|Offspring of Stephen Wing and Osheah Dillingham (1646-1654)|
|Nathaniel Wing (1647-1722)||February 1647 Sandwich, Barnstable County, Massachusetts||November 1722 Pocasset, Barnstable County, Massachusetts|
|Offspring of Stephen Wing and Sarah Briggs (1641-1689)|
|Elisha Wing (c1655-)|| |
|Sarah Wing (c1657-)|| |
|Abigail Wing (c1659-)|| |
|John Wing (c1661-)|
Like his brothers, John and Daniel, Stephen became a Quaker in Sandwich, following a stormy Puritan-Quaker struggle. Stephen lived on what is now called Spring Hill Road at the edge of the Shawme Marsh in East Sandwich. The house, built in 1641, is still in Wing family hands. It is the site of the annual Wing family reunion; headquarters of the Wing Family of America, Inc., and editorial office of The Owl, the Wing family periodical.
STEPHEN WING...1621 to 1710 (One of the four sons brought to New England by their widowed mother in 1632, from England to Saugus, Mass.)
A biographical sketch based on records compiled by Col. George W. Wing (1856-1924) who was the first president of the Wing Family of America, Inc.. Between 1913 and 1924 he published the results of more than twenty-five years of research.
Stephen Wing, youngest of the sons of the Rev. John and Deborah (Bachiler) Wing to leave descendants in America, was born in England in 1621. We are fortunate in knowing the age of Stephen and that he was three years old in 1624, when his mother embarked from England with him and his older sister Deborah for Holland. Stephen, like his brothers, spent the first years of his life at Flushing, and at the Hague; came to New England with his mother when nine years old.
We can imagine that his impressionable years were affected by thes trange, new life in the woods of America which were so full of interest and adventure. Barely sixteen years of age when the family settled at Sandwich in the spring of 1637, it is not probable that the adventure seemed serious to him at the time. The woods and streams were full of game, the maidens of the party were doubtless pleasant to look upon, and to a youth of Stephen's years, it must all have seemed alark of splendid proportions.
And was not Oseah Dillingham of the party. Perhaps she lived just across the clearing over and beyond Wold Trap Neck, and that a farcry across the waters of the Lake Shawme would reach her home where the "old pear tree" still was standing sentinel when, in 1903, Col. George W. Wing visited the site of that home. It is believed that Edward Dillingham was a fellow passenger on the good ship William and Francis, with the widow Deborah and her four sons...it is known that they lived at Saugus(where that group on the William and Francis first landed and lived) and that they made the settlement in the same party at Sandwich; and that they lived close neighbors and friends for many years. Stephen and Oseah must have had a romance of their own for they evidently loved well but not wisely. Living in a time when the strict code of morals devised and punished with the Scarlet letter, Stephen was before the courton March 2, 1647, and fined because of the fact that a child was born to his wife at "an unseasonable time after their marriage" which had been the preceding fall. Indescretions and trivial offenses were take note of by the rigorous laws of the Pilgrims. At different times many of the leading men of the colony were before the Court charged with irregularities. The rich, the poor, high and low, stood alike before the stern mandates at Plymouth. so no particular shame or chagrin should be felt by Stephen's descendants because of the following official entry in the Court records following a setting forth of the charge:
"The said Wing, coming into the face of the Court, freely acknowledging, he was, according to the order of the Court, fined and discharged." (Governor Bradford signed the record.)
It is generally believed that immediately following the marriage of Stephen and Oseah in the fall of 1646, they located in the "Old Fort House" near Spring Hill. Deborah and her son, John, (and possibly Matthew) were living upon their first homestead. Daniel had purchased the Hallett farm, and it was left to Stephen to establish himself, which he was well able to do, being then over twenty-five years of age.
