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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Carpenter

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[This information is from Vol. II, pp. 523-527 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

There were three distinct families bearing the name of Carpenter who made early settlement in America. They were each from England, where the family is of "great antiquity," and to distinguish them have been termed "The Providence Family" (the earliest of three to settle in the New World), "The Rehoboth Family" and "The Philadelphia Family." The first two named were related and there is good evidence that the third was also. Perhaps the first mention of the name Carpenter in America is that of Alice Carpenter, who came from Leyden, Holland, landed in Plymouth in June, 1623, and became the wife of Governor William Bradford on August 14 following, being as the governor made record "the fourth marriage in the colony." She was the daughter of Alexander Carpenter, who with his wife and four other daughters were members of the church at Leyden, where the governor knew her.

(I) The first person bearing the name Carpenter to make permanent settlement in America was William Carpenter, son of Richard Carpenter, of Amesbury, Wiltshire, England. He married Elizabeth, born at Cheselbourne, Dorsetshire, England, November 23, 1611. They were married a short time before their sailing for America. The first mention found of William Carpenter in America is in the "Initial Deed" hastily drawn up by Roger Williams at the time of settlement at New Providence, Rhode Island, in which he designates by initial the "loving friends and neighbors" who are to have equal rights with himself. In it are the initials W. C. These friends and neighbors, twelve in number, had nothing further to show for their holdings until December 23, 1661, when a formal "Confirmatory Deed" was given them by Roger Williams and wife. There were some omissions of names in the second deed, and in 1666 another deed was given in which Mr. Williams states the "Initial Deed was given the 8th day of the 8th month, 1638." In the latter deed William Carpenter is named in full. The "First Baptist Church in America" was constituted at Providence between August 3, 1638, and March 16, 1639. In the list of "Founders" is the name of William Carpenter. His "Home Toll" was separated from that of Robert Coles by a highway. Town street is now Main street, and the highway is now "Meeting Street," Providence, so called because of the Friends Meeting House which now occupies William Carpenter's lot. Soon after the signing of the "Initial Deed" the proprietors made division of their purchase. William Carpenter and others were allotted a large tract at "Pautuxet," where they at once made settlement. It was a beautiful tract of meadow land, four miles south from Providence, bordering on Narragansett bay, and south on the Pawtuxet river. In later years it was known as Cranston and is now covered with blocks of buildings. It was here that William Carpenter spent the remaining years of his life; for nearly fifty years it was his home. There is hardly a page of the town records but has mention of him; he was on numerous commissions to lay out roads, settle boundary lines, locate and build bridges, and he was a warm personal friend of Roger Williams, whose perfect confidence he enjoyed. He was elected to the general court many times, and was assistant to the general assembly and deputy. When King Philip's war was threatening the very life of the colony the general assembly on April 4, 1676, voted "that in these troubulous times and straits in the colony this Assembly desiring to have the advice and concurrence of the most judicious inhabitants, do desire at their next sitting the company and counsel of William Carpenter." During the war, "on January 27, 1676, the Indians despoiled Wm. Carpenter of two hundred sheep, fifty head of cattle and fifteen horses." Austin says: "William Carpenter's house was attacked by three hundred Indians and was set on fire by them, but the flames were extinguished by the defenders. Two of his household were killed." One of these was his son William. His last public service was on April 25, 1683, when as "Last survivor of the Thirteen Proprietors" he gave deeds to the heirs of his fellow proprietors for lands that had been held in joint ownership. He made his will February 10, 1680. The death of his son William caused a codicil which was added March 15, 1684, and he died September 7, 1685. His wife Elizabeth Arnold survived him. She was a sister of Benedict Arnold, governor of the colony from 1663 until his death in 1678. Her father, William Walter Stephen, and sister Joana resided near Pawtuxet, and for nearly half a century the Carpenters and Arnolds were the largest land owners and chief taxpayers of Pawtuxet. A monument was erected in memory of the Carpenter family in 1860 by one of William's descendants in Cranston, three and a half miles from the City Hall, Providence, Rhode Island.

Children of William and Elizabeth Carpenter, all except the first born in Pawtuxet:

  1. Joseph, see forward.
  2. Lydia, born about 1638.
  3. Ephraim, about 1640.
  4. Timothy, about 1643.
  5. William, about 1645.
  6. Priscilla, about 1648.
  7. Silas, 1650.
  8. Benjamin, about 1653. Silas is the only one of the family whose birth is definitely known. A deposition taken in 1674 and the date on his gravestone fixes it in the year given.

The children are all named in the will, William excepting, who was killed by the Indians prior to the death of his father.

