From the files of Stephen M. Lawson

Cummins Kinship and DNA Analysis

John Cummins and Mary

Jacob Cummins and Huldah Coolidge

Mindwell Cummins and David Brown

Huldah Brown and Benoni Morey

Eli Morey and Sophronia Mason

Elijah Mason Morey and Elizabeth Merrill

William Clemeth Morey and Melvina E. Andrews

Minnie Elsie Morey and Aretus Erastus Freeman

Iva Melvina Freeman and Donald VanHoosier Lawson

Stephen Martin Lawson

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Cummins Kinship and DNA Analysis

For over a century, there have been conjectures of a kinship between John COMINS of Woburn and Oxford, MA and Isaac CUMMINGS of Watertown and Ipswich, MA. Due to lack of documentary evidence, no kinship has been proven. Recent studies of the families, including suggestions of possible, unproven kinships include the following two articles from the New England Historical and Genealogical Record: "Isaac Cummings of Essex County, Massachusetts," by John Plummer (NEHGR 145 [1991]:239-240), and "John Comins (c.1668-1751) of Woburn and Oxford, Massachusetts, and Windham County, Connecticut - Exploring His Origins and Connections," by Abbott Lowell Cummings (NEHGR 153 [1999]:52-72). Readers are urged to consult the indicated articles for further details.

The research relating to a kinship between Isaac and John is reviewed in the First Generation chapter (pages 1-14) of Abbot Lowell Cummings' Descendants of John Comins (ca. 1688-1751) and his wife Mary of Woburn and Oxford, Massachusetts and Windham County, Connecticut (Boston: Newbury Street Press, 2001). The Isaac Cummings Family Association maintains a summary of the current research concerning the CUMMINS family in England, both for Isaac CUMMINGS of Topsfield, MA and John COMINS of Woburn, MA.

The conjectured kinship is no longer included here, following the publication in the "Genetics & Genealogy" column of New England Ancestors (NEHGS, Summer 2003, Vol. 4, No. 3) of David Butler Cummings' article, "Was 'Woburn John' Comins Kin of Isaac Cummings?" (pages 49-51, 53).

The article presents genetic analysis based on DNA samples from three decendants from three sons of John COMINS and from six descendants through two sons and four grandsons of Isaac CUMMINGS - fascinating! The analysis resulted in the conclusion: "The likelihood the 'Woburn John' was a grandnephew of Isaac in the male line... is exeedingly small, about three chances out of a million. Thus it can be said there is almost no likelihood of a male line connection between the descendants of Isaac Cummings and 'Woburn John' Comins." The author notes that these studies "in no way rule out the possibility of a relationship in female lines," and presents a number of possible explanations of how descendants of "Woburn John" bear the Cummings surname, but not the Cummings Y-DNA. Recommended reading.

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The Cummins family in America

The principal source of information on the Cummins family in America is Descendants of John Comins (ca.1668-1751) and his wife, Mary, of Woburn and Oxford, Massachusetts, and Windham County, Connecticut, by Abbott Lowell Cummings (2001, Newbury Street Press, Boston). Please refer to this well documented publication for up to nine generations of Comins/Cummins/Commings surnamed descendants of "Woburn John" CUMMINS. The author concludes that the subject is "of unknown parentage and the place and exact date of his birth have not been determined." He does, however, discuss a possible origin on pages 3-7 that is consistent with the hypothesis presented here, and concludes that such origin is possible but with no documentary evidence available.

Foundational research of the CUMMINS line from John CUMMINS through son Jacob to granddaughter Mindwell (CUMMINS) BROWN was published in 1892 at Oxford, MA in History of the Town of Oxford Massachusettes with Genealogies and Notes on Persons and Estates, by George F. Daniels, pages 446-448.

John and Mary Cummins

John CUMMINS - b. about 1668; d. Apr. 10, 1751. Parentage unknown. His death place may have been either Killingly, Windham Co., CT or Oxford, Worcester Co., MA, where his son John resided. The death date is from a bible published in 1712 and which has remained in the family for nearly 300 years, containing the following quotation as reported by Abbott Lowell Cummings in Descendants of John Comins (2001), page 1:

Charlton [Massachusetts] April the 18 day year 1762[,] Reuben Comins his Book[,] geven to him by his grandfather John Comins who departed this lif April the 10 d[a]y 1751 Age 83 years and gave this Book to Jacob Comins his Son his Life time and then orde[re]d it to be genen to Reuben Comins the son of Jacob Comins.

