|Samuel Wilkinson2|| Lawrance1|
|8.||I.||Samuel,3 (21-35)||b. Sept. 18, 1674,||d. Jan. 18, 1726-7.|
|9.||II.||John,3 (36-41)||b. Jan. 25, 1677-8,||d. 1751.|
|10.||III.||William,3 (42)||b. Aug. 1, 1680,||d.|
|11.||IV.||Joseph,3 (43-57)||b. Jan. 22, 1682-3,||d. April 24, 1740.|
|12.||V.||Ruth,3||b. Jan. 31, 1685-6,||d.|
|13.||VI.||Susannah,3||b. April 27, 1688,||d.|
"To all Christian people to whom these presents shall come: I, Samuel Wilkinson of ye Town of Providence in the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations in New England, send greeting: Know Yee, sic that I, Samuel Wilkinson, seueral sic good reasons mouing sic me thereto, but especially the loue sic good-will, and natural affection which I have and do beare sic towards my beloued sic son, Samuel Wilkinson of the towne and Colony aforesaid: Have giuen sic and granted * * a parcel of land containing by estimation Fifty acres, be it more or less; and also, a dwelling house, and all other buildings standing upon said land, the said fifty acres of land was laid out on the Original Right of Richard Scott*, and is that which my afoursaid sic now dwelleth on, and is situate, Lieing sic and being within the townshipp sic of Providence aforesaid, and about ten miles north-westerly from said Towne, or Harbour in said Providence, and lieth on the south-eastern side of the brooke called Westquattersett Brooke, and neere sic to the Pawtucket River;—. In witness whereof I doe sic hereunto sett my hand and seale, this twenty-sixth day of November, and in the second year of the Reigne of the souering sic Lord, George, King of Greate Brittain, &c., and ye yeare of our Lord, one thousand seauen sic Hundred and fifteen;—1715.
Signed &c., in the presence ofSamuel Wilkinson, (L.S.)
Thomas Hopkins, Joiner,
William Hopkins, Carpenter,Recorded this 5th day of January 1716-17.
mee, Richard Waterman, Clerk.
One hundred and fifty years ago this deed was made, and although some of the names therein mentioned have passed away, still many remain as they were, and are readily recognized by those familiar with the early settlement of Smithfield. Samuel had been married several years and was living on the farm granted by this deed, and it is very probable that his family which at that time numbered twelve needed an enlargement of his domains to accommodate a rapidly increasing progeny.
* This Richard Scott was the one who wrote against Roger Williams. His letters are published, and may be found in the Library of Brown University. The composition is peculiarly severe and sarcastic—not holding Williams in very high esteem. See "Fox's N. E. Fire Brand Quenched, Part II, p. 247." "Guild's Manning & B. U., p. 147."
If any member of the Wilkinson family should be desirous of making a pilgrimage to the locality described in this deed, we would direct him to Manville, R. I., thence take the road to the west bearing to the left till the river-road running north and south is reached, then take the right-hand road to the house now (1865) owned by Fenner Mowry, thence west about a half a mile; and the spot formerly made vocal by the numerous family of Samuel and Huldah Wilkinson is reached.Think not, however, to find an old farm mansion with spacious kitchen, cleanly swept parlor, dairy room stored with yellow butter and cheese, pantry shining with long rows of pewter plate, and tin pans filled with milk covered with golden cream; a well-stored cellar; outhouses, barns, and sheds, bleating flocks and lowing herds, the merry laugh and joy-beaming countenances of happy children gamboling in the front yard. No! These are all gone! gone forever.
"From door and hall, from porch and lawn
The echo of the voice is gone!"
