Samuel Winsor, 1644–1705


carpenter; turner


Providence, Rhode Island

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Samuel Winsor was born in 1644, the only son and first of four children of Joshua Winsor (circa 1610-1679), who was among the original twelve settlers of the town of Providence with founder Roger Williams in 1637. Samuel's wife Mercy (Williams) Waterman (1640-d. after 1705) was the youngest daughter of Roger Williams and his wife Mercy Barnard and the widow of Resolved Waterman. After their marriage in 1677 in Providence, the couple had three children: Samuel (b. 1677), Hannah, and Joshua (b. 1682).(1) Samuel died intestate on 19 September 1705 and his widow Mercy and eldest son Samuel were named executors of his estate. Samuel's inventory lists an "old dwelling house" and "Shopp" in Providence and also his "ffarme in ye woods," an 87-acre plot of land with appurtenances.(2) Other documentary sources mention Samuel's ownership of an additional house lot in Providence, a 60-acre plot of land on the east side of the Seven Mile Line in Providence that he purchased from Richard and Daniel Field, "a swamp of five or six acres called Joshua's Swamp, and a share of meadow called Shepherd's Meadow, about 30 acres at the house, 3 ploughed and 5 or 6 of the 30 rough pasture."(3)

The probate inventory of Samuel's house in Providence taken the year of his death lists carpenter's and turner's tools. In the shop were "Tooles," "a vice," "hand saw," "2 Joynters," "Croze," [or Joynters Croze??] "Howell," and "some small tooles." Other tools included a "Beetle & 4 wedges," "2 Old Axes & a great hammer," "A Ffrow, small hand saw, & some old Iron tooles," "2 Plaines in stocks & a wimble bitt," "A Burr, a Gouge, and old Auger", "One Inch & halfe Auger, & a 3 quarter one," "One Round file a Scrue plate & old Iron in a box," "2 old Plaines," and "Leath Irons," which indicate he probably worked as a turner.(4)

At his farm, Samuel kept "3 augers," "A Gouge & 2 Chizells," "4 Wedges an old Trewell," "A sledge," "Old box Iron," "A paire of [not in transcription] And Irons," "A jointer Plow & old Planes," "Stubb Sithe, square, draw knife, Adds, & other small tooles." The inventory also lists a servant boy valued at 10.(5)

In the Newport County Court of General Trials in October 1678, Samuel Winsor was tried on the charge of assault and battery and was found not guilty by a jury. Also in that term he pleaded not guilty to charges of "Contempt of Authority &c." and for "maliciously useing words of Contempt against mr Thomas Olney and mr John Whipple Assista[n]ts in the Execution of their Office."(6) A document entered in the Providence Probate Records in 1683/4 records the testimony of two other Providence carpenters Epenetus Olney (q.v.) and John Dexter (q.v.) regarding a dispute between Samuel and his son-in-law Richard Waterman concerning the disposition of lands formerly belonging to Richard's father Resolved Waterman. The two parties affirmed that during a visit to Samuel's house in Providence on June 20, 1683, he "utterly refused" to divide two-thirds of the lands of Resolved Waterman for the benefit of Richard, including the house in which Samuel was then living. Epenetus Olney later witnessed a deed in 1691 in which Samuel sold Shepherd's Lott, a house lot in Providence inherited by Samuel from his father Joshua, to Gideon Crawford. Samuel and John Dexter served together as witnesses on a bond for Richard Smith dated December 5, 1679.(7)

Dennis A. Carr

1. Margaret P. Hetrick and Doris P. Schultz, Winsor and New England Families (Alexandria, VA: Red Oak Enterprises, 1993), 27-31; see also Olney Winsor, A Genealogical Account of the Ancient Winsor Family in the United States (Providence: Published by L.W. Winsor, 1847), 3-4.

2. Probate inventory of Samuel Winsor, Providence, taken September 25, 1705, recorded November 30, 1705, in Horatio Rogers, George Moulton Carpenter and Edward Field, The Early Records of the Town of Providence, vol. 6 (Providence: Snow and Farnham City Printers, 1894), 246, 250.

3. John Osborne Austin, The Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island (Albany, NY: Printed by Joel Munsell's Sons, 1887), 434.

4. Samuel Winsor inventory, 246-47.

5. Samuel Winsor inventory, 250-52. In 1676, Samuel Winsor received a share of the distribution of Indian captives from King Philip's War sold for a term of service, Austin, 434.

6. Newport County Supreme Court, Record Book, vol. A, p. 41, 43, Judicial Archives, Supreme Court Records Center, Pawtucket, R.I.

7. Providence Probate Records A20, Providence City Archives; Austin, 434; Deed, Samuel Winsor and Mercy Winsor to Gideon Crawford, May 7, 1691, rec. February 10, 1708/9, Providence Deeds, Book 2, p. 112; Bond, Richard Smith of Narragansett and the Providence Town Council, December 5, 1679, rec. May 26,1680, Providence Probate Records A24, Providence City Hall, R.I.