Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Well-Read Man in Early New England – William Carpenter

B. about 1605 in Shalbourne, England
M. 1625 in Shalbourne, England
Wife: Abigail Briant
D. 7 Feb 1659 in Rehoboth, Massachusetts
Emigrated: May 1638 on the ship Bevis

William Carpenter was born in about 1605 in Shalbourne, England, a village in Wiltshire on the border with Hampshire. His father was also named William. In 1625, William married Abigail Briant in Shalbourne. Between 1626 and 1643, they had eight children.

William and his family migrated to America in May 1638 on the ship Bevis sailing out of Southampton with 61 passengers. They settled in the Plymouth colony in the town of Weymouth where William was representative to the General Court of Plymouth in 1641 and 1643. He joined a company of settlers at Weymouth, led by a Reverend Samuel Newman, that split off to form a new community called Rehoboth. At first the town didn't align itself with either Plymouth or Massachusetts Bay, but then voted to join the Plymouth colony. In 1645, William was elected a Rehoboth representative to the General Court. He was also named as one of those empowered to hear and decide on grievances in regard to the division of land by lots. In 1647 and 1655, he was one of the directors of the town. Besides serving the community, William worked as a carpenter.

William must have been well-educated because he had a substantial amount of books: Latin classics, Greek and Hebrew grammars, biblical concordances and some legal works. He specified which books went to each family member in his will, giving a sense that they were treasured by him.

William died February 7, 1659 in Rehoboth. He was buried in Old Rehoboth (Newman Church) Cemetery. It's been said that many of his male lineal descendants served in the American Revolution.

Famous descendants of William Carpenter include James A. Garfield, Raquel Welch, Louis Comfort Tiffany and Scott Carpenter.

Children:
1. John Carpenter – B. about 1628, Wiltshire County, England; D. 23 May 1695

2. William Carpenter – B. about 1631, Wiltshire County, England; D. 26 Jan 1703, Rehoboth, Massachusetts; M. (1) Priscilla Bennet (~1631-1663), 5 Oct 1651, Rehoboth, Massachusetts; (2) Miriam Searles (~1628-1722), 10 Dec 1663, Rehoboth, Massachusetts

3. Joseph Carpenter – B. about 1634, Wiltshire County, England; D. May 1675; M. Margaret Sutton, 25 May 1655

4. Samuel Carpenter – B. about 1637, Wiltshire County, England; D. 20 Apr 1637, Wiltshire County, England

5. Samuel Carpenter – B. about 1638, Weymouth, Massachusetts; D. 20 Feb 1683; M. Sarah Readway, 25 May 1660

6. Hannah Carpenter – B. 3 Apr 1640, Weymouth, Massachusetts

7. Abiah Carpenter – B. 9 Apr 1643, Weymouth, Massachusetts

8. Abigail Carpenter – B. 9 Apr 1643, Weymouth, Massachusetts; D. 5 Mar 1710; M. (1) John Titus; (2) Jonah Palmer (?-1709), 9 Nov 1692

Sources:
Representative men and old families of southeastern Massachusetts, J.H. Beers & Co., 1912
A genealogical history of the Rehoboth branch of the Carpenter family in America, Amos Bugbee Carpenter, 1898
Wikipedia article on the Rehoboth Carpenter Family
GeneaStar: Famous Family Tree and Genealogy [website]

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