Are James Covey and James Covell the same person?

+4 votes

Martha's Vineyard historian Charles Edward Banks has written, "James Covell, prior to his settlement at the Vineyard, may have been a resident of Braintree, appearing on the records of that town as James Covey and it is significant that with the disappearance of the latter name in Braintree we find the first mention of the name of James Covell in 1651 at Edgartown. The name of his wife is not known."

The Covey profile linked above has not yet been scrutinized by PGM though by the unverified text he would be PGM. I'm not saying the current text is or is not needs research and citations.

The Covell profile linked below suggested to possibly be the same person currently has undocumented parents attached (my fault, research ongoing) and this Covell (Cavell) line is being worked on upstream.

Is there anything to Banks theory that these may be the same person?

WikiTree profile: James Covell
in Genealogy Help by T Stanton G2G6 Pilot (212k points)
The James Covey profile indicates he removed to Rhode Island and died there in 1712. But it's lacking sources to support this.
Jillaine, thanks for the work on both profiles and the PPPs. I've still not found any reference to James Covey after the land sale finalized in 1651. I'm going to check in with some of the Rhode Island project members more savvy than the coordinator to see if they might ferret out something that could be him.

I think the other avenue of exploration is the daughter Mary who is, so far, the only child of Covey who is documented (original records of Braintree). I'm looking to see if there is any reference to Covell having a daughter Mary -- I've not yet seen any but Banks thought only male issue recorded -- or if a marriage record could be found that might be her in Edgartown or environs.
T, there is another, later James Covey in Westerly, Rhode Island that I saw referenced in a NEHGR article, but it looks like the third generation (i.e., grandson or great-grandson of James Covey). I'm curious about the specific 1712 death date and location (in Westerly) of James Covey; I tried initially to find a source for that, without success (but admittedly I ran out of time, having jumped into this during a work break).
Deb Durham reports, "I am unable to find any records for him beyond what you have. I see the death record mentioned repeatedly by other researchers on various sites but no documentation."

Jillaine, I'll have to look for the NEHGR to maybe see the line of descent for the later James Covey.
Update: None of the Rhode Island project group that looked for this James Covey in that colony have found any record of him there.  Additionally, a child (Hope) attached to James Covey has been detached for lack of documentation and what documentation there is indicates a different origin though that origin remains unknown.

1 Answer

+3 votes

James Covell was a Wampanoag Indian debtor on Martha’s Vineyard Who was sold off  Matthew Mayhew and then to someone in Southold,NY.

COVEL (Covell)

image Abigale, Mrs., and James Pease, Apr. 26, 1706.*

image James Jr. and Mary Donham, d. Gersham, July 22, 1713.*

image Lydia, d. James, and Richard Holman, Jan. 24, 1706.*

COVELL (Covel)

image Elizabath and Ebenezor Joye of Dartmouth, Sept. 25, 1740.*

image Mary and Joseph Cleavland, Jan. 1, 1740.*

image Sarah and Benajah Donham, May 7, 1708.*

Southold Town Records (Suffolk County, NY) by J. Wickham Case
Vol 2. p.74

15th day of September...Anno Domini:1693
"Matthew Mayhew Of Marthas Vineyard Esq. having two Indian servents the one named Keiape the other James Covell bound for the full term of seven years" sold these servants to Jacob mayle.

p. 75
Jan 6 1696/7
Jacob Mayle of the city of New York sold his claime and right over Keiape "otherwise called Felix"


by Anne X G2G6 Mach 2 (25.4k points)
edited by Anne X
The James Covell of this profile is not Indian and the citations above are for a different James Covell. There are multiple people named James Covell and they are frequently confused. As Charles Banks wrote, "this complicates an already difficult genealogical problem to differentiate the various James Covells, senior and junior."

James, the subject of the profile, is English his property records and will are extant. His neighbor Ezra Covell (Banks speculates is his brother supported by logical reasoning, Charles Anderson is silent on the relationship) was English. James' wife (some believe the name is unknown, others believe the first name is known) is believed a Wampanoag woman. A large number of the wife's family adopted the Covell surname as did a number the given name.
But if James Covell married a Wampanoag, his son James Covell *could* have been considered Native American. Right?
A possibility although it seems son James is documented as being in Edgartown until an assumed death by 1706 when Mrs Abigail Covell marries James Pease. I have not delved into the citations on son James' profile before (I am descended from son Joseph). The records which reference the Native Americans above are in Suffolk County, NY when I don't see indication son James has left Edgartown. I think these Native Americans are descendants of the Wampanoag's who adopted the Covell surname (and some the given name). I have read anecdotally that most of the wife's family adopted the surname but have no documentation of that (Banks alludes to it).

The oral tradition I got as a youngster from my grandmother Husted was that a not too distantly past multi-great grandfather had married a Native American. I had finally decided it must be "family lore" until I got back to James Covell in Edgartown. Amazing that the story survived in some manner through all those generations. In our family records the name of James wife who was Native American is simply recorded as Sarah or Mary. I don't know the source of that information which was recorded in 1966.

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