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.

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