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JAMES BABCOCK was the progenitor of the Babcock family of Westerly and the region round about. 
The story of the Babcocks of Rhode Island has been confused and complicated through inclusion in several fraudulent genealogies such as those offered by Royal Ralph Hinman in his Catalogue of the First Puritan Settlers of the Colony of Connecticut published in 1846. 
James Babcock was born in England. His parents and his specific place of origin are unknown. Fabricated genealogies claimed that his father was an Englishman named James Badcock whose existence is doubtful. We can be reasonably sure that James Babcock was born about 1612, because on January 18th 1670, he was summoned before the Commissioners of Connecticut, and on that day gave a testimony "calling his age 58 years, his son James 29 and his son John 26 years."  
James Babcock's biographer, Stephen Babcock has pointed out that in the Early Records of the Town of Portsmouth edited by the State Librarian, under direction of the Rhode Island Legislature (published 1901) and in Colonial Records of Rhode Island, his name was spelled in various ways, "probably according to the fancy of the clerk of the town meeting, namely, Badcock, Badeooke, Badcocke, and Badcook." For the first forty years of their residence on Rhode Island, the family name for James and his sons was usually recorded as Badcock, then in the probate records for John Badcock's estate the name is written as Babcock, a change that appears to have been permanently adopted by the family.  
On July 10th 1648; his name appears as Jeames Babcock. among the 17 "received fremen of the town of Portsmouth chosen for the trial of the general officers" of Portsmouth  and it isn't long before his name appears on the Jury lists.  In February 1650 he is deputised to collect the taxes (rates) imposed on cattle in the town. 
At the time of his admittance as a resident of the town of Portsmouth, James Babcock held a grant of 10 acres "at the first brooke, next the footpath eastward" "lying toward the head of said brooke" according to Stephen Babcock quoting the County records of Rhode Island and explaining that James' farm would have been on Sprague street east of Dana Street in Portsmouth, running up Butt Hill. Beside this property with his home, garden and farm buildings, James Babcock negotiated for several other parcels of land for pasture.      
James Babcock was a blacksmith and gunsmith, and it must have been in this capacity that in 1643, and again 1650, he was one of those appointed to take account of all the arms held by residents of Portsmouth, and to make sure that all arms in possession of the colonists were in good working order. It is interesting to note that Butt Hill has also been called Windmill Hill, and that the land in this area was not particularly suited to farming. Along with other industries that must have been established here, James smelted iron ore found in local rivers, bogs and swamps, and from the smelted ore, forged all manner of nails and farm implements.   
In May 1655 James Babcock appears as one of those appointed by the Portsmouth town council to appraise the estate of John Wood, who had died without leaving a will. 
In the years 1656, 1658 & 1659, he was a member of the General Court of Commissioners of Rhode Island for Portsmouth.  As the Portsmouth settlement grew, the Indian population came under increasing pressure to give up land to the settlers for cultivation. James Babcock and several others drove a band of Peaquot Indians from planting grounds; and on February 10th 1664, James Babcock and "the rest of the people on Rhode Island on the east side of the Powtuck river" received a stern and detailed warning from the Council of the Colony Connecticut to cease their provocation of the Indians. 
On April 8th 1656, difficulties with local Indians resulted in James and seven others "appointed to go over to the mayne to treat with the Indian Sachems (leaders) to inform them of the mynd of the towne, that they come not upon the Island but according to order given."  He was fully involved with local administration; on January 6th 1657, "James Badcock and John Sanford are again authorized to meet with Newport men according to former order." James Badcock and six others were chosen a committee to meet with committees appointed from other towns.  In November 30th 1657, James and four others were "appointed to apportion land to those that want land."  James Badcock was appointed with others to lay out highways in December 27th 1660; and on May 11th 1661, was appointed to settle disputed land boundaries.  The last record which refers to him in Portsmouth is dated Dec. 19, 1662. At this time reference is made to a committee which was previously appointed to lay out certain lands, and this committee, or the larger part of them, were ordered to restore to William Wilbor three quarters of an acre of land which the committee had previously taken from him in their official work. James Badcock was one of this committee, and is referred to as James Badcock, Sr., suggesting that James, Jr., who had reached his majority that year, was then living in Portsmouth. 
