Family:Whitney, Jonathan (c1634-1703)

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Jonathan2 Whitney (John1), son of John1 and Elinor (-----) Whitney,[1] was born about 1634, probably in or near London,[2] and died 1 Jan 1702/3, Sherborn, MA.[3]

He married 30 Oct 1656, Watertown, MA,[4], Lydia Jones, daughter of Lewis and Anna (-----) JONES.[5] She was born about 1632 in England, and died 3 Feb 1701/2, Sherborn, MA.[6]

He came with his parents in 1635 on the "Elizabeth and Ann" from London, recorded as aged 1 year.[7]

On 5 (2) mo. [Apr] 1653 Jonathan WHITNEY took the oath of fidelity in Watertown.[8]

"About 1659, his father gave him 39 acres of land, which he had purchased of Richard Woodward. Nov. 7, 1664, Jonathan Whitney, and wife Lydia, sold, for £40, this land, situated in the little plain in Wat., to Thomas Flagg. Nov. 7, 1664, he sold to Richard Child, 5 acres of meadow, situated on a branch of Stony Brook. ... [See Barry, p. 436.]"[9]

"Jonathan WHITNEY was admitted an inhabitant of Sherborn in 1679. That year he signed the social compact entered into by all the inhabitants. In 1681 he was one of a committee about division of common lands and signed an agreement about building a church. He ... settled near Chestnut Brook.

"His will is dated Jan. 12, 1702. The agreement of his heirs is dated Charlestown, Jan. 21, 1714. He d. in 1702. Res. Watertown and Sherborn, Mass."[10]

The will of Jonathan Whitney, Sr., of Sherborn, MA, was dated 12 Jan 1702 and proved 1 Mar 1702/3. It mentions children Jonathan Whitney, John Whitney, Josiah Whitney, Joseph Whitney, Benjamin Whitney, Lydia Addams, and Abigail Whitney, to share equally; grandchild Benjamin Fisher and grandchild Ann Fisher, under 18. Witnesses were Nathanell Coolidg, Thomas Whitney, and Munings Sawin.[11]

In 1996, Smith and Sanborn wrote:

Jonathan Whitney took the oath of fidelity in 1652 (Pulsifer, 301).


In 1659, Jonathan's father gave him thirty-nine acres in Watertown, five acres of which Jonathan and Lydia subsequently sold to Richard Child on 7 November 1664 (Middlesex Deed 3:80-81). Lydia signed her name to this deed, as indicated in the copybook, but no original sample of her writing survives.

At the March 1664 Watertown selectmen's meeting, it was found that

whereas Jonathan whetny & Danill Meddup are intendinge to goe to Cape Pare: & the towne feareinge thir wives or children may be in want in their absence: & thay not beinge willinge to satisfy the select-men upon thefr demand:
  The town apoynted goodman Baitow goodman Colledge & goodman Tayntor to Call Jonathan whetney & Danili Meddup before Mr Danforth or sum other magistrate
  which acordingly was done: & Jonathan whetney before mr Danforth ingaged to leave (for his wives & childrens supply in his absence: in the hand of Tho. Flegg) as a debt then due 36£: to be paid yearly in 3 years: & the vallew of 14£ in Cattell in his wives hand (WTR 1:83).

Nathan Fisk Jr. and Jonathan Whitney were chosen to be Watertown's hogreeves in the year 1674 (WTR 1:121). In 1676, Jonathan was charged for his share of the fines of hogs and cattle, 12s (WTR 1:126). He may have been away at the time, since his service from Watertown in King Philip's War dated from 24 August 1676 (Bodge, 273,376). He was paid in 1677 for his work on the mill bridge, 8s (WTR 1:132).

