In Old Testament times genealogy was the province of the priesthood, as it is in many primitive societies today. In the kingdoms of medieval Europe genealogy was the system of record keeping by which political power was passed from one generation to another. Intertwined with heraldry and the system of laws that then prevailed, genealogy furnished proof of claims to succession. In 19th century America genealogy became a sport of the wealthy and the pretentious, and often had the practical value of maintaining "the Establishment" in positions of power. Having ancestors who arrived on the Mayflower was a form of folk magic by which families not only supported their self-esteem but imposed their leadership on the surrounding communities.
Today genealogy still has a certain amount of "snob appeal" to some, but the influence of 19th century snobbery has been considerably weakened by modern technology and education. While genealogy is a pleasant pastime to thousands of amateurs and professionals, and a serious pursuit by some religious groups, it has also given evidence of acceptance as a science, in which the researcher must often combine the skills of a librarian, a lawyer, and a detective. A number of high quality publications have become expert in the work of gathering and presenting evidence. The legal right to inheritance of property may depend on genealogical research. Perhaps the most involved case in recent years followed the death of Sherman Fairchild in 1971. He had been an only child; his parents were dead; he had never married and left no child (that anyone knew about); and he left no will. To find even a distant relative requires going back to an ancestor, then tracing down one of the collateral lines. Alas, it may not even be possible to identify his grandfather with certainty, and an estate valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars may go unclaimed!
Modern technology has brought a dramatic change to the field of genealogy. First, of course, was the typewriter. Then came IBM punched cards, followed quickly by tape recorders, microfilm photography, computers, mini-cameras. Such technological wonders have not only changed the methods of research but have made research possible for and available to persons of average means. Thus, the businessman or the housewife or the student can visit a library in the evenings and peruse microfilm records of ancient documents in relative ease and comfort.
Many, probably most, of these documents would not have been available to the average researcher before 1945 without expensive trips and long hours rummaging through boxes of unsorted papers in courthouse basements, or crawling on one's belly into a bramble-covered cemetery hidden in the woods and long forgotten by the local natives.
Such was the state of things in the early 1800s when Royal R. Hinman, Secretary of State of Connecticut, began to collate the data for his famous Catalog of Early Puritan Settlers of Connecticut. Mr. Hinman had total access to the records of his own State, and relied on correspondents in New York and other neighboring states to search their own records. We do not know if he visited New Jersey and Long Island in person, but the evidence of his book suggests that he did not. Moreover, few of those States, owing to the lack of the technology we have just described, had made any effort to classify and store their historical records, other than those that were duly recorded in land record volumes and will books. Most of that effort has come about only in the twentieth century.
Thus, Royal R. Hinman was unaware of the contents of the archives of the State of New Jersey, and was blissfully ignorant of a splendid clan of Hinmans who had sprung from a Virginia ancestor long before Sergt. Edward dropped anchor in Boston Harbor.
We propose to show you what Royal Hinman did not know: the true identity of the wife of Edward Hinman, Jr., the mother of twelve children, the woman whose genes have been passed to thousands of descendants.
DISCONNECTING THE JENNINGS FAMILY
Here we list all we know about the family of Edward Hinman, Jr. We list below the twelve children and their birthdates. All of these births are recorded in the Stratford Land Record, Vol. 2.
1. Jonah/Jonas 5 Nov 1700 2. Hannah 3 Mar 1702 3. Zachariah 27 Jan 1704 4. Samuel 6 Jan 1705 5. Justus 28 Dec 1707 6. Ebenezer 6 Oct 1709 7. Sarah Oct 1711 8. John 4 Nov 1713 9. Rachel 4 Dec 1715 10. Eunise 16 Aug 1717 11. Amos 18 Oct 1720 12. Charity 6 Jun 1723
Before proceeding further, here is a good place to set the record straight about Ebenezer. Royal Hinman omitted the name of Eunise and called the 10th child Ebenezer, adding that "perhaps Ebenezer, 6th child, died." This was a copying error on somebody's part, as the Stratford Land Record unequivocally says that "Eunise," the daughter of Edward and Hannah, was born on Aug. 16, 1717. Jacobus (1931) also lists her correctly and also shows that Ebenezer, the 6th child, married Obedience Jennings and lived to the age of 86.