Not even the superstructure of the old house is visible. The grounds around have an aspect of decay and solitude. Nought sic but the remains of an old cellar nearly filled up and covered with grass may be seen. The path to the well is closed up, being untrod by busy feet, the well itself has nearly disappeared; and even the aged trees have fallen and decayed, or stand as sentinel mourners of the departed of other days. All is lonely, sad and desolate. A hundred years wrought this great change! "Sic transit gloria mundi."Samuel, as well as his brothers and cousins, including Stephen Hopkins, belonged, as we have before stated, to the Society of Friends. He was highly respected by them, and was noted for his devotion to their principles, and for the practical manner in which he carried them out in his every day life. Richard Scott, above alluded to, is said to be the first Quaker who came to Providence, and although he tried his steel upon Roger Williams in the severest manner, yet he was not molested for opinion's sake.An incident illustrative of peculiar views of the Friends will be inserted here. Samuel, near the close of his life, found a smooth stone of the size of an ordinary gravestone, which he marked with the initials of his name. After his death, his son Israel completed the inscription by inserting his age, date of birth, death &c., and with pious devotion to his "Honored Father," and in order to mark his last resting place, erected it at the head of his grave. Mr. Comstock, a preacher among the Quakers, deeming it a vain thing, as well as a violation of their rule, with a sledge hammer broke it into pieces. The fragments were collected 140 years afterwards by James Wilkinson, a great grandson, who replaced them on his grave in the old Quaker Burying Ground at Woonsocket, Rhode Island, where his remains were originally deposited in 1726. This practice of the Friends has undoubtedly deprived us of many dates in this Genealogy.Samuel was admitted freeman in 1701.He was extensively engaged in the leather business, and carried on tanning and currying in connexion sic with his farming operations. He was proverbially honest.On the 13th day of Jan. 1726-27, he, being very sick, and feeling conscious that he must die called in a few friends, among whom was his cousin Stephen Hopkins, then a young man about twenty, but who afterwards became Governor of the State, made his will, disposing of his earthly possessions. As it mentions probably, all the living members of his family, it may not be improper to give it a place here. The deep religious tone manifested at beginning of this will, bespeaks a soul on the borders of eternity, where earthly scenes sink into insignficance.
The Last Will and Testament of Samuel Wilkinson, Jr.*
"I, Samuel Wilkinson of Providence in the Colony of Rhode Island, and Providence Plantations in New England, Junior, being very sick and weake of body, but of perfect mind and memory, thanks be given to God for it; and calling to mind the mortality of my body; and well knowing it is appointed once for man to dye, sic and after Death to Judgment; Do make and ordaine this my last will and testament; that is to say principally my Soul I Recommend Into the hands of God that Gaue sic it, and my body to the earth to be buried in decent Christian burial, at the Discretion of my Executrix and Executor hereinafter named.Imprimis. I make and ordain Huldah, my beloved wife, and David Wilkinson, my son to be my sole executrix and executor of this my last Will and Testament; that my said wife and son jointly together to take the administration of my estate.Item. And my will further is that my said Executrix and Executor shall sell so much of my land and other estate as will satisfie sic and pay all my Debts and charges of whatever kind, or nature soever sic they bee. sicItem. I give and bequeathe unto Zibiah Comstock, my daughter, five pounds in money to be paid by my above Executrix and Executor at the end of five years from the date hereof.Item. I give and bequeathe unto Patience Arnold, my daughter, ten pounds in money to be paid in the same manner, and at the same time as my daughter Zibiah's is to be.Item. I give and bequeathe unto my Daughters, Huldah Wilkinson and Mercy Wilkinson, Twenty pounds apiece in money to be paid at the expiration of five years from the date hereof by my Executrix and Executor.Item. I give and bequeathe unto Ruth Wilkinson and Plain Wilkinson, my Daughters twenty pounds apiece in money to be paid unto them, each of my Daughters as they shall attain to the age of twenty-one years.Item. And my will is further that all the Remainder of my Estate, after my Debts and the Legacies afour sic Demised are all satisfied and paid; that it shall be equally Deuided sic amongst my sons, namely, Josiah Wilkinson, Samuel Wilkinson, David Wilkinson, Israel Wilkinson, and Ichabod Wilkinson to have and to hold to them and their heirs forever; but with this further Reserve, viz—that my above said sons, Josiah Wilkinson, and Samuel Wilkinson, nor either of them shall sell, or dispose of any land or Real Estate which shall or may be allowede sic to them, or either of them, without the aduise sic and consent of my Executrix and Executor; together with the Town Councill of Providence for the time being.In witness and for the confirmation whereof, I, Samuel Wilkinson sett sic my hand and seale this thirteenth day of January in the thirteenth year of his Majesties Reigne George King of Greate Britton sic &c., Anno Domini, one thousand seauen sic hundred twenty-six or seauen sic.Signed, Sealed &c.,In presence of us,Samuel Wilkinson, (L. S.)
