By James A. Ayars,
in collaboration with
Barbarann Ayars and David Bryson Ayars

Fifth Edition
©1995, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002 James A. Ayars
357 Lakeview Ct.
Oxnard, CA 93036
jimayars@aol.com


A surprizingly large amount of material still exists, considering the antiquity of the sources, documenting the life of Robert Ayars, the founder of the Ayars family in the United States and Australia. In this monograph, I will summarize the primary sources, and draw some logical conclusions based upon those sources.

Early Family Legends and Traditions

Some family traditions link the Ayars family to the Le Heyre family of Bromham, in Wiltshire, England. Bessie Ayars-Andrews, who in 1912 published a memorial for her father, Benjamin Ayars,1 quoted Thomas Thorpe, who, in 1835, published a book which may have the longest title in publishing history:
Descriptive Catalogue of the Original Charters, Royal Grants, and Donations, Many with the Seals in Fine Preservation, Monastic Chartulary, Official, Manorial, Court Baron, Court Leet, and Rent Rolls, Registers, and Other Documents, Constituting the Muniments of Battle Abbey, Founded by King William the Conqueror, to Perpetuate the Memorable Battle of Hastings and the Conquest of England; Comprising, Also, a Great Mass of Papers Relating to the Family of Browne, Ennobled as the Lords Viscount Montague, of such Extent and Importance as to Render Them a Desideratum of Much Consequence in the Grand National Depositary; With Various Others Relating to the Sidneys, Earls of Leicester, and the Whole of the Webster Family Evidences, Embodying Many Highly Interesting and Valuable Records of Manor Lands in Sussex, Kent, and Essex.2
In a footnote on page 106, Thorpe states
The Eyres came into England with William the Norman, and their possessions at Battle arose questionless from gift. The first of the family was named Truelove, but at the battle of Hastings, Oct. 14, 1066, William was flung from his horse, and his helmet beaten into his face, which Truelove observing, pulled off, and horsed him again. The Duke told him, "Thou shalt hereafter from Truelove be called Air (Eyre), because thou hast given me the air I breathe." After the battle, the Duke, on enquiry respecting him, found him sorely wounded, his leg and thigh struck off, ordered him the utmostcare, and on his recovery gave him lands in Derby, in reward for his services, and the leg and thigh in armour, cut off, for his crest, an honorary badge yet worn by all the Eyres in England."
There are several problems with the story. First, there is no record of a “Truelove” present at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. There is, however, a record of a turning point in the battle in which William was unhorsed. The Anglo-Saxons, thinking that Duke William had been slain, broke their defensive ranks to finish off the Normans and Bretons. The commemorative Bayeux Tapestry shows a scene in which William, rehorsed, gallops among his knights, rallying them to fight on. If there is any truth to the “Truelove” story, it had to have occurred at this point in the battle.

The second problem in the story involves the helmet. The Bayeux Tapestry shows the style of armor worn by the combatants at this early time in English history. The helmet was a conical metal cap with a frontal nose guard. Chain mail worn under a tunic comprised the rest of the armour. Bashing a helmet of this type would have obstructed Duke William’s thinking, but not his breathing.

The third problem with the story involves the existence of another legend which links the Le Heyres to the Third Crusade, 1190-1192, in which Humphrey Le Heyre of Bromham accompanied Richard I, “Coeur de Lion”. According to this form of the legend, the founder of the family sacrificed his severed leg to a Saracen sabre.
In the early legends of the family, the crest of the booted leg is said to have been introduced by the chivalrous ancestor, whose loss of limb at Ascalon afforded protection to his gallant chief, Richard Coeur de Lion. This story is probably as veritable as “Near Ascalon’s towers John of Horiston slept.”3
Burke obviously considered this story to be as apocryphal as the line of poetry he quotes. However, it deserves as much consideration as any other theory. In this case, being over a century later than William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings, the helmet in question could have obstructed Richard’s breathing. The armour usually depicted on the leg in the crests of the Eyre Arms is of the type in vogue during the crusades and not at Hastings.





“Hic Est Willem”

Detail from the Bayeux Tapestry showing Duke William lifting
his helmet to identify himself to his forces after being
unhorsed during the Battle of Hastings. Also shown here
are the chain mail and type of helmet used in the 11th Century.

There were several “Le Heyrs” known to have gone to the Holy Land on Crusades. The earliest was Humphrey Le Heyre of Bromham, Wiltshire, in 1190. Another was Richard Le Heyre, from Hope, Derbyshire, in 1270.

The fact is, there are at least two distinct Le Heyre families who bear the same basic arms, and who are near contemporaries -- the Le Heyres of Bromham, Wiltshire, and the Le Eyres of Hope, Derbyshire. The “founder” of the Wiltshire family in Bromham, Humphrey Le Heyre, is known to have been active in 1190. The “founder” of the Derbyshire family in Hope, William Le Eyr, is known to have been born before 1251, and the other crusader, Richard Le Heyre, was around in 1270. We do not know at this time how these two families are related, such that they bear the same arms, with identical crests. That they ARE related, however, is evidenced by the shared arms. Because they are near contemporaries, this suggests that the common forebear for both families may have been nearer to William the Conqueror in time, rather than to Richard Coeur de Lion. The Thorpe story may actually be correct. The name “Le Heyre” is obviously Norman/French, and not Anglo-Saxon. However, we don’t know for certain whether either story is true.

It is fairly certain, however, that these two families are the forebears of all the Eyres, no matter how they spell their surnames. In ancient times, the letter “H” was not aspirated (as in “hot”), but was a glottal stop (as in “hour”). As time passed, the spelling of the surname went through several transformations: first, it was Le Heyre (1190), becoming Le Eyr (1250), then Eyre (1300), and finally, the varieties of Eyres/Ayres/Ayers/Ayars, etc.

The arms of the Eyres are: “Argent, on a chevron sable, three quatrefoils or. Crest: on a cap of maintenance, an armed and booted leg, couped at the thigh, quarterly argent and sable, spurred or. Motto: Virtus Sola Invicta.” There are several forms for the leg, and also several other mottoes.



The Arms of
Humphrey le Heyre (c. 1190) of Bromham, Wiltshire
and
William le Heyre (c. 1260) of Hope, Derbyshire

ARMS
Argent, on a chevron sable three quatrefoils or.
CREST
On a cap of maintenance, an armed and booted leg proper, quarterly argent and sable, spur or.
MOTTOES:
Sola Virtus Invicta
Læto Ære Florent
Lighter than Air


Family Traditions about Robert Ayars

Family traditions state that Robert Ayars was born in England around 1650; that he came to the colonies in the company of Stephen Mumford in 1664; that he first purchased property in Hopkinton, Rhode Island. He married Esther Bowen sometime before 1673. He later moved to West Jersey in 1685, where he first purchased 200 acres along the Cohansey River across from Greenwich, New Jersey from the daughters of John Gillman which they had inherited from their father; he later purchased another 400 acres from Restore Lippincott. Finally, in 1705, he purchased 2,200 acres from Dr. James Wass.4

Unfortunately, many of these legends and traditions have minimal factual basis. Several are even directly contradicted by the surviving primary evidence.5 We will now examine what we know with a fair degree of certainty, based upon primary sources.

From Fiction to Fact

The primary sources documenting the life of Robert Ayars, the founder of the AYARS family in the United States and Australia, include a gravestone, various land deeds and mortgages, Seventh Day Baptist church-membership lists, and documents detailing his last will and testament. These primary evidences provide us with some accurate details about Robert's life story. It is from these documents that we must recreate the life of Robert Ayars. Here is what we know with varying degrees of certainty about the life of the founder of the Ayars family in the New World.

The Eyres of Suffolkshire

Our Robert Ayars impressed a seal with a coat of arms on all of his legal documents. Examples of these seals still exist and may be viewed on original hand-written documents bearing Robert Ayars’ own signature at the Warren E. Lummis Library in Greenwich, New Jersey.6



Seal of Robert Ayars

Burke’s General Armory describes similar arms: “Argent, a chevron ermines between eight escallops gules.” Another colonial family bears similar arms: “Argent, a chevron ermines between three escallops gules.”7 This second family also has a crest: “a demi-lion rampant.”8 According to Burke’s General Armory, both of these armorial forms were owned by Eyres of Suffolkshire.


[These two arms are placed here together to display their obvious similarity.]

However, on consultation with the College of Arms in London, England, we now know that these arms used by Robert Ayars are almost identical with the arms of the Grocers Livery in London. The ONLY difference is found in the crest. The description of Robert‘s arms should be "Argent, a chevron gules between nine cloves proper." What were thought to be escallops are really cloves!



The Arms of the Grocers Livery

The crest displayed in Robert’s seals, however, is strange. It appears to be a cornucopia and an armed and booted leg between two small circles. The proper description of this crest is a cornucopia proper and an armed and booted leg quarterly argent and sable, spur or, between two circlets..



Arms of Robert Ayars

It is known that several of the Eyres family were either founders or members of the Grocers Livery. Research continues at this time searching through this particular branch of the Eyres and their lineages for evidence of Robert’s ancestry.

There are several other connections pointing toward the English origins of Robert Ayars, however. These include the existence of Le Eyr/Eyre/Aires/Ayres families in and around Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, England (which town was also the original home of Stephen Mumford, the first Seventh Day Baptist evangelist in America, who was also a friend and close business associate of Robert Ayars). We will note these briefly before we examine other primary documents pertaining to the life of our ancestor.

1353

The Le Eyrs of Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, England

In the Inquisition at Gloucester, 1353, there is mention of both a Robert and a John Le Eyr, both of Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, England, who present depositions regarding property boundaries.9 The presence of a Le Eyr family in this region provides an important clue to the possible origin of Robert Ayars.

1608

Robert Aires of Tewkesbury
Husbandman


In 1608, there is mention of a “Robert Aires, husbandman,” in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, England, in a military census of males aged 16 or older who could serve in the King’s armies. This Robert was considered a potential “pikeman.”10 This man possibly appears in the historical record again in the next item.

1640

Origins in Gotherington, Gloucestershire, England



There is an interesting scene recorded in the Diocesan Record for Gloucester Cathedral. In Bishop’s Cleeve (an area encompassing the villages of Gotherington, Stoke Orchard, Southam and Woodmancote), Gloucestershire, England, there is a record, dated March, 1640, of a trial in the Gloucester Cathedral of a Robertus Eyres and Margarette Fouche for having given birth to an “illegitimate” child.11

This type of trial was a common occurance in the lives of non-conformists during this period. After the publication of the Authorized Version of the Bible under the auspices of King James I in 1611, everyman could now develop his own faith without the mediation of a pastor or priest. This was the primary cause of the rise of the Quakers, the Congregationalists and Puritans, and the Baptists.

Since these non-conformists would not marry in the official state church, the Church of England, their marriages were considered invalid, and therefore any children born to such unions would be considered “illegitimate.” This state of affairs continued until the passage of Hardwicke’s Marriage Act of 1764 more than a century later.

What is of further significance about this trial is the fact that Gotherington is a mere five miles southeast of Tewkesbury, the home of one of the earliest Baptist churches in England. Within this congregation was a large contingent of Sabbatarians. These separated from the main congregation in March, 1661. On 3 May 1663, these Sabbatarians organized themselves into the Seventh Day Baptists of Tewkesbury. It is no small coincidence that Stephen Mumford, the founder of the first Seventh Day Baptist church in Newport, Rhode Island, was one of the charter members of this congregation.12 This same Stephen Mumford twenty-four years later joined with Robert Ayars in the purchase and mortgage of a piece of property in Newport, Rhode Island (see more below).

However, there is no mention of any “Eyres” among these members. This is probably because the “Eyres” were no longer present in this area in 1661-3 (see the next item).

29 October 1660

Robert Ayres
Carpenter’s Apprentice

On 29 October 1660, there is mention of “Robert Ayres, son of Robert Ayres, late of Gotherington, husbandman,” who was bound at Carpenter’s Hall to Thomas Ware of Petticoate Lane as an apprentice “carpenter.”13 That this is of the same family as the Robert Aires, husbandman of Tewkesbury, and Robertus Eyre of Gotherington, mentioned above, is clear from the fact that this record declares this Robert to be the son of Robert Ayres, “late of Gotherington, husbandman.” We know, from land evidences in Newport, Rhode Island, that our Robert was a “carpenter.” [See below]

Sometime during the next twenty-four years, Robert Ayars married and moved to Rhode Island. Family traditions state that he came over in 1664 in the company of Stephen Mumford. This is possible; however, we have no primary documentary evidence to substantiate this yet. What we do know, with a fair amount of certainty, is that Robert was born in 1640, that when he reached 20, he was an apprentice carpenter. In the next two records, we possibly find his first marriage.

24 October 1672

The Marriage of Robert Eyrs to Catherine Taylor
St. Marylebone Church, Marylebone, London, England

In the records of St. Marylebone Church, Marylebone, London, England, there is a record of the marriage of Robert Eyrs to Catherine Taylor on 24 October 1672. This church is located on Marylebone Road, across from Regency Park, London.

We are told from family traditions that Isaac Ayars, Robert’s first-born son, was born in 1673.14

The Taylors were from Soham, Cambridge, England. There we find a record detailing the christening of Katherin Taylor, daughter of Robert Taylor and his wife Marie, in November, 1642.15 That this Katherin is Robert’s first wife is confirmed by the next item.

22 February 1684/5

The Gravestone of Katharin Ayars

The earliest "hard" evidence for Robert Ayars' presence in the colonies known at this time is found engraved on a slate gravestone located in the Common Burial Ground on Fairwell Street, Newport, Rhode Island. It is dated 1684/5, and marks the final resting place of Robert's first wife, Katharin. The epitaph reads "Here Lieth Buried Ye Body of Katharin Ayars Ye Wife to Robert Ayars aged 42 departed this life Ye 22 February 1684/5." Based upon this datum, she was born in 1642. Assuming that Robert was about the same age as his wife, he was in his early forties in 1685. We also know from the location of this gravestone that Robert was living in or near Newport, Rhode Island, at this time.16

This headstone is the earliest evidence of a possible relationship between Robert Ayars and the first documented Seventh Day Baptist in the colonies, Stephen Mumford.17 Katharin’s headstone was carved by a Boston stone-cutter, the Quaker William Mumford, and is identical to the headstones of Stephen and Ann Mumford who were later interred in the burial plots immediately adjacent to Katharin Ayars.18 Judging by the dates on the adjacent headstones, Katharin Ayars was one of the first persons buried in this section of the Common Burial Ground.

Finally, this headstone reveals that Katharin was the mother of most of Robert's children, including Isaac, Judah, Robert, John, and Esther. It cannot be proven whether Katharin was the mother of Ann Ayars at this point. There is also some important primary documentary evidence that suggests that she may not have been the biological mother of Stephen Ayars. In his will, Stephen calls Esther his "mother". 19



The Gravestone of Katharin Ayars

Newport Common Burial Ground, Newport, Rhode Island20


26 November 1687

Braces Farm

The next evidence chronologically revealing a bit of Robert Ayars' life is a deed to a farm located on the outskirts of Newport, Rhode Island. This evidence states, in abstract:
…six and Twentieth day of November…One Thousand six hundred Eighty seven… Between John Walley of Bristol on the one part: - - And Stephen Mumford of James Towne yeoman and Robert Ayres of Newport…yeoman; …on the Other part…John Walley for…six hundred and Twenty pounds in Currant money of New England…by…Stephen Mumford and Robert Ayres…paid…Hath sould his farm containing about Two hundred and fourty acres of Land…in the Towneship of Newport…called…Braces farme Late in the Occupation of Richard Allison now in the actuall possession…of Robert Ayres being the whole of that farme and Lands upland Meadows and swamps…given by William Brenton Esqr: in…his Last will…unto his son William Brenton…bounded Westerly by the Land…of Henry Bull and Jireh Bull, Southerly by the Land of Major John Coggeshall, Easterly by the sea, Northerly by the Land of John Easton Senr: in part…by the Common…with all houses Barnes…buildings Woods, Trees and Stones… upon request…of Stephen Mumford and Robert Ayres…and at their Cost…will perform such Other act…for further Confirmation of the above granted…so as…John Walley…be not compelled to travill more than twenty Miles from his…home…Also Sarah Wife of…John Walley doth…confirme…premises…

Wit.

Jse: Addington John Walley

Thomas Dudley Sarah Walley

Boston 30th. November 1687

John Walley Esqr: …Acknowledged This

. . . . . . . . . . . . William Stoughton
21
This document reveals several interesting details. First, we find here further evidence of at least a business relationship between Robert Ayars and Stephen Mumford. Second, we find that Robert Ayars was living on “Braces Farm” in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1687.

However, it has been discovered that Robert Ayars may have had a sister named “Anne”, and that this “Anne” married Stephen Mumford! If this is true, then Robert Ayars and Stephen Mumford were “brothers-in-law.” This would explain at least two things: why Robert’s first wife, Katherin, was buried in the Mumford burial plot, and why Robert and Stephen Mumford were in business together. This theory is currently awaiting further documentation.

Comparing the description of the land given in this document with ancient maps of Newport, we find that this property was located along the western shore of the estuary now known as Easton's Pond in modern Newport. In 1687, this pond was part of a bay which opened directly into Rhode Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean; however, in modern times a causeway was built which divided this bay into its present configuration.

29 November 1687

The William Phipps Mortgage

Three days later, on 29 November 1687, Robert Ayars and Stephen Mumford mortgaged "Braces Farme" to Sir William Phipps, Esq., in Boston:

…Twenty ninth of Novemb…one Thousand Six hundred Eighty seven…Between Stephen Mumford of James Towne…yeoman and Robert Ayres of Newport…yeoman of the one Part, and Sr. William Phips Knight late of Boston…on the Other Part…Stephen Mumford and Robert Ayres for…three Hundred pounds in currant money of New England…by Sr. William Phips or his agent…paid…Have given…their Farme containing about Two Hundred and fourty acres… lyeing…within the Towneship of Newport…knowne by the name of Braces Farme Late in the occupation of Richard Allison now in the actuall possession and Tenure of…Robert Ayres…upland Meadows and Swamps which they…purchased of John Walley of Bristoll Esq…bounded Westerly by the Land now or late of Henry Bull and Irah Bull Sotherly by the Land of Major John Coggeshall Eastwardly by the sea northerly by the Land of John Easton Sen: …and partly by the Common…With all houses Barnes…Trees…

Wit. Stephen Mumford

Nathan. Byfield Robert Ayars

Samll. Crowley Signum

Anne X Mumford

Esther Ayars

Boston 30th November 1687

Stephen Mumford and Robert Ayers…before me one of his majesties Councill…acknowledged

John Walley


Ann Mumford & Esther Ayres…acknowledged before me one of the Councill…the fourth day of May 1688 Walter Newberry
22
The significance of this document, coupled with the previous one, cannot be overestimated. This mortgage restates unequivocably that Robert Ayars was at this time still living in Newport, Rhode Island on "Braces Farme" in 1687.

What is even more significant is that Robert is now married to Esther. Robert's first wife, Katharin, died at the beginning of 1685. Sometime between 1685 and 1687, Robert married again. This second wife is allegedly the Esther Bowen of family tradition.23 However, we do not know for certain that this “Esther” is a “Bowen.” We do not know for certain at this time what her surname may have been. That she is a Bowen is so far based upon family traditions only.

We also know from this and the previous document that both Robert Ayars and his new wife, Esther, were literate -- both could sign their names. By contrast, Stephen Mumford's wife, Anne Mumford, could not sign her name; she left her mark, attested by two other witnesses.

We don't know for what purpose Robert and Stephen used the proceeds of this mortgage.

It is obvious that Robert met and married Esther in Newport, not New Jersey.

Sir William Phips, the mortgager, was a very wealthy man at this time. Born in what is now the State of Maine into a poor family on 2 February 1651, Phips began work as a shipbuilder’s apprentice. He eventually married a wealthy widow, and set up his own shipyard in Boston. In 1684, Phips led a successful expedition to find the wreck of the Spanish galleon, the Concepción, which had sunk after striking a reef in a storm off the coast of what is now the Dominican Republic. Phips succeeded in finding the wreck, and recovered 32 tons of silver. For this exploit, he was knighted. Three years after making this mortgage, to support England in its war against France which was raging in Europe at this time, the Massachusetts General Court ordered Sir William Phips to lead the attack on the French in Port Royal in Acadia, and against Quebec City. Unfortunately, Phips troops failed. However, despite the failure, King William III appointed Phips as Governor Massachusetts in 1692. Two years later, while visiting London, Phips died of a severe cold.

The next document possibly reveals the religious sentiments of the Ayars family.

1692

The Seventh Day Baptist Church List

The second oldest surviving membership list of the Seventh Day Baptist Church in Newport, Rhode Island was made in 1692. The Church had been organized 23rd December 1671. The original seven charter members were William Hiscox, who became their pastor, Stephen Mumford, Samuel Hubbard, Roger Baster, Tacy Hubbard, Rachel Langworthy, and another lady who’s name has not been recorded. Was this “unknown” lady Stephen’s wife? By 1692, the membership had grown considerably.24 Robert Ayars' second wife, Esther, his daughter-in-law Hannah, and his daughter Esther,25 are included on the list.

MEMBERS OF THE NEWPORT
SEVENTH DAY BAPTIST CHURCH

169226



One characteristic of Baptist belief is the insistence on baptism by immersion of believing adults. Therefore, in order for Robert's daughter to be listed among the membership in 1692, she had to be an adult.

If Robert's daughter Esther had been baptized in 1692 at the biblical age of accountability, that is, at age twelve, then the latest year she could have been born is 1680. However, given the average known age for adult baptisms during this period (based upon data preserved in surviving church records), it is more likely that Esther was in her late teens or early twenties at this time. Thus, she could have been born as early as before 1673. This could make her a twin of Robert's first son, Isaac, who was allegedly born in that same year.27

We must also take into account the fact that Robert's daughter-in-law Hannah, Isaac's wife, is also listed as a member at this time. Thus, Hannah is also, at a minimum, around eighteen to twenty years of age. Hannah's husband, Isaac, who was allegedly born in 1673, would have been nineteen in 1692.

Therefore, the mother of Isaac and Esther must be Katharin, and not Esther Bowen. This also reinforces the idea that Robert and Katharin were married sometime before 1673.

It would be so nice if we could recover the lost records of the Newport Church written prior to 1692. It would be nice if the British had not burned them during their occupation of Newport during the Revolutionary War. Alas, this did not happen. We may never know if Robert and Katharin were ever members of the Newport Seventh Day Baptist Church. However, lost records of colonial churches continue to resurface; who knows what may be found tomorrow, or next year. We only know for certain at this time that Robert married Katharin in 1672; that after her death in 1685, but before 1687, Robert married Esther; that by 1692, Robert's second wife, Esther, Robert's daughter-in-law Hannah (wife of Isaac), and his daughter, also called Esther, were members of the Newport Seventh Day Baptist Church.

13 August 1694

The Edwards House


Four months before Robert Ayars and Stephen Mumford paid off the mortgage on "Braces Farme" to William Phipps, on 13 August 1694, Robert Ayars purchased some street-front property in Newport from William Edwards:

William Edwards to Robert Ayres.

"…William Edwards…In consideration of thirty pounds…received of Robert Ayres of Newport…Carpenter…doe make over the within mentioned deed with all the Lands…"

Thirteenth of August 1694

The Marke of William X Edwards28


From this deed, we find that Robert Ayars was a carpenter. William Edwards had previously purchased this property from Robert and Elizabeth Ewers in 1692:

Robert Evers to William Edwards.

"…Robert Ewer Marcht. & Elizabeth his wife of Philadelphia for…mony…payd to us from William Edwards of Newport… mercht…have…sold…Land…in the Township of Newport…Eighty foott frount to the Streatt & so…by the Land of William Mays sen & William Mays Jun on the East & west & on the North by Land of Nathall Coddington who is to make halfe the fence of that Line: …Second of July 1692"

Wit. Robert Ewer
Nathanll Coddington
George Allin.
John Tuker
29


We know from this transaction that Robert was still living in Newport in 1694. Using this information, coupled with early maps of Newport, we may fairly closely approximate where this property was located. It was located on street frontage facing the "Commons" in downtown Newport, Rhode Island. It was likely adjacent to that portion of “Braces Farme” which also faced on the commons (see above).

30 November 1694
The Release of the Phipps Mortgage


The mortgage to William Phips on "Braces Farme" was finally paid off on 30 November 1694, according to the next document, seven years after the mortgage was created:

…Dame Mary phips wife and Attorney of…Sr. William phips have…received of the…Mortgagers Stephen mumford And Robert Ayares…One hundred And fifty pounds Currant mony of New England…to the use of my…husband which with former payments…dos Compleatt…the…sume of three hundred pounds…doe…release…unto…Stephen Mumford & Robert Ayres… the farme & Lands…Thirtyeth day of November 1694"

Wit. Mary Phips
John White The Lady Mary Phips
Tho: Hutchinson Acknowledged…
John Forster30


In an interesting sidelight to history, the reason Mary Phips is receiving this money from Ayars and Mumford in the absence of her husband is because he had died. 31

Unfortunately, we still don't know for what purpose Ayars and Mumford used the money. Did they work this farm together in some form of partnership? Did Mumford "co-sign" with Ayars as a guarantor of the mortgage? Was their relationship based solely upon business considerations, or did they share common Sabbatarian religious beliefs? We don't know. What we do know for certain is that for the previous seven years, Stephen Mumford and Robert Ayars were both equally bound by this indenture to William Phipps for 300 Pounds, colonial currency. We also know from this that Robert Ayars was still living in Newport, Rhode Island as of the end of 1694.

30 March 1697
The Trial of Robert Ayars


This next piece of evidence points toward Robert Ayars' religious sentiments. Early in 1697, Robert Ayars ran afoul of the local "Sunday Blue Laws" -- he was caught "working" one Sunday morning.

At A Genril Court of Tryall held for the Collony at Newport the 30th of March, 1697

Robart Ayres being presented for working on ye first Day of the weeke and his Bill Read and demanded wheather guilty or not Guilty he possatifely den(y)ing to give his Answer which the Cort Juged to be Contempt Against ye King's Authority for which the sd Robart Ayres is Sentansed to pay fourty Shillings in Mony to ye Genril tresuar and officers fees.32



This type of court appearance was a fairly common occurrence in the lives of Seventh Day Baptists during this time. Since Seventh Day Baptists observed the seventh day of the week as the Biblical Sabbath, they attached no particular sacred significance to the first day of the week. They celebrated the resurrection of Christ annually, rather than weekly.

While on the one hand Seventh Day Baptists tried to live peaceably with their first-day neighbors, they were resolute in their Sabbatarian sentiments, and refused to capitulate to any traditions which did not conform to Biblical standards. Robert's refusal to even answer the charge brought against him is an example of this. In the Seventh Day Baptist view, such a proceeding was itself illegal, challenging as it did the right of an individual to follow his own conscience as he sought to obey his God. They would rather pay the fine levied against them than to acknowledge the sovereignty of the court which tried them. They did not consider any judgment on their religious practices to be within the purview of that earthly court’s jurisdiction.

Already, a few years earlier in about 1687, just a few miles away across the border in Massachusetts Colony, the Baptists (comprised of both first-day and seventh-day varieties) of Swansea and Rehoboth had packed up their belongings to move to West Jersey because of the constant illegal harrassment they were receiving from the government there. These Baptists moved to what would become known as 'Bowentown' (so named because the bulk of the families who made this move were 'Bowens'), not far from the property Robert Ayars himself would shortly purchase in the same area. It is clear that the migration of these Baptists to New Jersey was due solely to the religious persecution they were suffering for their religious non-conformity. If Robert Ayars’ second wife, Esther (already mentioned), was a Bowen from Swansea, then Robert married her at about the time of this migration.

