Archive:Which Ezra Whitney m. Sally Hooker

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Which Ezra Whitney m. 1785, Sally Hooker?

by Robert L. Ward

A. Whitney Brown wrote:

This web page I found through an Alta Vista search provides some interesting and well researched information on Ezra WHITNEY, b.1759, of VT and NY., as well as a passel of his ancestors and descendants. Perhaps they should be included in the John database. A. Whitney Brown.
Doyle Genealogical Database Individual

(Note: This page has since been updated to reflect the information below.--RLW)

The page cited describes a certain Ezra WHITNEY, d. 8 May 1842, Burns, Allegany Co., NY, his wife Sally HOOKER, and their children. He was a soldier in the American Revolution under Col. Joseph CILLEY in the First New Hampshire Regiment, during 1780, and his widow applied for a pension based on his service. The application (#R11485) states that he had been born in New Hampshire, and mentions a sister Lucretia (WHITNEY) FRANKLIN, b. ca. 1771, her older sisters, Ezra's marriage in Athens, Windham Co., VT, 22 Dec 1785, and their residence with their father in Rockingham, Windham Co., VT at the time of his enlistment in the army in 1780.

The page states, but the pension application does not, that this Ezra WHITNEY was b. 1759 in Douglas, MA. Another page at the same site describes his purported father, Ezra WHITNEY, who was born 22 Feb 1729/30, Framingham, MA. This older Ezra WHITNEY was Ezra5 WHITNEY [James4, John3, Jonathan2, John1], and his birth parentage are verified by the Framingham Vital Records and Pierce's WHITNEY genealogy.

The children of Ezra5 and Mercy (MORSE) WHITNEY are recorded in Douglas, MA, Vital Records as follows:

  1. Elizabeth, b. 29 Jun 1754, Douglas, MA, m. 3 Dec 1772, Douglas, Caleb HILL.
  2. Moses, b. 7 Mar 1757, Douglas, MA, m. 31 Dec 1780, Boxford, Hannah PALMER.
  3. Ezra, b. 29 Aug 1759, Douglas, MA.
  4. Samuel, b. 12 Oct 1760, Douglas, MA, m. 13 Dec 1781, Douglas, Azubah HILL.
  5. James, b. 15 Dec 1764, Douglas, MA, m. 18 Oct 1787, Douglas, Ruth KNAPP.
  6. Mercy, b. 27 Jan 1768, Douglas, MA, m. 10 Jan 1793, Douglas, Samuel REED, Jr.
  7. John, b. 26 Nov 1769, Douglas, MA.
  8. Mary, b. 12 Jun 1773, Douglas, MA, apparently d. young.
  9. Mary, b. 25 Aug 1776, Douglas, MA.
  10. Micah, b. 26 May 1778, Douglas, MA, 12 Feb 1795, Uxbridge, MA.

Ezra5 married secondly, 29 Nov 1795, Douglas, MA, Ruth (REED) KNAPP, and d. 24 Sep 1804 in Woodstock, CT, in his 75th year. He is listed in the U.S. Census of 1790, Massachusetts, Worcester Co., Douglas, as is his son Ezra6.

What is wrong with this picture? Several things. First of all, Ezra5 never lived in Rockingham, Windham Co., VT, especially during the Revolutionary War period. He was living then in Douglas, MA, and later moved (perhaps about 1794) to Uxbridge, MA, and then Woodstock, CT. Second of all, there is no sister Lucretia in this lengthy list of children.

There was an Ezra WHITNEY who lived in Rockingham, Windham Co., VT, however! On a list of residents of Rockingham for 1781 appear Ezra WHITNEY and Ezra WHITNEY, Jr. (CD #136: Colonial America -- Pre-1790, Census Index, Tax Lists, etc., by Automated Archives). It is this Ezra WHITNEY, Jr., who is without doubt the Revolutionary soldier. But who was he? I can find only one father/son pair named Ezra who are old enough to be these men: Ezra6 WHITNEY, b. 29 Nov 1760, Lunenburg, MA, son of Ezra5 and Agnes (-----) WHITNEY [John4, Isaiah3, Thomas2, John1].

What do we know about the family of this last man, Ezra5 WHITNEY? He was b. 24 Aug 1731, Harvard, MA, son of John4 and Rebecca4 (WHITNEY) WHITNEY. He married firstly a certain Agnes -----. It is alleged, with what authority I do not know, that her maiden name was ROSSITER. Pierce reports that it was ROSS. They had the following children recorded in Shirley, Lunenburg, and Montague, MA, vital records:

  1. son, b. 17 May 1756, Shirley.
  2. daughter, b. 18 Dec 1757, Shirley.
  3. Ezra, b. 29 Nov 1760, Lunenburg.
  4. Rebekah, b. 2 Jan 1762, Lunenburg.
  5. Agnes, b. 10 Apr 1767, Montague.

Additionally, the records of the First Church of Rockingham, VT, show, on 4 Aug 1776, "Propounded Agnis Whitney, having formerly own'd the Covenant."; on 25 Aug 1776, "Receiv'd Agnis Whitney into the Chh."; and finally, on 1 Sep 1776, "Baptiz'd Moses Agnis & Lucretia Children of Ezra & Agnis Whitney." (Thomas Bellows Peck, "Records of the First Church of Rockingham, Vermont, from Its Organization, Oct. 27, 1773, to Sept. 25, 1839," NEHGR LIV (1900), p. 201). Thus there were at least two additional children:

  1. Moses, b. say 1765, bp. 1 Sep 1776, Rockingham, VT.
  2. Lucretia, b. ca. 1771, bp. 1 Sep 1776, Rockingham, VT.

He is alleged by Pierce to have had a second wife Elizabeth -----. Presumably he moved to New Hampshire shortly after the birth of Agnes in 1767, and surely to Rockingham, VT, by 1776. Both Ezra5 and Ezra6 WHITNEY are listed in the 1790 Census, too, in Windham Co., VT.

What is wrong with this picture? Firstly, the birth of Ezra6 was not recorded in New Hampshire, but in Lunenburg, MA. Lunenburg is very close to the MA-NH state line. It is possible that he was born in NH and the birth recorded in MA. Apparently either he was already living there, or else he moved to New Hampshire at age about 8 years. This is a much better fit than the other pair of Ezra WHITNEYs mentioned above.

Further confirmatory details of this family might be found in the vital records of Vermont, and in the land and probate records of Worcester Co., MA, southern New Hampshire, and/or Athens, Rockingham, and Whitingham, Windham Co., VT. I have no information from these important sources. Hopefully someone will examine them and settle this issue definitively.

Anyone who can contribute to this discussion, feel free to chime in! I would be interested in exactly what Pierce says about these families, for example, since I do not own a copy.

James S. Kasch wrote:

... here is what I have in the WHITNEY line.
1] Ezra WHITNEY, b. Feb. 22, 1729/30, d. Sept. 24, 1804, wed Agnes Rositor
2] Lucretia Whitney, b. Nov. 4, 1771 Mass., d. Feb. 28, 1855 Allegany Co., NY, wed 1792 Providence Co., RI, Vial FRANKLIN, b. Aug. 8, 1774, Mass., d. April 27, 1833, Allegany Co., RI [sic: NY --RLW]
2] Moses Whitney
2] Agnis Whitney
Clearly this is the same family, although Jim has the wrong birthdate for the father and the death date of the wrong Ezra. He supplies the exact birthdate of Lucretia, as well and the forename of her husband, his birth, their marriage place and approximate date, and both their deaths. I find it very unusual that Lucretia, who was living in VT in the 1780's, should be married in Providence Co., RI, in 1792.

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