOMAS, b. Diss, Norfolk, England, d. 1551, m. JANE WALLER
  4. SHERMAN, HENRY, b. ca. 1511, Yaxley, Suffolk, England, d. 1589, Colchester, England, m. AGNES BUTLER
  5. SHERMAN, HENRY, b. ca. 1547, Colchester, England, d. Dedham, Essex, England, m. SUSAN LAWRANCE
  6. SHERMAN, JOHN, b. 1585, Dedham, Essex, England, d. ca. 1616, Great Horkesley, Essex, England, m. GRACE MAKIN
  7. SHERMAN, JOHN, b. 1612, Great Horkesley, Essex, England, d. Jan 25, 1690/91, Watertown, Massachusetts, m. MARTHA PALMER
  8. SHERMAN, JOSEPH, b. May 14, 1650, Watertown, Massachusetts, d. Jan 20, 1730/31, Watertown, Massachusetts, m. ELIZABETH WINSHIP
  9. SHERMAN, JOHN, b. Jan. 11, 1674/75, Watertown, Massachusetts, d. Nov. 11, 1756, Marlborough, Massachusetts, m. MARY BULLEN
  10. SHERMAN, JOSEPH, b. March 25, 1703, Marlborough, Massachusetts, d. Oct. 10, 1778, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, m. SARAH PERHAM
  11. SHERMAN, JOHN, b. April 8, 1737, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, d. June 14, 1807, m. (1)  CHLOE THAYER, (2)  DINAH DANIELS
  12. SHERMAN, JOHN, b. March 27, 1764, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, d. Nov. 28, 1833, Rose, Wayne Co., New York, m. CHLOE DICKINSON
  13. SHERMAN, ELIAS DICKINSON, b. ca. 1794, Phelps, Wayne Co., New York, d. Sept. 28, 1870, Galesburg, Kalamazoo Co., Michigan, m. WEALTHY GRISWOLD
  14. SHERMAN, WILLIAM, b. April 7, 1822, Butler, Wayne Co., Michigan, d. Feb. 27, 1862, Butler, Wayne Co., Michigan, m. CLARISSA THOMPSON
  15. SHERMAN, CHARLES ELMER, b. Aug 4, 1852, Butler, Wayne Co., Michigan, d. Dec. 18, 1921, McGregor, Sanilac Co., Michigan, m. MARGARET ALICE BELL
  16. SHERMAN, CLARA ELIZA, b. Sept. 25, 1876, Port Huron, St. Clair Co., Michigan, d. May 29, 1945, Independence, Jackson Co., Missouri, m. WILLIAM HENRY SHEFFER
  17. SHEFFER, EVERETT EARL, b. Dec 4, 1897, Carsonville, Sanilac Co., Michigan, d. April, 1977, Farmington Hills, Oakland Co., Michigan, m. ELSIE ELLEN KILBOURN
  18. SHEFFER, EVELYN JUNE, b. June 10, 1928, Ferndale, Wayne Co., Michigan, d. June 5, 1995, Plymouth, Wayne Co., Michigan, m. GREGORY IGNATIUS DONOVAN
  19. (ME!) DONOVAN, LISA CARIL, b. Sept. 1, 1955, Detroit, Wayne Co., Michigan, m. K. SCOTT FLEMING, children: Trisha Ann, Michael James, and Molly Ann


 This page was last updated on January 26, 2007