Joel Whitney and Mary Weston

November 11, 2017 at 4:48 pm | Posted in BARBARA BOWKER, Parker, Weston, Whitney | Leave a comment
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Today’s post is about Joel Whitney (1743-1791) and Mary Weston (1745-aft 1811) my 5xgreat grandparents.

Surnames: Barker, Cane / Cram, Hill, Knight, Moore, Noyes, Parker, Patten, Stetson, Vickery, Watts, Weston, Whitney.  Places: Calais, Washington Co, ME. Falmouth, Cumberland Co, ME; Chandler’s River, District of Maine, MA; Gorham, ME; Jonesboro, Washington Co, ME; Milltown, Charlotte Co, NB, Canada; York, York Co, ME.

About sources: Joel Whitney and Mary Weston are pretty well documented. Some of the sources tell conflicting things, which I will try to sort out as we go. It is not my intent to ever disparage someone else’s research.

  • Banks, Charles Edward, 1854-1931. History of York, Maine, Successively Known As Bristol (1632), Agamentious (1641), Gorgeana (1642), And York (1652). Baltimore: Regional Pub. Co., 1967.
  • My old go-to site, Downeast Genealogy, is no longer available, but the Jonesboro, Maine birth records can be viewed on the Wayback system at the Internet Archive:
  • Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolution is a multi-volume set, some of which are attainable online. Joel Whitney, as an officer, has several mentions throughout from the records of those who served with him.
  • SAR and DAR applications from various descendants supply information.
  • FamilySearch has transcribed records from Jonesboro and the surrounding area.
  • Whitney Research Group (WRG) is a sourced wiki one surname study:,_Joel_(1743-1791)
  • Frederick C. Pierce, The Descendants of John Whitney, Who Came from London, England, to Watertown, Massachusetts, in 1635 (Chicago, IL: The Author, 1895), p. 120.
  • George W Drisko, The Revolution: Life of Hannah Weston (1857, 2nd ed. 1903) which includes information about the early days of Jonesboro, using Ephraim Whitney as a source.
  • George W Drisko, Narrative of the Town of Machias (1904) provides details of the early days of Machias including the Revolution.

Joel Whitney was born in York, York County, District of Maine on May 21, 1743. His parents were Abel Whitney (1712-after 1761), a weaver and Mary Cane, Crane, or Cram (1714-abt 1794). His is listed as the fifth of fourteen children, at least two of whom died young. Abel Whitney, Joel’s dad, is mentioned as living in York, Gorham and Standish in Maine.

1763 Tax Rolls for Gorham: Whitney: Nathan, David, Abel, Nathaniel, Moses, Moses Jr, Amos, Aaron, Joel, Nathan Jr, Joseph. Weston: Thomas, Joseph.

1769 in Gorham a Joel Whitney is licensed as an Innholder. This would be after his move to Chandler’s River. Perhaps he still owned the property, or this is a different Joel Whitney.

Mary Weston was born in Falmouth, Maine about 1745 to Joseph Weston and Hannah Parker, widow of David Vickery.  She had at least one older Vickery sibling and at least five Weston siblings.  The family lived in Falmouth and Cape Elizabeth, which today is in the Portland metro area.

Joel Whitney married Mary Weston in Falmouth Sep 26, 1765.  Together they had the following children:

1. Mary Whitney (1766-1829) was born in Falmouth, ME and married Abner Hill (1772-1850) in Jonesboro. They were one of the founding families of Milltown, Charlotte Co, New Brunswick, Canada across the St. Croix River from Calais, Washington Co, ME. They had 10 children, mostly boys, who themselves became leading citizens in New Brunswick.

2. Hannah Whitney (1768-1856) was the first child of English descent born in Chandlers River. She married Paul Adkins Knight (1762-1834), who was a sea captain. They lived primarily in Calais, ME. Together they had 18 children including three sets of twins!

3. Ephraim Whitney (1770-1858) was first male child of English descent born in Chandlers River. He ran a sawmill, was elected Representative to the State Legislature and was called Captain.  His wife was Sarah “Sally” Noyes (1779-1857). They had 13 children and are buried in Jonesboro.

4. Reuben Whitney (1772-1810) was Ephraim’s partner in the sawmill. He married Hannah Stetson (1776-1816). They had six children. Reuben and Hannah were my 4x great grandparents. Please read my profile of them [here].

