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Rowland Stebbins - Sarah Whiting

Rowland Stebbins was born in 1592 at Stebbing (English parish-Bocking), Essex County, England, of a "family of great antiquity." He was baptized on November 5, 1592 at St. Mary’s Church in Bocking. He was the son of Thomas Stebbins. He married Sarah Whiting in Bocking on November 30, 1618. In 1634, with his wife and four children (Thomas-14, Sarah-11, Elizabeth-6, and John-8) and a Mary Winch (possibly a niece), Rowland Stebbins sailed in the ship "Francis" from Ipswich, England to the Colonies. Because of his parentage. Rowland was considered a "person of quality." He is included in "Tile Original Lists of Persons of Quality" (Hotten's List of Emigrants) . The Stebbinses sailed from Ipswich as the nearest major seaport. Coming to the New World would have been an adventurous but not unusual undertaking in 1634. Although the Pilgrims had landed at at Plymouth Rock only 14 years earlier, emigration to Massachusetts was already booming. From 1629 to 1640 nearly 10,000 people were transplanted into the colony. Rowland Stebbins and his family first settled in Roxbury, Massachusetts. In 1635, he moved to Agawam, Massachusetts (afterward named Springfield), which was a colony founded by William Pyncheon. His wife, Sarah, died Oct. 4, 1649 at Springfield, Hamdon County, Massachusetts, aged 58 years. Rowland was a surveyor. His skills would have been very much in demand during this period when dozens of towns and thousands of farms were being carved out of the wilderness. Indeed, he and his immediate children were involved in at least six new settlements ("developments," as we might call them): Roxbury, Springfield, Brimfield, Longmeadow, Northhampton, and Deerfield. Rowland is reported to have been assigned a sitting in the first seat of the church along with four other men. He was a freeman in 1664. Between 1664 and 1669, Rowland moved to Northampton, Massachusetts and was one of the first settlers there. Twenty-four male petitioners founded Northampton in 1653. A 1661 church covenant shows seventy-five men and women in town. By 1674, Northampton held 108 men and the total town population stood at close to 500 persons. Rowland Stebbins died Dec. 14, 1671 at Northampton. His burial place was found at Northampton in 1850 and marked. His will is recorded in the Will Book of Springfield, dated the first day of the first month of 1669-70.

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