Did Israel Hamlin/Hamblin of Barnstable actually have two wives?

+8 votes

How do we reconcile the wife or wives of Israel Hamlin/Hamblin? Did he have two wives, Abigail and Jemima, or just one that used two names? No marriage records are found for Israel Hamlin. None. The timeline of records suggests that he married first, Abigail Lumbart, who bore his 5 children, and secondly Jemima, who appears in the 1702 & 1706 baptismal records only, until Abigail reappears in the church dismissal records in 1717, and again in Israel's probate file in 1729. The children in 1702 & 1706 also appear in his consolidated "family record," so there is no mistaking that there is only the one Israel.

Israel Hamlin made a record of his family in the Barnstable Town Records Vol. 1:421 (1895 town clerk transcription of originals) in which he recorded the following:

Israel Hamlin

had a child that was born & Dyed in ye year 1687

his Daughter Thankful born ye 24 of August 1689

prudence born ye Last of Octr 1692

his son Israel born 15 of March 1694

his son Joseph born 12 of September 1697

Jemima 15 of August 1699

his son Jacob 28 of May 1702

Ann Born ye 10 of April 1706

In the Barnstable West Parish Church records are found these baptisms:

  1. "[1696] Octobr 11 Joseph of Abigail ye wife of Israel Hamlin" [ p. 139]
  2. "[1697] April 4 Israel, Thankful, Prudence of [a name scored out] [Abigail written above] wife of Israel Hamlin" [p. 139]
  3. "[1699] Septr. 24 Jemima - of Abigail ye wife of Israel Hamblin" [p. 137]
  4. "1702 Aug 2. Jacob - of Jemima wife of Israel -- Hamblin" [p.135 ]
  5. "1706 May 26 - Anne - of Jemima wife of Israel Hamlin" [p. 132]

In early 1717, Abigail, wife of Israel Hamblin was dismissed from West Church to join the newly formed East Church. [p. 34]

Israel Hamblin's estate was inventoried on 2 July 1729 after his death, and it was sworn to by "Abigail Hamblin now Barlow administratrix to the estate of her late husband Israel Hamblen". [Barnstable County Probate records, Vol. 3:651] The inventory is the only document in the packet per the index.

"John Barlow of Sandwich & Abigail Hamblen of Barnstable [married] By Rev Joseph Green Aug 27th 1730." (recorded in both Sandwich and Barnstable VRs, with intentions published in Barnstable on 2 August 1730)

Abigail's death was recorded as, "Barlow, Abigail formerly Hamblend. Apr 25, 1740 very aged."

Neither Abigail Barlow nor John Barlow left a will or had a probate file. Land records don't help as they don't exist before 1742, the date of a courthouse fire. No other mention of a Jemima Hamlin/Hamblin exists.

I've checked TAG, NEHGR, Mayflower Descendant, and the only things found agree with the above. Amos Otis and the Hamlin Genealogy both say Israel had a second wife. But then contradict themselves by saying the probate file names Abigail with no explanation. 

Did Abigail call herself "Jemima" for a few years? Is there another explanation?

[Edited to add these links to wives Abigail Lumbert and Jemima Unknown]

WikiTree profile: Israel Hamblen
in Genealogy Help by Bobbie Hall G2G6 Pilot (180k points)
retagged by Bobbie Hall

2 Answers

+2 votes
As divorce and bigamy weren't legal, and Abigail was clearly still alive, the only explanation is that the mother was misrecorded. If he really had a second wife Jemima then surely the 1699 entry would be her daughter, not Abigail's. It's just a copying error.
by Matthew Fletcher G2G6 Mach 9 (95.3k points)

I agree with the divorce/bigamy portion. But I have to disagree with the "copying error," as Jemima's name was used in the original baptismal records, twice, at separate times four years apart by the same recorder in the same handwriting (see the links on the 1702 & 1706 records), and perhaps was what was crossed out on the 1697 record.

0 votes
I believe that he had two wives, this is my wife's family and they became part of the Mormon pioneers and many of them ended up settling in Utah with many records of multiple wives, he was a descendant of James Hamlin and Mary Dunham left Barnstable and went to Vermont where they began the westward movement to Utah Northern Arizona and Nevada
by Andrew Ward G2G Crew (360 points)

Hi Andrew,
Thanks for your commentary. Do you have any additional reliable source information on the wife "Jemima"? The only info I have been able to find in primary sources are the two childrens' baptisms. Then a few mentions of her in Amos Otis and the Hamlin genealogies, but even then they point to Israel's probate record naming Abigail as his wife at death in 1729.


P.S. (editited to add) I assume you don't mean that Israel had two wives simultaneously? That would have been illegal in the 1700s in Barnstable, and Abigail was a recorded member of the Congregational church there.

I do believe that he had them simultaneously, that is why the pioneering towards Utah. Its very obvious that his children also had more than one wife in Utah as well. There is extensive information on his children in Kanab Utah and in Arizona along with Nevada. It may have been illegal in Massachusetts but they left and went to Vermont, then to Ohio and continued west. Many children were born in different states on the way towards Utah. Here is a little more information https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=147969797


We must be talking about different people. Israel Hamblin lived in Barnstable during a time (early 1700s) where adultery was a serious crime, and polygamy and bigamy were hanging offences. Israel never left the Province of Massachusetts, where they were still grappling with the Quakers as an "offensive" group. The Mormon church was not established until more than 100 years later. His son Jacob left Massachusetts, for Maine, I know, but even then it was still part of the same Province.

The FAG link you give is for their daughter, who also lived only in Massachusetts. Perhaps Israel's grand- or great-grandchildren joined the migration westward with the LDS, but certainly not until after the Revolutionary War. 

I'm afraid your timeline must be off a bit.

I believe we are, the Israel Hamlin I a referring too was born in 1652, which his descendants left Maine for Vermont and then on to Utah. A surprising find for my wife, since we did not know that half of her family was in Utah and did declare polygamy while in Utah/Arizona/Nevada and some of New Mexico. They were part of the Mormon Pioneers.

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