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Genealogy of William Tanner (1660 - 1738)

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Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: England; South Kingstown, Rhode
Surname/tag: Tanner
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Most recent revision date: 21 Oct 2019 Archived 5 Jan 2022 Major revision started 5 Jan 2022 * add notes on Terry McSweeny 2000 tanner Genealogy * Wm Tanner Jr. land was in Westerly, not N. Kingstown * Add section on Seventh day baptist * Add section on Freemen * Backup to the profile of William Tanner Sr. (abt.1657-abt.1740)

William Tanner was one of a handful of European immigrant Tanners to arrive in North America in the seventeenth century; consequently, he was a founding patriarch of a major branch of the Tanner family in North America and he appears in a myriad of present day family trees. The structure of these family trees can be traced, by similarity, to the genealogical research of Rev George Tanner D.D. from a self-published 1905 genealogical text entitled William Tanner of North Kingston and his Descendants. In 1910 Rev. Tanner published a revised edition of his William Tanner genealogy; this edition cites additional information sources and the information contained in these sources significantly altered the conclusions regarding William Tanner's family structure offered in the 1905 text. Unfortunately, the 1910 edition is much less known and until recently has not been generally available, hence a preponderance of present day family trees continue to echo the errors found in the 1905 edition without the benefit of the corrections found in the 1910 edition. As of Sept 2019, there is no known, subsequent, modern systematic work published on the genealogy of William Tanner and his descendants. This is not to say there has been no further research, or no further discoveries, or that there is a lack of subsequent written genealogical work on William Tanner; rather it is a statement that subsequent to Rev. George Tanner no one has published a systematic genealogical text on William Tanner and his Descendants, hence Rev. Tanner's work remains the "gold standard" of published genealogy information on William Tanner of South Kingstown, Rhode Island.

Unfortunately, this "Gold Standard" for early Tanner Genealogy has some significant flaws specifically:

  1. ) The 1905 edition specifies three wives, Hannah, Mary, and Elizabeth, but then the 1910 edition amends this to four wives, with the last wife Elizabeth, of the 1905 edition, split into two separate identities.
  2. ) Dr. George Tanner explicitly states the he is speculating, without proof, that Elizabeth the mother of children Frances through Abigail was the daughter of Francis and Anna Colgrove. This is certainly well within the license of authorship, unfortunately subsequent generations of genealogists have chosen to ignore the "speculative" portion of the relationship identification such that Elizabeth Colgrove, despite the lack of any primary evidence as to her existence (then or now), has so permeated the secondary and tertiary genealogical literature, that it is now clear that Elizabeth Colgrove, daughter of Francis and Anna has a virtual reality existing as a fictional character in the post 1905 Tanner genealogical literature, regardless of whether or not she ever existed as a real person.
  3. ) George Tanner assumes that William Tanner, the husband of the four cited wives was, in fact, one and the same person, (a rational, but unstated assumption nevertheless) and he fails to offer evidence which binds the four wives, to a common husband, and the cited children as half-siblings. This assumption, has led to modern day uncertainty [1] regarding the possibilities of multiple William Tanner identities and ensuing speculation with regard to which William Tanner identity is truly associated with the various wives and children groups he cites in his Tanner Genealogies.
  4. ) Due to a scarcity of reliable source information the "Tanner Genealogy" is unable to provide a precise birthdate, birthplace, death date, death place, nor the birth parents for William Tanner. Nevertheless, the 1910 Tanner Genealogy remains the most comprehensive and systematic published genealogical source on William Tanner Sr., and the following narrative is largely based upon the genealogical model Rev. George Tanner proposed in his 1910 Tanner Genealogy.
  5. ) Perhaps the most significant shortcoming to be found in the work is the gaps in the citation of source material (e.g how did Dr. Tanner know Avis and Mary were the children of Wm and Mary Tanner?) and the lack of specificity in other source material citations needed to recapture the original source material for critical analysis. In any case, Dr. Tanner's work was far above average in this regard when compared to other genealogical texts published at the turn of the century. The following profile, takes a critical look at the 1910 William Tanner family model Dr. Tanner established, and uses the Wikitree platform to add a web page dimension to source information citation, access, and analysis.

Early Records for William Tanner Sr. of Rhode Island

William Tanner was born about 1660. [2] William was no doubt the immigrant ancestor. There is no suggestion of his parents in the 1910 Tanner Genealogy.

