In the spring of 1988 I wrote what was to be the last issue of, "Oak Leaves", a genealogical quarterly for Flewelling (etc.) genealogy. One of the articles was the first of three parts on the family of Robert Flewelling. The second part had been typed out, but never distributed. The third part has yet to be written, but I hope to finish it here, and to present the whole work.
It is my position that Genealogy, to be a proper part of the science and art of History, should have professional and academic guidelines. These include the proper transcription of primary sources, citation of sources (including a bibliography) and any inclusions which establish the accuracy and the source of the information. I am reluctantly setting that principle aside here for the most part. There are several reasons for this:
||1. The transmission of text to a web page is so difficult that a large collection of footnotes or endnotes becomes problematic.
||2. The family of Robert Flewelling is so poorly known, that to attempt a complete and correct compilation would be useless at this time.
||3. It is more important to create an effective summary of what IS known, in order to facilitate further study, discussion and to provide a reference to which those most interested in this branch of the family can refer in discussions and co-ordinated efforts.
In other words, it is my intention to provide a starting point rather than a finished product. This serves two purposes: it allows me to get this to you with a minimum of effort and it reduces the level of effort which prevented me from finishing this task in the first place.
While I regret the delay in making these `notes' public, at least this is timely in that the interest in Robert's family seems to far exceed that which existed 13 years ago.
This work, like so many, is created from fragments. So much of the following is theoretical. While it is based on an informed opinion, it is still only surmise. I leave it to you to verify and expand on the veracity of this compilation. I recommend that you do so in concert with other members of the family, and that you make every effort to humanize it with the addition of photographs, biographies, maps, pictures, histories, etc.
I will not leave you completely in the dark, and will often explain my line of thinking; I only beg leave to avoid the excessive detail and meticulousness that would be required of a more finished work. Besides, I am often at the mercy of legend, and pieces of information to which the ultimate source is unknown.
It is the scarcity of the name, Flewelling, which justifies the belief that all Flewellings found in New York in colonial times are of one family. Certainly, no evidence that the name was used by anyone outside of the family which had its origins on Long Island has been suggested. The division of the estate of Abraham Smith in 1734 makes it clear that a Robert Flewelling was the son of Hannah (Smith) Flewelling, daughter of William Smith (Abraham's brother); and that his siblings included Thomas Flewelling, Hannah (Flewelling, Jr.) Brundage, Jane (Flewelling) Brundage, Phoebe (Flewelling) Hall, Catherine (or Catern) (Flewelling) Golding; to which we may add John and Abraham Flewelling. This, in turn, leaves little doubt that Robert was the son of Thomas and Hannah Flewelling in Hempstead, Long Island in the census of 1698; and the records of Jamaica and Hempstead towns, and the records of the estate of Robert Ashman (d. 1683 Jamaica, Long Island) lead us to the conclusion that Robert Ashman was Thomas' grandfather, and that Thomas was the son of Thomas and Hannah (Ashman) Flewelling. Much of this is dealt with in, "The Ancestors of Thomas and Hannah (Smith) Flewelling", presently at:
Thus when we find notice of a Robert Flewelling in North Castle in later years, and his children are involved with the children of John Flewelling of Newburgh, then we can feel relatively secure in stating who this is. For example, Thomas Flewelling, son of John, also settles in North Castle initially. Francis and Joseph Flewelling in about 1785 attest to the Loyalist claims of Thomas, John and Abel Flew(w)elling, as do the sons of John for the sons of Robert. These are one family.
Otherwise, there is little which has survived of Robert Flewelling besides his parentage, his residence and his death. His given name apparently derives from Robert Ashman, and since Robert Ashman apparently left no descendants of his surname, it is some consolation that his given name has passed down through over three centuries as some sort of memorial.
It is clear that many of Robert Flewelling's descendants were members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers); and it is reasonably supposed that he was also. There is no evidence to establish his affiliation, but the connections made by, and the comments recorded of some of his descendants suggest that he was a Loyalist. Also, on his mother's side, he was kin to some of the earliest supporters and participants of Quakerism in North America. It is interesting that while there is no evidence that Robert was, in fact, a Quaker, or even descended from Quakers; he is so bracketed by siblings of forebears and children to great grandchildren who were, that the influence must not only have been present in his life, but transmitted through his own convictions. This has a bearing on the genealogy of his family in that it explains why two of his children are apparently not named in his will, and it points to a line of investigation which probably has not been followed. It also tends to explain the movements of his family in after years.
Robert's brother, John of Newburgh, appears, by the baptism and marriages of his children, either to have forsaken the Society, or (as the second religious influence in Hempstead about the time of his birth was the Anglican (Episcopalian) Church) have accepted a more establishmentarian form of worship. John appeared to vary from Anglican to Presbyterian or to Dutch Reformed as the circumstances dictated by the availability of clergy and church. It is a mark of his descendants that they are devoted to their choice of worship, and to have had a priest, minister, sexton, vestryman, lay preacher, etc. in the family is a source of pride. The connection to the Quakers and to the established (and later, less established) churches is what distinguishes the families of the two brothers.
Robert Flewelling's presence in North Castle may very well have been a direct result of his attachment to the Society of Friends; and it is my opinion that his having moved there, and the movements of many of his descendants, can be directly related to a movement of the Quakers first up the Hudson River, and then to northern New York, then to what is now the Province of Ontario, and the States of Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. That is, that this branch of the Flewellings was a part of the general westward migration, often spear-headed by Quaker families attempting to find places in which they could live according to their convictions. Many of the families found with this branch of the Flewellings can be traced also to origins on Long Island, and in Hempstead. These were not chance meetings, but part of a greater circle of kinship and acquaintanceship.
Robert Flewelling is said to have been born in 1712; although there has been no justification given for this date. Certainly, the census of Hempstead in 1698 makes it clear that he was born after that date; and the records of the estate of his great uncle, Abraham Smith, suggests that he was "of age" or 21 years old in 1734. This would place his birth between 1699 and 1713. He was most likely born in Hempstead, Nassau Co., NY.
There have been several reports of abstracts of his will which indicate that he died in North Castle, Westchester Co., NY in 1768. A, "Wills of Westchester County, New York", by William S. Pelletreau, p. 265, is often cited; while another, unidentified, work states that the will might be found in Liber 26, p. 420 (presumably of wills recorded at White Plains, Westchester Co.); and abstracts as follows:
||In the name of God, Amen. June 5, 1768. I, Robert, of North Castle, in Westchester County, farmer, being sick. "It is my will that my wife, Maphlet shall have what household goods she brought to me when first married, which she hath not already disposed of to her children." I also leave her £10 a year so long as she remains my widow. I leave to my eldest son Ezekiel £50, besides what I have already given. I leave to my son Robert £100; To my son Francis £110. All my estate and lands are to be sold at some convenient time. I leave to my daughter Phebe, wife of Joseph Golding, £1 10s.; To my daughter Elizabeth, wife of Nicholas Outhouse, £4 10s., and the same to my daughters, Mary, wife of Joseph Green; Abigail, wife of Solomon Searles, and Hannah, wife of Benjamin Ogden. I leave to my daughter, Jemima and Freelove, each £9. I make my eldest son Ezekiel, and my son-in-law, Solomon Searles, and Benjamin Hall, executors. Witnesses, William Daniels, Mary Bealy, Jane Daniels. Proved, July 15, 1768
|Since he was sick at the time he made the will, he presumably died soon after, sometime in JUN1758. He gives his son, Ezekiel, only half as much as his two other named sons, "besides what I have already". He also mentions that his wife, Maplet, had given some of her household goods to some of the children. This suggests the practice of giving the children their inheritance portion at their marriage when they are starting out themselves. Much the same is true for the daughters, except that the amount concerned is somewhat smaller. The implication is that Ezekiel is married, but that Robert and Francis are not. In the same way, Phoebe, Elizabeth, Mary, Abigail and Hannah are married, but Jemima and Freelove are not. A possibility is that some children might have been given their full portion at marriage, and would not be mentioned in the will. Another possibility is that a child who married outside of the Society of Friends, or who had left the Meeting, would also not be mentioned. Both possibilities will be considered later.
