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Windes' Ancestors

My great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather was Barnabas, or Barnabie, or Barnaby, or Barnebey, or Barney Windes, or Wines, or Wynes, or Wyndes, or Winds, the spelling of his name depending entirely on which of the very few clerks of his time was writing and recording his name as a part of the public record. Even the same public recorder could not be relied upon to spell first and last names consistently. Barnabas was born to Charles and Prudence Beacon Wyndes on l4 February, l602, in Ipswich, England. His father, Charles, the earliest recorded family progenitor, was a "wool winder," and Barnabas was apprenticed at age sixteen to one William Hall so that he, too, could become a "wool winder."

On March l6, l624, according to the Ipswich "Apprentice Records," "Barnabie Wyndes claimed freedom by apprenticeship of over seven years to W. Hall." The following month he married Anna Eddy (b.l603), of Cranbrook, County Kent, England, daughter of Rev. William Eddy, Vicar of Cranbrook, and his wife, Mary Fosten. Barney and Anna had three children in five years: A son who was entered into the Parish Register of St. Nicholas Church, Ipswich, County Suffolk, England, as Barnabie Wynds. A second son was recorded as Samuel Wines. A daughter was entered into the record as Hannah Windes. So much for consistent spelling in l7th Century England.

When the two brothers of Anna Windes, John and Richard, left England for Massachusetts Bay on the vessel "Handmaiden" in May of l63l, and a sister, Abigail Eddy Benjamin and her husband, Edward, followed them the following month, settling in Boston, Anna persuaded Barnabas to give up "wool winding" in Ipswich and Bury St. Edmonds, and seek their future in New England.

The first week of October, l63l, Barnabas, Anna, Barnabas-2, Samuel, and Hannah joined the "Saltonstall Group," and set sail on the ship "Leopard," for Plymouth, arriving in Charlestown, Mass. on ll October. The Typographical Dictionary of 2885 English Emigrants to New England, (Charles Edward Banks, l957), and The Records of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in New England show that "Barnaby Wyndes, son of Charles and Prudence Beacon Winds of Ipswich, husband of Anna, father of Barnabas, Samuel and Hannah" was admitted as a "freeman at Watertown, October 22, l83l, and that Barnabas was a "church member." The state of grace of the others in his family was left in doubt. Barnabas was granted a number of tracts in Watertown, as shown in the Town Records, and these tracts included his homestead of l4 acres on Cambridge Road, as well as grazing and cultivating tracts for livestock and farming.

For over fourteen years Barnaby, Anna and family lived on Cambridge Road, on the banks of the Charles River, moderately prosperous and reasonably satisfied members of the Watertown Community. Being a true Windes, Barnabas inherited the "it's time to move" gene. In l645, when he heard about the pleasures and opportunities awaiting new residents in eastern Long Island, he decided to sell his Watertown holdings and move south. He sold to another relative of mine, William Paine, whose daughter, Deborah, my great grandmother x seven, had just married my great grandfather x seven, Samuel, second son of Barnaby. The entire family, including Samuel and Deborah, and daughter Hannah and husband, Francis Nichols of Stamford, Connecticut, who married in l845, and son Barnabas and wife Ruth, who also married in l645, moved in the summer of l645 to Southold, Long Island, a community at the very eastern tip, northern finger, of Long Island, between Noyack Bay and Long Island Sound, just seven miles from Orient Point. Barnabas and his sons and son in law purchased a section, 640 acres, built homes and barns and outbuildings, and, hearty and horny folks that they were, they survived, propagated, and prospered. Barnabas never regretted the move, and even when he was seventy-seven years of age, the year of his death, he enjoyed riding his horse over the hills and down to the beaches. Anna shared his pleasures and lived to age eighty-four. When

Barnabas died, in l680, services for him were held at the Church of Southold, where he had been an active church member and "saintly deacon" for more than thirty years. His sons Samuel and Barnabas-2 inherited the land, furniture, cows, horses, and debts.

By the mid Eighteenth Century dozens of Windes, or Wyndes, or Winds, lived in and around Southold, or were residents of its local cemeteries. Among the holders of substantial land was Abijah Windes (l738 to l8l8), my great, great, great, great, great grandfather, who was himself the great grandson of Barnabas and son of Samuel-3. He married the seventeen year old Deborah Runnells in l760, and they had five children over a twenty-year period, Samuel-4, Abijah-2, Enoch, William, and Abigail. The children were "incredibly gifted and precocious, highly intelligent and enormously motivated and driven," or so Abijah-2 wrote of the family while he was a student at Dartmouth.

