Posted in Coni Dubois

There are 2 references of Indian Slavery on Block Island with my Chagum lines

Notes below by Coni Dubois and/or otherwise noted – as found in my research books
The Niantic, or in their own language, the Nehântick or Nehantucket were a tribe of New England Native Americans, who were living in Connecticut and Rhode Island during the early colonial period. Due to intrusions of the Pequot, the Niantic were divided into an eastern and western division. The Western Niantic were subject to the Pequot and lived just east of the mouth of the Connecticut River while the Eastern Niantic became very close allies to the Narragansett. The division of the Niantic became so great that the language of the eastern Niantic is classified as a dialect of Narragansett while the language of the western Niantic is classified as Pequot-Mohegan. The Niantic were an Algonquian speaking people, speaking an Algonquian Y-dialect, similar to their neighbours the Pequot, Montauk, Mohegan, and Narragansett.The tribe’s name “Nehantic” (Nehântick) means “of long-necked waters” believed by local residents to refer to the “long neck” or peninsula of land now known as Black Point; located in the village of Niantic, Connecticut. The Nehântics spent their summers fishing and digging the shellfish which were once abundant there and for which the area is famous (see Millstone Nuclear Power Plant). They lived on corn, beans, and squash, supplemented by hunting, fishing, and collecting. Conflict broke out between the Niantic and their colonial neighbors, leading to punitive military expeditions that dealt out massive destruction in contrast to the rather limited incidents that had provoked the conflict. As the violence became more widespread it evolved into the Pequot War in 1637. This conflict resulted in almost total destruction of the Western Niantic, whose roughly 100 remaining members merged into the Mohegans and Pequots. There are members of these tribes who can trace their ancestry back to Nehântick members, especially in the vicinity of Lyme, Connecticut. Some of the Niantic who joined the Mohegan and Pequot fled west and joined the Brotherton Indians to escape further English harassment. Following King Philip’s War (1675-76), surviving Narragansett fled to the Eastern Niantic in such great numbers that the tribe became known as the Narragansett, however, many modern-day Narragansett have significant Niantic blood. By 1870, the Nehantics were declared extinct by the state and their 300-acre reservation, the Black Point peninsula of East Lyme, was sold.
In 1886, their burial ground was sold and desecrated, and the Crescent beach community filled over it.
As recently as 1988, Nehantic skeletal remains were uncovered by new construction The East Lyme Public Library has some information, mainly as small booklets that were researched and written by local historians and that reference Mercy Matthews and many other Nehantic Indians.
In 1998, about 35 Connecticut families claiming Nehantic descent incorporated as a nonprofit association, the Nehantic Tribe and Nation, established a three-person governing board, researched their history more fully, and began the petition process of seeking recognition from the Federal government as an Indian tribe.
Atlas of the World’s Languages. Moseley, Christopher and R. E. Asher, ed (New York: Routelege, 1994) Map 3
Handbook of North American Indians. Hodge, Frederick W Washington, DC.: Government Printing Press, 1910.
The Indian Tribes of North America. Swanton, John R
Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 145. Washington DC.: Government Printing Office, 1952.
Chief Ninigret- 1681, painting currently at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum Ninigret (also known as Juanemo according to Roger Williams) was a seventeenth century sachem of the eastern Niantic Native American tribe in New England. Ninigret allied with the English settlers and Narragansetts against the Pequots. Ninigret did not participate in King Philip’s War and was largely responsible for preventing the Niantics from joining the War.
Notes from Coni: There is 2 references of Indian Slavery on Block Island with my Chagum lines:
James “Chogums” Witness to Indenture of Indian Boy Trugo (see Civil 1 Notes below) & Great James and Jan “Chagm” Indenturing of their daughter Bette (See Civil 2 Notes) Note the spelling was kept to the original form.
(Civil 1 Notes)
“Coppyes out of the originall this 11th Janry 1693 P me J. Raymond Recorder
New Shoreham Town Book l- 233:
This Indenture made the ninth day of November in the year of our lord 1690 Between trugo an Ingen boy (someone has written here “poss 7 yrs 9 mo”) sonn of Quepeg deceased formerly belonging to blockisland In the Colliny of Roadisland & province plantations on the one part & Joshua Raymond of the same place yeoman on the other part wittneseth that the sayd trugo by & withe the Consent of his Brothers Richanrd & pettor & his siter Hannah hath put & by these presents doth firmly bind himself servant unto the sayd Joshua Raymond his Heires Executtors Administrattors of Assignes for 7 during the Whole terme or time of thirtene full yeares & three monthes to Commenc & begine at the day of the date hereof & the sayd trugo doth hereby obleige himself his sayd marsters house or service without his Leave until the sd thriten yeares & three monthes be fully Eanded but in all things shall bare & behave himself as becometh a good & faythfull servant towardes his sayd marster & all his during the aforesd time or terme altho not more herin Expresed In Considerattion wherof the sayd Joshua Raymond doth Covenant promise & Ingaudge for himself his Heires Executtors Administrattores & Assignes to find for and allow unto sayd trugo suffitient meat drink & apparell washing & Loging suttable for such a servant during the terme of thirtene yeares & three monthes & to give him toe suits of apparell when his time Is Expired & to pay or Cause to be payd to sayd trugo & his brothers & sister above named thirtene gallons of Rum & four Crucking Cloth Cottes or fourty shillings mony In manner as followeth viz one gallon of Rum yearly till six gallons be payd to his sayd Brothers or one Cote or ten shillings in the yeares 1691 and 1693 the Rest to be payd to the sayd trugo when his time is outt In witness hereof we have hereunto sett our hands & seales the day & year above written & in the second year of the Reigne of their maiesteys King William & Quene Mary
James ( X ) Chogums            Richards (X)
sam Chogums (X)                  Petter ( X)
toby (X)                                    Trugo ( X)
Jabins (X)                               Hannah ( X)
J Raymond
The above written Indenture Is a true Copy of the originall Indenture Extractted January 18th 1692 P me J Raymond Recorder

Email from Sheryl Robinson to Coni: Did you get a chance to read Sarah Sands’ Will I sent you? Sarah was the wife of Capt. James Sands of New Shorham. Their children were John, Samuel, Edward, Sarah (Niles) and Mercy (Sands) Raymond. Her husband was Joshua Raymond who was the master of Trugo. I thought that document glued the picture together even more… cool!

Info on Joshua Raymond Jr.:
Born on Wednesday, 15 September 1660 to Deacon Joshua Raymond and Elizabeth Smith – Joshua departed this life in 1704 at age 43 years.
In 1688 he was on the Grand Jury at Newport, R. I. In 1696 he was deputy from New Shoreham to the General Assembly at Newport. It is his wife of whom the legendary tale is told, which contains a mixture of truth and fable, concerning the notorious pirate Captain Kidd, related in Caulkins’ History of New London. After the death of her husband, she with John Merritt purchased 600 acres of land in the North Parish of New London (now Montville). In 1722 they gave in trust two acres of the same on “Raymond Hill” for a church, etc.

Scotland’s, Captain Kidd: William Kidd was born in Scotland in 1645. there is nothing known about his mother but his father was a minister. His first ship was the Antigua. When Captain Kidd was a pirate hunter, he went to New York to load up on supplies. There he met Sarah Bradley Cox Oort. Later they got married and had two daughters: Elizabeth and Sarah Kidd. After Kidd got married, he started pirate hunting again with a new ship, the Adventure Galley. This new ship had 70 men and 36 cannons. Life on the Adventure Galley was not easy. There was no protection from the heat or cold. Sometimes there was no wind, so the ship would not move for two or three days. Sometimes people got sick and died before they could get to land. It took a long time before Captain Kidd captured his first ship. So, as far as pirates go, he was not successful. While out at sea, Captain Kidd and his crew went a very long time without any prize money. At the same time, they had to continue to pay for supplies for the ship. Finally, the ship’s gunner, William Moore, challenged Captain Kidd’s leadership. The men were frustrated about being so close to ships and not taking any action. In the heat of the argument, Captain Kidd smashed a bucket on Moore’s head, and a day later Moore died of a fractured skull. When Kidd returned to New York City, he was arrested and sent to England to stand trial for piracy and the murder of William Moore. He was found guilty on all charges and was hanged on May 23, 1701. The belief that Kidd left a buried treasure somewhere contributed considerably to the growth of his legend. This belief made its contribution to literature in Edgar Allan Poe’s The Gold Bug, Washington Irving’s The Devil and Tom Walker , Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and Nelson DeMille’s Plum Island. It also gave impetus to the never-ending treasure hunts on Oak Island in Nova Scotia, in Suffolk County, Long Island in New York where Gardiner’s Island is located, Charles Island in Milford, Connecticut, and in the Thimble Islands in Connecticut. Captain Kidd did bury a small cache of treasure on Gardiner’s Island in a spot known as Cherry Tree Field; however, it was removed by Governor Bellomont and sent to England to be used as evidence against him. Kidd also visited Block Island around 1699, where he was supplied by Mrs. Mercy (Sands) Raymond, daughter of the mariner James Sands. The story has it that, for her hospitality, Mrs. Raymond was bid to hold out her apron, into which Kidd threw gold and jewels until it was full. After her husband Joshua Raymond died, Mercy removed with her family to northern New London, Connecticut (later Montville), where she bought much land. The Raymond family was thus said to have been “enriched by the apron”. There is also a mention of Kidd attacking one of the Japanese islands of the Tokara archipelago, south of Kagoshima. It is the most southern island named Takarajima. The legend says that all the pirates requested food and cattle from the inhabitants of the island. Their offer was refused and thus 23 of the pirates landed and burned alive the inhabitants in a lime cave, while after, Kidd has hidden his treasure in one of the caves, for which he has never come back due to his execution in England.

