Tenth Great-Grandparents: Stephen and Hannah (Bass) Paine

Continuing along the various maternal lines in my ancestry, we come to Sarah (Paine) Billings‘ parents, Stephen Paine and Hannah Bass.

Stephen Paine was the youngest child and second son of Moses Paine (sometimes spelled Payne) and Elizabeth Sheafe. He was born in England sometime between 1626 and 1628, and the family had immigrated to Braintree, Massachusetts by 1632. In 1649, he became part of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, as his older brother Moses had done.

Hannah Bass was the second daughter and fourth child of Samuel Bass and Ann (whose maiden name is commonly thought to be Saville). She was born circa 1633; since it is believed that her family immigrated from England to Roxbury, Massachusetts about 1632, she was probably born in Roxbury. The family then moved to Braintree in 1640.

I suspect that Stephen and Hannah must have met at church, or maybe they were neighbors. In any case, they were married on November 15, 1651. Two years later, Stephen became a freeman. And as couples do, Stephen and Hannah proceeded to have a family. All their children, listed below, were born in Braintree:

  • Stephen, born March 8, 1652; married Ellen Veasey on February 20, 1682; died May 24, 1690 of smallpox.
  • Samuel, born June 10, 1654; married Mary Penniman on April 4, 2678; died December 10, 1739.
  • Hannah, born October 28, 1656; married late January 1673 to Theophilus Curtis; died April 1742.
  • Sarah, born January or September 1, 1657; married Roger Billings, Jr. on January 22, 1697; died September 19, 1742 in Dorchester.
  • Moses, born March 26, 1660; married Mary _____, circa 1688; died 1746.
  • John, born August or September 21, 1666; married Deborah Neale on January 20, 1689; died 1706.
  • Lydia, born 1670; married Benjamin Neale (Deborah’s brother) on either January or June 20, 1689 (might it have been a double wedding?).

Like many others, Stephen served in King Philip’s War. I find him listed twice: once in 1675 under Captain Thomas Prentice and Lieutenant Edward Oakes, and again in August 1676 under Captain Jonathan Poole. I can’t ascertain the exact actions Stephen may have been involved with under Poole (though it seems that Poole was often assigned to Western Massachusetts). But it is clear that he was part of the Mount Hope campaign under Prentice and Oakes. According to King Philip’s War, by George W. Ellis and John E. Morris, the campaign was as follows:

On the evening of [June] 29th which was spent skirmishing with the Indians, came Major Thomas Savage, accompanied by Captain Paige and sixty horse and as many foot, to take over the command of the Massachusetts forces. The force assembled at Swansea now numbered over five hundred men, and, at noon on the following day, leaving a small guard in the garrison, the little army, with Major Cudworth in command, crossed over the bridge, and, throwing out horsemen on the flanks to prevent an ambuscade, pushed on toward Mount Hope.

Here and there, within the boundaries of the Indian country, they saw groups of empty wigwams and fields of corn, the smoking ruins of what had once been the homes of the settlers, and “Bibles torn in pieces in defiance of our holy religion,” while ghastly heads and hands stuck upon stakes bore witness to the fate of the occupants. But, while Philip’s wigwam was discovered and the trail of his warriors followed to the shore, not an Indian was to be seen.

Throughout the day the rain had fallen steadily, soaking the troops to the skin, and as evening drew on the Plymouth men, passing over the strait, found shelter on the island of Rhode Island, but Major Savage, with the Massachusetts division, bivouaced in the open fields amid the storm.

With the dawn came rumors that the Indians were in force near Swansea, and Savage, after laying waste the fields of growing corn, hastened back over the route of the day before, but though the force met many Indian dogs deserted by their masters, and saw at times burning dwellings, they came upon no Indians, and the infantry, tired and discouraged, made halt at Swansea. The cavalry, however, under Prentice, proceeded to scour the country towards Seekonk and Rehoboth, but discovering no trace of the enemy finally encamped for the night.

The next morning Prentice, having placed a portion of his command under Lieutenant Oakes with orders to march parallel with the main force along another road in order to cover a wider extent of territory, set out on his return to Swansea. They had advanced only a short distance when they came in sight of a party of Indians burning a house. Prentice was unable to reach them on account of several intervening fences, but Oakes, continuing along the road, charged upon and put them to flight, killing several, among them Phoebe, one of their leaders, and losing one of his own men, John Druce.

