This past week, I shared kind of bare bones information about the ancestry of Elizabeth Updike, wife of George Wightman, who settled in Rhode Island by the mid-1600s.
Here is a family sketch. Dates of birth are not found in vital records. However, there is said to be a family Bible in the possession of George Wightman XIII, who, as of 2015, lived in the Boston area. The Bible was published in the 1500s and the Wightman Family Association has one image of a handwritten page from it on their website.
As the dates seem very reasonable and the family association shared a page from it, for now, I will accept the information as accurate.
Be aware that there is a lot of messy, unsubstantiated, mixed up information about the early Wightman family to be found online!
To begin, there is no documentary proof that I have been able to find that places George Wightman, the immigrant ancestor, in his English birthplace. Yes, I’ve also seen purported names of his parents and siblings, but again, I have found no documents to back up those claims. References have been made to John Wightman of Newport by 1654, but are not supported with documentation. There is also a suggestion that George was the son of another George, brother of Ralph of London who married Roger Williams’ sister Katherine.
Therefore, George was born c1632, somewhere in England, to unknown parents. He was living in Rhode Island by 1669 and took the Oath of Allegiance there on 20 May 1671. He was made a freeman on 1673.
George married Elizabeth Updike, daughter of Gysbert and Katherine (Smith) Updike. She was baptized on 27 July 1644 in New Amsterdam, New York. The Updike family moved to Rhode Island, where she and George married c1663. Elizabeth died before 21 April 1716, as she is called George’s deceased wife.
George was well-to-do, based on the contents of his will, which was written on 21 April 1716 and probated on 2 February 1722. Note that the Wickford courthouse had a fire in 1870, caused by robbers trying to blow up the bank next door. Many records were lost or badly charred, but it is said that this transcription was done by a Wightman researcher before the fire.
Will of George Wightman
To all Christian people before whom these presents shall come, I, George Wightman of Kingston, in the colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations in New England…
Know ye that the aforesaid George Wightman being aged and grown very weak in body yet through the mercy of God at present I have my perfect understanding Praised be God for it But not knowing how soon it may please God to call me out of this world, do make, ordaine and declare this Instrument in writing to be my last will and Testament in manner and form following, hereby revoking and making void all other Will or Wills by me heretofore made either by word or Writing.
Imprimis. I commit my soul to Almighty God and to my everblessed Savior, Jesus Christ, through whose merits and precious blood I hope to obtain the foregiveness of all my sins, and to obtain eternal life in the world to come, and my body to be buried in a decent manner by my Executor. And as to my outward and temporal Estate which the Lord has given me, I do hereby order, bequeath and dispose of as is Hereinafter mentioned.
Item. My will is that all my debts be truly and duly paid by my executor or Executors hereinafter mentioned in convenient time after my decease.
Item. I give and bequeath unto my son Daniel Wightman and the heirs lawfully begotten of his body, forever, all my farm and homestead herein at Quitnessit, with my house and barn and outhouses, orchards, fences, rights and privileges and appurtenances to the farm belonging or in any way appertaining (together) with the land I bought of James Green of Quitnessit also (to) be and remain unto the heirs lawfully begotten of his body Forever.
As for my son George Wightman, I have given him all the money which I had for the farm at Matunuck for to buy the farm where he, my son George Wightman now dwells.
Item. It is my will, although the deed of sale be made in my son George Wightman’s name that the said farm and house, outhouses with all privileges and appurtenances to the same belonging or in any way appertaining to be and remain unto my son George Wightman, and the heirs lawfully begotten of his body forever.
Item. I give and bequeath to my son John Wightman three hundred acres of land where he now dwells with the house, outhouses, fences, orchards, rights, privileges and appurtenances to the same belonging or in any way appertaining to be and remain unto my said son John Wightman and the heirs lawfully begotten of his body forever.
Item. I give and bequeath to my son Samuel Wightman, Four Hundred acres of land which I bought of the committee of the colony of Rhode Island with the houses, outhouses, orchards and fences, rights and privilegs and appurtenances to the same belonging or in any ways appertaining to be and remain to my son Samuel Wightman and the heirs lawfully begotten of his body forever.
Item. I give and bequeath unto my son Valentine Wightman all the land I bought of Joseph Doliver Jun., deceased, the number of acres and bounds of the lands is mentioned in the deed of sale together with the privileges and appurtenances to the same belonging or in any way appertaining to be and remain to my son Valentine Wightman and to the heirs lawfully begotten of his body forever.
Item. I give and bequeath unto my son Daniel Wightman the remaining part of my land upon the great plain, bounded southerly upon the land of William Browning and Mr. Sewal, westerly upon the land of my son John Wightman, northerly upon the land belonging to the Gardners, easterly to the Hills, with the rights, privileges and appurtenances to the same belonging or in any ways appertaining to be and remain unto my son Daniel, and the heirs lawfully begotten of his body forever. I give also to my son Daniel my log chain, four chain boxes and two pairs of snip bits, one shear and colter cider mill, iron bar and grindestone to remain upon said farm and homestead for the use thereof.
