William Morrell Emery.

The Howland heirs; being the story of a family and a fortune and the inheritance of a trust established for Mrs. Hetty H. R. Green online

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HE HOWLAND HEIRS



WILLIAM M. EMERY




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THE HOWLAND HEIRS




SYLVIA ANN HOLLAND



THE ROWLAND HEIRS

BEING THE STORY OF A FAMILY
AND A FORTUNE AND THE INHERIT-
ANCE OF A TRUST ESTABLISHED
FOR MRS. HETTY H. R. GREEN



BY WILLIAM M. EMERY

GENEALOGIST FOR THE S\ LVIA ANN HOWLAND TRUSTEES



WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY

HON. WILLIAM W. CRAPO



ILLUSTRATED



E. ANTHONY & SONS, INC.

NEW BEDFORD, MASS.

1919




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COPYRIGHT, 1919, BY WILLIAM M. EMERY
All Rights Reserved



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CONTENTS

PAGE

FOREWORD i

INTRODUCTORY, by William W. Crapo iv

CHAPTEE

I. ROWLAND ANCESTRY 1

II. GIDEON ROWLAND 19

III. FOUNDING A FORTUNE 39

IV. A FAMOUS WILL 64

V. DISTRIBUTING THE TRUST 88

DESCENDANTS OP GIDEON ROWLAND, GENEALOGICAL AND

BIOGRAPHICAL

A NOTABLE COMPANY 115

CHILDREN OP GIDEON ROWLAND 116

REBECCA RUSSELL'S DESCENDANTS 117

WILLIAM ROWLAND'S DESCENDANTS 168

CORNELIUS ROWLAND'S DESCENDANTS 182

JUDITH HATHA WAY'S DESCENDANTS . . . 218

JOSEPH ROWLAND'S DESCENDANTS 231

LYDIA WING'S DESCENDANTS 242

SYLVIA GRINNELL'S DESCENDANTS . . 243

SARAH ALLEN'S DESCENDANTS . . . 288

DESIRE ROWLAND . 351

GIDEON ROWLAND, JR.'S DESCENDANTS . . . 354

EDWARD MOTT ROBINSON . 355

MRS. HETTY H. R. GREEN . . 358
EDWARD H. R. GREEN .... .368

GILBERT ROWLAND'S DESCENDANTS 371

JOHN H. ROWLAND'S DESCENDANTS . . . 395

PARDON ROWLAND'S DESCENDANTS 404

TABULATION OP GIDEON HOWLAND'S DESCENDANTS . 421

ROUND HILLS REUNIONS 422

ANECDOTES OP GIDEON ROWLAND 424

LIST OF ROWLAND HEIRS 426

DEATHS OP HEIRS 436

TABULATION OF ROWLAND HEIRS 437

FIGURES OF PARTIAL DISTRIBUTIONS 438

IN THE WAR AGAINST GERMANY 439

INDEX OF NAMES 443



ILLUSTRATIONS
SYLVIA ANN ROWLAND . Frontispiece

TACTNG PAGE

HOWLAND COAT OP ARMS 12

HOME OF GIDEON HOWLAND AT ROUND HILLS 28

EDWARD MOTT ROBINSON 52

ABBY S. (HOWLAND) ROBINSON ... .60

RESIDENCE OF SYLVIA ANN HOWLAND . .66

HETTY H. ROBINSON 78

HON. WILLIAM W. CRAPO 84

OLIVER PRESCOTT ... .... 94

WILLIAM M. EMERY 106

CAPTAIN WILLIAM HOWLAND 168

ABIGAIL (WILBUR) HOWLAND . 168

GIDEON KIRBY HOWLAND 232

SYLVIA (HOWLAND) GRINNELL 246

CAPTAIN CORNELIUS GRINNELL 256

MRS. HETTY H. R. GREEN .358

COLONEL EDWARD H. R. GREEN . . . . 368

CAPTAIN PARDON HOWLAND 404



FOREWORD

Distribution of the million-dollar residuary estate of
Sylvia Ann Rowland of New Bedford, Mass., became ef-
fective in 1916 at the death of her niece, Mrs. Hetty H. R.
Green. Miss Howland, who died in 1865, gave her niece
a life interest in approximately half of her valuable prop-
erty, with the proviso that it should ultimately pass to
the lineal descendants, by right of representation, of the
grandfather of testatrix, Gideon Howland. The process
of settlement of the trust disclosed the existence of four
hundred and thirty-nine heirs, scattered all over the
United States, and some abroad.

