Born in England. Arrived in Massachusetts by 1643, later settling in Rhode Island and
Born in England. Arrived in Massachusetts by 1643, later settling in Rhode Island.
James Reynolds who died in about 1700 in Kingstown, Rhode Island is the immigrant ancestor of our American Reynolds line. He was born in England and came to America as a young man. Family tradition says that he landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts, and there was a James iRennell in Plymouth Colony in August 1643 listed with those from 16 to 60 able to bear arms. This is probably our James Reynolds.
James Reynolds married Deborah [surname, place of marriage and place of settlement all unknown]. They were probably in Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts at the time, but they may have been in Newport, Rhode Island or elsewhere. All of their children were born before they settled on the Potowomut River in Kingston, Rhode Island.
Early Rhode Island history was marked by a long drawn-out and acrimonious dispute concerning lands on the western shore of Narragansett Bay which were claimed by Rhode Island and Connecticut, because both colonies were given grants to this area by England. This included the area in which James Reynolds settled. In 1665 an appointed Commission named the disputed area King’s Province, and by 1674 it was known as Kingstown. James Reynolds was among the men (all of the others are confirmed as being from Newport, Rhode Island) who applied 13 May 1665 asking officially for land in King’s Province from the Rhode Island General Assembly. James Reynolds was the first actual settler to live on the 150 acres he appears to have been granted in the northeast part of King’s Province called Quidnessett, where he settled before 1669 (as on 29 Jan 1669 he purchased adjoining land there). James Reynold‘s 150 acre farm was near present-day East Greenwich, Rhode Island on the south side of the Potowomut River (a small stream also known as Reynolds River and Mill River and Green’s River over the years). James Reynolds built his homestead on the 50 acres west of a little brook (now Sand Hill Stream) that flows north through this land into the Potowomut River. At the 20 May 1671 General Assembly of Rhode Island, James Reynolds took the Oath of Allegience and confirmed ownership of the land he had settled and was appointed Constable. In 1675 James Reynolds was made Tax Assessor there.
In 1675, during King Philips War, James Reynold’s house was burned down and his oldest son John was killed by Indians. Son John was buried in the land in front of where the house had been, and the house was rebuilt.
On 26 Dec 1673 James Reynolds deeded 150 acres in Quidnessett to son John and it was later recorded as deeded on 4 Jun 1699 to John’s daughter Sarah. On 25 Feb 1684 James Reynolds deeded the 50 acres west of the brook (the family homestead) to son Francis Reynolds (1662-1722) and the remaining 100 acres to son James. James Reynolds and his wife continued living at the homestead and son James also (until he should build on his inheritance). The deed to Francis was recorded on 20 Jan 1690 and the deed to James was recorded on 29 Apr 1684. James Reynolds acquired 100 acres more land after King Philips War and perhaps this went to son Joseph. According to records, additional land purchases were also deeded to his sons.
Connecticut again in 1677 tried to take charge of the Narragansett area including James Reynold‘s land. James Reynolds and others petitioned the Rhode Island General Assembly for help. On 24 May 1677 James Reynolds and others were arrested by Connecticut officers for refusing to acknowledge allegiance to the Colony of Connecticut, and they were imprisoned at Hartford, Connecticut. They were released later that year and Rhode Island was established as having jurisdiction in the Narragansett Country.
On 16 Jun 1687 James Reynolds was made Overseer of the Poor and on 3 Mar 1690 he was made Conservator of the Peace.
James Reynolds owned slaves, which he deeded to his children with the expressed wish that each be freed at 30 years of age. In September 1700 his children recorded formal statements agreeing to do this.
James Reynold‘s will was dated 15 Oct 1692 and it was probated 14 Oct 1700. His wife is not mentioned in it and, therefore, probably died before the will was written. This is the first will in the North Kingstown, Rhode Island Probate Records. The wills of James Reynolds and son Francis plus an old document containing the names and dates of birth of James Reynold‘s children were passed down through the generations. The old homestead was destroyed by fire in 1730, and it appears that the old document A Memorandum of the births of the Children born to Mr. James Reynolds and Deborah his Wife who settled in North Kingstown, Washington, RI having Emigrated from England was written soon after to replace the record destroyed by the fire. The wills were probably copied from the Wickford Records (in the same handwriting) and the Wickford Records themselves were later “mutilated” by fire.
The children of James Reynolds and Deborah are listed as follows: John (1648-1675), James (1650-1671), Joseph (1652-1739), Elizabeth (1654- ), Sarah (1654- ), Henry (1656-1716), Deborah (1658-1716), Francis (1662-1722), Mercy Reynolds (1664-1738), Robert (1666-1715) and Benjamin (1669-1714).
Mercy Reynolds married Thomas Nichols (1660-1745), and their lineage is continued under the heading of Thomas Nichols ( -1708).
 James Reynolds married Mary Greene (1660-1692), the niece of our 10th g-grandfather, John Greene (1620-1708), discussed under the heading of Dr. John Greene (1597-1659). Her father is James Greene (1626-1698), and her mother is Deliverance Potter (1637-1664).
 Henry Reynolds married Sarah Greene (1664-1716), the niece of our 10th g-grandfather, John Greene (1620-1708), discussed under the heading of Dr. John Greene (1597-1659). Her father is James Greene (1626-1698), and her mother is Deliverance Potter (1637-1664).
 Francis Reynolds married Elizabeth Greene (1668-1722), the niece of our 10th g-grandfather, John Greene (1620-1708), discussed under the heading of Dr. John Greene (1597-1659). Her father is James Greene (1626-1698), and her mother is Elizabeth Anthony (1637-1664).