Family:Whitney, John (1592-1673)
John1 Whitney (ThomasA), son of Thomas and Mary (Bray) Whitney, was baptized 20 Jul 1592, St. Margaret's, Westminster, England, and died 1 Jun 1673, Watertown, MA, "widower, aged about 84 years" (although actually at age 80).
He married first, before 1619, at or near London, England, Elinor -----. She was also known as Ellen and as Ellin. She was born probably between 1597 and 1599 somewhere in England, and died 11 May 1659, Watertown, MA.
He married second, 29 Sep 1659, Watertown, MA, Judah (-----) Clement, as her second husband, widow of Robert Clement. Judah ----- was born circa 1595. She married Robert Clement between 1642 and 1657 at Haverhill, MA. She died before 3 Apr 1673, Watertown, MA, since her husband did not mention her in his will.
The records of the Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors show:
- Feb. 22, 1607, John Whitney, son of Thomas Whitney of the city of Westminster, yeoman, apprenticed to William Pring of the Old Bailey.
- March 13, 1614, John Whitney made free by William Pring, his master.
- March 8, 1624, Robert Whitney, son of Thomas Whitney of the city of Westminster, gentleman, apprenticed to John Whitney of Isleworth.
- 1632, Robert Whitney made free by John Whitney, his master, upon the report of his master.
He left a will dated 3 Apr 1673 at Watertown, MA; John Whitny Senior of Watertown; son John Whitny; son Richard Whitny; son Thomas Whitny; son Jonathan Whitny; son Joshuah Whitny; son Beniamen Whitny; sons John Whitny and Joshuah Whitny, executors; friend William Bond Senior, overseer; witnesses, William Bond senior, Sarah Bond senior; signed by mark. His estate was probated 4 Jun 1673 at Watertown, MA. On that date the inventory of Mr. John Whitnie senior, was taken by Joseph Underwood, William Bond, and Nathan Fiske, Junior, and included 50 acres of dividend land at £25, 3 acres of meadow at Beaver Brook with an acre and a half of upland to it at £20, and 1 acre of plain meadow at £10; household goods; and stock on the farm. On 17 Jun 1673, Watertown, MA, his will proved by William Bond and Sarah his wife, and his inventory was exhibited and attested to.
John and Elinor (-----) Whitney lived between 1619 and 1624 at Isleworth, England, and between 1627 and 1629 at the parish of St. Mary Aldermary, London, England. Apparently they lived in London from 1629 to 1635, when they emigrated to America, but exactly where is unknown.
They emigrated in Apr 1635 from London, England, in the "Elizabeth and Ann," Roger Cooper, master. On the passenger list are John Whitney, aged 35; wife Ellin aged 30; sons John aged 11, Richard aged 9, Nathaniel, aged 8, Thomas aged 6, and Jonathan aged 1 year. Their ship landed in Jun 1635, probably in Boston or Charlestown, MA.
He and Elinor ----- lived between Jun 1635 and 1 Jun 1673 at Watertown, MA, on his 16- or 17-acre homestall situated a little north of Belmont Street and east of Common Street.
John and Elinor Whitney are probably buried in Watertown's "Old Burying Ground", now called the Arlington Street Cemetery. However, if they ever had grave markers, they have long since vanished or eroded, and the exact location of their graves may never be known. This is based upon information from the Watertown historian who stated that this was the active cemetery at that time, and that few burials were performed outside of the cemetery at that time.
In 1855, Henry Bond said of him the following:
"Embarked at Ipswich [corrected to "London"], Engl. Apr., 1635, for New England, in the Elizabeth and Ann, Roger Cooper, master, JOHN WHITNEY, aged 35; wife ELLIN (Elinor), aged 30; sons JOHN, aged 11; RICHARD, aged 9; NATHANIEL, aged 8; THOMAS, aged 6; and JONATHAN, aged 1 year. He was admitted freeman, Mar. 3, 1635-6; was Selectman several years between 1638 and 1655 inclusive, and was Town Clerk, 1655. In 1642, his homestall lot of 16 acres (where he continued to reside), was bounded E. and S. by William Jennison; W. by Martin Underwood; N. by Isaac Mixer. He at the same time owned 8 other lots, amounting to 212 acres. The Registry of Deeds shows that he made additions to these possessions. His early admission as a freeman, and his early election as Selectman, show that he held a respectable social position. His wife, Elinor, d. May 11, 1659, and he m. (2d), Sept. 29, 1659, JUDAH (Judith) CLEMENT. He died a widower, June 1, 1673, aged 74. His Will, dated Ap. 3, 1673, attested by William Bond, Sr., and Sarah Bond, Sr., mentions sons John, Richard, Thomas, Jonathan, Joshua, and Benjamin. Inventory, dated June 4, 1673, 50 acres dividend land, £25; 3 acres of Beaver Brook meadow, and 1½ acre upland, £60; 1 acre plain meadow, £10. He had probably previously distributed much of his estate in the settlement of his sons."