Thomas Arnold, Jr.
Five days after the execution of this will he fell asleep in Jesus.
"_____ not like the quarry-slave at night
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust."
The death of Samuel carried sorrow to many a heart. His aged father was still living, his youngest son Ichabod was but six years of age, and his eldest child less than thirty.There being fifteen in all, though not all were living, the widowed mother found a heavy burden, and more than she could bear. Two of the daughters Zibiah and Patience were married and had homes of their own. Ichabod was subsequently sent to Mendon, Massachusetts, to reside with his sister Mercy, who married Benjamin Thayer, and the family circle was broken never to be re-united in this vale of tears.
* 3 Book of Wills, Probate Office, Providence.
II. John was born at the homestead of Samuel at "Loquissit" in Providence. He left Rhode Island about 1700, and from facts recently elicited, went first to Hunterdon County, New Jersey, where he married Mary ______. He had a daughter Mary born July 17, 1708, while he was yet in Hunterdon County, and about 1713, he moved to Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and purchased a large tract of land lying partly in Wrightstown, and partly in Warwick Township. This is still called the "old Wilkinson tract," and is divided into beautiful farms with neat dwellings and contains a prosperous community. John's purchase in Wrightstown consisted of 307 acres the deed bearing date May 27, 1713. At this time the primeval forests tenanted with savages and wild beasts, covered the land, and his neighbors were few and far between.In Aug. 1683 there were but three or four cottages in Philadelphia, and the deer ran among the trees on which the surveyor had marked the courses of the streets, but it grew very rapidly, and in 1720 it contained upwards of 10,000 inhabitants. A ready market was thus opened opened, and the pioneer settlers were greatly favored.July 3, 1728. John was in Providence and signed a Power of Attorney with William Hopkins, James Angell, Josiah Wilkinson and David Wilkinson, to Joseph Wilkinson to dispose of the Lands and other property of Samuel Wilkinson who had recently died. A few days after the following deed was given, and as it describes the old homestead of the first Samuel and was the means by which the whereabouts of the Pennsylvania branch of the family was discovered, it is the more readily inserted.
To All People before Whome sic this Deede of Saile sic Shall Come:
Josiah Wilkinson of Providence in the Colony of Rhoad sic Island, and Providence Plantations In New England, husbandman, and John Wilkinson of Wright's Town in the County of Bucks, in the Province of Pensiluania sic,; and William Hopkins, and Ruth, his wife, James Angel and Susannah his wife, David Wilkinson, Samuel Wilkinson, and Huldah Wilkinson, Jun., and Ichabod Comstock and his wife Zabiah, Joseph Arnold, Jun., and his wife Patience: All of said Providence and Colony of Rhoad sic Island aboue sic s'd—Sends Greeting:Know yee that wee the said Josiah Wilkinson, John Wilkinson, and William Hopkins and Ruth his wife, James Angel and Susannah his wife; and David Wilkinson, Samuel Wilkinson, Huldah Wilkinson, and Ichabod Comstock and Zabiah his wife, and Joseph Arnold and Patience his wife for and in consideration of the sum seauen sic hundred and seauenty sic pounds Currant money of New England by us in hand already Received, and well and truely paid by Joseph Wilkinson of Providence in the Colony of Rhoad sic Island afore said, yeoman, the Receipt whereof we doe sic hereby acknowledg sic and ourselves there with to be fully satisfied, contented and paid: Haue sic given, Granted, Bargained and Sold, Aliened sic, Enfeoffed sic, Conuayed sic, and confirmed and by these presents fully, freely, Clearly and asolutely, Giue sic, Grant, Bargaine, Sell, Alien sic, Enfeoff, Conuey sic and Confirm from ourselves unto him the said Joseph Wilkinson and unto his Heirs, Executors, Administrators and Assigns forever; all our Right, title, Property, Possession, Claime and Interest In and to all the land, meadows, Common Rights of Lands with all the Houseing sic buildings, fencing, Orchards and Reail sic Estate that our Hon'd father and Grand father Capt. Samuel Wilkinson of Providence aboue sic said, deceased, was possessed with, or had Right to in Providence att the time of his death with the priuiledges sic and appurtinanses sic thereunto belonging; that