The following was found in The Detroit Society for
Genealogical Research Magazine
Fall 1959 - Volume XXIII - Number 1
Pages 5 - 10
(SHARON WICK'S NOTE: Some of the words here look like typos. I typed them exactly as they are typed in the Magazine from which I copied them)
THE MILLARDS OF REHOBOTH, MASSACHUSETTS
By Frances Davis McTeer of Detroit, Mich. and
Frederick C. Warner of North Amherst, Mass.
The early town records of Rehoboth, Massachusetts contain the names Millard, Millerd and Miller used interchangeably -- according to the inclination of the scribe rather than as an indication to identify any one family or individual. Moreover all pre-Revolutionary inhabitants listed in the town's published vital records under any of these three names are found to have been descendants of the John Millard Sr. who was a proprietor of Rehoboth in 1643.
Surprisingly, considering its antiquity and the number of its branches, no comprehensive history of this Rehoboth Millard family in all its ramifications has ever been published; it is to supply this omission that the present compilation undertakes to trace five generations of the male descendants of John Millard as found in the records of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Wherever possible, dates and places of removal are indicated for those sons who moved elsewhere, but practical considerations of time and expense have precluded extensive research in more distant localities. To avoid undue length in the family schedules, data on daughters have been restricted to a listing of spouses, residences and appropriate references.
Before proceeding to the genealogy proper, it is suitable and convenient to review and explain at this point some of the source materials on which it is based. In general, the data presented are derived from six main areas. First, An article entitled "The Millard Ancestry of President Millard Fillmore", written by Franklin H. Giddings and published in 1916 in Vol. 47 (pp.245-251) of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, deserves the thoughtful consideration of anyone interested in this family. Here, on the basis of Research in Bristol Co., Mass. wills and deeds, and after a careful re-reading of the original Rehoboth Town Records, the author was able to correct previous errors and omissions in the families of John (1) and Robert (2) Millard and so to lay the groundwork for an accurate genealogy for the family. Subsequent research, as will be shown, has added details and confirmed hypotheses, but has found no important disagreement with Giddings' statements.
Second, The three published histories of Rehoboth have contributed generously to the biographies of Johnn(1), his sons and grandsons. Regrettably, in his History of Rehoboth, Mass., written in 1836, Leonard Bliss Jr. had misread the name "Joh Miller sixth, but actually non-existent, son for John Miller Sr. Even now, in spite of Giddings' refutation more than fifty years ago, the erroneous Ichabod continues to haunt the Millard genealogist. The second History of Rehoboth, Mass., by George H. Tilton, was published in 1918. The third, and by far the most comprehensive and authoritive, account of the town is found in the four volumes of Early Rehoboth, published 1945 - 1950 by Richard LeBaron Bowen.
Material from these four publications, designated hereafter by the authors' names, viz. Giddings, Bliss, Tilton and Bowen, has been summarized in the Millard biographies which follow, but in order to conserve space for newer discoveries, detailed repetition of already published data has been largely limited to instances of error, discrepancy or ambiguity where a further evaluation of evidence seemed called for.
Third. Town records of births, deaths and marriages have been an invaluable source of precise dates and locations -- first in Rehoboth, then in surrounding Massachusetts towns, throughout Rhode Island, and wherever else the Millards located. For many of the Massachusetts and Rhode Island towns these records are in print, but in several instances recourse to manuscript compilations or to the original books in the office of the Town Clerk was necessary.
Connecticut Town Records are found in the State Library at Hartford. There also the original papers for the early probates of Connecticut are on file, and early deeds are available on microfilm. These three sources have been checked for those towns to which Millard descendants are known to have migrated.
When available, gravestone inscriptions have proved a valuable addition to the data from official town records -- notably "Inscriptions in Kickemuit Cemetery, Warren, R.I." as published in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. 70, 1916 (pp. 25-33) and "Burials at Warren and Barrington, R.I." in The Register, Vol. 48, 1894 (pp. 442-444). Other uses of supplemental vital records are noted as they occur.