Information in the meantime had reached Swansea that Philip had been discovered at Pocasset, but Savage, instead of marching directly toward this point with his whole force, divided his command, sending Henchman and Prentice to scour the woods and swamps along the mainland, while he himself with the commands of Captains Paige and Moseley, marched down to Mount Hope. No signs of Indians were discovered at Mount Hope, and leaving a party to build a fort, despite the earnest entreaty of Church that the whole force should go over to Pocasset and drive Philip from cover, Savage again returned to Swansea.

from "King Philip's War" by George William Ellis & John Emery Morris; Grafton Press, New York; 1906; Google Books, 2007.

from “King Philip’s War” by George William Ellis & John Emery Morris; Grafton Press, New York; 1906; Google Books, 2007.

Stephen went on to see all his children grow up and most get married. He finally died on July 29, 1691. Hannah re-married Shadrach Wilbur of Taunton in 1692. She predeceased him by two years in 1696.

The Redman Legacy

I last touched on the Redman name in this post about Seth Billings and Jerusha Redman. Since then, I’ve learned a bit more about Jerusha’s heritage. I’m going to start from the earliest known Redman, because it’s going to get really confusing!

The first Redman I know of was named Charles (we’ll call him Charles 1), who lived in Dorchester, MA. He made a will on December 30, 1668, which was probated on January 31, 1669, so I imagine he was on death’s door when he wrote his will.

Charles 1 had a son named Robert (he will be Robert 1), who in 1662 laid out 200 acres of land in newly-formed Milton for the ministry of the church. Robert 1 died in 1678.

Robert 1’s youngest some was named Charles (we’ll call him Charles 2–I said this would get confusing!). Charles 2 lived in Milton and on February 10, 1688, married Martha Hill of Dorchester. Just two years later, Charles 2 was among many soldiers from the Dorchester area that served under Captain John Withington in an ill-fated expedition to Canada (likely as part of the many French and India skirmishes). At least forty-six of his regiment, including Withington, were lost at sea. Fortunately Charles 2 himself survived the entire experience.

Charles 2 and Martha had at least six children by 1700, listed in Huntoon’s History of the Town of Canton…: Robert (he’ll be Robert 2) (born March 30, 1694), John (born May 8, 1696), Mary, Martha, Mercy (born July 8, 1698) and Thankful.

March 1, 1704/05 was a significant date in Redman family history: Charles 2 began a lease of land from the Native Americans, who had been granted an area of land called Ponkapoag (also spelled Punkipog and other various spellings, as you can imagine) in what is now Canton, MA. (There was a five-year period from 1715 when Charles 2 did not lease this land, but it was back in his hands in 1720.) Apparently Charles 2 cultivated some apple trees here.

Robert 2 grew up and took on the responsibilities of a man of his time: he married his wife, Mary Kennee (or Keeney) on August 1, 1722 in Boston by Samuel Checkley, Esq. By March 22, 1725, Charles 2 had passed away, as referenced in a deed of Ponkapoag land from the natives to Robert 2 and the other heirs of Charles 2. Exactly how much land went to the others, I am not sure, but Robert 2 was appointed the administrator of Charles 2’s estate on June 14 of that year, so he probably was the one to make that decision.

Robert 2 continued to improve his land by building a sawmill along Ponkapoag Brook, one of the first mills in that area. In 1726, he opened his home for use as the community’s first school. I have to wonder who taught at the school–was it Robert himself, or maybe someone in the church?

Redman Farm was not the only land that Robert owned. In 1737 he received a grant of land in the “Dorchester Canada” settlement, which is now Ashburnham, Worcester County, MA. This grant was among many that were given to the descendants of Withington’s 1690 Canada expedition. It seems that Robert 2 must have sold this grant, since it is not mentioned in his December 18, 1657 will.

Robert 2 passed away on November 8, 1760 and his will (which is meticulously written) was proved on December 19, 1760. Half of his land passed to his living son Robert, and the other half to his wife Mary, to be divided later among their remaining children. (Mary seems to have died sometime between 1768 and 1780.) All their children were:

  • Robert; died in childhood, October 6, 1731.
  • Sarah; died in childhood, March 19, 1725.
  • John, born September 20, 1730, died unmarried June 6, 1761. Robert 2’s will implies that he must have had issues with this son: firstly, he left him just five shillings, then stated that, out of is wife’s Mary’s half of the estate, John could have “two fifths of [the] remainder if he behaves well and dutifully to his mother during her life”, otherwise she could distribute it as she saw fit. These statements and seeing how soon John died after his father’s death makes me wonder about John’s lifestyle. However, John did make a will that left everything to his mother, so I suppose that in the end, he was “dutiful”.
  • Robert, married Mary Dunbar on April 23, 1767; died 1778 with no children.
  • Sarah, born August 10, 1732; married Jonathan Kinney; died before December 1757. She had two children.
  • Martha, married Nehemiah Liscom on October 9, 1761; died before September 1763 with no children.
  • Jerusha, born January 31, 1735; married Seth Billings (probably in early 1750), then Nathaniel Pitty on March 15, 1789. She had four children. I had wondered how she had carried on after Seth’s death in 1766; now I know that her inheritance must have helped.
  • Mary, married Thomas Spurr, Jr. on August 15, 1744; died early 1780. She had ten children.

