a history of the north society of Middletown, Ct.
from 1650 to 1800
with genealogical and biographical chapters
on early families.

Charles Collard Adams
New York: Grafton Press, 1908.


[transcribed by Coralynn Brown ]

1. Nathaniel Riley (Isaac2, John1, of Wethersfield), b. Jan. 13, 1716, Wethersfield, Conn.; m. Jan. 24, 1739, Abigail Montague, b. July 11, 1716, Wethersfield, dau of Richard Montague and Abigail (Benton) Camp, b. Dec. 9, 1691, widow of Joseph Camp and dau of Samuel Benton.
    Nathaniel3 Riley in 1741 purchased of Ebenezer Sage of Middltown Upper Houses, the homestead of the latter, which had been given to him by his father, John2 Sage. It consisted of two tracts of land. The north part was originally given to John Kirby, whose widow sold it to John Andrews and who sold it to John Kirby, whose widow sold it to John Andrews and who sold it to John Sage, and which had given it to his son, David Sage. This David had a mental infirmity and the property was sold by court procedure and bought in by Timothy. The details were found on the fly-leaf of the treasurer's book of the original church in Middletown. Mr. Riley, according to John Warner's account book, was a harness maker. Here he lived till his death, June 1, 1776. His widow d. 1789.
  • Ann, b. Sept. 1, 1740, lived over one hundred years and died in the old homestead.
  • Tryphena, b. Oct. 1, 1742, m. Mar. 14, 1765, Stephen Savage (William, John), b. Oct. 26, 1737; d. Aug. 14, 1825, Littleton, N.H. Servedd in the Revolution. Children:
    • Anna
    • Stephen
    • Sylvester
    • Roswel
    • Eleanor
    • Elizabeth.
  • Abigail, b. Apr. 14, 1744; m. May 5, 1768, Timothy Sage; d. 1836, Oswego, N.Y.
  • Rosetta, b. May 12, 1746; m. Apr. 22, 1773, Capt. Zebulon Stow (see Stow Family).
  • 2. Asher, b. Mar. 24, 1748.
  • Julius, b. May 7, 1750; m. Mabel Atkins. Served in the Rev. War, also in War of 1812. Rem. to Chester, Mass., and in 1811 to Aurora, O., where he d. Nov. 29, 1839.
  • Eleanor, b. Apr. 12, 1752; lived unm. over one hundred years and died in the old homestead.<
  • Nathaniel, b. Sept. 22, 1754; m. Abigail Atkins. Served in the Revolution. Rem. to Hartford and Windsor ; d. 1805
  • Joseph, b. Jan. 27, 1757; m. Dec. 29, 1793, Elizabeth (Churchill) Williams, widow of Stephen Williams. Rem. 1792 to Sharon, Conn., where he d. Apr. 13, 1801. Served in the Revolution.
  • Mary (twin to Joseph), b. Jan. 27, 1757; d. Feb. 27, 1757.
  • Samuel, b. Apr. 27, 1760; m. Molly Savage, dau. of Capt. Abijah Savage; rem. to Sharon, Conn., then to Great Barrington, Mass. ; lived next to Episcopal rectory.
  • Lucretia, b. Aug. 20, 1763; m. Ozias Mills.

