Rhode Island Reading Room
These documents are made available free to the public by the Rhode Island USGenWeb Project

History  of the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations: Biographical

NY: The American Historical Society, Inc. 1920

p. 15 - 23:

HERVEY ARMINGTON, M. D. --  For more than two hundred years the name of Armington has been one of the best known in New England.  Descendants of the original settler have during that period played prominent parts in public and official life, in military affairs, in the professions, and in business and commercial enterprises.  The family has flourished in those parts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island which immediately adjoin each other, and its sons have left the imprint of their lives on the communities wherein they have resided.  The name is found frequently in Revolutionary rosters, in connection with both the army and navy, and is found in the high places during that period of upbuilding which followed the close of the Revolutionary War, and has continued since that early time to grow in prestige and honor.  Loyalty, patriotism, able and signal service has brought honor to the house and entitled it to high rank among the families which have done much for our country.

It is with the line of descent from the founder of the late Hervey Armington, and his distinguished forebears, Asa Watson Armington, a well-known figure in the financial world of Providence, R. I., in the middle of the nineteenth century, and the late Hon. James Hervey Armington, that this article is to deal.  The arms of the Armington family is as follows:

Arms - Per chevron or and azure, in chief two lions rampant combatant of the scond, in base a lion rampant of the first.
(I)  Joseph Armington, immigrant ancestor and founder of the line in America, was born on the Island of Guernsey, Great Britain.  He came from England to the American Colonies in 1714, settling in Boston, Mass., where he remained for a short time.  He returned to England on business, and died there in 1715.  His wife, a woman of great culture and unusual education for the time, after the death of her husband, established a school in Roxbury, Mass., where she taught French.

(II)  Joseph (2) Armington, son of Joseph (1) Armington, was born about 1707, on the Island of Guernsey, Great Britain, and accompanied his parents to Rehoboth, Mass., where he established himself, and where he died on August 15, 1846.  He followed the trade of brick-maker.  Joseph (2) Armington married in Rehoboth, Mass., May 27, 1729, Hannah Chaffee, born October 3, 1707, daughter of Jonathan and Hannah (Carpenter) Chaffee. (See Chaffee IV).  'Hannah, widow of Joseph', died at Rehoboth, February 22, 1799.  Their children were:  Nicholas, born Jan. 12, 1730; Joseph, mentioned below; Josiah, July 28, 1733; John, June 12, 1735; Deliverance, Oct. 24, 1737; Susannah, Jan. 9, 1739; Hannah, April 20, 1742; Josiah (2), April 4, 1744; William , Nov. 22, 1746.

(III) Joseph (3) Armington, son of Joseph (2) and Hannah (Chaffee) Armington, was born in Rehoboth, Mass., June 4, 1731. He was a prominent citizen of the town, and a farmer, as were most men of the period.  He married, April 19, 1760, Esther Walker, of Rehoboth, daughter of Daniel and Hannah (Barstow) Walker.  (See Walker VI).  Their children were:  Nathan, born Nov. 7, 1761; Susanna, Sept. 29, 1762; Nancy, May 14, 1765; Asa, mentioned below; Walker, March 6, 1769; Benjamin, Aug. 27, 1771; Joseph, March 31, 1774; Esther, March 17, 1777; George, June 17, 1779; Sylvester Ambrose, Aug. 19, 1782; Gardner, July 6, 1785; Hannah B., Aug. 21, 1787; James Gardiner, Sept. 9, 1789; Daniel, Oct. 12, 1791.

(IV) Asa Armington, son of Joseph (3) and Esther (Walker) Armington, was born April 19, 1767.  He married Bethia Remington, and they were the parents of the following children:  Asa Watson, born Aug. 18, 1791; Dr. Hervey, mentioned below; Ira, April 28, 1795; Polly W., April 1, 1798; Mary A., Dec. 31, 1800; Ira (2), May 1, 1803; Horace W., Sept. 22, 1805, died and was buried in the Bay of Honduras; Emma B., Jan. 31, 1808.

(V)  Dr. Hervey Armington, son of Asa and Bethia (Remington) Armington, was born July 25, 1793.  His death occurred in Providence, R. I., on August 3, 1868.  It would be impossible to give a better or more comprehensive account of his life, one which showed more clearly the regard in which he was held in Providence, the feeling of the public toward the man and plysician whom it loved and revered, than the sketch of his life, published in the Providence 'Daily Journal', under the date of August 8, 1868:

'Dr. Hervey Armington, whose death we have already announced, was one of our oldest physicians, and his departure from us deserves something more than a simple record of the fact.  Dr. Armingon was descended from Joseph Armington, who, with his family, came to Boston from England in the year 1714.  He was born in Barrington, R. I., and his elementary education was obtained in a common country school.  He subsequently completed his course of instruction at an academy at Leicester, Mass.  During his minority he spent several years in a seafaring life, for which he had a fondness, and as second mate, and afterwards as chief mate, sailed to Virginia, thence to Brazil, touching at some ports in Portugal.  The War of 1812 broke up commerial marine, dissipated the golden dreams of this peaceful vocation, and led to the opening of a business in a country store.  This proving unsuccessful it was abandoned, and the steps of enterprise were turned to the west.  Previous to 1812 young Armington proceeded to Cincinnati, Ohio, taking passage to Philadelphia in a schooner just started as a pioneer in the regular freighting business, thence traveling on foot to Pittsburgh, and from that place descending the Ohio in a skiff built by himself and his travelling companion.  In Cincinnati he engaged in the study of medicine in the office of Drs. Hough and Whitman, and after completing his preparatory studies became a student in the Ohio Medical College, at the head of which was the late Daniel Drake, M. D.  While purusing his medical studies, he set up soda water fountains (the first probably in the West, in Maysville, Chillicothe, St. Louis, Louisville), and thus contributed to the cause of temperance by substituting a wholesome and delightful beverage for intoxicating liquors.  In 1822 he was graduated with the honors of the institution, and after receiving his degree established himself in a settlement (if we mistake not, called 'Yankeetown'), about thirty-seven miles from Cincinnati.  Here he continued but a single season.  Dr. Armington remained in the West nearly five years, when he returned to Providence and engaged in the drug business, practicing his profession occasionally.  He likewise engaged in trade in connection with navigation but failing of anticipated success he returned to the practice of medicine, which became extensive, and in which he ever afterward continued. He was a member of the Rhode Island Medical Society, and for nine years its treasurer.  He was also at one time President of the Providence Association of Physicians, and enjoyed the fullest confidence and respect of his associates.  His medical practice covered a period of about forty years.

