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Notes for Thomas Stevenson and Sarah Whitehead

1730 Thomas Stevenson, of Huntington West Jersey, and Sarah Whitehead, of Jamaica, were married on April 29, at Grace Church in Jamaica, Long Island, New York. [1] [2] [3]

1732 The family of Thomas and Sarah Stevenson settled in Franklin Twp, Hunterdon County, New Jersey where their children were born, the first in 1732. [4]

A biosketch reports [5]:

Thomas Stevenson (John, Thomas, Thomas), the oldest son of John and Mercy (Jenings) Stevenson was born in 1707 or 1708. His grandfather Gov. Jenings dying in July of the latter year bequeathed him £50. He removed, with his father and stepmother, from Burlington to Hunterdon County in 1727. For a wife he went to Long Island and married, April 30, 1730, in Grace Church, Jamaica, Sarah Whitehead. The latter was the daughter of Jonathan Whitehead who married Sarah Field in 1703, and granddaughter of Major Daniel and Abigail (Stevenson) Whitehead. Sarah Whitehead, with her father and mother and seven brothers and sisters were baptized on the same day, April 18, 1713, by the Rev. Mr. Poyer, Rector of Grace Church, Jamaica, Long Island.

Thomas Stevenson by his marriage by a clergyman of the English Church lost his membership in the Friends' Meeting. Immediately on the death of his father, John Stevenson, he released to his stepmother, on Sept. 18, 1744, his right and title, as "oldest son and heir-at-law," to the homestead plantation. He settled on 326 acres on the north side of the " Musconetcong Hills " in Bethlehem Township, Hunterdon County. His name is on the poll list of voters of that township in 1738. He afterwards removed to Rocky Hill, Somerset County. We learn from the Pennsylvania Gazette of November 26, 1741, that his house was robbed, and as the advertisement gives an excellent idea of the personal outfit of a well-to-do person of that period it is quoted entire : "Last night the house of Thomas Stevenson at Rocky Hill in Somerset County was robbed of the following things, viz. : one Double Doubloon and about Three Pounds in Jersey Paper Currency, and an old Pocket Book with sundry Notes and Paper in it, also one dark coloured Frize Coat lined with shaloon nearly of the same Colour, one black Crape Jacket lined with black shaloon, one pair of olive green breeches of tufted Fustian, one Coat and Breeches of fine blue Kersey, and one Jacket of fine blue Cloth, and brown olive Over Coat, a pair of Boots, a black natural pacing Mare with a small white spot just over her Eyes, Bridle and Saddle with blue Housing, fringed ; Which robbery was supposed to be committed by one Daniel Williams, an Irish Man of short Stature, pretty well set, with short, black curled Hair. If any Person takes up the said Daniel Williams and brings him back, or secured him, and gives notice to John Carle or Thomas Stevenson of Rocky Hill, so that he may be had again, shall have Five Pounds Reward paid by John Carle or Thomas Stevenson."

Thomas Stevenson's wife, Sarah, was the grand-daughter of Major Daniel and Abigail (Stevenson) Whitehead. Major Whitehead was born in 1646. He is sometimes styled junior, as his father bore the same surname and was one of the early settlers of Newtown, on Long Island, dying in 1668, aged 65 years. Daniel Whitehead, Junior, was a wealthy and prominent man. and was one of the patentees of the town of Jamaica. He was a member of the New York Assembly from 1691 to 1701.* He was the Captain of a military company and acquired the title of Major by regular promotion. Major Whitehead died in Jamaica, where his will was dated September 9, 1703. This instrument, which is a long document, was probated October 30, 1704. In it he names all of his children, seven in number. To Jonathan Whitehead (oldest son) he bequeaths, "besides what I have formerly given him by deed," all his lands in Jamaica, " between the Mill and Willin's Path, Lying Westward of the Mill to John Okey's Land, and Southward as far as my land runs, and also my land in Cowneck in the Township of Hempstead, and all that quarter part of the Mill standing in Gildersleeve's Creek in the s'd Neck in Jamaica," except a piece of meadow bought of "Mr. Anthony Waters." After leaving bequests of land, houses and money to all his children, several legacies to other relatives and friends, and £20 to the Town of Jamaica towards the maintenance of a grammar school, he orders all his other lands in Jamaica, Hempstead, Oyster Bay, Nissiqua, in the County of Suffolk, and in the Colony of Connecticut, to be sold, and the proceeds be divided between his two sons, Jonathan and
Thomas Whitehead.

Sarah Stevenson's father, Jonathan Whitehead (born in 1672), married, by license July 22, 1697, Sarah, daughter of Robert and Susannah Field, of Newtown, and the sister of the aunt, by marriage, of John Stevenson, her husband's father. Jonathan Whitehead, who lived in Jamaica, was a Justice of the Peace in his county, and succeeded his father, Major Whitehead, as a member of the New York Assembly, serving in that body from 1705 to 1709. He was an active member of Grace (English) Church, Jamaica, and the records of Rev. Thomas Poyer, the Rector, couples his name with some of the most important transactions that took place in that parish. At that day religious disputes between sectarian adherents were frequent, and sometimes they were carried into the civil courts. On October 5, 1702-3, a complaint was made before Justice John Smith that "Jonathan Whitehead, Esq., one of her Majesties Justices set out on a journey with his court mantle behind him on a Sabbath day." When the Justice charged him with the offence, he replied that he broke not the Sabbath day, for he was at church in the forenoon and rode to Newtown in the afternoon.* Jonathan Whitehead's will is dated January 13, 1736, and was probated July 26, 1739. Thomas and Sarah Stevenson, so far as known, had but one child: John.


[1] Horatio Oliver Ladd, Origin and History of Grace Church, Vol. 1 (Shakespeare Press, 1914), 285, [InternetArchive].

[2] Henry Onderdonk Jr., copied by Josephine C. Frost, Record Kept by Rev. Thomas Poyer, Rector of Episcopal Churches at Jamaica, Newtown & Flushing Long Island (New York: 1913), 47, [InternetArchive].

[3] Thomas Poyer, "Rector Book of the Parish of Jamaica 1710-1732," New York Genealogical and Biographical Record 19 (1888), 5-12, 53-59, at 57, [HathiTrust].

[4] James P. Snell, History of Hunterdon and Somerset Counties, New Jersey (Philadelphia: Everts & Peck, 1881), 433, left column, [HathiTrust], [GoogleBooks].

[5] John R. Stevenson, Thomas Stevenson of London, England, and his Descendants (1902), 69, [GoogleBooks], [HathiTrust].