Samuel Walker b. 1655

Samuel Walker 8th great grandpa on RootsMagic tree

Samuel was born in February, 1655 in Rehoboth, Massachusetts. His mom and dad came from England as children in the 1630s, met and married in Massachusetts in 1654. Samuel had 9 brothers and sisters. Samuel was a freeman on May 27, 1674. He fought in King Philips War in 1675. Samuel is referred to as a Captain, Cornet, Gentleman and Lieutenant. 

Samuel  married Martha Ide on November 11, 1681. Samuel and Martha had 8 children. Martha died in 1700, Samuel’s 2nd wife was Elizabeth.

Massachusetts, Wills and Probate Records, 1635-1991

In 1702 Samuel was the administrator of his mom’s will. In 1693  he was administrator of his sister Sarah Walker Perrin’s will. Sarah, her husband Abraham Perrin and 2 of their 5 children died in an influenza outbreak in Rehoboth. Samuel died  without a will on August 12, 1712. Son Timothy Walker was administrator of his dad’s estate. Samuel’s lands and possessions were divided among Elizabeth the widow and Samuel’s children. Books, a trooping horse, a looking glass, earthenware, leather, wool, flax, a spinning wheel, a grindstone, oats, Indian corn and tobacco were part of the inventory along with about 700 acres of land. The lands included land inherited from his dad, Philip Walker. This land passed on to Timothy who built a house, today known as The Philip Walker House at 432 Massasoit Ave East Providence, RI 02914. The Walker House is an urban farm now, had its 1st growing season this summer.

Samuel is buried at Newman Cemetery, East Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island, USA. His 3rd great granddaughter Delia Angell married William Flood in Butler County Iowa on July 30, 1856 . Their great granddaughter Elizabeth Speedy Roose was born there in 1917.

Sources

Samuel Gaines and Rebecca Couch b. 1670

Samuel Gaines and Rebecca Couch, 8th great grandparents on RootsMagic tree

Samuel Gaines was born in 1670 in Hartford, Connecticut. His grandparents came to America from Buckinghamshire, England. Rebecca Couch was born February 16, 1671 in Hartford, Connecticut. Her grandparents were from Buckinghamshire, England too. Samuel and Rebecca were married around 1694 and they lived near Glastonbury, Connecticut. “At the Glastonbury town meeting of 15 December, 1709 he [Samuel Gaines] was chosen surveyor of highways.” 

Map of the Five Mile Tract 1731 and 1753

Samuel Gaines inherited, bought and deeded land  in and around Glastonbury from 1705 to 1750. Records of land deeds from 1734-1745, show Samuel’s dad had lands in the Three Mile and Five Mile Tracts of  “1672 when Major John Talcott of Hartford bargained with Chief Joshua the third son of Uncas the Mohegan sachem, for a certain tract of land about five miles square” in present day Manchester, Connecticut.

Samuel and Rebecca’s marriage is probable  and the search still continues for an actual marriage record.  From The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, “this Rebecca Couch had a brother Simon Couch, who lived at Glastonbury, and Rebecca named a son Simon. The age is appropriate for this marriage, and the name Simon is significant”. Rebecca Couch has few records, she probably died in 1750 a few years after her husband.
Samuel died on July 17, 1748.

Samuel and Rebecca’s 2nd great grandson Obed Gaines was in Iowa by 1854. Obed’s granddaughter Mary Ella Gaines married James Miller in Waverly, Iowa, 1878. Mary Ella’s grandson, Faber Miller. was born in Greene, Iowa in 1905.

Sources

Epenetus Olney b. 1675

Epenetus Olney, 8th great grandpa on RootsMagic tree

Epenetus Olney was born on January 18, 1675, the first generation of his family born in America. He was born in Providence, Rhode Island, an English colony founded by his grandpa and others. “Epenetus Olney Sonn Vnto Epenetus Olney and Mary his Wife Was Borne at Prouidence Januarey the Eightenth day on Thousawd Six hundred Seauenty and ffower or Seauenty ffiue it being the Second day of the weeke”.

Epenetus married Mary Williams, her grandpa Roger Williams was another founder of Rhode Island. Epenetus and Mary had 9 children including a daughter named Freeborn. The Olney family farmed, they grew “beans, turnops, wheate, Indian corn, rye, flex, while in the orchard, through which passed the road leading to the Providence settlement, there were Apple and peach tree, fruited deep.”  The current address for their farm is 370 Woonasquatucket Avenue, Centerdale, Providence County, Rhode Island, on the banks of the Woonasquatucket River about 6 miles northeast of Providence 

Early Rhode Island houses

Epenetus built a Stone Ender home, a style famous in colonial Rhode Island. A description of Epenetus Olney’s Stone Ender from one of many articles, books, studies. “The solid wall of masonry extending almost its whole width into the second story.” Changes were made through the years, “Little rooms and big rooms , fireplaces and cupboards were added here and there. In the front hall there was a great trap door which led down into the deep , cavernous cellar.”

State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations

The Stone Ender home stayed in the Olney family from the time it was built till it was demolished in 1898 -to “make way for modern improvements”. As the Olney house decayed, it was a boon for archaeologists and architects who could study the ‘insides’ and learn about colonial craftsmanship.

Epenetus died on September 17, 1740 in Providence. His burial place is unknown but could be where his house used to be. Epenetus’s 3rd great granddaughter Delia Angell was in Iowa by 1856 where she married William Flood. Their great granddaughter was Elizabeth Speedy born in 1917.

Sources

Mathias Harter and Anna Shuler b. 1737

Mathias Harter and Anna Shuler 7th great grandparents on RootsMagic tree.

Mathias Harter was born June 5, 1737 in Baden, Germany, the Kingdom of Prussia at that time. HIs parents were Andreas and Anna Zahner Harter. The whole family sailed to America on September 24, 1742 when Mathias was 5 years old. It wasn’t a luxurious journey. Gottlieb Mittelberger, wrote ‘Journey to Pennsylvania 1756’. The book is a “firsthand historic account of the misery and exploitation of German immigrants”. The trip was about 3 months long. There’s a chance Mathias was an indentured servant his first few years in America, he would have worked to pay off his passage.

Anna Mary Shuler was born around 1737 probably in Germany, her parents aren’t known.  Anna and Mathias married September 9, 1759  in New Holland, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. They had 9 children. 

Mathias was in the American Revolution, Second Battalion of Cumberland County Pennsylvania Militia and possibly guarded British prisoners of war. Mathias is on a list of Captain Holderbaum’s company on December 25, 1781 and 1782.  “Roll of the Second Battalion of Cumberland County Militia between the Ages of Eighteen and Forty-five Years taken from the Returns made to me on Oath by the Officers Commanding Companies Given under my hand this 4th Day of July A. D. 1783. JNO. ALEXANDER, Lieut. Cumbd. County” Mathias Harter is number 226 on a list of 445 men.

Tax lists of 1779 show Mathias owned and paid taxes on 140 acres, 2 horses and 2 cows. Mathias, Anna  and children were members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Warwick. Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania, Wills and Probate Records, 1683-1993 at Ancestry

Mathias died in January 1790 in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Anna died in March 1816. Mathias signed his will October 29, 1789,  ‘sick and weak in body’. He gave Anna “the east room of their home, use of the garden and forage and stable room for her cows and calf”, furniture and “household goods and kitchen furniture as she might need”. Mathias stated at Anna’s death the real estate would be appraised then sons, starting with the oldest could have the land, whoever owned the land would give mortgage to his brothers, if no one wanted the land, it would be sold, the money would be split between sons and daughters. The will was proved on January 26, 1790.

Mathias and Anna’s 3rd great granddaughter Fiana Druckenbrod married William Miller, they were in Iowa by 1876, their daughter Lola Miller was born there in 1880. Lola married another William Miller, their son is Faber Miller, born in 1905.

Sources

Josiah Witter b. 1638

Josiah Witter, 9th great grandpa on RootsMagic tree.

Josiah, sometimes called Joseph, was born on March 15, 1638 in Swampscott, Massachusetts, on the Atlantic Coast, 15 miles  north of Boston. Fictional person Carol Brady, Brady Bunch, and real life person Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the Christian Science religion, are both from Swampscott too. Josiah’s parents William and Annis Churchman Witter of England, were in Massachusetts by 1629,

Josiah’s first wife was Elizabeth Wheeler, they married on December 25, 1661 and had 4 children. They were living in Stonington, New London Connecticut and witnessed the [English immigrant]  founding of Connecticut in 1662. “The Record or Register of the inhabitants names taken this 29th of December 1670 by the selectmen of Stonington according to a town order formerly made the 15th of November 1670 … James Yorke Sr, Josiah Witter, Thomas Bell, James York Jr.”. All are ancestors of Faber Miller, my grandpa. Pequots had been in the area for at least 10,000 years previously.