In the days of the first settlements upon the Cape, the pioneers had at various times and places built substantial stone and brick enclosures as defenses against possible Indian attacks. However, they came to know that the Cape Indians were inclined to be peaceable and friendly and that the block houses or forts were unnecessary. It seems probable that, through the influence of his father-in-law and brothers, the town ofS andwich sold or assigned the old fort and its surrounding acres to Stephen. Anyway, he seems to have lived there from the very first. During the several reunions of the Wing Family at Sandwich, hundreds of Wings have visited and enjoyed the hospitality of this remarkable old home, now the property of the society to be dept as a memorial. The historian Swift, in his "History of Barnstable Families" says of the "Old Fort House: "All of the old houses of Spring Hill have undergone similar transformations. The Wing house, probably the oldest house in Massachusetts, built before 1643 as a fortification, has been altered so often that little of the original remains." Col. George W. Wing first visited in 1901 and says he examined it later many times. Its walls,like those of the majority of the old Cape Cod houses, are shingled. Deep embrasures for the windows show the thickness of the stone walls encased, and the old oaken rafters overhead indicate the size of the original building. A great fireplace occupies almost the entire end of a 15 by 18 living room. A quaint narrow stairway leads to the second floor, and the entire ensemble impresses one with its self-evident antiquity.
The Board of Directors of the Wing Family of America, Inc., in1941, after careful consideration, voted to authorize the purchase of the "OldFortHouse" at the terms offered by Miss Cora Wing, namely: purchase price of $5,000.00, with cash payment of at least $3,000.00 at the time of taking over the property, balance to be carried as a first mortgage at the prevailing rate of interest. The building is now the Wing Memorial Museum. The value of such an undertaking is easily understood when one reads the following description given by Col. Wing in 1914:
"The attack of the "Old Fort House" is one of the most interesting places for all Wings in America. Carefully preserved by the successive generations of the family who have lived here, area cumulations of household furniture and utensils dating back probably to the time of Stephen and Oseah. Here are warming pans, leather lanterns, spinningwheels, kitchen utensils, candle-sticks, flint-lockguns, and other retired household effects in quantities. The collection is scarcely surpassed by that of the Plymouth Memorial Hall. The old home and its contents is a veritable Mecca for the Wings of America."
The building nestles at the foot of a hill, just across the old road leading up to Spring Hill Meeting House. a full panoramic sweep of the bay is presented and a five-minute walk brings one to the beach itself. Another description, given after a visit in the "eightees" by adescendant, reads in part:
"We had the pleasure of inspecting the old Stpehen Wing dwelling house, aportion of which is supposed to have been one of the several block houses which the Colonial government had caused to be erected as a protection against the Indians. At the time of the visit it was occupied by Presbury Wing, a highly respected preacher of the Society of Friends, who kindly gave us an account of the building and showed us the different apartments, even taking us into the unfinished attic where some of the original timbers are exposed to view. The building as it stands now, is in that part of town known as Spring Hill, near the Friends ' Meeting House, is an enlargement of the block house by additions upon two sides, made a great many years ago... The building is what is called in that section a "doublehouse"; i.e., it has a room on each side of the front door."
In 1943 the very desk once used by Stephen Wing at the "Old Fort House" became the property of the society and was placed again in the old home (museum). It came as a gift from a direct descendant. Edwin Wing and his sister Elsie. Their father was Daniel B. Wing of the 8th generation from Matthew Wing of Banbury, England, and the 6th generation from Stephen Wing, the subject of this sketch. Their line runs: Matthew(1),Rev. John(2), Stephen (3), Ebenezer (4), Stephen (5), John (6), Daniel(7), Daniel(8), Edwin (9) and Elsie (9). They also donated to the society many valuable papers, among which was the original will of Stephen Wing (5),grandson of the original Stephen Wing, and the one who had, in that will, left the desk to his son John (6), in 1765.
