Wilson (or Willson), Elizabeth (Sprague) (Doyle), of Rehoboth MA and Putney VT

Several of Elizabeth (Sprague) (Doyle) Wilson’s descendants were in Putney, Windham County, Vermont, in the 1780s and after. Elizabeth’s only child by her first husband, Bartholomew Doyle, was Elizabeth, married 26 Mar 1749,[1] Rehoboth, Bristol County, Massachusetts, to Obadiah Joy. They had a large family, and together with most of their children, they moved to Putney VT before 1777. An individual — Joy, no first name given, died there in 1777, possibly Elizabeth. Obadiah Joy, “of Putney,” was married 31 Oct 1798, Marlboro, Windham Co VT, to Molly Park.[2]

Sometime after the death of Bartholomew Doyle and the death of the first wife of Benjamin Wilson, Elizabeth married Benjamin Wilson. There is confusion in the records concerning events which should have followed clearly in sequence.

·       Elizabeth, the first wife of Benjamin Wilson, died in Rehoboth MA, 10 Jul 1731.[3]

·       Benjamin Willson “of England” married Elizabeth “Sprague” 15 Dec 1730.[4]

·       The first child of Benjamin and Elizabeth Wilson was Nathaniel, who died in West Stockbridge, MA, 21 Apr 1821, “in his 89th yr.” His birth is thus between 22 Apr 1731 and 21 Apr 1732; since the Rehoboth Records say he was born 10 Jun 1733, it has been estimated his most likely date of birth was 10 Jun 1731.[5]

·       The next child of Benjamin and Elizabeth was John, born 29 Oct 1733 in Rehoboth.

·       The couple also had six additional children, born regularly from 1735 to 1746.

Reports to the Wilson Association, USA, published in 1866, states on page 24 that Elizabeth Sprague Darryl [sic] married as his second wife Benjamin Willson, and had seven sons and one daughter: Nathaniel, John, Lucas, Ammi, Benjamin, Jonathan, Ezekiel. This book affirms that he married the Widow Darril, whose maiden name was Sprague. Genealogists in Massachusetts, in co-operation with Dr. William Alexander McAuslan, Historian General of Mayflower Society apparently in the 1930s, accepted this Benjamin Willson and Elizabeth Sprague Darril or Doyle Willson as parents of Benjamin Willson, born Rehoboth, MA, 11 Apr 1739, married 1762 Sarah Saben. But the General Society of Mayflower Descendants has since rejected the Willson children as line carriers, while accepting Elizabeth’s daughter from her first marriage, Elizabeth (Doyle) Joy.[6]

The problem with acceptance of the lineage of descendants of Benjamin Wilson (or Willson) and Elizabeth (Sprague) (Doyle) Wilson lies in the faulty chronology of the vital records of Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA, along with the fact that some records were added decades later than the events.


Theory that makes Nathaniel a son of the first wife

Ken Stevens, Wilsons From New England, Vol “J” descendants of JohnN Wilson of Woburn, Massachusetts, n.d., suggests on page 44 that Nathaniel was the last child of Benjamin’s first wife, born probably 10 Jun 1731, a month before Elizabeth’s death on 10 Jul 1731. Stevens passes over the errors in Benjamin’s second marriage record: Benjamin was from Woburn not England; the second Elizabeth was the widow Doyle, no longer Miss Elizabeth Sprague. So it appears to be no problem when he transfers the year of the marriage from 1730, when the first wife was still living, to Dec 1731 or even 1732.

Stevens’s rationale is that the second marriage and the birth of Nathaniel were added to the other Willson records in Rehoboth after Mar 1812, almost a century after the events. This town clerk was Josiah Blanding, a nephew of Lucy Blanding, the wife of Jonathan Wilson, one of Benjamin and the second Elizabeth’s sons. At the instigation of Jonathan, these delayed entries changed Benjamin’s origin to England. The reason was an attempt to acquire a British fortune.[7][8]


Theory that had four couples named Benjamin and Elizabeth

In an article in The New England Historical and Genealogical Record, Vol 135, p 302, Kenneth C Stevens continues his discussion of the issue in an article entitled “Must the Circle Stay Unbroken? Three Benjamin Wilsons of Rehoboth MA.” Here Stevens starts with the clear facts that a marriage existed between Benjamin William and Elizabeth, a descendant of Richard Warren of the Mayflower, and that this marriage produced seven or eight children. Stevens previously twisted and compresed facts until they fit an acceptable pattern; this time the same writer accepts each fact as written and allows no mistakes in the records; enough characters and marriages must be created to cover all these events.

