An American Family History

Rebecca Waters Whitcomb

A spinning wheel is a device for making thread or yarn. and was an essential part of Early American life. An unmarried woman would often take on the important job of spinning for the household, thus the term "spinster."

In early New England towns policy was set by a board of 3 to 5 selectmen. They oversaw public responsibilities such as the policing, roads, and fences.

It was common for bequests to include wearing apparel.

Rebecca Waters Whitcomb was born in February, 1643/44 in Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. Her parents were Lawrence Waters and Ann Linton.

She married Josiah Whitcomb on November 4, 1664 in Lancaster. Josiah was the son of John Whitcomb and Frances Coggan. He was born in 1638 in Dorchester, Massachusetts.

Josiah's brother, John Whitcomb, was drowned on April 7, 1683 in Lancaster.

Upon y 7th of April 1683 Lancaster A Jury of Inquest was Caled to give in their virdict concerning ye untimely death of John Whitcomb, we whose names are underwriten doe by what we understand by ye brother of ye deceased by name Jonathan Whitcomb and one more by name George huse who was standing on ye shore and saw how ye said John Whitcomb felle into ye water, do here unanimously give in our virdict thus, that ye sd John Whitcomb and Jonathan Whitcomb being bringing some hay over ye river upon two canooes indeavoring to pull them over by a rope which was fastned to a bough at ye river side, but ye cannooes sinking ye said John Whitcomh falling into ye river was by a providence of god drownded in pennecuk river this instant Aprill.

Rebecca and Josiah's children included:
Josiah Whitcomb (1665),
Josiah Whitcomb (1666),
David Whitcomb (1668, married Mary Hayward),
Rebecca Whitcomb Houghton (1671, married Jacob Houghton),
Johanna Whitcomb Joslin (1674, married Captain Peter Joslin),
Hezekiah Whitcomb (1681, married Rachael Priest and Hannah),
Deborah Whitcomb (1683),
Damaris Whitcomb Wilder (1786, married Nathaniel Wilder),
Mary Whitcomb, and
Abigail Whitcomb White (1687/88, married Josiah White).

In 1692, their daughter, Johanna Joslin, was killed by indigenous warriors.

During Queen Anne’s War they had a garrison in southeast Bolton.

Josiah died in 1718. Rebecca died in 1726.

Queen Anne ruled England and Great Britain from March 8, 1702 to August 1, 1714.
Children of Lawrence Waters
and Anna Linton
  • Lawrence Waters
  • Sarah Waters Skeath
  • Mary Waters Davis
  • Rebecca Waters
  • Daniel Waters
  • Stephen Waters
  • Rebecca Waters Whitcomb
  • Adam Waters
  • Joseph Waters
  • Jacob Waters
  • Rachel Waters
  • Samuel Waters
  • Joanna Waters
  • Ephraim Waters
  • Old Style Calendar
    Before 1752 the year began on Lady Day, March 25th,. Dates between January 1st and March 24th were at the end of the year. Old Style (O.S.) and New Style (N.S.) are used to indicate whether the year has been adjusted. Often both dates are used.
    Queen Ann’s War was between 1702 and 1713. It was part of the War of Spanish Succession. England, Austria, the Netherlands, and Portugal joined forces to prevent France from becoming too powerful. The war waged on the New England frontier was called Queen Ann’s War.

    ye is an archaic spelling of "the."
    During the Indian wars, some colonists were taken captive. They were killed, ransomed, or adopted into the tribe.
    A blockhouse or garrison house is a small, isolated fort. The typical blockhouse was two stories with the second story overhanging the first. It had small openings to allow residents to shoot attackers without being exposed.


    Estate inventories give us a glance into the home life of Colonial Americans.

    On the July 18, 1692, a party of the Indians attacked the house near Lancaster, Mass., of Peter Joslin and murdered his wife [Sarah Howe Joslin], three children, and a widow by the name of Whitcomb, who resided in the family. Joslin himself, at the time, was at work in the field, and knew nothing of the terrible calamity that had befallen him, till his return home. Elizabeth Howe, his wife's sister, was taken captive, but was afterwards returned. Another child, Peter, was savagely put to death by the Indians in the wilderness.

    One of the little boys in the morning requested leave to go into the field with his father, assigning as a reason that he had seen some red men in the hemp; but the father heeded him not. It was baking day with Mrs. Joslin, and she defended herself against the Indians with the bread-shovel, till she received a death blow from a tomahawk. Joslin returned home to find his wife and children barbarously murdered with tomahawks and weltering in their blood.

