Tag Archives: Plymouth

Mary Higgins: Adding Names to My Family Tree

Mary Higgins (B. 1699-D. AFTER April 1715)

I am pausing in my pursuit of the Stout family to take a look at my 6th great grandmother, Mary Higgins, wife of Freegift Stout. Interestingly, this research also allows me to add to my tree 7th and 8th great-grandparents named Higgins, and 8th great-grandparents named Newbold.

Richard Higgins, Pioneer, Grandfather of Mary Higgins

Plymouth

Like the pioneer settler of the Stout Family, the first comer in the Higgins family had the first name Richard. Richard HIggins arrived in 1632 in Plymouth Colony. Richard Stout arrived about 1643 in New Amsterdam (New York). Both Richards, as we will see, quickly took leadership roles, as they moved to new communities, seeking religious freedom and room to grow their farms in order to support large families. The grandchildren of these two men, Freegift Stout and Mary Higgins, married in New Jersey. (8th Great Grandparents: Richard Stout and Penelope Van Princis; AND Richard Higgins and Mary ___(widow of Yates).)

Richard Higgins, taylor (tailor) first settled in Plymouth Massachusetts, but later moved briefly to Barnstable, presumably as a step on his way to New Jersey. He had arrived in 1632, one of the hundreds of religious dissenters who left England and joined the Pilgrims in Plymouth Colony during the 1630s. He soon married–in 1634 marrying Lydia Chandler (about whom we know little).

I read the main source on the Higgins family, Richard Higgins : A Resident and Pioneer Settler at Plymouth and Eastham, Massachusetts and at Piscatawnay, New Jersey and His Descendants on line (see Notes on Sources below). Author Katherine Higgins carefully documents all the information.

Eastham

About 1645, Richard Higgins left Plymouth with several other men and their families and settled in Nauset, later to be called Eastham.

The location of Eastham today. Note Nauset Beach, south of Eastham, still bearing the original name of the town. Google Maps.

By the summer of 1651, Lydia had died. Richard and Lydia had two sons: Jonathan and Benjamin.

In June 1651, Richard married a widow, Mary, whose husband, John Yates, had died in 1650. The only name we have for her is that of her late husband. The marriage records appear in the books for Orleans Massachusetts. The book on Richard describes Orleans, a Cape Cod village, as part of the town of Eastham. Mary brought a son, John Yates, to the marriage.

Mary and Richard Higgins had ten children to add to the three they brought from their earlier marriages.

Meanwhile, records show Richard Higgins traveled from Eastham, probably by boat, to the court in Plymouth 1653, 1654, 1655, 1657, 1658, 1660, 1665. He served as a member of a committee representing Eastham, not yet independent and later when it was recognized as a separate entity, as a delegate.

Richard Higgins apparently impressed community leaders as a successful tailor because among the responsibilities the town gave him–juror, road surveyor, legislator–the town leaders gave him the responsibility for a young boy, a ward of the town, as his apprentice. He actively bought and sold land and that indicates he farmed as well as working as a tailor, but about 1669 he started selling and giving to his older two sons land that he had accumulated. This action in preparation for his move to Barnstable and to Piscataway. In the New Jersey town, he once again assumed many leadership roles.

Piscataway

The town of Pisctaway, New Jersey today. Google Maps.

We can calculate the rough date of his death by land records: his last recorded transaction dated June 1, 1675, and one in 1677, referring to his wife Mary as a widow. He had accumulated in Eastham. That land totaled 254 acres by the time of his death–his legacy to his wife and children.

Jediah Higgins, Father of Mary Higgins

Next we come to the oldest child of Mary and Richard Higgins, Jediah Higgins, my 7th great-grandfather.

Jediah, a shoemaker by trade, took a leadership role in the community. He owned 500 acres in New Jersey, a considerable land holding–double what his father had owned. Like his father, he combined his trade with farming and civic/political duties. He served two terms (at least) in the General Assembly of New Jersey, and on numerous juries and committees. The main source on the Higgins family, Katherine Higgins’ book, credits Jediah with being more prominent than any of his siblings.

Jediah’s wife Mary Newbold came from Eckington in County York in England with her parents some time before 1684, the year she married Jediah Higgins at the age of 23. The Newbolds settled in Burlington County, New Jersey. [7th Great-Grandparents: Mary Newbold and Jediah HIggins. 8th Great-Grandparents: Ann (unknown maiden name) and Michael Newbold.]