The earliest reference to "John Comins and mary his wife" is a Middlesex Court charge of Mar. 21, 1690/1 that they committed fornication prior to marriage. Additional court records of Jun. 16, Jul. 17 and Aug. 14, 1691 reveal some details of the penitence of John and Mary, John's earlier apprenticeship to Edmond ADROS, his participation in the campaign against Canada in late 1690, and the Court's reduction of the original £4 fine by 40 shillings. Resided at Woburn (or Cambridge Village), MA until 1709 when he bought 150 acres at Pomfret (then Mashamuchituck), CT. Purchased land at Thompson Parish and Chestnut Hill in 1717, and moved to Oxford, Worcester Co., MA in 1719 when he purchased the 'old mill'. Deeded land to sons Jacob and Stephen in 1723-1724. John CUMMINS was a member of the Church, and served as chairman of selectmen and as town clerk in 1721, 1723 and 1724 at Oxford, Worcester Co., MA. Returned to Killingly, CT in or shortly after 1726, following the death of his wife. Married about 1691, probably at Woburn, Middlesex Co., MA.

Mary - d. Oct. 24, 1724 or 1725, Oxford, Worcester Co., MA.

Children of John and Mary Cummins

  1. A child - b. bef. Mar. 21, 1691/2; d. as infant.
  2. John - b. Sep. 15, 1692, Woburn, Middlesex Co., MA; d. there Dec. 15, 1693.
  3. Mary - b. Jul. 31, 1694, Woburn, Middlesex Co., MA.
  4. John - b. Jul. 12, 1696, Woburn, Middlesex Co., MA; d. Nov. 9, 1741, Oxford, Worcester Co., MA. He was married to Mary LEE, daughter of Samuel LEE and Mary. John and Mary renewed the covenant at Killingly, CT on Sep. 9, 1716, and there first 9 children were baptised there between 1716 and 1732. The family moved to New Bedford (now Sturbridge), MA about 1732, where John was the master builder of the first meetinghouse. Children of John and CUMMINS: Mary married Abraham ADAMS; Sarah; Elizabeth; Katherine married Aaron ALLEN; Keziah married Daniel ORMSBEE (son of Daniel and Ruth, and brother of Abraham); Patience; Dinah married Joseph PEPPER; Sibyl married Abraham ORMSBEE (brother of Daniel); John married Rachel SNOW; Gershom; and Elijah married Lydia FOSTER.
  5. Catharine - b. Aug. 31, 1698, Woburn, Middlesex Co., MA.
  6. Jacob - b. Jul. 14, 1700, Woburn, Middlesex Co., MA; d. Apr.-May 1762, Worcester Co., MA. Twin of Josiah.
  7. Josiah - b. Jul. 14, 1700, Woburn, Middlesex Co., MA; d. Jul. 1750; Killingly, CT. Twin of Jacob. Josiah was called a tailor in 1722 and a fuller in 1742. He resided at Woodstock, CT (then in Suffolk Co., MA), at Rehoboth, Bristol Co., MA (1738-1742), and Thompson Parish, Killingly, Windham Co., CT. Inventory of his estate was returned on Jul. 14, 1750. Intentions to marry were published on Apr. 29, 1721, and Josiah was first married on May 15, 1721 at Woodstock, CT to Mary FRISSELL (b. Jul. 8, 1701,Woodstock, C' d. Feb. 25, 1730/1, Woodstock, CT), daughter of Joseph FRISSELL and Abigail BARTHOLOMEW. Intentions to marry were published on Apr. 8, 1732, and Josiah was second married on May 30, 1732 at Woodstock, CT to Mehetable GRIGGS (b. Jul. 7, 1709, Roxbury, MA; d. May 6, 1782, Pomfret, CT), daughter of Benjamin GRIGGS and Patience GRIGGS [ref. TAG 66:176-83]. Children of Josiah and Mary CUMMINS: Josiah married first Anna TUCKER, and second Milliset NISTEED; Sarah married Benjamin JOY; Mary married Nathaniel CLARK; Abigail; and Joseph died as infant. Children of Josiah and Mehetable CUMMINS: Anna; Joseph died as child; Lois married John BLANCHARD; Elizabeth; Stephen died as infant; Stephen married Martha FARNHAM; Joseph married Eunice YEOMANS; and Mehetabel married Daniel WHITE.
  8. Stephen - b. Jan. 12, 1702/3, Woburn, Middlesex Co., MA. He owned the covenant and, with his wife, made profession of faith on Jan. 3, 1731 at the Thompson parish church, Killingly, CT. He worked as a carpenter and housewright in Thompson parish and removed to Oxford, MA by 1745, and to Canterbury, CT by May 1, 1747 - the latest record found for the family. Married Feb. 13, 1728/9 at Killingly, Windham Co., CT to Mary BIXBY (bap. May 1707, Topsfield, MA), daughter of Benjamin BIXBY and Martha LAMSON and settled at Killingly, Windham Co., CT. Children of Stephen and Mary CUMMINS: Sarah married her first cousin Samuel CUMMINS (son of James CUMMINS); Keziah; Mary; Martha; Stephen died as child; Benjamin died as infant; Catherine; and Benjamin.
  9. James - b. May 17, 1705, Woburn, Middlesex Co., MA; d. May 17, 1776, Willington, Tolland Co., CT. Married Mar. 19, 1724/5 at Oxford, Worcester Co., MA to Sarah JENNINGS (d. Nov. 29, 1774, Willington, Tolland Co., CT). Lived at Willington, Tolland Co., CT by 1732. He also had land transactions in neighboring Stafford and Ashford. Sarah was a member of the Willington church by Nov. 28, 1759, and James became a member in 1763. Children of James and Sarah CUMMINS: James married Sarah WILLSON; John married Elizabeth WHITING (they became ancestors of architectural historian, antiquarian and genealogist Prof. Abbott Lowell CUMMINGS, Ph.D.); Jonathan married first Hannah TYKLER, and second Sarah GLAZIER; Samuel married his first cousin Sarah CUMMINS (daughter of Stephen CUMMINS); Sybil married Broadstreet TYLER; and probably Gideon married Ruth GLAZIER.

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Jacob and Huldah (Coolidge) Cummins

Jacob CUMMINS - b. Jul. 14, 1700, Woburn, Middlesex Co., MA; d. Apr.-May 1762, Worcester Co., MA. Son of John CUMMINS and Mary. His death date is not documented, but one report is that he died May 4, 1762 at Charlton, Worcester Co., MA. Abbott Lowell Cumings reports his death date as Apr. 18, 1762, with reference to the bible record quoted previously in the narrative for his father, but it may have been that the bible passed to his son Reuben by Jacob CUMMINS after writing his will and in anticipation of his impending death. Jacob CUMMINS served in the French war. He lived at the corner of Main and Sutton roads at Oxford, Worcester Co., MA, on a farm in 1730, and in the north part of town for a short period until he purchased a sawmill in 1736. Settled at Charlton, Worcester Co., MA before his death. His will dated Apr. 17, 1762 (George Daniels gives will date of Apr. 7, 1762 in History of Town of Oxford) and proved May 17, 1762 left his property at Charlton to sons Lemuel and Jacob. The estate was declared insolvent. Married first Jul. 27, 1723, possibly at Framingham, Middlesex Co., MA Martha LEARNED (b. May. 2, 1702; d. Sep. 17, 1732, Oxford, Worcester Co., MA), daughter of Isaac LEARNED and Sarah BIGELOW, and mother of Jacob. Married second May 24, 1733, Oxford, Worcester Co., MA Huldah COOLIDGE, mother of William and Mindwell. Married third Feb. 22, 1736/7 Elizabeth EDDY (d. Apr. 26, 1749, Oxford, Worcester Co., MA), mother of seven youngest children. Intentions to marry fourth Deborah HINKLEY of Willington, Tolland Co., CT were published Aug. 1750 at Oxford, Worcester Co., MA.

