Lysander Franklin Gurney, late of Brockton, Plymouth Co., Mass., was a descendant of some of the earliest settlers of this section. Going back to the mother country, we find the following general information in “The Gurneys of Earlham” (two volumes, Hart, Mich., March 16, 1906).
CHARLES WARREN MILLIKEN, M. D., of Barnstable, Barnstable Co., Mass., engaged as a general practitioner of medicine, has high professional and social connections which have brought him a wide acquaintance. The Millikens, though not one of the oldest Colonial families, have become allied with the posterity of the most distinguished early settlers, and the Doctor traces his line back to many whose names are suggestive of the interesting and important events of the ancient history of this region. There follows in chronological order from the first known American ancestor the genealogical and family history of his branch of the Milliken family.
William Swift, the founder of the family on Cape Cod, was a native of Bocking, County of Essex, England, and came to New England in 1634, stopping first at Watertown, of which he was a proprietor in 1636. He sold his property there in 1637 and removed to Sandwich, where he spent the remainder of his life and where he died about 1641. His wife Joan bore him two children, William and Hannah, and after the death of her husband she married Daniel Wing, Nov. 5, 1642. She died Jan. 31, 1664.
William Swift (2), son of William, born in England, came to the New World with his parents and settled at Sandwich, Barnstable county. He represented his town in the General Court, 1673, 1674, 1677 and 1678. He died in the latter part of 1705.
Lawrence Wilkinson, the first of the race here in New England, was born in Lanchester, County of Durham, England, a son of William Wilkinson by his wife Mary, sister of Sir John Conyers, Bart., and the grandson of Lawrence Wilkinson, of Harpley House, Durham. He was a loyalist, and at the surrender of Newcastle, 1644, was taken prisoner by the Parliamentary and Scotch troops. At this time he held a lieutenant’s commission. He was deprived of his property, and his estates sequestered by order of Parliament. After having obtained special permission from Lord Fairfax, chief commander of the Parliamentary army, he embarked with his wife and child for New England, leaving, according to Somerby, in 1652. Arriving at Providence he signed the civil compact and received a gift of twenty-five acres of land and commenced his pioneer life. He was admitted as one of the original “Proprietors of Providence.” He soon acquired a large real estate, and held a prominent position among his fellow citizens. He was frequently chosen to fill offices of trust in the infant colony; was elected a member of the Legislature in 1659 and subsequently. He was an active business man. He participated in the Indian wars. He lived in his adopted country nearly half a century. His death occurred in 1692.
JOHN DEXTER FLINT (deceased), merchant, trader, philanthropist and churchman, of Fall River, was in many ways a most remarkable man, one that perhaps crowded more into his three-score years of active business life in the city of his adoption than any of his contemporaries; among the foremost leaders in business lines of those who wrought with him, he no doubt was first in generous gifts to religious and church work and lines akin to it. Born April 26, 1826, in the town of North Reading, Mass., Mr. Flint was a son of Henry and Mary (Sanborn) Flint, most estimable people but of limited means. The Flints were of good Puritan stock, the North Reading family descending from (I) Thomas Flint, who, with his brother William, was here in New England probably before 1642. William became a large land owner in the vicinity of Flint street, Salem, while Thomas was one of the first settlers in that part of Salem Village which became Danvers, buying land there as early as 1662.
At New Bedford, this Commonwealth, a point so long famous the world round for its whaling industry, a business carried on to an extent and success that made it the wealthiest place in proportion to its population of any point in New England, and a city that has since been hardly less conspicuous as a cotton manufacturing point, there still reside representatives of the Rotch family; here where, since the middle of the eighteenth century, have lived seven or eight generations of Rotches, than whom as a family perhaps no other has had greater influence in developing New Bedford’s character and prosperity and shaping its history.
For nearly fifty years the name of Whipple has been one of Brockton citizenship, representing a family here of substance and exceptional prominence in the community. Reference is made to the late Ferdinand Whipple and his son, the present Hon. John Jay Whipple, who together and in turn have been among Brockton’s successful business men, the son having figured conspicuously in public affairs, filling most of the offices within the gift of his fellow citizens, among other honors having been four times elected to the mayoralty of the city of Brockton. The Whipple family is one long prominent in the country, the earlier generations having been conspicuous in Rhode Island’s Colonial period, it being a Rhode Island family.
The Taber family of Dartmouth and New Bedford is descended from (I) Philip Taber, who, according to Savage, was born in 1605, and died in 1672. He was at Watertown in 1634, and he contributed toward building the galley for the security of the harbor. He was made a freeman at Plymouth in that same year. In 1639-40 he was a deputy from Yarmouth, and was afterward at Martha’s Vineyard, and from 1647 to 1655 was at Edgartown, going from there to New London in 1651, but probably returning soon. He was an inhabitant of Portsmouth in February, 1655, and was a representative in Providence in 1661, the commissioners being Roger Williams, William Field, Thomas Olney, Joseph Torrey, Philip Taber and John Anthony. Later he settled in Tiverton, where his death occurred. He married Lydia Masters, of Watertown, Mass., daughter of John and Jane Masters, and his second wife, Jane, born in 1605, died in 1669.
Since the early settlement of Newport and Portsmouth, R. I., shortly after 1638, the Grinnells have been identified with Rhode Island and Massachusetts history, the earlier generations living largely in the towns of Newport county, R. I., and for the past hundred and more years branches of this southern Rhode Island family have been representative of the best citizenship in the old Massachusetts town of New Bedford. At New Bedford lived Capt. Cornelius Grinnell, a patriot of the Revolution, and long engaged in the merchant service, who married into the old historic Howland family, and one of whose sons, Joseph Grinnell, for almost a decade represented the New Bedford district in the United States Congress, and was long prominent as a merchant and manufacturer and banker of the town; and there lived the late Lawrence Grinnell, father of the late Frederick Grinnell, who so long was at the head of the Providence Steam and Gas Pipe Company and the General Eire Extinguisher Company, a man of genius in mechanical lines, whose inventions gave him distinction, and one of whose sons, Russell Grinnell, is at this time vice president of the General Fire Extinguisher Company. It is with this New Bedford branch of the Grinnell family this article deals.
The family bearing this name in New Bedford, where it is one of nearly one hundred years’ standing one, too, of prominence and wealth, is a branch of the ancient Knowles family of the town of Eastham, Barnstable county, this Commonwealth. Reference is made to some of the descendants of the brothers Thomas and James H. Knowles of Eastham, several of whose sons – at least two of the former and one of the latter – in their earlier manhood cast their lot with the people of New Bedford. The firm of Thomas Knowles & Co. for many years was one of the greatest engaged in the whale fishery business in New Bedford; and its members in turn have been succeeded in business by younger generations who have most worthily worn the family name and sustained its reputation; and today the name continues of record in and about the city of their birth connected prominently with many of the most extensive commercial establishments and banking institutions of the locality.