John Goulding, d1791 Grafton, Massachusetts – Goulding Coat of Arms

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Colonel John Goulding

Born Oct 3, 1726 // Death 1791 Grafton, Worcester County, Massachusetts

Father  Captain Palmer Goulding, b. 1695, Sudbury, Middlesex County, Massachusetts; d. 11 Feb 1770, Holden, Worcester County, Massachusetts

Mother  Abigail Rice, b. Abt 1704, Concord, Middlesex County, Massachusetts;  d. 1770, Holden, Worcester County, Massachusetts

Grandfather Captain Peter Goulding, emigrated from Shipdham, Norfolk, England to Boston, Massachusetts at some time prior to 1666 where he had 2 children with wife Jane. He married a second time to Sarah, and had 6 more children while in Boston. He moved to Hadley, Massachusetts in 1690, stayed there 3-4 years; moved to Sudbury sometime after 1691 and died there in 1703, leaving widow Sarah. Peter’s father was the Rev. Thomas Goulding, who was coexecutor to the Bishop of Norwich, England.

Marriages of Colonel John Goulding

Married first to unknown  on 4 Dec 1722 at Concord, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. Married by Justice Minott, a resident of Sudbury.

Married next to Lucy Brooks on 22 Feb 1753. Lucy was born 16 Sep 1734, at Concord, Middlesex County, Massachusetts; d. 22 Nov 1771, Grafton, Worcester County, Massachusetts. Children: Nine, listed below as marriage #2.

Married next to Sarah, family name unknown; no marriage record can be found.  Children: Two, listed below as marriage #3.

His gravestone bears the Goulding Coat of Arms which has four lions arrayed into four quarters.


Goulding - Coll John - 1791 - Grafton Massachusetts
This image is a rubbing made by Sue Kelly and Anne Williams of Colonel John Goulding’s actual gravestone shown below. Despite much wear and tear, the rubbing revealed a great amount of detail. Image from the Farber Gravestone Collection.

Gravestone of Colonel John Goulding, Grafton, Massachusetts

Goulding - Coll John - 1791 - Grafton Massachusetts
Original Gravestone.

Goulding Coat of Arms

The Goulding Coat-of-Arms on Colonel John Goulding’s gravestone are associated with the Irish branch of the Goulding family, although the Gouldings of Ireland are considered to be of Anglo-Saxon and not Celtic origin.

HOWEVER, while this particular Coat of Arms has a distinct Ireland-based association, this family emigrated from Shipdham, Norfolk, England, when Colonel John Goulding’s grandfather Captain Peter Goulding emigrated to Massachusetts prior to 1666.

It is important to remember that a Coat of Arms do not belong to family surname, although there are many vendors which sell heraldry items as such. A Coat of Arms belongs to an individual, and is either granted to a particular person, or inherited by descent from someone to whom arms have been granted in the past.

Due to the era in which Colonel John Goulding lived and in which his gravestone was created it should be assumed that he was a descendent of the Goulding family authorized to use this particular Coat of Arms as usage was strictly enforced by law at this time within the colonies.

Goulding Coat of Arms

Irish heraldry was governed by United Kingdom guidelines until very recently (2003). I am unable to track the origin and assignment of this particular Coat of Arms at this time by review of either English or Irish sources. Have consulted

Children – Marriage #2

  • Goulding, Colonel Jonah, b. 25 Nov 1753, Grafton, Worcester County, Massachusetts d. 18 Apr 1826, Ward, Worcester County, Massachusetts
  • Goulding, Lucy, b. 22 Dec 1756, Grafton, Worcester County, Massachusetts
  • Goulding, John Jr., b. 23 Jul 1760, Grafton, Worcester County, Massachusetts
  • Goulding, Molly, b. 3 May 1762, Grafton, Worcester County, Massachusetts
  • Goulding, Joshua, b. 4 Sep 1763, Grafton, Worcester County, Massachusetts
  • Goulding, Capt. Ephraim, b. 4 Sep 1765, Grafton, Worcester County, Massachusetts d. 14 Jan 1838
  •  Goulding, Phebe, b. 22 May 1767, Grafton, Worcester County, Massachusetts
  • Goulding, Joseph, b. 6 Mar 1769 and d. 7 Aug 1775 at Grafton, Worcester County, Massachusetts
  • 9. Goulding, Israel, b. 25 Sep 1770, Grafton, Worcester County, Massachusetts

Children – Marriage #3

  • Goulding, Sarah, b. 8 Nov 1773 and d. 6 Aug 1775 at Grafton, Worcester County, Massachusetts ,
  • Goulding, Martha, b. 12 Sep 1779, Grafton, Worcester County, Massachusetts

About Colonel John Goulding

Col. John Goulding was born October 3, 1726. He engaged in the business of tanning, which his father prosecuted extensively at Worcester. In early life he settled in the northeasterly part of Grafton, in the midst of a wilderness, and there cleared up and cultivated the farm which his descendants occupied down to the present generation. He established a tannery there, and carrying on that business during his life was succeeded in it by his son. He was married to Lucy Brooks, of Concord, who bore him ten children, and died at the early age of thirty-eight. He survived her exactly twenty years, and died Novem­ber 22, 1791. He was a man of very large frame, and towards the close of life became exceedingly corpulent. He inherited a share of the energy and ability that distinguished his ancestors, and by a life devoted to quiet industry he achieved high success; that is, he made himself useful to the generation in which he lived, and won the esteem and respect of all who knew him. No record of his daily life and obscure labors is left, and if there were it would be but a repetition of that of many thousands of others who bore the privations and hardships of frontier life, to redeem for a happier posterity the fair and smiling land whose beauties and bounties we are permitted to enjoy. Source: History of Grafton, pg. 492.

Military Service – Revolutionary War

1st Colonel, 6th Worcester Co., regt. of Mass. militia; list of field officers of regts. of Worcester Co. militia proposed by Legislature Jan.12, 1776; regiment made up of Southborough, Westborough, Shrewsbury, Northborough, and Grafton; also, list of officers chosen in 6th Worcester Co. regt., as returned by said Goulding and others, field officers, dated Westborough, April 15, 1776; ordered in Council April 17, 1776, that said officers be commissioned. Source: Massachusetts Soldiers & Sailors, pg. 690.

Much of the narrative above sourced from the McCall-Thompson Family History.

Gravestones are from the Farber Gravestone Collection.