(II) Joseph, eldest son of William and Elizabeth (Arnold) Carpenter, was born at Amesbury, Wiltshire, England, about 1635. The first mention made of him is at Providence, Rhode Island, where on May 3, 1656, he is witness to a deed from his uncle, Stephen Arnold, to his father, which indicates that he was then of legal age. The town records of Warwick, Rhode Island, show that he had a "Corne Mill" at the wading place near the Falls on the Pawtuxet river. Here he remained until 1677, although as early as 1663 he was at Long Island making negotiations for the purchase of land from the Indians at Oyster Bay. The Hempstead colony on Long Island resisted the attempts to settle at Oyster Bay, but finally allowed them to remain in peace. Joseph Carpenter is recorded as having purchased three thousand acres of land at Musketa Cove. Associated with him was Nathaniel Coles, Abia Carpenter, Thomas Townsend and Robert Coles. They styled themselves "The Five Proprietors of Musketa Plantations," which name and style was continued until after the revolution. Each proprietor had a "Home Lott" of five acres set off on which to erect a dwelling. These home lots were situated on a street or highway that they called "The Place." The site of these homes on this street, which still bears the name, are very readily identified. On the "Lott of Joseph Carpenter" the first house was built, after the erection of a saw mill. It was occupied by him all his lifetime, was the birthplace of nearly all his children, and continued in the family for several generations. The plantation prospered, although its growth was retarded by King Philip's war. Following the erection of the saw mill, he built a grist and fulling mill, agreeing with the other proprietors to grind their grain in return for the use of the water power. In a few years the Oyster Bay settlement had their own town government, constable, overseers, justice of the peace and recorder. They held their own town meetings and elected their own officers until the organization of Queens county in 1683. They had many industries and the records show Joseph Carpenter to have been the prime mover in their establishment and that his energy and ability had made a thriving community from an humble beginning. He died during the "sickly season" of 1683. The place of his burial is not known.

He married (first), April 21, 1659, Hannah, daughter of William Carpenter, of Rehoboth, Massachusetts. She was born at Weymouth, Massachusetts, February 3, 1640, died about 1673. He married (second) Ann (or Anna), baptized in the Dutch Church at New York in 1647, daughter of Francis and Elizabeth (Luther) Weeks. Francis Weeks was with Roger Williams in the canoe when he first landed at Providence. He and his wife were early settlers of Hempstead, Long Island, where they were heavily fined for "entertaining Quakers," and soon after removed to Oyster Bay. Children by first wife:

  1. Joseph, "the eldest son," inherited the estate and title of his father.
  2. A daughter, married William Thornecraft.
  3. Tansen, married John Williams. 4. William, see forward.
  4. Nathaniel, said to have been the first white child born at Musketa Cove, Oyster Bay, Long Island; married Tamar, eldest daughter of Robert and Mercy (Wright) Coles.
  5. Hannah, married Jacob Hicks.

Children of second wife:

  1. Ann, married Joseph Weeks.
  2. Benjamin, married Mercy, daughter of Robert and Mercy (Wright) Coles, sister of the wife of his half-brother, Nathaniel.
  3. John (posthumous child), married Martha Feake.

These children were all prominent in the plantation and some of them joined in the exodus from Oyster Bay to "the Main," as Westchester county was then called, and were among the first settlers at Rye, North Castle, Bedford, Harrison and Mamaroneck. Other families leaving about 1700 were the Coles, Weeks, Lallings, Wrights, Townsends, Cocks and many others.

(III) William (2), son of Joseph and Hannah (Carpenter) Carpenter, was born at Pawtucket, Rhode Island, about 1666. The first mention of him is found in the will of his grandfather, 1683, and in 1692 he appears at Pawtucket and sold the property so given by will. He acted as one of the proprietors after the death of his brother Joseph until 1706, when his nephew Joseph attained legal age. He was a large land owner and prominent in the affairs of the plantation. He was a blacksmith by trade, having his homestead and shop in that part of town known as "Duck Pond," now a residential section known as Nassau Station. He sold his property in 1720 and removed to Westchester county, New York, though he still had landed interests at Musketa Cove as late as 1734. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Ephraim Carpenter, supposed to have been his cousin; she died about 1743. Children:

  1. William, married Elizabeth Prior.
  2. Joseph, married Ann Farman.
  3. Silas, no record of marriage.
  4. Benjamin, married (first) Dinah Albertson; (second) Lydia Thorne.
  5. Timothy, see forward.
  6. Elizabeth, married Samuel Weeks.
  7. Ruth, married William Thornecraft.
  8. Mai, married Captain Thomas Kepp.
  9. Benedict, married (first) Hannah Haviland; (second) Abigail Horton; (third) Abigail Ferris. The members of the "Friends Meeting" at Purchase, New York, says he for "4th wife married the widow, Elizabeth Wanser, who survived him."

(IV) Timothy, son of William (2) and Elizabeth (Carpenter) Carpenter, was born at Musketa Cove, Long Island, New York, April 1, 1698. He removed to Westchester county, New York. In 1720 he bought a large tract of land from the Indians at North Castle, part of which still remains in the family. His house was burned in 1721 and again in 1722. He then built the house in which he lived until his death. The house was afterward occupied by his son Timothy, his grandson William, and his great-grandson Job R. It was torn down in 1845. In his will, made July 11, 1763, he divides a large landed property among his living children and wife Phebe. His will was proved May 24, 1769.

Timothy Carpenter married, about 1719, Phebe, born March 16, 1706, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth (Albertson) Coles. Children:

  1. Samuel (said to have been the first white child born at North Castle), born January 17, 1720; married Rachel, daughter of Job Wright, and had two children.
  2. Ephraim, born June 27, 1723; is believed to have removed to Orange county, New York.
  3. George, married Lucretia, daughter of Thomas Goulding; he was a farmer at "Nine Partners," Dutchess county, New York; had five children.
  4. Phebe, born June 25, 1729; married William Forman, a farmer of Yorktown, Westchester county; they had a daughter Elizabeth, married Josiah Green.
  5. William, see forward.
  6. Archealus, born April 23, 1734; married Rebecca Goulding, sister of the wife of his brother George. He was a tanner and currier, and had a farm at North Castle, where he lived at the time of the revolution. He sided with the "Loyalists," and because of his activity in their behalf his farm was confiscated and he and his family compelled to leave the country. They left New York in 1783, on board the ship "Cyrus," and settled in New Brunswick, enduring for many years untold hardships in that unsettled country. It is said of him that he built the first house and shop at "Parrtown," now St. John. He died July 15, 1810, leaving nine children.
  7. Silas, born July 15, 1737; was a farmer of Greenwich, Connecticut; he married Phebe, daughter of Joseph and Hannah Fowler, and had eight children.
  8. Benjamin, twin of Silas; married Mary Searles; he was a farmer and resided for a time at Pittstown, Rensselaer county; had seven children.
  9. Timothy, born August 1, 1740; married Hannah Ferris and had three children.
  10. Elizabeth, died young.

(V) William (3) (named for his Grandfather Carpenter), son of Timothy and Phebe (Coles) Carpenter, was born at North Castle, Westchester county, New York, April 5, 1731, died June 6, 1814. He was a farmer at "Nine Partners." He married (first) Sarah Seaman, of Long Island. He married (second) Lydia, widow of Abraham Carpenter, and daughter of Peter Totten, of North Castle. Children of first wife:

  1. Seaman, see forward.
  2. Zeno, married (first) Lydia Clark (second) Sarah Hoag; he was a minister of the Society of Friends and a deeply religious man.
  3. Stephen, born April 29, 1764.
  4. Elizabeth, married ———— Southwick.
  5. Bethany, born December 5, 1767.
  6. Phebe, married ———— Hoag.
  7. Mary, married ———— Cornell.
  8. Caroline.
  9. James, died young.
  10. Sarah, married ———— Carman.

One authority states that Lydia, the second wife, had thirteen children, but does not state whether they were children of the first or second husband.

(VI) Seaman, eldest son of William (3) and Sarah (Seaman) Carpenter, was born February 10, 1760, died August 30, 1842. He removed to Saratoga county, New York. He married Sarah Simmons, born August 30, 1771, died September 19, 1806. Children:

  1. John, born December 21, 1793.
  2. Sarah, January 20, 1797.
  3. Ruth, married Asa Barker, of Barkersville, New York; had a son, William C. Barker, of Poughkeepsie, New York.
  4. Hiram, see forward.

