In 1666, John and Gillian’s second son, David, moved to Portsmouth when he was twenty years old. Here, on 7 November 1666, he purchased
thirty-five acres of land from a Mr. John Anthony and began raising sheep. David was admitted as a Freeman of Portsmouth in 1670.
In Portsmouth he met a girl named Mary and around 1670 they were married. Their only child, John, was born in 1671. In 1678 David died. In his Will he gave his son, John, twenty sheep and the thirty-five-acre farm. As he was only seven years old at that time the land and sheep would remain in the care of Mary until John reached twenty-one. Mary remarried and she and her new husband, Thomas Joslin, raised John until he became twenty-one and inherited his father’s land and twenty of the sheep. That same year, at a meeting of the free inhabitants of the Town of Portsmouth, John was made a freeman of the Town.
Prior to the inheritance of the land, John met Elizabeth Bull, the daughter of Isaac and Sarah Bull. On November 24th, 1698 John and Elizabeth were married and over the following twenty years they had seven children:
. Elizabeth, b. 18 December 1701
. David, b. 25 October 1704
. Isaac, b. 31 January 1707
. George, b. 24 July 1709
. Mary, b. 19 March 1713
. Charity, b. 20 July 1716
. John, b. 8 July 1721
All of the children were born in Providence, Rhode Island. In 1721, after their youngest son, John, was born, John, Elizabeth and the children moved to North Kingstown. John’s Uncle George Vaughan (see Appendix 2) had passed away about seventeen years earlier. George’s sons, George, Jr., David, Christopher and Robert were living on farms in near-by East Greenwich. In 2000 while researching the family history I visited these farms and the family cemeteries on them. Two of the cemeteries were well overgrown and in some cases hard to find. Robert’s farm at 1936 Middle Road was the most interesting. The original barn with its stone foundation is still there. In the middle of the farm, on a knoll surrounded by small pines is the family cemetery with the original gravestones. The cemetery is surrounded by a low stacked stonewall. One of the other cemeteries I visited was in the middle of the Stony Hill Fair Grounds at the intersection of Highway 2 and Division Road. Finding these cemeteries was the highlight of my trip to Rhode Island.
In North Kingstown, John and Elizabeth
Vaughan met John and Jane Wightman. You will later see that two generations after the Wightmans and Vaughans met in North Kingston, John and Jane Wightman’s granddaughter married John and Elizabeth’s grandson James. Through this marriage the Whitmans became our ancestors.
When the Vaughans moved, to North Kingston, John and Elizabeth Vaughn’s oldest daughter, Elizabeth, was 20, and John and Jane Wightman’s oldest daughter, Alice, was 19. Both Wightmans and Vaughans were from long, established families in the community and were also respected members of the Baptist Church. Through their association in the church, and with having children of the same age, they became close friends.
In 1725, John and Elizabeth Vaughan’s oldest daughter, Elizabeth, married John Corps from Warwick, Rhode Island.
Shortly after that their son, our ancestor, David married Dinah Baker, the daughter of Benjamin and Mercy (Havens or Hall) Baker from North Kingston. Her mother could have been Mercy Havens whose grandfather was William Havens, one of the founders of Portsmouth, or the other possibility is that Dinah mother could have been Mary Hall. The North Kingston records were burned on 16 Dec, 1870 and only Ha… is viable. The records were stored in the First National Bank and when thieves broke in the burned the building to cover their tracks.
Both the Havens and the Halls were neighbors in North Kingstown. They both had daughters that might have been the right age.
In 2000 Bonnie Weber sent me page 26 of Emma Baker Sorensen’s book, Simon Baker and his Descendants. It shows a record of the Hurling Purchas, May 27, 1709. The page shows the plan of the land division and states, “Benjamine and tweleve others bought 1824 acres of Vacent lands at Narragansett near Devel’s Foot. “Colony agents to Alexander Huling, (Thomas) Havens, Charles Berry, Jeremiah Wilkey, Joseph (Havens), (John) Hall, Joseph Austin, William Havens, William Spencer, (Benjamin) Baker, Benjamin Nicholas, William Hall and North Kingston land lying near Devils Footb. east on Peguot Path, south . . .’ On this plan Benjimin and Mercy (Hall/Havens) Baker have a parcel of land that fronts on the Pequot Path and is next to John Hall’s prarcel of land. Benjimin and Mercy were married in about 1704 and the land purchase was in 1709, by then they had two young daughters, Mary, b. 1706 and Dinah, b. 1708. It would have been very convenient to have her prents, the Halls, living next door, but we will probably never know whether that was so, or whether Mercy’s parents were Halls or Havens.