Stevens lists four women named Elizabeth in Rehoboth who were married to men named Benjamin Wilson.

·    Benjamin Wilson (1670-1750) is buried in Ashford CT where he died. He married Elizabeth, ca 1693, who died in Ashford in 1766. This couple moved from Woburn to Rehoboth ca 1697, and there joined his brother Francis. He moved on to Connecticut about 1733.

·    This couple’s son Benjamin Jr (1695-living 1772) had a first wife Elizabeth, possibly Ross, with whom he lived some years in Woodbridge, Middlesex Co NJ. They move to Putney by 1727, and Elizabeth died after having at least one child by 10 Jul 1731, when she died there.

·    A different Benjamin Wilson “of England” married an Elizabeth Sprague. They became the parents of Nathaniel on 10 Jun 1733.[9] But they could not have been the parents of son John born 29 Oct 1733. SO Stevens must account for seven additional children of some Benjamin and some Elizabeth.

·    Ebenezer J Ormsbee’s family records, published in H O Smith’s Reports to the Wilson Association, USA, published in 1866, states straightforwardly that Benjamin Wilson had a first wife, Elizabeth [Roff?] by whom he had three sons in NJ, then he married the widow Darril, maiden name Sprague, by who he had seven sons and one daughter.

Stevens admitted that his two theories cannot both be true. Either the town records or the family records, kept carefully somewhere, possibly in a Bible, were mistaken.[10]


Theory that Benjamin Wilson had two families at the same time

In another article a few years later, “Benjamin Wilson of Rehoboth: Further Clues,” in NEHGR Vol 140, p 264, Kenneth C Stevens cites Robert S Trim of Rehoboth, who brought forth the facts that James Blanding, the town clerk who recorded the two questionable facts, Benjamin’s second marriage, and son Nathanial’s birth, would not have had any personal evidence when he inserted the missing dates into the Vital Records. Prior to Blanding’s term in office, the records contained the death of the first wife, 10 Jul 1731, and the births of all the children of Benjamin and the second Elizabeth which took place after sufficient time had clearly passed since the death of the first wife as to appear “respectable.” Fueled by tales of English wealth, Jonathan Wilson and his nephew Blanding added a marriage date and birth date for the first child. Doubtless, Benjamin and his second Elizabeth did not marry in Dec 1730; that would have been bigamy. But when their first boy Nathaniel made his appearance in Jun 1731, a wedding in the previous year must have become part of the “Established Wilson Family Tradition.” This is only guessing, but Blanding wrote “of England” to tie Benjamin to the treasure, he wrote “Sprague” instead of Doyle to seem more British and less Irish, and he added two years Nathaniel’s birthday, since 1733 might make things look even better.


Mayflower Families Theories

Mayflower Families, Vol 18: 2, the Richard Warren volume, with his daughter Mary Bartlett concluded: “The data on the purported marriage [of Elizabeth (Spragur) Doyle] to Benjamin Wilson is so flawed it cannot be accepted as proof.” Really, the problem, as stated earlier is how to place Nathaniel. Robert S Wakefield posits that either

·      Nathaniel was a son of the first wife.

·      Nathaniel was an illegitimate child of Benjamin Wilson and Elizabeth Doyle.[11]

·      The death date of the first is wrong by a year or more.


Given the evidence I have found of continuing relationships between some of the children of Elizabeth’s Joy and Wilson descendants, I see no reason to continue denying Mayflower Society membership to the seven younger children of Benjamin and Elizabeth.


