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John Reynolds & Sarah (___), Watertown, MA, Wethersfield & Stamford, CT

John4 Reynolds of Greenwich, Connecticut
By G.E. McCracken, Ph.D., F.A.S.G.
Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa

In "The American Genealogist," ca 1953
Submitted by E. J. "Jody" Davis, Williamsburg VA

Under the auspices of the Reynolds Family Association the late Marion H. Reynolds and Mrs. Anna C. Rippier, who was still secretary of the Association in 1953, published The History and Descendants of John and Sarah Reynolds, etc. (Brooklyn, 1924), copies of which were still available from Mrs. Rippier in 1953 for the small sum of one dollar plus postage (address: 44 Bringhurst Street, Philadelphia 44, Pa.). Neither Mr. Reynolds nor Mrs. Rippier were descendants of this pair, but based their work on the printed and manuscript sources made available to them by others. The book is a good one but there is a very serious error contained in the sketch number 42, that of John4 Reynolds (Jonathan3, Jonathan2, John1).

This John Reynolds was son of Jonathan3 by a wife whose name has been printed in the genealogy in two forms: as Nevill Rideware on page 21 and as Nevill Ridewere on page 41. Nothing more is said of the lady who had this unusual name except that the marriage was performed on 7 Dec. 1682 before "Mr. Richer, Laws Commissioner." The present writer has searched in vain for any reference to the name Rideware or reasonable variant thereof in colonial New England. The name Ridware, however, is not fictitious; there are in Stafforshire four hamlets. Hamstall Ridware, Pipe Ridware, Hill Ridware, and Mavesyn Ridware, parishes doubtless in connection with the surname of the Stafforshire family of Ridware which is listed in Marshall's Genealogist's Guide. Marshall's references, so far as they could be checked, lead only to a family which seems to have died out long before the period of our young lady.

In two secondary sources, however [W.M. Clemens' American Marriages Before 1700; and "D.A.R. Magazine" 4:322], this marriage is listed and in each case the surname of the bride appears as Ride, not Rideware or Ridewere. The marriage is also recorded in the card file of Connecticut Vital Records at the Connecticut State Library, and on one card the surname appears as Ride and on another as Rice. It seemed from these variations that there was something difficult to read in the original record, and consequently a photostat of the original, which is in the Greenwich "Early Records" volume, page 40, was obtained from the Town Clerk of Greenwich, after considerable delay. The record is now transcribed herein at the top of the next page exactly as it appears in the original, with due regard for spacing:

|  The 7 of December : 1682 :  |
|  Jonathan Renolds and Nevell Ride |
|were     Married by Mr. Richer Laws  |
|     Commissioner  |

The line at the left represents a marginal guide, not the left side of the page. The line at the right, which is that of the page, leaves room for only one letter to the right of "Ride" and that space is blank. The space left blank between "were" and "Married" is probably caused by a desire to avoid collision with the first letter of "Jonathan." Similarly, in the second line, "Jonathan" is indented to avoid long tails on the digit and the last letter of "of." There is no comma after "Richer" but the dot on the second "i" of "Commissioner" is so high that a careless reader might take it for a comma. The facts that a "laws commissioner" is meaningless and that Richard Law was Commissioner of Stamford and Greenwich at that date make it certain that he was the officiating magistrate. The handwriting of the record is throughout perfectly clear. We feel certain that the word "were" is a verb and not a suffix to the bride's name. We therefore feel confident that Mr. Richard Law on 7 Dec. 1682 married Jonathan Reynolds to Nevell Ride. Efforts to find this woman's family at Greenwich have thus far failed. We have checked for this purpose the names Ride, Rice, Ryder, Wright, Reed, Neville and Newell, and have found exactly nothing to help.

The compilers found no will for this Jonathan Reynolds and they do not state clearly how they arrived at the list of five sons which they print: Jonathan (b. 1683), John (b "about 1698/9" - quotations the compilers'), Nathan (b. about 1688), Peter (b about 1691), and Josiah (b. Jan 13, 1689/90). Note that two of the dates are out of sequence; the compilers state that they had found two dates since they had put the material into type. The reversal of the order of Peter and Josiah is easy, but there is a period of five years between Jonathan and Nathan, which would be a natural place for John if he was not born, as the compilers thought, so late as 1698-9. We think that the compilers originally intended to date John's birth about 1864 or 1685, but changed the date when, as will be seen, they heard of a John born about 1698 or 1699. In this respect, their original intention would have been preferable, as we shall see.