Mary Higgins Stout

Jediah and Mary’s daughter Mary Higgins, would have been born in New Jersey in 1699. Mary Higgins father, Jediah Higgins, had been born in Eastham, Massachusetts. At the age of twelve, he moved with his parents and siblings to Piscataway New Jersey. Jediah was the oldest of the children of Jediah and his second wife, Mary. This caused some confusion about Mary’s place of birth. When I began my research, her memorial at Find a Grave.com said that she was born in Eastham, Massachusetts instead of New Jersey, her actual birthplace. It could have been either in Piscataway Township, or in Somerset County near Kingston.

Another daughter named Mary had died as a young child. There were two or possibly three girls still living when Mary joined the family and four or possibly five boys. She had one younger brother, born two years after she arrived. Two of her siblings in addition to the first Mary died young (date not known), so she grew up in a family of seven children (out of the ten born).

Mary’s father, Jediah, died in April 1715 and left her 50 pounds to be given to her when she reached 18 years old or married.

When Mary married Freegift Stout (date undiscovered, but circa 1719) they settled in Clover Hill, as we have seen when I wrote about Freegift. Although I know that Freegift and Mary had ten children, I have not found dates for most of those children. I do know that they all lived to adulthood, because there are records of their marriages. That made Freegift and Mary Higgins Stout extremely fortunate parents in an age when people actually expected to lose some of their children in infancy or early childhood.

Although it is difficult to put together a detailed timeline for Mary’s life, she obviously had a busy homelife. Her husband, Freegift, does not show up in books about the area where they lived, as his father’s had, so their life might have been somewhat quieter than that of Jediah and Mary Higgins.

Her six-years-older husband wrote his will in 1763 and died in 1769, at the age of 76 . His will gave the plantation where he lived with some exceptions to his son Isaac Stout (my 5th great grandfather) . Freegift’s wife Mary received all household goods and the will instructed Isaac to give his mother 10 pounds per year.

Mary Higgins Stout’s Will

Perhaps nudged by her husband’s death, Mary wrote her own will in 1770. Some of their children had died by the time she wrote her will, and she named her three surviving daughters, Mary, who now lived in Virginia, and Rebecca and Rachel, as her heirs. Mary seems to have no land of her own. So her heritage for her daughters consisted of household goods and personal belongings. The key part of her will follows:

 First I will that all my Debts and Funeral Charges be paid and discharged by my Executors herein named. Also I give and bequeath unto my — beloved Daughters, Namely Mary the wife of Richard Chamberlain of the collony of Virginia and Rebecca the wife of Edward Taylor & Rachel the wife of Richard Rounsavell — of the Township of Amwell aforesaid their heirs and assigns forever all my whole Estate whatsoever or wheresoever found that shall or may remain after the payment of my Debts &c. as aforesaid to be Equally Divided among them share and share alike And whereas my before mentioned Daughter Mary and her Husband living at a Considerable Distance, I commend unto them or whom it may concern; my well beloved son Freegift Stout to be Trustee for my said Daughter Mary or her Heirs And I do hereby Constitute and appoint my Trusty Friend and well beloved son-in-law Edward Taylor, Sole Executor of this my last Will and Testament and I do hereby disallow, Revoke and Disannul all and every other former Testaments Wills Legacys and Executors by me in any ways before this time Named Willed and bequeathed Ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last Will and Testament In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and Seal this Twenty Ninth Day of September in the year of our Lord one Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy: 1770 Mary Stout (mark) Signed, Sealed, Published, Pronounced & declared by the said Mary Stout as her last Will & testament In the Presence of us the Subscribers (Viz.) Benjamin Stout Isaac Stout Mary Stout .

Mary died soon before 19 April 1773 (the date of the appraisal of her goods).

The family buried her at the Stout-Manners cemetery in Ringoes, New Jersey. Freegift’s father, David Stout, one of the first settlers in this area, gave some land from his farm for a graveyard. The Stouts and family of another early settler, John Manners had many intermarriages, and so the graveyard became the Stout-Manners cemetery. [David Stout: 7th Great Grandfather]

Summary

Pursuing the story of Mary Higgins Stout has added two more surnames to my family tree and 7th and 8th great-grandparents with the name Higgins and Newbold. I have now traced both the Stout family and the Higgins family back to the 8th great-grandfather, both named Richard, the first of their families to arrive in North America. Also, I discovered the Newbold 8th great-grandfather, Michael Newbold and his wife Ann, who were also first arrivals.