Witness to a 1682 Frances Holden Deed

The earliest known record documenting the presence of William Tanner in King's County, Rhode Island is a quit claim deed authored by Frances Holden, the wife of Randall Holden of Warwick, RI., in May of 1682. William Tanner and Peter Wells were witnesses [3](Fones, page 108) [4] to this quit claim deed and consequently the document contains the signature of William Tanner and the mark of Peter Welles. This quit claim deed was in support of a land sale authored by her husband, Randall Holden, on 26 Nov 1681, and was executed at Rochester, Rhode Island (which became Kingston after 1689), and was recorded by Jno. Fones. The reason the deed was executed in Kingstown, rather than at Warwick as might be expected, is because the 180 acre property, included Fox Island and a parcel of a nearby "neck;" located in or nearby North Kingston and within the jurisdiction of the town of Rochester (Kingstown).

1687 Estate Tax Record

The next instance of a historical record citing William Tanner occurs when he is listed on the 1687 Dominion of New England Estate Tax Assessment list for Kings County, R.I. ordered by Gov. Edmund Andros, where Wm is assessed a poll tax of one shilling and an estate tax of one and a half pence at the town of Rochester (Kingstown) in Kings County, R.I. [5] (Roberts: Page 592) [4] (1905 Tanner Genealogy; Page 7) The Roberts source provides a complete listing of this tax record for Kings County, R.I., from which several important observations can be made (beyond the obvious point of his 1687 residence in Kingston); first of all, William Tanner is the only Tanner recorded on the list, hence he is the only adult male Tanner living in King's County, Rhode Island during 1687. This fact affirms the assertion Wm Tanner was the family founding immigrant as he is the only Tanner in the area (no father), furthermore it debunks the notion that there were multiple adult William Tanners or any other male, adult Tanner living in Kings County in 1687, and as both William Tanner and Henry Tibbits Sr. are on this 1687 tax list, it cements the case that he was the father of ___ (Tibbitts) Tanner's, son William Tanner, born ca. 1686. Second, the amount of Estate tax assessed to Wm Tanner was the lowest (non-zero) amount assessed to anyone on the list, therefore he had a very small estate, most probably because he was still a very young adult, with no inheritance, and had yet to accumulate possessions; all affirming the assertion that Wm Tanner Sr. was a very young father at the circa 1686 birth of his son Wm Jr. Thirdly, assessment of the pole (poll) tax on William Tanner affirms he was at least age 21 in 1687, thus born prior to 1666. Finally it should be noted that this tax list is a who's who of persons associated with Wm Tanner Sr., and demonstrates a very early geographic connection between Wm Tanner and these associates. (see the Robert's data extract). In particular, it should be noted that Petter Welles, who co-witnessed the quit claim deed for Frances Holden with William Tanner in Rochester (North Kingston), RI in 1682 is also on this tax list, hence a King's County resident, along with William Tanner in 1687.

The South Kingstown Tanner Family Farm, 1693

On 4 July 1693 a land deed, transferring a 100 acre plot of virgin Rhode Island land from Henry Hall, weaver, to William Tanner of Kingstown, "planter" in consideration of five pounds, was recorded in the Westerly, Rhode Island Town Records. [2] (page 8) The land deed was recorded at Westerly Rhode Island and the document is quoted and paraphrased first in the 1905 Tanner Genealogy and again, with additional information, in the 1910 Tanner Genealogy by Dr George Tanner. As of Oct 2019, there is no known copy of this original land deed posted on a public Web page, hence the information discussed here is from the 1905 and 1910 Tanner Genealogies. In the deed William Tanner is said to be of Kingstown, and a "planter." The property lies east of the river and is about 1 mile south of the village of Usquepaugh and described as follows:

  • "Henry Hall, of Westerly, weaver, and in consideration of five pounds of money sells to William Tanner of Kingstown, planter, one hundred acres, lying westerly from John Sheldon's dwelling house as followeth: Beginning at the Brook at John Sheldon's bounds and so up his bounds six score poles more or less to a white oak tree marked on three sides, and so from thence south and by west nearest six score poles to a walnut bush and from thence nearest to the river to an ash tree marked on four sides, an so up stream to the furthest that I have under the hand and seal of Coianaquanto as appeareth more largely upon the General records of Rhode Island. Dated 4 July 1693. Signed by Henry Hall, Esq. and witnessed by Francis Colgrove and Dan'l Wilcox.[2](page 8) Note that the deed boundaries define the Tanner farm as the northernmost property in the Hall purchase.
The Hall Purchase

This property appears in at least seven other public records in association with or linked to William Tanner, and is the central adhesion point which holds the narrative connecting William Tanner to other family members together; it also is the thread that ties disparate early William Tanner records together as the history of a solitary person, i.e. the William Tanner of this profile.