An irony lurking behind this story of whole towns moving out of the Massachusetts Bay Colony is the fact that, just ten years earlier, on a sunny Sunday morning, these two towns had experienced the brunt of the initial attack of the Narragansett Indians led by Chief Metacomet in the beginning of the infamous “King Philip’s War”. These Baptists led out in the defence of, not only Massachusetts Bay Colony, but also Rhode Island Colony. One of the leading men in this defence of the colonies was Captain Timothy Brooks, father of the Reverend Timothy Brooks, the Baptist minister who helped lead the migration of Swansea and Rehoboth to New Jersey.

The Reverend Morgan Edwards, in his Materials Toward a History of the Baptists, which he published in several small volumes from 1770-1792, records an example of a confrontation between a Seventh Day Baptist and one of his "first day" neighbors. The town was Piscataway, New Jersey.

About the year 1700, a separation from [the Piscataqua Baptist Church] took place: the occasion was as follows: 'one Hezekiah Bonham was doing some servile work on Sunday: Mr. Edmond Dunham admonished him: Bonham put Dunham to prove that the first day of the week was holy by divine institution.' How the debate was carried on is not known; but it is known that the above attack was the thing which set Mr. Dunham to study the subject; and that embracing the seventh day of the week was the effect. In a short time after, about 17 persons sided with Mr. Dunham, which opened a prospect of having a sabbatarian church in Piscataqua: to prepare for it, Mr Dunham went to Westerly [Rhode Island] (in 1705) and there received ordination at the hands of Rev. William Gibbons; and in 1707 he and his party were formed into a church.33



There are several ironies in these stories. First, one of the members of the Grand Jury which indicted Robert Ayars was none other than his partner and fellow-believer (and alleged relative), Stephen Mumford. One has to ask if this case had been brought to court as a test case in order to challenge the legality of religious legislation in Newport. Did Stephen Mumford, “the first Seventh Day Baptist in the colonies”, dissent to indict Robert?

Second, one of the members of the jury which convicted Robert Ayars was Stephen Mumford Jr. What was the verdict of Stephen Mumford Jr. in this civil case?

Third, many of the descendants of Robert Ayars shortly met and married the descendants of Edmund Dunham and Hezekiah Bonham from Piscataway, and members of the migrant families from Rehoboth and Swansea -- the rest is biological history.

What is most important in this treatise, however, is what this "Tryall" in Newport reveals about Robert Ayars:

First, he was still living in Newport, Rhode Island in 1697.

Second, he was an active Seventh Day Baptist.


12 August 1699
The Shrewsbury Neck Purchase


We know that Robert Ayars eventually moved to the Cohansey River region of West Jersey. The difficulty lies in pinpointing exactly when this move occurred. Many family traditions state that he moved there in 1685. The Cohansey land evidence suggests that it was more than a decade later.

It is helpful to study the history of the land that Robert is known to have purchased. That land-history begins with the Quaker farmer, Richard Lippincott, who purchased 1000 acres from proprietor John Fenwick, 9 August 1676.34 Lippincott was one of the original settlers in what was at that time called Shrewsbury Neck (but now called Back Neck) along the south and east side of the Cohansey River opposite the town of Greenwich. Three years later, on 20 May 1679, Richard began to divide this 1000-acre parcel among his five sons -- Remembrance, John, Restore, Freedom, and Jacob -- each receiving 200 acres. Four years later, on 9 April 1683, John Lippincott deeded his 200 acres over to his brother Freedom. Freedom now owned 400 acres.35

By 1690, a new settler had moved into the area -- John Gillman, Sr. It is fairly easy to trace the movements of John Gillman through the colonies. We know from early records that John Gillman was one of the first purchasers of land near Piscataway, New Jersey, having moved there from Piscataqua, New Hampshire in 1666.36

For the twenty-year period from 1666 to 1686, John Gillman was an important figure in the politics of Piscataway and Woodbridge, New Jersey. He represented Piscataway, New Jersey before the colonial Governor in 1674 regarding a land dispute.37

On 2 June 1680, he was elected a Deputy for the Colonial Assembly to represent Piscataway.38

Later that same year, on 25 July 1680, he was appointed to oversee the local Piscataway court.39

Still later, on 4 August 1680, he became a member of the "Small Claims" court.40

On 1 March 1683, he was selected to be among the Deputies to the "First" Legislative Council for East New Jersey.41

On 19 December 1684, he was chosen to be a member of the Petit Jury, representing Piscataway. He continued to serve on this Jury in 1685 and 1686.42

By this we know that John Gillman did not live in the Cohansey area prior to 1686. However, John Gillman did own property along the Cohansey River by 1690, for, on 1 July 1690, he granted to his son John Gillman Jr. the 200 acre parcel which he purchased from William Groome earlier that same year, and which adjoined the 400 acres which he, three years later, bought from Freedom Lippincott.43

On 11 October 1693, Freedom Lippincott sold his 400-acres (consisting of both his 200 and what had been his brother John's 200 acres) to John Gillman, Sr. 44

John Gillman wrote his will 14 October 1695.45 By the following 20 March 1695/6, he had died.46 The estate of John Gillman was inventoried 25 October 1696.47

Thus we see that the absolute earliest that Robert Ayars could have purchased land from John Gillman's daughters (which family tradition says they had inherited from their father) was after John Gillman's will had been probated, 25 October, 1696, not in 1685 as many of those family traditions would indicate.48

However, there is a serious lacuna here. There is no surviving deed transferring land from John Gillman to his daughters, nor from the daughters of John Gillman to Robert Ayars. Yet we find in Robert Ayars' will that he owned 800 acres of land along the south side of the Cohansey River opposite Greenwich.

The existing land evidence shows that three years later, on 12 August 1699, Restore Lippincott sold 200 acres to Robert Ayars.49

Then again, on 10 October 1703, Restore Lippincott sold another 600 acres to Robert Ayars.50 The family tradition that Robert Ayars purchased land from the daughters of John Gillman so far lacks evidentiary support.

However, there is a mystery deed mentioned in Robert’s deed transferring this propery to three of his sons, dated 23 May 1712 [see below]. This issue of land purchases must remain open until we find what lands were contained in that deed. It appears that, based upon what we know so far, that Robert bought ALL of this land on Shrewsbury/Back Neck from Restore Lippincott!

In summary, Robert Ayars first purchased property in West Jersey in 1699, and then again in 1703. When Robert was done, he had acquired the whole Lippincott 1000-acre purchase of 1676, minus the 200 acre William Groome parcel which still remained in the possession of John Gillman Jr.51

21 November 1705
The Wass Purchase

Robert Ayars purchased 2200 acres from an extensive tract of land which, on being surveyed, was conveyed to "Robert Ayars, late of Rhode Island, Yeoman," 21 November, 1705. This is the land which eventually comprised the town of Shiloh.

According to the records in Trenton he purchased "for the sum of two hundred and fourty pounds current money of New Jersey, Two Thousand Two hundred acres of land, and all and every the Lands, Isles, Islands, Mines, Mineralls, Woods, His burgs, fowlings, hawkings, huntings, and all other Royalties, Franchises, harbours, profitts, Comodities, hereditaments, and Appurtenances whatsoever thereunto Belonging."

The history of Shiloh created by John H. Bonham in 1937 for the bicentennial of the Shiloh Seventh Day Baptist Church contains a detailed description of the lines of the purchase:

James Wass' first survey of his 5000 acres was made in 1696. A re-survey was made in November 1705, just preceding this sale to Ayars on November 21st. Though the deed to the property fails to show it, nor do later instruments in its divisions, a map of R. L. Bonham's of this re-survey, seems to indicate that Wass had made a second 5000 acre purchase, and that the Ayars tract was from this combined area, and not from the original 5000 purchase as the records would indicate.

In only a few places do the original lines of the Ayars lands exist today. Those that do remain will be noted in this description. It begins, in the original deed, at an oak tree marked I W, the same being the south-east corner of the Wass re-survey. This is now the south-east corner of Isaac Randolph's farm. From this corner the line runs northwesterly 82 degrees 35 chains, being the south line of said Randolph's farm, and following the original line, but extending beyond Randolph's southwest corner some 22 1/2 rods. Thence northwesterly 68 degrees 117 chains straight for Harry Diamond's southwest corner, following the old line in the southeast part of his farm. This corner is the southwest corner of the Ayars tract. Thence the line runs north 137 chains. The property line between Fred Renne and Harry Diamond is the ancient Ayars line. It hits the old line again in the private road to Henry Ewing's house, and again in the road which goes north some 3/4 of a mile west of Shiloh. The west side of this property ends some 210 rods north of its intersection with West Avenue. From this point, being the northwest corner of said lands, the line runs easterly 135 chains, its old boundaries obliterated as far as to the Shiloh Pike. At this point it follows the old line in what was until lately the property line between George More and Charles Cordrey, and continues easterly to a point in the bend of the road at Judson Harris' house. This is the northeast corner of the tract. Thence the line runs south 5 degrees east 16 chains, the highway probably being the old line. At Jet Munyon's house where the road turns, the line runs south, crossing said Munyon's land and other lands to place of beginning. On the east side, the original line is picked up on Rainear's east line, and the east line of Fernwood Cemetery; also on the east line of said Randolph's farm as it was before he made later purchases. There may be errors in the above description, since our findings have not been checked up by measurements upon the land; but we hope our efforts in this matter may prove helpful in understanding this part of Shiloh's history.52


25 July 1708
The Second Seventh Day Baptist
Church Membership List

While Robert was making extensive land purchases in West New Jersey, his family remained in Newport, Rhode Island. Until 1708, the Seventh Day Baptist congregations of Newport and Hopkinton, Rhode Island were considered one church. The distance between the congregations was formidable, not only in terms of miles, but also in terms of difficult geography. Newport was situated on a peninsula on the east side of Narragansett Bay, while Hopkinton was on the west side of the bay near the Connecticut border. In 1708, the two groups mutually agreed to form separate congregations.

This list represents those members who remained in fellowship with the Newport Seventh Day Baptist Church as opposed to the First Hopkinton Seventh Day Baptist Church. It is in THIS list, and not Hopkinton's, that we find, again, the two Esthers and the Hannah Ayars first found in the 1692 list.



MEMBERS OF THE NEWPORT
SEVENTH DAY BAPTIST CHURCH


July 25, 1708 53




Why would the two "Esthers" and Hannah be listed here if they were members of the Hopkinton group? Why would they even be listed here at all if they lived in Hopkinton?

This writer has consumed several days examining ALL of the land records of Hopkinton and Westerly, Rhode Island written during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Neither Robert Ayars nor any of his children ever lived there. Rather, he lived on “Braces Farm” in Newport, Rhode Island, until sometime shortly before 1710. That is why we find his second wife, Esther, his daughter, Esther "the younger", and his daughter-in-law, Hannah Barrett (wife of Isaac Ayars), inscribed in the Newport membership lists.

The membership lists of the Seventh Day Baptist Churches around Hopkinton and Westerly from 1708 onward still exist. There are no members of the Ayars family found there until the middle of the 19th. Century, when Jacob Ayars became the pastor of the Westerly Seventh Day Baptist Church. In the 1840's, there was Francis Drake Ayars; in the 1870's Walter Gillette Ayars; in the 1880's Hannah Maria (Bentley) Ayars; Later, early in the 20th. Century, there was a Hobart Bentley Ayars, and his sister Hannah Louise Ayars, listed among the members.54 These are the ONLY Ayars to have ever lived in or around Westerly or Hopkinton, Rhode Island.

It is important to note, then, based upon the Newport Seventh Day Baptist membership list, that as late as 25 July 1708 his family was still living in Newport, and not in Salem County, New Jersey. While Robert may have been purchasing property there in 1699 and 1703, he was not yet a full resident there, although the 1699 land transaction states that Robert Ayars is "late of Road Island", which suggests that at least he was in West Jersey by that time. It is possible that his wife, daughter, and daughter-in-law were still listed as members in Newport, even though they lived in New Jersey. It is highly probable that the land he had purchased in 1699 and 1703 was undeveloped, however, and unsuitable for habitation by the women in his life.

There was also the problem of selling the lands he owned in Newport. The next document shows when the Newport sale process was completed.



10 December 1710
The Power of Attorney


Robert Ayars finally sold all of his Newport, Rhode Island, land holdings by 10 December 1710. A friend from the Mumford family acted in behalf of Robert under what we would today call a "Power of Attorney".

KNOW ALL MEN…by these presents - - I John Mumford of Newport in the colony of Rhode Island…am empowered by Robt. Ayres - - formerly of Sd. Colony, but now living in the Jerseys - - to receive One Hundred and Twelve pounds Current Money of Rhode Island, due to him from Capt. William codner, upon a Deed of Mortgage of a Certain Dwelling house & Land in sd Newport, given by sd. William codner to the aforesd. Robt. Ayres.

Therefore, know ye that I John Mumford have Rec'd. ye full & Just Sum of One Hundred Twelve lbs…of the sd. Wm. Codner & thereof Do Acquit & Discharge him, the Sd. Wm. Codner, his heirs & Assigns forever - - And Do Pronounce & Declare the sd. Deed of Mortgage Void and of none effect by these presents - - In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal 10 day of December 1710.

John Mumford (Seal)

Signed, Sealed & Declared in the presence of
James Brown
Daniell Cooke
Newport in the Colony of Rhoad Island55




5 October 1712
Controversy in Westerly



The Westerly, Rhode Island, Seventh Day Baptist Church, looking for a pastor in 1711, decided to choose Rev. William Davis to fill the role. William Davis had published several tracts presenting and defending some unorthodox views about the Trinity. This led to a serious controversy with the rest of the Seventh Day Baptist Churches, especially in Western New Jersey. The "pastor" in the "Cohansey" area, Jonathan Davis,56 sent a warning to the Westerly Church of the potential problems he believed would occur with William Davis' ministry. The Westerly congregation responded with a letter dated 5 October 1712, which was carried from Westerly to Cohansey by Robert Ayars' eldest son, Isaac.

