Wilkins



 

George Washington Wilkins, born in Peterborough, Hillsboro, New Hampshire, 28 October 1822, son of Abraham and Mary (Emmons) Wilkins; died in Spanish Fork, Utah, 9 March 1916; buried in Spanish Fork. He married (1) in Lowell, Middlesex, Massachusetts, 4 July 1846, Catherine Augusta LovettGeorge Washington Wilkinsborn in Chelmsford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, 25 April 1823, daughter of Thomas and Polly (Morgan) Lovett; died in Spanish Fork, 5 December 1874; buried in Spanish Fork; married (2) 17 September 1886, Mary Elizabeth Mayer, daughter of George and Maria Wyatt (Cable) Mayer, born in Spanish Fork, 5 September 1870; died 22 June 1952; buried in Spanish Fork [Utah County, Utah Cemetery Index].

Except as noted, the following account of George W. Wilkins' life is taken from the "History of George Washington Wilkins, Given at Spanish Fork, Utah, Dec. 14, 1933."  The brief sketch below, from "The George Washington Wilkins Family History Book" (which we have not seen) presents some minor discrepancies in dates, only some of which are noted.

At the age of 17, G.W. became an apprentice mold-maker in an iron foundry.  Having mastered his trade, by 1843 he began working for himself.  Meanwhile, just shy of his twentieth birthday, G.W. converted to the Mormon religion.  The aforementioned "history" gives us the following account:

In the year of 1842, Elder Eli Magin came to Petersboro, New Hampshire, to preach the Gospel.  One evening while Brother Magin was holding the meeting, George W. was passing, and heard the singing.  It seemed like the spirit of the song touched his heart, so he stopped and listened.  He became interested and went in, and heard the prayer and sermon of Brother Magin.  After the services he was thoroughly converted to Mormonism and would have been baptized then, but in his younger years he had acquired a bad habit of swearing, and he knew it was contrary to the teachings of [the Mormon] Church.  So he asked the elders about his condition and they told him if he was converted to Mormonism and was baptized, the habit should leave him.  He was converted to Mormonism and baptized October 9, 1842...  When he came out of the water of baptism, the habit of swearing left him and he never again had the desire to swear.  He was ordained an Elder in the Church in 1844.  After this he moved about a great deal and finally settled in Lowell, Massachusetts, where he met Catherine Augusta Lovett, whom he asked to become his wife.  They were married by Leonard Hardy, July 4, 1846...  While living in Massachusetts, George W. was called upon to preside over a branch of the Church, which had forty members...
On 19 April 1849, G.W. and his wife left for Utah with a company of "Saints."  They arrived in Salt Lake City nearly six months later, on 12 October.  There, Brigham Young employed G.W. to cut logs and build houses for the "Saints."   In 1852, Brigham Young called upon a number of his followers, including G.W., to establish a settlement in California (San Bernardino).  The company of 500, under the leadership of Amasa Lyman and Charles C. Rich, left Salt Lake on 24 March 1852.  G.W. took along his wife and baby daughter, Augusta, but left their adopted son Moroni behind to be tended by friends.  While in San Bernardino (three years), Catherine gave birth to two sons.

In 1855, when the colony of Saints vacated San Bernardino, G.W. and his family settled in Spanish Fork, Utah, and soon after retrieved their adopted son Moroni.  Bishop Butler chose G. W. to serve as counselor, and he continued in this capacity under Bishop Albert King Thurber after Butler's death.  When Thurber departed for a mission in 1862, Brigham Young called upon G.W. to preside over the Spanish Fork Ward.

Another story:

George W. had one of the finest teams in Spanish Fork and was asked to take the tithing to Salt Lake City.  On one of his many journeys while traveling after dark he called to his team saying "get-up, get-up."  Immediately afterwards he heard a voice coming from near the side of the road calling "Father, it is I, your son Moroni."  He jumped out of the wagon and hurried to the side of the road where he found Moroni lying on the ground very ill.  George W. helped his adopted son into the wagon and brought him back to Spanish Fork, where he [Moroni] lay very sick a long time.  Moroni explained that he knew his father's voice when he heard him speak to the horses as they were passing there where he lay.  The Indian boy Moroni was baptized and confirmed by George W. Wilkins, March 1, 1860, and ordained an elder into the Church by Elder David H. Davis, May 23, 1871.  He died soon afterwards.
Meanwhile, in March 1862, Bishop Thurber called upon G.W. to administer to his (Thurber's) sick child, who apparently recovered. In May, G.W dedicated the ground of the old White Meeting House [on which occasion his future brother-in-law, George Mayer, laid and dedicated the building’s north-east corner stone].  The first officers of the Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Institution of Spanish Fork were Bishop Thurber (president) and George W. Wilkins (vice president).  In the Independence Day celebration of 1874 we find George W. again (and presumably on many other such occasions), making a patriotic speech.

In 1871, G.W. left Utah for a mission to England, where he presided over the Bedford and Norwich Conference.  In 1872 he returned to Utah at the head of a party of 602 Saints from Liverpool (sailing aboard the Minnesota),  arriving 26 September  [Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 16 (Church Chronology, 1872)].  He served another mission in 1876, this time in New England (his former home).  In 1901, approaching his eightieth birthday, GW was ordained a Patriarch of the Church.

G.W. was a prosperous farmer, owner of one of the first molasses mills in Spanish Fork, member of the City Council, and Alderman.  Though of a station in the community (i.e., Mormon society) to have had many wives, G.W. was, much to his credit, monogamous throughout his life.  He married a second time only after the death of his first wife.  He was sixty-four years old at the time; his bride, barely sixteen.  Still, he sired by her four additional children.  One of them, Eugene, told us that, in the exhuberance of his youth, he accidently dumped G.W. while wheeling him at break-neck speed through the streets of Spanish Fork.  We are told that G.W. did not fare well in the accident; still, he managed to survive some additional years.  William Robertson, a neighbor, descibed G.W. in these terms (1891): "a wise and careful counselor, a kind an affectionate husband, a true and loving devoted father, an honorable and true citizen, neighbor, and friend."

The family home was located at the corner of what was (in 1933) the site of the Co-op Store.

Children of George Washington WILKINS and Catherine Augusta LOVETT:

Moroni A. Wilkins, born about January 1849; died 24 May 1871; buried in Spanish Fork. After a battle between Mormans and Indians in what is now Iron County, Utah, a number of Indian babies, orphaned and homeless, were left to die.  Several of them were adopted by the settlers, at Brigham Young's request.  G.W. and his wife adopted this baby boy, whom they named Moroni A. [A. for Abraham?].

Mary Augusta Wilkins, born in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, 5 July 1851; died 10 October 1924; buried in Spanish Fork.   Married John Wesley Snell, 1869.

George Adelbert Wilkins, born in San Bernardino, 18 February 1853; died in Salt Lake City, 4 June 1932; buried in Spanish Fork.  Married Elizabeth Sophia Mayer, daughter of George and Maria (Cable) Mayer, 4 November 1881. Elizabeth S. C. Mayer Wilkins, born 29 August 1862; died 10 May 1893; buried in Spanish Fork [Utah County Cemetery Index].  Children: Catherine Elizabeth (1882, married John S. Johnson), George Lovett (1883), Annie Lyle (1886, married Clarence Hartley Shaw), Lucy Mae (1888, married Roy Ernest Halliday), Eve (1890, married Walter Stumn), Nephi (1893, married Emilia Rose Frances Ruga).

Charles Henry Wilkins, born in San Bernardino, 16 December 1854; died 4 August 1855.