Elizabeth died around 1671. A Witter family history book suggests she may have died from ‘shock’.  Her death is recorded in a diary of the time and in the book, Wiiter Geneaology. “An item from the curious, old journal of Thomas Minor, one of the early settlers of Stonington, and a neighbor and friend of Josiah Witter, suggests the perils of those far-off Colony days, when savages lurked in the gloom-tangled forests, and it was dangerous to stray far from one’s home save as one of a party well armed.  ‘1671 The Seventh moneth is September and hath 30 days . . . Tuesday the .10 good-wife witer was Lost.’   Whether shock resulting from this incident hastened the death of Elizabeth (Wheeler) Witter , we do not know , but she died on August 5 , 1672 , and was buried two days later . Thomas Minor writes in his diary : ” 1672 The sixth moneth is Agust and hath . 31 . days . . . . the 7th . day wensday Elizabeth Witter was buried”.

Josiah’s 2nd wife was Sarah Crandall,  they had 4 children. The Witter and Crandall families were connected through marriages from the time they came to America in the 1630s. Josiah died around 1690. His will was written on November 24, 1685 the date recorded the Salem Massachusetts court, the paper will is long gone. Josiah may be buried at Avery Cemetery in Preston, New London,  Connecticut, about 2 miles north of the FoxWoods Casino, owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.

Sources

John Witter b. 1677

John Witter 8th great grandpa on RootsMagic tree.

John Witter was born on March 11, 1677 in New London, Connecticut. His grandparents arrived from England in the 1630s. His parents Sarah Crandall and Josiah Witter shared a history when on July 21, 1651 “John Clarke, John Crandall, and Obadiah Holmes, came from Newport, and went to the house of William Witter, at Swampscot [Massachusetts], where Mr. Clark preached, administered the sacrament, and rebaptized Mr. Witter. This being reported to the authorities, two constables went down to Swampscot to apprehend them as disturbers of the peace.” It was illegal to hold Baptist services, in that place and time. The 3 preachers were put in a Boston prison and fined.

John Witter married Sarah Tefft in 1703 in Rhode Island, they settled in Westerly, also Misquamicutt and Hopkinton, where they were both members of the First Sabbatarian Church, later Seventh-day Baptists. Hopkinton was a part of Westerly where John was a land owner. On February 28, 1710 he received a grant of 203 acres, on January 24, 1715 he mortgaged 101 acres and on December 22, 1743 he deeded 92 acres to his “Son John Witter Junr.” John was a widow in 1720, he married a 2nd wife Mary.

John died in August 1757 in Westerly, Rhode Island and is probably buried with both his wives at Witter Cemetery, also called First Hopkinton Cemetery near where the original Sabbatarian Church Cemetery stood.

Sources
History of Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts at HathiTrust
https://hdl.handle.net/2027/njp.32101062078561?urlappend=%3Bseq=250
Witter genealogy; descendants of William Witter at HathiTrust
https://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015025957898?urlappend=%3Bseq=32
A history of the Baptists in New England at Archive.org
https://archive.org/details/ahistorybaptist00socigoog/page/n41/mode/1up
Rhode Island Historic Cemetery http://rihistoriccemeteries.org/newsearchcemeterydetail.aspx?ceme_no=HP022
Find a grave memorial 136297937

Eleazer Arnold and Eleanor Smith b. 1651

Eleazer Arnold and Eleanor Smith 9th great grandparents on RootsMagic tree

I could spend the rest of my living days gathering details about Eleazer Arnold, Eleanor Smith and their Providence, Rhode Island family. Eleazer was a man with money, descended from white English immigrants, he has so many records and references, primary documents showing his existence and character and community involvement in 1630s colonial America.

Eleazer Arnold was born on June 17, 1651 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts. His parents were Thomas and Phebe Parkhurst Arnold, they settled first in Massachusetts then by 1658 were in Providence, Rhode island. Both Thomas and Eleazer were admitted as freemen there on May 18, 1658. Eleazer’s dad was deputy of the colony, a member of the legislature and more. Eleazer was as involved his community. He was on the town council, was a deputy and a justice of the peace.

Eleanor Smith was born in 1655 in Providence. She died on August 29, 1722. Her parents were John and Elizabeth Smith of England. Eleanor and Eleazer married in 1672 or so. They had at least 10 children. They had a tavern or public house inside their house. “Arnold, a landowner with a wife and ten children, secured a license for a ‘Public House’. Tavern customers were probably served in the great room or hall of the house.”

