The Whitney family of New Bedford, of which the late Amasa Whitney, one of the well known citizens of that place, was a worthy member, is one of the oldest and best known of the early families of America. Its members in every generation here from the Colonial ancestor have been noted for high attainments, vigorous intellect and the qualities which make for influential citizenship. Notable among the descendants of John Whitney, the emigrant ancestor, are Eli Whitney, whose fame as the inventor of the cotton gin and no less in other lines has won a place in the hall of fame; the late William Collins Whitney, lawyer and politician, famous as corporation counsel of New York City and secretary of war, 1885-89; and Henry M. Whitney, of Boston – illustrious names Which have added to the glory of their country as well as to the fame of an honored race.
This is a collection of 192 free town vital records books, otherwise known as “Tan Books” for Massachusetts towns. Generally these records go up to 1849/1850 at which, the genealogist can use the census records to assist in identifying the family connections further. Included with this article is an account of why and how these manuscripts were published.
In the following information all the names, dates and other essential particulars which appear in the returns to the Court in the County of Worcester during the entire period – a full half-century, from 1737 to 1788 – in which these entries were made, are given. The returns from each place have been brought together and arranged under the name of the town or district, in this case Bolton Massachusetts.
John Washburn, first of the name here, was an early settler in New England, and was a resident of Duxbury, Mass., before 1632, in which year he had an action in court against Edward Doten. He was named in the assessment of taxes in 1633, and in 1634 bought a place from Edward Bonparse known as “Eagle’s Nest.” He and his two sons, John and Philip, were included with those able to bear arms in 1643. He and his son John were original proprietors of Bridgewater, and they with the son Philip settled in the town as early as 1665. He died in Bridgewater before 1670.