Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Thomas Bills Married Sisters, Granddaughters of Plymouth Pilgrims

                Mercy Bills Cutler, wife of Benjamin Cutler, was born in 1715 in Monmouth County, New Jersey.  She married Benjamin in Middletown Township, Bucks County, PA on December 16, 1731.  She had transferred her membership from the Shrewsbury Monthly Meeting to Middletown Monthly Meeting two months prior to their marriage. 

                Mercy’s parents were Nathaniel and Mary Gardiner Bills.  Nathaniel’s will, proved March 31, 1729, lists his children:  Thomas, Girsham, Daniel, Marcey (Mercy), Catherine, Joanah, and Elisabeth.  Nathaniel must not have been literate, as the will is signed with his mark, not his signature.  On the other hand, the will states he is “very sick and weak,” so maybe he was too ill to sign his name.  Mary had died the year prior.  Mary was the daughter of Richard and Hanna Grover Gardiner and was born in Eastham, MA.

                Nathaniel was the son of Thomas and Joanna Twining Bills and was also born in Eastham, MA.  His birth is recorded in the Town Records:

                Thomas Bills was born in 1650 in Eastham, MA.  He married first Anna Twining, on October 3, 1672.  Anna died three years later, and then Thomas married her sister, Joanna, in 1676.  Thomas was a weaver by trade, and moved around quite a bit.  He lived at Yarmouth, MA, Burlington, NJ, and Shrewsbury, NJ. He is thought to be the son of William Bills, one of the first settlers of Cape Cod.

                The Twining sisters were the granddaughters of Stephen Deane, a Pilgrim who arrived at Plymouth in the second ship, The Fortune, in November, 1621 and built the first corn mill in the colony.   Isn’t that something that we have an ancestor who arrived at Plymouth around the time of the first Thanksgiving feast?  The Pilgrim must have been so excited to have a ship arrive after barely surviving their first winter, but The Fortune brought very little supplies and more mouths to feed.  It has been fascinating to read more about the Pilgrims and the settlement at Plymouth. 

                The Twining sister’s grandmother, Widow Mary Ring, was also a Plymouth Pilgrim.  The Ring Family was on the ship Speedwell, which was to accompany the Mayflower.  The Speedwell leaked so badly that it had to turn back to England almost immediately.  Mary’s husband, William, became ill and died.  Mary stayed in Holland for nine years, then brought her three children to America in 1629.  We are related to the Ring Family through Ada Goldsberry’s ancestors as well as Clarence Goldsberry’s ancestors.  More about that later!

     Thomas Bills died in Monmouth County, NJ on April 2, 1721.  Joanna died in 1723.

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