To perpetuate the record of a remarkable New England
family, and to give permanence to the story of the un-
usual tie that has bound them, the present volume is
issued. It is believed that this is the only instance in
this country where an extensive genealogical record has
found its raison d'etre in the distribution of a fortune.
Yet the family whom these pages commemorate have
other and stronger claims to distinction. They have ac-
complished many things in their various spheres of useful-
ness, reflecting high repute and honor upon the Howland
name. In the war which rages as these lines are written
they are everywhere playing a worthy and patriotic part.
Some have laid down their lives for the cause of liberty.

Gideon Howland, who dwelt by the sea, was the sire of
seven sturdy sailor sons and six estimable daughters. All
of these thirteen children grew to maturity. All save
one married, and there are surviving descendants of
eleven, scattered the world over. Living and deceased



ii FOREWORD

they total 2250, and the number is constantly increasing.
They have been a long-lived race. Of the children of
Gideon Howland and wife, both of whom passed their
eighty-eighth birthdays, three lived beyond fourscore,
five beyond seventy years, and three to be more than
sixty, while the other two died at the ages of forty-four
and thirty-eight ; a record, it is believed, seldom equalled.
The story of the early generations who lived in New Bed-
ford is inseparably linked with "the sea story that made
the city known around the world."

In a work of this nature, despite the utmost vigilance,
errors are apt to occur, due to mistakes in transcribing
notes, oversight in proof-reading, or some other inex-
plicable circumstance. It is hoped that the unusual pre-
cautions which have been taken to keep the following
pages as free from inaccuracies as possible have had the
result intended. Some readers may note the omission
of various matters they would wish to see recorded. For
this and all other shortcomings the author offers his re-
grets. No paid-for "write-ups" or portraits have been
inserted, and none have been solicited either by the author
or by the persons represented here. Attention is called
to one feature of this work, impossible in most genealo-
gies, but absolutely requisite in the present instance:
The carrying of all the female lines down to the latest
generation, with the numerous resulting changes in family
names.

The task of compilation has been greatly lightened by
the kindly co-operation of the Sylvia Ann Howland
trustees and by scores of members of the family, whose
loyal and abiding interest has been evinced by their
cordial and ready replies to letters of inquiry and in
other ways. Where so many have been so helpful it is
difficult to select names for mention without fear of in-
justice to others; therefore the author would express to
all his most grateful thanks and deepest appreciation for



FOREWORD iii

assistance rendered. He is under especial obligations to
Willard R. Terry, the very efficient amanuensis for the
trustees, for many courtesies. The cheery correspondence
and hearty encouragement of "friends whom mine eyes
saw never" will always remain a delightful memory.
Some of the most valued and felicitous portions of this
volume are contributions from the pens of others.

It is a pleasure to present to readers the greeting of
Hon. William W. Crapo, which follows. An active par-
ticipant in events of an earlier era, and for a period of
years a trustee of the Howland estate, he has drawn upon
his marvelous memory for a narration that will be of
universal interest.

THE AUTHOR.



INTRODUCTORY

DEAR MR. EMERY :

I am glad that you have prepared a genealogical history
of the Rowland family. You are admirably qualified for
the work.

Soon after the arrival of John Rowland on the May-
flower at Plymouth, there came his brother Henry Rowland
who settled at Duxbury. Forced by religious persecutions
he left Duxbury and made his home in Dartmouth. Dur-
ing the generation preceding the War of the Revolution,
those bearing the name of Rowland exceeded in number
those of any other family, and the Rowlands were leaders in
the agricultural, commercial and religious activities of Old
Dartmouth. What they did and who they were is a subject
worthy the local historian.