Dr. Armington was very domestic in his habits, and found his chief enjoyment in the bosom of his family, and in the society of friends who always met a cordial welcome at his home.  Though taking no active part in political affairs, he cherished firmly his early and deliberately formed opinions, which his ballot at the polls undisguisedly expressed.  For many years Dr. Armington was a member of the school committee, and during his entire official connection with that body discharged with scrupulous fidelity the duties assigned to him.  No one felt deeper interest in the education of the young, or appreciated more accurately the importance of our public school system.  Changes bearing evidence of improvement, either in the construction of school houses, or in methods of teaching, received from him a hearty approval.  He was especially interested in the prosperity of the high school, and viewed with unmingled satisfaction the blessing it annually conferred upon its pupils and through them upon the city.  To his profession as a physician Dr. Armington was faithfully devoted and the the numerous families in which he practiced welcomed him in the sick room as a safe adviser and friend.  He was prompt to meet all calls for professional services, and the cases of his poorest patients from many of whom no pecuniary compensation was expected or rendered, always received conscientious attention.  Even after declining health warned him to be sparing of his strength, his ready sympathy for the suffering prompted him often to transcend prudence in ministering at the bedside of disease and pain.  He died with calm and cheerful submission to Divine Will. His life was formed under the abiding influence of fundamental Christian principles to which he gave unqualified acceptance.  To his family and to a wide circle of friends his death came as a deep grief.  From the medical profession a respected and valued member was removed, while from a still wider circle of those by whom he was honored as a dispenser of healing had taken one whose memory was ever fragrant of a kind and willing service.  He was the last, but one of a family of eight brothers and sisters.  He passed away August 3, 1868, leaving behind a record full of usefulness and  high worth.'

Illustration on facing pages: Hervey Armington, MD, Ardelia Allin Armington

Dr. Hervey Armington married, on December 25, 1825, Ardelia Allin, born April 21, 1803, daughter of Captain Pearce Samuel and Hannah (Baker) Allin (See Allin IV).  Their children were:  Samuel Allin, married Sarah Sweet, both deceased; Hannah Bethiah, died unmarried; Horace Ward, died unmarried; Rebecca Baker, died unmarried; Emily Louise, died unmarried; Juliana Trowbridge, deceased; Jerault Tibbitts, mentioned below; Emma Foster, residing in Providence, at the old family residence, at No. 108 Williams street; Hervey Blanchard, married Esther Paine, both deceased.

(VI)  Jerault Tibbitts Armington, son of Dr. Hervey and Ardelia (Allin) Armington, was born in Providence, R. I., September 14, 1842.  He received his education in the private academy of John Austin, a prominent educator in Providence at the time, leaving school at an early age.  From earliest childhood he had had a fondness for horses, and found his first employment in the thing he loved so well - driving an express wagon for a large company in Providence.  In 1862, at the age of about twenty years, young Armington heard the call of the West, and with a company of friends set out on the long and arduous journey across the plains.  The journey was made by prairie schooner, and the ultimate destination of the party was Denver, Col.  Here Mr. Armington worked for a period of about three months, at the end of which time he saved enough money to buy an 'outfit', and team of horses, and with these he started in a small way in the business which he later developed to such large proportions.  Starting as a contractor, he soon made his way into the field of railroad building.  After a period, in which he met with much success in his business, Mr. Armington admitted to partnership with him Mr. Peter Seims, a man of considerable business talent and practical experience. The name of the firm became Armington & Seims, under which style the business was conducted until the retirement of Mr. Armington from business life.  The firm was given the contracts for portions of the largest railroads in that section of the West, and became one of the most improtant of its kind in the immediate vicinity.  Mr. Armington was also keenly interested in mining, and conducted large mining operations in the neighborhood of Denver and Great Falls, Mont., whither he removed later.  He owned extensive property interests in the latter place, and conducted several large ranches.  He spent the greater part of his life and his stay in the West in the State of Montana.  He was one of the founders of the town of Great Falls, Mont., and one of its most prominent public men and business officials.  A leader in almost every phase of the community life he was also one of its best beloved friends.  The Indians, in that country where the strongest antagonism and resentment against the 'whites' was almost universal, loved and honored him, and were his friends.  They called him the Medicine Man, became of his knowledge of the medical profession, gained in his early years from his father.  Through his knowledge of medicine he was able to relieve much suffering among ignorant Indians, and they rewarded him as a staunch friend.  He was also their champion among the whites.  His gifts for charitable purposes, though unostentatious, were extensive, and large portions of his land in various parts of the country were given to men who had failed in prospecting or in business and were reduced to the point of necessity.  His political affiliations were with the Republican party, and in appreciation of his services to the town he was elected with an overwhelming majority a member of the first Senate of the State of Montana, which incumbency he accepted for the purpose of accomplishing needed reforms on behalf of the people.  After the expiration of his first term, however, he refused to accept office again, though strongly urged to do so.

Mr. Armington was well known in the fraternal life of the town, and was a member of the Great Falls Lodge of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, of Montana.  He also belonged to the Montana Pioneer Society.  He was a gentleman of the old school, kindly, courteous, honorable, and well loved by the people to whom he gave the greater part of his life.  He was popularly known as 'Senator' or 'Doctor' Armington, and occupied a very prominent and inflential place in the hearts and lives of the people of Great Falls.  Mr. Armington was the owner of the township of Armington, near Great Falls.  The last years of his life were spent with his sisters in Providence, where he died on December 10, 1916.

illustration on facing page: J. T. Armington.

(The ALLIN Line).

