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Home: Surnames: Doolittle Family Genealogy Forum

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Re: Mate(s) of Amzi, son of Benjamin
Posted by: Jillaine Smith (ID *****7133) Date: December 10, 2004 at 12:01:33
In Reply to: Mate(s) of Amzi, son of Benjamin by David Bardue of 788


I am of the belief that Amzi Sr. and Hannah Miller married much later than the Doolittle Genealogy records, did not have any children, and that all of Amzi Sr.'s children were born of Jerusha Smith Barber, not Hannah Miller. And that Hannah married Amzi as late as 1787, but certainly no earlier than 1785.

My sense is that those who believe that Hannah gave birth to Amzi's children are taking this information only from the Doolittle genealogy, but have not found original source information to confirm that Hannah is the mother of any of Amzi's children. If I'm wrong, I have yet to see any evidence of it.

Here are my reasons for believing all this:

Hannah Miller was the divorced wife of Thomas Barber. She and Thomas were married 4 Aug 1768 in Cumberland, RI by Hannah's reverend father. It was likely a shotgun wedding; their first child was born 3 months later, also in Cumberland; shortly thereafter Thomas and Hannah moved to Warwick. They had several children between 1770-1783, then Thomas and Hannah moved to Townshend, VT and had a few more children, the last one being Calvin Barber, born in 1785. They were definitely divorced by 17 Jul 1791 when Thomas Barber married Abigail Chase (in VT). Hannah could therefore not be having Amzi Sr.'s children at the same time she is having children with Thomas Barber.

Therefore, any of Amzi's children born before 1785 could not have been Hannah's, but are more likely Jerusha's.

Hannah and Amzi Sr. are buried in the Evergreen Cemetery, Winchester, NH, next to Amzi's brother, but down hill from Amzi's son, Amzi Jr.

Amzi Jr is buried next to his *mother* (not his step-mother), Jerusha Smith Doolittle Marsh. Her tombstone (which I have seen and photographed) reads: Jerusha, wife of Amos Marsh, former wife of A. Doolittle.

Some might ask me, what is my source for believing that the Hannah Miller, divorced wife of Thomas Barber, is the wife of Amzi Doolittle, Sr. That would be the following histories:

1) _History of Western Massachusetts: The counties of Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire_ by Josiah Gilbert Holland, Vol. II, Part III, Springfield: Samuel Bowles and Company, 1855; p. 450-451 (Warwick chapter):
"In the midst of the excitements and burdens of the Revolution, one Elder [Moses?] Hix [an itinerant Baptist minister] appeared [in Warwick, MA] and, preaching from house to house, created an intense and all-pervading religious excitement, which brought within its influence nearly all the people in the town. But Elder Hix was a wolf in sheep's clothing. He upheld and taught the doctines of "spiritual wife-ism," identical with those of the present day [1855? referring to Mormon bigamy controversy underway at time of the writing of the history?], and the bubble burst, when at its highest inflation, by the revelation of the elder's corrupt practices among his flock, and by his running away with Amzi Doolittle's daughter [Lavina? She had a child Azubah Hicks on 2 Mar 1796; father: Moses Hicks]. Amos Marsh, one of his [Hix's] proselytes, followed his example, and ran away with the girl's mother [Jerusha Smith, first wife of Amzi Doolittle-- keep in mind this is during or shortly after the Revolution], and the father [Amzi Doolittle, Sr.], to be even with the rest of the family, decamped with *Thomas Barber's wife* [my emphasis; this is Hannah Miller]. Mr. [Amos] Marsh and Mrs. [Jerusha Smith] Doolittle were followed, arrested in the State of New York, and brought back. Both were legally convicted of their foul crime, and received appropriate sentences. [No mention of what the town did about Elder Hix and Amzi's daughter; nor Amzi Doolittle and Hannah Miller-- see below.] The effect upon the moral and social condition of the town was lamentable in the extreme." [Jerusha remained with Amos Marsh; as stated above, she is identified on her tombstone as his wife.]

