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Memoirs of the Wilkinson Family in America, 1869

Third Generation, Cont.


Josias Wilkinson2   [5] Lawrance.1 [1]
      and
Hannah Tyler
Of Providence, R. I.

20.  I. Hannah,3 b.       d.      

Hannah married James Dexter. The Hon. James Savage in his Genealogical Dictionary of New England, says, Josias Wilkinson had one daughter named Ruth, an only child. He is mistaken, and has probably confused the name of Samuel's daughter, the mother of Stephen and Esek Hopkins, with the daughter of Josias. The following record taken from the "Purchasers of Providence Booke, p. 13, confirms our family Bible record:

Her mother having married one Joseph Tucker, a worthless fellow. Hannah came near losing the property which her father had left her, through Tucker's prodigality; but the watchfulness of her uncle John, who entered a complaint against him to the Town Council, an injunction was put upon his profligate course, and he was forbidden to sell any more of the property. He shortly after died, and relieved them of further anxiety.

Hannah's husband, James Dexter, was the grandson of the Rev. Gregory Dexter, who was born in England in 1610—was a printer and correspondent of Roger Williams, and printed for him, "Key—or Dictionary of the Indian Language," in 1643, in London. He came to America with Roger Williams when he returned with his Charter in 1644, became one of the first Town Clerks, and was the fourth Pastor of the first Baptist Church in America. He was a prominent man in the Colony—well educated, a good preacher, and died at the advanced age of ninety. James, who was the second son of John Dexter, who was the son of Gregory, was born in 1691, and married Hannah about 1716 or 17. They had:

An influential branch of the Dexter family have descended from this couple, of whom Nathan G. B. Dexter of Pawtucket, Col. J. S. Dexter of Providence, and others are the present representatives. The old Dexter place in Providence is still remembered, but very few, if any living in that city, know that this was the residence of Lawrance Wilkinson, our paternal ancestor. The descent of the property for two or three generations was as follows:  Lawrance deeded the property to Josias in 1691. Josias died in 1692, intestate, and the Town Council took it in charge—adjudged Hannah the lawful heir—appointed trustees or guardians, and gave it to them in trust till she should arrive of age. She married and that transferred the property into the Dexter family, and instead of being the "Old Wilkinson place," as it was originally, it is the "Old Dexter place." So time changes all things here below, and the place that knows us now will soon know us no more forever! How oft we tread on hallowed ground and know it not!

Most all the facts here collected had been slumbering for more than one hundred and fifty years, and were entirely unknown to the present generation of the Wilkinson family. So men rise and pass away, and though their actions are forgotten, their bodies crumble into dust, yet their virtues live, and are transmitted from generation to generation.

"These shall resist the empire of decay,
When time is o'er, and worlds have passed away;
Cold in the dust the perished heart may lie
But that which warmed it once can never die."

The date of Hannah's death and place of burial are not known, probably in the family burying ground.


Fourth Generation.

Samuel Wilkinson3  [8] Samuel2 [2] Lawrance.1 [1]
      and
Huldah Aldrich

Of Smithfield, R. I.

21.I. Huldah,4 b. Dec. 16, 1697,  d.   
22.II. Josiah,4 (85-87) b. Aug. 29, 1699,  d.
23.III. Samuel,4 b. Feb. 9, 1701, d.
24.IV. Zebiah,4 b. Oct. 2, 1702,  d.
25.V. Patience,4 b. June 9, 1704, d.
26.VI. Mercy,4 b. Dec. 12, 1705, d. Sept. 11, 1796.
27.VII. David,4 (88-96) b. Oct. 16, 1707, d. Jan. 31, 1796.
28.VIII. Jacob,4 b.               1709, d.
29.IX. Israel,4 (97-104) b. March 21, 1711, d. April 30, 1784.
30.X. William,4 b.               1713,d.
31.XI. Ruth,4 b.               1715,d.
32.XII. Caleb,4 b.               1716, d.
33.XIII. Plain,4 b. Feb. 28, 1717,  d. May 12, 1791.
34.XIV. Peleg,4 b.               1718,d.      
35.XV.Ichabod,4 (105-107) b.               1720, d.      


