Mehitabel Wilmarth

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Mehitabel Wilmarth, daughter of Thomas Wilmarth and Mary Robinson, was born at Rehoboth, Bristol Co., Massachusetts, 4 March 1680/81.1 She died after 6 September 1748, when she requested her son-in-law to administer her husband's estate.2

Mehitabel married Jeremiah Ormsby, son of Thomas Ormsby and Mary Fitch, at Swansea, Bristol Co., Massachusetts, 21 November 1705.3,4,2

There are two eligible Mehitabel Wilmarths of Rehoboth who could be the wife of Jeremiah Ormsby.

The first is the daughter of John and Ruth (Kendrick), born 19 Jun 1675. The second is the daughter of Thomas and Mary (Robinson), born 4 Mar 1680/1. We'll take them in order of birth.

The daughter of John is commonly said to have married Ebenezer Walker as his first wife, 19 Nov. 1700, but who died 27 Dec 1702, nine days after the birth of her second child. Note that Ebenezer was born "mid-November" 1676, making him more than a year younger than this Mehitabel, which is unusual. Their first chld was born a wee bit early: having married 19 Nov 1700, their son Ebenezer was born 7 1/2 months later, 30 Jun 1701. The second child, Mehitabel, was born 18 Dec 170. Both children were dead by 1706.

The daughter of Thomas, if she is the wife of Jeremiah, presents a problem in that, by her own words, she was over 70 in 1748, and hence born before 1678. Though feeble, her signature shows she had some education and knowing her own birthday, would likely be able to do the math and accurately state she was over 70. This seems to disqualify the daughter of Thomas from being the wife of Jeremiah.

If we reassign the brides this problem is resolved, and while that is too simple, there is additional evidence to lend support. The Mehitabel born in 1675 would be nearly 30 if she were the one who married Jeremiah. That is unusual as is the fact he himself was 33. While both were older than normal, the couple were also fairly close in age. Further, Jeremiah and Mehitabel had their last child, Elizabeth, 23 Feb 1721/2, and this date coincides closely with the expected end of child-bearing for a woman born in 1675. If the daughter of Thomas were the wife of Jeremiah, being born in 1680, we might expect child bearing to continue for a few more years. It does not.

Onomastics offer no help in resoving the issue as none of the children of both couples are named after any known relatives of either mother (Ruth Kendrick or Mary Robinson)t of dher potential parents. So far, no probate records of any relative name any of the children of Jeremiah, and given their ages at death, the children of Ebenezer and Mehitable are also very unlikely to be named anywhere.

One would wish for more evidence to overturn a long-accepted and published "fact," but the evidence appears to show that the wife of Jeremiah Ormsby was the daughter of John and Ruth (Bowen) Wilmarth. But remember, the case is never closed on any genealogical problem. And yes, there is more to the story….5,6,1,7

It's impossible to reconcile the argument that the wife of Ebenezer Walker was the daughter of Thomas and Mary (Robinson) in light of this record which appears in the records of the Court of General Sessions for Bristol Co., 14 July 1702:
John Cole of Swanzey sometimes called Little John Cole being sent for to this Court Upon the complaint of Robert Carter of Swanzey aforesd in be halfe of his wifes Daughter Mehettabel Wilmoth to answer for his being the father of a Bastard Child begotten on the Body of sd Mehettabel who Appeared accordingly Deny [xxx] [xxx] matter of fact & pleaded not guilty
but the said Mehettabel makeing oath in open Court that said John Cole was the father of sd child born of her body & no other man And Mrs Tanner the midwife with two other woemen to witt Elizabeth Wheaton & Lidia Mason [xxx] that in the time of her Travaile in her greatest Extremity the said Mehettable did [assign] John Cole & in there hearing Did say that he was the father of sd child & no other man whereupon the Courts[xxx] [xxx] that said Mehettabel pay a fine to her Majestie of Twenty Shillings Stone Commi[xxx] bill [xxx] be performed
And that the said John Cole the Reputed father of sd Child pay a Bill of Charge of four pounds Eight Shillings six pence for nursing & other Charges untill the Twenty first of this Instant July & for the future to pay three shllings per week & every week after the 21st Instant for & towards the mainte-nance of said Child During the Courts [pleasure?] to be payd monthly to said Mehetabell the mother of sd Child be bound with surety [of] in the sum of fifty pounds to do & perform according to sentance --Standing Committee &c
The said John Cole [xxx] bound to her Majestie in the sum of £50
Ebenezer Cole and William Salsbery in the sum of £25
Each of them upon condition that the sd John Cole shall & will perform the sentence above mentioned.

