Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Working on Wednesday: Obediah Willcox (1724 - 1810), Town Clerk, Selectman, Justice of the Peace, Rebel

This paternal fifth great grandfather left his native Connecticut for Gilsum in Cheshire County, New Hampshire, in 1764,  fifteen years after his marriage to Sarah Talcott.* That same year he acted as clerk to the Proprietors and later supported the incorporation of the town of Surry**, signing his name to a petition for the creation of the new town to the west of Gilsum dated July 4, 1768. He was Surry's first town clerk, first town treasurer, served as a selectman for a number of years between 1769 and 1788. He was also a Justice of the Peace for Cheshire County in 1776.

Internet Archive, original source: University of New Hampshire Library]

In the Spring of 1776, 52-year old Obediah was one of the signers of the Association Test which called on all males over the age of 21 residing in New Hampshire to declare their willingness to take up arms against "the Hostile Attempts of the British Fleets and Armies." We don't know if he ever served in a military unit but his signature on that document alone is enough to qualify my daughter and me for membership in the Daughters of the Revolution, if we were so inclined.

Obediah continued to live in Surry--his name appears as head of household in the 1790 and 1800 U.S. Census records. He died there*** on February 20, 1810, and is buried in the Surry Village Cemetery next to his wife Sarah, who had died the year before.

The inventory of his estate is still in existence and among his possessions are listed a number of books, mostly medical tomes, and "one Set of Instruments to pull teeth." There is no evidence that Obediah ever formally trained as a doctor but it looks as if he may have practiced medicine and dentistry in Surry.
["New Hampshire, County Probate Estate Files, 1769-1936," images, FamilySearch (,384131401 : accessed 27 Apr 2014),
Cheshire > Case no W194-W264 1808-1814 > image 1010 of 1554.]

*Obediah and Sarah's daughter Lydia Willcox married Benjamin Porter whose great great granddaughter Letta Estella Porter Warren Williams is my paternal grandmother.
**The petition was granted and Surry was incorporated in 1769.
***Without having made a will.
© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

No comments:

Post a Comment