Elizabeth M. Leach (Elizabeth May Leach) Rixford.

Three hundred colonial ancestors and war service, their part in making American history from 495 to 1934 online

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about 1604, where he spent the time until his death in 1616.

Hon. John Washburn and his son John were two of the fifty-six original
proprietors of (the town of Bridgewater) the thousands of acres of land
bought in 1645 of the old Indian chief, Massasoit (King Philip's
father), by Capt. Myles Standish, Samuel Nash and Constant South-
worth, for the use of those proprietors. — "The History of Bridgewater,
Mass.," John and sons Joseph, etc., with Chm-ch in battle in King
Phihp's War.

Service: "Society Colonial Wars," 1922, page 513 — John Washburne, Sr.,
1585-1670, Duxbury, Mass., first secretary of Massachusetts Bay Colony. In
expedition against Narragansetts in 1643, under Captain Myles Standish.

"Journal of American Grenealogy," Vol. 24, page 96 — John
Washburne, Sr., one of the List of Settlers in Plantation of Accawmcoke, in Vir-

Children of John^ and Margery Washburn, b. in Evesham, England:
John, b. in England about 1621.
Philip, b. in Evesham, England about 1624; d. unm.
13. John*, b. in England about 1621; m. at Duxbury, 1645, Elizabeth Mitchell,
b. 1629, whose father, Experience Mitchell, was one of the forefathers

320 Three Hundred Colonial Ancestors and War Service

of the Colony, was with the Pilgrims at Leyden, and came to Plymouth
on the ship, the Anne, 1623. He Uved at Duxbury some years but
removed before 1670 to Bridgewater, and made his will in 1686.
Children of John^:

1. John^, m. Rebeckah Laphram.

2. Thomas^, m. (1) Abigail Leonard; (2) Deliverance Packard.


1. Nathaniel^. 5. Patience*.

2. Thomas*. 6. Deliverance*.

3. Timothy*. 7, Elizabeth*.

4. Hepzibah*.

(Per wiU in 1729.)

3. Joseph^, m. Hannah Latham, granddaughter of Mary Chilton, and

great-granddaughter of Francis Cooke, two of the Mayflower


Children :

1. Joseph*. 6. Edward*.

2. Jonathan*. 7. Benjamin*.

3. Ebenezer*. 8. Hepzibah*.

4. Miles*. 9. Hannah*.

5. Ephraim*.

(Per "American Ancestry," Vol. XII, 1900, page 169, and
"Genealogical Notes of the Washburn Family," by Mrs. Julia
Chase Washburn, pages 26 and 27.)

4. SamueP, b. 1651 ; m. Deborah Packard.

5. Jonathan^, m. Mary Vaughn, of Middleboro, Mass.

6. Benjamin^, d. in Phipps' expedition against Canada.

7. Mary% m. in 1694, Samuel Kinsley.

8. Elimbeth^ m. (1) James Howard; (2) Edward Sealey.

9. Jane^, m. William Orcutt, Jr.

10. James,^ m. Mary Bowden.

11. SaraM, m. 1697, John Ames.

References: "Ebenezer Washburn and His Descendants," by George T.

"Lawrence Leach and His Descendants," by F. Phelps Leach,

Vol. I.
"Genealogy," Vol. I, by the author of this book.

Ebenezer Washburn and Mrs. JuUa Chase Washburn do not give all the chil-
dren the same.

3. Joseph Washbukn, b. 1655, in Bridgewater, Mass.; m. at East Bridge-

water, Mass., Hannah Latham. Joseph Washburn, Captain ("Plymouth
Records," Vol. II, 1705-45, p. 307), John Washburn and his son Joseph,
etc., with Capt. Church in battle in King Philip's War, when the town
was attacked by the Indians.

4. Hepzibah Washburn, b. West Bridgewater, Mass.; d. April 14, 1750;

m. Sept. 8, 1702, at Bridgewater, Mass., Benjamin Leach, Esq., b. at
West Bridgewater, Mass.; d. July 13, 1764.

5. Hannah Leach, dau. of Benjamin and Hepzibah (Washburn) Leach, b.

at West Bridgewater, Mass., March 4, 1725; m. Aug. 6, 1743, at Bridge-
water, Solomon Leach, b. Feb. 19, 1712.

6. Ephraim Leach, b. Dec, 1761; d. Feb. 28, 1840; m. Nov. 17, 1785, at

Greenfield, Mass., Chloe Shattuck, b. Nov. 22, 1766, and d. Jan. 22,

7. Tertius Leach, b. Nov. 21, 1786; d. Feb. 4, 1864; m. Jan. 1, 1811, at

Sheldon, Vt., Sophia Hawley, b. Aug. 17, 1795; d. Jan. 7, 1879.

8. Tertius Hawley Leach, b. May 19, 1813; d. Sept. 19, 1881; m. Feb. 28,

1835, at Sheldon, Vt., to Orisa Fanton, b. May 17, 1812; d. June 24,

Three Hundred Colonial Ancestors and War Service 321

From here same as summary of Descendants of Joanna Arms of Yarmouth,
8th to 10th Generations; The Huguenot Society of Washington; Association for
the Preservation of Virginia Antiques, Richmond, Va.; Colonial Daughters of
the 17th Century, p. 146, No. 772; Daughters of the American Colonists, 1931,
pp. 29-36, No. 2089; ancestry traced by the author of this book.


Descendants of Robert Watson of Plymouth

Robert^ Watson, a bell founder from the west of England,
came with his wife, EHzabeth, and eight children in 1632, to Plym-
outh. His younger brother John came the same year and married,
1634, Alice, widow of Valentine Prentice. John died in 1672. In
1636 Robert, with his sons Robert, Nathaniel and John, went to
Windsor, Conn., where he died in 1637. His widow was living in
Plymouth in July, 1638.

Robert Watson was Deputy to General Court, Marshfield, Mass.,

Children, all born in England:

George, b. 1602, d. 1689; m. 1635, Phebe Hicks (Robert^).

Thomas, d. 1672; m. 1637, Joan .

Samuel, d. 1649, in Plymouth.

Robert, b. 1608, d. 1689; m. 1646, Mary Rockwell.

Edward, d. 1660" m. 1653, Grace, wid. of John Walker.

Nathaniel, Uvea in New Haven.

John, b. a. 1616, d. 1650; m. Margaret (Smith?).

Frances, m. John Rogers.

JoHN^ Watson, son of Robert, was born about 1616, in England. He went
to Hartford from Windsor, Conn., about 1637, and married there
Margaret (Smith?). She was born in England, and tradition says that
Peggy Smith, a fellow passenger on the ship coming to America, fell
overboard. John Watson saved her and later married her.

He was surveyor of highways in Hartford, 1647. In 1645, "The eare marke
for Jo Wattson: a little slitt of the side of the near eare & both the
tops cutt of both eares." He died in Hartford, in 1650, between March
26, the date of his will, and June 4, its probate. He left his property
to his wife, naming portions to be given his son John, when of age, and
five pounds each to his daughters Sara and Mary, at eighteen years old.
His widow died March, 1683. The will of Margarett Wattson, made
March 26, and probated May 31, 1683, mentions her daughters Sarrah
Merrels and Mary Seamor; and granddaughters Mary and Margaret
Seamor; and the new wife of her son John Watson. (The Bassett
Preston Ancestry, pp. 311, 312.)

John Watson was a Juror in Hartford, Conn., in 1644. Lived on Lot No. 9,
So. Mance St. He bought lapd of the Original Proprietors in West Hartford. He
was a highway Surveyor, in 1646. He made his will in 1650. His wife Margaret
d. in 1683. Plymouth Records, Vol. II, 1705-1745, pp. 190-1, John Watson,-
Town Treas., Plymouth, p. 144 (175), Selectman, p. 105, Nov. 14, 1714, Town
Representative; March, 1710, p. 78 (135), Selectman; p. 60, Feb. 22, 1711, John
Watson, Treasurer, Plymouth, March 21, 1711 ; p. 16 (107), John Watson chosen.
Moderator, Nov. 22, 1718; p. 333, Juryman; p. 335, Chosen Juryman (Juror)
May 21, 1705, p. 327, Town Treasurer.