In 1660, a tract of land on Rhode Island, estimated to be twenty miles by ten miles, known as Misquamicut, afterward named Westerly, was purchased from the Indian Chief Sosoa by a company organized at Newport County, Rhode Island.  The company named James Babcock and four others to manage their affairs at Misquamicut. In September, 1661, the purchasers visited Misquamicut and a certain part of the tract was appointed by lot. James Babcock's lot was 52.
About 1662, James Babcock moved permanently to Westerly where he took a prominent part in a number of disputes caused by problems with Indian territorial claims and those by Connecticut's claim to territory in and about Westerly. Connecticut, the Massachusetts Bay Colony, claimed prior jurisdiction over Pequot country including land west and east of the Pawcatuck River following the Pequot War of 1636  James Babcock, with Rhode Island Plantation, settled Misquamicut as a means to anchor their claim to the disputed territory and to claim all jurisdiction over the land between the Pawcatuck River and Narragansett Bay. Claimed boundaries overlapped, the paper town of Southertowne created by the Massachusetts Bay Colony included parts of Westerly and Stonington, conflicting with land acquired by the Rhode Island Pettaquamscut Company. On one occasion, twenty or more men from Southertowne crossed the Pawcatuck River, broke into James Babcock’s house, and abducted him across the river as a prisoner. 
In 1665 James sold his Portsmouth property to Thomas Fish. 
The settlement at Westerly was incorporated May 1669, at which time there were twenty-four freeman in the town, four of whom were Babcocks. James and his three sons, James, John, and Job. (Westerly in those days included the present towns of Westerly, Charlestown, Hopkinton and Richmond.) 
James Babcock died on the 12th June 1697. On the 17th September 1697 is sons John and Job Babcock appeared before the Governor of Rhode Island at a court held at Westerly, and "being solemnly engaged" testified to the truth of their father's will as he verbally gave it to them. The will is recorded in vol. i, Land Evidence, in the office of the Secretary of State, Providence, R. I. Among " the several legacies named in the will, he "bequeathed unto his son Joseph all his housing and lands for him, the said Joseph Badcock to take unto his possession when he shall attain to the age of twenty-one years." In his will, James "did give unto his wife, Elizabeth Badcock, for the maintenance and bringing up of the three children he had by his second wife." 
Stephen Babcock concluded his biography of James Babcock with the observation that "These glimpses of an interesting- life show that James Badcock (Babcock), .Sr., was a man of sterling integrity and of strong convictions. He was respected by his neighbors, honored and trusted as a citizen, and ready to serve the community in whatever capacity he was appointed.." 
James Babcock's first marriage was to Sarah, whose family name is unknown 
Following Sarah's death in 1665, James Babcock married Elizabeth 
Westerly, Rhode Island
June 29, 1660, a tract of land, estimated to he twenty miles by ten miles, known as Misquamicut, afterward Westerly, was purchased from the Indian chief Sosoa, by a company headed by William Vaugn. This company, numbering sixty or more. was organized at Newport, R. I. The purchasers well knew that in 1658 the Massachusetts colony claimed this tract, calling it a part of Sonthertown and adding it to Suffolk County, Boston being the county seat. Aug. 27, 1061, the company appealed to the Colonial Assembly of Rhode Island for assistance in defending their purchase against "adversaries which by a species of intrusion are seeking to make inroads upon our privilege of colonies jurisdiction." (C. R. of R. I.)
From Col. of R. I. Hist. Soc, published 1835, vol. iii. pp. 257-261, the following is taken: "Aug. 31, 1661, all purchasers were ordered by the trustees to meet at Cabel (Caleb) Carrs, at Newport, to go to Squamucuck." Two weeks later. Sept. 15, the company was at "Misquamicut," and a certain part of the tract was apportioned by lot. The number of James Badcock's lot was 52. At the time of this visit arrangements were made for a temporary occupancy of the land. The company was divided into small parties, each party to stay upon the land for a certain number of weeks. Anyone who refused to serve had to provide a substitute or pay a fine. Nov. 1. 1661, Tobias Sanders. Robert Runlet (Burdick), and Joseph Clark were arrested upon the land by the authority of Massachusetts. Sanders and Burdick were taken to Boston, where they were fined forty pounds each and imprisoned "until their fines should be paid, and until each should give security in £100 for his future good conduct." Nov. 12, 166l, the number of trustees for the "Squamicuck" purchase was increased from eight to eighteen. Two of the names added were James Badcock and John Badcock.</p>
The following Mar., 1661-2, the company made their first permanent settlement at Misquamicut (Westerly). For details of the preparation and starting for their new home, see records of (3)John(2) Badcock. It will be observed that the name of the company in the early records was spelled in several different ways. Before starting from Newport the company named James Badcock and four others who were appointed and "commissionated to act for us as to the managing of our affairs at Misquamucock who are to discourse and answer to any that shall come to debate matters with them. They or any two of them, to forewarn any whatsoever either to build or sow, mow or fall timber upon that tract of land." (End of quotation from Col. of R. I. Hist. Soc.)
