|Anne Hutchinson on trial|
The Antinomian Controversy actually culminated with the trial of one Elizabeth Hutchinson in November of 1637. Her arguments in the courtroom were a little more complicated that we expressed above regarding the churches' rigid control over its citizens. Basically she professed that "the doctrine or belief that the Gospel frees Christians from required obedience to any law, whether scriptural, civil, or moral, and that salvation is attained solely through faith and the gift of divine grace." In other words, simply obeying the law and the church rules should not be a requirement for receiving "salvation" or getting into heaven. Only God can make this determination. Elizabeth Hutchinson was supported by a number of prominent citizens including some clergymen but unfortunately that did not prevent her from being found guilty and subsequently banished from the community. Along with Elizabeth's banishment many of her supporters including our John Compton were first disarmed (their weapons removed) and then they too were banished from the community. Obey our rules regardless. . . or get out.
In John Compton case, he along with around 175 others including Elizabeth Hutchinson's brother-in-law, the Reverend John Wheelwright, were banished to an area known as Piscataqua in the territory of Exeter on the border of present day New Hampshire and Maine. The land had only recently been purchased from the local Indians and until this point it was almost void of any British settlers until the arrival of John and his compatriots. It is unclear as to how and why John Compton was allowed to return to Boston but it is clear that after only two years he and his family were back in Boston. Obviously, the rural nature of life in Piscataqua may not have suited their lifestyle and John may have been willing to admit that he was wrong in supporting the positions of Elizabeth Hutchinson in order to be allowed to return to Boston. Whatever the circumstances, John and his wife Susan were admitted to the Boston 1st Church by 1642. In 1645, John is again listed as a Boston clothier, and additional records show that by 1649 he was a Boston property owner. There are also some records that report that John hired an attorney in 1646 to try and recover some of his property in Boston that had probably been taken away from him when he was banished from Boston in early 1638. It is not known whether or not he was successful. There are also some references in the writings of family historians that report that in 1646 John Compton owed a lot of money to a man named Jonathan Brewster. If true, this would seem to imply that at least financially, my great grandfather had not done very well during his life. The exact date of John Compton's death is also not known although when wife Susanna Compton wrote her final will in 1664 she wrote that her husband John had "long since departed." Where John and his wife are buried is not known.
While it is generally accepted that William Compton was the son of John and Susanna Compton there is no definitive proof that such was the case. Furthermore the exact date and location of his birth is not known. We noted above that William was born in England and therefore sailed over to America with his parents, however there is no proof that such was the case and he may very well have been born shortly after his parents' arrival. His baptismal records have never been uncovered and when Susanna Compton wrote her will in 1664 she failed to mention her son William and in fact she left everything in her will to her grandson, Joseph Brisco, the son of her daughter Abigail Compton Brisco. John Compton's will if he had one, has never been located. Nevertheless, based on where he lived when he was younger and the fact that there were no other known Compton families living in the Massachusetts area in the early 1600s, it would appear obvious that William Compton must have been the son of John and Susanna Compton and therefore our 9th great grandfather.
|King Charles II|
Some family historians write that William Compton moved for religious reasons and that he had become a Baptist and opposed to the ways of the Puritans. While we could not substantial that he was a Baptist, we did note that several of the other original settlers into New Jersey were Baptists including a man named Samuel Doty. Samuel Doty was the son of Edward Doty, one of the Mayflower passengers in 1620 and my 9th great grandfather. Whether or not William was a Baptist, he clearly expressed by his move to New Jersey that he, like his father before him, was very much against the way the Puritans had tried to control his and his family's way of life.
We know almost nothing about our 8th great grandfather, Jonathan Compton, other than a few basic statistics such as that he was born in Woodbridge on 18 Dec 1674 and that he was the fifth child and the third son of his parents. He married my great grandmother, Esther Martin, on 24 Sept 1701 and together they had seven children including my possible 7th great grandfather, Samuel Compton, who was born in 1705. Jonathan and Esther spent their entire lives living in Woodbridge and it would not be surprising to learn that they during their lifetimes never left their township. Jonathan was probably a farmer during his adult life, he undoubtedly served in the local militia as did all men in his community at the time, and other than finding his name mentioned several times in historical books noting that he inherited land from two of his brothers when they died, we really learned nothing about his life. His will was written in September of 1745 and when he died a few years later in 1747, his estate was reported to be worth 73.3 British pounds which was not much. It is possible of course, that he had provided for his children before his death. Esther who was nine years younger than her husband, is listed in a number of family trees on Ancestry.com as having died on the same day as her husband. Whether this is accurate and how they may have died if it was actually together, is unknown although it is probably not accurate. Esther was mentioned in her husband's will and testament so we know that she was alive as of 1745 which means that the few family trees that show that she died a number of years before her husband are definitely wrong. Unfortunately we are just going to have to accept the fact that we will never know much about this generation of our Compton ancestry. One thing that we do know however, about the lives of our 8th Compton great grandparents is that during their lifetimes things changed enormously in New Jersey. When Jonathan Compton was born in 1674 the population of white people in New Jersey was around 2,000. When he died 73 years later the population had "exploded" to around 120,000 and homes, roads, farms, businesses, and churches were now everywhere, at least relatively speaking.
We also know very little about the life of my likely 7th great grandfather Samuel Compton. He was born and raised in Woodbridge and while the year of his marriage to my 7th great grandmother, Sarah Tharpe (Thorp) is very much in dispute, based on their birth years of 1705 and around 1710 respectively, a marriage year of 1730 seems realistic. Unfortunately there is a summary of records online of marriages in colonial New Jersey that lists their marriage date as 31 July 1753, however, based on the fact that in Samuel's will written in 1782 he lists all but one of his daughters as married, a 1753 marriage year would seem highly unlikely especially considering the fact that Samuel and Sarah Compton had at least seven children according Samuel's will and the first three were thought to be sons. Samuel and Sarah Compton spent most of their lives in Woodbridge in Middlesex County, New Jersey. Sometime late in their lives that relocated to Bernardsville in Somerset County located about 25 miles northwest of Woodbridge. According to Samuel's will, he left his former home in Woodbridge to his oldest son Ephraim Compton. Ephraim whom we believe was born in 1631, was very possibly the father of my 5th great grandmother, Anna Compton.
As we stated in the first paragraph, the exact family line between by 5th great grandmother, Anna Compton, and her ancestors is unknown although based on her birth location and her surname of course, it is obvious that she was a descendent of the above described early Compton settlers. Here is what we do know. Anna Compton was born around 1756 in Middlesex County, New Jersey. It was here where she met and married my 5th great grandfather, Peter J. Harpending (1754-1840), and where together they had two sons, Samuel Harpending (1778-1852), my 4th great grandfather, and Peter Harpending Jr. (1780-1850). Anna died in 1780 undoubtedly due to complications from the birth of her second son. We know that their son Peter was obviously named after his father. We believe that it is possible that Samuel may have been named after his great grandfather (his mother's grandfather), but that is pure speculation. One other interesting connection is that Peter Harpending had a brother named Anderis (Andrew) Mention Harpending (1761-1831) who married a girl named Sarah Compton (1760-?) who might very well have been Anna's sister or perhaps her cousin or aunt although here again this is pure speculation. What is interesting is that Sarah and Anderis Compton named one of their daughters Anna which strongly suggests that the Anna and Sarah were closely related. Unfortunately and somewhat surprisingly the parents of both Anna and Sarah have not been positively identified. Many of the family trees on Ancestry.com show Sarah as a daughter of Samuel Compton (1705-1782) and Sarah Tharpe (Thorp) (1712-1783) but this is unlikely as Samuel would have been around 55 years old when Sarah was born and his wife would have been 48 to 50 years old. What is more realistic is that both Anna and Sarah are daughters of one of Samuel and Sarah Thorp Compton's sons, possibly a man named Ephraim. Here is where we stand at this point and hopefully maybe in the future the actual facts will be uncovered and we will have the privilege of revising this blog. If anyone reading this blog has the answer or even a possible answer as to the names of Anna's parents, please feel free to contact Charles Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1st Generation John Compton and Susannah Seade
2nd Generation William Compton and Mary Wilmot
3rd Generation Jonathan Compton and Esther Martin
4th Generation: Samuel Compton and Sarah Thorp
5th Generation Ephraim Compton and unknown
6th Generation: Anna Compton and possibly Sarah
While some of the family trees on Ancestry.com list the name of Anna's father as Ephraim Compton they do not connect this Ephraim in anyway to Samuel and Sarah Compton although Samuel and Sarah are known to have had a son who was named Ephraim. Unfortunately there is a lot of confusion as to the birth year of Ephraim, son of Samuel and Sarah as there is with all of their children. Despite the fact that Samuel was born in 1705 and Sarah in 1712, some of the family trees on Ancestry.com as we previously mentioned show their marriage year as 1753 which if true, would be quite unusual especially for a first marriage in this period of history. Sarah would have been 41 years old when she married. In these trees, their son Ephraim is shown as born in 1754 which would mean that he could not possibly have been the father of either Anna or Sarah. Other family trees show that Samuel and Sarah were married in 1730 and Ephraim their first child was born in 1731. These dates are far more realistic and make it very possible that Ephraim Compton was indeed Anna's father. Unfortunately this Ephraim is totally lost in history with respect to whom he married and the names of his children. Anyway, we will just have to be satisfied that we know the names of Anna's early Compton ancestors in America. As we previously mentioned, my great grandmother Anna Compton Harpending died at the very young age of only 24 years old in the year 1780. Her husband, Peter Harpending, was a militia soldier during the American Revolution and he may have been away from home more than he might of liked especially if he was absent just prior to Anna's death. In any case, Peter's military story is told in Chapter 15 of this blog where he is listed as Patriot #15 and the story of my Harpending ancestors is written in Chapter 9 of this blog.
For the record my own relationship to the Compton family is as follows:
Anna Compton (Abt 1756-1780) m Peter Harpending (1754-1840)
Samuel Harpending (1778-1852) m Hannah Cozad (1782-1880)
Asbury Harpending (1814-1853) m Mary Sayre (1818-1877)
Hannah Harpending (1842-1891) m Charles S. Baker (1835-1891)
Asbury H. Baker (1860-1933) m Helena Rappleye (1860-1944)
Charles S. Baker (1885-1952) m Helen Spaulding (1887-1937)
Charles A. Baker (1916-2000) m Marian Patterson (1916-1973)
Charles A. Baker Jr (1942- )
Anne R. Baker (1943- )
Joan P. Baker (1950- )
Until our next chapter . . . .