I.  Huldah.

Huldah the oldest child was born at the old homestead in Smithfield, or what was then called Providence. She married when she was more than thirty years of age, Elisha Dillingham, a man of more note than worth, although some very worthy men of this name now live in some of the New England states. Their children as far as known are as follows:

  1. Huldah, married Nathan Harrington, and moved to what was called "Nine Partners" in Dutchess County, New York. He proved to be a very worthy man, and by industry and frugality, became quite wealthy. He belonged to the Quaker society, and was a speaker among them, and was highly esteemed by their community.

  2. Mercy, married John Lovett, and lived in Mendon, Mass.

II.  Josias or Josiah, as his name is sometimes written, married Margaret Thompson, Dec. 13, 1736. He lived in Smithfield the first part of his life, or until about 1738, and then moved into the State of New York; but at what particular locality is not known. They had three children, the oldest of which Jemima, lived, died and is buried in Smithfield. Amos and Chloe lived in New York State. Josias was a farmer, and was admitted freeman in Providence in 1730. The time of his death and place of his burial are not known.

III.  Samuel never married, lived and died in Smithfield. He was admitted freeman in Providence in 1730. An anecdote is related concerning him. Being below mediocrity in intellect, he was frequently made the butt of ridicule, and his apt replies made with such innocent simplicity would frequently set the company in a roar of laughter. On one occasion while hunting, he mounted upon a log, when, behold! a large black bear curled up in sound slumber appeared on the opposite side. He brought his gun to a present arms and fired. Bruin was killed. Always after that, when he went to the woods, he would slyly approach and peep over that log. The boys laughed at him, and said "Sammy, why do you always look over that log?" He replied "You don't s'pose I'd look for a bear where there never was one, do ye?"
Such poor unfortunates awaken a melancholy interest, and are frequently remembered long after the more gifted are entirely forgotten.

IV.  Zebiah. The following record may be found in the first "Book of Marriages," Providence R. I.
"Colony of Rhode Island, ss.

It is made to appear by a written instrument under the hands of upwards of twelve substantial evidences, that Ichabod Comstock and Zebiah Wilkinson, both of Providence, were lawfully joined together in marriage on the 13th day of Sept., Anno Domini, 1722, in a Friends' Public Meeting, held in said Providence."
Their childen were:

Some of their descendants were in the town of New Berlin, Chenango County, New York in 1831. They emigrated to Michigan the same year, and nothing farther sic is known of them.
Zebiah was a Quaker, a part of her family lived in Smithfield and a part in Providence.

V.  Patience married Joseph Arnold, and had a family, but their names, and the number, have not been furnished.

VI.  Mercy married Benjamin Thayer, of Mendon, Mass., Aug. 24, 1726, Jas. Arnold officiating. He was the son of Samuel and Mary Thayer, and was born Sept. 11, 1709.
Their children were:

Ichabod her youngest brother lived with them until he moved to Pennsylvania. Mr. Thayer was his guardian during his minority. Among the old papers of Israel Wilkinson, Jr., the following record is found:  "In Mendon, Sept. 11, 1796, Marcy Thayer, widow to Benjamin Thayer, departed this life aged Ninety years, Eight months, and Thirty days, who was the last survivor of the family of Samuel Wilkinson, Jr."

