Archive:The Descendants of John Whitney, page 17

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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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1242 A. D. There are numerous records relating to Robert's son, "Sir Eustace De Wytteneye," and from the latter down an authentic account can be given of each head of the family in the long line. After more than four years of research and two visits to England, Henry Mel- ville, Esq., of the New York bar, has compiled and published a richly illustrated book entitled "THE ANCESTRY OF JOHN WHITNEY," which is the authority for the foregoing statements, and which those mentioned in the following pages as among the descendants of the latter will wish to see, and from the two works combined learn the names of their progenitors in unbroken series for eight hundred years.[NOTE] Of the life of Thomas Whitney nothing is certainly known beyond the following facts: On May 10, 1583, he obtained from the Dean and Chapter of Westminster a license to marry Mary, daughter of John Bray, in which he is described as "Thomas Whytney of Lambeth Marsh, gentleman," and on May 12th the marriage ceremony was performed in St. Margaret's. "Lambeth Marsh" is a name still applied to a locality near the Surrey end of Westminster bridge. There were born to him nine children, viz: Margaret, Thomas, Henry, Arnwaye, John, Nowell, Francis, Mary, and Robert, but only three, viz., John, Francis, and Robert, survived childhood. Of these John emigrated to Watertown, Mass., Francis died at Westminster in 1643, and Robert in the parish of St. Peters, Cornhill, London, in 1662. In 1611 it is recorded that Thomas paid the subsidy tax, and December 6, 1615, on the probate of the will of his father-in-law, John Bray, he was appointed executor. February 22, 1607, he apprenticed his son John, and November 8, 1624, his son Robert. The record of the latter, like the marriage license, describes him as a "gentleman." September 25, 1629, he buried his wife, and in April, 1637, died himself. His eldest surviving son, John, being then out of England, administration of his estate was, on May 8, 1637, granted to the other two, Francis and Robert. The accounts of the latter show that the deceased was in comfortable circum- stances. John, 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 Will- iam 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 resi- dence 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 "Eliza- beth 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 Lon- don, England. July, 1592, Thomas Whitney, son of Henry Whitney of Minehall, in the county of Surrey, gentleman, apprenticed to William Persie of Watling street. April 14, 1600, Thomas Whitney made free by Henry Pratt, his assigned master, from Mr. Rowe, who was his assigned master from William Persie, his first master. The report of Mr. Rowe for two years and by Mr. Persie for two years and three months, certified by their letters to Henry Pratt for the residue. June 23, 1593, Thomas Whitney, son of Nichols Whitney of Carsleton, in the county of Hereford, gentleman, deceased, apprenticed to Robert Davies of St. Andrews in Holborn. July 19, 1602, Thomas Whitney made free by Robert Davies, his master.

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