Samuel Symonds Family – Harlakenden & Elizabeth (MNU) Symonds of MA and York, Maine, 1600s

In order to document the family of Harlakenden and Elizabeth (MNU – possibly Day) Symonds, it was necessary to piece together the family of Harlakenden’s father, Samuel, his three wives, and his children.

Samuel Symonds was baptized on 9 June 1595 at Great Yeldham, Essex, England. died after writing the last codicil to his will on 8 January 1677 in Essex County, Massachusetts.

Samuel married (1) Dorothy Harlakenden, 2 April 1617, in Great Yeldham. Dorothy was buried on 3 August 1636 at Toppesfield, Essex, England.

(2) Martha (Reade) Epps, the widow of Daniel Epps. Daniel died in London, England by 1637 and it is thought that Samuel married Martha shortly before the blended Symonds-Epps family sailed for Massachusetts. Martha died c1662, probably in Massachusetts, but possibly in York County, Maine.

(3) Rebecca (Swayme) (Byley) (Hale) Worcester, in April or May 1663. She was the widow of Henry Byley, John Hale and William Worcester.  Rebecca survived Samuel by quite a few years, leaving a will that was entered into court records 19 August 1685, Essex County, Massachusetts.

Samuel was the father of many children.

Children of Samuel and Dorothy:

  1. Richard, baptized 15 June 1618, Toppesfield, Essex, England; no further record
  2. Dorothy, baptized 9 November 1619, Toppesfield, Essex, England; no further record
  3. Jane, baptized 29 April 1621, Toppesfield, Essex, England; no further record
  4. Anne, baptized 25 April 1622, Toppesfield, Essex, England; no further record
  5. Elizabeth, born c1624, England; married Daniel Epps
  6. William, born c1626, England; married Elizabeth (MNU)
  7. Harlakenden, born c1628, England; married Elizabeth (possibly Day)
  8. John, born c1630, England; John apparently returned to England by 1653 and little is known about him.
  9. Samuel, born c1632, England; died unmarried, apparently on a trip to England
  10. Mary, born c1634; married Peter Duncan

Children of Samuel and Martha:

11. Martha, born c1638; married John Denison
12. Ruth, born c1640; married John Emerson
13. Priscilla, born c1648, Massachusetts; married Thomas Baker

Samuel Symonds left a will, as did his third wife, Rebecca, so the names of Samuel’s surviving children and their spouses are certain.

Now, let’s look at Harlakenden Symonds, who married Elizabeth, whose maiden name MIGHT be Day.

The Symonds family was economically secure and of strong social status, given the Samuel Symonds served in the Massachusetts Bay government and Harlakenden was a land speculator, buying large tracts of land in York County, Maine. Those land records call him “gentleman.”

In spite of the fact that Harlakenden’s name appears as a grantor, grantee and land descriptor many, many times over throughout the second half of the 17th century, and that he is named as a resident of Wells, Maine, plus Boston, Ipswich and Gloucester, Massachusetts, the only child of his identified in all of these records is a daughter, Sarah.

Sarah Symonds was born c1668, probably in York County, Maine. She married Thomas Low, who was born c1661 and died in 1697 in Essex County, Massachusetts.

Sarah long survived her husband, and passed away after 15 May 1731, when she was called daughter of Harlakenden and grandchild of Samuel Symonds in an Essex County land deed (Volume 58:185.

Harlakenden Symonds is last found in Massachusetts records in 1694 and it is believed that he died c1695. No probate has been found for him. One 19th century researcher stated that he returned to England, but I’ve found no record to document that. However, it is unusual for such a well-to-do man to leave no probate.

If he had other children who survived to adulthood, they aren’t named in any documents I’ve found regarding Harlakenden.

Therefore, in terms of answering my research question as to whether or not Susannah (MNU) Burnham might be a Symonds, I have to conclude that it is extremely unlikely.

Next, we’ll move on to the extended family of Benjamin Davis, who married Elizabeth Low. This is the last possibility for clues to Susannah’s origins based on the York County, Maine land deed I shared in a recent post.

 

Stewarts of Dutchess County, NY, Pre-Revolutionary War Era

Finding pre-Revolutionary War records relating to my Loyalist, Walter Stewart, has been a frustrating experience for years.

Therefore, I am trying a different approach, collecting ALL the Stewart records I can find in Dutchess County, New York in the 1700s up through the Revolutionary War.

In spite of the fact that Stewart/Stuart is not an uncommon surname, it isn’t often found in Dutchess County in the 18th century.

Here are the bits and pieces I’ve been able to cobble together:

Walter Stewart, my Loyalist ancestor, was born c1750, reportedly in Scotland although I’ve never been able to prove it. He married Elizabeth Briggs on 3 March 1774 in The Flats, Poughkeepsie, Dutchess, New York. His marriage is recorded in the records of the Dutch Reformed Church. Walter is found on the 1783 muster roll of the Loyal American Regiment, where he served under Colonel Beverly Robinson and sailed to Canada in the fall 1783 fleet. Walter settled in Sussex, Kings, New Brunswick, Canada, where he spent the rest of his life, passing away c1820.

It is believed that Elizabeth Briggs had no surviving children, if any at all, and that all of Walter’s known children were born in New Brunswick, Canada.

Walter is said to have been a farmer, like his brothers, but I’ve found NO land records for Stewarts in Dutchess County in the right time period.

However, in Canada, Loyalist James Stewart settled in Nashwaak, York, New Brunwick. He was born c1750 and died 1 June 1837. He married Catherine (reportedly Jones) in 1772 in New York, but no record in New York has been uncovered. Widow Catherine Stewart filed for a war pension in Canada c1837 and gave the particulars. James Stewart also served as a corporal under Colonel Beverly Robinson in the Loyal American Regiment.

It is very likely that James is a brother of Walter’s. Besides military service in the same regiment, a distant cousin of mine through Walter Stewart shares DNA with descendants of James. When she notified me about the shared matches, I checked my distant cousins and I, too, share DNA with James’s descendants.

I’ve been able to build families and descendants of Walter and James, but today’s goal is to share pre-war details.

Therefore, I will move on to Isabella Stewart, possibly the widow of a Henry Stewart, who lived in Dutchess County, New York by the 1770s.

This was a Patriot family, given that Isabella’s reported son, William, is in the DAR Patriot Index.

William Stewart was born 23 June 1738, in Scotland, and died on 10 March 1788 in the North East portion of Dutchess County, New York. Like Walter Stewart, William’s marriage record is found in the Dutch Reformed Church. He married Catherine Rowe on 3 December 1771.

I don’t want to read too much into the fact that Walter and William married just over 2 years apart in the same church. That area was heavily settled by German and Dutch immigrants and it may be that the Dutch Reformed Church was the closest church in which they could marry.

William and Catherine had five known children:

1. Catherine, born 16 January 1774, Rhinebeck, Dutchess, New York; died 26 November 1848, Milan, Dutchess, New York; married William Hermans. This couple is in the DAR Patriot Index.
2. William, born 9 September 1778, Rhinebeck, Dutchess, New York and baptized on 1 November 1778 in the Reformed Church.
3. Isabella, born 9 October 1780 and baptized on 2 November 1780, Rhinebeck, Dutchess, New York in the Reformed Church.
4. James, baptized 15 September 1782, Rhinebeck, Dutchess, New York in the Reformed Church.
5. Henry, married Phebe Sherrill and is in the DAR Patriot Index.

Isabella’s second son, James Stewart, was born c1755. He married Mary Rowe, 30 November 1778, The Flats, Poughkeepsie, Dutchess, New York.

James and Mary were the parents of four known children:

1. Henry, born 13 May 1779, Rhinebeck, Dutchess, New York in the Reformed Church.
2. John, born 9 December 1780 and baptized 28 October 1781, Rhinebeck, Dutchess, New York in the Reformed Church.
3. Isabella, born 5 December 1872 and baptized 23 January 1785, Rhinebeck, Dutchess, New York in the Reformed Church.
4. William, born 19 September 1784 and baptized 23 January 1785, Rhinebeck, Dutchess, New York in the Reformed Church.