The family of Obadiah and Elizabeth (Doyle) Joy—documented descendants eligible for the Mayflower Society— was:

1. Obadiah JOY. Born on 18 Jan 1726/1727 in Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA, Obadiah died in Chautauqua Co NY, in 1816. On 26 Mar 1749 when Obadiah was 23, he first married Elizabeth DOYLE, daughter of Bartholomew DOYLE & Elizabeth SPRAGUE, in Rehoboth MA, Born ca 1730 in Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA, Elizabeth died prob ca 1777. On 31 Oct 1798 when Obadiah was 72, he second married Mary PARK in Marlboro, Windham Co VT. 1790 census: Windham Co CT, Putney, p 53, Obediah Joy: 1/0/2. 1800 census: Windham Co VT, Putney. David Joy: 22011/11110. 1810 census: Windham Co VT, Putney, Obadiah was probably with son David Joy: 11211/01001/40/50. They had the following children:

            i.            Major Moses (1749-1816)

            ii.            Huldah (1751-1813)

            iii.            Relief (1753-1832)

            iv.            Joshua (1755-)

            v.            Joseph (1757-1837)

            vi.            Mary (1759-)

            vii.            Capt Amos (1761-1837)

            viii.            Betsey (1763-1855)

            ix.            David (<1764-1844)

            x.            Obadiah Jr (1767-1846)


Second Generation

2. Major Moses JOY. Born in Dec 1749 in Putney, Windham Co VT, Moses died in Putney, Windham Co VT, on 30 Nov 1816. On 23 Nov 1775, he first married Lydia BURR in Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA. She was born on 24 Jun 154 in Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA. On 9 Feb 1790, he second married Hannah TAFT in Putney, Windham Co VT.  1790 census: Windham Co CT, Putney, p 53, Moses Joy: 3/4/4.  Moses and Lydia had the following children:

                        i.            Cromwell (1778-)

                        ii.            Joshua (1782-)

                        iii.            Moses (1787-)


Moses and Hannah had one child:

                        i.            Lydia Burr (1791-)


3. Huldah JOY. Born in 1751 in Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA. Huldah died in Putney, Windham Co VT, on 13 Mar 1813. On 27 Mar 1773 Huldah married Abiah FULLER in Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA who was born on 11 Jan 1748/9 in Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA.  1790, Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA, p 508: 1/3/4. They had the following children:

                        i.            Bethiah (1774-)

                        ii.            Abiah (1775-)

                        iii.            Susannah (1776-)

                        iv.            Sally (1780-)

                        v.            Abel (1783-)

                        vi.            Joshua (1785-)

                        vii.            Nancy (1787-)


4. Relief JOY. Born in 1753 in Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA. Relief died in Royalston, Worcester Co MA, on 7 Aug 1832. Relief married Daniel PECK. Born on 17 May 1741 in Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA, Daniel died in Royalston, Worcester Co MA, on 27 Nov 1814. 1790, Royalston, Worcester Co MA, p 497:  3/3/5. They had the following children:

                        i.            Daniel (1772-)

                        ii.            Ichabod (1774-)

                        iii.            Sally (Died as Child) (1775-<1781)

                        iv.            Solomon (1776-)

                        v.            Royal (1778-)

                        vi.            Calvin (1779-)

                        vii.            Sally (1781-)

                        viii.            Moses (1783-)

                        ix.            Rebekah (1785-)

                        x.            Charlotte (1787-)

                        xi.            Lydia Burr (1789-)

                        xii.            Leaffee (1792-)

                        xiii.            Huldah (1794-)


5. Joshua JOY. Born in 1755, on 9 Sep 1786, he married Sarah SMITH in Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA. She was born on 22 Dec 1760 in Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA. They have not been located in the 1790 census.


6. Joseph JOY. Born in 1757 in Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA, Joseph died in Putney, Windham Co VT, on 28 May 1837. In Mar 1779 when Joseph was 22, he first married Millicent CLAY in Putney, Windham Co VT. Going against his father’s Toryist views, he was an officer in the Revolutionary War.[12] 1810, Putney, Windham Co VT, p 453, Joseph Joy: 02101/01201. On 15 May 1781 Joseph second married Hepsibah DICKINSON, daughter of Azariah DICKINSON & Temperance SHIPMAN, in Putney, Windham Co VT. She was born on 25 Jun 1760 in Westminster, Windham Co VT. On 11 Mar 1819, he third married Lucinda DUTTON in Dummerston, Windham Co VT. Joseph and Millicent had the following children:

                        i.            David (1778-)

                        ii.            Polly (1780-)


Joseph and Hepsibah had the following children:

                        i.            Huldah (1788-)

                        ii.            Joseph (1794-)

                        iii.            Temperance (1797-1886)


7. Mary JOY. Born in 1759. In Apr 1778 when Mary was 19, she married Richard HARDEN in Putney, Windham Co VT. 1790, Putney, Windham Co VT, Richard Harden: 1/1/6. Born in say 1750s, Richard was from Topsham, Orange Co VT.


8. Capt Amos JOY. Born on 27 May 1761 in Putney, Windham Co VT, Amos died in Putney, Windham Co VT, on 14 Jun 1837; he was 76. 1790 census: Windham Co CT, Putney, p 53, Amos Joy Jun: 1/3/2. On 16 Apr 1787 when Amos was 25, he married Rachel FLETCHER in Putney, Windham Co VT. Born on 28 Oct 1765 in Dunstable, Middlesex Co MA. They had the following children:

                        i.            Wilder (1789-)

                        ii.            Francis Fletcher (1791-)

                        iii.            Rachel (Died as Child) (1793-<1807)

                        iv.            Elizabeth (1795-)

                        v.            Lucinda (1797-)

                        vi.            Martha (1799-)

                        vii.            Rebecca S (1800-)

                        viii.            Nathaniel Cummings (1803-)

                        ix.            Thomas (1804-)

                        x.            Rachel (1807-)

                        xi.            Amariah (1809-)


9. Elizabeth JOY. Born on 29 Nov 1763 in Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA, Betsey died in Deruyter, Madison Co NY, on 20 Mar 1855. On 2 Sep 1777 when Betsey was 13, she married Charles JONES in Putney, Windham Co VT. 1790, Putney, Windham Co VT, p 110: 1/4/2.


10. David JOY. Born bef 1 Apr 1764 in Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA. David died in Cass Co MI, on 1 Apr 1844; he was 80. On 25 Apr 1785 when David was 21, he married Mary DICKINSON, daughter of Azariah DICKINSON & Temperance SHIPMAN, in Putney, Windham Co VT. Born on 14 Dec 1761 in Westminster, Windham Co VT. Mary died in Chautauqua Co NY, on 1 Jun 1831. 1790 census: Windham Co VT, Putney, p 53: 1/2/3. 1800 census: Windham Co VT, Putney. David Joy: 22011/11110. 1810 census: Windham Co VT, Putney. David Joy: 11211/01001/40/50. 1820 census: Chautauqua Co NY, Portland Twp, p 125. David Joy, 110011/00011/01. 1830 census: Chautauqua Co NY, Portland Twp, p 430. Moses Joy: 210102001/31010001. 1840 census: Cass Co MI, p 223. Moses Joy, 01210011001/101101. They had the following children:

                        i.            Isaac (1786-1850)

                        ii.            Moses (1793-1854)

                        iii.            Ezra (1787-)

                        iv.            Dorrill (1790-)

                        v.            Polly (1774-)

                        vi.            Roxalana (<1790-1867)

                        vii.            Anna (1795-1845)

                        viii.            Obadiah (1803-)


11. Obadiah JOY Jr. Born in 1767 in Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA. Obadiah died in Putney, Windham Co VT, on 11 Dec 1846. On 21 Sep 1788 Obadiah married Content HOVEY in Putney VT. Born on 10 Mar 1772 in Oxford, Worcester Co MA. Content died in Putney, Windham Co VT, on 15 Jan 1841. 1790 census: Windham Co CT, Putney, p 53, Obediah Joy Jun: 1/1/1. They had the following children:

                        i.            Comfort (1788-)

                        ii.            Daniel (<1799-)

                        iii.            Waterman (<1799-)

                        iv.            Abigail (<1799-)

                        v.            Solomon (1799-)

                        vi.            Angelina (1803-)

                        vii.            Joshua (ca1805-)

                        viii.            Royal Dire (ca1807-)

                        ix.            Sabra (ca1810-)

x.              Lura (ca1815-)



