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

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

John Angell b. 1677

John Angell 8th great grandpa on RootsMagic tree

John Angell was born in 1677 in Providence, Rhode Island- then known as Providence Plantations in British Colonial America. John was an English citizen, ruled during his lifetime by Charles 2, James 2, William & Mary, Queen Anne, King George 1 & 2. Georges 1 and 2 were the beginning of the decline of royals as political rulers with the first Prime Minister appointed in 1721.

John’s family were founders of Providence, his grandpa Thomas Angell was one of 5 English founders with Roger Williams. John’s parents were John and Ruth Field Angell, they had at least 8 children.

John married Sarah Clemence on January 2, 1702, in Providence. Sarah’s family were also original settlers. Sarah and John had 7 kids. John was a cooper- he made barrels, casks – timber containers. Coopers and breweries worked together, casks for beer and wine were a big business. John’s brother Thomas Angell owned a tavern in Providence. It’s almost certain John would have made casks and barrels for his brother’s tavern.

The published family history, The Genealogy of Thomas Angell, states ‘meagre detail’ on this Angell’s life.

Genealogy of the descendants of Thomas Angell at Archive.org

John died on December 3, 1744, “”Deaths Angell, John (cooper) Dec 3rd 1744”. He didn’t leave a will, his estate presented in court shows son Stephen appointed and responsible for bringing an inventory by December 24, 1745.

Sources

Samuel Connable b. 1689

Samuel Connable, 7th great grandpa on RootsMagic tree

Samuel Connable was born January 16, 1689 in Boston, Massachusetts. His parents were John and Sarah Cloyes Connable. John Connable came from England, sources state all early American Connable’s descend from this guy. Samuel had 2 brothers and 7 sisters. This Samuel is the only son to carry on the Connable name.

Samuel’s first wife was Abigail Treadway they married June 17, 1710. Abigail and their 2 young children died by 1713. Samuel married Mary Wilson 2nd on July 23, 1713 in Boston, she was also a widow. Samuel and Mary had 11 kids.

Mary’s dad William Wilson was a chair maker in Boston and most likely sold Samuel his carpentry shop on January 14, 1714. To Samuel Connable, “housewright, for L45 the west end of their dwelling house and land bounded easterly by their other tenement through the middle of the stack of chimneys which divide the two tenements 17 feet”. The homestead … running from Back Street down to the Mill Pond … had a carpenter shop on Back Street now Salem Street and Cross Street.

In 1715 Samuel with his brother in law Daniel Bell bought more land near Bowker Street, called “Distil House Square”, in a neighborhood of distilleries.

In 1996, there was an archaeological dig about 2 blocks south of Salem and Cross Streets with no specifics on Samuel Connable but some details on the area. “The heyday of artisans on these properties was between 1715 and 1780 when the properties belonged to a joiner, a pewterer, and a goldsmith”. On the map, from the dig, Cross Street is north south, Back Street also Salem Street is east west. Samuel’s shop was a block or 2 from the excavation site, marked by an arrow, image 18 of 260.

Annotated snapshot of map at Arch. dig site, Samuel is pink, dig site is yellow

John, Samuel’s dad, was probably famous for the carpentry skills he brought from London, he left all his tools to Samuel. John’s will of 1724, “my said Son Samuel Cunnabel shall have all my working tools over and above his equal sixth part of my Estate as foresaid and that they be accordingly delivered to him Immediately after my Decease”.

Signatures of Connable kids in Genealogical Memoir at HathiTrust

Samuel died in 1746, age 57, without a will, Mary and children made an agreement to settle the estate. When Mary died in 1759 her and Samuel’s inventory was written up. It included: a small cast brass kettle, a table, a stool and a looking glass, a small picture and hand brush, a number of old books, 4 old swords, 3 silver spoons and “Real Estate consisting of a Tenement or dwelling house & Land in Cross Street near the Mill Pond”. The agreement between the Connable kids was signed, “it was agreed by all the Children that the Estate should be equally [ divided ] among them – that the Widow should have the Income & Improvement of the whole during her Life.

Sources

Sarah Clemence b. 1687

Sarah Clemence 8th great grandma on RootsMagic tree

Sarah Clemence was born November 11, 1687 in Providence, Rhode Island. Her grandparents were part of a small group of immigrant settlers in Providence. Her parents were Richard and Sarah Smith Clemence, both the first generation born in America. Sarah married John Angell, of another original Providence family, they married in Providence on January 2, 1702. They had 3 daughters and 3 sons.

Sarah was in her dad’s will on November 9, 1723, “To daughter Sarah Angell 20 Shillings.” In her mom’s will, in court October 11, 1725, for Sarah, 15 pounds of paper money, 20 pounds of silver money divided among Sarah and her 2 sisters, Sarah also got her mom’s feather bed, a barrel and a ‘Greene say Apron’.

Sarah’s brother Thomas Clemence Jr. was in Providence courts with several disputes including a disagreement with Sarah’s husband John Angell- over land, that stayed in court from 1745 to 1773, mostly on brother Thomas Clemence’s part.

Sarah’s death is unknown, she’s not mentioned in her husband’s will so died before him, before 1744.

Today in Johnston, Providence County, Rhode Island, is Sarah’s childhood home. Richard Clemence built the house in 1691 on 8 acres of meadow which grew to 300 acres in Sarah’s lifetime. “It is difficult to know for sure the original plan of the house, but the most popular theory, and the basis of the later restoration, was that it was built as a story-and-a-half structure with a rear lean-to, a large stone-end chimney, topped with a steep gable roof. Four small rooms (great room, kitchen, principal chamber, and smaller chamber) were located on the first floor, with a cellar below and a garret chamber above.” Major renovations were done in 1938, the house is a museum today with the stone chimney, floorboards, frame, hardware and artifacts from 1691.

Google maps Clemence Irons house

Sources

Grace Bett b. 1629

Grace Bett, 9th great grandma on RootsMagic tree

Grace was born in London and baptized January 24, 1629 at St Giles’ Cripplegate church. Originally “without [outside of] Cripplegate”, it’s one of few medieval churches in London, near the remains of the London Wall- an ancient fortress built around the city when it was part of the Roman Empire. St Giles survived “devastating bombing during the Blitz” of Germany in WW2.

London, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812 at Ancestry 

It’s a mystery when Grace arrived in Boston, the first record in America shows her marriage to Edward Morris on September 20, 1655. From Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, City Document No. 130, “Edward Morris & Grace Bett were married 20th – 9th month by Richard Bellingham Dept. Govr.” They married in ’Town’ not in the ‘First Church’.

Grace and Edward had 12 children, all born in Roxbury, Massachusetts. The family moved to Woodstock, Connecticut, some of the first colonial settlers. Edward died in September 1690, sources say he was the first ‘original’ settler to die in Woodstock. Grace went back to Roxbury where she died June 6, 1705. Grace’s actual burial place isn’t known but there’s a memorial to her and Edward, and Edward’s original gravestone, in Woodstock Hill Cemetery in Woodstock next to their church, the First Congregational Church, established in 1674, the present building is from 1820.

Sources