Archive:The Descendants of John Whitney, page 15

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The Descendants of John Whitney, Who Came from London, England, to Watertown, Massachusetts, in 1635, by Frederick Clifton Pierce (Chicago: 1895)

Transcribed by the Whitney Research Group, 1999.

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probably from the eleventh or twelfth century, was also recovered from the rains and placed in the new church, where it still stands. I have a photograph of that font taken since I was there, which I shall be happy to show to any of the modern members of the family. Leaving the church we went up hill, through a lane bordered by trees, to t he rectory where we were first saluted by the vigorous barking of a small, black dog. A young lady, whom we afterward ascertained to be a daughter of the rector, soon made her appearance. She left us to seek her father, and he soon came and took us to the garden in the front of the house where he had been working among his flowers. He was a straight, dignified English clergyman who, when he learned who we were and what we desired, at once gave us a and hospitable welcome. He invited us into the house, where another daughter, Miss Jane, joined us. We pro- longed our call there with him and his daughter as long as we could remain. Out of that call sprang a most interesting correspondence with Miss DEW, the daughter, from which I have derived much of the information made use of in the following record. I presume that I have more than twenty letters from her, generally very long and full of interesting details. I think she may have spent a great deal of her time in looking up records to find material for her letters to me. I shall always entertain sincere friendship and respect for the Rev. Henry DEW and his accomplished daughter, Miss Jane. Rev. Henry DEW was a brother of Sir Tompkyns DEW, the last owner of the estate. He was a descendant of the Whitneys through some one of the female mem- bers of the family to whom the estate came by failure of the male line. Sir Tomp- kyns' little daughter, at the time of our visit a child about five years old, represents the broad acres of the estates of Whitney and Clifford, now, I regret to say, so heav- ily mortgaged that it seems quite possible, if not probable, that by foreclosure of the mortgages they will soon pass into unknown and alien ownership. I believe that the rector's tenare of the living cannot be terminated during his life, but at his death the pretty rectory, where he has lived more than fifty years and has much beautified, will pass to strangers with the rest of the estate, and thus the last Whitney traces be obliterated from the spot with which they have been so long connected. After the conquest the manor of Whitney, so called was given by William the Conqueror, to Torstinus, one of his soldiers. It was one of nine tracts granted to this same person according to the Doomsday Book, and the one upon which he settled. He was a valiant fighter, one of the northern sea-rovers who joined the army of William on the expedition for the conquest of England. The amount of bounty allotted him by William shows that he was a man of position and consequence. He was specially commissioned to guard the frontiers against the incursions of the Welsh, and for this purpose had his castle situated on the Wye and within the bounds of the present manor of Whitney. His son Eustacius, who inherited his property, assumed the name of Whitney, which has been bourne from that date to the present time. The Whitneys were the chief men in the vicinity, sheriffs of the county and Members of Parliament. Several of them lost their lives in the wars at home and abroad, to which they were summoned by their kings. A decree of King Henry IV, dated Feb. 14, 1404, commences as follows: "The King to all to whom, &c., Greeting-- "Know ye that since the father of Robert WHITENEY, Esquire, and his uncle and a great part of relations have been killed in our service at the capture of Edmund MORTEMER, and his property has been burned and destroyed by our rebels of Wales, so that the said Robert has not any cattle or fortress where he can tarry to resist and punish our aforesaid rebels as we accept (accessimus) We, of our special grace, have granted to the said. Robert, the castle of Clifford and the lord- ship of Clifford and Glasbury, together with all the lands, tenements,~&c. By this act the lordship of Clifford, on the opposite side of the Wye and adja- cent to Whitney, was added to the domain of the Whitneys and has so remained until the present day. In the last part of the 17th century Sir Thomas WHITNEY, lord of these estates, died leaving his son, Sir Robert WHITNEY, as his heir. Sir Robert had four sons, who all died without issue. He also had four daughters, to whom his estate descended upon his several sons dying without issue. One of these daughters, Hannah, married Robert RODD, to whom she and the other daughters the estates came, apparently by the law of inheritance. Through them it ultimately came to William Warden, who was the owner at the time of the freshet.

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