Alsina Elizabeth Wilkins, born in Spanish Fork, 7 May 1856; died in Provo, Utah, Utah, 10 January 1926; buried in Provo, 12 January 1926.  She married, 28 December 1875, George H. Brimhall, son of George Washington and Rachel Ann (Mayer) Brimhall, and by him had six sons and daughters:  Lucy Jane [Jennie] (1875, married Jesse William Knight); Alsina Elizabeth (1876), George Washington (1878, married Harriet Woolf), Mark Henry (1880, married Guinevere Smellie), Wells Lovett (1882, married Fern Smoot), and Milton Albert (October 1883, d. January 1884).  In 1885, George H. had Alsina committed to an asylum (i.e., the territorial mental hospital?).  On 11 September 1885, he entered into a polygamous marriage with Flora Robertson, by whom he had several additional children.  An obviously amibitious man, George H. eventually became President of Brigham Young University (1903-1921).  He died 29 July 1932 "by a bullet from a hunting rifle which had been in the family for years." [DUP Obituary Scrapbook].

Lucy Angenette Wilkins, born in Spanish Fork, 14 March 1858; died in Spanish Fork, 2 June 1943; buried in Spanish Fork, 4 June 1943.   Married Carl Marcusen, son of Rasmus and Karen Marie (Christensen) Marcusen, 28 January 1877.  Children:  Catherine Maria (1877, married Phillip Davis), Carl Rasmus (1881, married Margaret Ellen Jones), Lucy Garhardina (1883, married Ammon Tuttle), Martha Alsina (1886, married Alma Archibald Andrus), Alvin (1889, married Mary Margaret Coltrin), Margaret (1888), Mary Augusta (1892, married Archie Hodson Hales), John Christian (1894, married Vera Burt), Celestia (1896, married Thomas V. Maloney), Leroy James (1899).

Joseph Emmons Wilkins, born in Spanish Fork, 23 October 1860; died in Spanish Fork, 29 August 1928; buried in Spanish Fork.  Married Armentia Achsa Wilson, daughter of Ervin Riley and Jane (Sargent) Wilson, 13 September 1883.  Children:   Joseph Ralph (1885, married Delsena Christensen), Armintia Afton (1886), Mabel (1888), Fern (1892), Ervin Grant (1895),Cleon (1897, married Alma Andrus), Rulon Sears (1900, married Norma Jean Holley), James Elgin (1902).

Albert William Wilkins, born in Spanish Fork, 11 May 1863; died in Vernal, Uintah, Utah, 28 May 1937; buried in Jensen, Uintah, Utah, 30 May 1937.   Married Mary Ellen Dudley, daughter of Andrew and Mary Ellen (Paquet) Dudley, 18 March 1888.  Children:  Emily Achsa (1886), Melvin (1889), Albert Lovett (1892), George Andrew (1893), Emma (1894), Erten Lovell (1896), Ezra Harlon (1898), William Orson (1901), Elsie Augusta (1903, married Ralph L. Case), Elenor Arminta (1906, married Douglas Chew), Lucy Mae (1908).
 

Children of George Washington WILKINS and Mary Elizabeth MAYER:
Namey Wilkins, born in Spanish Fork, 1 January 1889; died in Spanish Fork, 4 September 1960; married 26 June 1906 George Thomas Mattinson, son of George Thomas and Eliza Cecelia (Richardson) Mattinson, born in Payson, Utah, Utah, 15 September 1882, died in Payson 29 May 1940.  Children: George Heber Mattinson (1907), Lorin Arthur Mattinson (1910), Dean Wilkins Mattinson (1911), John Thomas Mattinson (1915), and Robert Mattinson (1917)

Eugene Mayer Wilkins, born in Spanish Fork, 25 June 1890; married 16 November 1910 Dottie Viola Stone, daughter of John Quincy and Matilda (Beddoes) Stone.  Of Eugene we have the following history, written by a grandson (John R. Wilkins) in 1973:

Eugene Mayer Wilkins was born to George W. Wilkins and Mary Mayer Wilkins in Spanish Fork, Utah, on June 25, 1890. He worked hard as a boy to partially support his parents, but still had some time to enjoy the pursuits of a young man. One of these activities was bicycling. His favorite machine was a Pierce Road Racer.

Ill health of his father caused Gene to cut short his schooling at the 8th grade and work at the Stewart Honey Company in Spanish Fork, Utah. Part of his earnings went to support his parents, but this wasn't considered a burden because, in his words, he "was just an ordinary hard working boy."
Eugene and his bride, Dottie Viola
As a young man, he met Dottie Viola Stone, daughter of John Quincy Stone, a Salem dry goods store proprietor. He courted her in a buggy and team of horses hired from a livery stable, or on his bicycle. They drove the team and buggy to dances, and sometimes rode the horses to Spanish Fork to watch the train come in -- an event in those days. They were married in the Salt Lake LDS Temple on November 16, 1910, along with two of Viola's cousins. Gene went into the Honey and Bee business in Salem, Utah with his new father-in-law.

While living in Salem, three children were born -- Orpha Viola on February 1, 1912; Russell Stone on November 8, 1914; and Evelyn on February 9, 1916.

In 1916 Gene quit the honey business, and he and his family moved to Magna, Utah where they bought a small house in need of considerable repair. Gene didn't have a job and looked everywhere in Magna to no avail. One day he saw an acquaintance from Spanish Fork who worked for Utah Copper Mines in Magna and asked him "How do you get a job in this place?" The friend told him who[m] to see for a job as a laborer while he waited for something better. After working for several days, a foreman told him he "didn't want him working with those dagoes," and offered him a job as a helper blacksmith. That afternoon he began work weaving screens. He improved his skills, and developed into an accomplished blacksmith helper making tools such as hammers and chisels. The pay of $7.75 per day was good, but he was plagued with back problems, and his lungs suffered from the bad air around the forges.

The family decided in 1919 to leave Magna for a community called Wapello, North of Blackfoot, Idaho, where Viola's parents had recently settled. Work was found growing sugar beets on a Utah and Idaho Sugar Company farm for Parley Blackburn. A daughter, LaVerl was born there on February 12, 1920. Another son, Howard Eugene was born on August 26, 1925. They stayed on the Sugar factory farm five years, and then made a down payment on a forty-acre farm in Wapello. Farm life proved to be agreeable, but of course there were good years and bad. Nineteen twenty-seven was a bad year because of hail and rain which stripped leaves from sugar beets, knocked the blossoms off the beans, and damaged the hay.

But 1943 was one of the good years. The price of potatoes was high and Gene had four acres. After selling the harvest and cashing one of Viola's bonds, he was able to pay off the loan on the farm to become the owner free and clear.

In 1944, Gene went to work again for the U&I Sugar Company at their Blackfoot factory as a pump man. The farm was rented to their son, Russell. Gene and Viola lived on "Sugar Factory Row" in Blackfoot until 1950. During this time they purchased an acre of land on the canal in Wapello next to Viola's parents' old home place. Gene began dismantling a deserted house the sugar company let him have. The lumber was used to build a house on their lot in Wapello. Gene did all the carpentry and most of the finish work on the house himself. A short time later, while in a walking cast, he built a garage behind the house. Gene is a good carpenter. In addition to building the house they now live in, he added a kitchen to the farm house in Wapello, and built a garage.

He was janitor in the Wapello Elementary School from 1951 to 1962. It was here in the basement during slack times, that he began memorizing poetry. Now days as you visit, you're bound to be treated to the recitation of a few poems. Most center around happiness or exhortations to good, and are taken from Church writings.

Behind the house he built in Wapello is a large fertile sandy lot which used to be a corral. Each summer during the fifties and sixties, Gene transformed it into a lush vegetable garden of tall corn, peppers, cucumbers, squash, cabbage, strawberries, and raspberries. There was more produce than Viola could bottle, or two people could eat, so plenty was available to give to friends and family. Bugs and worms never stood a chance in the garden because DDT powder was sprinkled generously at the first indication of such invaders.

During the late sixties as he grew crippled in the hips, he continued to tend the garden on his hands and knees, at times leaving a cane or crutches leaning on a sawhorse at the end of the row so he could get up and shuffle back to the house.

