Monday, August 31, 2009

Comstock Family - OOPS; My Second William Comstock

After all those Samuels and Daniels, it's a relief to have another William Comstock. There have been six generations between the immigrant William Comstock and this one, the son of Daniel Comstock and his first wife Patience Jenckes. This is the son who went "west" with his father and brother Seth and did not return to Rhode Island. The birth dates of the children - William, Seth, Jenckes, Chloe, Cynthia, & Abigail - of Daniel and Patience can only be assumed. Only Seth's grave has been found and he was aged 75 when in died in 1848, or born in 1773. Daniel and Patience were married 7 Apr 1768 in Smithfield, RI, as found in their Vital Records, so in all likelihood one or even two of the children were older than Seth.

The letter I found in the manuscript file at NEHGS about Daniel's family - which had some data about the children by both wives - did state in one place that Daniel had brought sons William and Seth to Kentucky. William stayed but Daniel and his "younger son" [which would have been Seth] had returned to Providence. Later when the author of the letter, Caroline Porter - a granddaughter of Daniel and the second wife - did list the family, she listed Seth first. Seth has forever after been placed in the eldest spot in all the printed publications. Since he was born some five years after his parents married, I viewed this with a raised eyebrow. My research indicates that William was most likely the eldest child, certainly the eldest son.

William Comstock did indeed remain in the "west". He was probably born between 1869 and 1772; most likely in Smithfield, RI. He married in Breckinridge County, Kentucky, 1 May 1794, to Winny Ann Hardin, daughter of William "Wild Bill" Hardin and Winnifred Holtzclaw. William and Winny's marriage is the 16th recorded in that county.

In the manuscript papers of Samuel W. Comstock at NEHGS, he did indeed have on one page that William had died 1817 - however in another place he recorded the date of 5 Dec 1875 which was the son Elijah's death date. This error was then perpetuated in the various Comstock books. Samuel W. Comstock also stated that William was born in Breckinridge Co near Hardinsburg - but that was where he married and lived.

In all the following printed publications with one exception, William Comstock is said to have died 5 September 1875. He would have been nearly 100 years of age. But this is so wrong. That date is clearly the date of death on the grave marker of his son Elijah. Court records in Breckinridge County reveal that William died as a relatively young man. William Comstock left a good many tracks in Breckinridge records between 1800 and 1817 - most of those are reviewed on my webpage [link on the sidebar].

Breckinridge County, KY Court Minute Book 3, p.2. 21 Sep 1818.
Winney Ann and Ephraim Comstock granted adminstration on estate of William Comstock. Commissioners appointed to appraise estate and slaves, if any. Security with William Hardin and Amos Williams. [William Hardin was Winney's father, Ephraim's grandfather, and Amos Williams was at that time Ephriam's father-in-law.]
The last mention of William Comstock in Breckinridge records prior to that date in September of 1818 was:
Court Minute Book 2, p.251 William Comstock resigned as overseer of the road from Hardinsburg to Clover Creek - recorded 17 Nov 1817.
So although the exact date of William's death is not known, it occurred sometime after 17 Nov of 1817 and prior to 21 Sep 1818. And there is no question that he died many years prior to 1875.

One of the Comstock books corrected this error, but I found the book after finding the above Court records, and even this author apparently had not seen those documents. The book by Pope McAdams, Some Ancestors of Eugene Perrot McAdams & Mary Elizabeth Pope McAdams of Hawesville, Kentucky. shows that wife WinnyAnn died in 1818 leaving a will. "Married women of that day could not make a will, so William was deceased by that time. Their youngest child Lavinia was born in August of 1810. C. B. Comstock obviously made an error when he said William Comstock died Dec 5, 1875", which was in turn copied by John A. Comstock and others.

Indeed, Winney did leave a will soon after the death of her husband.
Court Minutes, Book 3,p.26, Jan 1819.
Last Will & Testament of Winney Ann Comstock exhibited by John E. Hardin, Executor, and ordered recorded.
Will Book 1, p.8; probate 7 Jan 1819.
Will recorded 18 Jan 1819 leaves a bequest of $6 for Ephraim, stipulating that he was not to have the care of the two younger children. They were left in charge of Winny's brother, John Hardin. [When her father William Hardin died, he included Elijah and Lavinia, children of his deceased daughter Winny Ann, but does not mention Ephraim at all. The next blog will explain why.]
p.102 20 Dec 1819 John E. Hardin exhibited the list of taxable property of Winnian Comstock, Dec'd.

William and Winney Ann's son Ephraim would have qualified as my Black Sheep Ancestor, if he could have been found. That story certainly does not appear in the Comstock books. More to follow.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Comstock Family - OOPS; My Third Daniel

Daniel Comstock and wife Martha Brown had five children whose births are recorded in the Smithfield RI vital records. The second son was another Daniel, the third Daniel Comstock in successive generations - all my direct ancestors. When my first grandchild was born, his parents named him Daniel, because it was a name "not used anywhere else in the family". Little did they know!

My third Daniel was born 6 Jan 1745, and was only eight years old when his father died; I'm sure his stepfather, John Farnum, played a part in his upbringing. However, the will of John Farnum left bequests only to his own children. Uncle Azariah Comstock is recorded as selling land that had belonged both to his father Daniel and his brother Daniel to his fatherless nephews. I've not found the earlier deeds but I suspect Azariah may have bought his brother's property in order to provide income to Martha for her five Comstock children. One of the deeds does state, "200 acres, all of the lands Daniel Comstock, late of Smithfield, died seized of".

I have many records of my third Daniel - he lived a long an interesting life, but not an easy one. If he is your ancestor, please feel free to contact me. My primary purpose here is to correct errors in the Comstock books, not fill in all the detail. This Daniel was married twice - his first wife Patience Jenckes dying somtime between the date of a deed in 1778 and Daniel's second marriage to Sarah Fuller perhaps about 1782.

Patience, born about 1750, was the daughter of Dr. John Jenckes and Rachel Lawrence, her great, great grandfather Joseph Jenckes, an early immigrant, was an iron worker from London who continued in this business in Massachusetts. Patience's great, grandfather, also a Joseph Jenckes followed Roger Williams to Rhode Island, building a foundary and forge and continuing the family occupation. The surname is also found as Jencks and Jenks.

The deed, dated 17 Feb 1778, between Daniel and his wife Patience and Jacob [Daniel's brother] and his wife Abigail [nee Bennett] to their cousin Jonathan Comstock, is mentioned in the Comstock books, probably because this is likely when the brothers were leaving Smithfield. The tract described is the same 200 acres Uncle Azariah Comstock had sold to Daniel some years earlier. However in the books, the deed is said to have occurred in 1768 - apparently a typo that was simply recopied in all subsequent Comstock publications. A friend and fellow descendant read the microfilm and sent me a copy - there is no question the deed took place ten years later in 1778.

Daniel did serve during the Revolutionary War, probably about the time he lost his first wife. They had six children. The Comstock books all say that he moved to Providence after her death. This is the very tip of the iceburg. After the sale of land in 1778, Daniel and Jacob moved to Connecticut. Deeds and court cases are recorded in Pomfret, Thompson, Killingly, in Windham County, locations just over the state line from Rhode Island. The brothers also bought land in Rehoboth, MA, which included the right and title to Fuller's Ferry which crossed the River between Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Apparent are financial difficulties of various sorts. The 1800 census reveals Daniel living back in Providence; in 1805, unclaimed letters as noted in the local newspaper suggest he had left Providence. Perhaps to seek a better way of life and leave his debts behind.

The first of the Comstock books about Samuel of Rhode Island quotes a descendant of this family. I did find the letter in the manuscript collection of John A. Comstock at NEHGS which includes the following:
"In the first settlement of Ohio he came west and brought Seth and William with him. [Seth & William were sons of Patience, probably the two eldest sons.] William settled in Hardin County, KY; Seth and Daniel returned to Providence. Five years after his son Lyndon moved to Lexington, Kentucky, Daniel, then over age 70, moved there with most of his family. Daniel, wife, most of their children buried there."
This from a letter written to Noah D. Comstock by Caroline Porter, granddaughter of Daniel.
[Caroline was a daughter of Elizabeth, daughter of Daniel and his second wife, Sarah Fuller.]

There seems to be truth in the letter. I've not discovered anymore about the first trip "west" except the letter did state in one place that William was the eldest son - a fact not reflected in print in the books. [I had suspected this to be the case from the records of the sons - William seemed to be the eldest.] William was my ancestor and he did settle in Breckinridge County which later became Hardin County Kentucky. His marriage was the 16th marriage recorded in Breckinridge Co, 1 May 1794. Daniel Comstock's father-in-law sold Daniel's son Seth Comstock 450 acres in Thompson, Massachusetts in 1794. In 1800, son Seth Comstock was living in Adams, Bershire County, Massachusetts - if he went west and then returned to Providence, he did not remain in Providence. As above, Daniel did appear in Providence in 1800, quite possibly leaving before 1805. Lyndon was the eldest son by Daniel's second wife - Lyndon's first record in Kentucky that I have found was jury duty in Breckinridge County Court, in July of 1805. Lyndon may have first joined his brother William in Kentucky. Lyndon appeared on tax rolls in Fayette County KY [location of Lexington] beginning in 1807 as a white male over age 21. In 1808, he had two white males over the age of 21 - quite possibly one of them was his father. In 1810, Lyndon Comstock was in the Fayette County KY census along with a male and female over age 45 and some young adults who were likely his siblings.

Although Daniel Comstock was given no date of death in any of the publications, I found an account which also substantiates that Daniel and family did indeed join Lyndon in Lexington and notes his funeral was held 7 Apr 1814.

