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William and Alice (Kitson) Reynolds of Duxbury, MA and Cape Porpoise, ME (Piscataqua)

by Susan Rogers Clement
© Reynolds Family Association, 1992

The family of Rev. M. T. Runnels

Samuel Reynolds (son of William2) and Job and John Reynolds (sons of Job2) are clearly the three men whose descendants were so painstakingly followed in the genealogy by Rev. M. T. Runnels, Runnels and Reynolds Families in America, 1873. Rev. Runnels discusses a family tradition that these men originated in Nova Scotia, but declines to propose a parentage for any of them. He does postulate, however, that they were related, and that Samuel was also a brother of the brothers John and Job.

The Jacob Reynolds named by Tillman as the son of John Reynolds and Sarah (Wiley) Crawford, has been proven, by the diligent work of RFA members Millicent Reynolds, Linda Stangel and T. C. Reynolds, to be of another family altogether, i.e. of Electious Reynolds of Salem and Middleboro MA. This family will be discussed in depth in another article.

The following information was provided by Col. Stephen Tillman in his book on the Reynolds family. Unfortunately, Col. Tillman did not provide the source of much of the information upon which he based many of his claims regarding this family. The numbers preceding each paragraph below are those designated by Col. Tillman. These paragraphs appear in his second book, published in 1959.

T2-4443 WILLIAM REYNOLDS, son of William (4162) and Esther (Ruth or Roth) Reynolds, m. 30 August 1638 Alice Kitson, and settled Kennebunk, Me. This line is described fully in Meserve's History of Durham, New Hampshire, and in the book Runnels AND Reynolds Families, by the Rev. M. T. Runnels. Issue: John b. 1641, Job, Alice who m. John Buss, Jr.: Mary who m. James Langley: Sarah who m. 1st - Head, and 2d 3 September 1718 Richard Blanchard: Hopestill who m 1st 23 October 1664 Thomas Sanders and 2d Eli Demeritt: Martha Jane who m. William Wormwood: and Samuel, b. 1674. These are not necessarily listed in order of birth.

T2-4444 JOHN REYNOLDS, of William (4443) and Alice (Kitson) Reynolds, b. 1631, m. 1669 (Mrs.) Sarah Wiley Crawford, and settled Portsmouth, Nova Scotia. Issue: Job, John, Jacob, b. 25 January 1692, and others.

T2-4445 JACOB REYNOLDS, of John (4444), b. 25 January 1692, and d. 31 January 1755, m. - and settled New Bedford, Mass. Issue: Jacob, b. 8 May 1731, and others.

There appear to be significant discrepancies in Tillman's account above of the family of William Reynolds when compared with other accounts of this family. This is not surprising based on the complexity of the extant documents which give various information about William and his children and grandchildren. The following information on William's family is excerpted from Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire, by Sybil Noyes, Charles Thornton Libby, and Walter Goodwin Davis, 1939; The Pioneers of Maine and New Hampshire 1623 to 1660 by Charles Henry Pope, 1908; and History of the Town of Durham, New Hampshire by Everett S. Stackpole and Winthrop S. Meserve. The marriage of William and Alice is recorded in Plymouth Colony Vital Records by George Ernest Bowman.

William first appeared at Kennebec [ME] with John Howland in 1634. He was granted land in Duxbury, Plymouth Colony 6 Feb 1637. He married in Plymouth 30 Aug 1638 Alice Kitson. In Cape Porpoise. where he may have removed as early as 1640, he had a 200 acre grant from George Cleeve in 1654, bought Peter Turbat's house and 200 acres on the East side of the Kennebunk river in 1657 and kept the ferry there, being licensed as late as 1673. He took the oath of allegiance in 1653.

In 1675 William settled his whole property on his son John in return for life support for his aged parents, John giving money to his brothers William and Job before signing the deed. John was aged about 30 in 1681. He sold his father's original 100 acre plantation to Peter Randall in 1684. He was appointed ferryman in 1687.

John died without issue, probably unmarried, and intestate. By law his heirs were his nephews and nieces, and a series of deeds beginning in 1718 name eight of them, although it is impossible to determine from these deeds the actual number of William Reynolds' grandchildren and the parentage of some of them.

Job Reynolds, John Renalds, James Langley and his wife Mary, all of Dover, quitclaim their right 21 June 1718, and sold to Thomas Perkins of Portsmouth, 200 acres in Arundel (the old name of Kennebunk) [York Deeds X:130]. John Reynolds sold to Stephen Harding right to land which was his fathers and grandfathers in Cape Porpoise 30 July 1720 [York Deeds X:57], as did Samuel Reynolds on 15 July 1720 in a separate deed to Thomas Perkins, naming his honored grandfather William Renalds of Cape Porpoise [York Deeds X:130]. This Samuel became administrator of his grandfather's and uncle's estates in 1721. A number of legal arguments arose as a result of these claims, and in 1722 arbitrators became involved to determine lawful ownership. At this same time, on 11 July 1722, John Buss and Alice his wife, Richard Blanchard and Sarah his wife, all of Dover appear, declaring themselves to be nieces of John Reynolds, and sold land to Stephen Harding of Arundel, alias Cape Porpoise, one sixth part of land formerly belonging to their uncle John Runalds, deceased. In 1725 Hope Demeritt and William Wormwood, niece and nephew, quitclaim their right.

The following is the outline of William Reynolds' children and grandchildren according to the sources cited above:

WILLIAM REYNOLDS m. Plymouth 30 Aug 1638 Alice Kitson

from Pope: had children John, Samuel, Job, William, Mary m. James Langley, Jane m. Thomas Wormwood.

from Noyes, had children:

1 JOHN REYNOLDS unmarried, died before 1718 without issue

2 WILLIAM REYNOLDS m. ---, lived Pemaquid [ME]; had son SAMUEL REYNOLDS who m. Abigail Middleton, lived Bradford MA

3 JOB REYNOLDS d. by 1696, m. 1692 widow Sarah (Wiley) Crawford. They lived Portsmouth [NH] and Cape Elizabeth [ME]; had children JOB REYNOLDS m. widow Hannah (Huckins) Chesley, lived Oyster River; MARY REYNOLDS m. James Langley; JOHN REYNOLDS m. 1718 Hannah Clark, lived Oyster River.

4 daughter, possibly SARAH REYNOLDS m. Arthur Head; had children ALICE HEAD m. John Buss; SARAH HEAD m. 1719 Richard Blanchard.

5 daughter, m. --- Wormwood (Stackpole and Meserve name this daughter Jane and state that she married Thomas Wormwood)

6 very probably, HOPE REYNOLDS m 1) Saco [ME] 1664 Thomas Sanders, m 2) John Cleg

Clearly, copies of the original documents mentioned above are needed for the RFA to undertake further study of this family. There may be additional documents as well that could provide help in solving some of the confusion and mystery.