This is the family whose mother is named by Royal R. Hinman "Hannah Jennings," but of unstated parentage. Both Orcutt (1886) and Jacobus (1931) called attention to this name, and Jacobus stated:
"Hinman in Conn. Puritans calls her Hannah Jennings, but no place for her has been found in the Jennings family of Fairfield. The name may be due to confusion with the wife of her son Ebenezer."
Thus, the omission of Eunice, the introduction of a new Ebenezer who married a Jennings, the demise of the first Ebenezer, and the assigning of a family to Hannah when none was known in the record could all have been part of the same error or could have been transmitted by the same source.
How do such errors get into print? The answer is: It's easy. Bear in mind that he did not use a typewriter; that his data were collected from hundreds of sources, written in all kinds of handwriting on all kinds and sizes of paper; that the task of cutting and pasting this vast potpourri of names and dates was undoubtedly performed in his spare time; and that the printer had to read and translate the stuff. And don't forget that the original book was 884 pages in length. The wonder of it is that the book did not contain more errors than it does! One of the objectives of the Hinman Family Association, stated at the outset, is to find and correct the errors that made their way into print.
It is time now to disconnect the Jennings family from the Hinman family at the juncture of Edward Jr. and Hannah. Of the several Jennings families in Fairfield, more than one had a daughter named Hannah, but not at the same time to be of age to marry Edward. It is strange that anyone would select the daughter of Joshua Jennings and Hannah Lyon for two reasons: (1) she married Peter Sturges, and (2) she died 6 Aug 1771 in her 80th year, according to her gravestone in Fairfield (Jacobus, 1931).
The proof of Hannah Jennings' marriage to Peter Sturges does not come from the Stratford Land Records (at least, this writer has not seen it), but from the probate records. Her father died after she married. Administration was granted on his estate 31 July 1716 to his widow Hannah (Lyon) and son Joshua. On 13 Feb 1718 distribution was made to, among others, daughters Mary Burr and Hannah Sturges. Hannah's younger sister Abigail chose her brother-in-law Peter Sturges guardian.
On 21 Jan 1730/1 an agreement for the distribution of some uninventoried land belonging to Joshua when he died was made by, among the other children, Peter Sturges and Hannah his wife.
Hannah's mother, Hannah (Lyon) Jennings died in 1743. Her will, proved 30 Nov 1743, mentions three daughters, Mary, Hannah, and Abigail, among other heirs, and names her grandson Samuel Sturges as one of the executors.
Finally, Hannah Sturges, widow of Peter, died 6 Aug 1771. Her gravestone says she was in her 80th year. This would make her birth year about 1691, and since Edward Jr's first child was born in 1700, we must now, sadly but firmly, bid Hannah Jennings "Adieu."
Our ancestors were not dummies. While they lacked -- indeed, had never heard of -- the conveniences that we now take for granted, they had nearly everything they needed for their comfort and survival, considering the state of medical science in the 17th century. They were just as smart as we are, and, at the citizen level, perhaps more resourceful. What they did not buy, they made or traded something for.
Among the necessities of colonial life, especially in a waterfront community, were boats. The colony of Milford (part of the New Haven Colony) was right across the river from Stratford, and we can be sure that boat traffic between the two communities was established within days of their settlement. The northern shore of Long Island was visible from high ground on a clear day. Given the curious nature of the times, who could have stopped the exploration of that distant shore with its quiet harbors and sandy beaches?
Actually, a lively water commerce developed among the colonies strung out along the Atlantic and its inlets. Often it was much faster to go somewhere by boat than by foot or on horseback. A case in point would be the traffic between Long Island and the Connecticut and Rhode Island shores. To go from, say, Stratford to Oyster Bay required probably not more than five hours by boat, depending on the winds. But the same journey by horseback would take the rider to New York where he would have to find a ferry anyway and probably take two days.
