Historical Sketch of the Town of Pawtucket [RI]

The Historical Sketch of the Town of Pawtucket [RI] by Rev, Messena Goodrich, per the Town Council was originally published in the centennial year, 1876. Since my Jenks branch was residing there in the early 1600s to 1700s, I decided to buy this book to see what was recorded. Starting on pages 17 – 18, the following appears:

“Perhaps space enough is been given to the municipal history of what now constitutes the town of Pawtucket. Another, perhaps more interesting, grants now claims are a consideration. The civil history of the place begins with Joseph Jenks [my 8 times great grandfather]. Respecting the time of his emigration hither and the circumstances under which he came to the neighborhood of Pawtucket Falls, a distinct and doubtless a very trustworthy count has been preserved by some of his descendants. His father [my 9 times great grandfather] who bore the same Christian name is supposed to have come from England with Gov. Wolf Winthrop; and Lewis, in the history of “Lynn, speaks of him in the following strain:” Joseph Jenks deserves to be held in perpetual remembrance in American history, as being the first founder who worked in grass and iron on the Western continent. By his hands the first models were made, and the first casting taken of many domestic implements and iron tools. “On 6 May, sixteen forty-six, “the general court of Massachusetts resolved, that,” in answer to the petition of Joseph Jenks, for liberty to make experience of his abilities and inventions for you making of engines of for Mills to go with water for more speedily dispatch of work and formerly, and mills for you making of sides and other edge tools, with the new invented sawmill, that things may be afforded cheaper than formally, and that for fourteen years without disturbance by any other settled up no like inventions; this petition is granted.” In May, sixteen fifty-five, he obtained another patent for an implement of the manufacture of sides quote for the more speedily cutting of grass for seven years unquote the old English side, previously in use, it may be remarked was a very clumsy instrument, short and thick like the Bush and’s stab sides. His invention gave greater length and thinness to the plate and wielded a bar of iron on the back of to strengthen it. Indeed, no radical changes has been made in that useful instrument since and stay.

In the interval between the two dates named, the younger Jenks followed his father to the New World. He becomes acquainted with the improvements that his father made, and gains skill in his craft. But one circumstance breeds alarm in his mind. The population is rapidly increasing near Lynn, and making fearful havoc with the forests. It was long before the capabilities of anthracite had been found out, and forges and furnaces were wholly dependent on charcoal. The same enterprise spirit that had induced him to cross the ocean prompts him to seek a new home. Doubtless, as Roger Williams removed from Salem, when he fled to this region, he had left some friends there who were anxiously watching his career. Perhaps the fact already adverted to, that the Indians were growing fastidious about their hatchets and other tools, makes the colonists in this neighborhood solicitous that some skilled ironworkers should remove hither. Word soon reaches Lynn, therefore that the shores of the Pawtucket are dark with a thick forest and that there are cataracts on the stream, affording ample power to carry such mills as the elder Jenks is been devising. And the young man resolves to come to Providence plantations, and naturally chooses for his new home a site near the lowest falls on the river.

The traditions spoken of represent that he came here in the year 1655. As his eldest son was born in 1657, perhaps he was already married, and his house is said to have stood on the spot on East Avenue now occupied by Mr. Joseph T Greene, who lives in the house reared by his grandfather Timothy Green. It is supposed that his first purchase of land was made the family by the name of Mowry. A copy of the deed of land the subsequent purchase however was found by Dr. Benedict in the records of the proprietors common lands of which company Judge Staples was clerked twenty-two years ago.”

Also, probably contributing to 8 times great grandparents’ decision to leave Massachusetts for Rhode Island, was Grandmother’s conviction for wearing Silver Lace. Her fine was 2 shillings. Grandfather minted the Pine Tree Shilling for the colony. Hmm…..

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Tioga County, New York, was a stop-over for my Jenks Line

Historical Gazetteer of Tioga County, New York.

Early on in my research into how my 4 times great-grandparents had migrated to Oakland County, Michigan, I was online in a genealogical site and when I mentioned my Jenks line, a distant cousin from New York told me I needed to get ahold of the Tioga County Gazetteer. When I asked where I might find one, the answer was quite simple: The Tioga County Historical Society had created a reprint of the original 1888 volume in 1985 and had some in inventory. I got that order in immediately.

