Welcome! I really enjoy exchanging information with people and hope this blog will help with that. I am not an expert and I consider most of my research as a work in progress. Some of the surnames I'm researching:

Many old Cape families including Kelley, Eldredge/idge, Howes, Baker, Mayo, Bangs, Snow, Chase, Ryder/Rider, Freeman, Cole, Sears, Wixon, Nickerson.
Many old Plymouth County families including Washburn, Bumpus, Lucas, Cobb, Benson.
Johnson (England to MA)
Corey (Correia?) (Azores to MA)
Booth, Jones, Taylor, Heatherington (N. Ireland to Quebec)
O'Connor (Ireland to MA)
My Mayflower Ancestors (only first two have been submitted/approved by the Mayflower Society):
Francis Cooke, William Brewster, George Soule, Isaac Allerton, John Billington, Richard Warren, Peter Browne, Francis Eaton, Samuel Fuller, James Chilton, John Tilley, Stephen Hopkins, John Howland.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Henry Atkins b. England ca 1617, died Eastham, Mass., before 1700

Henry Atkins was born England say1617 (based on typical age of men at marriage). He immigrated to Plymouth Colony by 1643 when he was on the Plymouth list of men able to bear arms. He settled in Eastham on Cape Cod before 1655. He is my 9th great-grandfather on my grandmother Milly (Booth) Rollins’ side of the family.

He married, first, Elizabeth Wells at Plymouth on 9 July 1649. She was born likely in England about 1621. They had children Mary (died young), Samuel born Eastham 1651 (died in 1675 fighting in King Phillip’s War) and Isaac born 1657. Elizabeth died at Eastham in 1662. 

Henry married, second, Bethiah Linnell at Eastham on 25 Mar 1664. They had eight children, all born Eastham: Desire b. 1665, John b. 1666 (died young), Nathaniel b. 1667, Joseph b. 1669, Thomas b. 1671, John b. 1674, Mercy b. 1676, and Samuel b. 1679. I descend from Joseph who married Martha Pease. Henry would have been in his early 60s when Samuel was born. 

I wrote about Joseph and Martha Atkins here.

Bethiah Linnell was born 1641, the daughter of Robert Linnell and Peninah Howes. She married, second, at Eastham in 1701, Stephen Hopkins, the son of Giles and Katherine (Whelden) Hopkins. Giles and his father Stephen Hopkins were Mayflower passengers. Bethiah and Stephen removed to Harwich, in an area that is now Brewster, where she died 25 March 1726 at age 85.

Henry Atkins is mentioned among the freemen of Eastham 22 May 1655. He served on juries in 1653. He was Eastham constable in 1657 and 1659, and surveyor of highways in 1674, 1675, and 1676.

On 12 May 1655 John Morton of Plymouth conveyed to Henry Atkins of Eastham his dwelling house, etc. in Eastham bought of Mr. John Major, Sr., sometime inhabitant of Eastham.

He bought much of his real estate in Eastham of Mr. John Mayo, 21 April 1659 when he purchased five acres lying near John Mayo Jr., 4 acres of cedar swamp, and a lot of meadow at the harbor's mouth toward Rock Harbor. His other purchases, a piece of meadow at Great Meadow and Boat Meadow were confirmed 25 April the same year.

In 1659 Henry witnessed a receipt, signing with his mark.

Henry died before 21 August 1700. He made a will that was proved 13 Oct 1700. His estate was valued at 181 pounds 11 shillings. His inventory was presented August 1700. He desired to be buried in the old burying ground at Eastham. He remembered his children in his will, although only Isaac by name, giving each just a shilling. His wife “Bethya” was named as executrix of his will.

The Mayfower Descendant, July 1937, printed a transcription of Henry’s inventory and a summary of his will.

 [p. 113] On 21 August, 1700, The estate "of Henry Atkins late deceased praised att Eastham" by "David Melvil and Thomas Paine Junr".
"his housing Lands and meadow" in Eastham valued at £100; "one bed in the garrets" £2, 16s. The total was £181, 11s. The estate owed £6.
On 28 August, 1700, "Bethya Adkins Widow .... of Henry Adkins" made oath to the inventory.

The will of "Henry Adkins of Eastham" was not dated. Bequests were as follows:
To "my son Isaac Adkins one shilling in money"
To "all the Rest of my Children on shilling apeice in money"
"I do give unto my loving wife Bethya all my whole Estate both Reall and sonall for to be att her dispose"
"I do make .... my loving wife bethya my whole and sole Executor"
The witnesses were Jonathan Sparrow and Samuel Treate.
On 3 October, 1700, "Then Samuel Treat Gent and Jonathan Sparrow Esq." made oath that they saw "the above named Henry Atkins signe and Seale this Instrument" and it was probated.