From Kentucky Gazette 11 Apr 1814: "Daniel Comstock of Lexington, formerly of Providence RI died April, 1814.
From Kentucky Pioneer and Court Records, H. K. McAdams, 1929, p.297
"Mr. Daniel Comstock, formerly of Providence, R.I.; residence of N. S. Porter. Apr. 7, 1814."
[Nathaniel S. Porter was a son-in-law, married to Daniel's daughter Elizabeth in Fayette Co, KY, 8 Jan 1811.]
This section of the book begins on p.294. Says that in the Lexington Public Library there is a large book, pasted full of Funeral Notices. The inscription in the front of the book reads: These Funeral Notices were collected by an honest colored man, named Cyrus Parker Jones, who, at his death, bequeathed them to J. M. Duff, who donated them to the Lexington Library, 1 Jan 1900. These notices began with "You and your family are invited to attend the funeral of _______. " McAdams states that he only gives names and dates and reference to other relatives rather than repeat the entire statement each time. All are from Lexington unless stated otherwise.

The Comstock books state that Daniel married as his second wife, Sarah Fuller of Providence who was born 5 Aug 1761. There were six more children by Sarah; all of this second family did move to Kentucky. Nothing else is mentioned regarding Sarah. I believe I have identified her as a widow at the time of their marriage:

There is an intention to marry in Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA for Daniel Comstock to Sarah Pearse, 8 Oct 1784. He was of Providence. I believe Sarah Fuller was the widow Pearse/Pierce at the time of their marriage. No earlier married has yet been found for Sarah, but this is the only marriage for a Daniel Comstock that seems plausible and is in the right time frame and right place. Daniel was well acquainted with her father Oliver Fuller, and his brother Caleb, and if not actually living in Bristol County at that time, he was just across the river. The Fullers were the original owners of Fuller's Ferry, bought by Daniel and Jacob Comstock in 1782, in Rehoboth.

I suspect Sarah was not "of Providence" - that was Daniel. Found in the Rehoboth vital records.

Listed in the Rehoboth Vital Records:
Sarah Fuller, born 3 Aug 1761. No parents listed [This is only slightly different from the Comstock books that say she was 5 Aug 1761 - 5's and 3's often difficult to distinquish.]
In databases online, a Sarah is listed as a daughter of the above Oliver Fuller.
There is a Rehoboth marriage:
Oliver Fuller and Sarah Smith, both of Rehoboth, married by Rev. John Greenwood Jan. 26, 1755. Int. Dec. 7, 1752.
Oliver's birth: FULLER Oliver, born Nov. 29, 1732

Daniel Comstock and wife Sarah sold two parcels in the town of Thompson, Massachusetts, to Oliver Fuller in 1786. Oliver Fuller also sold two paracels of land to Daniel's brother Seth Comstock in 1794 - the same property by description. Sarah Comstock Fuller, had a first cousin named Lyndon Fuller - quite likely the source of Lyndon Comstock's relatively unusual given name.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Comstock Family - OOPS; Daniel [Jr.] Married Martha Brown

I cannot believe we're down to the Fifth Generation already. And, you know, until I started this, I did not realize that my corrections and additions would actually involve each generation..... Maybe I should have titled the blog "Why You Should Never Rely On Printed Genealogies!" This post contains omissions rather than corrections.

Daniel Comstock of the 4th generation and his unknown wife, did have two sons. The younger son Daniel was my ancestor. He is believed born circa 1717, an event missed somehow in all those glorious Rhode Island vital records. In 1738, Daniel's father gave him two tracts of land, found in the Smithfield deeds.

Only basic facts about the younger Daniel and his wife Martha Brown appear in the various Comstock genealogies. However, in working on the Arnold history [his paternal grandmother was an Arnold], I discovered an unknown story about Daniel and his brother Azariah. I don't have all the details of the court case, but it is obvious that both brothers were involved, along with Seth & Anthony Arnold who were their second cousins.

Found in The Arnold Family of Smithfield, RI, by Richard H. Benson, Newbury Street Press, Boston, 2009, p.114, is a case before the Rhode Island Supreme Court.
"Seth Arnold on the 5th of January in 1741 at Glocester did pass in payment to Anthony Arnold of New Milford [Seth's brother] fifteen false and counterfeit bills of the denomination of twenty shillings, knowing them to be false and counterfeit. On Friday, the 28th of May next, between the hours of three and five in the afternoon to stand in the Pillory in Newport ...and be confined and have your ears cropped or pay a fine to the General Treasury of 300£. Before the 28th of May give bond in the sum of 500£ and make good double damages to the persons injured thereby and pay all charges of prosecution and all lawful fees and to remain secured in His Majesty's Gaol in Newport until the sentence is performed.
A similar charge and sentence was placed on Azariah Comstock of Smithfield, who collaborated in forging, counterfeiting, imprinting and signing the counterfeit bills.
On the 2nd Monday of February 1743, Seth Arnold and Daniel Comstock, Jr., paid their fines and petitioned the General Assembly for return of their freemen's privileges. Their petition was supported by signatures of 51 of their Smithfield neighbors who stated that had been honest men until they fell into the affair of counterfeiting bill. "
[I recommend this book to any descendant of Samuel Comstock & Elizabeth Arnold or of the family of Thomas Arnold of Rhode Island.]

Daniel seems to have been a upstanding citizen from this incident forward; he was listed on road improvement crews, bought additional property, etc. Daniel married Martha Brown, 12 Dec 1742; perhaps she was a settling influence. Daniel, as Daniel Comstock Jr., and his father were admitted to vote in Springfield, RI, 3 May 1748.

Daniel Comstock, Jr. died 28 Jul 1753, in Smithfield. He was only 36 and left his widow with five young children and pregnant.

Martha Brown was the daughter of Joseph Brown and Sarah Pray, both of early Rhode Island families. Joseph Brown's grandfather was Chad Browne, whose home lot can be found in the first division of home lots in Providence. This is the same family that founded Brown University. Sarah Pray's grandfather was Richard Pray who had an interesting history in Salem before his arrival in Providence, but that's another story. Martha was born 23 Oct 1721 in Attleborough, MA. The Comstock books tell us that she married again after the death of Daniel Comstock to John Farnum of Uxbridge, MA. That marriage took place in Smithfield, RI:

Smithfield Vital Records, Vol 1,p. 121
19 Aug 1756
John Farnom, of Uxbridge, Worcester Co., MA
Martha Comstock, of Smithfield, widow of Daniel Comstock, Jr.
By Thomas Arnold, Justice of Peace, recorded 28 Sep 1756

Martha's death is not given in the books, but here it is:
Rhode Island Vital Records by Arnold:
FARNUM Martha, widow of John, Esq., at Smithfield, aged 93 years. Phenix of Nov. 14, 1812
The Providence Phenix was a newspaper.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Comstock Family - OOPS; Daniel's Elizabeth

I believe I warned you early on that it seemed to be the wives of the Comstocks that were the problems, so here is the problem in the next generation. Daniel, of the fourth generation, was married twice.

Samuel Comstock and Elizabeth Arnold's fourth son, Daniel Comstock, was born 19 Jul 1686 in Providence, died 22 Dec 1768 in Smithfield, RI. [I am so pleased the New Englanders kept such records!]. Daniel's first wife is a total mystery; they had two sons before her apparent death - Azariah and Daniel. Both of these Daniels, father and son, are my direct ancestors, but this story is about the father. Azariah and Daniel were likely born about 1714 and 1717, respectively, based on later events in their lives. The boys could have been some older or some younger, but not too far off from these dates. It is curious that this first marriage of Daniel's and the births of these two sons were not recorded in the vital records. I suspect this could be because of Daniel's Quaker connections, or perhaps he was not living in Rhode Island, at least not in the Providence area.

The first record so far found about Daniel is this one:
The Early Records of the Town of Providence
Vol. IX, p.183 Oct 14, 1706 Daniell Comestock of Providence ...had taken up a Stray maare. Apprized by Daniell Matheson & Edward Inman at 1 pound, 5 shillings. [Daniel was in 1706, age 20.]
"The monthly meeting of Friends, 1708, Dec. 20, denied him 'to be of our profession till he repent and amend his ways,' for beating and abusing a man."

During subsequent years Daniel continues to appear. However, there does seem to be a gap in the records - I found no mention of Daniel from about 1714 and 1721, when he had again "taken up" a stray horse. Then there is another gap from 1721 until 1733, when Daniel begins to make purchases of land in what had become Smithfield.

I believe there is a distinct possibility Daniel was not living in Providence, perhaps not even in Rhode Island, for these critical years of his first marriage and birth of the two sons, and the death of his wife.

Then in 1738 and 1739, Daniel gave deeds of gift of land to both his sons, his homestead lands in Smithfield. He gave the gifts in various small parcels and it isn't possible to determine if this was precisely the same tracts he purchased earlier 1733-1735, but it certainly seems to be a part. The implication is that his sons had come of age and needed their own homes. Azariah had married in 1735; son Daniel married in 1742 - their marriages recorded in the Smithfield vital records.

I have found no hints for a possible wife and mother. Three of Daniel's siblings had married into the Jenckes family, but I believe had Daniel also married a Jenckes that fact would have survived in either the Comstock or Jenckes traditions. Azariah is certainly not a charisteristic given name for the Comstock family and I've often suspected that would be a clue to his mother's family. Azariah as a given name, is not even a particularly popular name among any family in the Providence vital records at this time.

Now, we come to Elizabeth. On the 2nd of August, 1750, Daniel Comstock married again to Elizabeth Buffum. She was born 26 Apr 1709, therefore some 23 years younger than Daniel. She was the daughter of Benjamin & Elizabeth Buffum, so this appears to be her first marriage at age 41; he was 64. There were no children of this marriage but they were married 18 years before Daniel's death.