wee now have, or that we ourselues sic, our Heirs, Executors, or Administrators mought sic or ought here after haue sic; as mainly his Homestead fearme sic where on he Dwelt att or near the place called Locosquisset being in Estimation one hundred and 20 acres, bounded on the highway that Leads to Westquotomset: with the dwelling house, buildings and all yee thereon and therein Contained; with all other his outlands, Meadows, Commons, Reail sic Estate; within the Township of Providence aboue sic said, To Have and to Hold the said Giuen sic and Granted Premises and appurtinanses sic; unto Him the Said Joseph Wilkinson, his Heirs, Executors, Administrators and Assigns and unto his and their own proper use, benefit and behoofe free and Clear for Euer sic, being freely and Clearly acquitted, Exonerated and fully discharged att the Sealing hereof from us the said Josiah Wilkinson, John Wilkinson, William Hopkins and Ruth his wife, James Angel and Susannah his wife, and David Wilkinson, Samuel Wilkinson and Huldah Wilkinson; and Ichabod Comstock and Zabiah his wife, Joseph Arnold and Patience his wife: Our Heirs, Executors and Administrators, and of and from any other or former Gifts, Grants, Bargains, Sailes sic, thirds or dowers; and the Said Joseph Wilkinson his Heirs, Executors, Administrators or Assigns, Shall or may be force and uertue sic of these presents from time to time att all times for Ever hereafter Have, hold, use Injoy sic and possess all the said granted and Bargained Premises as his and theire own proper Right and undefeazible sic Estate of Inheritance In fe sic simple. Furthermore wee the said Josiah Wilkinson, John Wilkinson, William Hopkins, James Angell, David Wilkinson, Samuel Wilkinson, Huldah Wilkinson, Ichabod Comestock sic, and Joseph Arnold, our Heirs, Executors and Administrators Shall and will warrant and forever defend the Said Bargained, Granted and Conueyed sic premises with the appurtinanses sic unto the said Joseph Wilkinson, his Heirs, Executors, Administrators and Assigns against the lawful Claims, or demands of any person persons whatsoever. In Witness and for Confirmation hereof wee haue sic hereunto sett our hands and seales this sixth day of July, In the Second Year of His Majesty's Reigne, George the Second, King of Greate Brittain sic &c., Anno Domini, one thousand seauen sic and twenty eight.
Signed, Sealed and Delivered
In the presence of us:
The mark of Josiah Wilkinson, (L.S.) David Wilkinson, (L.S.) John Wilkinson, (L.S.) Huldah Wilkinson, (L.S.) William Hopkins, (L.S.) Ichabod Comstock, (L.S.) James Angell, (L.S.) Joseph Arnold, Jr., (L.S.) Susanna Angell, (L.S.) Recorded upon Providence records, this 22nd day of February, Anno Dom. 1730-31, In the Booke for the entry of Deedes or Land Euidences sic Number Eight, and in Page 424, 425 426.mee, Richard Waterman, Town Clerke.
A part of the property was paid over to John by Joseph and the following receipt was given:
"Providence, July 8, 1728.
"Received then of my brother Joseph Wilkinson, administrator of his father Samuel Wilkinson's estate, the sum of Seventy-one pounds in part of a Legacie which was due to me out of my father's Estate, I say received by me, £71.00.John Wilkinon*
The business being settled John returned to Pennsylvania, and we have no account of his visiting Rhode Island after this. He was an active, enterprising business man, and his pacific principles prohibited the appearance of his name upon the military rolls of honor. To say that he was nurtured amid the hardships of pioneer border life would be no figure of speech. Born in the wilderness of R. I. where his minority was spent and then emigrating to the wilderness of Pennsylvania, where the wolves' howl and the panthers' scream made dismal music the life-long night, we may well conjecture his was no holiday life. And when the period arrives in which the gratitude of those who are enjoying in so eminent a degree the fruits of labors and the indomitable enterprise and perseverance of the early pioneers and fathers of the Western banks of the Delaware, shall assume the active form of some enduring testimonial, conspicuous upon the monument they build will be the name of John Wilkinson.During his last sickness he wrote his will and expired a few days afterwards. The will was proved April 23rd, 1751, and is on record in the Recorder's office of Bucks County, Penn. The precise day of his death has not been ascertained. He is buried in the family burying ground on his farm.