In 1857, Henry Austin Whitney wrote:
"JOHN WHITNEY, of Watertown, Mass., was the progenitor of very numerous descendants, who are to be found probably in every county of New England, and in every State in the Union. He embarked at London in April, 1635, then aged 35, in the Elizabeth and Ann, Roger Cooper, master, with his wife ELINOR, aged 30, and sons JOHN, aged 11 yrs., RICHARD aged 9 yrs., NATHANIEL aged 8 yrs., THOMAS aged 6 yrs., and JONATHAN aged 1 yr. He probably arrived in June, and immediately settled at Watertown, where his son Joshua was born the 15th of July. He purchased a 16-acre homestall, which had been granted to John Strickland, who was dismissed from the Watertown church, May 29, 1635, and was one of that colony from Watertown that went and planted Wethersfield, the oldest town on Connecticut River. This homestead was the permanent residence of Mr. Whitney. In 1668 he requested his youngest son, Benjamin, who had settled in York, Me., to return and live with him on his homestead, with the assurance that it should be his own after his father's decease. In 1671 Benjamin, with his father's consent, conveyed his rights and obligations in this homestead to his brother Joshua, who had settled in Groton, for £40. After the decease of his father Joshua returned to Groton, and on the 29th Oct., 1697, sold this ancient homestead to Dea. Nathan Fiske. It was situated at a little distance north of Belmont street and East of Common street. [See the map of the original allotments in Bond's Early History of Watertown.] "It is stated above that Mr. Whitney purchased his homestall; but before 1642 the Town had granted him nine other lots of land, amounting to 198 acres. The Registry of Deeds, which contains comparatively few of the early conveyances, shows that he made several purchases of land, and it is probable that he had aided all his other sons in their settlemens as he did Jonathan, to whom he gave 39 acres about 1659--and Benjamin to whom he gave the homestead as we have already noticed. Jonathan and Benjamin received these gifts from their father when they were quite young, and it is possible that they shared in some later division of his estate; which may account for the fact, that Mr. Whitney in his will, while he bequeaths parcels of land to all his other sons, merely gives to Jonathan "one iron kitle and a great brass skilet;" to Benjamin "the old mare if she live!" "Mr. Whitney was admitted freeman March 3, 1635-6; appointed Constable* of Watertown by the General Court, June 1, 1641; Selectman 1638 to 1655 inclusive, and Town Clerk, 1655. "His wife ELINOR, the mother of his eight sons, died May 11, 1659, aged 54, and he married, Sept. 29, 1659, JUDAH CLEMENT, who was not living at the date of his will, April 3, 1673. He died June 1, 1673, aged 74. Inventory, dated June 4, 1673; 50 A. Dividend land; 3 A. Beaver Brook meadow, and 1-1/2 A. upland; 1 acre plain meadow, besides his personal property, consisting of household goods and stock on the farm. This shows that he held but a small part of his lands granted and purchased, which had probably been distributed to his sons."
In 1860, James Savage wrote:
"[WHITNEY,] JOHN, Watertown, came from London 1635, aged 35, in the Elizabeth and Ann, with w[ife] Elinor, 30, and five s[ons] John, 11; Richard, 9; Nathaniel, 8; Thomas, 6; and Jonathan, 1; but a slight reason may be seen for think[ing] one of these ages too low; as in the rec[ords] of W[atertown] the f[ather] is call[ed] at his d[eath] 1 June 1673, 84 y[ea]rs old; and Richard was releas[ed] from train[ing] in 1691, "being 70 yrs. of age," when he could only be 65, if the custom-ho[use] rep[ort] be accept[ed]; was a man of prop[er]ty and relig[ious] charact[er], adm[itted] freem[an] 3 Mar 1636, was by the Gen[eral] C[our]t made constable 1641, a selectman sev[eral] times betw[een] 1638 and 55, and in 1655 he was town cl[er]k; had b[orn] at W[atertown] Joshua, 5, but the Register's vol[ume] for W[atertown] (preserv[ed] at Boston, giv[es] the name John) makes the date 15, July 1635, see Geneal[ogical] Reg[ister] VII 159; Caleb, bur[ied] 12 July 1640, prob[ably] very young; and Benjamin, b[orn] 6 June 1643. His w[ife] d[ied] 11 May 1659, and he m[arried] 29 Sept. foll[owing] Judith Clement, wh[o] prob[ably] d[ied] bef[ore] he made his will, 3 Apr. 1673, nam[ing] all the s[ons] exc[ept] Nathaniel and Caleb, and d[ied] 1 June foll[owing]. That Nathaniel prob d[ied] under 20 y[ea]rs."
In 1875, Henry Austin Whitney wrote:
"The record of embarkation, April, 1635, gave the names and ages of the family as follows :* --John Whitney [the father] 35 Nathaniel 8 Elinor Whitney [the mother] 30 Thomas 6 John 11 Jonathan 1 Richard 9
(To be found in a "manuscript volume in folio, containing the names of persons permitted to embark at the port of London, after Christmas, 1634, to the same period in the following year." This volume is now in the Rolls Office, Chancery Lane, London, the entry referred to being on page 35. See, also, same record in Vol. III. of the Third Series, Mass. Hist. Collections ; Vol. XIV. Genealogical Register ; and in Drake's "Founders of New England," Boston, 1860 and 1865.)
