Horace Edwin Hayden.

Genealogical and family history of the Wyoming and Lackawanna Valleys, Pennsylvania; (Volume 2) online

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was styled the head officer ; he probated wills, and
usually throughout New England there could be
no town without the constable. He gave warn-
ings of town meetings ; he was the direct repre-
sentative of the old vestry clerk; he recorded the
proceedings of the selectmen ; he commanded the
watch, collected taxes and returned to the general
court the names of deputies selected by the
town."'' May 2, 1677, he and others petitioned
the assembly for instructions, assistance and ad-
vice as to the oppressions they suft'er under from
the Colony of Connecticut. A brief account of
the cause of complaint may be of interest.

For some years prior to 1677 a controversy
had been waged between Rhode Island and Con-
necticut upon the location of a boundary line,
which had resulted in much ill feeling." Al-
though threatened by the Indians, the common
danger did not deter the opposing parties from
waging a bitter war, and May 24, 1677, James
Reynolds, Thomas Gould and Henry Tibbits were
seized by Captain Dennison and carried ofif pris-
oners to Hartford. They sought the protection
of the authorities of Rhode Island. Demand was
made for their release and Rhode Island threat-
ened reprises if the request was refused. The
first business of the assembly was looking to the
securing the release of the prisoners. Gould
compounded with Connecticut and petitioned for
leave to replant in Narragansett, acknowledging
the authority of Connecticut. The authorities of
Rhode Island responded, and advised them "that
you might receive all suitable encouragement that
as you continue true to your engagement to this
Colony and upon that account are kept prisoners,
we shall equally bear your charges of imprison-
ment, and with all expedition address ourselves to
His Majesty for relief."* The bitter quarrel con-
tinuing, on May 24, 1677, he with fortv-one other
inhabitants oi Narragansett petitioned the King
that he would out an end to their differences

2. See vol. i, page log, Arnold's History.

3. Ibid, vol. i, p. no.

4. Savage, in his "Dictionan' of the First Settlers
of New England." says James probably resided at
Plymouth in 1643. and the family tradition of James
landing at Plymouth strengthens this view.

5. From an article in Wickford (Rhode Island)
Standard, by J. Warren Gardner, October 28, 1904.

6. "Local American History," Howard, p. 89.

7. Arnold's "History Rhode Island." vol. i, p.
425. See also TumbnU's "Colonial Records and Colon-
ial Records of Rhode Island." Colonial Records, ii,
540, note.

8. Austin's "Genealogical Dictionary Rhode Isl-
and Families."



about the government therenf, which hath l3eer,
so fatal to the prosperity of the place ; animosi-
ties still arising in people's minds as they stand
af¥ected to this or that government."

Under the provisions of his will dated Octo-
ber 15, 1692, he bequeathed certain of his slaves
to his children, but before his death he recjuested
them to give their slaves their freedom when thev
should arrive at the age of thirty years. Accord-
ingly the records show the following deed of gift
of John and Deborah Sweet :

Know all men by these presents, that Where-
as I, John Sweete, of Kingstown, in the Colony of
Rhode Island and Providence Plantation, have
received a deed of gift, made to me and mv wife
that now is Deborah Sweete, which deed of gift
is from honored father James Reynolds, senior,
of said Kingstown in said Colony, whereas in by
our honored father given to us, our heirs and as-
signs, one negro girl called by the name of Betty,
and in and by said deed of gift given unto us for-
ever, and also by said honored father's last will
and testament as doth appear, she is given to us
forever, notwithstanding we find by a late deed
of gift of our honored father that he hath seen
cause to alter his mind, and is willing, notwith-
standing his former deed of gift, and his last
will and testament, that the said Betty, his negro
girl, shall be free and at her own disposing when
she attains to the full age of thirty vears, to
which last deed of gift, and do bind ourselves,
our heirs, executors, administrators and assigns
fully by these presents, to set the said Bettv, our
negro servant, free, to be wholly at her own dis-
posing forever.