The order of mention may reflect the order-of-birth, with the married daughters possibly being older that the unmarried sons. If Robert Flewelling was born in 1712, he was only about 55 years old when he died, and several of his children may have been fairly young. The order-of-birth suggested by the will, then is:
The name of his wife, "Maphlet", has been in continuous use in the Flewelling family at least until 1912. The spelling is always Maplet, except in this one case, so it is probably a spelling error. It's source is a surname, the maiden name of the wife of Samuel Gorton (founder of Rhode Island) and could mean, `little Mabel', or `son of Mabel'.
Maplet has been said to be the daughter of Francis Jaycocks (Jeacockes, Jacocks, Jaycox, Jacox.) There has been absolutely no evidence of this, although a Francis Jacocks born in Hempstead before 1698, may be the same Francis Jacocks later found in Dutchess Co.; and Robert is said to have spent some early days in Dutchess Co. If there is any truth in this assertion, then they were probably second cousins, possibly once removed as Robert was descended from Catern (Jaycocks) Ashman.
Richard Miller gives Maplet's line-of-descent as Francis, David, William, Joshua of Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, ENG. This is not an unreasonable theory as David was William's son, but William (Catern (Jaycocks) Ashman's brother) was Francis' son, and the connection between Francis Jacocks of Poughkeepsie and the Francis, son of David (while probable) I have not seen established. Least of all have I seen that Francis of Poughkeepsie had a daughter, Maplet b. ca. 1715. Also Francis Jacocks of Poughkeepsie was (b. very roughly 1696) closer to a contemporary of Robert Flewelling. (The placement of Joshua Jaycocks is tricky. He has been considered a son of Francis and Grace of Stratford-upon-Avon, but seems more likely a grandson; son of either William or Thomas Jaycocks.)
Not only is the name, Maplet, perpetuated in Robert's family, but also in the family of his brother, John. Between 1750 and 1850, there were so many Maplets, that early genealogists were always confusing them one with the other. Actually, beyond her given name (of which even the spelling is in doubt) nothing is known of her, her origins or of her end.
Until recently, I believed that the name, Maplet, as a given name, was unique to the Flewelling family. This is not the case. As would be expected, it is also found amongst the Gorton family of Rhode Island, as would be expected. The wife of Samuel Gorton is variously given as Mary, Mary Elizabeth, Sarah, etc., but usually is given as Mary Maplet of a family in London, ENG in the 17th century. Benjamin Groton, as on of Samuel and Mary (Maplet) Gorton was b. ca. 1642-3, and married 5DEC1672 Sarah Carder (b. ca. 1652), daughter of Richard and Mary Carder. A daughter of Benjamin and Sarah was Maplet Gorton b, ca, 1684, m. 28SEP1710 Thomas Remington (d. 25SEP1723), son of Thomas and Mary (Allen) Remington.
Thomas and Mary, in turn, had a daughter, Maplet Remington, b. Warwick, Rhode Island 11JUL1712. This, I thought, might be our Maplet, but, alas, her two husbands were Josiah Arnold (b. 3FEB1698), son of William and Hannah (Nichols) Arnold; and Samuel (or more likely, William) Wickes. If her second husband was William Wicks, he was b. 1710, and was the son of John and Sarah (Gorton) Weeks. I have seen no record for any children Maplet Remington might have had.
There is no clear indication that Robert's wife came from the Gorton family, although it needs to be considered, especially when some early members of the family are said to have gone to Long Island. If she did stem from the Gortons, it would have been from early generation.
Another Maplet who has appeared is Maplet Carpenter who married Ferris Cary. She was the daughter of Thomas and Sarah (Weeks) Carpenter. Thomas Carpenter was the son of Peter and Deborah (Haight) Carpenter. Sarah Weeks was the daughter of Abraham and Phoebe (Fowler) Weeks. Deborah Haight was the daughter of Caleb and that Maplet ("Forwelling") Haight discussed below. In this case, the name comes back to the Flewellings. The surnames: Haight, Fowler, Carpenter and Weeks are not only associated with Long Island, Westchester Co. and Quakers, but are names of families allied to the Flewellings; sometimes by more than one marriage.