There is one more Stewart marriage found in the Dutch Reformed Church records. John Stewart married Mary Granier/Grennier on 25 December 1778 with the notation that both lived in Fishkill, Dutchess County.

This couple left the area and their only known children were baptized at the 1st and 2nd Church in New York City:

1. Margaret, born 29 September 1783 and baptized 14 December 1783.
2. Charles, born 19 February 1786.

Nothing further is known about this family.

Land deeds for Stewarts in Dutchess County have eluded me so far. I don’t know if they were tenant farmers or if they might have received land grants that I haven’t been able to track.

However, Clifford Buck published Dutchess County, NY Tax Lists: 1718-1787 in 1991. There are no copies of this book near Tucson, but I have to thank my longtime genealogy buddy, Nancy Maxwell. She is the genealogy librarian at the Grapevine Public Library, where a copy of Buck’s book resides. She very kindly looked up Stewart entries for me. I was not surprised that there are not many:

  1. Stewart, James, Rhinebeck Precinct, Feb 1747-Jun 1747
  2. Steward, John, Rhinebeck Precinct, 1769
  3. Stewart/Steward, William, North East Precinct, 1771-1779
  4. Steward/Stewart/Stuart, Abraham, Jun 1768-1771, Nine Partners/Crum Elbow Precinct
  5. Steward/Stewart/Stuart, Thomas, 1777-1779, Nine Partners/Crum Elbow Precinct
  6. Stewart/Steward, William, Jun 1769-1770, Nine Partners/Crum Elbow Precinct
  7. Stewart/Steward, Thomas, town of Clinton, no year but probably 1787

I am quite sure that William in the North East Precinct from 1771-1779 is William who married Catherine Rowe and died in 1788 in the North East Precinct.

Probate records haven’t been of much help either, Aside from Catherine (Rowe) Stewart administering the estate of William in 1788, no new clues have been found.

If you have Stewarts in Dutchess County, New York and can add to my knowledge about them, I’d appreciate a comment. 🙂

Caleb Coffin & Deborah Alden, Nantucket & Orange County, NY, 1700s: 12 for ’22

Blog posts definitely work as “cousin bait,” although the person who contacted me wasn’t exactly a cousin.

She had found my post about my 5X great grandparents, Joseph Coleman and Eunice Coffin, both born in Nantucket, Massachusetts and who moved to Orange County, New York at the start of the American Revolution.

When I wrote about the Colemans, part of their story is that I proved that Joseph Coleman didn’t die on 17 April 1775 in spite of the Nantucket Vital Records (part of the Massachusetts series known as the ‘tan books’) say so. His ‘death date’ was actually the day he and Eunice sold their land in Nantucket before leaving for New York.

Caleb Coffin was Eunice’s older brother and they were the 4th and 5th children born to Cromwell Coffin and Ruth Coffin, who were distant cousins.

Caleb Coffin was baptized on 22 July 1739 in Nantucket. I was aware that he married Deborah Alden, born 7 August 1748 in Duxbury, Plymouth, Massachusetts, the daughter of Briggs Alden and Mercy Wadsworth, on 12 February 1767 in Duxbury.

Yes, it is that Alden family. Deborah was the 2X great granddaughter of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins.

Her interest was piqued because Caleb and Deborah Coffin also left Nantucket, not long before Joseph and Eunice Coleman, but also settled in Newburgh, Orange, New York.

She was hoping that I might be able to fill in some details about Caleb’s and Deborah’s life and perhaps why they left Massachusetts for New York.

It turns out that was easier said than done, but I need to start at the beginning.

Caleb and Deborah were the parents of four known children, with at least the three daughters born in Nantucket:

1. Salome, born 15 April 1768
2. Hannah, 4 February 1770
3. Caleb, born between 1772-1778
4. Fanny, 20 December 1773

As you can see, birth records are found for the three girls, but none has been found for Caleb Jr.  and no sources that give his age seem to have been found. It is possible that he was born between 1775, when the family left New York, and 1778, when his father died.

However, being one of the most famous Mayflower families means Alden descendants have been well documented.

