Samuel Risley b. 1679

Samuel Risley 8th great grandpa on RootsMagic tree.

Samuel Risley was born in 1679 in Hartford, Connecticut, one of 12 children of Richard and Rebecca Adams Risley. Samuel’s grandfathers Richard Risley and Jeremy Adams, born in England in 1615, were in Hartford in the 1630s and were “original proprietor[s] of Hartford”.

Samuel married Rebecca Gaines on August 1, 1704. They had 9 children. In Hartford, Samuel, like his dad, was a fence viewer. Elected in 1703, 1707 and 1712, he  inspected fences and made judgements on property line arguments  for people and grazing livestock.

In 1713 the Risley family moved to Glastonbury, still in Hartford County about 15 south along the Connecticut River. Samuel’s older brother John lived there with his family too.

Samuel died on February 6, 1756 and is buried at Old Eastbury Cemetery in Glastonbury, Connecticut. His gravestone is weathered but still there. HIs gravestone is  intricate with a heart at the bottom and a face at the top and inscribed, “In memory of Mr Samuel Risley who died Febr 6th 1755 in ye 77th Year of his Age”.

Find a grave memorial

In 1752 Samuel wrote his will: “In the name of God Amen this 9th day of May, 1752, I, Samuel Risley of Glastonbury being, of a disposing mind and memory (thro’ God’s Goodness) do make and ordain this to be my last will and Testament as follows: My mind and will is that my just debts and funeral charges be first paid out of my moveable Estate. I give and bequeath to my Beloved Wife Rebecca one hundred and fifty pounds out of my moveable Estate old Tennor [money] and also ye free use and improvement of ye one half of my dwelling house and cellar and three acres of land by said house as long as she shall Remain my widow.” Samuel’s sons and daughters inherited old Tennor [money] and lands. Thomas, the youngest son was in charge of the estate. 

Samuel’s 2nd great grandson Obed Gaines, born in Vermont, was in Iowa by 1854, 8 years after Iowa became a state. Samuel’s 6th great grandson Faber Miller was born there in Iowa, in 1905.

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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.

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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

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

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

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

Thomas Saunders and Ann Blake b. 1558

Thomas Saunders and Ann Blake 13th great grandparents on RootsMagic tree.

Thomas Saunders was born around 1558 in Over Stowey, Somerset, England, southwestern England, UK. Ann Blake was born around the same time, in the same place. They married on August 3, 1573. After their marriage, Thomas and Ann’s church was Lydeard St Lawrence, 20 miles south of Over Stowey’s church. Thomas and Ann had 3 daughters and 4 sons. All the Saunders children were baptized in Lydeard St Lawrence. The church was built in 1350.

Thomas owned land: Preston Close in Woolavington, Northwalk in Chidden Fitzpayne, meadows in Haleswood and land in Chappeoey [Chapel Leigh]. The lands were in Taunton, a town of Somerset[shire] created between the years 500 and 1000 when Saxons divided England into shires with a Shire-reeve or Sheriff. Shires were divided into hundreds, “an area of 100 hides, the ‘hide’ being the amount of land which would support a peasant family, an extended group of several generations, including grandparents as well as married sons and their children”. By Thomas’s time in the 1550s, peasants [not only kings, earls, dukes, etc.] owned and rented out land.

These lands are in Thomas’s will written May 26, 1609. His estate was settled in September 1609, with Ann as executrix and their children named: Agnes, Christopher, Elizabeth, Joan, John, Nicholas, Robert and Thomas. Children and grandchildren received lands and money.

Thomas was buried on June 11, 1609 at Lydeard St Lawrence. Ann probably died shortly after and was buried in the same place.

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