The act of the church in Westerly in receiving Mr. [William] Davis into its fellowship [14 September 1711], was followed by a serious controversy with Elder Gibson of the Newport church, Jonathan Davis, and the brethren in Pennsylvania. Joseph Crandall, also, then a member in Westerly, refused to commune with the church on the same account. Yet the church maintained its position in defense of Mr. Davis, and encouraged him in the exercise of the ministry, and informed those brethren in answer to their allegations, dated October 5th, 1712, and sent by the hands of Isaac Ayars, “that what they had written, formerly or latterly, or what they should write in the future, would not be noticed for the purpose of passing judgment upon them, unless they should produce the evidence according to the Scripture rule, or unless the truth of such allegations should appear from William Davis' own hand, or from his own mouth.”57


While the nature of the controversy over William Davis makes interesting reading (for historians and theologians?), what is significant here is the location of Isaac Ayars, and what that means in regard to the existence of Seventh Day Baptists in West Jersey as early as 1712! While they were not an organized body (this would not happen until 1737), they still had enough clout to "interfere" in the congregational life of another church in another colony! This also suggests that Isaac Ayars was a Seventh Day Baptist as well as his wife, Hannah (Barrett).

There is the knotty problem of the persistent family tradition that Robert Ayars settled in the Westerly/Hopkinton area of Rhode Island. Is this brief historical notice the source of this tradition? Did Isaac live in Hopkinton?

This problem may be solved if we consider another significant record regarding Isaac’s whereabouts at this time. In the Probate Records of Bristol, Massachusetts, there is a record of the probate of the will of Obadiah Bowen in 1711.58 There were several Bowens from Swansea, Massachusetts who had moved with Rev. Timothy Brooks to Bowentown, New Jersey, just across the Cohansey River from Robert Ayars’ “Lippincott Purchase,” and just a couple of miles southeast of Robert’s “Wass Purchase.” Among them was Samuel Bowen, Obadiah’s son.

The first record is of a Power of Attorney granted to Isaac Ayars by Samuel Bowen, dated 16 October 1711:

Letter of Attorney granted to ‘my trusty friend Isaac Ayars of Cohanze, late of Rhode Island)’ by Samuel Bowen of Cohanze, County of Salem, Province of West New Jersey, to be lawful attorney to receive from Thomas Bowen of Swansea a legacy from the estate of ‘his and my honored father Obadiah Bowen Senr,’ dated 16 Oct. 1711 at County of Glocester, Province of New Jersey. Witns: Will: Parker and Sarah Wheaton (3:57).


Isaac also served as a witness for at another power of attorney granted to John Brooks, brother of the Cohansey pastor, Rev. Timothy Brooks, dated 16 October 1711:

Power of Attorney granted to ‘Our well beloved Brother John Brooks’ of Rehoboth by Timothy Brooks and Hannah Brooks his wife of Cohanse, County of Salem, Province of West New Jersey, that said John might receive the legacy to by paid by Thomas Bowen of Swansea ‘from his and our Honored father Obadiah Bowen Senior,’ dated 16 October 1711 at County of Glocester, Province of New Jersey. Witns: Samuel Bowen and Isaac Ayars (3:76).59


Further, there is a receipt for this legacy received by Isaac, dated one month later, 16 November 1711:

Receipt by Isaac Ayars of Cohanze, County of Salem, Province of West Jersey, for a legacy of money he received, as attorney for Samuel Bowen of Cohanze, from Thomas Bowen of Swansea, Administrator of Estate of Obadiah Bowen, their father, dated 16 Nov. 1711. Witns: Nathaniel Miller and John Cary (3:57/8).


Finally, there is the final accounting record summarizing the transactions of the probate, dated 12 May 1712:

Account of Thomas Bowen of Swansea, son and Executor of Estate of Obadiah Bowen of Swansea, dated 12 May 1712. Legacies: to Isaac Ayars for Samuel Bowen of Cohanse....


It is clear from these records that Isaac Ayars was living in Cohansey in 1711, and NOT in Hopkinton, Rhode Island. Apparently Isaac Ayars was the courier from the “unorganized” Seventh Day Baptist Church in Cohansey to the Church in Westerly; having delivered the views of his pastor, Jonathan Davis, he then carried the Westerly response back to his own community.

This has interesting implications in regard to the possible denominational affiliation of his father, Robert Ayars. If Isaac could act in behalf of a "not yet organized" congregation, never appearing anywhere on membership roles, what of his father?60 We know that Robert probably came from Gotherington, near Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, England, home of Sabbatarian evangelist Stephen Mumford. We know that Robert's first wife, Katharin, was buried adjacent to the burial plots of Stephen Mumford and his wife Ann. We know that Robert had significant land dealings with Stephen and Ann Mumford. We know that Robert's second wife, Esther (Bowen) was certainly a Seventh Day Baptist! So was his daughter, Esther. And don't forget his daughter-in-law, Hannah, Isaac’s wife. We also know that Robert was arraigned before the Newport Court to answer for working on Sunday. There is also the possible marriage relationchip between Robert and Stephen Mumford through Robert’s sister, Anne. Add to this list the historical signing of the Shiloh Church Covenant by his grandson, Caleb Ayars -- he was a charter member of the Shiloh Seventh Day Baptist Church in 1737, even donating an acre of his inheritance from Robert for a church building and cemetery. Later, his son Joshua and daughter-in-law Keziah (Brooks) also joined the new Shiloh Church [1739], with Joshua being one of the early deacons.

Now we see Robert’s eldest son, Isaac, also participating in Sabbatarian congregational life. We know from the records of the Cohansey (Shiloh) Seventh Day Baptist Church that all of Isaac’s children except Rebecca were members, while his daughter Esther married the church’s first pastor, Rev. Jonathan Davis in 1731.61 While we may never know for certain, it at least seems highly likely that the allegations of later historians is correct: Robert Ayars was probably a Seventh Day Baptist.62


1715
The New Jersey Militia List

Our Robert's son, Robert Jr., is listed among New Jersey Rateables living south of the Cohansey River.63

Militia List
South Side of the Cohansey 1715




The Joseph Ayars listed with Robert Ayars is actually a son of another "Ayers" who lived in Burlington, New Jersey. How he is related to our Ayars family is not known at this time.

It is highly likely that the Robert Ayars listed here is our Robert's son, Robert Jr. However, three years later Robert Jr. is found living on the other side of the Cohansey River in the area now known as Shiloh. [See next item] It is possible that Robert Ayars Sr., who was now in his seventies, was still "spry" enough to be a part of the local militia. However, it is more likely that it was Robert Jr.

By this we know that Robert Ayars' family had by this time become a vital part of this Cohansey community. However, where are Isaac, Judah, Stephen, John, Caleb, Joshua living? Where is Isaac's son, Caleb? They are living on either the Wass Purchase, in what is now called Shiloh, or on the Lippincott Purchase. The next two evidences provide ample support for this idea.

25 February 1716
The Will of Robert Ayars

Robert Ayars wrote his will on 25 February 1716. In it we find the state of his affairs as of that date:

In ye name of God Amen, ye twenty-fifth day of February 1716, I Robert Ayars of Cohansey in ye county of Salem in ye province of West Jersey, Yeoman, being weak in body, but of perfect mind and memory, thanks be to God for it therefore calling unto mind ye mortallity of ye body. And knowing yt it is appointed for all men to dye, doe make and ordain this my Last will and testament yt is to say e Principally e First of all, I give e Recommend my soul into ye hands of god yt Gave it e my body I Recommend to ye earth to be Buried in Decent Christian Burial. All Decently of my executors hereafter named nothing Doubting but Att ye General Resurrection I Shall Resume ye same again by ye mighty power of God. And as touching such worldly state wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me with in this Life, I give devise and dispose of ye following & same manner.

IMPRIMIS: I give & bequeath to Isaac Ayars my Eldest son and to his heirs, executors administrators or assigns, one hundred acres of land around to ye house where he now liveth it being part of two thousand two hundred acres of land which I bought of William Billy, Edward Shippen, Junr. & Joseph Wass, as by one deed bearing date ye twenty-first of Novemr 1705, many more at large Appor.

IMPRIMIS: I give to my beloved sons Judah Ayars, Caleb Ayars and Rob Ayars and to my beloved daughter Ester Ayars & wife of John Garmen and to my grandson, Caleb Ayars son to Isaac Ayars & to their heirs, executors, administrators or Assigns forever all of ye remaining pt of ye above said tract of land, being divided equally between them their heirs, executors, administrators or assigns in quality and & quantity.

IMPRIMIS: I give to my son John Ayars, Stephen Ayars & Joshua Ayars their heirs, executors, administrators, or assigns ye plantation I now live att, being about eight hundred acres of land & marsh to be generally divided between them their heirs, executors, administrators or assigns in quality and & quantity.

IMPRIMIS: I give & bequeath to my beloved wife Ester Ayars all my movable estate During her natural life, And what she shall leave at her decease to be equally divided between my children above named, & I do hereby constitute name and appoint my most beloved wife Ester Ayars my executor & my beloved friend Henry Buck, these my executors of my last will & testaments, legacies & bequests & executors by me in any wise before name willed & bequeathed Ratified & confirming this and no other be my last will and testament in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & fix my seal ye day of year Above written.

Robert Ayars

Signed, Sealed, published, pronounced and declared by the said Robert Ayars as his last will and testament in the presence of us the subscribers.

Dickason Sheppard
Joseph Shepherd
Nathan Lorence.64


This will, now located in the New Jersey State Archives, Trenton, New Jersey, also bears one of the important examples of Robert Ayars’ seal, identical to the one described earlier in this document.

By this time Robert Ayars was firmly ensconced in New Jersey. We find not only where he was living (i.e., the 800 acre Shrewsbury Neck Purchase), but know the whereabouts of all but one of the various members of his family. Isaac, Judah, Caleb, Robert Jr., Esther (wife of John Jarman), and his grandson (via Isaac) Caleb received and were living on portions of the Wass Purchase. John, Stephen, and Joshua received equal parts of the Shrewsbury Neck Purchase. There is no mention of little Ann. Robert himself, with his second wife Esther, is living on the Shrewsbury Neck Purchase.

1718

Land Apportionments

Ebenezer Treman and Murray Poole record the following land deed transactions whereby Robert Ayars transferred to several of his children pieces of the Wass Purchase according to stipulations formalized in his last will and testament:

The year, 1718, in May, Robert made deeds to four of his children, Isaac, Caleb, Sen., Robert, Hester's husband, John Jarman, and grandson, Caleb, Jr., son to Isaac, conveying the 2200 acres to them. John Jarman's southwest corner beginning at a tree standing where the roads cross in Shiloh, thence running east to the Wass line, thence north to now the Elmer farm along the line of Minch and Harris, thence west to the road leading from Greenwich through Cohansey Corners (Shiloh) to Philadelphia, thence along the road to the beginning tree (a later deed mentions the road). Robert's grandson, Caleb, Jr., 300 acres, beginning at John Jarmans' corner tree at the crossroads in Shiloh running north 204 perches, thence west 250 to the Wass west line, thence south 204 to middle of the road at the John Bacon farm, thence east 250 to the beginning corner tree in Shiloh. Caleb, Sen.'s portion was bound in the north by Jarman's and Caleb, Jr.'s land. Robert's bounded on the north by Caleb, Sen.'s land. Isaac's portion bounded on the north by Robert, Jr.'s land, covering the 2200 acres, each having between 400 and 500 acres, except Caleb, Jr. They all had allowance for roads.65


This summary is based upon existing land evidence held in Salem, New Jersey. The current "Five Corners" in the heart of Shiloh, New Jersey, delineate the common center of the apportionments stated here.



5 August 1718
Deed to John, Stephen, and Joshua Ayars


A few months after the previously mentioned transaction of May 1718, on 5 August 1718, Robert deeded over to his three other sons his Lippincott Purchase on Shrewsbury Neck. The spelling is as it is found on the original document.66

This indenture made fifth day of August in the fourth year of King George by the Grace of God of Great Britain anno: dom: 1718 between Robert Ayres of Cohansey in the County of Salem in the province of West New Jersey, yeoman, of the one part, And John Ayres of the aforesaid place and county, yeoman, Stephen Ayres, yeoman, of ye said Cohansey, And Joshua Ayres, of the same county, yeoman, of the other part. Whereas, amongst other things, by deeds bearing date the twentythird day of May, one thousand and seven hundred and twelve:67 and one deed bearing date the tenth day of October, one thousand seven hundred and three, in which is contained about eight hundred acres of land and marsh, as by paid deeds and references thereunto being had may more att large appere Now this indenture witnesseth that for and in consideration of the som of five shillings currant money of America unto him the said Robert Ayres in hand paid by them the said John Ayres Stephen Ayres and Joshua Ayres the receipt whereof the said Robert Ayres both hereby acknoledg hath granted bargained and toto and by the presents to grant bargain and sell unto them the said John Ayres, Stephen Ayres and Joshua Ayres all that the above mentioned tract of land and marches containing eight hundred acres be itt more or less and the waies watar grey marshy swamps, meadows, bogs, ponds, woods, mines, minitally, fishings, followings, hawkings, huntings, rights, liberties, profits, commodities, privileges, heridetterments, and apurtancy to the same belonging or in any wise appartaining together with the revertions and revertions remaindor and remaindors rents dues and profits thereof to have and to hold all and singular the said eight hundred acres of land promisses by these presents bargained and toto ment or intended to be hereby bargained and toto unto them the said John Ayres, Stephen Ayres, and Joshua Ayres and their heirs executors administrators, and assignes for one whole year from the day of the fate hereof fully to be compleated and ended to the intent and porpos that by force and virtue of these presents and of these statute for transfering uses into possession the said John Ayres, Stephen Ayres and Joshua Ayres may be in the actuall posestion of the same land and premicey and be hereby enabled to take and exept of an indenture of releas of the reversion and inheritance thereof to them and to their heirs and assigns forever in witness whereof the parties to these presents have interchangeably sett their hands and seals the day and year first above written.

signed sealed and delivered in presence of us,

Joseph Roow
the mark of Ann Johnson
Henry Buck

Aprill 24th, 1719

Famo before us in


It is on this deed that we find Robert’s signature and seal, as described previously.