As an example of the Jenks family information contained:

p 149:

“Elisha Jenks lived on lot 300, east of the creek road, and north of the hill road. It is said that he was a cousin of Michael Jenks, the first settler there [Town of Berkshire]. Laban Jenks was his brother. Elisha Jenks was born about 27 June 1774, and died 13 Nov. 1840. His wife, Anna, was born about 27 Sept. 1771, and died 15 June 1854.”

p 156:

“Leman Case was a carpenter, came from Litchfield county, Conn., and married with Polly Jenks, daughter of Laban Jenks, an early settler at Speedsville. He settled in a house that was built by Job Hall, on lot 380, west of the road, some thirty of forty rods south of his brother , Phineas Case. He moved to Michigan not far from 1824.”

There are a great number of citations that occur though out the volume, referencing my 4 Times Great-grandparent, Laban and Prudence White Jenks and their children, siblings, and cousins. Based on family records, the Jenks brothers and cousin arrived in the 1790s and had moved on to Michigan by the early 1820s.

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Saugus, Massachusetts was home for the family in the 1600s

Ironworks on the Saugus – E. N. Hartley

I found this volume on eBay a number of years ago. Since my research indicated that 8 and 9 times great grandfathers, Joesph Jenks and his son, Joseph Jenks, Jr. both had a hand in the development and building of the Ironworks, I jumped on the item and bought it.

Once again, 8*GGF’s political bent was chronicled on page 18:

“The magistrates tried to enforce sumptuary laws, restricting, for example, the wearing of fancy clothing to people of recognized social and economic standing. If the ironworkers managed to get their hands on silver lace, they or their wives were, by their lights, freely entitled to wear them. Much the same essentially non-medieval outlook underlay a workingman’s interest in politics, or in religion mixed with politics, which must have been close to zero when the Ironworks was first erected, but which by 1661 had a son of Joseph Jendks [Joseph, Jr] in court for treason. He had dared to say that ‘if he hade the King heir he would cutt off his head & mak a football of it.’ Testimony offered in a number of court cases also made it plain that certain workers held no high opinion of local government authority, particularly when liquor had loosened lips that ordinarily had closely to be guarded”

There is a great deal more on Jenks’ participation. But being charged with treason is one of the high points. Grandfather was not convicted. As stated in an earlier posting, Grandmother was not as lucky in the courts as Grandfather; she was convicted and fined for wearing the silver lace mentioned above.

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And Massachusetts, too…

Early History of Lynn, Massachusetts by Obadiah Oldpath

Besides the author’s name drawing me to this work, I knew that a number of my ancestors passed through Lynn, Massachusetts in the mid 1600s. A number of ancestors appear through the book, and from pages 420 – 426, the section is devoted to Joseph Jenks, the younger, my 8 times great-grandfather.

“Joseph Jenks [1627-1717], the younger, who labored with his father [Joseph Jenks, the elder – 1599-1683] at the Iron Works [Saugus Iron Works], was a frequent visitor to the Anchor [Tavern], in Captain Marshall’s time. He was opinionated, and quite free to express his estimation of others. But he was intelligent, generous and companionable and withal an ingenious worker on such machinery as was required in the industrial arts of those days. For these reasons, if no other, he naturally stood high in the community. On the long winter evenings he was always welcome in the bar-room or the parlor, and regarded as one of the chief entertainers; joined zealously in the debates, and being among those best informed on current topics, received marked attention. With the irrepressible landlord [of the tavern] he very well agreed on political questions, and few exceeded him in fervor of lamentation over the restoration of the monarchy or in denuciation of those through whom it was brought about. His loyal opponents, at one time, not being able to overcome him in argument, resorted to the questionable expedient of accusing him of treason.”

And a few pages later:

“But he should not have been there [at the tavern] too much at night, for he had a wife [Esther Ballard, 1633-1695] at home. That he had affection for her, too, and acted the part of the indulgent husband cannot be doubted. As she was a lady of some account among the more fashionable of the little community, and withal comely in person, he took pleasure in seeing her bedecked in such a manner that the jewel should lose no lustre though an unbecoming setting. Here again he was brought into trouble, for the watchful Court, in a series of sumptuary enactments, sought to discourage every species of extravagance; and upon the 29th of June, 1652, at the Quarterly session, this presentment was made: ‘We present Ester, the wife of Joseph Jenks, Junior, ffor wearing silver lace.’ “

8 times Great-Grandmother was fined 2 shillings for this “crime”!

Traits are genetic?