Jonathan Whitney and his son, John, were witnesses in the attempted rape case of Sam, an Indian. On 30 August 1671, Mary Bacon, wife of Daniel Bacon of Cambridge, was returning home with her husband on a horse-drawn cart, when they arrived at the river. Mary and Daniel crossed, but Mary was in a hurry to get home, so she asked Daniel to wait for the cart, while she went on ahead a quarter of a mile to their house. She deposed that "when I was goften within about 20 roods of[f] from the house, a man coming sudingly behind me claping his hands upon my eyes" knocked her down and flipped her clothing over her head. Pinned to the ground she struggled and called out, nearly suffocating, but succeeding in frightening the man away (Suffolk File #1050). Although she never actually saw the man who attacked her, she named Sam, an Indian, who lived nearby as her assailant. Among the deponents who came forward in the case was "John Whitney aged about 9 years" who testified that on that day he had been looking for sheep with Sam, son of William Indian, who soon ran up toward Goodman Bacon's, and it getting dark, young Whitney "went home & about one quarter of an houre after the said Sam came to my father's house near the bridge foot at Waftertown mill." Not long after Sam left, John saw a woman pass by towards Goodman Bacon's house on the highway. He told his father, who also came to testify:

Jonathan Whitney aged about 36 yeares examined sayth that in sd evening upon ye 30 August after it ye day light was Gone, hee being abeute half a mile of[f] hee herd a doleful cry hee suposed a woman's cry & it twas toward ye house of daniel Bacon as I conseive fromm sd plase wher I was; but who it was yt so cried I know not also when he came Hom yt night & hering of the buisnes about Goodman Bacon's wife Asault had examined his sonne John Whitney who the[n] did relate unto me the substance of what is contaned in his examination taken before Capt Gookin (Suffolk File #1050)

Sam the Indian was near the scene of the crime, but no one, not even the victim, saw him attempt the assault. He was committed to prison.

Jonathan Whitney served from Watertown in King Philip's War (Bodge, 273, 376).

In 1679 Jonathan became an inhabitant of Sherborn, MA. With five other men, Jonathan Whitney was appointed to lay out highways leading from Sudbury, Sherborne, Marlborough and Framingham, and Falls upon Charles River, "so as may be most convenient for the accommodation of travaillers from Towne to town both for men & beast" (15 December 1684, Pulsifer, 4:139). His involvement with the town and colony roads continued to the end of his life, when on 15 December 1702 the Middlesex Court ordered that Jonathan Whitney Senr be paid for his work in ordering the building of a bridge on the way from Natick to Boston at the falls (Middlesex County General Sessions).

In July of 1683 Jonathan Whitney was unsuccessfully sued by George Fairbanks and others (Inferior Ct. of Pleas, Suffolk Co.).

Several days before his death, Jonathan Whitney made his will:

In the name of God, amen
I Jonathan Whitney of Sherborne in the County of Middx within her Majesties Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England yeom: being weeke of body but in sound & disposing memory Praise be given to god for the same; doe make this my last wrn & testament in manner & forme following, that is to say, first & principally I Resign my Soule into the mercyfull hands of almighty god my Creator, assuredly hoping through the merits of my blessed saviour to obtaine pardon & remission of all my sins, and my body I comit to the earth whence it was taken, to be decently buried by the desc[rJ etion of my executors herein after named; and as for the worldly goods and estate the lord hath lent me, I dispose thereof as follows
  Impr my will is that after my Just dets and funerall charges be paid, that all the rest & residue of my estate both housing lands, chattle & other my movables (ten pounds excepted) be equally divided betwen my children Jonathan Whitney, John Whitney, Josiah Whitney, Joseph Whitney, Benjamin Whitney, Lydia Addams and Abigail Whitney to them & their heires for ever.
  I give & bequeath to my grandchild Benjamin Fisher fower pounds towards his bringing up to be pd to my Daughter Abigaill Whitney within six months after my Deces, to be pd by my executors.
  I give and bequeath to my grandchild Anna Fisher six pounds to be pd her by my executors when she is of ye age of eighteen years or day of Marriag, which shall first happen, and I doe nominate appoint & ordaine my abovessl Sons Jonathan Whitney & John Whitney my executors to se this my last will & testament performed, making null & voide all former or other wills by me heretofore made. In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seale this twenty first Day of December one thousand seven hundred & two, and In the first year of her Majesties Reign Anne by ye grace of God of England &c. Queene
Signed, Sealed and Published
In the Prsence of us Jonathan Whitney
Nathaniel Coilldg
Thomas Whitney
Munings Sawin
(Proved Cambridge 1 March 1702[/3])
An Inventory of the Estate of Jonathan Whitney Late of Sherborne Deceasd Jany 1 1702/3 as it was taken by us whose names are underwritten viz.
Imp: His wareing apparrell, books, money & armes 04.06.00
Beds and Beding and Houshold ware 11.14.00
Cart, plow & other utersills 02.12.00
one horse cattell and swine 24.08.00
Buildings & Lands and grain 88.16.00
Totall 131.16.00
Benoni Larned
John Coollidg
March 1 1702[/3] (Middlesex Probate #24690)