I will go back to talk about one of Freegift and Mary’s children, Obadiah, and then move backward in time Freegift’s father, my 7th great-grandfather, David Stout. (Reserving the right to tell the stories of great-uncles and aunts or cousins as I go back through the Stout line. You know I never can resist a good story. )

To wrap up the Stout family, you will learn the incredible stories of Richard Stout, pioneer of the Stout family, and his wife, my 8th great-grandparents in the Stout line. And somewhere in there, perhaps I will shed light on why my great-great grandfather Isaiah Stout decided to settle in Guernsey County, Ohio at the age of 17.

HOW I AM RELATED

  • Vera Marie Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Harriette Anderson Kaser, who is the daughter of
  • Vera Stout Anderson, who is the daughter of
  • William Cochran (Doc) Stout, who is the son of
  • Isaiah Stout (1822), who is the son of
  • Isaac Stout (1800), who is the son of
  • Isaiah Stout (1773) who is the son of
  • Isaac Stout (1740) who is the son of
  • Mary Higgins Stout and Freegift Stout
  • Mary Higgins Stout is the daughter of Jediah (and Mary Newbold Higgins) who is the son of
  • Richard Higgins , first comer to North America in the Higgins line, and his wife.
  • Mary Newbold Higgins is the daughter of Michael and Ann Newbold.

Notes on Research

Richard Higgins : a resident and pioneer settler at Plymouth and Eastham, Massachusetts, and at Piscataway, New Jersey, and his descendants, Katharine Elizabeth Chapin HIggins ; 1918; Worchester, MA: K. C. HIggins Available free at archive.org in digital format.

New Jersey, Abstract of Wills, 1670-1817, accessed at Ancestry.com

Will of Mary Higgins Stout, transcript originally posted at Ancestry.com by user beanpod113. Posted in the gallery of my tree on Ancestry.com

U. S. and International Marriage Records (1560-1900), 2004, Yates Publishing, accessed at ancestry.com “Mary Higgins, female, b. 1699 Freegift Stout, b. 1693” Note: Original documents or listing in the town where they married would be preferable to this index but so far I have found only this index.

Find a Grave, Mary Stout. Note: I pointed out in the text, errors in the information at this site, but the information has since been corrected

Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, Roxbury, 1630-1867 , Birth of Jediah Higgins at Orleans, MA; Jay Mack Holbrook, Holbrook Institute, Oxford MA :1985, Accessed at Ancestry.com

New Jersey, Abstract of Wills, 1670-1817, Jediah Higgins, 23 April 1715, Ancestry.com

New Jersey, Marriage Records, 1683-1802 ,Jediah Higgins and Mary Newbold, Ancestry.com 2011

Find A Grave, Jediah Higgins, Memorial # 85788158. Note: This Find a Grave entry has extensive information drawn from the book about Richard Higgins and numerous citations of fact.

Find a Grave, Mary Newbold Higgins, Memorial #89040425

Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, Roxbury, 1630-1867 , Richard Higgins and Mary Gates (sic) Jay Mack Holbrook, Holbrook Institute, Oxford MA: 1985; Accessed at Ancestry.com

The Great Migration Begins, 1620-1635, Vol II (1995) Robert Charles Anderson, pgs 928-932. The combination of The Great Migration and The Great Migration Begins, 1620-1635, is on ancestry.com, but no free digital copies exist, and print versions cost from $40 per volume. The information contained here exist in Katherine Higgins biography of Richard HIggins.

U.S., New England Marriages Prior to 1700, Genealogical Publishing Co.; Baltimore, MD, USA; Volume Title: Third Supplement to Torrey’s New England Marriages Prior to 1700 . Accessed at ancestry.com

Find a Grave, Richard Higgins, Memorial #7864412

https://archive.org/details/richardhigginsre00higg/

Susannah Fuller White Winslow Cooks for Thanksgiving

First Thanksgiving

Jean Leon Gerome Ferris – United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division. It is in the public domain

Leaving her Native Land

Susannah Fuller was born in England, but she left all that was familiar to move to Leiden Holland* with a group of people who disapproved of the Church of England. They were in danger of being jailed for their dissidence in England, and it was illegal for them to leave the country, but finally decided leaving was the better opportunity. There the little English-speaking community lived in the midst of the Dutch for eleven years.  William Bradford wrote of the difficult decision to emigrate:

But to go into a country they knew not but by hearsay, where they must learn a new language and get their livings they knew not how, it being a dear [expensive] place and subject to the miseries of war, it was thought by many an adventure almost desperate; a case intolerable and a misery worse than death. Especially seeing they were not acquainted with trades nor traffic (by which that country doth subsist) but had only been used to a plain country life and the innocent trade of husbandry.”
William Bradford

Sailing to Virginia

Since they could not return to their own country, the idea surfaced that they might sail across the Atlantic to an English Colony, so Susannah, several months pregnant and with a four-year-old in tow, joined her husband on the dangerous voyage.