For a period of more than two and a half centuries the family of Allin has held a position of prominence in New England. During this time the name has been spelled variously Allin, Allen, Allyn, frequently according to the preference of the men who bore it, and oftentimes as a distinguishing mark, when there was more than one family of the name in a community.  Faulty spelling in early records is responsible for much difficulty in tracing ancestry in the family.  In the early years of the Colonial period, we find many immigrants of the name in New England, the heads of families, and to-day the family is represented in every State in the Union.  The Rhode Island family of Allin has been established there since the year 1683, and in successive generations has played an active part in the building of the little Colony and the growth of the Commonwealth.  The name is found with great frequency in the rolls of soldiers serving in the wars of our country, and several of them have achieved fame and distinction on the field of battle.  The late Mrs. Armington, wife of Dr. Hervey Armington, was a descendant of one of the ancient Colonial families of Allin, tracing in a direct line to one of the early progenitors.  She was a daughter of Pearce S. Allin, of Seekonk, R. I., and a great-granddaughter of John Allin, of Portsmouth, R. I., where the family was established in the year 1683.

The arms of the Allin family is as follows:

Arms -- Gules three swords barwise argent points to the sinister, hilt and pommels or, between four mullets, two in chief and two in base of the third. Crest -- On a Bible a hand couped close holding a sword erect.
(I)  John Allin, of Portsmouth, R. I., where he was a prominent citizen, married Susan Goddard Wall, widow of William Wall. They were the parents of one child, James, mentioned below.

(II)  James Allin, son of John Allin, was born in Portsmouth, and resided there all his life.  He married Martha Pearce, daughter of Samuel and Esther (Wyley) Pearce, a member of a long established Rhode Island family.  There children were:  Daniel, who removed to Pomfret, Conn.; Cyrus, of Brownsville, N. Y.; John Pearce, of Westmoreland, N. Y.; Pearce Samuel, mentioned below; Cynthia, of Amsterdam, N. Y.; Matthew, of Canajoharie, N. Y.; Caleb, of Brownsville, N. Y.; Thomas, of Amsterdam, N. Y.; James, of Amsterdam, N. Y.; Martha, of Johnstown, N. Y.; Susan, of Amsterdam, N. Y.; Henry, of Amsterdam, N. Y.; Juliana, of Amsterdam, N. Y.

(III)  Captain Pearce Samuel Allin, son of James and Martha (Pearce) Allin, of Portsmouth, R. I., was born in that town and grew to manhood there.  He later removed to Seekonk, R. I., where he resided for the remainder of his life.  He married Hannah Baker, and they were the parents of the following children:  Martha, Samuel Pearce, Louisa, Louisa (2), Ardelia, mentioned below; Jeremiah, Joseph, William.

(IV) Ardelia Allin, daughter of Captain Pearce and Hannah (Baker) Allin, was born April 21, 1803.  She married, December 25, 1825, Dr. Hervey Armington. (See Armington V).

(The CHAFFEE Line).

From the nickname 'le chauve', signifying literally the bald, came the surname Chaffee, undergoing numerous changes in form before it assumed that to which the family in England and America to-day adheres.  Towards the end of the sixteenth and beginning of the seventeenth centuries the form of Chaffee was well established in England, with the result that with only slight variations the name is uniformly spelled in American registers. The family in America dates from 1635, and is traced to one Thomas Chaffe, immigrant ancestor and founder, large land owner and prominent member of the early settlements at Hingham, and Hull, in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. His progeny has been prominent in New England for many generations, and the family has contributed many men whose names are notable in the history of New England life and affairs.

The arms of the Chaffee family is as follows:

Arms - Azure a fesse lozengy argent.
(I) Thomas Chaffe, immigrant ancestor and founder, immigrated from England to America in 1635, in which year he settled in Hingham, Mass., where he received a grant of land.  The first mention of him in the early records of Hingham occur in that year, when the town gave to John Tucker land adjoining his land.  Although his name was not in the list of property owners in 1635, this record proves that he was a property owner, but the entry of it was not given until 1637.  Under the same date there is another entry showing that the town gave him about two acres of salt marsh, and July 17, 1637, two acres of land on Batchellor street (now Main street) for a house.  This small amount proves that he was unmarried at the time, as the amount of land for a house was given with regard to the size of the family.  In October, 1637, he was given a lot of ten acres abutting on Thomas Turner's land on the north and Ralph Smith's land on the south.  The next record of him is dated April 9, 1642, in Nantasket, later called Hull, where he was admitted with several others as a planter, and given two acres between the two hills next Pedcock's Island.  There were to be at least thirty-two lots, and the planters were to take them in order; they were to have four acres of planting land and two acres of meadow land also.  On May 29, 1644, the name was changed to Hull, and in July, a church was formed there.  In both Hingham and Hull, Thomas Chaffe was a fisherman and farmer.  The name of his wife is not known.  He probably married in Hull, as no mention of him or his family is found in the notes of Rev. Peter Hobart, of Hingham.  The town records of Hull, before 1657, have been lost.  It is probable that his wife's name was Dorothy, as her sons both had daughters named Dorothy, and it was the custom to name children for their grandparents.  The next mention of him in the records is a deed, February 4, 1650, in which he gives land over to Thomas Gill, of Hingham, and he and his son Joseph must have made a trip from Swansea, where they were living, in order to sign it.  The last mention of him was in 1657, when a list of his lands was given.  Between 1657 and on May 30, 1660, he had removed from Hull and settled in Rehoboth, then in Plymouth Colony.  A deed has been found, dated May 30, 1660, in which he sells to Thomas Loring, Sr., of Hull, his house, orchard and two home lots containing four acres; a lot of meadow by 'Streights River'; two lots at Sagamore Hill, and two at Strawberry Hill; and also all his rights and privileges in all the island except Pedcock's Island.  In this deed he calls himself 'some time of Hull in the colony of Suffolke', but does not say where he was living then.  However, in the proprietor's records of Rehoboth, he was one of the proprietors at least as early as December 25, 1660, and the records also contain a description of the boundaries of land belonging to him.  A few months after the sale of his property in Hull he made his first recorded purchase of land in Rehoboth, of Stephen Paine, Sr., February 9, 1660.  On April 11, 1664, he then of Wannamoisett, sold to Captain Thomas Willett and James Brown one of the two lots he received in the division of home lots.  When Swansea was set off from Rehoboth in 1668, his home in Wannamoisett became a part of the town newly created.  He very likely owned land in Rehoboth, as in a deed in 1675 he calls himself of Rehoboth.  In 1669 he sold to Joseph Carpenter property in New Meadow Neck. During King Philip's War he and his family, as well as near neighbors, doubtless lived in 'Chaffe's Garrison', a stone building near his house, and during that time he bought more land of Francis Stevens in Rehoboth.  On December 28, 1676, there is a record of an agreement in regard to 'lands purchased of Asamequin and Wamsitto his sonne.'  The last mention of him in his life is March 16, 1679-80, in an agreement concerning the Paine Lots and also 'pasturing neck.'  He made his will, July 25, 1680, and in it mentions his two sons, Nathaniel and Joseph.  It was proved March 6, 1683, and an inventory of his estate taken May 15, of the same year.  Thomas Chaffe was prominent and highly respected in the towns in which he resided.  His children were:  Nathaniel, mentioned below; Joseph, probably born between 1639 and 1646 in Hull.