The earliest mention of this property in the historical record is a 19 Jan 1664 deed recording the sale of about 2 square miles of land by the Indian sachem, Coginaquant to Henry Hall and Robert Knight, who then named the property Westerly Manor. About 30 years later in 1693, Henry Hall, of Westerly, RI., acts as a real estate developer and hires Joseph Devall to survey and partition this 1260 acre tract of virgin land into nine 100-200 acre farms, which Hall than sells off to a number of buyers who were named in the Joseph Devall deposition for the Babcock vs. Knight lawsuit. This deed may, but probably does not, continue to exist today, but it clearly was a real document; it defined the property boundaries by Indian names, and was produced as legal evidence in the Hall Purchase, again at the Rhode Island Committee hearings on vacant RI. land, and once again in a lawsuit between Job Babcock and John Knight.

The Committee for Vacant Lands

The Rhode Island land between the Narragansett Bay and the Pawcatuck River was the ancestral land of the Narragansett Indians. During King Philip's War in 1675-1678, the Narragansetts allied with King Philip and as the result of a Narragansett provocation were drawn into battle with the colonial militia at the Great Swamp Fight in December of 1675 at a battle site just a few miles south of the Hall purchase near West Kingston. The battle was a rout and as a consequence, the population of the Narragansett tribe was decimated. Hence about thirty years later, when the Rhode Island General Assembly set up a [6] committee on May 1708, to "hear the claims and make propositions" for the "vacant" land, it was effectively a distribution of the spoils of war. The Hall and Knight deed, with Coginiquant, was brought before the committee and the General Assembly ruled in favor [6] (page 111) of recognizing the Hall deed as legitimate, and the subsequent owners, e.g. William Tanner etal., were allowed to retain ownership and given a state ruling validating their title to their land. However, it was not a foregone conclusion that the deed would stand, for at the same time, a similar deed between Coginiquant and a Captain Cranston for a nearby piece of land was disallowed by the General Assembly. Potter records that as a result of the 1708 committee proposition, the boundaries of the Hall purchase were redefined [6](page 70) as follows; on the North, a tract of land purchased of the state committee by Lang, Boss, Wickham, and others; to the East, the Pettiquamscut purchase, and to the West, the Usquapaug River. These boundary changes increased the area of William Tanner's farm from 100 acres as noted in the original Hall purchase deed to a combined 120 acres in the deeds in which William Tanner passes his land to sons Benjamin and Nathan (shown below).

Job Babcock vs. John Knight Lawsuit

In his account of the records of the Rhode Island General Assembly, Potter [6] (page112) notes a February 1712 record in which the R.I. General Assembly allows an appeal of the Job Babcock vs. John Knight lawsuit to Great Britain. The exact nature of the lawsuit is unknown, but a legal deposition by Joseph Davell below, makes it clear that the Babcock vs. Knight lawsuit was associated with the land in the 1693 Hall Purchase and the appeal to Great Britain suggests it was for far more than a just a boundary dispute and was more likely a title dispute over ownership to the entire Babcock farm.

The Captain Joseph Devall Deposition

As a result of the Babcock vs. Knight lawsuit, Capt. Joseph Davell, formerly of Westerly and now of Stonington, Conn. is called on 31 July 1711 to take a deposition [6] (page 227) before Justice John Babcock regarding his role in the Hall purchase. Devall testifies that he was hired by Henry Hall, David Knight, and John Knight to survey and partition the land into separate farms, and also to establish a right of way for two access roads through the property. Davell testifies that Henry Hall and David Knight were present at the time of the survey, and John Knight "approved and liked my work" and that he (Davell) was paid his wages for his work. Davell then notes that afterward, John Knight took his part of the money, which was the price of the land, from Henry Hall. Davell identifies (under oath) each of the buyers of the Hall purchase and they are as follows (note the asserted identities and relationships are highly probable assumptions, but are not necessarily source based):

