Family:Whitney, John (1716-a1757)

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John4 Whitney (Nathaniel3, Benjamin2, John1), son of Nathaniel3 and Sarah (Ford) Whitney, was born 17[1] or 27 Nov 1716, Sherborn, MA.[2]

Marriage intentions for him "of Harwich" and Jerusha Knowles "of Eastham" were published 25 Aug 1739, Harwich, MA.[3] He married firstly, 20 Sep 1739, Eastham, MA, Jerusha Knowles,[4] daughter of Samuel and Bethia (Brown) Knowles, married by Rev. Joseph Crocker. She was born 9 Mar 1719/20, Eastham, MA.

He married secondly, about 1744, Nantucket, MA, Margaret (Coffin) Gardner, daughter of Josiah and Elizabeth (Coffin) Coffin.[5] She was born 9 Jul 1721, Nantucket, MA. She married firstly, Shubael Gardner, son of Joseph and Ruth (Coffin) Gardner. She was also known as Peggy Coffin.

He married thirdly, about 1753, York, ME, Hephzibah (Adams) Adams, daughter of Hezekiah and Mary (Weare) Adams.[6] She was born 11 Apr 1720, York, ME. She married firstly, 30 Dec 1739, York, ME, Richard Adams.

He was also known as Dr. John Whitney. History of Gorham, Maine pg 827: "was a physician." He was admitted into full communion.

Children of John4 and Jerusha (Knowles) Whitney:

i. John5 Whitney, b. 2 Sep 1740, Eastham, MA;[7] d. after 9 May 1751.
ii. Josiah Whitney, b. 7 Nov 1741, Eastham, MA;[8] m. Hannah Turner.
iii. Seth Whitney, b. 5 Feb 1742/3, Eastham, MA.[9]
iv. Nathaniel Whitney, b. say 1744; d. after 9 May 1751.

Children of John4 and Margaret (Coffin)(Gardner) Whitney:

v. Mary5 Whitney, bapt. 1 Apr 1744, Kittery, ME.
vi. Sarah Whitney, b. 22 Apr 1747, Sherborn, MA;[10] m. James Coffin.
vii. Margaret Whitney, b. 22 Jul 1749, York, ME;[11] m.(1) Robert Barnard; m.(2) John Sargent.
viii. John Coffin Whitney, b. 6 Nov 1751, York, ME;[12] m. ----- -----.

Children of John4 and Hephzibah (Adams)(Adams) Whitney, both born York, ME:

ix. Hephzibah5 Whitney, b. 30 Jun 1755;[13] m. Joseph Dunham.
x. Miriam Adams Whitney, b. 6 May 1757;[14] m. Thomas Talpe.

Abstracts of York County, Maine Deeds Mentioning Dr. John Whitney:

Grantor Book #46, ppg. 129 left & 130 right: John Whitney to his wife Hephzibah

John Whitney of York, York Co., Province of Massachusetts Bay, physician, sends greetings. His wife, Hephzibah, by descent from her father Hezehiah, deceased, is entitled to an estate, both real and personal, and also from her late husband Richard Adams, and from her deceased father-in-law, Samuel Adams. She has also, by her own trade of merchandise, business, and industry acquired some other estate, which lies in goods and debts outstanding. John Whitney hereby grants to Hephzibah free liberty power and authority, by him never to be revoked, to go on in her trade and business of shopkeeping and merchandise (so that she in no way involves or troubles him thereby) and to make her will and testament. She may therefore dispose of the estate and whatever she may acquire on her own trade business and industry and bequeath same in any such manner and to anyone she shall meet. John renounces any claim he may have on said estates. Sealed on 16 January 1759 by John Whitney Recorded 16 November 1780 Witnesses: Daniel Moulton and Nathaniel Whitney

Grantor Book #35, pg. 192 Left John Whitney to Daniel Moulton, Esq.

