Sunday, August 28, 2016

Revolutionaries: Our Little Compton Baileys

We pick up on our Bailey family in Little Compton, Rhode Island, just a hop across the Sakonnet River from Portsmouth and about 55 miles down the coast from Plymouth.  Colonists from both areas looking for more grazing and farm land, to expand their holdings came to Little Compton in the early 1680’s. One of the original Little Compton founders was Colonel Benjamin Church from the Plymouth area, commander of Colonial forces during King Philips’s War in 1675-1676 and known as the father of the US Army Rangers. Four of Colonel Church’s brothers are our grandfather ancestors.

To catch up from the last post, Lt. Thomas Bailey (1690-1740) and Mary Wood (1691-1745) from our Portsmouth families married in Little Compton in July 1712 just months after six of Mary’s siblings died suddenly in an influenza epidemic. Thomas was living on his father’s lands and both inherited Little Compton land from their parents. They had ten children between 1713 and 1733, nine boys in a row and the last a girl, all born and raised in Little Compton. 

Of their children:
  • John inherited £300, land on Warrens Point and his father’s sword.
  • Constant Bailey inherited  £1,000, a good cow, and “a horse to ride of a credible sort.” He moved back to Newport where he was a cabinet maker. When Mary died, she gave Constant a Negro boy and 16 acres in Little Compton she inherited from her father.
  • Joseph inherited £100 and a good horse. He moved to Newport where he was a cordswainer (shoemaker).  Mary left him another 16 acres in Little Compton.
  • Oliver inherited all Thomas’ land in Freetown with buildings, saw mill, grist mill and fulling mill as well as £300.
  • James, Thomas, Barzilla, William and Lemuel were underage when their father died.  As executors, Mary and the oldest son John were to divvy up the remaining lands and property when the children came of age. 
  • Lemuel, the last son, died at age 13, the same year as his mother.
Generation Four

The second son, Thomas Bailey, Jr. was a husbandman - or farmer - in Little Compton on lands owned by his father which became Thomas Jr.’s when Thomas Sr. died. He married 20 year old Mary Bennett in Little Compton in 1734. Thomas was18 years old; his mother just had a child herself the previous year.  

Seven months after the marriage, Mary and Thomas had Phebe, our sixth great-grandmother. A second child for the couple was born two years later on October 3, 1736. Mary died days later, and we would presume the cause of death was related to childbirth. The following year, Thomas married 19 year old Abigail Lynd and they had four children. She died twelve years later at age 31; Thomas now was 34 and twice widowed. He married a third time the following year to 22 year old Deborah Carr. They had another 4 children, all girls.

Photo from Little Compton Families, Vol 1
Little Compton Families gives the following excerpt from an old book of photographs by Arthur Aspinwall:

The people of Little Compton, as might be expected from the descendants of the Pilgrims, were patriots, and none were more patriotic than Bailey. Occasionally they were troubled by visits from British warships, and upon one of these occasions a part of British seamen landed and captured Bailey and a coast guard who was on duty there and several others. They were carried to the boats, and upon arriving on the beach an effort was made to induce Bailey to tell them the number of men in the American army. The patriotic old man replied that they might as well attempt to count the sands of the beach as the troops upon which the Americans relied. This exaggerative bit of “yankee insolence” was rewarded by confinement in a British prison-ship for some time…Bailey, while confined, played off crazy and gave his answers in a peculiar way in hopes of being released. He told his captors that he must go home because his wife was wide open, his barn door was sick abed, and every pumpkin had a hog. In a short time he was released and went home to live a peaceful citizen.

Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors shows Thomas was on the British prison ship, “Lord Sandwich” in New York in 1776.  He was 61 years old.

Thomas lived to a ripe age of 77 years and is buried with lots of other Baileys in the Little Compton Old Commons Burial Ground.
Generation Five

Phebe Bailey (1734-1785) had a childhood of loss with the death of her mother when she was two years old and a stepmother died when she was 16. Little wonder it is that she married Isaac Hathaway, Jr. (1729-1798) in 1752 when she was but 17 years old.

Phebe and Isaac had 16 children starting the year after they were married; three died in infancy or early childhood. During the Revolution, Isaac and his two older sons served in the Revolution - Isaac as an adjutant in the 2nd Bristol Regiment and Quartermaster in the 1st Bristol Regiment in Rhode Island; son John served as a Colonel in the 2nd Bristol Regiment; and son Isaac, served in Rhode Island and in a Berkshire militia. Isaac's brother, Joshua, was a Major in the Massachusetts Minutemen.

Isaac, Phebe and eight or nine of their children left Freetown sometime before or in early1780 for Adams, Berkshire County, in the very western part of Massachusetts, a distance of 170 miles, most likely by ox cart carrying their belongings.  These would have included Phebe, 17; Robert, 16; Prudence, 14; Irene, 13; Henry, 11; Susanna, 10; Bailey, 9; Rebecca, 8; Rachel, 5; and Daniel, 3. Whether 25 yr old Isaac III accompanied them or joined them later is unclear, most likely he went along at the same time.
Berkshire County, showing proximity of Adams and Cheshire towns
Isaac's family was in Adams by October 1780 when son Isaac Jr. is recorded as belonging to the 2nd Berkshire militia.  Most likely, they made the trip in the spring to have time to plant crops. Isaac does not appear to have a Revolution land grant and does not appear to be in the group of Rhode Island Baptists that originally settled Cheshire. Indeed, the family was likely Quaker and Adams was settled in the 1760's by Quakers from Rhode Island.  An act by the General Court of Massachusetts in 1782 states,

Whereas it appears that Capt. Isaac Hathaway, of Adams, in the county of Berkshire, is now in the possession of a certain lot of land in said town, which he holds by an agreement made with John Murray, Esq; [John Murray was one of the original three buyers of 23 square miles of Adams in 1766] an absentee, but by reason of the losses the said Isaac has sustained by the war, and the public having the use of his money, he is unable to make that full payment for said lands that is required by law in order to compleat his title thereto; Therefore, Resolved, That the committee for the sale of conspirators and absentee estates in the county of Berkshire be and they hereby are directed to receive from him the said Hathaway his note of hand, with one responsible surety, payable in one year from the date of said note, to the Treasurer of this Commonwealth, or his successor in said office, for the sum of twenty eight pounds, with lawful interest, and to govern themselves in their conduct toward said Hathaway and the land he possesses, upon his paying the residue of the money due for said lands, in the same manner as though he had paid the whole in cash.  October 19, 1782.

Mary Hathaway (1757-1824), our great-grandmother ancestor, married Thomas Borden in 1776 and stayed behind  in Fall River. 

Phebe would have been in her early 40’s at the time of the move. Such hardship they must have endured to move with eight children, likely by cart and ox over rough roads with what belongings they could take to what was still wilderness, and to leave behind what family she had in Freetown, a well-to-do family at that.

Children of Isaac Hathaway and Phebe Bailey:
  • Captain John Hathaway served in the American Revolution and died in Hudson, New York in 1818, age 64. He married a young woman from Long Island and the couple returned for a few years to Freetown, MA, before going to Hudson, New York, in 1788 with a group of Massachusetts and Rhode Island proprietors to go into the ship business. He became a wealthy owner of a fleet of sloops.
  • Isaac Hathaway III served as a private in the Continental Army in the American Revolution. He married Jemima Constock in Adams, MA, and migrated with brother Robert and the Comstock family to Farmington in 1790, an area now called Hathaway Corners.
  • Mary Hathaway, our sixth great-grandmother, linked with our Borden family in 1776 when she married Thomas Borden, great grandson of our Richard Borden and Innocent Cornell.
  • Irene, born in 1759, died at age 3 1/2 months in Freetown.
  • Robert, born in 1761, died at age three weeks.
  • Phebe, born in Freetown in 1763, probably went to Cheshire, MA, when her family moved.  She died in 1797 but no other information available.
  • Robert Hathaway, born in Freetown, migrated to Cheshire with the family, and was a pioneer settler in Farmington, NY along with his brother, Isaac.  He died in 1806 in Hudson, NY.
  • Irene would have been about 12 years old when the family moved to Cheshire. She married in Windsor, MA, and died in Palmyra, NY in 1849.
  • Henry Hathaway, born 1769 in Freetown, married a young woman in Adams, MA, and died in Russia, NY in 1804.
  • Susanna, born in 1770, married in Adams, MA, and died in Norway, New York in 1845.
  • Bailey, born in 1771 in Fall River, married in New London, CT, became a master seaman. He died in Hudson, NY in 1831.
  • Rebecca, born in 1772, was seven years old when the family moved to Cheshire, MA, married there and died at age 27.
  • Rachel, born 1775, married in Cheshire and died in Russia, NY.
  • Daniel, born 1777, died shortly after birth.
  • Sally Hathaway was the only child born in Adams, MA, in 1781.  Father, Isaac, died in 1798 when she was 17 and she must have afterwards gone to Farmington where she married Joseph Comstock in 1802. She died in Michigan in 1862.
Life could not have been easy for Phebe. She had the deaths of a mother as a toddler, a stepmother as a teen, and three children of her own in their infancies. Her father was taken prisoner during the Revolution and she was in the midst of the Revolution herself with a husband and two sons as Revolution soldiers. Phebe had 16 children over a span of 28 years. She left behind three adult children when she moved into the wilderness with little expectation she would see them or her grandchildren again. Her daughter, Mary Hathaway Borden, had two young babies when Phebe had to leave the only home she'd known.

Memory of
Phoebe the wife of
Isaac Hathaway
who Died August 13th
Aged 51 years
And had Been the
Mother of 16 Children
13 of which were living
At her Death

Phebe died in 1785, four years after the birth of her 16th child and six years after that horrendous move to western Massachusetts. Her death is listed in Adams but she is buried in a small Baptist cemetery near Adams, the Old Churchyard Cemetery, Cheshire, Massachusetts. Isaac remarried eight years after Phebe's death and lived until 1798. 

Old Churchyard Cemetery, Cheshire. Photo from Find-a-Grave.

According to Find-A-Grave, the Old Churchyard Cemetery is on the National  Register of historic places, located beside the first site of the Baptist Church, and associated with the original settlement of New Providence plantation which was annexed to Adams in 1780. The Church house has been moved up the hill. Cemetery gravestones date from 1785.  Phebe must have been one of the first interred in the bucolic stone walled cemetery.

Little Compton Families, Vol I, compiled by Benjamin Franklin Wilbour, 1967.
A History of the Town of Freetown, Massachusetts, 1902.

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