John Whitney

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John Whitney, son of Thomas Whitney and Mary Bray, was born probably shortly before his baptism at St Margaret, Westminster, England, 20 July 1592.1,2 He died at Watertown, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts, 1 June 1673.3,1,4

John married (1) Elinor (…) at England, in 1618;1,4,5 he married (2) Judah Clement at Watertown, 29 September 1659. The ancestry of both wives is unknown (or not traced here).6,1,4,5

John Whitney, son of Thomas Whitney, of the city of Westminster, yeoman, was apprenticed to William Pring of the Old Bailey, a freeman of the Merchant Taylors Company, on 22 February 1607[/8]. On 13 March 1614, Pring made John free, and ten years later, 8 Nov 1624, his father apprenticed his son Robert to John, and in turn, Robert was made free by John, 14 January 1632. Beginning 11 December 1631 through 1634, he enrolled his eldest son, John, in the Merchant Tailors school.

Based on the baptisms of his children, he was in Isleworth from at least about 1619 to about 1626, and in the late 1620's, two children were baptized at St. Mary Aldermary.1,7,4

14 May 1635, signed on the Elizabeth and Ann, Mr. Roger Cooper, Master, bound for England:
These p'ties hereunder expressed are to be imbarqued for New England, having taken the oaths of Allegieance and Supremacie and likewise brought Certificate both from the Ministers and Justices when their abidings were latlie, of their conformitie to the Discipline and order of the Church of England, and yet they are no Subsedy Men.

The list includes John Whitney 35, Ellin Whitney 30, John Whitney 11, Richard Whitney 9, Nathaniell Whitney 8, Thomas Whitney 6, Jonathan Whitney 1.1,8,7,4

Admitted freeman 3 March 1635/36, elected Selectman in 1637 and held the office until 1655 when he was elected town clerk.

1 Jun 1641 appointed constable at Watertown by the General Court at their quarter session held in Boston. They were required to collect the taxes of the town and the levies of the General Court; to pay the debts of the colony due to individuals in their respective towns; to supply the town with sealed weights and measures; to set or order in those towns where no captain dwelt, and to inflict the punishments ordered by judicial authority, "where there was not another appointed to do it within his own town, unless he can get another to do it." As a badge of his office a constable was required to carry a black staff 5 or 5 1/2 feet long with a tip or head 5 or 6 inches long.

He was grantee of eight lots in Watertown and purchaser of 16 acres, including his homestall lot, where he continued to reside. His eight grants amounted to 212 acres to which he made subsequent additions.1,7,4

John left a will dated 3 April 1673, and proved 17 June 1673:
I John Whitney Senior of Watertown, in ye County of Middlesex: being perfect and sound in memory and understanding blessed be God for it: doo declare this to be my last will and testament in manner and form as followeth

F[ir]st I commit my spirit into ye hand of god that gave it; and my body unto the earth whence it was taken:

2 ly. I give unto my son John Whitney: my meadow called beeverbrook meadow with ye upland that doth apertaine thereto: and a yoake of oxen: or nine pounds ten shillings: and ten acres of my land called devedent land and a trunke and one paire of sheets and one paire of pillow beers and two pewter dishes a great one and a small one: and the bed whereon I lie with all ye furniture thereunto belonging.

3 ly. I give unto my son Richard Whitney: ten acres of my land called devedend and two cows and a great sea chest.

4 ly. I give unto my son Thomas Whitney ten acres of my land called devedend and two cows and a sad colored sute namely a paire of breeches and a close coate and pewter dish.

5 ly. I give unto my son Jonathan Whitney: one iron kittle and a great brass skillit.

6 ly. I give unto my son Joshua Whitney: twenty acres of my land called devedend: and a cubard and a little table and a cheste and a great kittle and a warming pan and a skillit.