The various Comstock family histories all declare the death of Elizabeth Buffum Comstock as 1768, the same year as Daniel. Another OOPS. She was administrator for the estate of her husband Daniel Comstock who had died in December of 1768, and she did not die that year.

In the book, Descendants of Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick of Salem, Mass. Salem, MA by James M. Caller & Mrs. M. A. Ober, J.H.Choate & Co., Printers, 1881, I found out a bit more about Elizabeth.

Elizabeth is listed in the Southwick book as second wife of Jonathan, "widow Elizabeth Comstock, nee Buffum, widow of Daniel Comstock" . She was still living when Jonathan Southwick wrote his will 21 Feb 1783, some fifteen years after the death of Daniel Comstock. The will further indicates that she brought property to the marriage and that she had no children of her own.

From Jonathan Southwick's will:
"I give and bequeath to Elizabeth Southwick, my wife, all and everything whatsoever that she brought with her into my estate, together with all the rents now due upon and for her right and privilege in and unto her first husband's estate, according to an agreement that she and I made before our marriage; and further my will is, and I hereby direct and order my two sons John Southwick and Zacheus Southwick (by first wife), for and in consideration of the larger part of my estate herein willed unto them for the intent and on account of their paying our sundry sums to divers of my family, to render and deliver unto her my said wife the following articles in the manner and proportion hereafter expressed, viz: The said John Southwick to render and deliver to her six bushels of merchantable Indian corn yearly during her life, and that the said Zacheus render and deliver to her twenty pounds of merchantable fresh pork yearly during her life, or in other articles to that value as she and the said John and Zacheus may agree, which as I judge it a reasonable and sufficient maintenance, do make no further provision for her."

A George Comstock was one of the witnesses to this will. I believe there was more than one George Comstock, nephews of Daniel, available to be this witness at this time; his signature confirms continuing ties between the families.

The actual death of Elizabeth Buffum Comstock Southwick is unknown.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Comstock Family - OOPS; Elizabeth Arnold's Age and Ancestors

In the third generation of my Comstock family, Samuel Comstock, born about 1654 in Providence to Samuel and Anne Comstock, married Elizabeth Arnold, 22 Nov 1678, in Providence as recorded in The Early Records of the Town of Providence, Vol. 5. Samuel's many activities are well documented in the Providence, Woonsocket, and Smithfield town records and histories.

Elizabeth's parents were Thomas Arnold and Phebe Parkhurst. This is tied up in a nice little package:

29 Jun 1685 Agreement of Heirs of Thomas Arnold. He having died in September, 1674, as was declared, leaving an estate of lands, goods, and cattle behind him not disposed of by will but only by word of mouth, leaving his mind with his wife and children how they should settle his estate: It was therefore agreed between his widow Phebe, and Richard the eldest son, Thomas, John, and Eleazer, also sons of deceased, and Elizabeth Comstock, his daughter, that there should be five instruments of covenant prepared and signed by all of them, Samuel Comstock signing as husband of Elizabeth.....
Early Records of the Town of Providence, Vol IV, p.115-122

Thomas and Phebe Arnold had come from Watertown, MA to Rhode Island.

There are two problems about Elizabeth in most accepted Comstock and Arnold genealogies. One is her date of birth is most often seen as 1645, which makes her a bit too old to be the mother of some of the children whose births are recorded in Providence. Born in 1645, she would have been 50 in 1695 - there are two sons' births recorded after this year, one in 1696, the other in 1699. A birth year of 1645, also indicates she was married at age 33, nine years older than her husband. Her death is also recorded in Providence - Elizabeth died 20 Oct 1747, at Smithfield, Rhode Island - born in 1645, she would have been 103. I doubt this birth year! I strongly suspect the digits were reversed (a common error) in some long ago record and she was more likely born circa 1654 or even a few years later. I'm amazed that so many authors have copied this birth year, seemingly without question. There is no recorded proof for her birth year and she easily fits in the family of Thomas and Elizabeth Parkhurst Arnold either way. She was listed last in the estate settlement of her father.

The second problem with Elizabeth is one I will not address further in this blog post but save it for a future post on the Arnolds. Suffice it to say that her father Thomas was not a half brother of the William Arnold, a contemporary in Providence, and his parents were not Thomas Arnold & Alice Gully in England. This connection is made in both Comstock and Arnold genealogies but has been quite convincingly disproved. William Arnold of Providence did indeed have a half-brother named Thomas - who probably never married and certainly never left the shores of England. I would recommend The Arnold Family of Smithfield, Rhode Island, by Richard H. Benson, Newbury Street Press, Boston, 2009, to any researcher of the Arnolds who lived in Rhode Island. This excellent new book is primarily about the family of Thomas and Phebe Parkhurst Arnold, not of William Arnold, and it does correct this old error. I would think the book of benefit even to researchers of the William Arnold family by helping to sort out individuals of the same name.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Comstock Family - OOPS; Part 3, Who Was Anne?

In Part 2, I corrected the error concerning the 2nd marriage of Ann [Anne, Anna], wife of Samuel Comstock, who was a son of the immigrant William. Ann's surname is often seen as Tucker. This is my journey to find some sort of proof. I still doubt that her name was Tucker and cannot be sure what it might have been, but here's the rest of the story.

First, there's not a lot known about Samuel Comstock who died about 1657 in Providence, RI - he was only about thirty when he died. However, it is important to know more about him to set the scene. The proof that Samuel is a son of William Comstock is circumstantial rather than direct. John and Daniel are proved as sons of William by a Deed of 4 Dec 1694 when two grandsons, a son of John, and a son of Daniel conveyed land of their grandfather William Comstock. Daniel and Samuel had adjoining lots in Providence, although Daniel seems to have been in Providence earlier. Daniel named a son Samuel and Samuel named a son Daniel. Samuel Comstock is in the court records at Hartford CT where William Comstock is also found in 1648/49. There are a few other records that indicate a connection and no other Comstocks in the area to be considered - the name is quite rare throughout New England this early.

From New England Families Genealogical & Memorial, Series 1, by William Richard Cutter, is the Hartford record. Samuel gave recognizance 1 Mar 1648 [old style dating] at Hartford CT "for ten days of good behavior and for satisfying what damage Mr. Robbins shall sustain for the want of his servant", perhaps indication that Samuel was apprenticed to Mr. Robbins.
The above record is also in the Connecticut Court Records, Vol. 1, p.177. And Bray Rosseter was charged with assuring Samuel Comstock would do so. On 24 Apr 1649 [old style - actually the month following 1 Mar 1648] the Court and Mr. Robins freed Samuel Comstock and Bray Rosseter from both and either of their "Recogniscances".

In 1653, Samuel Comstock, went in the "Swallow", a frigate, to Block Island and took the goods and people belonging to a Dutch captain to New London CT. This is the data included in most of the Comstock books and suggests he might have been involved in privateering.
Some Ancestors of Eugene Perrot McAdams & Mary Elizabeth Pope McAdams of Hawesville, Kentucky. a small manuscript edited by Pope McAdams [a grandson of a Comstock, descended from Samuel] and mimeographed by the Lockard Letter Shop, Shively, KY, 1936, gives more details about the incident concerning the "Swallow" than any of the better known books about the Comstock family.

" The court files of Essex Co MA, record that Capt Kempe Sybando of Pequot [New London} brought suit 15 Oct 1653, at Boston against Edward Hull, Walter Joy and Thomas Gould for taking his goods in his trading house at Block Island. William Baker & his wife Mary testified that they were at Sybando's when Samuel Comstock & others came up to the house; that Samuel Comstock said he had a warrant from the Gov. of Connecticut [John Winthrop] to fetch them off the island because there was likely to be a war between the Dutch and the English. Baker dared not resist a Governor's warrant so prepared, helped carry the goods aboard. When they came aboard he told them Sybando had been taken at Connecticut by Edward Hull and we were taken as a prize, together with the goods, showing me a large piece of parchment he said was his commission. They promised to set me and my wife ashore where we wanted, so they set us ashore at Pequot. When Mr. Winthrop had examined me, he commanded me and Mr. Daniel to go aboard and take account of the goods. The master was absent, and neither him nor the key would be found. Dated at Warwick, 28 Aug 1653. Francis Bennett swore in Court on the same day that he and Samuel Comstock did jointly and severally buy of Richard George of Boston, the bark called the "Swallow", whereof Edward Hull was master.
Ralph Earle Sr of Portsmouth, RI deposed that Samuel Comstock came to Rhode Island with Edward Hull on the bark "Swallow". Samuel Comstock was owner of 1/8 part and employed in and on this bark (sic) against the Dutch. Comstock sold his interest to Ralph Earle who sold the 1/8 part of all prizes due or taken to Edward Hull. Ack. before Wm. Stebbens, 12 Sep 1653.
In some of the court proceeding, Edward Hull is referred to as a pirate. He kept two-thirds of the bounty."

Strangely enough, another ancestor of mine, Walter Joy, was apparently another partner of Edward Hull's in the affair of the "Swallow". Samuel Comstock was my 9th great-grandfather in my maternal grandfather's family; Walter Joy was my 8th great-grandfather in my maternal grandmother's family.