"Other sons were born in Watertown, Joshua, Caleb (wo died in 1640), and Benjamin.
"Shortly after preparing (in 1857) for the Genealogical Register, a more complete account of the earlier generations of the descendants of John and Elinor Whitney than was given in Bond's History and Genealogies of Watertown, I was convinced that at least the ages of the father and the two older sons, as given in the custom-house list, were understated. That these lists were not always exact, and were sometimes purposely incorrect, we have many examples ; and, in this instance, the ages were doubtless given too young through design, either to avoid some clause in the subsidy act, or some of the many embarrassments thrown in the way of emigrants.
"My belief was based upon data which escaped the critical and searching eye of Dr. Bond, the historian of Watertown, and which are as follows:--
"FIRST. The death of John Whitney is thus registered in the church records of Watertown: 1673. "John Whetny, widdower, deceased first of June, aged abought eighty-four years," so that, in 1635, he would have been about forty-five instead of thirty-five years of age.
"SECOND. His eldest son John, whose age was given as eleven in the list of 1635, was married in 1642, when he would have been but eighteen or nineteen years old.
"THIRD. Richard, the second son, said to be nine years of age in 1635, was excused from military training by the Court in 1691, as being "seventy years of age," when he could not have been over sixty-five by the record of embarkation.
"These facts were made known to the late Mr. James Savage, which led to the following cautious language in his " Genealogical Dictionary," published in 1862. After giving the custom-house ages, he adds, "But a slight reason may be seen for thinking one of these ages too low; as, in the record of Watertown, the father is called at his death, 1 June, 1673, eighty-four years old, and Richard was released from training in 1691, 'being seventy years of age,' when he could only be sixty-five, if the custom-house report be accepted."*
"At the time, the reasons given for thinking the custom-house report incorrect seemed far from slight; but, in 1871, my theory was confirmed by the discovery of the dates of baptism of the two older sons, together with that of a daughter Mary, of whom we know nothing, and who probably died previous to the emigration, at which time, if living, she would have been sixteen or seventeen years old.
"The late Mr. H. G. Somerby wrote to me from London, under date of January 11, 1871, that the previous day he had occasion to search the parish register of Isleworth; about nine miles from London on the banks of the Thames, opposite Richmond, and that he had there accidentally found the registry of baptism of three of John and Elinor Whitney's children, namely : Mary, May 23, 1619; John, September 14, 1621; and Richard, January 6, 1623-24.
"It will be noticed that John the eldest son was fourteen years old or more in 1635; instead of eleven, and twenty-one years old when married in 1642; and that Richard was twelve years or more in 1635, instead of nine, and in 1691 was at least in his sixty-eighth year when excused from "training." It is probable that John and Elinor left Isleworth shortly after the baptism of Richard in 1624; as no further trace bf them is to be found there."
In 1895, Frederick C. Pierce, quoting Henry Melville, said of him the following:
"John [Whitney], in whom we are most interested, probably received, for those days, a good education in the famous "Westminster School," now known as St. Peter's College, and February 22, 1607, at the age of fourteen, was apprenticed by his father to William Pring of the Old Bailey, London. The latter was a "Freeman" of the Merchant Tailors' Company, then the most famous and prosperous of all the great trade guilds, numbering in its membership distinguished men of all professions, many of the nobility and the Prince of Wales, and, on March 13, 1614, Whitney at the age of twenty-one became a full-fledged member. Marrying soon after he took up his residence at Isleworth-on-the-Thames, eight miles from Westminster, and there three children were born, baptized on the following dates: May 23, 1619, Mary; September 14, 1621, John; and January 6, 1623-4, Richard. There, too, November 8, 1624, his father apprenticed to him his youngest brother, Robert, who served seven years. Soon after the latter date he moved from Isleworth, probably back to London. Entries in the registers of the parish of St. Mary Aldermery indicate that he lived there - in "Bowe lanne," near Bow church, where hang the famous bells - for several years, during which time Mary died, and his son Thomas was baptized December 10, 1627. In September, 1631, he placed his eldest child, John, Jr., in the Merchant Tailors school - where, according to the registers, he remained as long as the family were in England - and, early in April, 1635, registered with his wife Elinor and sons John, Richard, Nathaniel, Thomas, and Jonathan as a passenger in the ship 'Elizabeth and Ann, Roger Cooper, Master,' which, a few weeks afterward, completed her lading and set sail for the New World. "Extracts from the books of the Merchant Taylors' Company, of the city of London, England. .... "Feb. 22, 1607, John Whitney, son of Thomas Whitney of the city of Westminster, yeoman, apprenticed to William Pring of the Old Bailey. "March 13, 1614, John Whitney made free by William Pring, his master. .... "March 8, 1624, Robert Whitney, son of Thomas Whitney of the city of Westminster, gentleman, apprenticed to John Whitney of Isleworth. "1632, Robert Whitney made free by John Whitney, his master, upon the report of his master."
