Family:Whitney, John (1621-1692)

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John2 Whitney (John1), son of John1 and Elinor (-----) Whitney, was baptized 14 Sep 1621, Isleworth, co. Middlesex, England,[1] and died 12 Oct 1692 at Watertown, MA.[2]

John married about 1642,[3] Ruth Reynolds, daughter of Robert and Mary (-----) Reynolds.[4] She had been born in England, date and exact place unknown, and died after 27 May 1695, when she was living at Watertown, MA.[5]

In September, 1631, his father placed him in the Merchant Tailors school - where, according to the registers, he remained as long as the family were in England.[6] He was admitted 11 Dec 1631.{{ref|7))

He came to New England with his parents and his brothers in the "Elizabeth and Ann," from London, in April 1635. His age was recorded as 11 years, although he was 13.[7]

He and Ruth Reynolds lived in Watertown, MA, from the time of their marriage until his death, on a 3-acre lot on the east side of Lexington Street, on land granted to Edward How, and the next lot south of the residence of the Phillips family, and is probably the same ground occupied in 1855 by his great-great-grandson Bradshaw Whitney. The ground is somewhat elevated, and there is little doubt that it is the "Whitney Hill" sometimes mentioned in the records.[8]

He was admitted freeman on 26 May 1647 at MA.[9]

Ruth (Reynolds) Whitney was mentioned in her father's will on 20 Apr 1658 at Boston, MA, as follows: "... my fowre daughters Children, that is to say, my dau. Ruth Whitney and to her Eldest sonne ..."[10]

He was selectman of Watertown in 1673, 1674, 1675, 1676, 1678, and 1679.[11]

He was mentioned in his father's will on 3 Apr 1673 at Watertown, MA.[12]

The probate of his estate consists of seven documents:

  1. Will dated February 27, 1685 is incomplete, names children, John, Nathaniel, Samuel, Joseph, Benjamin, Ruth (Lawrence), Mary (unmarried), Sarah (Harrington), Elizabeth (Warren), Hannah (unmarried).
  2. Bond of adminstrators, widow Ruth Whitney, sons John Whitney and Benjamin Whitney.
  3. Agreement for distribution mostly according to will.
  4. Inventory and appraisal October 26, 1692.
  5. Report to judge of committee for distribution of estate approved March 24, 1692/3, and agreement of heirs, excepting Samuel & Mrs. Warren.
  6. Account May 27, 1695 names for a small share William Shattuck son of George Shattuck [sic: probably should be William, son of Jno. Shattuck, who was a grandson--R.L.W.].
  7. Release of administrators by heirs excepting Nathaniel, Samuel, and Mrs. Warren.[13]

The inventory of his estate was taken 26 Oct 1692 at Watertown, MA, by Elnathan Beers and Thomas Hammond. It embraced 18 lots or parcels of land, amounting to about 210 acres, and prized at £197-15s, including one lot of 17 acres "purchased of father Arnold." On 23 Dec 1692, Ruth Whitney, relict widow of John Whitney late of Watertown, John Whitney, and Benjamin Whitney, as principals, and Munning Sawin and Joseph Whitney of Watertown as sureties, posted administration bond at Watertown; Ruth Whitney made her mark "RW", John Whitney signed, Benjamin Whitney made his mark "B". The inventory was attested to by the administrators the same day. On 12 Mar 1692/93 an agreement was made at Watertown, MA, between Ruth Whitney, widow of John Whitney, late of Watertown, decd., and John Whitney, Nathanll. Whitney, Samuel Whitney, Joseph Whitney, and Benjamin Whitney, sons of said John Whitney, decd., also Enoch Lawrence, Daniel Herrington, and Daniel Warren his sons-in-law, and Mary and Hannah his daughters unmarried, concerning the settlement of his estate; that the said John Whitney decd. left at his death an imperfect will signifying how he wanted his estate disposed after his death, they all have agreed that with alterations, the will should be the rule of the division of the estate. The daughters were each to receive £10 from John Whitney and £10 from Benjamin Whitney within 10 years of the widow's decease, and they relinquish interest in the orchard, but instead they would be paid within 10 years from this date; sons Nathaniel, Samuel, and Joseph Whitney were each to pay 50s to each of their sisters within five years of the widow's decease, but instead they would be paid within 5 years from this date; lands were to be given to the sons without the entail specified in the will; signed by Benjamin Whitney, Phillip Shattuck (attorney to Enoch Lawrence), Daniel Herington and Sary his wife, John Whitney, Nathanael Whitney, Joseph Whitney; mark made by Ruth Whitney and Mary Whitney. On 13 Mar 1692/93 at Watertown, MA, Ruth Whitney, widow of Jno. Whitney; John Whitney; Joseph Whitney; Nathanll. Whitney; Benjamin Whitney; Phillip Shattuck, attorney to Enoch Lawrence and Ruth his wife; Mary Whitney; Danll. Herrington and Sarah his wife; and Hannah Whitney; agreed to all the articles and agreements settling the estate. On 27 Apr 1695 at Watertown, MA; joint receipt given to John Whitney and Benjamin Whitney for their share of the estate of their father, signed by John Whitney, Benjamin Whitney (by mark), Joseph Whitney, William Shattuck in behalf of Phillip Shattuck, Marey Whitney (by mark), Daniel Herington, and Hannah Whitney (by mark); witnessed by Saml. Gookin, William Shattuck, and Pelatiah Whittemore; acknowledged by all the signers 6 May 1695.[14]

Children of John2 and Ruth (Reynolds) Whitney, all b. at Watertown, MA:

i. John3 Whitney, b. 17 Sep 1643[15]; m. Elizabeth Harris.
ii. Ruth Whitney, b. 15 Mar 1645 [1644/5];[16] m.(1) John Shattuck; m.(2) Enoch Lawrence.
iii. Nathaniel Whitney, b. 1 Feb 1646/47;[17] m.(1) Sarah Hagar; m.(2) Sarah (Shepard) Goble.
iv. Samuel Whitney, b. 28 Jul 1648;[18] m. Mary Bemis.
v. Mary Whitney, b. 23 Apr 1650;[19] baptized 29 Apr 1650 at Watertown, MA; unmarried on 6 May 1695, living at Watertown, MA.
vi. Joseph Whitney, b. 15 Jan 1651/52;[20] m. Martha Beach.
vii. Sarah Whitney, b. 17 Mar 1653/54;[21] m. Daniel Harrington.
viii. Elizabeth Whitney, b. 9 Jun 1656;[22] m. Daniel Warren.
ix. Hannah Whitney, b. say 1658; unmarried on 6 May 1695, living at Watertown, MA.
x. Benjamin Whitney, b. 28 Nov 1660;[23] m. Abigail Hagar.


1.^  "John Whitne, & Ellin his wife, had John there son baptized" on 14 Sep 1621, according to the parish register of Isleworth, co. Middlesex, England.

2.^  "John Whitny, d. 12 Oct 1692," 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. 65.

3.^  The date is estimated from the birth of their oldest child.

4.^  Her parentage is established by her father's will.

5.^  She was still alive on this date, when she acknowledged the distribution of her husband's estate.

6.^  Frederick C. Pierce, The Descendants of John Whitney (Chicago, IL: 1895), p. 17.

7.^  Robinson, Rev. Charles John, A Register of Scholars Admitted into Merchant Taylors' School, From A.D. 1562 to 1874, Compiled from Authentic Sources and Edited with Biographical Notices (Lewes: Farncombe & Co., 1882), p. 132.

8.^  "Founders of New England", NEHGR, vol. XIV (1860), pp. 300-342, pp. 308-309.

9.^  Pierce, op. cit., page 22. For a discussion of his 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, 132-133. 10.^  Rev. Lucius R. Paige, "List of Freemen.", NEHGR, vol. III, (1849), p. 181.

11.^  Mr. William B. Trask, "Abstracts of Early Wills", NEHGR, vol. IX, (1855), pp. 137-138.

12.^  Henry Bond, Genealogies of the Families and Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts, Including Waltham and Weston (2nd ed., 1860), page 643.

13.^  Middlesex County, MA, Probate Records, File No. 24680.

14.^  William H. Whitney, op. cit., pp. 132-133.

15.^  Middlesex County, MA, Probate Records, File No. 24681.

16.^  "John Whetny, s. John & Ruth Whetny, b. 17 Sep 1643," according to Watertown Vital Records, vol. 1, p. 10.

17.^  "Ruth Whetny, d. John & Ruth Whetny, b. 15 1m 1645," according to Watertown Vital Records, vol. 1, p. 12.

18.^  "Nathanell Whetny, s. John & Ruth Whetny, b. 1 12m 1646," according to Watertown Vital Records, vol. 1, p. 12.

19.^  "Samuel Whetny, s. John & Ruth Whetny, b. 28 5m 1648," according to Watertown Vital Records, vol. 1, p. 13.

20.^  "Mary Whetny, d. John & Ruth Whetny, b. 23 2m 1650," according to Watertown Vital Records, vol. 1, p. 14.

21.^  "Joseph Whitny, s. John & Ruth Whitny, b. 15 Jan 1651 [1651/2]," according to Watertown Vital Records, vol. 1, p. 15.

22.^  "Sarah Whetney, d. John & Ruth Whetny, b. 17 Mar 1653," according to Watertown Vital Records, vol. 1, p. 16.

23.^  "Elizabeth Whetny, d. John & Ruth Whetny, b. 9 Jun 1656," according to Watertown Vital Records, vol. 1, p. 18.

24.^  "Benjamin Whetny, s. John & Ruth Whetny, b. 28 9mo 1660," according to Watertown Vital Records, vol. 1, p. 23.

Copyright © 1999, 2006, 2012, Robert L. Ward and the Whitney Research Group.