Select Gage Surname Genealogy

The Gage surname has Norman French origins and is thought to have two possible meanings:  
  • the old French word gage or gauge meaning a gauge and being the occupational name for an assayer, one who is responsible for checking weights and measures  
  • or an alternative meaning of gage as a pledge or security and thus an occupational name for a money-lender.
Select Gage Resources on The Internet
Select Gage Ancestry

England.  The Gage name has cropped up in both the west of England and in southeast England. 

One early family that straddled both sides was the Gage family from Cirencester in Gloucestershire, recorded there since the early 1400’s.  John Gage married Eleanor St. Clere in 1443 and through that marriage acquired substantial estates in Surrey and Sussex.  Later Gages were found at Burstow manor near Reigate in Surrey and then, and for a much much longer period and continuing, at Firle Place in Sussex.

The family’s association with Firle began in 1472 when William Gage married Agnes Bolney and their son John built a Tudor house there.  These Gages remained resolutely Catholic for the next 250 years.  Sir Edward Gage was even involved in the burning of the Lewes Protestant martyrs during the bloody reign of Queen Mary. 

Notable later Gages were: 
  • Sir William Gage who, among other achievements, introduced a fruit into England which was named the greengage after him.  
  • and Sir Thomas Gage who commanded the British forces in North America at the onset of the American Revolutionary War.  He incurred a famous defeat at the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775.
A Gadge or Gage family held Shenfield manor in Essex in Elizabethan times.  The Gages of Hengrave Hall in Suffolk were descended from the Firle Gages.  There were Gages in the village of Chelsworth in Suffolk starting around 1700 and they were still to be found there 200 years later.

.  Gages from Northamptonshire, with possible links to the Firle Gages, secured estates from the British Government in Derry in 1635.  The Rev. John Gage of this family was chaplain to both Queen Anne and the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.  His son, also Rev. John Gage, acquired Rathlin island off the coast of county Antrim in 1746.  These Gages remained resident there until 1975.

America.  John Gage, thought to have come from Suffolk with Winthrop in 1630, may have been the forebear of the Gages in New England.  There were three later Gage lines - Daniel Gage in Ipswich, Thomas Gage in Yarmouth, and William Gage in Freetown. 

Daniel moved to Bradford, Massachusetts where his son
established Gage's ferry on the banks of the Merrimack river.  Later Gages were to be found at the Gage Hill Farm in Pelham, New Hampshire.  David Gage started an ice company there in 1854 and was known as the "ice king of Lowell.” 

Some other Gage lines went as follows: 
  • via Thomas Gage in Bradford to James L. Gage, an Ohio lawyer, whose wife Frances became a campaigning abolitionist and leading feminist of her time.   
  • via Thomas Gage in Yarmouth to Henry Hill Gage in upstate New York, whose wife Matilda was even more of a firebrand abolitionist and feminist.  
  • and another line via Thomas Gage in Yarmouth to Dewitt Gage in upstate New York, who headed west to Saginaw, Michigan after the Civil War.  His son Henry became Governor of California in 1899.
The Gage families in Texas and Arkansas can trace themselves back to Nicholas Gage in London in the early 1700’s.  His son David departed for New York in the 1730’s and later settled in Rutherford county, North Carolina.  Reuben Gage migrated first to Kentucky and later to Missouri and Texas.  

“Reuben Gage was granted a league of land in the Milam grant on May 25, 1835.  This made him an original Anglo-American Texan.  In his grant application he gave his age as sixty five and his place of birth as New York.”  

Canada.  James Gage had crossed over to Canada from upstate New York after the Revolutionary War.  His farmhouse near Hamilton lay on the road between Niagara and York (later Toronto) and became a convenient stopping point for travelers.  The house saw action in the War of 1812 as the Battle of Stony Creek occurred nearby, with the wounded being taken there and treated in the house.    Now known as Battlefield House, it is a museum. 

Robert R. Gage, related, was a well-known lawyer in Hamilton and Gage Park there was named after him.

Select Gage Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Gage Names

Thomas Gage was a general who commanded the British forces rather unsuccessfully during the early days of the American Revolutionary War.
Matilda Gage
was a noted 19th century American suffragist, abolitionist, freethinker and writer.

Select Gages Today
  • 3,000 in the UK (most numerous in London)
  • 5,000 in America (most numerous in Texas) 
  • 2,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 1,000 surnames.

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