Brayton Family of Rhode Island
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Among the very oldest of American families is that which bears the name of Brayton, which was established in the Colony of Rhode Island sometime before the middle of the seventeenth century, probably in the year 1643, when its founder was received as an inhabitant of Portsmouth. The members of the Brayton house have been extremely prominent in connection with the development of Southeastern Massachusetts, particularly with that region centering about the city of Fall River, and the early territory which went to form that city. The great industries which have grown up thereabout are not a little indebted to the enterprise and intelligence of the early Braytons, various members of the family having been numbered among the most prominent business leaders, financiers, and promoters of the colossal milling industries of the region.
  1. FRANCIS BRAYTON, immigrant ancestor and founder of the family in America, was born in England, in 1611-12. He came to this country as a young man, and was admitted as an inhabitant of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, as early as the year 1643. Eight years later, in 1655, he was made a freeman, and in 1662-63 was chosen to represent Portsmouth in the General Court. He served as deputy to the General Court in 1669-70, 1678, and 1684. In 1667 he enlisted in the troop of horse which was maintained for the common defense, and generally played an important part in the life of the community.
    Francis Brayton married Mary _______, who died about the year 1692. He died in the same year.
    1. Francis, died in 1718
    2. Mary, married Joseph DAVOL
    3. Stephen, mentioned below
    4. Martha, married John PEARCE
    5. Elizabeth, married Jared BOURNE
    6. Sarah, married Thomas GATCHELL
  1. STEPHEN BRAYTON, son of Francis and Mary BRAYTON, was a resident of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, probably all his life, although the date of his birth is not known, and it is possible that he may have been a native of England. He was a freeman in the year 1678, and a member of the grand jury in 1687.
    Stephen Brayton married, March 8, 1679, Ann TALLMAN, daughter of Peter and Ann TALLMAN, of Portsmouth, and died in 1692. Children:
    1. Mary, born February 12, 1680
    2. Elizabeth, born December 8, 1681
    3. Ann, born July 6, 1683
    4. Preserved, mentioned below
    5. Stephen, born August 2, 1686
    6. Israel, died about 1756
  1. PRESERVED BRAYTON, son of Stephen and Ann (TALLMAN) BRAYTON, was born in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, March 8, 1685. He became a freeman at Portsmouth in 1706, the year in which he attained his majority, and lived there until 1714, when he purchased one hundred and thirty acres of land in the settlement of Swansea, Massachusetts. He made that place his home during the remainder of his life. This farm came to be known as the Brayton Homestead, by which name it is called to the present day. It is situated on the west bank of the Taunton river, in what is now the town of Somerset, which was set off from Swansea in the year 1790. The first definite agreement in regard to his purchase of this farm from William LITTLE was embodied in articles drawn up and signed July 21, 1714.
    The terms of agreement between the two proved satisfactory, and the deed was signed and transferred on March 2, 1714-15. Evidence is uncertain as to when the Brayton homestead was built. Elizabeth Hitchcock BRAYTON, in her interesting sketch of the "Brayton Homestead," published in 1914, says:

    "…we find evidence of its foundation upon which site has been placed a stone, presumably the old stepping stone of the original dwelling. "The great Room," "in the Southeast corner," "the chamber over said rooms," "the great door," "through the entry and up the stairs to the chamber overhead," "to cook in the Kitchen," "and store meat and sauce in the cellar," form for us only a fragmentary description of that first house upon the hill to which Preserved BRAYTON brought his wife and two older children, and which was the birthplace of his younger children. In 1724 Preserved BRAYTON enlarged his farm by purchasing of William SLADE the south half of the original lot 13 of the Shawomet purchase, and half the roadway between the 13th and 14th lots, thus making the whole of the Homestead Farm about one hundred and sixty-eight acres."

    The original lot was No. 12. Miss BRAYTON continues:

    "The total purchase price of the farm, as paid by Preserved BRAYTON, was, therefore, thirteen hundred and twenty pounds. Assuming that the colonial pound (whose value to-day would be about three and one-third dollars) was used in these transactions, the amount paid for the Homestead Farm would be about forty-four hundred dollars of our money. Preserved BRAYTON was a true lover of the soil, and for forty-seven years after his removal to Swansea, as we shall call it now, was spared to enjoy the fruits of his labors upon the place he termed the Homestead Farm, all unconscious of adopting a name that would be perpetuated for so many generations. At the time of his death in Swansea, May 21, 1761, Preserved BRAYTON was an extensive landholder…."

    He owned in addition to the Homestead Farm another farm in Swansea, besides property in Freetown, Rehoboth and Smithfield, Rhode Island.

    Preserved BRAYTON married, in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, Content COGGESHALL, daughter of John (2) COGGESHALL, and granddaughter of John (1) COGGESHALL, one of the first settlers of Rhode Island, and one of the foremost figures in the early life of the colony. Preserved BRAYTON and his wife died in Swansea, the former on May 21, 1761, and the latter in 1759.

  1. ISRAEL BRAYTON, son of Preserved and Content (COGGESHALL) BRAYTON, was born on the Homestead Farm, October 13, 1727. He inherited the Homestead Farm on his father’s death, and like his father was an extensive landowner and prosperous farmer. In addition to the farm, he acquired property in Swansea, including a shipyard, and land he purchased in 1766 from Samuel LEE. In 1759 he bought of Richard and Susanna GIFFORD a large farm of one hundred and eighty acres in Tiverton, which at the time of his death he gave to his son, Baulton BRAYTON. Israel BRAYTON spent his entire life in Swansea, and was a well-known figure in its affairs for several decades.
    Israel BRAYTON married (first), April 19, 1752, Mary PERRY, who, tradition claims, was a relative of Oliver Hazard PERRY. They were the parents of nine children, among them John, mentioned below. Israel BRAYTON married (second) Mrs. Mary READ BOWERS. He died in Swansea in 1791.
  1. JOHN BRAYTON, son of Israel and Mary (PERRY) BRAYTON, was born in Swansea, Massachusetts, April 12, 1762. Too young to serve during the Revolution, he nevertheless was old enough to see and remember the hardships of the times. The Brayton homestead was on the route of travel. Many of the troops on their way to Tiverton crossed the Taunton river at Slade’s ferry and thus came very near to the home of his father. One night a company camped not far distant, and the next morning, in filling their canteens, drew the well dry at the Homestead Farm. One canteen, accidentally left, is now in existence and is in the possession of one of the present owners of the Homestead Farm, the great-great-grandson of Israel BRAYTON. The war brought great deprivation to the inhabitants of the towns round about, and in 1779 there was a great scarcity of provisions, and these sold at very high prices. The following winter the intense cold caused much suffering, and for two months the ice completely locked the rivers and bay. The price of wood advanced to twenty dollars per cord and corn sold at four silver dollars a bushel. It was during this winter that John BRAYTON, not yet eighteen years of age, "Loaded wood upon sleds at his farm and with oxen drew the same in a direct line upon the ice to Newport." On August 2, 1780, when eighteen years of age, John BRAYTON enlisted in Captain Peleg PECK’s company of Colonel Thomas CARPENTER’s regiment.
    On September 21, 1782, John BRAYTON married Sarah BOWERS, the daughter of Philip BOWERS, a lineal descendant of three of the Pilgrim band who came on the "Mayflower" on her first voyage in 1620. They were the parents of eleven children. On the death of his father, about 1791, John BRAYTON inherited the Brayton homestead, and resided there until his death. It was during his lifetime that Somerset was set apart from Swansea, and in the former town he died May 12, 1829.