Here is the account I found while researching Walter Joy in the Massachusetts records:
Records & Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County Massachusetts, Vol. 1, 1636-1656, Published by the Essex Institute, Salem, MA, 1911
p.313f. Court held at Salem 29:9:1653 [This is the 9th month - November. The writ above by Capt Kempo Sebanda [his name is spelled various ways] against Robert Hull, Walter Joy, and Thomas Guild was actually dated 28:7:1653 - September - a copy was recorded in Boston Court a month later.] Capt. Kempo Seibada v. Robert & John Hull, part owners of the barque Swallow, frigott, under command of Edward Hull, pirate, for damages to goods taken out of his house at Block Island by Edward Hull, value 96£. Defendants were receivers of part of the booty and concealers of Edward Hull's estate. The verdict was for the defendants [and against the Dutch....].
The Writ of 28:7:1653, was served as an attachment of the ship. For want of security, Thomas Gold & Walter Joy were committed to prison.
Sebanda had also served a writ to Robert & John Hull, 17:9:1653. They gave bond for appearance at Salem court.
A Petition to the General Assembly at Portsmouth, 17 Aug 1653, Capt. Sybando v. Edward Hull, stated that the goods taken were valued at 200£ sterling. She was taken the 18th or 19th of April. Verdict was found for the plaintiff and the vessel adjudged not to be a prize, as she was taken without a commission.
Walter Joy deposed he was employed by Capt. Edward Hull to bring the Swallow from Rhode Island to Boston, which Hull said had been commissioned by Rhode Island to command against the Dutch and the bark was ordered by Edward Hull to be delivered to Robert & John Hull, along with some goods and bills of exchange. Mr. Wilkes, master of the "Swallow", delivered the bills together with the bark. Edward Hull received two-thirds of all the goods.
Ralph Earle Sr of Portsmouth, deposed that Samuel Comstock came to Rhode Island with Edward Hull and Comstock was 1/8 owner and was employed on it upon a man-of-war design against the Dutch. Comstock sold his interest to Ralph Earle who sold it to Edward Hull. Josias Wilkes was to deliver to Robert & John Hull, the back, with a parcel of linen cloth, mathematical instruments, etc.
William Baker gave the list of articles which were delivered to him at Block Isalnd by Sybanda, part of which was sold for fish & wampum. The fish & wampum and what was left of the goods, Capt. Edward Hull's company took away. William & his wife Mary testified that Samuel Comstock and others came to the house and had water & tobacco, saying they had not seen or heard of Kempo Sybanda. Comstock told Baker he had a warrant from the Gov. of Connecticut to fetch them off the island because there was likely to be war. Baker helped carry the goods aboard, only after he was aboard was he tole Sybanda had been taken and that he himself was prize together with the good. Baker and his wife were set ashore at Pequott.
Francis Bennet, aged 30 years, testified that he and Samuel Comstock bought of Richard George, one quarter of the bark, Swallow, Edward Hull, master. Sworn in court 26:8:1653.
Samuel Edsall of Boston, aged 18 years, deposed that last spring & summer Edward Hull went in the "Swallow" and deponent assisted in taking all the vessels that Hull took. Hull received two-thirds of all he took. Thomas Gold & Walter Joy were of Hull's company when they took Capt. Sybanda and his goods from Block Island. He heard Ralph Earle had sold an eighth part of the barque. Sworn in court, 26:8:1653.
Lawrence Turner, of Rhode Island, aged 32 years, deposed that the "Swallow" was the same vessel then lying in Master Joshua Scotowes dock. That Edward Hull received two thirds of all the goods he took, one third for the vessel and the other for victualling. That Walter Joy & Thomas Gould were with Hull from the beginning of their design at Rhode Island until they took the French prize at the same place and his departure for England. Sworn 17:8:1653.
Testimony revealed that Robert Hull was a brother, and John Hull, the father, to Edward Hull. They insisted they disapproved of the activities of Edward and had asked him to stop; he had told them he had a commission; if they had protested he threatened they would never see him or the vessel again, they had not been responsible for taking away Sebanda's goods and not profited in any way. They had in fact lost the profit of the "Swallow" for the whole summer.

A frigate, or barque, was a three masted ship, square-rigged. They were used as warships with lighter armament. The navy of Dutch Republic was the first navy to build the larger ocean-going frigates around 1600. The fleets built by the Commonwealth of England [presumably used in the Colonies] in the 1650s consisted of ships described as frigates. Some were two-decker great frigates carrying as many as 60 guns, other were cruisers, independent fast ships - which would most likely have been most useful to pirates. The term frigate implied a long hull which relates directly to speed.

From the records above, we may conclude that it's likely Samuel Comstock liked to walk somewhat on the wild side and may have had some experience with the ships of the day. Several of the Comstock males in Rhode Island, descendants of Samuel, will be seafaring men. The Dutch were very actively involved in the shipping trade and piracy on the high seas not uncommon; the political situation between the English and Dutch was precarious at the time and New Amsterdam [New York] was in possession of the Dutch.

Only a year following the above trial concerning the "Swallow", Samuel seems to have been involved in another incident with the Dutch.

In the fall of September 1654, a Samuel Cromstock and Anna Tchuys were arrested and convicted in New Amsterdam, for adultery. The original records are in Dutch but have been translated. At the NEHGS library in Boston I found the manuscript collection of Samuel W. Comstock who had furnished much of the information to John A. Comstock for his book The Comstock Family in America. Samuel W. did not interpret the documents in the same way they have been translated more recently, and somehow Anna, or Anne's, name became "Tucker" forever after. Whether or not this man Cromstock can be the same as Samuel Comstock of Providence, it seems certain the lady was not his wife at the time - unless she left her husband immediately following the incident, or lied about him. And Samuel "Cromstock" seemed to be already married himself.

New York Historical Manuscripts Dutch, Vol. V, Council Minutes, 1652-1654, Translated & Edited by Charles T. Gehring, Genelogical Publishing Co, Inc., Baltimore, 1983.

[I have a copy of the exact text but I don't want my Blog to be deleted, so if you want to know more, please email me. I have paraphrased their explicit descriptions.]
p.172 "Fiscal Cornelis van Thiehooven brought to the session Samuel Cromstock, presently a prisoner, who confesses and admits that he was found between the 28th and 29th of August at night along the Heere Wech near Jan Vinje's house... [found in a compromising position with her]... Anna Tchuys (wife of Nathaniel Tchuys); ...[Here is described their state of undress.]... He was taken away from there by the provost marshal, Arent van Vlieringen. The case is postposed until the next session. Thus done at the seesion of the honorable director-general and high council held in New Amsterdam, 28 August 1654 in New Netherland." At this time New York City was still called New Amsterdam and the state, New Netherlands.
p.173 "Cornelis van Thienhooven, fiscal, plaintiff against Anna Tchuys, presently a prisoner. The fiscal charges that she was found between the 28th and 29th of August at night along the Heere Wech near the house of Jan Vinje... [Here is again described their position and state of undress.]... Anna Tchuys falls on her knees and begs for mercy, claiming that Cromstock had done no more. She is ordered to be taken away until the next session."
p.180 "The honorable director-general and high council of New Netherland have seen the charge of the fiscal against Anna Tchuys, being a married woman and presently a prisoner for having committed adultery with Samuel Cromstock, being a married man, along the Heeren Street under the naked sky between the 28th and 29th of August, last past, at night around 12 o'clock, which the fiscal had confirmed with three witnesses at the session; whereupon, according to form, Anna Tchuys was heard in full session by the director-general and council, and after she had heard and seen the depositions, voluntarily and without pain and bonds, confessed that she had committed adultery with the aforesaid Samuel Cromstock, which crime, being confessed, demands punishment according to the form and custom of our fatherland. Therefore, the honorable direct-general and council of New Netherland, in the name and on behalf of the honorable High Mightinesses, the lords States-General of the United Netherlands and the honorable lords-directors of the General Chartered West India Company, lords and patroons of this province, having judged the aforesaid Anna Tchuys, have condemned, as the aforesaid director-general and council, do hereby condemn her to be brought to the place where justice is customarily carried out, and there, together with Samuel Cromstock, to be placed in the pillory; and, in addition, to pay a fine according to the ordinance, as an example to others; and with failure to pay, they shall be beaten with rods. Thus done at the session held in New Amsterdam, 2 Sept 1654; present the honorable director-general and all the councillors."
On the same day, the case against Samuel Cromstock "being a married man and presently a prisoner for having committed adultery with Anna Tchuys" was judged. Samuel also confessed and the same punishment was meted out.

I found no other references to Ann Tchuys or her proposed husband Nathaniel.

When Samuel W. Comstock wrote to John A. Comstock for the Comstock Family in America book he said this:
"Samuel Comstock in 1653 was arrested in New Amsterdam [New York City] for a misdemeanor with Ann, and tried, and both ordered a number of lashes or be married." [my emphasis]
and a note on the back of the John A. Comstock's worksheet, also in the handwriting of Samuel W. Comstock was:
"Samuel 2 The chances are he married Ann Tuches (I prob. Have not spelled it correctly - I think Dutch and means another name in English, the New York records if I remember give both - Samuel Crumstock in 1653 was arrested in New Amsterdam (my city) for a mistermenior [sic] with Ann, and tried and both ordered a number of lashes or be married, I have a Photostat of the case, 4 large pages, the above is a substance of it anyway"
Samuel W. Comstock seemed to misintrepret the Dutch records somewhat. His handwriting is very small and cramped, but I had no trouble reading the name as "Tuches" which is fairly close to the "Tchuys" in the translated record. However an archivist at NEHGS made the same mistake as John A. Comstock in interpreting SWC's, handwriting and said it was "Tucher". Compared to other examples of Samuel W.'s handwriting, I am convinced he wrote "Tuches".
On the same page, John A Comstock, wrote the lady's name as Ann ?Tucker. So that is undoubtedly how the lady received this surname.

Given the few men who carried the Comstock surname in New England, it does seem quite likely this is a record of Samuel Comstock later of Providence. It is strange that both parties in the incident claimed to be married to other parties. No earlier marriage is known for Samuel, although he could, of course, have had one. I've wondered if the penalty for the crime was less, or less shameful, if the parties were married rather than single, and Samuel and/or Ann simply lied about their marital status. Perhaps the Dutch would have forced them to marry. Providence records indicate that Samuel was not in Providence the year the above incident took place, and the two sons of Samuel, and presumably Ann's, were born after this incident in 1653, the eldest surely born within the next year.