    Elizabeth Howe was spinning on the little wheel; and probably was spared on account of the sweet melody she was making with her voice. The Indians used to make her sing to them in her captivity.


    From The New England Historical and Genealogical Register

    John Whitcomb was an early settler of Dorchester, Mass., where he was a proprietor as early as 1636. About 1640 he removed to Scituate, and was admitted freeman of Plymouth Colony 3 June 1652. Two years later he removed to Lancaster, Mass., where he died 24 Sept. 1662, leaving a widow Frances, who died 17 May 1671.

    He left no will; and on 7 Oct. 1662 his widow Frances and "soe many of the children of the deceased as therin is concerned" petitioned the court to sanction a division of his estate upon which they had agreed. The petitioners were Frances Whitcomb, the widow, and the following children: John, Jonathan, Job, Josiah, Mary, and Abigail Whitcomb; but the wording of the petition indicates that the deceased left other children, who had doubtless received their portions in his lifetime. (Middlesex Probate Records, vol. 2, pp. 67-70.)

    i. Catherine, b. abt. 1624; m. at Scituate, 25 Dec. 1644, Rodolphus Ellmes, and had issue. She is not named in the division of her father's estate in 1662.
    ii. John, bapt. at Taunton, co. Somerset, 6 Aug. 1626.
    iii. Jonathan [Whitcomb], bapt. at Taunton, co. Somerset, 14 Sept. 1623.
    iv. Robert, bapt. at Taunton, co. Somerset, 20 Dec. 1629; living at Scituate in 1670; not named in the division of his father's estate in 1662.
    v. James, b. probably in 1632; d. 23 Nov. 1686; was of Boston; m. abt. 1661 Rebecca. Ten children. He is not named in the division of his father's estate in 1662.
    vi. Joane, bapt. at Taunton, co. Somerset, 18 May 1634.
    vii. Job, b. probably at Dorchester, Mass., abt. 1636.
    viii. Josiah [Whitcomb], b. at Dorchester in 1638.
    ix. Abigail, b. probably at Scituate abt. 1642.
    x. Mary, b. probably at Scituate abt. 1647

    Early European settlers in the American colonies were mostly farmers and craftsmen. They had to work hard to provide daily neccesities for themselves.

    Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County, Massachusetts,by Ellery Bicknell Crane published by Lewis Pub., 1907

    Josiah Whitcomb, son of John Whitcomb (i). was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, in 1638, and is believed to be the youngest son. He accompanied his father's family from Scituate to Lancaster in 1654, and his name appears variously in the records of Lancaster. In 1688 he received a bounty for killing a wolf. He was named in an action for damages for killing swine belonging to Stephen Gates.

    He married January 4, 1664, in Lancaster. Rebecca Waters, daughter of Lawrence and Ann (Linton) Waters, of Watertown, Lancaster and Charlestown. She was born February, 1640.

    During Queen Anne's war (1702-17) he was allowed a garrison for protection against the Indians. This garrison was situated in what is now called Bolton, set off from Lancaster in 1738. He lived in the southeastern part of Bolton. He was commander of the garrison.

    In 1705 he was selectman and in 1708 he and twenty-nine others signed the church covenant. In 1710 he was elected deputy to the general court. He died in 1718. In his will made March 20, 1718. he gave to each of his children one-eighth part of his right to land in Littleton. His widow died in 1726. His posterity is very numerous, thought to be the most numerous of the sons of John Whitcomb. There is a gravestone in the Bolton graveyard marking his burial place.

    His children were:
    1. Josiah. born November 12, 1665; died same day.
    2. Josiah. born January 7, 1667; married (first) 1690. Mary -; second Elizabeth; he died April 12, 7718; widow married (second), March 25, 1719, Jabez Fairbanks, of Lancaster, Massachusetts.
    3. David
    4. Rebecca, born November 12. 7671; married Jacob Houghton, 1704.
    5. Johannah. born March 8, 1674: married, December 26, 1708, Peter Joslin; died September 24,. 1717.
    6. Hezekiah. born September 14, 1681; married Hannah ; lived in Bolton, where he was prominent in the church, died previous to June 20, 1732; had eight children.
    7. Deborah, born December 26. 1683; probably died young.
    8. Damaris; married, in Marlboro, Nathaniel Wilder.
    9. Mary, named in father's will.
    10. Abigail, born March 13, 1687-8; married Josiah White, June 26, 1706. rt. Eunice.

    Scituate, Plymouth County, Massachusetts was settled in 1627 by Puritan colonists from Plymouth.