Being one of the younger men of the Sandwich settlement, there is little mention made up to the time of his wife's death, April 9,1654. Left with infant children upon him for support, it became incumbent upon Stephen to find himself another housekeeper. This he did, by marrying Sarah Briggs, the orphaned daughter of John Briggs, who was one of the first sixty settlers of Sandwich. It is believed that Nathaniel Wing was the only child of Stephen and Oseah Wing to survive childhood. Although it is known that Nathaniel had three sons, most of the descendants of Stephen Wing carrying the Wing surname are through sons by his second wife, whom he married in November, 1654. Stephen Jr., the oldest of those sons, was killed in action at the age of twenty. It is said that he was the first Wing to give his life in defense of his country, being one of forty-six unfortunate men who fell in an ambush suffered while Capt. Michael Pearse's Plymouth County Company was engaged in the defense of the colonies during the King Phillip War, March 26, 1676. But there were four other sons, all of whom raised families.
Col. George W. Wing once said that if he were called upon to classify the three Wing brothers who settled at Sandwich, he would term them: "John, the fearless, practical pioneer; Daniel, the idealist and religionist; and Stephen, the scholar and man of affairs." At any rate, Stephen was prominent in the affairs of the colony after 1654. On January 8, 1655, he was appointed the Constable of Sandwich by the Plymouth Court, and a year later served on the jury at Plymouth. It appears that during that same time of court he sued Jonathan Fish and attached some of his property in an action to recover 13 pounds. The wording of the judgment of the Court may be of interest to his descendants, and reads as follows:
"Jan. 5, 1756. Upon a sight of a letter of attorney showed in Court, whereby it appeared that Mr. Edward Dillingham who authorized to answer a suite commenced against Jonathan Fish by Stephen Wing of Sandwidge, in an action of the case, to the damage of twelve pounds, the said Edward Dillingham came into the Court and acknowledge a judgment of six pounds in behalf of the said Jonathan Fish, whereupon the said Stephen Wing rested satisfied; the attachment that was lay upon a mare belonging to the said Fish resting upon the same for the space of two months . The judgment above said to be paid for the quality, as well as quantities, according to the term of the bill of said Stephen Wing ehath unto the hand of said Jonathan Fish."
It will have been noticed by the reader that in the records of those days, spelling was not always perfect even in the official Court records. It may also have been noticed on some occasions the name is spelled Wing and at other times given as Winge. It even appears both ways in the same Court order quoted above.
The name of Green appears in some mysterious way to be closely connected with the Wings at Sandwich. Joan Newman, wife of Matthew Wing, the youngest of the Wing brothers (who returned to England) committed the care of Matthew Wing's estate in New England to her brother-in-law James Green of Malden. Here again, in a court record at Plymouth, happening the same day and date o f the Fish lawsuit, Stephen Wing appears as the attorney of a John Green, as evidenced by the following decree:
"And whereas it doth appear alsoe that the said Edward Dillingham was authorized as an attorney in the behalf of the above said Jonathan Fish to answer a complaint made by John Green, i n an action of the case, to the damage of 1 pound 13 shillings, the said Edward Dillingham acknowledge a judgment of 1 pound 13 shillings, where upon Stephen Winge, as attorney of the said John Green, rested satisfied."
Then came on the Quaker persecutions of 1657. Stephen Wing had been one of the first to unit e with the Friends' movement at Sandwich. The very first record we find in the Plymouth Court records relative to the legal proceedings against the Sandwich Quakers was on March 2, 1657-8, when Peter Gaunt, Daniel Wing, Ralph and William Allen were brought before the Plymouth Court and admonished for their "tumultuous carriage at a Quaker meeting," and finally fined twenty shillings apiece for the Court with their hats on. On the same day also appears the following:
"Lieut. Ellis, Stephen Winge and Thomas Butler, being summoned to answer for tumultuous carriage as aforesaid, being examined, and not found so faulty as was supposed, were admonished and cleared."
Notwithstanding the fact that Stephen Wing had been an official of the town the previous year , in 1658, with eight others, denied the" Privileges of townsmen" and it was declared that "they had no power to act in town meeting until better evidence appears of their legal admittance. " Stephen was fined on many occasions for refusing to take the oath of Fidelity, a result, o f course, of the peculiar belief of the Quakers that it is a sin to take an oath for any purpose.
After the persecutions ceased in 1661, Stephen seems to have speedily resumed his former plac e in the affairs of the community and colony. March 2, 1662, he served on a jury at Plymouth f or the trial of a case between John Thomson and Richard Church, as plaintiffs, against Captain Will it, defendant. At other times he was appointed as Surveyor of Highways, and also served o n the Grand Inquest. He must have served several years as Town Clerk for the records kept between 1669and1674are known to be in his hand-writing. Furthermore, a record under date of Dec. 5, 1674, shows that a contract was made by the town with Joseph Birge and Nehemiah Besse to build a town pound and the town directed that "Stephen Wing shall asyne the letter of attorney in the town's behalfe...he being the Towne Clark." And again, in the matter of a boundary dispute the records show that Stephen Wing being the Townes Clark shall asine the letter of attorney that this three men shall precure as in the townes behalfe." (spelled clark both times instead ofclerk.) Under date of Jan. 27, 1681, the records cite that" the town behath made choice of Benjamin Hammon, Stephen Skiffe and Stephen Wing to make "saille" of the whale that is lately cast on shore inyemost that can of it in the towne's behalfe, and for ye towne's use."
For the subsequent thirty years of Stephen's life there is little to be found concerning his public life. He was probably one of the last, if not the very last, of the original settlers of Sandwich to survive. He lived sixty-three years in Sandwich after the date of its first settlement in1637. His wife Sarah died in 1689, leaving him a widower for the second time.
The society has possession of an ancient deed executed by Stephen Wing on Dec. 2, 1700. It was executed while he was a widower and upward so feighty years of age. It conveys the "Old For t House" and all of his landed possessions in the town of Sandwich to his sons Ebenezer and Matthew. Matthew was living at that time in Darmouth and inpossession there of an estate of his own...so just why he was selected as a grantee in the deed of the old homestead is not quite clear.
On the same day that Stephen executed his deed to his sons Ebenezer and Matthew, he also executed his will, and the two papers were presumably drawn by the same person...Stephen Skiff. This will was probated in Barnstable County, July 13, 1710, and a complete copy of the will was published in the "Owl" issued March 1915. The Spring Hill records show that Stephen Wing died o n April 24, 1710. a tablet to his memory was placed upon the lawn of the "Old Fort House" and dedicated by the society during its 1910 reunion at New Bedford, Mass. The principle address was delivered by G. Myron Allen and the tablet was unveiled by Mrs. Allen, both of whom were lineal descendants of Stephen Wing. The tablet reads:
"SON OF THE REV. JOHN AND DEBORAH WING, CAME TO BOSTON IN 1632WITHHISMOTHER AND BROTHERS JO HN, DANIEL, AND MATTHEW, WITH WHOM HESETTLEDINSANDWICH IN 1637. HE LIVED UPON THIS LAND AND BUILT HIS HOME IN1641.HEWAS AN ORIGINAL MEMBER OF THE FIRST FRIENDS' MEETING INAMERICAESTABLISHED AT SPRING HILL IN 1658 AND SUFFERED GREAT PERSECUTIONATTHEHANDS OF THE PLYMOUTH G OVERNMENT IN THE CAUSE OF RELIGIOUSLIBERTY.HEDIED IN 1710 AND LIES BURIED AT SPRING HILL. E RECTED IN 1910BY THE WING FAMILY OF AMERICA, INCORPORATED."
wooden tools, the oldest houses of Cope Cod hove weathered storms and time A sampling of historic houses shows that behind their charm lies careful planning and practicality.
