Family:Whitney, Josiah (1731-1806)

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Gen. Josiah5 Whitney (Richard4, Richard3, Richard2, John1), son of Richard and Hannah (Whitcomb) Whitney,[1] was born 12 Oct 1731,[2] and died 24 Jan 1806, Ashby, MA.[3]

He was also known as Capt. Josiah Whitney. He was also known as Col. Josiah Whitney.

Marriage intentions were published 9 Sep 1751, Stow, MA, for him and Sarah Farr.[4] He "of Stow" married, 9 Sep 1751, Ashby, MA, Sarah Farr "of Stow",[5] daughter of Stephen and Sarah (Bennett) Farr.[6] She was born 19 Jan 1734/5, Stow, MA,[7] and died 21 Apr 1773, Harvard, MA, in her 39th year.[8]

He married secondly, 3 Feb 1774, Harvard, MA, Sarah Dwelly,[9] daughter of Joseph and Mary (Randall) Dwelly.[10] She was born Bridgewater, MA. She was baptized 5 Oct 1746, Scituate, MA. She died 29 Feb 1816, Whitingham, VT, or 18 Feb 1817, Whitington, VT.

On 29 Mar 1806, Ashby, MA, administration bond was posted by Amos Wellington of Ashby, with Asa Kendall, Jr., Gent., and Abel Stearns, yeoman, of Ashby, as sureties, as administrator of the estate of Josiah Whitney, late of Ashby. On 7 Apr 1806, Ashby, MA, his inventory was taken by Allen Flagg, Abel Stearns, and Elisha Jones, total $135.78. On 10 Apr 1806, Ashby, MA, a petition was made by Luther Lawrence, attorney of Sarah Whitney of Ashby, widow of Josiah Whitney, late of Ashby; estate was insolvent. On 26 Apr 1806, Ashby, MA, an auction of personal estate was recorded; mentioned were Lemuel Whitney, Isaac Whitney, and Sarah Whitney.

Pierce says the following:[11]