In witness whereof we set our hands and
seals, the day of the date hereof, being the twen-
ty-first day of September, in the year of our Lord
ont thousand seven hundred.

(Signed'' Johx Sweete,

Debor.kh Sweete.

Signed, sealed and delivered in presence of
us :

Thomas Frey,

John Heath.

The above written instrument or deed of gift
-was entered and compared with the original, De-
cember twelfth in the year 1701, bv me,"

John Heath,

Town Clerk.

The other slaves bequeathed by his will were
conveyed before his death by deed of gift, but
under the provisions thereof were to be given

9- Ibid.

their freedom at thirty years of age. The James
Reynolds homestead has descended for five gen-
erations and is still in the family. The large
burial ground on the homestead at Sand Hill
Farm has been purchased in fee, incorporated,
and is now in charge of a board of trustees,
Thomas A. Reynolds, of East Greenwich, Rhode
Island, having borne the whole expense, and in
addition states his intention of endowing it that
it mav be preserved for all time. James and De-
borah had ten children :

I. John, born October 12, 1648; married
Sarah Ayres. He was killed by the Indians in
King Philip's war, in Narragansett, Rhode Isl-
and, December 19, 1675. His body was recov-
ered and interred at Sand Hill Farm. Their chil-
dren were: John, bom 1672; Sarah, married

2. James, Jr., born October 28, 1650, North
Kingstown, Rhode Island ; married Sarah Green,
of James and Deliverance. She was born 1660 :
married (second) Joanna .

3. Joseph, born November 27, 1652, died


4. Henry, born January i, 1636, died 1716;
married Sarah Green, of James and Deliverance,
born August 26, 1663.

5. Deborah, born February 12 or 17, 1658;
married John Sweet. He was born 1655, and
died 1717, at Exeter.

6. Francis, born October 12, 1662, North
Kingston, Rhode Ilsland ; died 1722; married
Elizabeth Green, of James and Deliverance.

7. Mercv, born December 22, 1664 ; married
Thomas Nichols. They had eleven children.

8. Robert, born 1666 : married -,

Smith; he died 1715. They had four children.^"

9. Benjamin, born 1669.

10. Elizabeth,'^ born, .

(II) Joseph (2), James (i), born November
27, 1652; married , ; married (sec-
ond) JNIercy . His will proved 1739,

North Kingstown, Rhode Island.^- John, his son
by first wife, and John's mother-in-law, were ex-

10. J. Warren Gardner states in his article in
Wickford Sta}tdai-d. Oct. 28. IQ04, that "he believes
that the Robert who married Deliverance Smith was a
son of Joseph, of James, and born about 1679. of Ben-
jamin, the ninth child."

Ti. He states that Elizabeth is accredited as a
daughter of James, but he can find no record.

12. In a letter of Thomas A. Reynolds, of East
Greenwich, R. I., he states his belief that Joseph (2)
resided at Kingston and died there.



ecutors. In his will he refers to his son Joseph
(3) as having died, and also refers to his mar-
ried daughter, Jones Clark. His will proved left
eight children, four of whom were under age.
Names of his children were all that remained of
the will, that was injured by fire in 1870. He
was called "Big Joe" on account of his strength
and stature. He settled in what is now the
"town" of Exeter, Rhode Island. He, with his
father, James (i), and his brothers, James and
Henry, signed the petition of 1679, July 29, men-
tioned heretofore in this account. September 14,
1 7 14, he deeded one-half of a certain tract of land
situate in East Greenwich, bought of his brother
Henry. This land was a part of 35,000 acres of
land purchased by Henry : the part sold Joseph
is now in West Greenwich, and about 1714 he
deeded this land to his sons. June 3, 1709, Jo-
seph Reynolds (2), Joseph Reynolds, Jr., (3)
Robert Reynolds (3) and Robert Bently pur-
chased a tract of land of seven hundred twenty-
seven acres lying mostly in Exeter, between the
Ten Rod road and the north line of Pettaquam-
scott Purchase, bounded east by the Dunfer Hill
road, and running west to the present Purgatory
road. Joseph, Jr. (3) settled on the westerly
part of this tract at Exeter, Rhode Island, or
near where Nicholas C. Reynolds now (1904)
lives. Robert settled on the easterly part, at or
near where the late Benjamin L. Arnold lived and