The grandmother of this Joy family was Elizabeth SPRAGUE, born on 15 Aug 1704 in Hingham, Plymouth Co MA. Elizabeth died aft 9 Nov 1772. On 1 Jan 1727/1728 when Elizabeth was 22, she first married Bartholomew DOYLE in Hingham MA. Bartholomew died in Hingham, Plymouth Co MA, about 1730. They had one child, Elizabeth (ca1730-ca1776). On 15 Dec 1730 when Elizabeth was 26, she second married Benjamin WILSON (often spelled Willson) in Rehoboth MA.[13] Born on 21 Nov 1695 in Woburn, Middlesex Co MA, Benjamin died in Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA, after 9 Nov 1772. They had the following children:

            i.            Nathaniel (ca1731-1821)

            ii.            John (1733-1826)

            iii.            Lucas (1735-1818)

            iv.            Ammi (1737-1812)

            v.            Benjamin (ca1739-1821)

            vi.            Jonathan (1741-1830)

            vii.            Ezekiel (1744-1830)

            viii.            Chloe (1746->1801)


The children of Elizabeth (Sprague) (Doyle) Wilson and her second husband Benjamin Wilson, that is, the younger half-brothers and sisters of Elizabeth (Doyle) Joy had the following families:

1. Nathaniel WILSON. He was born ca 10 Jun 1731 in Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA, that is, one month before the death of his father’s first wife. Nathaniel died in West Stockbridge, Bristol Co MA, on 21 Apr 1821. He married Jemima Turner, 10 Jun 1756, Rehoboth MA; and second Mehitable Cone, about 1775, Rehoboth MA. Jemima was the aunt of Thomas and Sarah Turner; she was a daughter of David and Sarah (Howard) Turner, who were the parents of Thomas Turner Sr. 1790, West Stockbridge, Bristol Co MA, p 699, Nathaniel Willson: 3/4/3. He had eight children with his first wife and two with the second; one of his sons was named Fairing, born 28 Feb 1768 in Rehoboth.[14]


2. John WILSON. Born on 29 Oct 1733 in Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA. John died in Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA, in Oct 1826. 1790, Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA, p 506, John Wilson: 1/1/2.


3. Lucas WILSON. Born on 10 Aug 1735 in Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA. Lucas died in Putney, Windham Co VT, in 1818. On 29 Mar 1759 Lucas married Sarah CORBIN in Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA. Born before 28 Jun 1741 in Woodstock, Windham Co CT. 1790, Putney, Windham Co VT, p 111, Lucas Wilson: 2/1/5. In addition to an infant who died in Mar 1779 and another infant who also died in 1779, they had the following children:

                        i.            Lydia (1760-)

                        ii.            John (1762-)

                        iii.            Sarah (1764-)

                        iv.            Lucas Jr (1767-)


4. Ammi WILSON. Born on 26 Apr 1737 in Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA. Ammi died in Windsor, Windsor Co VT, in Aug 1812. 1790, Windsor, Windsor Co VT, p 62, Ami Wilson: 2/2/5. He married Anna Munroe, ca 1771; children born in Sullivan Co NH:

i.                        Joseph, 10 Aug 1772

ii.                         Chloe, 16 Jun 1777

iii.                        Sarah, 6 Apr 1779.


5. Benjamin WILSON was born ca 11 Apr 1739 in Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA. Benjamin died in Oshawa, Durham Co, Ontario, on 5 Mar 1821. Occupation: Surveyor of highways, Putney VT. Benjamin married Sarah SABIN. Born ca 1740, Sarah died in Putney, Windham Co VT, on 12 Aug 1803. He was on a 1771 census in Putney, but not found in later census records in that town.[15] In 1785 Benjamin had problems with the town fathers, when he left his wife and children and ran away with a prostitute; they immediately “took into custody” all his estate for the support of his family. Benjamin and Sarah had these children, all recorded in Putney VT:

i.                        Abigail, born 12 Dec 1762, Putney VT.

ii.                        Moses, born 14 Oct 1764, Putney VT.

iii.                        Benjamin, born 27 Feb 1767, Putney VT.

iv.                        Sarah, born 7 Mar 1770, Putney VT.

v.                        Joseph, born 29 Feb 1772, Putney VT.

vi.                        Moly, born 14 Mar 1774, Putney VT.

vii.            Chloe, born 15 Sep 1776, Putney VT.

viii.            Otis, born 16 Nov 1784


6. Jonathan WILSON. Born on 7 Apr 1741 in Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA. Jonathan died in Shoreham, Addison Co VT, on 9 Apr 1830. He married Lucy Blanding, 29 Nov 1764, Rehoboth MA. Son Jonathan born 8 Feb 1766 Rehoboth, died 26 Aug 1838. 1790, Shoreham, Addison Co VT, Jonath: Wilson: 1/0/1.