* For a similar receipt from John Milton's, see Chambers'
Cyclopedia of English Literature, p. 330.
III. William was born in Providence and was the most talented of Samuel's sons. In regard to his birth we find the following: "In the records of the Greenwich Monthly Meeting, of the people called Quakers." Says Thomas Howland, who was their clerk, "It appears that William, son of Samuel Wilkinson and Plain, his wife, was born on the 1st day of the 6th month in the year of our Lord 1680." He early united with the Friends, or was a birth-right member, and became a public Preacher among them. He appears to have been a man of more than ordinary ability, and was highly esteemed for his sincerity, integrity and zeal in religion. He had lands granted to him in the town of Providence, and afterwards Samuel Wilkinson, Jr. and John Steere, Jr. had a lot laid out to them on Wm. Wilkinson's right, by Samuel Wilkinson, Surveyor, and Richard Sayles his committee man, on the 16th day of May 1724. At a still later period, 1772, Israel Wilkinson of Smithfield purchased a part of said land—"a certain piece of Cedar Swamp situate in Smithfield, and in the Swamp commonly known by the name 'Mattaley,'"—of Hosea Steere of Glocester, County of Providence. Subscribing witnesses, John Steere, Jr. and Richard Steere. These were all relatives, descendants of John Steere who married Rev. Wm. Wickenden's daughter.In 1708, William went to Barbadoes on the northern coast of South America, sic with a cargo of honey and horses, etc., and whether he returned home from this island, or sailed thence to England is not known. The voyage was exceedingly tempestuous and his quaint description of it in a letter to his parents which has been preserved will be read with peculiar interest. He had taken lodgings at Ann Borden's in Bridgetown and while recovering from the effects of sea-sickness was well cared for by these kind friends. His letter commences:
Barbadoes, 20th of the 2d Month, 1708.
Honored Father and Mother:
I think it my duty to write to you at this time, and let you know that I am indifferently well in health—blessed be God for it—and am safe arrived at Barbadoes, although we had a long and tedious passage of thirty-three days for we sailed the tenth day of the first month and the wind at west and by south; and on the eleventh at night, the wind blew a storm, so that we could not bear one knot of sail, but drived before it, and was drove on the Banks called St. George's Banks, lying thirty or forty miles to the eastward of Nantucket, where the waves shined like fire in the night and they flung overboard some of the honey, and would have flung over some of the horses, but Ephraim would not consent until it was day, and then we got over the banks and had sea room enough, and so we sailed eastward eleven or twelve days, and could scarce make any sail, nor keep any reckoning how far we run, but we concluded we run twenty degrees to the eastward before we got far south, and an exceeding great sea running that broke over the stern, and broke the breastwork of the vessel, and killed one horse, and made the rest roar so they talked very much of flinging them overboard, but still we persuaded them to keep them a little longer, and so we kept them all but one. I was very sea-sick almost all the way, but on the 13th of the Second Month we got on shore on Barbadoes; and I perceived that there were two vessels going for New England; one to Boston and the other to Rhode Island, I think to send by them both so you may hear."
Another part of this communication reveals the religious element of his character, his trust and implicit confidence in his Creator, his belief in the superintending and overruling providence of God; and, that high degree of faith manifested in the Apostle's expression "all things shall work together for good to them who love God" stands out in bold relief. The small-pox was then regarded as a terrible disease, baffling the skill of the physician and carrying thousands to premature graves. It had broken out in Barbardoes. In speaking of it, he says:
"The smallpox is also here, not every prevalent yet, for it is but newly come. This I say not to scare you, for as for me, I am freely given into the hand of God for him to do with me as pleaseth him, whether in sickness or in health, life or death, and I don't repent my coming. But as to my coming home at this time, I cannot say much, but expect to write again if it be the will of God; but if it be otherwise, I desire you to be content for it is most certain that we must part one time or other, and my desire is, that whensoever it be, that it may be for the better. So remember my love to my brothers and sisters, and all my relations and friends, telling them I have not forgotten them. My love to you.