The goal of this post is to focus on any new facts that might be learned about Caleb Coffin’s life.

First, he was called “captain,” and he was undoubtedly a mariner. Whether he died at sea or in the colonies is unknown. It’s also not known whether he died of illness or an act of war during the American Revolution.

What is known is that Caleb signed a pledge, likely in the spring of 1775 and definitely before 14 July 1775, to support the patriot cause if and when war erupted:

Furthermore, his widow, Deborah, married (2) Isaac Belknap, also a mariner and a patriot, on 10 September 1778.

Why did the Coffins feel the need to leave Massachusetts, where both the Coffin and Alden families had lived for a century and a half?

Historians have written that Nantucket residents felt extremely vulnerable when faced with the prospect of war with England. As with any location in that time period, there were those who supported England and those who supported independence.

Regardless of political leanings, residents felt that defending themselves on an island would be a dangerous proposition. Newburgh, New York is right on the Hudson River and a number of Nantucket families chose to make a new home in Newburgh, where their seafaring jobs could continue.

My own 5X great grandfather, Joseph Coleman, saw the winds of war approaching. I don’t think it was any coincidence that his deed of sale was dated 17 April 1775 – just two days before the ‘shot heard ’round the world’ at the Battle of Lexington and Concord.

Safety for family was obviously a primary concern.

What happened to Caleb in the intervening three years?

First, there are no land or probate records to be found in Nantucket mentioning Caleb Coffin. If he owned any real estate, he may have casually sold his property to a close family member before he removed from Nantucket.

Being a mariner, Caleb would have been on the ocean for extended periods of time. He may even have returned to Nantucket and transacted business there. However, Nantucket court records have a gap during the Revolutionary War years. It’s possible that court sessions were held, but the records taken to a clerk’s home for safekeeping and then lost to time.

As for Orange County, New York records, there is the same problem  with missing records. The courthouse burned in 1774 and no extant records are found there until 1787.

A page by page search from 1787 into the 1790s (no indexes have been found) revealed no mention of Caleb Coffin or Deborah (Alden) (Coffin) Belknap.

One interesting item was found – not in Nantucket or Newburgh, but in the Supreme Court of the County of New York, which is Manhattan.

On 17 June 1790, Josiah Barker, who was a respected and well-to-do merchant in Nantucket, sued the Estate of Caleb Coffin, deceased, with executrix Deborah Belknap and Isaac Belknap as representing the estate.

Further searching in court minutes found, confirming that it was the estate of the correct Caleb Coffin:

A call to the New York State Archives confirmed that the papers pertaining to this lawsuit still exist.

It turns out that Caleb Coffin contracted several large debts in his lifetime, which his executrix either chose not to pay after his death or, possibly, his estate didn’t have enough money to settle with Josiah Barker.

The transcription of the two pages in the file is lengthy and somewhat repetitive:

Plea [torn]

of New York, at New York, of the Term of january in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety
Witness Richard Morris Esquire
Chief Justice  McKesson

Columbia SS, Josiah Barker puts in his Pl [torn]
against Isaac Belknap and Debor [torn]

Testament of Caleb Coffin deceased in [torn]

