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There's no proven connection between John and Josiah White of Rockingham, Vermont, but the evidence leaves little doubt. Josiah's son was born in Leominster, Massachusetts, in 1742 and Josiah White moved from Leominster to Charlestown, New Hampshire, then across the river to Rockingham. He was in Charlestown by the time John of Claremont married. There is good evidence that Lois Shafter was put out to work at a young age. Richmond and Charlestown are not far apart, and Josiah, who appears to have had the means to support a child and servant, may have taken in Lois, and this may be how John and Lois met. Claremont and Richmond are not near each other, and it's very unlikely John and Lois would have met without a more unusual circumstances. It's not obvious why either of them were there. John's brother Abijah of Rockingham served in the same Revolutionary regiment as John.1 This was led by Capt. William Upham. At a town meeting in Weathersfield on 6 April 1778, the three officers of the regiment were chosen, with Joseph serving as ensign.2

     In Almira White's genealogy of the White family she refers to Josiah White's gravestone, which says how many descendants he had when he died in 1806.3 She lists John among his children and says ""seem to have served in the Revolution" and "He is said to have had nine children and seventeen grandchildren, although we have been unable to find his dwelling place or any of his descendants." When she wrote this (the book was published in 1900) there must have been someone who had the information collected when the gravestone was made. I've found no trace of it. John appears to have had nine children. Eight are known and a ninth, a daughter, can be added based on the 1790 census. John must be the one enumerated in Weathersfield in 1800 given the sequence of names, but the members of the household don't even closely match. The ninth daughter may have lived up to at least 1806, at which point she was about 20, but died before marrying and having children. Her sister Susan (White) Cunningham's probate made a search of all her siblings, nieces and nephews, and this sister isn't accounted for in any way. Adding up John's grandchildren born before Josiah died there were five Robinsons, six Haskells, one, possibly two of John White, Jr., two of James White and two Downers. That adds up to seventeen. There is about a four year gap between when John, Jr., married and the approximate birth (1805) of his first known child, so another child, who died young, is plausible. I haven't located him in the 1810 census to see if that child was still alive. All these circumstances outweigh any reasonable doubt that John was the son of Josiah.
     There was a John White who had a tavern in Claremont, no date given, succeeded by John Newell, who moved to Weathersfield.4 Deed records put John's property in several spots, but primarily along Mill Brook in the Ascutney area of Weathersfield. They also call him a carpenter, and a saw mill is mentioned in a deed either near or on his property.5 I haven't found a deed that gave him the land he settled on first. He sold that in July of 1781.6 He's called John White, Jr., in one deed before his son John was of age.7 This is likely due to another John White moving into town, although he was also living across the river in Charlestown. The two White families weren't closely related. It's possible that the other John, who was several years older than Josiah's son, was the one enumerated in 1800 since he is buried in Ascutneyville Cemetery, but they would have been a fairly close neighbors, which is an unlikely coincidence.
     Since John and Lois sold John, Jr., land in 1800,8 this may have been where they were living at the time. I haven't tracked all the various land transactions to at least make a guess. My understanding is that wives usually don't involve themselves in land transfers in their husbands' names unless they affected their dower rights. The deed says nothing about it being their home or that John, Jr., was expected to take care of them in exchange. John, Sr., must have been alive in 1806 to be counted among Josiah's living children, but I've found no evidence of when or where he died or that he sold any land after the 1800 deed. Lois and her children John, Louisa, Olive and Susan moved to Utica, New York, before 1820. Other siblings stayed in Weathersfield or moved - one to northern Vermont, one to Michigan. What led to the batch going to Utica is a mystery, although Louisa, Olive and Susan were still young and single and without any obvious ties to Weathersfield.

children of John White and Lois Shafter:

i. Esther Mellen, b. abt 1774
ii. Hannah, b. 20 June 1778
iii. John A., b. abt 1779
iv. James S(hafter?), b. abt 1781
v. Prudence S(hafter?), b. abt 1783
vi. daughter, b. abt 1785
vii. Olive, b. abt 1787
viii. Louisa b. March 1798
ix. Susan b. abt 1791/92




vital records sources: John's birth date (if he was the son of Josiah) comes from the Leominster, MA, vital records. His marriage comes from the records of Rev, James Wellman of Cornish, NH, published in The New England Historic Genealogical Register, vol. 72, p. 245.

1. [The State of Vermont] Rolls of the Soldiers in the Revolutionary War, 1775 to 1783 (Rutland:1904), 278-9.
2. Weathersfield town records, images of original records at familysearch.org.
3. Genealogy of the descendants of John White of Wenham and Lancaster, Massachusetts, vol. 2 (Haverhill:1900) 103. Reference is made to the collected information about Josiah's descendants, but I haven't found anything that says who collected the material or what happened to it.
4. History of the town of Claremont, New Hampshire, etc. (Manchester, NH:1895), 185.
5. for instance, Windsor Co., VT, deeds 1:158, 4:39. Reference to a saw mill in 3:225.
6. Ibid, 1:158, 19 July 1781.
7. Ibid, 3:5.
8. Ibid, 4:258, 23 July 1800, signed by John and "Louis" White, according to the transcription, and witnessed by their daughter Prudence S. White.

all text and photographs © 1998-2021 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted