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.

Sources

Israel Smith b. 1689

Israel Smith, 8th great grandpa on RootsMagic tree

Israel Smith was born on January 13, 1689. [Israel was a common name family in early America, a biblical name 300+ years before the country ‘Israel’ was created in 1948]. Israel’s mom is Lydia Gardiner, his dad is Joseph Smith. Israel is connected through marriage to the Angell, Arnold, Ballou, Gardiner, Hawkins, Olney, Smith, Tefft and Whipple families, they all arrived from England and lived in Providence, Rhode Island in from 1630 on.

Soon after his grandparents arrival in 1634, the migrant population in Rhode Island was 300, at Israel’s birth the population was 3000, at Israel’s children’s birth the pollution was 33,000, 50+ years before the American Revolution.

Israel was a landowner and farrmer, sometimes called a yeoman in early America. He married Elizabeth Arnold on June 3, 1718. Elizabeth was a widow, her 1st husband was William Hawkins. Elizabeth and Israel had 4 children along with Elizabeth’s 5 children from her first marriage.

1726 inventory snapshot

Israel died on January 20 1726, he was 37. He died in Providence, cause of death is unknown. He didn’t leave a will but left an inventory. Israel’s inventory included ‘bookes’, livestock, tools, seeds, a gun, a feather bed, blankets, linens, clothing, kitchenware, pewter platters, 10 and one half pounds of woolen yarns, thirty eight pounds of flax, spinning wools, furniture, tobacco and candlesticks.

Sources

Mary Willey b. 1648

Mary Willey 8th great grandma on RootsMagic tree.

Mary was born in 1648 in New London, Connecticut. Her parents, Isaac and Joanna Willey, were in Boston, Massachusetts by 1640, no clues on where in England Issac and Joanna came from. Willeys were some of the first immigrant settlers of the town. New London was first called Nameaug by native Pequot Indians, in New London for 1000s of years. The English settlers wanted to call their new home ‘London’. The Connecticut General Assembly proposed ‘Faire Harbour’. Settlers “protested, declaring that they would prefer it to be called Nameaug if it couldn’t be officially named London.The legislature relented, and the town was officially named New London on March 10, 1658.”

In 1664 Mary married Samuel Tubbs and they had at least 6 children. Mary’s husband and her brother John Willey were soldiers in King Philips War. Both survived and after the war in 1678, with their families, they settled 30 miles northwest of New London in Haddam or East Haddam, CT.

Widow Tubbs returns to New London, joins church 1701

Mary was a widow in 1696, she returned to New London with her younger children, the older ones married with homes and families of their own. Mary died around 1732. She lived in Closed Cove, a coastal town absorbed into Shaw’s Cove, an inlet, now part of New London. Today only restaurants and medical offices are associated with Shaw’s Cove. In Mary’s time it was one of the busiest colonial ports and in the 1800s was the 2nd biggest whaling port in the world.

Mary Willey Tubbs’s burial place isn’t known. Like her dad Isaac she is probably buried at Ye Antientist Burial Ground in New London. “Pursuing our investigations we might make a long list of the fathers of the town whose graves have not been found, but whom we suppose to have been gathered into this congregation of the dead.–Where were interred, if not here … Isaac Willey.”

Mary’s 2nd great grandson Obed Gaines, born in 1793 was in the first generation to leave New England. He traveled west to Indiana, Michigan and in 1854 to Iowa where his granddaughter Mary Ella Gaines born in 1855 married James Miller, grandparents of Faber Miller born in 1905, my grandpa.

Sources

Abigail Wheeler b. 1732

Abigail Wheeler 8th great grandma on RootsMagic tree

Abigail was born on February 2, 1655 in Newbury, Massachusetts. Her grandparents, John & Anne Yeoman Wheeler and Humphrey & Susan Pakeman Wise, migrated to America around 1636 with their young children. Abigail’s mom Sarah Wise and dad David Wheeler married in 1650 and had at least 10 children, all born and raised in Newbury, MA. Abigail married Samuel Hills on May 20, 1679 and they stayed in Newbury too. They had 14 verified children. Samuel fought in King Philips War.

Abigail was a widow in 1732, Samuel in his will left lands to Abigail and their sons. On a map of 1729 Abigail and her sons homes are drawn, along with the rest of the town of Newbury. The house of Widow Hill is number 102, John is 109, Samuel Jr. is 110, Benjamin is 123, Joseph is 125. Abigail, John and Samuel have houses on Crane Hille Road, Benjamin and Joseph’s houses are a block or two south west on Holman Lane. The Merrimack River runs along the east edge.