You ask from me for publication my recollection of the
litigation involved in the allowance of the Sylvia Ann How-
land will. This I can only briefly furnish. I do not care
to revive the memory of the charges and counter charges
connected with the preparation and execution of the will.
There are some things which are better forgotten.

The firm of I. Rowland, Jr. & Co. consisted of Edward
M. Robinson, Sylvia Ann Rowland and Thomas Mandell,
the latter having a minor interest. Mr. Robinson was force-
ful, energetic, pushing and far sighted in business. He
was not personally popular. A large portion of the wealth
of the firm of I. Rowland, Jr. & Co. came through the
active management and administration of Mr. Robinson.

Thomas Mandell, who was the accountant and office mem-
ber of the firm, was the confidential adviser of Miss How-
land, the custodian of her securities and property and the



INTRODUCTORY v

one who invested her surplus income. Through him I be-
came acquainted with Miss Howland. My employment
was simply to take her acknowledgment to deeds and to
witness her signature and take her affirmation to documents
as required. She was at that time very infirm in body and
mind.

The attorneys at law whose names appear on the court
records were Benjamin F. Thomas and Thomas M. Stetson
in behalf of the allowance of the will, and Sidney Bartlett,
Benjamin R. Curtis and William W. Crapo for the re-
spondents. Of these I am the only survivor.

There are persons now receiving portions of their shares
in the distribution of the Trust Fund created by the will
who were not born at the time of the legal strife for the
possession of the estate. They may be interested to know
what occasioned the controversy. I will make only a brief
statement which is given free of prejudice and the expres-
sion of individual opinion.

Sylvia Ann Howland died July 2, 1865. Shortly before
her death she executed a will which was presented to the
Probate Court for allowance and was formally allowed.
Thomas Mandell was appointed special administrator to
take custody of the property. The allowance of the will
was objected to by her niece, Miss Hetty Robinson. The
ground stated in opposition to the allowance was that the
aunt had made a former will under contract with the niece
for the making of their mutual wills, each giving her prop-
erty to the survivor. Such former will signed by Sylvia
Ann Howland was presented and its genuineness was not
questioned for it had been witnessed by three citizens well
known in New Bedford, prominent in business affairs and
whose integrity could not be doubted, and all the legal
formalities in the execution of it had been complied with.
Together with this will was a written contract signed by
the parties. This latter was challenged and the contro-
versy was waged on the genuineness of this paper. Assum-



vi INTRODUCTORY

ing that the contract was entered into and the parties had
the legal right to make such a contract, then the last will
which had been allowed by the Probate Court might be
superseded by the earlier will. A legal battle ensued which
lasted five years and ended with a compromise agreed to
by all the parties. During the five years of litigation there
had been a large accumulation of income from the two and
a half million dollars of property in the estate.

By this compromise all of the expenses, including liberal
compensations to the lawyers on both sides, was taken from
this income and also six per cent, interest was allowed to
the recipients of special legacies, which legacies amounted
to $1,100,000. This opened the way for the payment of
the special legacies from the principal fund. The balance
of the income was by agreement to be paid to Mrs. Hetty
Green, formerly Miss Robinson. Mr. Mandell, who had the
care and custody of the property during these years, and
whose duty largely was the receipt of income from rents
and dividends and interest, conservatively invested the sums
received by him in United States six per cent, gold bonds
and the income from these investments was similarly in-
vested in like bonds. As gold was then at quite a premium
the market value of the income investments was much in
excess of the par value. After payment of interest on
special legacies and the payment of all the expenses attend-
ing the suit there was handed to me as attorney for Mrs.
Green over $600,000 in these Government bonds at par,
whose market value was even greater. Mrs. Green appar-
ently had not suffered by the long delay and expensive
litigation.