As a final note, the location of the lands of Redman Farm is at the Ponkapoag Golf Course in Canton, MA and includes part of the Ponkapoag Trail, which is open for public hiking. In fact, the left portion of the trail is called “Redman Farm Path”. I would love to walk on this trail some day and think about my ancestors who may have walked here as well!

The grounds of Redman Farm today. Courtesy Google Earth.

The grounds of Redman Farm today. Courtesy Google Earth.

Tenth Great-Grandparents: Roger and Hannah Billings

We’ve finally arrived at my Billings immigrant ancestor, Roger Billings, Sr.! Thanks to some online books and a trip to the New York Public Library, I’ve gathered more information on him than on his son.

Roger was born circa 1618-1620 in England (I suspect more toward the 1618 side). Some online sources indicate who his parents are, but I’ve read that those parents had been disproven.

Roger arrived in the New World (probably directly to Dorchester, Massachusetts) sometime between 1635 and 1640. He went on to become a carpenter and a farmer.

On June 19, 1640, Roger was admitted as a member of the First Church of Dorchester, which still exists today as the First Parish Church. The minister at the time was Richard Mather, father of Increase Mather and grandfather of Cotton Mather. Roger married his first wife, Mary _____, who was admitted to the church on March 8, 1644. Roger went on to become a freeman on May 10, 1643.

One interesting bit of information I found about Roger was that on May 13, 1646, he signed a petition against Anabaptists (what Baptists were back then) from entering the colony. This makes me think that he was quite the Puritan!

Mary died and it wasn’t long before Roger married my other ancestor, Hannah _____. I know barely anything about her apart from Roger. She was admitted as a member of the church on October 14, 1655, and she was the mother of some (or maybe most) of Roger’s children, particularly my ancestor, Roger, Jr. (The authored sources that I’ve looked at ascribe a different mix of children to each of his wives, but Roger, Jr. is always ascribed to Hannah.) Sadly, Hannah died on March or May 1662, just four days after her last child, Zipporah, was born.

In the 1650’s, Roger and Hannah made their home on the part of Dorchester that is now North Quincy. Some Descendants of Roger Billings of Dorchester, Massachusetts pinpoints where Roger’s farmhouse was: “on the east side present East Squantum Street at the bend in the road just south of the present Quincy Shore Boulevard crossing”.

Quincy Shore Boulevard is the main road, with East Squantum Street being the crossroad.  Courtesy Google Earth

Quincy Shore Boulevard is the main road, with East Squantum Street being the crossroad. Courtesy Google Earth

There's a CVS at this location now!  Courtesy Google Earth.

There’s a CVS at this location now! Courtesy Google Earth.

Once again Roger found another spouse in Elizabeth Pratt, who did outlive him. In the later part of Roger’s life (between 1674 and 1682), he served several appointments; as “Commissioner for Country Rate” (I have no idea what this is) and as a tithingman (which was a church office that ensured people paid their proper tithes and modeled proper behavior in church).

Roger made out his will on February 2, 1680 and made a codicil on November 13, 1683, just two days before he died. (In fact, his codicil stated that he was “senceible of bodily weakeness and decay of body”.)

I don’t know where any of his wives are buried (though I suspect that Mary and Hannah may be buried closer to the church in Dorchester), but Roger is buried in Hancock Cemetery in Quincy. His clearly carved gravestone still stands.

Ninth Great-Grandparents: Roger Billings, Jr. and Sarah Paine

At this point, information is starting to get sketchier, so what you read here is to the best of my knowledge.

Roger Billings, Jr. (who will have the suffix Jr. in this post for the sake of distinguishing him from his father) was born to Roger Billings (sometimes known as Billing) and Hannah ___ on November 18, 1657 in Dorchester, Suffolk County, MA. He supposedly served in King Philip’s War, being listed among the men at the Mendon, Massachusetts garrison on August 24, 1676.

Sarah Paine was the daughter of Stephen Paine and Hannah Bass. I’ve found three different birth dates for her, but the sources all agree she was born in 1657 in Braintree, Suffolk County, MA.

