First Name:  Last Name: 
[Advanced Search]  [Surnames]


Male 1592 - 1677  (85 years)

Personal Information    |    Sources    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name Stukely WESTCOTT 
    Born 1592  Somerset, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Immigration 24 Jun 1635  MA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Died 12 Jan 1677  Portsmouth, Newport County, RI Find all individuals with events at this location 

    • (1) Whitman, Roscoe Leighton, History and Genealogy of the Ancestors and Some Descendants of Stukely Westcott, Vol. I, Oneonta, NY: Otsego Publishing Co., 1932, pp. 13-29:

      The twenty-fourth day of June in the year 1635 is the natal date of the Westcott family in America, of which Stukely Westcott was the Founder and of which William Arnold was co-Founder in the fifth generation of the "Westcotts of Cheshire and Milford."

      When Stukely Westcott reached America there were eight in his family; himself and his wife . . . , and their six children: Robert, Damaris, Samuel, Amos, Mercy and Jeremiah. They ranged in years from Robert, who was about seventeen, to Jeremiah, not more than two years old. Samuel probably died soon after reaching his new home, for there is no further record of him, but of the other five children, all grew to maturity, married and had a large progeny.

      Stukely Westcott first settled a home at Salem, well out on the "Neck" of the peninsula among the some four hundred people who had preceded him to America. The little colony had been formed at "Naumkeag," the name by which Salem was called by the Indians. It is the oldest settlement in New England, excepting Plymouth.

      At a town meeting of Salem, Dec. 25, 1637, one acre of land was granted to "Stuky Wesket," and the old records show that at that time his family consisted of eight persons. Thus, evidently Samuel had not died up to that date.

      However, in a previous record in 1636, "Stukely Wescott" is recorded as a grantee of land, but extent of this grant, is not named.

      His "house lot of one acre" is described in an old colonial deed of Oct. 8, 1643, as being bounded on one side by "the salt water," indicating that his place faced the shore of the peninsula. He was made freeman of Salem in 1636 and on Oct. 25, 1637. his "house lot" had been granted to him as "one of the inhabitants and freemen."

      Nine years before Stukely Westcott reached Salem, or in 1626, Roger Conant having built the first house there, engaged in fisheries and coastmg trade. In 1628-29-30, many emigrants came from England and settled in Salem. They formed a church, disencumbered their public worship of superfluous ceremony. but forgetting, in their religious zeal, that others had a right to the enjoyment of the same Christian liberty as themselves. Those who would not conform to their church ritual were expelled from the colony.

      Then, in 1631, came the hand that rocked the pre-conceived cradle of American freedom of thought and conscience, that of Roger Williams. There followed the writing of the "prologue" to American independence. Williams held "first, that the members of the Salem church should make public confession of their wrong in having formerly communed with the Church of England; secondly, that the civil magistrate had no lawful authority or right to take cognizance of or punish any person for his religious belief."

      Williams' banishment from Salem in 1636, constituting one of the epoch chapters in American history, and the hardships and terrors he encountered, only tended to enhance the admiration of Stukely Westcott who, as later events will show, was one of Williams' closest and warmest friends and shared with him his opinions. He, too, was soon to have the "great censure" for "heresy" passed upon him.

      He obtained license from the General Court, Mar. 12, 1638, to remove with his family out of the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Bay Colony "& for that information hath bene given to the Court that yo (your) intent is onely to w drawe (withdraw) yo selues for a season, that yo may avoyde the Censure of the Court in some things w may be objected against yo."

      Stukely and wife, Jan. 5, 1639, were "published" in the church at Dorchester, along with Williams and his wife, Throckmorton and wife, Thomas Olney and wife, Mary Halliman and "Widdow" Reeves.

      His Removal to Providence

      Although, as stated, he was not ex-communicated by the church at Salem until 1639, Stukely Westcott with his wife and three others, in 1638, was ordered by the "General Court" to leave the jurisdiction of the colony and remove his family therefrom before the next sitting of the court.

      Traversing the "wilderness," as Roger Williams had called it, he and his family immediately made their way to Providence where, two years previously, Williams with four companions, John Throckmorton, John Smith, Jashua Verrin and Francis Wickes, had purchased land from the Indians and effected a settlement. Williams made a second purchase of land in 1638, the two purchases forming the greater part of what is now the county of Providence in Rhode Island.

      On Aug. 8, 1638, nearly five months after Stukely Westcott had been ordered to leave Salem, Williams "freely admitted twelve loving friends and neighbors" into equal ownership with himself of lands he had first purchased in 1636. On that list of stalwart men first appears the name of Stukely Westcott, and second, the name of William Arnold, both ancestors of the Westcotts of Cheshire and Milford. The eighth name on the list is that of William Carpenter, who with Westcott and Arnold, made the crossing together from England. Others were John Greene, Thomas James, Robert Coles, William Harris, John Throckmorton, Thomas Olney, Francis Weston, Richard Waterman and Ezekiel Holllman - all thirteen men of names that have been perpetuated down through the years of nearly three centuries by deeds of public spiritedness. Roger Williams was an ancestor of the Westcott line, his progeny being allied in nearly every generation.

      All but Arnold, Greene and Carpenter, the former being from Hingham, Mass., were from Salem. Including Roger Williams, all became ancestors, through marriage, in the second to fifth generations, of the descendants of Stukely Westcott.

