Closest to My Birthday – Solomon Chapin

This post was a bit of a challenge! It was difficult to find an ancestor who had a life event that corresponded with my birthday, so I settled on one who was born two days before mine: Solomon Chapin (1733-1813).

I haven’t had a chance to do much research on Solomon, but the little I have done will be enough for a short post!

Solomon Chapin was born on June 4, 1733 in Mendon, Massachusetts to John and Dorcas (Wood) Chapin. The register of his birth is below:

Deacon Solomon Chapin Statue

The Chapins were a prominent family in Massachusetts. Solomon was the great-great grandson of Deacon Samuel Chapin and his wife Cecily (Penny) Chapin, early settlers of Springfield. By John Chapin’s time, the family had moved to Mendon, Massachusetts. The Chapin family made history in Mendon when John’s younger sister, Lydia Taft, became the first woman in to vote legally in colonial America at a town meeting in 1756.

In Mendon, Dorcas gave birth to her 8 children, including Solomon. When he was 20 years old, he married 24 year old Joanna White, also a resident of Mendon. Joanna was the daughter of Samuel White and Trial Rockwood. Poor woman, to be given the name Trial! It makes me wonder what was happening with her parents at the time of her birth. Puritans favored names like that, but perhaps some event gave them the idea to use it. Solomon and Joanna celebrated their marriage on 28 may 1754 in Milford, a town about 3.5 northeast of Mendon.

Shortly after their marriage, Solomon and Joanna moved to Uxbridge, Massachusetts, about 5 miles southwest of Mendon. Their oldest child, John (an my 6th great grandfather) was born there on 23 Spetember 1755. Eight more children followed: Darius, Samuel, Elijah, Phineas, Nathan, Joanna, Solomon, and Huldah.

In 1769, Solomon’s father, John, wrote his will and included Solomon in it. He left Solomon “one pound together with a Equal share in my clothes with ye Rest of my sons over & above what I have given him in another manner to him & his heirs forever.” He must have given Solomon money, land, or moveable goods at some point before his death, maybe before Solomon moved to Uxbridge.

John Chapin’s bequest to his son Solomon.

Sometime between the birth of Solomon’s youngest child, Huldah, in 1773, and the start of the Revolutionary War, Solomon moved his family again, this time to New Marlborough, Massachusetts. For some reason, when the Revolutionary War began, instead of fighting, he sent a substitute in his place because he was the “chairman of class no. 1 in New Marlborough.” I will admit, I have no idea what that is referring to, so that is something else I will need to research!

In 1790, Solomon was still living in New Marlborough. He is presumably the one male above the age of 16 living in his household. There were also two females, one was his wife Dorcas. On 1 Feb 1805, Dorcas died and was buried in New Marlborough. Eight years later, on 13 May 1813, Solomon followed her in death and was also buried in New Marlborough. Like most of these posts, now that I am finished, I find I have so many questions, and I can’t wait to begin more research!

Mother’s Day – Hannah Rockwood Chapin

And with this post, I am finally caught up after my vacation!

This week’s prompt about Mother’s Day is so special because I have wonderful relationships with the three most important mothers in my life – my mom and my two grandmothers. I feel very fortunate to know them as well as I do, and to have had them in my life for almost 29 years. For this post, I combed through my family tree looking for other mothers that might be fun to write about.

I chose Hannah Rockwood Chapin, who gave birth to 13 children, if not more! If that doesn’t make her an impressive mother, I don’t know what does! Hannah is another female ancestor that I don’t know very much about, but the few details I do have make me want to travel to New England and Pennsylvania to do some more research.

Hannah was born on December 3, 1755 in the town of Mendon in Worcester County, Massachusetts. Her parents were Reuben and Lydia (Green) Rockwood. Hannah was the oldest of several siblings including Lydia, Joshua Green, Beulah, and Jason. She and her family moved from Mendon to Tyringham in Berskshire County by the time she was 20 years old. In Tyringham, she met her husband, John Chapin. They married in Tyringham on 7 December 1775. John Chapin was born on 23 September 1755 in Uxbridge, Massachusetts, the son of Solomon and Joanna (White) Chapin.

