Samuel Wilbore

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Samuel Wilbore
Born c. 1595
Sible Hedingham, Essex, England
Died 29 September 1656
Boston, Massachusetts
Other names Samuel Wilbur
Samuel Wildbore
Education Sufficient to sign documents
Occupation Assessor, constable, sergeant
Spouse(s) Ann Smith
Elizabeth (_______) Lechford
Children Samuel, Arthur, William, Joseph, Shadrach
Parent(s) Nicholas Wilbore and Elizabeth Thickines

Samuel Wilbore (c. 1595–1656) was one of the founding settlers of Portsmouth in the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. He emigrated from Essex, England to Boston with his wife and three sons in 1633. He and his wife both joined the Boston church, but a theological controversy began to cause dissension in the church and community in 1636, and Wilbore aligned himself with John Wheelwright and Anne Hutchinson, signing a petition in support of dissident minister Wheelwright. In so doing, he and many others were disarmed and dismissed from the Boston church. In March 1638, he was one of 23 individuals who signed a compact to establish a new government, and this group purchased Rhode Island from the Narragansett Indians at the urging of Roger Williams, establishing the settlement of Portsmouth.

Soon after settling in Portsmouth, Wilbore repudiated the petition in support of Wheelwright and was thus permitted to return to the Massachusetts colony. He had returned to Boston by 1645, but he also owned property and resided in Taunton within the Plymouth Colony. He was living in Taunton when he wrote his will in April 1656, but was he living in Boston when he died the following September. His will distributed to his three sons all his land holdings in Boston, Taunton, and Portsmouth. Most of his Rhode Island descendants spell their name Wilbur.


Samuel Wilbore was born by about 1595,[1] the son of Nicholas Wilbore of Braintree and Sible Hedingham, both in Essex, England. Samuel's mother was Elizabeth Thickines; she had first married Robert Harrington, the vicar of Sible Hedingham, who died in 1594.[2]

Samuel Wilbore married Ann Smith in January 1620 in Sible Hedingham, and all five of their children were baptized there from 1622 to 1631,[3] but their two sons Arthur and William died in infancy in England. The couple sailed to New England around 1633 with their three surviving sons Samuel, Joseph, and Shadrach.[3]

Portsmouth Compact with Wilbore's signature sixth on the list

Wilbore arrived with his family in Boston in the Massachusetts Bay Colony where he was made a freeman in March 1633.[4] He and his wife were both admitted as members of the Boston church in December 1633, and the following November he was an assessor of taxes.[4] In 1636, a major theological rift divided the colony, often called the Antinomian Controversy. Wilbore became attracted to the preachings of dissident minister John Wheelwright, along with the teachings of Anne Hutchinson, and he signed a petition in support of Wheelwright.[3]

Wheelwright, Hutchinson, and others were eventually banished from the Massachusetts colony. Wilbore and many other followers were disarmed on 20 November 1637 when he and others were ordered to deliver up all guns, pistols, swords, powder, and shot because the "opinions and revelations of Mr. Wheelwright and Mrs. Hutchinson have seduced and led into dangerous errors many of the people here in New England."[4] Scores of the followers of Wheelwright and Hutchinson were ordered out of the Massachusetts colony but, before leaving, a group of them signed the Portsmouth Compact on 7 March 1638 before leaving Boston, agreeing to form a non-sectarian government that was Christian in character.[5]

The group of signers considered going to New Netherland, but Roger Williams suggested that they purchase some land on the Narragansett Bay from the Narragansett Indians. They purchased Aquidneck Island, which was called Rhode Island at the time, and formed the settlement of Pocasset there, which was renamed Portsmouth in 1639.[6]

Wilbore was in Portsmouth by May 1638 when he was present at a general meeting, and the following month he was given the military role as clerk of the Train Band.[7] The following January, he was selected as constable, and he was allotted about two acres of land in the Great Cove a month later.[7] In 1641, he became a freeman of Portsmouth, and was selected as Sergeant in 1644.[7]

In May 1639, Wilbore repudiated his signature to the Wheelwright petition,[3] and was thereafter allowed to return to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He returned to Boston around 1645, and his second wife Elizabeth was received into the Boston church in November.[7] In May 1648, he was called of Taunton[1] (in the Plymouth Colony); he continued to own land there, in Portsmouth, and in Boston.[7] In 1655, he was again in Portsmouth, but he was living in Taunton when he wrote his will in April 1656.[7] His death, however, was recorded in Boston on 29 November 1656.[1]

Family and descendants[edit]

Samuel Wilbore was a cousin of William Wilbore, another early settler of Portsmouth, Rhode Island.[3].

His son Samuel Jr. was named in Rhode Island's Royal Charter of 1663,[8] and he was one of the original purchasers of Pettaquanscutt (later South Kingstown, Rhode Island). He married Hannah Porter, the daughter of John Porter, another signer of the Portsmouth Compact and purchaser of the Pettaquamscutt lands.[4] Their daughter Abigail married Caleb Arnold, the son of colonial governor Benedict Arnold; their daughter Hannah married Latham Clarke, the son of colonial President Jeremy Clarke and his wife Frances Latham.[9]

Notable descendants of Samuel Wilbore include Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry,[10] American hero of the Great Lakes during the War of 1812; his younger brother Commodore Matthew C. Perry,[10] who compelled the opening of Japan to the West with the Convention of Kanagawa in 1854; and Stephen Arnold Douglas[11] who debated Abraham Lincoln in 1858 before a senate race and later lost to him in the 1860 presidential election. Rhode Island colonial Deputy Governor George Hazard is also a descendant.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Anderson 1995, p. 1987.
  2. ^ Wilbour 1959, p. 98.
  3. ^ a b c d e Anderson 1995, p. 1988.
  4. ^ a b c d Austin 1887, p. 227.
  5. ^ Bicknell 1920, p. 992.
  6. ^ Bicknell 1920, pp. 992-3.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Austin 1887, p. 228.
  8. ^ Laws of Nature.
  9. ^ Austin 1887, p. 243.
  10. ^ a b Arnold 1935, p. 90.
  11. ^ Arnold 1935, p. 274.


Online sources

External links[edit]