      When the whole number of settlers, including the original thirteen, had reached fifty-two, they made a first division between them of a portion of the lands upon which the city of Providence and its immediate suburbs, including Cranston, are located, allotting to each a "home lot," so called, and an outlying six-acre lot. The "home lots" each contained about five acres, and according to an old map of Providence, were located in the following order from North to South:

      Gregory Dexter, Matthew Waller, Thomas Painter, Edward Manton, John Greene, Jr., Benedict Arnold, Francis Wickes, William Arnold, Thomas James, John Greene, Sr., John Smith, Widow Reeve, Joshua Verin, Roger Williams, John Throckmorton, William Harris, Alice Daniels, John Sweet, William Carpenter, Robert Cole, Thomas Olney, Thomas Angell, Francis Weston, Richard Waterman, Ezekiel Holliman, Stukely Westcott, William Reynolds, Daniel Abbott, Chad Brown, John Warner, George Rickard, Richard Scott, William Field, John Field, Joshua Winsor, Thomas Harris, Adam Goodwin, William Borrows, William Mann, William Wickenden, Nicholas Power, Widow Tiler, Widow Sayer, Thomas Hopkins, Edward Hart, Matthew Weston, John Lippitt, Hugh Bewit, Robert West, William Hawkins, Christopher ___nthank, Robert Williams.

      Based upon old deeds of Nov. 11, 1664, it is believed that Stukely Westcott's "home lot" in Providence, was located upon the present block bounded by Waterman Street on the North and College Street on the South, and nearly in the center of that block and extending from North Main Street eastwardly to Hope Street.

      In October, 1638, Stukely contributed 2 pounds, 10 shillings, toward defraying the town expenses, and on the third day of that month, Roger Williams receipted to him for 18 pounds, 11 shillings, 3 pence, in full covering the grant of land of the previous August.

      The first Baptist church to be organized in America, the old First Baptist Church of Providence, was founded March, 1638-9, by Roger Williams, Ezekiel Holliman, William Arnold, William Carpenter, Robert Cole, John Greene, William Harris, Thomas James, Thomas Olney, Richard Waterman, Stukely Westcott and Francis Weston, all but John Throckmorton of "the thirteen proprietors," becoming members. This venerable church was for the first century and a half of its existence of the Six-Principle Baptist sect. The six principles, or doctrines, held by the church, may be found in Hebrews, vi, 1, 2.

      Stukely and his wife were both received into its membership at the time of its organization, after baptism by Roger Williams. This re-baptism of adults who had been previously baptised by sprinkling, gave great offense to the mother church at Salem when they heard of it. The Salem church then excommunicated the eight re-baptised members that had belonged to them. Stukely and his wife were among them.

      "The Westcotts," according to La Mance, "were the most uncompromising of Baptist families. They were exceedingly proud of having, through Stukely Westcott and his wife, a hand in the historic first Baptist church in America * * * and for the first few generations one of them who dared join some other church was held to have almost put himself outside of the pale of the family. . . ."

      May 12, 1642, Stukely was a party to the agreement for the division of Pawtuxet from Providence. The Arnolds settled at Pawtuxet Falls.

      In 1642, a party under the leadership of Samuel Gorton and with John Greene, one of "the twelve associates" of Roger Williams, a surgeon and ancestor of Nathaniel Greene of Revolutionary War fame, as a member, purchased land from the Indians and settled on Narragansett Bay, some ten miles South of Providence. The Indians called the place "Shawomet." The settlers later gave the place the name of Warwick, in recognition of the Earl of Warwick, who, Mar. 14. 1643, signed the Patent of Providence Plantations.

      Gorton, who came from London in 1636, after his banishment from the Plymouth colony, was "received" at Aquidneck, but again finding himself in trouble through his ignoring the civil authority, removed to Providence. He encountered like difficulties there, thirteen of the settlers petitioning "the insolent and riotous carriage of Samuel Gorton and his company." However, four of the petitioners were later settlers with Gorton at Warwick.

      Gorton and his associates then removed from Providence to Pawtuxet and finding their mistake in placing themselves under the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts colony, they purchased "Shawomet" from Miantonomi, chief sachem of the Narragansett Indians, "beyond the limits of Providence, where English charter or civilized claim could legally pursue them no longer." The original purchase embraced about ninety square miles of territory, or about 60,000 acres. Coventry was later set off from Warwick.

      Fuller says of the settlers that "Gorton's associates were men of independent views, who preferred a dwelling in the wilderness with savages, to a home among the civilized without liberty of conscience. This liberty had been denied them in Massachusetts, and to a less extent perhaps in Aquidneck and Providence." The young colony had no legal government until 1647, when the four towns, Providence, Portsmouth, Newport and Warwick, were organized under the charter of 1643. However, nothing is recorded to show that there was any trouble because of the lack of government.

      Enemies of Gorton caused the Indians to repudiate the deed of "Shawomet" and territory, and four people of Providence placed themselves and their lands under the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Bay colony authorities so that colony might control Gorton and his followers. Subsequent events show that Stukely Westcott was not one of them. The Massachusetts authority moved to expel the settlers, but they refused to go, denying the jurisdiction of Massachusetts, whereupon, Sept. 3, 1643, a company of soldiers and Indians were sent from Boston to seize them and take them to that place.

      Gorton and his followers held their blockhouse against attacks for a couple of days and then surrendered. Nine were taken to Boston, including Stukely Westcott. They maintained that they were not of the Massachusetts jurisdiction, were committed to prison, each charged with being "a blasphemous enemy of the true religion of o (our) Lord Jesus Christ & his holy ordinances, & also of all civill authority among the people of God, & particulerly in this jurisdiction." All but three of the elders voted for the penalty of death, but the representatives of the people refused to agree to such a verdict.

      It was finally agreed, Nov. 3, 1643, that the punishment be imprisonment, that each be confined at hard work in separate towns and in "boults and irons." While the old records indicate the towns where the several were confined and punished, there is no record of Stukely's fate and it appears likely that he was allowed to return home. Among their other depredations, the soldiers killed one of Stukely's sheep. The record of the Court says that "if the souldiers did kill Stwkley Wasket a lamb, the Treasurer is to allow for it."