These two transactions, the deeds of May 1718 and 5 August 1718, make the stipulations of Robert's will a reality prior to his death in 1719. It is clear that Isaac, Caleb, Esther (John Jarman's wife), Robert Jr., and Isaac's son Caleb, were living on the Wass purchase, now Shiloh, New Jersey, by 1718. Robert’s other sons, John, Stephen, and Joshua, were then living on the Lippincott purchase.

14 or 24 January 1719

The Death of Robert Ayars


Robert Ayars died on either the 14th or the 24th of January, 1719. The uncertainty regarding the exact day stems from the fact that the first numeral on the original documents is unclear; his will was proven on 1 May 1719. The inventory of his personal estate, made by Dickason Sheppard on 20 April 1719, amounted to £167, 6s. 7d., including books valued at £1, 6s.68

Summary of Events in the Life of Robert Ayars

  • c. Before March 1640 Robert Ayars was born in Gotherington, Gloucestershire, England, a descendant of the Eyres of Suffolkshire.
  • c. November, 1642 Katharin, first wife of Robert Ayars, christened in Soham, Cambridge, England.
  • 1664 Stephen Mumford moved to Newport, Rhode Island from Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, England.
  • 21 December 1671 First Seventh Day Baptist Church founded in Newport, Rhode Island.
  • 24 October 1672 Robert Ayars married Katharin Taylor in Marylebone, London, England.
  • c. 1673 Isaac Ayars, Robert's eldest son, born, probably in London.
  • between 1673-1685 Judah, John, Robert, Esther, and Ann [?] born.
  • 22 February 1684/5 Katharin Ayars died in Newport, Rhode Island, at age 42.
  • between 1685-1687 Robert Ayars married Esther Bowen.
  • between 1685-1692 Stephen Ayars born.
  • 26 November 1687 "Braces Farme" in Newport, Rhode Island, purchased.
  • 29 November 1687 Robert Ayars and Stephen Mumford mortgage "Braces Farme" to William Phipps.
  • before 1692 Isaac Ayars married Hannah Barrett.
  • 1692 Caleb Ayars, son of Robert and Esther, born.
  • 1692 Esther Ayars (Robert's second wife), Esther Ayars "the younger" (Robert's daughter), and Hannah Barrett-Ayars (Robert's daughter-in-law) listed as members of the Newport Seventh Day Baptist Church.
  • 13 August 1694 Edwards House, Newport, Rhode Island, purchased
  • 30 November 1694 The Release of the Phipps Mortgage on "Braces Farme".
  • 1695 Joshua Ayars, son of Robert and Esther, born.
  • c. 1696 Robert's granddaughter Rebecca Ayars (by Isaac and Hannah) born.
  • 5 November 1697 Robert's grandson Caleb Ayars Jr.. (by Isaac and Hannah) born.
  • 12 August 1699 Robert Ayars purchased 200 acres from Restore Lippincott.

    c. 1700 Robert's granddaughter Abigail Ayars (by Isaac and Hannah) born.

    10 October 1703 Robert Ayars purchased another 600 acres from Restore Lippincott.
  • c. 1704/1705 Robert's granddaughter Catherine Ayars by (Isaac and Hannah) born.
  • c. 1705 Robert's granddaughter Hannah Ayars (by Isaac and Hannah) born.
  • 21 November 1705 Robert Ayars purchased 2,200 acres from James Wass.
  • 25 July 1708 Esther Ayars (Robert's second wife), Esther Ayars "the younger" (Robert's daughter), and Hannah Ayars (Robert's daughter-in-law) listed as members in the Newport Seventh Day Baptist Church.
  • Between 1699-1710 Robert Ayars and his family moved to the Cohansey area of New Jersey.
  • 10 December 1710 John Mumford acquits his Power of Attorney for Robert Ayars, "now of the Jerseys".
  • c. 1711 Robert's granddaughter Esther Ayars (by Isaac and Hannah) born.
  • c. 1712 Robert's grandson David Ayars (by Isaac and Hannah) born.
  • 23 May 1712 Another land purchase by Robert Ayars [?].
  • 5 October 1712 Isaac Ayars (Robert's son) acted as a courier, carrying information from the Seventh Day Baptists in the Cohansey area to the Westerly Seventh Day Baptist Church regarding the actions of Rev. William Davis.
  • 9 November 1713 Robert's granddaughter Anna (by Isaac and Hannah) born.
  • 1715 Robert Ayars, Jr., listed on The New Jersey Militia List.
  • 3 February 1716 Robert's grandson Isaac Ayars Jr. (by Isaac and Hannah) born.
  • bef 25 February 1716 Robert's daughter, Esther Ayars Jr., married John Jarman Jr.

    25 February 1716 Robert Ayars wrote his last will and testament.
  • 28 January 1718 Robert's great-grandson, Nathan Ayars, was born (by Caleb and Patience [Brooks] Ayars, Isaac and Hannah [Barrett] Ayars' eldest son).
  • 4/5 March 1717/18 Robert Ayars subdivided his Wass purchase among five of his children.
  • 5 August 1718 Robert Ayars subdivided his Lippincott purchase among three of his sons.
  • 14/24 January 1719 Robert Ayars died.
  • 20 April 1719 Robert's estate inventoried.
  • 1 May 1719 Robert's will probated.

    Some Unfinished Business

    There are a number of things that may never be known for certain about Robert Ayars and his family. Future researchers may get lucky, however, and find this missing information.

    First, we don't know his particular lineage in England. Repeated efforts by various members of the family to trace his ancestry in England have so far failed.

    Second, we don't know for certain when Robert first arrived in the colonies; it had to be sometime between his first marriage in London in 1672 and his first wife’s death in Newport in 1685.

    Third, we don't know the lineage of Robert's first wife, Katharin, except that her father was Robert Taylor, and her mother was Marie.

    Fourth, we don't know what happened to two of Robert's children -- Judah and Ann. Judah is “said to have returned to Rhode Island” (but who "says" this?); Ann simply disappears.

    Fifth, why is Robert never mentioned in any of the early Seventh Day Baptist histories? The earliest history, Morgan Edwards Materials Toward a History of the Baptists, published in 1792, omits all mention of him, although his grandchildren are there. Henry Clarke’s History of the Seventh Day Baptists, following Edwards’ lead in 1812, also knows knothing of him. Where was he all of this time? If he was a non-conformist, a Baptist, why was he married in the Church of England in Marylebone, London, England? Was it to avoid the stigma attached to his own birth?

    There is always the possibility that some of the information in this essay was misinterpreted, misapplied, or is simply wrong. If any readers of this essay discover necessary corrective information that applies to anything in this article, please let this author know as soon as possible. Thank you.

    Sources on the Descendants of Robert Ayars



    A pair of researchers, Ebenezer Mack Treman and Murray E. Poole, published the first genealogical listing of the descendants of Robert Ayars in 1901 when they compiled and published their History of the Treman, Tremaine, Truman Family in America.. Included in their history was information regarding several "Ayers" families, including the descendants of our Robert Ayars. They do not tell who or what their sources were.

    Bessie Ayars-Andrews published her brief listing of some of the descendants of Robert Ayars in 1912.69

    Later, in 1918, Frank D. Andrews published his history of the Ayars family. Andrews recounts the manuscript history behind his 1918 publication, Robert Ayars and His Descendants , in his preface:

    This record of the descendants of Robert Ayars was commenced over a century ago, by one Joshua Ayars who, beginning with the ancestor of the family in West Jersey, gathered the names of his descendants, leaving a written copy dated Sept. 1, 1811.

    Under date of March 10, 1856, Jehu B. Ayars, writes:

    "The following list of families I have copied in part from a book written by Joshua Ayars, dated Sept. 1, 1811, and the remainder from what information I could obtain from other sources."

    The record was of names only. Miss Elizabeth A. Ayars, of Greenwich, N.J., made a copy some years later, and added such information as she could secure, particularly of her family and its branches.

    At her death, in 1900, the manuscript record came into the possession of her sister, Mrs. Bessie Ayars Andrews of Vineland, N.J., wife of the compiler of the present work. They further added to the list names, date of marriages, births and deaths, consulting records, visiting and copying the Ayars inscriptions to be found in the old burying grounds of Cumberland County.

    During these investigations it was learned that Mr. Micajah Ayars had a copy of the Ayars' record, his copy coming from Josephine Highby, who writes under date of February 19, 1880: "Copied from a book written by Jehu B. Ayars, and added what I could from other sources."

    Mr. Micajah Ayars was a resident of Shiloh, the centre of the Seventh Day Baptist Society of Cumberland County. He was greatly interested in the genealogy of the Ayars family and gathered much information regarding them which he recorded in a book to which he prefixed the following:

    "I copied, Jan. 1886, from Josephine Highby's book and added other families and the date of births, marriages and deaths, collected from different sources to this time. There were no dates in the book from which I copied of births, &c. "

    Micajah Ayars.

    Shiloh, N.J. Feb. 1898.


    Mr. Ayars died some years ago and the record upon which he had spent so much time came into the possession of his daughter, Mrs. Margaret D. (Ayars) Lane, through whose courtesy the writer has been permitted to make use of such material as he did not already possess.

    The two records thus united, with some additional data obtained from Charles E. Sheppard, Esq., of Bridgeton, has formed the revised family record as it appears in the following pages.

    That the efforts of those earnest workers in the genealogical field who gathered the material for an Ayars' genealogy may have due recognition, the compiler of this record has thought it worth while to preserve it in printed form, imperfect and incomplete though it is; names and dates occasionally differing in the records, and the reader is advised to make some allowance for errors.

    The compilation of this record of the descendants of Robert Ayars, the first of the name to settle in "Old Cohansey," has been a labor of love on the part of the compiler, as no adequate return for his time and expense is likely to accrue from the limited demand for such publications.

    With the belief that it will be of some use to genealogists, and of service to members of the family in tracing their ancestry, this record is respectfully dedicated to the descendants of Robert Ayars.

    Frank D. Andrews.

    Vineland, N. J. December 6, 191870


    There is another source detailing many of the descendants of Robert Ayars, Register of the Cohansey Seventh Day Baptist Church, Shiloh, New Jersey: 1737-1830, (Edited by Ernest K. Bee, Jr., Seventh Day Baptist Publishing House, Plainfield, NJ, 1976). This primary source contains genealogical data for those descendants of Robert Ayars who remained in fellowship with the Shiloh Seventh Day Baptist Church.

    It is apparent that most of the information we have about the descendants of Robert Ayars is based upon these publications. Other individuals have picked up the threads of these compilers' researches and added their own "attachments" to the family tree.

    I have added data from as many other sources as I have been able to find, most of which have already been presented in this essay.

    Here, in the following Family Group Charts extending for three generations, is what we know about the immediate descendants of Robert Ayars.
    FAMILY GROUP CHART 1

    FATHER: Robert Ayars, Yeoman
  • b. c. 1639/40, Gotherington, Gloucestershire, England71
  • m. 24 October 1672, St. Mary, St. Marylebone, Marylebone, London, England72
  • d. 14/24 January 1719, Back Neck, Salem, NJ73
    Parents: Robert Eyres and Margarette Fouche, of Gotherington, Gloucestershire, England.

    MOTHER: [First Wife] Katharin Taylor
  • b. November 1642, Soham, Cambridge, England74
  • d. 22 February 1684/5, Newport, Newport, RI75
    Parents: Robert Taylor and Marie ____, of Soham, Cambridge, England.
    76

    CHILDREN:
    77

    1. Isaac Ayars, Yeoman [Go to Family Group 2]
  • b. around 1673, Newport, Newport, RI78
  • m. Hannah Barrett, bef. 1692, Newport, Newport, RI79
  • d. after 1719 and before 1737, Cohansey, Salem, NJ80
    2. Esther Ayars [Go to Family Group 3]
  • b. before 1680, Newport, Newport, RI81
  • m. John Jarman Jr., bef. 1716, Cohansey, Salem, NJ82
  • d. before 1737, Cohansey, Salem, NJ83
    3. Judah Ayars, Yeoman
  • b. bet. 1673-1684, Newport, Newport, RI84
    Unmarried?
  • d. after 171885
    4. John Ayars, Yeoman [Go to Family Group 4]
  • b. bet. 1673-1684, Newport, Newport, RI86
  • m. Cecelia Colwell, bef. 1735, Cohansey, Salem, NJ87
  • d. bet. December 1740-March 1741, Cohansey, Salem, NJ88
    5. Robert Ayars, Yeoman [Go to Family Group 5]
  • b. bet. 1673-1684, Newport, Newport, RI89
  • m. Sarah Burgin, bef. 1725, Cohansey, Salem, NJ90
  • d. 173591
    6. Ann Ayars
    92
  • b. bet. 1673-1684, Newport, Newport, RI
    Unmarried
  • d. bef. 171693



    FAMILY GROUP CHART 2

    FATHER: Robert Ayars, Yeoman

  • b. c. 1639/40, Gotherington, Gloucestershire, England94
  • m. between 1685 and 1687, Newport, Newport, Rhode Island95
  • d. 14/24 January 1719, Back Neck, Salem, NJ96

    Parents: Robert Eyres and Margarette Fouche, of Gotherington, Gloucestershire, England.

    MOTHER: [Second Wife] Esther “Bowen”

  • b. [unknown, possibly Swansea, MA]
  • d. bet. 1726-1737, Cohansey, Salem, NJ97

    CHILDREN:
    98

    1. Stephen Ayars, Yeoman
  • b. between 1685-1705, Newport, Newport, RI99
  • Unmarried
  • d. bet. 25 February-12 April 1726, Back Neck, Salem, NJ100

    2. Caleb Ayars, Yeoman [Go to Family Group 6]
  • b. 1692, Newport, Newport, RI101
  • m. Rebeccah Berryman, bef. 1723, Cohansey, Salem, NJ102
  • d. 24 January 1760, Cohansey, Cumberland, NJ103
    3. Joshua Ayars, Yeoman [Go to Family Group 7a/b]
  • b. 1695, Newport, Newport, RI104
  • m1. Keziah Brooks, bef. 1724, Cohansey, Salem, NJ105
  • m2. Anna Swinney, 18 Mar. 1753, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ106
  • d. 3 May 1759, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ107



    FAMILY GROUP CHART 3

    FATHER:
    Isaac Ayars, Yeoman
  • b. c. 1673, London, England108
  • m. bef. 1692, Newport, Newport, RI109
  • d. 1761, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ110

    Parents: Robert Ayars and Katharin Taylor.

