While working on cleaning up and enhancing the notes in my genealogy database, I came across a book I’d never seen before that contained an article about the diary and letters of my 8th great-grandfather, Samuel Hubbard (1610-1689) who was the son of James Hubbard and Naomi Cooke. He is one of my immigrant ancestors as he was born in Mendlesham, England and came to the new world in 1633. Here in America he married his wife Tacy Cooper.
Samuel Hubbard was one of the few Rhode Island pioneers who kept a diary and letter book. The manuscripts which he left covered, it is said, the period from 1541 to 1688, the last forty years of which period Mr. Hubbard resided at Newport. These papers were rich in interesting details of life in that community, especially of contemporary church life. They were seen by RE. John Comer in 1726, and were faithfully used by Dr. Isaac Backus in 1777, when he prepared his history of the Baptists. They were extant in 1830, but as early as 1852 had been lost. The present writer has a copy of a note book into which Dr. Backus had transcribed much of the journal and a few of the several hundred letters which he saw in the original collection. Dr. Backus had also written on the outside of this note book, “Many more of his letters are in another book, No. 5 in quarto.” It is to be hoped that whoever now possesses this other note book will speedily make public its contents.
Samuel Hubbard, was born in 1610 in the village of Mendlesham, a market town some eighty miles northwest of London, in the county of Suffolk. He was the youngest of ten children born to James and Naomi (Cooke) Hubbard. Of these ten, three came to New England. Samuel arrived at Salem in October, 1633, but the next year removed to Watertown. He joined the company that marched through the wilderness to the Connecticut River and founded the towns of Windsor and Wethersfield. At the former place Jan. 4, 1636-7, he married Tase Cooper, a young woman of some twenty-eight years, who arrived at Dorchester in 1634. The young couple fixed their home at Wethersfield. Soon they removed to Springfield, where Mr. Hubbard kept an inn. After eight years, May 10, 1647, then again transferred their belongings to a new habitation, at Fairfield on Long Island Sound, then the outpost of the English Colonies on the side of the Dutch. Thence, also, he compelled to remove for a reason which he himself shall relate:
“God having enlightened both, but mostly my wife, into his holy ordinance of baptizing only of visible believer, and (she) being very zealous for it, she was mostly struck at, and answered two times publickly; where; where I was also said to be as bad as she, and sore threatened with imprisonment to Hartford jail, if not to renounce it or to remove; that scripture came into our minds, if they persecute you in one place flee to another. And so we did 2 day October, 1648. We went for Rhode Island and arrived there the 12 day. I and my wife upon our manifestation of our faith were baptized by brother John Clarke, 3 day of November, 1648.”
For upward of forty years he continued to live in Newport, at what he termed “Mayford,” probably leading the life of a small farmer and practicing his trade as a carpenter. He was intensely interested in the religious controversies of his day. For twenty-three years he was a member of the First Baptist Church at Newport. He was sent by the church Aug. 7, 1651 “to visit the bretherin who was imprisoned in Boston jayl for witnessing the truth of baptizing believers only, viz,. Brother John Clarke, Bro. Obadiah Holmes and Bro. John Crandall.” In 1657 he accompanied Mr. Holmes on a preaching tour to the Dutch on Long Island. In 1664 he was chosen alternate General Solicitor of the Colony, but does not appear to have assumed the duties of the office.
In 1665 Tase Hubbard first, and a little later Samuel Hubbard himself, became convinced of their obligation to observe the seventh day, instead of the first, as the weekly Sabbath. They remained, however, for six more year more in communion with the old First Church. Mr. Hubbard was even sent in 1668 with Mr. Torrey and Mr. Hiscox, to assist certain Baptists in Boston who had been arrested for their religious views and had been granted a disputation. Dec. 23, 1671, Mr. Hubbard with his wife, one daughter, and four others withdrew from their former church relations and formed the first Seventh Day Baptist Church in America. In the controversies of this period Mr. Hubbard had his full share, as also in the subsequent extension of his peculiar beliefs in the new town of Westerly and at New London.