Simeon L. Deyo, editor, History of Barnstable County, Massachusetts, 1890

Josiah Paine, Early Settlers of Eastham, Book 2, Library of Cape Cod History and Genealogy, No. 32, 1916

Rev. Enoch Pratt, A Comprehensive History, Ecclesiastical and Civil, of Eastham, Wellfleet and Orleans, County of Barnstable, Mass. from 1644 to 1844, 1844

Gary Boyd Roberts, NEHGR 9:282, Mayflower Source Records p. 598

Torrey’s New England Marriages to 1700

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Gabriel Whelden ca 1590-1654 of Nottingham, England and Yarmouth and Malden, Massachusetts

Gabriel Whelden was born ca 1590, possibly in Basford, Nottinghamshire, England, possibly the son of Henry Whelden. Baptismal records from that time period are missing. He is my 11th great-grandfather on my grandmother Milly (Booth) Rollins’ side of the family. His last name is sometimes spelled Whilden, Wheldon or Whelding. He worked as a tailor, a miller, a highway surveyor and farmer. He signed his will with a mark and his inventory does not mention books, so it seems he was illiterate.

Gabriel was married by 1611, possibly in Basford, although no marriage record is found. In 1637 his wife’s name was Jane, but it is not known is she was his first wife and mother to all of his children. Gabriel and his wife had eight children baptized St. Leodegarius Church in Basford from 1612 to 1630:

Thomas who died young
John who died young

I descend from Katharine who married Mayflower passenger Giles Hopkins. I wrote about them here. 

St. Leodegarius Church in Basford  source: nottshistory.org.uk
On 4 April 1617, William Stanford, tailor of Somercotes, Derbyshire, England, leased a close of land in Basford to Gabriel Whelden, "blacksmith of Basford."  He served as church warden at Basford in 1622. His uncle Thomas Whelden held this position in 1603.Thomas's 8 March 1609/10 will contains left considerable land and personal items to his nephew Gabriel, as he apparently did not have children of his own. The will also mentions his brother Henry, presumably Gabriel's father.

In Aug 1637, John Hutchinson, gentleman of Basford, drew a deed of exchange of land in Basford and surrounding areas with Gabriel Whelden, "husbandman of Basford," and his wife Jane.

Half a year later, in February 1637/8, an inventory was made regarding a piece of Gabriel's property and included a kiln house, mill house, dwelling house, etc. to be leased by a Henry Boot if the property is purchased by John Holles 2nd Earl of Clare. Says: "his desire is to have an answer speedly that he may...prepare for New England," referring to Gabriel.

On 10 March 1637/8, Gabriel made two transactions. As "yeoman of Basford" he transferred his property for over 55 pounds to John, Earl of Clare (same property outlined in the inventory). The Earl then appointed an attorney to possess the lands in the tenure of Gabriel Whelden, with Gabriel receiving a bond of 120 pounds from the Earl. On 24 March 1637/8, Gabriel assigned to the Earl a lease of a close of arable land.

The "wife of Gabriell Wheeldon, miller" was one of two residents of Basford presented as religious sectarians before 1642. Persecution of those that failed to follow the tenets of the Church of England was a major reason for the Great Migration to New England from 1620 to 1640, and this record suggests Gabriel's immigration to New England may have been largely because of this religious persecution.

He immigrated to Massachusetts in 1638 or 39, settling first at Dedham, Norfolk County. Evidence he lived there is in the form of a 29 June 1639 letter his daughter Katharine wrote and sent home to England reporting the death of her sister, Martha "Weelden" of Dedham, drowned about 12 days before.

He received permission from Plymouth officials on 3 September 1638 to settle Yarmouth, Barnstable County (in an area that is now Dennis). Until then only Stephen Hopkins had been granted land there to grow hay but not to remove there. When he settled at Yarmouth he was about 60 years old. He lived in the Mayfair area on the north shore of the Bass River and near Follins Pond, very close to the present line between Dennis and Yarmouth sometimes called The Head of the Pond. He lived near his son-in-law Richard Taylor.

His business partnership with William Lumpkin and Hugh Tilley in owning a skiff was probably the first in town. In a 1641 court session Lumpkin and Tilley were ordered to pay him 15 shillings for the third part of the skiff. The loss of his part had made Wheldon unable to "fetch fish." Upon payment, the skiff was to belong to Lumpkin and Tilley.

Gabriel was a Highway Surveyor, but otherwise not active in Yarmouth affairs, perhaps because of his age.

Charles Pope, in The Pioneers of Massachusetts, mentions Gabriel went to Lynn in Essex County before Malden, but no documentation to support this has been found. Gabriel’s final home was in Malden, Middlesex County. He sold much of his Yarmouth land to Edward Sturgis but his sons retained the grant on the banks of Bass River, which stayed in the family until the 1960s. Several of his descendants were master mariners.

He may have been from Arnold, Nottinghamshire, since on 21 October 1653 he and his son John sold lands there to William Crofts of Lynn, Massachusetts [Essex County Deeds, i 24]. Basford, where Gabriel’s children were baptized, is three miles southwest of Arnold. Both parishes are in Sherwood Forest, just north of Nottingham.

The will of Gabriel Whelden of Malden dated "11. 12. 1653" (which Savage read as 11th month (e.g. January), 12th day, 1653/54, gives 10 shillings to the Malden Church, and all the rest of his estate to his wife Margaret Whelding, including house, land, cattle, corn and  "what money is due unto mee from William Crofts of Linne." It was signed by mark and witnessed by John and Nathaniel Upham, James Laenard and ----- Matthews (Original will, docket #24, 387; copy in Middlesex Probates 1:113). The will was presented for probate, 4 (2) 1654, when the Uphams were sworn as witnesses.