Info on Mercy Sands: Born in 1665 at Block Island, Washington County, Rhode Island. She was the daughter of James Sands and Sarah Walker. Mercy married Joshua Raymond Jr. on 29 April 1683 at Block Island, Washington County, Rhode Island. Mercy departed this life on Monday, 1 May 1741 at age 76 years. and was buried at Pine Neck [ Malcolm Sands Wilson, Descendants James Sands of Block Island, p. 3.]
Children from this marriage were:
M i. Sands Raymond 51 was born on 16 Feb 1683/84 in New Shoreham, RI 1, was baptized on 27 Oct 1695 in New London, New London Co., CT 52 and died after 1733 1.
F ii. Elizabeth Raymond 1 51 was born on 18 Nov 1687 in New Shoreham, RI and died in 1766 in Lyme, New London, CT. – Mary, m. Richard Rogers
Documented events in her life were: Baptism; 18 Oct 1696; New London, New London Co., CT 53. 18 Oct Mr. Joshua RAYMOND’s child, Elizabeth, baptised by Gurdon Saltonstall
F iii. Mary Raymond 1 51 was born on 21 Jul 1690 in New Shoreham, RI.
Documented events in her life were: Baptism; 18 Oct 1696; New London, New London Co., CT 53. 18 Oct Mr. Joshua RAYMOND’s child, Mary, baptised by Gurdon Saltonstall
M iv. Caleb Raymond : was born on 16 Jun 1693 in New Shoreham, RI.
F v. Ann Raymond : was born about 1694 in New Shoreham, RI and died on 16 Nov 1773.
F vi. Mercy Raymond: was born about 1695 in New Shoreham, RI.
M vii. Joshua Raymond : was born on 20 Jan 1696/97 in Rhode Island and died on 12 Nov 1763 in Montville, New London Co., CT.
Documented events in his life were: Marriage; 23 Nov 1730; New London, New London Co., CT 54. Married Sarah Lynde

(Civil 2 Notes)

New Shoreham Town Book l-115: This Indenture made this 13th of December :1698: witneseth that Great James and his wife Jane Doth bind  their Daughter Bette unto John Rathbone and his wife with them to live the full and Just time and  terme of Eighteen full years to Comemence from the Day of the Date here of with out any molestation by said Great James or this wife or any person or persons being free from all parsons but John Rathbone and his wife their hayors or Exsecuturs administraturs or asigne further Greeat James and his wife Jane Doth Ingage to keeps the Child untill shee bee six years old and then to Returns her unto John Rathbone and his wife further Rattifis and Confirme the said Instrement wee have here unto sett our hands and seeals the Day and yeere above written
Signed Seeled In presance of
Edward Sands            Great James (X)
Hugh (X) Day               Jan (X) Chagm