(II) Nathaniel Chaffee, son of Thomas Chaffe, was born between the year 1639 and 1642, probably at Nantasket or Hull, Mass., and died in Rehoboth, September, 1720.  Between 1657 and 1660 he settled in that part of Rehoboth which later became Swansea.  On May 19, 1670, he was chosen constable, and from that time was a large land owner, inheriting some from his father, and increasing his holding considerably by purchase.  He bought sixty acres of land from Obediah Brown in Rehoboth, and later two parcels of land of twelve and a half and ten acres each from John Martin, of Attleboro.  That he was highly valued as a citizen is evident from the fact that after his removal from Rehoboth he was invited to return to the town, and as an inducement was offered more land.  Four months later he returned. Nathaniel Chaffee was a blacksmith, and from the nature of his work, and the dependence of early settlements on the work of the blacksmith, he held a prominent place in the life of the early settlement.  The blacksmith in those days made practically all farm implements, household utensils, arms, bells, etc.  Nathaniel Chaffee became a freeman in 1681, on March 26, of which year he was elected constable.  On March 22, 1693, he was chosen tythingman.  He received numerous grants of land.  During King Philip's war he contributed L3, 16s, 6d. to the war fund.  He married, in Swansea, Mass., August 19, 1669, Experience Bliss, daughter of Jonathan and Miriam (Harmon) Bliss, and they were the parents of eleven children, the first three of which were born in Swansea, the others in Rehoboth.  Children:  Dorothy; Thomas, born Oct. 19, 1672; Rachel; Nathaniel, Jan., 1675-76; Jonathan, mentioned below; David, Aug. 22, 1680; Experience, March 24, 1682; Mehitable, Oct. 30, 1687; Daniel, Oct. 30, 1687; Noah, Jan. 19, 1690; Noah, Dec. 17, 1792 [sic].

(III) Jonathan Chaffee, son of Nathaniel and Experience (Bliss) Chaffee, was born in the town of Rehoboth, Mass., April 7, 1678.  On February 10, 1701-02, he received from his father four and a half acres of land near 'Broken Cross'.  He subsequently became very prominent in the life and affairs of Rehoboth, and took active part in civic life.  On March 19, 1704, he was chosen to the office of field driver.  On November 21, 1715, he and one hundred and ten others agreed to pay for building a new meeting house. In 1718 he purchased one hundred acres of land from Joseph Russ for L8 in Ashford, Conn.  On December 11, of that year, he was a member of a jury of trials.  In 1819 he bought of Jeremiah Allen one hundred additional acres in Ashford.  He was a large landowner and a considerably wealthy man, an influential citizen, and a highly respected member of the community.  On March 28, 1720, he became tythingman, and from that time until his death held public office continuously.  Jonathan Chaffee married in Rehoboth, Mass., November 23, 1703, Hannah Carpenter, daughter of William and Miriam (Searles) Carpenter, who was born April 10, 1684.  In 1767 she was the executrix of her husband's estate.  He died December 31, 1766, leaving a will dated May 5, 1754.  He is buried in the old burying ground formerly in Rehoboth, but now in the village of Rumford, R. I., where his grave is marked by a stone bearing the inscription:

'Jonathan Chaffe
Departed this life
December 31, 1766,
in the 89th year of his age.'

Children of Jonathan and Hannah (Carpenter) Chaffee, born in Rehoboth: Jonathan, born June 25, 1704; Nathaniel, Oct. 20, 1705; Hannah, mentioned below; Dan, Feb. 26, 1710; Miriam, Aug. 22, 1712; Susanna, Sept. 22, 1714; Ephraim, Jan. 25, 1716; William, 1717; Susanna, June 10, 1720; Deliverance, Sept. 4, 1721; Josiah, May 2, 1723; Susanna, Aug. 28, 1728.

(IV) Hannah Chaffee, daughter of Jonathan and Hannah (Carpenter) Chaffee, was born in Rehoboth, Mass., October 3, 1707, and died there February 22, 1799.  She married in Rehoboth, May 27, 1729, Joseph (2) Armington.  (See Armington II).

Hannah (Carpenter) Chaffee, mother Hannah (Chaffee) Armington, wife of Joseph (2) Armington, was a daughter of William and Miriam (Searles) Carpenter, as above stated, and granddaughter of William Carpenter, the founder of this family, which is one of the most notable of early American families.  Her lineage is contained in the following article.


Arms - Argent a greyhound passant and chief sable.
Crest - A greyhound's head erased per fesse sable and argent.
Motto - Celeritas, virus, fidelitas.
These arms are found on the tombstone of Daniel Carpenter, of Rehoboth, who was born in 1669.  This family is of ancient English origin, and of great antiquity in Herefordshire and other parts of England.  The American branch of the family is descended from the English family of Carpenter of which the Earl of Tyrconnel was a member.  In 1761 the Earldom of Tyrconnel in Ireland was given to a third George Carpenter, and this branch became extinct in 1863.  The line of Lord George Carpenter was the same as the American immigrant of the family, William Carpenter, founder of the largest branch of the Carpenter family in America.  Three other families of the name were established here in the early part of the Colonial period, one by another William Carpenter, of Providence, R. I., another in Philadelphia, and a fourth family in Connecticut by Daniel Carpenter, who died in Farmington, in 1651.

