Sunday, July 24, 2016

{genealogy} The Carr family and my first slaveholding ancestor

In the 12 years I've been researching my own genealogy, I had yet to find a slaveholding ancestor. Until yesterday. I knew that before yesterday, the fact that I hadn't found one was probably not because I'm descended from peaceful abolitionists, and more likely that I'm descended from a whole lot of poor people.

But yesterday I uncovered a guy who actually was not poor - he was the governor of his colony - and then I read his will and he bequeaths a lot of gold and silver and animals and real estate and a negro woman Hannah, "my Indian boy named Tom," and "my negro boy Joe". So there you go. 3 new mysteries.

But here is the lineage, and when I have names in bold there is biographical info below. The oldest several generations are documented in the book The Carr Family Records, published in 1894 by Edson Carr. This book was later verified by NEHGS, with some corrections, in their 2001 volumes The Great Migration.
  • Benjamin Carr b. 1592 in London (my 10th great-grandfather) married Martha Hardington
  • Caleb Carr b. 1616 or 1624 in London (my 9th great-grandfather) married Mercy, and I think it's important to point out that NEHGS says her last name is NOT Vaughan as first guessed by Edson Carr, and has been copied into the interwebs many many times.
  • Edward Carr b. 1666 in Rhode Island (my 8th great-grandfather) married Hannah Stanton
  • Edward Carr b. 1689 in Rhode Island (my 7th great-grandfather) married Naomi Barton Slocum
  • Edward Carr b. 1723 in Rhode Island (my 6th great-grandfather) married Sarah Weeden
  • Edward Carr b. 1755 in Rhode Island (my 5th great-grandfather) married Ruth Wyatt
  • David Edward Carr (my 4th great-grandfather) married Mary Polly Carleton
  • Rosetta Roe Carr (my 3rd great-grandmother) married William Gibbons
  • Thomas Jiles Gibbons (my great-great-grandfather) married Florence Reynolds
  • Charles David Gibbons (my great-grandfather) married Anna Viola Young
  • my grandmother
  • my mother
  • me

So since Caleb Carr was wealthy and held a lot of offices, he leaves a lot of records behind. According to Edson Carr, Caleb and his brother Robert left London 9 May 1635 on the ship Elizabeth Ann. (NEHGS refers to the ship as Elizabeth & Ann.) Eventually they settled in Newport, Rhode Island. Caleb began accumulating his significant assets and he held many offices. It appears he was made governor in 1695. In December of that same year he lost his life in a drowning, according to Edson Carr, although NEHGS says they found no direct evidence supporting this.

Following Caleb, I'm descended through 4 Edwards. The last 2 often referred to themselves as Edward Carr, Jr., though that didn't clarify things for genealogists later. So it makes sense that some people have gotten confused as to which Edward did what, and I don't have all the answers myself either.

The 2 Edwards in bold were both alive during the Revolutionary War, my main research point. Let's call Edward b. 1723 as Edward Sr., and Edward b. 1755 will be Edward Jr.

I uncovered some correspondence at DAR where there was a dispute over Revolutionary War service with the 2 Edwards. I think what was finally agreed upon is the logical conclusion as follows.

Edward Sr. did not serve in the conflict, but he did furnish supplies, and so DAR recognizes him as a Patriot for his sacrifice. The actual text recording his donations is in the 10 volumes titled Colonial Records of Rhode Island. Volume 7, page 380, shows that someone by the name of Edward Carr had"two oxen and one cow" "taken by the colony" in 1775, and Volume 9, page 25 indicates that "one Moses boat" was "taken into the service of the United States" as reported in 1783.  So there is some interesting language there. The DAR interprets "taken by the colony" as "suffered losses at the hand of the enemy". But I'm not sure. As for the boat, "taken into the service of the United States" is a bit more clear that there was some sort of eminent domain type of action going on. Also I don't know what a Moses boat is, but I imagine it's a very tiny boat made of reeds. A Google search today says a Moses boat is a plant. Though one image did come back indicating that it is a small boat.

Edward Jr. served many years in the Rhode Island militia and was made Captain. Though I'm not sure what his exact service was during the Revolutionary War, it does seem clear he was in the militia during that time. DAR has records about this but has not yet recognized him officially as a Patriot. I assume because no descendant has ever joined under his name. I will try to do so.

Incidentally that makes 10 Revolutionary War patriots for me, so far.

1 comment:

meauburn54 said...

Hello! My Great grandfather was Orlesko Gibbons, his father was Charles H Gibbons and his father was William Gibbons married to Rosetta Roe Carr Gibbons. Myself and my cousin are very interested in our family history and anything you can give us as to Where William Gibbons came from (England?) and other info would be greatly appreciated!! Sincerely, Michele Swanson & Timmy Gibbons. My email is Thanks!!


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