Widow Hill, A plan of the west parish or Newbury new town, map
Widow Hill house no. 102

Abigail died April 14, 1742, 10 years after Samuel. Both are buried at Bridge Street Cemetery, also known as Rock Bridge Cemetery in West Newbury, Massachusetts, USA. Their gravestones, 279 and 289 years old, are still right there, handcrafted art. Abigail’s gravestone is inscribed: Here lies buried the body of Mrs. Abigail Hills wife of Mr. Samuel Hills died April 13 1742 in 82 [or 87] year of her age.

Abigail’s 3rd great granddaughter Delia Angell b. in 1849 was in Iowa by 1856. Delia’s great granddaughter is Elizabeth Speedy b. 1917.

Sources

Ezra Shattuck b. 1751

Ezra Shattuck husband of Rebecca Connable, 3rd great aunt of Faber Miller, my grandpa.

Ezra Shattuck was born August 5, 1751 in Petersham, Worcester, Massachusetts. Ezra was in Leyden, Massachusetts, 20 miles northwest, where he built a mill. He married Rebecca Connable on January 22, 1778 in Leyden. Bernardston, Deerfield and Leyden are all in Franklin County, Massachusetts, within 5 miles. Ezra and Rebecca with other Connable families lived in this area. Ezra was a shoemaker … for the Dorrellites.
William Dorrell was a 6 foot, 300 pound religious leader, founder of the Dorrellites. His religion “spread from neighborhood to neighborhood, respectable people … cast in their lot with their humanitarian leader”. Dorrell preached against killing living things, and didn’t use animal materials for food, clothing, housewares, anything. The majority of his followers wore wooden shoes made by one of their number, Ezra Shattuck.” My sister Angie and nephew Dallas Hobbs on a visit to Deerfield, Massachusetts saw these shoes and shared this photo. The shoes are at Memorial Hall in Deerfield, MA.

Shoes of the Dorrellites at Memorial Hall Museum‘s

Ezra and Rebecca had 10 children, 2 daughters married Dorrell brothers. Ezra died August 8, 1816, Rebecca died in March, 1816. Both are buried at Beaver Meadow Cemetery in Leyden, MA. Ezra’s son Rufus was in charge of his dad’s estate and putting together an inventory. Ezra’s inventory included boots & shoes, 8 earthen plates, an earthen tea set, 4 large and 6 small spoons, 2 flannel shirts, a brown coat and great coat, blankets and an hour glass.

Sources

Christopher and Cicely Pakeman b. 1503

Christopher and Cicely Pakeman 13th great grandparents on RootsMagic tree.

Christopher Pakeman was born in 1503 in Wrabness, Essex, England, a tiny village on the River Stour in southeastern England, UK. Cicely was probably born in the same village, her last name is unknown. She and Christopher had 4 sons and 3 daughters. Christopher owned and rented lands, Butlers and Fullers, known as tenements in 1500s England.

Christopher’s will was read November 16, 1557. “My body to be buryed in the churche yeard of Wrabnas … Item I gyve to Cecely my wyff my tenne(men)t called fullers butlers … for the space off iii yeres aftere my deces … aftr I wyll that thomas my sonne have yt to hyme & to hys heyers of hys body lawfully begoten payyng out of the legaces that shal be reheresed hereaft(er)”. Cicely also had to “keep the children w(i)t(h) meat & drynke”. Thomas collected rent and shared that rent with his siblings Annis, Harry, John, Jone, Lawrence and Margaret.

Christopher died in 1557, Cicely lived a few years longer. They’re buried at All Saints’ Church, the oldest building in the village, built around 1100. Their gravestones from the 1550s are long gone.

In the cemetery and churchyard is a bell cage with one church bell. There’s a local story about the bells at All Saints. “The churchyard at All Saints in Wrabness has a bell in a cage as a result of the Devil’s work. When the church tower with its five bells collapsed in the 17th century, the idea was to hang two bells in the wooden cage as a temporary measure. There is only one bell now, dated 1854, but the tower was never rebuilt. Legend, of course, says that every time the village tried to build a new tower, the Devil came along at night and blew it down.”

Sources