An American Family History

William Estey


"[L]iberty must at all hazards be supported.
We have a right to it, derived from our Maker.
But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us,
at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood."

-- John Adams, 1765



Various spellings of Estey
Easte, Este, Estee, Estes, Estey, Esty


The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) was between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the 13 colonies which became the newly formed United States.

Early American Colonists and pioneers had to make everything necessary for daily life and skilled craftsmen were essential.

William Estey was born on August 2, 1748 in Topsfield, Essex County. Massachusetts. His parents were Aaron Estey and Esther Richards.

William served in the Revolution. He served in Joseph Gould's Company. He was also in Captain John Dodge's company, Colonel Jacob Gerrish's regiment of guards. He enlisted in that company on November 12, 1777 and served until April 3, 1778. He was at Cambridge and Charlestown. He was a sergeant in the same company and regiment according to the muster roll for February, 1778. At Winter Hill his company detached from the militia to guard Lieutenant General Burgoyne's army.

He married Phoebe Dwinnell. She was born in Topsfield in 1755 and was the daughter of Jacob Dwinnell and Kesiah Gould.

They moved from Topsfield to Keene and lived on Beech Hill. Their first six children were born in Topsfield and the last six in Keene.

William and Phoebe's children included:

Ruth Estey Evelith (1774, married Stephen Eveleth),
Phoebe Estey Bane Tenney (1776, married Bane or Bean and Nathan Tenney),
William Estey (1777, married Sally Blake),
Deborah Estey Kimball (1779, married Benjamin Kimball- son of Jacob, Richard, John, Richard, Richard),
John Dwinnell Esty (1781, married Betsy Howard),
Dorothy Estey Poole (1784),
Aaron Estey (1786),
David Estey (1788, married Mary Keith),
Nancy Estey Crandall (1791, married Joel Crandall),
Solomon Estey (1793, married Clarissa Tasker),
Fanny Estey Davis (1796, married Isaac Davis), and
Jacob Estey (1798, married Sophia Brown).

At the time of the 1790 census they were living in Keene.

William died on November 17, 1819 in Keene, New Hampshire and Phebe followed on February 18, 1835.

Shays's Rebellion was an armed uprising in Massachusetts in 1786 and 1787. Daniel Shays led four thousand rebels (Shaysites) in rising up against perceived economic injustices.

Daniel Shays and Job Shattuck
from Bickerstaff's Boston Almanack
Children of Aaron Estey
& Esther Richards
  • Isaac Estey
  • Aaron Estey
  • Hannah Estey Towne
  • Mary Estey Dwinnell
  • Isaac Estey
  • Abigail Estey
  • Esther Estey
  • William Estey
  • Daniel Estey
  • Esther Estey Balch
  • Aaron Estey
  • William Estey
  • Three daughters of William Towne and Joanna Blessing were wrongly accused of practicing witchcraft in Salem. Rebecca Towne Nurse, Mary Towne Estey, and Sarah Towne Bridges Cloyes were persecuted in 1692. The children of people in the line below are all descendants of Mary Estey.

    William Towne,
    Mary Towne Estey,
    Isaac Estey,
    Aaron Estey
    Mary Estey Dwinnell
    Israel Dwinnell,
    Isaac Davis Dwinnell, Sr.,
    Isaac Davis Dwinnell, Jr.
    Victoria Zellena Dwinnell
    Robert Wilson Miller, Sr
    Robert Wilson Miller, Jr.
    Keene, Cheshire County, New Hampshire was settled after 1736 and was a fort protecting Massachusetts during the French and Indian Wars. It was called Upper Ashuelot. When New Hampshire separated from Massachusetts in 1741 it became Keene, New Hampshire. During King George's War, the village was attacked and burned.

    The settlement of New Meadows was incorporated as the Town of Topsfield in 1650. The church "gathered" on November 4, 1663. The third Meeting House was built in 1703 with Rev. Joseph Capen as pastor.

    New Hampshire was first settled by Europeans in 1623. It was separated from Massachusetts in 1679.



    from Genealogies by Josiah Lafayette Seward

    . . .William Esty, son of Aaron. William Esty moved from Topsfield to Keene, and lived on Beech Hill, next farm south of the Koswell Nims farm, now owned by Louis A. and Fred C. Nims. The old Esty house, occupied after the Estys, by the Keiths, Howards, and others, is not now standing. William Esty d. in Keene, Nov. 14, 1819, ae 72.

    He m. Phebe Dwinell. They had twelve children, the first six of whom were born in Topsfield, Mass., the last six in Keene. They were Ruth, Phebe, William, Deborah, John D., Dorothy, Aaron, David, Nancy Ann, Solomon, Fann6, and Jacob D. Their births are given in the Vital Statistics of Keene.


    John Dwinnell Esty son of William, V., and Phebe (Dwinell or Dwinnell) Esty, b. in Topsfield, Mass., Aug. 2, 1781 (bap. there, Aug. 12, 1781; d. in Groton, N. H., May 3, 1867; came to Keene with his parents about 1784; lived in Keene, Sullivan, and the state of Vermont, and finally went to live with his ch. in Groton, N. H.

    In S[ullivan], he lived at 156, from 1812 until 1819. He built the only house on that place and removed it, no one ever living there but himself.

    He m. in Keene, by Rev. A. Hall, Feb. 1, 1809, Betsey Howard (sometimes spelled Hayward or Heywood), a dau. of William Howard of Stoddard, who began the farm where Heman Jenkins and Asa Davis, Jr., lived in the latter half of the nineeenth century. Betsey's mother's first name was Thomassine (usually written "Tamsin "), if we correctly decipher the chirography. We have not found the places and dates of the birth and the death of Betsey.

    They had nine ch.:
    1. Avis, b. in Keene (?), about 1809; d. in Keene, Oct. 28, 1812;
    2. John, b. in Keene, Mar. 17, 1811;
    3. Maria, b. in S., at 156, Aug. 19, 1813;
    4. Nelson, b. in S., at 156, Aug. 1, 1815; d. in Groton, N. II., num., May 24, 1889;
    5. Mary Ann, 4, b. in S., at 156, Mar. 25, 1817 ;
    6. William, 5, b. in S., at 156, Apr. 7, 1818;
    7. Laura, b. in Vermont, Sept. 13, 1820; d. in Groton, N. H., unm., Sept. 12, 1889:
    8. Dauphin (by himself always misspelled Dorphin), b. in Vermont, Mar. 9, 1822:
    9. Caroline, b. in Vermont, May 25, 1827; d. in Lyme, N. H., unm., Aug. 2, 1906.

    During Shays' Rebellion the rebels were mostly farmers angered by excessive debt and taxes. Failure to repay debts could resulted in imprisonment in debtor's prison or the state claiming property.

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    ©Roberta Tuller 2020
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