Archive:Holman Research Reports, Part 1

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Holman, Winifred Lovering, "Whitney Line," typescript, Winifred Lovering Holman Papers, NEHGS Library, Boston, MA, call number Mss A H63.

Ms. Holman was a highly-regarded professional genealogist for many years. These two items seem to be research reports compiled for clients.

Second Report


JOHN WHITNEY, born in England in 1599, died in Watertown, Mass., 1 June 1673. He married in England, probably about 1623, Elinor -----, born 1605, died in Watertown, 11 Mar. 1659, parentage unknown. He married secondly, in Watertown, 29 Sept. 1659, Judith (         ) Clements, who died before 1673, widow of Robert Clements of Haverhill.

John Whitney was a man of rather superior birth, he was educated and his hadwriting is that of a man of affairs. Some years ago a large volume was issued given English ancestry for John Whitney, but while it is possibly perfectly correct, more proof should be adduced before it is accepted as his, hence it is omitted from this account, and only his activities on this side of the water are given here.

The records show that in Apr. 1635, there embarked for New England at London, in the "Elizabeth and Ann," Roger Cooper, master, John Whitney, aged 35, his wife Ellin, aged 50, and his sons, John, aged 11; Richard, aged 9; Nathaniel, aged 8; Thomas, aged 6, and Jonathan, aged 1 year. John was admitted a Freeman or voter in Watertown, 5 Mar. 1655-6 and in order to become a Freeman, a man had to be a member of the Church and possessed of a certain amount of property. He served as Selectman 1638-1655 being Town Clerk in the last year. His youngest son, Benjamin, having settled in York, Me., in 1668, John appealed to him to return to Watertown and live with him promising him the homestead when he died. This is probably shortly after the death of John's second wife, and gives a clue to the time of her decease. In 1670 John confirmed his promise to Benjamin by a deed. But the arrangement apparently did not work and on 9 Mar. 1670-1 Benjamin and his wife Jane, with the consent of his father John Whitney, sold to his brother Joshua, the rights in his father's homestead, Joshua agreeing to the obligations that Benjamin had incurred. John Whitney also served the town as Constable, 1 June 1641.

He left the following Will:-endorsed, "This is the Last and third will of mr John Whitny."

I John Whitny Senior of Watertown in ye county of midlesex being perfect and sound in my memory and understanding blessed be god for It: doe declare this to be my last will and testament . . . . . .
first I comit my spirit into ye hands of god yt gave it: and my body unto the dust from whence it was taken:
2ly I give unto my son John whitny; my meadows called beeverbrook meadow with yt upland yt Doth pertaine thereunto: and a yoake of oxen: or nine pounds ten shillings: and ten acres of my land called devedent and a trunke and one paire of sheetes and one paier of pillow beers and two pewter plates a great one and a small one: and ye bed whereon I lie with all ye furniture thereunto belonging
3ly I give unto my son Richard whitny: ten acres of my land called devedent and two cows and a great sea chest.
4ly I give unto my son Thomas whitny two acres of my land called devedent and two cows; and a sad colerid sute: namely a pairs of breeches and a cloth coate and a pewter dish
5ly I give unto my son jonathan whitny: one iron kitle and a good brass skillet
6ly I give unto my son Joshua whitny: twenty acres of my land called devedent: and a cubard and a litle table and a chest and a great ketle and a warmeing pan and a skillet
7ly I give unto my son Beniamen whitny: the old mare if she live. 8ly my will is yt what of my Estate be left after all is paid out as abovesd namely of my moveables yt it be eaqually devided betweene my executors and I do nominate and apoynt my well beloved sons John whitny and Joshuah whitny: to be my executors to this my last will and testament and doe desire my Loving friend William Bond senior: to se yt this my will be performed acording to ye true Intent of it as aforesaid and I set to my band this 3d: of Aprill: 1673:
William Bond Senior     the marke # of John Whitny Senior.
Sarah Bond Senior
(Middlesex Co., Probate Records, 24680.)

The will was written by William Bond and evidently John was too feeble to sign it. It was proved 17 June 1673.

It is evident that Jonathan and Benjamin had already had their share of their father's estate before he made this third and Last will.

Children; Bor

i. JOHN2, b. 1624, England; m. Ruth Reynolds.
ii. Richard, b. 1626,   " &nbsp    ; m. 19 Mar. 1650-1, Martha Coldam.
iii. Nathaniel, b. 1627, died young, s.p.
iv. Thomas, b. 1629; m. 11 Jan. 1654-5, Mary Kettle.
v. Jonathan, b. 1634; m. 30 Oct. 1656, Lydia Jones.
vi. Joshua, b. 15 July 1635, Watertown, m. Lydia -----, Mary -----, and Abigail Tarball.
vii. Caleb, b. abt. 1640. buried, 12 July 1640.

