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The Sumner family, to which the late Mrs. George Barstow Stetson belonged, is an old and prominent family of New England, descended from one William Sumner, who was born at Bicester, England, in 1605, son of Roger Sumner, of Bicester, Oxfordshire, and his wife Joane (Franklin).
William Sumner, the only child of Roger and Joane, married Oct. 22, 1625, Mary West, and they came to America with their four children in 1636, locating at Dorchester, Mass. He was made a freeman of the Colony May 17, 1637, and held many offices of importance, being selectman for nearly a quarter of a century. He was deputy from Dorchester to the General Court for eight years. He died Dec. 9. 1688, surviving his wife, who died June 7, 1676. Both are buried at Dorchester. Their children were:
- Joane, who married (first) Aaron Way and (second) Rumney Marsh
- Roger, born in 1632
- George, born in 1634
- Samuel, born May 8, 1638
- Increase, born Feb. 23, 1643
Roger Sumner, son of William, born at Bicester, England, in 1632, married Mary Josslyn, of Lancaster, Mass., where he lived, from 1660 to 1675. He was made a freeman of the Massachusetts Colony May 6, 1657. From Lancaster he moved to Milton, Mass., where he was admitted to the church, and ordained deacon Aug. 20, 1682. He died at Milton May 26, 1698, and his widow died Aug. 21, 1711. They were the parents of eight children, born as follows:
- Abigail, Nov. 16, 1657
- Samuel, Feb. 6, 1659
- Waitstill, Dec. 20, 1661
- Mary, Aug. 5, 1665
- Jazaniah, April 11, 1668
- Rebecca, Oct. 9, 1671
- William, Jan. 26, 1674
- Ebenezer, May 28, 1678
William Sumner (2), son of Roger, was born Jan. 26, 1674, at Lancaster, Mass., and made his home in Milton, Mass., where he married June 2, 1697, Esther Puffer, of Dorchester, Mass., daughter of Matthias Puffer. She died June 27, 1748, and he passed away Dec. 22, 1738. Their children were as follows:
- Mary, born May 2, 1698, married Oct.. 22, 1719, Ephraim Tucker, of Milton
- Abigail, born Jan. 31, 1700, married Sept. 14, 1721, Robert Vose, of Milton
- Roger, born March 25, 1702
- William, born Feb. 7, 1705
- Gershom, born July 1, 1707, died July 26, 1707
- Esther, born Aug. 12, 1709, died June 7, 1710
- Seth, born Dec. 15, 1710
Seth Sumner, son of William (2), born Dec. 15, 1710, at Milton, Mass., married Oct. 17, 1734 Hannah Badcock, of Milton, daughter of John Badcock; they had two children
- Seth, born July 4, 1735
- Roger, born Nov. 1, 1737
The mother died Aug. 13, 1737, and Mr. Sumner married (second) in 1742 Lydia Badcock, daughter of Wiliam Badcock, of Milton. He died at Milton, where he made his home, Nov. 11, 1771, and his wife, who survived many years, died Sept., 2, 1800. His children by this union were as follows:
- Lydia, born Dec. 6, 1743, married in 1766 George Clark of Milton
- Ebenezer, born May 11, 1745, died the same day
- Enos, born Sept. 25, 1746, died June 8, 1796
- William, born Aug. 6, 1748
- Esther, born Sept. 12, 1750, married May 15, 1769, Benjamin Vose, of Milton
- Clement, born Feb. 2, 1752
- Job, born April 23, 1754, graduated from Harvard in 1778, A. B., and was a major during the Revolutionary war, and died at New York Sept. 16, 1789
- Rufus, born Feb. 19, 1756, was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, and was lost at sea in 1788
- Hannah, born April 15, 1757, died at Gardiner, Maine, Oct. 12, 1828
- Abigail, born Aug. 18, 1760, married in 1797 Jazaniah Ford, of Milton
- Jesse, born Nov. 15, 1763
Col. Seth Sumner, born July 4, 1735, at Milton, Mass., was married at Dorchester, Mass., May 25, 1758, to Elizabeth Davis, of Dorchester, who died at Milton, May 19, 1784. He married (second) at Dedham, Mary Gray, on March 21, 1798. He lived in Milton, where he was quite prominent in public affairs, served as representative in 1779, 1783, 1790 and 1791, and was very active in the Patriot cause during the Revolutionary war, as is evident from the manuscript records of soldiers and sailors who fought in that conflict. He died May 2, 1814, and his wife died Oct. 22, 1822. The following is preserved concerning his Revolutionary record:
Seth Sumner, lieutenant with Capt. Ebenezer Withington’s company, which was mustered April 19, 1775, served five days; also lieutenant with Capt. John Robinson’s company, Col. Gill’s regiment, served five days in March, 1776, company called out to guard the line near Dorchester Heights; also lieutenant with same company and regiment, served twelve days at Dorchester in March, 1776, guarding shores at the mouth of the Milton river; was also captain of 5th Company (South Company in Dorchester), Col. Benjamin Gill’s (3d Suffolk County) regiment of Massachusetts militia; list of officers chosen in said regiment dated Stoughton, March 22, 1776; ordered in council March 25, 1776, that said officers be commissioned; reported commissioned March 23, 1776; was also captain, Colonel Gill’s regiment, served three days, company ordered to march to Moon Island, June 12, 1776; also communication dated Stoughton, April 19, 1777, signed by Colonel Gill, stating that he had drafted one fourth of the trained band in his regiment with a suitable number of officers and ordered them to march immediately to the State of Rhode Island to serve under Major General Spencer until relieved by the troops being raised to reinforce the army there; the men drafted numbered 108 privates and six officers, comprising in two companies commanded by said Sumner, captain, and Capt. Robert Swan. He was also captain with Colonel Gill’s regiment, service twenty-five days, company marched to Rhode Island, April 17, 1777, roll dated Dorchester; was also captain, same regiment, marched from home March 1, 1778, discharged April 4, 1778, service one month, four days, company ordered to march to Castle Island, March 1, 1778.
Davis Sumner, son of Col. Seth, born in the town of Milton, July 22, 1761, married Nov. 22, 1784, Lydia Sewell, of Bath, daughter of Dummer Sewell. Six children were born to this union:
- Irene, born Jan. 26, 1786
- William, born April 30, 1787, who died Aug. 8, 1791
- Elizabeth, born Dec. 13, 1788, who married Aug. 8, 1811, Salmon Whitney, and died Oct. 23, 1824
- Seth and Dummer, twins, born July 6, 1790, the latter of whom died July 7, 1790
- Doris, born June 8, 1792
The mother of this family died Feb. 28, 1794, and the father married (second) March 3, 1795, at Milton, Dorothy Vose, daughter of Capt. Joseph Vose, of Milton, who was an officer in the Revolution. By this marriage there were three children:
- Ann Matilda, born Nov. 23, 1795, married William Lunt, and died April 9, 1825
- William Henry, born July 1, 1797, lived in Louisiana, and died in August, 1840, at Nashville, Tenn.
- Frederick Augustus, born at Boston, March 31, 1799, is mentioned below
Davis Sumner lived for a time at Bath, Maine, and later at Boston, from there moving to Bellingham, Mass., where he died Dec. 12, 1826. His wife died Oct. 31, 1830. He was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, the following record being found of his service:
Davis Sumner, drummer, Capt. John Robinson’s company, Col. Benjamin Gill’s regiment, service twelve days at Dorchester, Mass., in March, 1776, guarding shores at mouth of Milton river; also with Capt. Seth Sumner’s company, Col. Benjamin Gill’s regiment, service three days, and company ordered to march to Moon Island, June 12, 1776; was also with the same company and regiment, service twenty-five days, company marched to Rhode Island, April 17, 1777, roll dated Dorchester.
Frederick Augustus Sumner, son of Davis, was born in Boston, Mass., March 31, 1799, and lived for years at Pawtucket, where he was postmaster. He married there, Jan. 10, 1830, Lydia Wilkinson, daughter of Abraham Wilkinson, a well-known cotton manufacturer of Pawtucket. She died May 10, 1878, for many years surviving Mr. Sumner, who died at Boston Nov. 9, 1857. They had the following named children:
- Mary Lawton, born Dec. 14, 1830, married Nov. 21, 1849, George Barstow Stetson
- Sarah Josephine, born Dec. 5, 1832, died Sept. 16, 1833
- Lydia Wilkinson, born May 29, 1834, married June 1, 1854, Henry A. Clark, of Boston, Mass.
- Charles Henry was born May 8, 1837
Mr. Frederick A. Sumner was at one time postmaster of Pawtucket. He succeeded in that office Nov. 14, 1844, Rev. David Benedict, who had been postmaster from Nov. 29, 1831, up to the time of the appointment of Mr. Sumner in 1844. Mr. Sumner continued in office until Feb. 26, 1849. During this period the postoffice was kept in the Dorrance building, which stood on the corner of Main and North Main streets.