Other problems with the situation include the fact that Samuel and Ann were certainly English and were tried in a Dutch Court - there could have certainly been language barriers and misunderstandings and their surnames misunderstood. Samuel and Ann could have misunderstood the questions they were asked, and certainly they tried to deny the crime in the beginning. As I understand it, these records are in an older form of the Dutch language no longer used today, and Charles T. Gerhing is one of the foremost translators - I do have faith in his translation. Given the previous history of Samuel as a privateer and his decision to relocate in Providence which was also a seaport largely involved in the piracy and privateering of the day, the affair with a female does not seem inconsistent. I think it likely that this couple left New Amsterdam and resettled, leaving their "past" behind them, maybe even spouses; although I really doubt they had previous spouses. No marriage record has been found for Samuel & Ann and perhaps it was never legalized.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Comstock Family - OOPS; Part 2, Anne Comstock's 2nd Marriage

There is an error in my Comstock line that originated with the first book by C. B. Comstock, in 1905, and has been perpetuated in all the other Comstock books listed in Comstock Family - OOPS: Part I, as well as many more recent self-published genealogies both in print and found online. Samuel Comstock, born perhaps 1628 in England, son of the immigrant William Comstock and his wife Elizabeth, who came with his parents to Wethersfield, CT some time between 1636 and 1640, died as quite a young man in Providence, Rhode Island, probably sometime in the year 1657, leaving a widow and two young sons. The widow was Ann, her surname unknown [but watch for more about her possible name in a future Blog].

From C. B. Comstock’s Some Descendants of Samuel Comstock of Providence, RI, p.5
“Samuel Comstock of Providence, R.I., d. about 1660. He m. Anne who was living 10 Feb. 1667. She m. (2) John Smith the mason.”

No, Anne did not marry John Smith, the mason.

From A History and Genealogy of the Comstock Family in America by John Adams Comstock:

Family 33. SAMUEL2 COMSTOCK (William1) born about 1628; died about 1660; married Anne (Tucker?). Anne was living Feb. 10, 1667. She married (2nd) John Smith, the mason. ………Samuel Comstock bought of John Smith his house and lot in Providence, R. I., March 1, 1654. The Town Council of Providence took action about the estate of Samuel Comstock and John Smith, deceased, on March 9, 1660. On May 4, 1661, Anne Smith of Providence, widow of John Smith, formerly wife of Samuel Comstock, deceased, sold to Roger Mowry the house and home share of her husband, Samuel Comstock. It comprised four acres in a row of houses in the north part of Providence.

Whether Anne was a Tucker or not (and I find no Tucker families in Providence at this time) isn't the only problem. The statement that she married (2nd) John Smith, the mason, is absolutely not possible. She did marry a John Smith, but not John Smith who was a mason, or bricklayer, by trade. I also never found the basis for the statement that she was still living in 10 Feb 1667. This date is about the time there was discussion during the town meetings regarding the age of her son Daniel Comstock - these records state that he was the son of Anne Comstock but he was not then living with her, nor do they state if she was living or where she might have been.

Although the old references state that Anne Comstock, widow, married John Smith the mason, I believe she married his son John Smith, instead. This younger John had also had a previous marriage when he married Anne and he had a daughter named Margaret, probably from this first marriage.

Here are my notes on this subject of Anne's second husband John Smith.

The John Smith, referred to as "mason" in the Providence Town Records had sons named Leonard, John, Joseph, and Benjamin; he left a will dated 26 March 1687 which names his widow Elizabeth, other records indicate she was the only wife. Son Joseph Smith was administrator of the estate of his brother John who had been executor for the brother Leonard. [So both John & Leonard had predeceased their father & John Smith, mason, was alive for some years after the John Smith that married Anne had died back about 1660.] Benjamin was "incapable of caring for himself, insane" and had to be provided for. There were likely sisters, as Eleazar Arnold [married to Eleanor Smith] and Thomas Hopkins took into custody their aged mother-in-law, Elizabeth Smith in Jan of 1706.

This son of John Smith, mason, also named John, and brother to Joseph, was also known as "Jameco". The various tax records of Providence as recorded show five John Smiths in Providence during the pertinent period but one listed sometimes as Jameco Smith, or sometimes as John Smith, mason, Junr., disappears from the lists about 1660/61 and does not reappear again. The other four John Smiths continue to produce records for some years after that date. The tax records alone prove that John Smith, the mason, was not the John Smith married to Anne Comstock, but there are other extenuating circumstances which enforce the premise that it was John Smith, the mason's son she married.

The Early Town Records of Providence show that men of the same name were usually described by their profession in order to differentiate them in these records. Obviously "John Smith, mason" was their choice for this man. There was also a John Smith, miller, who had a son named John who will be discussed later - the father and grandfather of the millers had also been a John Smith but he was deceased by this time period. There was a child, John Smith, that resulted from the marriage of John Smith and Anne Comstock and did not create records until some years later. Both families had at least three successive generations of John Smiths.

In the Early Town Records, Vol. VIII, which is made up of scraps of loose paper and is the volume called "Town Meetings No. 3", there is a notation on page 15: "9th 9th was buried John Smith son of John Smith mason" No year is given and the note is placed following a notice dated 7 Nov 1676. [9th month would be November in the old style dating]. I strongly believe this paper was placed in the wrong spot in the book. Most of the dated notices from 1676 have a complete date, which is worded differently and better organized, but the earliest years of records in the 1650’s have scattered notes, dated similarly to this John Smith note and have no designated year. Therefore, I believe this is likely one of the scraps of paper from that earlier time. The compilers stated they did their best to “place these notes in context” but I believe this one is about 15 or16 years off, and was placed in this spot solely because it was dated in the month of November. At the earlier time, the dates were often incomplete and written similarly to "9th 9th" with the year seldom stated.

The Early Records of the Town of Providence:
Vol III, (Brass Clasps) p.2 contains a partial entry of what was obviously copied or referred to again with further details in Vol XV: hath taken this which the widdow Anne Sm... full satisfaction for securetye, of her son john.

Vol. XV, p.85 "I Ann Smith widdow doe put in to the Townes hand of Providence all the right of my husband John Smith deceased excepting the share of meddow which was due to my husband, for the securitye of my child John witnes my hand this 27 of aprill 1661.the marke X of An Smith
Wittness: Thomas Olney deputye William Carpenter, dupuy

Note: The citizens of Rhode Island had various "rights" that accompanied their ownership of one of the original parcels of land to include a town lot. The early towns of Rhode Island were laid out much as English towns with a lot in town for the house, but pasture and woodlands for cutting firewood allotted nearby. John Smith, mason, as well as Samuel Comstock, and other citizens of Providence did indeed have "rights" to be handed down or sold along with the property. This entry makes clear that Anne Comstock Smith was again a widow and had a son named John born of her marriage to John Smith.

Vol III, p.3 There is an entry from the same day [27 Apr 1661] that the widow Ann Smith asked the town to secure inheritance for her son John, in regard to Margaret Smith. I believe John Smith had also been married previously and Ann could not or would not take responsibility for his daughter. They had not been married long enough to have had more than one child.
"Bee it Knowne unto all men by these presentes that I Robert Colwell of Providence in the Naragansett Bay of New England, doe bind my self, my heirs, Exsecutors, and Aministrators, in the sum of Tenn Poundes Sterling: to save and keepe harmelese the Towne of Providence from any Charge of Trouble that may arise, or fall out by A little Child named Margarett Smith, the child of the deceased John Smith, and I the foresaid Robert Colwell doe bind myselfe in the som abovesaid, and my heires exsecutors and Administrators aforesaid; to free the said Child Margaret from being Chargable unto the said Towne of Providence untill the said Child margaret be fforteene yeares of Age, In Wittnesse whereof I Have here unto set my hand the Twentye seaven of Aprill in the yeere 1661. The marke of X Robert Colwell. Singned And dd unto the Towne in the face of the Court as Wittneseth. Thomas Olney Senior, Duputye. Thomas Olney Junion, Clarke."
[Apparently Robert Colwell has taken upon himself to take care of the child Margaret Smith, so she will not have to depend on the town's charity. It's possible he was a relative of the child's mother.]

Poor Anne seems to have been left a widow with young sons twice in succession. First Samuel Comstock died leaving her with their sons, Samuel & Daniel Comstock. She married John Smith, possibly taking on his daughter Margaret, and had another son, John Smith III, who would have been only an infant in 1661. He was quite possibly born after his father's death. Records show she found it necessary to bind out Daniel Comstock to William Carpenter in 1662. It is not known where the young Samuel Comstock made his home in the subsequent years. Quite possibly after her misfortunes she moved away, as the third John Smith later returned from Massachusetts and turned his "rights" over to his half brother Samuel Comstock. See next.

Vol XVII p.34 To the town of providance met this 17th of march: 1683: or: 84 loving freinds; whereas it apeares that my deseased father John Smith In his Life time: was intruested with a Right of land or lands in this town of providance and towneshipps: and hee dieing Intested the said right of lands by Right of inhiartence belongeth unto me his heire and whereas the greatest part of my lands lyeth undievied from the townes Commons my request therefore is that the towne would be pleased to ordar maters so that my lands may be layed out and in so doing you will OBliage him who is yours to Command. John Smith
John Smiths Bill [petition] Jamecos Son.
Vol XIV Deed Book 1 p.122-123 John Smith sometime knowne by the name of Jameco John formerly inhabetant of ye Towne of Providence ...but now deceased was by ye said towne ...accomedated with a five & twenty acre Right of landes & Comoning ....I John Smith of ye towne of Meadfield in the Colloney of Massachussetts ...son & Heire unto ye aforenamed deceased John Smith for a valuable sume of money in hand ...payd unto me by Samuell Comstock ...make over ...unto ye said Samuel Comstock ..for Ever all the Right Intrest Clayme & Title that I have. 21 May 1685. Signed by the mark of John Smith.