VII.  David, married Mary, dau. of Richard Arnold, the son of Richard who lived near Stephen H. Smiths in Smithfield. This senior Richard was the son of Thomas Arnold who came from England about 1640. David had nine children, three sons and six daughters. His sons died unmarried. Four of his daughters married and had families. David's wife, Mary, died July 1, 1803, aged ninety-one years, nineteen days, and was the last survivor of her father's family.
At the death of his father, David was but Eighteen years of age, and his mother, in connextion sic with himself was appointed executrix of the Last Will and Testament of her deceased husband;* but she declined executing the trust and David became sole executor, and managed the affair with great prudence, and to the entire satisfaction of all parties concerned. He became an extensive land-owner, and real estate broker. A large number of Deeds bearing his name as grantor or grantee are in the possession of the Author. The following, from Frances Inman of the "Gore of the Land," to David, shows the kind of speculation rife in those days. The description is as follows:
"All the bogg oar, or mine of iron that lieth in a certain tract of land which I purchased of the said David Wilkinson, situate in the 'Gore of the Land' containing fifty acres; and also, one equal second part, one-half of all the other oars sic or mines, or minerals of Gold, Silver, Copper, Lead or any other mettle sic of what kind soever, that shall be found hereafter within the said tract, with privilege to dig and carry away.       Signed.     The Mark of Francis X Inman."
Dated Jan. 11, 734.

David was a man of considerable note in his native town and held many public offices. He spent the last part of his life in Providence, and was elected Justice of the Peace in that city May, 1771-2-3-4-5, &c., holding the office for a number of years. During the exciting times of the Revolution he was an active advocate of the rights of the colonies, and in 1775 he was appointed a committee on printing. This position afforded a favorable opportunity for aiding the cause of Freedom, which did not pass unimproved. The following year, 1776, he was appointed Superintendent of the Press in Providence.* His bills were invariably allowed for this service.
The cause of American liberty found ardent and active supporters in the Wilkinson family notwithstanding their pacific principles. Stephen Hopkins and David Wilkinson (who were both born in the same year, 1707,) of Providence, Rhode Island, Esek Hopkins of North Providence, Jeremiah Wilkinson of Cumberland, Oziel Wilkinson and Israel Wilkinson of Smithfield, and John Wilkinson, Jr., of Bucks county, Penn., were all Quakers, but they were more than passive supporters of their country's cause.
The loss of his sons has caused the name of Wilkinson to become extinct in this branch of the family. The death of David's last son was peculiarly afflicting. An aged relative still living, remembers reading when a child, in a Providence paper of "The accidental death of Daniel, only surviving son of David Wilkinson, Esq., nineteen years of age, while witnessing the launching of a vessel above the great bridge in Providence, his head was jambed sic to pieces between the vessel and the timbers of the bridge." His parents knew nothing of his absence from the house until the news of his death was brought to them. He had requested the maid to wake him early in the morning, in order that he might witness the launching of the ship, which she did without the knowledge of his parents. This sudden bereavement produced the deepest sorrow.
It is said that David lost the native vigor of his mind during his last days. He was admitted freeman in 1730.

IX.  Israel married April 6, 1732, Mary Aldrich, dau. of Moses Aldrich of Mendon, Mass. Savage says "Mattithia, b. 10 July 1656, sic was one of the first settlers at Mendon in *1663." But whether Moses was a descendant of this man, or a later settler, is not known. He was a blacksmith by trade, and by perserverence and industry accumulated quite a large property in lands, mills, shops, &c., as appears by his Last Will and Testament bearing date 1761. There are seven sons and five daughters mentioned in his Will, viz:  George, Robert, Thomas, Caleb, Luke, Moses, Aaron, Abigail, Mary, Marcy, Lydia and Alice. Abigail and Marcy married Smiths, Lydia, Joseph Allen; and Alice, Jeremiah Spencer.
The following was found among the papers of Israel Wilkinson, Jr.:  "Memorandum of the Children of Hannah Aldrich, widow of Moses Aldrich of the town of Mendon, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Abigail Smith, 4 children, 31 grandchildren, and [?] great grandchildren.
Rachel Arnold, 12; Mary Flagg, 4; Hannah Mowry, 5.
Mary Wilkinson, 3 children, 15 grandchildren, 7 great grandchildren. Hannah Davis.
Marcy Smith, 5 children, 21 grandchildren, 3 great grandchildren.
In all 127–quite a multitude.