J. Warren Gardner, in an article in the IVick-
ford (Rhode Island) Standard, states that: Jo-
seph (2) was born 1650: married (first) ,

: married (second) Mercy ; died

1739. His children: i. Deborah, born 1674;
married Job Babcock. 2. Joseph, Jr., born 1676;

married Susanna . 3. John, born about

1677. 4. Spencer," born about 1679. 5- Rob-
ert, born 1681, died 1715. 6. James, born about
1683. 7. Benjamin,'^ born about 1685.

13. "There was a Spencer Reynolds in 1728 in
Exeter who must have been of the third generation, and
therefore may well have been a son of second James
or Joseph, as he was interested in the running of the
Pettaquamscott north line. It is probable that' the
second wife of James or Joseph was a Spencer. I put
Spencer Reynolds down to first Joseph mainly on the
ground that he seems to have been interested in lands
owned by said Joseph." — J. W. Gardner.

14. "Benjamin, son of Joseph, probably was living
in South Kingstown; was constable there 1723: Sep-
tember 14, 1714, Joseph deeded his son Benjamin for
his half of a tract of land in East Greenwich, which
said Joseph had bought of his brother Henry. Septem-
ber 23, 1714, Benjamin, presumed to be the owner, re-
ceived from his brother James a deed of one-half a

Jane Adaline (Eaton) Wight in. a carefully
prepared work gives the children of Joseph as fol-
lows : I. John (by first wife). 2. Joseph, Jr., will
proved 1722, in North Kingstown. 3. Robert,
died 1712 or 1713. . 4. Samuel. 5. James. 6.

Mercy, married Jones. 7. Alice. 8.

Sarah, married Clarke. 9. Susanna (or

Susan), married Clarke.

(Ill) Joseph Reynolds, Jr. (3), Joseph (2),
James ( i ) ; married Susanna Babcock. She mar-
ried ( second ) Robert Spencer, November 7,
1723. Children of Joseph, Jr., and Susanna (Bab-
cock) Reynolds: I. Elizabeth, born April 21,

1697, married Rogers. 2. Joseph, bom

March 22, 1699, married Sarah . 3. Su-
sanna, born December 21, 1703. 4. John, born
October 18, 1706. He made choice of his uncle.
Job Babcock, for guardian. 5. George, born
August 14, 1708, married Joanna Spencer, Sep-
tember 14, 1729. <). Deborah, born December 13,
171 1. 7. Samuel, born North Kingstown, Rhode
Island, 1714. 8. Mary, born 1717.

The will of Joseph, Jr. (3), was proved 1722
or 1725. His widow Susanna and his son, John
(see below where it is said to be Job Babcock),
administered the estate. A marriage certificate
shows her married to Robert Spencer, who was
appointed guardian of several of her children,
who were then under fourteen. His will was
probated April — , 1722, Susanna (his widow)
executrix, with her brother Job Babcock. To his
eldest son Joseph he gave half of fhe farm where
he lived, to his son John the other half ; to wife
Susanna the homestead farm for life ; to sons
George and Samuel equal portions of land ; to
daughter, Elizabeth Rogers, £20 ; to daughters
Susanna, Deborah and Mary, a feather bed and
sum of money at age.