7. Ezekiel WILSON. Born on 11 May 1744 in Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA. Ezekiel died in Putney, Windham Co VT, on 6 Jun 1830. He was a soldier in the Revolutionary War and married Sarah Turner, daughter of Thomas and Hannah (Wheaton) Turner, sister of Thomas Turner who married Chloe Wilson. 1790, Putney, Windham Co VT, p 111, Ezek’l Wilson: 2/5/5. They had nine children, including Fairing, born 9 Feb 1772 in Putney VT.[16]


8. Chloe WILSON. Born on 23 Jun 1746 in Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA. Chloe died in Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA, after 1801. She married Thomas Turner, son of Thomas and Hannah (Wheaton) Turner, sister of Sarah Turner who married Ezekiel Wilson. They were possibly in Freetown, Bristol Co MA in 1790, 1/0/3.


Two of Obadiah and Elizabeth’s sons married sisters: Joseph married as his second wife, Hepsibah Dickinson 15 May 1781, in Putney, Windham Co VT, and David married Mary “Moly” Dickinson 25 Apr 1785, in Putney. Hepsibah and Mary were daughters of Azariah Dickinson and his wife Temperance Shipman. Another daughter, Lucy Dickinson, married Lucas Wilson Jr, 15 Nov 1787, Windham Co VT, a son of one of Elizabeth Sprague’s children from her second marriage to Benjamin Wilson.[17]

Of Benjamin and Elizabeth (Sprague) (Doyle) Wilson’s children, it appears that Lucas, Benjamin, and Ezekiel went with their older half-sister to Putney VT. Although the families may not have actually traveled together, they did end up living in the same town and having dealings together. Other sons, Ammi and Jonathan, went to other parts of Vermont.

At a town meeting Putney VT, 13 May 1777, Lucas Willson was named one of the Comissioners of Highways and Moses Joy was named one of the Surveyors of Highways. Lt. Lucas Willson was also named to both the County Committee and the Town Committee. On 12 May 1778, Obadiah Joy was named a Surveyor of the Highways. A list of freemen who took an oath “In the State of Vermont” is on pages 461 and following of the Book of Putney, and while the date or dates the oath was given are unclear, it clearly includes the names, in the order listed, Lucas Willson, Moses Joy, Richard Harding, “Obediah” Joy, Ezekiel Willson, Joseph Joy, Thomas Turner, Charles Jones, David Joy, Lucas Wilson Jr, and Obediah Joy Jr.

On 27 Dec 1785, an indenture was drawn between Lewis Allyn of Putney and Moses Joy of Putney. For 40 pounds Allyn conveyed to Moses Joy “all that parcel of land” which he owned in north Putney. Witnesses were Lucas Willson and David Joy.[18]


© 2008, Kathy Alvis Patterson

[1] Rehoboth Vital Records.

[2] Possibly a daughter of Amariah and Mary (Brigham) Park, who were resident in Marlboro when their son Josiah was born Mar 1781. They had a daughter Mary born 23 Aug 1765 in Grafton, Worcester Co MA.

[3] Rehoboth VR, 801.

[4] Rehoboth VR, 406.

[5] According to the Rehoboth VR, 783, he was born 10 Jun 1733.

[6] Lineage application of Katherine Alvis Patterson, national no. 60585, Society of Mayflower Descendants, approved 1994.

[7] Stevens also discounts the existence of the three sons of the first marriage. Wife #1 had Sarah and Nathaniel. Wife #2 had six sons and a daughter.

[8] Stevens ignored the fact that Nathanial and his brother, or half-brother, Ezekiel each named a son Fairing, an obvious reference to the second wife, Elizabeth (Sprague) (Doyle) Willson;s mother, Elizabeth (Fearing) Sprague.

[9] And obviously Nathaniel named his son Fairing for his grandmother.

