Family:Josiah Converse and Eleanor Richardson (1)

Facts and Events
Marriage[1] 27 Dec 1732 Leicester, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States

There seems to be some disagreement over which Josiah Converse was the husband of Eleanor. Depending on the answer, Eleanor may have been his first wife, or his second wife. There appear to be three Josiahs born to three set of parents, three women who married a Josiah Converse, and not enough evidence to sort it all out.

1. Josiah, s/o Samuel Converse and Sarah ---, b. 1699
2. Josiah, s/o Josiah Converse and Hannah Sawyer, b. 1710
3. Josiah, shown by Johnson as an unrecorded son of John Converse and Abigail Sawyer, b. say 1710 [Used to be Josiah Converse (7), but currently no page exists because it has been deemed he never existed]

A Josiah Sawyer married

1. Bef 1729 Hannah --- and had a daughter Sarah b. Leicester 1729
2. Leicester 1732 Eleanor Richardson
3. Woburn 1732/33 Sarah Evans

In the Josiah #2 camp, Source:Converse, Charles Allen. Some of the Ancestors and Descendants of Samuel Converse, Jr. of Thompson Parish, Killingly, Conn., Major James Convers of, p. 45-46, which shows Eleanor marrying Josiah #2. The gravestone of the husband of Eleanor is in Connecticut, d. 1775 age 65, so the birthdate appears to match.

In the Josiah #3 camp, Source:Vinton, John Adams. Richardson Memorial shows that Josiah #3 m. (1) Hannah ---, m. (2) 1732 Eleanor Richardson.

Also in the Josiah #3 camp is Source:Johnson, Edward Francis. Notes on the Family of Deacon Edward Convers, which disagrees with the first camp by showing Josiah #2 marrying Sarah Evans, and giving the same marriages for Josiah #3.

But, supporting the Josiah #2 camp is an article "Allen Converse of Woburn, Mass., and Descendants" in NEHGR, p. 50(1896):351, which shows Josiah #1 marrying Sarah Evans. Josiah #1 is not a descendant of Edward Converse at all according to that article, which is why the Samuel and Sarah listed as his parents are not covered by Johnson, and perhaps explaining why he was (apparently) overlooked by Johnson.

The various records found in Leicester and Brookfield strongly suggest the Josiah #2 camp is correct as explained:

The birth of Sarah is Leicester in 1729 is probably the older Josiah Converse and his wife Hannah Sawyer, parents of Josiah #2. There is no sign of this family in Woburn after 1725 (the cited NEHGR article says this older Josiah disappears from tax lists in 1727), and it is very appears from various death and marriage records that they moved to Leicester about 1727, and then to Brookfield about 1732. Thus marriage #1 does not really need explaining, being merely a continuation of a marriage already known about. After Hannah (Sawyer) Converse dies, the father Josiah is said by Johnson to have married a Dorothy. These records are found in Brookfield, a Hannah Converse of an appropriate age dying in 1747, the death record of Josiah's next wife Dorothy (and followed by a third wife and Josiah's death in 1771 that Johnson was unaware of).

If this hypothesis about Sarah being a sister, not daughter, of Josiah #2 is true, this supports the Josiah #2 camp by placing Josiah #2 in Leicester, unmarried, where he marries Eleanor Richardson as his only wife, prior to moving to, and dying in, Connecticut in 1775 aged 65.

This leaves Josiah #1 to marry Sarah Evans as per the NEHGR article. He is a little old at time of marriage, but this arrangement is argued for by the names of his children, Samuel and Sarah, which match the names of his parents according to his birth record. The NEHGR article presents deeds that support this arrangement as well.

Josiah #3 is probably a figment of Vinton and Johnson's imagination. No evidence is presented by either to justify inclusion of a Josiah in the family of John and Abigail, and there is no birth record, nor mention of him in his father's probate, suggesting if there even was a birth, he died before any of the above marriages took place. The above scenario satisfies all marriages without requiring adding this additional Josiah.

  1. Leicester, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States. Vital records of Leicester, Massachusetts, to the end the year 1849. (Worcester, Massachusetts: Franklin P. Rice, 1903)
    p. 137.

    CONVERSE [Convers, in int.], Josiah and Elenor Richardson, Dec. 27, 1732.