The citizen of Harvard who held the highest military rank during the Revolutionary war was Col. Josiah WHITNEY. He was at that time the town's most noted and influential citizen and the leader of the majority in town, politics. He was born in Stow, the youngest son of Richard and Hannah (WHITCOMB) WHITNEY, his mother being a near relative of the veteran military leaders Col. Asa and Gen. John WHITCOMB. Sept. 2, 1746, his parents deeded to him land in Harvard, which he occupied soon after marriage. His dwelling stood nearly opposite the present almshouse until torn down in 1869, after it had served the town for forty-five years as a home for its paupers. He inherited a fondness for military affairs, and when about his majority he entered upon what later proved a most brilliant military record. In the spring of 1755 he was a member of the company commanded by Capt. William PIERCE, that marched in Col. WHITCOMB's regiment against the French and Indians at Crown Point. He was in the bloody battle at Lake George, Sept. 8, 1755, where the gallant Dieskau, leading a large force of French and Indians, was signally defeated by the undisciplined valor of the New England yeomanry led by Gen. Phineas LYMAN. From Aug. 13 to 26, 1757, he was a member of the foot company commanded by Capt. Israel TAYLOR that marched on the late alarm for the relief of Fort William Henry, as far as Springfield. Sept. 26, 1774, the town approved of the choice of officers of the two military companies. Capt. Josiah WHITNEY commanded the youngest company. He was also captain of the company for a few years prior to the above date. Dec. 19, 1774, the Continental Resolves were read before the town and they were approved. A committee was appointed to prepare a covenant to be signed by the inhabitants, in which they further pledged their adherence to independency. Josiah WHITNEY was appointed one of a committee of ten to inspect breaches of the covenant. April, 1775, the Provincial Congress, convened at Watertown, determined upon the establishment of an army of thirteen thousand men for the siege of Boston, expecting the other colonies to come to their assistance with twenty thousand more. Ten companies were to constitute a regiment as heretofore, but the complement was fixed at fifty-nine privates, two musicians, five corporals, four sergeants, one ensign, a lieutenant, and captain. The term of enlistment was for eight months. Col. Asa WHITCOMB, of Lancaster, was authorized to raise a regiment, and was one of the first to report his command complete. May 25 he announced his staff, of which Josiah WHITNEY, of Harvard, was lieutenant-colonel. His regiment had eleven companies, containing five hundred and sixty volunteers. It was the largest of the twenty-six Massachusetts regiments before Boston. April 10, 1776, Capt. Josiah WHITNEY was appointed to take command of a battalion of men raised by the state. Oct. 29 he was in camp at Hull with his regiment, and in a communication to the provincial council and house of representatives at Watertown, states, "though the pay of the state was small, yet my zeal for the liberties of my country was so great that I cheerfully undertook," etc. Upon the departure of the Continental army for New York, the Massachusetts militia was summoned to the defense of the coast. Two regiments were formed in April, 1776, for the defense of Boston harbor and stationed at Hull. For these the Continental organization was adopted which fixed the battalion complement at eight companies of ninety men each. It was one of these regiments that was commanded by Col. WHITNEY as stated above.
In July, 1777, the Massachusetts Council of War, suddenly aware of New England's peril if the victorious progress of BURGOYNE was not stayed, hurriedly sent heavy reinforcements of militia to aid Gen. Benj. LINCOLN, who was then harass- ing the rear of the invading army. Col. Josiah WHITNEY, on July 27 ordered a draft of one-sixth of the training bands and alarm lists in his regiment to march at once to Bennington with six days rations, and on Aug. 2 ordered one-half of the militia to follow with eight days rations. Jan. 13, 1778, he was chairman of a committee which had been appointed by the town "to take into consideration the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union of the United States of America Concerted on by Congress." The report urged the representative to use his best efforts to support our independency. In Aug. and Sept., 1778, a more determined attempt was made by the Continental forces to wrest Rhode Island from the enemy, an attack by the combined forces of the French and Americans, on land and water, being agreed upon. Again a tempest disarranged well-laid plans by driving the French fleet to sea, and the battle of Quaker's Hill closed with honor an unsuccessful campaign. The Second Worcester Regiment of militia, with its commander, Col. Josiah WHITNEY, took part in the operations in Rhode Island. May 23, 1780, the state constitution was submitted to the freemen, and after being read, paragraph by paragraph, was referred to a committee of fifteen to carefully consider and report upon. On June 1, the chairman of the committee, Joseph WHEELER, laid before the town the following proposed amendments: "1. That the Delegate from this town be instrucied to use his endeavors that there may be a new convention within the term of fifteen years to consider what amendments may be needed in the constitution. 2ly. That the suspension of the habeus corpus act shall be confined to the time of war, invasion or rebellion and not to exceed the term of six months. 3ly. To give power to the Governour in the recess of the General Court to march or transport the Inhabitants of the State for the relief of a neighboring State invaded or threatened with invasion. Then voted this amendment be likewise made that the Governour Shall be of the Protestant, religion. Then voted to accept the whole of sd. Constitution with the above amendments--eighty-one for and not one against. Then voted to send two Delegates to the Convention, one of each denomination. Voted and chose Coll. Josiah WHITNEY and Mr. Joseph STONE." At the close of the Revolutionary war he was colonel of the Second Worcester Regiment, in which the seventh and eleventh companies were from Harvard. He was made brigadier general in 1783, but resigned the office before the breaking out of the Shay's insurrection, and as he did not take any active part in it, some of his enemies accused him of treasonable complicity in the same. In 1782 the governor appointed him a justice of the peace in and for the county of Worcester. In 1783-4-7-8-9 he was a member of the board of selectmen, and during all these years he was one of the most popular moderators at the deliberations of the town voters.
Gen. Josiah WHITNEY was the delegate from Harvard to the convention held for the purpose of ratifying the Federal Constitution, in Boston, Jan. 9, 1788. He voted with the minority, and was opposed to the constitution. He stated in convention, however, that though he had been opposed to it, he should support it as much as if he had voted for it. He was the representative in Legislature, 1780-81-87-88-89. He had twenty-five children, sixteen by the first marriage and nine by the last, of the children by the first marriage thirteen died young. He was a prominent member of the church, and in seating the meeting-house--that is, in assigning the pews--he was given one of the most prominent in the edifice. Administration on his estate was granted in the probate court, May 4, 1806. Upon his gravestone is the following:
Erected in memory of