    About 1796, finding the old house too small for his rapidly growing family, John BRAYTON erected the present house. The original house was left standing, and early in the nineteenth century part of it was moved near the new house.

    John BRAYTON was one of the first members of the Methodist church of Swansea, joining soon after its organization, and remaining throughout his life a useful and influential factor in its affairs. He contributed generously to its support, and tendered cordial hospitality to the itinerant ministers. At the centenary celebration of that church, held March 2, 1902, as a memorial to John BRAYTON, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren gave to the church the sum of fifteen hundred dollars, the income to be used for the support of the gospel.

  1. ISRAEL (2) BRAYTON, son of John and Sarah (BOWERS) BRAYTON, was born in Somerset, Massachusetts, on the Brayton homestead, July 29, 1792. He spent his entire life there, and died November 5, 1866. In early life, however, he had for a time resided in Swansea and Fall River, and although he returned to the Homestead Farm on the death of his father, he retained his associations in these places. He continued his membership in the Central Congregational Church of Fall River, and was one of its most regular attendants. The "Fall River News," of November 9, 1866, describes the funeral services of Israel BRAYTON and pays tribute to him as a man:
    "It was a scene long to be remembered, as the family and friends gathered around the grave on that serene and most beautiful Indian summer morning, and united with bowed heads and sympathizing hearts in the simple, heartfelt and deeply impressive prayer which was there offered; and we could but feel how grand a lesson is taught us when a good man is called from earth to heaven; a man who has filled the measure of his days in his Master’s service, and whose memory will be cherished by his friends and kindred as among the best of earthly treasures."

    Israel BRAYTON married, August 19, 1813, Keziah ANTHONY, daughter of David and Submit (WHEELER) ANTHONY, they the parents of nine children. Keziah (ANTHONY) BRAYTON was the last to reside permanently upon the Homestead Farm, where she died October 24, 1880, aged eight-nine years. She was a direct descendant of John ANTHONY, one of the pioneer settlers of Rhode Island, who came from England in the year 1634. The Anthony family was prominent in Rhode Island affairs, and had become allied with many of the important families of the colony. Israel and Keziah (ANTHONY) BRAYTON were the parents of the following children:

    Mary, born in Foxboro, Massachusetts, May 9, 1814; married (first), in 1842, Major Bradford DURFEE, of Fall River, who died in 1843, leaving one son, Bradford Matthew Chaloner DURFEE, born June 15, 1843, died, unmarried, in 1872. His mother gave in his memory the B.M.C. Durfee High School in the city of Fall River. She married (second), in 1851, the Rev. Jeremiah S YOUNG, who died in 1861. She died in Fall River, March 22, 1891.

    1. William Bowers, born in Swansea, April 6, 1816; married Hannah Turner LAWTON, of Tiverton, Rhode Island.
    2. Nancy Jarrett Bowers, married Daniel CHASE, and their only child died in infancy.
    3. Elizabeth Anthony, married Rev. Roswell Dwight HITCHCOCK, and they were the parents of the following children: Roswell, Mary B, Harriet W, and Bradford W.
    4. David Anthony, born in Swansea, April 2, 1824, died August 20, 1881; married Nancy R JENCKES, of Fall River.
    5. John Summerfield, born in Swansea, December 3, 1826; married Sarah J TINKHAM, of Middleboro, Massachusetts.
    6. Israel Perry, born in Swansea, May 24, 1829, married Parthenia GARDNER, of Swansea.
    7. Hezekiah Anthony, mentioned below
  1. HEZEKIAH ANTHONY BRAYTON, one of the most vital figures in the history of the industrial development of Fall River, the son of Israel (2) and Keziah (ANTHONY) BRAYTON, was born June 24, 1832, on Main Street, Fall River, Massachusetts. Here he passed his childhood, and attended local schools for his education. Later he was entered as a student at the East Greenwich Academy, East Greenwich, Rhode Island, and after being graduated from that institution, returned to his native State and taught school for one year in the town of Seekonk. He did not find in this profession the opportunity which he desired, however, and at the end of the first year secured a position in a railroad office where, besides the work involved in his duties, he continued the study of mathematics, specializing in that branch of the science which bears directly on civil engineering. His character was of the type with which New England has made us familiar; determined to advance, he perfected himself sufficiently in the study of mathematics to qualify as a surveyor. In this capacity he went West and worked for a considerable time in Texas. On his return to Massachusetts, he settled for a time in Lawrence, where he was engaged in the carding and mechanical engineering department of the Pacific Mills.
    It was around this period that there occurred in the East what was known as the "Westward Movement," and this Mr. BRAYTON joined, in association with his brother, Israel Perry BRAYTON, establishing himself in Chicago, and engaging in the grain and commission business on the Chicago Board of Trade. This business was afterward transferred to New York and was carried on in connection with the Produce Exchange there. Mr. BRAYTON spent nearly twenty-five years in Chicago and New York, and in 1872 returned to Massachusetts, where he remained until the close of his life. In the industrial, financial and business life of Fall River from 1872 onward, he played a vital and influential part. He was vice-president of the First National Bank of Fall River, in which institution he also held the office of cashier. A number of years later, upon the failure of the Sagamore Mills, he was appointed one of the trustees in charge of that property, and took an active and important part in the settlement of the affairs of this concern. Upon its reorganization as the Sagamore Manufacturing Company, he was elected treasurer and a member of the board of directors. These two offices he continued to hold until his death, and the large growth of the business was due in no small measure to his capable management. In addition to his heavy interest and responsibilities in the Sagamore Manufacturing Company, he was also prominently identified with the Durfee Mills, of which he was president and a member of the board of directors. Mr. BRAYTON was regarded by his associates in Fall River, and throughout the milling industry in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, as one of the most successful mill operators of this section of New England. During the period of his management the Sagamore Manufacturing Company did a most extraordinary business, and established a record that has not been surpassed. His great success in large affairs was undoubtedly due to the fact that he found the keenest pleasure in business combinations and organization, and he was in a great measure a prototype of the great captains of industry of to-day. His conception of mill operations was intensive in character, and he carried the efficiency of his mills to a high point, keeping equipments and conditions up to the very latest and most modern standards. He possessed the gift of mechanical genius, which combined with a thorough knowledge of every phase of the business in which he engaged, and executive and organizing ability of the first order, made him one of the ablest mill men in New England in the latter decades of the nineteenth century. He rarely made an error of judgment, and his advice consequently was much sought in financial matters. At the time that he assumed charge of the Sagamore Manufacturing Company, one mill was in operation and the foundation of a stone mill had been laid. The results were quickly discernible, and one after another he erected the requisite buildings. Mr. BRAYTON was succeeded in the office of treasurer by his son, William Lawton Slade BRAYTON, who had previously engaged in business as a cotton broker.