The children of Joseph (3), Joseph (2),
James (i) were eight in number: "Austin" gives
the name of one more child, Benjamin. Much
of the original land has remained in the family
to the present time, Nicholas C. Reynolds, of
Exeter, Rhode Island, now occupying the an-
cient homestead settled two hundred years ago.
"Austin" has very much mixed and mystified
the genealogy of this family by putting Joseph.
Jr., in place of Joseph, Sr., and the former's will
where the latter should be. He has also mixed

farm for i22. It is presumed that these were the two
halves of one and the same farm. This record estab-
lishes the fact that the first Joseph Reynolds had sons.
Benjamin and James, and we know that he had Jceph,
Jr., and probably Robert. Joseph Jr., calls Job Bab-
cock brother, and we know that Job's wife was De-
borah Reynolds."



up the records of the two in a way that is very
misleading. The younger Joseph died some sev-
enteen years before his father did, and this fact
probably led to the error. The second Joseph
had no son Benjamin." Children of Joseph
Jr., and Susanna Reynolds were: i. Elizabeth,

born April 21, 1697; married Rogers. (J.

W. Gardner says born 1699). 2. Joseph, born

IMarch 22, 1699: married Sarah . (J. W.

Gardner says 1697). 3- Susanna, born Decem-
ber 21. 1703. 4. John, born October 18, 1706;
he made choice of his uncle, Job Babcock, for
guardian. (J. W. Gardner says born 1705).
5. George, born August 14. 1708; married
Joanna Spencer, September 14, 1729. (J. W.
Gardner says born 1701). 6. Deborah, born
December 13, 171 1. (J. W. Gardner says born

1709)- 7- Samuel, born 7, 17 14, in

North Kingstown, Rhode Island ; married Ann
Gardner, of Samuel, 1732. (J. W. Gardner savs
born 1707). 8. Alary, born 171 7. (J. W. Gard-
ner says born 171 1). 9. Benjamin (according
to Austin).

(IV) George (4), Joseph (3), Joseph (2),
James (i), Exeter, Rhode Island, born August
14, 1708"*: married, September 14, 1729, Joanna
Spencer, daughter of Robert and Theodosia
(Whaley)'' Spencer. She was born September
30, 171 1. He was a justice of the peace 1747-50.
Children of George and Joanna (Spencer) Rev-
nolds : .

(V) Captain Robert (5), George (4), Jo-
seph (3), Joseph, Jr. (2). James (i), was born
1736. Exeter, Rhode Island; married, January
20, 1757, Eunice Waite, daughter of John; died
1806, seventy years of age; interred in Ever-
green cemetery. Factoryville, Pennsylvania. JMrs.
Reynolds, born 1735, c'ied 1802,' sixty-seven
years of age. Robert Reynolds, Jr. (so called
at Exeter. Rhode Island, to distinguish him from
another Robert who lived in the same town),
was admitted freeman in 1758. He was, like
most of his family, of a military turn of mind'^

15- J. W. Gardner, genealogist, in his "Genealogy
of the Gardner Family," published in the Wickford
(Rhode Island) Standard, 1905.

16. "Colonial Records."

17. George Reynolds was administrator of his
father-m-law's (Spencer's) estate. -A.s Joseph Reynolds'
widow married Robert Spencer, it may be that this is
what brought together George, son of Joseph and
Susanna Reynolds, and Joanna, daughter of Robert
Spencer. Hence the name perpetuated in late genera-

18. See "Military Records Rhode Island."

and in 1767 (October) made captain of the First
Company Trained Band Militia, Kings County
Regiment, Exeter. The militia laws were re-
vised 1774, among other things providing "in
what manner the forces within this colony shall
march to the assistance of any of our sister col-
onies when invaded or attacked^"."' The manu-
facture of firearms and powder began to be ex-
tensively carried on in Rhode Island. Enlist-
ments began and orders for arms were inces-
sant ; one hundred and forty guns w^ere ordered
for North Kingstown. Tea was proscribed. A
general muster of the militia of the colony was
held-". On the night of the battle of Lexing-
ton news was received at Providence, and the
next day the militia, a thousand strong, started
for the scene of war. The order for these troops
was countermanded by expresses from Lexing-
ton. In May, 1775, the committee of safety and
the army of observation were organized. The
militia was reorganized into three regiments, the
whole under command of Brig.-Gen. Nathaniel
Greene. Jaines Varnum was colonel of one oL
these, and John Reynolds lieutenant, afterwards
lieutenant-colonel and agent clothier of the Con-
tinental army. Each regiinent was to occupy
the flank and centre in rotation, to preserve their ^
equality of rank-\ General Greene, with the
Rhode Island militia, joined Washington's army
early in the spring of 1775'-. Of the character
of these troops it has been said, "so striking was
the discipline of the troops of Rhode Island in
contrast with the raw troops in general that
Greene fell under the eye of Washin,gton, and
he was instantly taken at his full worth-^" The
effect of the superior military training of these
troops was apparent, and a part of this credit
must be given to Robert, who had commanded
the First Coinpany of Exeter, and to his forbears
who had engaged as officers in the military train-
ing of the troops of the colony, some of whom
had engaged under English colors in the Colo-
nial wars. The records"* show that Robert, son