*NOTE:  One family history on line suggests that The Whites may have joined the group when they sailed back to England before departing for America, rather than having been in Holland.

Here was Susannah, pregnant and trying to keep track of 4-year-old Resolve on the rolling decks of the little wooden ship would have been a challenge, too.

Pioneering in New England

Although they had headed for Virginia, they wound up having to land at Cape Cod.
The Women and children lived on board the ship for two more months, no doubt thoroughly sick of that ship by now.  But on land they faced a horrible winter during which half of their number, including Susannah’s husband, died.

Shortly after William White died, Edward Winslow’s wife also died and Edward and Susannah married–the first wedding in Plymouth Colony.

Those that survived the winter, the “Starving Time” managed to plant and gather and feel blessed by the following fall. So they held a three-day feast. Rather, the men decided to invite the indigenous people to join them in a feast. The women’s role would be to prepare the food.

The First Thanksgiving

Of the 102 Pilgrims who had arrived on the Mayflower, only 63 remained by fall of 1621.  Susannah was one of only four women, plus five teenage girls.  So we can be absolutely certain that Peregrine’s mother was one of the cooks for the Thanksgiving feast. And those women and girls cooked for 91 Indians and 22 Pilgrim men (minus a few children like Resolve and Peregrine and nine adolescent males). I’ll never complain again about cooking Thanksgiving for ten people.

What stories Susannah had to tell her grandchildren–the children of Sarah Bassett and Peregrine White!

Leaving her own country, living abroad, sailing across the Atlantic when she was pregnant, giving birth to the first child in the colony, losing one husband and marrying a 2nd in the first marriage on the continent, being a key figure in the first Thanksgiving feast, and living to raise a family and a community in the new land.

I have great admiration for Susannah and the women like her who settled this country.  Although she is not a blood relation, I will definitely be giving thanks for her along with my family members this Thanksgiving.

Research Notes

http://www.millsgen.com/gen/hist/pilstor1.htm has a comprehensive history of Pilgrims including the Whites and Winslows.

The Sun Journal (Lewiston Maine), November 23, 1994, found in Google News, analyses Who Cooked at the first Thanksgiving.

Complete list of survivors at Pilgrim Hall Museum web site.

Why Did William Bassett Leave Keene?

William Bassett 1779-1833

Keene New Hampshire

Current day picture of Keene NH United Church of Christ

In 1826,  William Bassett and his wife Elizabeth Stone Bassett and their five daughters packed up a wagon in Keene, New Hampshire, and headed out for the new settlement of Keene, Ohio. It had been two centuries since the first William Bassett arrived in North America. Both pioneering families–the Bassetts and the Stones had spread throughout Massachusetts and into neighboring states by the 1800s.

Stagecoach moving west

A Stagecoach going West. Photo by the author.

My 3rd-great-grandfather, William Bassett, who was in a sense a pioneer when he settled in Ohio, actually came along SIX generations after the real pioneer William Bassett,–a member of the Plymouth Colony who arrived in 1621. (Why he wasn’t stepping ashore at Plymouth Rock in 1620 is another story for another day.) Ironically, I have far more information about the men on either side of this William than I do on William himself.

What persuaded William to move his family to Ohio? Was it a worthwhile move?

Click here to see the journey. (At least the start and end, since I’m not sure what roads and boats were available to them.)

Keene New Hampshire

Keene New Hampshire

New Hampshire land disputes. Photo from Wiki Commons

Keene NH lies in the southwest of New Hampshire, in an area that was once disputed territory, with first Massachusetts and then both Vemont and New York claiming it.

Samuel Bassett, who had been born in Norton Massachusetts, lived in Keene ,New Hampshire when he enlisted in the colonial army in 1775. He married William’s mother, Martha Belding in Swanzey, a smaller town just slightly south of Keene, and William was born in Keene in 1779.

During the period between 1750 and 1790, WIlliam’s family in Keene had been subject to constant fighting about overlapping claims of three states. At first Vermont was considered part of the colony of New Hampshire. The New York claims to territory west of the Connecticut River spurred the formation of the Green Mountain Boys, led by Ethan Allen, to protect those settlers in what were known as New Hampshire grants.

Once New York was discouraged from poaching land in the New Hampshire grants, Vermont and New Hampshire fought over territory, and the people of Keene wished to stay with New Hampshire.