Visiting grandchildren were usually asked to carry some produce to the house, or to do some other little chore he couldn't do with crutches. The garden plot, however, lies untouched in the seventies because he just can't work it anymore. He does, however, manage some work in the yard.

Gene and Viola are the oldest people in Wapello at the time this history was written. Four living children, twelve grandchildren and seventeen great grandchildren are the offspring of this fine old couple. They are sound of mind and in good health considering their age. They get by quite well with help from Viola's sister Elaine and her husband Nace, who live next door. The days get boring at times, especially in the winter, so visitors are always welcome. Viola will apologize for not being able to fix one of her tasty home cooked meals, and Gene may recite some poetry. They will remember with you the days gone by, talk about events and people of the present, and wonder about the days ahead.

Heber George Wilkins, born in Spanish Fork, 31 March 1892; died 13 April 1967.  Buried in Round Rock, Williamson, Texas; married, 9 January 1927, Mamie Alece Palm, daughter of Swante Wetzel and Willie (Harris) Palm, born in Stockdale, Wilson, Texas, 1 December 1899.

Lorin Everett Wilkins, born in Spanish Fork, 7 March 1895, died in Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, California, February 1971.  Apparently relocated to Texas as a young man, possibly with his brother, Heber George.



Abraham Wilkins, born in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, 14 November 1778, son of Jonathan and Susannah (Berry) Wilkins; christened 21 November 1778; died in Amherst, Hillsboro, New Hampshire; married in Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts, 20 July 1800, Mary Emmons, daughter of Joseph and Sarah (Farrin) Emmons, born in Ipswich, 22 September 1780; died in Amherst, New Hampshire (no record of death).  [Hill, The Family of Bray Wilkins, does not include Abraham among Jonathan's children, suggesting the possibility (for lack of better evidence) that Abraham was NOT a descendant of Bray, or was by another line].

Children of Abraham WILKINS and Mary EMMONS:

Abraham Wilkins, born in Peterborough, Hillsboro, New Hampshire, 26 August 1801 [1800, according to the "History of GWW"]; died 6 March 1874.   Married Alena Barns, 1828.

Daniel Wilkins, born in Peterborough, 1 September 1802; married Nancy Colborn, 1 February 1835, and Sarah Lareb. Date of death thought to be 16 December 1843 or 16 December 1852.

Jacob Wilkins, born in Peterborough, 15 November 1804; died 1859.

Mary Wilkins, born in Peterborough, 4 October 1806; died 2 March 1894; married John M. Dyke, 1844.

Judson Wilkins (Colonel), born in Peterborough, 4 May [March according to the "History of GWW"] 1809; died in Washington, Sullivan, New Hampshire, 11 July 1887; married Sarah Farwell, 7 October 1834.

Joseph Emmons Wilkins, born in Peterborough, 28 September 1811; married Emma Gibson.

Jonathan Wilkins, born in Peterborough, 24 March 1814.

Susannah Wilkins, born in Peterborough, 24 July 1816; died 13 December 1847; married Charles Hunt.

James Wilson Wilkins, born in Peterborough, 11 April 1820; died in Springerville, Apache, Arizona, 13 December 1894; buried in Nutrioso, Apache, Arizona, 15 December 1894; married (1) Adeline Atkins, daughter of Thomas "Jerome" and Betsey (Peas) Atkins, 4 July 1847, and (2) Lucinda Mangum, 1868.  Children by Adeline:  James Ormon (1851, married Martha Maria Waters and Amy Caroline Mangum), Ada Augusta (1853, married Hyrum Smith Boggs), Frances Sophia (1856, married George Prince), Judson Heber (1859, married Mary Ann Eveline Jacaway), and Frederick Wallace (1862, married Pheobe Letitia Jacaway and Estella Karney).   Children by Lucinda:  Orson (1871, married Leonie Lund), Parley (1873, married Frances Hellen Mineer), George (1875, married Mary Williams), Mary Ann (1877, married David Love), Rhoda Frances (1879, married Thomas Rainey Lee), Zina (1881, married Joel Leman Mineer), and Ernest (1885, married Hilda Serena Mineer and Myrtle Adelaide Jones).

Charles Wilkins (twin), born in Peterborough, 28 October 1822; died 1823.

George Washington Wilkins, born in Peterborough, 28 October 1822; married (1) Catherine Augusta Lovett, and (2) Mary Elizabeth Mayer.

Lucy Ann Wilkins, born in Peterborough, 8 October 1824.



Jonathan Wilkins, born in Middleton, Essex, Massachusetts, 28 November 1744, son of Jonathan and Abigail (Goodale) Wilkins; married in Middleton, 9 October 1764, Susannah Berry, daughter of Ebenezer and Phebe (Curtis) Berry, born in Middleton, 14 February 1742; died 23 December 1778.

Children of Jonathan WILKINS and Susannah BERRY:

Moses Wilkins, born in Middleton, about 1765; christened 16 July 1769; died 16 June 1831; married Deborah Averill, 19 February 1793.  Hill gives us seven children in this family, but gives the first two impossible birth dates:  Pamela (1792, married Bradstreet Tyler), Deborah (1793, married Frederick Spofford), Hanna (1795, married Parker Spofford), Paul (1800), Frances (1807, married Aaron P. Emery), Judith (1816), and William (1818).

Hannah Wilkins, born in Middleton, 16 July 1767; christened 16 July 1769; married William Peabody, 11 May 1800 (intention).

Jonathan Wilkins, born in Middleton, 19 November 1769; christened 19 November 1769.

Susannah Wilkins, born in Middleton, 1 March 1772; christened in Middleton, 1 March 1772.

Betty Wilkins, christened in Middleton, 27 March 1774; married James Wilkins, son of Nehemiah and Sarah (Russell) Wilkins, 12 August 1772.  Children: Sarah (1774, married Ebenezer Goodhue), Lucy (1775, married Moses Perkins), Nabby (1777, married Joseph Wright), Nehemiah (1779), Ephraim (1781, married Hannah Dixey), Mary (1783), James (1785), Robert Clark (1788), Nancy (1790, married William Guilford), Jesse (1792, married Peggy Peabody).

Abraham Wilkins, married Mary Emmons.


Jonathan Wilkins, born in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, 25 August 1715, son of Daniel and Mary (Bailey) Wilkins; died 20 April 1761; married on 5 October 1737, Abigail Goodale, daughter of David and Abigail (Elliot) Goodale, born in Salem, 3 July 1714; died 1797.  Jonathan's will, dated 7 March 1761 and probated (No. 29908) 20 April 1761, left bequests to wife Abigail, daughter Elizabeth, and son Jonathan. Abigail's will, dated 9 June 1795 and probated (No. 29869) 6 March 1797, made bequests son Jonathan, daughter Elizabeth Upton, and granddaughters, Hannah Wilkins, Susannah Wilkins and Bette Wilkins.

Children of Jonathan WILKINS and Abigail GOODALE:

Jonathan Wilkins, married Susannah Berry.

Elizabeth Wilkins, born in Middleton, 28 November 1739; married David Upton, son of Joseph and Abigail (Gray) Upton, 10 March 1764.  Children: David (1765), Sally (1767, married John Henley), Hannah (1769, married Hezekiah McIntire).  This family removed, after the Revolution, to Norway, Maine.


Daniel Wilkins, born in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, 12 May 1692, son of John and Elizabeth (Southwick) Wilkins; married in Salem (bans published 13 October 1714), Mary Bailey, born in Salem, about 1695.  Yeoman.  He signed his will 23 February 1739 (probated 2 June 1740).  Francis Carrell is mentioned as a son-in-law.  His land adjoined that of Daniel, Jonathan and Stephen Wilkins.  His wife, may have been Mary Bailey, who filed intentions 13 October 1714 to marry Daniel Wilkins.  It is recorded that she married (2)  Ebenezer, son of Henry Wilkins, 24 April 1730, but Daniel lived nine years beyond this date.  The children given below, with the exception of Jonathan, are mentioned in Daniel's will.