John Smith, son of John and Anne Comstock, is here presented as the son of John Smith, known by the name of Jameco [as I had supposed from the tax records]. He has returned as an adult, from his home in Massachusetts, to claim his rights in the town of Providence which had been secured by his mother soon after his birth. In turn he sells the inherited land back to Samuel Comstock, son of his mother Anne and her first husband Samuel Comstock - in other words, to his half-brother. I wonder, too, if Anne Comstock Smith did not leave Providence soon after securing the rights of her son - perhaps she remarried for a third time and subsequently made her home in Massachusetts.

I cannot see how the widow Anne could have married anyone else other than John Smith, Jr, son of John Smith, the mason, who did live next door to Samuel Comstock, her husband, in Providence, and had sold Comstock part of his property. The older John Smith has plenty of records to indicate he was always married to the same lady and her name was Elizabeth. And as I discovered, the other four John Smiths were distinguishable [One was John Smith the mason, one was the young John above who returned in 1683/4 and two of them were John Smith, the miller, and John Smith, the miller's son] and continued to have a presence in Providence many years after Anne Smith presented herself to the Town Council as the widow of John Smith. It was interesting that the John Smiths seemed to be carefully recorded through the years in an effort to keep them separate. It was not until the son, John III, [the mason's grandson] returned to claim his rights that the name Jameco again appeared in the records.

I will admit I spent many hours with these records trying to sort out the John Smiths, but it was evident almost at once that Anne had never married John Smith, the mason. He was a founder and VIP about town and there he was in the records many times and many years after she was widowed.

In late 1661, when Daniel Comstock, son of Samuel Comstock and Anne, was age eight, he was living with Mary Walling who decided she could no longer care for him and he was apprenticed to William Carpenter. He is referred to as "Ann Comstock's son" in the town records but he was not living with his mother. Had she already made plans to remarry for the 3rd time? Had she left Providence? And there's no clue in the records as to where the older boy Samuel Comstock was at this time.

One of the very disappointing things I found in the Providence town records was the following: On 4 Jun 1677, an inventory was ordered of the records and "The Towne Counsells will upon the Esstate of Samuell Comstock: deceased, is wanting." In other words, the Council had made some provision re the estate of Samuel Comstock ...but it was missing from the files even in 1677. This missing record, would surely have shed light on this problem.

The following record does exist:
"The Town Council of Providence took action about estates of Samuel Comstock and John Smith deceased, on 9 March 1660. On 4 May, 1661, Anne Smith, of Providence, widow of John Smith, formerly wife of Samuel Comstock, deceased, sold to Roger Mowry the house and home share of her husband, Samuel Comstock. It comprised four acres in a row of houses in the north part of Providence."

Here are additional records of John Smith "mason", that show he lived years beyond the records of John Smith, deceased, who was husband of Anne Comstock.
Town Records of Providence:
Vol II, p.120 27 Oct 1659. John Smith, mason put up a Bill to the Court that they would consider him with a Right of Commoning. They granted him permission for feeding his cattle and fencing until the Town sees cause to the contrary.
Vol II, p.128 Quarter Court 27 Apr 1660 John Smith, mason resigned up 5 acres to the town which land he bought of Tho. Walling. Town considered him with 4 acres to be laid out to him between the great Swampe and the head of that field where John Jones and Lawrence Wilkenson's houses stand.
Vol III, (Brass Clasps), p.22 John Smith (mason) granted again 16 acres of land which he had returned to the town. Quarter Court previous to April 27, 1662.
This is after John Smith who married Ann Smith has died. References to the Will and heirs of John Smith mason, appear in the records as well:
Vol. XX, Deed Book 2, p.77 Eleazar Arnold, Justice, & Thomas Hopkins, Lieftenant, take into custody the care of their aged mother-in-law, Elizabeth Smith. 7 Jan 1706. [The term "mother-in-law" could have been a term of respect, meaning they were bound by law to take care of the elderly lady as if she were their mother and there is no kinship. Eleazar Arnold was at that time one of the five Trustees of the town, but Thomas Hopkins was not. However, Eleazar Arnold was married to the daughter, also Elizabeth Smith. I have not found the wife of Thomas Hopkins.] Certainly Elizabeth Smith was still living in 1706. She is definitely the same lady, see next.
Vol. XX, p.141-142. John Smith, mason, now deceased, left two home shares of land (each about 5 acres) and ten acres in the Tract called the Neck, and his livestock and personal goods to his wife Elizabeth for her use during her lifetime. Will dated 26 Mar 1686/7. She, being very weak and aged, can no longer care for herself and her son Benjamin who cannot care for himself; therefore she assigns the Trustees of the town of Providence her property to order and dispose of for the support & maintenance of herself and Benjamin. 17 Jan 1705.
Vol. XX, p.161-163 The Trustees of the Town found it necessary to sell the ten acres left to Elizabeth Smith, widow of John Smith, the mason, and left to her for her care by his Will, located in the Neck for 20 pounds to "procure what Was Needefull for the Said Benjamin his Supply Whilst he lived & to defray the Charges Which did accrew by What befell him at his Death. 25 Dec 1706.
Vol. XX, p.197 27 Feb 1689. Laid out unto Joseph Smith (who did Administer upon the Estate of his Deceased Brother John Smith who was Heire unto his Brother Leonard Smith Deceased) 56 and 1/2 acres in the Right of George Palmer.
Vol XX Deed Book 2, p.89-91 Joseph Smith gives up his right as Son & Heir in certain possessions of his father John Smith the mason, deceased, in order the Town Trustees may provide for the maintenance of his brother Benjamin Smith "Wholy Uncapable to take Care & to Provide for his Owne Maintenance & Reliefe" . He does request the Trustees allow him acces to the property for removing the dwellinghouse (timber & stones), from the land. Dated 11 Mar 1705/06.

John Smith, mason, had a wife Elizabeth and the following children as found in the above records: Leonard Smith, John Smith, Joseph Smith, & Benjamin Smith [obviously severely handicapped]. A daughter was the Eleanor Smith who married Eleazar Arnold - a brother to Elizabeth Arnold, wife of Samuel Comstock, the son of Samuel & Anne Comstock under discussion. And there was probably a daughter who married Thomas Hopkins. This John Smith, the mason, had written his will on 26 Mar 1686/7 - I found no record of probate but we can be sure he was alive at least this long and his son John Smith, Jr. called Jameco, had died some 26 years earlier.

Here are some of the records of John Smith, miller, and his father John and son John. These readily show that this is a separate family, not to be confused with John Smith, the mason and his son John Smith, Jr.

The father of John Smith, miller, was the first of the four John Smiths in this family. Only the 2nd and 3rd Johns were creating records in the time period involved here: The first John Smith was settled in Dorchester, MA where, on 3 Sep 1635 he was banished because of his dangerous opinions. He came with Roger Williams and four others to form the new settlement of Providence in the early summer of 1636. The earliest mill grant in Rhode Island was made to John Smith on 1 Mar 1646. In 1649 the mill grant was confirmed to Alice Smith, widow, and John Smith, her son, administrators on the estate of John Smith, miller, late deceased.

John Smith, miller, [the 2nd generation] served as Town Clerk in Providence just prior to the Indian Wars. His Mill was, in fact, burned by the Indians in King Philip's War. The town records, partially burned, were saved from total destruction by being thrown in the mill pond. John Smith himself is credited with having the presence of mind to throw the burning books in the Mill Pond. The early books do show burn and water damage. Will of John Smith, miller, the second of these John Smiths:
Last Will & Testament of John Smith (miller). To Sarah, wife, half the mill with half the land near, half of several propertys, half of house & goods & cattle. The other half to son John and at wife's decease the whole to be divided equially among the seven sons. Wife & John to Execute will. Daughters: Sarah, Alice each receive 40 acres. John is to be helpful to his mother as some of his brothers & sisters are very young. Will not dated but witnesses testify that it was written 22 of Feb in 1682. Proved 2 Jun 1682.
[So the wife of John Smith, the miller, was named Sarah. John Smith, the mason's wife was Elizabeth. This made their records easy enough to separate even when their profession was not mentioned.]

The son, the third John Smith, miller: This 3rd John Smith was the last to carry the title "miller". The Whipple family home page gives the 3rd John Smith's wife as Hannah ??? with his date of death as 20 Apr 1737. Hannah was likely a second wife as she survived her husband some 20 years. He also had a son John Smith [the 4th] who preceded him in death and was known as John Smith, fuller. The 4th John Smith's wife's name was Deborah Angell. Deborah received administration of the 4th John Smith's estate on 4 Oct 1719.

John Smith, miller, [the 2nd] also had among his sons a Joseph and a Benjamin. His Joseph was Joseph Smith [weaver] who married Lydia Gardiner. Joseph the weaver was born about 1670 and died 13 Jan 1750. The son Benjamin was not at all handicapped as was the Benjamin, son of John Smith the mason - Benjamin married Mercy Angell; he was born about 1672 and died 23 Apr 1751. So even though John Smith, mason and John Smith, miller both had named three of their sons with the same given names, it was possible to separate each of them in the records in almost every circumstance.

A great deal of reading through the Town Records was required to sort out the various John Smiths, but because of the habit of the Clerk as generally recording them according to their profession, it was relatively easy to see that John Smith, the mason, never married the widow Anne Comstock. Cyrus B. Comstock, who wrote the earliest books about both William Comstock, and his son Samuel of Rhode Island, is apparently responsible for the error in choosing a second husband for Anne. Other writers must have taken his word without confirmation. My sources are listed below; several of these supported the members of the families of the John Smiths as I have listed them above.