      The holding of the prisoners in the various towns became unpopular with the people and Mar. 7, 1644, after four months of confinement, the court set them at liberty.

      Following their pardon, Stukely Westcott, on Mar. 30. 1644, bore witness under oath to "the outrage committed upon property and the persons of the first settlers of Warwick because they refused to subject themselves to the pretended jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Bay colony."

      The settlers of the Providence Plantations were constantly harassed by the authorities of both the Massachusetts and Plymouth colonies and by Connecticut. This caused much confusion from 1639 to 1703, when the matter was settled in favor of Rhode Island. In 1669, John Greene of Quidnesset (not the "Surgeon John" of Warwick), Thomas Gould and George Wightman (emigrant-ancestor of this compiler), were arrested by the Connecticut authorities, taken to Hartford and after being held for a time, were returned to their homes. This caused a petition to the king to settle the controversy and Stukely Westcott was one of the signers.

      The old records show that Oct. 8, 1643, Stukely had not disposed of his old "house lot" at Salem. With fifty-five others, he agreed in writing, Nov. 19, 1644, to "yield active and passive obedience to the King and Parliament." To this agreement, he signs his name Stuckley Westcott.

      Westcott Removes From Providence to Warwick

      While the ancient records make it appear that Stukely Westcott removed with his family, from Providence to "Old Warwick" in the Spring of 1647, it is reasonably certain that he was at least active at Warwick as early as the Spring of 1643. As has already been said, he was one of the nine persons there in that year who were taken to Boston, whom he calls "the first settlers of Warwick." And as the soldiers "killed one of his sheep," he must have been in Warwick long enough in Sept., 1643, to acquire such a flock.

      Of the thirty-one settlers who were "inhabitants" of the town previous to June 5, 1648, his name is seventh on the list, his sons, Robert and Amos, seventeenth and twenty-seventh respectively.

      The reason why Stukely Westcott left Providence, where he had been received by Roger Williams as one of his "loving neighbors," for a home with Gorton and his friends, may be suggested from reading the first "Town Orders" of Warwick and noting subsequent events. The opportunity to acquire land purchased from the Indians by Gorton and his associates, was undoubtedly a factor at least, for in addition to his "house lot," "three-score acres of land" were set off to him near Pawtucket Falls. This was the first of several grants of large tracts he received.

      Although undated, the following was probably drawn by the settlers soon after they received the deed of land, and was recorded under the title "Town Orders," and later referred to as the "Grand Law":

      "The purchasers of the plantation doe order and conclude ffirst:

      "That wee keepe the disposall of the lands in our own name.

      "That none shall enjoy anny land in the Neck called Mishaomet but by grant of ye owners and purchasers.

      "That every aker of medow shall have its proportion of upland as the Neck may afford.

      "That we lay our hiewaies into the Neck in the most convenient places as we think fiting.

      "That no mann shall either directly or indirectly take in anny cattell to common, but only milch cattell and laboring cattell.

      "That whomsoever is granted a lott, if hee doe not fence it and build a dwelling house upon it, in 6 months, or in forwardness thereto, for ye neglect his lott is to return to ye Towne, to dispose of.

      "That for the towne proper to all the inhabitants, is to bee from ye ffront fence of the Neck into the countrie four miles, and that no part of this common shull be appropriated to anny but by the maior part of ye inhabitants; and that every inhabitant is to have six akers to his house lott, for which hee is to pay to ye Treasurer 12s. and this four miles common is annexed to every man's lott."

      The "free land" order to newly "received" inhabitants, was rescinded April 4, 1660.

      Following the first "Town Orders," other rules were made, one being that a person to be "received" into the company was to be "propounded" and afterwards voted in "by papers or beans" and pay the sum of ten pounds sterling.

      And so, it appears, that Stukely Westcott was "propounded" and voted in either "by papers or beans," and upon his paying ten pounds sterling, was "received" aa a citizen of Warwick.

      Some of the laws enacted during the first year of the chartered government follow:

      "It is ordered that in regard to Alarum for ye many incursicns that we are subject unto, and that an Alarum for ye giving of notice thereof is necessary when occasion is offered, it is agreed that this form be observed, vidg't: Three muskets distinctly discharged, and a Herald appointed to go speedily threw the Towne, and crie Alarum! Alarum! and the drum to beat incessantly; upon which all are to repaire (upon forfeiture as the Towne Councill shall order) unto the Towne House ther to receive information of the Towne Councill what is father to be done."

      To provide for the common defence, it was enacted that "that statute touching Archerie shall be revived and propagated throwout the whole Colonie; and that every person from the age of seventeen years to the age of seventy, that is not lame, debilitated in body or otherwise exempted by the Colonie, shall have a Bow and four arrows and shall use and exercise shooting; and every Father having Children, shall provide for every man-child from the age of seven years, till he comes to seventeen years, a Bow and two Arrowes or shafts to induce them, and to bring them up to shooting."

      "It is ordered, Common Scoulds shall be punished with the Duckinge Stoole." Witchcraft was punishable with death.

      Marriage was regarded as a civil contract between the parties.

      While laws were passed to provide for election of public officers, provision was made to fill vacancies caused by those who refused to serve.

      In 1662, the currency of the colony, wampum peage, which had been in use from the earliest settlement, had fallen so low in value that it was declared to be no longer legal tender. The other colonies had abandoned it some time previously. "All fines, rates (taxes), fees, damages and costs of court in all actions now, were to bee accounted and payed in current pay according to merchants pay," that is, in sterling of New England currency.

      The inhabitants early realized evidently the need of a jail for Jan. 7, 1649, a "prison house" was ordered built, "the length to be 20 foote, the breadth 12 foote."

      The town council Apr. 19, 1653, "ordered that neither Inhabitant or Sojourner shall depart this Towne to goe to the Dutch or french by sea or Iand without license from two of the majistrates at least upon the forfeiture of 50 pounds sterling, and this to bee taken by distresse." . . .

      Each succeeding town clerk evidently had a way all his own of spelling the names of the settlers, for rarely are the names spelled alike in the records. Stukely Westcott appears as "Stut Westcott," "Stutly Westcot," "Stuk Wiskoot," "Stukly Wastkote."

      During the Summer of 1648 at Warwick, Stukely Westcott, with John Greene, William Arnold and nine others, united in church relations and "agreed to support in faith and practice the principles of Christ's doctrine." Those who had united with the first Baptist Church at Providence, retained their membership in it, attending the services whenever they could. No church edifice wall built in Warwick until some years after Stukely Westcott had passed away.

      Warwick Neck had been selected for the permanent abode of the settlers because there they could better protect themselves from the predatory Indians. To the home lots were added six acres of what became known as the "Four-miles common" or the "Four-mile Town," which extended to the West four miles to Apponaug. Other larger tracts beyond to the West were subsequently set off to some of the settlers. These larger tracts included what is now the town of Coventry, which was not set off as a town until 1741.

      "The first act of the purchasers in reference to these farms," says Fuller, "appears to have been under the date of Mar. 25, 1673, when 4,200 acres were set apart for ten of their number, one-half of which tract subsequently became known as 'Wecochaconet farms' and the other half as the 'Natick lands'; under the above date is the following record:

      "'For ye farms fronting on ye towne commons as they are this day determined: from Warwick township at ye West and thereof to be laid out westward and a square as near as can be. It is further agreed that Mr. Samuel Gorton, senior, Mr. Randell Holden, Stuckley Westcott, John Potter and Elyza Collins for one of his shares, shall have the other 2,100 akers laid out to them [words illegible] Coesset Township and Pawtuxet river aforesaid, fronting on Warwick Township; thence due West, and this to be their full shares in ye towne lands, videlesett: five shares and they are to enter and possess at their own charge and thereby are excused of any other charge with the rest in the tract of farm lands.'"

      The names of Stukely Westcott and his sons, Robert and Amos, appear on the "list of ye o Riginol Rights * * * and ye now oners of the fore mile Commons."

      It is not only interesting to know the location of the homes and lands of one's ancestors but of his neighbors, especially when the names are those of men who were prominent in the early history of the founding of the colonies. Fuller, in his history, reproduces a diagram of an ancient plat on which Stukely Westcott's corner home lot is shown as No. 11 among seventeen neighbors. . . .

      Starting with Gorton as No. 1, the homes of the settlers were located as follows . . . : 2 - Randall Holden, 3 - John Greene, Jr ., 4 - John Warner, 5 - Nathaniel Waterman, 6 - Eliza Collins (this "Eliza" was a man), 7 - John Warner, 8 - Richard Carder, 9 - John Greene, Sr., 10 - John Wickes, Sr., 11 - Stukely Westcott, 12 - Henry Townsend, 13 - Eliza Collins, 14 - Robert Potter, 15 - John Smith, 16 - Francis Weston, 17 - Rufus Barton.

      The lots in the center section were assigned as follows: 1 - Rufus Barton, 2 - Ezekiel Holliman, 3 - Francis Weston, 4 - John Smith, 5 - Randall Holden, 6 - John Greene. Sr., 7 - John Smith-Sweet's, 8 - John Smith, 9 - Henry Townsend, 10 - John Wickes, 11 - Stukely Westcott, 12 - John Greene, Jr., 13 - Richard Carder, 14 - John Warner, 15 - Richard Waterman, 16 - Robert Potter, 17 - Samuel Gorton.

      The lots of the larger section contained about 240 acres each. The southerly line of these larger lots or farms, was the line West starting with the road leading from Apponaug to Centerville (now West Warwick). South of the road was the town of Greenwich.

      The following itemization of the activities of Stukely Westcott from August, 1647, to the Summer of 1675, shows him as having been diligent in his duties as a citizen and a public official:

      1647 Aug. 8 - Was second and his son Robert, sixth, on a list of eight, comprising the Towne Council, who "ordered that for Divers considerations moving to the Towne thereunto they have accepted of Mrs. Holmes to bee an Inhabitant & to have equall priviledge with the rest of the Inhabitants notwithstanding any former order to the contrary."

      Undated - Verdict found for him as defendant in "suit with Sachary Rode" (Zachery Rhodes).

      1649 Aug. 14 - Is sued by the son of Gov. Greene, for trespass; verdict found for him at trial.

      1649 - Chosen with Ezekiel Holyman to collect 13 pounds to pay for watching cattle against Indian intrusion.

      1649 Dec. 10 - Sells six acres of his "out lot" at Providence.

      1651 Nov. - And again Feb., 1662, and Dec., 1662, chosen Deputy to represent Warwick in the Colonial Assembly.

      1651 June 2 - "That the ditch be made upon the streete way shall stand beinge about three or fower pole having payed his tine to the towne which he was fined."

      1652 May 10 - Chosen juryman, in which capacity he frequently served for years.

      1652 May 12 - Sells his house, orchard and lot in Providence, to Samuel and Anna Bennett, whose granddau. Priscilla was later to become the wife of his grandson Stukely.

      1652 June 7 - Appointed with two others, "to lay out the meadowes about the Towne, thursday next for the Inhabitants which are yet not provided for an so it is to bee cast lott for."

      1652 - Chosen one of the surveyors, an office he held almost continuously until his last appointment Nov. 21, 1676.

      1653 - Chosen member of Town Council of Warwick.

      1653 May 28 - Elected General Assistant to the Governor; two from each of the four settlements forming the Governor's Council. Served in such capacity in a number of years.

      1653 - Selected to agree with the Indians about Nawsaucet, and fencing their lands.

      1653 - Member of committee to call the Assembly, if necessary, as the colony was then in "eminent danger."

      1654 May - A sailing vessel, "Deborah," named for the wife of Amos Westcott, was granted a commission "to defend themselves and to offend the enemies of the Commonwealth of England."

      1655 - Purchased from Henry Townsend "his six Acres of medow layd out by the Towne to the Mille on a tenner whch the Towne records doth shew" and "also my (Townsend's) right at Pataomet."

      1655 - Chosen to take a number of young cattle and divide the money the Indians were to have; also to ascertain the damage done to the Indians.

      1655 - Chosen to bound the fence at Quonimicut (Canimicut ).

      1655 - And again in 1660, elected Deputy to the Assembly.

      1656 June 25 - Received "5 Ankers of Lickyors"; like entries are numerous.

      1656 - Member of committee to restrict sale of liquor to the Indians, and to regulate excise and sale in the colony.

      1656 - Appointed to make a rate or tax to pay for fence erected between the Indians and the common lands of the settlers.

      1656 Nov. 27 - Was party to a transaction wherein "John Bennett of Warwicke in Providence Plantationes in the Narragansett Bay in New England doe upon good consideration of haveinge suffistient maintenance during life viz yt after my discesse, I doe make over all my right and leave unto Stukly Waskote his heires Executors Administrators or Asighnes, all the landes houseinge goods and cattels, duringe the life of the aforesayd John Bennett, onely reservinge unto himselfe yt power duringe life as to have five poundes to dispose, to whom or as hee shall thinke fitt, and if God should bee pleased to call Stukly Waskote out of this life before John Bennett yt then his sukceasors shall and are herby bound for the performance of the premises and I ye aforsayd John Bennett for ye firmer performance of ye premises I have hereunto sett my hand and seale ye 27th of November 1656. * * * I Stukly Waskott of ye Towne of Warwicke doe acknowledge to have receaved of John Bennett of the same Towne Eight bead of cattell ninteene poundes at peage eight per penny and a house and land adioyninge to it, and doe engadge my selfe my heires or asignes to maintaine the sayd John Bennett for his life time meate and drinke and aparrell, in witnesse wherefe I have herunto sett my hand this 14th of June 165_ (Probably 1657.) per me Stukly Wastkote. Testes Mathias Harvy George Amest." (The records show that Peter Buzicott, "blacksmith," Nov. 5, 1654, sold his house and lot, which adjoined that of Westcott's, to John Bennett.)

      1656 Nov. 27 - Indulges in the "luxury" of legislation with his next-door neighbor, Peter Burzecot, each suing the other, but adjustment was had Feb., 1567.

      1656 Dec. - Deeds land to his sons, Robert, Amos and Jeremiah.

      1656 Dec. 5 - Ordered "to bring in within 5 days in good and well ordered peage at eight penny white and 4 per penny blacke to pay for the powder and bullets sent from ould England."

      1657 June 14 - A neighbor conveys all his property to Stuckley "in consideration of being taken care of during his Iifetime."

      1659 Nov. - Is witness in court at Portsmouth in action brought against treasurer of Warwick, where issue was the boundary of certain lands.

      1660 Mar. 3 - As "fforman" gave "the vardict of ye grand lnquist: Wee who are Engaiged to see this dead Indian doe find by dilligent sarch, yt he was beaten which was ye cause of his Death."

      1662 - Representative for Warwick in Colonial Assembly.

      1663 - Served on committee appointed to lay out Town House and burial lots.

      1664 - Authorized to keep an "ordinary" (public house or inn) and "to entertain the King's Commissioners when they held court in Warwick."

      1665 Feb. 18 - His sons Amos and Jeremiah, and son-in-law Samuel Stafford, with nine others constitute coroner's jury, rendering the verdict that "Mary Samon, child, was sent by her mother in a very dark night alone to a brooke at Mr. Low's to fetch water and was found in ye brooke drowned."

      1665 Feb. 19 - Allotted 7,350 acres of the common lands Iying west of the 7-mile limit.

      1670 Oct. 10 - His son, Amos, lives with him in the old homestead, indicating that . . . his wife had recently died.

      1670 - With his son, Amos, elected as representative from Warwick to the Colonial Assembly.

      1671 Apr. - Elected Deputy to the Colonial Assembly; this is the last public service recorded of him.

      1671 - Owns extensive lands in addition to those already enumerated.

      1672 - With his sons, Amos and Jererniah, is among the earliest to sign the compact binding themselves to prevent the threatened encroachment of Connecticut authorities upon Rhode Island territory.

      1675 Apr. 12 - Is allotted 7,350 acres of common lands Iying West of the 7-mile line (a second allotment).

      1676 May 24 - Is assigned 4,580 acres of common lands lying between the 4- and 7-mile lines.

      In Nov., 1663, Benedict Arnold, who, with his father, William, had made the crossing from England with the Westcotts and who Dec. 17, 1640, had married Stukely's eldest daughter Damaris, became the first Governor of the colony under the Royal Charter. His term expired in May, 1666, but he was re-elected in May, 1669, for three years more. He died June 20, 1678, while serving his third term.

      Thus, it may be assumed, that Stukely was somewhat of a "power behind the throne" from 1663 to 1672 in the official life of the colony and that the offices to which he was elected and appointed did not represent the full strength of his influence in public affairs. It is but natural that Governor Arnold should have depended upon his father-in-law to some extent at least, in matters concerning the colony, particularly the Northern section.

      He doubtless was in the zenith of his power and influence when he retired from public life in 1672. He then being eighty years of age, probably sought at last that quietude to which he was richly entitled after his long, busy and eventful career. However, his happiness was not to endure.