Dating from 1641, the Wing Fort House in East Sandwich stands as the oldest house in New England continuously inhabited by members of one family – in this case, for three centuries. Built by Quaker Stephen Wing, one of the Cape's first settlers, this house started out as a one-room homestead with a loft, similar to those the Pilgrims built Constructed with double walls, the "fort" was secured against Indian attacks, which never came from the friendly natives
Stephen's grandson and namesake built his own saltbox next to the Fort House. The two homes were combined during the lath century, with each home losing its original chimney and gaining the peaked roof that blanketed both dwellings In the attic, however, the rakers from the Fort House's original peaked roof can be seen, now incorporated into one of the house's gables.
All 12 rooms are filled with Wing furniture and antiques.
Located on Spring Hill Road, near Route 6A in East Sandwich, the Wing Fort House is open 10 a m to 4 pm ., Monday--Friday Tours given by caretakers
Will of Stephen Wing;
I, Stephen Wing of the Town of Sandwich in the County of Barnstable in New England, being age d and weak of body yet through ye mercy of God of Disposing mind and memory and calling to mind ye...uncertainly of this Transistory Life I am Desirous according to my Duty to set things in order before God shall Call me thence. And therefore Do make this my Last Will and Testament hereby Revoking and Depannelling all former Will and Wills by word or writing heretofore by me made and Do here by Constitute and Declare this to be my Last Will and Testament in manner and form following viz; my Desire is to commit my Soul to God in Jesus Christ who gave it and m y body to Decent Burial at our Friends Burying place at Spring Hill when God shall please to c all me Hence: And as Touching my Worldly Estate which God hath beyond my Deserts bestowed on my Will is to Dispose of it as followeth;
My Will is that all my Debts in Right or Conscience to any man Due Together with my funeral Charges shall be first Discharged by my Exectrshere after named in Convenient Time out of my estate.
- Item. I Will and bequeath unto my Son Nathaniel Wing Ten pounds
- Item. I will and bequeath unto my son Elisha Wing Ten pounds
- Item. I will and bequeath unto my daughter Sarah Gifford fifty shilling
- Item. I will and bequeath unto my daughter Abigail Twenty Shilling
- Item. I will and bequeath unto my son John Wing my great Dripping pan and spitl.
- Item. I will and bequeath unto my Grandson Jeremiah Gifford Twenty Shillings and each Legacy t o be paid in Two years after my Decease.
- Finally my will is and I do hereby Constitute and appoint my Two sons viz: Ebenezer Wing and Matthew Wing joint Execrs to this my last will and Testament to administer upon my said Estate and to pay my Debts and Legacus according to this my will.
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this Second day of December Anna Dom 1700....Stephen Wing
Signed Sealed and declared to be his last will and testament in presence of STEPHE SKIFF, DANI EL ALLEN, JASHUB WING, WM BASSETT.
The following information was taken from the book "SCHWARZRAUBER, STEWARTAND RELATED FAMILIES ." by Sayre Archie Schwartrauber. The references given in that book for information are; Austin, John D. MAYFLOWER FAMILIES THROUGH FIVE GENERATIONS,Vol.VI. Stephen Hopkins. Pymouth , Mass.: General Scoiety of MAYFLOWER Descendants, 1992. Lovell, R.A., Jr. SANDWICH, A CAPE CO DTOWN. N.E.H.G.R Vol. XVIII, pp. 266-7. Numerous references. O.W.L Magazine. Journal of the Wing Family of America, Inc.,Sandwich,Mass. Pope, Charles Henry. PIONEERS OF MASSACHUSETTS. Torrey, Clarence Almon. NEW ENGLAND MARRIAGES PRIOR TO 1700. Wing, Rev. Conway P. DD. A HISTORY AND GENEALOGICAL REGISTER OFJOHNWINGOF SANDWICH. MA 1662 -1881.
+There is some uncertainty regarding where Stephen was born. As noted above, sis father was installed as pastor to the English congregation at Flushing in June 1620. It is believed his family came over with him at that time, and Stephen was born on the Continent, but it is possible the family stayed in England until after Stephen's birth.