Pierce continued as follows:
"John Whitney was born in England in 1589, and dwelt in the Parish of Isleworth-on-the-Thames, opposite Richmond, nine miles from London, from May, 1619, to January, 1623-4. The record "of persons permitted to embark at the port of London after Christmas, 1634," manuscript folio page 35 in Rolls office, Chancery Lane, gives the following names and ages: John Whitney 35, Elinor Whitney 30, John 11, Richard 9, Nathaniel 8, Thomas 6, Jonathan 1. "The record reads as follows: "The Elizabeth and Ann, Roger Cooper Mr., April, 1635. "These p'ties hereunder expressed are to be imbarqued for New England, having taken the oaths of Allegeance and Supremacie and likewise brought Certificate both from the Ministers and Justices when their abidings were latlie, of their conformitie to the Discipline and order of the Church of England, and yet they are no Subsedy Men. Jo. Whitney, 35; Jo. Whitney, 11; Richard Whitney, 9; Nathaniel Whitney, 8; Tho. Whitney, 6; Jonathan Whitney, 1; Ellen Whitney, 30. "The ages of John Whitney and his five sons, as thus given, were all too young. The parish resister of Isleworth contains the following entries: "1621, Sept. 14, John Whitne and Ellin had John their son baptized. "1623-4, Jan. 6, John Whitne and Elinor his wife had their son Richard baptized. "It is suggested that the non-conformity acts might have had some influence in making the ages of the several members of the family younger than they were. "They settled in Watertown, in the Massachusetts colony, in June, 1635, where his son Joshua was born the 15th of July following, he being the first of this line born in America. John Whitney was admitted freeman 3d of March, 1636, and the following year was for the first time elected by his associates as one of the Select Men of the town. He held the office for many years afterward, until 1655, at which time he was elected town clerk. June 1, 1641, he was appointed constable at Watertown by the General Court at their quarter session held in Boston. "At that time constables were appointed by the General Court, and, besides the duties attached to the office in latter times, they were required to collect the taxes of the town and the levies by the General Court; to pay the debts of the colony due to individuals in their respective towns; to supply the town with sealed weights and measures; to set or order in those towns where no captain dwelt, and to inflict the punishments ordered by judicial authority, "where there was not another appointed to do it within his own town, unless he can get another to do it." As a badge of his office a constable was required to carry a black staff five or five and a half feet long, with a tip or head five or six inches long. "His very early admission as a freeman and his election as a Select Man show that he held a respectable social position in the community. "He was grantee of eight lots in Watertown and purchaser of 16 acres, his home-stall lot, where he continued to reside. This latter property was granted to John Strickland,+ and was bounded east and south by William Jennison, west by Martin Underwood, north by Isaac Mixer. His eight lots amounted to 212 acres, to which he subsequently made additions, as shown by the Registry of Deeds. Later the homestall became the property of his son, Joshua, of Groton, who sold it to Dea. Nathan Fiske, Oct. 29, 1697. "The death of John Whitney is registered in the church record of Watertown, 1673, thus: "John Whetny, Widdower, Deceased first of June, aged abought eighty-four years." His wife, Elinor, mother of his eight sons, died in Watertown May 11, 1659, aged about 60 years (though called 54). He married Judah (Judith) Clement, Sept. 29, 1659. "His will, dated April 3, 1673, is as follows: "I John Whitney senior of Watertowne in ye county of midlesexx being perfect and sound in my memory and understanding blessed be god for it: I do declare this to be my last will and testemant In maner and form as followeth "1ly I committ my spirit into ye hands of god yt gave it: and my body unto the earth from whence it was taken: "2ly I give unto my Son John Whitney: my meadow called beeverbrook meadows with yt upland yt doth appertain thereunto: and a yoke of oxen: or nine pounds ten shillings: and ten acres of my land called devedent and a trunke and one pair of sheets and one pair of pillows beers and two pewter dishes a great one and a small one and ye bed whereon I lie with all the furniture thereunto belonging. "3ly I give unto my son Richard Whitney my ten acres of land called devident and two cowes and a great sea chest "4ly I give unto my son Thomas Whitney ten acres of my land called devident and two cowes and a sad colered sute namely a payer of breeches and a close coate and a puter dish. "5ly I give unto my son Jonathan Whitney an iron kitle and a great brass skilet. "6ly I give unto my son Joshua Whitney twenty acres of my land called devident and a cubbard and a little table and a chest and a great kitle and a warming pan and a skillett. "7ly I give unto my son Benjamin Whitney the old mare if she live. "8ly My will is yt what of my estate be left after all is paid out as ye aboves namely of my moveables yt it be equaly devided between my execeutors and I doe nominate and apoynt my well beloved sones John Whitney and Joshua Whitney to be my execeutors to this my will and testament and I doe desire my loveing friend William Bond sen to se yt this my will be performed acording to ye true intent of it as is aforesaid and doe set to my hand this 3d of Aprill 1673. "Ye centerline in ye line 24 ye wood devided was don before any subscribing or sealining. "The marks of X "Jon Whitney sen and a seale, "In ye presince of us "William Bond sen "Sarah Bond sen"This is an inventory of the estate of Mr. John Whitnie, sene, taken this 4th of June, 1673, by us whose names are hereunto subscribed. Impe Wearing Clothes. A sad coleired sute coats and breeches...............................001 10 00 The rest of both linin and woollen and shooes