Children of Daniel WILKINS and Mary BAILEY:

Jonathan Wilkins, married Abigail Goodale.

Mary Wilkins, born in Salem, 25 February 1718.

Elizabeth Wilkins, born in Salem, 30 September 1721; married Samuel Wilkins (parents not known), intention filed 13 June 1741.

Abigail Wilkins, born in Salem, 16 July 1725; married Nathaniel Putnam, son of Nathaniel and Hannah (Roberts) Putnam.

Mary (Mercy) Wilkins, born in Salem, 26 February 1732; died in Mason, New Hampshire, 11 August 1825; married Col. John Shephard, son of John and Lydia (Hartwell) Shepard, 21 October 1757.  Children:  Elizabeth (1759), Mary (1760), Jonathan (1762), Sarah (1767), Lydia (1770).


John Wilkins, born in Salem, 12 March 1667, son of John and Mary (---) Wilkins; died in Salem, 1723. He married (1) Lydia ---, who died 27 January 1689, age 22.  The following August, John married (2) Elizabeth Southwick, daughter of Daniel and Esther (Boyce) Southwick, born in Salem, 24 June 1668.

By will dated April 1685, John Gingell left John Wilkins his lot of upland.  He additionally bequeathed  £10 to John's three sisters (£2 to Elizabeth, £3 to Mary, and £5 to Abigail) [See Greene, TAG 60:10].  Gingell was a business partner (and possibly brother-in-law) of John's grandfather, Bray Wilkins.

John Wilkins was admitted into full communion with the Salem Village Church and baptized on 4 March 1694, age 28.  His will, probated 2 January 1724, mentions "upland I had of my uncle Thomas Wilkins" and "land my grandfather Wilkins gave me upon his will joining to Thomas Bayley's land."  It names sons John, Daniel, Solomon (not yet of age), David, Joseph ("my part of land and meadow I bought of Samuel Wilkins"), and Stephen; daughters Esther, Bety, Lydia (Daniel to pay ten pounds to his sister Lydia), and Marcy; beloved wife Betty to be executrix, with son Daniel. [NEHGR 36:188].

Child of John and Lydia WILKINS:

John Wilkins, born in Salem, 20 January 1689; died 1733; married 24 October 1713 Mary Goodale, daughter of Joseph and Mary (Hutchison) Goodale, and grand-daughter of Zacchariah and Elizabeth (Beauchamp) Goodale. [See Davis, Ancestors of Lydia Harmon].
Children of John WILKINS and Elizabeth SOUTHWICK:
Esther Wilkins, born in Salem, 25 June 1690; living in 1718.

Daniel Wilkins, married Mary Bailey.

Betty Wilkins, born in Salem, 29 December 1695.

Jonathan Wilkins, born in Salem, 6 May 1697.

Lydia Wilkins, born in Salem, 23 December 1699; married Mark Howe, son of John and Mary (Cave) Howe, 20 December 1725.

Mercy Wilkins, born in Salem, 13 March 1701; married Benjamin Chevers (Cheever) in Salem, 21 October 1725. [NEHGR 38:177].   Children:  Benjamin (1728), Ezekiel (1730), Mercy (1731), and John (1738).

David Wilkins, born in Salem, March 1703; married Anna Thomas, 12 October 1731.  Children: Elizabeth (bapt. 1734), Jerusha (bapt. 1734), Enos (bapt. 1737), Anna (bapt. 1739), Enos (1741, married Jemima Smith), David (1744, married Molly Harris), William (1746, married Sarah Bancroft), Mary (1749), and John (1752).  Salem Vital Records also show a David Wilkins (1704-1741), son of John and Betty (Southwick) who married, 17 March 1736, Elizabeth Bailey, born in Middleton, 17 September 1714, sister of Rebecca Bailey (wife of Phineas Wilkins, son of David's cousin, Bray). To this couple, the record shows the birth of a son, Nicholas, baptized in Middleton in 1738.  See Hill, p. 31.

Soloman Wilkins, born in Salem, about 1706; married Patience Lambert, 30 October 1730.  On May 20, 1740 Solomon Wilkins was "given leave by the town of Amherst, N. H., to take up sixty acres of land adjoining the falls in the Souhegan river, the land to lay square, on condition that he built a good grist-mill near the falls, kept it in repair, and at all times supplied the inhabitants of the township with meal for the lawful and customary toll, when they brought their corn to be ground."  Solomon apparently did not accept this offer, for on 30 April 1741 the proposition was accepted by John Shepard of Concord, Massachusetts, who built a mill "and became a useful and honored citizen of the town."  Shepard's son John married Mercy, daughter of Daniel and Mary (Bailey) Wilkins. [Secomb's History of Amherst, 1883].  Children of Solomon and Patience:  Lydia (1731),
Sarah (1739, married Stephen, son of John and Hannah Wilkins Washer), Samuel (1742, married Sarah How and Mrs. Sarah (Fuller) Killam), Betty (1744), and Mary (1752).

Stephen Wilkins, born in Salem, 1712; died 1 April 1742. He married in Topsfield, Essex, Massachusetts, 24 August 1732, Hannah Curtis, daughter of Thomas and Phebe (Gould) Curtis, born in Topsfield, 1 August 1714.  Children:  Phebe (1734, married Francis Elliot), Stephen (1736), Andrew (1739, married Anna Berry, daughter of Samuel and Maria Ingalls Berry), and Hannah (1741, married Israel Kinney).

Joseph Wilkins, christened in Salem, 7 June 1719; married Rebecca Yell, daughter of Nathaniel and Elizabeth Yell, 1 February 1732.


John Wilkins, christened in Dorchester, Suffolk, Massachusetts, 22 March 1642 died in Salem, 1672; son of Bray and Hannah (Way) Wilkins; married (1) Mary ---, born in Dorchester, about 1646

The inventory of the "little" estate of John Wilkins of Salem, deceased, was taken by the Putnams on 24 June 1672 and attested by his widow, Mary, on 26 June 1672. The court ordered that "Elizabeth, John, Mary and Abigail, children of the deceased are to have paid them out of the said estate at the age of 18 years and marriage the amides, and son at 21 years, 40s each of them."  See Essex Abstracts (Coffin).

Hill, The Family of Bray Wilkins, apparently confuses this John with his son, John.

Children of John WILKINS and Mary ---:

John Wilkins, married (1) Lydia --- and (2) Elizabeth Southwick

Elizabeth Wilkins, born in Salem, about 1665; died after 1715.  Elizabeth, in testimony against John Willard in 1692, said that she was about 27 years of age. Her husband was undoubtedly Thomas Bayley who deposed at age 36 against Willard.  He was a witness to John Gengill's will, lived at Will's Hill, and was closely associated with the Wilkins.  He died in 1714.  However, in the records of the Essex County General Sessions court, presentments in fornication cases, there is this note:  George Booth married Elizabeth Wilkins of Salem before 30 December 1692 (1:13).

Mary Wilkins, born in Salem, about 1670; unmarried in 1685.

Abigail Wilkins, born in Salem, about 1671; married Benjamin Ellery after 1685.


Bray Wilkins, born possibly in Wales, about 1610; died in Middleton, Essex, Massachusetts, 1 January 1702; married in 1634, either Hannah Way, christened 3 March 1616 in Bridport, Dorset, England, daughter of Henry and Elizabeth (Batchelar) Way, or Hannah Gingell, presumed to have been a sister of John Gingell.

According to David Green, ("Bray Wilkins of Salem Village and His Children," TAG, 60: 1-18 and 101-113), William C. Hill's The Family of Bray Wilkins, Patriarch of Will's Hill, "states that Bray came from Wales, but provides no evidence except tradition for this."  This assertion is not entirely fair to Hill, who states at the outset (pages 1-2): "after diligent and thorough inquiry by English and Welsh authorities, conducted in the interests of this genealogy, it must be admitted no definite trace has been found as to Bray Wilkins' presence in Wales or of any who might be his immediate ancestors."