      The records of old Warwick are full of the precautionary measures adopted by the town to protect the property and the lives from the predatory Indians, who secretly haunted its shaded swamps and shores. So long as their chiefs, Massasoit and Canonicus, lived they caused comparatively little trouble, but after their death they were not to be trusted.

      Their depredations culminated Dec. 19, 1675, in the great swamp fight with "King Philip" in South Kingstowne, in which the troops of the united colonies completely routed the red men, killing or scattering them. Robert Westcott, son of Stukely and a lieutenant of the militia, was killed in this fight. "King Philip" was slain in Aug., 1676.

      After the fight, the troops were withdrawn, leaving the country wihout protection. Smarting from defeat, the Indians again gathered in armed bands, and Mar. 16, 1676, swooped down on the little, unguarded settlement of Warwick, burning every house but one and scattered the inhabitants.

      Of the days that followed let it be told in the words of Judge Bullock:

      "Now homeless, his remaining sons, Amos and Jeremiah, fled to the island of Prudence, where in safety they could raise a crop for their support, and he, wifeless and at the age of eighty-four, is driven for
      refuge to the island of Rhode Island."

      "At Portsmouth on that island, on Jan. 12, 1677, at the home of his grandson, Caleb Arnold, he sickened and died. His remains, borne by his sons across the bay to its western shore near to which the last thirty years of his life had been passed, were laid at rest beside those of his wife, in the first public burial ground of Warwick, adjoining his home lot and former residence. This ancient burial ground was near to and West from the present White or old Baptist Church, but the ploughshare has long since obliterated all."

      Much of his land he conveyed to his sons by deed of gift during his life and this explains in a measure why Jeremiah, his youngest son, is not mentioned in his will. The following is a copy of the wlll:

      "I, Stukely Westcott of Warwick in the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations in New England, now residing in Portsmouth in Rhode Island aforesaid; being aged about eighty-live years, and in my right senses and perfect understanding and memory, doe make this my last will and testament, to the disposingof my estate which is as follows, to wit:

      "In the first place, I bequeath my body to the dust to be buryed, and my soul unto God who gave it.

      "Item. I make ordaine and appoint my eldest (living) son Amos Westcott my lawful and sole executor to see this my will performed, and also to pay and receive all my debts as belonging to me.

      "Item. I give and bequeath to my said Executor all my movable estate as Cattell goods and chattels, and also my land lying in Potamet neck, and my meadow lying at Toskownk in the township of Warwick aforesaid. Also two-fourths of my land at Cowesit; all of which said Iands together with all privileges thereunto belonging or appertaining I give to him his heirs and assighnees forever.

      "Item. I give and bequeath to my grandson Amos Westcott, my town lot in Warwick aforesaid which I formerly lived on, with orcharding fencing and all things thereunto belonging; and also my thirty acre lot and a meadow lot lying in Shawomet aforesaid, and also my share of land lying on the south side of Patuxet river which I purchased together with Mr. Samuel Gorton, Mr. Holding, Mr. Collins and John Potter; all of which aforesaid lands or parcels with all and singular the privileges appertaining I doe give grant and confirm to my aforesaid grandson his heirs and assignes forever.

      "Item. I give and bequeath unto my grandson Amos Stafford a fourth part of my land lying in Cowesit, which is to say, the fourth of the eleventh part of that purchase, to him his heirs and assignes forever,

      "In confirming of all of the above written presents, I set my hand and seal this 12th day of January, 1677."

      This will was never executed. He was dissuaded from signing it by his grandson, Caleb Arnold, until his sons, Amos and Jeremiah, who were then upon the neighboring island of Prudence, could be sent for, but before the grandson could reach them, he was unable to sign thereunto.

      "A short time after his death," Judge Bullock continues, "his sons, Amos and Jeremiah, by petition desired the 'Town Counsel to settle the estate of their father, who died without his will Being Signed and sealled.' "

      "Whereupon, the Town Council, first stating that they are informed that 'he spake somewhat as in Adition to his will which was not committed to writing, and for as much as by reason of the late unhappy warres the counsel have been put by that they could no sooner afect the same, nevertheless deeming it their duty to perfect the sayd will,' they then proceeded to make a will for him by which they give to his son Amos 'all the goodes chattells moveables and lands' not otherewise therein disposed of, and make him the executor to receive and pay all debts; to Jeremiah they give all the lands his father had deeded to him in his lifetime; also the estate of John Bennett had deeded to Stukely; also the share of meadow bought of 'Peeter Buicot,' on the south side of the brook that runs out of the 'grate pond,' and one share of 'meddowes at Potowomut laying above the rocky nooke, only we apointe him to pay 3 pounds country pay to his brother Amos'; to Damaris Arnold, his daughter, 20 shillings in silver to be laid out in 'a piece of plate'; to Mercy Stafford, his daughter, 'the bed in her hands with the furniture and such other of the goods mentioned in the inventory to bee in her hands,' provided the executor is to be 'freede from any other payment concerning her father's keepinge or funerall to her husband or her'; to 'Robert Westcotes' eldest sonn Zerubabel, is given one fourth part of the farm at Weequichaconuke'; to Amos Stafford, 'sonn of his daughter Mercy' is given a 'fowerth part' of his grandfather's share in the township of 'Coweeset'; to 'Amos Westcote sonn of Amos his grandfather Stukley Westcotes town lott and comanidg' 'after his fathers disease,' and 'one fowerth' part of his grandfathers farm at 'Weequisacomet' when he comes to the age of 'twenty one yeares.'

      This will, which evidently was drawn a year to the day after Stukely Westcott's death, is signed and sealed by John Greene, Assistant, Samuel Gorton, Assistant, Randall Houldon, Thomas Green and Benjamin Barton, they then comprising the Town Council of Warwick.