    MOTHER: Hannah Barrett
  • b. before 1680, Newport, Newport, RI111
  • d. c. 1793, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ112

    Parents: unknown.

    CHILDREN:
    113

    1. Rebecca Ayars
  • b. bef 1697, Newport, Newport, RI114
  • m. Robert [Francis?] Hunt115
  • d. [unknown]

    2. Caleb Ayars
  • b. 5 November 1697, Newport, Newport, RI116
  • m. Patience Brooks, before 1718, Cohansey, Salem, NJ117
  • d. 7 August 1771, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ118
    3. Abigail Ayars
  • b. c. 1700, Newport, Newport, RI?119
  • m. Caleb Barrett, before 1721, Cohansey, Salem, NJ120
  • d. [unknown]
    4. Hannah Ayars
  • b. 1705, Newport, Newport, RI121
  • m. Jeremiah Bacon, Cohansey, Salem, NJ122
  • d. 13 January 1793, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ123
    5. Catherine Ayars
  • b. [unknown]
  • m. John Jarman, after 1737, Cohansey, Salem, NJ124
  • d. 6 April 1760, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ125
    6. Esther Ayars
  • b. c. 1711, Cohansey, Salem, NJ126
  • m. Rev. Jonathan Davis, 1731, Cohansey, Salem, NJ127
  • d. Aft. 5 July 1755, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ128
    7. Anna Ayars
  • b. 9 November 1713, Cohansey, Salem, NJ129
  • m. Samuel Davis, 13 October 1735, Cohansey, Salem, NJ130
  • d. 20 September 1783, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ131
    8. Isaac Ayars
  • b. 3 February 1716, Cohansey, Salem, NJ132
  • m. Jane Philips, 26 Nov. 1738, Cohansey, Salem, NJ133
  • d. 26 May 1761134
    9. David Ayars
  • b. [unknown]
  • Unmarried
  • d. [unknown]



    FAMILY GROUP CHART 4

    FATHER: John Jarman Jr.
  • b. bef. 1704135
  • m. bef. 25 February 1716, Cohansey, Salem, NJ136
  • d. 1768, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ137

    Parents: John Jarman Sr. and _____.

    MOTHER: [First Wife] Esther Ayars
  • b. before 1680, Newport, Newport, RI or London, England138
  • d. before 1737, Cohansey, Salem, RI139
    Parents: Robert Ayars and Katharin Taylor.

    CHILDREN:
    140

    1. John Jarman III
  • b. Cohansey, Salem, NJ
  • m. Mary Bowen, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ141
  • d. May 1769142

    2. Esther Jarman
  • b. [unknown]
  • m. [unknown]
  • d. [unknown]
    3. Mary Jarman
  • b. [baptized 29 May 1770] Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ143
  • m. [unknown]
  • d. [unknown]
    4. Reuben Jarman
  • b. [unknown]
  • m. [unknown]
  • d. [unknown]
    5. Beriah Jarman
  • b. [unknown]
  • m. [unknown]
  • d. [unknown]



    FAMILY GROUP CHART 5

    FATHER:
    John Ayars, Yeoman
  • b. between 1673 and 1685, Newport, Newport, RI or London, England144
  • m. bef. 1736, Cohansey, Salem, NJ145
  • d. bet. Dec. 1740-Mar. 1741, Cohansey, Cumberland, NJ146

    Parents: Robert Ayars and Katharin Taylor.

    MOTHER: Cecelia Colwell
  • b. [unknown]
  • d. [unknown]

    CHILDREN:

    1. Samuel Ayars
  • b. [unknown]
  • m. [unknown]
  • d. [unknown]

    2. John Ayars Jr.
  • b. 1736
  • m. Susannah Jarman, c. 17 November 1757
  • d. [unknown]
    3. Mary Ayars
  • b. 27 November 1738, Cohansey, Salem, NJ147
  • m. Isaac Ayars, 5 April 1758, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ148
  • d. [unknown]
    4. Stephen Ayars
  • b. c. 1740, Cohansey, Salem, NJ149
  • Unmarried
  • d. [unknown]



    FAMILY GROUP CHART 6

    FATHER:
    Robert Ayars, Jr., Yeoman
  • b. bet. 1673-1685, Newport, Newport, RI or London, England150
  • m. bef. 1722, Cohansey, Salem, NJ151
  • d. 1735, Cohansey, Cumberland, NJ152

    Parents: Robert Ayars, Sr., and Katharin Taylor.

    MOTHER: Sarah Burgin
  • b. [unknown]
  • d. [unknown]

    CHILDREN:
    153

    1. James Ayars
  • b. c. 1722, Cohansey, Salem, NJ154
  • m. Hannah Ayars, Cohansey, Salem, NJ155
  • d. c. 1755, Cohansey, Salem, NJ156

    2. Burgin Ayars
  • b. c. 1726, Cohansey, Salem, NJ157
  • m. Susannah Gilman, 28 May 1754, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ 158
  • d. c. 1807, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ159
    3. Robert Ayars
  • b. Cohansey, Salem, NJ

    Unmarried?
  • d. Cohansey, Salem, NJ
    4. Temperance Ayars
  • b. Cohansey, Salem, NJ
  • m. Henry Paullin
  • d. Cohansey, Salem, NJ
    5. Sarah Ayars
  • b. Cohansey, Salem, NJ
  • m. Joseph Paullin
  • d. Cohansey, Salem, NJ
    6. Ann Ayars
  • b. Cohansey, Salem, NJ
  • Unmarried
  • d. Cohansey, Salem, NJ



    FAMILY GROUP CHART 7

    FATHER: Caleb Ayars, Yeoman

    b. 1692, Newport, Newport, RI
    160
  • m. before 1723, Cohansey, Salem, NJ161
  • d. 23 January 1760, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ162

    Parents: Robert Ayars and Esther Bowen

    MOTHER: Rebecca Berryman (Bereman, Brayman)

  • b. 1699163
  • d. 18 October 1774, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ164

    Parents: Unknown

    CHILDREN:


    1. Aaron Ayars
  • b. 18 December 1723, Cohansey, Salem, NJ165
  • m. Abigail Robinson, 12 Nov. 1746, Cohansey, Salem, NJ166
  • d. c. 31 June 1792, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ167

    2. Stephen Ayars
  • b. April 1727, Cohansey, Salem, NJ168

    m1. Jane Surage

    m2. Hester _____
  • d. Will, 29 April 1770, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ
    3. Sarah Ayars
  • b. 10 February 1729, Cohansey, Salem, NJ169
  • m. Joseph Bivins, 14 Dec. 1749, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ
  • d. 29 August 1799, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ
    4. John Ayars
  • b. 19 February 1731, Cohansey, Salem, NJ170
  • Unmarried
  • d. 1759, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ
    5. Bennajah Ayars
  • b. 11 January 1733, Cohansey, Salem, NJ171
  • m. Elizabeth Dunham
  • d. after 1750, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ
    6. Rebecca Ayars
  • b. 17 December 1735, Cohansey, Salem, NJ172
  • m. Enoch David,
  • d. 1759, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ173
    7. Halibege Ayars
  • b. 20 November 1736, Cohansey, Salem, NJ174
  • m. Sarah Davis, 25 Dec. 1760, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ
  • d. 22 January 1795, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ
    8. Rachel Ayars
  • b. 10 November 1738, Cohansey, Salem, NJ175
  • Unmarried
  • d. [unknown]
    9. Caleb Ayars
  • b. 5 December 1741, Cohansey, Cumberland, NJ176
  • Unmarried
  • d. 1756, Cohansey, Cumberland, NJ177

    10. William Ayars
  • b. 5 October 1743, Cohansey, Salem, NJ178
  • Unmarried
  • d. 4 January 1760, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ179

    11. Tabitha Ayars
  • b. 22 September 1745, Cohansey, Salem, NJ180
  • m. Thomas Francis
  • d. [unknown]





    FAMILY GROUP CHART 8

    FATHER: Joshua Ayars, Yeoman

  • b. 1695, Newport, Newport, RI181
  • m. 18 April 1723, Bowentown, Salem, NJ182
  • d. 3 May 1759, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ183

    Parents: Robert Ayars and Esther Bowen

    MOTHER: [First Wife]
    Keziah Brooks
  • b. [unknown]
  • d. 1 May 1749, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ

    Parents: Rev. Timothy Brooks and Hannah Bowen

    CHILDREN:


    1. Esther Ayars
  • b. 1 May 1724, Cohansey, Salem, NJ184
  • m. Jarman Davis, 15 Oct. 1751, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ185
  • d. 16 Jun 1793, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ186

    2. Philip Ayars
  • b. 14 February 1729, Cohansey, Salem, NJ187
  • m. Lydia Lennox, 23 May 1751, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ188
  • d. 11 December 1789, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ189
    3. Joshua Ayars
  • b. 1744, Cohansey, Salem, NJ190
  • Unmarried
  • d. 17 April 1759, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ191



    FAMILY GROUP CHART 9

    FATHER: Joshua Ayars, Yeoman

  • b. 1695, Newport, Newport, RI192
  • m. 18 March 1753, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ193
  • d. 3 May 1759, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ194

    Parents: Robert Ayars and Esther Bowen

    MOTHER:
    [Second Wife] Anna Swinney
  • b. 7 January 1718, Cohansey, Salem, NJ195
  • d. 6 March 1791, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ196

    Parents: John Swinney and Deborah Smith
    197

    CHILDREN:

    1. Robert Ayars [Twin]
  • b. 11 March 1754, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ198
  • Unmarried
  • d. March 1759, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ199

    2. Keziah Ayars [Twin]
  • b. 11 March 1754, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ200
  • m. Valentine Swinney, bef. 1788, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ201
  • d. 11 August 1811, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ202
    3. Seth Ayars
  • b. 1 November 1755, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ203
  • Unmarried
  • d. after 1793, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ204
    4. Deborah Ayars
  • b. 26 July 1757, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ205
  • m. Stephen Ayars, 1786, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ206
  • d. 11 August 1791, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ207
    5. Ann Ayars
  • b. 29 August 1759, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ208
  • m. James Wood,
  • d. 1 August 1785, Shiloh, Cumberland, NJ209

    ENDNOTES



    1 Benjamin A. Ayars, His Ancestry and Descendants, compiled by Bessie Ayars-Andrews, Vineland, NJ, 1912, introduction.

    2 A rare copy of Thorpe's book, published by himself in Covent Garden, London, with its magnificent title, may be found in the research library of the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA). It is hereinafter cited as Thorpe. Descriptions of the arms of Eyres/Ayres/Ayers/etc., confirming Thorpe's description, may be found in Burke's General Armory under each variant spelling of the surname. The story is mentioned elsewhere; see Notes and Queries, Series 1, Vol. 4, No. 107, Nov. 15, 1851, p. 390, which refers to “Rhode’s Peak Scenery,” p. 224. Rhode quotes the same story, stating that it was attached to “an old pedigree which is preserved at Hassop.” The story thus dates before 1835. Rhodes may be quoting Thorpe, or both are quoting the Hassop manuscript.



    3
    John Burke, A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. III, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, 1977, p. 294.



    4
    The History of the Treman, Tremaine, Truman Family in America, Ebenezer Mack Treman and Murray E. Poole, compilers, Parts II, (Ithaca, NY: The Ithaca Democrat, 1901), pp. 1546ff. Robert Ayars and His Descendants, Frank D. Andrews, compiler, privately published, Vineland, NJ, 1918, pp. 5-8. Immigrants to America Before 1750: Surnames A through Bat, Edited by Frederic Adams Virkus, Genealogical Publishing Company, (Baltimore, 1965), pp. 104, 105. History of the Seventh Day Baptist Church, Shiloh, New Jersey, 1737-1987, John H. Camenga, compiler, Historical Committee, Shiloh, NJ, 1987, pp. 13-47. This is just a brief sample of sources perpetuating mistaken family traditions.

    5 "Primary Evidence" is that which is produced by contemporaries or eye-witnesses of the person or event under study. "Secondary Evidence" is that which is produced subsequent to the person or event, is based upon the primary evidence, or is passed on via hearsay by descendants. "Primary Evidence" includes autographed documents, monuments, or records produced under the direct influence of the person(s) under study. "Secondary Evidence" includes reminiscences, recollections, or traditions made or written by subsequent generations. This article compiles and examines "Primary Evidences", and compares these to, and corrects where necessary, the "Secondary Evidences" of subsequent generations of the Ayars family.



    6
    I am indebted to Kirk Vredevelt, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, for directing my attention to the existence of these seals and signatures.

    7 Sir Bernard Burke, in The General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, (Harrison, London, 1884), page 336.

    8 See The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. XXXI, Boston, 1877, pp. 59-60.



    9
    I am indebted to Barbarann Ayars, of Medina, Ohio, for bringing this data to my attention. Barbara is one of several who have personally travelled to Wiltshire, and Derbyshire, tracing Eyre ancestry.

    10 I am indebted to David Bryson Ayars, of Bartlett, Illinois, for this information. David has made numerous trips to England looking for the homeland of Robert Ayars. This piece of information may be found in Men and Armour of Gloucester in 1608, “Survey taken by John Smith of all men over 16 who were capable of, but not necessarily prepared to fight in his majesties service.”

    11 Gloucester Diocesan Record Book, No. 202 -- Visitation March 1650, Cleeve Episcopi. Courtesy of David Ayars.



    12
    I am indebted to Oscar Burdick, librarian for the Pacific School of Theology, Berkeley, California, for this information. Oscar has found the original record books of these Baptists, and has kindly loaned copies of them to this writer.

    13 Gloucester Notes and Queries, Volume X, edited by Richard Holworthy, October, 1913. “29 October 1660 -- Apprentices from the County of Gloucester bound at Carpenter’s Hall, London, 1654 0 1694, by Bower Marsh: Robert Ayres, son of Robert Ayres, late of Gotherington, husbandman, to Thomas Ware of Petticoate Lane.” Courtesy of David Bryson Ayars.