Principal Sources:
· Printed Under Authority of the City Council of Providence By Horatio Rogers, George Moulton Carpenter, and Edward Field, Record Commissioners. [Carpenter died after the 10th Volume and the others continued with the work.] The Early Records of the Town of Providence: 21 Volumes. Providence: Snow & Farnham City Printers. Volumes printed 1892 to 1915.
· Cyrus B. Comstock, Editor. Some Descendants of Samuel Comstock of Providence, R.I. who died about 1660. New York: The Knickerbocker Press, 1905
· Cyrus B. Comstock, Editor. A Comstock Genealogy: Descendants of William Comstock of New London, Conn. who died after 1662. Ten Generations. New York: The Knickerbocker Press, 1907
· John Adams Comstock, Compiler. A History and Genealogy of the Comstock Family in America. Los Angeles: The Commonwealth Press, Inc., 1949
· William Richard Cutter. New England Families Genealogical & Memorial, Series 1. Baltimore: Clearfield Co., 1995.
· Abby Isabel Brown Bulkley. The Chad Browne Memorial: Consisting of Genealogical Memoirs of a Portion of the Descendants of Chad and Elizabeth Browne with an Appendix Containing Sketches of Other Early Rhode Island Settlers 1638-1888. 300 Copies Printed for the Family; Brooklyn NY: 1888. Reprinted by Heritage Books, Inc., 2001.
· Almon DanforthHodges; Almon D. Hodges. Almon D. Hodges and His Neighbors (Autobiographical ancestry sketch of the old Hodges of New England). Boston: private printing, 1909.
· M. M. Wilkinson. Genealogy of Wilkinson and Kindred Families. Mississippi: Shelby Book Store, 1949.

I Digress - 16 Great-Great Grandparents

I missed Saturday Night Genealogy Fun on GeneaMusings, but thought I'd post my Sweet Sixteen anyway!

Randy Seaver proposed:
1) List your 16 great-great-grandparents in pedigree chart order. List their birth and death years and places.
2) Figure out the dominant ethnicity or nationality of each of them.
3) Calculate your ancestral ethnicity or nationality by adding them up for the 16 - 6.25% for each (obviously, this is approximate).
4) If you don't know all 16 of your great-great-grandparents, then do it for the last full generation you have.
5) Write your own blog post, or make a comment on Facebook or in this post.

Here is my own Sweet Sixteen
1. ANDREW JACKSON ADAMSON: born 21 Dec 1817 in Wayne County, Indiana; married abt 1835; died 27 Oct 1869 in Bremer County, Iowa. ENGLISH [Scot]

2. RACHEL ANN GARNER: born 1816 in Highland County, Ohio; died 25 Sep 1898 in Kokomo, Howard County, Indiana. ENGLISH

3. WILLIAM ALEXANDER HARMON: born 7 Jan 1826 in Marion County, Indiana; married 17 Jun 1847 in Boone County, Indiana; died 3 Jan 1881. Probably GERMAN

4. EMMA ELIZABETH MILLER: born 10 Jul 1825 in Indiana; died 4 Aug 1871. ENGLISH

5. NATHANIEL HARRISON: born 1825 in Madison County, Kentucky; married 20 Feb 1845 in Madison County, Kentucky; died 19 Sep 1880 in Schuyler County, Illinois. ENGLISH

6. SARAH ANN "SALLY" GABBARD: born 1825 in Madison County, Kentucky. GERMAN

7. IRA PERRIN IRWIN: born 1 Feb 1831 in Clermont County, Ohio; married 24 Jan 1850 in Schuyler County, Illinois; died 28 Aug 1913. ENGLISH

8. ELISABETH ANN AVERY: born 1832 in Franklin County, Ohio; died bef 1896 in Schuyler County, Illinois. ENGLISH

9. ELIJAH THOMAS "TOM" COMSTOCK: born 22 Dec 1838 in Perry County, Tennessee; married 17 May 1859 in Missouri; died 29 Apr 1917 in Crawford County, Arkansas. ENGLISH

10. MIRANDA JANE BROWN: born 12 Jun 1842 in Searcy County, Arkansas; died 5 Feb 1912 in Crawford County, Arkansas. ENGLISH

11. JOSEPH CHRISTOPHER WOOD: born 21 Nov 1841 in Adair County, Missouri; married 3 Feb 1860; died 17 Dec 1927 in Van Buren, Crawford County, Arkansas. ENGLISH

12. LETITIA ANN MAYBERRY: born 18 Sep 1844 in Floyd County, Virginia; died 7 Jul 1926 in Uniontown, Crawford County, Arkansas. ENGLISH

13. ELIAS B. HAYS: born 28 Jan 1829 in Tennessee; married 8 Aug 1847 in Tippah County, Mississippi; died 5 Nov 1879 in Crawford County, Arkansas. ENGLISH

14. MARTHA FRANCIS CRUTCHER: born 8 Apr 1833 in Tippah County, Mississippi; died 20 Jan 1896 in Crawford County, Arkansas. ENGLISH

15. PETER BUELL or BENTON ALLEN: born 5 Nov 1811 in Ontario County, New York; married 28 Dec 1836 in Vigo County, Indiana; died 26 Sep 1901 in Cove, Polk County, Arkansas. ENGLISH

16. MARY ROWENA HOSKINS: born 15 Sep 1815 in New York; died 15 Mar 1885 in Cove, Polk County, Arkansas. Probably ENGLISH

Fourteen are predominantly English, or somewhere from the British Isles; two German. Based on Randy Seaver's forumla, that would be 87.5% English; 12.5% German.

And since I research my husband's families as well, here are his Sweet Sixteen He had only a single known German line.

1. WILLIAM FRANKLIN HADEN: born 30 Sep 1817 in Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky; married 16 Dec 1845 in Wilson's Creek, Greene County, Missouri; died 8 Sep 1880 in Ladonia, Fannin County, Texas. ENGLISH

2. MARY JANE PERKINS: born 14 Aug 1826 in prob Logan County, Kentucky; died 30 Jan 1918 in Ladonia, Fannin County, Texas. ENGLISH

3 Dr. ROBERT CHARLES HOLDERNESS: born 11 Oct 1827 in Caswell County, North Carolina; married 2 Nov 1854 in Calhoun County, Arkansas; died 2 Jun 1905 in Cumby, Hopkins County, Texas. ENGLISH

4. VIRGINIA ELIZABETH THOMAS: born 29 Apr 1836 in Danville, Pittsylvania County, Virginia; died 20 May 1894 in Cumby, Hopkins County, Texas. ENGLISH [Welsh]

5. ANDREW B. WHITE: born 20 Apr 1820 in Tennessee; married 1859; died 17 Nov 1881 in Fannin County, Texas. ENGLISH

6. SARAH C. WILLIAMS: born 9 Aug 1833 in St. Francois, Missouri; died 20 Oct 1914 in Commerce, Hunt County, Texas. ENGLISH

7. ROBERT THOMAS WISHARD: born 12 Nov 1829 in Shelby County, Indiana; married 16 Oct 1853 in Shelby County, Indiana; died 7 Apr 1907 in Ladonia, Fannin County, Texas. ENGLISH [Scot]

8. LAVINIA CARNEY: born 17 Nov 1830 in Ohio; died 20 Sep 1904 in Ladonia, Fannin County, Texas. ENGLISH [Irish]

9. ANDREW PIPPIN: born 1 Mar 1825 in Jackson County, Tennessee; married abt 1845 in Jackson County, Tennessee; died 9 Jan 1913 in Jackson County, Tennessee. ENGLISH

10. MARY "MOLLIE" GOOLSBY: born abt 1826 in Jackson County, Tennessee; died abt 1870 in Jackson County, Tennessee. ENGLISH

11. LEROY W. DENNIS: born 8 Aug 1844 in Jackson County, Tennessee; married 1866; died 22 Nov 1923 in Jackson County, Tennessee. ENGLISH

12. MARY ANN BEAN: born 26 Oct 1844 in Jackson County, Tennessee; died 14 Aug 1921, Jackson County, Tennessee. ENGLISH

13. ABRAHAM KELLAR FRY: born 10 Dec 1797 in Bourbon County, Kentucky; married 26 Nov 1826 in Ralls County, Missouri; died 3 Dec 1860 in Ladonia, Fannin County, Texas. GERMAN

14. SARAH A. B. "SALLY" MCFALL: born 18 Feb 1804 in Logan County, Kentucky; died 18 Oct 1901 in Ladonia, Fannin County, Texas. ENGLISH [Scot]

15. THOMAS HIGGINBOTHAM: born abt 1820 in Dallas County, Alabama; married 1845; died aft 1880, Texas. ENGLISH

16. LOUISA MCGOWAN: born 1830 in Mississippi; died bet 1870 and 1880, Texas. ENGLISH [Scot or Irish]

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Comstock Family - OOPS; Part 1, Was she Elizabeth DANIEL?

Often in research, we find well regarded genealogies complete with extensive notes and sources, yet containing errors. When such a body of work covers a long time span and hundreds of persons, typos happen, and mistakes creep in. Some errors are perpetuated many times over. We can also assume that some of the research done by authors and compilers does not appear in the final product.

The Comstock family has been blessed with several books, in particular, two compiled by Cyrus B. Comstock [1831-1910], Some Descendants of Samuel Comstock of Providence RI, who died about 1660, (New York, The Knickerbocker Press, 1905), and A Comstock Genealogy; Descendants of William Comstock of New London, Conn. who died after 1662. Ten Generations, (New York: The Knickerbocker Press, 1907). Cyrus was a descendant of the immigrant William Comstock's son Samuel who settled in Providence.