Since Mehitable, daughter of Thomas and Mary (Robinson) Wilmarth was a single mother and in court in July 1702, the wife of Ezekiel Walker, must in fact be the daughter of John and Ruth (Kendrick) Wilmarth just as Saxbe shows in Richard Bowen.8,7

Family 1

John Cole
  • (…) Wilmarth8 b. bef. Jul 1702

Family 2

Jeremiah Ormsby b. 25 Nov 1672, d. bef. 6 Sep 1748
  • Jeremiah Ormsby6 b. 10 Feb 1706/7, d. bef. 25 Jun 1746
  • Mary Ormsby6 b. 21 Sep 1708
  • Mehitable Ormsby+3 b. 7 Sep 1710, d. 25 Feb 1796
  • Israel Ormsby6 b. 31 Mar 1712
  • Anne Ormsby6 b. 3 Feb 1713
  • Jacob Ormsby6 b. 19 Sep 1715
  • Jabez Ormsby6 b. 7 Apr 1717
  • Elizabeth Ormsby6 b. 23 Feb 1721/22
This person was last edited on23 Jan 2023


  1. [S1121] James N. Arnold, Vital Record of Rehoboth, 1642-1896: Marriages, Intentions, Births, Deaths: With supplement Containing the Record of 1896, Colonial Returns, Lists of the Early Settlers, Purchasers, Freemen, Inhabitants, the Soldiers Serving in Philip's War and the Revolution (Providence, Rhode Island: Narragansett Historical Publishing Co., 1897), 780, further cited as Arnold, Vital Record of Rehoboth.
  2. [S2511] Michelle Townsend Amsbury, "The Ancestry of Jeremiah Amsbury of Providence (1741–1812)," Rhode Island Roots 21 (Sep 1995): 72–74, at 72, further cited as Amsbury, "Ancestry of Jeremiah Amsbury."
  3. [S1121] Arnold, Vital Record of Rehoboth, 694.
  4. [S667] H. L. Peter Rounds, Jane Fletcher Fiske and Margaret F. Costello, Vital Records of Swansea, Massachusetts to 1850 (Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1992), 181, further cited as Rounds, Fiske, and Costello, Vital Records of Swansea.
  5. [S2476] Carl Boyer 3rd, Ancestral Lines: 232 Families in England, Wales, The Netherlands, Germany, New England, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, 4th ed. (Santa Clarita, California: s.p., 2015), 627, further cited as Boyer, Ancestral Lines.
  6. [S2512] Albert E. Pierce, Ormsby—Ormsbee Family: Descendants of Richard Ormsesby (1602–1664) of Rehoboth, Mass. (Revised ed., Tulsa, Oklahoma: s.p., 1962, 1966, 1968), C–16, further cited as Pierce, Descendants of Richard Ormesby.
  7. [S2590] William B. Saxbe Jr., Richard Bowen (1594?-1675) of Rehoboth, Massachusetts, and His Descendants: Volume 1- Generations 1-3; with notes on the families of Robert1 Wheaton, Robert1 Fuller, and George1 Kendrick (Hope, Rhode Island: Rhode Island Genealogical Society, 2011), further cited as Saxbe, Richard Bowen of Rehoboth.
  8. [S2603] Taunton, Massachusetts, Court of General Sessions, records, 1702-1738, 1:11, FHL microfilm 899093 img 517, further cited as Bristol Co. Court of General Sessions Records.