This Aldrich family was remarkable for its longevity.
George, d. July 14, 1797, aged 81 years, 6 months.
Robert, d. July 6, 1794, aged 74 yrs, 5 mos, 27 days.
Thomas, d. Oct. 11, 1795, aged 71 yrs, 4 mos., 13 days.
Caleb, d. Nov. 8, 1809, aged 83 yrs, 9 mos, 24 days.
Luke, d. Oct. 15, 1804, aged 76 yrs, 8 mos.
Mary, d. March 25, 1805, aged 91 yrs, 1 mo, 9 days.
Lydia, d. Sept. 22, 1805, aged 83 yrs, 10 mos, 16 days.
Alice, d. Nov. 19, 1796. Age unknown.

The others were quite aged people when they died. The combined ages of the seven mentioned above is 562 years, 9 mos., 29 days, making an average of 80 1/3 years.

Israel was but fourteen years of age when his father died, and shared a fifth part of his property, after certain legacies had been paid to his sisters. He erected a house on the old homestead farm in Smithfield, which still stands, about half a mile north of his father's residence and about the same distance from the Blackstone River on the main road from Providence to Woonsocket Falls, three miles from the latter place, and twelve from the former. The new part of the house was finished in 1744, and was two stories high, and in shape like the letter L, fronting to the east and south. The scenery from this residence is picturesque and beautiful. To the east the land is rolling, diversified by hills and valleys, which, in the month of June, are covered with green grass and shrubbery, slopping gradually, while at the foot of these ranges rolls the Blackstone river like a silver belt wending its way to the ocean. Beyond the river Cumberland Hill, crowned with a little village, rises in the distance; and the author well remembers, for it was his home for the first decade of his life, beholding the sun rising over that hill, and shedding a flood of radiance upon meadow and woodland, gazing upon the moon beaming into his bedroom window, and smiling sweetly upon the grassy plot in front of the house, witnessing the military display of company training on Cumberland Hill, where the swords of officers, guns and bayonets of the soldiers would flash in the sun like gleams of electricity. These were some of the scenes that have left their impress upon the opening mind at the old homestead in Smithfield, and they will never fade while memory holds its place.
For other facts concerning Israel Wilkinson, see Biography No. IX.  [Note:  The pages where this biograpy appears in the original book were not scanned, and the text is not included here].

XI.  Ruth married Woodard Arnold, and lived in Smithfield. Their children, as far as known were:

XIII.  Plain married John Rogers, a man of great ingenuity and skill in the mechanic arts. He was engage sic with his brother-in-law, Israel Wilkinson, in building the "Hope Furnace," and had it not been for their skill, the enterprise would have been abandoned. The Browns and Bowens were made rich by the operation, but Wilkinson and Rogers were not materially benefitted by it. Before the Revolutionary War broke out, Rogers and his family moved to ______, Nova Scotia, but most of them came back to Rhode Island.
They had:

Some of the members of the elder John Rogers' family lived in Nova Scotia. Samuel lived everywhere.
The following record was found among the papers of Israel Wilkinson, Jr., and is in his own handwriting:  "In Sackville, Nova Scotia, June 17, 1774, then John Rogers departed this life, aged 62 yrs, 3 mos, 17 days."

XV.  Ichabod was only five or six years old when his father died. As he shared equally with his four living brothers in his father's property, Benjamin Thayer of Mendon, Massachusetts, his brother-in-law, was appointed his guardian. Upon attaining his majority he followed his uncle John to Pennsylvania, where he married and had a family.
Until 1866, while collecting names for this work, all knowledge of the whereabouts of this branch of the family had been lost. For more than one hundred years all intercourse had ceased, but now the acquaintance is renewed, and the lost found, through the instrumentality, and faithful record of an old deed.
Samuel T. Wilkinson, a lineal descendant of Ichabod's uncle John, sends the following from Pennsylvania:

"The Friends' Record of their Monthly Meeting, held at Wrightstown, Penn." —;"Meeting held the First of the Twelfth Month, 1742. At this meeting, Ichabod Wilkinson produced a certificate for himself from the Monthly Meeting held at Smithfield, in Road sic Island Colony, which was read and excepted (accepted.)"

