Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Allen line: Rowland Stebbins 1592-1671 Immigrant and Allen ancestor at least three times

Rowland Stebbins is a name the Allen family should hold dear, for we have at least three different lines that go back to this man and his wife.  I guess somehow that would probably make us our own cousins, but that gets too complicated to think about.  At any rate, Rowland Stebbins is a name we should recognize and acknowledge.  Fortunately, there is some information about him so that we know a little more about him than we know about some of our other immigrant ancestors. 

Rowland Stebbins was born or christened November 5, 1592 in Bocking, Essex, England, the son of Thomas Stebbins and Ellen, whose maiden name is unknown.  He had at least two brothers and a sister, and there may have been more children in the family.  His older brother Dennis died soon after birth, so for all intents and purposes, Rowland was the oldest child in the family.  We don't know what the family did for a living but much of the town at that time was involved in the woolen trade in some fashion, so it is likely that this family also participated in some aspect of that business, whether raising sheep, manufacturing the cloth, or trading in it.

Rowland married Sarah Whiting, who was three years older than he, on November 30, 1618 at St Mary's Parish, which is where Rowland had been christened.  Sarah was the daughter of John Whiting and Sarah Smith.  The family had at least four children, who traveled with them on the Francis in 1634, along with Mary Winche, who at 15 may have been a servant but also may have been related to either Rowland or Sarah.  We don't know what compelled the family to emigrate, but because he was well regarded in his town of choice, Springfield, Massachusetts, we probably can conclude that religious convictions had something to do with the move.

Rowland is believed to have settled or stayed first in Roxbury, because that is where his younger brother Martin lived.  By 1639, he and his family were in Springfield, Massachusetts Bay Colony, where he stayed for almost 30 years. Sarah died in 1649, and Rowland never remarried. We can probably infer that Rowland was a well respected man in Springfield by the statement that he was in the "first seat" of the Springfield meeting house in 1659 and again in 1662/3.  The "first seat" was a rather coveted position and the family sitting there would generally be either wealthy or extremely pious, or otherwise highly respected by the community. 

He acquired land in various grants from the town, small acreages here and there, including meadows and wood lots so he could grow the hay needed for animals and cut the wood needed to heat the family home.  He doesn't appear to have owned what we would consider a farm, all in one location, but owned various parcels granted by the town as it grew.  Since he wasn't farming, he must have had another occupation but I've been unable to locate it.  He is not known to have signed his name, but signed deeds by "his mark." 

He sold his land in Springfield in 1668 and moved to Northampton, likely to be with an adult child.  He wrote his will March 1, 1669/70 and died December 24, 1671.  His inventory totaled a little over 121 pounds, of which 66 pounds was real estate. His will leaves property to his sons John and Thomas, to his daughter Elizabeth, and to various grandchildren. 

There is much I would like to know about Rowland, such as his presumed service in the militia, how he might have dealt with the local natives, what his occupation was, and more about his daily life.  However, we know he was an immigrant, a pioneer in the frontier town of Springfield, and the father of four children who lived to adulthood.  Once again, he is worthy or our respect.

Here is one line of descent:

Rowland Stebbins-Sarah Whiting
Thomas Stebbins-Hannah Wright
Joseph Stebbins-Sarah Dorchester
Martha Stebbins-Samuel Lamb
Eunice Lamb-Martin Root
Martin Root Jr-Ruth Noble
Ruth Root-Samuel Falley
Clarissa Falley-John Havens Starr
Harriet Starr-John Wilson Knott
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants

We have another line through Rowland and then Thomas, and one through Rowland and son John.  It's complicated!