His later days were clouded by the death of friends all about him, and especially of his only son in 1671. He found abundant consolation in religion, nevertheless, and in correspondence with the friends still remaining, among whom were numbered Roger Williams and John Thornton of Providence, and Governor Leete of Connecticut. The last letter from his pen mentioned by Dr. Backus bears date May 7, 1688. He certainly was dead in 1692. His wife survived him and was present at a church meeting in 1697, after which no trace of her can be found. The exact dates of death and the place of burial cannot be determined in the case of either.
Samuel Hubbard was evidently a man of devout spirit, loyal to religious convictions and kindly disposed to all mankind. To his forethought it is undoubtedly due to the preservation of much that otherwise would have been lost concerning the local history of his time. Dr. Backus has pronounced his manuscripts a “valuable collection” containing “a fund of intelligence.” It is hoped that the following excerpts will not be without interest to those who may read them.
Note. Family Record of Samuel Hubbard.
Samuel Hubbard, born 1610 at Mendlesham, Co, Suffolk, England; came to Salem, Oct. 1633, Watertown, 1634, Windsor, 1635, Wethersfield, 1637, Springfield, may 10, 1639, Fairfield, May 10, 1647, Newport, Oct. 2, 1648, Freeman, 1655, perhaps earlier; alternate General Solicitor of Rhode Island, 1664; died after 1688, probably at Newport or Westerly. He married at Windsor, Jan. 4, 1636-7, Mr. Ludlow officiating.
Tase Cooper, born 1608 in England; came to Dorchester June 9, 1634 and to Windsor 1635; died after 1697, probably at Newport or Westerly.
- Naomi, b. Nov. 18, 1637 at Wethersfield; d. Nov. 28, 1637 at Wethersfield.
- Naomi, b. Oct. 19, 1638 at Wethersfield; d. May 5, 1643 at Springfield.
III. Ruth, b. Jan. 11, 1640 at Springfield; d. about 1691 at Westerly; m. Nov. 2, 1655, Robert Burdick who d. 1692. Children: 1, Robert, 2, Son, 3, Hubbard, 4, Thomas, 5, Naomi, 6, Ruth, 7, Benjamin, 8, Samuel, 9, Tacy, 10, Deborah.
- Rachel, b. March 10, 1642, at Springfield: m. Nov. 3, 1658, Andrew Langworthy. Children: 1, Samuel, 2, James.
- Samuel, b. March 25, 1644 at Springfield, d. soon.
- Bethiah, b. Dec. 19, 1646 at Springfield: d. April 17, 1707, at Westerly: m. Nov. 16, 1694, Joseph Clarke, Jr., b. April 2, 1643, d. Jan. 11, 1727. Children: 1, Judith, 2, Joseph, 3, Samuel, 4, John, 5, Bethiah, 6, Mary, 7, Susannah, 8, Thomas, 9, William.
VII. Samuel, b. Nov. 30, 1649 at Newport, d. there Jan. 20, 1670-1.
From Thomas and Esther Hubbard, dated at Southwark, near London, April 24, 1641.
Note. Thomas was the oldest brother of Samuel, and his senior by six years. Esther was the wife of Thomas. This letter has not been preserved.
From Alice Hubbard.
Dearly beloved brother and sister.
My love to you both remembered, hoping that you are well and yours, and I and mine are at this time, this is to satisfy you that my husband is gone to England, he went from me the 22 day of Dec., 1644 and ye Lord was please to carry him safe thither, so that that day month yt they weighed anchor here they cast anchor at Deal in Kent in England, and there as soon as he came out of the boat he met my brother Thomas Hubbard, tho neither my husband had ever been there before nor my brother. At present the Lord hath cast my husband into Ipswich, at your cousin Joseph Hubbard’s, and there is four of that stock that are very honest Christians. The Lord is pleased by his providence to call me thither and my five children; I wod have been very glad to hear from you before I had gone, but now the time is so short I can’t expect it: my husband also desires yt all his Christian friends might see wt God had done for his soul since he hath gone thither by blessing the changes he hath brought him under. Sister Sarah of Yarmouth in dead, her son Robert Jackson is well; my husband saw him, being returned from the war after 4 years service under Col. Cromwell’ in all weh he hath not been maimed or wounded. When you send to us, send to my brother Thomas Hubbard’s house in Freeman lane near Horsley down in Southwark, London.
Your loving sister,
From Charlestown, this 24 of October 1645.
