Our Wentworth History

Elder William Wentworth was born in Alford, Lincolnshire, England and was baptized on March 15,1615~16 the son of William Wentworth and Susanna Carter Fleming Wentworth and grandson of Christopher Wentworth and Katherine Marbury Wentworth. He had two younger brothers, Edward and Christopher. Christopher was buried in the adjoining hamlet of Rigsby in 1621 and Edward’s (a surgeon) lineage of male heirs did not continue.

It is thought he then followed kinsman, Rev. John Wheelwright, to New England for either religious attachments or to seek his fortune. Rev. John Wheelright was a Puritan clergyman and as a vicar was removed from office for simony in England. William Wentworth is found in 1639 where he signed a “combination” for government at Exter, New Hampshire on lands purchased from several Native American tribes.

It appears that William lived in Maine from 1642 to 1649 and then moved to Dover, New Hampshire. He was generally referred to as Elder William Wentworth and was Ruling Elder of his church in Dover for 40 years although he was never a member of the clergy. He lived in the central part of Dover known as Cocheco and was a co~owner of a sawmill.

The Cocheco Massacre occurred late in his life. In 1676 after many years of co,existing peacefully with the local Penacook tribe other Indian tribes started to come to Cochacho settlement to avoid bloody fighting with settlers elsewhere. Tensions started to mount as more Indian land was taken. In 1684 blockhouses were built by the settlers as safehouses in case the Indians attacked. Five homes in Cocheco were garrisoned with foot,thick logs impenetrable by bullets. The garrisons were surrounded by eight foot palisades. Settlers kept their guns close in the fields.

On the evening of June 2 7, 1684 some Indian woman asked to sleep near the kitchen fires in several garrisons which was not uncommon. During the darkness they opened the doors for other Indians. Elder Wentworth was awaken by a barking dog and rushed to his garrison door. Then he alone at the age of 7 3 pushed the Indians out, shut the door and used his body to keep it closed. Two bullets passed through the door missing him. His garrison was the only one saved. Twenty three people were killed and twenty nine were captured. On the morning after the massacre the enemy vanished. It would be several years before Cocheco recovered.

A journal entry dated March 16,1694 by a Rev. John Pike, pastor of Dover stated that, Elder Wentworth deceased after he was taken speechless with a sudden shivering.

Elder William Wentworth and his first or second wife had 11 children. One of the earliest of Elder Williams children was John
Wentworth born prior to 1649 whose wife was Martha. Elder William, his father, gave him land in Dover on December 1, 1674. He bought land in York, Maine in 1675. John is last recorded in Maine as a plaintiff in The York County court versus Charles Bissom, 18 December 1685, “for damage done by a parcel of turkeys.”

Charles Wentworth was born about 1684 the son of John and Martha Wentworth. He lived in Canton, Massachusetts. He was married to Bethiah Fenno. In 1724 he received two hundred eighteen acres after a discrepancy regarding Ponkapoag lands which involved some 6000 acres. Other settlers also made purchases of these lands. Two petitions were presented to the General Court of Massachusetts after which was decided that much of the land said Indians could never improve as they were decreasing in number and increasing in laziness. It was decided the money obtained from the sale of this land were put at interest, the income could be far more advantageously used for their benefit. The opening up of this land would very much enhance the value of the precinct. Charles was also a slave holder. Charles Wentworth at age 60 was appointed Lieutenant of the 3rd company of the 4th regiment of milita and in 17 46 became Captain. Their first born son was Amariah. He died in Canton July 8, 1780 at 96.

Amariah Wentworth was born in Stoughton, Massachusetts, in 1719 and then lived in Canton, Mass. He married Rebecca Shepard on October 22, 1 719.

They had a son Charles Wentworth born on November 25,1750 in Stoughton, Mass. Charles married Mary on November 25, 1750. She was the daughter of John and Jerusha Fenno. About 1800 he and his family moved 3 miles from Adams Village, Jefferson County, New York. He died there in 1828.

They had a son Nathan Wentworth who was born July 12, 1775. He married in 1803, Desire Perry who was born February 19, 1781. He fought in the War of 1812. Nathan died in Lockport, New York, February 26,184 7. Desire died there May 24, 1853. They had a daughter, Gratia born December 5, 1804. She married John Smith and lived in Brock, Darke County, Ohio.

They had two children: Egbert N. and Electa Desire. John Smith was supposed to have been killed by Indians while in route to California. After John left Na than adopted Egbert and gave him the Wentworth name. Electa born March 2 9 18 24 married Lorenzo Dow Hugh es on February 2 9, 1844. They had 10 children the first born being Samantha Hughes born January 4, 1845. Her biography is included in this book.

REFERENCES: The Wentworth Genealogy: English and American, Volumes 1&2. By John Wentworth. History of the Town of Canton(1893), Mass., Daniel T.V. Huntoon