JOHN2 WHITNEY (John), born in England in 1624, died in Watertown, 12 Oct. 1692. He married about 1642, probably in Boston, Ruth Reynolds, born probably about 1624, died in Watertown after 1692, daughter of Robert and Mary (         ) Reynolds.

John Whitney lived all his life in Watertown where he was a selectman, 1673-1676, 1678 and 1679. He was admitted a Freeman, 26 May 1647. He made a will but did not sign it so it was not proved, administration being granted to the widow, Ruth Whitney, sons, John and Benjamin Whitney, who gave bonds in Court, 23 Dec. 1692, with Munnings Sawin and Joseph Whitney, all of Watertown, as sureties. The will is still filed with the papers but is faded and rubbed so as to be illegible in places.

"John Whitney Senior of Watertown . . . gave to wife his dwelling house, barn, etc. so long as hse remained his widow but if she remarried he made other provision for her and this being personalty was to go to their five daughters on her death, and the dwelling house, etc. to go to son John or if he be not living to his son John. To sons, Joseph, Nathaniel, Samuel, and Benjamin, to daughters, Ruth, Mary, Sarah, Elizabeth, and Hannah, and wife to be executrix. The will was dated 27 Feb. 1685.

The children and widow made an agreement about the division of property, 12 Mar. 1692-3. It was signed by, Ruth Whitney, widow and Relict of John Whitney late of Watertown, deceased; John Whitney, Nathaniel Whitney, Samuel Whitney, Joseph Whitney, and Benjamin Witney, sons of said deceased; Enosh Lawrence (by his attorney, Philip Shattuck), Daniel Harrington, Daniel Warren, sons-in-law; Mary Whitney and Hannah Whitney, unmarried daughters.

Whether this arrangement was not satisfactory or not, on 27 Apr. 1695, the signed another agreement, to take the will of their father as a basis of settlement and they quit their rights to brothers, John and Benjamin Whitney. Ruth, the widow, does not sign so she had evidently deceased, and probably this second agreement was caused by her dower being freed. This was signed by, John Whitney, Benjamin Whitney, Joseph Whitney, William Shattuck in behalf of brother Philip Shattuck, Mary Whitney, Daniel Harrington, Hannah Whitney. (Middlesex Co., Probate, 24681.)

Children, born in Watertown, Mass.:

i. John3, b. 17 Sept. 1642; m. Elizabeth Harris.
ii. Ruth, b. 15 Apr. 1645; m. 20 June 1664, John Shattuck &, 6 Mar. 1676, Enoch Lawrence .
iii. Nathaniel, b. 1 Feb. 1646; m. Sarah Hagar.
iv. Samuel, b. 28 July 1648; m. Mary Bemis.
v. Mary, b. 25 Apr. 1650, unm. in 1695.
vi. JOSEPH, b. 15 Jan. 1651-2; m. Martha Beach.
vii. Sarah, b. 17 Mar. 1653-4; m. Daniel Harrington.
viii. Elizabeth, b. 9 June 1656; m. Daniel Warren.
ix. Hannah, b. abt. 1658; unm. in 1695.
x. Benjamin, b. 28 Nov. 1660; m. Abigail Hagar and Elizabeth -----.

JOSEPH3 WHITNEY (John2, John1), born in Watertown, Mass., 15 Jan. 1650-51, died there, 4 Nov. 1704. He married in Watertown, 24 Jan. 1674, Martha Beach, born there, 10 Mar. 1650, died after 1704, daughter of Richard and Martha (         ) Beach.

Joseph Whitney left no will administration being granted to his widow, Martha Whitney, and son John. She, "widow and relict of Joseph Whitney Late of Watertown, deceased," and "John Whitney Son of ye sd Joseph," with Benjamin Peirce and Simon Taintor of Watertown, as sureties, gave bonds in Court for the faithful performance of the trust, 30 Nov. 1704. (Middlesex Co., Probate, 24695.)

Joseph Whitney took the Oath of Fidelity in Dec. 1677 and bought land in Weston in 1699. The church records show that, "16 Jan. 1686-7, bapt. 5 of Joseph Whitneys (She lately Joyning herself to ye ch) viz Joseph John Isaac Abigail & Martha." Martha was admitted to Full Communion in the church, 4 Feb. 1699.

