James Brown b. 1655

James Brown 8th great grandpa on RootsMagic tree.

James Brown was born on May 4, 1655 in Rehoboth, Massachusetts. His grandparents John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley were on the Mayflower, married and had 10 children, with millions of descendants today. Elizabeth lived with James and family from 1687 to 1673 and would have shared her stories of the Mayflower and those first years in colonial America.

John married Margaret Dennison on June 5, 1678, and they had at least 10 children. James was known as a Lieutenant in the ‘militia’, the history of his service is lost. He could have been in one the biggest battles of the time, the Great Swamp Massacre of December 1675, recently in the news, the sacred land has been returned to the Narragansett Indians.
https://thepublicsradio.org/article/site-of-great-swamp-massacre-returned-to-narragansett-indian-tribe

James wrote his will June 28, 1717 and died on April 15, 1718 . “James Brown of the Town of swanzey In the County of Bristol In his majesties Provence of the massachusets Bay In Newengland yeoman ; Being Crazie of Body but of Perfect minde and memory Thanks be Given to God … Do make & ordain this my Last will & Testement. The oldest son James received the family farm, upland & meadows, -with this Reserve that my wife margrett Brown have the use of all the meadow I now make use of Dureing her Naturall Life or widdowhood”. Younger sons received other lands, daughters received money. James’s inventory included clothing, housewares, looms and yarns, livestock, rights to the sawmill and more.

James is buried at Ancient Little Neck Cemetery, on the Providence River. His headstone is there, inscribed with, “In Memory of Lieut. JAMES BROWN who Died April 15th 1718 in the 60th Year of his Age”. Many of James’s family are buried there too including his grandma, Elizabeth Tilley Howland.

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John Smith and Marah Huntley b. 1660

John Smith and Marah Huntley 8th great grandparents on RootsMagic tree.

Marah or Mary Huntley was born on December 3, 1660 in Lyme, Connecticut. She was the 4th child of John and Jane Huntley. Her dad John Huntley would sail to Barbados, where he traded fish for tobacco and cotton. A record shows he bought a pair of shoes and a shirt for his wife on one trip. He probably bought back gifts for his kids too.

John Smith was born November 20, 1655 in Massachusetts, to Richard and Joanna Quarlls Smith who were both from England, and married in Boston. John and his family moved to Lyme Connecticut soon after John’s birth. In Lyme, on October 26, 1685 John and Marah married. They had at least 10 kids and stayed in the Lyme, New London, Connecticut area.

Before they married, John Smith, his dad and Marah’s dad, both their grandads, and future in laws were part of the Lyme Riot of August 1671. New London and Lyme, Connecticut, towns next to each other, had a history of land disputes. In 1671 men from both towns fought over mowing the minister’s meadows. 30 men from New London wanted to mow, a group of men from Lyme set out to do the same, and the riot started. After a while leaders from both towns met and “drinking a dram together with som(e) seeming friendship, every man departed to his home”. The men were fined, the courts eventually covered the fines.

John Smith died in Lyme, Connecticut on October 11, 1736. Marah Huntley Smith died soon after.

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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 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.

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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.

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

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.

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