THE BURROUGHS CONNECTION
At this writing it is not known who first discovered that Hannah Hinman was born a Burroughs (Burrows/Burrowes). The historians Orcutt (1886) and Jacobus (1931) had both cast serious doubt on the surname Jennings. The earliest document we have is a little brochure by E. C. Hoagland published in 1946, in which he said his notes on the Burrows family had been in his notebook for "a number of years."
It is quite likely that the identity of Hannah was brought to light by one of her descendants, the most numerous of which seem to have gone into New Jersey and Pennsylvania and spread out from there. Hoagland himself is from the Wysox, Pennsylvania, line of John Hinman, Jr., Hannah's grandson. It is even possible that, among some of her descendants, her identity had never been forgotten. This could certainly have been the case among the New Jersey Hinmans because Hannah's mother had remarried and gone to New Jersey after the death of Hannah's father. But we are getting ahead of our story.
At the death of Sergt. Edward Hinman on 26 Nov 1681, his eight children, ranging in age from 28 to 9, were well provided for. The three oldest sons, Titus, Samuel, and Benjamin, went on to develop their own large estates, as shown by their wills and inventories. The four minors were Hannah, 15, Mary, 13, Patience, 11, and Edward, 9. They were probably taken into the homes of their older siblings, though 28-year-old Sarah Roberts was the only one then married, and young Edward was apprenticed to Jehiel Preston of Stratford. They grew up in good homes, in better than average economic circumstances, and seem all to have been educated by the standards then current.
On 10 Jan 1694/5 Patience Hinman married John Burroughs in Stratford (LR2-479). The children of that marriage, recorded at Stratford, are listed here:
Stephen, b. 25 Feb 1694/5; m. 3 Mar 1719/20 Ruth Nichols.
Edward, b. 14 Mar 1696/7.
Hannah, b. 23 Nov 1697; m. 7 Dec 1720 Eliphalet Curtis.
Eunice, b. 1 Sep 1699; m. 11 Sep 1727 Jonah Curtis.
Joseph, b. 23 Nov 1701, d. 6 Jan 1765 ae. 63 (g.s. New Haven); m. at New Haven 13 Jan 1725/6 Lydia Munson, b. 22 Nov 1707, d. 12 Sep 1769 ae. 62 (g.s.).
Bathsheba, b. 26 Sep 1703; m. 5 Apr 1726 Sevignion Lewis.
John, b. 31 Aug 1705, bp. (Stratfield rec.) 10 Feb 1706, d. at Newtown abt. 1726/7. Adm'n granted 20 Feb 1726/7 to Stephen Burrows and Eliphalet Curtis. Dist. made to bros. & sisters: Stephen, Edward, Joseph, Eden, Hannah, Eunice, Bashua, Patience.
Eden, b. 10 Jul 1707, bp. Stratfield 7 Sep 1707, d. 9 Mar 1771 ae. 64 (g.s. New Haven); m. (rec. Wallingford) 27 Dec 1733 Lydia Austin, b. abt. 1713, d. 1775, no issue.
Ephraim, b. in 1708, bp. Stratfield 24 Apr 1709, died young.
Patience, b. 2 Jan 1709/10, bp. Stratfield 11 Mar 1711; m. at Stratfield 29 Jan 1736 David Sanford.
At this point, having emphasized the name of Stephen Burroughs for your attention, we will proceed with the display of documentary data, retrieved only in the mid-twentieth century, establishing the connection between the Hinman family of Stratford and the Burrowes/Burroughs family of Long Island.
Stephen Burrowes, of Jamaica, L.I., died there in 1714. His will of 13 Jul 1713 was proved in Queens County 8 Dec 1714. It mentioned:
Loving brother, Eden Burrowes;
Loving sister, Rachel Strand or Straud;
Loving brother, Thomas' son, Stephen;
Sister Hannah Henman received £6;
"To my cousins at New England, that is to say to my brother John's children," 20 shillings a year;
Sister Eunice Lyons or Lynus;
Loving brother, Thomas;
Executors: Eden Burrowes and Gabriel Luff or Laff.
Witnesses: Joel Burrowes, Joseph Burton, and John Gaster.
Lib. C, p.62, Queens co.,N.Y. recs.
