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Lineage: Patience7, Valentine6, John5, George4, John3, Edward2, John1

  WIGHTMAN, c.1536-1841
Related Families: Haytor | Darbye | Updike | Bentley | Jamain | Cole

Migration:  Leicestershire, ENG>Washington Co., RI


        (1)  John Wightman, born about 1536 probably in Burbage, Leicestershire, England, died before 3 June 1580 in Burton-On-Trent, England; he married Mawdlin Haytor, whose baptism record listed her as a widow in 3 June 1580 in Burton-On-Trent parish records.  Parents of:

        (2)  Edward Wightman, born on 20 December 1566 in Burbage, Leicestershire, England, died 9 March 1612 in Lichfield, Staffordshire, England.  He married Francis Darbye.
        Edward was a minister of the Six-Principle Baptist Church, which later became the faith of the first church founded in Rhode Island and the first Baptist church organized in America, the old First Baptist Church of Providence, founded 1638, of which Roger Williams was founder.
        Being a non-conformist of the radical wing, the Separatists, he was destined to be persecuted. In the Spring of 1611 he was condemned to burn at the stake in the following Spring on the 9th March 1612, this through awarrant issued by King James.  The drawing at right is an artist's rendering of Edward's burning in the Market Square.
        Edward was reportedly the last person punished in such a manor in England.


Doctrines & Beliefs of Edward Wightman
as drawn from the Commission & Warrant for his execution 
  • That there is not the trinity of persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, in the unity of the Deity.
  • That Jesus Christ is not the true natural Son of God, perfect God, and of the same substance, eternity and majesty with the Father in respect of his Godhead.
  • That Jesus Christ is only man and a mere creature, and not both God and man in one person.
  • That Christ, our Savior, took not human flesh of the substance of the Virgin Mary his Mother; and that, that Promise, 'The Seed of the Woman shall break the serpent's head,' was not fulfilled in Christ.
  • That the person of the Holy Ghost is not God coequal, coeternal, and coessential with the Father and the Son.
  • That the three creeds, The Apostles Creed, The Nicene Creed, and Athanasius's Creed, are the heresies of the Nicolaitanes.
  • That he the said Edward Wightman is that prophet spoken of in the eighteenth of Deuteronomy in these words, 'I will raise them up a prophet,' &c. And that, that place of Isaiah, 'I alone, have trodden the winepress;' and that place, 'Whose fan is in his hand,' are proper and personal to him, the said Edward Wightman.
  • And that he the said Wightman is that person of the Holy Ghost spoken of in the Scriptures; and the Comforter spoken of in the 16th of St. John's Gospel.
  • And that those words of our Savior Christ of the Sin of Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, are meant of his person.
  • And that, that place, the fourth of Malachi, of Elias to come, is likewise meant of his person.
  • That the soul doth sleep in the sleep of the first death, as well as the body, and is mortal as touching the sleep of the first death, as the body is; and that the soul of our Savior Jesus Christ did sleep in that sleep of death as well as his body.
  • That the souls of the elect saints departed, are not members possessed of the triumphant Church in Heaven.
  • That the baptizing of infants is an abominable custom.
  • That there ought not to be in the church the use of the Lord's Supper to be celebrated in the Elements of breath and Wine; and the use of Baptism to be celebrated in the Element of Water; as they are now practiced in the Church of England; but that the use of Baptism is to be administered in water, only to converts of sufficient age of understanding, converted from infidelity to the faith.
  • That God hath ordained and sent him, the said Edward Wightman, to perform his part in the work of the Salvation of the world, to deliver it by his teaching, or admonition, from the heresy of the Nicolaitanes; as Christ was ordained and sent to save the world, and by his death to deliver it from sin, and to reconcile it to God.
  • And that Christianity is not wholly professed and preached in the Church of England, but only in part.



        (3)  John Wightman, born 7 January 1598, died in 1669 in Wickford, Washington Co., Rhode Island.  He was father of:

        (4)  George Wightman, born 4 November 1632 in England, died about 1 February 1721/1722 in North Kingstown, Washington Co., Rhode Island; married Elizabeth Updike, born about July 1644 in New Amsterdam (New York City), New York, where she was baptized on 27 July 1644 in New Amsterdam (New York).  She died about 1715 in Quidnesset, Rhode Island.