Fourth. Court records, wills, deeds, probates and the like, have been used throughout the history to provide conclusive proof of marriages and relationships. With the Millards living in Rehoboth, research in court records was peculiarly complicated by the history and geography of southeastern Massachusetts.
From its founding as "Seaconk" in 1643 until its annexation to the Colony of Massachusetts Bay in 1692, the area between Taunton and the Providence River (later designated as Rehoboth) was legally a part of Plymouth Colony. Many court records dealing with Rehoboth's inhabitants during this period have been published in the twelve volumes of Old Plymouth Colony Records; some very early Rehoboth deeds are abstracted in Bowen (Vol. III); an still other deeds and probates are available at the Registry in Plymouth, Mass.
After the consolidation of 1692 Rehoboth was located in Bristol Co., Mass., whose deeds and probates are now filed in Taunton. Likewise, those portions of early Rehoboth which were set off as Swansea in 1668, as Attleboro in 1694, and as Barrington in 1717 were also included in Bristol Co., Mass.
In 1746, however, a much more drastic boundary change occurred in the Rehoboth area. The west part of Attleboro, as the Town of Cumberland, the west end of Swansea, as the Town of Warren, and most of Barrington were annexed to Rhode Island by Royal Decree. In the latter colony deeds and probates were (and are to this day in the State of Rhode Island) filed, not by counties as in Massachusetts, but with the clerks of the individual towns - a serious multiplication of travel and time required for genealogical investigation.
From the foregoing very brief resume of the governmental changes which beset Rehoboth during her first century of development, some of the difficulties and complications of the Millard research become apparent. In several cases court records are known to have been lost by fire or in transit from one locality to another; land descriptions vary markedly from date of purchase to date of sale; and a man who spent all his life within a few miles of his birthplace might easily be born in one town, marry in another, die in yet another, and then be buried across the line in another colony.
Fifth. For extraordinary assistance in abstracting and collection the Millard records of Rhode Island the genealogy is indebted to The Rhode Island Historical Society in Providence, which made available two large manuscript volumes containing genealogical data relating to at least five different Miller families This material, collected between 1912 and 1942 by the late Clarence E. Peirce of Springfield, Mass. and East Providence, R.I., is relatively unorganized - - on loose sheets, assembled alphabetically by given names of Millers rather than by Miller family lines, but it does include vital statistics and abstracted court records from practically every town in Rhode Island. In addition Peirce had copied gravestone inscriptions, now illegible, and had corresponded with Miller descendants.
By checking names of knows of the Rehoboth Millard family against Peirce's individual data sheets, it was possible to research Rhode Island in a few days rather than in the weeks or months which would have been required to visit all the towns one by one.
Sixth. Inevitably in so old and extensive a family as the Millards, individual lineages, families and members have been mentioned frequently in local histories and in genealogies of other families. So far as available these incidental mentions have been consulted and the data culled therefrom, with complete references, included in their relevant positions in the text. In addition, several interested descendants in various lines have been kind enough to share their individual discoveries and family data as indicated.
The information from all these sources has been collected, evaluated, and then combined to establish relationships within and between the various families descended from the original John Millard Sr. and to provide so far as possible at least some biographical data for the head of each family.
FIRST GENERATION IN AMERICA
1. JOHN (1) MILLARD, b. in England, d. in Rehoboth, Plymouth Colony, between 30 June 1684 and 7 Feb. 1689; m. (1) in England........ ............; m. (2) in New England, ELIZABETH ............., who was buried in Rehoboth, 18 April 1680.