There is a further record "the Friends who were appointed to see that the marriage of Ichabod Wilkinson and Sarah Chapman was conducted in an orderly manner, report that they were married the 7th day of the 7th month, 1743."
Samuel, above alluded to, says, "I find that there was a large family of girls, and but one son—that I can find any account of—whose name was Joseph. Ichabod's farm was in the Solebury Right where Newhope [probably "New Hope" in Bucks County, Pennsylvania] now stands. About 1780 the sisters and brothers-in-law deeded the farm to Joseph, Ichabod having made no will. What became of the family I am unable to say, but think they all died out."
In a later communication, he says "I am still under the impression that Ichabod's boys all died without issue. Sept. 6, 1780, his daughters and sons-in-law made a deed to their brother Joseph, of all their father's real estate—he having died intestate, and if there had been other brothers, or brother's children living at the time, it would not have been legal without their own, or their attorney's signatures. The above named Joseph wrote his will Oct. 11, 1785. It was proved the 28th of the same month. He left all of his estate, which was considerable, to his mother, Sarah Wilkinson; and to his sisters, which is pretty strong evidence that the boys died without children. I have reason to think that they had a brother John and a brother William. William I know died without a family, and the above is pretty strong proof that John did also."


John Wilkinson3  [9] Samuel,2 [2], Lawrance.1 [1]
      and
Mary _______   

Of Wrightstown, Bucks Co., Penn.

36.I.Mary,4 b. July 17, 1708, d.
37.II.Kissiah,4 b.   d.
38.III.Plain,4 b.   d.
39.IV.Ruth,4 b.   d.
40.V.John,4 (108-116) b.   d.     1782.
41.VI.Joseph,4 (     ) b.  d.



I.  Mary, was probably born in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, and married Aug., 1730, Joseph Chapman. At the time of their marriage they were members of the Wrightstown Monthly Meeting, Bucks Co., Pa. In an old record of the Chapman family it appears "Mary was daughter of John Wilkinson, of Hunterdon Co., N. J."

II.  Kissiah or Keziah married July, 1731, Thomas Ross. "By order of the Friends at Wrightstown."

III.  Plain married Jan. 2, 1738, Peter Ball.

IV.  Ruth married John Chapman, Dec. 10, 1739, resided at Wrightstown.

V.  John married 1st Mary Lacy, May 27, 1740, and 2d Hannah Hughes, 1770. He had five children by his first wife and four by his second.
Samuel T. Wilkinson, a descendant of John, resident of Wrightstown, says, "My grandfather though a Quaker, was prominent Whig and Justice of the Peace, and took an active part in the revolutionary war, and the minutes of Wrightstown Monthly Meeting show that he was dealt with a number of times for taking too active a part in the war."
It will be remembered the Quakers denied all human authority, and regarded the power of the magistrate as delegated tyranny. Their members therefore were not to participate in building up, or sustaining any government. They preached purity of life, charity in its broadest sense, and denied the right of any man to control the opinions of others. To hold an office was a grave offence sic not to be passed by with impunity. "Hireling ministers," and "persecuting magistrates" were denounced particularly and personally. When Mary Fisher and Ann Austin arrived in Boston 1656, they were cast into prison for inveighing against magistrates and ministers, and the year following the legislature of that colony passed stringent laws punishing all who embraced their doctrines with fines, imprisonments, stripes, banishment and death. The federal commissioners recommended the enactment of this law by a small majority of one only. Soon the prisons were filled, and the old Elm tree on Boston common bore strange fruit, the bodies of suspended Quakers! The bloody law was not abolished till 1661. They had good reasons for denouncing magistrates.


*See, 3 Book of Wills, p. 35, Providence, R. I.
*See Colonial Records and Schedule, 1775-6, p. 93, Secr'y. of State's Office, Prov., R. I.
*See Genealogical Dict. of N.E.


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