Whidden Family of New England and Nova Scotia


Last update of page: 15 March 2000.


The Whidden family enters into Douglas J. Graham's Family Reunion through Elizabeth Whidden, b. 1774, who married the Reverend Hugh Graham, the first Graham of my family to emigrate to Canada from Scotland. The Whiddens were English who first emigrated to New England and then to Nova Scotia. They can be traced back four generations from Elizabeth herself:



Ichabod Whidden, b. 1642 --- m. --- ?

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Samuel Whidden, b. 1676 --- m. --- Hannah Smith

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James Whidden, b. 1710 --- m. --- Mary Lyons (four sons)

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John Whidden, b. 1741 --- m. --- Elizabeth Longfellow (two daughters)

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Hugh Graham, b. 1758--- m. --- Elizabeth Whidden (6 children)


An alternative version in family records refer to a Whidden who came with his bride from Ipswich, England to Connecticut in 1632. His descendents, in this version, moved to the Cornwallis Valley of Nova Scotia in 1776 or perhaps in 1780, presumably loyalists fleeing the American Revolution. Some records mention a Matthew Whidden (1690-1730) who would, in this alternative version, have been a direct ancestor of John Whidden, b. 1741 (see below).

Ichabod Whidden, b. 1642


The version shown in the family tree above, and which seems to be better documented and therefore perhaps more reliable, starts with Ichabod Whidden, b. 1642. He left Portsmouth, England and emigrated to Connecticut (or to Newport, New Hampshire?) in 1662 as a young man of 20.

Samuel Whidden, b. 1676


Ichabod had a son Samuel, b. 1676, who probably married a Hannah Smith and had a son James Whidden, b. 1710.

James Whidden, b. 1710


James Whidden, b. 1710, married Mary Lyons and they had four sons. In 1761, 51 years old, he emigrated to Nova Scotia, with all of his family, where James became one of the original Grantees of Truro Township. After they moved to Nova Scotia, Mary died and James remarried to Mary Guild, the widow of Jacob Lynds. James died 13 Dec. 1790 and at that time, his widow went to live with her son, Thomas Lynds at the North River of Truro (Thomas was the husband of Rebecca Blair). James and Mary Whidden had four sons, one of whom (John) was to become the father-in-law of Hugh Graham. John and his siblings are considered in the following section.

John Whidden, b. 1741, and his Siblings


1) John, b. 1741 in New England. John is my great-(4x)-grandfather. John married Elizabeth Longfellow and they settled in Cornwallis, N.S. where he was a prominent citizen of the town. He was a Justice of the Peace and Judge of the Court of Common Pleas for Kings County. It is also recorded that he was married, perhaps a second wife (?), to Mary Smith, b. 1735, daughter of Jonathan Smith, b. in Boston in 1701. John Whidden died 14 September 1794 (1799?). He and his wife (presumably Elizabeth?) are buried in an old churchyard on Cornwallis River Branch. Their graves were visited by Ethel Graham in 1959 at which time she noted they were in good condition. He had, so far as is known, two daughters (see next section).


2) David, b. 1749, in New England. The descendents of David, and his two brothers below, are all treated in great detail, for at least three more generations, in Miller's genealogical history of Colchester County. David was a Grantee of Truro Township in 1765. On 29 Sept. 1774 he m. Eleanor, b. 1754, second daughter of Adam and Janet Dickey. He inherited his father's properties in Truro but in 1795 he sold out and moved to nearby Maitland, N.S. He died 1 October 1825 and his widow died 10 Aug. 1828. They had 3 sons and 1 daughter.


3) Samuel, b. 1752. He m. Abigail Newcomb, b. 1758, on 15 July 1774. They settled on the Salmon River where he d. 10 July, 1821 and she d. 11 March 1815. We found the graves of Samuel and Abigail in August 2005 in the Truro Cemetery (3). We recorded his death date from the gravestone as 11 July 1821 (to be confirmed), aged 69. They had ten children.

4) Simeon, b. in New England in 1754. In 1775 he m. Dorothy, b. 1753, the daughter of Capt. William Blair and Jane Barns. They settled in Middle Stewiacke in 1782. In Jan. 1801 he was loading logs in the woods when one rolled on him, breaking his leg. He died three days later. His widow died in November 1827. They had eleven children.

Elizabeth Whidden, b. 1774, and her Sister


The two known children of John Whidden and Elizabeth Longfellow are:


1) Sarah, who drowned at the Truro Board landing on 12 Aug. 1770. It is noted that she was 17 but it more likely that she was much younger.


2) Elizabeth, b. 1774, married the Rev. Hugh Graham in 1792. Presumably this birth date from Miller's book? GeneJane (2) gives it as 15 Dec. 1768, Cornwallis Township. Little is known about her except that she was a pious woman. She died 12 June 1816 in Stewiacke, aged 42.

Sources


The detailed information on the Whiddens of Nova Scotia comes primarily from Miller's genealogical history of Colchester County. Information on the earlier Whiddens were recorded in various undocumented papers of Ethel Graham (see also Family Reunion Sources) and are based on a variety of family records passed down through the generations. None are well documented and none have been confirmed through secondary research.

See note (1) below about the "Whidden Family of Nova Scotia", by H. Whidden. I have not seen (nor looked for) this book; it would undoubtedly be a rich source of new material.

Footnotes


(1) Composite Sprague Database of Dick Weber of Platteville, WI with some 110,000 individuals; consulted in Sept. 99. The database is quite carefully sourced and can be consulted for detailed information on sources. Weber uses as its source the "Whidden Family of Nova Scotia", by H. Whidden.
(2) "GeneJane's" (Jane Wile) database on Nova Scotian families: http://www.genealogynet.com/resident/genejane/index.php. At least on the Web, this site does not provide any source information. It should be consulted for much additional information on names and dates not recorded here.
(3) Personal visit of myself and William and Margaret Graham to the Truro Cemetery on 22 August 2005. A few more detailed notes in my own records. This was not a systematic visit but rather just a few quick observations.