      It appears that after the death of . . . [the] wife of Stukely Westcott (about 1670), his son Amos with his family, went to live at the home of his father and took care of him until he was driven away by the Indians to Portsmouth. This explains, it would seem, why Stukely by his unexecuted will, gave his homestead to Amos, Sr., for life and upon his death to Amos, Jr., in fee.

      Amos, Sr., died prior to 1688, having Jan. 23, 1685-6, deeded all of his estate to his wife, Deborah (Stafford); and May 18, 1688, his son Amos, Jr., who seems not to have been very thrifty, borrows of his step-mother Deborah, 3 pounds for a term of three years, giving her for the use of it a life estate in the old homestead, and agrees further that if he did not pay the loan when due, she should have the estate in fee forever. Amos, Jr., died in 1692 without paying the loan, and Deborah remained in possession and claimed the estate.

      However, Zerobabel, son of Robert and grandson of Stukely, in Nov. 1697, brought an action of "detainure," under the English law, to recover possession of the homestead estate of his grandfather, and after two trials at law, recovered judgment for possession.

      Deborah, widow of Amos, filed a petition for relief from the judgment of court, but what action, if any, wall taken does not appear. However, her petition evidently was not granted, for Zerobabel conveyed the old homestead place to his brother Robert, who, June 14, 1708, sold it to John Lippitt, father of Col. Chistopher Lippitt. . . .

      "What manner of man Stukely Westcott was," Bullock summarizes, "can be gathered only from the known incidents of his life. From his known religious views in America, he must in England have been a Separatist (the extreme wing of the non-conformists). To entertain such views during the reign of either the first James or the first Charles, was to close to him every avenue of social or political preferment. Arriving at Salem, his zeal gathered new strength, for he declared that he wished the churches of Massachusetts to be true churches, and to hold no communion with the church of England."

      "He agreed with Roger Williams that it was needful to confess to the wrong done in communing with that church while there. In crossing the ocean at this early day, bringing with him his wife and his children; in leaving Salem after a residence of two (three) years, and traversing with them on foot the uninhabited forest and swamps that then stretched from the bay of Massachusetts to the Narragansett - shows that he was no dis-sembler. No man who to gain his peace would affect opinions he did not entertain; that he had deep convictions of duty, and a determined will to go where and do what duty demanded, at any sacrifice."

      "His following Roger Williams to Providence, and with him laboring to organize there a form of government whose earliest legislation declared that no man should be holden to answer before the civil law for his religious opinions, shows that the same freedom of conscience he claimed for himself he was willing to allow to others."

      "That Stukely Westcott was a man of good character and of upright life, is apparent. He was a freeman of the colony of the Massachusetts Bay at a time when none were received as such but members of the church. He was an intimate friend of Roger Williams, and as such was first named by him in the deed of gift of lands at Providence to his associates. He was one of the founders of the First Baptist Church there. On settling at Warwick, he with five others united in forming a church there, whose simple yet comprehensive creed was 'to support in faith and practice the principles of Christ's doctrine.'"

      "That he was esteemed, a man of sound judgment, and worthy of the confidence of his fellow-men, is evinced by his having repeatedly been chosen a member of the Colonial Assembly, and twice selected as one of the General Assistants to the Governor, retiring from public life only when he had nearly attained the allotted years of man."

      "Religious, and not worldly considerations, undoubtedly led Westcott to leave England and come to America," Bullock continues, "but he soon found that he had fled from the 'lord bishops' only to fall into the hands of the 'lords brethern.' It was not enough that he had left the home of his youth and the graves of his ancestors, and had crossed the ocean and reached a distant and almost unknown continent. It only remained to him to suffer the degradation of imprisonment or to pass beyond the remotest limits of both the Massachusetts and Plymouth patents."

      "And it was not until, weary with long and pathless journeying, he had crossed the 'Seaconk' and reached the 'Whateheare' (Welcome) shore, already consecrated through all the coming time to the cause of religious freedom, that he was permitted in peace and safety to worship God according to the convictions of a matured, and it would seem also, of a thoughtful and earnest life."

      "And now, in looking back over that life in the light of the few fragmentary records which remain, may not his posterity, scattered in many states, cherish a just pride in that they have descended from one who was willing, first, to incur the manifold discomforts and sacrifices of self-exile from the land of his nativity, and then to bear the stigma of excommunication from the church of which he was a member, and of expulsion from the settlement where he had just before established his home, and of which he was a peaceful citizen, rather than to abandon, or feign to abandon, a principle then abjured, but now acknowledged by the entire Protestant world as resting upon the immutable foundation. TRUTH."

      (2) In History and Genealogy of the Ancestors and Some Descendants of Stukely Westcott, Vol. I, Rosanna HILL is reported to have been the wife of Stukely WESTCOTT. However, in a later publication, Book of Appendices to the History and Genealogy of the Ancestors and Some Descendants of Stukely Westcott, Vol. II, Juliana MARCHANT is proven to have been the wife of Stukely WESTCOTT.

      (3) Whitman, Roscoe Leighton, Book of Appendices to the History and Genealogy of the Ancestors and Some Descendants of Stukely Westcott, Vol. II, Oneonta, NY: Otsego Publishing Co., 1939, pp. 6-7:

      Assuming the son of Guy de Wescote . . . was Thomas de Wescote, the student of genealogy may in the future years find the following lineage at least, suggestive of the immediate ancestry of Stukely Westcott. However, beyond the four generations first named, this compiler [Roscoe Leighton Whitman] disclaims responsibility for its accuracy. . . .

      [1] Thomas de Wescote; m - Elizabeth Littleton. . . .

      [2] Guido de Wescote, Kt.; m - Alice Granville. . . .

      [3] Thomas Wescott (sic); m - Mary Wescott. . . .

