Valentine Sweet is a proven son of James Sweet and Mary Greene, but aside from his date of birth – 14 February 1665 in Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, there are very few facts to be found about him.
Valentine, in fact, is my weak link connecting his reputed daughter, Mary (who married Samuel Boone), to the Sweet-Greene branch of the family tree.
What can be proven about Valentine besides his date of birth, parents and siblings? Who were his children and where is the proof?
Here are the few facts to be found about Valentine Sweet:
- He sold land to Samuel Boone of Portsmouth on 30 October 1704
- He sold land to brother-in-law Samuel Wickham on 15 January 1710/11
- He sold land to brother Samuel Sweet in 1712
- He sold land to Job Green on 5 May 1715
- His wife was named Eleanor, in both the Boone and Wickham land deeds.
Part of the difficulty in documenting this family comes from the fact that North Kingstown had a fire and lost some of its town records. Some were saved, but partially burned. This is what remains of the land deed with Samuel Boone:
From the fragment, it is possible to make out Valentine’s name and Eleanor is clearly identified as his wife. The date of 30 October 1704 can also be read.
The names of Valentine’s children are not recorded in any town records. Nevertheless, he is attributed with having a daughter, Mary, and a son, Valentine. The family configuration appears many places online, with no sources. (If it’s online, it must be true, right? I think NOT!)
Mary, born c1686; married Samuel Boone
I strongly suspect that the timing of the Sweet-Boone land sale is what prompted someone (probably years ago) to state that Samuel Boone’s wife, Mary, was the daughter of Valentine Sweet. The deed is dated 30 October 1704 and the birth of Samuel and Mary’s first child, Hannah, is recorded in town records as 16 October 1707.
This deed is proof positive that the two families knew each other.
However, it is curious to me that although Samuel and Mary Boone had ten documented children (two sons and eight daughters), but none named Valentine or Eleanor. Of course, it is possible that Eleanor wasn’t a first wife and wasn’t the mother of Mary, if she was Valentine’s daughter.
Another curious bit of info is that the two sons were named Samuel and then James and the first born daughter was named Hannah. There are communities that follow naming patterns and a very common one is that the first son is named for the father’s father and the second for the mother’s father. The first daughter is named for the mother’s mother and the second for the father’s mother.
Samuel and Mary Boone’s first three girls were Hannah, Ann (which was often interchanged with Hannah – did the first Hannah die soon?) and then Mary.
If they followed the naming pattern, then Mary (Sweet?)’s parents would have been named James and Hannah Sweet.
Guess what? Valentine Sweet had an older brother named James, born 8 May 1657 in Warwick, Kent, Rhode Island. James, who lived on Prudence Island, Rhode Island, reportedly married twice. His first wife was Hannah (MNU) and the second wife was Mary (Pearce) Hill, widow of Robert Hill. James and Mary had no children together, so any of his issue would have been children of Hannah.
One last tidbit is that Prudence Island today is considered part of Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Samuel Boone lived in Portsmouth, according to the 1704 land deed, but Valentine’s brother, James, resided on Prudence Island.
Source: Google Maps
I think there is perhaps more circumstantial evidence here supporting Mary, wife of Samuel Boone, as the daughter of James and Hannah Sweet, as opposed to Valentine and Eleanor Sweet.
I’d love input on this theory. Please leave a comment or two!
UPDATE: I think I have answered my own question about the parentage of Mary (?Sweet) Boone:
James Sweet to “My Loveing Son in Law Samuell Boone”
Source: FamilySearch, North Kingstown, RI Land Evidence Records 1686-1718, page 165
Where did I find this land deed? In the North Kingstown burned volume, but the most amazing thing is that the Valentine Sweet deed that I cropped from page 165 is the bottom half of the same page where this James Sweet land deed is recorded!
Here’s a good lesson for beginners – do your own research. I didn’t think the clues added up to Mary being a child of Valentine and Eleanor Sweet. By digging a bit deeper myself, I found the answer staring me right in the face on one of the only written records left by Valentine Sweet!