(D. F. P. A. 1913, p. 76— No. 110 John Watson, 1646;
married Ann, his first wife; married second, Margaret Smith,

322 Three Hundred Colonial Ancestors and War Service

between March 25, 1660 and June 4, 1650. She died 1683. (Records
of Hartford, Conn., 1644)— John Watson served as Jury, Surveyor,
1646. He died in Hatfield, leaving a widow, Margaret, who died

Reference: "Genealogy of Conn.," Vol. I, p. 351.

Summary of Ancestry:

1. Robert Watson, b. England, d. 1637; m. England, Elizabeth , b.

England, d. , living in Plymouth, July, 1638.

2. John Watson, b. abt. 1616, d. bet. March 26 and June 4, 1650; m. Margaret

Smith, b. England, d. March, 1683.

3. Sarah Watson, b. , d. ; m. Sept. 23, 1663, John Merrill, b. 1635,

d. July 18, 1712.

4. Dea. Abraham Merrill, b. Dec. 21, 1670, d. Nov. 6, 1747; m. April 16,

1699, Prudence Kellogg, b. , d. Sept. 21, 1747.

5. Margaret Merrill, b. June 6, 1709, d. ; m. Jan. 24, 1734, Samuel

Nash, Esq., b. Jan. 29, 1709, d. .

6. Jerusha Nash, b. Oct. 5, 1734, d. 1796; m. Sept. 8, 1757, Joel Phelps, b.

1732, Windsor, Conn.

7. Phineas Phelps, b. April 10, 1767, d. April 20, 1813; m. New Haven, Vt.,

Lydia Lawrence, b. Jan. 15, 1762, d. Sept. 20, 1813.

8. Nash David Phelps, b. Oct. 4, 1796, d. April 15, 1884; m. April 29, 1821,

EUzabeth Hungerford, b. Feb. 7, 1798, d. Jan. 7, 1878.

From here same as Summary of Arms Ancestry, 8th to 10th Generations;
Colonial Daughters of the 17th Century, p. 136, No. 772; and Daughters of the
American Colonists, 1931, pp. 26-36, No. 2089; ancestry traced by the author of
this book.


("Cleveland Gen.," E. J. and H. J. Cleveland, Vol. I, p. 99)— WeUes, Wells,
Ancestry: 41 arms: (Wells and Brainbridge, Haunts Co., Eng.) Sa. chev. erm.
betw. 3 martlets (Hertfordshire) Ar. 3 pales gu. on a canton ar. mullet sa. Crest —
A Well ppr.

Governor Thomas Welles

Gov. Thomas Welles, ancestor, was born in 1598, being de-
scended from "a family of high rank in Normandy and England, with
royal intermarriages for over seven centuries;" came to America
with his kinsman, Lord Say and Seal, in 1636; occupied the most
important offices in Connecticut, including that of governor; died
January 14, 1660; married first, in England, Elizabeth Hunt. Their
son, John Welles (1621-59), married 1647, Elizabeth, daughter of
John Curtiss. Their son, John Welles (born 1647; died March 24,
1714), married 1669, Mary, daughter of Lieut. John and Joanna
(Treat) Holhster. Their daughter, Sarah Welles (born January 2,
1674), married Ambrose Thompson. (See "Gen. Conn.," Vol. Ill,
page 1453.)

