Whitaker is an old English surname, originally meaning White-acre, and the name of a locality. Whitakers settled in Virginia among the first comers. George Whitacre was on a ship bound for Virginia in May 1654. Rev. Alexander, the Apostle, accompanied Sir Thomas Dale to Virginia in 1611, baptized Pocohontas in 1614, and married her to Rolfe; he was drowned in the James river in 1616.
Edward Whitaker was grantee of land in Virginia in 1638; Captain William Whitaker and Richard appear to be his sons. Descendants of Richard are numberous in Enfield, North Carolina. The fact that some pioneers went from Virginia to Haverhill, where Abraham Whitaker settled in Massachusetts, and that others went from Haverhill to Virginia lends support to the belief that the Whitakers of Virginia and Massachusetts were related.
The surname is variously spelled Whiitier, Whitehair, Whityeare, Whittaker. Several of the name were early settlers in Massachusetts Bay colony.
(I) Richard Whitaker, immigrant ancestor of this branch, was in Rehoboth, Mass., before 1661. He married Robba _____. Very little else is known of him. Children born at Rehoboth: 1. Nathaniel, Aug. 16, 1661; lived at Rehoboth. 2. John, Sept, 1663. 3. Mary, Aug. 25, 1666. 4. Samuel, May 15, 1669. 5. Rebecca, March 15, 1674. 6. Mehitable, Dec. 27, 1674. 7. Ephraim, Jan. 27, 1679. 8. Daniel, mentioned below. 9. Noah, Jan. 31, 1683.
(II) Daniel, son of Richard Whitaker, was born in 1680 or earlier, and settled at Rehoboth. He married there, April 16, 1703, Mary, daughter of Nathaniel and Experience Chaffee. Children born at Rehoboth: 1. Ephraim, Feb. 8, 1703-04; died 1704. 2. Hannah, March 28, 1705-06. 3. Mary, Aug. 24, 1706. 4. Daniel, Feb. 11, 1707-08. 5. Dorothy, Aug. 24, 1709. 6. Seth, April 11, 1711. 7. Ebenezer, mentioned below. 8. Joseph, Feb. 3, 1715-16. 9. Ann, Oct. 30, 1717.
(III) Ebenezer, son of Daniel Whitaker, was born at Rehoboth, April 29, 1713. He married, at Rehoboth, Nov. 14, 1745, Amie, born Feb. 2, 1723-24, at Attleboro, formerly part of Rehoboth, daughter of Noah Carpenter, and granddaughter of Captian William and Sarah (Johnson) Carpenter. Noah was born March 28, 1672. Sarah was daughter of William and granddaughter of Captain Edward Johnson, of Woburn, Mass. Captain Edward Johnson was a prominent citizen, deputy to the general court.
Children of Ebenezer Whitaker, born at Rehoboth:
1. William, Jan. 16, 1745-46; mentioned below. 2. Ebenezer, Sept. 2, 1747. 3. Ephraim, Dec. 4, 1749. 4. Zachariah, July 8, 1754. 4. Zachariah, July 8, 1754. 5. Lidia, Jan. 8, 1757.
(IV) William, son of Ebenezer Whitaker, was born at Rehoboth, Jan. 16, 1745-46. He married Amy Clemmence. Shortly before the revolution he settled at Chazy, New York. When a mere boy he served in the French and Indian war of 1758-59. At one time he was a messenger from the commander of old Fort Syanwix (now Rome, New York) to the commander of Fort Schuyler (now Utica, New York), making the journey by night to avoid hostile Indians. He was also a soldier in the revolution and took part in the battle of Bennington under General John Stark.
Amy (Clemmence) Whitaker, his wife, was one of the officers of the company or "regiment" of ladies in Cheshire, who made the "big cheese" presented through Elder John Leland to President Jefferson. They had five sons and four daughters.
(V) Clemmence, son of William Whitaker, was born at Chazy, N.Y., Dec. 18, 1779. His boyhood was one of hard toil, assisting his father, whose burdens were such as usually fell to the lot of the pioneer of limited means and a large family. His schooling was limited to a few months in the district school, but like many others under the same circumstances he educated himself and became a man of quick wit, sound judgment, large intelligence and extensive information. Soon after he came of age he left home and located at Trenton, Oneida county, N.Y., in March 1801, and there resided for thrirty-four years. In April, 1835, he removed to Martinsburg, N.Y., where he lived until his death, Feb. 28, 1872.
He was interested in public affairs all his active life, and at times exerted a large and wholesome influence in the politics of the county. He was elected a state elector in 1844, and cast his vote for Polk and Dallas, but in general he was content to work for the policies and candidates of his party, seeking no office nor reward. He was for a time in the service in the war of 1812. His chief characteristics were indomitable will and stern integrity. He was positive and direct in his dealings with men, yet eminently social. These traits combined with close financiering and perserverence made him successful in life beyond the average of men. This sternness and natural impulsive temperament gave him at times, in the minds of those not well acquainted with him, the appearance of an unfeeling and uncharitable man. But those who knew him well discovered beneath the apparent rough exterior a generosity and benevolence as intense and active as his nature was positive. No one excelled him in genuine charity or hatred of its exhibition to be seen of men. While he had no special praise to bestow on those who simply performed their special duty in whatever station they occupied, he was unstinted in his denunciations of corruption, dishonesty and crime wherever found. He was a fervent devoted friend and a cold, unyielding and unforgiving enemy.
He married Alice Hall, born April 16, 1777, died March 4, 1847.
Children: 1. Jerome, born May 25, 1806. 2. Anna, Jan. 22, 1808, died April 6, 1852. 3. George, Oct. 12, 1809. 4. Samuel, Nov. 12, 1811, died June, 1813. 5. Winfield Scott, Dec. 21, 1813; died Feb. 29, 1872. 6. William, Dec. 10, 1815; died March 21, 1879. 7. Daniel, April 14, 1818, mentioned below. 8. Romanie, March 17, 1821; died March 8, 1825.
(VI) Daniel (2), son of Clemmence Whitaker, was born April 14, 1818, at Trenton, Oneida county, and was educated in the common schools of that section. He took up the occupation of farming and came to Martinsburg, where he lived until his death, June 23, 1887. He inherited many of the traits and business characteristics of his father and was successful in his affairs. He gained the friendship and respect of all who came to know him. He took more than an ordinary interest in agriculture and was a director and president of the Lewis County Agricultural Society for many years.
He married, April 10, 1849, Ruth Ann, born Sept. 23, 1821, died Sept. 14, 1882, daughter of Isaac and Lydia (Wood) Powell, of Trenton, formerly of Lanesborough, Berkshire county, Mass. He married (second) Emma C. Butler, born Nov. 24, 1845, died May 19, 1900.
Children: 1. Daniel Fremont, born Feb. 9, 1850, died May 11, 1862. 2. Addie Louisa, Dec. 4, 1858, died Feb. 21, 1859. 3. Mary Alice, March 2, 1860.