Daniel Robinson aka Robison aka Robins is one of the more interesting ancestors in my husband’s family tree.
Daniel’s year of birth is unknown, but probably before 1635 and more likely by 1630 or earlier, somewhere in Scotland. He was a Royalist who, with many other Scots prisoners taken by Oliver Cromwell’s forces, was transported to the colonies, far away from the political uproar of the times.
Daniel’s name appears on a list of passengers aboard the John & Sara, bound for Boston on 11 November 1651.
Passengers of the Ship “John and Sara”: Scots Prisoners of War, 1651
Daniel Robinson made his way from Massachusetts to New Haven, Connecticut where he married Hope Potter, daughter of William & Frances (MNU) Potter, on 10 February 1663. The “Robison” family lived in New Haven until about 1667 when Daniel, Hope and their first two children, Mary and Daniel, removed to Woodbridge, New Jersey.
Early birth records of both New Haven and Woodbridge have survived and provide the names and birth dates of all of Daniel’s and Hope’s children.
- Mary, born 16 December 1664, New Haven, Connecticut
- Daniel, born 27 November 1666, New Haven, Connecticut; married (1) Mary Parker, 27 November 1691, Woodbridge, New Jersey (2) Mary, c1693. Daniel became a Quaker.
- Lydia, born 25 July 1668, Woodbridge, New Jersey; married William Therp (named in her father’s will)
- Joseph, born 12 March 1670/71, Woodbridge, New Jersey; married Anna Pack, 8 June 1692, Elizabeth, New Jersey
- Richard, born 14 February 1672/73, Woodbridge, New Jersey; married Hannah Moore, 20 October 1692, Woodbridge, New Jersey
- Hope, born 15 July 1674, Woodbridge, New Jersey; died 3 March 1674/75, Woodbridge, New Jersey
- Nathaniel, born 22 March 1675/76, Woodbridge, New Jersey; died before his father wrote his will on 22 June 1714; married Sarah (Cox?)
- Moses, born 27 March 1679, Woodbridge, New Jersey
- Hope, born 16 December 1681, Woodbridge, New Jersey; died after her father wrote his 1717 will and before 21 November 1717, when her husband married again; married John Moore, 18 November 1699, Woodbridge, New Jersey. John married (2) Mary Oliver.
- Aaron, born 24 May 1683, Woodbridge, New Jersey; died April 1759; married (1) Unknown (2) Elizabeth (MNU)
- Benjamin, born 18 June 1686, Woodbridge, New Jersey; married Judith (MNU), c1710
Daniel left a will dated 22 June 1714 and proved in court two months later on 18 August 1714. Wife Hope predeceased him, but her death date isn’t known:
New Jersey Calendar of Wills, Volume 1:494
Much has been written about Daniel Robins’ life as a Scot prisoner, but a lot of it is historical in nature about the Cromwell era in Scotland and not personally about Daniel. There is one very interesting tidbit that I came across on The Scottish Prisoners of War website, which has a page devoted to Daniel Robins:
Charles Gordon a Scottish immigrant wrote the following letter from Perth Amboy, New Jersey, dated March 5, 1685 to Andrew Irvine a merchant of Edinburgh, Scotland “I am just now drinking to one of them (the old Buckskin planters) our countrymen, who was sent away by Cromwell to New England; a slave from Dunbar, living now in Woodbridge like a Scots laird, wishes his countrymen and his native soil well, though he never intends to see it.” Scottish Emigration to Colonial America 1607-1685 by David Dobson. An interesting observation is Daniel Robinson aka Robins was living in Woodbridge in 1685. I have searched Woodbridge records for the names of other Scottish prisoners of war and have found none.
Could this casual comment about a former Scot prisoner of war actually refer to Daniel Robins and has it provided an ancestral home for Daniel Robins of Dunbar?
Dunbar is located 30 miles due east of Edinburgh:
Edinburgh to Dunbar, 30 miles
Even more interesting is the Battle of Dunbar Wikipedia entry, which begins:
This is considered one of the three great battles of the Civil War, taking place of 3 September 1650, with 22,000 Scots taking part. Incredibly, 10,000 prisoners were taken! It is certainly possible that Daniel Robins was one of them. If Daniel was from Dunbar proper, it is unfortunate that the earliest church records don’t begin until late in the 17th century. However, Charles Gordon, cited on The Scottish Prisoners of War item above, may have unwittingly pointed Robins descendants to their ancestral home.
One last thought – Hope’s father, William Potter, was executed in 1662 and the carrying out of his wishes set out in his will were the cause of multiple court actions for years. Could the family scandal have caused the young Robins family to move to New Jersey? More in tomorrow’s post.