5. Joel Whitney (Dec 5-22, 1775), lived only 17 days.

6. Daniel Whitney Feb 4, 1776 (per image on famliysearch transcribed by DAR volunteer, not on DownEast Genealogy list). WRG says his wife’s name was Nancy, they had 8 children, and he died before 1851 in St. Stephen, NB.

7. Joseph or Daniel Whitney (June, 1778-Mar, 1781). Died age 2 years, 9 months. FamilySearch has this as Joseph, whereas the old Downeast Genealogy site had him as Daniel without listing #6 above. Either way, Mary and Joel lost a second small child during hard times.

8. Joel Whitney June 26, 1778 (per fs, no image not on DownEast Genealogy list) has the same birthdate as Joseph or Daniel (#7) above. WRG says he married Anna Moore (1785-1847), they had 10 children, and he died died 24 Apr 1861, St. Stephen, NB. His Findagrave memorial quotes a Machias Union article that lists him as a brother of Ephraim Whitney, son of Joel Whitney, Sr.

9. Lucy Whitney (Mar, 1780 – Jan, 1781). Died age 10 months. So sad that a third child died young, and only a couple of months before her brother, #7, above.

10. Joseph Whitney (1782-1850) was a Lieutenant Colonel during the War of 1812 and lived mostly in Calais, Washington Co, ME, holding the title of postmaster. I thought he was the head of family listed in the early Jonesboro records, but that was a different Joseph Whitney also b. 1782 (probably a cousin) who lived in nearby Columbia. This Joseph Whitney was the founder of the town of Whitneyville. I have not been able to attach him to a wife and children of his own. A tintype photo of him is viewable online [here].

11. Paul Whitney (1785-1845) married Catherine Barker of New Brunswick (1788-1864). WRG says they had 8 children and lived and died in Calais, Maine.

12. Abel Whitney (b. 1787-after 1860) WRG lists his census records that show he was living with siblings and apparently did not marry and had no children.

13. Joshua Whitney (1791-1847) married Melissa Patten and moved to Crawford Co, Pennsylvania.

In addition, some early sources say that Porter Whitney was a son of Joel and Mary Whitney. He was actually a grandson, son of Ephraim and Sally Whitney.

DownEast Pioneers

Joel and Mary Whitney removed from Falmouth in 1767 with infant daughter, Mary, to Chandlers River as one of the very first families to live there. The settlement was on the rocky Maine coast, then an isolated wilderness. There were a few trails through the woods, but no roads. All commerce and travel was done via boat. In addition to subsistence farming and fishing, the primary means of business there was harvesting timber and sawing lumber for shipment to Boston.

A Letter from Mary’s Father:
Bangor Daily News, March 1972 transcription of a letter from Mary’s parents, Joseph and Hannah Weston dated Oct 9th 1769 from Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where her father implores them to be sure and secure parcels for two farms – one for themselves and another for the Westons – in particular Mary’s brother Josiah.

From various accounts I have read over the years, I gather that the house was probably made from log, with a fireplace and chimney in the middle, for cooking and to keep everything warm and dry. There would have been one great room with only minimal partitioning. In those days a bucket of water was kept by the front door to douse unwanted fires in the home or at a neighbor’s.

In 1772 Mary’s siblings, Josiah Weston (b. 1750), Elizabeth Weston and Rebecca Weston (b. abt 1760), finally made the trip from Cape Elizabeth to Chandler’s River. Josiah set to building a log house and married Hannah Watts in October, 1774. It was such a small community, I think that her sisters probably helped Mary with the small children as well as the many chores necessary for the family to survive in the still primitive environment.

The Margaretta June 1775:
As mentioned in previous posts, the settlers all up and down the Maine coast were aware of the events at Lexington and Concord in April, 1775. They were almost unanimous in their support for the patriot cause. In early June, a merchant ship arrived in Machias accompanied by HMS Margaretta. The townspeople were to supply lumber for barracks and poles for ships masts in exchange for their supplies. If they chose not to do so, the Captain of the ship threatened to fire on the town. Joel Whitney was among about 20 men from Chandler’s River who answered the call to help the people of Machias in their resistance.

Joel was with Benjamin Foster on one of the boats that saw action.  The Margaretta was captured, it’s Captain mortally wounded, it’s crew sent back to Boston.

About a month later on July 14, 1775, Joel Whitney was among a party of men who captured the British schooner “Diligence” and it’s tender “Tatagamouch” in Machias Bay. These vessels were sent to find out the fate of Margaretta, and were likewise taken.