7 ly. I give unto my son Benjamin Whitney: the old mare if she live:

8 ly. My will is that what of my estate be left over after all is paid out as above sd namely of my movables that it be equally divided betweene my executors and I doo nominate and apoint my well beloved son John Whintney and Joshuah Whitney; to be my executors to this my Will and testament and doo desire my loving frind William Bond Senior: to see that this my will be performed according to the true intent of it as is aforesaid and doo set to my hand this 3rd of Aprill: 1673

The inventory, taken 4 June 1673, was untotaled, but included £55 in real estate: "fifty acres of land called dividend," £25; "three acres of meadow at Beaver Brook with an acres and half of upland to it," £20; and "an acre of meadow called Plain Meadow," £10. And the old mare still lived, £2 10s.9,10

Family 1

Elinor (…) b. 1599, d. 11 May 1659
  • Mary Whitney4 b. 23 May 1619, d. bef. 15 Feb 1626/27
  • John Whitney4 b. 14 Sep 1621, d. 12 Oct 1692
  • Richard Whitney4 b. 6 Jan 1623/24, d. aft. 8 Apr 1691
  • Nathaniel Whitney4 b. say 1626, d. aft. 1635
  • Thomas Whitney4 b. 10 Dec 1627, d. 20 Sep 1719
  • Margaret "Mary" Whitney1 b. 25 Dec 1629 or 29 Dec 1629, d. bef. 1635
  • Jonathan Whitney4 b. 1634, d. 1 Jan 1702/3
  • Joshua Whitney+4 b. bt 15 Jul 1635 - 1636, d. 1 Aug 1719
  • Caleb Whitney4 b. 12 Jul 1640, d. bef. 12 Aug 1640
  • Benjamin Whitney4 b. 6 Jun 1643, d. 26 Mar 1723

Family 2

Judah Clement d. bef. 5 Apr 1670
This person was last edited on16 Dec 2017


  1. [S789] Dean Crawford Smith and Melinde Lutz Sanborn, The Ancestry of Eva Belle Kempton, 1978-1908: Part I: The Ancestry of Warren Francis Kempton, 1817-1879 (Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1996), 522-550, further cited as Smith and Sanborn, Kempton Ancestry: Part I.
  2. [S69] Frederick Clifton Peirce, Whitney: The Descendants of John Whitney, Who Came From London, England to Watertown, Massachusetts in 1635 (Chicago, Illinois: p.p., 1895), 16-18, further cited as Peirce, Whitney.
  3. [S1974] Historical Society, Watertown Records, Four vols. (subtitle varies) (Boston, Massachusetts: David Clapp & Son, 1894-1906), 1:3:36, further cited as Historical Society, Watertown Records.
  4. [S69] Peirce, Whitney, 19-22.
  5. [S1872] Clarence Almon Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700, 3 vols. (Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011), 1660, further cited as Torrey, New England Marriages (2011).
  6. [S1974] Historical Society, Watertown Records, 1:3:22.
  7. [S113] Donald Lines Jacobus, "Pre-American Ancestries: VII. John Whitney of Watertown, Mass.," The American Genealogist 10 (Oct 1933): 84-88, further cited as Jacobus, "John Whitney."
  8. [S1492] Peter Wilson Coldham, The Complete Book of Emigrants: 1607-1660: A Comprehensive Listing Compiled from English Public Records of Those Who Took Ship to the Americas for Political, Religious, and Economic Reasons; of Those Who Were Deported for Vagrancy, Roguery, or Non-Conformity; and of Those Who Were Sold to Labour in the New Colonies (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing, 1987), 135, further cited as Coldham, Complete Book of Emigrants, 1607-1660.
  9. [S789] Smith and Sanborn, Kempton Ancestry: Part I, 531-2, citing Middlesex Probate #24680.
  10. [S2053] Robert Charles Anderson, George F. Sanborn Jr. and Melinde Lutz Sanborn, The Great Migration: Immigrants To New England, 1634-1635 (7 vols., Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1999-2011), 7:369, further cited as Anderson, et al., The Great Migration.