2) _History of Warwick, Massachusetts: From its first settlement to 1854_ by Hon. Jonathan Blake (Boston: Noyes, Holmes and Co., 1873), p. 60-61:
"Who could believe that this monster in sin, though a pretended servant of the most high God, had long been guilty of conduct that would disgrace a brother; and, to fill up the measure of his iniquity to the brim, he absconded from the town with a young girl, the miserable dupe of his nefarious wiles, and a deluded proselyte to his pretended religion. This girl's name was ___ [Lavina?] Doolittle. As soon as the rookery was broken up by the arch demon's decamping, Mr. Amos Marsh cleared out with Mrs. Doolittle, the girl's mother [Jerusha Smith]; and Mr. Amzi Doolittle, the father of the girl, went off with Mr. Thomas Barber's wife [Hannah Miller].
       The exasperated friends and relations of some of these elopers followed after them, and took Mr. Marsh and Mrs. Doolittle somewhere in the State of New York, brought them back, and committed them to jail in Northampton, where they were tried for the crime of adultery and found guilty. They were sentenced to sit on the gallows, pay a fine, and he was ever after to wear the letter A, in a large capital form, on his outside garment.
       [Elder Hix] told them that men and women had their spiritual husbands and wives as well as their temporal; and consequently where the spirit led them to love and admire each other in a spiritual sense, there was no criminality in the connection."

-- end quotes from the two histories --

The histories do not indicate exact dates when all this controversy happened, only that it was somehow during or shortly after the Revolutionary war. It seems that Hannah initially returned to Thomas Barber after her escapade with Amzi Doolittle, and Thomas moved Hannah and the children away from Warwick, MA up to Wardsboro, Vermont. There is some evidence that Amzi Sr. *also* moved to Vermont, but I am unfamiliar with this information.

Hannah and Thomas, rare as it was at the time, divorced, and Hannah-- apparently taking some of her youngest children with her-- married Amzi Doolittle (who apparently also went to Vermont after the controversy)!

Hannah's Barber children loved Amzi Doolittle enough that her youngest son (Calvin Barber, b. 1785 VT) named *his* son after Mr. Doolittle (this child being Amzi Doolittle Barber, the clergyman who moved from VT to Ashtabula, OH), and two of Hannah's Barber daughters married sons of Amzi Doolittle!

And here's one more source...

From "Return to Yesterday: A History of Wardsboro, VT": The Barber Family
A history of Wardsboro would not be complete without an account of the well-known Barber family, some of whom were born and raised in Wardsboro, and prominent members of this family are now living in Brattleboro... Thomas B. ... was born Dec. 29, 1742, at Rehoboth, died April 17, 1819, and was buried at Wardsboro, East hill Cemetery, married Hannah Miller at Cumberland, RI, daughter of Rev. Daniel Miller. Thomas B. Barber divorced his wife Hannah and married secondly, Abigail Chase.

With these references, I therefore believe that:

1) Amzi Doolittle Sr. m(1) Jerusha Smith in 1757 in Northfield, MA (Source: FHL Film 0886783 Batch C502411)

2) That between 1760 and 1777, Amzi and Jerusha had nine children-- probably in Warwick, MA, although that should be confirmed; they could have started out in Northfield where Amzi was born.

3) That Thomas Barber and Hannah Miller were married 4 Aug 1768 in Rhode Island, and had nine children between 1768 and 1785, the first few in Warwick, MA; the last few in Townshend, VT.

4) That sometime between 1777 and 1781, the "spiritual wife-ism" controversy of Elder Hix occurred in Warwick, MA, after which the Doolittles and the Barbers left Warwick for Townshend, VT (and nearby).

5) That between 1785 and 1791, Thomas divorced Hannah and Amzi likely divorced Jerusha; that Jerusha married Amos Marsh, that Hannah married Amzi Sr., and that Thomas married (by 1791) Abigail Chase.

6) That Hannah likely brought her young Barber children with her and that they may have even been raised by Amzi Sr.

7) That Hannah's daughter Esther Barber married Amzi Doolittle Jr. in 1788.

8) That Hannah's daughter Hannah Barber married Amzi Sr.'s son, Origin Doolittle in 1798.

9) That Hannah's son Calvin Barber, named his son Amzi Doolittle Barber, b. 1810 in Townshend, VT.

QUITE the story, eh???

-- Jillaine Smith

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