The reason Stephen left money to his brother John's children, and not to brother John himself, was that John had died the previous year in Stratford, an occasion which no doubt led Stephen to make his own will. John's wife Patience was also gone, as their sons Steven and Edward chose their uncles, Edward Hinman and Richard Hubbell as guardians. John's estate was inventoried 11 Mar 1712/3, and on 14 April of that year Richard Hubbell and Edward Hinman were granted administration on his estate, "Patience, widow of John, being dec'd." (Jacobus, 1931). She must have died only a short time after he did.
The names and transactions shown by these two events leave no doubt that the Stephen Burrowes of Jamaica who died in 1714 was the brother of John of Stratford who died in 1713. Note the common occurrence of the names Stephen, Eden, and Eunice.
We now turn to a new source of information, the printed collection of New Jersey colonial records. Vol. 1, p. 343, gives the abstract of the will of a woman who can only be the mother of Stephen and John Burrowes:
1711-2 Jan. 1. Oakley, Mary, of Monmouth Co.; will of; Children & Steven Borrows, John Borrows, Thomas Borrows, Unis Lyons, Hannah Henman, Rachel Hughgins, Eden Borrows, granddaughters Hannah Darling and Clement Neff. Personal estate. Executors & sons Thomas and Steven. Witnesses: Joseph Cox, Richard Stout. Proved April 2, 1712. 1712 Mar.31.
Inventory of the personal estate £63.11.7, incl. 1 silver cup, 13s.6d., 3 do. round bolled "spoonds" 32s.6d, 1 do. spoon 12s.6d., a parcel of books 12s. made by Capt. John Stout, Moses Lippet, and Richard Stout.
Monmouth Co., Lib. 1, p. 346
Here is the second mention of Hannah Henman, this time in a New Jersey Record. By this we see that she is a sister of both Steven and John.
For the next items we are indebted to John Stillwell's Historical and Genealogical Miscellany, published in five voiumes from 1903 to 1930. From Jamaica records we learn that John and his brothers were the sons of Edward Burrowes of Jamaica, Long Island:
1705, June 11. Edward Burrowes did, by his will, dated Mch. 1, last past, grant to my brothers, Edward, Thomas, Eden, and Stephen, lands, etc., etc., "seeing some persons have thought that ye will was not worded so well, but that I or my heirs might deprive my said brothers," etc., he agrees to abide by the contents of said will. This is signed by John Burrowes, at Jamaica, on the above date.
Vol. III, p. 138
We now have a fifth brother, Edward, who was not mentioned in Stephen's will. This document also identifies Edward Burrowes who died in March of 1705 as the father of these boys. When did their mother remarry? Before March of the following year:
1705-6 Mch. 2. The inventory of the personal estate of Edward Burroughs was sworn to on this date, and exhibited by Mary Okely, widow of Edward Burrowes, deceased, and Thomas Burroughs, the executors of the will, and amounted to £700-14-10.
ibid., p. 136
Now the will of Edward Burroughs may shed more light on these people, and indeed it does. Here we have the third mention (going backwards in time, of course) of Hannah Henman:
1704-5 Mch. l. Will of Edward Burrowes, of Jamaica, L. I., recorded in New York City; proved Mch. 27, 1704-5, mentioned: Son, John, who received land "which lyeth near pilgrims harbor in the county of Hartford in Connecticut in New England. Son, Edward & Son Eden received land, at Maidenhead, near Jacobs' Creek evenly, between them
Son, Thomas, received land "over against his house, at Jamaica," provided he gives to his three sisters £8 ea.
Son, Steven, who received balance of estate after his widow's decease.
Daughter, Rachel Hewgins.
Daughter, Hannah Henman.
Daughter, Unis Linus.
Wife, Mary, received balance of estate during her lifetime.
ibid., p. 135-6
Stillwell said that the testator signed the will "Edward Burrus." However, 17th century calligraphy notwithstanding, our photocopy of the will shows clearly that he signed his last name "Burrowes." The 's' is almost wholly covered by an inkblot.
