At last, I've found an ancestor who has been well researched. I am so grateful for Sidney Paine, who wrote a fine article in volume 143 of the NEHGS Register, found on AmericanAncestors.org, and to American Ancestors for also making available the Vital Records of Rehoboth, Massachusetts on line. There is a wealth of information in these two sources, and they are the answer to a genealogist's prayer. There are still questions, of course, and still more information I would like to find, but it's wonderful to have this much to draw on.
Stephen Paine was born in about 1602 (some sites say 1599) in Great Ellingham, Norfolk, England. This was a small village a few miles inland from the sea. His parents were Dann Payne and Margaret Williams, and Dann was a linen weaver by trade. His only known sibling was a brother, Edward. He married Neele Adcocke (sometimes referred to as Rose), daughter of John Adcocke and Elizabeth Eldred, although it doesn't appear that their marriage records have been located.
By 1638, much had happened in the family of Stephen and Neele Paine. Their four children had been born. Stephen had become a shipper of wheat and malt, including a shipment from Yarmouth, Norfolk, England to New England in 1638. Stephen had sold land he had inherited to his father in law, and also to his mother and step-father. Apparently this left Stephen rather well off, or at least not as deprived as many of the early immigrants. When the family sailed from Ipswich, Suffolk, England in the Diligent in June of 1638, they also had four servants with them. Their daughter Rebecca apparently died on the voyage and son John died shortly after. So the family now consisted of Stephen and Neele, and their sons Stephen and Nathaniel.
When the family landed at Boston, they went directly to Hingham, Massachusetts Bay Colony, where they stayed about five years. Stephen was made a freeman there in 1638, and a Deputy to the General Court at Boston in 1641. By 1643, he had purchased a significant amount of land in what became Rehoboth, and moved there about that time. On the List of Purchasers, Settlers and Inhabitants with the value of their "allotments", about 1643, Stephen Paine's holdings are valued at 535 pounds, a value matched only by "Mr. Peck."
Stephen led what appears to be a good life in Rehoboth. He was a "miller", meaning he ran a saw mill, and was active in town civic life. He was elected to the first Board of Selectmen in December of 1644, and was elected as a Deputy to the Court at Plymouth continuously from 1647 to 1660, and then often until 1671. He was well respected in his town. He continued to buy land, owning land in what became Swansea, Massachusetts, Warren, Rhode Island, and Attleboro, Massachusetts. These were all areas adjoining Rehoboth at the time.
His wife Neele died in 1660 and Stephen then married Elizabeth Alice widow Parker. By the time Stephen died in August of 1679, he had outlived his first wife and all of his children. His bequests were to his grandchildren a daughter in law, and two servants. Elizabeth or Alice would have received her one third, also. I haven't found an inventory for him yet, and I would love to do that!
We can be proud of Stephen, who not only stayed out of trouble but was respected. He served his town for many years, made a living, and apparently improved his circumstances by his own hard work. He left us a fine heritage!
The line of descent is:
Stephen Paine-Nelle Adcocke
Stephen Paine-Ann Chickering
John Paine-Elizabeth Belcher
Stephen Paine-Sarah Vallett
Stephen Paine-Sarah Thornton
Nathan Paine-Lillis Winsor
Deborah Paine-Enos Eddy
Joseph B Eddy-Susan Lamphire
Susan Eddy-Hiram Stanard
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen