52 Ancestors II, Week 69: Rhode Island Families

These ancestors are emigrants from England in the 1630s, VERY early in America's history: remember that the Pilgrims arrived in September 1620.

This is a very interesting family chart:  All immigrants who end up settling in Rhode Island: the Maxson brothers marrying the Hubbard cousins and then in two subsequent generations, Maxson 1st cousins marrying each other.
click to enlarge

First some background: “During the 17th century, people left England to escape religious persecution. Many colonists came to America to be able to freely practice their religions. Roger Williams (b 1603) was a defender of religious liberty who arrived in Boston on February 5, 1631.

Leaving behind the religious intolerance under England's King Charles I, he and his wife journeyed across the ocean to join the "American Experiment" in Boston in 1631. At first, Williams just wanted to reform the Church of England; soon, he sought separation completely.

Many of Williams's parishioners did not agree with his idea to separate from the Church of England. He then became minister in Salem. There, his ideas also proved too radical. He went to Plymouth but again fell into disfavor. Williams insisted that land must be purchased from the Indians, rather than taken from them forcefully, in order to claim title to it. He again went to Salem and was eventually put on trial in 1635 for his views.

His sentence was banishment.

Williams then purchased land from the Narragansett Indians and established the settlement of Providence, Rhode Island in 1636.

Williams founded the colony of Rhode Island (the Providence Plantation) based upon principles of complete religious toleration, separation of church and state, and political democracy (values that the U.S. would later be founded upon). It became a refuge for people persecuted for their religious beliefs, Anabaptists, Quakers, and Jews settled in Rhode Island.

After forming the first Baptist church in America, Williams left it to seek spirituality in different ways. He stopped preaching to his friends, the Indians, when he realized that their form of worship also fell under his principle of religious freedom. He declared, "forced worship stinks in God's nostrils." (1)

Our ancestors who immigrated to America at about the same time:
  • Richard Maxson (b. 1602) immigrated to Boston 1634. A blacksmith, possibly killed by Indians at age 43.
  • Hugh Mosher (b. 1600) immigrated to Boston 1632
  • Samuel Hubbard (b 1610) immigrated 1633
  • Tacy Cooper (b 1609) immigrated before 1636
  • Joseph Clarke (b 1618) immigrated in 1637
All these families were living in Massachusetts and left to go to Rhode Island in the 1630s.

“The Portsmouth Compact was a document signed by 23 men on March 7, 1638 that established the settlement of Portsmouth, which is now a town in the state of Rhode Island. It was the first document in history that severed both political and religious ties with mother England.“ (2)

John Clarke and Thomas Clarke signed The Portsmouth Compact, but not our ancestor Joseph Clarke.  However they do seem to be related.  And on my side of the family, our ancestor is William Wilbore, b. 1660 in Rhode Island, and his probable relation is Samuel Wilbore who also signed The Portsmouth Compact.  So our families probably knew each other. :)

All these families had children born in Rhode Island:
  • John Maxson born 1639
  • Mary Mosher born 1641
  • Joseph Clarke (Jr) born 1642
And subsequently three more generations were born in Rhode Island in the 1660s, 1690s, 1720s.

by Dwight C. Brown Jr. of Bradford, Rhode Island.
"Inscription. (on the North side the following)

1680 - 1899

This Monument is a Memorial to the early Pastors of the Second Seventh-day Baptist Church in America, whose remains lie buried within the enclosing circle. They were stalwart men and sound preachers. They "fought the good fight" and "kept the faith." Upon this spot stood the house of worship from 1680 to 1852.

(on the west side the following)
Thomas Hiscox, 1686-1773.
John Burdick, 1732-1802. (ancestor?)
Joseph Maxson, 1672-1750. (direct ancestor)
Abram Coon, 1763-1813.
Matthew Stillman, 1770-1838.
Daniel Coon, 1792-1858.

(on the east side the following)
Joseph Clark, 1670-1719. (ancestor?)
John Maxson, 1638-1720. (direct ancestor)
John Maxson Jr., 1666-1747. (direct ancestor)
Thomas Clark, 1686-1767. (ancestor?)
Joshua Clark, 1717-1793. (ancestor?)

(on the south side the following)
William L. Burdick, 1864-1952. (ancestor?)
Everett T. Harris, 1904-1982.

Erected 1899 by Seventh-day Baptist Churches of Hopkinton & Westerly Rhode Island.

Location. 41° 24.043′ N, 71° 47.88′ W. Marker is in Ashaway, Rhode Island, in Washington County." (3)

(1) http://www.americaslibrary.gov/jb/colonial/jb_colonial_williams_1.html
(2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portsmouth_Compact
(3)   http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=30707


  1. There is an amazing amount of history and founding American ideas in this post. Good to know that many ancestors were a part of the good side of it, leaving intolerance for tolerance recognizing we are referring to tolerance within very narrowly defined areas of belief and understanding. It takes courage to rage against the status quo.


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