John Whitney of York, York Co., Province of Massachusetts Bay, physician, for consideration of forty-seven pounds, thirteen shillings, sells to Daniel Moulton, Esq. all of his land except the one-quarter of an acre of land on which he resides in York. It is the land which he previously purchased from Joseph Colburn, and the boundaries of the land are described. Included are the dwelling house, barn, and fences as they were purchased from Joseph Coburn. He owns them in his own right in fee simple and has the full right and authority to convey the property. Sealed on 5 February 1759 by John Whitney Witnesses: Abel Moulton and Joshua Simpson

Grantor Book #35, pg. 243 right: John Whitney to Joseph Parsons

John Whitney of York in the County of York, physician, for consideration of seven pounds, one shilling, paid by Joseph Parsons, blacksmith, sells to him all those ten shares in the lot or tract of land called number four in the eighth range of the division of the outer commons in York. Six shares of this land had been granted to his Honored Father Nathaniel Whitney. The other four shares had been originally granted to John Thompson, and he had purchased them from his father Nathaniel Whitney by a deed dated 3 March 1760. Then land now lays in common and undivided. Sealed and recorded 6 November 1760 by John Whitney. Witnesses: Daniel and Hannah Moulton.

Grantor Book #46, pg. 130 Left and Right: John Whitney and wife to Job Lyman

John Whitney of York, York County, Province of Massachusetts Bay, physician, and his wife Hephziba acknowledge the receipt of twelve pounds and four shillings paid to them by Job Lyman of York. This is payment for the sale to him of one-third of the approximately eleven acres that they had previously assigned to Hephzibah’s mother Mary Adams, the widow of Hezekiah Adams and the father of Hephzibah, as her dower in the said Hezekiah’s estate. The land is now in the tenure and occupation of the said Job Lyman. Signed, Sealed and Delivered on 1 January 1774 by John and Hephzibah Whitney. Witnesses: Miriam Whitney and David Sewall. David Sewall, Justice of the Peace, records that on 3 January 1774, Hephzibah Whitney in person and the attorney for John Whitney appeared before him and acknowledged that this instrument was both their voluntary acts of deed. Recorded 16 November 1780.

Grantor Book #43, pg. 258 right: Hephzibah Whitney to Richard Adams

Hapzibah Whitney of York, York County, widow, sends greetings. In 1772, Richard Adams, mariner, of York conveyed by deed to David Sewall, Esq. for the use of Hephzibah all his right and interest in the dwelling house in York which to him descended and came from his late father Richard Adams. The premises are now in her actual tenure and possession. In respect to the premises, Hephzibah is pursuing an award made by Jonathan Sayward, Joseph Simpson and Job Lyman, Esq., and in consideration of ten shillings paid by her to the said Richard Adams conveys to him the house and lands conveyed to her in 1772 for her use. She retains one-third of the premises for her own use during her natural life, this third being the same that was formerly assigned her as dower of her husband Adams’ estate, and the remaining two-thirds of the premises are to be for her sole use for the term of five years, if she lives that long. Thereafter, the whole property will revert to the said Richard Adams. Sealed at York 13 October 1775 by Hephzibah Whitney Acknowledged by Hephzibah Whitney 9 July 1776 Recorded 6 August 1776 Witnesses: Jonathan Frost and David Sewall

Grantor Book #48, pg. 124 left. Hephzibah Whitney to Joseph Dunham

Hepsabeth Whitney of York in the County of York, Widow, for the love and good will she has and does bare, freely gives to her son in law Joseph Dunham, Ship Captain, and his wife Hepsabeth Dunham of York one-half a pew in the meeting house gallery in the First Parish in York, which she owns and is in possession of. Sealed 23 March 1783 by Hepsabah Whitney Witnesses: Sarah Grow and Abraham Howell Recorded on 24 January 1785.


In the 1759 deeds, one can detect some problems in the marriage of Dr. John and Hephzibah Whitney. John is allowing Hephzibah to conduct in her life and her business without any interference from him. He also gives her total control of all of the assets she has inherited from her family and first husband. All of this so long as she causes him no trouble. Dr. John Whitney then sells all of his land in York, except the quarter-acre parcel upon which he resides. It appears he is down-sizing.

In 1760, Dr. John Whitney continues to down-size. He sells his shares of the common land in York that he inherited from his father, Nathaniel Whitney. This proves that Dr. John Whitney is the son of the land-owner of York, Maine, Nathaniel Whitney, who was born there in 1680.

In 1774, both Dr. John and Hephzibah Whitney are still alive, as they both agree to sell off the lands inherited from her family. By 1775, Dr. John Whitney is deceased, as Hephzibah is said to be a widow. She is down-sizing her property holdings, while at the same time providing for herself in her old age. In 1783, she remains alive, but probably finds it difficult to attend church services, as she gives her pew in the meeting house to her son-in-law.


  • 1790: not found.
  • 1800: not found.
  • 1810: not found.


It is obvious that Dr. John4 Whitney moved around a lot. All is as I believe to be correct, with the exception of his son Nathaniel5. See Archive:NEHGR, Volume 79 for him. The date of marriage and the dates of birth and baptism of the other children make it hard to place him among them. I suppose it's possible that Dr. John either had two wives at the same time, one in Eastham and one in Nantucket/York, or else he fathered a child out of wedlock by Margaret, and then married her later. Another possibility is that Seth, of whom we have no further record beyond his birth, was renamed Nathaniel. Another possibility is that the guardianship record is faulty, and got the name of the younger son wrong.

I don't know how to reconcile the records. I tried to fit Nathaniel in in 1744, but that's obviously a problem.


1.^  Source?

2.^  "John [Whitney], s. of Nathaniel and Sarah, [born] Nov. 27, 1716," according to Thomas W. Baldwin, ed., Vital Records of Sherborn, Massachusetts, to the Year 1850 (Boston, MA: 1911).

3.^  "John [Whitney], Dr., of Harwich, and Mrs. Jerushah Knowls of Eastham, int. 25 Aug 1739," according to Louise H. Kelley and Dorothy Straw, Vital Records, Town of Harwich, Massachusetts, 1694-1850 (Harwich, MA: Harwich Historical Society, 1982).

4.^  "John [Whitney] of Harwich and Jerusha Knowls of Eastham, [married] Sept. 20, 1739, in Eastham, by Mr. Joseph Crocker, an ordained Minister in Eastham," according to "Vital Records of Eastham, Massachusetts," Mayflower Descendant, XVII, XIX.

5.^  "John [Whitney], M.D., of Boston and Margaret Coffin, d. Maj. Josiah and Elizabeth (Coffin), [married] ___ __ ____*, P.R.38," according to Vital Records of Nantucket, Massachusetts, to the Year 1850 (Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1925-1928). Also, "John Whitney his Children born of his Wife Margaret the Daughter of Josiah Coffin Esqr. of Sherbourn on the Island of Nantucket," according to Lester MacKenzie Bragdon and John E. Frost, Vital Records of York, Maine, prior to 1892 (Rockport, Maine: Picton Press, 1992).

6.^  "John [Whitnee], s. Dr. John, [born] Sept. 2, 1740," according to Eastham Vital Records.

7.^  "Josiah [Whitnee], s. Dr. John, [born] Nov. 7, 1741," according to Eastham Vital Records.

8.^  "Seth [Whitnee], s. Dr. John, [born] Feb. 5, 1742/3," according to Eastham Vital Records.

9.^  "Sarah Whitney [d. of Dr. John and Margaret (Coffin)] was born at Sherbourn aforesd Aprl 22d. 1747," according to Lester MacKenzie Bragdon and John E. Frost, Vital Records of York, Maine, prior to 1892 (Rockport, Maine: Picton Press, 1992).

10.^  "Margaret Whitney [d. of Dr. John and Margaret (Coffin)] born in York July 22d. 1749," according to Lester MacKenzie Bragdon and John E. Frost, Vital Records of York, Maine, prior to 1892 (Rockport, Maine: Picton Press, 1992).

11.^  "John Coffin Whitney [s. of Dr. John and Margaret (Coffin)] born in York Novr 6- 1751," according to Lester MacKenzie Bragdon and John E. Frost, Vital Records of York, Maine, prior to 1892 (Rockport, Maine: Picton Press, 1992).

12.^  "John Whitney's Children born in York of's wife Hephzibah the Daughter of Hezekiah Adams decd.," according to Lester MacKenzie Bragdon and John E. Frost, Vital Records of York, Maine, prior to 1892 (Rockport, Maine: Picton Press, 1992).

13.^  "Hephzibah Whitney [s. of Dr. John and Hephzibah (Adams)] born June 30th 1755," according to Lester MacKenzie Bragdon and John E. Frost, Vital Records of York, Maine, prior to 1892 (Rockport, Maine: Picton Press, 1992).

14.^  "Miriam Adams Whitney [s. of Dr. John and Hephzibah (Adams)] born May 6th. 1757," according to Lester MacKenzie Bragdon and John E. Frost, Vital Records of York, Maine, prior to 1892 (Rockport, Maine: Picton Press, 1992).

15. York County, Maine Registry of Deeds, Alfred, Maine.

Copyright © 1999, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, Robert L. Ward, Kenneth L. Whitney, and the Whitney Research Group.