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George Wightman of Rhode Island

George Wightman was born November 4, 1632 in England (possibly London) and died 7 Jan 1721/2 in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. He married Elizabeth Updike, daughter of Gilbert and Katherine (Smith) Updike. Upon arrival to Rhode Island in 1654, they settled on a farm located on a tract that was purchased from Richard Smith in the Quidnesset section, north of Wickford near North Kingstown where they reared a family of five sons and three daughters. The land they purchased was handed down intact through six generations and was known for more than two hundred years as the Wightman Homestead.

During this time as Rhode Island was being settled, there were some land disputes among the various Companys, much confusion over property titles, and much difficulty for all settlers in Kings Province regarding their political allegiance. In 1669 George Wightman and others were arrested and taken to Hartford, CT because of their allegiance to the government of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. They were kept in jail some time.

On 25 July 1670 George Wightman appears assisting a neighbor, Samuel Dyer, witnessing an agreement on the part of Samuel Dyer and Henry Dyer "sons of William Dyer" to pay to their sister, Mary Dyer, "eldest daughter of William Dyer" £100 within three years. In 1671 an Oath of Allegiance was taken by those adhering to the jurisdiction of Rhode Island. George Wightman was among the number. On 6 May 1673 the Assembly elected George Wightman (together with others) freeman of Kings Province.

On 29 July 1679 George Wightman and forty-one others of Narragansett petitioned the King praying he "would put an end to these differences about the government thereof which has been so fatal to the prosperity of the place, animosities still arising in people's minds as they stand affected to this or that government." In 1686 George was elected Constable.

On 6 March 1687/8, Court met at Rochester "upon complaint to this court made by Robert Spink and others of the town of Rochester that several highways in said town are stopped up - it is ordered that the highway which leads from George Wightman's to the country road and comes out to the said road between the land of James Reynolds and John Briggs be forthwith laid open." On 14 September 1687 Court sitting at Rochester, members of the Grand Jury were sworn, George Wightman being one of the number.

The land records from Kingston (Town Hall at Wickford) do not begin until 1686. That George Wightman had acquired several parcels of land before that date is evident from later conveyances in his name as grantor and from his will. The deed to the Quidnessett homestead bears the date of May 1682 and the deed itself is kept in the town book. He possessed lands totalling some 2,000 acres. His "Great Bible", printed in 1587 in London is now owned by a direct descendant of his oldest grandson, George Wightman, to whom he himself bequeathed it.

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The will of George Wightman of Quidnessett, dated 26 April 1716, was presented for probate on 2 February 1722. The record of the will and codicil is now only partly legible. On 16 December 1870 an attempt to rob the bank at Wickford in which the town records for North Kingstown were kept, resulted in an explosion and fire in which the books were badly damaged. Not only were the margins of the pages charred and broken, but some pages were scorched entirely clean, and many pages are gone. Fortunately, George Wightman's will was transcribed from the town book by a Wightman descendant before the robbery.

To all Christian people before whom these presents shall come, I, George Wightman of Kingston, in the colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations in New England...

Know ye that the aforesaid George Wightman being aged and grown very weak in body yet through the mercy of God at present I have my perfect understanding Praised be God for it But not knowing how soon it may please God to call me out of this world, do make, ordaine and declare this Instrument in writing to be my last will and Testament in manner and form following, hereby revoking and making void all other Will or Wills by me heretofore made either by word or Writing.

Imprimis. I commit my soul to Almighty God and to my everblessed Savior, Jesus Christ, through whose merits and precious blood I hope to obtain the foregiveness of all my sins, and to obtain eternal life in the world to come, and my body to be buried in a decent manner by my Executor. And as to my outward and temporal Estate which the Lord has given me, I do hereby order, bequeath and dispose of as is Hereinafter mentioned.

Item. My will is that all my debts be truly and duly paid by my executor or Executors hereinafter mentioned in convenient time after my decease.

Item. I give and bequeath unto my son Daniel Wightman and the heirs lawfully begotten of his body, forever, all my farm and homestead herein at Quitnessit, with my house and barn and outhouses, orchards, fences, rights and privileges and appurtenances to the farm belonging or in any way appertaining (together) with the land I bought of James Green of Quitnessit also (to) be and remain unto the heirs lawfully begotten of his body Forever.

