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From my book "Line of Descent of George Roger Gilbert"
THE DOOLITTLE FAMILY
From the book:
THE DOOLITTLE FAMILY IN AMERICA
Abraham Doolittle, the staunch old Puritan, was the progenitor of all the American Doolittles, with the exception of a very few. He used the spelling "Dowlittell," as shown by the accompanying copy of his signature. He was born in the latter part of 1619 or early in 1620, but in which part of England the records do not state, and search thus far has not disclosed his parentage. However, there is strong evidence pointing to a close if not direct relationship to the branch of the family already mentioned, which was then residing in various parts of Worcestershire. We can only wonder at the pious training and educational advantages which surrounded his boyhood and developed in him those sterling qualities which marked his later career. On reaching manhood, he sought and won the love of Joane Allen, (spelling "Alling" on the colonial records ) the amiable daughter of James Allen, a prosperous citizen of Kempston, in the county of Bedford, England. His lot was early cast with the Puritans, and at about the age of twenty-one, shortly after their marriage, he came with his bride in search of a home in the New World, to escape the tyranny of the reign of Charles I., and to secure and enjoy personal, political and religious liberty. A large portion of the "planters" were descended from the landed gentry of England, and frequently could trace their ancestry in a noble line from the time of William the Conquerer. The educated class, headed by the minister, formed their real aristocracy. But little information is to be had of the exodus of many of them from England, as in the eye of the government and Established Church the Puritans were "religious outlaws," unworthy of mention. The well-to-do, fearing confiscation, were glad thus quietly to embark, taking their accumulations, without attracting the government's attention. Abraham was in Boston as early as 1640, but glowing descriptions of the fertile valley of the Connecticut were attracting many settlers. Companies of them would thread their way on foot over the perilous journey of two long weeks, through the unbeaten and almost trackless paths of an unknown forest, having deep, muddy soil and swiftly flowing streams, without bridge or ferry. During storms the great trees of the thick woods were often strewed across the Indian trail which sometimes led their way. Their furniture, bedding and a supply of food were sent around by boat when possible. They carried some provisions with them, but counted largely on the fish, game and wild fruits along the way. An American forest had never before witnessed such scenes. At the commencement and end of each day's march their songs of praise and heartfelt utterance of prayer broke the quiet of those solitudes from their little camps. Thus they journeyed on, driving their cattle before them, and guiding their steps by the aid of compass, seeking as it were the land of promise.
The young couple accordingly removed to New Haven before 1642, where they bought or built for themselves a house and here planted the home of their heart. In a division of land at this village in 1643, his name with nine others is mentioned, each of whom was " to have 1 1/2 acres in ye first devission within ye two mile and 1 3/4 acres in each of ye other two devissions within ye two mile." His abilities were early recognized by his fellow citizens, and in 1644 he was administered the oath of fidelity in the colony and made its chief executvie officer, when scarcely twenty-five years old. These were busy years and many questions pertaining to the welfare of the colonists were ever presenting themselves for careful settlement. Its relations with neighboring communitites which were springing up here and there, the dealings with the Indians, apportionment of land, public defense, and extension of trade - all occupied their attention. Commerce thrived from the first and while mostly with English merchants, the Barbadoes and Jamaica came in for a share, but cloth with other manufactures were often obtained through Boston. Labor was paid two shilling a day and later a few black slaves were brought to the colony. The settlers were industrious and each found means for support. Their products were various and important, comprising timber, pitch and tar, wheat, rye, barley, Indian corn, peas, hemp, wool and flax, pork, beef, fish, furs, cider, staves and horses.
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Abraham's interest in public affairs, comprehensive grasp, and persistent industry opened many channels for his energies. Besides being chosen seven times as a deputy from New Haven to the General Assembly at Hartford, he was often engaged in details of town government and served many consecutive years as selectman. The following quaint entry appears on the records of a court of magistrates held at New Haven, October 14, 1662; "Abraham Dowlitle ppounded to have five pounds for keeping the Indian Taphanse about seventeene weekes time for all his charges and troubles about him. The court thought it moderate and granted it."
In that olden time when a man was prominent in public affairs it was a guarantee that he was of high character, good habits and possessor of abilities valuable to the commonwealth.
Joane's father died Kempston, England, in 1657. His will made the year before mentions" My daughter Joane the wife of Abraham Dowlittle, now living in New England."