Gov. Thomas Welles (Robert, Thomas), was born in England;
died at Wethersfield, Conn., January 14, 1659-60. He married first,
in England, soon after July 5, 1615, AHce Tomes, who died in Con-
necticut probably not later than 1646, daughter of John Tomes; and
secondly, in Connecticut, about 1646, Elizabeth (Deming) Foote,
who died between August 16, 1682 and September 3, 1683, sister

Three Hundred Colonial Ancestors and War Service 323

of John Deming and widow of Nathaniel Foote, both of Wethersfield.

Gov. Thomas Welles was probably related to Wilham Shake-
speare's family, as Dame Ehzabeth, wife of Sir John Barnard, the
grandmother of Shakespeare, bequeathed in her will £50 to be given
to her cousin Thomas Welles, of Carlton, Bedford, England.
("American Ancestry," Vol. VII, page 216.)

He emigrated to New England with his six children after August
20, 1635 and before April 5, 1636. He was with his wife in Boston,
Mass., June 9, 1636, and perhaps had a house at Cambridge, Mass.,
February 8, 1635/6. He settled at Hartford, Conn., his home lot
being opposite that of Gov. George Wyllys, on what is now Governor
Street. The first mention of Gov. Thomas Welles in the Connecticut
Colony Records is under date of March 29, 1637, when he was a
member of a court held at Hartford. After that his name appears
on almost every page of the Connecticut Colony Records until his
death in 1659/60. He acted as a magistrate at the General Court
held May 1, 1637, and was a magistrate every year thereafter until
his death. He was elected treasurer of the Colony in 1639 and served
until 1641, and was again elected to this office in 1648, and served
until 1652. He was secretary from 1640 until 1648, and commis-
sioner of the United Colonies in 1649 (in Boston).

He was chosen governor in 1655 and 1656; the next year he was
deputy governor and in 1658 was reelected governor of the Colony.
The following year he was deputy governor again, and that ended
his eminently successful and honorable public career. Governor
Welles went to Wethersfield to five.

("History of Ancient and Honorable Artillery Co.," by Whitman,
1842, Page 355) — Capt. Thomas Wells, Boston. (Society Colonial
Wars," pp. 518-519)— Gov. Thomas Wells 15 — 1660, Wethersfield,
Conn. Magistrate, 1637-60, Second Treasurer, 16 — . Deputy
Governor, 1654, Secretary, 1640-48, Governor Pro Tem, 1651,
Commissioner for the United States Colonies, 1649. (Gen. of
Cleve. Fam.) 41 arms Welles or Wells "Wells and Brainbridge
Haunts County England" Sa Cher Arm — betw. 3 Martlets "Herford-
shire" ar 3 pels gu: on a Cantonar, Lynn, Mass., New Haven.

A writer says of the Governor:

"Governor Welles possessed the full confidence of the people, and many of
the most important of the early laws and papers pertaining to the founding of
the Colony were drafted by him. The successful issue of Connecticut from her
difficulty concerning the fort erected at Saybrook on one side and the Dutch
enchroachments on the other was largely due to his skill and wisdom." (See
"The Governors of Connecticut," by Frederick Calvin Norton, pages 19 to 21.)

Concerning the exact spot where the Governor's remains lie
buried, there has been considerable controversy among the historians.
Benjamin Trumbull, the eminent historian, wrote regarding this:

"Though Governor Welles was first buried at Wethersfield, his remains
were afterwards removed to Hartford. Four of the first governors of Connecticut,
Haynes, Wyllys, Welles and Webster, He buried at Hartford without a monu-
ment. Considering their many and important public services this is remarkable.

324 Three Hundred Colonial Ancestors and War Service

But their virtues have embahned their names and will render their names venerable
to the latest posterity."

Albert Welles, a biographer of the Governor, says that his remains
were buried

"on the top of the hill near the fence on the south side of the old yard, in the rear
of the meeting-house, where the remains of the Welles family for many generations
now he grouped."

One of the very best authorities on this question contends that
the Governor was buried at Wethersfield and was never removed
from that town. This seems to be the general belief. (See "The
Governors of Connecticut," by Frederick Calvin Norton, pages 19
to 21.)

