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John Reynolds & Sarah (___), Watertown, MA, Wethersfield & Stamford, CT

John Parker Reynolds or New York and Ohio
by Susan E. Clement
© 1992 Reynolds Family Associaton

During a recent search at the Worcester County, MA Registry of Deeds, a document was found that adds a significant amount of information to the story of John Parker Reynolds. John Parker was the eldest son of Rev. Parker Reynolds of Dutchess Co., NY and his first wife Esther Daggett. John Parker is the seventh generation from John Reynolds of Watertown and Greenwich, and he is no. 735 on pg. 169 of the John and Sarah Reynolds of

M.H. Reynolds, in his entry for John Parker Reynolds, states that he was born Nine Partners, Dutchess Co., NY 21 Sep 1782, died Hamilton OH 21 Mar 1858. It goes on to say "He m., 1, Rebecca Newell of Salem, Washington Co., NY, who died. Two children." His second wife was Laura Patience Wilson of Hebron NY and his third was Eliza Newcomer. He lived in Salem NY and later in Cincinnati, Middletown and Lebanon OH. His five children are given with minimal information about each.

All of this sounds pretty straight-forward and is the standard fare of genealogies. However, what Reynolds fails to mention is that the first marriage of John Parker Reynolds and Rebecca Newell ended in 1816/1817 in a nasty separation/divorce. George Randall in his typescript "Reynolds, Rose and Wordell" found in the Genealogy Room of the New Bedford MA Public Library states, "John Parker [Reynolds] of Salem NY mar. Sturbridge [MA] 24 June 1808 Rebecca Newell." According to M.H. Reynolds, their children: Timothy Newell Reynolds b. 22 Jun 1809 or 22 Jan 1815, and Caroline E. Reynolds b. 10 Dec 1810.

The indenture outlining the conditions of their separation was dated 19 Dec 1817 and references a separation date of Nov. 20, 1816 [Worc. Co. Reg. of Deeds 221:350-352]. Rebecca Newell Reynolds apparently did die soon after for on 21 Oct 1819 a guardianship petition was filed on behalf of "Caroline E. and Timothy Reynolds, grandchildren of the late General Timothy Newell of Sturbridge, to Alfred Ely of Monson, Hampden Co. MA. Both minors under 14. Father of children John R. [sic] Reynolds, of parts unknown. Mother recently died in Sturbridge." [Worc. Co. Reg. of Probate, Index #49411 and #49430]

It is unclear whether John Parker and Rebecca lived in NY or in Sturbridge MA during their marriage and where the children were born. What is evident, however, is that Rebecca and the children were back in Sturbridge under the protection of her father, Gen. Timothy Newell, before Dec. 1817, and he obviously had a hand in drafting the conditions of the separation. Timothy and Caroline Reynolds apparently did not live with their father after the separation and the deaths of their mother and grandfather, though a search of the records indicated have turned up no additional information on them.

Because the Indenture made between John Parker Reynolds, and Rebecca Newell Reynolds and Timothy Newell is an interesting example of legal separation and divorce at that time, it is here reproduced in its entirety.

"This Indenture of three parts made this nineteenth day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and Seventeen between John P. Reynolds of Salem in the County of Washington and State of New York of the first part Rebeccah his wife of the Second part and Timothy Newell of Sturbridge in the County of Worcester and State of Massachusetts of the third part - Whereas some unhappy differences have arisen between the said John P. Reynolds and the said Rebeckah his wife and they have separated and now live separate and apart from each other - Now this Indenture witnesseth that the said John P. Reynolds doth hereby covenant and agree to and with the said Timothy Newell his executors and administrators and doth also agree with the said Rebeccah his wife in manner & form following to wit - that it shall and may be lawful for the said Rebeccah his wife, and that he shall and will permit and suffer her from time to time and at all times hereafter during her natural life to live separate and apart from him and to reside and be in such place and places and in such family and families and with such relations friends and other persons and to follow and to carry on such business as She the said Rebeccah from time to time at her will and pleasure notwithstanding her present coverture and as if she were sole and unmarried shall think fit and that he will not prosecute her for living apart from him or compel her to cohabit with him or molest disturb, or trouble her, for such living separate and apart from him or any other person for receiving harbouring or entertaining her nor shall nor will, at any time claim or demand any of the monies clothes, goods or chattels whatsoever which the said Rebeccah hath now in her custody nor any estate real or personal which she may at any time hereafter purchase or which shall be devised or given to her or she shall otherwise acquire and that she may absolutely enjoy and dispose of the same as if she were a same sole and unmarried without any molestation whatever of him her said husband and the said John P. Reynolds doth hereby release to the said Timothy Newell his heirs Executors and administrators all claim which he may at any time have to the estate of the said Timothy Newell by virtue of being husband of the said Rebecah and the said Timothy Newell for himself his heir executors & administrators and for the said Rebecah doth covenant and agree to and with the said John P. Reynolds his heirs executors and administrators in manner and form following to wit that the said Rebeccah shall during her natural life live separate and apart from the said John P. Reynolds unless by the mutual consent of the said John and Rebeccah and that she shall not at any time hereafter claim or demand from the said John P. Reynolds any part of his estate or any support therefrom either for herself or such Child or Children as she may have with her nor shall she contract any debt with the view of charging the said John P. Reynolds therewith nor shall she claim of demand as her dower from any other person to whom he may convey any real estate nor from his heirs or devisees or such real estate as he may die seized of any part of such estate after the death of her said husband if she shall survive him and the said Timothy Newell doth further covenant and agree that if at any time the said John P. Reynolds shall be obliged to pay and shall actually pay or be legally charged with any debt or debts which the said Rebecah hath contracted since the twentieth day of November eighteen hundred and sixteen or may hereafter contract that then the said Timothy his heirs executors and administrators shall indemnify and reimburse to the said John all such sum or sums of money and all such costs and charges as he may be put to, on account of any such debt - and further the said Timothy for himself his heirs executors & administrators doth covenant to and with the said John his heirs executors administrators and assigns that if at any time after the death of the said John the said Rebecah shall claim demand and receive her dower in any real estate which the said John may convey or die seized of or her part of the personal estate of the said John if he shall died intestate then and in that case the said Timothy his heirs executors and administrators shall indemnify and pay to such heirs devisees executors administrators and assigns the value of such dower and all such charges and costs as they or any of them shall be compelled to pay by reason of any such claims of dower as aforesaid also the value of such part of the personal property as she shall claim & receive as aforesaid given under our hands & Seals the day & year as before written at Sturbridge County of Worcester & Commonwealth of Massachusetts

J.P. Reynolds   (seal)
Rachel Newell}
Rebekah Reynolds (seal)
Geo. Davis} Witnesses}   Timo. Newell   (seal)

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Worcester Co. Be it remembered that on the twenty third day of June AD 1820 George Davis personally appeared before the Justice of the Circuit Court of Common Pleas holden at Worcester within and for the County of Worcester and made oath that John P. Reynolds, Rebekah Reynolds and Timothy Newell the Grantors of the within written instrument Signed Sealed and delivered the same in his presence that he set his name and witness thereto in presence of John P. Reynolds, Rebekah Reynolds and Timothy Newell and that the said John P. Reynolds is not an Inhabitant of said Commonwealth, nor has he, to his knowledge or belief been within the same within a year past and that the said Rebekah Reynolds and Timothy Newell are since dead -

   Att. Abijah Bigelow, Clerk
   Rec. June 24, 1820 Certd & Examd P.O. Fiske ..."

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