Hannah and John’s first child, Lydia was born in May 1776, just 5 months after their marriage, which means Hannah was likely several months pregnant when she married John. In total, Hannah gave birth to her thirteen children over a 23 year period:

Lydia, born 1776

Samuel, born 1778

John, born 1779

Alta, born 1781

Mary, born 1783

Mercy Ester, born 1784

Lois, born 1786

James, born between 1786-1791

Joanna, born 1791

Lucinda, born 1793

Ammi, born 1793

Reuben, born 1797

Ezra, born 1799

Hannah must have been a very strong woman. In 1793, She had back-to-back pregnancies, and both Lucinda and Ammi were born in the same year. What is even more impressive is that all 13 children lived to adulthood! These 13 are just her recorded children. It is possible that she had more children that went unrecorded, especially if they died at birth.

By 1790, Hannah and John had moved from Tyringham to Huntington Township in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. They lived in Huntington for the remainder of their lives. Hannah died on 20 Jan 1829 when she was 73 years old, and was buried in the Town Hill Cemetery. John died 10 years later. I don’t know what Hannah’s personality was like, or even if she was a good mother, as having 13 children doesn’t automatically make her a good person. But I hope she was a good mother, and that her daughters found her inspirational, just as I’ve found my mother and grandmothers to be so.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Close Up – King Philip’s War

Metacomet, or King Philip

This is a story about a close up encounter between my ancestors, Lieutenant Henry Adams and his wife Elizabeth (Paine) Adams with Native Americans during King Philip’s War. Metacomet was a chief of the Wampanoag Indians, and the son of Massasoit who had been very friendly with the New England colonists. However, Metacomet and other Native American tribes resented the fact that they were becoming dependent on the colonists, losing their land, and losing large portions of the population to disease. Spurred on by Metacomet, who the colonists called King Philip, several tribes including the Narragansetts, Wampanoags, and Pocumtucks banded together and tried to drive out the English.

The Native Americans attacked many English towns, including Medfield, the home of my 9th great grandparents, Henry and Elizabeth Adams. Henry was born in Barton St. David in Somerset, England to Henry Adams and Edith Squire. He immigrated to Massachusetts during the Great Migration, and married there Elizabeth Paine, daughter of Moses and Elizabeth Paine of Tenterden, Kent, England.

Henry did well for himself in Massachusetts. He was the principal military commander in Medfield in charge of a trainband, or militia company, served as the town clerk for over ten years, was chosen a town selectman, and was a representative to the General Court in 1659, 1665, 1674, and 1675. He and Elizabeth had eleven children, including my ancestor Moses Adams, who was born in Medfield in 1654.

King Philip’s War broke out in June 1675, and in February 1676, the town of Medfield expected to be attacked by the Native Americans at any time. Reinforcements were sent to Medfield to help protect the town, but during the night of February 20 or the very early morning of February 21, under the cover of darkness, the Indians entered the town. They set fire to many of the houses, barns, and other buildings. Henry Adams heard the attack from inside his house, and when he opened his front door, he was shot in the neck and died. The Indians then burned down both his house and his mill. His wife Elizabeth did not witness his death as at the time she was staying in the upstairs room in the house of the local reverend. A soldier who was also garrisoned in the reverend’s house accidentally fired his musket, which traveled through the ceiling and struck Elizabeth. She died from her wounds the next day.

King Philip’s War essentially ended with the death of Metacomet in 1676, even though sporadic fighting continued until 1678. This war was very bloody, and many tragedies occurred on both sides. This particular tragic, close up encounter in Medfield left eleven siblings without parents and the younger ones without a home.

I do not know if Henry and Elizabeth’s son Moses was living in Medfield when the attack occurred, or how he found out about his parents’ deaths. By 1684 he was living on land that Henry Adams had owned when he lived in Sherborn before moving to Medfield. As far as I know, he never returned to Medfield.