Abigail, the Dorothy Parker or Truman Capote of her day, became a writer of essays, fiction and poetry, much of which offended or infuriated whatever group of friends she had attached herself to at time of writing, thus causing her to "move about" with "some frequency." In short, Abigail just couldn't keep her mouth shut, or her pen dry. Only child-rearing could still her pen, and then only briefly. There was more anger than mourning at her funeral when she died at eighty-four, and it was rumored that most of her "manuscripts" were burned by angry and fearful ex-friends and relatives the night of her burial.

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Enoch attended seminary in Boston and became a minister and a noted theologian and commentator. He was minister of the First Congregational Church of Chelsea for nearly thirty years. Enoch never married and spent most of his adult life with a man named Edward Jonas Wood. The two of them established a "home for wayward and homeless boys" in Revere and Edward Jonas "managed" it for seventeen years. There is every reason to believe that Enoch was the first recorded gay Windes in America and that Enoch and Ed ward Jonas were lovers who surrounded themselves with attractive and, we are led to believe, grateful young men.
Abijah-2, born in Southold in l767, was educated at Dartmouth College. He would not have been a student at Dartmouth had it not been for the Revolutionary War. At the outbreak of the War (l775-l783), his father, Abijah-1, declared against George III and British rule, and for independence, and he attended meetings of various committees and groups dedicated to severing all ties with England. Abigail had come by her "frankness" honestly. Father Abijah was a bigmouth agitator, of the Tom Paine and Samuel Adams mold, who wrote numerous tracts calling for freedom from English oppression, organized the villagers, and called for action against the British almost daily.

October, l776, the British landed at Hampton Bays and swept northward to Southold, probably to shut-up Abijah and put him in irons. My great x5 Grandfather Abijah and family hurriedly packed what belongings they could. They had but two days warning. He sold his livestock and land to a neighbor, and, in the middle of the night, sailed with his family on a ship belonging to a friend, David Landon, to the safe shoreline of Connecticut, near Guilford. After a brief stay in Guilford, during which family possessions were ferried across Long Island Sound, Abijah, Deborah, Abijah-2, Enoch, Samuel and Abigail moved to Newport, New Hampshire, spring of l777. There Abijah bought a two-hundred acre farm and a small general merchandise store. There he was safe from the English.

Son Abijah married a young Ruth Giles of Newport and the following year, l790, entered Dartmouth College. He studied divinity and philosophy and received his A.M. in l794. He was then ordained pastor at the Congregational Church at Newport, N.H., where he served as pastor until l8l7, when he left his family to travel to Cincinnatti, Ohio, to teach in a newly established Congregational Seminary there. When the seminary closed a year later, Abijah became Professor of Theology at the Maine Charity School in Hampden, and then, with two friends, founded the Bangor Theological Seminary in l8l9, where he taught the next ten years while pastoring the Congregational Church at Deer Isle, Maine.

He was a copious writer of theological tracts and treatises, e.g., "The Nature of the Sinner's Inability to Become Holy," and he published several books of sermons, some of them which remain in the Dartmouth Library holdings today. Eventually poor Abijah went quite mad and, during a Sunday morning sermon at Deer Isle in l833, pulled out a gun and shot himself, not fatally, of course, because he had never shot a gun before. He spent the remaining eight years of his life in relative isolation in an "institution for the insane and poor marksmen," where he continued to write sermons every Saturday night and deliver them to fellow residents on Sundays.

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Abijah's son, William, was an even more renowned public figure than his brother, Abijah. William had left Southold to move to Rockaway, New Jersey, in the l760s, where he bought a large farm. In his late twenties, William was an imposing figure, described by one source as "tall and lean, with a stentorophonic voice," and another source as "of a commanding and forceful nature." Like other members of his family, William was an agitator and a leader. Gregarious, highly motivated and precocious, he loved both to schmooze with everyone he met, and give speeches at public meetings, or, indeed, wherever there were a few gathered who were willing to listen to his ideas and concerns.