In consideration of bette hur trew and faithfull service wee John Rathbone and Ann Rathbone Doth Ingage by thes presence wee our hayours Exsecuturs admenistraturs or assignes to pay or Caus to be paid unto greate James and his wife as foloeth … one galone of rum and a blancet In hand then the said James and Jane Is to tarry four years before hee and shee … paid any more and then wee Doe Ingag to pay one gallon of Rumm yearly Deuring the said terme onely the last yare and .. gallon Is for the sd bette further wee Dow Ingage to pay … blankets as fore with James and Jane Is to tary five years and then to have one blancet and one Every thurd yeare … wards Saving the last four yeares and that blancet Is … served for the said bety at Experation of her time and for Confirmation here of wee have hereunto set our hands the Day year above sd  markdS igned in precants of
Edward Sands     John Rathbone
hugh (X) Day             Ann Rathbone
The above indentur Is a tew copye Extracted out of the origenall Indenture
Janenary this:19th:1699: or 1700: by mee nathll mott Clarke

John Rathbone. Born ca 1655/6 in Dorchester, MA.
Died bef 9 Mar 1722/3 in Block Island, RI.
From the Rathbone Genealogy:  John Rathbone was made a freeman of Rhode Island May 1, 1696, and on Oct 13th of the same year was appointed a deputy to the General Court for New Shoreham. He was surveyor of highways in 1676, and deputy from 1681 to 1684. Just before his marriage he received from his father a deed to 60 acres of land on Block Island, the consideration being `one barrel of pork.´ From some old records we learn that Great James and his wife (Indians) bound their daughter Betsey to John Rathbone and his wife Ann as an indentured servant for the period of 18 years:  the consideration being `one gallon of rum, one blanket in hand, and five years afterwards one gallon of rum yearly thereafter, and if she remains five years, the said Rathbone to pay to pay four blankets, and every third year thereafter.´ April 28, 1717 he testified in relation to the seizure, by a pirate sloop of which Paul Grove Williams was the commander, of three men– George Mitchell, William Tosh, and Dr. James Sweet– who were with him in a boat which at the time of the seizure was lying in the harbor bay. Gov. Cranston wrote Col. Shull in regard to the matter, that, `in case the pirate Williams should fall into your excellency’s hands, the poor men therein mentioned may secure such favor as justice will allow.´´