The pedigree of the English house, extending from 1303 to 1605, and covering ten generations, up to the American immigrants, follows:

(I)  John Carpenter, the first of the name found in English records, was born about 1303, and was a member of Parliament in 1323.

(II)  Richard Carpenter, son of John Carpenter, was born about 1335.  He married Christiana ----, and they were buried in the Church of St. Martin, Outwitch, Bishopsgate street, London.  He was a goldsmith.

(III)  John (2) Carpenter, son of Richard and Christiana Carpenter, was a brother of the noted town clerk of London, whose bequest founded the City of London School.

(IV)  John (3) Carpenter, son of John (2) Carpenter, married and had a son William, mentioned below.

(V)  William Carpenter, son of John (3) Carpenter, was born about 1440, and died in 1520.  He resided in the parish of Dilwyne, Herefordshire, and is called William of Homme.

(VI)  James Carpenter, son of William Carpenter, died in 1537.

(VII)  John (4) Carpenter, son of James Carpenter, died in 1540.

(VIII)  William (2) Carpenter, son of John (4) Carpenter, was born about 1540.  His children were:  James, inherited the estate of his father; Alexander, born about 1560, and his youngest child is thought to have been the William of Cobham to whom the arms were confirmed in 1663; William, mentioned below; Richard, probably settled in Amesbury, Mass., and was the progenitor of the Providence branch of the family in America.

(IX)  William (3) Carpenter, son of William (2) Carpenter, was born in England, in 1576.  He sailed from Southampton, England, with his wife Abigail, and his son William, in the ship 'Bevis' and landed in May, 1638. He returned to England in the same vessel, and it is thought he came merely to assist his son in making a home for himself and his family.  He resided in London.

(X)  William (4) Carpenter, immigrant ancestor and founder of the family in America, was a son of William (3) And Abigail Carpenter, and was born in England in 1605, and died in Rehoboth, Mass.  He was admitted a freeman of Weymouth, May 13, 1640; was representative from Weymouth, 1641-42; and from Rehoboth, in 1645.  He was constable in 1641, and was chosen proprietors' clerk of Weymouth in 1643.  He drew lot No. 18 in the division of lands in Rehoboth, June 30, 1644, and was admitted an inhabitant of the town, March 28, 1645, and the following June was made a freeman.  It was through his inflence that the grant of Seekonk, otherwise known as Rehoboth, was made by the General Court then at Plymouth.  This was the tract of land selected by Roger Williams for a settlement, when he was driven out of the Massachusetts Colony.  In 1647 William Carpenter was made one of the directors of the town, and again held that office in 1655.  The legal business of the town and colony was transacted principally by him.  He paid L8, 17s, 3d. toward defraying the expense of King Philip's war, and was one of a committee to lay out a road from Rehoboth to Dedham.  About 1642 he received a commission as captain from the Governor of Massachusetts, and was called upon to act for the protection and ownership of the Pawtuxet lands.  The records show him to have been a yeoman, and his estate was valued at L254, 10s.  Governor Bradford, who married his cousin Alice, favored William Carpenter in all his measures in the Plymouth Court, and in all their dealings they were close friends.  William Carpenter married, in England, Abigail ------, who was provided for by his will of April 21, 1659.  She died February 22, 1687. Children:  John, born in England, about 1628; William, mentioned below; Joseph, born about 1633; Hannah, born in Weymouth, Mass., April 3, 1640; Abiah, born April 9, 1643; Abigail, born April 9, 1643, twin of Abiah; Samuel, born in 1644.

(XI) William (5) Carpenter, son of William (4) and Abigail Carpenter, was born in England about 1631.  He married (first) in 1651, Priscilla Bennett; she died on October 20, 1663; he married (second) Miriam Searles, who survived him and died May 1, 1722, aged (according to her gravestone) ninety-three years.  He died January 26, 1703, in Rehoboth.  William Carpenter was elected town clerk of Rehoboth, May 13, 1668, and with the exception of one year held the office until his death.  He was deputy to the General Courty of Plymouth in 1658 and 1668.  In the latter year he was also chosen deacon of the church.  In 1670 he was one of a committee to settle the bounds between the town of Taunton and the north purchase, and the clerk of the community of the north purchase in 1682.  He was also one of the purchasers of the latter place and drew his lot in the meadow, May 26, 1668. At the meeting of the purchasers, February 18, 1695, it was voted that there should be a division of fifty acres to each shareholder, and William Carpenter was chosen surveyor.  He was a man of superior ability, accurate in all his business transactions, and a reliable counsellor in the colony. He was also noted for his fine penmanship, a rare accomplishment in early New England.  His house stood on the left side of the road leading from the East Providence meeting house to Rehoboth.  His estate was valued at L215 5s, 4d.  He was a prosperous farmer, and notable figure in the Massachusetts Colony in his day.  Children of first marriage:  John, born Oct. 19, 1652; William, June 20, 1659; Priscilla, born July 24, 1661; Benjamin, Oct. 20, 1663, the day of his mother's death.  Children of second marriage:  Josiah, born Dec. 18, 1665; Nathaniel, May 12, 1667; Daniel, Oct. 8, 1669; Noah, March 28, 1672; Miriam, Oct. 16, 1674; Obadiah, March 12, 1677-78; Ephraim, died young; Ephraim, April 25, 1683-84; Hannah, mentioned below; Abigail, April 15, 1687.

(XII)  Hannah Carpenter, daughter of William (5) and Miriam (Searles) Carpenter, was born in Rehoboth, Mass., April 10, 1684-85.  She married, in Rehoboth, November 23, 1703, Jonathan Chaffee.  (See Chaffee III).  They were the parents of Hannah Chaffee, who became the wife of Joseph (2) Armington.  (See Armington III).

(The WALKER Line).