After some twenty years of married life death came to claim Joane and leave besides the sorrow and vacancy in the family circle, the want of tender motherly care and help and encouragement of a loving wife. On July 2, 1663, after a proper time, he married again and found in Abigail Moss one to take the place left by Joane. She was born April 10, 1642, daughter of John Moss of New Haven. He was afterwards one of Abraham's colleagues in founding Wallingford and died in 1707 at the remarkable age of 103 years. The new couple continued to reside at New Haven until after the birth of their second son, when they laid out a tract of land about twelve miles north of the village and soon removed theither. It is recorded that they paid the Indians for the property, although the colonists already held the title to all that section, through a treaty made with the Sachems Momaugin and Montonwese by Rev. John Davenport and Governor Eaton in 1638. The homes of the early settlers were good and substantial, at least 18 feet long and 16 feet wide, with 9 feet between joints and were built of untrimmed logs, as ax and auger were the principal tools used in their construction. . . . . . .
It is said Abraham was the first white man to explore the forests beyond the Quinnipiac river. Other families gradually came to locate in the same neighborhood, and, in 1669, when it was decided to form the community into a new settlement, the planters of New Haven selected Abraham as one of the committee of three to manage its affairs. The "new settlement" was incorporated as a town May 12, 1670, and received the name of Wallingford, but the committee looked after its management till 1672. This charming little village, planted in the forest, on the brow of one of the hills of Connecticut, may well be called " the cradle" of our family, for in time it became the home of many by the name of Doolittle, and from here the family has spread out over the country.
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Abraham ever took an active part in public matters, and was one of the foremost leaders and highly valued citizens of the town, as the frequent mention of his name on the records in connection with various enterprises will testify. He was chosen to fill a number of public offices of trust and honor, and was Wallingford's representative several terms at the General Court at Hartford. During the 20 years from the incorporation of Wallingford until his death he was appointed to almost every position of reponsibility within the gift of his fellow-townsmen.
In 1671, he was chosen Treasurer of the town. In those days disputes were settled by a committee appointed at a town meeting. Thus in the latter year we find Abraham and others were named to "bee the committee instructed to tak views of ye River lotts in ye behalfe of such as complayne & to give alowment as to quantity, according to theyr best juggement." The same year he was one of a committee selected to help raise the minister's rate.
In Oct., 1671, the records show a grant of land to him for planting land, also 2 1/2 acres on Wharton's brook, which was an important grant and contained a water privilege, upon which was built, in 1674, the first mill in the town. Parts of its foundation and timbers still remain to remind us of the very infancy of that new England enterprise which has so completely harnessed her water courses to the wheels of industry.
May 27, 1672, he was, with four others, chosen a committee for the approbation of planters to be admitted. This was a most important position, as the following extract from a document signed by every planter attest: "There shall be a standing commitee chosen amongst us of ye most able and well affected persons, so that not-withstanding ye said committee have not power to admit any as a free planter into this towne without the consent of ye inhabitants of ye towne, so neither shall ye towne admit of any as a free planter or inhabitant into the towne without the privity of free consent of ye committee, that so as much as in us lies, troublesome and it afected persons may be kept off from us, our peace the better served and that according to our unfained and harty desires, wee may live in love and pease and enjoy the presence of the God of Love and pease amoungst us." Abraham' appointment on this committee shows that the community esteemed him amoung the "most able and well affected"
In 1672, Abraham, as member of a committee from Wallingford met a committee appointed by New Haven to adjust the boundary between the two towns on the west side of the river, for North Haven was not set off as a town until 1786.
June, 1673, the following curious grant was made: "Sergt. Dowlittle shall have for his use from the month of March next ensuing 10 acres of land on the great plain, the place viewed, for the space of six years, and as a Recompense to the towne the sayed St. Dowlittle ingageth when his time is expired to soe upon every acre one bushell of English Hay seed."
In Dec. 1673, he was made surveyor of highways, and in 1674-5, selectman.
Feb. 15, 1775, he was appointed by his townsmen one of a committee of thirteen to attend to the founding of the first church (Congregational) in the village and later was selected to superintend the construction of the building. The outbreak of the Indian war delayed the completion of their work about two years.
He was made sergeant of the 'first traine band" in 1673 and henceforth bore that title. At the time of King Philip's War (1675) he was a member of the Vigilance Committee. His dwelling during this war was fortified by a picket fort against an attack expected from the Indians, led by King Philip in person. It is interesting to know that the old well which stood within the enclosure and supplied the inmates of the fort is still in use and furnishes splendid water. With the year 1675 came great trouble to the colonists in Connecticut. The Indians prepared for a fierce war, determining to entirely destroy the English; the Dutch were hostile and other social and political troubles threatened in connection with Governor Andros revoking their charter. . . . . .