Rathbun, Rathbone, Rathburn Family Historian By Frank H Rathbun Volume One • Number One • January 1981
 Pg 4- : In 1654, Thomas Rathbone, the shoemaker, died. He left a small sum of money to his youngest son, John, who apparently used the money to take his bride to America, which was already developing a reputation as a land of opportunity John first settled in Dorchester, Mass., where a number of Lancashire immigrants were already living.
John Rathbone’s name first appears in American records on August 17, 1660, when he was listed among 12 Massachusetts men who met at the Roxbury home of Dr. John Alcock to consider the purchase of Block Island, 12 miles off the coast of what is now Rhode Island. Alcock proposed that 16 families could share in the purchase and establish a ” plantation” on the island. The 12 men at the meeting agreed to the purchase, and to send a surveyor to the island. The group, expanded to 16, later re-assembled and made plans to divide the 6,720-acre island. Drawings were held to assign each of the proprietors a “great lot” in both the northern and southern sections of the island. Most of the proprietors agreed to purchase a full one-sixteenth share, two took double shares, and several, less affluent, pooled their funds and bought half-shares. Among the latter were John Rathbone and Edward Vose. Their land in the southern section lay along the southeastern coast, encompassing what is now known as Mohican Bluff. That, together with their lot in the northern tract, gave them, they thought, a total of 420 acres of land. Within a few years, Rathbone realized that the original survey had been inaccurate. He obtained a second survey, which established that he and Vose had been shorted by 130 acres in their “great lot” in the southeastern corner. He appealed to the attorneys for the Alcock estate-John Alcock having died and they agreed in 1671 to give him ” what land shall be found wantinge . . . in some convenient place in the common land.” To make up for the shortage, Rathbone was given 60 acres near the center of the island, stretching from near what is now the town center to the ocean on the east side. That surveying error proved to be a bonanza, for the correction gave him a strategically located piece of land in what became the most valuable part of the island. Rathbone must have been a man of foresight. For the next few years he steadily increased his holdings on the island. In 1674, he purchased 42 acres and in 1680, he bought 12 1/2 adjoining acres. On Oct. 10, 1680, he made the final payment for his share of the original purchase, as shown in this early land record: ” I, John Williams .. . executor of the estate of John Alcock .. . doe acquit John Rathbon from the payment of 30 pounds which hath been received . .. 11 pounds five shillings (by) said Alcock … and the rest by Thomas Terry and myself . . . in full payment of a two and thirtieth part of Block Island … which said Rathbon bought of Mr. Alcock as by an account upon the Block Island Book of Accounts . . . ” This would indicate that Rathbone had made a down payment of somewhat less than 50 percent, and had repaid the balance over a period of nearly 20 years-a system similar to today’s 20-year mortgage plans.
From surviving records of his land transactions, it is apparent that Rathbone’s major holdings, and his home, were in the central part of the island, which very early emerged as the town center. He also retained his original tract in the south end , for in April 1680 the town officers gave him permission to erect a fence “across ye highway in ye south end of ye island and to hang and maintain a gate for ye liberty ye inhabitants to pass to the sea when they see occasion.” For this privilege, Rathbone gave the town an acre of land.
John Rathbone apparently maintained a second home in Newport for a number of years. The birth of his youngest son, Samuel, on Aug. 3, 1672, is recorded in early Quaker records at Newport. In 1674, he was living in  Hammersmith, in southwest Newport. In 1681, he was elected to represent Block Island as deputy to the Rhode Island General Assembly, a position he held for the next five years. He apparently remained in Newport during this time and his name appears on a Freemen’s List there in 1683. of supported King James’ order vacating the Rhode Island colonial charter, and uniting the colony with Massachusetts Bay, New Plymouth, New Hampshire and Maine. A majority of the General Assembly voted to defy the King and continue operations under the old charter. Rathbone and 12 other delegates sent a petition to King James pledging their allegiance to the crown: “With all dutiful respect and submission as becometh loyal subjects ,and in obedience thereto, we … doe hereby present our full and free submission and entire resignation of the powers given us in saidcharter, unto your  Majestie’s pleasure, humbly desiring . .. that your Majestie will take such notice of us in the succeeding government as may best consist with your Majestie’s honour and our good … ” Rathbone was the only one of the 13 who signed with ” his mark”carefully printing “JR” for his signature. This is one of two documents (the other is his will) which show that he was illiterate, not uncommon in that day.
Sir Edmond Andros, appointed by King James as Royal Governor for the United Colonies, did “take notice” of the signers in the new government. All were rewarded for their loyalty by appointments. Rathbone was named in 1688 as a Grand Juryman on the General Quarter Sessions Court, which replaced the General Assembly as the governing body of the colony. That same year, however, saw the overthrow of King James in the Glorious  Revolution. The Crown Party was out of favor, and Rathbone returned to Block Island, his political career cut short. Less than a century later, his descendants would be fighting a later King in the American Revolution.
In July 1689, Block Island was invaded by a French privateer, looking for plunder. The invaders asked some of the islanders who was most likely to have money, and were directed to John Rathbone. The Frenchmen went to the Rathbone home, and seized John Rathbone Jr., not realizing there were two men with the same name. The younger John, then about 35 years old, was tied, stripped to the waist, and whipped by the French in an effort to make him “confess” where he had hidden his money. By posing as his father, youngJohn enabled his parents to escape capture and possible harm at the hands of the invaders. It is a matter of conjecture whether the elder Rathbone was really one of the richest men on the island, or whether his neighbors resented his recent association with the discredited Crown Party. He had, however, accumulated a considerableamount of property on the island; between 1679 and 1693, he gave 255 acres of land to his children. Family tradition relates that he did this in the hope that his descendants would remain on the island forever.
In his will, dated Feb. 12, 1702, at Block Island, John Rathbone described himself as “yeoman, being sick in body but of perfect memory.” He was not too sick, however, to attend the April 8 town meeting with all five of his sons. Presumably he died early that fall, for the will was formally proved before the town clerk on October 6. Although he listed himself as of “Block Island,” the inventory of his estate indicates that he considered Newport his principal home. The contents of his “Newport House” included beds, pewter, wearing apparel, a bible and a gun. His Block Island inventory consisted entirelyof livestock-11 cattle and 70 sheep. He apparently conducted some sort of business in Newport, since his will refers to a “shop” there. A 1702 record lists him as one of the proprietors of the Newport Town Wharf. The date of Margaret Rathbone’s death is not known. She survived her husband for at least 14 years. In July 1707, she was listed as the owner of a lot in Newport-presum” ably the property left her in John’s will. In March 1716, as the “widow and relick of John Rathbun, deceased,” she made a deposition on Block Island regarding property she and her husband had deeded to their son, John Rathbun, Jr. Of their five sons, three lived and died on the island- John Jr., Thomas and Samuel. The other two, William and Joseph, moved to the mainland. During the first quarter of the 18th Century, Rathbun (as it came to be spelled) must have been the island’s most common name.