    Hezekiah A. BRAYTON was deeply interested in the welfare of the city of Fall River, and devoted much time to work in its behalf. He possessed great faith in the future of the city, and did all he could to improve its fortune. He was always conceiving new combinations in the business world, and was ever ready to aid in the development of new and promising enterprises. There can be no doubt that the present great prosperity of the city owes much to his judgment and foresight, his energy and enthusiasm, which were contagious. It is interesting to note that the last cotton corporation formed in Fall River prior to his death had his backing, and that he was a large subscriber to its stock.

    The death of Mr. BRAYTON occurred at his home on North Main Street, Fall River, March 24, 1908, in his seventy-sixth year. The board of directors of the Sagamore Manufacturing Company passed the following resolutions to his memory at the meeting convened the day after his death:

    "Hezekiah A. BRAYTON, treasurer of this corporation since the 6th day of November, 1879, died after a short illness, on the twenty-fourth day of March, 1908, in the seventy-sixth year of his age. The ability and signal success with which he managed the affairs of this corporation are recognized by every one familiar with it, and by the community-at-large. His personality dominated the entire organization and impressed upon it his own belief in honest work and fidelity to every-day duty. It was his pride to make good, and to keep his word absolutely. A contract was to him a matter of personal honor, as well as of dollars and cents. He was a man of strong and unique individuality, direct and straightforward in his dealings, frank of speech, absolutely honest and with a rare touch of humor. As the years passed, he acquired in an extraordinary and every increasing degree the confidence of those who associated and dealt with him. He was fortunate in his life, and he died at the height of his success, before age had dulled his interest or impaired his mental vigor. His death is a serious loss to this corporation, and to us, his associates."

    Mr. BRAYTON married, March 25, 1868, Caroline Elizabeth SLADE, of Somerset, Massachusetts, a daughter of the late Hon. William Lawton and Mary (SHERMAN) SLADE. Mrs. BRAYTON survives her husband and resides at the Brayton home in Fall River. Mr. and Mrs. BRAYTON were the parents of the following children:

    1. Caroline Slade, born March 10, 1869, in New York City; resides in Fall River Massachusetts.
    2. Abby Slade, born November 10, 1870, in New York City; married Randall Nelson DURFEE, of Fall River, and they are the parents of four children: Randall Nelson, Jr, born March 13, 1897; Bradford Chaloner, born August 12, 1900; Caroline, born March 12, 1904; Mary Brayton, born March 4, 1909.
    3. William Lawton Slade, born November 13, 1873, in New York City; new treasurer of the Sagamore Manufacturing Company, in which office he succeeded his father; he married, June 18, 1903, Mary Easton ASHLEY, daughter of Stephen B. and Harriet Remington (DAVOL) ASHLEY, of Fall River; their children are: Lawton Slade, born June 20, 1904; Lincoln Davol, born October 20, 1905; Constance, born March 22, 1907; Ruth Sherman, born April 17, 1908; Perry Ashley, born May 25, 1910; Mary Elizabeth, born June 11, 1912; Richard Anthony, born June 19, 1913; Harriet, born December 26, 1916; Sherman, born July 19, 1919.
    4. Israel, born August 5, 1874, in Fall River; is now a member of the law firm of Wood and Brayton; married Ethel Moison CHACE, of Fall River, and they are the parents of three children: Charlotte, born March 24, 1913; Philip Sherman, born December 3, 1914; Roswell, born April 14, 1917.
    5. Mary Durfee, born May 1, 1877, died March 18, 1889.
    6. Stanley, born March 29, 1879, died June 29, 1902 in Caux, Switzerland.
    7. Arthur Perry, mentioned below
    8. Margaret Lee, born December 14, 1883
    9. Dorothy, born December 19, 1885; married, February 23, 1916, Dr. William Russell MacAUSLAND, of Boston, Massachusetts; they are the parents of three children: Dorothy, born April 16, 1917; Donald, born June 17, 1918; and a son, born May, 1920.
    10. Katharine, born December 16, 1887; married Andrew Roy MacAUSLAND, June 2, 1920, and has a daughter, Katharine.
    Mr. BRAYTON was no less happy in his domestic relations than in his business. His home was always the abode of hospitality, and expressed in its appearance the culture and refinement of its dwellers. He was a devoted husband and father, and the same characteristics which made him so popular among his friends kept his household in an ever cheerful state.
  1. ARTHUR PERRY BRAYTON, son of the late Hezekiah A. and Caroline E. (SLADE) BRAYTON, and the descendant of several of the oldest and most influential families of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, was born in Fall River, Massachusetts, May 25, 1881. He was educated in the B.M.C. Durfee High School, and later attended the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut. On completing his studies he engaged in business pursuits in Fall River, and devoted his attention to the management of the Durfee farm in South Somerset, of which he was owner. In connection with the Durfee farm he conducted a highly successful dairy business. Following the entry of the United States into the war, and up to the time of his death, he served the government in an official capacity in the training of women for agricultural work, and employed many on his farm in Somerset. He also supplied farmerettes to the neighboring farmers. An able business man and an active worker in charitable and religious fields, he had crowded into his comparatively brief span of years a wide range of interests which but seldom characterizes the man who has attained three score and ten. Business was not his field – he was successful in the ventures which he entered, a keen, sagacious investor, and an able manager, yet he resented the demands which large affairs almost invariably make to the exclusion of other interests. He was a man of broad-minded tolerance, a keen observer, widely travelled, who had weighed the frenzied rush and specialized effort of commercialism against the well-ordered, well-rounded life of the man who engages in many pursuits, and finds the zest of life in widely diversified channels.
A sincere desire to be of aid to humanity, to do the greatest good for the greatest number, inspired the entire career of Arthur P. BRAYTON. In 1896 he became a member of the First Congregational Church, and until his death maintained an active interest in the church and Sunday school. For many years he was clerk of the church, president of the Young People’s Society, and librarian of the Sunday school. He was also one of the founders of the Adams and Junior Adams clubs, church societies for men. He was prominently identified with many church organizations, and for many years was treasurer of the Seaside Home. His gifts to charitable causes were large, and no reasonable appeal to him was ever refused. He gave impulsively, and for this reason the actual extent of his gifts to charities and philanthropic causes never became known. He was a man well loved by hundreds, for he had the social instinct, the gift of making and holding a friendship, an earnest sincerity and warmth which drew men to him instantly. Mr. BRAYTON was a favorite in club circles. He was a member of the Quequechan club, the Fall River Country Club, and numerous business organizations. Yachting was his favorite sport, and he was the owner at different times of several yachts and speed boats. As commodore of the Fall River Yacht Club for several years, he did much to promote its interests. He was also president of the Narragansett Bay Yacht Racing Association from February 14, 1917, until his death.