But the controversy did not really end here for the Su-
preme Court was called upon to explain and interpret the
meaning and intent of the compromise agreement in dis-
tributing between principal and income amounts paid for
taxes and amounts received from special dividends. This
occupied much time, but finally on July 14, 1871, six years



INTRODUCTORY vii

after the death of Sylvia Ann Howland, the residue was
passed over to the trustees named in the will, the income
to be paid to Mrs. Green during her life and the remainder
to be distributed to the descendants of Gideon Howland.

The management of the trust created under the will has
not been without its controversies, with lengthy and expen-
sive proceedings in the Courts. But at last after the lapse
of fifty-three years the fund reaches distribution. In the
interval the descendants of the elder Gideon Howland, who
at the death of Sylvia Ann Howland numbered probably
less than three-score, now at the date of distribution number
four hundred and thirty-nine.

The distribution brings comfort to some and gives satis-
faction to all.

I congratulate them.

WILLIAM W. CRAPO.
New Bedford, 1918.



THE HOWLAND HEIRS

CHAPTER I
HOWLAND ANCESTRY

On the sunset shore of Buzzards Bay, in the
ancient Massachusetts township of Dartmouth,
looking out past Dumpling Light to the Elizabeth
Islands "ringed about by sapphire seas," lies the
fair and fertile Round Hills farm. Sandy beaches
surround it to the east and to the south. Rising
verdure-clad from the water is the sightly eleva-
tion which gives the locality its name. Close at
hand Salters Point holds a happy summer colony,
and a mile away, at the Bare Kneed Rocks, is
Nonquitt, another seashore resort, where a genera-
tion ago the nation's great cavalry general breathed
his last. The city of New Bedford, once a part of
Dartmouth town, is seven miles to the northeast.
In this peaceful and picturesque spot, "fanned
by breezes salt and cool," Benjamin Howland estab-
lished his homestead more than two centuries ago.
A grandson of Henry Howland, first of this line to
come to America, he was the progenitor of all the
"Round Hills Howlands. ' : As one of the Propri-
etors of Dartmouth, he owned many acres of land,
and his Round Hills farm, acquired before 1700,
has never entirely left the possession of the How-
land blood.



2 THE ROWLAND HEIRS

HENRY HOWL AND, the pioneer, with his brother
Arthur, came to this country in either the Fortune,
1621, or the Ann, 1623. Their brother John had
preceded them to Plymouth as one of the May-
flower Pilgrims in 1620. The origin of this family
is believed to have been in Essex County, England,
but extensive researches have failed to reveal the
parentage of the three brothers. There was another
brother, Humphrey Howland, a draper, of the parish
of St. Swithin, London, whose will, proved July 10,
1646, left certain legacies to his three brothers,
Arthur, John and Henry in New England. Still
another brother, George, was of St. Dunstan's par-
ish in the east.

The first mention made of Henry Howland is in
the allotment of cattle in Plymouth in 1624, when
he appears as owner of the "black cow. " In 1633
his name is found in the list of freemen, and in the
same year he indentured a servant, Walter Harris.
In 1634 he was taxed eighteen shillings, as against
a tax of nine shillings the year previous. He was
among the earliest settlers of Duxbury, where in
1635 he was chosen constable, and was described as
"one of the substantial landholders and freemen. ' :
In 1640 he purchased five acres of upland and an
acre of marsh meadow in Duxbury, the price paid
being "twelve bushells of Indian Corne." For
several years he was surveyor of highways in the
town, and for nine years served on the grand jury.
But in 1657 he refused to serve longer on the grand
inquest, the apparent reason being that he had
turned Quaker and could not conscientiously per-
form the duties required of him.

Thereafter he was an object of persecution by



HOWLAND ANCESTRY 3

the authorities of the Colony. In October, 1657,
he was "summonsed to appear at the next March
Court to answare for intertaining Quakers meetings
at his house.' 1 He was fined ten shillings. In
March, 1659, his wife, their son Zoeth, and the
latter 's wife, and Arthur Howland and wife, with
others, were fined ten shillings each for "frequently
absenting themselues from the publicke worship of
God.' : In 1659 Henry Howland was convicted and
sentenced by the Court "to be disfranchised of his
freedom in the corporation" 1 for being an abettor
and entertainer of Quakers. The following year he
was again convicted and fined for a similar offense.
Once, on refusing to pay his fine, his house and lands
were seized by the marshal.

