Joanna _____
wife of Richard Wescott.

The will of Joanna Skidmore, wife of Thomas, dated 1667, mentioned her children John, Daniel, Joanna, and Abigail Wescott, and Sarah, Deborah, and Samuel Baldwin [FOOF 1: 23]. In 1667, Winthrop referred to her as aged 55, wife of Thomas Skidmore of Fairfield, mother of the wife of John Weed of Stamford, and sister of the wife of Robert Sanford of Hartford [FOOF 1: 564].

Date of birth: ca. 1612.
Place of birth: Unknown.
As noted above, she was aged 55 in 1667.

Date of death: 1667 or after.
Place of death: presumably Fairfield, CT.
Her will was made in 1667 [FOOF 1: 23, 564].

Father: Unknown.
Mother: Unknown.
See comments below.

Spouses:

(1) Richard Wescott, d. bef. 11 March 1649/50.

(2) Nathaniel Baldwin, of Milford and Fairfield, d. bef. 19 October 1658.
[FOOF 1: 22] He had been married before to Abigail _____, d. Milford, 22 March 1648. He lived at Milford and then Fairfield, where his inventory was taken 19 October 1658 [FOOF 1: 22].

(3) Thomas Skidmore.
[FOOF 1: 564-5] He came to America from Westerleigh, near Bristol, England in 1639, settling in Cambridge, MA, then in Fairfield, CT, m. (1) Ellen _____, m. (2) Joanna _____ (the subject of this page), m. (3) after 1672, Mrs. Sarah Keeler, three times a widow. The will of Thomas Skidmore of Fairfield, dated 20 April 1684, and proved 8 December 1684, mentioned his wife Sarah, his grandchild John Higby who married his wife's daughter, and his grandson John Skidmore. Sarah was alive at the time of his inventory on 15 November, but deceased on 8 December 1684 [FOOF 1: 564-5].

Children by Richard Wescott:
On 14 February 1664[/5], John Weed, husband of Joanna, daughter of Richard Wescott, receipted to his father-in-law (i.e., stepfather) Thomas Skidmore. On the same date, Daniel Wescott receipted. On 9 November 1666, John Wescott receipted. On 4 January 1669[/70], Moses Knapp, husband of Abigail Wescott receipted. [FOOF 1: 660]

John Wescott, b. say 1641, living 1698, Westchester co., CT;
m. Ruth Hyatt, living 1710.
[FOOF 1: 660-1]

Daniel Wescott, b. ca. 1643 (ae. 49 in 1692), d. Salem co., NJ, 30 November 1702 14 February 1703/4;
m. Abigail Gaylord, b. 29 September 1653.
[FOOF 1: 661] The will of Daniel Westcott or Waistcoate of Caesaria River, Salem co., NJ, yeoman, dated 30 November 1702, and proved 14 February 1703/4, mentioned his wife Abigail, and children Samuel, Daniel, Ebenezer, Mary, Joanna Foster, and Abigail Lummus, and stated that his children Daniel, Ebenezer, and Mary were to be sent to cousin Jonas Weed of Stanford, New England, shoemaker, if his widow cannot maintain them [Cal. NJ Wills, 1: 499-500]. The Weed connection proves the identity of Richard and Joanna's son with the New Jersey man.

Joanna Wescott, b. say 1645, d. by 1678;
m. bef. 14 February 1664[/5],
John Weed, b. say 1639, d. bef. 12 March 1689/90.

Abigail Wescott, b. say 1647;
m. bef. 4 January 1669[/70], Moses Knapp, of Stamford.
[FOOF 1: 660]

Children by Nathaniel Baldwin:
[FOOF 1: 23] These three children were mentioned in their mother's will.

Sarah Baldwin, b. ca. 1650, living 20 April 1675.

Deborah Baldwin, b. ca. 1652, living 20 April 1675;
m. bef. 20 April 1675, William Read, living 20 April 1675.
Thomas Skidmore and Cornelius Hull, administrators of the estate of Nathaniel Baldwin, sold land to Sarah and Deborah Baldwin, recorded 16 April 1675. On 20 April 1675, Sarah Baldwin sold her interest the land which she jointly owned with her sister Deborah Read to her brother-in-law William Read [FOOF 1: 23].

Samuel Baldwin, b. ca. 1655, living 26 February 1677[/8].
He bought land from his father-in-law (i.e., stepfather) Thomas Skidmore on 26 February 1677[/8] [FOOF 1: 23].

Sister:

Ann _____, of Hartford, CT, d. 12 July 7 September 1682;
m. Robert Sandford, of Hartford, CT, d. bef. 19 June 1676.
See the comments below.


The false parentage of Joanna Wescott Baldwin Skidmore and Ann Sandford

Falsely deduced father: Jeremy Adams, of Hartford, CT, d. 11 August 1683.

It has sometimes been stated that Joanna and her sister Ann Sandford were children of Jeremy Adams of Hartford. This suggestion derives from a series of deductions which at first inspection appears to be perfectly reasonable, but which upon more careful examination contains a fatal weak link. The basic pieces of evidence would be the following.

