Sarah Walker Sands - Notable Women Ancestors
Sarah Walker Sands

Sarah Walker Sands, daughter of John and Katherine Hutchinson Walker, married "Captain" James Sands in 1651 in Portsmouth, Mass. James was born in Reading, Berkshire, England and was listed as being in Boston in1633. He was listed as a Freeman in 1655 and was named Representative to the General Court of Commissioners at Newport, May 19, 1657. About1660, he and Sarah left Taunton, Mass and bought 1/16 of Block Island, RI. They owned lots #12,14, and 15. James held leadership roles in getting the island incorporated and gave it the name "New Shoreham," which apparently didn't catch on.

James and Sarah built a large stone house with a mill on a mill pond. I believe this was a woolen mill as several ancestors owned woolen mills. They were attacked in "Philip's War," by French Privateers coming into the bay. Rev. Samuel Niles, their grandson, tells how they all ran to the woods until the English came and subdued the French. They were also attacked by Indians, and the house was heavily garrisoned.

Sarah had 6 children between about 1658 and 1672: John, Samuel, Sarah, Mercy, Edward, and James. She served as the island's "surgeon," although she apparently did not have training. She ministered to the needs of all on the island and her home served as a church, hospital, and was a haven for any stranger. Although she had at least 4 black indentured servants, they apparently were happy and named their children with some of the same names as her children. She specified that they were to be freed, at specific times, in her will.

Sarah's children were prosperus and involved in the resistance during the Revolution. James and Sarah both died and are buried on Block Island.

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