Following his death, on 21 January 1714/5, the heirs of Jonathan Whitney Sr., late of Sherborn, being Jonathan, John, Josiah, Joseph, and Benjamin Whitney, and Lydia Adams and Abigail Whitney, all called his "orphants," acknowledged a 1702/3 agreement to leave the real estate to Joseph and Benjamin, with these two paying small sums to their remaining siblings (Middlesex Deed 17:167-9). Benjamin had to forfeit some of his portion because he neglected to settle some of the debts of the estate.[12]

Children of Jonathan2 and Lydia (Jones) Whitney, all born in Watertown, MA:

i. Lydia3 Whitney, b. 3 Jul 1657,[13] m. Moses Adams.
ii. Jonathan Whitney, b. 20 Oct 1659;[14] m. Sarah Hapgood.
iii. Anna Whitney, b. 29 Apr 1660;[15] m. Cornelius Fisher.
iv. John Whitney, b. 26 Jun 1662;[16] m.(1) Mary Hapgood; m.(2) Sarah Haven; m.(3) Martha (How) Walker.
v. Josiah Whitney, b. 19 May 1663;[17] m.(1) Mary -----; m.(2) Abigail Martin.
vi. Elinor Whitney, b. 12 Oct 1666,[18] d. 23 Nov 1678, Watertown, MA,[19] unmarried.
vii. James Whitney, b. 25 Nov 1668,[20] d. 30 Nov 1690, Sherborn, MA,[21] unmarried.
viii. Isaac Whitney, b. 12 Jan 1671,[22] d. 2 Dec 1690, Sherborn, MA,[23] unmarried.
v. Joseph Whitney, b. 10 Mar 1673;[24] m. Rebecca Burge.
vi. Abigail Whitney, b. 18 Aug 1675,[25] d. 7 Jun 1704, Sherborn, MA,[26] unmarried.
xi. Benjamin Whitney, b. 6 Jan 1679;[27] m. Mercy Travis.


1.^  His parentage is proven by the immigration ship list and his mention in his father's will.

2.^  The date is estimated from his reported age of 1 year on the passenger list of the "Elizabeth and Ann", April 1635.

3.^  "Jonathan [Whitney], [died] Jan. 1, 1702-3," according to Thomas W. Baldwin, ed., Vital Records of Sherborn, Massachusetts, to the Year 1850 (Boston, MA: 1911).

4.^  "Jonathan Whetny & Lidia Jones, m. 30 Oct 1656," according to Watertown Records, Comprising the First and Second Book of Town Proceedings, with the Land Grants and Possessions. Also, the Proprietors' Book, and the First Book of and Supplement of Births, Deaths, and Marriages (Watertown, MA: Historical Society, 1894), p. 18.

5.^  Henry Bond, Genealogies of the Families and Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts, Including Waltham and Weston (2nd ed., 1860), p. 644.

6.^  "Lidia [Whitney], w. of Jonathan Sr., [died] Feb. 3, 1701-2," according to Sherborn Vital Records.