In 1677, Sergt. Doolittle was chosen to oversee the work on the mill dam, "to see yt itt be carried on in all poynts for ye good of ye towne and also of ye work ittselfe and he is to be alowed wages fro his paines the same so other men have."
In Sept. 1677, it was "Voted by ye towne yt St. Dowlittle is empowered to calle all ye towne once Round, first as many att a time as he needeth to attend the said works of ye mill forthwith.
In Apr. 1679, Abraham was chosen one of the Deputies to the General Court, and office equivalent to that of Representative now. He was also again serving as selectman, and in June was appointed one of a committee to lay out a highway for the town along the west side of the river. later, same year," the towne gave St. Dowlittle twenty shillings in Recompense for his hard bargain in finding Mr. Street's firewood a year for 4 pounds 10 shillings." Evidently the minister was burning more wood than Abraham had calculated on.
In 1680, he was granted four acres of land by the town, "this four acres of land as a gratuitie over and above his proper divission."
In 1681, Sergt. Doolittle was again sent to the General Court as Deputy. he was now over sixty years of age. In June of same year the town authorized him and four other "to purchase of ye Indians that pretend to or make claim of any of the land within thyr Borders granted to them by the Gen. Court. and Doe hereby empower them to act according to theyr best Judgment to a full ishew & the towne hereby ingages to stand to the ishew made by s'd committee." This resulted in the committee's purchasing for Wallingford from the neighboring Indians a large tract of land, which included the present location of Meriden.
In 1683,Sergt. Doolittle was elected "sealer of leather."
In 1684,Sergt. D., who had served repeatedly as selectman, was again elected to the position. That year in town meeting he was voted four acres "to build upon for the conveniency of water." In March of same year he acted as foreman of a jury of inquest for the first drowning case at Wallingford.
In 1685, Sergt. D. was chosen a Deputy to go to the May court, and was also selected as one of the townsmen. He was now 65 years of age and must have been a hale and hearty old gentleman in order to perform all the public duties that were thrust upon him aside from conducting his own private affairs. Probably he could turn much of the routine work at home and on the farms over to his sturdy sons and daughters, under the supervision of his good wife Abigail.
In 1687, he was again chosen townsman and also in 1688, and besides served on numerous public committees - sometimes to fix a boundary, again to ovesee a new highway's construction, etc. It is said, "His judgment was of the greatest possible benefit to the community, and it must have been exercised in numberless instances."
In 1689, the town granted Abraham 9 acres on either side of Wharton's brook, in addition to the regular dividsion of that year, in which the Falls plain fell to him. This is the last time Sergeant Doolittle's name appears on the old record books in connection with public acts.
On August 11, 1690,. . . . . [he died].
Abrahams's gravestone is still standing . . . . .
In the first apportionment of land in Wallingford, Abraham received twelve acres, and in the division of 1689 he drew lot number 62. At this time he held about two hundred acres in and around Wallingford.
In his will he mentioned his wife, Abigail, the sevens sons and three daughters, Sarah Abernethy, Elizabeth Brockett and Abigail, unmarried. In May, 1700, the mother and seven sons entered into an agreement regarding a division of the lands in the estate located in the "falls plane," the "clear plane," and 'thirty-five acres on the side of the Blue Hills." The widow, Abigail, died November 5, 1710, aged sixty-nine years.
A fragment of brown stone 3 or 4 inches square having the inscription "1710 A.D. 69" was discovered a few years ago in the older portion of the cemetery at Wallingford. These are the initials, age and date of death of the widow Abigail Doolittle, and the fragment is part of her tombstone, although found some distance from her husband's. The widow Doolittle happens to be among the very few women mentioned on the Wallingford town records. She was granted 25 acres on the side of the blue hills, with the provision that "ye timeber is to be common." In 1694 she is granted 10 acres (next to that above) which her husband had purchased from John Beach, but which probably had not been transferred before Abraham's death. Widow Abigail doubtless closed her days in peace and prosperity, and the fragment of the stone erected to her memory by loving hands in that faraway time is all that remains to connect the present and the past.
Children: (first marriage)
2. i Sarah m. William Abernathy.
3. ii Abraham b.Feb. 12, 1649.