Subsequently he went to England, married a Miss Mary ______ in Yorkshire, and moved to London. His wife's maiden surname is not known. He had one child, an only child, named Hannah Maria. He frequently corresponded with his relatives in America, but never returned to his native land. He published a controversial work against Joseph Jenks, but the most friendly feelings existed between them. A copy of this work is said to be in the possession of Judge Staples of Providence. The work is alluded to in Gabriel Bernon's reply to James Honeyman in regard to settling a young man as Pastor of the Church of England in Providence, Sept., 1722. He says, "We have a great many worthy gentlemen that apply themselves to read the Holy Scriptures, and are very well able to give an account of their faith' as for instance, Mr. Jenks, our Lieut. Gov. by his answer to William Wilkinson, the greatest preacher among the Quakers, and Mr. Samuel Wilkinson, the old man deserves respect for his erudition in divine and civil law, historical narrative, natural and political."*Several of William's letters are preserved. One is dated as late as 1721 at which time it appears his father and mother are both living. He mentions the names of his kinsmen, Joseph Smith, his mother's sister's son, Rufus Hopkins, Stephen Hopkins, his nephew, a lad only fourteen years of age, who afterwards was a member of the Continental Congress, his wife and daughter, his wife's father and mother, the latter being sick in Yorkshire, and several other persons and events which show him to be an active business man, and in the confidence of the capitalists and land owners of both countries. Some of his letters were published a few years ago in the Providence Journal. He died in England. The date of his demise is not known. He was a useful man, leading a godly life, and died in the triumphs of the Faith.
"His youth was innocent; his riper age
Marked with some act of goodness every day;
And watched by eyes that loved him, calm and sage
Faded his last declining years away,
Cheerful he gave his being up, and went
To share the holy rest that waits a life well spent."
* Wilkinson Updike's "History of the Naragansetts Church," p. 53.
IV. Joseph was one of the first settlers in Scituate. His grandfather and father both had taken up lands in that part of Providence which lies west of the "Seven mile line." The "Purchaser's Booke" describes all lands taken up in the early days of the Colony as being on the East or West Side of this line. Lawrence had a right there, and Hannah, the only daughter and heiress of Josias, had "three acres of meadow" laid out to her on this right in 1707.*The place where Joseph was born was within the present limits of Smithfield near the Harris Lime Rock. At which time he went into that part of Providence called Scituate is not definitely known, probably about 1700, when he was less than twenty-one years of age. The high and elevated portions of Scituate can be seen from Samuel's old residence, so when he was established in his new home, he was not out of sight of his birth-place. He married Martha Pray, the granddaughter of one of the first settlers in this part of Providence, and became an extensive land-owner. One hundred and thirty-seven and a half acres were laid out to Joseph, west of the seven mile line in 1700.* Over five hundred acres were laid out to him and his sons. He also, owned lands in Smithfield, and a deed of sale to Daniel Jenks is recorded in that town. His first residence was where John Harris now lives, on the most northern turnpike in the town. He built the first frame barn in town, and all the men then resident in Smithfield, Gloucester, and Scituate were present at the raising; so spare sic were the inhabitants at that time. After the frame was erected all those men were seated on the sill between the great door posts, and were served with metheglin sic instead of rum.Joseph was admitted foreman in 1708.Mrs. John Harris who now occupies the old homestead is a lineal descendant of Joseph through Benjamin, being the only daughter of Dr. John Wilkinson, who was a son of Benjamin. Joseph held nearly all the town offices, being successively Justice of the Peace, member of the Town Council, Town Treasurer, &c. He was a Surveyor of land and also a member of the Legislature, or Deputy for Scituate to the General Court in 1731. He had fifteen children. The dates of the births and deaths of several members of his family have cost several days research. He died in the 58th year of his age, and his loss was a public, as well as a personal calamity. His widow survived him 46 years and died in 1786, aged ninety-seven.Joseph's Will, being an excellent model of such an instrument, has been procured by the compiler from the town clerk in Scituate, and is inserted in the appendix. Every member of the Wilkinson family will be amply compensated by perusing it, as it exhibits the business man more perfectly than any sketch drawn at the present time.For other facts concerning Joseph, see Biography No. IV.
*Purchasers of Providence Booke, p. 13, Providence.
*Proprietors and Purchasers Booke, p. 7 Providence.
Book of Deeds, p. 205, Smithfield, R.I.