Family of Samuel Bowman and Benjamin Wiser Senior
As mentioned in a previous newsletter, Hepsibeth Hemenway appears to be the first cousin of our ancestor, Benjamin Wiser. Her portrait has been on display at the Worcester Historical Museum in Worcester, Massachusetts. Hepsibeth's portrait is only one of six actual known portraits of New England Indians. There is an article about her portrait in the “Old-Time New England Magazine”, Fall/Winter 1999 issue, pages 49 through 85, by Holly V. Izard. This article gives a very good history of Hepsibeth and her family. Her mother, Lydia Bowman Crosman was the sister of Benjamin Wiser’s mother, Ruth Bowman Wiser.
From the article, page 55: “THE BOWMANS-Hepsibeth’s maternal grandfather, Samuel Bowman, made his way to the Nipmuc homeland of Pakachoag Hill, in what was now the English town of Worcester, shortly after he was named a Natick proprietor in 1719. In an affidavit filed after he died in 1749, at the age of roughly fifty, his heirs stated that their deceased father lived in Worcester and places adjacent for more than twenty years before his death.” Samuel Bowman would also be Benjamin Wiser’s maternal grandfather.
On page 56: “Samuel was likely a great-grandson of William Bowman, who in 1656 was ‘of Natick’ but prior to that year resided on land that eventually became part of Framingham. Josiah Temple explained in his History of Framingham, Our Indians were known by the general name of Nipnets, or Nipmucks, and the region hereabouts was for a long period called in deeds and official records, ‘the Nipmug Country.’ He added that the Indians who formed communities in the area had moved there from Hassanamesit [now near Grafton, MA] and other older Nipmuc settlements. William Bowman was one of ten Indians who signed a deed of sale to English settlers at Framingham under the guidance of Daniel Gookin in 1656.”
It appears from records available that Samuel and Martha Bowman were the parents of the following children:
1. Martha who married Joseph Pegan. From the same article, page 57: “Daughter Martha had married Joseph Pegan, a Nipmuc Indian who owned real estate in Dudley, the English town that included Chaubunagungamaug reservation lands. They lived ‘in English fashion’ and were eager to receive their portion of the estate [of Samuel, her father] in order to make material improvements to their property.” They may have had a son, Joseph Pegan, who was born 1758 and died December 11, 1818 in Dudley, MA. Joseph Pegan Jr. was a Revolutionary Solder in the Connecticut Line.
2. Ruth, who I believe married James Wiser. Holly Izard listed her husband as Benjamin Wiser. However, I believe that her husband was Benjamin’s brother, James who died in 1744 or 1745 while on the Expedition of Carthegena, Columbia. Benjamin, who was the brother of James, had a family well accounted for in early records of Massachusetts, including another son, Benjamin. Ruth and James son Benjamin was born about 1743. This, I believe, is our ancestor. When Samuel Bowman’s estate was probated in 1749, Benjamin was residing with his aunt and uncle, Betty and Zachariah Equi in Sturbridge, MA. Benjamin Wiser would marry Abigial Thomas, June 25, 1767 in Sturbridge. No other children are known for Ruth and James Wiser.
3. Betty who married Zachariah Equi. From Holly Izard’s article, page 57: Daughter Betty Equi and husband Zachariah were ‘dwellers on land belonging to others’ in the southern Worcester County town of Sturbridge, probably living on what was the Nipmuc homeland of Tantiusque.” No children known.
4. Samuel. From page 57: “Son Samuel Bowman Jr. attested that he had learned the “English manner” of husbandry through years of hiring his laborer to farmers, but because he did not have the money to purchase property of his own he decided to return to Natick to live on Indian common lands.” Wife or children not known.
5. Lydia. After the death of her father in 1749, it appears she lived with her mother in Worcester, MA. At this time, she was a young woman. From the same article, page 57: “When she reached adulthood Lydia Bowman had a relationship with, and possibly married, a man whose surname was Crosman; their only child, Hepsibeth, was born March 25, 1761. Hannah Hemenway [this is Hepsibeth’s daughter] variously told reporters that Hepsibeth was an ‘Indian maiden’ and that she was ‘half Indian and half white.’ Hepsibeth’s mother was of Nipmuc ancestry and her father may have been partially Indian, possibly the son of Mashpee Indian Dorkus Wicket and a white man named Samuel Croshman recorded in Rhode Island records. Hannah said her father died in the Revolution. His service cannot be confirmed in military records for Massachusetts, though he may have served from another colony. The lack of information on Hepsibeth’s father in public records, and the fact that local residents consistently attributed the Bowman surname to her even though she used Crosman, suggests her father was not of Worcester. Hepsibeth would have been fourteen when her father went off to war and probably in her late teens when he died. Drawing on the general experience of Native Americans at the time, she and her widowed mother Lydia probably supported themselves by gathering wild edibles, cultivating a small patch of ground, hiring their labor to white families, exchanging items they produced for needed supplies, and relying on the good will of others.” Her only known child, Hepsibeth Hemenway died February 17, 1848, when she was eighty-six years old.
Samuel Bowman was born about 1690, probably in Natick and died about 1747 in Worcester, MA. We do not know when his widow, Martha, passed away, but probably some time later in Worcester.
Family of James Rumneymarsh Quanapohkit Wiser
A new book about the Nipmucs was published this year. The book, “The Indians of the Nipmuck Coutnry in Southern New England, 1630-1750, An Historical Geography” by Dennis A. Connole, has a number of references about James Rumneymarsh
Quanapohkit Wiser [great grandfather of Benjamin Wiser Senior]. I will summarize these references in the July Newsletter.
Family of James and Anna Kingsley Wiser of Laconia, Indiana
Anna Kingsley appeared to be married to James Wiser [son of Benjamin Wiser Senior], and was the mother of four daughters, Mary (Polly) Wiser, Mariam Elis Wiser, Lucy Ann Wiser and Cloe S. M.D. Wiser. About 1830, she settled in Laconia, Indiana with her brother, Simeon Kingsley. Her eldest daughter, Mary (Polly) Wiser married Fielding Steele, August 17, 1831 in Harrison County, Indiana.
Fielding and Mary had at least five children: Thomas, James M., Fielding, Andrew J. and Elizabeth (Isabel) Steele. Elizabeth first married Francis Marion Goldsmith. He was born June 23, 1843 in Boone Township, Indiana [near Squire Boone’s Mill] and died November 2, 1887 in Brandenburg, Meade, Kentucky. Francis Marion was a Civil War veteran. A wonderful history of his life is found in the book, “Goldsmith 200 Years in Kentucky” by Gaylen Bernard Goldsmith. Gaylen is a direct descendant of Francis and Elizabeth Steele Goldsmith. In his book, page 141, there is a description of Francis Marion’s headstone, which reads; “Rest Soldier Rest, Thy wars are oer, Sleep the sleep that knows no breaking, dreams of battlefields. No more days of danger, nights of waking.” Gaylen states, “From this inscription one gets the feeling that Marion suffered the hardships of the war all the days of his adult life.” For anyone who wants to know more about this Goldsmith family, read this excellent book.
Please let me know if you find any new information in your research. I appreciate any thing you can add to our research efforts. There are a number of photos for the descendants of Luther and Alathea (Wiser) Morse that I received recently. These photos will add much to our history of these families.
I will be going on a research trip to Upstate New York, July 22 to July 29th. I am looking forward to meeting relatives and finding new information on our family during my trip.
Once again, thanks for your contributions to our family newsletter. You may contact me at or 6 Baton Rouge, Roswell, NM 88201, or (505) 623-2534.