Roger and Sarah were married on January 22, 1678. They had somewhere around twelve to fourteen children, but some of the names do vary. However, Stephen, my eighth great-grandfather, was one of them. I suspect that he was named after Sarah’s father.

Roger died on January 27, 1718 and Sarah died on September 19, 1742 in Dorchester. I assume they are buried somewhere in Dorchester.

Eighth Great-Grandparents: Stephen and Elizabeth Billings

Stepping back in my Billings family line, we come to Seth’s parents, Stephen Billings and Elizabeth Fenno.

Stephen was the son of Roger Billings and Sarah Paine. He was born on August 27, 1691 in Dorchester, Suffolk County, MA.

Elizabeth was the daughter of John Fenno and Rachel Newcomb. She was born on May 7, 1707 in Dorchester.

Stephen and Elizabeth were married on June 9, 1724 (I assume in Dorchester). From what I see on some sources on the internet, they had twelve children! The oldest was named after his father, and I seemed to confuse them in finding the name “Stephen Billings” in NEHGS’s colonial military records. I believe it was the younger Stephen who served in 1748-1749 on Castle William in Boston Harbor. (For all I know, however, both could have served.) At the time, young Stephen served under Captain Spencer Phips, who also was Massachusetts’ lieutenant governor at the time. Today, Castle Island is no longer an island, and the the fort Castle William eventually was replaced by Fort Independence, which is now a state park and on the National Register of Historic Places.

Castle William, as Stephen Billings, Jr. would have known it.  Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Castle William, as Stephen Billings, Jr. would have known it. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Stephen the elder died on June 10, 1767 and Elizabeth on October 17, 1783 in Stoughton, Suffolk County, MA.

What About Abigail Ford, my Eighth Great-Grandmother?

Abigail Ford was baptized October 8, 1619 in Bridport, Dorsetshire, England. She was the second of the five children of Thomas Ford and Elizabeth (Chard) Cooke. The other children were:

  • Joanna, baptized June 8, 1617 in Bridport
  • Thomas, baptized September 21, 1623 in Bridport; buried in Bridport on October 6, 1623
  • Hepzibah, baptized May 15, 1625 at Holy Trinity in Dorchester, Dorsetshire, England
  • Hannah, baptized February 1, 1628/9 at Holy Trinity in Dorchester; buried in Bridport on March 28, 1629

According to the “History of the Town of Dorchester, Massachusetts” by the Dorchester Antiquarian and Historical Society, many who immigrated to Massachusetts Bay Colony in those early years were influenced by Rev. John White, a minister of Trinity Church in Dorchester, England. He wanted form “a community in New England, where all who felt themselves aggrieved by religious or political persecution might find asylum.” Perhaps Thomas and Elizabeth felt the need, like many others, to pull away from the Church of England.

On March 20, 1630, Thomas, Elizabeth and their three surviving daughters boarded the Mary and John at Plymouth, England. If Abigail was baptized close to her time of birth, she would have been about 11 years old for this voyage. Captain Squeb was in charge of the vessel, which arrived at Nantasket (present-day Hull) on May 30.

Upon their arrival, a dispute arose between Captain Squeb and the passengers: Squeb wanted a “pilot” (a guiding boat) to lead the ship through the harbor to land safely. Of course, no one lived at that spot back then. Some parties left the ship to find assistance. Eventually, Governor Winthrop came from Salem to help settle the dispute. They were still in port on June 28. Many were sick, hungry and in poor health. I imagine that Abigail and her sisters probably wanted nothing more than to go home.

A picture of the Mayflower and the Speedwell in their harbor.  I imagine that the Mary and John was of similar build.  Courtesy New York Public Library Digital Collection.

A picture of the Mayflower and the Speedwell in their harbor. I imagine that the Mary and John was of similar build. Courtesy New York Public Library Digital Collection.

The settlers didn’t settle in what was to become their own Dorchester until mid-July. Food had to be sent for from Ireland, and people began fishing in Massachusetts Bay. Eventually, land was granted and families began to set up their homes. Thomas became one of Dorchester’s first Freemen in 1631. He was amongst twelve leaders who met every Monday morning to discuss the affairs of the town, a practice established at what is credited to be the first Town Meeting in the country on October 8, 1633. Perhaps Thomas told his family about some of the goings-on at the meetings over supper.

So Abigail came of age as Dorchester became a community. She was still quite young when she married John Strong–perhaps around eighteen, not unusual for that time. Immediately, she was a stepmother to John’s young son and became a mother herself, as discussed here. At this time, she left the town that her family had a part in founding, but played her own role as wife and mother in other towns that John Strong helped mold and grow.