William was elected in l770 as one of Morris County's delegates to the General Assembly in Trenton. In l774, after the Boston Tea Party and the consequent Intolerable Acts, when the Governor of New Jersey refused to call the Assembly into session, William Windes organized on June 27 "a meeting of a respectable body of the freeholders," at which meeting eleven resolutions were adopted, including condemnation of British taxation and the Intolerable Acts. Additionally, a Committee of Correspondence was set up, and William Windes was one of eight chosen to be on that Committee. He was also one of seventy delegates to meet in New Brunswick the summer of l774 to condemn the British action in Boston and to disavow the right of Parliament to levy taxes.

The following spring, after the battles of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts, William Windes was a delegate to the Provincial Committee of Correspondence. At a meeting of Freeholders and inhabitants at Morristown on May l, William addressed the angry crowd. "It will be liberty and self-government," he was quoted as saying, "Or we will fight to a man." The following day five companies of militia were ordered to be raised, and Colonel William Windes was placed in charge. Colonel William spoke to his militia: "All we need is five hundred pounds of powder and a ton of lead, and the support of every able bodied man in the county."
For the next four years William Windes fought in the Revolutionary War, as a Colonel, as a Brigadier General, and, after an altercation with George Washington, a private. At times he commanded more than two thousand troops. He fought in the Quebec campaign, at Ticonderoga, at Saratoga, at Kips Bay and Harlem Heights. When the British invaded New Jersey in l777, he headed the Morris County Militia, repeatedly skirmishing against the British in Essex and Bergen Counties. One account of his involvement included the following:

"It was apparent during these engagements that Windes, who was said to have had the loudest  voice ever heard in the county, frightened the enemy away time after time. Facing a strong corps of the enemy with only a few men and no cannon, Windes yelled out, "Open to the right and left and let the artillery through." Upon hearing this lion-like roar, the enemy fell back and left the field to the Americans. On another occasion when the enemy was invading, Windes was told that the British commanding officer was bragging that he would dine in Morristown that night. And Windes replied vehemently that if the officer got to Morristown for dinner, he would "sup in hell" that night. With such stories as these handed down, it is no wonder that the General's deficiencies were forgotten and that he became a hero and a legend."

The General was not always hero, however. During the Battle of Monmouth in June of l778, General William Windes got into serious trouble with General George Washington:

"When Colonel Seely advanced from Elizabethtown to join Washington's army near Elizabethtown, the unit was followed a few hours later by General Windes and the main body of troops. However, Windes never reached the army. At South River he turned back and marched for Elizabethtown, contrary to Washington's orders. The river was high and the bridge was out, and he refused to try to ford the stream as Seely had done. Windes asserted that the river was far too swollen to cross and that he had heard reports that the enemy was threatening Elizabethtown from Staten Island.

Hearing that Windes had turned back, Washington sent him an angry note and threatened to have him shot: "Sir, I this morning received your note and was much concerned to find that you had declined advancing to join this Army, or to act in this quarter. I must request that you will immediately face about and proceed as expeditiously as you can with the Troops under you to Spotswood from whence you will inform me by Express. Your failure to do so will cause me to remove you from command." Certainly had Windes been a member of the Continental Army, Washington would have had indeed removed General William from command. Fortunately for William he served Washington only at his own pleasure.

William Windes did resign his commission after the Battle of Monmouth, and enlisted as a private, but only for a month. Within a short time he had been named once again General.

William died unexpectedly in the year l806, and was buried in Morristown with the honors of a war hero. One of the speakers at his funeral, David Gordon, who served under him, declared: "No person was ever braver on the field of battle. He did not flinch in the face of the enemy. He was an inspiration for men on the field of battle, and off the field of battle. He helped keep the Whig sentiment strong in Morris County. One time when a rider delivered a message that the British were coming, General Windes was the only man in church with his musket and three days of provisions."

William Windes left three sons and a widow, Sarah. The sons were: Peter, born in l766; Abner, born in l768; and Samuel, born in l778. In l807, age twenty-six, Samuel, my great x3 grandfather, headed West and settled temporarily at St. Genevieve, Missouri, where he married Sarah Drybread. The two of them had five children, Samuel, Deborah, Calvin, William, and Robert. Robert, my great x2 grandfather was born in l8l2 in St. Genevieve. In his twenties, he moved a hundred miles west in l830 to Jefferson and then Camden County to a farm under what is now the Lake of the Ozarks. There he married Elizabeth Kuykendall, and later became the County Presiding Judge. Robert and Elizabeth had four children including my great grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Windes, who was born on the farm on Christmas Day, l841.

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