Mr. BRAYTON was unmarried. His death in Fall River, Massachusetts, October 14, 1918, was the cause of sincere and widespread grief.

The early Coggeshalls formed one of the wealthiest and most prominent of the families of Rhode Island. John COGGESHALL, the progenitor of the family in America, was born in the year 1599, in Essex, England. The family, which had been established there for centuries, was of Norman origin and possessed large estates in Essex and Suffolk, including the manor of Little Coggeshall, and Codham Hall, Wethersfield, in the vicinity of Coggeshall-on-the-Blackwater. The oldest Coggeshall families followed the usages of the Normans, writing the name de Coggeshall, as Thomas de Coggeshall, who was the owner of the above-named vast estates in the reign of King Stephen of Blois, grandson of the Conqueror, 1135-1154. Five of the family, several of whom were knights, were sheriffs of Essex, which until 1556 included Hertfordshire. Coggeshall, the most famous of the Cistercian order, was built by King Stephen in 1142, and endowed by his queen, Matilda, of Boulogne, and his son Eustace, with their lands in France.
  1. JOHN COGGESHALL, immigrant ancestor and founder of the Coggeshall family in America, arrived in Boston on the ship "Lyon," September 16, 1632, and settled eventually in Newport, Rhode Island, where he died. He settled first in Roxbury, Massachusetts, removing in the spring of 1634 to Boston, where he held many important offices in church and State. "On the 11th of Sept., 1634, he appears as one of the first Board of Selectmen of Boston, together with Winthrop, Coddington, Underhill, Oliver, etc., etc…At the first General Court of Massachusetts, that of May 14, 1634, he heads the list of deputies from Boston, who were John COGGESHALL, Edmund QUINCY, and John UNDERHILL." On the banishment of the celebrated Ann HUTCHINSON, COGGESHALL, who was one of the most staunch supporters and defenders, was removed from office and compelled to depart, 1637-38. Eighteen men, including William CODDINGTON, John CLARKE, the HUTCHINSON family and himself, by the advice of Roger WILLIAMS, who was already in Providence, now purchased the Island of Aquidneck from the Narragansett sachems, and there a civil organization was effected based upon the principle of religious liberty. They laid the foundations first of the little town of Portsmouth, near the north end of the island. This little colony grew so rapidly that enlargement soon became necessary, and a settlement was made on the south end of the island which resulted in the founding of Newport. In 1647 COGGESHALL was elected president of Rhode Island, with Roger WILLIAMS as assistant for Providence, William CODDINGTON for Newport, and Randall HOLDEN for Warwick. John COGGESHALL assisted in the founding of two cities, two States, and two separate and independent governments. He died in office, November 27, 1647, aged about fifty-six years, and was buried upon his estate in Newport. Here also lies his wife Mary, who survived him thirty-seven years, dying December 19, 1684, aged eighty-seven years. John COGGESHALL, Jr., who succeeded to his father’s estate, and filled various important offices in the colony for more than forty years, is also buried here, as are Abraham REDWOOD, founder of the Redwood Library, and his wife, Martha (COGGESHALL) REDWOOD; William ELLERY, signer of the Declaration of Independence. Over the grave of the first president of the Rhode Island Colony has been erected a granite obelisk.. The name of John COGGESHALL, with the date of his presidency, may be seen in one of the memorial windows of the Metropolitan Methodist Episcopal Church, Washington D.C.
  1. MAJOR JOHN (2) COGGESHALL, son of John (1) COGGESHALL, was born in England in 1618, the eldest son. He was fourteen years old at the time of the arrival of the family in America in 1632. Upon the death of his father, in 1647, he came into possession of his large estate. Major John COGGESHALL was long and often in office, for nearly half a century exhibiting eminent executive ability. He was commissioner of Newport, upon the union of the four towns and reorganization of the government, August 31, 1654, also at the last election under the old charter, May 22, 1663. He was one of the original grantees of the royal charter of 1663, and at the first general election under the charter, May 4, 1664, he was elected one of the five assistants, with Governor Benedict ARNOLD and Deputy Governor William BRENTON; also in 1665, 1670, 1671, 1674, 1676, he held the same office. He was treasurer of the colony in 1664, 1665, 1666, 1683, 1684, 1686; and was deputy for Newport, October 25, 1665. In 1684 he was chosen major-general for the forces of the island. He was deputy governor in 1686, and in several elections was proposed for governor, but declined to serve. But few men of the time exerted greater influence or rendered the colony such faithful service.
  1. CONTENT COGGESHALL, daughter of Major John (2) and Elizabeth (BAULSTONE) COGGESHALL, married, in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, Preserved BRAYTON. She died in Swansea, Massachusetts, in 1759.

The name of LUTHER has been perpetuated forever in the minds of mankind since the age when the greatest of its bearers, Martin LUTHER, the leader of the Reformation, originated his earth-shaking doctrines. Martin LUTHER was born in Eisleben, Prussian Saxony, November 10, 1483. The events which led up to the publication of his famed ninety-five theses are historical, and these were followed by his excommunication from the Church of Rome in 1520; the translation of the New Testament, which permanently established the literary language of Germany, was published in March, 1522, and his first hymn-book was printed in 1524, the whole number of his works being sixty-seven volumes. In 1525 Luther married Catherine VON BORA. It is a deplorable circumstance that the history of his posterity should have been allowed to sink into oblivion. Students of the family history claim descent from the brother of Martin LUTHER for the American family of the name.

Johannes LUTHER, brother of Martin LUTHER, was born in Eisleben, and spent his life there. His descendants in the third or fourth generation emigrated to Holland, whence a century later some of them removed to Sussex, England, among them one Wilhelm LUTHER, who attained the venerable age of one hundred and eight years. After the settlement in England, some branches of the family amassed great wealth, and became the owners of extensive landed estates. The family was known in local parlance as LUTON, but in all legal papers the names was spelled LUTHER, and it is under this form that it is found in early American records.

The surname LUTHER was originally derived from two sources, one local and the other baptizmal. The first source was the place name, signifying literally "of Luther" or "Lowther," the second, the font name, signifying "the son of Lothar." The name never became popularized in England under its German form, but came into use in the Italian form, Lothario, and the French, Loathaire.

The founding of the LUTHER family in America occurred but fifteen years after the coming of the "Mayflower." Through the progenitor, Captain John LUTHER, and his sons, Samuel and Hezekiah LUTHER, have descended all of the name whose lineage is traced to the early decades of our history. The family first had its seat in the town of Rehoboth in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, whence it spread throughout New England.

  1. CAPTAIN JOHN LUTHER, the founder, was born in Shrewsbury, England. There has been a difference of opinion as to the place of his birth, the late Rev. Mr. ROOT, of Providence, genealogist, stating that Captain LUTHER was a native of Germany, whence he emigrated to New England in 1635. No proof, however, has been found to substantiate the theory. John LUTHER is first of record in Boston in 1635, having sailed in the same year from Great Canford, County Dorset, England. In 1637 he was one of the first purchasers and settlers of Swansea, Massachusetts, and his ninety acres of land are said to have been purchased from the Indians for a peck of white beans. It is quite possible that the land was assigned by the colonial authorities, and the peck of beans quieted any claim of the Indians. In the same year he was one of the first forty-six purchasers of land in Taunton, Massachusetts, but in 1642 he disposed of his lands there and became one of the original settlers of Gloucester. He was a master mariner, and was employed by the merchants of Boston as captain of a vessel to go to Delaware bay on a trading voyage. He was killed there by Indians in 1644. It is thought that his son, John LUTHER, Jr., was captured at the time of his father’s death, for on May 2, 1646, the General Court of Massachusetts awarded to the Widow LUTHER the balance of her husband’s wages, according to sea custom, ruling that the merchants should retain the sum paid to the Indians for the redemption of her son. Although early records mention only two sons of Captain John LUTHER, genealogists incline to the theory that he must have had a son considerably older than Samuel and Hezekiah LUTHER, who were eight and four years old respectively at the time of their father’s death. It is probably that the John LUTHER, of Attleboro, Massachusetts, in 1658, who sold land to Samuel MILLITT, and in 1667, with MILLITT and several others, was one of the purchasers of Swansea, and captain of militia there in 1682, was the elder son of the progenitor. Children of Captain John LUTHER:

    1. John, of Attleboro and Swansea
    2. Samuel, born in Taunton, Massachusetts, in 1636, died December 20, 1716; of Rehoboth; on October 19, 1672, he made a claim or demand for his father’s purchase in Taunton. Samuel LUTHER succeeded Rev. John MILES as elder of the Baptist church of Swansea, in 1685, two years after the latter’s death. He is referred to as Rev. Captain Samuel LUTHER, which would indicate military rank. He continued at the head of the Swansea Church for thirty-two years, and was buried in the Kickemuit Cemetery in what is now Warren, Rhode Island.
    3. Hezekiah, mentioned below.
  1. HEZEKIAH LUTHER, son of Captain John LUTHER, was probably born in Taunton, Massachusetts, in 1640. He and his brother Samuel, were among the first settlers of Swansea, Massachusetts, and many of his descendants lived in that town, in the adjoining town of Rehoboth, and in various parts of Rhode Island. Hezekiah LUTHER was a carpenter by trade. He married (first) in Dorchester, Massachusetts, November 30, 1661, Elizabeth _________; (second) Sarah BUTTERWORTH, who died August 22, 1722. He died in Swansea, July 23, 1723.
  1. LIEUTENANT HEZEKIAH (2) LUTHER, son of Hezekiah (1) and Sarah (BUTTERWORTH) LUTHER, was born in Swansea, Massachusetts, August 27 1676, and died there October 27, 1763. In 1723 he was chosen town clerk, and filled the office continuously throughout the long period until 1761. He also held the rank of lieutenant in the local militia. In March, 1704, he married Martha GARDNER, who died November 2, 1763. They were the parents of Martha, mentioned below.
  1. MARTHA LUTHER, daughter of Lieutenant Hezekiah (2) and Martha (GARDNER) LUTHER, was born November 28, 1721, died November 7, 1796. She married Benjamin ANTHONY, son of William and Mary (COGGESHALL) ANTHONY.

The GARDNERs were among the earliest settlers of New England, and take prominent rank among the notable Colonial families of this historic section of the country. Richard GARDNER, a seaman, came in the "Mayflower," but returned to his native land; Thomas GARDNER, a native of Weymouth, in Dorsetshire, where the family had flourished for three centuries, came in 1624 with Rev. John WHITE and other companies, and settled at Cape Ann, where he was overseer of the plantation. These are but two of the many representatives of this notable name who before 1700 were represented in the New World colonies by prominent and influential members of communities in which they had taken up residence.

The surname GARDNER is placed by the authority, Charles Wareing BARDSLEY, M.A., in the occupative class to which the masculine ending "er," denoting occupation or profession, properly assigns it. Another authority states that the name is Saxon in origin, derived from two Saxon words, the first gar, signifying a weapon, dart, javelin, etc., and the second syllable, dyn, indicating a sound, noise, or alarm. The "er" ending is declared to denote merely the habitation of a specified place. Among the knights who accompanied the Conqueror to England was one DES JARDINES. This name translated literally means "of the gardens," is of local derivation, and is not to be confused with GARDNER.

  1. THOMAS GARDNER, immigrant ancestor and progenitor, was a native of Dorsetshire, England, and his migration to the New World was made in association with one of the most famous colonization movements for which the century was notable. He was a member of the historic "Dorchester Company" and came with the members of that expedition in the vessel chartered for their use in company with the Rev. John WHITE and others in 1624. Fourteen colonists were landed at Cape Ann, and among these was the pioneer, Thomas GARDNER. He was a man so well endowed mentally and so highly esteemed by the company that he was placed in leadership over the pioneer enterprise, and after making the landing, he began at once to oversee the planting of the new settlement. The hardships of life at Cape Ann were too great to be overcome, and in 1626 the colony was moved to Naumkeag, and a settlement was made there and called "Salem." Thomas GARDNER became a freeman, and continued prominent in the affairs of the community until his death, having several grants of land in Salem and also at Danvers. He died in 1635. Thomas GARDNER brought with him from England his son, Thomas, mentioned below.
  1. THOMAS (2) GARDNER, son of Thomas (1) GARDNER, came to America with his father in 1624, and removed with him to Salem in 1626. He became a freeman, March 17, 1637, and in the same year was appointed one of the "Twelve Men," of the town. On July 26, 1637, he was elected to represent Salem in the Massachusetts General Court. He also served as juror, was overseer of highways, 1638; town surveyor and "cunstable," 1639; and in later years appears to have been chosen to fill almost every one of the principal offices in the town. He was owner of a bull, and in 1640 "was given XX’s for its use in the herd of the season." He was known as "The Planter," and had large grants of land made to him in Salem. His will was dated 7th, 10, 1668, and was probated March 29, 1675; his widow Damaris was bequeathed the estate she brought him and a yearly income of eight pounds; to his daughter, Sarah BALCH, he bequeathed fifteen pounds; to his daughter, Seeth GRAFTON, he gave fifteen pounds; and the balance of his estate was distributed among his other sons and daughters, as well as his grandchildren. He died October 29, 1674, and was buried in the GARDNER burying ground. He married (first) Margaret FRYER or FRIAR. He married (second) Damaris SHATTUCK, a widow with several children, who died September 28, 1675. Issue (by first wife) among others: Samuel GARDNER, mentioned below.
  1. SAMUEL GARDNER, son of Thomas (2) GARDNER, was probably born in County Dorset, England, as indicated by sworn statements in various affidavits on file. His public service in the colonies was rendered as town surveyor, beginning on March 7, 1667, to lay out the Salem-Lynn boundary, and a heap of stones is still pointed out as the place where he located an angle. On February 23, 1673, he laid the bounds for Reading and Salem; September 12, 1673, he was appointed "to lay out the Comon Lieng nere Beverly;" and June 1, 1677, was named to lay the bounds between Ipswich and Manchester; and between Salem and Marblehead on March 27, 1679. He was appointed appraiser of estates in 1665; served on juries frequently, 1661-1679; made coroner, 1686; constable, 1671; appointed selectman of Salem, March 12, 1677; chosen deputy to the General Court, representing Boston, May 11, 1681; admitted a freeman on May 12, 1675; commissioner, June 27, 1680, and was licensed as "innholder," November 30, 1687; owned much land in Salem. Samuel GARDNER died about October, 1689.
    Samuel GARDNER married (first) Mary WHITE, daughter of John and Elizabeth WHITE; she died July 12, 1675. He married (second), August 2, 1680, Widow Elizabeth PAINE. Issue (by second wife): Martha, mentioned below.
  1. MARTHA GARDNER, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth (PAINE) GARDNER, was born November 16, 1686, and died November 2, 1763. She married, in Taunton, Massachusetts, March 23, 1704, Hezekiah LUTHER, son of Hezekiah and Sarah (BUTTERWORTH) LUTHER, who was born in Swansea, Massachusetts, August 27, 1676, and died there October 27, 1763. They had issue twelve children, among them Martha LUTHER, who became the wife of Benjamin ANTHONY.

Historically, the name of WHEELER found its rise during the Saxon ascendancy in England; as early as the eighth century, a chieftain of the Saxons is discovered named "WIELHER," and the progressive changes in the name thereafter proceeded steadily onward until the Norman Conquest, at which period, when the Domesday Book was made, on WELERET is cited as the possessor of land at that time. Later, in 1273, Hugh LE WELERE is cited in the Hundred Rolls, and Richard LE WHELERE appears on the Close Rolls in 1348. Of the origin and meaning of the name, search must be conducted in the age of the Saxons; its early Saxon spelling was "WIELHER," and represented evidently a combination of two Anglo-Saxon words; the first syllable derived from "wel" or "wiel," signified prosperous or fortunate, whence the modern words "weal" and "wealth" may be traced; the last syllable, derived from the Saxon "hari" or "heri" signified a warrior, from which root is also traceable the modern "hero." Thus the name of WHEELER represents the ancient "Weal-hero" or "Welhari," that is, "the lucky warrior" or "the prosperous hero." Precedent forms to that of WHEELER were WHELER and WHALER, and in the Colonial records, the family name was rendered in such variety as WHELOR, WHEELAR, WHEELER, WHELER, WHALER, WHEALER, WHEALOR and WHELLER.

Families bearing the surname of Wheeler were long of aristocratic standing in England; a line of noblemen existed in that kingdom in uninterrupted descent for over four hundred years, and during the reign of King Charles II., Sir Charles WHEELER, noted English admiral, for his gallant services was given a grant of land by the crown in America; he was also appointed captain-general of the "Caribee Islands," and in 1693 was in command of the English fleet which then went to Boston. Several of the WHEELER surname came almost coincidentally to America, and traditionally it is claimed that they were all nearly connected and members of a distinguished and ancient family in England, of which Sir Francis WHEELER was a member, and were doubtless attracted to the New World settlements by their kinsman’s connection therewith.

Among the most notable of all the settlers of the name of WHEELER who came to America was John WHEELER, the founder ancestor of the line of WHEELER hereinafter traced.

Actually, it was Admiral Sir Francis Wheeler (Wheler) who commanded the small fleet that called on Boston in mid-1693. Wheeler was enroute to "annoy" the French in Canada in cooperation with Colonial interests, after unsuccessfully attempting action around Martinique. (The Admiral's plans were sound and his battle instincts howling, but his fellow commanders wavered while the local leadership actually didn't want to see too great a success in the operation - another story entirely.) When he achieved New England, Wheeler was crippled by a fleet riddled with disease as well as a divided Colonial leadership that ultimately declined to take much action against the French. He did manage to "annoy" some Newfoundlanders, but then limped across the Atlantic to deliver a decimated fleet. Less than 6 months later he died with 560 fellow officers and crew aboard his flagship HMS Sussex when she foundered during a storm off Gibraltar. His descendants later married into the famous line of British Admirals named Hood.
J. Lange Winckler, Historian, Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc., 5215 West Laurel Street, Second Floor, Tampa, FL 33609 USA, (813) 830-6586
  1. JOHN WHEELER, the founder of the family in America, was, according to reputed authority, born in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, and was a family long resident in that locality. Previous to his departure from England he had married. On March 24, 1633-34, he sailed for the Massachusetts Bay Colony on the ship "Mary and John," bringing with him his wife, Ann and six of his children, but leaving in his native land four of his sons. The first settlement of John WHEELER in America was made in Agawam (later Ipswich), in the Massachusetts Bay Colony; there he resided for about a year, and thence removed to the north bank of the Merrimac river, at the place which was called Salisbury after 1640. The influence of the founder, WHEELER, may be traced in the selection of the name Salisbury (being that of his English birthplace) for the New World township. He was one of the original proprietors; he received a tract of land there in 1641. And although he removed to Newbury before 1650, held and paid taxes on his allotment in Salisbury as late as 1652. After establishing himself in Newbury, John WHEELER did not again remove, but remained at that place until his death.
    He died in Newbury, Massachusetts, August 29, 1670. He married, in England, Ann ______, who died August 15, 1662. Issue (among others), his eldest son, Henry, mentioned below.
  1. HENRY WHEELER, son of John and Ann WHEELER, was born in England. He was a resident of Salisbury, Massachusetts, where he joined the church, August 26, 1694. His wife Abigail was admitted to membership in the same church in 1687. Henry WHEELER died before 1696. He married, about 1658, Abigail ALLEN, born in Salisbury, January 4, 1639-40, daughter of William and Ann (GOODALE) ALLEN. Issue twelve children, of whom the sixth was James, mentioned below.
  1. JAMES WHEELER, son of Henry and Abigail (ALLEN) WHEELER, was born in Salisbury, Massachusetts, May 27, 1667. He removed to Rehoboth, Massachusetts, where all his children, with the exception of Mary, were born. He died in Rehoboth, in April, 1753. He was domiciled in Swansea in 1738. He married (first) Grizzell SQUIRE, daughter of Philip and Rachel (RUGGLES) SQUIRE. He married (second), October 2, 1738, Elizabeth BRINTNAL, of Norton. Issue seven children, of whom the third was James, mentioned below.
  1. JAMES (2) WHEELER, son of James (1) and Grizzell (SQUIRE) WHEELER, was born in Rehoboth, Massachusetts, March 27, 1697, and he died at that place, April 23, 1740. He married, March 8, 1716, Elizabeth WEST, born in Rehoboth, November 30, 1694, daughter of John and Mehitable WEST, of Swansea. Issue (born at Rehoboth) eight children, of whom his youngest son was Jeremiah, mentioned below.
  1. JEREMIAH WHEELER, son of James (2) and Elizabeth (WEST) WHEELER, was born in Rehoboth, Massachusetts, March 23, 1731. He was long a notable resident of his native place, and identified in some prominence with its affairs. He became active early in military organizations of the district, and was commissioned second lieutenant of the First Regiment of Massachusetts Militia, September 3, 1767. He died in Rehoboth, February 26, 1811. He married (first) in Rehoboth, January 4, 1753, Submit HORTON; she died April 18, 1778. He married (second) in Brooklyn, Windham County, Connecticut, October 27, 1778, Elizabeth TROOP. Issue ten children, the fourth being Submit, mentioned below.
  1. SUBMIT WHEELER, daughter of Jeremiah and Submit (HORTON) WHEELER, was born in Rehoboth, Massachusetts, February 17, 1760. She married, July 25, 1779, David ANTHONY, of Swansea, son of Benjamin and Martha (LUTHER) ANTHONY. Issue ten children, of whom their daughter, Keziah ANTHONY, married Israel (2) BRAYTON.