Evidence regarding the two marriages of John Millard Sr. is inextricably entangled with the data regarding his children. No records have been found of the identity of either wife, or the date and place of the marriages. As a matter of face, the multiplicity of John Millards, father, son and grandson, in the early records of Rehoboth has raised some doubts as to whether the Elizabeth who died in 1680 was really the spouse of John Sr. at all; John Jr. also had a wife Elizabeth. (Giddings, p. 248) Happily this question is now settled. In a deed of 4 March 1679/0. John Miller, Sr. of Rehoboth, tanner, conveyed to his son Samuel Miller his house and home lot, salt marsh in the Hundred Acres, likewise fifty pounds of commonage in Rehoboth, the son Samuel to fully possess all "except if my beloved wife Elizabeth doeth outlive me"; then was to have one half the house, orchard and lands during her natural life, and after her death Samuel to have all. Witnesses: John Miller Jr. and the mark of Hannah Miller. (Plymouth colony Deeds Vol. 4, p. 354; Bowen, Vol. III, p. 163) This instrument was acknowledged by John Millard Sr. on 12 April 1680, just six days before Elizabeth's burial!
From this evidence John Sr. did certainly have in 1680 a wife Elizabeth. Furthermore, on 2 Oct. 1684, "Elizabeth Millard Relict of John Millard" Jr. made oath to the truth of the inventory of her husband's estate. (Plymouth Colony Wills, Vol. 4, Pt. 2, p. 75; see #3 hereafter) Since the Elizabeth who was the wife of John Jr. was yet living in 1684, the evidence is overwhelming that it was indeed Elizabeth wife of John Sr., who was buried in 1680.
According to the town records of Rehoboth, John Millard Sr. had five children born there between 1653 and 1662, presumably by his wife Elizabeth. In addition there were two older Millard boys living in the town: Robert who was born about 1632, according to his gravestone which says he died in 1699, "age 67 years"; and John Jr. who was entered on the Rehoboth tax roll of 1657, indicating that he was born at least by 1636. These two have posed a genealogical problem; in the worlds of Giddings, "There is no proof beyond circumstantial evidence that John Millard Jr. and the first Robert Millard were sons of the first john Millard Sr.; but neither is there the slightest reason to doubt that they were." (p.248)
That statement was written fifty years ago; today we need not be so cautious. On 30 June 1684, John Miller of Rehoboth, tanner, "for good grounds moving me thereunto and out of love and affection to my son Robert Miller of Rehoboth, Tanner, have many hears since given, granted, allined ... and by these presents give, grant, alien and assign forever to said Robert Miller, his heirs and assigns .. as his and their rightful inheritance. To be holden after ye maner of East Greenwich in ye County of Kent in England"; fifty pounds commonage in Rehoboth, nine acres, "part of it being a part of his homestead", two divisions of upland, "laid out since this gift, one being in he two thousand acre Division", ten acres at Chestnut Hill, and eight acres at Wachamokett Neck. Witnesses: Samuel Miller, William Carpenter. (Plymouth Colony Deeds, Vol. 5, Pt. 2 p. 278).
In this and other deeds of the period, the expression, "To be holden after ye maner of East Greenwiche in ye County of Kent in England" was a legal cliche referring to the fact that such lands were grants from the Crown. The same wording, derived from the fact that a royal residence was located for many years at East Greenwich (now a part of London), occurs in a number of the early colonial charters. There is no implication that either the grantor or the notary who drew up the deed had any personal acquaintance with East Greenwich.
The evidence that John Millard Jr. was a son of John Sr. is less clear cut than in the case of Robert but circumstantially impressive nevertheless. The date of the conveyance just quoted from John Miller of Rehoboth to his son Robert is significant in this connection; it was drawn up ten days after the inventory of John Jr. Presumably John Sr. had given each of these sons his inheritance "many years since", but no formal deeds of gifts had been recorded. Perhaps this omission had proved a hindrance in the appraisal of John Jr's estate; so the father then hastened to confirm his gift to the surviving son by his first wife.
