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.