4. iii Elizabeth b. April 12, 1652; m. Dr. John Brockett.
5. iv Mary b. Feb. 22, 1653; d. y.
6. v John b. June 14, 1655.
7. vi Abigail bapt. may 22, 1659; d. y.
8. vii Samuel b. July 7, 1665.
9. viii Joseph b.Feb. 12, 1667.
10. ix Abigail b. Feb. 26, 1669; m. William Fredericks
11. x Ebenezer b. July 6, 1672.
12. xi Mary b. March 4, 1674; d. before 1690.
It is said she m. John ( s. of Capt. Nath'l Merriman of W. He m. (2)
Hannah Lines and after Mary's death m. (3) Elizabeth Peck in 1690.
Mary must have m. when about 16 years old and d. soon without
13. xii Daniel b. Dec. 29, 1675.
14. xiii Theophilus b. July 28, 1678.
8. Samuel Doolittle, son of Abraham and Abigail (Moss) Doolittle, was born at New Haven, July 7, 1665, being the oldest son by a second marriage. The family moved to Wallingford when he was but a few years old, and there he grew to manhood. The children in those days were early taught the strict observance of the Sabbath, and only the most necessary duties were permitted in the household from the time the sun sank behind the western hills on Saturday until the following evening. At the drum beat on Sunday morning each family in plain and carefully-kept clothes, after the toil of the week, devoutly took its way by the trail through the woods, crossing the brook or skirting the hills to worship at the little meeting house. Lacking a supply of hymn books, the congregation sang the songs line for line as they were read to them by the leader of church singing. Sermons in early days took two hours to deliver, while a prayer lasting less than an hour was of doubtful effect. Rev. Samuel Street was the first pastor at Wallingford and continued with this congregation for forty-five years.
The church was an unpretentious affair, built of unhewn logs, which hardly kept out wind and rain. It ws 28 feet long, 24 feet wide and 10 feet " in stud between ye ground sill and wall plate," and "comfortably and comleyly fitted up with dores and windures & flower or floors." The interior furnishings were very simple. The presiding elder and deacons had elevated seats before the pulpit. The congregation were seated on plain benches, according to age and standing in the community - the men and women occupying opposite sides of the house. Sentries were stationed at the door or passed to and fro before it. In 1689 the town "voted to build a fort round ye meeting house." There in the silent wilderness, says S.B.Thorp, "far away from the busy haunts of men, they seemed and felt nearer God - more alone with God - than ever before. With reverent joy they rejoiced in that blessed intimacy of communion and drew from it strength they needed for the trials and duties that formed the staple of their daily lives."
Samuel m. Mary, dau. of Sergt. John and Martha (Peck) Cornwall of Middletown, Conn. She was b. Nov. 20, 1666, and d. Nov. 16, 1742. They resided at Wallingford till the birth of their second son, when they rem. to Middletown. He received land at Wallingford in 1689. His death occurred at Middletown Sept. 25, 1714.
45. i Jonathan b. Aug. 21, 1689.
46. ii Samuel b. Aug. 31, 1691.
47. iii Mary b. Nov. 24, 1693; m. Solomon Goff.
48. iv Abraham b. Sept. 21, 1695.
49. v Abigail b. April 10, 1697, m. William Mark.
50. vi Martha b. April 6, 1698, m. Daniel Hall.
51. vii Hannah b. Oct. 19, 1700, m. Stephen Turner.
52. viii Thankful b. June 3, 1702, prob. m. John s. of David and Sarah (Rockwell) Hall, b. May 9 1678, at Wallingford.
53. ix Joseph b. June 20, 1704.
54 x Nathaniel b. Jan. 15, 1706.
55. xi Esther b. July 16, 1709.
51. Hannah Doolittle, (Samuel, Abraham) dau. of Samuel and Mary (Cornwall) D., b. at Middletown Oct. 29, 1700; m. Stephen Turner Jan. 16, 1723. They settled at Middletown. Hannah d. Sept. 10, 1738, and Stephen m. (2) Hannah Center, Jan. 8, 1739.
182 i Sarah Turner b. Sept. 30, 1723
183 ii Hannah Turner b.July 14, 1725; d. July 28, 1744.
184 iii Stephen Turner b. March 12, 1727.
185 iv Mary Turner b. Dec. 13, 1728.
186 v Elizabeth Turner b. Aug. 29, 1730.
187 vi Millicent Turner.
188 vii Jonathan Turner b. Feb. 28, 1737.