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Then there is the Connecticut Family

I had joined the Descendants of Gov Thomas Welles of Connecticut at the urging of my distant cousin. Shortly after I joined, an initial version of the above was released. Then my 10th cousin, once removed, got really busy and over a short period, published the six-volume set.

Descendants of Gov. Thomas Welles of Connecticut, Volume 1, 2nd Edition – Barbara Jean Mathews

Descendants of Governor Thomas Welles of Connecticut and his Wife Alice Tomes, Volume 2, Part A – Barbara Jean Mathews

Descendants of Governor Thomas Welles of Connecticut and his Wife Alice Tomes, Volume 2, Part B – Barbara Jean Methews

The Descendants of Governor Thomas Welles of Connecticut and his Wife Alice Tomes, Volume 3, Part A – Kathryn Smith Black

The Descendants of Governor Thomas Welles of Connecticut and his Wife Alice Tomes, Volume 3, Part B – Donna Holt Siemiatkoski

The Descendants of Governor Thomas Welles of Connecticut and his Wife Alice Tomes, Volume 3, Part C – Barbara Jean Mathews

This is the lineage of my second Colonial Governor ancestor — also descendant from Governor Jencks of Rhode Island.

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And then, I found Grandmother Thankful Isham – my roadblock for years.

I had been stumped as to what was next in my 5 times great grandmother, Thankful Isham, pedigree. I was stumped for a number of years and I admit this is where I stopped looking because it was too daunting. Thankful married Jonathan Simons and among their 9 children was my 4 times great grandmother, Mercy. Mercy married Noah Munn, Jr on 26 Nov 1796, and they were the parents of 11, including my 3 times great grandmother, Hannah. Hannah married Horatio Lee on 5 April 1825, in West Bloomfield, Ontario, New York. But Thankful was my brick wall to go any further.

Then, looking through my DNA matches in December, 2019, on MyHeritage, I saw a 40 cM, 2 segment, 23.3 cM longest, match with the surname of ISHAM! I quickly sent a message and was surprised to get a fairly quick response. I had asked if Thankful was in his line. He replied that she was not, but there was this book on the Isham family that might have some insight. I found it on Amazon (where else), for the low, low price of over $400.00! I kept looking and ran across a reasonably priced copy (above). My match and I turn out to be 6th cousin, once removed.

Thankfully, Thankful was there and a great deal of her pedigree, including that her mother was Rebecca Fuller, with a direct line back to Edward Fuller and his wife, and their son, Samuel, who all arrived in North America aboard the Mayflower in 1620. So, Thankful was transformed from a brick wall into my gateway to the Mayflower Society!

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And then, back to the Norman Conquest of England …

The book on the Lee family pointed me to this book on the Stevens GenealogySome Descendants of the Fitz Stephen Family in England and New England by C. Ellis Stevens, 1905

As an introduction, the book begins:

“The Norman house of the Fitz Stephen originally too its cognomen from the Christian name borne in honor of St. Stephen, the first martyr of the Church. “

The line of pedigree begins with Airard Fitz Stephen, a nobleman of Normandy who placed by William the Conqueror in command of the “Mora”, the ship presented by his Duchess, and eventual Queen, Matilda of Flanders for his personal use in the fleet conveying Norman forces to England for the Battle of Hastings, 1066.

The line continues down to the parents of Elizabeth Stevens, the Honorable Thomas Stevens, an officer in the military expedition against the Dutch of New York during the War between England and the Netherlands in 1654. Elziabeth was my 7 times great grandmother. Thomas was my 8 times great grandfather. Tracing the pedigree back Airard Fitz Stephens was my 28 times great grandfather.

The book goes into great detail on the rewards Airard was given for making it possible for William, Duke of Normandy, to eventually become William, the Conqueror, King of England. There are also additional histories of the others in the direct line. Many nobles and landed family members. The final entry was for 8 times great grandfather, Thomas Stevens Thomas was born in England, but came to North America as part of the English Army, and stayed. He was one of the founders of Killingworth, Connecticut; was a member of the General Court form 1671-1683. Thomas died in Connecticut on 18 November 1685. His daughter, Elizabeth, my 7 times great grandmother, married Edward Lee in 1687 and this continued my Lee line down to my great grandmother Effie Clarissa Lee who married, Lemuel Weaver.