An original, undated, inventory survives, and includes his house lot, house frame, cattle, pigs, corn, wheat, spinning wheel, farm equipment, and household items. Total estate value was a modest 40 pounds 11 shillings, 8 pence. The widow Margaret survived her husband but no probate or death date is found for her. It is unusual his will does not mention children, and the most likely explanation is that Gabriel gave them their portions of his estate either at marriage or by gifts of money or deeds to Barnstable County land.

Records show that the sons, Henry and John, and son-in-law Richard Taylor were not satisfied with the terms of the will.

From Middlesex County court records: To the Constable of maulden or his deputie. You are required to attach the body or goods of Margrett Weilden, late widdow of Gabriel Weilden, and to take bond of her to the value of fourscore plus tenn pounds with sufficient suerties for her appearance at the next Court holden at Cambrdge ye wd day of ye 8 mo. 55, then and there to anser ye complaynt of Henry Weilden John Weilden, and Rich: Taylor Taylor and Rich: Taylor husbandman, for withholding their parts or portions of an estate which their late father Gabriell Weilden was possessor or owner of in his life and soe make a true returne hereof under your hand. Dated the 28 of the 5th mo. 55. By the Court Tho: Starr.

That the name Richard Taylor is listed twice causes some confusion. Gabriel’s daughter Ruth married Richard Taylor and there are some who believe his daughter Mary married another Richard Taylor and that this is proof of that. I’d like that to be the case as I descend from Richard Taylor, but I’m not convinced. Others believe it is a clerk error that Richard Taylor is listed twice, but odd he is given two different occupations.

Gabriel died in Malden, Massachusetts between 11 February and 4 April 1654. It is likely he is buried at Bell Rock Cemetery in Malden, without a surviving headstone. At the time of his death his wife was Margaret, who seems to be his second wife and not the mother of his children.

I have seen other researchers claim that Margaret was a Native American, but I don’t believe this is valid.

Nancy Thacher Reid, Dennis, Cape Cod from Firstcomers to Newcomers, 1639 – 1993, 1996

Eugene Stratton, Plymouth Colony, Its People and History, 1986

James W. Hawes, Cape Cod Library of Local History & Genealogy A Facsimile Edition of 108 Pamphlets Published in the Early 20th Century. Volumes I & II, edited by Leonard H. Smith, Genealogical Publishing, Baltimore, MD, Early Wheldens of Yarmouth, Pamphlet #43

Maclean W. McLean, John and Mary (Folland) Whelden of Yarmouth, Mass., The American Genealogist, vol. 48(Jan 1972)

Jan Porter and Daniel F. Stramara, Jr., The Origin of Gabriel Whelden of Yarmouth and Malden, Massachusetts, NEHGR, vol 163, October 2009

NEHGR, Vol. 165, July 2011, "The Two Richard Taylor Families of Early Yarmouth, Mass.," by Jillaine S. Smith

Monday, February 19, 2018

Robert Cushman's 1625 Burial Record Uncovered

Michael R. Paulick and Robert C. Cushman have discovered Robert Cushman's burial date and location. Their findings are presented in "The 1625 Death of Pilgrim Robert Cushman in Benenden, Kent," the NEHG Register, Volume 172, Winter 2018. So much of what I know about my 12th great-grandfather Robert Cushman is thanks to these two gentlemen, and I am extremely grateful to them. This latest article is a must read for Cushman descendants.

It has been thought by many researchers that Robert Cushman died in London in 1625, some saying from the plague. The authors found he was buried in Benenden, Kent, on 6 May 1625, which is near his birthplace of Rolvenden, Kent, and where he must have been visiting family and friends when he died unexpectedly.

In November 1624 Robert Cushman was a deponent in a lawsuit in the High Court of Admiralty, Stevens and Fell vs. the Little James, which indicates he was of Rosemary Lane, London. Rosemary Lane was in the parish of St. Botolph without Aldgate in the northeastern district of London.The records of this parish are well kept but there is no mention of his death using the many possible variations of his surname.

Robert's late brother Richard lived in Benenden and his late sister Silvester Evernden was from nearby Tenterden, so he had nieces and nephews living there.

In his account of the failed 1620 voyage of the Speedwell, Robert gives a description of having suffered a heart attack and although he didn't know what it was, he knew he was gravely ill. His last letter to good friend and Plymouth Colony Governor William Bradford, dated 22 December 1624, mentions he was coming on the next ship to Plymouth to live out his days. It would make perfect sense that he would be in the Benenden and Tenterden area to visit and say goodbye to his family and friends there. 

The Benenden Archdeacon's transcripts include a burial entry from May1625. "The 6 day Roberte couchman a stranger." The stranger reference would indicate he wasn't a member of the parish.

This is my third entry about my 12th great-grandfather Robert Cushman. He was baptized Rolvenden, Kent, and was an integral member of the Pilgrim's separatist congregation. You can see other posts about him here and here.