    14 Immigrants to America Before 1750: Surnames A through Bat, Edited by Frederic Adams Virkus, Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, 1965, pp. 104, 105.

    15 This information is found in the IGI [International Genealogical Index] of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am indebted to Barbarann Ayars for bringing this data to my attention.



    16
    There were a number of burial grounds located in Westerly and Hopkinton by this time, including two owned by Seventh Day Baptists. If this couple lived in the Westerly/Hopkinton area, why is Katharin buried in Newport? Transporting her from Westerly to Newport would have been a major inconvenience.

    17 Isaac Backus, History of the Baptists, Vol. III, pp.232ff. Henry Clarke, History of the Sabbatarians, or Seventh Day Baptists in America, (Utica, NY: Seward and Williams, 1811), p. 8.

    18 Harriette Merrifield Forbes, "William Mumford", Gravestones of Early New England - - And the Men Who Made Them: 1653 - 1800, (Boston: The Houghton Mifflin Company, 1927), pp. 28-34.

    19 The will of Stephen Ayars is dated 25 February 1726, in which he wills his lands to Esther Ayars, whom he calls his "mother." It is possible that he is using the term loosely, or that the term "step-mother" was not yet in use. If his mother was Hester, then he died quite young, not older than age 41. If his mother was Katharin, then he could have been as old as 51. See New Jersey Archives, First Series, Vol. XXIII, “Abstracts of Wills,” Vol. I, 1670-1730, edited by William Nelson, Paterson, NJ, 1901, pp. 19, 20. Salem County Index of Wills, p. 1152. Salem county N.J. Genealogical Data, Compiled by H. Stanley Craig, Vol. I, Merchantville, NJ, H. Stanley Craig, ND, p. 12.



    20
    The headstone is located next to the graves of Steven and Ann Mumford. The published documentation for this marker may be found in Alden G. Beaman, Rhode Island Vital Records, New Series, Vol. II, "Births 1590-1930, From Newport Common Burial Ground Inscriptions", (East Princeton, MA: Rhode Island Families Association, 1985), p. 19. Remarkably, none of the previously published histories of the Ayars Family seem to know about this woman. Many of them rapsodize about romances between Robert Ayars and his second wife, Hester (or Esther) Bowen (See for example John H. Bonham, "Three Girls of Swansea", The Sabbath Recorder, January 6, 1930, pp. 28-32, and January 13, 1930, pp. 41-43). However, the earliest evidence for Robert's marriage to Hester is found in a mortgage to William Phipps, Esq., dated two years after the death of Katharin; this mortgage is examined below.



    21
    Rhode Island Land Evidences, 1648 - 1696, (Providence, Rhode Island: Rhode Island Historical Society, 1921), Vol. I, p. 208.



    22
    Rhode Island Land Evidences, p. 213.

    23 Some family traditions hint that this lady's name was "Hester"; however, as seen from this mortgage, she herself signed her own name as "Esther". That should settle it.

    24 The church building of this group, built in 1730, still stands, preserved in an annex to The Newport Historical Society Library, Newport, Rhode Island.

    25 We don't know for certain which "Esther" was the wife, and which was the daughter. One of them is called "the younger". The fact that Esther, Robert's second wife, was having children as late as 1695 (the year of birth of Robert's youngest son, Joshua Ayars), while Robert was in his 50's, suggests that Esther was quite a bit younger than Robert. Thus, Robert's daughter by his first wife Katherin, Esther, could conceivably have been older than her step-mother!



    26
    The Seventh Day Baptist Memorial, Vol. I, Number 3, p. 121, and Vol. I, number 4, p. 172.



    27
    The evidence for the year of Isaac's birth is, unfortunately, based upon secondary evidence found in Immigrants to America Before 1750: Surnames A through Bat, Edited by Frederic Adams Virkus, Genealogical Publishing Company, (Baltimore, 1965), pp. 104, 105.

    28 Rhode Island Land Evidences, p. 238.



    29
    Ibid., p. 227.

    30 Ibid., p. 245.

    31 Encyclopædia Britannica, 1973 Edition, Vol. IV, p. 735b; IX, p. 961a; XIV, p. 1029b; XVIII, p. 950Ad.

    32 Rhode Island General Court of Trials 1672-1704, “Newport Book A”, transcribed by Jane Fiske, Boxford, Massachusetts, 1998, p. 182. Many thanks to Barbarann Ayars for discovering this one! Jane Fiske transcribed two volumes: Gleanings From Newport Court Files 1659-1783, and Rhode Island General Court Trials 1672-1704.

    33 Materials Toward a History of the Baptists, Vol. I, 1792, reprinted by Heritage Papers, Danielsville, Georgia, 1984, pp. 85-86, 134.



    34
    "9 August 1676 Do. John Fenwick to … Richard Lippincott Senior of Shrewsbury, N.J., planter, for 1,000 acres in this colony." [Salem Deeds, Liber B, p. 5.]. Patents and Deeds and Other Early Records of New Jersey: 1664 - 1703, Edited by William Nelson, Baltimore, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1976, p. 565.

    35 "20 May 1679 Do. Richard Lippincott of New Shrowsbury, N.J., planter, and wife Abigail to their fourth son Freedome Lippincott, for 200 acres of the 1,000 acre tract [supra p. 5] on Chohanzick R. and Wee-hatt-quack Cr. [Salem Deeds, Liber B, p. 42]"

    Do. Richard Lippincott of New Shrowsbury, N.J., planter, and wife Abigail to … their third son Restore Lippincott…200 acres. [Salem Deeds, Liber B, p. 52.]. Ibid., p. 567.

    "9 April 1683. Deed. By John Lippincott to his brother ffreedom Lippincott, of 'all his right & title of lands here within expressed.'" [Salem Deeds, Liber B, p. 370]. Ibid., p. 567.

    36 Morgan Edwards, Materials Toward a History of the Baptists, (First published in 1792; reprinted in Danielsville, GA, by Heritage Papers, 1984), p. 85.

    37 "15 June 1674 On petition of Daniel Denton and John Gillman, agents for the inhabitants of the Town of Piscattaway, at [Aghter Coll], in regard to some valleys in dispute between them and the Town of Woodbridge.

    "Ordered: The Governor-General and Council decree and direct, that this case in dispute between the Towns of Piscataway and Woodbridge…, must be decided by the Court of Schout and deputed Councillors, to whom shall be added some perons in consequence of the present small number of their board. [At a Council held in Fort Willem Hendrick; 15th. June, 1674.]. . . ."

    "21 June 1674 On the petition of Daniel Dantom [sic] and John Gillman, agents for the Town of Piscatteque, complaining of the dilatory exceptions made by Samuel Moor and Pike, respecting the retention of the petitioners' valleys, request to be maintained in their good right, etc.

    "Ordered: The Petitioners may cite their parties herein before Messrs John Lawrence, Richard Betts and James Hubbert, and the Court of Deputed Councillors appointed by previous commission to hear and determine the matter in question between the Town of Woodbridge and Piscatteque, therefore are the petitioners again referred to said Court, which is hereby recommended upon due examination of affairs, to cause quick right and justice to be administered to parties. [At a Council in Fort Willem Hendrick, this 21st. June, 1674.]"

    Whitehead, William A., New Jersey Archives, Vol. 1, 1631-1687, pp. 147, 149.

    38 "2 June 1680 Return upon Sumons [sic] to the Const: Of several tounes of New Jersey for Election of Deputyes for the Assembly.

    "Returne for Piscattaway Mr John Gillman, Mr Edward Slaughter.

    "Return of Deputies for New Jersey Assembly, to meet June 2nd, 1680. Ibid., p. 307.



    39
    "25 July 1680 Approval of Piscataway Appointments by the Governour

    "Upon the Returnes from the Tounes of Pisscataqua in New Jersey of Capt. Henry Greenland, Mr. John Gillman and Mr. Edward Slaughter to bee Overseers or (1)… for their Toune Courts, I doe Approve of their choice and together with any of ye Justices of ye Peace to keepe the Toune Courts and to heare and determine all matters not Exceeding Five pounds according to Law.

    "Given under my hand in New Yorke this 25th. day of July 1680." Ibid., p. 319.

    40 "The same were returned "Members for ye Cort of Small causes," August 4th. 1680. Ibid., p. 319.

    41 Pamphlet, Celebration of the Bi-Centennial of the New Jersey Legislature: 1683-1883, p. 10. See also Orra E. Monnette, Early Settlers of Ye Plantations of Piscataway and Woodbridge, Olde East New Jersey, Vol. II, p. 547.

    42 Orra E. Monnette, Early Settlers, Vol. II, p. 537.

    43 "1 July 1690 Deed. John Gillman Senior of Chohansey alias Cesariæ River, yeoman, to his son John Gillman of Salem, farmer, for 200 acres at Chohansey near the path and adjoining 400 acres bought by grantor of Freedom Lippincott." [Salem Deeds, No. 5, p. 58.] Patents and Deeds and other Early Records of New Jersey -- 1664-1703, Edited by William Nelson, Baltimore, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1976, p. 593.

    44 "11 October 1693 Do. by Freedom Lippincott of Burlington Co., tanner, to John Gillman of Cesariæ River alias Chohansey, W. J., yeoman, of 'all the within mentioned tract of Land.'" [Salem Deeds, No. 5, p. 371]. Ibid., p. 605.

    45 "14 October 1695--John Gillman Senior, of Cesariæ River, Salem Co., NJ; Will of. Wife: Rachael; Children: Edward, Mercye, Mary, Rachel, Charles, Elizabeth, Sarah Hutchings. Home Farm, 200 acres bought of Wm. Groome. Property in East Jersey. Recorded: 9 December 1695. Inventoried: 25 October 1696." Archives of the State of New Jersey, Vol. 1, p. 483. See also Index to New Jersey Wills: 1689-1890 -- The Testators, Edited by Lee Smeal and Ronald Vern Jackson.

    46 "20 March 1695/6 Gillman, Rachel, widow of John. 1696 ____ administration of Estate granted to her son-in-law [stepson?] Edward Gillman." Ibid., p. 186.

    47 Ibid., p. 483.

    48 The History of the Treman, Tremaine, Truman Family in America, by Ebenezer Mack Treman and Murray E. Poole; Frank D. Andrews, Robert Ayars and His Descendants, (Plainfield, NJ: Privately Published, 1918), pp. 5, 6, 9.



    49
    "12 August 1699 Do. Restore Lippincott of Burlington Co., to Joseph Eastland of Cohansey, yeoman, to deliver to Robert Eyres, late of Road Island, his tract of land on the lower side of Cohansie River. [West Jersey Records, Liber B, part 2, p. 648. This involved 200 acres; see p. 567]. Ibid., p. 515.

    50 "10 October 1703 Robert Ayars, gentleman, of R. I., purchased of Restore Lippincott and wife Hannah of Burlington Co., N. J., 600 acres of land at Shrewsbury Neck, on the South side of Cohansey Creek, now River, nearly opposite Greenwich, Cumberland Co., N.J., making 800 acres of land and salt marsh." The History of the Treman, Tremaine, Truman Family in America, Ebenezer Mack Treman and Murray E. Poole, compilers, Parts II, (Ithaca, NY: The Ithaca Democrat, 1901), p. 1546.

    51 Andrews' Correction: "The settlement of Salem in West Jersey, by John Fenwick and his colony of Quakers in 1675, opened up a rich agricultural secion along the Delaware River and its tributaries. Into this region about 1684 or 1685, came Robert Ayars and his family from their Rhode Island home. They located on the south side of the Cohansey River on eight hundred acres purchased of Restore Lippincott, opposite the present town of Greenwich.... "As early as 1678, that section of the Cohansey River where Robert Ayars located, was surveyed by Richard Hancock, Fenwick's deputy surveyor, and sold to purchasers. Robert Ayars bought two tracts, one of two hundred acres from the daughters of John Gilman, and six hundred from Restore Lippincott, not eight as stated above. . . ." Frank D. Andrews, Robert Ayars and His Descendants, (Plainfield, NJ: Privately Published, 1918), pp. 5, 6, 9.]



    52
    Bonham's history was reprinted in 1987 as a part of the History of the Seventh Day Baptist Church of Shiloh, New Jersey: Prepared for the Two Hundred-Fiftieth Anniversary -- 1737-1987, Compiled by John H. Camenga, Historical Committee, 1987, pp. 13-47. This excerpt is from pages 26-27.



    53
    The Seventh Day Baptist Memorial, Vol. II, No. 1, p. 26. "Records of the 1st. Sabbatarian Church of Newport," Vital Records Of Rhode Island, Vol. VII, p. 624, and Vol. II, p. 298.)

    54 The First Hundred Years: Pawcatuck Seventh Day Baptist Church, Westerly, Rhyode Island, 1840-1940, pp. 292, 297, 301, 302, 304.



    55
    Land Evidence, Newport, Rhode Island, 1711 - 1727, p. 4. This is a bound and preserved volume kept at the Newport Historical Society, 82 Touro St., Newport, RI, 02840.

    56 Elder Jonathan Davis lived near Trenton, New Jersey. Yet he preached regularly to the Seventh Day Baptists in the Cohansey area. He was considered their pastor. This Rev. Jonathan Davis was a predecessor of the Rev. Jonathan Davis who was the first pastor of the Shiloh Seventh Day Baptist Church. He was a large man, nicknamed “Our Great High Priest” by the church members. He was married to Elizabeth Bowen, but had no children. See Morgan Edwards, Materials Toward a History of the Baptists, Philadelphia, 1792, pp. 137, 138.



    57
    Seventh Day Baptist Memorial, Vol. II, Number 2, (New York: Seventh Day Baptist Publishing Society, 1852), pp. 103, 104.

    58 I am indebted to Barbarann Ayars, of Medina, Ohio, for directing my attention to Abstracts of Bristol County, Massachusetts Probate Records 1687-1745, compiled by H. L. Peter Rounds, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, 1987, pp. 52ff.