[MONTAGUE LINEAGE—Peter Montague, m. Eleanor Allen, dau of William Allen, both of Boveney, Parish of Burnham, Buckinghampshire, England.
Richards Montague, b. abt. 1614, Burnham, seven miles from Windsor, came to Maine between 1634 and 1646, at which last date he rem. from Wells, Me., to Boston; m. abt. 1637, Abigail Downing, dau. of Rev. Dr. Downing of Norwich, Eng. In 1651 they rem. to Wethersfield, Conn., where she was admitted to the church, May 26, 1651, with a letter from the First ch. of Boston. In 1659 fifty, nine families of Hartford and Wethersfield, including his family, signed an agreement to rem. and settle Hadley, Mass. He d. there Dec. 14, 1681; she Nov. 8, 1694. They had two sons, Peter and John, and four daughters, Mary, Sarah, Martha and Abigail.
    John2 Montague (Richard), b. 1655-6, Wethersfield; m. Mar. 23, 1681, Hannah Smith, dau. of Chileab Smith and Hannah Hitchcock of Hadley. They had seven sons and three daughters. He remained on the homestead until his death, abt. 1732. His widowed mother lived with him till her death, 1694.
    Richard3 Montague, b. Mar. 16, 1684, Hadley, Mass. ; m. July 28, 1715, Abigail Camp, and rem. that year to Wethersfield ; he d. Dec. 24, 1751; she May 7, 1753, aged sixty-two.]
  • Abigail4, b. July 11, 1716 ; m. Nathaniel Riley.
  • Martha, b. Mar. 17, 1726; m. Elisha Sage. (See the Sage Family.)
  • Sarah, b. May 10, 1736; m. June 2, 1757, Amos Sage. (See the Sage Family.)
  • Lucy, b. Apr. 25, 1738; m. Oct. 22, 1761, Capt. John Smith. (See the Smith Family.) ]

  • 2. Asher4 Riley (Nathaniel, Isaac, John), b. Mar. 27, 1748. Upper Houses; m. Oct. 25, 1772, Rebecca Sage (Amos, Timothy, David) , b. Feb. 22, 1754; d. July 15, 1829. He built in the Nuiks the house now known as the "Morrison" house. Served on a privateer. He had thirteen children : d. Mar. 20, 1823, Upper Houses.
    • 3. James, b. Oct. 27, 1779.
    • 4. Submit. b. Mar. 22, 1783.

    • 3. Capt. James3 Riley (Asher, Nathaniel, Isaac, John), b. Oct. 27, 1779, Upper Houses; m. Jan., 1802, Phoebe Miller, b. _____, dau. of Hosea Miller, a patriot of the Revolution (Elijah) and Mary Stow. In 1807 he purchased the property first granted to Thomas4 Ranney and known as Prospect Hill. He set out the forty-two poplar trees seen in the 1835 " view of Middle-town," taken from " Barber's Collections." When fifteen years of age he determined to go to sea, having a desire to visit foreign countries. As he improved his opportunities to study the art of navigation he was at twenty master of a ship. In this capacity he made voyages to all climes visited by American ships, traveled through foreign lands and mastered other languages.
          For several years he was supercargo as well as captain, and prospered. In Jan., 1808, while commanding The Two Marys, he took shelter in Belle Isle, in the Bay of Biscay, the ship was seized by the French under the " Milan decree " of Dec. 17, 1807, and both ship and cargo were confiscated. This loss was followed in 1815 by another more severe to him, but which proved a source of knowledge and benefaction to the world at large. As master and super-. cargo of the brig Commerce, of Hartford, Conn., Captain Riley proceeded to sea, May 6, 1815, bound for New Orleans, where he discharged his cargo, took on another consisting of tobacco and flour, which he landed at Gibraltar, on Aug. 9. There he took on a part load of brandies and wines, intending to complete his cargo with salt at the Cape Verde Islands. A dense fog for some days prevailed, and on the night of the 28th, with a heavy sea and a high wind the ship at 10 P. 3T. struck with violence the reef off Cape Bajador, Africa. The crew landed without loss of life, but the next day were taken captives by a wandering tribe of Arabs and sold by them to Moorish merchantmen and by these carried through the desert of Sahara, where for more than two years they suffered the hardships of slaves. The story is told by Capt. Riley in "Riley's Narrative," which produced a great excitement on its public appearance with its illustrations. He and four of his crew were redeemed by William Wiltshire, the English consul at Mogadore for $1,200. On his return he repaid this amount and named the son born soon after his departure after the English consul. In 1818 he was a member of the convention that framed the Constitution of Conn. In 1821 he was located with his family at the rapids of St. Mary's River, Ohio, where he subsequently laid out a town which he named Wiltshire in honor of the stranger who had ransomed him. In connection with his oldest son, James Watson, they surveyed for the government all the northwest part of Ohio, and laid it out into counties and townships. In 1823-4, he represented Drake and Shelby counties in the legislature, and framed and introduced the bill which gave a public school system to Ohio.
          In 1825, broken in health and longing for the sea, he moved his family to Brooklyn, N. Y., and went on a trading vessel to the West Indies. Later he resumed his commercial relations with the African free ports, France and Spain and died at sea, Mar. 13, 1840. She d. _____.
      • 5. James Watson, b. Feb. 20, 1804.
      • Amelia Ann, b. Sept. 24, 1807; m. Dr. William Murdoch of Urbana, O., d. July 29, 1881.
      • Phoebe, b. Mar. 4, 1811; m. John Jay Beach.
      • Horatio Sprague, b. Jan. 4, 1814.
      • 6. William Wiltshire,-b. May 3, 1815.