Benjamin Baker’s father was Rev. Thomas Baker, the pastor of the Stony Lane Baptist Church. Reverend Thomas Baker started the church in 1679 and continued until his death in 1710. Thomas left the Second Baptist Church of Newport at the coaxing by Roger Williams. After Rev. Baker’s death, reverend Richard Sweet became the church’s next Pastor. After Rev. Sweet’s death in 1740, George Wightman’s brother, James Wightman became the pastor. This church is the one remaining Six Principle “Hands-on” Church in the world. Our ancestor, Reverend Thomas Baker is buried in the adjoining cemetery. The old church has now been replaced by a new building. The church is located at 995 Old Baptist Road, North Kingston.
(There is more about David and Diana in the following chapter.)
In 1730, John and Elizabeth Vaughan’s son Isaac married Mary Cornell. Isaac operated Vaughn’s Tavern on Ten Rod Road on the Exeter Town Line. Several of their sons served in the Revolutionary War. He died in 1777 and is buried in the Isaac Vaughn Cemetery with other members of his family. The only graves still marked are those of his son Joshua and Joshua’s wife, Mary.
In 1736, John and Elizabeth’s son, George, married Elizabeth Bassett and purchased one hundred and fifty acres of land on the Exeter Town Line.
In 1732, John and Elizabeth Vaughan’s daughter Mary, married James Congdon. James b. 15 May 1715, was the sone of Benjamin and Frances (Stafford) Congon. When James died in 1756 Mary married Benjamin Northrup of Exeter, R.I., son of David and Susanna (Congdon) Northrup. They had two children, Elizabeth, b. 26 August 1732, and John, b. 5 May 1734. John Congdon married Mary Reynolds. John and Mary Congdon were the great-grandparents of Albert J. Congdon, the ancestor of the lady I met at the Rhode Island Genealogy Society annual meeting in East Greenwich in 2000. In 1852 her great-grandfather, Albert J. Congdon, had the first apothecary shop in East Greenwich. She was helpful in me finding the family cemeteries in Greenwich, Rhode Island. This side of the family still spells the name Vaughan.
John and Elizabeth Vaughan’s daughter, Charity, married Henry Olin after her father died, but that is all that is know of her.
In 1746, John and Elizabeth Vaughan’s son John, Jr., married Barbara Rathbun. In 1740, John’s father had bought a one hundred and eighty acre farm in Scituate that he gave it to John, Jr. after he was married. They move there before their third child William was born. John’s brother David had moved there in 1734. I have not found either of their parcels of land. Much of Situate is now flooded by the reservoir for the City of Providence water supply.
John and Elizabeth continued to live in North Kingston, Rhode Island. John died some time between 1743 and 1751. He is probably buried somewhere on the farm he lived on at the time. In his Will he left his wife, Elizabeth, half of his dwelling house and the adjoining fifty acres of land.
To his son, David he left the other half of the premises. David was made exciter of the estate. He was instructed to clear the fifty acres of land in Situate that had earlier been given to John, Jr. or pay John Jr. one hundred pounds.
To his son Isaac he bequeathed some tools and a parcel of land.
To his son George he bequeathed a chest, plough irons and the fifty acres he already had use.
To his son John Jr. he bequeathed twelve sheep, two cows, a breading pig, a half yoke of oxen, a musket, a silver spoon, his great chair, some farm equipment and the one hundred and eighty acres of land he already had use.
To each of his daughters, Elizabeth Corps and Mary Congdon he bequeathed forty pounds.
To his daughter Charity he bequeathed forty pounds, one cow, a feather bed and half of my household goods after the death of his wife.
The Will was proven on September 9, 1751.
The following information on the Updyke and Whightman side of the family comes from the books published by wade C. Whightman.