Arms - Argent on a chevron between three crescents sable as many dragons' heads or.
Crest - A demi-dragon's head vert. issuing out of flames proper and crowned or.
(I) The 'Widow Walker', who is regarded as the founder in New England of the Walker family herein under consideration, was the mother of both James and Philip Walker, and the head of a family which has since become a notable one in New England.  She was one of the first purchasers and proprietors of the town of Rehoboth or Seacunk (now Seekonk), and was one of the company who first settled that place.  Her name is on the list of those who in 1643 gave in the value of their estates for a pro rata division of lands.  Hers was fifty pounds.  In the division made June 30, 1644, she was given a share and received allotments in several divisions of later date.  She was given a share and lots were assigned to her in the drawing for the Great Plain, and on the eighteenth of twelfth month, 1646, she took part in the drawing for land in the Great Meadow.  Her name then disapears, and no trace of her is found save the fact of her being associated with that brave adventurous company which went out from Weymouth into the wilderness. This band was known for its religious enthusiasm, and the educated and saintly Rev. Samuel Newman was its leader.  No record of the coming of Widow Walker to America is in existence, and it is probable that becoming a widow in England, she emigrated with her younger son Philip, after the coming of her two elder children, James and Sarah.  James and Sarah Walker are thought to have been passengers on the ship 'Elizabeth', which sailed from London, April 14, 1634, as their names and ages, fifteen and seventeen years, respectively, appear among those who signed the certificate of conformity.  On the same ship were Richard Walker, aged twenty-four years, and William Walker, aged fifteen.  This is the first and only time the name appears on any ship's list of passengers before 1655.  The ship 'Elizabeth' landed at Nantasket, or Hingham, Mass., and William, one of the passengers, went to Salem.  The Richard Walker named was a son of Richard Walker, of Saugus, of Lynn, the father having preceded him.  Sarah Walker married John Tisdall, of Duxbury, and James Walker married Elizabeth Phillips.  These three Walkers, evidently cousins, distributed as follows:  James and Sarah settled in Taunton, with John Browne, their uncle and guardian; William in Eastham, and Richard in Lynn with his father.

(II)  Philip Walker, son of the Widow Walker, was born in England, and is first of mention in Colonial records in Massachusetts in a deed bearing his signature, dated, Rehoboth, 1653.  He was one of the grand jury there, May 17, 1655, and took the oath of fidelity, June 1, 1658.  His name appears in the first division of the Rehoboth North Purchase, June 22, 1658, and again on May 26, 1668.  He became a prominent figure in the local affairs of early Rehoboth, and held many positions of trust and importance.  In 1657 he became surveyor, and in the following year held the office of constable.  He was on the grand inquest in 1668 and 1678; selectman between 1666 and 1675; and deputy to the General Court at Plymouth, in 1669.  He was also a deacon of the church, and on November 2, 1663, was one of a committee appointed to build or buy a parsonage.  In King Philip's War he contributed twenty-six pounds to the war fund, the largest sum with two exceptions in the town.  He was a prosperous weaver, and his estate was appraised at L681, one of the largest in Rehoboth.  He was buried August 21, 1679.  Philip Walker married, about 1654, Jane Metcalf, daughter of Michael Metcalf, of Dedham.  (See Metcalf II).  She survived him, and married (second) June 2, 1684, John Polley of Roxbury.  She lived in the latter place until her death in 1702. Children:  Samuel, born Feb., 1655; Sarah, Feb. 16, 1657; Philip, mentioned below; Elizabeth, twin of Philip, born in March, 1661, drowned Aug. 7, 1664; Mary, born in May, 1663; Experience, in 1664-65, buried Nov. 10, 1674; Elizbeth, April 1, 1666; Michael, March 1, 1667, buried Feb., 1677; Ebenezer, 1676; Martha.

(III)  Philip (2) Walker, son of Philip (1) and Jane (Metcalf) Walker, was born in March, 1661, died February 17, 1740, buried in Seekonk Cemetery. His estate was large, and he was one of the wealthiest men of his day in Rehoboth.  He married (first) December 31, 1687, Mary Bowen, born October 5, 1666, daughter of Richard and Esther (Sutton) Bowen; she was buried May 22, 1694.  He married (second) Sarah Bowen, daughter of William Bowen, born in 1671, died February 6, 1739, in Rehoboth.  Children of first marriage: Esther, born Oct. 31, 1688; James, mentioned below; Philip, Aug. 13, 1693. Children of second marriage:  Sarah, born Jan. 8, 1696; Mary, March 19, 1700; Jane, March 21, 1702; Nathaniel, Jan. 31, 1704; Daniel, Oct. 10, 1706; Stephen, Aug. 7, 1709.

(IV)  James Walker, son of Philip (2) and Mary (Bowen) Walker, was born September 3, 1690, and died November 28, 1747.  He was a lifelong resident of Rehoboth, where he married Elizabeth -------- , who died December 29, 1748-49.  They renewed the covenant, October 3, 1735.  James Walker's estate was inventoried at L818; that of his father, Philip (2) Walker, at L1750. Among the children of James Walker, six in number, was Daniel, mentioned below.

(V)  Daniel Walker, son of James and Elizabeth Walker, was born in Rehoboth, Mass., June 12, 1726.  Early in life he removed to Cumberland, R. I.  In 1767 his father gave him two hundred acres of land in Ashford, Conn., and later gave him land in Willington, Conn.  He married (first) August 1, 1746, Hannah Barstow, who died February 8, 1747.  He married (second) February 23, 1748, Sible Smith, daughter of Daniel and Ruth (Ormsbee) Smith.  Daniel and Hannah (Barstow) Walker were the parents of a daughter, Esther, mentioned below.

(VI)  Esther Walker, daughter of Daniel and Hannah (Barstow) Walker, married, April 19, 1760, Joseph (3) Armington.  (See Armington III).

(The BLISS Line).