Children, born in Watertown, Mass.:

i. Joseph4, b. 15 Aug. 1675; m. 10 Apr. 1701, Hepzibah Flagg.
ii. Martha, b. 20 Dec, 1677; d. 30 Oat. 1702.
iii. John, b. 29 July 1680; m. Sarah Cutting.
iv. Isaac, b. 10 Mar. 1681-2, 4.20 Mar. 1681-2.
v. Isaac, b. 4 Feb. 1682-3, d. 1702.
vi. BENJAMIN, b. 31 Jan. 1684; m. Elizabeth Fiske. ( probably the child called Abigail in the list of baptisms.)
vii. Mary, b. 21 Apr. 1695; m. John Knapp, jr.
viii. Sarah, bapt. 20 June 1697.

BENJAMIN4 WHITNEY (Joseph3, John2, John1), born in Watertown, Mass., 31 Jan. 1684, died there in October 1736. He married in Watertown, 1 Mar. 1709-10, Elizabeth Fiske, born there, 20 Jan. 1685-6, died after 1736, daughter of John and Abigail (Park) Fiske.

Benjamin Whitney of Watertown, "being Sicke and weak in Body," made his will, 14 June 1736. He gave to his wife, Elizabeth, and to his sons, Benjamin, Samuel, and Joseph, and his daughter, Elizabeth Whitney. He made son Joseph his sole executor. The will was witnessed by John Whitney, John Tayntor, and John Coolidge and proven in court, 8 Nov. 1736. (Middlesex Co., Probate, 24696.)

Children, born in Watertown, Mass.:

i. JOSEPH5, b. 3 Dec. 1710; m. Mary Child.
ii. Benjamin, b. 14 Sept. 1712, d. 13 Nov. 1713.
iii. Benjamin, b. prob. abt. 1714, mentioned in will.
iv. Samuel, b. 22 Nov. 1715; m. Mary Clark.
v. Elizabeth, b. 9 Mar. 1718-9; m. William McCune and ---- Child.

JOSEPH5 WHITNEY (Benjamin4, Joseph3, John2, John1), born in Watertown, Mass., 3 Dec. 1710, died before 3 Nov. 1784. He married first, in Watertown, 19 Apr. 1737, Mary Child, born there, 25 Feb. 1717, died before 1760, daughter of Joseph and Mary (Thatcher) Child. He married secondly, in Watertown, 3 July 1760, Elizabeth Goddard, who died about 1691.

Joseph Whitney died intestate. Elizabeth,his widow, and the sons, Joseph and Jonathan, declined to serve as administrators and petitioned the court to have Jonathan Brown, Esq., appointed and he was duly made administrator on the estate of Joseph Whitney, late of Watertown, deceased, intestate, 4 Nov. 1784. The widow's dower was set off to her, 15 Apr. 1785, and the paper was countersigned in assent by Jonathan Whitney, Abraham Whitney, and Samuell Fiske in the name and at the desire of widow. On the 28th Apr. 1791, the dower having reverted to the estate, and being too small to be divided without injury to the property was settled on the youngest son Jonathan Whitney. He was bonded 11 May 1791, sureties, Jonathan Harrington and Josiah Norcross, to pay his brother Joseph £35, to the administrator of his brother David, deceased, £17 12s., 6d. and to Abrham, Elizabeth, and Lois, children of his sister Elizabeth deceased, each, £5 17s., 6d.

Jonathan Whitney had been made guardian of Lois Whitney, and as her guardian he receipts for her share of her grandfather's estate, Betsey Whitney receipts for her share and so does Abrham Whitney. Amos and Anna Bond receipt for Joseph Whitney's share in his father's estate. (Middlesex Probate, 24699.)

Children, born in Watertown, Mass.:

i. Joseph6, b. 13 Mar. 1737-8, d.y.
ii. Joseph, b. 13 Mar. 1758-9, living, 1791.
iii. David. b. 21 Jan. 1740, d. before 1784.
iv. JONATHAN, b. 12 Apr. 1743; m. Susanna Norcross.
v. Elizabeth, bap. 30 Nov. 1746; m. Abraham Whitney who m. (2) Mary Mead.

JONATHAN6 WHITNEY (Joseph5, Benjamin4, Joseph3, John2, John1), born in Watertown, Mass., 12 Apr. 1743, baptised there, 17 Apr. 1743, died

He married in Watertown, 10 Oct. 1765, Susanna Norcross, baptised in Watertown, 27 July 1746, died
daughter of Nathaniel and Susanna (Abbott) Norcross.