Our Wightman family history goes back to Edward Wightman, who was the last person in England to be burned at the stake for his religious beliefs. Edward married Francis Darbye on 2 September 1593 in Burton-on-Trent church located in Straffordshire. The following baptisms of their children appear as they were registered:
. Johannis, 8 December 1594
. Priscilla, 25 December 1596
. Johnnia, 7 January 1598
. Maris, 27 February 1603
. Maria, 5 January 1605
. Anna 18 September 1608
. Samuel 18 August 1611
Edward was a minister in the Six-Principle Baptist Church in Stafford, England, but his concept of the scriptures was extreme for the time. He believed that everyone should be allowed to interpret the ‘Word of God’ according to his own belief. He challenged King James I, and the Established Church and as a result was tried for heresy, found guilty on eleven counts and ordered to be burned at the stake on April 11, 1612.
After Edward was executed, it is thought that his wife, Frances, moved to London with her four children, Perscilla, John, Anne, and Samuel. Her other children may have died earlier.
In 1654, John and Samuel left England for America. John brought his four sons:
. Valentine, b. before 1625
. George, b. 4 November 1632
George was twenty-two and the youngest of the four brothers. George’s oldest brother, Valentine was already here working as an Indian interpreter for Richard Smith at his trading post at Wickford. George moved to Wickford and three years after he arrived in Rhode Island he married Elizabeth Updyke. Elizabeth was the granddaughter of Richard Smith, one of the longest-term residents, a major landowner and one of the wealthiest men of the area. In 1638 Richard Smith had built his stone trading post, called Smith Castle in a protected cove just north of Wickford on the west side of Narragansett Bay. Prior to Richard building the trading post, Roger Williams had built a cabin near there, where he had developed a tradding relationship with the local Indians. In 1639. George Whightman purchased the 30,000 acres surrounding Smith’s Castle from the Narragansett Indians.
Although Richard Smith built the trading post at Narragansett Bay he did not live there. Not finding the religious freedom he sought in Plymouth Colony, and finding the location of the trading post to lonely and dangerous, he chose New Amsterdam for his residence. He would travel with his family between New Amsterdam and his trading post where trade with the Indians was carried out on his sloop the Welcome. Ships coming into Narragansett Bay and trading with Smith were both Dutch and English.
The land from Narragansett Bay to New Amsterdam was being claimed by Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Netherlands. Smith lived in New Amsterdam, but was friendly with the leaders of the groups establishing the towns in the Connecticut River Valley. In 1639, Smith, along with John Winthrop, Jr. and Major Atherton of Massachusetts purchased a large tract of land from the Narragansett Indians. This was added to the large tract earlier purchased from the Indians. Requesting protection from Connecticut got Richard Smith in trouble with Rhode Island. Richard Smith must have still been a man of influence in England, as a letter from King Charles II, commanding that Richard Smith and his friends in Narragansett no longer be molested “by Certain unreasonable and turbulent sperits of Providence Colony.”
In New Amsterdam, Richard met Gysbert Updyke, who in 1638, at the age of thirty-three, came to New Amsterdam from Wesel, Germany.
Gysbert came from a long line of mayors (Burgomasters), judges (Schepens) and town councilors of Wesel. One of Gysbert early ancestors, Johan Op Den Dyke (1380-1459), was the knight and Bergomaster that led the Wesel troops into battle to rescue the Duke of Cleves. Europe was still controlled by city states like Cleaes and Gunterland. They captured the Duke of Gelderland, killed or captured his troops.
By 1500 the population of Europe had returned to the number it was before 1350. Starting in Italy in 1347, a plague called the Black Death had, in a period of three years, killed about one third of the people of Europe. People had died, but wealth had not disappeared and many families took advantage of this and prospered. The Op Den Dyke family may have part of that experience as they were a financially and politically successful family.
When Gysbert came to New Amsterdam in 1638, he was an officer of the Dutch West India Company, which operated under charter from Holland, the Commander of Fort Hope, now Hartford, Connecticut and Tithe-Commissioner of Long Island. His residence was on Stone Street, Manhattan, one block from the East River. He owned all of Coney Island and two farms, one at Hempstead and the other at Cow Neck on Long Island.
On October 25, 1640, getting no support from the Governor to defend themselves against the overwhelming influx of the Puritan groups from Massachusetts, Gysbert resigned his post at Fort Hope.
