Archive:Which Henry Whitney m. Hannah Tombs

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Which Henry WHITNEY, m. 1769, Hannah TOMBS?

by Robert L. Ward

Karen Grubaugh wrote:

>I am redoing my Whitney notebooks and realized I have little information on
>one of my direct line members. His name is Henry Whitney, 7th s/o Daniel and
>Dorothy Whitney b. Dec 31, 1738 in Watertown, MA d. about 1788. He m. Hannah
>Tombs January 5 1769. I would like to know who his children were in addition
>to William Henry who is in my direct line. I would like to know anything you
>might have about him and his wife, also. Thank you. Karen

I am afraid I have good news and bad news for you. The bad news is you have the identity of your Henry wrong. The good news is that you don't lose any of your research, since your Henry was really a son of that Henry's brother Benjamin. The proof of this lies in the probate records of Middlesex Co., MA.

The estate of Dorothy (TAINTOR) WHITNEY, wife of Daniel, who died 7 Aug 1788, aged 82 years, was distributed on 8 Oct 1790 [Middlesex Probate File #24638, Dorothy WHITNEY]. The estate was settled on Simon WHITNEY [her son] to distribute it to sisters Abigail, Joanna, Mary, Dorothy, and Lucy; brothers Daniel, Joshua, and Elisha; surviving children of brother Benjamin, decd.; surviving children of Henry, son of brother Benjamin, also decd., vizt. Benjamin, Elizabeth, and Henry; surviving children of brother Israel, decd., vizt. Israel, Jemima, Mary, and Dorothy; surviving children of sister Grace, decd., vizt. Daniel, Thomas, Leonard, and Grace.

This means, according to my reckoning, that the Henry WHITNEY born 3 Dec 1738 was dead, without surviving issue, on that date. On the other hand, there was Henry WHITNEY, b. 8 Jan 1745/6, Watertown, MA, son of Benjamin and Deliverance (-----) WHITNEY, and grandson of Daniel and Dorothy, who was deceased on that date, leaving three surviving children: Benjamin, Elizabeth, and Henry (who was your William Henry WHITNEY).

According to my records, this Henry WHITNEY was a cordwainer (a kind of shoemaker) [Middlesex Probate File #24651, guardianship of Benjamin WHITNEY, his son, 2 Oct 1788]. He married Hannah TOMBS, as you state above, 5 Jan 1769, Newton, MA [Newton Vital Records]. Among his children were:

  1. Benjamin, b. 10 Mar 1769, Watertown [Watertown Records 3:149], living 8 Oct 1790 [Middlesex Probate File #24638, Dorothy WHITNEY], non compos mentis on 2 Oct 1788 [Middlesex Probate File #24651, Benjamin WHITNEY].
  2. Elizabeth, b. after 8 Sep 1769, Watertown [Middlesex Probate File #24652, Elizabeth and Henry WHITNEY], living in Dummerston, VT, 2 Oct 1788.
  3. Lydia, b. ca. 1773, d. 28 Dec 1776, Watertown, aged 3 years.
  4. Anna, b. ca. 1773, d. 27 Dec 1776, Watertown, aged 3 years.
  5. Hannah, b. ca. Jul 1774, d. 24 Dec 1776, Watertown, aged 17 months.
  6. (William) Henry, b. after 8 Sep 1769, Watertown [Middlesex Probate File #24652, Elizabeth and Henry WHITNEY], living in Dummerston, VT, 2 Oct 1788.

Probably this is all the children, but there could conceivably have been others who died young, before 1790. My guess is that the widow Hannah (TOMBS) WHITNEY remarried a man who removed to Dummerston, VT, explaining the fact that Elizabeth and Henry, minors, were living there on 2 Oct 1788.

This means that your line goes William Henry7, Henry6, Benjamin5, Daniel4, Benjamin3, John2, John1, rather than William Henry6, Henry5 (Daniel4, etc.). The same mistake is made by Henry Bond in his Genealogies and History of Watertown (1860), pp. 648-649, and probably by others. What does Frederick Clifton Pierce have to say on this subject?

More bad news: I know nothing whatsoever about the maiden name or ancestry of Deliverance -----, wife of Benjamin5 WHITNEY, but would like to know. I am interested in the parentage of Hannah TOMBS, too, if you know it.


Copyright © 1999, 2006, Robert L. Ward and The Whitney Research Group

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