      [4] Thomas Wescott (sic); m (2) - Alice Walker. . . .

      Thomas and Alice Westcott had at least two sons, Phillip and the "unnamed son". . . . This son was Edward. . . .

      [5] Edward Wescote flourished in 1541 to 1551. Was his wife Damaris Stucley, daughter of Christopher and Mary Stucley? . . .

      [6] ? ? . . .

      [7] Stukely Westcott, 1592-1677; m - Juliana Marchant.

      If this lineage can be accepted, Stukely and Juliana named their first child Damaris for his grandmother from whom he derived his own Christian name. But who were his parents?

      Marriage of Stukely Westcott in 1619.

      Continued research has, however, definitely located Stukely Westcott in Ilminster, Somerset, in the Autumn of 1619, at which time he was about twenty-seven years of age. This was sixteen years before he came to New England. He was married Oct. 6, 1619, to Juliana Marchant(e). The marriage is recorded in the parish register of the ancient St. John the Baptist Church at Yeovil in Somerset; also the baptism of their two oldest children. The records read:

      "StuckIie Westcott of Ilminster, and Julian Marchant of Yeovil, married 5 October, 1619." (Julian; now Juliana, Julia Ann or Julia.)

      "Damaris, daughter of Stuckeley Westcott, baptised 27 January, 1621."

      "Samuel, son of Stuckeley Westcott, baptised 3 March, 1623."

      Juliana Marchant was the daughter of John Marchant, who was bapt. at Yeovil, Aug. 8, 1571, and granddaughter of John Marchant and his wife, Eva Cominge, who were married at Yeovil on July 18, 1568. John, Sr., d - 1593. The Marchant family in Yeovil, according to the register, is as old as the register itself, which dates from the year 1563. Burke's "General Armory" records two families of Marchants entitled to bear Arms: (1) "Azure, a hare rampant, or, between three mulletts." The residence or county is not given. (2) "or, three anchors sable"; that is, a gold shield with three black anchors. This Coat of Arms is ascribed to Marchant family in Devonshire and plainly indicates they were sea-faring people, having probably received the grant of Arms for some valiant deed on the seas.

      lt may be noted that in the old register the surname is spelled Westcott in each instance, as Stukely Westcott spelled his name after coming to New England, while his Christian name is spelled "StuckIie" and "StuckIey," derivations undoubtedly from the old family of Stucley in Devon and Somerset. At Providence, R. I., Nov. 19, 1644, he signed his name "Stuckeley Westcott," much like the entries in the parish register at Yeovil. Later records of him in Old Warwick. R. I., spell his name Stukely or Stukeley and in various other forms used by succeeding town clerks. His signature in 1644 is believed to be the right spelling, but his succeeding namesakes adhered to the name Stukely or Stukeley.

      A careful examination of the ancient register from its origin in 1563 to the time Westcott left for New England, by a trusted representative of E. Dwelly, a leading genealogist and an acknowledged antiquarian of ability in England, having revealed only the foregoing records, further effort to trace the immediate ancestry of Stukely Westcott must be directed in other sources.

      (4) Millett, Stephen, "Correction to Origin of Stukely Westcott," in The American Genealogist, Vol. 45, No. 3 (July 1969), p. 157:

      In R. L. Whitman's The Stukely Westcott Family, Vol. 2, p. 7, the marriage of Stukely Westcott is given as "Stucklie Westcott of Ilminster, and Julian Marchant of Yeovil, married 5 October, 1619."

      Last November, at my request, the original Yeovil parish register, through the courtsey of the Vicar of St. John the Baptist Church, was examined at the Somerset Record Office by Mr. Shorrocks, the Assistant County Archivist, and Mrs. E. C. Hope, of Cholsey, Berkshire, England. The entry was studied very carefully under an ultra violet lamp, and read as follows: "Stuckley Westcott and Julian Marchante 5 October."

      The words "of Ilminster" and "of Yeovil" simply do not appear in the entry. Since Mr. Whitman's papers were all destroyed, it is impossible at this stage to explain why he added the words "of Ilminster." Therefore it would appear that any further search for the ancestry of Stukely Westcott should not necessarily be confined to the Ilminster area.

      It may occur to a reader, as it has to the Editor, that there might be an entry in the Ilminster registers in which the two locative phrases are to be found but unfortunately the extant registers of Ilminster do not begin so early. Consequently, Mr. Whitman can not have interpolated the words from another register.


      My well-beloved and universally admired colleague in astronomy, Dr. Philip S. Riggs, has been heard to remark that he tries to inculcate into his students a genuine respect for a fact. This laudable dictum applies nowhere any more than in genealogy, but sometimes there simply isn't any fact to be seen. Then, and then only, the opinion of a competent searcher who has spent long periods in the study of the history of a family as a whole or of a given area, becomes valuable and should be trusted.
    Person ID I31702  Frost, Gilchrist and Related Families
    Last Modified 12 Jun 2019 

    Family Juliana MARCHANT,   b. 8 Aug 1591, Yeovil, Somerset, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1670, RI Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 78 years) 
    Married 5 Oct 1619  St. John the Baptist, Yeovil, Somerset, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
     1. Damaris WESTCOTT,   b. Bef 27 Jan 1621, Yeovil, Somerset, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   bur. Governor Arnold Burying Ground, Newport, Newport County, RI Find all individuals with events at this location  [natural]
    Last Modified 12 Jun 2019 23:03:19 
    Family ID F13801  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Sources 
    1. Details: Details: Details: Details: Details: Details: Citation Text: (1) Millett, Stephen, "Correction to Origin of StukelyWestcott," in The American Genealogist, Vol. 45, No. 3 (July 1969), p. 157: Stuckley Westcott and Julian Marchante 5 October [1619.].