Columbia ss. Be it remembered that heretofore that is to say, in the Term of October last part, before the People of the State of New York, at Albany the Court of the said People then there, his certain bill against Isaac Belknap and Deborah his Wife Executrix of the last Will and Testament of Caleb Coffin deceased, being in Custody &c of a Plea of Trespass on the Case, and there are Pledges for the Presentation thereof to wit, John Doe and Josiah Barker complains of Isaac Belknap and Deborah his Wife Executrix of the last Will and Testament of Caleb Coffin deceased in Custody &c for that whereas the said Caleb in his Life Time, to wit, on the twenty seventh Day one thousand seven hundred and seventy four, at Nantucket in the late Province of Massachusetts Bay now Commonwealth of Massachusetts, that is to say, at Claverack in the County of Columbia, was indebted to the same Josiah in the Sum of one hundred and nine Pounds, tin shillings and nine Pence one Farthing lawful Money of the and one Farthing Lawful Money [sic] of the State of New York for divers Goods to the said Caleb in his Life Time at his special Instance and Request, and being so indebted the said Caleb in Consideration thereof afterwards, to wit, the same Day and year above said, at Nantucket aforesaid, that is to say, at Claverrack aforesaid in the County of Columbia aforesaid, assumed upon himself and then and there faithfully promised to said Josiah that he the said Caleb wants will and truly pay to him the said Josiah the said Sum of Money above mentioned when he should be afterwards thereunto required and whereas also the said Caleb in his Life Time, afterwards, to wit, and same Day and Year abovesaid, at Nantucket aforesaid, that is to say at Claverack aforesaid in the County aforesaid, and a certain Note in Writing, with his own proper Hand thereunto subscribed bearing Date the same Day and year abovesaid, and then and there delivered the said Note to the said Josiah Barker, Richard Mitchell Junior and Jonathan Burnell by which said Note the said Caleb in his Life Time promised to pay to the said Josiah Barker, Richard Mitchel Junior and Jonathan Burnell by the Name of Josiah Barker &c or Order on Demand seventy five Pounds four Shillings and nine Pence three Farthings lawful Money of the Province of Massachusetts Bay aforesaid, of the Value of one hundred Pounds six Shillings and five Pence lawful Money of the State of New York, with Interest, there on ’till paid for Value recorded and the Said Richard Mitchel Junior and Jonathan Burnell afterwards and before the Payment of the said Note Sum of Money mentioned in the said Note, or any Part thereof, to wit, on the first Day of November in the year last abovesaid, at Nantucket aforesaid, that is to say, at Claverack aforesaid, in the County aforesaid, by a certain Indorsement in Writing, then and there made with the said Note, and then and there Subscribed with the proper Hands of the said Richard Mitchel Junior and Jonathan Burnell assigned their Property in the aforesaid Note to the said Josiah Barker, and by the said Indorsement ordered and appointed the aforesaid Caleb Coffin to pay the said Josiah Barker the Contents of the said Notes for Value received awarding it the Form and E[ffect????] of the said Note, whereof the said Caleb in his Life time, afterwards, to wit, the same Day and Year last abovesaid, at Nantucket aforesaid, that is to say, at Claverack foresaid in the County of Columbia aforesaid Notis by Reason where of and also by Force of the Act in such Care made and provided, the said Caleb Coffin in his Life Time afterwards became chargeable and liable to pay the aforesaid Josiah Barker the said Sum of Money in the said Note mentioned, awarding to the Form and Effect of the said Note and Indorsement and the said Caleb Coffin in his Life Time being so liable, in Consideration thereof, afterwards, to wit, the same Day and Year last abovesaid, at Nantucket aforesaid, that is to say, at Claverack aforesaid in the County of Columbia aforesaid, understood and then and there faithfully promised the said Josiah Barker that he the said Caleb Coffin would will and truly pay and content to the said Josiah the said sum of Money in the said Note mentioned and awarding to the Tenor and Effect of the said Note and Indorsement And whereas also the said Caleb Coffin in his Life Time, afterwards to wit, on the first Day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy six at Nantucket aforesaid, that is to say; at Claverack aforesaid, in the County of Columbia aforesaid, was indebted to the said Josiah in the Sum of two hundred & sixty Pounds lawful Money of the Province of Massachusetts Bay aforesaid of the Value of three hundred and forty six pounds thirteen Shillings and [???] Pence Lawful Money of the State of New York aforesaid [??????????????] Money before that Time by the said Josiah to the said Caleb in his Life Time, at his like special Instance and Registered [????????????????????] being so indebted the said Caleb in his Life Time in Consideration thereof afterwards to wit, the same Day and Year last mentioned at Nantucket aforesaid That is to say, at Claverack aforesaid and the County aforesaid understood and then and there faithfully promised the said Josiah [????] last mentioned Sum of Money [?????] required Nevertheless the said Caleb in his Life Time and the said Isaac Belknap