      4. Submit Riley (Asher, Nathaniel, Isaac, John) , b. Mar. 22, 1783, Upper Houses ; m. Sept. 23, 1804, Ephraim' Johnson, b. 1782, Middletown, Conn. ; d. July 8, 1846, Willshire, 0. She d. Jan. 25, 1862, Lexington, O.

      • 5. James Watson6 Riley, b. Feb. 20, 1804, Upper Houses ; m. Sept. 27, 1827, Mercer, 0., Susan Gordon Ellis, b. Nov. 22, 1806, Fishkill, N. Y.; d. June 12, 1900, Celina, O, dau. of John Ellis and Kathervne Kindsheimer. Lawyer, clerk of courts of Mercer Co. for twenty years, mem. Leg. 1843-4, I. 0. 0. F., Rep. ; d. Jan. 1,1870, Celina, 0.
        Children :
        • William Wiltshire, b. Dec. 28, 1818; physician ; m. Ruth Linzee. Five children.
        • Calvin Erastus, b. Oct. 9, 1830; banker ; m. (1) Gabriel P. Brandon. Seven children ; res. Celina, O.<
        • Amelia Ann, b. Aug. 16, 1832; m. William. McMurray; d. Feb. 4, 1880. Six children.
        • James Watson, b. Sept. 8, 1834; private 1st Batt. N. Y. Sharp-shooters; miller, mayor of Celina; m. Esther Evaline Mowry. Three children; res. Celina, O.
        • 7. Susan Ellis, b. May 1, 1840; m. Eli M. Ashley.
        • Mahalie Jane, b. Dec. 15, 1843 ; m. Alfred J. Hodder; lawyer. Two sons ; res. Brookline, Mass.

          7. Susan Ellis7 Riley (James Watson), b. May 1, 1840, Celina. O.; m. Oct. 15, 1861, Eli Melville Ashley, b. May 28, 1833, Portsmouth, 0., son of Rev. John C. Ashley and Mary Kirkpatrick, the Ashley family being prominent in early days of Virginia.
              Mr. Ashley was educated at the Western Ohio Liberal Institute, Portsmouth. From 1854-61, in drug trade in Toledo, O.; 1861-1874, chief clerk of the Surveyor General's office of the newly made Territory of Colorado; in 1885, organized the Western Chemical Works, pres. to 1894; in 1887, Pres. of Denver Chamber of Commerce ; 1890, chairman of Rep. State Central Com.; 1890-2, Pres. of the Mfrs. Exchange, F. & A. M., S. A. R.
          Mrs. Ashley on her marriage traveled with her husband 1,000 miles by stage to reach their new home in Denver ; a founder of Denver's Orphans' Home, Denver's W. C. T. U., Denver Women's Club ; active in estab. " State Home for Dependent Children," Lady Mgr. of the World's Columbian Exposition, chief of Women's Dept. Colorado World Fair Board; 1894, delegate to the first political State convention to admit women as members; 1895, Pres. of Colo. Fed. of Women's Clubs; D. A. R. through Hosea Miller of Upper Houses. Mrs. Ashley is a world traveler; res. Denver, Colorado. Four children.

