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I have come to realize over the last few months that three problems:

  • Hannah (Andrews) Lamphere’s parents, Jesse and Sarah Andrews
  • Lydia (Minor) Lamphere’s parents
  • the unknown Lamphere line from which my ggggg-grandfather Daniel Lamphere descends

are not all that separate, and will probably be solved, ultimately, in tandem.

I am descended from them in the following way:

  • my great-grandfather Russell Darling
  • –his mother Emma Luella Lamphere
  • —-her father Russell Lamphere (and mother Hannah Andrews)
  • ——his father Russell Lamphere (and mother Lydia Minor)
  • ——–his father Daniel Lamphere (died 1808)

For a long time I thought that Daniel Lamphere was the son of another Daniel Lamphere of Westerly, R.I.  But I learned I was wrong after reading some wills from Westerly; the elder Daniel did have a son Daniel, but THAT Daniel had a wife named Wealthia, who signed a receipt.  My Daniel has a wife named Nancy (possibly Nancy Tefft).

Town Hall and Fire Station, Westerly

Reviewing the literature

I looked over the good sources for Lamphere information (all available to members on the NEHGS website, http://www.americanancestors.org):

  • Scott Andrew Bartley. “George Lanphear of Westerly, Rhode Island and his Descendants.”  New England Historic Genealogical Register 153 (April 1999): 131-140.
  • Scott Andrew Bartley. “George Lanphear of Westerly, Rhode Island and his Descendants, Part 2.”  New England Historic Genealogical Register 159 (October 2005): 333-340.
  • Scott Andrew Bartley. “George Lanphear of Westerly, Rhode Island and his Descendants, Part 3.”  New England Historic Genealogical Register 160 (January 2006): 47-59.

Because of my interest in Shadrack Lanphere I consulted this article about his wife, Experience Read’s family:

  • Jane Belcher. “William Reed of Weymouth and Boston Massachusetts, and Some of His Descendants – Continued from volume 40, #1.”  The Connecticut Nutmegger 40 (September 2007): 182-221.

At this point I realized that my most recent theory about descending from Shadrack Lanphere  (Daniel4, Oliver3, Shadrack2, George1), and several other theories,  just didn’t match what was in those articles.

I was wrong, so wrong

So I decided to go back to what I absolutely know and start over from there.

Here are some sections of my ggggg-grandfather Daniel’s probate record:

Westerly, Rhode Island Town Council and Probate.  Vol 6/8 1798-1811, p. 350-352.

At a Court of Probate held in Westerly in the County of Washington at the dwelling house of Nancy Lanphere (widow) Relict of Daniel Lanphere Late of said Westerly deceased. December 23, 1808 Being specially convened for the purpose of appointing an Administration on the Estate of the said Daniel Deceased.  Elias Cottrell, John Cross, and Joseph Stillman present holding said court.

Personally appeared before said Court the aforesaid Nancy Lanphere and declined administration on said deceased’s Estate and requested that her son Russell Lanphere (he being the eldest son of said deceased in these parts) might have the Administration of said Estate.  Which request being duly considered by said court is granted and the said Russell is thereupon appointed.  His complying with the law bonds given in Court.  The Court doth appoint John Cross, Maxson Lanphere, and Wait Clarke to appraise the Personal Estate of said Deceased and make an inventory thereof.  The said Maxson Lanphere and Wait Clarke personally appeared before sd. Court and Engaged.

Witness Jesse Maxson Jr. P. Clerk.

To All Persons to whom these Presents Shall come Greeting.

We the Court of Probate for the Town of Westerly in the County and State aforesaid.  By virtue of the power by law Vested in us do hereby give, grant and empower Russell Lanphere late of Westerly, but now residing in Norwich in the County of New London, State of Connecticut, Administrator, to Administer on all and singular the Goods, Chattels rights & credits of Daniel Lanphere late of said  Westerly deceased.  …

The estate totaled $153.83.

So I am curious about the people mentioned in the probate record.  Some of them may be acting in an official capacity, but are the others close connections?  I spent the day learning more about them.  Westerly was a fairly small town, and their names are well known.  Of all of them, I found direct connections to two:

  • Maxson Lanphere – he descends in the Lanphere line this way:  (Maxson4, Nathan3, John2, George1).  His wife was Anna Champlin.
  • Wait Clarke – his wife was Abigail Lanphere (Abigail5, Nathan4, Nathan3, John2, George1).   Abigail’s mother was Sarah Saunders.  A lifelong Seventh Day Baptist, Wait died in Niles, New York.

Old Westerly Seventh Day Baptist church, built circa 1680

There’s a book about this

Amazingly, after figuring this out, I managed to find a reminiscence about this branch of the family in the following book:  Scenes, Memories and Travels of 82 Years, and Short Sketches of the Lanphear and Potter Families by Ethan Lanphear, published by the author (c1900). The author was among the many Lanphere branches that headed to New York State in the 1800’s.  The Lanphear chapter begins on page 369.

This is how the book begins:

I WAS born in Westerly, R. I., March 2, 1818. My parents were Samuel and Hannah Lanphear. We moved with an ox team and sheet-covered wagon from Potters Hill, R. I., to Alfred, Allegany Co., N. Y. The country was mostly wilderness after crossing the Hudson River at Albany until we reached the end of our journey, five hundred miles. My parents then had three children, all boys, myself the youngest. My mother’s sister and her husband, Amos Crandall, took passage with us, the goods of both families being on the same wagon. We worked our way through the wilderness to Alfred in about eighteen or twenty days, camping out nights, or sleeping in the wagon, when we could not find logs huts to cover our heads. Then there was not a frame building in that town. The earliest settlers nearly all lived in logs huts or shanties. It was a wild country, and the settlers had to meet hard fare, barely living on wild game and wild fruit.

Ethan descends this way: (Ethan5, Samuel4, Nathan3, John2, George1).

Ethan Lanphear and his present wife – from the book, c1900

So what do we know?

Obviously, I don’t know what this means yet.  But the fact that a certain branch of the family gathered round for Daniel Lanphere’s inventory seems very significant to me.  Next steps:

  1. Use every means possible to learn about the descendants of  John2 Lanphear.
  2. Learn more about the ancestry of Wait Clarke.  It’s a story for another day, but I believe we have a later connection with the Wait family.

The post you are reading is located at this URL: http://wp.me/p1JmJS-wV

The photo of the church is from a 1922 Tract courtesy of a site that provides a history of the Sabbath Day churches

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