Jonathan Whitney like his ancestors was a farmer in Watertawn, Mass. He served in the Revolution as follows:---

Jonathan Whitney, Private, Capt. Samuel Barnard's company of Militia, Col. Gardner's regt., which marched on the alarm of 19 Apr. 1775; service 4 days; roll endorsed "Watertown;" also, enlistment agreement dated Watertown, 2 July 1778, signed by said Whitney and others, engaging themselves to serve as a guard over the powder magazine at Watertown for the term of six months, unless sooner discharged, and to provide themselves with firearms, etc.; also, payro11 of a number of men for service from 2 July 1778 to 16 Jan. 1779, 6½ mos., guarding poweer magazine at Watertown; also, enlistment agreement signed by said Whitney & others engaging themselves to serve as a guard over the powder magazine at Watertown, until 1 July 1779, unless sooner discharged and agreeing to obey all orders received from Jonathan Drown, Esq., and to provide themselves with firearms, etc.; also, payroll of a number of men for service from 17 Jan. 1779 to 16 July 1779 guarding powder magazine at Watertown; also, receipt, 2 Aug. 1779, signed by said Whitney and others for money received of Jonatham Drown, Esq. (Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the Revolution, vol. xvii:231).

The death of Jonathan is not recorded in Watertown nor is there any will or administration at Middlesex County. Possibly there may be a deed of gift in the land records.

Jonathan and Susanna owned the covenant in the Watertown first church, 20 July 1766, and had their daughter Susanna Baptised. Later, in 1767, Susanna was admitted to Full Communion.

Children, born and baptised in Watertown, Mass.:

i. Susanna7, b. 23 May 1766, bapt. 20 July 1766.
ii. Mary, b. 10 Jan. 1768, bapt. 17 Jan. 1768.
iii. JONATHAN, b. 15 Dec. 1769; m. Lucy Parks.
iv. Joseph, b. 16 June, 1774, bapt. 28 June 1774.
v. Samuel, b. 6 May 1776. (A Samuel son of Jonathan, bapt. 31 June 1791.)

JONATHAN7 WHITNEY ( Jonathan6, Joseph5, Benjamin4, Joseph3, John2, John1), born in Watertown, 15 Dec. 1769, diedprobably in Watertown, 15 Dec. 1829. (sic) He married in Watertown, 9 Apr. 1793, Lucy Parks, baptised In Lincoln, Mass., 10 Dec. 1774, died in Woburn, Mass., in winter of 1851,* daughter of Daniel and Lydia (Priest) Park.

Jonathan Whitney is said to have lived in Watertown and Marshfield, Mass. There are no dates of birth of his children, excepting two, and no date of his death given in the Whitney Genealogy. None of the children are recorded in Watertown; there may be some records In Plymouth and Marshfield, as no very exhaustive work apparently was ever done by the compiler of the Whitney Genealogy. He is credited with fourteen children but the order as given In the Whitney book is evidently incorrect.

Children as given in Whitney Genealogy:

i. Samuel.
ii. Jonathan
iii. Asa
iv. Abram
v. John
vi. Nathaniel
vii. DAVID, b. 24 Nov. 1805; m.Catherine Horn.
viii. Adams, b. 14 Sept. 1817, Marshfield, Mass.,
ix. Francis
x. Susan.
xi. Rebecca.
xii. Harriett
xiii. Mary-Ann.
xiv. Abbie.

From the records of the only two children given it is evident that Jonathan moved to Marshfield between 1805 and 1817.

DAVID8 WHITNEY (Jonathan7, Jonathan6, Joseph5, Benjamin4, Joseph3, John2, John1), born in Watertown, Mass., 24 Nov. 1805, died in Lowell, Mass., 23 Aug. 1882. He married in Southborough, Mass., 16 Sept. 1826, Catherine Horne, born in Southborough 7 Apr. 1805, died in Lowell, 18 Sept. 1888, daughter of Winsor and Matilda (Nichols) Horne.

David Whitney lived in Acton, Westford and Lowell, then called Middlesex Village,


i. Charles9, b. 11 Dec. 1828, Southborough; m. Sarah-K. Bradley.
ii. DAVID, b. 23 Aug. 1830, Westford; m. Flora McLauchlin.
iii. Hiram, b. 10 Nov. 1834 Westford; m. M. Elizabeth Leland.
iv. Harriett, b. 21 July 1836, Westford; m. 20 Dec. 1870, James-T. Smith.
v. Albert, b. 31 July 1839, Westford, d. 17 July 1875.
vi. Mary-Ann, b. 15 Sept. 1842, Westford, d. 15 June 1845, Westford.
vii. Mary Elizabeth, b. 6 Aug. 1844, probably in Lowell, d. 25 Oct. 1865.

DAVID9 WHITNEY (David8, Jonathan7, Jonathan6, Joseph5, Benjamin4, Joseph3, John2, John1), born in Westford, Mass., 23 Aug. 1830, died                     He married Flora McLauchlin, born in Canada, died in             daughter of

David Whitney removed to Detroit, Mich.


i. Grace-Nichols10, b.             married (1)

Copyright © 2002, 2006, The Whitney Research Group

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