Ernest Bernard Comstock [1879-1956] compiled a successor to the William Comstock book by C. B. Comstock, entitled The Comstock family in America : ten generations of the descendants of William Comstock of Wethersfield, Connecticut, 1636, our immediate line with descendants of Solomon Comstock of Hartwick, N.Y., 1766-1845 (Washington DC: 1938) E. B. Comstock was a descendant of William's son Christopher.

John Adams Comstock [1881-1970] of Del Mar, California, compiled A History and Genealogy of the Comstock Family in America, (Los Angeles, CA: The Commonwealth Press, Inc., 1949). He was descended from the immigrant William Comstock's son Daniel. John A. Comstock used much material from the previous two books by C. B. Comstock, E. B. Comstock's research, as well as extensive correspondence with Comstock descendants throughout the United States. John A. Comstock also made extensive use of a correspondence collection of Samuel Willett Comstock [1865- d. unk] who had apparently intended to compile a genealogy but never got it done. Throughout John A.'s book one finds notes referring to Samuel W.'s research. Samuel W. was a descendant of the immigrant William Comstock's son Christopher. Samuel W. Comstock in turn was in possession of a collection of letters from Noah Durham Comstock [1832-1890] who was also Cyrus B. Comstock's brother-in-law having married Cyrus B.'s sister Ellen. Both Cyrus B. and Noah D., distant cousins as well as brothers-in-law, were descendants of Samuel Comstock, son of the immigrant William, who settled in Providence, RI. (The book on Samuel Comstock by C. B. Comstock, 1905, has the following note on p.4, "Mr. Noah D. Comstock of Arcadia, Wis., collected prior to his death in 1890 a large amount of information in reference to the Comstock family, which has been used.") The correspondence and many notes by both Samuel W. and John A. Comstock are in the manuscript collection of the New England Historical and Genealogical Society in Boston, which I viewed in the fall of 2008. It is obvious that all of these Comstock researchers have depended on much of the same material.

The genealogies are particularly incomplete in dealing with the wives of the earliest Comstocks and I was looking for additional information.

William Comstock immigrated sometime between 1636 and 1640 to Wethersfield, CT. Presumably his wife Elizabeth and his children [the last may have been born in New England after their arrival] came with William. The children have been identified, either by proof documents or close association, as John, Samuel, Daniel, Elizabeth, and Christopher.

Elizabeth, the wife, is most often identified as Elizabeth Daniels, possibly a daughter of a Henry Daniels. Her surname is not given in all of the books above. That her given name was Elizabeth is from a court record that stated Elizabeth Comstock was aged 55 in 1663, which would give her a birth year of 1608.
History of New London, Quintin Publication, WorldVitalRecords online.
Quoted in E. B. Comstock's, The Comstock Family in America, 1938
"25 Jan 1659. William Comstock of New London deeded 8 acres in New London to Will Houge, carpenter, with consent of wife Elizabeth." C. B. Comstock also quotes from the deed as "with the consent of my now wife Elizabeth". Some current researchers have interpreted this to mean that William Comstock had more than one wife, but the expression "my now wife" in legal terms in this time frame in New England only meant the wife, not necessarily that there had been more than one.

Unfortunately I found nothing conclusive about whether or not Elizabeth was a Daniel/Daniels. There is nothing to show whether or not she was the mother of all the children of William. But here are the results of my research.

A footnote from John A. Comstock's book:
From John A. Comstock, The Comstock Family in America
(*)In "History of The National Society of Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America" for the fifteenth year, ending May 13, 1913, Mary Ella Comstock (Mrs. Carl J. Vietz) gives the wife of William1 Comstock as "Elizabeth Daniel."

Notes found in the John A. Comstock Manuscript Collection at NEHGS on Elizabeth, wife of William Comstock, reveal a bit more about this reference and a bit of research on the Daniel family:
Robert Daniel and his wife, Elizabeth, came to Watertown, MA in 1636 and were early inhabitants of Cambridge, MA. About 1638, he purchased of Thomas Blodgett, a house and land on the westerly side of Garden Street, which he sold about 1645 to Nicholas Wyeth. Elizabeth died 2 Oct 1653 and Robert remarried the next year. He died 6 Jul 1655, aged about 63 years [born 1592]
Elizabeth Daniel, daughter of Robert & Elizabeth, married Thomas Fanning 17 May 1655 and died in 1689.
Bib: Genealogical Register of Sherborn & Holliston, Morse, 1856
History of Cambridge, Paige, 1877, p.532
Ancestral Heads of New England Families, Holmes, 1923
Pioneers of Massachusetts, Pope, 1900
Note: Elizabeth, wife of Robert Daniel, was the daughter of Samuel & Elizabeth Morse. Compendium of American Genealogy, Vol VI, Virkus, 1937
Note: According to Three Hundred Colonial Ancestors, Rixford, 1934, and History of the National Society of Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America, for the Fifteenth Year, ending May 13, 1913, the wife of William Comstock was Elizabeth Daniel. If so, she may have been a sister of Robert. The names Daniel and Daniels seem to have been confused in early records. A John Daniels was in New London in 1672.

In John A. Comstock's manuscript file, but written by Samuel Willett Comstock. Samuel W. had copied the lineage of Mary Ella Comstock.
From History of the National Society of Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America For the Fifteenth Year Ending May 13, 1913I
Mary Ella Comstock, [Mrs. Carl J. Viets]
Born in East Lime, Connecticut
Descendant of William Comstock, through the Revolutionary ancestor, Peter Comstock, born of Connecticut as follows:
2. William H. Comstock [Mch 20, 1819 - Feb 24, 1895] and
Eliza Ann Comstock [Feb 22, 1821 - Dec 4, 1876]
3. Peter Comstock [Dec 5, 1779 - Oct 29, 1862] and
Sally Warren [1785 - Aug 20,1830]
4. Peter Comstock [1731 - apr 3, 1803] and
Sarah Myrick [1754 - Aug 9, 1826], his second wife
5. Peter Comstock [Mar 4 1702 - 1742] and
Martha Avery [1707 - ]
6. Daniel Comstock [1669 - Apr 25, 1746] and
Elizabeth Prentis [m. May 3, 1700]
7. Daniel Comstock [abt 1630 - 1683] and
Paltiah Elderkin
8. William Comstock [abt 1590 - after 1662].
Elizabeth Daniel*
[note the period following next to last line and omission of the word "and"- AWB
*spelled without the "s"

William Comstock [abt 1590 - aft 1662] a native of England settled in Wethersfield, Conn. before 1641. He was granted a lot in Pequot [New London] in 1647 and built a corn mill there in 1650. In 1662 he is mentioned as an "old man" and chosen sexton to "order the youth in the meeting"
Peter Comstock [1731-1803] served as Captain in the Continental Army and was at Fort Turnbull when New London was burnt. He was born and died Montville, Conn.
[This reads like a typical lineage society application - the lineage given and the service of the "Founder - William Comstock" and the "Patriot - Peter Comstock". In this early day lineage societies did not require the level of proof that they do now. There is no indication where Mrs. Vietz got her information.]

In the left margin is written:
The authority quoted in "Three Hundred Colonial Ancestors," Rixford, 1934
3912 Rittenhouse St. NW
Washington, DC

In the right margin: (There was a John Daniels in New London in 1662) AWB

I was intrigued by the initials AWB, or A. W. Barnes, who seemed concerned about the spelling of Daniel/Daniels and made these margin notes, so I found out who he was.

John A. Comstock's The Comstock Family in America has a reference to Lt. Comm. Archy Wright Barnes [AWB] whose residence was given as the above address in Washington DC. He was listed as the grandson of Ellen Comstock who married Thomas Jefferson Wright, 10 Oct 1839. Ellen was an 8th generation descendant of William Comstock through his son Daniel. Ellen Comstock Wright was born 1821, died 1887. There were no dates for A. W. Barnes.
I also looked for Mary Ella Comstock, whose application is above. She was also in the Comstock book as a daughter of William H. H. Comstock [1819-1895] & Eliza Ann Smith. She married Carl J. Vietz and resided at Niatic River, Waterford, CT. Mary Ella was an 8th generation descendant of William, also through his son Daniel. No dates given for Mary Ella Comstock Vietz.

I had brief correspondence with Ms. Lee Daniels in 2002. Her ancestors were John Daniels, b. abt 1640 in Weymouth, England who moved to New London in 1666 and married Mary Chappell of New London [apparently the John Daniels discovered by the Comstock researchers]. Mary's sister was Abigail Chappell who married John Comstock, son of William & Elizabeth Comstock. She had found a Henry Daniel in Much Hadem who had a daughter Elizabeth Daniels, born 8 Jan 1607/08 at Culmstock, Devon, England. She believed William Comstock was also from Devonshire and they had married circa 1622. Henry Daniel was born 1582 at Much Hadem, the son of John Daniel & Elizabeth Pebite of Kelshall, Hertford, England.

Now there is in Devonshire, England, a village called Culmstock. There is evidence of a Colmstoke family in the area as early as 1325 and since many English surnames derive from place names, there is quite possibly a connection. However, C. B. Comstock did not find evidence of a family for William Comstock in Parish records, although he found many Comstock names. William is given no date of birth in most of the books above, although John A. Comstock did estimate a birth year of 1595. There is rampant on the Internet the date, 4 Jul 1595, for William's birth, at Culmstock without any source. And I did find this:
"There is actually a Baptism at St. Martin in the Fields, London, for a William Comstock on this date. There is no proof this is the same man. In fact, at St. Martin in the Fields there is also a William Comstock buried there, 20 May 1598, which is much more likely this child." From Ancestry of Colonel John Harrington Stevens & Frances Helen Miller by Mary Lovering Holman, 1948.