Still another Maplet is the wife of Caleb Griffin (b. Greene, NY 1782), son of Gershom and Sarah (Briggs) Griffin. They were Quakers, living in upstate New York in the early 1800's, and Gershom is descended from Edward and Mary Griffin, from whom the wife of Thomas Flewelling of Oak Point is believed to be descended. While Maplet Griffin's maiden name and parentage are unknown, I would regard her as a Flewelling stray, and part of Robert's family.
All of this discussion illustrates two things; first, that the given name, Maplet, is a unique family name apparently inherited by the Flewellings and its presence after 1700 should suggest their presence; second, that although the story that Maplet Flewelling (Robert's wife) is reported to have been a Jaycocks, and although this has been taken to be fact, unproven legends do need corroboration. I, of course, exempt my own theories and beliefs. Well, maybe I don't; much.
The Loyalist, Joseph Flewelling of Saint John, New Brunswick, also had a daughter, Maplet. Since his Loyalist claim shows he came from North Castle; and since he was too young in the 1750's when John Flewelling went to Newburgh to be John's son, left behind; and since his great grandson reports that he had been a Quaker, and regretted leaving the Society; and since he was too old to be a son of Thomas Flewelling of Oak Point, I can only believe that he was a son of Robert Flewelling. There are other considerations consisting, for example, of the tenor of his deposition in support of Thomas Flewelling's Loyalist claim. If he was a son of Robert, and was left out of the will because he had received his full share of his patrimony, married outside of his faith, or left the Quakers; then perhaps there are other children not mentioned as well.
Since the name Maplet is used by the Flewellings and their descendants, the statement that a Caleb Haight, a Quaker, of New Castle (part of North Castle from which it was divided) b. 1730, d. 1820, married as his first wife a Maplet "Forelling" or "Forwelling" allows only the conclusion that this is a Flewelling, and a daughter of Robert Flewelling. Caleb and Maplet Haight's eldest child was b. in 1752, so Maplet was born between roughly 1730 and 1734. Thus, she is too old to be the Maplet, daughter of Thomas Flewelling of Oak Point, too old to have been his sister, married to Caleb before Robert Flewelling died, and therefore not Robert's widow. All that is left is to assume that she was a daughter of Robert and Maplet Flewelling.
"Long Island Genealogies", an expansive and informative web site, at:
list as another son of Robert and Maplet Flewelling one Benjamin Flewelling, b. ca. 1744, m. Hannah Ogden (b. ca. 1746.) This is a new member of the family to me, and I was first inclined to discount him as a confusion with another Benjamin Flewelling, but I think the person responsible for this entry may well have information not available to me. His presence will result in the modification of several theories about this family.
Since Elizabeth, Robert's daughter, is said to have been b. 2NOV1729 as well, and her husband, Nicholas Outhouse, was born 25SEP1726, it is probable that she was as old, or older than Maplet, Jr. Given this, a speculative revised order-of-birth of the children of Robert and Maplet Flewelling were:
||ELIZABETH FLEWELLING b. 2NOV1729, d. ca. 1780?, m. NICHOLAS OUTHOUSE (CLAAS Van UYTHUYSEN) (bpt. Jamaica, Long Island, NY 25SEP1726, d. Charlotteville Twp., Norfolk Co., ONT ca. 1810, or after), s/o Simon and Antje Willems (Van Westervelt) Uythuysen
||MAPLET FLEWELLING b. ca. 1731, m. CALEB HAIGHT (b. 2MAY173O, d. 1MAR182O, m. 2nd DEC1802 ANNA HOAG, daughter of John and Rebecca Hoag), s/o James and Anna (Pope) Haight
||EZEKIEL FLEWELLING m. AMY OGDEN
||ROBERT FLEWWELLIN m. MARY SEARLES
||BENJAMIN FLEWELLING b. ca. 1744 m. HANNAH OGDEN (b. ca. 1746), d/o William and Martha (Gilbert) Ogden
||PHOEBE FLEWELLING m. JOSEPH GOLDING
||MARY FLEWELLING m. JOSEPH GREEN
||ABIGAIL FLEWELLING m. SOLOMON SEARLES
||HANNAH FLEWELLING m. BENJAMIN OGDEN
||JOSEPH FLEWELLING m. PHOEBE WORDEN