[10] As an English teacher, I have striven to understand Stevens’s title. We cannot adequately connect the dots, or tie the threads, that link this family together. According to his metaphor, we have an “unbroken circle” which we must strive to untangle. What will we get then? Loose threads? A broken circle? Don’t we actually have a broken circle now which we would like to be able to tie up neatly, with all the threads in place? The goal is an unbroken family circle.

[11] This could explain why he was not originally lists with the other children’s births.

[12] Joseph Joy, MA, NY, Sea Service Private, Sergeant, Lieutenant. 7 Aug 1832, Windham County, VT, Anthony Mason, guardian for Joseph Joy, resident of Putney, non compos, at age 76. …In 2nd year of the Revolutionary War Joseph in May or June at Rehoboth MA enlisted under Capt. Bliss, for 6 months, “and this while a minor and contrary to the wishes of his father, who at that time was infected with Toryism, but he knows of no living witness by whom he can prove said service, excepting Obadiah Joy, whose affidavit is herewith transmitted. … approx. September of 1777 or 1778 he enlisted as a sergeant for 3 months under Capt. David Hill. …The said Joseph Joy in the year 1780 [very poorly written or overwritten] in the town now called Putney…mid June of that year and mustered at Brattleboro, to Fort Stanwix, then Fort Hunter, discharged in November and returned home. 2 Aug 1832, affidavit of Obadiah Joy of Putney, age 64. In the 2nd year of the Revolutionary War he and Joseph Joy now of Putney lived at Rehoboth, Mass., and in May or June Joseph enlisted as a private…”The company commander I think was Capt. Bliss,” and marched to Roxbury and Dorchester and served 6 months, that his father was inclined to be a Tory and opposed the said Joseph Joy going into the army and particularly did not like him to go under Capt. Bliss. …About the middle of June 1780 Joseph went from Windham County, Vermont into the service as a lieutenant and mustered at Col. John Sargent’s horse in Brattleboro…Captain’s name was Blakeley… Obadiah Joy . . . Lieutenant commission for Joseph Joy, State of New York, appointed 1 Jul 1780, recorded 11 Sep 1780.

[13] As noted above, the dates of the second marriage, Benjamin’s first wife’s death, and son Nathaniel’s birth are in conflict.

[14] If Nathaniel’s mother was Elizabeth (Sprague) (Doyle) Wilson, as his birth record in Rehoboth states, Fairing may have been named for his maternal great-grandmother, Elizabeth (Fearing) Sprague.

[15] See John Duffy, ed., Early Vermont Braodsides, University Press of New England, 1975, p 37, where Benjamin Willson of Putney is described as refusing the muster call of the Governor of New York. Nearly 100 men of Putney tried to hide their cows and some emigrated to Canada. This is probably why Obadiah Joy was accused of being a Toryist. In a deed dated 2 Feb 1789, for a consideration of £100 he quitclaimed all land in Putney. Putney Deeds, 2:145. Note that after his wife’s death, Benjamin did move to Canada where he died.

[16] See note 14, above.

[17] All in Putney VR.

[18] Putney, Windham Co VT Land Records, 1770-1805, Vol 1, pp 270-271. Also, Vol. 3, p 103: Lucas Willson to Moses Joy; Vol 4, p 358, Lucas Willson to Lucas Willson Jr. 

Published on October 17, 2008 at 3:20 am  Comments (6)  

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  1. I am searching for the parents of Polly Wilson who was b. 22 May 1772 of Putney, Windham VT and married Nov. 1789 Timothy Bigelow.

  2. Thank you for your helpful information. I am trying to untangle the Benjamin Willson’s: I have a clear line back to my G-G-G-G-Gfather Ezekiel Willson b. 1744, s/o Benj. 1695-1772 & Eliz. Sprague. But then I see histories listing that Benj.’s father as another Benj. OR a Lt. John Willson from Woburn, s/o Roger Willson. Any idea how I can find reliable information? (fyi, my line is from Benj & Eliz’s son, Abel) Thanks!

    • All I could suggest is to go back to the sources I mention in the article and see what new ideas they might give you.

    • I am also from Abel/Ezekiel line and am having issues finding much info on Abel and the previous mentioned Benjamin Willsons!

  3. who were the parents of William Holden Willson born 4/14/1805 in Charleston, NH:

    • Ancestry.com has a family tree naming Joel Willson and Molly Howlett.

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