Tillinghast #2614

Pardon Tillinghast (1622-1718)

Born in England.  Arrived in Providence Rhode Island in 1643 (according to his grave marker) and certainly before 1645 and

USA flag animationLydia Taber (1640-1718)

Born in Massachusetts.

Tillinghast #2614

See Note[1] regarding other lines of descent from Hannah Tillinghast (1682-1731).

A good source for information on this family is The Tillinghasts in America, The First Four Generations by Wayne G. Tillinghast (Rhode Island Genealogical Society, 2006).  The American Society of Genealogists gave their annual Donald Lines Jacobus Award to Mr. Tillinghast for this book in 2008.  The work is a classic genealogy, tracing the descendants, both male and female, of Pardon Tillinghast.  Despite the subtitle of the book, many descendants in the fifth and sixth generations are treated, and intermarriages with other Rhode Island families make this genealogy almost a “Who’s Who” of colonial Providence.  Thoroughly documented, extensive biographical detail includes much Rhode Island history and corrects previous errors.  Much of the material presented below is taken directly from this source (p. 1-10, “First Generation”)

Seven Sisters cliffs and the coastguard cottages, from Seaford Head showing Cuckmere Haven. Tillinghast was reported to be born near the Seven Sisters cliffs in Sussex (photo taken August 2012).

Seven Sisters cliffs and the coastguard cottages, from Seaford Head showing Cuckmere Haven. Tillinghast was reported to be born near the Seven Sisters cliffs in Sussex (photo taken August 2012).


English Origins:

Pardon Tillinghast born about 1622, possibly near the Seven Sisters Cliffs, at Beachy Head (now Eastbourne), Sussex, England, as it states on his grave marker in Providence, Rhode Island.  He was the son of Pardon Tillinghast (born in 1600) and Sarah Browne, daughter of Benjamin Browne and Sarah Leachford.  The name “Pardon” was the surname of his paternal grandmother, Alice Pardon (1580-1624), whose husband was John Tillinghast.  John Tillinghast attended Cambridge University, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1581/2 and a Master of Arts degree in 1585.  He served as Rector of Streat from 1593 until 1624.

Streat parish church, Streat, East Sussex, England (photo credit: Charlesdrakew, 2009)

Streat parish church, Streat, East Sussex, England (photo credit: Charlesdrakew, 2009)

In 1625, John‘s son, Pardon Tillinghast, was baptized in Streat Parish Church, Streat, East Sussex, England.  He died 19 Jan 1718 at Providence.  In about 1654 he married (1st) a woman whose surname was Butterworth, but whose given name has not been found.  In many accounts her name is given as “Sarah”, but there is no evidence to support this (although the oldest child of this couple was named Sarah).  Pardon’s first wife died in 1661.  On 16 Apr 1664, he married (2nd) Lydia Taber, who was born 8 Nov 1640 at Barnstable, Massachusetts and died about 1720 at Providence, Rhode Island.  On 4 Nov 1718 at Prrovidence, Lydia married (2nd) Samuel Mason (1657-1743), my 8th g-grand uncle.  Samuel is the son of Sampson Mason (1625-1676).

A panoramic view of all seven sisters from the Beachy Head cliffs near Birling Gap, looking back towards the River Cuckmere and Seaford Head in the background (photo credit: Diliff; taken 4 May 2009)

A panoramic view of all seven sisters from the Beachy Head cliffs near Birling Gap, looking back towards the River Cuckmere and Seaford Head in the background (photo credit: Diliff; taken 4 May 2009)

Prior to his emigration to America, some sources report that Pardon Tillinghast served as a soldier under Oliver Cromwell and participated in the battle of Marston Moor[2].  This cannot be proved one way or the other.  His reason for emigrating from England may have been the religious intolerance at the time of which the civil strife was symptomatic.  Once in New England, he settled in Providence, Rhode Island and on 19 Jan 1645[3] was admitted a resident and allotted a share as a proprietor.  He probably arrived in New England shortly before that.