Their home, built by Eleazer around 1693, is still standing and considered “the best of the “stone-enders” remaining in Rhode Island”. It’s an historical site, museum with tours and on Google maps at 487 Great Road, on highway 123 in [now] Lincoln, Rhode Island.

Eleazer Arnold house in 1952 Rhode Island History journal, PDF

Eleazer died August 29, 1722 he left a will, a large estate. Eleanor was not in this will so died before Eleazer. In the will were sons Joseph, John, Jeremiah, daughter in law Sarah [Hawkins], daughters Phebe Smith, Elizabeth [Israel] Smith, Eleanor Arnold, Mary Thomas, Abigail Man, some grandchildren and brother John. An inventory lists possessions.

Sources

Joseph Smith b. 1670

Joseph Smith, 9th great grandpa on RootsMagic tree.

Joseph Smith was born in 1670 in Providence, Rhode Island. Joseph’s grandpa John Smith came to America from England around 1630 then connected with Roger Williams, both banished from Massachusetts for ‘diverse thoughts’, they founded Providence in 1636. Joseph’s dad John Smith Jr and his mom Sarah Whipple were the first generation of English immigrants born in Providence. Smith, Williams, Whipple, their descendants would stay there for years and years.

Joseph and his brother William were both weavers, their dad owned the mill in Providence. “The Records show that Joseph Smith, weaver, another son of the miller, was granted three acres of land near Wanskuck, in the right of his deceased father, in December, 1700.”


The early records of the town of Providence at HathiTrust

Joseph married Lydia Gardiner. Their marriage is recorded in the Early Records of Providence, “Vpon the 4th day of Aprill in ye yeare 1689 Joseph Smith (the weaver) and Liddea Gardiner, (after lawfull publication) were both joyned together in Marriage by Richard Arnold Assistant, both partyes belonging to Providence.” Theys stayed in Providence where they had 7 children. Lydia died in 1723, she was 53, Joseph died January 13, 1749 he was 79.

Sources

Sarah Tefft b. 1680

Sarah Tefft, 8th great grandma on RootsMagic tree.

Sarah Tefft was born around 1680 in Providence, Rhode Island. Her parents were Samuel and Elizabeth Jenckes Tefft. Her grandparents came to America from England. Sarah’s family was big, she probably had 11 siblings.

Sarah married John Witter in 1703, an estimated date. They married in Providence or nearby. Many early sources and family trees show Sarah Tefft married Ebenezer Witter, a half brother of John, this has been proven incorrect. By 1712 John and Sarah were in Westerly, later Hopkinton, Rhode Island, 30 miles southwest. Sarah was a Sabbatarian, she and John are listed as members on the church list. The Sabbatarian turned in to Seventh-day Baptists “The Church in Hopkinton, considered a part of the Newport congregation until 1707, grew to become one of the largest in America with almost 1,000 members by 1816.” Mary Witter on this record could be John Witter’s 2nd wife.

Vital record of Rhode Island 1636-1850 at HathiTrust

When Sarah’s dad wrote his will on March 16, 1725, Sarah had already died. Her children were mentioned in the will, their grandad left them money and possessions.

Sarah is probably buried at Witter Cemetery, also called First Hopkinton Cemetery near where the original Sabbatarian Church Cemetery stood.


Sources

Anne Davis b. 1715

Anne Davis, 7th great grandma on RootsMagic tree.

Anne Davis was born on May 2, 1715 in Westerly, Washington, Rhode Island. Her mom Mary Shorey and dad Peter Davis both came, at different times, to America from England. Her dad was a Friends [Quaker] minister, well known in Colonial America and he may have come up with the phrase ‘honesty is the best policy’, [stated in sources].

Anne married John Witter on September 7, 1740 in Westerly, Rhode Island. Ann and John had 2 sons and 2 daughters. In 1774 John Witter and family are on the census in Hopkinton, Rhode Island.

1774 census, John Witter and family, additional Witter families

Ann was a widow in 1793 moved 265 miles northwest to Brookfield New York, she lived with her son and his family. “In the 1790s Samuel Witter Sr. and his family (including his widowed mother (Ann Davis) and his married son, Samuel Witter Jr.) migrated from Hopkinton, RI and established a farm in the area that later became known as Witter Hill.” Anne died in April 1803. She’s buried at Witter Hill Farm Cemetery in Brookfield. The small family cemetery was part of a Witter family farm, long gone, no gravestones or markers remain. It’s on Davis Road, surrounded by state forests: Beaver Creek, Brookfield Railroad, Gorton Lake, Mt Hunger, and Plainfield, in the middle of New York State.

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