Item. I give unto my son George Wightman 20 shillings in money, and forty shillings to his three sons to be equally divided between them.
Item. I give and bequeath to my son John Wightman 20 pounds in money and the worsted Combs.
Item. I give unto my son John’s daughter Aylice my chest of drawers.
Item. I give unto my son Samuel Wightman Twenty pounds in money.
Item. I give and bequeath unto my son Valentine Wightman, Forty pounds in money and Twenty shillings apiece to his three sons Daniel, Valentine and Abraham Wightman.
Item. I give and bequeath to my Grandson George Wightman, the son of my son Daniel Wightman, ten pounds in money, my silver hat band, gun, and all my wearing clothes, both woolen and linen, my chest also which I brought out of England, and my great bible, and to the other two children of my son Daniel Wightman I give fifty shillings apiece, that is Daniel and Elizabeth Wightman.
Item. I give and bequeath to my daughter Elizabeth Huling twenty pounds in money.
Item. I give and bequeath to my daughter Aylice Weight thirty pounds in money.
Item. I give and bequeath unto my daughter Sarah Peterson twenty pounds in money.
Item. I give unto my three daughters, Elizabeth Huling, Aylice Weight and Sarah Peterson all my beds, bolsters, sheets, pillows, blankets, coverlids, pewter and brass, with all my deceased wife’s wearing apparel, both woolen and linen and silks, with my table-cloths and napkins, to be equally divided among them three.
Item. I give and bequeath to my son Valentine Wightman, my silver drinking cup and my (other?) chest which I brought out of England. Item. I give to my son John Wightman’s two sons twenty shillings apiece. There is due me from John Moss five pounds in money by bill.
Item. I give forty shillings of it to my friend Richard Sweet, and twenty shillings of it to buy bread and wine for the congregation to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, the other forty shillings of it I give to my said friend John Moss.
Item. I give and bequeath to my friend John Fones forty shillings in money to be paid to him by my executors.
Item. It is my desire that all my dear children would endeavor to be contented with what I have given them and take all things according to the true intent and meaning herein and my desire is that you would endeavor to live in the fear of God, and live in peace among yourselves, and the peace of God will be with you. Farewell.
Item. My will is and I do constitute and appoint my two sons Daniel and Valentine Wightman to be my executors to this my last Will and testament and I desire my friend John Fones to aid and assist them as an Overseer to this my will, and the true intent and my will is that my within named executors shall pay all my legacies which I have given to my children so far as my estate shall be found to go, but if there shall not be enough of my estate, then my children shall all of them abate of the legacies according to proportion.
And for the ratification and confirmation of this my last will and testament I set my hand and seal this 26th day of April, A.D. 1716 and in the 2nd year of the reign of George, King of Great Britain, France and Ireland….
George Wightman (seal)
Signed, sealed, and pronounced and delivered in the presence of John Allen, Pardon Tillinghast, Jr., Peter W. Wells.
Be it known by these presents that wherein I, George Wightman of Kingston in the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations have made and declared my last will and testament in writing bearing date the Twenty Sixth day of April A.D. 1716: I, the same George Wightman do by this present Codicil confirm and ratify my said will and Testament and do give and bequeath unto my son Daniel Wightman all that parcel of land I bought of Samuel Case with the privilege and appurtenances thereunto belonging during his natural life and then to his two sons George and Daniel Wightman to them and their heirs lawfully begotten of their bodies forever, and my will and meaning is that this codicil and schedule be and be adjudged to be a part and parcel of my said last will and testament and that all things therein mentioned be faithfully and truly performed, and as freely and amply as if the same were so declared and set down in my last will and Testament.
Item. I give and bequeath to my son Daniel Wightman’s daughter Elizabeth Wightman my lot of land at Newton to her and her heirs forever.
Item. I give and bequeath to my son George Wightman twenty pounds in money.
In witness whereunto I have set my hand and seal this 25th day of January 1722 and in the eighth year of the reign of King George.
George Wightman (seal)
Witnesses: Zorobabel Westcout Geo. Tibbits Abagail Batty
Children (All born in Rhode Island) and all were living when George wrote his will:
- Elizabeth, born 26 July 1664; married Alexander Huling, c1695.
- Alice, born 29 December 1666; married Samuel Wait, c1696.
- Daniel, born 2 January 1668; married (1) Catherine Holmes, c1694. She died in 1699.
- Sarah, born 25 February 1671; married Mr. Peterson.
- George, born 8 January 1673; married Elizabeth (MNU), c1698
- John, born 16 April 1674; died 8 May 1750, Washington County, Rhode Island; married Jane Bentley, 6 January 1700, North Kingstown, Rhode Island.
- Samuel, born 9 January 1676; said to have married Sarah Briggs.
- Valentine, born 16 April 1681; married Susannah Holmes, 17 February 1702/03, North Kingstown, Rhode Island
There are some other marriages attributed to these children, but as I find no documents to support them, I won’t include them here. If a reader has additional substantiated facts to add to this family, please leave a comment.