Genealogical and Family History
of the

Compiled under the editorial supervision of George Thomas Little, A. M., Litt. D.

New York

[Please see Index page for full citation.]

[Transcribed by Coralynn Brown]

[Many families included in these genealogical records had their beginnings in Massachusetts.]


Family history is the root of local history; the family is the unit of the state; and "history is philosophy teaching by example." Hence we cannot easily overestimate the value of preserving the record of its doings and its traditions. In this way alone we discover the real source of our state and national development and measure our comparative position in the brotherhood of nations. The family acting in unison was a definite force in relgion, politics, or sectional issues and war itself; the hereditary impulse to follow in the footsteps of an old sire. We speak of a Methodist family, or a Whig family, or a Tory, and in the halcyon, child-bearing days the tribve from grandsire to grandson, with its ramifications, was a powerful and numerous ally in behalf of the cause it espoused, and commanded immediate respect. In those times family concils were held to determine action on current matters. "A house divided against itself cannot stand." The strength and influence of the Capen line was attained and maintained by their concert of action.

(I) Barnard Capen was born in England in 1562 and died in Dorchester, Mass. Nov. 8, 1638, and is the patriarch of the family. He was probably the oldest among the early emigrants to come to America, being at the time over seventy. We can imagine the courage, the fortitude and the sacrifice of the old man braving the dangers of the unknown Atlantic and the hidden, relentless foes of the forest in the eventide of life. Old ties undered, old associations broken and all that he held ear surrendered.
Bernard Capen was granted land in Dorchester in 1633. His gravestone is supposed to be the oldest in New England.
He married, in 1596, Joan, daughter of Oliver Purchase.
Ruth, Susanna, and an only son, the stem upon which all Capens in United States spring.

(II) John, son of Barnard and Joan (Purchase) Capen, was born in England, Jan. 26, 1612, and died in Dorchester, April 6, 1692. He was deacon in the church, selectman sixteen years, deputy to the court repeatedly, thirteen years town recorder, and wrote more in the records in a fairly legible hand than any other who held the position. He is styled captain by local historians and it is supposed he commanded a troop of local militia. By trade he was a shoemaker. His house stood on the corner of Pleasant and Pond streets.
Deacon Capen married (first) Redigan Clapp, Oct. 20, 1637. She died Dec. 10, 1645. He married (second) Mary, daughter of Deacon Samuel Bass, of Braintree, Mass.
Children of 1st wife:
Joanna, John.
Children of 2d wife:
Samuel, Barnard, Mary, Bernard, Preserved, Joseph, Hannah and Elizabeth.

(III) Samuel (1), oldest born of John and Mary (Bass) Capen, was born in Braintree, July 29, 1648, and died in Dorchester, May 19, 1733.

(IV) Samuel (2), son of Samuel (1) Capen, was born in Braintree in 1686 and died in 1757.

(V) Josiah, son of Samuel (2) Capen, was the father of Josiah, mayor of Watertown in 1783
Samuel, Benjamin, Jonathan, Lemuel and Polly.

(VI) Benjamin (1), third son of Josiah Capen, was born in Watertown. He enlisted in the Lexington alarm roll of Capt. Maynard's company and Col. Gardner's regiment on the alarm, April 19, 1775, and was credited from Watertown. He was also of Capt. Stern's company to reinforce the army at the taking of Dorchester Heights in March, 1776.
The baptismal records discover two sons:
Alexander and David.

(VII) Alexander, first born of Benjamin (1) Capen, was born in Watertown, Jan. 30, 1779, and died at Eastport, Maine, Nov., 1873. He left his father at the age of fourteen and learned the joiner's trade, afterward enlisting when nineteen as a drummer in the U. S. army, and was stationed at Portland, Portsmouth, Newport, Pittsburg and Kaskaskias, near St. Louis; received his discharge there and returned to his home in Portland, where his father seems to have settled. The journey occupied two months of constant traveling.
In 1809 he came to Eastport, Washington county, then beginning to attract attention as a desirable location. Mr. Capen erected a house there in 1811, in which he always afterward lived, in which four of his family were born, in which he died and which is still (1908) standing, the old Capen homestead.
Alexander was an industrious, quite, unassuming, temperate Christian, held in high esteem by those who knew him, living to the grand old age of ninety-five; indeed he was a grand old man, possessing some of the traits of Uncle Bernard, the head of the house.
He married Jane Kenwood, of Portland, Mass., at Newport. Rhode Island, March 5, 1799, and she died Sept. 22, 1848.
Alexander, John, David, Edward, Charles, Elizabeth, Jane, Benjamin and Mary Ann.

(VIII) Benjamin (2), sixth son of Alexander and Jane (Kenwood) Capen, was born at the old homestead in Eastport, Dec. 8, 1813, and died there Oct. 30, 1894. He was a carpenter, contractor and farmer.
He married Martha Tucker, born March 8, 1820, which was the natal year of the old Pine Tree state, and died Aug. 7, 1858.
Edward, Elthea, Martha Ellen, Andrew Tucker and Benjamin Franklin.
His second wife, Rebecca (Leach) Capen was the mother of:
Charles Elmer and Everett Lincoln.

(IX) Charles Elmer, first son of Benjamin and Rebecca (Leach) Capen, was born in Eastport, Sept. 5, 1861, amid the excitement of the civil war, and the day before General Grant won the battle of Paducah. After receiving a public school education, he traveled extensively in this country. He entered into the sardine-canning business and finally turned his interests over to the Seacoast Canning Company, of which he was manager. He is now president of the Independent Canning Company. It owns and operates two of the largest canning plants in the U. S., packing and shipping one hundred and fifty thousand cases per year, one hundred cans in a case. Mr. Capen is to the sardine trade what the Havemeyers are to sugar, Andrew Carnegie to steel and the Armours to beef. Eastport is at the head and front of the business in this country, and Mr. Capen is at the tip top and pinnacle of it all. He owned the Eastport Lighting Company and transferred same to the Eastport Electric Company, of which latter he was general manager. He is vice-president of the Eastport Savings Bank and a director in the Frontier National Bank.
He is a Republican in politics; he is a member of the school board, of which he was chairman, a director of the public library, board of aldermen and was made chairman of the committee to build the Eastport grammar school. He is broad and liberal in his religious and philosophical views. Mr. Capen was at one time a member of Compan I, Second Regiment, Maine National Guard. He belongs to the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of Eastport and trustee of the same.
Mr. Capen married Lillian M., daughter of John B. and Augusta Harrington, of Eastport.
Howard B., Fred A., Ralph, Oscar E., Ada S., Arthur R. and Charles D.
They are all at school, except Ralph, who died in infancy.

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