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

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

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

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

Gershom Smith b. 1679

Gershom Smith 8th great grandpa on RootsMagic tree

Gershom Smith was born on November 30, 1679 in Hartford, Connecticut. Gershom’s dad Johnathan came to America from England around 1640, his mom Margaret Bushnell was born in Salem, Massachusetts.


Connecticut marriages 1640-1939 at FamilySearch

Gershom married Hannah Judd: “Gershom Smith of Glastonbury and Hannah Judd the daughter of Benjamin Judd of Farmington was married on the 4 day of May announced Dom 1710.” They had 2 children, a son Gershom Jr who died young and a daughter Hannah who married and had a family. Gershom’s older brother Richard wrote a will in 1725, on Valentine’s Day, that named younger brother Gershom as executor (manager) of the estate. Richard never married, had no kids. Gershom died before Richard so Richard ’s estate went to court on 6 June, 1749. Gershom’s daughter Hannah had married Richard Risley who was named executor of his wife’s uncle’s estate.

Gershom died August 28, 1747 in Glastonbury. His widow Hannah went to live with daughter Hannah Smith Risley and her family. Gershom, with his son are buried at Green Cemetery in Glastonbury.

Sources

  • Connecticut Town Birth Records, pre-1870 (Barbour Collection) at Ancestry
  • Connecticut marriages 1640-1939 at FamilySearch
  • Headstone photo at Find a grave memorial 194149478 “Added by Margery Bogus 16 Oct 2019”
  • The American genealogist database at American Ancestors.
  • A digest of the early Connecticut probate records volume 3 at HathiTrust
  • Find a grave memorials 203140948 and 16547820

Hope Angell and Lydia Olney b. 1685

Hope Angell and Lydia Olney 8th great grandparents on RootsMagic tree.
Hope Angell was born December 22, 1685 in Providence, Rhode Island. Thomas Angell, his grandpa, was one of 5 men who, with Roger Williams, founded Providence.
Lydia Olney was born April 30, 1688 in Providence. Her grandpa, Thomas Olney, came to America from England in 1635, he was 2 years old.
Hope and Lydia both had at least 8 siblings, they all grew up in Providence and most stayed there in Providence or very nearby.  Hope and Lydia married on May 22, 1712. They had 5 sons and 2 daughters. Hope was a farmer, a carpenter, a weaver and a cooper (cask and barrel maker). On February 12, 1749 Lydia died of consumption (tuberculosis) she was 60. Hope died 10 years, minus a day later, on February 11, 1759, he was 73 years old.
Hope was in charge (an executor) of his dad’s estate in 1724 and his brother’s estates in 1742 and 1744. Hope wrote his will on April 12, 1755. Abiah, the oldest son received all Hope’s ‘waering apparell’, 2nd and 3rd sons Oliver and Elisha were to oversee the estate. Hope’s carpenter, cooper and weaving tools are listed and given to his sons. The estate settled on May 15 1759 with only son Oliver in charge of the estate, Elisha had died.
Hope’s son Oliver Angell leads all the way to Delia Angell of Shell Rock, Iowa the great grandma of Elizabeth Speedy. Oliver is buried in the Oliver Angell Lot, also know  as the Hope Angell Lot and the Rhode Island Hist. Cemetery North Providence #8. This tiny cemetery has 19 burials, was originally on Angell farmland and is now in a residential area between two houses. Hope Angell and Lydia Olney Angell’s burial place is unknown but may be here in an unmarked grave with 19 other Angells. 

Rhode Island, U.S., Wills and Probate Records, 1582-1932 at Ancestry


Sources

Clement English b. 1646

Clement English 8th great grandpa on RootsMagic tree.

Clement was born in Massachusetts in 1646. His parents aren’t known but it’s likely they migrated from England during the ‘great migration’ of 1620-1640. Clement married Mary Waters in Salem, on August 27, 1667. Mary’s family was part of Salem’s colonial beginnings, so it’s likely Clement English’s family was too. Marriages in the 1600s were rarely random, but planned within churches, communities, families.

Clement and son Benjamin in Massachusetts Town Records

Clement and Mary had 3 sons and 3 daughters. The family stayed in Salem where Clement was a merchant in one of the busiest ports in colonial America. In 1668 Clement and his brother in law William Punchard were two of many who signed petitions against taxes or imposts. “Seventhly Whether customs though layd on wine, tobacco and things not Essentiall to life were euer wont to bee layd on corne and such necessaries wthout which wee Cannot possibly subsist.” The courts didn’t repeal the taxes but did reduce the taxes.

Petition against taxes 1668

Clement had a short life, he died at age 36 on October 23, 1682. There is a summary “Abstracts from will, inventories etc. on file in the office of the clerk of courts Salem, Mass. Clement English, 4th mo., 1683. An Inventory of the estate of Clement English, taken 24th of May, 1683. Amount L43 04s. 6d., and Administration granted unto Mary, the relict. 29 June, 1683, mentions for the bringing up of the children.” But the actual papers of the Clement’s will, the inventory, probate are gone, missing.

Clement and family lived during one smallpox epidemic which reached Salem in October 1678. William Lord of Salem had small pox, he and family had to “keep within their house, and that they do not offer to sale any of their ware, viz. bread, cake, gingerbread and the like, and that they suffer none to come to their house but what necessity requires.” July 10, 1679 Salem courts ordered a fast day or day of prayer to help stop the spread, “in respect of that most dreaded contagious disease, wherewith sundry places have been sorely visited.” Because Clement died young, age 36, it’s possible smallpox was the cause, no proof & no facts- it’s speculation.

Sources