Green admits that Bray's age at death (i.e., the approximate date of his birth), as given by  Hill, "though perhaps slightly overstated," is largely substantiated by circumstance (Bray would had to have been at least twenty-one to have received an allotment of land in January 1633) and by statements Bray himself made in court concerning his age, by virtue of which he would had to have been born sometime between 1610 and 1612.

The principal import of Green's article, however, was to dispute Hill's conclusion that Hannah, Bray's wife, was a sister of John Gingell.

Hill's account is as follows:

Bray Wilkins' wife was probably Hannah Gengell.  There is no record of the marriage to be found, which probably occurred at Dorchester between 1632 and 1636, for on the latter date Hannah Wilkins, the wife of Bray, is recorded as having been received into the First Church in Dorchester.  Two persons who had access to much early documentary material about the Wilkins family, now lost, Mrs. Martha J. Averill and Mrs. Emily Ann (Wilkins) Milliken, maintain that Bray's wife was Hannah Gengell.  Family tradition, generally, among those now settled in and near Middleton, is to the same effect. [Note: The first wife of William Nichols, early settler of Salem, was Mary, or Margaret, Gengell (or Gingell), who died before 1640. Two children of Nichols, by a second wife, married two children of Bray Wilkins. The name was uncommon. Could she have been a sister of John Gengell and Mrs. Bray Wilkins?]

Hannah Gengell was the sister of John Gengell, one of the incorporators of Taunton, Massachusetts, in 1643. He was made a freeman in 1646 and described as a tailor. December 2, 1646 Gengell is recorded as having become an inhabitant and proprietor of land in Dorchester.  Gengell is believed to have come to Dorchester to be near his sister and it is significant that from this time on he is closely associated with Bray Wilkins, their business and family relations being closely interwoven throughout the rest of their lives.

Wilkins and Gengell left Dorchester together and went to Lynn to work iron mines there. Together they bought the Bellingham grant in Salem and they lived together in the same house in Salem Village (now Middleton) until Gengell built a house of his own close by.  And when Gengell died, his will provided that all his property be distributed among the children and grandchildren of Bray Wilkins and his wife.  The only exception was a gift of five pounds to the First Church in Dorchester, the memory of which is preserved in a silver cup marked "John Gengen 1685," still preserved by the society.

Alternatively, Green, pointing to apparent errors in Hill's book and Sidney Perley's History of Salem, states unequivocally that Hannah, who married Bray, "was beyond much doubt a daughter of Mr. Henry Way of Dorchester by his wife Elizabeth Batchelar."  Green's argument (parotted by Anderson) is as follows (with our "asides" in parentheses; not an exact quote):
Merriam (Peabody Ancestry, p. 15) concluded that Bray Wilkins' wife Anna was a daughter of John Gengell (or Gingell), primarily based on the abstract of John's will in NEHGR 40:257. That conclusion is impossible: Gengell called himself 70 in that document, dated 10 April 1685, and thus about 21 when Bray married Anna. Hill says that Bray's wife was "probably Hannah Gengell," a sister of John, and Torrey reached the same conclusion based on what he could find in print and what seemed to him reasonable. It is [Greene admits] difficult to escape the inference that Bray and John Gengell were in some way related.

To support the notion that Bray's wife was Way, Greene advances the following arguments: (1) that Henry Way arrived at Nantasket in 1630 [i.e., was in New England when Bray was] with his wife Elizabeth and children Samuel, Richard, Henry, and Susanna." Apparently, Aaron should be added to Banks' list of Henry's children," says Green, "and I suggest that he had a daughter Anna/Hannah as well" [It should be noted, however, that Greene does not offer proof (here) that Henry Way was the only person in Nantasket with Bray Wilkins]. (2) In May 1675, Bray purportedly sold land to his "trusty kinsmen" Aaron Way and William Ireland. (3) When he testified against John Willard in 1692, Bray mentioned that he had come to "my brother Lft. Richard Way's house" in Boston. "Since Bray Wilkins called Richard Way his brother and called either Richard's brother, Aaron, or Aaron's son Aaron, his "trusty kinsman," and since both Bray Wilkins and Aaron Way Sr. were in some way related to William Ireland, it is clear that these various relationships could not have come about from the putative marriage of Bray's sister or of Anna's sister to Richard Way, for that would not explain Bray's relationship to Aaron Way or William Ireland. It appears most likely that Bray's wife Anna was a sister of Aaron and Richard Way" [Greene acknowledges, however, that other relationships could explain the language. Perhaps we should also rethink the meaning of the terminology: e.g., members of a common social group might call themselves "brothers" or "cousins" without any actual blood or marital relationship]. (4) Bray and Anna (Way) Wilkins named a son Henry.

David Dearborn found manuscript summaries of the parish registers for Bridport and Allington, Dorset, in the collection of the Rev. Richard Grosvenor Bartelot, showing that Henry Way married apparently as his second wife, 22 January 1615, Elizabeth Batchelar, and that they had a daughter "Hanah" baptized there on 3 March 1616.

John Gengell was in Taunton in 1643 and Dorchester by 1646. In his will he appointed his loving firends and acquaintenances, Richard Hall, Sr., of Dorchester, William Ireland Sr., and John Wilkins executors. Two of the witnesses were Aaron Way and Mary Way. Despite these associations, Gengell did not call William Ireland or John Wilkins a relative.

Bray and his family (children and grandchildren) earned places for themselves in history largely through their participation in the trial of John Willard, accused of practicing witchcraft in Salem, 1692.   Of this we will say more in a separate section (below).   Apart from this, we find records of Bray's activities as follows.

The earliest record of Bray's presence in New England is his signature on a paper acknowledging the receipt (as an allotment) of 16 acres of land in Dorchester, "next to the great lots that are already laid out toward Naponsett," 16 January 1632/33.  He took the freeman's oath in Dorchester, 14 May 1634, signifying that he was probably already a member of the church there.  Hannah his wife was admitted to this church on 23 June 1636.

Dorchester church records of 2 October 1636 show, on that date, an order that Bray Wilkins "shall have six acres of upland in place of his great lot, being a little neck lying by Mr. Makepeace's and Mr. Bramer's meadow."

On 19 January 1637: "Ordered that Bray Wilkins shall have one acre on the neck of the three acre lot which was formerly granted to John Knell, the other two acres to remain to Mr. Holland, in whose possession it is, which acre Mr. Wilkins is to have on condition that he remain in the Plantation, else to leave it in the Plantation and not to alienate it without approbation of the twelve men."

By order of 7 September 1638, the General Court granted Bray Wilkins liberty "to sett up a house & keepe a ferry over Naponset River and to have a penny a person to be directed by Mr. Staughton & Mr. Groves."  The ferry ran between the ridge in Quincy and Sling Point in Dorchester, half way between the much later bridges at Neponset Avenue and Granite Street.  At the time there was at this location a busy fisherman's village.

On 31 October 1639, the Selectmen of Dorchester: "Ordered that Henery Way, Brey Wilkeins, Richard Leeds shall take  their portion in Tomson's Iland, and haue also liberty to buy of any others any greater portion to ye value of 9 akers to Joyne with  their owne at a convenient place for fishing; Provided that they set  forward fishing, and alsoe doe satisfie the yeerly rent-Charge  imposed on that Iland towards the mayntanance of a skoole according  to the order made to that purpose, and according to ye Number of the akers they shall make imployment of."

"Brave Wilkins" joined the second church at Dorchester on 9 June 1640; in 1641 he appeared 44th on the list of Dorchester's male inhabitants.

A petition on file in the state house, Boston, in Bray's handwriting (5 January 1643) beseeches the General Court to provide services for "a boy who hath been lame for the greatest part of the time," asking for help to have him cured, because "I am but a p[auper]." The petition refers to a servant boy in Bray's employ.