Children, by first wife, born in England:

1. John.

2. Thomas.

3. Samuel.

4. Mary, d. in Connecticut, probably before Nov. 7, 1659, for her father, in

his will of that date, bequeathed to "My Daughter Maryes Children."

5. Ann, d. before Oct. 19, 1680; m. (1) April 14, 1646, Thomas Thompson,

who d. April 20, 1655; m. (2) Anthony Hawkins, who was later one of
the patentees of the Connecticut Charter. Thomas Thompson was a
deputy to the General Court in 1650 and a constable in 1653.

6. Sabah, b. abt. 1631; d. Dec. 12, 1698, age 67 (gravestone); m. in Feb.,

1653/4, Capt. John Chester, of Wethersfield.

References: "The New England Historical and Genealogical Register,"
pages 300, 301, 302.
"The Governors of Connecticut," pages 19, 20 and 21.

Descendants of Gov. Thomas Welles as follows:

1. Gov. Thomas Welles (England-Jan. 14, 1659-60); m. in England soon

after July 5, 1615, AHce Tomes (1619-1646); m. (2) Anthony Hawkins.

2. Thomas Thompson (bapt. Oct. 1, 1610-April 20, 1655); m. April 14, 1646,

Ann WeUes (d. before Oct. 19, 1680).

3. Samuel Hawley (1647 ); m. May 20, 1673, Mary Thompson (bapt.

June 7, 1653 ).

4. Matthew^ Hawley (Nov. 7, 1680 ); m. ( ).

5. Matthew^ Hawley (Feb. 16, 1720-May 31, 1790); m. Bethia (March

19, 1728-Jan. 24, 1786).

6. James Hawley (1760-April 14, 1836); m. Feb. 12, 1793, Martha (Stevens)

Waterhouse (May 12, 1761 ).

7. Tertius Leach (Nov. 21, 1786-Feb. 4, 1864); m. Jan. 1, 1811, Sophia

Hawley (Aug. 17, 1798-Jan. 7, 1879).

8. Teetius Hawley Leach (May 19, 1813-Sept. 19, 1881); m. Feb. 28, 1835,

Orisa Fanton (May 17, 1812-June 24, 1890).

9. HoEACE Brayton Leach (Sept. 25, 1836-May 6, 1919); m. Sept. 8, 1863,

Caroline Alexandria Phelps (July 3, 1840-March 29, 1921).
10. OscAE Herbert Rixfoed (Dec. 27, 1859-Sept. 11, 1927); m. Sept. 8, 1889,

Elizabeth May Leach (Jan. 7, 1866-Uving May 6, 1931). Mrs. EUzabeth

Rixford was accepted a member of The Society of Colonial Governors

to Governor Thomas Wells.
11: Oscar Adelbert Rexford (Aug. 4, 1890-Uving May 6, 1931); m. Jan. 18,

1919, Mary Carolyn Hefflon (June 6, 1899-living May 6, 1931).

Children :

Mary-Elizabeth Lenora (Oct. 6, 1922-living May 6, 1931).
Oscar Theodore (July 21, 1925-Uving May 6, 1931).

Reference: Records of Elizabeth M. Rixford.

Three Hundred Colonial Ancestors and War Service 325

Wells Family in England

1602 John Welles, son of Nicholas Welles of Sturton, Jan. 27, 1602/3.
1602 Marie Welles, bastd dau. of Ellen Welles of Sturton, Feb. 4, 1603/4.

1605 Thomas Welles, son of Nicholas Welles of Sturtone, March 2, 1605/6.

1606 Katherine Welles, dau. of WUl. Welles of Sturton, May 3.

1608 Susanna Welles, dau. of William Welles of Sturton (?) Jan. 24, 1608/9.

1610 Marie Wells, dau. of Nicolas Wells of Stowertone, April 27.

1611 William Wells, son of William Wells of Stowertowne, Dec. 21.

1612 Richard Welles, son of Nicolas Welles of Stowerton, July 5.
1612 RoBERTE Welles, son of Richard Welles of Stourton, Aug. 9.