On 24 September 1643, Richard Smith’s daughter, Katherine, married Gysbert Updyke. Gysbert and Katheine Updyke had seven children:
. Elizabeth, b. 1644 (more to follow)
. Lodowick, b. 1646
. Richard, b. 1648
. Sarah, b. 1650
. Johannes, b. 1658
. James, b. 1658
. Daniel, b. about 1661
Shortly after Gysbert and Katherine were married hostilities had developed between the Dutch and the Indians, who up to this time had been friendly. The hostilities worsened when Dutch soldiers were ordered to attack and kill a band of River Indians camped at Manhattan. The Indians retaliated with total devastation. Eleven tribes of Indians joined in total war against the settlers. Richard Smith’s home and farm at Maspeth, Long Island was destroyed. The Updykes, Smiths and the other colonist took refuge at the Fort at the Battery. In 1643, Gysbert Updyke and Richard Smith, along with six other colonist were elected to the “Eight Men” and on August 30, 1645 successfully made the treaty with all of the Indians that lasted for the next ten years. The “Eight Men” went on to demand government reforms. In 1647, the Dutch Government recalled Governor Kieft and granted the reforms.
Petrus Stuyvesant was sent to be the new governor of New Netherland. Stuyvesant turned to be more arrogant than his predecessor and found himself at odds with the colonist. It appears that Gysbert supported Stuyvesan, as on June 20, 1647 he was reassigned to Fort Hope, Connecticut. Fort Hope was at the head of the navigation on the Connecticut River where the New Netherland Company had operated a trading post called “House of Hope” since 1633. Since 1634, the English had been moving in and trying to crowd out the Dutch by disrupting the farming around the fort. Ignoring the claim to the land by the Dutch, Puritan groups began creating towns along the Connecticut River. Men like John Winthrop, Jr. had been establishing settlements throughout the area claiming it as Connecticut Colony and New Haven Colony.
Stuyvesan had sent a letter to the New England Governors claiming the land between Long Island and Cape Cod. Gysbert and Catherine took up residence at Fort Hope from 1647 to 1650. Stuyvesan turned to be a disappointment to Gysbert. On September 19, 1650, Governor Stuyvesan signed the “Hartford Treaty”. Creating the boundary between Massachusetts and New Netherland. This is the current eastern boundary of New York. The boundary between New York and New Hampture was not settled until much later when Vermont was established.
By 1664, Stuyvesant had grown more and more unpopular with he Dutch colonist. The English East India Company and the English African Company continued to complain of the rivalry of the Dutch commerce that over shadowed the English. To rectify this, Charles II of England presented to his brother, the Duke of York, a patent for all New Netherlands. The Duke of York, as Lord High Admiral, sent four ships with 450 soldiers to take possession the Dutch colony. The Dutch were misled by false reports that the expedition was designed only to settle affairs in New England. On August 19, 1664, the English squadron of four naval ships dropped anchor in the bay and, having been joined by Connecticut troops, summoned Fort Amsterdam to surrender.
In 1660 the Rhode Island Assembly ordered the Atherton Company, of which Richard Smith was a major share holder, to open up for sale the Quidnessett tract, north of Richard Smith’s large tract. One-hundred tracts and larger were put up for sale. Valentine’s tract was over one hundred acres and had an outlet on Narragansett Bay.
With the surrender of New Netherland, Richard Smith and his family moved to his trading post on Narragansett Bay. The family had visited here many times before. It would have been on these visits that Richard Smith’s granddaughter, Elizabeth Updyke would have met George Whiteman. George’s brother, Valentine, was Richard Smith’s Indian interpreter at Smith Castle. In 1663, George Whightman and Elizabeth Updyke were married in Cocumscussuc, Kings Province, later Kingstowne. He was about twenty-one and she was nineteen. George had purchased a large parcel of land in Quidnessett from his brother, Valentine. Here George and Elizabeth would live and raise their family. It is located on the map where the words “Geo. Wightman territory” are written.
George and Elizabeth Whightman would have eight children:
. Elizabeth, b. 26 July 1664. She married Captain Alexander Hurling. In 1696, Capt. Hurling deeded land in North Kingstown for the Stony Lane Church, located about two miles north and two miles west of Wickford near the East Greenwich border.
. Alice, b. 29 December 1666. She married Samuel Wait and they purchased land on the Great Plain in Exiter where they raised ten children. Three of the children married their Wightman cousins.
. Daniel, b. 2 January 1668. He became a Church Deacon. Rev. Daniel Wightman had, in 1697, contributed to the purchase of land for the Second Baptist Church of Newport, where he later became the church’s fifth pastor.
. Sarah, b. 25 February 1671. She married William Collins in 1697 and later she married A Mr. Peterson. George, Jr., b. 8 January 1673. He became a Deacon of the Shawomet (Old Warwick) Church. Reverend Valentine established the Baptist church in Groton, New London County, Connecticut.
. John, b. 16 April 1674 (Liberty and Lewis’s great-great-grandfather, more to follow.)
. Samuel, b. 9 January 1676. He married Sarah Briggs. They had one child, Samuel, Jr.
. Valentine, b. 16 April 1681. He married Susanna Holms, the great-granddaughter of Roger Williams. In 1707, at age 26, he was invited to become the pastor of the Grouton Baptist church in Connecticut.. His sons continued to lead the congragation after he died in 1747. Although the church where he preached has since moved the burial ground still exist there and is refered to as Whightman Cemetery. In 1705, Valentine was asked by a group of Baptist who had moved to Groton, Connecticut, to come and become their pastor.
In 1664, shortly after Richard Smith moved to his home at Smith Castle, he died. In his Will he left his estate to be divided between his son Richard Smith Jr., his daughter Elizabeth, the children of his deceased daughters Katherine Updyke and Joan Newton.
The will reads:
“In the name of God, Amen. The fourteenth day of July in the year of Our Lord, one thousand, six hundred, sixty and four, in the Sixteenth year of the Reign of out Sovereign Lord, Charles the Second by the Grace of God of England, and Scotland, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith &. I, Richard Smith, of Wickford, in Narragansett Country, in New England, Yeoman, being in health of Body, and of good and perfect memory, (Thanks be unto God) Do make this my last Will and Testaments, …
Item, I give unto my Son Richard Smith all my Right, Title and interest of, in and to my Dwelling house, and Lands thereto belonging, Situate, being and lying in Wickford aforesaid, and is bounded in the Southwest by Annoquatucket river, and by the Lands of Capt. William Hudson Northeasterly and on the East by a fresh river or brook and Creek and Cove.
Item, I give unto my Son the s’d Richard Smith, all my right title and interest of, in, and to my property of Lands lying in Cunnanicot Island and Dutch Island, with the privileges and appurtenances to them or either of them belonging or in any way appertaining.
Item, I give my daughter Elizabeth wife of John Vial of Boston, Vintner, all that my Share, which is a one Third part of Land lying on the Southerly side if my son, Richard Smith’s two thirds part of a tract of land lying on the Easterly side of the foresaid fresh river, or Brook, and Creek and Cove, Commonly Called by the name Sagag.
Item, I will that all my share and part in the Great Neck of Land beyond Capt. Edward Hutchiness house, Westward and Southward and all the rest of my share of Land belonging to that purchase And also my share of Land of the last purchase and all my Cattle, Horses, Mares, Sheep, Goats, & Swine and all my Goods and Debt whatsoever to me appertaining be (after my decease) Divided in to Four Equal parts and portions, the which after my debts paid & funeral Charged thereout, I give and bequest as followeth. That is to say. To my son Richard Smith, and his heirs, the one fourth part or portion thereof, and to my Daughter, Elizabeth, wife of John Vail and her issue give one other Fourth part thereof, and to my Grand Children, the Children of my dec’d daughter Katharine, sometime wife to Gilbert Updike, one other fourth part thereof to be Equally Divided amongst them. And to my Grand Children, the Children on my deceased daughter, Joan, sometimes wife to Thomas Newton, one fourth part thereof to be divided amongst them my S’d Grand Children, parts to be paid to each of them, Viz. To each of my Grandsons as they Come to the age of Twenty one years, or on day of marriage which shall first happen, And in Case that any One of my Grand Children, the Children of my daughters Katharine and Joan, do Dyue before they come to be of the age aforesaid of Marr’yd, then such part or share, as should have been to such deceased, shall de to the Survivours of them, part and part alike to then to be divided.
Item, I make and ordain my sons, Richard Smith and John Vial, to b my full whole and only Executors of this my last will and Testament. And my Well beloved Friend Capt. Edward Hutchinson of Boston.
Before John Leverett Assistant, Entered and recorded at the request of the s’d Vial the 22d. of August, 1666. Robert Howard, Not. Pub.- An attested Copy.”
