Case for Rockcelane Holt (Pomfret, CT) as w1/o Ebenezer Sumner (Ashford, CT)

+3 votes

Your thoughts, please — Is it OK to link Rockcelane Holt, daughter of Silas and Mary (Brooks) Holt of Pomfret, CT (HOLT-7079) with Ebenezer Sumner of Ashford, CT (SUMNER-617) as husband and wife, based on the following:


William S. Appleton, who compiled the Sumner genealogy, noted Ebenezer’s 1st marriage, to “Roxalana Holt,” but did not further identify her.  Subsequently, other Sumner researchers have thought that she was Roixanna Holt (a/k/a Roxerene or Roxilena), daughter of Nehemiah and Anna (Farnham) Holt of Windham, CT (HOLT-4702).  However, there are a number of problems with this theory (details below).


I believe the 1st wife of Ebenezer Sumner of Ashford, CT to have been Holt-7079, daughter of Silas and Mary (Brooks) Holt of Pomfret, NOT her cousin,(Holt-4702), daughter of Nehemiah and Anna (Farnham) Holt of Windham. 


The two cousins were about the same age (one being born in 1760 and the other in 1762) and had similar (or possibly even the same) names, for which there seem to be endless phonetic spellings and misspellings, and grew up in neighboring towns located within 10-20 miles from each other.  It would be easy to confuse or conflate them.


HOLT-4702, the daughter of Nehemiah and Anna (Farnham) Holt of Windham, has long been thought by both the Holt and Hitchcock families to have married Ebenezer HITCHCOCK of Hampden County, MA (HITCHCOCK-494), and removed with him to Leicester, VT, where she died in about 1825.  This belief is supported by the existence of records showing their marriage in Hampden County, MA, the birth of children to them in Ludlow, MA during the 1780s, and later, the presence of Ebenezer Hitchcock, the marriage of their son Joseph, and the death and burial of both Roxerene and Ebenezer all taking place in Leicester.


On the other hand, HOLT-7079, the daughter of Silas and Mary (Books) Holt, seems to have disappeared from history without a trace.  I haven’t been able to find any record of her death or burial anywhere in Windham County.  But her apparent disappearance would be explained if she is the person recorded in the Ashford records as “Roxalana” Holt, who became the 1st wife of Ebenezer SUMNER of Ashford, CT, in 1782, and the mother of their two daughters: Myra and Roxalana Sumner.  The fact that Holt-7079’s parents, Silas and Mary (Brooks) Holt appear to have moved from Pomfret to Ashford (where their two youngest daughters were born) and that Silas died in Ashford and is buried there, provides Holt-7079 with a tangible connection to that locale.


It isn’t clear how the Sumner researchers decided that Ebenezer’s 1st wife was  Holt-4702.   They may never have discovered the existence of Holt-7079 because they never looked at the Pomfret records where her birth is recorded, and encountering the records of Holt-4702 in Windham, jumped to a premature conclusion.  If anyone knows, I would love to hear from them.


Ebenezer Sumner (Sumner-617):

Rockcelane Holt of Pomfret (Holt-7079):

Roixanna Holt of Windham (Holt-4702):

Ebenezer Hitchcock (Hitchcock-494):


WikiTree profile: Roxalana Sumner
in The Tree House by GR Gordon G2G4 (5.0k points)
edited by GR Gordon
Try Otsego County NY. The Rev Daniel Bolton of Ashford was called to a church in Burlington, Otsego, New York. Another Daniel whom I believe may be his son married Roxalana Sumner (daughter of Ebenezer and Roxalana) and also moved from Ashford to Burlington. Daniel and Roxy are buried in Burlington (see They are my 4th gg (by marriage - my Oma married Ernest Walling Bolton, my Opa).

Roxalana “Roxy L.” (Sumner) Bolton of Otsego County, NY does appear to be a likely match for the daughter of Ebenezer and Roxalana (Holt) Sumner born in Ashford, CT abt. 1782-1788 According to:

Connecticut: Vital Records (The Barbour Collection), 1630-1870 (Online Database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011.) From original typescripts, Lucius Barnes Barbour Collection, 1928 (p.166 - (Ashford) Sumner: 1) Myra, d. Eben(eze)r & Roxalana, b. April 17, 1783; and 2) Roxalana, d. Eben(eze)r & Roxalana b. _____).

Possibly also the same person as WikiTree profile Sumner-1411

1 Answer

+3 votes
I looked to see if either of the fathers left wills but they are not on Ancestry. Why would either of those Connecticut girls end up marrying in Ludlow, Massachusetts? I find that very strange.

But since Silas moved to Ashford before he died it makes sense that it was his daughter who married the Ashford Ebenezer.
by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
That Ludlow marriage bothers me, too.  The distance from Windham proper is about 60 miles, about 50 from Hampton and Chaplin, which is a bit of a stretch.

I plan to keep looking around, on the possibility there were three Roxie Holts.  It wouldn’t be a stunner.  The Nicholas Holt of Andover family is huge, and by 1800 they were overlapping territory with the William Holt of New Haven family, about which I am not as knowledgable, other than that the Holt Y-DNA project has determined that William and Nicholas were completely unrelated to each other.

The other concern is why nobody else seems to have suggested the Pomfret/Ashford girl as the Sumner bride.  Ordinarily she would be the obvious choice.

This church record transcription puts the icing on the cake.  It notes the groom and bride (here called “Roxey”) were both “of Ashford.”  Even though the records appear to be from the church at Eastford, the transcription makes it clear this is one of a string of marriages that took place in Ashford, the date matches the date in the Barbour Collection.

* Vital Records from The NEHGS Register. Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014. (Compiled from articles originally published in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. LXIII (#249), Jan. 1909, (p.88 - (Eastfiord, Conn., Church Records, Communicated by the Rev. john P. Trowbridge of West Groton, Mass.) Marriages Recorded & Attested by Andw Judson: 1782....June 13, Ebenezer Sumner & Roxey Holt both of Ashford.) []

That disqualifies HOLT-4702 of Windham (the daughter of Nehemiah nad Anna)l and leaves the Holt & Hitchcock claims un-debunked.  (Figuring out how HOLT-4702 would have had an opportunity to meet and marry a man from Massachusetts is another investigation for another day.  It could have been an outgrowth of her brother’s military service, as he appears to have traveled pretty far from home during the course of the Revolutionary War.)

Excellent sleuthing. The whole Ashford vs Eastford - Don't worry about it Ashford was incorporated in 1714. Eastford was part of Ashford until 1847. I live in a neighboring town and I'd be hard pressed to tell you where the border is. It seems all your dates occurred in the civil unit called Ashford, but were probably physically located in what is now Eastford
Thanks, Anne.  I have Ellen Larned’s History of Windham County, and the set-offs and church schisms still confuse me, not to mention the town that couldn’t make up its mind which state it belonged to.
I’ve linked Rockcelane Holt of Pomfret to Ebenezer Sumner and reworked both her profile and that of her cousin, Roixanna (a/k/a Roxerene or Roxilena) Holt of Windham accordingly.  Further information and comments are welcome.
It reads well and you explained the issue. Thank you.

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