This surname is of the baptizmal class, signifying literally "the son of Anthony;" the "h" is intrusive. In the thirteenth century the name enjoyed a fair degree of popularity in England, as the name of the great hermit of the fourth century, St. Anthony, later became the patron of swineherds. As early as the Hundred Rolls the name is found with frequency in records and registers.

Dr. Francis ANTHONY, progenitor of the American Anthonys, was a physician of no little note and prominence in London, toward the close of the sixteenth century. His grandson, John ANTHONY, became the founder of the ANTHONY family in America, and the head of a house which has made a deep mark on the history of American affairs. The Anthonys of New England are a notable race, and have produced in many generations and branches men who have been notable leaders in almost every walk of life.

  1. DR. FRANCIS ANTHONY, born in London, England, April 16, 1550, is the first of the direct line of whom we have authentic information. He was a very learned physician and chemist. His father was an eminent goldsmith in London, and was employed in a post of great responsibility in the jewel office during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. After receiving the early portion of his education at home under private tutors, Francis ANTHONY entered Cambridge University, about 1569, where he was graduated in 1574, taking the Master of Arts degree. During this time he especially devoted himself to the theory and practice of chemistry, and continued the study after graduation, leaving the University of Cambridge at the age of forty years. He gave to the world soon afterward a series of publications embodying the results of his chemical studies. His first treatise, appearing in 1698, gave the merits of a medicine compounded from the precious metal gold. Moving to London, he commenced the practice of medicine without license, and six months later was called for by the president and censors of the College of Physicians, in London, 1600. He was then disbarred from practice, but disregarded their injunction, and was fined five pounds and committed to prison. A warrant of the lord chief justice released him, and he continued practicing, regardless of the college authorities. He performed numerous cures of distinguished persons, which brought him not a little celebrity. Proceedings were again threatened, but not carried through. His chief practice grew up in the prescription and sale of his famous secret remedy, called "Aurum Potabile," or potable gold, which he claimed was a cure for all diseases. The college regarded him with distrust, both because he practiced without a license, and because he refused to make public the formula for his remedy. Dr. ANTHONY’s career and the hostility of the college to him illustrate the condition of the medical profession in the seventeenth century in England, a time of great popular ignorance. He gathered a considerable fortune from his medicine, and is thought to have been a man of considerable intellectual attainments, excellent character, and great generosity toward the poorer classes. He died at the age of seventy-three years, and was buried in an aisle of the Church of St. Bartholomew the Great, in London, where a handsome monument was erected with the following remarkable inscription to his memory:



    Sacred to the memory of the worthy and learned
    Francis ANTHONY, Dr. of physick
    There needs no verse to beautify thy praise
    Or keep in memory thy spotless name;
    Religion, virtue, and they skill did raise
    A threefold pillar to thy lasting fame.
    Though pois’nous envey ever sought to blame
    Or hide the fruits of they intention;
    Yet shall they commend that high design
    Of purest gold to make a medicine,
    That feel thy help by that thy rare invention.

    Dr. Francis ANTHONY, married twice, the second time, Elizabeth LANTE, of Trinity, Menaries, London, widow of Thomas LANTE, at the Church of the Savoy, Middlesex, September 23, 1609. By his first marriage he had children: John, Charles, Frances. Both sons became physicians, Charles settling in Bedford, England. The daughter, Frances, married Abraham VICARS, of St. Olave, Old Jewry, London, April 28, 1608.

  1. DR. JOHN ANTHONY, son of Dr. Francis ANTHONY, was born in England, in 1585, and died in 1655. He was graduated at Pembroke College with the degree of Bachelor of Medicine, in 1613, and in 1619 took the degree of Doctor of Medicine. He was admitted licentiate of the College of Physicians of London, in 1625. He served in the civil war on the parliamentary side, as surgeon to Colonel SANDAYS. He was also an author, issuing a devotional work, "The Comfort of the Soul, laid down by way of Meditation." In the British Museum is a small note book bound with the coat-of-arms of Charles I, belonging to him. His son, John (2), born in Hampstead, England, in 1607, was the American immigrant.
  1. JOHN (2) ANTHONY, son of Dr. John (1) ANTHONY, was born in Hampstead, England, in 1607, and died in 1675. He resided for a time in the village of Hampstead, near London, England, but removed to come to America. He sailed for New England in the barque, "Hercules," April 16, 1634. In 1640 he is recorded in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, where he was made a freeman, 14th 7 mo., 1640. He was made a corporal of the military company, and had land assigned to him at the "Wadding river," in 1644. He had authority granted to him, May 25, 1655, to keep a house of entertainment in Portsmouth. John ANTHONY later rose to prominence in the affairs of the community, and was appointed commissioner in 1661. From 1666 to 1672 he occupied the post of deputy to the General Court. He married Susanna POTTER, who died in 1675. Their children were:

    1. John, born in 1642
    2. Susanna, born in 1644
    3. Elizabeth, born in 1646
    4. Joseph, born in 1648
    5. Abraham, mentioned below
  1. ABRAHAM ANTHONY, son of John (2) and Susanna (POTTER) ANTHONY, was born in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, in 1650, and died October 10, 1727. He was made a freeman in 1672, and was deputy much of the time between the years 1703 and 1711, being speaker of the House of Deputies in 1709-10. Like his father he was a prominent figure in the life of early Portsmouth. He married, December 26, 1671, Alice WARDWELL, born February 10, 1650, daughter of William and Alice WARDWELL. They resided in Portsmouth, where his wife died in 1734. Children:

    1. John, born November 7, 1672
    2. Susanna and Mary, twins, born August 29, 1674
    3. William, mentioned below
    4. Susanna, born October 14, 1677
    5. Mary and Amey, twins, born January 2, 1680
    6. Abraham, born April 21, 1682
    7. Thomas, born June 30, 1684
    8. Alice and James, twins, born January 22, 1686
    9. Amey, born June 30, 1688
    10. Isaac, born April 10, 1690
    11. Jacob, born November 15, 1693
  1. WILLIAM ANTHONY, son of Abraham and Alice (WARDWELL) ANTHONY, was born October 31, 1675, in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, and died December 28, 1744. He was resided during the early part of his life in Portsmouth, but later removed to Swansea, Massachusetts. William ANTHONY married, March 14, 1694, Mary COGGESHALL, who was born September 18, 1675, daughter of John and Elizabeth (TIMBERLAKE) COGGESHALL, of Portsmouth. She was a descendant of John COGGESHALL, founder of the family of America, through his son, Major John COGGESHALL, who married Elizabeth BAULSTONE, and John, who married Elizabeth TIMBERLAKE. Children of William and Mary (COGGESHALL) ANTHONY:

    1. William, born May 14, 1695
    2. Abraham, born September 29, 1696
    3. Elizabeth, born May 2, 1698
    4. Mary, born December 8, 1699
    5. John, born September 12, 1702
    6. Alice, born May 22, 1705
    7. Ann, born March 17, 1707
    8. John and Amy, twins, born November 16, 1709
    9. James, born November 9, 1712
    10. Job, born April 10, 1714
    11. Benjamin, mentioned below
    12. Daniel, born May 19, 1720
  1. BENJAMIN ANTHONY, son of William and Mary (COGGESHALL) ANTHONY, was born June 10, 1716. He settled on a farm in Somerset, Massachusetts. He married Martha LUTHER, daughter of Hezekiah and Martha (GARDNER) LUTHER, of Swansea, Massachusetts. Children:

    1. Aber
    2. Peleg
    3. Rufus
    4. Reuben
    5. Hezekiah
    6. James
    7. Benjamin
    8. Luther
    9. Caleb
    10. Nathan
    11. David, mentioned below
  1. DAVID ANTHONY, son of Benjamin and Martha (LUTHER) ANTHONY, was born August 3, 1760. He married Submit WHEELER, daughter of Jeremiah and Submit (HORTON) WHEELER, of Rehoboth, Massachusetts. Their children were:

    1. Elizabeth
    2. Nathan
    3. David
    4. Hezekiah
    5. Elisha
    6. Keziah, mentioned below
    7. Submit
    8. Benjamin
    9. Mary B
  1. KEZIAH ANTHONY, daughter of David and Submit (WHEELER) ANTHONY, was born in 1791, and died October 24, 1880, aged eighty-nine years. She married, August 19, 1813, Israel BRAYTON, of Somerset, Massachusetts.

The watch tower and the watch hill were institutions of primary importance in the life of early England. Every border town of any size and prominence kept the "watch and ward," and had its guardians of the life and peace of its inhabitants. The institution was made necessary by an age in which sudden warfare, attack, wholesale pillage and rapine, were the order of the day, and the safety of a town or village depended upon the haste with which it could summon and prepare its defenders. The incursions of the wild Scottish tribes of the borderland were constant, and it was along this boundary line that the "watch and ward" flourished until a late date. The surname of WARDWELL originated in this custom. The earliest ancestors of the family came into England in the train of the Conqueror, and attained great prominence under that monarch, receiving at his hands great estates under the feudal system in Westmoreland. According to the custom among the Norman nobles, the first ancestor of the family assumed the surname of WARDELL, or WARDWELL, from an old watch tower or watch hill which stood on his estate on the northern borders of Westmoreland.

William WARDWELL, the founder of the American family, first appears in the American colonies in the year 1634. Since that time the family has been prominent in life and affairs in New England. From the earliest generations, intermarriages with the proudest families of New England have been frequent, and the present WARDWELLs count their descent from many notable patriots.

  1. WILLIAM WARDWELL, immigrant ancestor and founder of the American family, was a native of England, whither he emigrated to America early in the third decade of the seventeenth century, and is first of record in the New England colonies in 1634. In that year his name appears on the records of the church at Boston. He became a member there on February 9, 1634, about a year after his arrival in the town. William WARDWELL, at a later date, was one of those who with their families were turned out of the old Boston Second Church with WHEELWRIGHT, and accompanied him to Exeter, New Hampshire, before going to Ipswich, Massachusetts, where they finally settled. William WARDWELL returned to Boston, however, where his first wife, Alice WARDWELL, was buried. He married (second) Elizabeth, widow of John GILLETT, or JILLETT, December 5, 1687. On January 12, 1643, he and ten others bought of Miantonomi for 144 fathoms of wampum, the tract of land called Shawomet (Warwick). On September 12, 1643, he with others of Warwick was notified to appear at the General Court at Boston to hear complaint of two Indian sachems, Pomham and Soconocco, as to "some unjust and injurious dealing toward them by yourselves." The Warwick men declined to obey the summons, declaring that they were legal subjects of the King of England and beyond the limits of the Massachusetts territory, to whom they would acknowledge no subjection. Soldiers were soon sent who besieged the settlers in a fortified house. In a parley it was not said "that they held blasphemous errors which they must repent of," or go to Boston for trial. On October 5, 1643, William WARDWELL was at Portsmouth, where he had a grant of ten acres. On November 3, of the same year, he was brought with others before the court at Boston charged with heresy and sedition. They were sentenced to be confined during the pleasure of the court, and should they break jail or preach or speak against church or state, on conviction, they should die. WARDWELL was sent to Watertown, but not to prison, and remained at large until the following March, when he was banished both from Massachusetts and Warwick. He thereupon returned to Portsmouth. Most of his companions in the trial suffered close imprisonment for several months. In 1655 he became a freeman, and in 1656-63 was commissioner. In 1664-65-66-67-69-70-72-73-74-75-80-81-82-1683-84-86, he served as deputy from Portsmouth to the General Assembly. On April 4, 1676, it was voted "that in these troublesome times and straits in this colony, this Assembly desiring to have the advice and concurrence of the most judicious inhabitants if it may be had for the good of the whole, do desire at their next sitting the company and counsel of Mr. Benedict ARNOLD," and fifteen others, among whom was William WARDWELL. On May 5, 1680, he was appointed as a committee to put the laws and acts of the colony "into such a method that they may be put in print." In 1684 he was chosen assistant, but refused to accept the office. William WARDWELL died some time before May, 1693. His will, which was dated September 8, 1692, was proved May 2, 1693. In it he mentions his daughter Alice, mentioned below. The will was recorded both at Portsmouth, and Taunton.
  1. ALICE WARDWELL, daughter of William WARDWELL, was born February 10, 1650. On December 26, 1671, she married Abraham ANTHONY, son of John and Susanna (POTTER) ANTHONY. After her husband’s death, October 10, 1727, she removed to the home of her son, William ANTHONY, and remained there until her death in 1734. They had issue thirteen children, of whom their fourth child, William ANTHONY, was the father of Benjamin ANTHONY, who married Martha LUTHER, and whose youngest child, David ANTHONY, left a daughter, Keziah ANTHONY, who married Israel BRAYTON.

These documents are made available free to the public for non-commercial purposes by the Rhode Island USGenWeb Project.
Transcribed and contributed by Patti Gaynor, 2001
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