From the point of view of a Wescott descendant like myself, the first apparent link of the chain is the statement by Governor Winthrop in 1667 that Joanna, aged 55, was the wife of Thomas Skidmore of Fairfield, mother of the wife of John Weed of Stamford, and sister of the wife of Robert Sanford of Hartford [FOOF 1: 564]. Calling her the mother of the wife of John Weed clearly identifies her as Joanna, widow of Richard Wescott.

Second, there is no reasonable doubt about the identity of the Robert Sanford in this statement. He was Robert Sanford (or Sandford), whose undated will, proved 7 September 1676, mentioned his son Zachariah Sanford, his wife Zachariah's mother (name not given), his son Robert Sanford, his daughter Hannah, Abigail, his daughter Sarah. His inventory was taken 19 June 1676, and the children were listed as Zachariah Sandford (eldest son), Elizabeth Colier, Ezekiel Sandford, Mary Campe, Sarah, Robert, Hannah, and Abigail. [ECPR Hartford 1: 231] Note that Robert the son was too young to be the person mentioned by Governor Winthrop.

Third, the wife of Robert Sandford can be clearly identified. Although his will does not name her, it shows that his wife at the time of his death was the mother of his eldest son, and apparently of all of his children. Fortunately, her will also survives, giving us her first name. She was Ann Sandford of Hartford, whose will, dated 12 July 1682, and proved 7 September 1682, mentioned her son Zachary, her son Robert, her son Ezekiel, her married daughters (unnamed), and her daughters Hannah and Abigail [ECPR Hartford 1: 357].

Fourth, we have a record which, when combined with the others, appears at first glance to give us the name of Ann Sandford's father. The will of Jeremy Adams of Hartford, dated 4 August 1683, and proved 6 September 1683, mentioned his grandson Zachary Sandford, and stated that "the remaynder of my Estate, when my Debts are paid, shall be equally divided to my gr. Children, the 1/2 to my sonn John Adams his Children, and the other halfe to my sonn Willett's Children", with Nath. Willett as executor [ECPR Hartford 1: 267]. Since there is evidence for only one man named Zachary/Zachariah Sandford in the area at that time, this will would at first seem to prove that Ann Sandford was a daughter of Jeremy, if we could accept that Zachary was literally a "grandson" of Jeremy Adams as stated. This was the reasonable but ultimately flawed logic that was followed by those who thought that Ann Sandford was a daughter of Jeremy Adams.

So, where is the problem? The eminent genealogist Arthur Adams pointed out long ago that Zachary Sanford was not really a grandson of Jeremy Adams, but only a grandson by marriage [Adams Fam., 3, 4]. Note that the will of Jeremy Adams states that the remainder was to be divided among the testator's grandchildren (with no qualification like "other" or "remaining" to suggest that anything but all grandchildren are indicated here), and then gives half to son John's children and half to "son" (i.e., son-in-law) Willett's children. This clearly suggests that Jeremy Adams had no grandchildren other than the children of John and the children of Willett. The executor of Jeremy Adams was Nathaniel Willett, and if we look at Nathaniel Williett's own will, dated 13 July 1697, we see that he appointed his son-in-law Zachariah Sandford as his executor [ECPR 1: 596-7]. Thus, Zachary/Zachariah Sandford was married to a granddaughter of Jeremy Adams, and was called a "grandson" for the same reason that the husband of a daughter is often called a "son". It follows that there was probably no genealogical connection between Ann Sandford and Jeremy Adams beyond the fact that a son of the former married a granddaughter of the latter. For the same reason, we can reject indications from the IGI that Ann Sandford's maiden name was Greenhill, for this is an attempt to give Ann Sandford a connection with the wife of Jeremy Adams.

What we are left with is clear evidence that Joanna Wescott Baldwin Skidmore and Ann Sandford were sisters. Unfortuately, this clue does not appear to be of much immediate use in identifying the parentage of the two sisters. If we could find a record of the marriage of either Richard Wescott or Robert Sandford, then we would have a maiden name to work with. However, it seems likely that both men married after coming to New England, during a period in New England when records are extremely scanty. Those early records that do exist have been for the most part well searched, and it is unlikely that a record of one of these two marriages has gone unnoticed in those records. Without having a possible maiden name as a clue to narrow the search, the chance of finding the parentage of the two sisters seems slim.


Reference abbreviations

Adams Fam. = Arthur Adams, The Adams Family of Great Egg Harbor, Atlantic County.

Cal. NJ Wills = William Nelson, ed., Calendar of New Jersey Wills, Vol. 1, 1670-1730 (New Jersey Archives 23, Paterson, NJ, 1901).

FOOF = Donald Lines Jacobus, History and Genealogy of the Families of Old Fairfield (2 vols., Fairfield, 1930).


Compiled by Stewart Baldwin

First uploaded 14 August 2011.