Nielsen Hayden genealogy

John Briggs

Male - 1690


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  • Name John Briggs 
    Gender Male 
    Died Nov 1690  Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2
    Person ID I80  Ancestry of PNH, TNH, and others | Ancestor of TNH
    Last Modified 13 Aug 2021 

    Family 1 Sarah Cornell 
    Married Bef 1642  [3
    Children 
    +1. Ens. Thomas Briggs,   d. 12 Jun 1720, of Dartmouth, Bristol, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location
    Last Modified 15 May 2020 
    Family ID F17  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Constant Mitchell 
    Married 1662  [4
    Last Modified 14 Jun 2018 
    Family ID F9294  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • John Briggs m. Sarah Cornell. Sarah Cornell's brother Thomas Cornell m. Rebecca, possibly Rebecca Briggs, who burned to death in 1673, for which her and Thomas's son, Thomas Jr., was prosecuted for murder in a trial that famously relied on dream-based "spectral evidence," some of which was offered by John Briggs. In his testimony, Briggs called himself "sixty-four years or thereabouts" (thus the commonly accepted birth year of 1609), and said that he had had a dream in which a woman was at his bedside, "whereas he was much affrighted and cryed out, in the name of God, what are thou? The apparition answered, I am your sister Cornell, and twice said, see how I was burnt with fire." Partly because of this testimony, Thomas Cornell was found guilty of the murder of his mother and was hanged.

      Sources disagree on whether John Briggs and Rebecca Cornell were actually full siblings, half siblings, siblings-in-law, or some other relationship. It seems to be more generally agreed that John Briggs's wife Sarah Cornell was in fact a sister of the senior Thomas Cornell. See George E. McCracken, "Who Was Rebecca Cornell?", The American Genealogist 36:16 (January 1960), for an overview of the probably insoluble problem of Rebecca (maybe Briggs) Cornell's parentage, and for a critique of the idea (promulgated by the 1953 The Briggs Genealogy, citation details below) that John Briggs and Rebecca (maybe Briggs) Cornell were children of a family from the parish of St. James, Clerkenwell, London. Also see Killed Strangely: The Death of Rebecca Cornell by Elaine Forman Crane (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 2002).

      John Briggs was one of the signers, in 1638, of the compact of the settlement of Aquidneck. He played a prominent part in the government of the town, serving as juryman, constable, town councilor, surveyor of lands, special commissioner, and Deputy to the General Assembly.

      John Briggs (1609-1690) = Sarah Cornell (d. 1661)
      Susannah Briggs (1640-1704) = William Palmer (1638-1675)
      William Palmer (1663-1746) = Mary Richmond (1668-1708)
      Elizabeth Palmer (1687-1754) = Henry Head (1680-1755)
      Deborah Head (b. 1725) = Brittain Tallman (1729-1815)
      William Tallman (1755-1835) = Rhoda Akin (1751-1844)
      Lydia Tallman (1787-1873) = Abel Ford (1783-1842)
      Silas Ford (1807-1854) = Amanda Hedden (1812-1853)
      Emily Helena Ford (1834-1901) = William Lyman Aiken (1821-1893)
      William Ford Aiken (1864-1901) = Anna Potter (1864-1901)
      Conrad Aiken (1889-1973) = Jessie McDonald (1889-1970)
      Joan Aiken (1924-2001)
      Jane Aiken Hodge (1917-2009)

  • Sources 
    1. [S994] The Briggs Genealogy, Including the Ancestors and Descendants of Ichabod White Briggs by Bertha Bortle Beale Aldridge. Victor, New York: 1953., year only.

    2. [S42] The Howland Heirs: Being the Story of a Family and a Fortune and the Inheritance of a Trust Established for Mrs. Hetty H. R. Green by William M. Emery. New Bedford, Massachusetts: E. Anthony and Sons, 1919., year only.

    3. [S2203] New England Marriages Prior to 1700 by Clarence A. Torrey. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2015.

    4. [S2280] The Granberry Family and Allied Families, Including the Ancestry of Helen (Woodward) Granberry based on data compiled by and for Edgar Francis Waterman and compiled by Donald Lines Jacobus. Hartford, Connecticut: Edgar F. Waterman, 1945.