While we are this close to the sources, we may as well identify the mother-in-law of Edward Hinman, Jr., that is, the mother of his brother-in-law John Burroughs. We can do this neatly with the will of Edward Higbey, made on 27 Oct 1694, and proved 23 Sep 1699. Recorded at Jamaica, Queens County, L. I., this will mentions:
Son, Thomas, received lands in Jamaica; Son, Edward, received 5 shillings; Daughter, Mary, wife of Edward Burroughs, received 5s.; Son-in-law, Joseph Phillips, received 5 shillings "in respect of my dafter." Rebecca Higbey, relict of John Higbey, received 12 shillings; Daughter, Lideah Higbey, received a feather bed, bolster, etc.; Son, Samuel Higbey, received lands, etc., at Jamaica; Wife, Lidiah.
ibid., p. 136
We now have three records of a Hannah Burrowes who married a "Henman." But which Henman? We can almost certainly dismiss the Hinmans of Virginia and the Inmans of Rhode Island. The only "Henmans" in Hannah's orbit would be sons or grandsons of Sgt. Edward. But we know who Titus, Benjamin, and Samuel married; and all the grandsons of Sgt. Edward are accounted for, either by their ages in 1700 (most were too young) or by records of their marriage. For example, Ephraim (1685) left no children if indeed he married at all; Joseph (1687) m. Esther Downs in 1714; Adam (1687) died single in 1717; and Noah (1689) married Anna Knowles in 1711; all the other grandsons were simply too younq. The only other "Henman" living in 1700 that we have not mentioned is Edward, Jr., none other than the brother of Hannah's sister-in-law Patience.
Finally, as if to remove all doubt from our minds, Edward and Hannah named three of their daughters Hannah, Rachel, and Eunice: the names of the three Burrowes sisters.
This is probably the first time that all of the evidence bearing on the identity of Hannah Hinman has been assembled and published under one title; though, to be sure, some of it has appeared in one publication or another over the years. Royal R. Hinman's unfortunate misnomer has been questioned for almost a century (Orcutt, 1886; Jacobus, 1931). We believe that Hannah Jennings can rest in peace as the wife of Peter Sturges. The true identity of Hannah Hinman, as shown by the evidence herein laid before you, is the sister of Edward's brother-in-law John Burroughs, and the daughter of Edward Burrowes and Mary Higby of Jamaica, Long Island.
On 6 May 1747 a group of people signed their names to a document establishing a new church at North Stratford (also called Unity Parish, later named Trumbull, Conn.) One of tee twenty-four men signing the articles of faith was John Hinman. We know him to be the son of Edward Jr. Then, in the handwriting of the Rev. James Beebe, a list of names of another fifty people who were received "to full communion" that day. Two of the entries were:
John Henman's wife Widow Henman
From this we know that Edward Jr. was dead by then. Hannah continued to live with her son John until her death on 25 Aug 1777. (The writer has seen the house in which she died, and salvaged some of the floorboards before the house was destroyed in the early 1970's to make way for a road widening project.) Jacobus placed her death in July, but this was an error induced by Royal Hinman's misprint of the date of her obituary. Mr. Hinman said "August 20, 1777" and, since the obituary said she died on "the 25th instant," Jacobus reasoned that it had to be the previous month. However, a photocopy of the original. obituary in the writer's possession shows the byline date to have been Aug. 28. Thus, "25th instant" would have to be August 25, not July 25 as Jacobus put it.
Since Hannah Hinman died on her 99th birthday, "old stile," we must subtract eleven days from the actual date to arrive at her original birth date by the Old Style calendar. (The English, true to their disaffection for anything Catholic, refused at first to adopt the new calendar promulgated by Pope Gregory in 1572. By the time they yielded to pressure and adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752, they were eleven days out of synchronization with the rest of the world. Since the new calendar also started the year on January 1 instead of March 25, this also explains why most Jan/ Feb/Mar dates between 1572 and 1752 are written with two digits to fix the year; e.g., 1702/3.)
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In September, 1973 (says the writer, switching now to the first person), I finished a business trip to New York by driving over to Trumbull, Conn., where I located the original burying ground of the church at Unity Parish. There were some Hinman monuments in there, and many other names I recognized from Royal Hinman's book and from microfilm records of the church. But no Hannah or John.