In 1646, with John Gengell as partner, Bray went to Lynn to try his luck at the iron mines, which had been opened up for England under the direction of the "Undertakers Association,"  but three additional children were christened in Dorchester, the last in 1652.

On 24 August 1654 Bray and Anna joined the First Church of Salem and remained members there until 10 November 1689, when they were dismissed with others to form the Salem Village (Danvers) church.   Bray was sworn as Constable of Lynn (part of Salem), 24 June 1656.

On 9 March 1660, Bray Wilkins of Lynn, husbandman, and John Gingion [Gingell] of Lynn, Tailor, purchased from Gov. Richard Bellingham of Boston for £250, a farm of 700 acres. The down payment was £20 in a tun of bar iron and 20s in money. The land was situated "on the head of Salem, to the northwest from said town, there being within the said place a hill where an indian plantation sometime had been [Will's Hill], a pond, and about 150 acres of meadow."  In 1728, these lands with parts of Andover, Boxford, and Topsfield, were incorporated into a town called "Middleton."  See "Early Matters Relating to Dorchester" in NEHGR.  A good account of the land and the futile attempts of Bray and John Gengell to use it for profitable lumbering and manufacturing of wood products (barrel staves and shingles) is provided by Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, Salem Possessed (Cambridge, 1974), 196-197. [Green]

In 1661, Wilkins and Gengill petitioned the General Court to be put under the jurisdiction of Salem, which was allowed.

On 28 November 1662 Bray Wilkins and John Gingeon [Gingell] of Salem sold Daniel Denison 100 acres of upland and 30 acres of meadow from this 700 acre parcel. [Anderson]

In March 1663, Bray Wilkins was accused of stealing hay from Mr. Bradstreet, and many neighbors came forward to testify the matter. John Longley, aged about 23, stated that he had lived with Bray Wilkins, that the said Wilkins' two or three sons with John Gingell went for the hay and the first day they mired their cart and came home without any. They went again the next day and the two days following and brought home some hay which the deponent had seen at night.

In June 1666 Nathaniel Putnam (46) testified in court that the "end of January 1664 Bray Wilkins having by Providence his house burned and by that means being brought to a mean and low condition, I myself and some other neighbors taking the sad condition of the said Bray Wilkins into our consideration, we were willing to contribute something to the help and assistance of the said Bray Wilkins ... provided that the said Wilkins might have the benefit of it himself, and then understanding that the farm he then lived on where his house was burned was entangled unto Mr. Richard Bellingham our new honored governor ..."  Bellingham sued Wilkins for failing to vacate the farm and the jury found for Wilkins.  The court did not accept the verdict, but Bray apparently managed to retain possession of the property.

In 1670, Bray Wilkins was among the men who refused to agree to contribute to the building of a new meeting house in Salem.

On 31 March 1673 Bray and Anna and John Gingell of Salem for "a valuable consideration to them in hand already paid" sold to Aaron Way and William Ireland of Boston a third part of "that parcel of land commonly known by the name of Wills hill, containing by estimation 700 acres."  Concurrently, they mortgaged the other two thirds as security for £50, "with interest after £6 percent" unto John Oxenbridge, Anthony Stoddard, and James Allen of Boston, executors of the will of Richard Bellingham.

In 1678, Bray served as Tithingman in Salem.

On 26 February 1680 Bray Wilkins of Will's Hill deeded to "my sons Samuel, Thomas, Henry, and Benjamin Wilkins" various parcels of land in Salem.

On 11 April 1681, Bray Wilkins, John Gingell, Aaron Way, and William Ireland divided among themselves  the remaining land at  Will's Hill.

In November 1682, Bray had 30 acres of unimproved lands at Salem.

On 10 November 1689, Bray Wilkins, his wife, and others received dismission "that they might be a church of themselves."  On 19 November 1689, Bray, his wife Anna, and sons Benjamin and Henry signed the Covenant for the Church of Christ at Salem Village, Samuel Parris, Pastor.  Other families therein included Putnam, Rea, Ingersoll, Cloyes, Way, Prescott, and Mary (wife of Samuel) Abbe.

On 17 September 1696 Bray Wilkins of Salem Village living at Will's Hill deeded to his son-in-law Phillip Knight of Topsfield 3 acres of meadow.

On 29 July 1698 the General Court awarded Bray Wilkins 25 lots, amounting to 35 acres, beyond the "Blew Hills" in Dorchester, being his share of the unallocated lands.

Bray's will, excuted 9 January 1697 (probated 26 January 1702) left his well-beloved wife Anna Wilkins his house, barn, and orchard with all the movable estate for her life; required his son Benjamin Wilkins if he lived to take care of his aged mother; to son Benjamin Bray left his home lot after Anna's death, plus 30 acres; to son Henry the lot of land at the head of the 50 acres of land he had given to his sons Samuel and Henry Wilkins; to son Benjamin the lot of land that ran over "walnut tree so called"; to grandson John Wilkins 10 acres of a lot of land on the north side of pout pond brook, the rest of the lot to son Thomas Wilkins; to daughter Margaret Knight, wife of Phillip Knight, 3 acres of meadow "laying in the tongue of pout pond meadow," the remainder of the meadow to son Benjamin Wilkins; to daughter Lydia Nicholls, wife of John Nicholls, 40s; to son Benjamin Wilkins "all my meadow laying in Andover meadow"; to grandson Bray Wilkins "all my meadow laying in beachy meadow"; to grandson Samuel Wilkins "one of my best coats for him to have quickly after my decease"; all the rest of his wearing apparel to be equally divided among sons Thomas, Henry, and Benjamin; to son Benjamin Wilkins various household items and farm equipment; to daughter Margaret Knight his feather bed; remainder of bedding to be divided between two daughters Lydia Nicholls and Margaret Knight.

Bray was known in Salem Village (Danvers) for 42 years as a pious and good citizen and a strong supporter of the church and the parish. Upham, historian of old Salem, said: "Bray had industrious habits, a resolute will, a strong constitution and iron frame and six stout sons." Another observer said that the Wilkins family was "noted for their energy, industry, integrity, piety, perserverance, fortitude, patience, resourcefulness, initiative, courage, loyalty, and leadership."   Bray's behavior with respect to his grandson, John Willard, in 1692 indicates other possible interpretations of his character, however.  See below.

Children of Bray WILKINS and Hannah WAY:

Samuel Wilkins, born in Dorchester, 1636; christened in Dorchester, 5 November 1639; died in Danvers, Essex, Massachusetts, 20 December 1688; married Jane ---.  From the Danvers Church records (in the handwriting of Samuel Parris), this note: "1688 Dec 20. Sam: Wilkins a very naughty man & dyde very hopefully, 52."  Samuel had circulated a petition calling for the retirement of Reverend Parris after the witchcraft controversy, which might explain Parris's animosity.  There were, however, other examples of  Samuel's naughtiness.  On 24 November 1657, he was fined at Salem Quarterly "for swearing by his faith and 'Cud's buds,'" the latter being either a mild blasphemy or, more likely, a mild obscenity, and at the same court on 26 June 1660 he was fined for "several gross and pernicious lies." He was listed in the minister's rates for Salem Village in 1681, but was replaced in the list in 1689 by his widow, and she in turn was replaced in 1695 by his son (Samuel).  He left no probate in Essex County. That John Gingel mentions Samuel's child (rather than children) in his will is good evidence that Samuel had but one child living in 1685. This child, Samuel (born about 1662) married (1) Sarah ---, and (2), Priscilla Parker, and relocated before 1711 to Newport, Rhode Island, where there seems to be no survivng record of him.

John Wilkins, married Mary ---.

Lydia Wilkins, christened in Dorchester, 25 September 1644; married John Nichols, son of William and Mary (Southwick) Nichols, 16 April 1675.  Testified to being 46 years of age in 1692 when giving testimony against John Willard; living probably in Topsfield in 1701, when she and Thomas Nichols exhibited the inventory of her husband's estate. Hill gives us nine children for Lydia and John, but has five of them born before their marriage, and a sixth born on their wedding day.

Thomas Wilkins, christened in Dorchester, 16 March 1647, died before October 1717 in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts. Thomas Wilkins Sr. took the freeman's oath in Salem Village (Danvers), 22 March 1690.  He signed the petition of the Salem Troop for commissioning of officers Brown and Putnam in 1678.  He married Hannah Nichols, daughter of William and Mary (Southwick) Nichols, in May 1667, and the two were charged on 26 Jan 1669 with fornication before marriage. This probably meant that they had had a child born several months earlier than nine after their marriage. This child might have been Margaret, wife of John Willard. Green says that she was "a certain child of Thomas and Hannah," that she had three Willard children, that she probably married John Willard in 1687 or earlier and that she was therefore probably born before 1669. Another of Thomas's missing children might have been Nathaniel. Yet another could have been Susanna, who married Nehemiah Wilkins. Although Nehemiah would have been fourteen years younger than his wife (who would have to have been born about 1669), the Wilkins had a tendency to marry older women and encourage the marriage of cousins."   Savage: "THOMAS, Topsfield, m. May 1667, Hannah, d. of William Nichols, but no issue is known."  The LDS Ancestral File (which has been known to contain an occasional error) gives Thomas and Hannah at least seven children: Hannah (1669, married Nehemiah Wilkins [according to the Ancestral File], son of Henry and Rebecca Wilkins), Thomas (1673, married Elizabeth Towne), Bray (1678, married Rebecca Knight), Joseph (about 1680, married Mary White and Margaret Nichols), Nathaniel (about 1684), Susanna (about 1686), Isaac (1690, married Susannah Wilkins, daughter of Henry and Rebecca Wilkins, and Anna Wilkins Foster, daughter of Benjamin and Priscilla Baxter Wilkins), and Henry (about 1692).  Hill supplies the names of the same seven, but says that Elizabeth and Henry are "found in some lists."

Margery (Margaret) Wilkins, christened in Dorchester, 12 December 1648; married Phillip Knight.  Children (according to Hill):  Philip (1669), Margaret (1671, married Francis Elliott), Rebekah (married Nicholas Bayley), Abigail (1672), Margery (1674), Elizabeth (1676, married Samuel Towne), Mary (1700, married William Hobbs), and Joseph (1684, married Hannah Lewis).  Hill's list presents some difficulties:  for example, he allows only seven months between the births of Margaret and Abigail, unless the date given for one or the other birth is incorrect.

Henry Wilkins, christened in Dorchester, 7 January 1651; died 8 December 1737; married (1) Rebecca Baxter, 3 June 1677, and (2) Ruth (Fuller) Wheeler, 1689. Took the freeman's oath in Salem Village, 22 March 1690.  Rebecca, wife of Henry Wilkins, died in Salem Village 4 April 1690, age 40.  There was apparently some differences between Henry and Benjamin respecting Bray's will, for on 19 June 1711, "whereas there hath been some difference between Benjamin Wilkins and his brother Henry Wilkins relating to his father's will, be it known therefore that I Benjamin Wilkins Sr. of Salem have given & granted and by these presents do freely and fully give, grant & confirm unto my brother Henry Wilkins ... one half of a lot a Walnut Tree Hill which was given unto me by my father in his will ..."  Children:  Samuel (1673, gave testimony against John Willard in 1692), Daniel (1675, "bewitched to death" 16 May 1692), Elizabeth (1676, married John Carrell), Rebecca (bapt. 1684, married Philip Mackintire), Henry (bapt. 1684, married Sarah, daughter of Benjamin and Priscilla Baxter Wilkins, and Mary Lewis), Aquila (bapt. 1684, married Lydia Nichols), Nehemiah (1683, married Elizabeth Guppy and Hannah Wilkins), Susannah (1684, married Isaac, son of Thomas and Hannah Nichols Wilkins), John (1686, married Abigail, daughter of Benjamin and Priscilla Baxter Wilkins), Ebenezer (1689, married Mary Bailey), and Ruth (bapt. 1690).

Benjamin Wilkins, born in Salem, it is said, in June 1652  (however he repeatedly stated his age during the witch trials of 1692 as being "about thirty-six"); died 1715; married Priscilla Baxter, 1677.  Served in King Phillip's War and was in the company of Captain Nicholas Paige which went to Mt. Hope June 27, 1675.  Signed the petition of the Salem troop for commissioning of officers Brown and Putnam in 1678 and took the freeman's oath in Salem Village (Danvers) 22 March 1690.   Children:  Priscilla (1678, died in Salem Village 1691), Benjamin (1679, married Margery Rolf), Anna (1681, married Ebenezer Foster and Isaac, son of Thomas and Hannah Nichols Wilkins), Jonathan (1683, married Hannah Rolf), Sarah (1686, married Henry, son of Henry and Rebecca Wilkins), Abigail (1688), Priscilla (1691, married David Kenney), Daniel (1693, married Mary Hutchinson), and Elizabeth (1695, married Daniel Rolf).

James Wilkins, christened about 1655 in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts.   Married Margaret Braye, 20 April 1684.  Greene says that James might not have been a son of Bray -- "for reasons given later in this article, James is almost certainly not a son of Bray and Anna Wilkins, although he is so listed by Hill." Says Greene, Bray mentioned neither James nor his heirs in his will; he gave James no land (as he did his known sons); and James was not at any time associated with any of Bray's family. Also, Gengill left legacies to all Bray's children (or their heirs) except James. It seems likely (says Greene) that James Wilkins was a mariner, like his father-in-law and son-in-law. He could have been an immigrant or he could have come to Salem from elsewhere in the colonies.  Children:  Margaret (1685), Elizabeth (1687, married Jonathan Legroe), and James (1690).

Bray Wilkins, his children, and grandchildren figured prominently in the witchcraft hysteria that infected Salem (Danvers Village) in 1692.   We do not intend here to recount the history of what happened there between January and November 1692, nor do we intend to marshal all the subsequent evidence and testimony regarding events that involved John Willard and members of the Wilkins family.  There is ample information about all this on and off the web.  On the web, we particularly recommend the following sites:

For a brief chronology (a good short overview) of the episode:

http://www.salemweb.com/memorial/default.htm
For a complete, searchable, transcript of the trials and related material (including an excellent map of Salem Village in 1692, from Upham):
http://etext.virginia.edu/salem/witchcraft/
For this site (apparently), the Willard Family Association has extracted data pertaining specifically to the trial of John Willard, and has included its own speculations regarding Willard's character and his familial connections:
http://www.discover.net/~rwillard/Salem/witch001.htm
The following is a chronology of the Wilkins' involvement.  The culprit was John Willard.  Willard is said to have been Bray's "grandson," probably by virtue of having married one of Bray's granddaughters.

15 May 1692.  Warrant issued for the arrest of John Willard, accused of having inflicted bodily harm upon "the bodys of Bray Wilkins and Daniel Wilkins the son of Henery Wilkins both of Salem Village and others ...  according to Complaint made before us by Thomas fuller Jun'r and Benj'n Wilkins sen'r both of Salem Village afores'd yeomen..."

16 May 1692.  According to records of the Danvers (Salem Village) Church, in the handwriting of Rev. Samuel Parris, Daniel Wilkins, age seventeen, was on this day "bewitched to death."

17 May 1692.  Return of a Jury of Inquest on the Death of Daniel Wilkins:  "We whose names are underwritten being warned by Constable John Putnam of Salem this 17 of May 1692 to view the body of Daniell Wilknes of Salem village deceased and we find several bruised places upon the back of the said corpse and the skin broken and many places of the greatest part of his back seemed to be prickt with an instrument about the bigness of a small awl and one side of his neck and ear seemed to be much bruised to his throat... turning the corpse, the blood ran out of his nose or mouth or both, and his body not swelled; neither did he purge elsewhere: and to the best of our judgments we cannot but apprehend but that he died an unnatural death by some cruel hands of witchcraft or diabolical act as is evident to us both by what we have seen and heard concerning his death."