In the third decade of the eighteenth century there were still living in the Greenwich area, that is, along the north shore of Long Island Sound, several men named John Reynolds. In the following list we transcribe a summary of what the compilers say of each:

23. John3 Reynolds, Sr., the deacon of the West Society, son of Jonathan2 Reynolds (John1) by wife Rebecca Huested; born in 1662, died in March 1735/6. The compilers assign to him a will executed 22 Sept. 1732, probated 6 Apr. 1736. His wife was Ruth Knapp, daughter of Joshua and Hannah, and she survived her husband and is named in his will. The will also states that testator left no children.

31. John3 Reynolds, Jr. a cooper, born about 1670, died September 1732; son of John2 Reynolds by wife Judith Palmer, and therefore first cousin of No. 23. The compilers assign to him a will dated 11 Nov. 1732, probated 26 March 1732/3. They did not know the name of his wife but wrongly state that she was not mentioned in his will. What they mean is that she is not named in the will, for they quote a bequest to her.

42. John4 Reynolds, son of Jonathan3 (Jonathan2, John1), will be discussed in greater detail below.

69. John4 Reynolds, son of Joseph3 (Jonathan2, John1), born 23 May 1708, died after 4 May 1733 and probably in 1734. He married his second cousin, Ruth Reynolds, daughter of No. 31 above, on 19 Nov. 1729. They had two children, Ruth, born 28 Sept. 1730, and John, born 7 Nov. 1732, of whom the compilers learned nothing more. The widow Ruth married, second, 10 Jul 1735, Ebenezer Mead, to whom she bore four more children. These Mead children are the reason for believing that the wife of Ebenezer Mead was widow to No. 69 and not to No. 23, who would have been entirely too old to bear the Mead children, as she was born in 1667.

118. John4 Reynolds, born in 1712, son of Joshua3 (John2, John1); married, 16 Feb 1740 [1740/1?], Joanna Winans, who bore eight children between 1742 and 1760.

We thus have five men named John Reynolds who were living in or near Greenwich about the year 1730. What is more, two of them had wives named Ruth, and the husbands of the two Ruths both died not more than three years apart. As we shall see, the matter is complicated by the fact that No. 42 will appear to have had a wife named Hannah, and there was, in all probability, a sixth John Reynolds, contemporary to the others, whose wife was also named Hannah, so that if the compilers erred in attempting to straighten out this tangle, there is every excuse for them.

We are now ready to set down what they actually say of No. 42. They found bona fide evidence that a John Reynolds had married Hannah Jessup and that they were both living in 1734, and they also found bona fide evidence that a John Reynolds married Hannah Sutton and that they were living as husband and wife from 1725 to 1764. They then assumed that both of these men were the same and that the wife was either Hannah Jessup or Hannah Sutton, but they were unable to decide which.

While the marriage record of John Reynolds to Hannah Jessup has never been discovered, it is quite definitely proved to have taken place, as there was, on 5 Feb 1733/4, a protest to the estate of Edward Jessup [i.e., Edward3, (Edward2, John1)], and on 20 Feb 1733/4 John Reynolds and his wife Hannah assigned their right under the will of Hannah's father, Edward Jessup. The dates quoted for these two records are taken from the very careful work of the Rev. Henry Griswold Jessup, Edward Jessup of West Farms, Westchester County, New York, and His Descendants (Cambridge, 1887), pp. 74-81, and they are confirmed by the equally careful work of Donald Lines Jacobus, Families of Old Fairfield (Fairfield, 1930-4), 1:338. The compilers, however, set the date of the assignment a year too early, on 20 Feb. 1732/3. Sometime prior to the month of February 1733/4, a John Reynolds married Hannah Jessup, daughter of Edward and Elizabeth (Hide) Jessup, and they were both still living as a married couple in that month. The Rev. Mr. Jesup {sic} wrote long before the existence of any Reynolds genealogy and refused to hazard a guess as to who Hannah Jessup's husband was.

He cannot, however, have been No. 23, as that man, though possibly still living at the time, had had a wife from 1694 to 1736 who was named Ruth. The name of the wife of No. 31 is unknown, but he cannot have been Hannah Jessup's husband, for he was certainly dead before 26 March 1732/3, if the compilers have assigned him the right will. No. 69 had married a wife named Ruth in 1729 and she was still his wife when he died sometime before 10 July 1735. No. 1881 was not born until 1712, so he was with the greatest improbability the husband of Hannah Jessup whose birth, though unknown, was probably before the year 1694. We therefore think for this and other reasons that the husband of Hannah Jessup was really No. 42, since he cannot have been any of the four other John Reynoldses found by the compilers, and we shall show that he cannot have been the sixth John Reynolds whom they did not suspect.

The compilers also cite the "New York Genealogical and Bibliographical Record," 11:133, for the marriage of a John Reynolds to Hannah Sutton at St. George's, Hemstead, Long Island, on 26 Sept. 1725. [This is confirmed by the splendid transcription of these church records by the Rev. Dr. John Sylvanus Haight in Adventures for God (New York, 1932), p. 151.] They were not able to reconcile this marriage record with the data proving the marriage to Hannah Jessup, so they printed both names of the supposed wife and left the matter sub judice. They had not the slightest doubt, however, that the husband of Hannah Sutton was the son of Jonathan and Nevill (Ride) Reynolds.

They had discovered the will of Hannah Sutton's husband, that is, a will of a John Reynolds of North Castle, Westchester County, New York, dated 14 Jun 1764, probated on either the 2nd or 25th of October in the same year. They had also discovered the will of Jonathan Reynolds of North Castle, dated 15 Jan 1748/9, probated 9 Oct 1762. This Jonathan mentions neither wife nor child, but does mention his brother John with whom he had bought land in Matranous Meadows, formerly the property of their honored father John Reynolds, who may or may not be dead so far as the language of the will is concerned; mentions also brother Robert and sister Deborah; witnesses: Benoni Platt, John Ferris, and Wm. Sutherland. As this Jonathan had died before the execution of the will of John Reynolds of North Castle, and as Jonathan had a brother John and a brother Robert, whereas the testator of 1764 had sons named John and Robert, it was quite a natural step to assume that Jonathan was a son of John who died vita patris, especially since they both resided in North Castle. But Jonathan in 1749 had a sister Deborah, whereas John had no daughter Deborah in 1764. This was, of course, easy: she also had died vita patris. This, despite the fact that the compilers had found (see page 409) evidence that a Deborah Reynolds had died at Salem, Westchester County, on 21 Aug. 1774, and could have been Jonathan's sister.

From these two wills they compiled a list of the children of No. 42, but they subsequently withdrew it as they were about to go to press. Only by this supposition can we explain a very curious statement: the will of John Reynolds, cited above, "mentions wife Hannah and all children given below except Jonathan and Deborah, who were probably then dead, and James." If we look "below," however, we find no reference to Jonathan or Deborah, and when the compilers say the will doest not name James, they are wrong, for the will actually names him. W.S. Pelletreau twice abstracted this will: once as that of John Runels in the Collections of the New York Historical Society: Wills of Westchester County, New York, 1554-1784 (pp.208 f.). Persons named in this will are wife Hannah; daughter Margaret Purdy; sons Robert, John, Joseph, Richeson, James, and Sutton; grandson Richeson, son of son Richeson, the grandson then a minor; executors: son Robert and son-in-law Andrew Purdy; witnesses: Benjamin Smith, Isaac Cook, George Cooch.

From some source not disclosed they obtained a list of children of a John Reynolds by his wife Ann Finch, as follows: John, Ann, Sarah, Mary, Edward, Elizabeth, --ssop, Hannah, Jerusha, Jonah, and Deborah. Unmistakable affinity is shown between the list and the Jessup family, and the same relationship appears also with the will of Jonathan Reynolds, i.e., he had a sister Deborah and there is a Deborah here. We are convinced that the list is really made up of the children of John, son of John and Hannah (Jessup) Reynolds, and we think that the compilers were also so convinced and intended to print it as such in their sketch No. 143.

After the text was in type and before printing, Mr. George F. Secor made available a copy of a remarkable document, that is, an unfinished genealogical statement written in the back of an account book by Sutton6 Reynolds (1794-1877), son of Sutton5 Reynolds (1744-1828), who in turn was son of the testator of 1764. In this statement the writer says that his grandfather was born "about the year 1698 or 9" and with his wife Hannah moved form "Longisland about the year 1740" to Westchester County where they settled near Chappaqua. He lists the children of his grandparents and their birth dates as follows: (1) Margaret, b. 1725, wife of Andrew Purdy and Johnnathan {sic} Polden; (2) Robert, b. 1727; (3) Joseph, b. 1730; (4) John, b.1734; (5) Richerson, b. 1735; (6) James, b. 1739; (7) Sutton, b. 18 Aug 1844; and (8) Andrew, b. 1746.