Further indications that John Jr. was in fact a son of John Sr. are found in the following data: from 1657 until 1684 the two Johns were always designated as Senior and Junior; whereas earlier while the younger John was still a minor and later after John Jr.'s death, the older man was listed simply as John Miller. In 1680 John Miller Jr. was a witness, with John Sr.'s daughter Hannah Miller, in the deed of inheritance from John Sr. to his son Samuel. It was not unusual for other heirs to witness such deeds of gifts, as instanced by Samuel's signature as a witness to the 1684 conveyance from John to his son Robert. (See above)
However, with Robert and John Jr. now established as sons of John Millard Sr., another problem arises. It seems very unlikely that the wife Elizabeth whose son Benjamin was born in 1662 was also the mother of Robert born thirty years earlier. To avoid this physiological anomaly, to explain more logically the great disparity between the ages of the two older sons and John's later children, and to account for the very considerable hiatus between John's known arrival in Rehoboth and the birthdates of his recorded children, the following hypothesis is formulated: John Millard, with a wife and family including two small sons, probably came to New England about 1637 at the same time as his kinsman who settled in Boston. By 1643 John was established in Rehoboth, but he was then probably a widower since he had no children recorded during his early years in the town. About 1652 he married Elizabeth who died in 1680. It is true no direct evidence has been found to support this theory; perhaps none can ever be discovered. But conversely, there is no evidence to discourage, and considerable logic to support, the contention that John Sr. must have had two wives.
During more than four decades John Millard Sr. was a taxpayer and landowner, identified with the community of Rehoboth. As early as 1643 he was referred to as a proprietor and named seventeenth in the list of estates. Thereafter his name appears in succeeding years in connection with land allotments in "the woodland between plain and town" (1644), "the great plain beginning on the westside" (1645), the new meadow (1646), and the meadows on the northside of the town(1658). In 1648 he was "Servayer for the Hyewayes for Rehoboth" and constable in 1672. The town assessments of 22 Dec. 1657 list John Miller Sr., together with his two sons, John Jr. and Robert, and the following year both Johns took the Oath of Fidelitie there. Ten years later the same three Millers were among those who drew lots for the "meadow lands in the North Purchase" (now Attleboro, Mass.) (Bliss, pp. 27, 31, 34, 41, 49, 67; Bowen, Vol. I, pp. 16. 39, 41; Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 5, pp. 91, 115; Vol. 8, p. 178)
At a hearing in Suffolk County Probate Court, on 4 Feb. 1669/0, several friends and neighbors of the deceased Thomas Millard testified as to his wishes regarding his estate: "He would give... his land at Centry Hill ... to his kinsman at Seaconk who hath many children"; "he would give his estate to his cousin Millard because he was brought up at his father's house"; "he intended cousin Miller should have good part of his estate ... because 'I have no other kindred in the country nor certainly do know that any other is alive'". (Suffolk Co., Mass. Probates, Vol. 7, p. 18; New Series, Vol. 3, pp. 279 - 281; abstracted in NEHG Register, Vol. 48, 1894, p. 326).
The estate referred to in this testimony consisted principally of two lots in Boston. One of these, described in the inventory as "a small parcel of land lying on the side of Century Hill and fronting the Common", was in fact almost the whole of the lot upon which the State House now stands, a half acre of which was Millard's by allotment and an additional acre brought of Zaccheus Bosworth in 1651. (Report of the Boston Record Commissioners, Vol. V. pp. 116-117) Thomas also owned a half-acre lot near the South Meeting House, in connection with which property the Administrators of his estate were sued by Gamaliel Waite. At a court hearing, on 25 Feb 1671/2, Waite, an abutting property owner, claimed that Millard in replacing the fence around his lot had included land which belonged to Waite's lot and that the land so appropriated was now included in the inventory of Millard's estate. (Supreme Judicial Court of Suffolk County, Mass., Case #1092).