19. -Arnold's "History of Rhode Island," vol. i.
page 343.

20. Arnold's "History of Rhode Island," vol. i.
pages 344-345-

21. Arnold's "History of Rhode Island," page 348.

22. Bryant's "History United States," vol. iii.
page 394.

2^. Gen. John .\. Logan's "History of the \'olun-
teer Soldier."

24. "Colonial Records Rhode Island." vol. ix..
page 95.



of George, was captain of the First Exeter Com-
pany, Second Regiment, Kings County, 1781-88.
Whether he had continued as captain of this
company from 1767, when he was first commis-
sioned the records do not show.

Robert Reynolds left Exeter, Rhode Island,
in 1790, to seek a new home in the wilderness of
northeastern Pennsylvania, and with him came
Job Tripp and William Wall. After weeks of
travel through the pathless forest they arrived in
Abington, Luzerne (now Lackawanna) county,
and were the first white men to view the beauti-
ful hills of Abington. They made a clearing
there, built a cabin-'', and Robert returned to
Rhode Island for the purpose of bringing his
wife with him, which he did in 1793-". She was
the first white woman to inhabit Abington. Sub-
sequently four of his eight children, with their
families, came to Abington. In 1803 the first
military training-' in Abington took place, upon
the farm of Deacon Clark. The forces were mo-
bilized with dispatch.- The maneuvres were no
doubt executed with proper precaution. The old
Continental uniforms had been well brushed, and
the three-cornered hats were again made to do
■duty. Upon this auspicious occasion Captain
Robert Reynolds became colonel by courtesy, a
title which he bore to the day of his death, and
it still is heard at the reunions of the family when
his name is mentioned with the respect due to
his patriotism as a soldier and his character as a
man. Corn whiskey was to be had ; toothsome
pumpkin pie, gingerbread and cider served to
regale the tired army after the drill was over.
The women who had ridden thence mounted
pillion, formed a small but proud and interested
group as they watched their husbands, fathers
and sons march to and fro in the trappings of a
war, the echo of which had scarcely died awav.
It was a great day in the sparsely settled region.
The drills were considered essential to the preser-
vation of the liberty, so recently and dearly
bought. Bred to danger and skilled in accur-
acy of fire, these pioneers had come to rely upon
their ability singly and collectively to defend
themselves against man or beast. Doubtless
Robert (of whom more hereafter), on that train-
ing day twelve years of age, saw the drill in

25. See Hollister's "History Lackawanna Valley."
page 276.

26. See Hollister's "History Lackawanna Valley,"
page 27g.

27. Elder Jolin Miller states there wepe eleven
persons, including officers and men, who participated in
the drill.

which were his father and grandfather, if he did
not participate himself, and drank in the inspir-
ation of fife and drum, which later found pa-
triotic expression in his love for a military life,
as shown by his enlistment for the war of 1812.
It would be interesting to know how long the
"Training Day" as an institution was continued
by the pioneers of Abington. It was the great
day after Christmas and Independence Day, and
generally the latter was also a training day.
Alas ! that more of the local history of Abington
has not been preserved. Robert (5) built the
first saw mill in Abington and cleared the land
which still remains in the family ownership. He
was first interred upon the old farm now owned
by the widow of M. N. Reynolds, but his remains
with those of his wife were removed to 1901 to
the burial plot of the family of Stephen C. Rey-
nolds, in the Evergreen cemetery, Factoryville,
Pennsylvania, where five generations sleep side
by side. The children of Captain Robert and
Eunice were eight in mmiber, all born at Exeter,
Rhode Island :