stocking hats gloves being much worne...................................................002 10 00 The bed wheareon he lay wth all the furniture thereunto belonging.....05 00 00 Three pillows beers three sheets and three small old table clothes...001 00 00 An old feather boulster and feather pillows a sea chest..............000 10 00 Two old chests an old trunke an old box and an old Cubbard...........000 14 00 Two old tables one forme 3 old chaires...............................001 00 00 Three pewter platters one basson a sacer and old great pott and old pewter bottle and a chamber pott...................................000 12 00 A brass kitle 2 brass skillets a brass skimer a warming pan a small brass morter a little ladell of brass..............................001 02 00 An iron pot and pott hooks a tramell a iron kittle a spit a smoothing iron and two old frying pans.......................................001 05 00 Three earthen vessels a great grater 2 chuny dishes a dozen of trenchers a wooden dish 3 cheese moats.............................000 03 00 A small trevit a pair of tongs and a small payer of scales pound and half in waits a spindell for a wheelle and an iron bullet..........000 02 00 A churne and other lumber............................................000 05 00 Four cowes...........................................................010 00 00 Two oxen.............................................................009 10 00 A old maer...........................................................002 10 00 An old sadle an pillion..............................................000 10 00 An old paire of soops and boxes for a cart a payer of iron pins for the extree a payer of lines pins and washers...........................000 10 00 A chaine a iron bar a spoone of iron an old adsc a set for a saw two wedges and an iron pin for a cart a hay crome and other old iron 000 12 00 A grind stone with the iron to it................................... 000 04 00 An old haire a cart rope an old bage two old cushins................ 000 02 00 Fifty acres of land caled devident.................................. 025 00 00 Three acres of meadow at beaver brooke with an acre and half of ap- land to it....................................................... 020 00 00 An acre of meadow called plaine meadow.............................. 010 00 00 A forke and a shovell............................................... 000 02 00 All so of........................................................... 000 14 00 Joseph UNDERWOOD William BOND Nathan FISKE
"Massachusetts Colony Records
"A quarter Court, held at Boston, the first of the 4th mo., 1641.
"John WHITNEY was chosen constable at Watertowne and tooke oath.
"There was granted to Goodm. NUTT, Marten UNDERWOOD, John WHITNEY, Henry KEMBALL and John WITHEREDGE alowance for 881/2 yrd. of cloth, valued at 12 d. p. yrd.
"1655. In answer to the peticion of Mr. Lymon EIRES, Jno. STONE, Jno. WHITNEY, William PAGE, etc, the Court judgeth it meete to referre the peticioners to the retourne of the commissiones appointed to settle the matters in difference betweene them those acts this Court doth approove of and continew, as they are presented to this Court, and are on file."
Pierce goes on to quote Henry Austin Whitney as follows:
"JOHN WHITNEY probably arrived in June, and immediately settled in Watertown, where his son Joshua was born the 15th of July. He purchased a sixteen acre homestall, which had been granted to John STRICKLAND, who was dismissed from the Watertown church May 29, 1635, and was one of that colony from Watertown that went and planted Wethersfield, the oldest town on Connecticut river. This homestead was the permanent residence of Mr. WHITNEY. In 1668 he requested his youngest son, Benjamin, who had settled in York, Me, to return and live with him on his homestead, with the assurance that it should be his own after his father's decease. In 1671 Benjamin, with his father's consent, conveyed his rights and obligations in this homestead to his brother Joshua, who had settled in Groton, for £40. After the decease of his father Joshua returned to Groton, and on the 29th October, 1697, sold this ancient homestead to Dea. Nathan FISKE. It was situated at a little distance north of Belmont street and east of Common street. (See the map of the original allotments in BOND's Early History of Watertown.) "It is stated above that mr. WHITNEY purchased his homestall, but before 1642 the town had granted him nine other lots of land, amounting to 198 acres. The Registry of Deeds, which contains comparatively few of the early conveyances, shows that he made several purchases of land, and it is probable that he had aided all his other sons in their settlements as he did Jonathan, to whom he gave 39 acres about 1659-and Benjamin, to whom he gave the homestead as we have already noticed. Jonathan and Benjamin received these gifts from their father when they were quite young, and it is possible that they shared in some later division of his estate, which may account for the fact that Mr. WHITNEY in his will, while he bequeathes parcels of land to all his other sons, merely gives to Jonathan "one iron kitle and a great brass skilet;" to Benjamin, "the old mare if she live." "Mr. WHITNEY was admitted freeman March 3, 1635-6; appointed constable of Watertown by the General Court, June 1, 1641; selectman, 1638 to 1655, inclusive, and town clerk, 1655. "His wife Elinor, the mother of his eight sons, died May 11, 1659, aged 54 [sic: the source for her age at death is unknown--RLW]; and he married Sept. 29, 1659, Judah CLEMENT, who was not living at the date of his will, April 3, 1673. He died June 1, 1673, aged 84. Inventory, dated June 4, 1673: 50 acres dividend land, 3 acres Beaver Brook meadow, and 1 1/2 acres upland; 1 acre plain meadow, besides his personal property, consisting of household goods and stock on the farm. This shows that he then held but a small part of his lands granted and purchased, which had probably been distributed to his sons."
In 1996, Smith and Sanborn wrote:
John Whitney, son of Thomas Whitney, of the city of Westminster, yeoman, was apprenticed to William Pring of the Old Bailey, a freeman of the Merchant Taylors Company, on 22 February 1607[/8] (Apprentice Binding Book, Vol 5, 1606-1609, Guildhall Library MS. 314, page 170):
As an apprentice he learned clerical duties and studied a varied curriculum, as well as a trade. William Pring probably dealt in cloth, since John Whitney is called a tailor in Watertown deeds (vide post).
When he reached his majority in 1614, John was made free by his master, William Pring (Court Minute Book, vol.6, Freemen 1607-1618, Guildhall Library Ms. 327 (31), page 483: Freedoms), and ten years later, on 8 November 1624, "Robert Whitney, son of Thomas Whitney of the city of Westminster, Gentleman, was apprenticed to John Whitney in Thistleworth" (another name for Isleworth).
- Robertus Whitney filius Thome Whitney de Civitate Westminster Gent pose appren[tice] John Whittney modo Comanone in Thistleworth pro Septem annis a die dat hor[umm] pr[e]d[i]c[tu]m dat Octavo die Novembris, Anno Dm 1624 Annoque regis Jacobis Anglie vicesimo secundo (Apprentice Binding Book, Vol.9, 1623-1628, Gulldhall Library Ms 315 , page 93: Apprenticeships)
Robert, in turn, was made free by his brother on 14 January 1632 (Court Minute Book: Freemen 1630-1642, Guildhall Library Ms 329 , unpaginated).
John Whitney's London in the 1620s
In the 1620s, his children's baptisms in the St Mary Aldermary's parish register showed that John lived on Bow Lane and that he was a tailor.
John sent his eldest son to the Merchant Taylors' School, affording him the finest education available to the son of a yeoman intended for business. The younger John Whitney appears in the Merchant Taylors' School Register from 11 December 1631 until 1634 (Merchant Taylors' School Register, 132). This attendance was contemporary with the Kemptons, who likely knew the Whitneys (see Kempton chapter).
Bond says the Whitneys embarked at London, England in April of 1635 for New England in the ship Elizabeth and Ann, Roger Cooper, master. The family consisted of John, age 35; Ellin, age 30; sons John, age 11; Richard, age 9; Nathaniel, age 8; Thomas, age 6; and Jonathan, age 1 year (Bond, 642). John's age is grossly understated in this passenger list, but his baptism at Isleworth and his age at death are more nearly in tune. Likewise, his sons' ages are somewhat understated in this list and Elinor was more likely 35 than 30.
At Watertown, John was admitted a freeman 3 March 1635/6. He was of a comfortable social standing and had a better than average education, but claims to a stunning royal descent have been disproven (TAG 10:84- 88).
His property was in keeping with his status as a Watertown proprietor and reflected a modest amount of trading and selling, as well. His homestall of sixteen acres was bounded to the east by William Jennison, west by Martin Underwood, north by Isaac Mixer and south by William Jennison (WTR 1:120). In the third division of Watertown lands he received lot 16 containing fifty acres (WTR 1:5). In the grant of the plowlands at Beaver Brook plains, with an allowance of one acre per person and likewise for cattle, John Whitney received ten acres, 28 February 1636 (WTR 1:6). The next year he received another ten acres (WTR 1:10). His other possessions granted to him included two acres of meadow at Beaver brook, ten acres of remote meadow and the eighty- third lot, ten acres of plow land, one acre of meadow in Pond Meadow, one acre of meadow, eighteen acres of upland beyond the further plain and the forty fifth lott, six acres of upland (WTR 1:85).
Richard Woodward sold John Whitney nine acres in Watertown on the little plain bordering Whitney's land on 16 limo 1646 for "six pounds...forty shillings a yeare in Corne...in wheate, or Rie, or pease, or Indian, some of each as God shalbe pleased to afford us" between limo 1647 and 1649 (Middlesex Deed 1:150-151). Thomas Arnold discharged the debt and acknowledged Whitney's title to the land in another deed dated 27 October 1661 (Middlesex Deed 3:445). John Whitney, "Taylor" bought six acres of land near the "Little Playne" from Robert Daniel on 6 2mo 1653 (Middlesex Deed 1:192). After moving from Watertown to Providence, RI, Thomas and Phebe Arnold sold seventeen acres of land in Watertown to John Whitney on 20 October 1662 (Middlesex Deed 2:259).
John Whitney is seen many times in the records with Thomas Arnold, in both friendly and adversarial relationships. He accused Arnold in court for absenting himself from public worship.
- Mr Jno. Whitney & Henry Bright attested uppon oath that Thomas Arnold had to their best knowledge absented himself from the publike ordinances of Christ on the Lords dayes for a full yeare last past. Thomas Arnold pleaded that he had bin absent severall dayes by warding and cow keeping &c. wch he could not make appeare (Pulsifer, 72).
Arnold was given a reduced fine 3 2mo 1655.