Arms - Sable a bend vaire, between two fleurs-de-lis or.
Crest - A hand holding a bundle of arrows.
Mottto - Semper sursum.
The surname Bliss had its origin in two distinct and separate sources.  The ancient Norman-French house of Blois was represented in the train of William the Norman, and the founding of the Blois or Bliss family in England dated from the Norman Conquest.  The French name of Blois was modified gradually by the Saxons to Bloys, Blyse, Blysse, and Blisse; the American branch eliminated the final 'e'.  The English family, which tradition connects inseparably with the South of England, was of the landed gentry, owning extensive estates, and was entitled to bear arms.  Descendants of Norman French, they were at first Roman Catholics, and remained so until the Protestant Reformation, when many branches broke away from the church of Rome; at a still later date, however, many severed their connection with the Established Church to become Puritans and were involved in the contentions between Charles I. and Parliament.

(I)  Thomas Bliss, the progenitor of the family in England, and the first of the direct line of whom we have authentic information, lived in Belstone parish, Devonshire, England.  Very little is known of him except that he was a wealthy landowner, that he belonged to the class stigmatized as Puritans on account of the purity and simplicity of their forms of worship, that he was persecuted by the civil and religious authorities under the direction of Archbishop Laud, and that he was maltreated, impoverished and imprisoned and finally ruined in health, as well as financially, by the many indignities and hardships forced on him by the intolerant church party in power.  He is supposedly to have been born about 1550 or 1560.  The date of his death was 1635 or about that year.  When the Parliament of 1628 was assembled, Puritans or Roundheads, as the Cavaliers called them, accompanied the members of London.  Two of the sons of Thomas Bliss, Jonathan and Thomas, rode from Devonshire on iron grey horses, and remained for some time in the city - long enough at least for the King's officers and spies to learn their names and conditions, and whence they came; and from that time forth, with others who had gone to London on the same errand, they were marked for destruction.  They soon were fined a thousand pounds for non-conformity and thrown into prison, where they remained several weeks.  Even old Mr. Bliss, their father, was dragged through the streets with the greatest indignity.

On other occasions the officers of the high commission seized all their horses and sheep except one poor ewe that in its fright ran into the house and took refuge under the bed.  At another time the Blisses, with twelve other Puritans, were led through the market place at Okehampton with ropes around their necks, and heavily fined, and Jonathan and his father were thrown into prison, where the sufferings of the son eventually caused his death.  At another time, the king's officers seized the cattle of the Bliss family and most of their household goods, some of the articles of furniture being highly valued for their beauty and age, since they had been in the family for centuries.  The family was finally so reduced in circumstances that it was unable to secure the release of both Jonahan and his father, so the younger man had to remain in prison, and at Exeter he suffered thirty-five lashes with a three-cord whip which tore his back cruelly. Before Jonathan was released the estate had to be disposed of, and the father and mother went to live with their daughter who had married a man of the Established Church, Sir John Calcliffe.  The remnant of the estate was divided among the three sons, who were advised to go to America to escape persecution.  Thomas and George feared to wait for Jonathan, who was still very ill, and they left England in the fall of 1635 with their families. Thomas Bliss, son of Jonathan Bliss, and grandson of Thomas Bliss, remained with his father, who finally died, and the son then came to join his uncles in Massachusetts, settling near Thomas.  At various times their sister sent from England boxes of shoes, clothing and articles which could not be procured in the colonies, and her letters, long preserved but now lost, were the chief source of information concerning the Devonshire family.

Children of Thomas Bliss, the progenitor:  Jonathan, mentioned below; Thomas, born at Belstone, Devonshire, England, about 1585; Elizabeth, married Sir John Calcliffe, of Belstone; George, born in 1591, settled at Lynn and Sandwich, Mass., and Newport, R. I.; Mary, or Polly.

(II)  Jonathan Bliss, son of Thomas Bliss, was born at Belstone parish, Devonshire, England, about 1580, and died in England, in 1635-36.  On account of his non-conformist views he was persecuted and suffered heavy fines, eventually dying at an early age of a fever contracted in prision. Four children are said to have died in infancy, and two grew to maturity: Thomas, mentioned below; Mary.

(III) Thomas (2) Bliss, son of Jonathan Bliss, was born in Belstone parish, Devonshire, England, and on the death of his father in 1636 went to Bsoton, Mass., and from there to Braintree, Mass.  He next went to Hartford, Conn., finally returning to the Massachusetts Bay Colony and settling in Weymouth, whence in 1643 he joined the pioneer settlement at Rehoboth.  He was made a freeman at Cambridge on May 18, 1642, and in Plymouth Colony on January 4, 1645.  In June, 1645, he drew land at the Great Plain, Seekonk; in 1646 was fence-viewer; surveyor highways in 1647.  He died at Rehoboth in June, 1649, and is buried in the graveyard at Seekonk, now a part of the town of Rumford, R. I.  His will was proved June 8, 1649.  He married Ide ----- , and they were the parents of the following children:  Jonathan, mentioned below; daughter, married Thomas Williams; Mary, married Nathaniel Harmon, of Braintree, Mass; Nathaniel.

(IV)  Jonathan (2) Bliss, son of Thomas (2) and Ide Bliss, was born in England, about 1625.  In 1655 he was made a freeman of Plymouth Colony.  He was 'way warden' at the town meeting in Rehoboth, May 24, 1652, and May 17, 1655, served as a member of the grand jury.  He was made a freeman in Rehoboth, February 22, 1658, and drew land June 22, 1658.  He was one of the eighty who made what is known as the North Purchase of Rehoboth.  He married, 1648-49, Miriam Harmon, probably a sister of Nathaniel Harmon, of Braintree, who married Mary Bliss.  He died in 1687.  The inventory of his estate was sworn to May 24, 1687; the magistrate was the famous colonial governor, Sir Edmund Andros. Among the children of Jonathan and Miriam (Harmon) Bliss was Experience, who became the wife of Nathaniel Chaffee, August 19, 1669, in Swansea, Mass., and was the mother of eleven children. (see Chaffee II).

(The METCALF Line).

The authority Bardsley says on the subject of the name:  'I feel assured that the name is local, and that it is a modification of Medcroft or Medcraft, of which an instance still remains in the London directory. Metcalf and Turnbull were great Yorkshire names.  I have seen them side by side in Yorkshire records of five hundred years ago.'  Horace Smith still keeps them in company.

