Archive:The Descendants of John Whitney, page 16

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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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16 WHITNEY GENEALOGY.

by which the church and the castle were destroyed. He rebuilt the church and the manor house. The ruins of the castle may still be seen where the freshet left them. This property passed from the male line of Whitneys to the female descend- ants, through whom it is still held. Thus, although the name of Whitney still remains attached to the property, the individuals of that name are not connected with it, but are widely scattered both in England and in this country. July 20, 1592, John Whitney was baptized in the St. Margaret's Church, London. He was son of Thomas, who was grandson or great-grandson of the last Sir Robert Whitney.[NOTE] In 1635 with his wife, Eleanor, and five children he embarked for Amer- ica. Here he settled in Watertown, where he continued to reside the remainder of his life. His sons settled either in Watertown or towns near it. His grandson, Nathaniel, settled in the western part of Watertown, which is now Weston. Arms. Azure, a cross chequey or and sable. Upon a canton, gules; a lion rampant argent. Crest. A bull's head couped sable; horned argent; horns tipped with red. Motto. Fortis sed non ferox. ------------- JOHN WHITNEY, PURITAN EMIGRANT. BY HENRY MELVILLE, ESQ. He was the first of the name in America, and the son of Thomas Whitney, "gentleman," of Westminster, by his wife, Mary Bray, and was baptized in St. Margaret's, the parish church standing in the shadow of the famous Abbey, on the 20th day of July, 1592. Thomas was not a native of the city of his residence, but had come from one of the oldest and most distinguished families in the west of England, the Whitneys of Whitney,[NOTE] where, on the banks of the Wye, the crumbling ruins of their ancestral castle could still be seen surviving centuries of border warfare. His uncle,[NOTE] Sir James, knighted by Queen Elizabeth at Winsor in 1570, was lord of Whitney, Clifford, Pencombe, Ocle Pitchard, Kings Capell, Boughrid, Tremayne, Icomb, Clifton and Comwich, and sheriff of Herefordshire; his grandfather,[NOTE] Sir Robert, knighted by Queen Mary in 1553, represented that county in parliament, and from the latter could be traced back a long knightly line of Whitneys and De Whitneys to the twelfth century, when the name originated, and, beyond them, Norman ancestors, with other names even to the conquest. One or more of his forefathers had gone on a crusade to the Holy Land, one had fought under Edward I. in the Scotch war of 1301, another had twice represented Richard II. abroad in important affairs of state and had been slain "at the capture of Edmund Mortimer," a fourth had followed Henry V. in the triumphs of English arms in France, a fifth had risked land and life for the "White Rose" and had had his praises sung by the Welsh bard, Glyn Cothi, and nearly every one had been sher- iff of his shire and had sat in the great national council. They quartered on their shields the arms of Milbourne, Eynesford, Furnival, Verdon, Lovetot, Baskerville, Boteler, Rees, Lienthall, Le Gros, Bredwardine, Sollers, Brugge and Blackett, and their marriage alliances had been, almost without exception, with families whose names are great in history, through at least two of which Thomas could claim blood relationship to royalty from William the Conquerer to Edward I. The family name, Whitney, or, as originally written, De Whitney, was derived from the name of the parish where the castle stood. Aluard, a Saxon, held the land before the Conquest, but at the time of the "Domesday Survey," 1086 A. D., it was "waste" with no owner, save the King as paramount lord. Sir Turstin, one of the Conqueror's Knights, commonly known as "Turstin the Fleming" and "Turstin De Wigmore," married Agnes, daughter of Alured De Merleberge, one of the great barons of the realm, who settled on her, with other land, the Pencombe estate. Agnes had two sons, Eustace and Turstin, to the former of whom the property passed. Eustace's son, or grandson, some time between 1100 and 1200 A. D., engaging in the border wars, built a stronghold and took up his residence at Whitney, on the banks of the Wye, and thus, after the custom of the times, acquired the surname De (of) Whitney, as one of his neighbors gained that of De Clifford, and another that of De la Hay. The first mention of a De Whitney in any record now extant is that of "Robert De Wytteneye," in the Testa de Nevill,

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