Page 2

and Deborah his Wife, since the Death of the said Caleb not regarding the Promises and Undertakings of the said Caleb in his Life Time made as aforesaid, the aforesaid [???] sum of Money or any Part thereof to the said Josiah[??????] not hath either of them paid not hith{stained] for the same [???] to do the same [stained] Time was afterwards often thereunto required and the said Isaac and Deborah since the Death of the said Caleb [stained] thereunto required both the same to [stained] the said Caleb in his Life Time, and the said Isaac and Deborah since his Death have utterly refused to pay, and the said Isaac and Deborah still do refuse, to the Damage of the said[stained] Pounds and thereof he bring Suit [stained] And now at this Day to wit on the third Tues day in January in this [???] Term to which Day the said Isaac and Deborah had [???] to impart to the said Bill and then to answer &c [???] the People of the State of New York at New York comes the said Josiah by his attorney aforesaid and the said Isaac and Deborah, altho’ at the same Day solemnly demanded come not, nor do they say anything in [Bar/] or Preclusion of the said action of the said Josiah by which the said Josiah remains thereof undefended against them 7c Wherefore the said Josiah ought to recover against the said Isaac and Deborah his Damages by [???] of the [?????????] of the Promises and Undertakings aforesaid, but because it is unknown to the Court of the said People now here what Damages the said Josiah hath sustained by the [Aversion?] aforesaid, therefore the Sheriff is commanded that by the Oath of the twelve good and lawful Men of his Bailiwic he diligently inquire what Damages the said Josiah hath received as well by Occasion of the nonperformance of the several Promises and Undertakings aforesaid as far his Costs and Charges by him about his Suit in that he hath expended – and that he send the Inquisition which [???] thereupon take to the said People at New York, on the third Tuesday in April next under his Seal and the Seals of those by whose Oath he hath take the said Inquisition together with the Writ of the people to him thereupon directed – The same Day is given to the said Josiah at the same Place. At which Day before the said people at New York came the said Josiah by his attorney aforesaid, and the Sheriff, to wit, Cornelius [Hageboom?] Esquire Sheriff of the said County of Columbia returned a certain Inquisition taken before him at the House of Joseph Gordon Inn keeper in the City of Hudson in the said County of Columbia on the nineteenth Day of April in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety: by the Oath of twelve good and lawful Men of his Bailiwic, by which it is found that the said Josiah hath sustained Damages by Occasion of the Nonperformance of the several promises and Undertakings aforesaid over and above his Costs and Charges by him about his Suit in that behalf expended to one hundred and fifty nine Pounds four Shillings and one Penny, and for those Costs that the said Josiah do recover against, the said Isaac and Deborah his Damages aforesaid, by the Inquisition aforesaid in Form aforesaid found, and also seventeen pounds one Shilling and three pence for his Costs and Charges now here, with his Assent of Increase adjudged, which said Damages in the whole amount to one hundred seventy nine pounds five shillings and ten pence to be levied of the Goods and Chattels which belonged to the said Caleb Coffin at the Time of his Death, being in the Hands of the said Isaac and Deborah to be administered and if they have not so much in their Hands then the said seventeen pounds [??] shillings & nine pence for his Costs and Charles aforesaid to be levied of the proper Goods and Chattels of them the said Isaac and Deborah – and that the said Isaac and Deborah in Mercy. &c.

Identification information about the case written down the left side of the paper. The right side of the paper has some tears, but no writing appears to have existed there.

Unfortunately, the items or services purchased by Caleb were not mentioned. He was a mariner, a sea captain. Perhaps they were supplies for a whaling voyage. In any case, the debt was significant and, for whatever reason, widow Deborah, as his executrix, chose not to honor the debt.

Further, Isaac and Deborah Belknap didn’t even bother to show up in court or send an attorney after they were duly given notice by the sheriff.

The outcome? Isaac and Deborah Belknap were ordered to satisfy the debt and were also ordered to pay Josiah Barker’s expenses out of their own pocket if Caleb’s estate was unable to supply the funds.

How I wish the probate records for Orange County, New York has survived the Revolutionary War!

Although Caleb and Deborah Coffin are not my direct line – Caleb was the brother of my ancestress, Eunice Coffin, who married Joseph Coleman, this was a fun BSO to follow.