Tuesday, March 4, 2014

ETCHED IN OLD STONE: Family Names #2 (Epenetus)

  • EPENETUS Olney, 8th GGF ~ EPENETUS Olney, Jr., 7th GGF
“Salute Epenetus, my beloved: who is the firstfruits of Asia in Christ.” (Romans 16:5)
St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England
8th GGF Epenetus Olney was baptized in St. Albans, Hertfordshire on 14 February, 1634.  He was only a year old when he emigrated in 1635 from England aboard the ship "Planter" with his parents, Thomas and Mary Olney, and 3-year old  brother, Thomas.  Epenetus' family, like a number of our immigrant ancestors (especially the Dort and Winsor branches) would soon be "invited to leave" Massachusetts colony along with Roger Williams to make their home in Providence, Rhode Island as members of Williams' First Baptist Church.  This is where Epenetus grew up, married Mary Whipple, raised his children, and lived out his life.  Epenetus was a tavern-keeper in Providence, as were the Whipple brothers.

from 1635 Passenger List, "Planter"
 Of interesting note:  Soon after the family's arrival in Massachusetts, EPENETUS had a new American-born brother named DISCOVERED followed two years later by another brother, NEDABIAH.  Although subsequent siblings had the more traditional names of Stephen, James, Mary and Lydia, it appears significant that these given names of Thomas and Mary Olney's children deviated from the standard 'acceptable' names of the time ...something we often see with the Puritan dissenters of the 1630's.  As an additional note, Epenetus had a son named EPENETUS, Jr. (my 7th GGFather) who had a daughter named FREEBORN who married 6th GGFather Joshua Winsor*.  Freeborn had an aunt named FREELOVE Williams, (my 9th GGAunt).
Also interesting: it was not uncommon for siblings of one large family to marry siblings of another. This often creates an interesting family tree where a grandparent is technically an aunt or uncle, too.  Epenetus married Mary Whipple, sister of John Whipple, Jr. who married his sister Mary Olney (my 8th GGAunt through the Olney line AND my 9th GGMother through the Whipple line.)  Their sister Lydia Olney married Joseph, the son of Roger Williams, making them my 10th GGParents through the Roger Williams line.  So my Olney family descends from siblings who represent 8th, 9th, and 10th great-grandparents with pioneer roots in early Rhode Island.
"Stone-Ender-style" Epenetus Olney House, N. Providence, RI

* The WINSOR & DORT family connections
(WINSOR line: Olney/Winsor)
The ancestral families lines of Epenetus Olney and his wife Mary Whipple eventually united with the marriage of Epenetus' GGSon CHARLES WINSOR who married  2nd GGDaughter, MARY WHIPPLE, thus joining the Winsor/Dort families through their son JESSE WINSOR.
Likewise, our ancestral family lineage from Roger Williams sprouts from the marriages of FOUR of his children:
1. (___) JOSEPH WILLIAMS (3rd son of Roger Williams) married LYDIA OLNEY (daughter of Thomas I and sister of Epenetus I)
2. 8th GGM MERCY WILLIAMS (3rd daughter of Roger Williams) married REV. SAMUEL WINSOR (again connecting the two families of Winsor/Dort)
3. 8th GGF DANIEL WILLIAMS (2nd son of Roger Williams) married REBECCA RHODES (daughter of immigrants Zachariah Rhodes and Joanna Arnold)
4. (___) MARY WILLIAMS (1st daughter of Roger Williams) married JOHN SAYLES II  whose daughter Catherine married William Olney (son of Thomas II & brother of Epenetus I)


  1. I am the great granddaughter of George Brenton Dort, Sr., son of Andrew Jackson Dort. Do you have any pictures of George or his siblings? I have no pictures older than my grandfather, George Brenton Dort, Jr.

    1. Hi Dawn -I have photos of Kizzie, Mae, and Billy that I can share if you are interested. If you provide your email address I'll send them your way. (Note that on my "Smith/Post Family" tab at the top of my blog you can access photos of George's parents, too!)

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