The Revolution and Joel Whitney’s Service 1777

Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution, 17 Vols.
Whitney, Joel.List of officers chosen by the several companies in Col. Benjamin Foster’s (6th Lincoln Co.) regt. of Mass. militia, dated Gouldsborough, June 28, 1776; said Whitney reported as having a subaltern’s command with rank of 1st Lieutenant, in 10th co., at Chandler’s river, being too remote to join any company; ordered in Council July 11, 1776, that said officers be commissioned with the exception of those of the 3d co.; also, Lieutenant, in command of a company, Col. Benjamin Foster’s (Lincoln Co.) regt.; service between July 16, 1777, and date of discharge, Oct. 7, 1777, 1 mo. 25 days; company called out to serve at Machias “this Summer Past Several Times;” also, Lieutenant, in command of a detachment from 10th co., Col. Foster’s regt.; service from Dec. 16, 1777, to Jan. 7, 1778, 23 days; detachment called out to serve at Chaloner’s river for defence of Machias.

According to the SAR application for Carl H Hopkins: Joel Whitney’s “Commission, Cockade hat and sash at Maine Historical Society, Portland, Maine.” Oh, a Cockade hat! That sounds rather sporty to me. Research shows that there was actually designated insignia for each rank. Joel’s cockade adornment on his hat would have probably been green as a subaltern, or possibly red or pink as a field officer, as per this site: 

Community life and other documentation.
In later life, Joel Whitney is referred to as Captain. He may have served in the local militia, but I don’t have any documentation to that effect.

From Collections of the Maine Historical Society Second Series, available on Google books search: In 1783, Joel Whitney is elected Committee Member and Petitioner for local Court of Law, Registrar of Deeds and Justice of Peace.

1790 Census Maine, Plantation 22
Joel Whitney: 3 males under 16, 5 males 16+, 3 females any age (all free white).

Joel Whitney died July 20, 1791 at age 49, per early Jonesboro records.
From Probate Records of Washington County Maine: Vol 2

Oct 20, 1791: Probate Judge appoints Gustasaf Fellows, Josiah Noyes, and Willliam Tupper to inventory and appraise the estate real and personal of Joel Whitney of Chandler’s River, deceased.

Inventory of Joel Whitney:
– 30 acres of cleared land with house and barn standing thereon – value: 205.0,0
– 8 acres of land on the other side of Josiah Noyes – value: 32.0,0
– 62 acres of wild land adjoining the 30 acres of cleared land – value: 4.12.0
– One half of double saw mill and one half of all the priviledges and apportionments – value: 192.0.0
– 60 acres of upland and a lot on salt marsh at Pleasant River claimed by Capt Hall – value: 8.0.0
– 4 yds broadcloth 2/8 / 27 yards corderoy 12/6 – value: 2.0.6
– 1 Surstate coat 15 / 1 broadcloth coat & westcoat 15 – value: 1.10.0
– 1 Corsecoat & westcoat 15 / 1 thin coat & westcoat 10 – value 1.05.0
– 1 Hat 5 / 1 old feather bed & bedding 40 / 1 ditto 15 – value 3.0,0
– 2 pewter dishes 6/8 and 14 plates 4/ – value: 0.10.8
– 3 old pewter basons 1/4 3 porngers? – value: 0.2.0
– 1 large iron kettle 7/6 1 small do 5/ – value: 12.6.0
– 1 large pott 5/ 1 iron bason 1/6 – value: 0.6.6.
– 1 iron teakettle 3/6 1 highpan 2/ 2 skillets 3/ – value: 0.8.6
– 1 stupan 2/ 2 spiders 3/6 1 old loom & lack 5/ – value: 10.6.0
– 2 woolen wheels 6/ 1 linnen wheel 4/ – value 10.0.0
– 1 pair steelyards 2/6 1 pair tongs 1/6 – value: 0.4.0
– 1 crane trammel and hooks – value 10.0.0
– a quanitity of crockery 7/ 1 old desk 4/ – value 0.11.0
– 1 case bottles 5/ 32″ old iron 5/4 handsaw 1/6 – value: 0.11.10
– 1/2 of a crosscut saw 5/ 1 draw shave 3/ 1 square 1/6 value: 0.9.6
– 1 old chisel and 1 old adds 1/ 3 old axes 3/ value: 0.4.6
– 1 old scale and 2 weights 1/6 2 old firearms 10 value: 0.11.6
– 1 swivel gun 3/ 2 old augers 2/ value: 0.5.0
– 2 iron shovels 6/ 1 spade 3/ value: 0.9.0
– 1 pair old plough irons 5/ 8 harness teeth 4/ value: 0.9.0
– Cleaves and pin 3/ Carmac 20/ 2 holders 4/ value: 1.7.0
– Board loggs – value: 18.8.6
– 1 yoak of oxen yoak and bowes – value: 10.10
– 2 three year old steers – value: 6.13.4 subtotal: 17.3.4
– 3 milch cows 8.2/ 2 two year old heifers 4. value: 12.2.0
– 1 two year old steer 36/ 1 yearling heifer 20/ value: 2.16
– 1 calf 12/ 1 old horse 15/ 3 swine 117/ value: 7.4.0
Total estate valued at: 515.15.4 (pounds, shillings, pennies)
Entered into probate record Feb 22, 1792. along with Mary Whitney’s statement that the above is accurate and if any more comes into her knowledge she will advise the court of same.