'Mr. Metcalf ran off on meeting a cow, with pale Mr. Turnbull behind him.'

Arms - Argent on a fesse vert between three calves, passant sable, a leopard's face between two annulets or,
Crest - A demi-sea calf purfied or.
Since the year 1637 the Metcalf family has been intimately connected with the life of New England, and in the period of over two and a half centuries since its establishment on this continent has been a well-known and prominent one in American life and affairs.  The ancestry of the English family of which the American branch is an off-shoot has been traced for five generations prior to the emigration of the progenitor of the American line to New England.

(I)  Brian Metcalf, of Bere Park, as early as 1458-59, was mentioned in the Middleham Roll of 1465-66.  In 1484 he received a grant of an annuity out of the lordship of Middleham, and died about 1501.  The fact that James Metcalf, of Nappa, was one of the administrators of the will of Humphrey Metcalf, son of Brian, connects the two, but we have no evidence that James and Brian were not father and son, nor brothers.  Humphrey, son of Brian, is mentioned below.

(II)  Humphrey Metcalf, son of Brian Metcalf, was born probably before 1460, at Bere Park, Yorkshire, England, and died in 1507, intestate.  As evidenced by the land records of the period, he had one son Roger.

(III)  Roger Metcalf, son of Humphrey Metcalf, was born before 1500, and died before 1542.  He married Elizabeth ------- . He had a son Leonard, as is shown by the land records and other evidence.

(IV)  Leonard Metcalf, probably the son of Roger Metcalf, was born as early as 1530, for in 1544 Henry VII granted to Leonard Metcalf the estate at Bere Park in consideration of L147, etc., and to William Metcalf, who was probably a brother, yeoman of London, and to the heirs of John Bannister, who very likely married a sister.  In 1569 Leonard Metcalf took part in the rising of the North, and was convicted of treason, sentenced to death, and his estate forfeited.  At the last moment he was respited, and on September 1, 1751 [sic], was pardoned.  Two years later he paid a fine and received a lease of his lands, formerly lands of Roger Metcalf.  He had sons, John, Christopher, Brian and Roger.  There is no evidence that he had a son Leonard or a grandson of that name.

(V)  Rev. Leonard Metcalf, thought by the compilers, Walter C. Metcalf and Gilbert Metcalf, of the extensive Metcalf Genealogy (1891-98), to have been a nephew of Leonard Metcalf, and perhaps the son of William Metcalf, and must have been born as early as 1545.  In 1580 and afterward he was the rector of the parish of Tatterford, County Norfolk, and was succeeded by Richard Metcalf.  In the parish records is found the date of the birth of the American immigrant.  The children of Leonard Metcalf were:  Michael, baptized September 3, 1585, died young; Michael, mentioned below.

Note - The preceding generations, and their relations to one another, are held by the compilers of the Metcalf genealogy not beyond dispute.  The best of circumstancial evidence points toward the facts as they are given, but absolute proof is lacking on some points.

The American Metcalfs.

(I)  Michael Metcalf, immigrant ancestor and progenitor of the family in America, was born in Tatterford, County Norfolk, England, and was baptized there on June 17, 1587.  He followed the occupation of dornic weaver and tapestry maker, and it is said that he employed one hundred men at Norwich, England.  Religious persecution and intolerance made living in the mother country unbearable, and in 1637, in company with his wife and nine children and one servant, Michael Metcalf immigrated to America.  He married, in England, on October 13, 1616, Sarah Ellwyn, born June 17, 1598, in Hingham, England, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Ellwyn.  Upon arriving in America he settled in Dedham, Mass., where he was admitted a freeman of the colony, on June 14, 1637.  He joined the church there two years later.

From the fact that Michael Metcalf brought with him to America a servant, and from the position which he later held in the colony, it is probable that he was a man of means.  He was elected a selectman in Dedham in 1641.  His wife Sarah died November 30, 1644, and he married (second) Mary Pidge, a widow of Roxbury.  He died in Dedham, on December 24, 1664.  English records confirm the statement of Michael Metcalf that he was forced to leave England by reason of religious persecution.  Before leaving Engalnd and while absent from Norwich trying to avoid persecution, he wrote a long letter 'to all true professors of Christ's Gospel within the City of Norwich.'  After coming to America he wrote the following, which is printed with the other in the 'Metcalf Genealogy' of 1898:

'I was persecuted in the land of my fathers' sepulchres for not bowing at the name of Jesus and observing the ceremonies inforced upon me at the instance of Bishop Wren, of Norwich, and his Chancellor Dr. Corbett, whosc violent measures troubled me in the Bishop's Court, and returned me to the High Commissioner's Court.

Suffering many times for the causes of religion I was forced to flee from my wife and children, for the sake of liberty of my conscience, to go into New England; taking ship for the voyage at London, September 17, 1636, and being by tempests tossed up and down the seas until the Christmas following; then veering about to Plymouth, in County Norfolk, whence I finally shipped myself and family to come to New England; sailed April 25, 1637, and arrived three days before Midsummer with my wife, nine children, and a servant, Thomas Comberbach, aged sixteen years old.'

Michael Metcalf and his family were passengers on the ship 'John and Dorothy'.  His children were:  Micahel, born Nov. 13, 1617, died young; Mary (or Marcy), Feb. 14, 1619; Michael, Aug. 29, 1620; John, Sept. 5, 1622; Sarah, Sept. 10, 1624; Elizabeth, Oct. 4, 1626; Martha, March 27, 1628; Thomas, Dec. 27, 1629; Ann, also called Joanne, March 1, 1631, died young; Jane, mentioned below; Rebekah, April 5, 1635.

(II)  Jane Metcalf, daughter of Michael and Sarah (Ellwyn) Metcalf, was born in England, March 24, 1632, and in 1637 accompanied her parents to the New England Colonies.  She married (first) about 1654, Philip Walker, of Rehoboth.  (See Walker II).  She married (second) June 2, 1684, John Polley, of Roxbury, and lived in the latter place until her death in 1702.


These documents are made available free to the public for non-commercial purposes by the Rhode Island USGenWeb Project. Transcription and pictures 2001-2 by Beth Hurd

Mail e-mail