In 1662 Connecticut laid claim to the tract, and did not entirely relinquish her claim until 1728. Soon after arriving at Misquamicut disputes arose with Connecticut authorities about the boundary line. These disputes led to arrests, imprisonments, fines, appeals, and the appointment of commissions between the two colonies. Mar. 18, 1664, James Badcock petitioned the General Court (Assembly), sitting at Newport, for protection "against such riotous actings as are done and committed by the men of Southertown against him." (Southertown being in Connecticut.) The court requested the Governor and Deputy Governor to send a letter to the government of Connecticut "to see what they will say by way of answer to such riotous acting as are done and committed by the men of Southertown against the said Badcock." (C. R. of R. I., vol. ii, pp. 32-34.) In 1605 James sold his dwelling house, barn, orchard, etc., in Portsmouth, R. I., to Thomas Fish for fifty pounds; his wife. Sarah, giving her consent. James, Jr.. witnessed the deed.
It appears that in May, 1667, James Badcock with a company of men drove the Pequot Indians from planting ground claimed by the Indians, located on the Misquamicut purchase east of the Pawcatuck River. May 18, 1667, Harmon Garret (alias Wequascooke. chief of the Pequots) petitioned the Gieneral Court of Connecticut, praying "that such men as wear hats and clothes like Englishmen, but have dealt with us like wolves and hears, may he called to account." At a Connecticut court held at Wickford ( which is now in R. I.). June 21, 1670. James Badcock was charged by Mr. Gookin. of Cambridge, Mass., with driving Harmon Garret and his Indians (tenants of Gookin) from their land. (All of the above is from Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, book 1665-78, pp. 529-546.) Westerly was incorporated May, 1669, at which time there were twenty-four freemen in the town, four of whom were Badcocks, viz., James and his three sons, James, John, and Job. (W. and W.) Westerly then comprised the present towns of Westerly, Charlestown, Hopkinton, and Richmond. On June 17, 1670, James Badcock, Sr., by virtue of a warrant issued by Tobias Sanders, arrested three Connecticut men. John Frink, Benjamin Palmer, and Thomas Bell, who had crossed into Rhode Island to summon the Westerly men to appear before a certain court to be held in Connecticut. Said Frink was sent to Rhode Island Jail. The next day Mr. Badcock was arrested by officers from Connecticut and placed under a bond of £100 to "personally appear and surrender himself to Nehemga Palmer, Constable of Stonington, pro tempore. Wednesday morning next by six of the clock." Tobias Sanders and Thomas Stanton became his bondsmen, each for £50. (C. R. of R. I., vol. ii, pp. 319, 320.) Col. A. J. Babcock, of Springfield, Ill., says: "We take it for granted that bright and early 'six of the clock,' on the morning of June 23, 1670, Badcock was there ready to answer all charges of the adverse faction; but it appears they were not ready to prove these charges. The case was continued until June of the next year, Badcock giving a bond in the sum of £20 to appear at the County Court in New London. Conn." The details of these arrests, counter-arrests, bonds, and trials are repeated substantially as here stated in Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut. 1665-78, p. 553. June 23, 1670, is supposed to have been the date that James. Sr., made affidavit to the ages of himself and his two sons. (See Preface in this volume.) May 18, 1671, James Badcock and John Badcock are recorded as renewing their allegiance to Rhode Island and the king; most of the inhabitants, including James, Jr., and Job Badcock. having renewed their allegiance the previous day. (C. R. of R. I., vol. ii. pp. 388, 389.) That James owned land in Westerly is proved by Westerly Town Records, book i. p. 66. These records show that April 17, 1691. "Joseph Babcock of Stonington relinquished to his brother James Babcock, of Westerly, for a consideration, his claim to land belonging to their father, the late James Babcock of Westerly, and lying on the east side of the Pawcatuck River."
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