Josiah WHITNEY Esq
who died Jan 24, 1806
aged 74 yers. 4 mos 13 days
Cease Dear friends for me to weep,
For Christ my bed has blest;
Beneath this stone I sweetly sleep

in God's eternal rest.

Children of Gen. Josiah5 and Sarah (Farr) Whitney, all born Harvard, MA:

i. Josiah6 Whitney, Jr., b. 25 Feb 1753;[12] m. Anna Scollay.
ii. Elizabeth Whitney, b. 7 May 1755;[13] "of Harvard" m. 15 Dec 1774, Harvard, MA, Thomas Atherton "of Bolton".[14]
iii. Stephen Whitney, b. 1 May 1757;[15] m. Persis Locke.
iv. (child) Whitney, b. before 4 Jun 1761; d. 4 Jun 1761, Harvard, MA.[16]
v. (child) Whitney, b. before 10 May 1762; d. 10 May 1762, Harvard, MA.[17]
vi. (child) Whitney, b. before 16 Mar 1763; d. 16 Mar 1763, Harvard, MA.[18]
vii. (child) Whitney, b. before 4 Dec 1764; d. 4 Dec 1764, Harvard, MA.[19]
viii. (child) Whitney, b. before 1 Feb 1766; d. 1 Feb 1766, Harvard, MA.[20]
ix. (child) Whitney, b. before 18 Feb 1768; d. 18 Feb 1768, Harvard, MA.[21]

Children of Gen. Josiah5 and Sarah (Dwelly) Whitney, all born Harvard, MA:

i. Sarah6 Whitney, b. 11 Apr 1775;[22] m. 13 Dec 1791, Boxborough, MA, Loammi Burgess.[23]
ii. Oliver Whitney, b. 9 Jan 1776 or 1777.[24]
iii. Artemus Ward Whitney, b. 17 Nov 1778.[25]
iv. Susannah Whitney, b. 2 Oct 1780;[26] "Sukey" m. 6 Oct 1803, Ashby, MA, John Adams.[27]
v. Dwelly Whitney, b. 21 Aug 1782, Harvard, MA.[28]
vi. Lemuel Whitney, b. 19 Sep 1784;[29] m. Betsy Hall.
vii. Daniel Whitney, b. 25 Oct 1785 or 1786, Harvard, MA;[30] m. Hannah Shedd.
viii. John Hancock Whitney, b. 13 Dec 1788;[31] m. Anna Smith.
ix. Moses Gill Whitney, b. 4 Feb 1791;[32] baptized 2 Oct 1791, Acton, MA; m. Anna -----.





3.^  "Col. Josiah [Whitney], [died] Jan. 24, 1806," according to Jeannette D. Pingrey, comp., Birth, Marriage, and Death Records in the Town of Ashby, Massachusetts, from 1754 to 1890 (Decorah, IA: Anundsen Publishing Company, c. 1989), pp. 246-247.

4.^  "Josiah [Whitney] and Sarah Farr, int. Sept. 9, 1751," according to F. Apthorp Foster, ed., Vital Records of Stow, Massachusetts, to the Year 1850 (Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1911).

5.^  "Josiah [Whitney], of Stow, and Sarah Farr, of Stow, [married] Sep. 9, 1751," according to Pingrey, op. cit., pp. 183-184.



8.^  "Sarah [Whitney], w. of Capt. Josiah, [died] Apr. 21, 1773 (in her 39th y. G.R.1.)," according to Thomas W. Baldwin, ed., Vital Records of Harvard, Massachusetts, to the Year 1850 (Boston, MA: Wright & Potter Printing Co., 1917).