JOHN RATHBONE’S WILL: “In the name of God, Amen. I, John Rathbone, Senior, of Block Island, also New Shoram, in the colony of Rhode Island and Providence plantation in New England, yeoman, being sick in body but of perfect memory, thanks be to Almighty God, and calling to remembrance the uncertain estate of this transitory life and that all flesh must yield unto death when it shall please God to call, do make, constitute, ordain, and declare this my last will and testament in manner and form following, revoking and annulling by these presents, all and every testament and testaments, will or wills heretofore by me made and declared, either by word or by writing, and this is to be taken only, for my last will and testament and none other…
First, I give and bequeath to my son, Samuel Rathbone, the table and cubbard which stand now in his house as for are lomes (heirlooms?) to the house, and I leave my wife, Margaret Rathbone, my executrix of all my moveable and household goods, houses and chattles, cattle, sheep and horsekind, and I leave the income of my house at Newport for her lifetime, and at her decease the westward of my house at Newport, and the leanto of that end so far as the post that the door hangs on, and the shop to be left to my son John Rathbone’s son John and his heirs forever; and the eastward end of said house and the rest f the leanto to be left for my son William Rathbone’s son John and his heirs forever, and the yard to be equally for their use.
And I leave to my wife for her lifetime the twenty acres of land which I bought of Henry Hall, and the running of two cows and a horse, and the end of the house which I now live in .
And I leave that my four sons shall pay to my wife during her lifetime, forty shillings a year, that is to say, John Rathbone, William Rathbone and Joseph Rathbone and Samuel Rathbone.
And I leave to my wife during her lifetime, my neager man, and at her disposing and at her decease to my son Thomas Rathbone for three years, and at the end of the three years to give him as good clothes as his mistress leaves him and then to set him free.
And at my wife’s decease, what household goods are left are to be equally divided among my three daughters, Sarah, and Margaret and Elizabeth, and what cattle and sheep and horsekind are left are to be equally divided between my five sons.
And I leave that my wife shall take up all bonds and debts dut to me.
And I leave that my executrix shall see this my will performed.
In witness whereof I have hereinto set my hand and affixed my seal in Block Island aforesaid, the twelfth day of February, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and two.”
John JR Rathbone
Signed, sealed and delivered to be the last will and testament of JOHN RATHBONE, Senior, in presence of,
Block Island, October 2, 1702
William Hancock, Jr., and James Welch and Roger Dickens personally appeared before me, and did testify upon solemn oath that they were testamony to the signing and sealing of this will and testament before me.
Those persons above specified, William Hancock, James Welch, Roger Dickens personally appeared and acknowledged befor the public town meeting that they had taken upon solemn oath before me Simon Raye, Head Warden, to the truth of the above written and subscription. Entered by order of the Wardens and Town Council by me,
NATHANIEL MOTT, Town Clerk. January 12, 1702-3