          8. James6 Riley Johnson, D. D. (Submit Riley) . b. Jan. 30, 1818, in the first framed house erected in Mt. Vernon, 0.; m. (1) Mar. 20, 1839, Truxville, 0., Nancy Bennett Hetherington, h. Nov. 15, 1820, Lycoming Co., Pa.; d. June 13, 1853, Lawrence, Mass., dau. of David Hetherington and Elizabeth Hough (dau. of John and Elizabeth Hough of Pa.) ; m. (2) Parasina R. Morse. He has been a Universalist clergyman for sixty-two years; was mem. Leg. of Mass.. 1854-5, F. & A. M.. chaplain of Rockland Lodge at Nyack, which yearly honors him with golden showers on his birthday. He preached the funeral sermon of his cousin, William Wiltshire Riley. and spoke at reunion of 1907 of Society of M. U. H. Res. Nyack, N. Y.
          Children by 1st marriage:
          • Caroline Almira, b. May 6, 1840: d. Feb. 5, 1843.
          • Henry Clay, b. Nov. 29, 1842 ; d. Feb. 6, 1846.
          • 9. Julia Bennett, b. May 16, 1848; m. C. H. Dillaby.

            Children by 2d marriage:
          • Alice Cary, b. Mar. 2, 1855; unm. Res. Nyack, N. Y.
          • Walter Scott, b. Aug. 18, 1856; m. Emma E. Pettibone. Res. Nyack, N. Y.
          • James Morse, b. Apr. 17, 1860; d. Feb. 4, 1872.

          • 9. Julia Bennett7 Johnson (Rev. James Riley Johnson), b. May 16, 1848, Victor, N. Y.; m. Oct. 15, 1867, Norwich, Conn., Charles Henry Dillaby (Charles, Philip), b. Nov. 1, 1833, Norwich, Conn.; d. Oct. 6, 1889, Norwich. Assistant postmaster eighteen years, tax collector thirteen years, Rep., Univ. The widow res. in Somerville, Mass.
            Children :
            • Julian Riley, b. June 18, 1873; unm., political writer on Boston Advertiser.
            • Frank Henry, b. June 20, 1875; m. Oct. 25, 1905, Martha Day, b. Aug. 2, 1877, dau. of Marcellus and Mary J. Day, of Charlestown, Mass. Architect ; res. Boston, Mass.
            • Charles Paine, b. Apr. 30, 1878 ; unm. ; architectural draughtsman. Res. Somerville, Mass.

    [JOHNSON LINEAGE—Thomas1 Johnson, son of John of England, was in New Haven, 1635-6; drowned in the harbor, 1640; m. Helena ______, who m. (2) Arthur Bostwick of Stratford.
    • Williamw Johnson was one of the original proprietors of Wallingford, b. ; d. 1716 ; m. Dec., 1664, Sarah Hare, dau. of John and Jane Hare.
      • Jacob3 Johnson, b. Sept.. 25, 1674: d. July 17, 1749 ; m. Dec. 14, 1693, Abigail Hitchcock, dau. of John Hitchcock and Abigail Merriman. He was serg. of Wallingford train band. deputy to the General Court, 1721, 1732, 1733, 1736. He m. (2) Dorcas Lindsey of Branford.
        Reuben4 Johnson, b. Aug. 27, 1694; m. Mar. 11, 1718, Mary Dayton Tuttle.
        • Ephraim5 Johnson, b.____ ; m. Dec. 1, 1754, Hannah Ward, dau. of Capt. Macock Ward and Hannah Tyler. and great-great-granddaughter of Andrews Ward of Wethersfield and Fairfield.
          • Luther6 Johnson, b. June 25, 1759, enlisted from Wallingford in 1776, as private in Capt. Bunnell's Co, 5th Battalion, Wadsworth's Brigade. Their son Ephraim married Submit Riley.
          • Ephraim Johnson resided in Middletown, Conn., and Mt. Vernon, Lexington and Willshire, O. Two children were born in Upper Houses, six were born in Ohio. The fifth child was
            • James Riley6 Johnson, b. Jan. 30, 1818.]

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