New Hampshire  officially became a state in 1788, with the line between Vermont and New Hampshire designated as the path of the Connecticut River.  Congress admitted Vermont in 1791 with the proviso that they should give up claims to New Hampshire East of the Connecticut River.

Keene New Hampshire in 1800s

The War of 1812 was demoralizing to the people due to disagreements about support of the war. Morality campaigns began to encourage those who had begun to ignore church. The town fathers felt it necessary to appoint tythingmen to insure that people paid to support the churches and remembered to attend churche on Sunday. William’s father Samuel, was appointed one of the first tythingmen in 1814.

Keene, New Hampshire in 1826 was a thriving community, growing fast, with many schools, churches, a new hotel, businesses of all sorts. It had recovered from the Revolutionary War and even held theatrical performances.  The most promising new mode of transportation was by steamboat on river and canal systems, and a company formed to finance locks along the Connecticut River.  One of the committee was a Belding (related to William’s mother.)

But despite all these signs of a healthy community, religion continued to divide people, which may have triggered the exodus of so many citizens for Ohio.

A group split off from the town-supported Congregational Church, forming a Unitarian Church. The town continued to tax everyone to support the church, despite protests from those who no longer attended. (Separation of church and state, anyone?)

Ohio in the 1820s

By the time that William and Elizabeth and their girls traveled to Ohio, it was no longer a territory–it was a state. (I am saying five girls, because although some people say there is a sixth, the evidence is scanty.  Based on the 1810 census, there might have also been a boy who died in childhood.)

The enterprising New Hampshirite who founded Keene, Ohio ( in Coshocton County) in 1824, was betting on the future of the new western state. The Erie Canal was being constructed through Coshocton County between the middle of the 1820s and 1830–and there were great expectations of the wealth this new transportation corridor would bring. When the community was founded, Holmes County had not been split form Coshocton, and boosters of Keene thought it would make a dandy site for a county seat. However, when Holmes County was split off, that no longer was an option.

Although it was adventurous to leave one’s native New England, it was comfortable to be traveling with numerous families who came from the same town. There are several Bassett families that show up in the history of Coshocton County, including an indication that William’s brother Nathan may have moved at the same time as William. Some others may have been relatives.

Within a very short time of their arrival, William’s daughter Mary Bassett had established her own school. It was short lived, since she was 16 when she arrived in Ohio and married at 19, when she moved to Holmes County. In short order the new immigrants to Ohio built churches and the Keene Academy. Among the churches was the Keene Presbyterian Church where several members of the family are buried.

The Family in Ohio

Within three years of their arrival in Keene, Ohio, William’s wife Elizabeth died and the three oldest daughters–Eliza (Emerson), Martha (Smith) and Mary (Platt,2nd- Morgan) were married. Eliza wound up living with a son in Kansas; Martha moved to Iowa and the next daughter, Sarah, never married. Sarah lived with her sister Lura, who had married a Stone (perhaps a relative of her mother) in Killbuck Ohio, and moved to West Virginia before moving back to Guernsey County. Mary, as we have seen, moved to Killbuck in Holmes County.

William himself died in 1833, just seven years after the big move from New Hampshire. Hardly long enough to establish himself in his new state, although his move was one more step in the westward movement of the family.

William and Elizabeth lie side by side in the Keene Old Presbyterian cemetery.

William Bassetts' Wife

Elizabeth Stone Bassett gravestone in Keene, Ohio, Photo by Todd James Dean

William Bassett

Gravestone of William Bassett in Keene, Ohio. Photo by Todd James Dean at Find a Grave.com

 

How I Am Related

  • Vera Marie Badertscher, the daughter of
  • Harriette Anderson Kaser, the daughter of
  • Vera Stout Anderson, the daughter of
  • Hattie Stout Morgan, the daughter of
  • Mary Bassett Platt Morgan, the daughter of
  • William Bassett.

This has been a weekly post in the 52 Ancestors/52 Weeks Project started by Amy Johnson Crow at “No Story too Small.” Check out her weekly recap showing the list of participants for some ripping good stories.

Research Notes

  • History of Coshocton County: Its Past and Present 1740-1841 Compiled by N. N. Hill, Jr. (Available on line from Google Books.)
  • Birth, marriage and death dates come from original records found at Ancestry.com
  • Gravestones and burial information from FindaGrave.com
  • Information from family stories from Vera Stout Anderson and Harriette Anderson Kaser and family Bibles.
  • History of Keene, New Hampshire, 1874-1904 by Frank H. Whitcomb (1904)