18 May 1692.  In the examination of John Willard, Benjamin Wilkins "testified for all [Willard's] natural affections he abused his wife much and broke sticks about her in beating of her."

2 June 1692.  Hannah Putnam, aged 30, testified that John Willard told her (in an apparition) that he, with the help of William Hobbs, had killed Lydia Wilkins and others (including Samuel Fuller, Goody Shaw, Fuller's second wife, Aaron Way's child, Benjamin Fuller's child, Sarah Putnam (Hannah's own child, aged six weeks), Philip Knight's child, Jonathan Knight's child, two of Ezekiel Cheervers' children, Anna Elliott, and Isaac Nichols.

July 1692.  Samuel Wilkins, age 19, testified that, since John Willard had been imprisoned, he, Samuel, had been afflicted "in a strange kind of manner" and that Willard, "and another man and woman along with him which I did not know" had came to him (in an apparition) and told him that "they would carry me away before morning."

August 1692 (or thereabouts):  Rebecca Wilkins, age 19, "Do testify that 29th July at night she see John Willard sitting in the corner and he said that he would afflict me that night and forthwith he did afflict me and the next day I did see him afflict me sore by choaking and pulling me ear into pieces; the next day being the Lord's day I being going to meeting, I see John Willard and he afflicted me very sore."

August 1692.  Testimony of Henry Wilkins, age 41, concerning the death of his son, Daniel:  "Upon the third of May last, John Willard came to my house and very earnestly entreated me to go with him to Boston [to] which I at length consented...  My son Daniel ... understanding I was going with [Willard] to Boston, seemed to be much troubled ... and he said he thought it were well if the said Willard were hanged, which made me admire, for I never heard such an expression come from him to any one being since he came to years of discretion.  But after I was gone, in a few days, he was taken sick, and grew every day worse and worse, whereupon we made application to a phisician who affirmed [that] his sickness was by some preter natural cause, and would make no application of any phisicke.  Some tymes after this, our neighbours coming to visit my son, Mercy Lewis came with them and affirmed that she saw the apparition of John Willard afflicting him.  Quickly after came Ann Putnam, and she saw the same apparition, and then my eldest daughter was taken in a sad manner, and the      said Ann saw the said Willard afflicting her.  At another time Mercy Lewis and Mary Wolcott came to visit him and they saw the same apparition of Willard afflicting him, and this not but a little time before his death.

August 1692.  Benjamin Wilkins (age about 26) and Thomas Flint (age about 46) testified that they had witnessed the death of Daniel Wilkins, during which time Mercy Lewis and Mary Wolcott told them that John Willard and Goody Buckley were upon Daniel's throat and breast and pressed and choked him, "and to our best judgment, he was pressed and choked from the time we saw him almost to death."  Benjamin remained with Daniel another three hours, during which time his condition grew worse until he finally expired.

August 1692.  Testimony of Bray Wilkins, aged about 81 years:  "When he [Willard] was at first complained of by the afflicted persons, ... he came to my house greatly troubled, desiring me with some other neighbours to pray for him.  I told him I was then going from home, and could not stay, but if I should come home before night I should not be unwilling.  But it was near night before I came home, and so I did not answer his desire, but I heard no more of him upon that account. Whether my not answering his desire did not offend him, I cannot tell, but I was jealous afterwards that it did. A little after my wife and I went to Boston at the last election, when I was as well in health as in many years before, ... to my brother Lft. Richard Way's house. At noon there were many friends to dine there; they were sat at the table, Mr Lawson and his wife and several more; John Willard came into the house with my son Henry Wilkins before I sat down, and said Willard to my apprehension looked after such a sort upon me as I never before discerned in any. I did but step into the next room, and I was presently taken in a strange condition, so that I could not dine, nor eat anything.  I cannot express the misery I was in for my water was suddenly stopped, and I had no benefit of nature, but was like a man on a Rack, and I told my wife immediately that I was afraid that Willard had done me wrong.  My pain continuing and finding no relief, my jealousie continued.  Mr Lawson and others there were all amazed and knew not what to do for me. There was a Woman accounted skilfull came hoping to help me, and after she had used means, she asked me whether none of those evil persons had done me damage.  I said, I could not say they had, but I was sore afraid they had.  She answered she did fear so too, as near as I remember.  I lay in this case three or four days at Boston, and afterwards with the jeopardy of my life (as I thought) I came home, and then some of my friends coming to see me (and at this time John Willard was run away) one of the afflicted persons Mercy Lewis came in with them, and they asked whether she saw anything.  She said yes, they are looking for John Willard, but there he is upon his Grandfather's Belly (and at that time I was in grevious pain in the small of my Belly).  I continued so in greivous pain and my water much stopped till said Willard was in chains, and then as near as I can guess I had considerable ease, but on the other hand in the room of a stoppage, I was vexed with a flowing of water, so that it was hard to keep my self dry.  On the 5th July last, talking with some friends about John Willard, some pleading his innocence and myself and some others arguing the contrary. ... After I had said [that] it was not I, nor my son Benjamin Wilkins, but the testimony of the afflicted persons and the jury concerning the murder of my Grandson, Daniel Wilkins, that would take away [Willard's] life if any thing did, within about 1/4 hour [I] was taken in the sorest distress and misery, my water being turned into real blood, or of a bloody colour, and the old pain returned excessively as before, which continued for about 24 hours together."

August 1692.  Benjamin Wilkins testified "That about the 12th of May last, Mercy Lewis being at my father's house told us that she saw John Willard and Goody Buckly upon my father Wilkins pressing his belly and my father complained of extreme pain in his belly at the same time; then John Putnam struck at the apparitions ... Mercy Lewis fell down and my father had ease immediately."

August 1692.  Benjamin Wilkins, 36, and John Wilkins, 26, testified that "Lydia Wilkins, wife of John Wilkins, was well delivered with child, and was well the next day after, but the second day after ... she was taken with a violent fever and flux...  In a little time, the flux abated but the fever continued till she died, which was about four days."

5 February 1693 (from Danvers Church records): "The pastor and two deacons and Brother Nathaniel Putnam and Brother John Putnam Sr. and Brother Bray Wilkins, chosen to discourse with Brother Thomas Wilkins, Brother Samuel Nurse, and Brother John Tarbell, about their withdrawing of late from the Lord's Table and public worship of God amongst us. Divers of the Brethern of the Church at Salem Village, being grievously offended by reason of the (in their estimation) 'unwarrantable actings' of their pastor, Mr. Parris, in the matter of witchcraft, do therefore habitually absent themselves from Public Worship and from 'communion at the Lord's table,' notwithstanding the endeavors of the Pastor and Church to enforce their attendance. The grounds of their dissatisfaction are these: (1) The distracting and disturbing tumults and noises made by the persons under diabolical power ... (2) Their apprenhensions of danger of themselves being accused as the Devil's instruments ... they seeing those whom they had reason to esteem better than themselves thus accused... (3) The declared and public princples of their pastor and his frequent positive preaching of the same with respect to the dark and dismal mysteries of iniquity working amongst them ... (4) His unsafe and unaccountable oath given by him against sundry of the accused and his zeal in seeking out the suspected ... (5) His persisting in these principles and justifying his practices, though others, wise and learned, who were as forward as himself, are sorry for what they have done, and see their error therein.

19 November 1697.  Benjamin Wilkins, having voiced dissatisfaction with the witchcraft delusions of Rev. Samuel Parris, was named member of a committee to replace him.


Some Sources

The Family of Bray Wilkins, "Patriarch of Will's Hill," of Salem (Middleton), Mass., by William C. Hill (Milford, N. H., 1943).   For an inexpensive, all-electronic version of this family history, see Digital Editions.



 
 
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