In 1649 when Thomas Arnold was granted a small patch of land near his house, John Whitney Sr. was to set it out so that it did not prejudice the highway (WTR 1:19). For an unspecified service to the town, John Whitney received 2s 9d in 1651 (WTR 1:25).
John Whitney was a selectman in 1637 (WTR 1:3) and served again in 1647 and 1650 (WTR 1:10, 20). "Mr Whetny is chosen to take the Invoyce for the towne: and to have lOs for his paines; and to take Land and cattell as it was to the Country rate" (WTR 1:14).
He was paid £1.1.0 by the town in 1653 (WTR 1:41) and as town clerk, wrote out the receipt of the town's account that year (WTR 1:4041). In 1654 Mr. Whitney testified against Robert Daniel when Daniel was charged with failing to fence his land like the rest of the commoners (WTR 1:37). He was charged with making the ministry rate in 1654 (WTR 1:39).
In 1663, Watertown paid Thomas Torball 8s "for Tho whitnies Child" perhaps indicating that Whitney had a grandson who was a town charge (WTR 1:77) which seems likely in light of "Thomas whetney (in regard of his present nessesity) shall have the one half of his Sallery payd him in hand" for whipping dogs out of the meetinghouse upon the Sabbath (WTR 1:81).
John Whitney witnessed the deed of Reana Daniel to John's son, John Jr. on 7 limo 1656 (Middlesex Deed 3:364).
John Whitney gave a tract of thirty-nine acres to his son, Jonathan, in 1659, but never made a formal deed for it. Five years later, on 10 November 1664, John acknowledged that he had given the land to his son (Middlesex Deed 3:79).
About two months before his death, John Whitney Sr. made his will:
- I John Whitney Senior of Watertown, in ye County of Middlesex: being perfect and sound in memory and understanding blessed be God for it: doo declare this to be my last will and testament in manner and form as followeth
- F[ir]st I commit my spint into ye hand of god yt gave it; and my body unto ye earth whence it was taken:
- 2 ly. I give unto my son John Whitney: my meadow called beever-brook meadow with ye upland yt doth apertane thereto: and a yoake of oxen: or nine pounds ten shillings: and ten acres of my land called devedent land and a trunke and one palre of sheets and one paire of piliow beers and two pewter dishes a great one and a small one: and the bed whereon I lie with all ye furniture thereunto belonging.
- 3 ly. I give unto my son Richard Whitney: ten acres of my land called devedend and two cows and a great sea chest.
- 4 ly. I give unto my son Thomas Whitney ten acres of my land called devedend and two cows and a sad colored sute namely a paire of breeches and a close coate and pewter dish.
- 5 ly. I give unto my son Jonathan Whitney: one fron kittle and a great brass skillit.
- 6 ly. I give unto my son Joshua Whitney: twenty acres of my land called devedend: and a cubard and a little table and a cheste and a great kittle and a warming pan and a skillit.
- 7 ly. I give unto my son Benjamin Whitney: the old mare if she live:
- 8 ly. My wili is yt what of my estate be left over after all is paid out as abeve sd namely of my movables yt it be equally divided betweene my executors and I doo nominate and apoynt my well beloved son John Whitney and Joshuah Whitney; to be my executors to this my Will and testament and doo desire my loving frind Wililam Bond Senior: to see yt this my will be performed according to ye true intent of it as is aforesaid and doo set to my hand this 3rd of Aprill: 1673.
- This is an Inventory of ye estate of Mr. John Whitnie Senior: taken this 4th of June, 1673: by us whose names are hereunto subscribed.
Imprs: Wearing cloths. a sad colorid Sute coat and breeches: 1.10.0 ye rest of bethe linin and woolin and shoos stoclins hats gloves: being much wome: 2.10.0 ye bed whereon he lay with all the furniture thereunto belonging 5.0.0 three pillow beers three sheets and three small old table cloaths 1.0.0 an old fether bolster and fether pillow 0.12.0 A sea chest 0.14.0 two old chests an old trunk an old box and an old cubard 0.14.0 two old tables one forme four old chairs 1.0.0 three pewter platters and basson a sacer an old great pot an old pewter bode and a chamber pot 0.12.0 a brass kitle 2 brass skillits a brass skimer a warming pan a small brass morter a litle ladle of brass 1.2.0 an iron pot and pot hooks a tramell a iron kitle a spit a smoothing iron and two old frieing pans 1.5.0 three earthen vessells a great grater two cheeny dishes a dozen of trenchers a wooden dish three chees moals 0.3.0 a small trevet a paire of tongs and a small paire of scalls pund and haif ain weights a spindle for a wheele and a iron bullet 0.2.0 a churne and other lumber 0.5.0 foure cows 10.0.0 two oxen 9.10.0 an old mare 2.10.0 an old saddle and pillon 0.10.0 an old paire of hoops and boxes for a cart a peire of iron pins for ye extree a paire of lince pins and washers 0.10.0 a chaine a iron bar a spoone of iron an old adze a set for a saw 2 wedges and an iron pin for a cart a hay crouse and other old iron 0.12.0 a grind stone with ye iron to it 0.4.0 an old hame a cart rope an old bage 2 old cushions 0.12.0 fifty acres of land called dividend 25.0.0 three acres of meadow at Beever brooke with an acre and half of upland to it 20.0.0 an acre of meadow called plaine meadow 10.0.0 a forke and shovall 0.2.0 also... 0.14.0 Joseph Underwood William Bond Nathan Fiske Senior. At a court at Charlestown 17.4.1673 Sworn by ye executors (Middlesex Probate #24680)
Children of John1 and Elinor (-----) Whitney were as follows:
i. Mary2 Whitney; bapt. 23 May 1619, Isleworth, Middlesex, England; bur. 15 Feb 1626/27, St. Mary Aldermary, London, England. ii. John Whitney, bapt. 14 Sep 1621, Isleworth, Middlesex, England; m. Ruth Reynolds. iii. Richard Whitney, bapt. 6 Jan 1623/24, Isleworth, Middlesex, England; m. Martha Coldam. iv. Nathaniel Whitney; b. circa 1625, London, England. Although he immigrated with his family in 1635, he was not mentioned in his father's will on 3 Apr 1673 at Watertown, MA and is presumed to have died before then. No known descendants. v. Thomas Whitney; bapt. 10 Dec 1627, St. Mary Aldermary, London, England; m. Mary Kedall. vi. Mary Whitney; bapt. 29 Dec 1629, St. Mary Aldermary, London, England; d. before 1635 at London?, England. She is assumed to have died, although no record of death has been found. She did not emigrate with the rest of the family in 1635. vii. Jonathan Whitney, b. 1634, London, England; m. Lydia Jones. viii. Joshua Whitney, b. 15 Jul 1635, Watertown, MA; m.(1) Mary (-----) Buckmaster; m.(2) Abigail Tarbell. ix. Caleb Whitney, birth record not found, bur. 12 Jul 1640, Watertown, MA. x. Benjamin Whitney, b. 6 Jun 1643, Watertown, MA; m.(1) Jane -----; m.(2) Mary Poor.
There were no children of John1 and Judah (-----)(Clement) Whitney.
1.^ His parentage is established by his baptismal record and his apprenticeship records with the Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors, as above.
2.^ John Whitney, son of Thomas, was baptized 20 July 1592, according to the parish register, St. Margaret's, Westminster, England.
3.^ "John Whetny, widower, d. 1 Jun 1673 aged about 84 yeares," according to Watertown Records, Comprising the First and Second Book of Town Proceedings, with the Land Grants and Possessions. Also, the Proprietors' Book, and the First Book of and Supplement of Births, Deaths, and Marriages, Watertown, MA: Historical Society, 1894, p. 36.
4.^ The date of their marriage was before the baptism of their oldest child.
5.^ The given names Elinor, Ellin, or Ellen are found in the records of the baptisms and births of their children, the ship list, and her death record.
7.^ "John Whetny & Judah Clement, m. 29 Sep 1659," according to Watertown Records, vol. 1, p. 22. See also William Montgomery Clemens, American Marriage Records Before 1699 and Frederick W. Bailey, ed., Early Massachusetts Marriages Prior to 1800 (1897-1914), 3 vols.
11.^ "Founders of New England", NEHGR, vol. XIV (1860), pp. 300-342, pp. 308-309. Apparently the same passenger list can be found in Mass. Hist. Coll, Third Series, Vol. X, p. 24.
12.^ Henry Austin Whitney, "The Descendants of John and Elinor Whitney, of Watertown, Mass.," NEHGR, vol. XI (1857), pp. 113-121, 225-230, p. 113. He cites a map in Henry Bond, Genealogies of the Families and Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts, Including Waltham and Weston (2nd ed., Watertown, MA: 1860). For a discussion of John1 Whitney's land holdings, see William H. Whitney, A Watertown Farm in Eight Generations: A Memorial of the Whitney Family (Cambridge, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, and Watertown Historical Society, 1898), pp. 117-120, 132.
19.^ Dean Crawford Smith and Melinde Lutz Sanborn, The Ancestry of Eva Belle Kempton, 1878-1908. Part I: The Ancestry of Warren Francis Kempton, 1817-1879 (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1996), pp. 528-533.
20.^ On 23 May 1619, "John Whitne, Ellen his wife, had there daughter Mary baptiz.", according to the parish register of All Saints Church, Isleworth, Middlesex, England.
21.^ On 15 Feb. 1626, Mary, dau. of John Whitney was buried, according to the parish register of St. Mary Aldermary, London, England.
22.^ On 14 Sep 1621, "John Whitne, & Ellin his wife, had John there son baptized.", according to the parish register of All Saints Church, Isleworth, Middlesex, England.
23.^ On 6 Jan 1623/4, "John Whitne, & Elinor his wife, had the[re] sone Richard baptized," according to the parish register of All Saints Church, Isleworth, Middlesex, England.
24.^ On 10 Dec 1627, Thomas, "sonn of John Whitne, dwelling in Bowe lanne" was baptized, according to the parish register of St. Mary Aldermary, London, England.
25.^ On 29 Dec 1629, Mary, daughter "of John Whitney, taylore, dwelling in Bowe lanne" was baptized, according to the parish register of St. Mary Aldermary, London, England.
Copyright © 2006, Robert L. Ward and The Whitney Research Group