Note. The writer’s husband was Benjamin Hubbard, brother of Samuel, and but two years older. Benjamin was at Charlestown with his wife as early at 1633, and became a freeman Sept. 3, 1634. In 1636 he was one of only a dozen householders enjoying the prefix of respect (Mr.) He was a cautious friend of Wheelright. He was made clerk of the writs Dec., 1641. He seems to have acquired rights to land at Seekonk also. After his arrival in England he wrote to Governor Winthrop a letter from London (dated 1644, but written, evidently, after Jan. 22, 1644-5, as the above letter shows) in which he speaks of his invention concerning longitude.” In 1652 he was a minister in Cobdock Co., Suffolk, and in 1654 he was living in Ardleagh; His death occurred in 1660. Savage gives his children as follows: 1, Benjamin, b. March 24, 1634; 2, Elizabeth, b. April 4, 1636; 3, Thomas, b. May 31, 1639; 4, Hannah, b. Dec. 16, 1641; and 5, James, b. Sept. 9, 1644; all at Charlestown. Hannah m. Richard Brooks of Boston.
The sister Sarah mentioned is the letter was Samuel Hubbard’s oldest sister, b. 1593, who had married John Jackson.
From Robert Cooper.
Loving and dear bro’r. and sister, Sam’l and Tase Hubbard, my hearty love rememb’d unto yo. The occasion of this my writing unto yo is to certify yo yt I like N.E. very well. I wod not have yo think yt I repent me of my coming to N.E. for it doth not, for I believe if I had staid there I sho’d never have been that weh now I see to my comfort and I hope it will be for my soul’s good. I rest yr poor yet loving brother.
From Yarmouth, April 11, 1644.
This Robert was a brother of Tase Hubbard, the wife of Samuel. Another brother, John Cooper, was living in London as late as 1680.
From John Hazel.
Loving and dear Christian cousin and brother in Christ Jesus our Lord, I desire grace, mercy, and peace may be multiplied upon yo and my sister yr wife with a sanctified use of yr present condition, knowing that all this worketh tog’. For the best of those yt love God. Rom. 8. Not only losses and wants but persecutions and death itself for Ch’ts. Sake will be great advantage. Desir’g yt prayers for me unto the throne of grace, w’th my Christ’n rememberances and salutations in the Lord unto all the brethren and sisters; and bro. Clarke and bro. Luker in particular, I rest your loving cousin in wt I am able.
Rehoboth, March 24, 1651.
From John Hazel.
Rehoboth, June 23, 1651.
It is ordered by the colony of the court, that he whoso is absent from their meeting in public, or set up any other meeting, shall pay 10s a person every day. In this cause we know not one another’s minds; to tarry I see no man forward, and to go, no man as yet, for ought I hear or see, can tell whether to go. I desire yon to be private in what is here written, on be instant with our God for us, yt the Lord wo’d guide our ways, I rest yours in the Lord Jesus to command in wt I am able.
The enemies treason (threaten), as I hear since I concluded my letter, yt because we were not at the their meeting yesterday, yt out abstenance would prove costly.
Note. The Plymouth Colony Records show that Oct. 2, 1650 the Grand Inquest present to the Court “John Hazel, Mr. Edward Smith and his wife, Obadiah Holmes, Joseph Tory (Torrey) and his wife, of the town of Rehoboth, for the continuing of a meeting upon the Lord’s day from house to house, contrary to the order of this Court.” These persons had recently been baptized, it is believed by John Clarke; and had joined the Baptist Church at Newport. There is no record of sentence passed against them at Plymouth. But on July 20, 1651, Holmes with Clarke and Crandall were arrested while holding a meeting at the house of a brother Baptist at Lynn, and were subsequently imprisoned at Boston. The two latter were released on payment of a fine, but Holmes in September following was whipped thirty stripes with a three-corded whip. As he was led back to prison, John Hazel shook him by the hand, and said “Blessed be the Lord.” For this serious offence, Hazel was sentenced to pay forty shillings or to be whipped. He was resolved not to pay the fine, but after six or seven days imprisonment, on the day appointed for the whipping another paid it for him and he was released. The next day he fell sick at a friend’s house near Boston and within ten days died, being then nearly sixty years old. Just how he was a “cousin” to Samuel Hubbard is not known.
(To be continued.)
The Article continues in the next edition. I will transcribe that and post it as soon as I’m able.
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