Immigration to Rhode Island:

Inscription on the Tillinghast Memorial in Providence Rhode Island

Inscription on the Tillinghast Memorial in Providence Rhode Island

Pardon was the first Tillinghast in the American colonies, and it has frequently been reported, without documentation, that he sailed from Alfriston, England in 1643 and arrived at Connecticut.  The first record of his presence in Providence, Rhode Island is a document he signed on 19 Nov 1645 wherein he acknowledged the free grant of twenty-five acres of land and rights of “communing” in Providence and pledged obedience to the governing laws[4].  He also acknowledged the absence of a right to the purchase of the said plantation, and the privilege of voting in two affairs until he was admitted as a freeman.  He obviously was in Providence long enough to establish himself as worthy of receiving the grant.  According to one source he arrived on 16 Nov 1643 (Early Records of the Town of Providence [note 2], 15:33).  His motivation in leaving England has generally been reported to have been his abhorrence of the religious intolerance prevailing at the time, and his attractions to Providence is usually ascribed to its prevailing climate of religious freedom.  The fact that his maternal uncle, Henry Browne, was already settled there was perhaps also a factor in Pardon‘s decision to settle in Providence.

Pardon Tillinghast had little estate when he came to New England.  In 1650 he was taxed three shillings and four pence, a fairly low amount compared to other inhabitants.  On 18 May 1658 he was made a freeman of the colony.

Pardon left Providence and moved to Newport between May 1658, when as a freeman of the colony he was noted to reside in Providence, and 19 Nov 1659, when he obtained a deed of land in Newport from Benedict Arnold and was noted that Pardon was late of Providence and now Inhabitant of Newport.  While living in Newport, he became involved in importing and selling dry goods and appears to have had a brewery, based on a 1684 deed in which he conveys a brewhous to his son John, along with his other Newport properties.  About 1665 he was back in Providence when he received a lot there in a division of lands, and between 1672-1700 he served for six one-year terms as a Deputy to the General Assembly representing Providence.  Pardon Tillinghast was a cooper like both his father and his sons but also was a successful merchant.  In 1680 he was granted 20 square feet for building a storehouse with privilege of a wharf, over against his dwelling house.  In doing this, he had built the first wharf in Providence, and is thus recognized as the founding pioneer of the town’s maritime trade.  Subsequently, trade opened between Providence and other partners, from nearby colonies to as far as the West Indies and Europe.  For the times, Pardon Tillinghast became a fairly wealthy man, and when he died, his estate, excluding real estate, was valued at £1,542.  Putting this into perspective, of 78 Providence inventories between 1716 and 1726, his was the third highest in value.

The First Baptist Church of Providence, Rhode Island (also known as First Baptist Meetinghouse) is the oldest Baptist church congregation in the United States. It was founded by Roger Williams in Providence, Rhode Island in 1638. The present church building was completed in 1775.

At some point, Pardon Tillinghast became a Baptist, one of several sects that separated from the established Church of England.  Baptists believed that only persons mature enough to make their own commitment to the Christian faith should be baptized.  Claiming that the scriptures did not support infant baptism, they were opposed to the practice.  Within that movement, Pardon was a “Six Principle Baptist”, believing in the “laying on of hands” as part of the baptism ritual.

One of the earliest references to Pardon‘s religious fervor is the reference in the Suffolk County Court Records of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in October 1674, when Pardon Tillinghast and Stephen Harding were charged with coming from Providence to the town of Mendon in the Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony in order to Seduce People to their corrupt opinions.  The two men appeared before the County Court on 27 Oct 1674, but with no one present to prosecute them, they were admonished and released after being ordered to pay court costs and warned not to return to Mendon.

In 1681 Pardon Tillinghast became the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Providence.  This church, founded by Roger Williams[5] is still in existence[6], and it is the oldest Baptist congregation in America.  However, but the time Pardon Tillinghast arrived in Providence, Roger Williams had already disassociated himself from the Baptists.  In 1700 at his own expense, Pardon built the first meeting-house of the First Baptist Church in Providence.  On 14 Apr 1711, he deeded[7] the building to the church in consideration of the Christian love, good will, and affection which he had for the Church of Christ in Providence, describing it as my house called the Baptist meeting house situate, standing and being in Providence between the highway or Town Street and the salt water.  In the deed of conveyance he describes the faith and order of the church by quoting the Epistle to the Hebrews[8] (describing what became known as Six Principle Baptists[9]).  He served as pastor without remuneration from 1681 until his death in 1718, and was the sixth pastor of this congregation, being preceded by Roger Williams, Chad Browne, Thomas Olney[10], William Wickenden, and Gregory Dexter.

While serving as a clergyman, Pardon Tillinghast continued to be active with civic responsibilities as well and served on the Providence Town Council during most of the years from 1688-1707.  He was also the town Treasurer from 1687-1707.  Well advanced in years, he wrote his will on 15 Dec 1715, and it was proved on 11 Feb 1718.  He died on 29 Jan 1718, and he was buried in a family cemetery in Providence that remains extant, though any original markers have been replaced with a single family monument.

In 1689, Pardon Tillinghast was the author of a book of theology entitled Water-Baptism Plainly Proved by Scripture to Be a Gospel Precept.

There is no record of the births of any of Elder Pardon’s children.  We know the identify of most of his children from his will, and he did not mention any predeceased children in his will.  The children of Pardon Tillinghast and his first wife, [given name unknown] Butterworth, are listed as follows:

  1. Sarah, born at Providence 17 Nov 1654 and died 1671 at about age 17, unmarried.
  2. John (1657-1690), married Isabel, the daughter of John Sayles and Mary Williams and the granddaughter of Roger Williams[11].  John’s daughter, Mary, married Richard Ward who served briefly as the Deputy Governor of the Rhode Island colony then served a one-year term as Governor.  Their son, Samuel Ward served several terms as Governor of the colony and became one of Rhode Island’s two delegates to the Continental Congress.  Samuel Ward’s great granddaughter, Julia Ward Howe, was the noted writer and poet who wrote the lyrics to The Battle Hymn of the Republic.
  3. Mary (1659-1718), married Benjamin Carpenter.
Tillinghast Memorial in Providence, Rhode Island. The inscription reads: "Be Just and Fear Not" with the Coat of Arms - a crow arrows and spade

Tillinghast Memorial in Providence, Rhode Island. The monument is inscribed with the family motto: “Be Just and Fear Not” with a coat of arms – a crow, arrows and spade.

The Tillinghast Memorial is inscribed with the family motto: “Be Just and Fear Not” and with the Coat of Arms – a crow, arrows and spade.

The children of Pardon Tillinghast and his second wife, Lydia Taber, are listed as follows:

    1. Lydia, born 18 Apr 1666 and died 30 Jun 1707.  She married John Odlin [Audley].
    2. Pardon (Jr.), born 16 Feb 1667/68 and died 15 Oct 1743.  He married (1st) Mary Keech, the daughter of George and Mary Keech, and had five children, two of whom, Mary and Mercy, were both wives of Colonel Peter Mawney, a member of Rhode Island’s short-lived Huguenot settlement.  He married (2nd) Sarah (Reynolds) Ayres.
    3. Phillip, born 1 Oct 1669 and died 14 Mar 1731/32.  He married Martha Holmes, the daughter of Richard Borden and Joan Fowle, my paternal 11th g-grandparents, discussed under their own heading.  Martha’s father, Jonathan Holmes, is the son of early Baptist minister Obadiah Holmes.  Joseph Clarke[12] (1618-1694) was made an overseer of the estate of Rev. Obadiah Holmes in his will dated 9 Apr 1681.
    4. Benjamin, born 3 Feb 1671/72 and died 14 Sep 1726.  He married Sarah Rhodes.
    5. Abigail, born 30 Jan 1673/74 and died 1744.  She married Nicholas Sheldon.
    6. Joseph, born 11 Aug 1677 and died 1 Dec 1763.  He married (1st) Freelove Stafford and (2nd) Mary (Paris) Hendron, widow.
    7. Mercy, born 1678.  She married Col. Nicholas Power.
    8. Hannah Tillinghast, discussed below.
    9. Elizabeth, born 1685.  She married her 1st cousin, Philip Taber [Tabor].[13]

Pardon not only trained his sons as coopers but aided them in establishing themselves as merchants.  At the time of Pardon‘s death in 1718, his sons Philip and Benjamin each had dwellings, warehouses, shops and wharves to the immediate north of Pardon‘s domain.  His son Joseph and his grandson Charles, son of his deceased son John, each had similar holdings on Newport Harbor.  His son Pardon (Jr.) was established on a large farm in East Greenwich, and although there is no evidence that he was a merchant, he was enjoying success financially and politically.  By his will dated 15 Dec 1715, Elder Pardon left £50 each to sons Pardon, Philip and Benjamin and £10 each to daughters Mary Carpenter, Abigail Sheldon, Mercy Power, Hannah “Haille” and Elizabeth Taber.  He devised his dwelling and home lot to his son Joseph, bequeathed 5 shillings to each grandchild, and named Lydia, his wife, his exectutrix, instructing her to make use of her sons Philip and Benjamin to assist her in procuring her rights.  Daughters Sarah and Lydia and son John, who were not mentioned, had all predeceased Pardon.