7.^  "Founders of New England", NEHGR, vol. XIV (1860), pp. 308-309. Apparently the same passenger list can be found in Mass. Hist. Coll, Third Series, Vol. X, p. 24.

8.^  Benjamin Osgood Peirce, "Capt. Hugh Mason's Gravestones", NEGHR, vol. XXXIV (1880), pp. 280-281, p. 281.

9.^  Bond, loc. cit.

10.^  Frederick C. Pierce, The Descendants of John Whitney (Chicago, IL: 1895), p. 24.

11.^  Middlesex County, MA, probate file #24,690.

12.^  Dean Crawford Smith and Melinde Lutz Sanborn, The Ancestry of Eva Belle Kempton, 1878-1908. Part I: The Ancestry of Warren Francis Kempton, 1817-1879 (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1996), pp. 536-539.

13.^  "Lidia Whetney, d. Jonathan & Lidia Whetney, b. 3 Jul 1657," according to Watertown Records, vol. 1, p. 19.

14.^  "Jonnathan Whetny, s. Jonathan & Lydia, b. 20 Oct 1659," according to Watertown Records, vol. 1, p. 21.

15.^  "Annah, d. Jonathan & Lydia Whetny, b. 28 Apr 1660," according to Watertown Records, vol. 1, p. 22.

16.^  "John Whetny, s. Jonathan & Lyida Whetny, b. 27 4mo 1662," according to Watertown Records, vol. 1, p. 24.

17.^  "Josiah Whetny, s. Jonathan & Lydia Whetny, b. 19 May 1663," according to Watertown Records, vol. 1, p. 26.

18.^  "Elin Whetny, d. Jonathan & Lidy Whetny, b. 12 Oct 1666," according to Watertown Records, vol. 1, p. 28.

19.^  "Elinor Whitny, d. Jonathan & Lidia Whitny, d. 23 9mo 1678," according to Watertown Records, vol. 1, p. 44.

20.^  "James Whittny, s. Jonathan & Lidya Whettny, b. 25 9mo 1668," according to Watertown Records, vol. 1, p. 30.

21.^  "Deaths ... [Whitney,] James, Nov. 30, 1690," according to Sherborn Vital Records.

22.^  "Isaack Whetny, s. Jonathan & Lydia Whetny, b. 12 Jan 1670," according to Watertown Records, vol. 1, p. 33.

23.^  "Deaths ... [Whitney,] Isaac, Dec. 5, 1690," according to Sherborn Vital Records.

24.^  "Jofeph Whetny, s. Jonathan & Lidya, b. 10 Mar 1672," according to Watertown Records, vol. 1, p. 36.

25.^  "Abigall Whetny, d. Jonathan & Lydia Whetny, b. 18 Aug 1675," according to Watertown Records, vol. 1, p. 40.

26.^  "Deaths ... [Whitney,] Abigail, d. of Jonathan and Lydia, June 7, 1704," according to Sherborn Vital Records. "A deed by the heirs of Jonathan Whitney selling land to their brothers Joseph and Josiah, dated 12 January 1702/3, is supposedly acknowledged 21 January 1714/5 by all the heirs, including Abigail, but the casual wording of the acknowledgement leaves room for the interpretation that since Abigail's only heirs were her siblings, it made no difference whether she acknowledged or not (Middlesex Deed 17:167-168). Consequently, there is no conflict in identifying her as the Abigail who died in 1704," according to Dean Crawford Smith and Melinde Lutz Sanborn, The Ancestry of Eva Belle Kempton, 1878-1908. Part I: The Ancestry of Warren Francis Kempton, 1817-1879 (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1996), pp. 540-541.

27.^  "Benjamin Whitny, s. Jonathan & Lidia Whitny, b. 6 Jan 1678," according to Watertown Records, vol. 1, p. 44.

Copyright © 2006, Robert L. Ward and The Whitney Research Group