In 1652 Henry Howland was among the original
purchasers of Dartmouth, where his son Zoeth and
four of his six grandsons were destined to become
settlers. He was the owner of half a share, or
one sixty-eighth of the purchase, which was acquired
from the Indians. Subsequently, with twenty-six
others he bought the land known as Assonet, includ-
ing the present town of Freetown, Mass., and here
his son Samuel settled. In 1664 he bought a large
tract of land at Swansea. It is probable that he
lived for a time at Apponegansett, on his share of
the Dartmouth purchase, as his will of 1670 gave to
two of his children his horses and cattle "now run-
ning" there, and his wife's will, four years later,
made this bequest: "Unto my son John Howland
my house at Apponegansett.' 1 His old homestead at
Duxbury was left to his son Joseph, excepting the
"new room," which was reserved for the widow of
the testator.



4 THE ROWLAND HEIRS

Henry Rowland died in Duxbury, Jan. 17, 1671.
His wife was Mary Newland, a sister of William
Newland, who came from Lynn in 1637 and settled
in Sandwich. She died in Duxbury, June 17, 1674.
To the couple were born four sons and four daugh-
ters, Zoeth, Joseph, John, Samuel, Sarah, Elizabeth,
Mary and Abigail, all of whom were legatees under
the wills of both parents.

ZOETH HOWLAND, son of Henry, was born probably
in Duxbury about 1636. In the tenth month, 1656,
he was married to his wife Abigail, as appears by
the Friends' records at Newport, R. I. In 1657 he
took the oath of "Fidelitie" at Duxbury, but be-
cause of his Quaker proclivities held the clergy of
the established church in little esteem. Witness a
deposition of one Samuel Hunt about this time:

"About a fortnight before the date heerof, being att
the house of Zoeth Howlaud, hee said hee would not goe
to meeting to hear lyes, and that the diuill [devil] could
teach as good a sermon as the minnisters; and that a
2cond time being att the house of the said Zoeth How-
land, and his brother, John Hunt, and Tho Delano being
with him, hee questioned with the said Zoeth Howland
whether hee would not goe to the meeting, because the
minnesters taught lyes, and that the diuill could teach as
good a sermon as the minnesters ; and hee said hee denied
it not. Also, Tho Delano questioned him whether the
minnesters taught lyes, and hee said yes, and lett him
looke in the Scriptures and hee should find it soe."

For this audacious utterance Zoeth was arraigned
at the term of Court in March, 1657-58, ' 'for speaking
opprobriously of the minnesters of Gods Word,"
and was sentenced to sit in the stocks. He and his
wife were also fined for not attending the ordained
meetings. It is therefore not surprising that he



ROWLAND ANCESTRY 5

departed from Plymouth, and made his home in
Dartmouth, on a portion of his father's holdings,
where he could breath a freer air. At his death
his estate, as reported to the Court at Plymouth
June 7, 1677, included a quarter share of land valued
at fifteen pounds, a yoke of oxen, three cows, one
mare, and miscellaneous farming and household
utensils. There is no record of a will.

Zoeth Howl and was slain by the Indians at Pun-
catest, in Tiverton, R. L, near the ferry, on March
28, 1676. The ferry was subsequently kept by
Zoeth 's son Daniel, and known for many years as
"Rowland's Ferry. ' It is probable that Zoeth
was going to or from the Friends' meeting at New-
port when he met death. John Cook of Portsmouth,
R. I., at a court-martial held on some Indians at
Newport in August, 1676, testified that being at
Puncatest in the middle of July he asked several
Indians "Who killed Zoeth Howland?' and they
said "there were six in the company and that
Manasses was the Indian that fetched him out of
the water. ' :

Zoeth and Abigail Howland had nine children,
the births of the first eight being established by the
Newport Friends' records. The sons were Nathan-
iel, Benjamin, Daniel, Henry and Nicholas, and the
daughters Lydia, Mary, Sarah and Abigail. The
mother applied to the Court for an order in her
favor to assist in rearing her large family, and on
July 3, 1678, was granted her husband's entire es-
tate, "lands, goods and chattels." On Dec. 2, 1678,
she married Richard Kirby, Jr.