1612 (prob. an error, the scribe having very likely written 1612 instead of 1613)
John Wells, son of Richard Wells of Stourton, Aug. 15.

1615 William Wells, son of Nicolas Wells of Stourton, April 2.
1615 Walter Wells, son of William Wells of Stourton, 24 May.
1615 Nicolas Wells, son of Richard Wells of Stourton, June 24.
1615 Ambros Wells, Oct. 29.
1617 Jane Wells, daughter of Nicolas Wells of Stourton, June 1.

1617 Jane Wells, daughter of Ricd. Wells of Stourton, June 29.

1618 Elinor Wells, daughter of Nich. Wells of Stourton, July 26.

1618 Nicolas Wells, son of William Wells of Stourton, Sept. 27.

1619 Luce Wells, daughter of Nicolas Wells, Nov. 14.

1620 Marie Wells, daughter of Richard Wells of Stourton, April 16.

1621 John Wells, son of Walter Wells, March 3, 1621/2.

1622 Luce Welles, daughter of Rich. Welles (or Wells) of Stourton, May 26.

1626 Richard Wells, son of Richard Wells of Stourton, March 26.

1627 William Wells, son of John Wells of Stourton, Dec. 30.

1628 Richard Wells, son of Richard Wells of Stourton, Oct. 19.
1630 Anne Wells, daughter of John Wells of Stourton, May 10.


1607 Richard WeUs (or WeUes) and EUzabeth Hitchcockes, 11 (?) Feb., 1607/8.

1608 Nicholas Welles and Anne Welles, July 7.

1629 Nicholas Wells and Mary Spicer, July 30.

1635 John Wells and Elizabeth TaUor, April 25. (?— the 2nd digit "5" in this date
is somewhat doubtful.)

1601 Thomas WeUes of Sturton, June 1.
1604 GyUan (?) Wells (?) of Sturton, April 12.
1607 Nicholas Weles of Sturton, Nov. 18.

1609 Ann Wells of Stowertown, widow, March 16, 1609/10.

1613 Richard WeUs of Stourton, May 16.

1615 Ellin WeUs (?), dau. of Robert Wells (?), Dec. 20.

1617 Robert WeUs, Sept. 24.

1617 Jane Wells, dau. of Richard WeUs of Stourton, Oct. 27.

1622 Luce WeUs, daughter of Richard WeUs of Stourton, June 11.

1624 Joane Wells of Stourton, Aug. 3.

1626 Richard WeUs, son of Richard Wells of Stourton, Nov. 7.

1627 Bridget Wells, wife of WUUam WeUs of Sturton, Jan. 3, 1627/8.

1627 WilUam WeUs, son of John WeUs of Stourton, Jan. 10, 1627/8.

1628 Richard WeUes, son of Richard WeUs of Stourton, Oct. 25.
1628 Anne WeUs, wife of Nicholas of Stourton, Nov. 17.

1630 Jonane (sic, ? Joane) WeUs, wife of John Wells of Stourton, Dec. 27. (?—

the 2nd digit in this date is somewhat doubtful.)

1631 Nicholas Wells, son of Rychard Wells of Stourton, Sept. 14.
1635 Nicholas WeUs of Whichford, July 21.

N. E. H. Reg., Vol. 83-84, 1929-1930, Notes, p. 343 and 344— From the Parish
Registers of Whickford, Co. Warwick, 1601-1635. (John WeUs was churchwarden
in 1614 and signed the registers for that year.)