In 1664, shortly after Richard Smith died, the Gysbert Updyke moved with his children to the land in Wickford, Rhode Island, left to Gilbert Updike’s children. Elezabeth was already married. Gysbert’s oldest son, Lodowick was ten and his youngest son would have been around three or four. Here on the shores of Narragansett Bay the Indians had continued to live in harmony with the European settlers.
In 1675, the Wampanoag Indian chief, King Philip led several of the New England tribes in attacks against the settlements. This was known as King Philip’s War. The Wampanoags lived between Massachusetts and the eastern shore of Narragansett Bay. They had been the strongest supporters of the Pilgrims when they settled in Plymouth. If it had not been for their help, the Pilgrims would not survived their first winter. In 1662, Philip inherited the position of chief of his people and although he continued to honor the treaties of his father, the colonist continually encroached on the Indians land and continually humiliated them. In retaliation King Philip led the Wampanoags into war. They burned several towns and killed many of the inhabitants.
The governors of Massachusetts and Connecticut, in fear that the large tribe of Narragansett Indians would join King Philip, planned a surprise attack on the Narragansetts. Smith’s Castle became the headquarters of the New England army. Here the Great Swamp Fight was planned. They were successful in killing most of the men, women and children in an early morning raid.
The Narragansetts retaliated in the spring of 1676 by destroying most of the settlements on the eastern shore of Narragansett Bay. During the two years that the war lasted over half of the ninety-two settlements in New England were destroyed. This included Richard Smith’s trading post.
The following six paragraphs are from the Smith Castle web site at <www.smithcastle.org>
By 1678, Richard Smith, Jr. had built a new home with front rooms flanking a large stone fireplace, a kitchen lean-to at the back, and a massive two-story, gabled porch on the front.
During the 18th century, large plantations dotted the Narragansett shoreline from Wickford south to Point Judith and west to Connecticut. Richard Smith, Jr. was one of the first of the so-called Narragansett Planters.
When he died childless in 1692, he bequeathed Cocumscussoc to his nephew Captain Lodowick Updike and Lodowick’s wife Abigail Newton Updike. Lodowick and Abigail were first cousins and grandchildren of the elder Richard Smith.
The Updike family developed Cocumscussoc into one of the great plantations of 18th-century New England. At its height, it encompassed more than 3,000 acres, and was divided into five farms worked by tenant farmers, indentured servants, and slaves. The Updikes were primarily stock and dairy farmers producing cheese, a breed of horse known as the Narragansett Pacer, as well as some agricultural crops.
Commerce developed with the entire Atlantic community, including England, the Portuguese islands, Africa, South America, the West Indies, and the other mainland British colonies.
Around 1740, Lodowick’s son Daniel extensively remodeled the 1678 structure. He removed the facade gables and projecting front porch, installed an elegant entry staircase, expanded the lean-to kitchen, paneled walls, and encased some beams. At this time, the house appeared much as it does today.
Daniel was a trained lawyer and served twice as attorney general of Rhode Island. As one of the colony’s most prominent citizens he felt it necessary to rebuilt the old structure to reflect his status in the community. It was raised to a full two stories and additional rooms were added. The main entry flanked by sidelights and pilasters may have been added later. The Updikes continued to be prominent in the development of the area, but today no Updikes can be found living there. Smith’s Castle is now a Rhode Island historic landmarks.
While the settlers in America were clearing the land and expanding into new territory, Europe and Great Britan were still fighting the thirty year war. Peace was established in 1648 leaving France the dominant power in Europe. With the war over Europe focused on art, culture, politics and science. In 1643, at age five, Louis XVI became King of France with the death of his father, Louie XIII, Under Louis XVI’s reign of 72 years, France became the cultural and social center of Europe. In Louis XVI commissioned the architect, Louis Le Vau, and the landscape architect, André Le Nôtre to began a major upgrade of the Château de Versailles. Scientific research was also encouraged. One of the most notable events was in 1687 when Isaac Newton publish his laws of physics.
George Wightman continued to purchase additional parcels of land and possessed lands totaling some two thousand acres before he died in 1722.