Huldah COOLIDGE - b. Jan. 10, 1704/5, Watertown, Middlesex Co., MA; d. Nov. 25, 1736, Oxford, Worcester Co., MA. Daughter of John COOLIDGE and Margaret BOND.

Sons of Jacob and Martha Cummins

  1. Jacob - b. Sep. 21, 1724, Oxford, Worcester Co., MA; d. Dec. 1, 1745. Died while "Being in his Majesties service at Cape Britton."

Daughter of Jacob and Huldah Cummins

  1. William - b. Feb. 15, 1733/4, Oxford, Worcester Co., MA. Intentions to marry published Nov. 10, 1760, and married on Apr. 1, 1765 at Charlton, Worcester Co., MA to Margaret HAMMOND and settled at Eddington, ME. Children of William and Margaret CUMMINS: Coolidge died as infant; William; James; Coolidge married Margaret MANSFIELD; Mindwell; Margaret; and Hannah.
  2. Mindwell - b. Dec. 11, 1735, Oxford, Worcester Co., MA. Married David BROWN.

Children of Jacob and Elizabeth Cummins

  1. Reuben - b. Dec. 4, 1737, Oxford, Worcester Co., MA. A farmer and tanner, Reuben served in the French and Indian war, and in the Revolution as a replacement for Nehemiah STONE, the father of his future daughter-in-law Lydia (STONE) MARBLE CUMMINS. Married on Dec. 2, 1762 at Charlton, Worcester Co., MA to Mary PARKER (b. Nov. 16, 1737, Malden, MA). Children of Reuben and Mary CUMMINS: Achsan married Jabez WILLIS; Naomi married David WARD; Reuben married Betsy CLARK; Barnabas married Mary 'Molly' BACON; Mary married Joel PARKER; Elizabeth married Asa BACON; and Issachar married first Cynthia WILSON, and second Lydia (STONE) MARBLE.
  2. Martha - b. Jul. 25, 1739, Oxford, Worcester Co., MA. Married on Nov. 21, 1754 at Charlton, Worcester Co., MA to Joseph LAFLIN (b. about 1720), a blacksmith of Charlton, probably the son of Charles and Agnes LAFLIN. One daughter is said to have married Samuel MORSE. Children of Martha and Joseph LAFLIN: Phebe; Joseph; Solomon; Charles; Parley; Martha; Lucretia; Jacob; and Deborah.
  3. Solomon - b. May. 1, 1741, Oxford, Worcester Co., MA; d. 1759. Was age 18 in the French war, and presumably did not marry.
  4. Lemuel - b. May 20, 1743, Oxford, Worcester Co., MA; d. there Feb. 12, 1743/4.
  5. Lemuel - b. Feb. 21, 1745, Oxford, Worcester Co., MA. Settled at South Greene, ME. Married on Nov. 27, 1766 at Charlton, Worcester Co., MA to Rachel STEVENS. Children of Lemuel and Rachel CUMMINS: Solomon; Lemuel; John; Sarah; and others.
  6. Jacob - b. Jan. 21, 1747, Oxford, Worcester Co., MA; d. 1812, Charlton, Worcester Co., MA. Married Phebe CONVERSE. Ten children.
  7. Elizabeth - b. Mar. 14, 1749, Oxford, Worcester Co., MA; d. Aug. 27, New Braintree, MA. Married Joseph DOW (b. Jun. 11, 1741, Amesbury, MA; d. Apr. 2, 1814, New Braintree, MA), son of James DOW and Mary NICKOLS. and settled at New Braintree, MA. Joseph DOW served breifly in the Revolutionary War as a corporal. He was married second on Apr. 30 1782 to Sarah PEPPER (b. Dec. 24, 1748; d. Feb. 10, 1818, New Braintree, MA), daughter of Joseph PEPPER, Jr. and Dinah COMINS. Joseph DOW's second wife was a first cousin once removed of his first wife; hence, their children are also CUMMINS descendants. Children of Elizabeth and Joseph DOW: Reuben S.; Mary 'Molly'; Anna; Elizabeth; Levina; Lydia; Joseph; and a daugther died as infant. Children of Sarah and Joseph DOW: Sally; a child died as infant; Daniel; Sewall; Zenas; and Pliny.

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