Although at one time there were many family burial plots in the area now occupied by Benefit Street, in the late 1800s, the town decided to move the remains of those buried in private cemeteries to the North Burial Ground.  descendants of Elder Pardon organized a successful effort to preserve the Tillinghast Burial Ground and erected a monument to Elder Pardon Tillinghast on that site.  At transcription of the gravestones formerly located at the Benefit Street site, prepared by Grace G. Tillinghast, is located in the James N. Arnold Papers at the Knight Memorial Library at Providence.

Hannah Tillinghast, the youngest child of Pardon Tillinghast and his second wife, Lydia Taber, was born 2 Jan 1682 at Providence, Rhode Island and died 19 Oct 1731 at Swansea, Massachusetts.  In about 1702 at Swansea, she married John Haile, who was born at Rehoboth, Massashusetts in about 1677 and died at Swansea on 19 Feb 1718.  We are descended from two of the daughters of Hannah Tillinghast and John Haile: Lillis Haile (1714-1797) and Hannah Haile (1716-1791).  Both daughters are my 7th great grandmothers, and each had a daughter who married a grandson of Sampson Mason (1625-1676)[14].  The lines reconnect in their grandchildrens’ generation with the marriage in 1758 of 1st cousins, Jesse Mason (1737-1823) and Lois Mason (1737-1788).  Details are included under the heading of Sampson Mason, where their lineage is continued.

[1] Hannah Tillinghast is my 8th g-grandmother through two daughters: Lillis and Hannah.

[2] The Battle of Marston Moor was fought on 2 Jul 1644, during the First English Civil War of 1642–1646. The combined forces of the Scottish Covenanters under the Earl of Leven and the English Parliamentarians under Lord Fairfax and the Earl of Manchester defeated the Royalists commanded by Prince Rupert of the Rhine and the Marquess of Newcastle. During the summer of 1644, the Covenanters and Parliamentarians had been besieging York, which was defended by the Marquess of Newcastle. Prince Rupert had gathered an army which marched through the northwest of England to relieve the city, gathering fresh recruits on the way. The convergence of these forces made the ensuing battle the largest of the Civil Wars. On 1 Jul 1644, Rupert outmanoeuvred the Scots and Parliamentarians to relieve the city. The next day, he sought battle with them even though he was outnumbered. He was dissuaded from attacking immediately and during the day both sides gathered their full strength on Marston Moor, an expanse of wild meadow west of York. Towards evening, the Scots and Parliamentarians themselves launched a surprise attack. After a confused fight lasting two hours, Parliamentarian cavalry under Oliver Cromwell routed the Royalist cavalry from the field and annihilated the remaining Royalist infantry. After their defeat the Royalists effectively abandoned the north of England. They lost much of the manpower from the Northern Counties of England which were strongly Royalist in sympathy, and access to the continent of Europe through the ports on the North Sea coast. Although they partially retrieved their fortunes with victories later in the year in the south of England, the loss of the North was to prove a fatal handicap the next year, when they tried unsuccessfully to link up with the Scottish Royalists under Montrose.

The Battle of Marston Moor, by J. Barker

The Battle of Marston Moor, by J. Barker

[3] This date has been incorrectly interpreted by several writers as  19 Nov 1645. The date was actually written 19th of eleventh month [1645/6] which at that period of time meant 19 Jan 1645.

[4] John C. Cooley, Rathbone Genealogy (Syracuse, New York: Press of the Courier Job Print) 1898, p. 166-167.

[5] My 10th g-grandfather is discussed under his own heading.

[6] The First Baptist Church in America is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches of Rhode Island (ABCORI) and the American Baptist Churches/USA (ABCUSA). The church actively supports the Rhode Island State Council of Churches, the National Council of Churches, the World Baptist Alliance, and the Baptist Joint Committee on Religious Liberty. Many members have served in various denominational, academic, and divinity school positions, including the presidency of Brown University.

[7] Described thus in the deed: situatedbetween the Town Street and salt water, together with
 the lot whereon said meeting house standeth, to theChurch and their successors, for the Christian love,goodwill and affection which I bear to the Church ofChrist in said Providence, the which I am infellowship with, and have the care of as being elder
 of said Church.

[8] Hebrews 6:1-2. Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

Rhode Island flag

Rhode Island flag

[9] The Six-Principle Baptists were the first Baptist association in the Americas. The “six-principles” adhered to are those listed in Hebrews 6:1-2: Repentance, Faith, Baptism, Laying on of hands, Resurrection of the dead and Final judgment. The history of General Six-Principle Baptists in America begins in Rhode Island in 1652 when the historic Providence Baptist Church, which was once associated with Roger Williams, split. The occasion was the development within the congregation of an Arminian majority that held to the six principles of Hebrew 6:1-2. Of these six principles, the laying-on-of-hands was the only one really distinctive to this body, and that only because it was advocated as mandatory. This rite was used at the baptism and reception of new members symbolizing the reception of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Some Calvinistic Baptist churches were also “Six-Principle,” but they did not survive as a separate body. Even the influential Philadelphia Baptist Association (org. 1707) added an article concerning laying-on-of-hands to their 1742 reprint of the 1689 London Baptist Confession. A distinguishing feature of these “General” Six-Principle Baptists was that they would not commune with other Baptists who did not observe the laying-on-of-hands. In 1656, members left the First Baptist Church in Newport, the church of John Clarke & Obadiah Holmes, and formed a second Six-Principle Baptist Church. First Baptist Church in America. Churches were planted and conferences rose up in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania. The Rhode Island Yearly Meeting was formed in 1670, becoming the first Baptist association in America. It was incorporated in 1895 as the General Six-Principle Baptist Conference of Rhode Island. The word “Hope” and the emblem of the anchor (both taken from Hebrews 6) on the flag and Seal of Rhode Island attest to the historical influence of Six-Principle Baptists in that state. The New York Yearly Conference was organized around 1824. After 1865, it became known as the General Six-Principle Baptist Association of Pennsylvania. The Six-Principle Baptists of New England were called “General,” distinguishing that they held the general view of Christ’s atonement (making salvation possible for all men) rather than the particular view (that He atoned for the elect only). Six-Principle Baptists also existed in England, probably pre-dating those in America. The Standard Confession of 1660 specifies the doctrine of laying-on-of-hands. According to Henry Vedder, “In March, 1690, the churches holding these views formed an Association. This continued with varying fortunes for some years; at its strongest, numbering but eleven churches in England, though there were others in Wales when the Calvinistic Baptists withdrew, and the rest of the churches were gradually absorbed into the General body. In 1954, the Rhode Island Conference lifted its ban on communing with other Christians, preparing the way for their assimilation into the broader Baptist community. One of the last historical churches to survive is the Stony Lane Six Principle Baptist Church in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. According to their pastor, the Rev. John Wheeler, “We keep the name only for historical purposes and to our knowledge we are the last church to use it in our official name. We don’t include it in our stationary etc., nor do we hold to the specific teaching of highlighting Hebrews 6:1-2 over other parts of Scripture.” According to Albert Wardin there is also “…one church, located in Pennsylvania, which still carries Six Principle in its name, but its current pastor does not observe all the six principles.” This, the Pine Grove Church of Nicholson, Pennsylvania, and the Stony Lane Church, were the last two churches to be considered historically Six-Principle Baptist.

[10] Thomas Olney (1600-1682) is my paternal 10th g-grandfather, discussed under his own heading.

[11] My paternal 10th g-grandfather, discussed under his own heading.

[12] My paternal 8th g-grandfather.

[13] Philip Taber (1682-1750) is the grandson of my 10th g-grandparents, Philip Taber (1604-1672) and Lydia Masters (1605- ) through their son Joseph Taber (1645-1734).

[14] Lillis Hale married Nathan Mason, and they had a son, Jesse Mason.  Hannah Hale married Pelatiah Mason (Jr.), and they had a daughter, Lois Mason.


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