9.^  "Joshiah [Whitney], Capt. and Sarah Dwelly, [married] Feb. 3, 1774," according to Harvard Vital Records. Also see Frederick W. Bailey, ed., Early Massachusetts Marriages Prior to 1800 (1897-1914), 3 vols.


11.^  Frederick C. Pierce, The Descendants of John Whitney, Who Came from London, England, to Watertown, Massachusetts, in 1635 (Chicago, IL: The Author, 1895), pp. 85-87.

12.^  "Joshua [Whitney], s. of Josiah and Sarah, [born] Feb. 25, 1753," according to Harvard Vital Records.

13.^  "Elisabeth [Whitney], d. of Josiah and Sarah, [born] May 7, 1755," according to Harvard Vital Records.

14.^  "Betty [Whitney] of Harvard and Thomas Atherton, [married] Dec. 15, 1774. At Harvard," according to Franklin P. Rice, ed., Vital Records of Bolton, Massachusetts, to the End of the Year 1849 (1910). Also, "Betty [Whitney] (Elisabeth, int.) and Thomas Atherton of Bolton, [married] Dec. 15, 1774," according to Harvard Vital Records.

15.^  "Stephen [Whitney], s. of Josiah and Sarah, [born] May 1, 1757," according to Harvard Vital Records.

16.^  "----- [Whitney], ch. of Josiah, [born] June 4, 1761. C.R.1," according to Harvard Vital Records.

17.^  "----- [Whitney], inf. ch. of Isaiah, [died] May 10, 1762. C.R.1," according to Harvard Vital Records. This seems to be an error for child of Josiah.

18.^  "----- [Whitney], inf. ch. of Josiah, [born] Mar. 16, 1763. C.R.1," according to Harvard Vital Records.

19.^  "----- [Whitney], inf. ch. of Josiah, [born] Dec. 4, 1764. C.R.1," according to Harvard Vital Records.

20.^  "----- [Whitney], inf. ch. of Josiah, Feb. 1, [born] 1766. C.R.1," according to Harvard Vital Records.

21.^  "----- [Whitney], inf. ch. of Josiah, Feb. 18, [born] 1768. C.R.1," according to Harvard Vital Records.

22.^  "Sarah [Whitney], d. of Col. Josiah and Sarah, [born] Apr. 11, 1775," according to Harvard Vital Records.

23.^  "Salley [Whitney] and Loammi Burges, [married] Dec. 13, 1791," according to Thomas W. Baldwin, ed., Vital Records of Boxborough, Massachusetts, to the Year 1850 (Boston, MA: 1915), p. 59.

24.^  "Oliver [Whitney], s. of Josiah and Sarah, [born] Jan. 9, 1777," according to Harvard Vital Records.

25.^  "Artemus Ward [Whitney], s. of (Col., C.R.1.) Josiah and Sarah, [born] Nov. 17 1778," according to Harvard Vital Records.

26.^  "Susannah [Whitney], d. of Josiah and Sarah, [born] Oct. 2, 1780," according to Harvard Vital Records.

27.^  "Sukey [Whitney], and John Adams, [married] Oct. 6, 1803," according to Pingrey, op. cit., pp. 183-184.

28.^  "Dwelle [Whitney], s. of Josiah and Sarah, [born] Aug. 21, 1782," according to Harvard Vital Records.

29.^  "Lemuel [Whitney], s. of (Col. C.R.1.) Josiah and Sarah, [born] Sept. 19, 1784," according to Harvard Vital Records.

30.^  "Daniel [Whitney], s. of Josiah and Sarah, [born] Oct. 25, 1786," according to Harvard Vital Records.

31.^  "John Hancock [Whitney], s. of Josiah (Jr. C.R.1.) and Sarah, [born] Dec. 13, 1788," according to Harvard Vital Records.

32.^  "Moses Gill [Whitney], s. of Josiah and Sarah, [born] Feb. 4, 1791," according to Harvard Vital Records.

Copyright © 1999, 2006-2008, 2021, Robert L. Ward and the Whitney Research Group