April 4, 1792
Mary Whitney, widow of Joel Whitney and adminster of his estate petitions probate judge to appoint commissioners to appraise and sell property as estate does not have enough to pay all debts.
April 10. 1792
Probate judge appoint Gustavus Fellows, Caleb Coolidge and William Tupper to advertise for six months and in two adjoining counties or in the Boston newspaper to bring forth and examine all claims of creditor against the estate of Joel Whitney, late of Plantation 22.
October 8, 1792
Fellows, Coolidge and Tupper enumerated for the court claims against the estate of Joel Whitney of 463.19.6 (pounds, shillings, pennies) mostly from business creditors and expenses from last sickness 10.10.6 additional expenses for running advertisements and other administrative cost.
Nov 1, 1792
Judge allows Mary Whitney six months to dispose of debts against assets of the estate of Joel Whitney.
Jan 29, 1793
Fellows, Coolidge and Tupper reports back the settling of debts.
March 26, 1793
Mary Whitney is allowed to keep the house and personal property in support of young children value: 39.11.6
Also presents claims against estate for court and administrative costs: about 40.0.0
The balance of the estate is to be sold to pay off remaining debts.
April 30th 1793
New Probate Judge approves sale of estate assets to pay debts.
July 3, 1793
As there is still not enough to pay the debtors, the judge orders that the remaining amounts be paid at the rate of 1 pennie for every 20 shillings owed. (about a penny a pound)

Later life for Mary

1800 Census Maine, Plantation 22: It’s very faint, but I think it says-
Ephraim Whitney: 2 males under 10, 1 male 10-16, 1 male 16-26, 2 males 26-45, 0 males over 45; 1 female under 10, 0 females 10-16, 2 females16-26, 1 female 26-45, 1 female over 45.

1810 Census Maine, Jonesboro:
Hannah Whitney: 2 males under 10, 1 male 26-44, 3 females under 10, 1 female 26-44.
Ephraim Whitney: 2 males under 10, 2 males 10-15, 3 males 16-25, 1 male 26-44; 3 females under 10, 2 females 10-15, 1 female 16-25, 1 female 26-44, 2 females 45 and over.

It seems that Mary was living with Ephraim at the time of the 1810 census. However, by the time that Reuben died, she was back in the original homestead, presumably helping Reuben’s wife, Hannah, who was expecting another child. I wonder who the other older female is – perhaps Ephraim’s mother-in-law, Eunice Moors Noyes? I dunno.  Probably wishful thinking on my part.

The last record I can find for Mary Weston Whitney is dated 1811 where The Westerly half of the house, cellar and barn were awarded to her as the remains of her widow’s dower “where she already resides” along with two land parcels totalling 51 acres and one third of the “shore saw” in the “old mill.” The Easterly half of the house barn and property was awarded to Hannah, Reuben Whitney’s widow. When I first read this, I imagined a line down the middle of the house, like in a silly modern sit-com. I’m sure it wasn’t that way at all. If the house was, as I suspect, the original homestead, there wasn’t much house to divide.

I do not have the burial locations for either Joel or Mary Whitney. Perhaps one day their markers will be found, but chances are they are lost to time and weather.

Throughout American history, we find stories of rugged pioneers, who live in primitive conditions in order to make a better life for those who come after. I think it’s safe to say that Joel and Mary Whitney were two such persons. I am proud to count them among my many ancestors.

I must pause a moment here also to thank Joel Whitney and all my veteran relatives who were in the military (including my Dad). If you are a veteran, or a descendant of one, many thanks for you and your family’s service, too. 🙂


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