Monday, August 31, 2015

Monday Is for Mothers: Hannah Field (About 1642 - About 1703)

[Roger Williams Welcoming Settlers to Providence, Roger Williams National Memorial, National Park Service]

Although there's general agreement that her father was John Field, one of the earliest settlers in Providence, Rhode Island,* there are those who believe that Hannah Field's mother was Ruth Fairbanks. But the only Ruth Fairbanks I've found in the records was a woman who married Robert Field in 1624 and moved to New York. Torrey** isn't even certain that the given name of Hannah's mother was Ruth.

[Torrey's New England Marriages to 1700, Volume 1, Page: 539
via New England Historical Genealogical Society's wedsite americanancestors.org]
Hannah, my eighth maternal great grandmother, was probably born about 1640 in Providence and appears to be the oldest child of John and ?Ruth, followed by at least three brothers and a sister.

The next record I've found for Hannah is that of her marriage to James Mathewson (once again from Torrey) and the newlyweds continued living in Providence.

[Torrey's New England Marriages to 1700, Volume 2, Page: 1014
via New England Historical Genealogical Society's wedsite americanancestors.org]
The couple had nine children during the twenty years of their marriage and Hannah was pregnant with the last one, my direct ancestor Daniel, when James made his will about four month before he died, on December 3, 1682. Daniel was born nearly two months after his father's death.***

Original from Cornell University via HathiTrust Digital Books]

Unfortunately I wasn't able to locate a scan of James Mathewson's will but here is a transcription that retains the antiquated spelling:****
"I James Mathewson of ye Towne of Providence being weake of body yet haveing my perfect Memory, Doe make my last will & testament as followeth,
First I Comett my body to ye dust & my Spirit to God that gave it.
Secondly I give to my son James six score acres of land with all ye Comonage betweene ye seven mile line & ye foure.
Thirdly I give to my son Thomas Twenty one acrs of land which I bought of Daniell Browne, with Twenty acres which I had of ye Towne.
Fourthly, I give to all my sons Equall alike all my share of land beyond ye seven mile line.
Fifthly, I Give to my son Zachariah, & ye Child unborne, if it be a son; my house & land, & three five acre Lotts lieing up Naspatuckett River with the land at ye Round Cove, But if it be a daughter, then it all remaines to my son Zachariah.
Lastly I make my beloved wife Hannah Sole Exsecutrix of all my mooveables of household goodes, & Cattells what so Ever to despose to my Daughters as shee shall see cause. This being my last will & teastement, Jn wittnesse hereof I sett to my hand & seale this twenty foure day of August 1682:
Signed & sealed in ye James Mathewson presence of
William Hopkins his X marke
Eward London"
In 1687 Hannah was taxed as the widow of James Mathewson but sometime after that she married Henry Brown***** whom she survived, although she declined to act as his executor, ceding that chore to her stepsons.

And after that, Hannah Field Mathewson Brown disappears from the records. It's presumed that she died and is buried in Providence where she had lived her whole life.

I've included a video about Roger Williams (1603-1683) the most famous of the founders of Rhode Island and the founder of the first Baptist Church in America. He would have been a familiar figure to my ancestors.


[C-SPAN Cities Tour - Providence: Roger Williams & the First Baptist Church]


*John Field's mark is on the Providence civil compact of that year.
**Torrey’s New England Marriages Prior to 1700 by Clarence Almon Torrey (1869-1962). There's a video about using this important source here.
***On January 28th. During this period of time, the British were using a calendar year that began on March 25th, not January 1st.
****I found this version on the MathewsonDonald1 tree on Ancestry.com and compared it with another, modernized transcription on a different tree, Ten Generations of Mathewson's.
*****Hannah and Henry didn't have any children together.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

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