William Waithman of Greenwich NJ is my 7th great grandfather. Below is what I have been able to find out of his history.
William Waithman is one of the earliest settlers of Greenwich, NJ in what was to become Cumberland Co., NJ. The first record of him in New Jersey is in Salem, where the Salem Friends Society (Quaker) records show that he and Elizabeth Daniel declared their intentions to marry for the second time, on 9-1,1680, (Nov. 1 1680), but his certification had yet to be received from Rhode Island. This record is less than five years after John Fenwick originated the English settlement of West Jersey, and two years before William Penn comes to NJ and Pennsylvania. This record shows that William Waithman and his wife Elizabeth Daniel Waithman were Quakers and that William Waithman had lived in Rhode Island before he settled in New Jersey and that the two of them were some of the earliest settlers of Southern New Jersey.
The Friends societies were not only a religious sect but as a member you entered into a social contract with the rest of the meeting to live by certain standards. Part of this agreement was to marry only within the sect and with people who had been certified as clear. To clear often meant long inspections of ones lifestyle and home by some of the elder members of the meeting. The records suggest that there was no question about Elizabeth’s clearness however, the meeting would not clear William without a certificate from Rhode Island where he lived before. The records (Salem Friends Society) show that on January 3, 1680/1 William and Elizabeth asked permission to marry without waiting any longer for his certificate from Rhode Island, but the meeting refused. The records of the February 7th, 1680/1 meeting show that “William Waithman came to the men and women’s meeting in a notorious unsavory manner, asked the meeting whether they would give consent that he take Elisabeth Daniels to wife then or no, saying he would stay no longer (?) and charged the meeting with doing wrong in not believing him that he was clear, (?) to wait til a certificate (?) came from Rhode Island where he formerly lived. And he charged the meeting with breach of promise saying that the meeting promised him he should stay but a quarter of a year, a thing notoriously false for he was told that it (?) a year before the (certificate?) he must waiting the thing, for the meeting could not give them clearness til they had satisfaction from Rhode Island of his clearness…” On April 4th, 1681, William was requested by the meeting to come the next month and bring his certificate with him. William did not come and no further mention of him occurs in the Salem Friends Meeting Records. William did marry Elizabeth Daniel. This is known because when the Widow Daniel, Elizabeth’s mother, (the Widow was also named Elizabeth) dies in 1684 she names her daughter in her will as Elizabeth Waithman. Also on Jan. 24th, 1680/1, in the middle of the dispute with the meeting, the Widow Daniel granted 100 acres of her land around Greenwich, which totaled 500 acres in all, to William Waithman. This was probably a wedding present to the new couple. It is apparent that William never did receive his certificate in time and he and Elizabeth were probably married without the permission of the Friends meeting. This probably would have ended their association with the Friends society. The lack of them in any further records (the Quakers kept extensive records) would tend to support this notion. It is clear that to some of the Quakers that our ancestor was “notorious and unsavory”.
William Waithman was one of the first purchasers of land in the Greenwich area, buying 250 acres of land on the Cohansey River, between the river and Pine Mount Creek as early as 1681. This 250 acres of land was probably purchased directly from Jon Fenwick acting through William Shattock of Shrewsbury as his agent. In 1687, he purchased another 110 acres of land and marsh in the same area. Although on the original plans for the Colony, the town of Greenwich was not settled until the 1680’s. The “Greate Street” of Greenwich, current day Main Street, was not laid out until 1684. William Waithman was living in the immediate Greenwich area at least three years before the town was laid out.. Elizabeth Daniel, William’s mother-in-law, died in Greenwich (I believe)and in her will of 1684 refers to her musket at William Waithman’s house. This tells us that William had a house built in the Greenwich area by 1684.
In addition to the above land transaction, William Waithman was active buying and selling other land in Greenwich between 1681 and 1703. There are 10 records of William Waithman in a book “Patents and Deeds of New Jersey 1664-1703”, some as buying land, some selling land, some as a witness to transactions of others, and one where a deed is for land adjacent to “Withman’s Plantation”. In addition, several survey records in the files at the Salem County Historical Society detail land transactions not covered in the above book. My reading of these transactions and the landmarks mentioned in them, have suggested to me that the land William owned was immediately (bordering on) west and south of the town of Greenwich and leading all the way past town down to the Cohansey river.
William and Elisabeth had 5 children. This is known from the March 14, 1706 will of William Daniel, which names his sister Elisabeth, wife of William Waithman and their children, William, James, John, Elizabeth, and Thomas. Presumably James died between 1706 and 1712 when William made out his will, as he is not named in it.
William Waithman's will was made out on Dec. 1, 1712 naming his wife, Elizabeth, and 4 children. They are William, John, Elizabeth, and Thomas. William is the eldest. Thomas was born in 1692. The will included real and personnel property and an inventory (that does not include real estate) of the estate of 90.18 pounds. William, the eldest son, was given 30 acres of land on the rear of Thomas Maskell’s land. John and Elizabeth are each given 10 pounds. Thomas is given the plantation of 100 acres, his house, hors, cattle, orchard, buildings, and moveables that are “without doores” (outdoors I think), and Thomas is charged to “Allow his mother Elizabeth Wethman soffcient maintainance during her natural life or widowhood”. “My beloved son Thomas” and “my beloved friend, Thomas Crawen” are named as executors of the will. William signed the will with his mark which suggests that he could not read or write.
The will is unusual, in that the bulk of the estate is given to Thomas who is not the eldest son. Thomas was 19 or 20 at the time the will was written. The will also only accounts for about 130 acres of property, whereas the early deeds suggest that William had owned as much as 500 acres of land. I suspect that the bulk of the missing acres had previously been given to sons, William and John, and his daughter Elisabeth when she married and this would account for how little they were given in the will. This would also likely place Thomas as the youngest of the male children.
William’s will was proved on November 3, 1714. It is likely that he had died shortly before that in 1714.
The inventory of the will names several household items; “bed and beding, som poutor and bras” (some pewter and brass), a spinning wheel, a gun and cart(ridge) box, a cask, a deer skin, a chest, and “waring aparil” (wearing apparel). The rest of the items in the inventory make it clear that William Waithman was a farmer. These items are; “cart and plous (plows), catul and sheap “(cattle and sheep), wheat in the barn, a crop in the ground, swin (swine), and corn.
William Wethman used his mark to sign the will. Either he could not write, or he was too ill to write his name when the will was written.
William and Elizabeth Waithman were presumably the founders of the Waithman’s of Cumberland Co., NJ. There are numerous records of the family in Cumberland Co. at least until the early 1800’s. The Waithman name is often spelled other ways. In the above mentioned will, the will is listed in the New Jersey Archives as “William Waithman’s will” but through out the will he is referred to as William Wethman and signs his name as William Wethman. When the inventory is made, it is made for the estate of “wilyam Weathman”. There are records where Thomas, William’s son, borrows money using the same 100 acres of land that William purchased next to Samuel Bacon as collateral for the loan. In that record, the money is lent to Thomas Wethman, and then the loan is signed by Thomas Waithman. Later a Talmon Waithman is listed both as Waithman and Waitman in the Militia lists for Fairfield Township (next to Greenwich) in 1793, and then was baptized at the Cohansey Baptist Church in Roadstown in 1803 as Talman Weathman. Other spellings included Waythman, Withman, Weithman and Wothman. As all the original records were hand written and spelling was often phonetic, these changes are understandable. In the Mormon church records from England the name Waithman is listed as a spelling or permutation of Weightman, which was a not uncommon English name and the Friends society records in Hinshaw’s Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy lists the records under the name Waightman.
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