On the same date as the probate hearing, "John Miller of Rehoboth in ye Colony of Plymouth and John Lake and Thomas Bligh of Boston" were appointed administrators of the estate of "ye late Thomas Miller of Boston"; these three immediately, that day, gave a bond "unto Edward Ting Esqr Treasurer of ye County of Suffolk in the Sm of Foure hundred and twenty pounds".
|John's own signature to this
Boston, on 4 Feb. 1669/0,
that John himself wrote his
||bond, "unto which he signed
is here reproduced to show that
name Millard, ending with an
In this connection it is interesting to note that the wording of the bond, written by the scribe or clerk, used the name Miller for both the administrator and the deceased, even though the former's signature was clearly Millard. A similar ambiguity is found in other records. (Original documents in Suffolk Co., Mass. Probate File #517)
This appointment of John Millard of Rehoboth as one of the administrators of the estate of Thomas Millard of Boston seems to imply his acceptance as next of kin and legal heir. However, on 18 Oct. 1672, John Lake and Thomas Bligh, "Administrators of the estate of Thomas Millard late of Boston", deeded the two lots in Boston to Col. Samuel Shrimpton, "Attorney for Alice Swift, Sister and Executrix unto the last Will and Testament of said Thomas Millard deceased". The following spring, when travelling was less hazardous, John Millard made another trip to Boston. On 23 June 1673, John Millard of Rehoboth, Tanner, one of the Administrators of the estate of Thomas Millard late of Boston, "in consideration of all the household goods and movables and money that Thomas died possessed of and twenty pounds in money additional" quitclaimed the Boston real estate to Samuel Shrimpton, merchant, "Attorney for Alice Swift". Acknowledged the same day before Edward Tying. Finally, on 23 Feb. 1673/4, the administrators Lake and Bligh acknowledged that possession of the property was delivered because the estate had then been recovered out of their hands. (Suffolk Co., Mass. Deeds,, Vol. 8, pp 308, 309).
Three years later, on 21 Oct. 1676, Samuel Shrimpton and wife Elizabeth for £350 sold to Peter Sergent of Boston, merchant, the lot near the South Meeting House which belonged to Thomas Millard late of Boston deceased. (Ibid., Vol. 10, p. 144) There is now no deed in the Suffolk County archives to show when or to whom Col. Shrimpton disposed of the lot on Century Hill, which was still in his "tenure" in 1679. In his essay on the title to the State House lot, written in 1855, Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch concludes with the pious hope that col. Shrimpton, being a man of honor, "dealt fairly with Miss Alice Swift and did not keep for his own that which he received ... merely as her attorney". (Report of the Boston Record Commissioners, Vol. V, p. 117).
Superficially the deeds to Shrimpton seem to belie Thomas Millard's deathbed assertion that aside from John of Rehoboth he had "no other kindred in the country nor certainly do know that any other is alive". But there is no evidence whatever that Alice (Millard) Swift ever came to New England; the two and one half years which elapsed between Thomas's death and the deed to her attorney strongly suggest that during that interval she was notified in England, probably by "Cousin" John who would know where to look for her even though neither he nor her brother were sure she was still alive after more than thirty years. It is possible that John also made arrangements with Col. Shrimpton, a Boston merchant, to act as agent to sell the lots and transfer the proceeds overseas; and the nearby presence of Cousin John provides a further guarantee of the honorable conclusion of the business. There is no Power of Attorney in this case now on file and nothing in the Suffolk County records referring to a court hearing on the matter. The "Will" mentioned to bolster Shrimpton's authority and Alice's kinship must have been written before Thomas left England in 1637.
In his review of these estate proceedings, Giddings came to the deduction that "the noncupative will (of Thomas Millard) was contested by Samuel Shrimpton, Attorney for Alice Swift". (p. 247) A careful investigation of the papers in the original Probate File #517, the testimony in the Suffolk Co. Probate hearing, the record of Case #1092 of the Supreme Judicial Court, the Reports of the Boston Record Commissioners, and the various deeds involved in the settlement shows no evidence of a contest. Actually John's conduct in the affair seems very generous. Either he felt himself well endowed with this world's goods in his situation at Rehoboth, or else he had reason to suppose that his relatives in England were in somewhat adverse circumstances. By the testimony at the original court hearing John was designated his cousin's principal heir, yet in return for the "movables" and the small sum of twenty pounds he relinquished to Alice Swift all his claim to two valuable city lots.
