Jonathan and Abigail White

Jonathan White married Abigail Wing sometime shortly after January 1, 1756.60 Abigail was the daughter of Benjamin Wing and Content Tucker of Dartmouth. At the time of their marriage, Jonathan would have been approximately twenty-four years old and Abigail, twenty-two years old. Jonathan and Abigail had six children that survived beyond infancy, three boys, and three girls:

  • Humphry (b. About 1758, d. January 15, 1814)
  • Ruth (b. About 1759, d. 1835)
  • Rhoda (b. Before 1761, d. Before March 5, 1822)
  • Hannah (b. July 20, 1765, d. January 10, 1842)
  • Holder (b. Before 1768, d. January 12, 1853)
  • Jonathan, Jr. (b. Before 1778, d. 1846)61

Jonathan identified himself as a Yeoman in his will. Like his father and grandfather, Jonathan too passed on blacksmithing tools in his will:

“[to] my Son Jonathan White … I Give him my sd son all my Farming Utensils also all my Blacksmith Tools also all my Carpenters Tools…”62

While Jonathan owned blacksmithing and carpentry tools, it is not entirely clear if he was a craftsman by profession. Though these tools suggest that he may have been, it is also possible that they were tools of necessity at this time, and were simply part of his possessions. As discussed in the previous chapter, Jonathan, William and Abigail White’s only son, inherited all of his father’s real estate. As William’s will stipulated, he bequeathed:

“my Son Jonathan White … all my homestead farm with my now Dwelling House with all the buildings there on Standing & other Privileges there unto belonging; also … all that my farm which my Honoured Grand father George Cadman gave me after the Decease of my honored father & mother…”63

William’s “homestead farm with my now dwelling” is the farm he purchased in 1744, located a few miles north of the Handy house parcel, near the Head of the Westport. The “farm which my Honoured Grand father George Cadman gave me,” is the Handy house. So, following his father’s death (by October 3, 1780,) Jonathan would have held title to two separate farms with all the buildings and land associated with them.

Jonathan gave his oldest son, Humphry, the Handy house farm prior to his death.64 The deed for this transfer is dated February 2, 1794, and states,

“Know all Men by these presents, that I Jonathan White of Dartmouth in ye County of Bristol + Com­monwealth of Massachusetts yeoman, In consider­ation of Love + Good will which I have + do bear to my Son Humphry White of ye Town + County aforesaid a yeoman, the recept whereof I do here­by acknowledge + do by these presents Give, grant Covey + Confirm unto the said Humphry White + to his heirs + assigns forever, a certain Tract or Parcel of Land + Salt meadow in Dartmouth, within ye Boundaries of ye Town of Westport, and on ye west side of Acoaxet River near Hixes Bridge, containing about one hundred + three Acres + twenty seven rods be ye same more or less bounded as follows…”

Note that while the deed clearly describes the parcel of land the Handy house is located on, it makes no direct reference to the house, a dwelling, or any improvements made to the land.65 The use of “premises” throughout the deed does infer the inclusion of the house.66 Owing to no mention of a dwelling, it has been speculated that the house may have sat vacant and/or was in a dilapidated state by the time Jonathan conveyed it to Humphry, and, because of its condition, did not warrant mention in the deed. This is unlikely for a number of reasons. At this period of time, a dwelling, together with the land it was on, would have been one of the most valuable possessions a person might have had. Furthermore, considering the number of children Jonathan White, and the generations before him each had, the idea that a dwelling would go unoccupied, and for such a duration that it fell into a state of disrepair, seems unlikely. The absence of a direct reference to a dwelling or house may simply be the result of the wording chosen by the individual that wrote the deed.

Jonathan White’s will is dated March 16, 1797. By this time, Humphry White had already sold the Handy house to Ely Handy (see following section.) Therefore, any references to rooms and spaces found in Jonathan White’s will have no bearing on the Handy house and should not be interpreted as such. These references most likely relate to the Tripp farm house, where Jonathan, Abigail, and his family were living at the time.

Jonathan White died on November 21, 1804. He was approximately 72 years old. Almost two years later, on August 6, 1806, his wife Abigail died. She too was approximately 72 years old.


60 Their intent to marry is dated January 1, 1756. Vital records of Dartmouth, Massachusetts, to the year 1850 ( Boston, Mass. : New England Historic Genealogical Soci­ety,1929-1930).

61 Family Group Sheet, Jonathan White and Abigail Wing, prepared by Randall J. Sever. July 31, 2011. Archives of the Westport Historical Society. Also, Some Descendants of Jonathan White of Darthmouth MA and of Humphrey White of Gloucester, RI. The American Genealogist, Vol. 56, pp. 113 – 118.

62 Will of William White, Jr.

63 Ibid.

64 Jonathan White, Jr. is believed to have sold the Tripp farm, bought by his grandfather, in 1816.

65 On March 26, 1794, Humphry sold this parcel of land to Eli Handy for two thousand eight hundred and ten Spanish milled dollars. The metes and bounds of this deed mirror the language found in the deed between Humphry and father. No mention of a house or dwelling is included in this deed either.

66 Premises as defined by A General Dictionary of the English Language (Thomas Sheridan. London 1780) is “in law language, houses or lands.”

Eric Gradoia, Architectural History and Conservation. Copyright 2014