The list is in complete harmony with the will of 1764 and knows nothing of any son Jonathan or any daughter Deborah. We may still suppose, with the compilers, that both Jonathan and Deborah were children of Hannah Sutton and that their early deaths were responsible for Sutton Reynolds' ignorance of them, but this will not do. Sutton Reynolds also goes on to tell something more about his uncle, the John Reynolds born in 1734, who married Zipporah Pierce and died in a British Army prison in New York City in 1778. This tale is in conflict with the data about the John Reynolds who married Ann Finch and gave Jessup names to his children. Moreover, if Sutton Reynolds was right in dating the birth of his uncle John in 1734, then that uncle cannot have been the brother of the testator of 1749, Jonathan, for his brother John was old enough to have purchased land before 1749, whereas Zipporah Pierce's husband was only fifteen in that year.

We thus arrive at two men, approximately of the fourth generation, each named John, and each with a son John. The two older men were both married to women named Hannah, one Hannah Jessup, the other Hannah Sutton. The compilers were not equal to the thought that perhaps Hannah Jessup had married first, a Sutton, and then, in a second marriage, married John Reynolds. It is fortunate that they were not, for, however enticing this solution is, it is wrong, because the two John Reynoldses in the fifth generation cannot, as shown above, have been identical. To the problem presented them by Sutton Reynolds' manuscript, these compilers reacted in a characteristic fashion. From their list of children of the testator of 1764 they eliminated Jonathan and Deborah but forgot to eliminate reference to them in the text. They then relegated to their appendix of unplaced Reynoldses (page 425) the will of Jonathan Reynolds who died 1749-1762, and, finally, they printed as sketch 143a what they knew of the John Reynolds whose wife was Ann Finch and as sketch 143b what they knew of the John Reynolds whose wife was Zipporah Pierce. That is, they force their reader to make his choice. The present writer is glad to do so, because it happens that he descends from John and Ann (Finch) Reynolds and, except for this genealogy, he would know nothing of them.

There was, therefore, a sixth man named John Reynolds, in addition to the five listed above as identified in the genealogy. He seems almost certainly to have been a relative of the others, for he resided in later life at North Castle where Jonathan Reynolds died. He names sons John and Robert, and so did his contemporary, the husband of Hannah Jessup. That the son of Sergeant Jonathan and Nevill (Ride) Reynolds was the husband of Hannah Jessup we have, we think, demonstrated above. We think it must have been he who was father of Jonathan Reynolds of North Castle, for he then named a son for his father. His contemporary, the testator of 1764, named no son Jonathan. So far as we are able to deduce from the genealogy, the father of this John Reynolds who appears at Hempstead in 1725 and afterwards was of North Castle, is not identifiable with any certainty. He {sic} hazard a guess, however, that he was an undiscovered son of Captain James3 Reynolds (no. 33), who was born in 1674 and died at Amenia, Dutchess County, 14 Feb 1767, son of John2 Reynolds by his wife Judith Palmer. The compilers found no will for him and it is entirely possible that they failed to find some of his children, as they list only seven between 1698 and 1711.

Finally, we should note that the compilers found the baptismal record of Eli, Sarah, Abigail, and Bethia, all children of an unidentified John Reynolds, baptized together at Greenwich on 7 Dec 1728 (pp. 57 and 407). The only John Reynolds of the six identified in this article who could have been the father of these four was No. 42, the son of Sergeant Jonathan and Nevill (Ride) Reynolds. The following is a tentative list of the children of this John Reynolds by his wife Hannah Jessup:

          i.   Jonathan, d 1749-62 at North Castle, unm.
         ii.   John, m. Ann Finch.
        iii.   Robert.
        iv.   Deborah.
         v.   Eli.
        vi.   Sarah.
       vii.   Abigail.
      viii.   Bethiah.

Editor's {of American Genealogist} note: To the foregoing fine piece of genealogical analysis, the Editor appends this note for the benefit of descendants of John and Hannah (Sutton) Reynolds. Robert Sutton is listed in the 1698 census of Hempstead with Hannah (doubtless his wife), Robert, Elizabeth, Joseph and James. His will, dated 26 Nov. 1724, proved 23 Jan. 1724/5, named wife Hannah, sons Robert, Daniel, Joseph, and John, and mentioned but did not name daughters. Considering locality, date, and the names which Hannah (Sutton) Reynolds gave to some of her children, such as Robert, Joseph and James, she was probably a daughter of Robert Sutton, born subsequent to the 1698 census.


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