John Clifford of Hampton, NH (1600's) 2016 Update!
Rejoice, researchers! I've spent hundreds of hours in the last few months pursuing the parentage of John Clifford of Hampton NH and his supposed father George Clifford, who was supposedly from Arnold Village in Nottinghamshire, England, and who eventually settled in Boston, MA.
Here is my previous post: John Clifford, an early resident of the town of Hampton NH (first settled by Europeans in 1638) is fairly well chronicled. He was a resident by 1650. There are a couple of ill-drawn conclusions about his parentage in the book "History of the Town of Hampton, New Hampshire" by Joseph Dow, who contends that John's father was the George Clifford that emigrated to Boston from Arnold Village, Nottingham, England about 1644. Although the dates do match up, he provides no supporting evidence that the two were related. Other historians have tried to make this clear, most notably Walter Goodwin Davis, in his book "Massachusetts and Maine Families", in a footnote on page 283; "Ther is no documentary evidence whatsoever that John Clifford of Hampton was identical with John, son of George Clifford, who was baptized in Boson on May 10, 1646, that statement having been made by Mr. Dow in his History of Hampton, and copied by Mr. Hoyt in his Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury." (He then goes on to provide his reasoning for this, which is pretty sound...) Bottom line is, I'm going to hold off on connecting the two until someone offers some more definitive documentation.
Here's my update: Yes, there is finally good evidence that George Clifford of Boston in the 1640's, member of the First Church of Boston (where his son John was baptized in 1646), member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Boston by 1643 is very likely the father of John Clifford. Although George disappears off the map by the late 1640's, sadly, there is enough in the record to substantiate a family group that actually comes from a place called Bobbing, in Kent, England. I don't have the time or space to get too detailed, but thanks to the very nice detective work of the late Bill Marquis, who wrote and published (with the help of his niece) a book on this family line called simply "The Clifford Family", and also by combing the newsletters of the Clifford Family Association of England, I got the break I needed to pursue the connection.
I don't take anyone's word on it...I check out every generation by searching on my own for documentation. I think there might be a few mistakes in Bill's book, and maybe a few assumptions, and it could have benefited from some editing, but otherwise it is a fantastic resource, and very well-researched. Hopefully, Bill's family will make sure his book gets into some deserving research libraries. but I do believe that the aforesaid George is the son of Henry Clifford, Esquire, of Sittingbourne, and formerly of Bobbing, Kent. The smoking gun is Henry Clifford's will, which is housed at the British National Archives (but can be viewed online by the Archive's pay-per-document service), in which he leaves 50 pounds to George. The Clifford Association, which has taken a great interest and has aided in identifying our George, also alleges that a recently discovered deed for property sold/purchased in Hampton, NH, which was found in the Haverhill, MA library, also spells out that John is George's son. Furthermore, there is evidently a comment in the original record about John Clifford being a fully-grown man when he was baptized in 1646 at the First Church of Boston.
Author Bill Marquis says that George married his step-sister, Elizabeth Nethersole, who grew up in a different household, and that her mother was Ellen or Helen Spencer. My research now supports the contention that George Clifford and his wife Elizabeth Nethersole were step-siblings, but his claim that Eliz.'s mother was a Spencer is a little problematic. Not saying it's wrong, but there are only indexes to records to indicate the mother of Elizabeth Nethersole was Ellen Spencer...there are scores of other books and documents that claim Edward Nethersole (father of our Elizabeth Nethersole, and stepfather of our George Clifford) first married Ellen/Helen Stoughton, the Stoughtons being a prominent family. There is also evidence that Edward had another child who married into the Spencer family...I'm wondering if the transcriber of the sole index record indicating that Ed married a Spencer got confused and entered info from his son's records. Obviously, more research is needed. The fact that George and Liz were step-siblings, and that intermarriage like that would be frowned upon in Elizabethan England, even if brought up separately, might explain why they may have provided some misleading information about their home parish in England; in fact, it could be one of the reasons they left England to begin with (besides the fact that the lands and titles of both families had been sold or lost by legal action).
Bill also alleges that son John married a Dow, niece of an early Hampton NH settler (who married John after he went back to England to collect her). I have found no record whatsoever of that, but will continue to work on it. What is almost certain is that the Cliffords did not come from Arnold parish...several researchers have combed the records and find no Cliffords on record there until several generations later. The connection to the Cliffords of Bobbing would make the Cliffords of Hampton NH descended from some very impressive and aristocratic lineage, all of which is well documented (as most blue-blooded families tend to be), so I will leave all that to the researcher to take up. If I find anything further on this family I'll be sure to pass it along!