He died at the Quidnessett farm near Harrison Street, North Kingstown. The Wightman family lived there for six generations and for two hundred years the farm was known as the Wightman homestead in Quidnessett. George Wightman and his family had been living on their large farm on the Great Plain of Exeter in Quidnessett, Rhode Island. In his Will, written in 1717, George Whightnan bequeathed to his son, John Whightman, the three-hundred acre parcel of land on the Great Plain in Exiter. John had been living at the time. The farm is located on Ten Rod Road just west of Wickford Junction in the north part of North Kingston, not far from the Stony Lane Baptist Church.
In 1700, John Wightman married Jane Bentley and they had eight children:
. Alice, b. 26 October 1702. She
married Job Harrington.
. Sarah, b. 23 January 1704. In
1772, she married Joseph Whitford.
. John Jr., b. 11 March 1707. (more following)
. James, b. 17 February 1709. He married three times, first to Bridget Sweet, next to Mrs. Phebe Lowe and then to Susannah Eldred. In 1740 he became pastor of the Stony Lane Baptist Church, the oldest Baptist church in North Kingstown, Rhode Island.
. Jane, b. 1712. In 1734, she married Benjamin Spink
. Mary married Samuel A. Boone Jr., the son of Samuel and Mary Boone.
. Valentine, b. 1717. In 1737 he married Rebecca Jamain in Newport, Rhode Island. They moved to Wickford and attended the Stony Lane Baptist Church where his brother was the pastor.
. Deborah, b. after 1718. She married John Record in 1739.
Some time before 1729, when John was appointed Overseer of the Poor and the North Kingston Treasure, a position he held the position until 1746, his wife Jane died. He married again, this time to a young lady from Newport named Virtue. . In 1743 North Kingston was divided with the western portion being called Exeter. John Wightman, Sr.’s three-hundred-acre farm straddled the new line between the two towns. The majority was in Exeter.
John Wightman died in 1746. It is believed that he was buried next to his first wife, Jane, in the family cemetery on the property, but no stones remain.
On February 1, 1729, when John, Jr. was twenty-two, he married Anne Sweet, the daughter of Samuel and Bridget Sweet. Anne’s, family can be traced back to many of the earliest Kings and Queens of England and Europe through her great-grandmother Mary Greene. It includes Charlemagne (Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in 800), Henry I (King of France in 1060), Heinrich I ‘The Fowler’ (King of the Germans in 900) and William the Conqueror (King of England 1060).
There is documentation giving proof of this, but that is a story for another time.
In 1734, they moved from North Kingston to Stonington, New London County, Connecticut where John, Jr.’s cousin Mary was living.
In 1750, two years after John Wightman, Jr.’s father died and left him the 300-acre farm, he and Anne returned to Exeter. In 1754 they sold 188 acres of the farm to Ezekiel Gardner and the remainder, in 1755, to Samuel Boone Jr., John’s sister, Mary’s husband.
John Jr. and Anne Wightman had the following children:
. George, b. about 1731. He married Bridget Sweet, the granddaughter of Samuel Sweet.
. Titus, b. January 1733. He married Hannah Youman.
. Mary, b. 1735. About 1755, she married David Vaughan. They would join the rest of the family when they moved to Dutchess County, New York.
. Elizabeth, b. 10 May 1741. She moved to Dutchess County around
1758. In 1762, she married John Southworth there.
. Jane, b. about 1744. She married James Vaughan. (this is our Whightman / Vaughan connection)
. Anne married a Mr. Pratt.
. Thomas, b. 30 july 1750. About 1772, he married Mary Tripp. The family had now moved to Dutchess County, New York and they were married there.
In 1759, John, Jr, sold their farm in East Greenwich and moved to Beckman’s Precinct, Dutches County, New York. David Vaughan and his family had move there a few years earlier and here the Vaughans and Wightmans would near each other again.
In 1979 the original Quidnessett farm where George and Elizabeth lived, worked, and raised their children was registered in the Historic Preservation Report. The original house and ninety acres of the farm then comprised the Swanholme Dairy Farm. In 1968, the land was sold for residential development. The Wightman Cemetery that is located on the farm is being preserved and maintained by descendents of the Wightman family.
Our ancestors, the Updyks, Smiths, Wightmans, Sweets and Vaughans were an important part of the development in this part of Rhode Island. North Kingstown, now called North Kingston, East Greenwich and Exeter is now part of what is referred to as ‘South County’. Although our families are remembered as part of the area’s history and some of their descendents still live here, most of our family names have disappeared from here long ago.