I. Sarah, born Oct. 17, 1757. 2. Ann, born
Dec. 15, 1759, died Mar. 10, 1760. 3. George, of
Exeter, R I., and Abington, Penn., born Feb.
19, 1761, died Dec. 19, 1844. 4. Waite, born
Dec. 26, 1763, died Alar. 23, 1769. 5. Eunice,
born Dec. 29, 1765. 6. Phineas, born Feb. 23,
1768, of Exeter, R. L, and Abington, Penn. 7.
Joanna, of Exeter, R. I., and later Abington,
born Dec. 11, 1769; married Benjamin Green, and
died April 4, 1852. 8. Solomon, of Exeter, R. I.,
and Abington, Penn., born Sept. 14, 1771, mar-
ried Frances Northup, and died Dec. 25, 1852.

(VI) George (6), Robert, Jr. (5), George
(4), Joseph Jr., (3), Joseph (2), James (i), born
February 19, 1761, Exeter, Rhode Island; mar-
ried Freelove Northup ; died December 19, 1844,
interred at Evergreen cemetery, Factoryville,
Pennsylvania. Mrs. Reynolds, born 1760. died
October 25, 1834. George Reynolds was also a
veteran of the Revolution, enlisting from Exeter,
Rhode Island, at seventeen years of age, in Col.
Topham's regiment, Benjamin West's company;
he entered into the spirit of the times. Among
the records in the Pension Office at Washington,
Z. Wells Reynolds, now of the United States
navy, during his father's-* incumbency as chief
of the middle division of the Pension Office,
found in invalid file No. 22949 (Revolutionary)
the following:

( Invalid No. 22949, Revolutionary)

28. Hon. W. N. Reynolds, of Wyoming and Lu-
zerne counties, and state and federal courts.



Declaration of George Reynolds to obtain the
benefit of the Act of Congress of 7th June, 1832.

State of Pennsylvania, Luzerne Co., ss.

On this fourth day of September, A. D.,
1832, personally appeared before the Judges of
the Court of Common Pleas of said County,
George Reynolds, of Nicholson Township in said
County, aged seventy years and upwards, who
being duly sworn according to law deposes and
says that the following declaration is true to the
best of his knowledge and belief, and that he en-
tered the service of the Cnited States under the
following named officers and served as herein

Affirmed and subscribed, &c.
H. Pettibone, Prot.

George Reynolds.

George Reynolds being duly sworn saith that
he was born the 19th of February. 1761, at Exe-
ter, state of Rhode Island, of which he has a
record at his present place of residence. March
I, 1778, he enlisted in the Continental Army at
Exeter in Colonel John Topham's Regiment,
Captain Benjamin West's company, for the term
of one year, and that he was in the army during
the whole period for which he enlisted : that the
army was stationed at Hon. W. N. Reynolds,
Esq., of Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania, a member
of the bar, of Wyoming county and Luzerne
county, and of the state and general court, Ti-
verton in Bristol County, Rhode Island ; that he
was in one engagement on Newport^" Island
under General Sullivan : that on the expiration
of the year he received his discharge, tho not a
written one.

That he was drafted at four different times
after the expedition under General Sullivan,
the precise time he cannot recollect, but probably
in all four months : during this he was under
command of Colonel Charles Dyer, Lieut. George
Pierce, Lieut. Spencer Taylor ; was generally sta-
tioned on Newport Island.

That since the Revolutionary war this depon-
ent lived at Exeter in Rliode Island aforesaid,
and that for the last twenty-seven years he has re-
sided in Nicholson, Luzerne County ; that he
never had a written discharge from the Conti-
nental Army, but that he received a certificate for
one year's service ; that he was never an officer
in the armv.

That Deponent is accjuainted with Aaron.

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