The last appearance of John Millard Sr. in the Plymouth Colony records is his acknowledgement on 30 Jun3 1684 of the deed to his son Robert. (Plymouth Colony Deeds, Vol. 5,, p. 278). On 7 Feb 1689 in a list of Inhabitants and Proprietors of the Towne of Rehoboth the name of John Millard is conspicuously absent, though his family is represented by Sam'l Millerd Senr, Sam'l Millerd Junr, Robert Millerd Senr, Joseph Millerd and Benjamin Millerd. (Bowen, Vol. I, p. 56). It is there fore presumed that John Sr. had died sometime between these two listing dates.
In the genealogy which follows, the surname Millard has been used consistently for two reasons: the founder of the Rehoboth family so wrote his name, and the common occurrence of this spelling in early deeds and probates serves to distinquish his descendants from other "Miller" families including those of Middleboro and Yarmouth. In accordance with this policy the last name Millard is used hereinafter for all family data, except in the case of those descendants who themselves adopted other spellings. However, despite the deliberate uniformity of spelling which has been observed in the genealogical summaries, in the biographies every effort has been made to preserve the orthography of contemporary documents, and in the court records, whether presented in abstract or in quotation, all proper names are shown in their original spelling.
John Millard Sr. had two sons who were presumably children of his first wife, probably born in England:
|2||1||ROBERT||b. ca. 1632|
|3||ii||JOHN||b. at least by 1636|
John Millard Sr. and Elizabeth, who was probably his second wife, had five children, born at Rehoboth:
|iii||Hannah||b. 23 Dec. 1653; m. (1) at Rehoboth, 16 Dec.
1681, as his second wife, Daniel Thurston, b. at Dedham, Mass., 6 May
1646, d. at Rehoboth, 23 July 1683, son of John and Margaret
Thurston. One child. He m. (1) Mariah ...., who died
at Medfield, Mass., 21 May 1680. Hannah m. (2) at Rehoboth, 4 July
1689, as his second wife, Silas Titus, b. there 18 May 1656, d. 1741,
son of John and Rachel Titus. Two children. He m. (2) 23
Oct. 1679, Sarah Battelle of Dedham, who d. 8 Apr. 1689; he probably m.
(3) at Rehoboth, 24 Jan. 1716/7, Mehitable Ormsbee.
(Thurston Genealogies, 1892, by Brown Thurston, p. 362; The Titus Family in America, n.d., by Rev. Anson Titus Jr., pp. 4-5)
|iv||Sarah||b. 15 Oct. 1655, d. at Rehoboth, 10 Mar. 1731/2; m. there 3 July 1678, as his second wife, John Titus, b. there 18 Dec. 1650, d. there 2 Dec. 1697, son of John and Rachel Titus. Eight children, born at Rehoboth. John Titus m. (1) at Rehoboth, 17 July 1673, Lydia Redwey b.. there 30 May 1652, bur. there 25 Nov.. 1676, dau. of James Redwey. (Bowen, Vol. I, pp. 133-136).|
|4||v||SAMUEL||b. 5 Oct. 1658|
|vi||Joseph||b. middle of August 1660. The Joseph Millard listed on 7 Feb. 1689 among the Inhabitants and Proprietors of Rehoboth was certainly this son of John Sr., but there is little data to indicate what became of him after that date. Possibly he was the Joseph Millard who is shown in the published church records of Windham, Conn. as a communicant sometime later than 1700 but earlier than 1726, when his brother Benjamin Millard and wife Lydia were listed as members of this same congregation. However, there are no vital statistics, deeds or probates recorded in Windham for this Joseph Millard. The evidence to date suggests the possibility that both Joseph and Benjamin moved to Connecticut, but Joseph died or was killed there, before he had children of his own; whereupon Benjamin named his only son for his deceased brother. (See #5 Benjamin hereafter.)|
|5||vii||BENJAMIN||b. 22 Sept. 1662.|
To Be Continued -
* For further information concerning reference citations, source materials, and the genealogical geography of Rehoboth, Mass., the reader is directed to the Introduction.