    59
    Timothy Brooks’ wife was Hannah Bowen, sister of Samuel Bowen. Two of Timothy and Hannah’s daughters married Robert Ayars descendants: Keziah Brooks married Joshua Ayars, son of Robert and Esther, and Patience Brooks married Caleb Ayars, Robert and Katharin’s grandson through Isaac and Hannah Barrett.

    60 It should be stated that Isaac Ayars is mentioned in the Register of the Cohansey Seventh Day Baptist Church, Shiloh, New Jersey, 1737-1830, (Ernest K. Bee, Jr., Seventh Day Baptist Publishing House, Plainfield, New Jersey, 1976, p. 26) in a penciled notation next to the records of Isaac’s daughter Esther: “Rev. Jonathan Davis the first pastor of Shiloh Church; his wife was a daughter of Isaac Ayars of Shiloh, the deputy surveyor of New Jersey.” There is no record of him having officially joined the church, however. He probably had died before the Shiloh Church officially organized.



    61
    See the documentation accompanying the family group charts at the end of this monograph.

    62 Thos. Cushing, M.D. and Charles Sheppard, Esq., History of Cumberland County, Everts and Peck, Philadelphia, 1883, p.693.

    63 From the Report of the State Historian of New York, 1896, Colonial Series, Vol. I, p. 524. The list was reprinted in Cumberland Patriot, Spring, 1992, Vol. 25, No. 1, pp. 1, 2, The Cumberland County Historical Society, Greenwich, NJ.



    64
    This will was copied from the original by Frank D. Andrews, who compiled Robert Ayars and His Descendants, Vineland, NJ: Privately Printed, 1918, pp. 7-8.

    65 Ebenezer Mack Treman and Murray E. Poole, compilers, The History of the Treman, Tremaine, Truman Family in America, Part II, (Ithaca, NY: The Ithaca Democrat, 1901), p. 1820.



    66
    The original document exists in two copies, one a rough draft, the other a final draft, located in the Warren E. Lummis Library in Greenwich, Cumberland, New Jersey. Both contain Robert’s signature and seal.

    67 This is the first mention of this deed known so far to this researcher. Is it a rewrite of the earlier first Lippincott Purchese, dated 12 August 1699? Was the first purchase a mortgage only, which was finally paid off on 23 May 1712? The answers to this are not known yet.



    68
    New Jersey Archives, First Series, Vol. XXIII, Abstracts of Wills, Vol. I, 1670-1730, edited by William Nelson, Paterson, NJ, 1901, pp. 19, 20.



    69
    Benjamin A. Ayars, His Ancestry and Descendants, compiled by Bessie Ayars-Andrews, Vineland, NJ, 1912, Introduction.



    70
    Op. Cit. pp. 3-4.



    71
    Gloucester Diocesan Record Book, No. 202 -- Visitation March 1650, Cleeve Episcopi

    72 International Genealogical Index, surname Eyre. Hereinafter IGI.

    73 New Jersey Archives, First Series, Vol. XXIII, Abstracts of Wills, Vol. I, 1670-1730, edited by William Nelson, Paterson, NJ, 1901, pp. 19, 20. Hereinafter Archives.

    74 IGI, surname Taylor. Also calculated from age given on gravestone, see next note.

    75 Gravestone of Katharin Ayars, Newport Common Burial Ground, Newport, Newport, RI.

    76 IGI, surname Taylor.

    77 All of Robert’s children are named in his will and in his property transfers except Ann. For the will, see Frank D. Andrews, Robert Ayars and His Descendants, privately published, Vineland, NJ, 1918, pp. 7-8, (hereinafter Andrews). Ann is only known through Andrews, p. 9, and Ebenezer Mack Treman and Murray E. Poole, THE HISTORY OF THE TREMAN, TREMAINE, TRUMAN FAMILY IN AMERICA, WITH THE RELATED FAMILIES OF MACK, DEY, BOARD, AND AYERS, Ithaca, NY, Ithaca Democrat, 1901, p. 1547, (hereinafter Treman and Poole).

    78 Treman and Poole, p. 1546. Immigrants to America Before 1750: Surnames A through Bat, Edited by Frederic Adams Virkus, Genealogical Publishing Company, (Baltimore, 1965), pp. 104, 105. Hereinafter Immigrants.

    79 Named in the Membership List of the Newport Seventh Day Baptist Church, 1692. See The Seventh Day Baptist Memorial, Vol. I, Number 3, p. 121, and Vol. I, number 4, p. 172. Hereinafter Memorial.

    80 Named in property transfer record, dated in 1718; however, not named in Church Record Book except in reference to his daughter Esther, see Register of the Cohansey Seventh Day Baptist Church, Shiloh, New Jersey: 1737-1830, Edited by Ernest K. Bee, Jr., Seventh Day Baptist Publishing House, Plainfield, NJ, 1976, p. 26. Hereinafter Cohansey Register.

    81 Listed in Membership List of the Newport Seventh Day Baptist Church, 1692. Memorial, I:3:121, and 4:172.

    82 Treman and Poole, p. 1547.

    83 Her husband, John Jarman, may have been single at the time of the formation of the Shiloh Seventh Day Baptist Church in 1737. See Cohansey Register, p. 1B; History of the Seventh Day Baptist Church of Shiloh, New Jersey, Compiled by John H. Camenga, Shiloh, NJ, 1987, p. 33. Hereinafter Shiloh History.

    84 It is assumed that Katharin is his mother.

    85 Named in Robert Ayars’ will, 1716. See Andrews, pp. 7-8.

    86 It is assumed that Katharin is his mother.

    87 Andrews, p. 9, 10.

    88 Andrews, p. 10.

    89 It is assumed that Katharin is his mother.

    90 Andrews, p. 10.

    91 Treman and Poole have 1731, while Andrews has 1735.

    92 She is not named in her father’s will; however, Andrews lists her as a daughter, p. 9, as well as Treman and Poole, p. 1547.

    93 Not named in Robert’s will, 1716.



    94
    Gloucester Diocesan Record Book, No. 202 -- Visitation March 1650, Cleeve Episcopi

    95 First mentioned in a land transaction in Newport, Rhode Island, 1687. See Rhode Island Land Evidences, 1648 - 1696, (Providence, Rhode Island: Rhode Island Historical Society, 1921), Vol. I, p. 213.

    96 Archives, pp. 19, 20.

    97 Still living when son Stephen died, but not listed among members of the Cohansey Seventh Day Baptist Church.

    98 Listed in the Will of Robert Ayars, 1716, and in property transfers made in 1718.

    99 Calls Esther his mother in his will; hence born after her marriage to Robert. Archives, pp. 19, 20.

    100 Archives, pp. 19, 20.

    101 Andrews, p. 9, 11.

    102 Cohansey Register, p. 29. Eldest son born in 1723.

    103 Andrews, p. 11.

    104 Cohansey Register, pp. 27, 28.

    105 Cohansey Register, p. 27. Eldest child born 1724.

    106 Cohansey Register, p. 27.

    107 Cohansey Register, p. 27.



    108
    Immigrants, pp. 104, 105.

    109 Memorial, Vol. I, Number 3, p. 121, and Vol. I, number 4, p. 172.

    110 The Magazine of American Genealogy: Ave to Bab, Number 11, Chicago, IL: The Institute of American Geneology, date unknown, pp. 291-295.

    111 Memorial, I:3:121; I:4:172.

    112 Andrews, p. 9.

    113 The children of Isaac Ayars are listed in Andrews, pp. 9-10; Treman and Poole, p. 1547.

    114 Treman and Poole, p. 1547.

    115 Frank D. Andrews, The Tea-Burners of Cumberland County, Cumberland County Historical Society, Vineland, NJ, 1908, reprinted in 1974, pp. 27-28. Andrews, p. 9. After Rebecca’s death, Robert Hunt moved to North Carolina. Treman and Poole have Francis Hunt, while Andrews has Robert.

    116 Cohansey Register, p. 26.

    117 Cohansey Register, p. 26. Eldest son Nathan was born 28 January 1718.

    118 Cohansey Register, p. 26. Treman and Poole, p. 1549.

    119 Andrews, p. 10.

    120 Cohansey Register, p. 29. Eldest daughter, Elizabeth, was born 7 April 1723.

    121 Cohansey Register, p. 3. Hannah died 13 January 1793 in her 88th year.

    122 Cohansey Register, p. 3.

    123 Cohansey Register, p. 3.

    124 Shiloh History, p. 33. He married, first, before 1716, Esther Ayars, daughter of Robert and Katharin Ayars.



    125
    Andrews, p. 10.

    126 Andrews, p. 10.

    127 Shiloh History, p. 38. Cohansey Register, p. 26. Eldest son born 24 February 1732.

    128 Morgan Edwards, Materials Toward a History of the Baptists, 1792, reprinted by Heritage Papers, Danielsville, GA, 1984, pp. 137, 138. Her will was dated 5 July 1775. Cohansey Register, pp. 26, 64.

    129 Cohansey Register, p. 30.

    130 Cohansey Register, p. 24.

    131 Cohansey Register, p. 30.

    132 Cohansey Register, p. 37.

    133 Cohansey Register, p. 23.

    134 Cohansey Register, p. 61.



    135
    Shiloh History, p. 32. Mentioned with his father in early court record in Salem, NJ.

    136 Named in Robert’s Will, 1716, as married to John Jarman, see above. See also Shiloh History, pp. 32-35. John Jarman married first, Esther Ayars, daughter of Robert; second, Esther’s niece, Catharine, daughter of Isaac.

    137 Shiloh History, p. 33.

    138 Member of Newport Seventh Day Baptist Church in 1692. Had to be an adult.

    139 Not listed among the early members of the Shiloh Seventh Day Baptist Church, formed in 1737.

    140 Children are listed in Shiloh History, p. 33.

    141 Shiloh History, p. 33.

    142 Shiloh History, p. 33.

    143 Cohansey Register, p. 6. Shiloh History, p. 33.



    144
    It is assumed that Katharin Taylor-Ayars was his mother.

    145 Andrews, p. 10. Son John was born in 1736.

    146 Archives, First Series, Vol. XXX, Abstracts of Wills, Vol. II, pp. 28, 29.

    147 Cohansey Register, p. 35. Isaac Ayars was the son of Caleb, grandson of Isaac, great-grandson of Robert Ayars. Mary and Isaac were first cousins, once removed.

    148 Cohansey Register, p. 24.

    149 Andrews, p. 10. The Magazine of American Geneology: Ave to Bab, Number 11, Chicago, IL, The Institute of American Geneology, date unknown, pp. 291-295.



    150
    It is assumed that his mother was Katharin Taylor-Ayars.

    151 Eldest son born in 1722.

    152 New Jersey Archives, First Series, Vol. XXX, Abstracts of Wills, Vol. II, 1731-1750, edited by William Nelson, Paterson, NJ, 1901, pp. 28, 29.

    153 The children are listed in Andrews, pp. 10-11; Treman and Poole, p. 1548.

    154 Andrews, pp. 10, 12, 14.

    155 Named in his will, see next note. She married a second time, Thomas Parvin.

    156 New Jersey Archives, First Series, Vol. XXXII, Abstracts of Wills, Vol. III, 1751-1760, edited by William Nelson, Paterson, NJ, 1901, pp. 17, 18.

    157 Andrews, pp. 10, 14.

    158 Andrews, p. 14. Marriage license dated 26 May 1754.

    159 New Jersey Archives, First Series, Vol. XXXIII, Abstracts of Wills, Vol. IV, 1761-1770, edited by William Nelson, Paterson, NJ, 1901, pp. 22, 23.



    160
    Andrews, pp. 9, 11. Shiloh History, p. 44. Aged 68 at time of death in 1760.

    161 Cohansey Register, p. 29. Eldest son born 18 Dec. 1723.

    162 Treman and Poole, p. 1548.

    163 Treman and Poole, p. 1548. Shiloh History, p. 44. Aged 75 at at time of death in 1774.

    164 Treman and Poole, p. 1548.

    165 Cohansey Register, p. 32.

    166 Cohansey Register, p. 24.

    167 Treman and Poole, p. 1548.

    168 Treman and Poole, p. 1548.

    169 Treman and Poole, p. 1548.

    170 Treman and Poole, p. 1548.

    171 Treman and Poole, p. 1548.

    172 Treman and Poole, p. 1548.

    173 Treman and Poole, p. 1548.



    174
    Treman and Poole, p. 1548.

    175 Treman and Poole, p. 1548.

    176 Treman and Poole, p. 1548.

    177 Treman and Poole, p. 1548.

    178 Treman and Poole, p. 1548. Has September rather than October.

    179 Treman and Poole, p. 1548.

    180 Treman and Poole, p. 1548.



    181
    Cohansey Register, p. 27.

    182 Treman and Poole, p. 1548.

    183 Cohansey Register, p. 27.

    184 Cohansey Register, p. 27.

    185 Cohansey Register, p. 24.

    186 Cohansey Register, p. 27.

    187 Cohansey Register, p. 27.

    188 Cohansey Register, p. 24.

    189 Cohansey Register, p. 27.

    190 Cohansey Register, p. 27.

    191 Cohansey Register, p. 27.



    192
    Cohansey Register, p. 28.

    193 Cohansey Register, pp. 27, 28.

    194 Cohansey Register, p. 28.

    195 Cohansey Register, p. 28.

    196 Cohansey Register, p. 28.

    197 Shiloh History, pp. 29-31.

    198 Cohansey Register, p. 28.

    199 Cohansey Register, p. 28.

    200 Cohansey Register, p. 28.

    201 Cohansey Register, p. 51.

    202 Cohansey Register, pp. 28, 51.

    203 Cohansey Register, p. 28.

    204 Treman and Poole, p. 1549.

    205 Cohansey Register, p. 28.

    206 Record of Marriages, Bk. A, p. 3, Cumberland County Courthouse, Bridgeton, NJ.

    207 Cohansey Register, p. 28.

    208 Cohansey Register, pp. 27, 28.

    209 Cohansey Register, p. 27.




    #