As for my son George Wightman, I have given him all the money which I had for the farm at Matunuck for to buy the farm where he, my son George Wightman now dwells.

Item. It is my will, although the deed of sale be made in my son George Wightman's name that the said farm and house, outhouses with all privileges and appurtenances to the same belonging or in any way appertaining to be and remain unto my son George Wightman, and the heirs lawfully begotten of his body forever.

Item. I give and bequeath to my son John Wightman three hundred acres of land where he now dwells with the house, outhouses, fences, orchards, rights, privileges and appurtenances to the same belonging or in any way appertaining to be and remain unto my said son John Wightman and the heirs lawfully begotten of his body forever.

Item. I give and bequeath to my son Samuel Wightman, Four Hundred acres of land which I bought of the committee of the colony of Rhode Island with the houses, outhouses, orchards and fences, rights and privilegs and appurtenances to the same belonging or in any ways appertaining to be and remain to my son Samuel Wightman and the heirs lawfully begotten of his body forever.

Item. I give and bequeath unto my son Valentine Wightman all the land I bought of Joseph Doliver Jun., deceased, the number of acres and bounds of the lands is mentioned in the deed of sale together with the privileges and appurtenances to the same belonging or in any way appertaining to be and remain to my son Valentine Wightman and to the heirs lawfully begotten of his body forever.

Item. I give and bequeath unto my son Daniel Wightman the remaining part of my land upon the great plain, bounded southerly upon the land of William Browning and Mr. Sewal, westerly upon the land of my son John Wightman, northerly upon the land belonging to the Gardners, easterly to the Hills, with the rights, privileges and appurtenances to the same belonging or in any ways appertaining to be and remain unto my son Daniel, and the heirs lawfully begotten of his body forever. I give also to my son Daniel my log chain, four chain boxes and two pairs of snip bits, one shear and colter cider mill, iron bar and grindestone to remain upon said farm and homestead for the use thereof.

Item. I give unto my son George Wightman 20 shillings in money, and forty shillings to his three sons to be equally divided between them.

Item. I give and bequeath to my son John Wightman 20 pounds in money and the worsted Combs.

Item. It give unto my son John's daughter Aylice my chest of drawers. Item. I give unto my son Samuel Wightman Twenty pounds in money.

Item. I give and bequeath unto my son Valentine Wightman, Forty pounds in money and Twenty shillings apiece to his three sons Daniel, Valentine and Abraham Wightman.

Item. I give and bequeath to my Grandson George Wightman, the son of my son Daniel Wightman, ten pounds in money, my silver hat band, gun, and all my wearing clothes, both woolen and linen, my chest also which I brought out of England, and my great bible, and to the other two children of my son Daniel Wightman I give fifty shillings apiece, that is Daniel and Elizabeth Wightman.

Item. I give and bequeath to my daughter Elizabeth Huling twenty pounds in money.

Item. I give and bequeath to my daughter Aylice Weight thirty pounds in money.

Item. I give and bequeath unto my daughter Sarah Peterson twenty pounds in money.

Item. I give unto my three daughters, Elizabeth Huling, Aylice Weight and Sarah Peterson all my beds, bolsters, sheets, pillows, blankets, coverlids, pewter and brass, with all my deceased wife's wearing apparel, both woolen and linen and silks, with my table-cloths and napkins, to be equally divided among them three.

Item. I give and bequeath to my son Valentine Wightman, my silver drinking cup and my (other?) chest which I brought out of England. Item. I give to my son John Wightman's two sons twenty shillings apiece. There is due me from John Moss five pounds in money by bill.

Item. I give forty shillings of it to my friend Richard Sweet, and twenty shillings of it to buy bread and wine for the congregation to celebrate the Lord's Supper, the other forty shillings of it I give to my said friend John Moss.

Item. I give and bequeath to my friend John Fones forty shillings in money to be paid to him by my executors.