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The 400 Year Story of an American Family

My 5th cousin mentioned in a letter that there was this book about our Lee ancestors that I might want to find. The book was The 400 Year Story of an American Family, Characters, Communities & Contributions, by Paul B. Lee, 2016. OK, she knew what to say to get me to check our Amazon, find and order the book. The Highlights start out:

Study of the Lee Family’s Maternal Branches

“This section is about our ancestors Hugh Lees, Edward Lee, William Backus, Matthew Beckwith, and Francis Bushnell. They founded the close knit Saybrook Colony, along with Edward Griswald, an ancestor of Amy Griswald Lee.”

“We also learn about how William Backus went on to become one of the 39 founders of Norwich (CT) in 1659 when the Mohegan chief Uncas sold to the settlers “nine miles square’ “

So far this track with my research. Then the next section begins:

The Lee – Stevens Branch

“Here we learn that Edward Lee was a single parent before he remarried to Lemuel’s mother, Abigail Stevens. Abigail’s ancestry traces back to 11th Century England and the Norman Conquest. Abigail’s [grand]father, John Stephens, was one of the early settlers of Guilford (CT). Details of his advance in rank from ‘common’ to ‘free’ man are included in this section.”

OK, I knew that my 7 times great grandmother, Abigail Stevens Lee, was from Guilford and that she was married to 7 times great grandfather, Edward Lee. I had no idea about the family dating back to the Norman Conquest of England. Digging deeper into this volume led me to the family name was really Fitz-Stephens in Normandy in the 11th Century. This led me to do more research on Grandmother Abigail’s Fitz-Stephens lineage. This will be next week’s book from my library.

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After the Jenks Family, I discovered my Botsford roots

My great-great-great grandmother was Almira Botsford Jenks, wife of Morris Jenks.

Because the Botsford name was familiar in my area (the Botsford Inn was a famous local of the famous and want-to-be famous.

I decided to look into any connection. After a search of the Botsford Query page and posting of my interest, a distant cousin replied that I needed to get into contact with the Botsford Family Association. I made the contact and purchased the first volume of the Botsford Genealogy, The Line of Samuel,1.1.3, 1977. This was a 2-inch-thick tome that recounted the descendants of Samuel Botsford of Milford, Connecticut, the third son of Elnathan 1.3 and grandson of Henry 1. Well, to my surprise, on page 657 was my grandfather, Lee Goodliff Weaver, his wife, and children (my mother was the second child). From Grandpa, I worked my way back up the line and then back down the line to the Inn which was named by my great great grand uncle.

Since the release of Volume 1 in 1977, a supplement was issued in 1991. No new members of my immediate family. OK, so I am now a member of the Botsford Family Historical Association and Supplement No 3, 2006, includes my generation plus one.

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The First Family History Book I found with my family mentioned.

The first family history book I found (at the New England Historical and Genealogical Society Library) was the Jenks Family of America by William B, Browne. The book was commissioned by Harlan Walker Jenks and published in 1952, ten years after his death. On page 399, I found my great grandmother, Effie Clarissa Lee, who married Lemuel Weaver and was born on August 3, 1859. She is listed, along with her siblings, beneath her mother, Esther Jenks Lee, married to Charles Norton Lee. Great-Great Grandmother Lee [Esther Jenks] was born in Southfield Twp, Oakland County, Michigan on October 24, 1832, before Michigan became a state. The Jenks line follows through her father, Morris Jenks to his parents, Laban and Prudence White Jenks, all the way to Joseph Jenks, the inventor, who held the first patent issued in the American Colonies.

When I did my own research on the line, I found a number of inaccuracies and corrected these in my own records of our lineage and family. I then received histories from distant cousins that I and met through various online sites. Their histories were word-for-word out of the book. In every case, they claimed this record had been in their families for generations (i.e. preceding the publication date). This has led me to believe this was an early crowd sourced project.

I was most surprised a few years after returning the original book from the NEHGS Library, that a copy was available to purchase. Of course, I bought it!! Then to my further surprise a few years later, I found the book had been digitized and available for download; which, of course, I did.

In part of the biographical data about, my Great-Great-Great Grandmother Jenks (Prudence White) was the clause that said she was the descendant of a Mayflower passenger. There was no mention of which one or the lineage that got her back to that person. I have spent a lot of time gathering evidence on her lineage and have as yet tied her to any of the Mayflower passengers. I have applied to the Mayflower society on a different pedigree line and have been admitted, but I still am looking for this second connection.

I did confirm the Jenks line back to participation in the American Revolution (Patriot Side), and have used that connection to join the Sons of the American Revolution. But, in tracing Prudence’s pedigree, I find I have potential supplemental applications I can make to the SAR!

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