326 Three Hundred Colonial Ancestors and War Service


A Genealogy, while primarily an account of persons directly or
indirectly connected with a certain family and a recital of their
deeds, is, in a secondary sense, a recital of the deeds of those who
bear the family name. It is difficult, indeed, to follow a genealogy
through its manifold entanglements save by the clues afforded in
the use of the family name or names, and it is therefore of primary
importance to determine the variants of the original cognomen.
The genealogy of the "Wheeler" family would be utterly incomplete,
for example, if it did not include also the records of the "Wheler"
and "Whaler" families; at the same time it would be incorrect
were it to include the "Wheeland" family, which, in spite of the
apparent similarity of the first syllable, seems to have sprung from
an entirely different source and is the patronymic of an unrelated

The name first appears in history in the eighth century, when one
of the Saxon chieftains is recorded as bearing the name "Wielher."
As the word shows progressive changes from that date onward,
there is no great difficulty in tracing the character of that change.
Thus, in the great Domesday Book of William the Conqueror, the
name appears as "Weleret," the holder of the name being recorded
as a landowner. "Hugh le Welere" is mentioned on the One Hundred
Rolls in 1273 and "Rich le Whelere" on the Close Rolls in 1348.
The spelling "Wheeler" does not appear until later, not until a date
which precludes its origin having borne any relation to a trade, such
as a wheelwright.

Without entering into this question in too much detail, it may be
pointed out that three dominant facts stand out from these early
historical references. Of these, the significance of the early estab-
lishment of the cognomen comes first. No instance, prior to the
ninth century, is known of an Anglo-Saxon family bearing on a
surname from generation to generation, and there are not more than
half-a-dozen in which a surname crops up frequently, every second
or third generation. In such cases, these foreshadowed surnames,
if such they may be called, are found in families strongly established,
holding positions of quasi-chieftainship in their respective localities.
When, therefore, the name "Wheler" is traced from the eighth
century to the Norman Conquest, when it is found to have survived
triumphantly the revolutionary overthrow of tenure in that Con-
quest and to have maintained its individuality until the period of
the definite establishment of surnames, there is strong evidence of
the solidity and enduring worth of the family that bore so honored
a name throughout a period of such storm and stress.

In Colonial records alone, the variations in spelling the old "Wel-
hari" name are as follows: "Weler" and "Weeler", "Wheler,"
"Whelir" and "Whelor;" "Whalor" (which has nothing to do with
"Wheelar," and "Wheeler) ;" "Whealer" and "Whealor;" "Wheller,"
and "Wheter" (which is probably a misspelling).

Three Hundred Colonial Ancestors and Wa/r Service 327

The third striking point is the meaning of the name "Wheeler"
itself. For this, it is evident, determination must be made from the
earliest form on record. How significant is this early appearance
has been mentioned, a fact all the more remarkable when it is
remembered that surnames do not appear in general use until the
eleventh and twelfth centuries. This early spelhng "Wielher" is
evidently a compound of two Anglo-Saxons words "wel" or ''Wiel"
meaning "prosperous" or "Fortunate," from which derivation the
modern word "Weal" and "wealth" may be traced; and the Anglo-
Saxon word "hari" or "heri" a warrior, aroot traceable in the modern
word "hero." The present spelling of the family name "Wheeler,"
therefore, is a spelling of words which in their modern form would
be "Weal-Hero" or in the Anglo-Saxon words "welhari." The
meaning of the family name, therefore, is clearly "the lucky warrior,"
or "the prosperous hero."

In America, prior to the year 1650, it may confidently be affirmed
that no other one surname was borne by as many families as the
name Wheeler. Numerous families bearing that name were domi-
ciled in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania,
Maryland and Virginia. In the New England Colony Savage says
that in the year 1640, there were in Concord alone thirty-five families
bearing the name, and Hudson says that there were more families
of that name in town than of any other.

The principal reasons for the emigration of the Wheelers from England natur-
ally closely paralleled the causes which led to almost all the emigration at that
period. Chief among these reasons was the infamous Act of 1593, which said
all persons above sixteen years of age, who obstinately refuse to attend divine
service at some established church, should be committed to prison, without bail,
until they should conform and make pubhc confession of conformity, in terms
prescribed by the statute itself." "This atrocious statute," said Edward Everett,
"ia its final result peopled New England."

Hopes that relief from the iniquities of this Act would be reaUzed upon the

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