Item. It is my desire that all my dear children would endeavor to be contented with what I have given them and take all things according to the true intent and meaning herein and my desire is that you would endeavor to live in the fear of God, and live in peace among yourselves, and the peace of God will be with you. Farewell.

Item. My will is and I do constitute and appoint my two sons Daniel and Valentine Wightman to be my executors to this my last Will and testament and I desire my friend John Fones to aid and assist them as an Overseer to this my will, and the true intent and my will is that my within named executors shall pay all my legacies which I have given to my children so far as my estate shall be found to go, but if there shall not be enough of my estate, then my children shall all of them abate of the legacies according to proportion.

And for the ratification and confirmation of this my last will and testament I set my hand and seal this 26th day of April, A.D. 1716 and in the 2nd year of the reign of George, King of Great Britain, France and Ireland....

George Wightman (seal)

Signed, sealed, and pronounced and delivered in the presence of John Allen, Pardon Tillinghast, Jr., Peter W. Wells.

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Cocidil

Be it known by these presents that wherein I, George Wightman of Kingston in the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations have made and declared my last will and testament in writing bearing date the Twenty Sixth day of April A.D. 1716: I, the same George Wightman do by this present Codicil confirm and ratify my said will and Testament and do give and bequeath unto my son Daniel Wightman all that parcel of land I bought of Samuel Case with the privilege and appurtenances thereunto belonging during his natural life and then to his two sons George and Daniel Wightman to them and their heirs lawfully begotten of their bodies forever, and my will and meaning is that this codicil and schedule be and be adjudged to be a part and parcel of my said last will and testament and that all things therein mentioned be faithfully and truly performed, and as freely and amply as if the same were so declared and set down in my last will and Testament.

Item. I give and bequeath to my son Daniel Wightman's daughter Elizabeth Wightman my lot of land at Newton to her and her heirs forever.

Item. I give and bequeath to my son George Wightman twenty pounds in money.

In witness whereunto I have set my hand and seal this 25th day of January 1722 and in the eighth year of the reign of King George.

George Wightman (seal)

Witnesses: Zorobabel Westcout Geo. Tibbits Abagail Batty

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Inventory of the goods, chattels, rights and credits of George Wightman, deceased, appraised in Kingston, in the Colony of Rhode Island and by the subscribers hereof, the 1st day of February A.D. 1721/2. A scant record is extant in Probate Book vi, pp. 46-47, at the town hall in Wickford.

L.s.d.
Imprimis, To silver money and wearing apparel195.12.5
Bills of Credit
24.0.0
Bonds and Bills
122.11.6
Wrought plate, money, scales, and weights
4.5.0

In the hall

It. 6 books, bed and bedding, cord, and bedstead
8.16.0
It. One table chest, box chairs, and wooden lumber
1.1.0
It. Andirons, spit, tongs, steel years, box, iron and frame
2.7.0

In the lean-to chamber

It. Leather, bedding, lumber, woolen, wheel, and some old iron
28.5.6

In the hall chamber

It. One bed and furniture and linen, one case of drawers, four chests and one china dish
4.3.6
It. One looking glass, six dozen silver gimp buttons, one silver hat band and some old ribbon
2.0.0

In the garret

It. One set of cart boxes and some old iron
2.1.6

In the cellar

It. One iron bar, and old cask
2.16.0
It. One taylor's goose, flesh fork and old bedsteads
8.0.0
It. One fowling piece, 2 old swords
2.10.0
It. 4 old axes, 1 spade, pickaxe, 1 hoe, all old
0.10.0
It. 1 old cart and wheels and utensils belonging
3.0.0

It. One old shear and colter, 1 apple mill, and grindstone
2.6.0
It. One yoke of oxen, 8 cows, 1 bull, 19 young cattle of divers sorts and ages
36.5.0
It. Several horse kind
43.0.0
It. 30 bushes oats
3.0.0
It. Two scythes and tackling and one Murrain skin
12.0.0
It. Ten shoats, 57 sheep, bettle-rings and two wedges
36.5.0
It. Debts outstanding
29.17.6
Errors excepted
-0-
Sum Total
621.6.6

Apprisers: Jaremiah Gintel, Edward Miner

Attested before Francis Willett, Clerk of the Council

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