BEXJAMIX HOWLAXD, second son of Zoeth and
Abigail Howland, was born May 8, 1659, and was



6 THE ROWLAND HEIRS

consequently seventeen years old when his father
was slain. At the age of twenty-five, on June 23,
1684, he married Judith Sampson, probably a sister
of his brother Daniel's wife. He may have been
the Howland, first name not stated, who was among
those taking the oath of fidelity in Dartmouth in
1686. The town had been incorporated in 1664 and
the settlement developed gradually. It was here
that many Friends found a refuge from the rigors
of the law elsewhere. In 1694 William Bradford
gave a confirmatory deed to the Proprietors of
Dartmouth, now fifty-six in number, of the vast
extent of land purchased by the Plymouth colonists
forty-two years before, and Benjamin Howland was
among them. The land was afterwards surveyed
by Benjamin Crane and divided, eight hundred
acres being apportioned to each Proprietor. This
was the first dividend on their investment, other
tracts being ultimately set off to each owner or his
heirs. Benjamin Howland 's first allotment was in
the Apponegansett region, on the tract between
the Paskamansett and Apponegansett Rivers called
Nomquid Neck (a name perpetuated in "Nonquitt")
and embracing the territory named after the twin
hills on the shore, the headland called Eound Hill
or Hills.

In 1690 Benjamin bought of Philip Cummings for
nineteen pounds, five shillings, forty acres of upland
in the undivided lands of Dartmouth, and also five
acres of meadow next to land of John Briggs and
Abraham Tucker. On the same day, with charac-
teristic thrift, he sold the lesser part of his pur-
chase, the meadow, for ten pounds ten shillings, a



ROWLAND ANCESTRY 7

goodly profit, apparently, to his elder brother
Nathaniel, and the next day he bought of Nathaniel,
for eleven pounds, one-eighth part of a share of
upland in Dartmouth, and also five and three-
fourths acres of meadow, commonly called the
Round Hill meadow, adjoining one of John Rus-
sell's. Five years later he bought of Russell thirty-
nine acres on Nomquid Neck, at the south end of
the Round Hill meadow. Another purchase at
Round Hills was made as late as 1720, when he paid
John Tucker three pounds for half an acre of salt
marsh. In 1712 his homestead farm was surveyed
by Crane, who located it as lying on the east side
of the way leading to Salt House Point (now Sal-
ters) and found it to contain one hundred forty-six
acres. Eight acres of this was sold to Hezekiah
Smith in 1722 and a month thereafter Benjamin
Howland made his will, disposing of all his real
estate to his two sons. From time to time he had
bought land on the west side of Nomquid Neck
his farm lay on the east side and he also sold off
to sundry settlers various portions of his original
eight hundred acres' allotment.

It is a matter of especial interest that the first
white man to visit this section of the coast landed
somewhere in the vicinity of the Howland farm.
In the summer of 1602 Bartholomew Gosnold had
crossed the bay from Cuttyhunk to return the visits
of the friendly Indians. He came ashore near
Round Hill, called by him Haps Hill, and followed
the coast westward to Gooseberry Neck. The local-
ity was described as possessing "stately groves,
flowery meadows and running brooks," and the ad-



8 THE ROWLAND HEIRS

venturers were delighted with the climate, the
beauty of the country, and the fertility of the soil.
Gosnold's idea of planting a colony in this vicinity,
however, failed.

Benjamin Rowland was active in the affairs of
the Friends in Dartmouth. Jan. 6, 1699, at a meet-
ing held at John Lapham's house arrangements
were made ''to build a meetinghouse for the people