The Rathbone Genealogy compiled by John C. Cooley was published in 1898 For many years, family historians have accepted Cooley’s version of the family’s earliest generations. However, by the 1940s, many found they could not prove what Cooley had stated in his genealogy. Much research was done, most by Frank H. Rathbun of Fairfax, Virginia. He established the current thinking on the early records of the family as we know it today. He published the current thinking from 1981 to 1996 in the Rathbun Rathbone Rathburn Family Historian.
John Rathbun was reared in Ditton, County Lancashire, where he married Margaret Acres, the daughter of Thomas Acres, neighbors of the Rathbones. It would appear that after being left a small sum of money from his father’s estate in 1654, he left England with his bride and settled in Dorchester, Massachusetts, where others from County Lancashire had settled. His name first appeared in American records when he was listed among 12 Massachusetts men who met at the Roxburn home of Dr. John Alcock to consider the purchase of Block Island, a small island 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. In 1658, the possession was transferred from the Colony of Massachusetts to private individuals with its sale to Richard Bellingham, Daniel Dennison, John Endicott and William Hawthore. They, in turn, made the last transfer of land as a whole to the company of 12 men who met at Dr. Alcock’s. A second meeting was held in which the number of individual numbered 16. Drawings were held to assign each of the proprietors a “great lot” in both the Northern and southern sections of the land. John, less affluent than some of the others, pooled his funds with Edward Vorse, another native of County Lancashire and bought half shares. Their land in the southern section lay along the southeastern coast and their land in the north consisted of a lot. Totally, they had 420 acres. Years later, it was discovered that a mistake was made in the original survey. In 1671, lawyers for the estate of Dr. Alcock granted John Rathbun an additional 60 acres, “what land shall be found wantinge…in some convenient place in the commonland.” He was given land near the center of the island stretching from near when the center of town is today to the ocean east of town. In October 1680, he made his last payment of his share of the original purchase. According to New Shoreham town books, a barque (a sailing ship with 3 to 5 masts, all square-rigged, except the after mast, which is fore-and-aft rigged. Or, definition #2, a small vessel propelled by oars or sails.) was built by Samuel Deering and Simon Ray, who no doubt charged the others for the transportation to the island. The families met in Taunton for the trip to New Shoreham in April 1661.
John Rathbun was listed as a freeman of New Shoreham in 1664. He represented the town in the Rhode Island General Assembly for five years. In 1685, he was a member of the Crown Party which supported King James’ order to vacate the Rhode Island Colonial Charter. He singed with his mark, “JR.” That same year, King James was over thrown during the Glorious Revolution and the Crown Party was out of favor in Rhode Island. It appears that during John’s political career, he kept a home on the mainland in Newport. In 1674, he was living in Hammersmith, a section of Newport. He returned to Block Island about 1685. In 1702, he was listed as a proprietor of the town wharf in Newport. In July 1698, Block Island was invaded by a French privateer. The invaders asked some islanders who had money and they directed them to John Rathbun. At the Rathbun home, the invaders seized John Jr., whom they tied, stripped to the waist and whipped.
The will of John Rathbun Sr., dated February 12, 1702, at Block Island, described him as a “yeoman.” Although listed of Block Island, the inventory of his estate indicates he considered Newport his principal home. He conducted some sort of business there as his will referred to a “shop” there. The will was probated October 16, 1702. He named his wife, Margaret, sons, John, William, Joseph, Samuel and Thomas; daughters Sarah, Margaret and Elizabeth; and grandchildren John, son of John; and John, son of William. The will was witnessed by James Welch and Roger Dickens (Book 1; Page 285). His widow survived him by at least 14 years, as in March 1716, as “widow and relict of John Rathbun, deceased,” she made a deposition on Block Island regarding his properties.
Although John Rathbun was baptized in the Anglican Church in England, he may have been a Quaker in Newport, where his son’s birth is registered in Quaker records. He was a slave owner and left a slave to his son, Thomas, at his death.
More About John Rathbone:
Baptised: 08 March 1629/30, Prescott Parish, County Lancashire, England.
Will: 12 February 1701/02, February 12, 1701/02; New Shoreham, Newport, R.I. Book 1 Page 285.  (Note from Coni: Need this)
More About John Rathbone and Margaret Acres:
Marriage: 1651, Lancashire, England.
Children of John Rathbone and Margaret Acres are:
John Rathbun, b. 1655. –    Thomas Rathbun, b. 1657, New Shorham, Block Island, RI654, d. 26 December 1733, New Shorham, Block Island, RI654.
Sarah Rathbun, b. 10 June 1659. –  William Rathbun –  Margaret Rathbun –  Joseph


I’ve been a family Genealogist/Native American Researcher for over 30+ years and have traced over 65,000+ people for my research - My main area of research is in MI, IN, CT, NY, RI, PA, MA, VA, VT, NJ, OH, KY, Block Island & Long Island areas - dealing with many of the colonial people & tribes in these locations.

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