Northwest of the cemetery, about a hundred yards across a meadow, stood an old colonial two-story house that was just in the process of being demolished. Only the framework of the upper story and the entire lower story were left. Wreckage from the upper floor was piled in and around the house. From local real estate people I learned that it was called the "Hinman house" and had been built probably 200 years ago. Since John Hinman was known to have been an innkeeper, the house was situated on a main road (intersection of White Plains Road and Merritt Parkway), and had the dimensions and style of an inn, and was located so close to where the church must have been (adjacent to the cemetery), I am certain the house had belonged to John. If so, then it was the same house in which Hannah Hinman died on her 99th birthday. I regret that I could not have salvaged a door knob or the newel from the beautiful curved stair railing, but the wrecker did not return my phone calls or answer my letters. At any rate, I stole several large floorboards -- 18-inch planks of the most straight-grained Eastern white pine I have ever seen. White pines in those days must have been enormous to yield such wide planks. They were totally unwarped. One of these days I will make something from them, but I haven't decided what.
To make a long story short, I found a book that gave me the identity of John's wife Eunice (They Face The Rising Sun, by E. Merrill Beach, 1971), and a rather complete story of the burial ground. Mr. Beach was certain that Hannah is buried there, but the cemetery had suffered from vandals in the 1950s, and a number of stones were stolen or destroyed. However, in the library across the street from the cemetery I found the proof that Hannah is there in Trumbull (Church and Town, 1956, p. 29.) About the Unity Burying Ground Mr. Beach wrote:
'One stone commemorates an old age that was commented on in the Connecticut Journal of August 28, 1777.
So Hannah's, and probably John's, markers were there as late as the early 1950s. Today they lie there unmarked. Perhaps her descendants will one day remedy that sad condition.
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"North Stratford, Aug. 28 1777. On the 25th instant died in this place, Mrs. Hannah Henman, aged 99 years. She was a person of good understanding, strict religion, solid piety, and maintained a firm and unshaken hope in the merits of Christ to the end. And what is remarkable concerning her exit out of the world, she died the very day on which she was 99 years of age, of which she had a premonition same 20 years before her death, in a dream or vision; a venerable comely person which she afterwards used to call her guardian angel, and whom she had seen once before, appeared to her, and asked her age; she told him -- upon which he replied, You will not live to an hundred years, but almost; you will live to be 99 and then die. She often mentioned this to her friends and neighbors, and was so confidently persuaded of the truth of it that she would frequently count upon it how many years she had to live. And there are scores of persons now living in the parish who have often heard her say that she should die at 99 on her birthday, old stile. About a fortnight before her decease, she enquired of her son, landlord John Henman, at whose house she died, the day of the month; and again repeated to the family that she had just so many days to live, which accordingly happened on her very birth day, as it is called. "The great age this person arrived to, together with those circumstances respecting the time of her death, are so very extraordinary, that it was thought proper to communicate them to the public."
The Connecticut Journal, No. 517 New Haven: Wednesday, Sept. 10, 1777
As a matter of interest, appearing in the same column of the same edition of the Journal was this item:
"WORCESTER, Sept. 4. On Tuesday arrived here from the northward, between four and five hundred prisoners, and yesterday they sat out for Boston, under a strong guard commanded by Lieut. Col. Paul Revere."
Barber, J. W., Index to Vital Records, Connecticut State Library, Hartford, CT.
Beach, E. Merrill, They Face the Rising Sun, 1971.
-- -- -- -- -- - Trumbull: Church and Town, 1956.
Cothren, William, History of Ancient Woodbury, Connecticut, 1854.
Hinman Family Association, Hinman Heritage, Vol. 4, No. 3, Fall 1979.
Hinman, Royal R., Catalog of Early Puritan Settlers of Connecticut, 1852.
------------ Family Record of The Descendants of Sergt. Edward Hinman, 1856.
Hoagland, E. C., Brief Notes on The Hinman and Burrows Families, 1946.
Jacobus, Donald L., History and Genealogy of Families of Old Fairfield, 1931.
New Jersey Dept. of State, Index of Wills, Inventories, I:343-ff, 1912.
Stillwell, John E., Historical and Genealogical Miscellany, III:135-ff, 1903.