(VII) Hiram, son of Seaman and Sarah (Simmons) Carpenter, was born December 14, 1801, and died November 3, 1875, at Melrose, Rensselaer county, New York. He was a farmer, and also a tanner, owning and operating a large tannery at Barkerville, Saratoga county, New York. He was a man of sterling character and excellent ability, and occupied a leading place in the community. He served as justice of the peace and school commissioner. He was an active member of the Christian church, and was of hospitable and generous disposition. In politics he was an old-line Whig. He married Sally Ann, daughter of David and Mary (Harcourt) Barker. Her parents were from old and influential families, her father being of the Barkers from whom was named the village of Barkerville, and who contributed largely to its development and prosperity. Children of Hiram and Sally Ann (Barker) Carpenter:

  1. Mary Barker, born March 27, 1831; unmarried; resides at Melrose, New York.
  2. Edward Madison, see forward.

(VIII) Edward Madison, son of Hiram and Sally Ann (Barker) Carpenter, was born in Barkerville, Saratoga county, New York, April 11, 1835, died June 18, 1907. He came to Albany in 1854, and secured employment in the office of Bennett & Griffin, and from that time until his death was continuously and prominently connected with the grain and flour trade. He was head of E. M. Carpenter & Company, and was also associated with Edward P. Durant, in the business of Durant &,Company. For over a half century he was a leading merchant of Albany, and in point of years was the oldest operator in the city in the grain trade. In commercial circles his standing was of the highest, while his private character was without blemish. He was a faithful member of the State Street Presbyterian Church, in which he was for forty years an active member, and in which he was made deacon in 1872, and elder in 1889. He was ever alive to his responsibilities as a citizen, and always exerted his influence in behalf of good government. Through his long and active life in Albany he was a well-known figure, and had a large circle of friends and acquaintances. One of his prominent traits was his friendliness and kindliness to all with whom he came in contact. He married, June 26, 1860, Harriet, daughter of Walter and Caroline Merchant (see Merchant III). Harriet Merchant Carpenter, only child of Edward Madison and Harriet (Merchant) Carpenter, born November 13, 1869, married Augustus Springer Brandow, June 28, 1893; children:

  1. Edward Carpenter Brandow, born June 22, 1896;
  2. Walter Merchant Brandow, born October 19, 1902.

(The Merchant Line)

(I) John Marchant, a native of Gloucestershire, England, came to America before the revolution, allied himself with the patriots, and fought with the Continental army. He married Prudence, daughter of Eliakim and Joanna (Curtis) Stoddard. Children:

  1. Abel, born October 21, 1756.
  2. Joanna, April 20, 1759.
  3. Lucena, November 15, 1761.
  4. Truman, May 5, 1762.
  5. Sarah, April 16, 1766.
  6. Phoebe, November 11, 1768.
  7. Eliakim, see forward.
  8. John, April 11, 1776.
  9. Abigail, October 5, 1778.
  10. Stoddard, February 23, 1782.
  11. Elizabeth, May 5, 1788; married Thomas Rogers, and lived to the great age of ninety-nine years, four months.

(II) Eliakim Merchant, son of John and Prudence (Stoddard) Marchant, was a soldier of the war of 1812, and one of the earliest settlers of Washington county, New York. He obtained a large tract of that then wilderness, cleared a large farm, built a house, and ultimately became one of the wealthiest farmers of the county. He married Charity Birge. Children:

  1. Lansing, born April 16, 1804; married (first) Maria Ives; (second) Isabella E. Bronk.
  2. Harriet, born March 13, 1806; married (first) Rodney Buel; (second) Nelson Buel.
  3. Walter, see forward.
  4. Lucena, born February 7, 1810; married Edwin Brock Nash.
  5. Phoebe, born December 11, 1816; married Charles Grandison Truner. [Turner?]

It was in this generation that the spelling of the first syllable of the family name became Mer, and the name Merchant.

(III) Walter, son of Eliakim and Charity (Birge) Merchant, was born on the Washington county homestead, June 26, 1807. He attended a country school, and in early manhood acquired such liberal information that he was never at a disadvantage either in business or society. When about twenty-five years of age he came to Albany and formed a partnership with his elder brother Lansing, in the wholesale and retail grocery business, at the corner of Division and Quay streets, in which they continued until the great fire in August, 1848. They then gave up the grocery business, but rebuilt their store building and engaged as grain merchants, which they pursued with much success for forty years, when both the brothers retired. They were the leaders in this enterprise, buying grain in bulk and boatloads from canal boats, and reshipping to various markets. Walter Merchant was originally a Whig in politics, and allied himself with the Republican party on its organization in 1856. He was an attendant at the Baptist church. He was honored for his spotless integrity and for his equable personal character. He was alive to every public interest, and a helpful friend to those needing assistance, whether moral or financial. He died October 22, 1896, in the ninetieth year of his age. He married Caroline Doughty, born in Dutchess county, New York, May 4, 1807, died August 29, 1900, daughter of Martin and Lydia (Collins) Doughty. Children:

  1. Caroline, born June 20, 1835, died September 25, same year.
  2. Elizabeth, twin with Caroline, died September 13, 1835.
  3. Harriet, born February 21, 1840; married, June 26, 1860, Edward M. Carpenter (see Carpenter VIII).

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