        (5)  John Wightman, born 16 April 1674 in North Kingstown, Washington Co., Rhode Island, died about April 1750 in Exeter, Washington Co., Rhode Island.  He married Jane Bentley, born in 1683 in Kingston, Rhode Island.  Jane was the daughter of William Bentley, a currier, who had come from England on the ship Arabella, sailing from Gravesend on 27 May 1671. William died in 1720.  Her mother's family name may have been Leithfield.
        John Wightman, yeoman, lived on the so-called Great Plaine in the northern part of Kingstowne. His homestead, a tract of about three hundred acres, was inherited from his father under the latter's will, proved 2 February 1722, but he had probably lived there since his marriage in 1700. Following the division of the town in 1722 into North and South Kingstown, this three hundred acre tract fell within the limits of the former; and when in 1742/1743 the western part of North Kingstown was set off as Exeter, the farm was crossed by the dividing line, the greater part lying in Exeter, being located about two miles northwest of the present [1939] station of Slocums. He acquired other parcels of land by purchase, and established his two oldest sons, John, Jr. and James on farms, the latter being taken off from the homestead.
        The records show him serving office on the Town Council; he was Overseer of the Poor; and was Town Treasurer in North Kingstown from 1729 until the division of the town in 1743. In 1724 he was administrator of the estate of his brother, Samuel Wightman, and was guardian of the latter's heir, a minor, as late as 1727. He also served for a time as guardian of the widow Sarah Wightman. "Guardian" in this context means someone charged with looking after the property rights of a minor, widow, etc., not a substitute parent as we might interpret the word today.
        John Wightman was a Baptist, his name and that of Jane, his first wife, appearing in the membership of the rural Six-Principle Baptist Church, called Stony Lane Church, situated about five miles to the northeast in North Kingstown. He lived to see his second son, James, installed as pastor of this church about 1740, some ten years before John's death. He was one of the signers of a Petition from the Association of Baptist Churches meeting with this North Kingstown Church, 8 September 1729, praying the General Court in Connecticut for exemption from unjust taxation for the Baptist Churches there.
        The 300-acre homestead passed to the oldest son, John, the farm of 112 acres taken off in 1732 and deeded to the second son, James, having been deeded back to the estate when the latter removed to East Greenwich. John sold this homestead in two parts: the 112-acre tract to Samuel A. Boone, and 1688 acres to Ezekiel Gardner.

        (6)  Valentine Wightman, born in 1717 in North Kingstown, Washington Co., Rhode Island, died in December 1786 in North Kingstown, Washington Co., Rhode Island.
        Valentine Wightman left home when a young man, finding employment in South Kingstown, which was his residence at the time of his marriage. He was married to Rebecca Jamain in Newport by Rev. Nicholas Eyres, assistant pastor of the Second Baptist Church of which his own uncle, Rev. Daniel Wightman, was the pastor. In the marriage record his wife's family name (hardly legible) appears to be Jayman (Newport rec., Vol. I). It seems probable that her name was Jamain but spelled phonetically in the record as it had come to be pronounced.
        Rebecca Jamain was born in 1720 probably in Newport, Rhode Island.  In 1686, a colony of French Huguenots, comprising 45 families from western Normandy, emigrated to America and located in Rhode Island. Purchasing some 5000 acres of Narragansett lands in the southeastern part of East Greenwich from the Atherton Land Co., they allotted their farms, planted trees and hedgerows and began raising crops. The venture proved an unhappy one. Speaking a foreign tongue, clanishly serving their own interests within their own domain, and particularly keeping to some of the forms of their ancient religion, especially the altar, they were held in suspicion, and friction developed. In 1687, Gov. Andrus tried to settle the aggravating contention over meadows and hay, but disaffection grew, and by 1692 most of them had left. As they were originally largely of the merchant class, they went to New York, Boston, and some to Newport.
        Among these Huguenot families was one by the name of Jamain, the head of which was Etienne (Stephen) Jamain. As the dispersion of the Jamain family took place some 28 years before Rebecca Jamain's birth, she was probably a granddaughter; but nothing is known of her immediate parentage.
        Following marriage, Valentine and Rebecca located in Wickford, and in 1770 were living on the post road "between Lodowyck Updike's gate and Boone's Mill" (town meeting records). In the census of 1774 Valentine is shown as head of a household comprising eight males over sixteen, suggesting that Valentine may have been a tailor with apprentices, or an innkeeper. In 1782 (R. I. Census) his household numbered three females between twenty-two and fifty, besides himself and wife.
        Both Valentine and Rebecca were members of Stony Lane Baptist Church, located two miles north and west from their corner on the post road, their names appearing in the membership list of 3 July 1766. The pastor of this Church was Valentine's brother, Rev. James Wightman. In 1784 they were residents of Exeter, but called "of No. Kingstown" (town meeting records). Valentine died in North Kingstown two years later. As he left no will, the "son John" was appointed administrator on 22 December 1786, with his brother Paul and brother-in-law Benjamin Cole as bondsmen (No. Kings. Prob., xii, 56). The inventory, filling a page, is entirely illegible.
        Their descendants in several branches of the Wightman family changed their name to Whitman. His daughter Patience adopted the name Whitman later in life, and changed her son's name to Whitman "Whit" Valentine Cole.
        Rebecca was living in Exeter, Rhode Island in 1784, but that is the last record of her.
        Valentine and Rebecca were parents of:

  1. Patience "Patty" Martha Wightman, born 15 May 1759 in North Kingstown, Washington Co., Rhode Island, died 21 December 1841 in Hebron, Washington Co., New York; married on 18 November 1783 in North Kingstown, Washington Co., Rhode Island, Benjamin Cole, born on 18 November 1751 in North Kingstown, Washington Co., Rhode Island.

© Mark A. Wentling, 2000
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