Family:Whitney, William (s1708-a1792)

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William5 Whitney ([poss.]Thomas4, Thomas3, Thomas2, John1), possibly son of Thomas4 and Mary (Baker) Whitney, was born say 1708.

William married, say 1740, Sarah -----. She was born say 1720, and died 22 Feb 1768.

On 24 Sep 1782, William WHITNEY deeded 60 acres of land in southerly part of Sterling and 11 acres in Sterling on Holden town line to Joseph WHITAKER. Consideration £400. Worcester Deeds Vol. 87:113. FHL microfilm 843,364. On 3 Oct 1787, William WHITNEY deeded 2 acres of land lying in Holden bounded easterly and northerly on land of Joseph WHITAKER and southerly upon the river. Grantee Joseph WHITAKER. Consideration £1 10s. Recorded 12 March 1788. Worcester Deeds Vol. 103:448. FHL microfilm 0843,371. On 15 Aug 1792, William WHITNEY deeded 35 acres in easterly part of Holden easterly bound of parcel on land of Joseph WHITAKER. Land was deeded for "love and good will to my son Joseph WHITAKER". Worcester Deeds Vol. 115:527. FHL microfilm 844,340.[1]

William WHITNEY was "one of the early settlers of this town [West Boylston] and resided on premises situated in the northwest part of the town."[2]

From a post on the Whitney surname bulletin board at[3]

William Whitney, in 1728 became one of the first white Settlers on Land known as the Shrewsbury Leg, which includes the present day Oakdale, and West Sterling, (Worcester Co.) MA.
William Whitney (wife unknown) is thought to be from LEXINGTON, MA. The General Court in Boston appointed a committee to settle the Town of Shrewsbury and granted it 1500 acres. William was deeded 600 acres of this grant with the requirement that "He fell the Trees, build a house, and Farm the land, within 2 years". For the first 2 years He lived in a hollow of a Log according to Family Tradition. Today this cabin is part of a House which is still in my wife's family.
Wm Whitney had 3 daughters: 1. Sarah (1751-1791) m. 8 Oct 1772 Samuel Mason (1749-1839); 2. Mary (ca.1745-1801) m. Joseph Whitaker (b.1746); 3. Esther (1743-1831) m. William Thomas. Esther became the step-mother of Robert B. Thomas (1766-1846) mathematician and publisher of the Noted Old Farmers Almanac of 1793. (Esther is buried at the Leg Cem., Sterling, MA.) William Whitney was still living in 1792 as he deeded his son-in-law land.
William Thomas married in 1782, Esther Whitney, who survived him and died in 1831, aged 88. Her mother (Mrs. Whitney), who died 22 Feb. 1768, kept an Almanac. The above dates were on this old Almanac. The Almanac also stated that 4 May "Timothy Whitney came to work for me." Also - June of 1769 "Whitney cow calved".

Children of William5 and Sarah (-----) Whitney:

i. Esther6 Whitney, b. circa 1743 (calculated from age on gravestone); d. 27 Dec 1831, Sterling, MA, aged 88 years; m. 10 Sep 1781, Princeton, MA, William Thomas, both "of Sterling",[4] as his second wife.
ii. John Whitney, bapt. 15 May 1743 at Lancaster, MA.[5]
iii. Mary Whitney, b. circa 1745; d. 1801; m. (int. 17 Jan 1771, Lancaster, MA[6]) 25 Apr 1771, Lancaster, MA, Joseph Whitaker, "both of Lancaster",[7] son of Joseph and Hannah (Guile) Whitaker.
iv. Sarah Whitney, b. 1751; d. 1791; "of Lancaster" m. (int. 20 May 1772, Lancaster, MA;[8] 26 May 1772, Winchendon, MA[9]) 8 Oct 1772, Lancaster, MA, Samuel Mason "of Winchendon".


  • 1790: not found.
  • 1800: not found.


1.^  Margaret Swanson e-mail, 2 Mar 2003.

2.^  Benjamin F. Keyes, Historical Memorandum and Genealogical Register of the Town of West Boylston, Massachusetts From its Early Settlement to 1858 (Worcester: Spy Printing House, 1861) FHL 974.43/W4 D2k, page 38.

3.^  Wm Whitney, 1728 Settler, of Sterling, MA (Mason, Whitaker, Thomas Families), posted by J. C. Priest, 14 Nov 2002, on the Whitney message board at

3.^  "Esther [Whitney] and William Thomas, both of Sterling, [married] Sept. 10, 1781," according to Franklin P. Rice, ed., Vital Records of Princeton, Massachusetts, to the End of the Year 1849 (1902).

4.^  "John Whitney, s. of William and Sarah, bap. May 15, 1743 'at Doctor Dunsmore's house after meeting it being incapable of being brought out to Baptism in the congregation. It being dangerously sick and could not be stirred,'" according to Henry S. Nourse, ed., The Birth, Marriage and Death Register, Church Records and Epitaphs, of Lancaster, Massachusetts, 1643-1850 (Lancaster, MA: 1890), p. 292.

5.^  "Mary Whitney and Joseph Whettecor, b. of Lancaster, int. Jan. 17, 1771. T.R.1," according to Nourse, op. cit., p. 44.

6.^  "Mary Whitney and Joseph Whitaker, [married] Apr. 25, 1771. T.R.1," according to Nourse, op. cit., p. 103.

7.^  "Sarah [Whetney], of Lancaster, and Samuel Mason of Winchendon, int. May 20, 1772. T.R.1," according to Nourse, op. cit., p. 46.

8.^  "Sarah [Whitney] of Lancaster and Samuel Mason, int. May 26, 1772," according to Franklin P. Rice, ed., Vital Records of Winchendon, Massachusetts, to the End of the Year 1849 (1909).

Copyright © 1999, 2006-2008, 2010, Robert L. Ward and the Whitney Research Group

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