  1. ) Job Babcock, 200 acres; there is a 50-50 probability that the Job Babcock who purchased this farm in the Hall purchase was either Mary Babcock's brother or first cousin, son of her uncle John Babcock. These two Wikitree identities have the same name, birthdate, and birth place, hence any source data item for the Job Babcock of this period has a 50% probability (with out further substantiating proof) to be associated with either identity; the Wikitree profile of cousin Job claims he was the Job Babcock whom purchased the farm in the Hall purchase, but offers no further evidence to support this assertion, hence it presently seems to be a 51-49 split favoring the first cousin as a neighbor. In either case, the owner was close kin to Mary Babcock.
  2. ) Peter Wells 100 acres; the Hall purchase provides 100% certain proof that William Tanner and Peter Wells lived within walking distance as a result of their Hall farm purchases. As noted previously, Peter Wells also appears with William Tanner as a 1682 co-witness to the Francis Holden quit claim deed and is also listed in the 1687 Estate tax record. This repeated name association of Wm Tanner and Peter Wells on each of these three records, corroborates, far beyond a reasonable doubt, that the William Tanner cited on the 1682, 1687 and 1693 documents is, in fact, one in the same person.
  3. ) William Tanner (of this profile), 100 acres.
  4. ) John Sheldon 200 acres; grandfather of William Tanner's daughter-in-law Elizabeth Sheldon, second wife of Wm's son Francis
  5. ) John Crandall 180 acres; uncle of William Tanner's second wife Mary Babcock
  6. ) Jeremiah Crandall 180 acres; uncle of William Tanner's second wife Mary Babcock
  7. ) Gershom Cottrell 180 acres; uncle of John Cottrell II, the previous husband of William Tanner's fourth wife Elizabeth Gardiner Cottrell.
  8. ) James Ray 100 acres; no known relationship
  9. ) Jonathan Knight 200 acres; no known relationship to Wm Tanner. The Wikitree family tree shows that that Jonathan Knight was a brother to sellers David and John Knight and affirms that 200 acres of the Hall purchase was sold to him, but it is not clear whether or not he established residence there after the purchase.
Transfer of the Farm from William Tanner to Descendants

The William Tanner farm deed, previously recorded at Westerly, R. I. is reported by Dr. Tanner as being recorded at South Kingstown on 1 Aug 1728 , in the 1910 Tanner Genealogy. [2] Once again, a copy of the original deed has not been found on the public internet, so it is not possible to examine the original document to determine if there were any changes. There are several possible reasons this deed was recorded in South Kingston at this time: one would be to provide a proper legal record in the correct jurisdiction, second would be to update the land boundaries to conform to the 1708 vacant land committee changes, and the third reason would be to ensure everything was in place to execute the land transfer William made to his son Nathan two years later (perhaps motivated by difficulties encountered with the 1723 transfer of half of the farm to son, Benjamin).

  1. ) From the Clerk's office, South Kingstown RI. (as cited in the 1910 Tanner Genealogy), [2] (page 9), on 4 March 1723 William Tanner gifts the southeastern half of his South Kingston farm to his son Benjamin: "William Tanner of Kingstown for love, good will, and affection towards my son, Benjamin Tanner of Kingstown, gives tract in Hall's Purchase of sixty acres, by a red oak bush at ye {Usquepaug} river.... to John Sheldin's land, bounded on the east by ye land of John Sheldon, Isack Sheldin and Job Badcock, and southward bounded on ye land of Job Badcock and westward bounded on ye {Usquepaug} river till it comes to ye first mentioned bounds. Witnessed by William West, the 1722 husband of Jane Tanner and Isaac Sheldon, the son of John Sheldon (the adjacent neighbor by reason of the Hall purchase). This document provides irrefutable proof of the father-son relationship between William Tanner and Benjamin, it affirms that William and Benjamin Tanner were living adjacent to each other in South Kingstown at least eight years prior to the enumeration of the 1730 Kings County census, and it provides a primary source link to son-in-law William West.
  2. ) On 25 August 1731, William Tanner, at the age of about 70, sets up his full retirement plan by gifting the balance, i.e. the northwestern half (60 acres), of his South Kingstown farm and his entire estate, in a set of deeds to his 21 year old son, Nathaniel, in exchange "for the more comfortable living and maintaining for me and my family in my old age." [2] (page 9). It is worth noting that both of these deeds were witnessed by William's son Francis Tanner and Isaac Sheldon, the son of John Sheldon (an adjacent neighbor by reason of Hall purchase). The reason William chose Nathan as the family caregiver in 1731 is unknown, but was likely based on the wisdom of a father in understanding the nature and character of his children. The 1730 census reveals that this transfer immediately placed Nathan in the position of providing for a household of nine people, though he had not yet married (he married his step-sister Mary Cottrell in 1734). In the end, it is very clear that William chose wisely, for even to his death Nathan Tanner continued to honor this agreement with his father; for in Nathan's [7] 1752 will it is found that he continues to care for his father's widow (Nathan's step-mother and mother-in-law), Elizabeth Gardiner Cottrell, with a bequest to her for an annual sum of £5, to be taken from the profit of his estate after his death. Finally, it should be noted that the acreage sum of the two gifted farms was 120 acres, or 20 acres more than cited in the 1693 Wm Tanner purchase deed; the explanation for this change is that the Committee for the disposal of the "vacant lands" changed the property boundaries in 1708, and this change appears to have benefited William Tanner with an extra 20 acres.
  3. ) On 22 October 1776, Francis Tanner writes his [8] last will and testament, and there are two bequests which are of particular interest to the narrative of the William Tanner and his South Kingstown family farm:
    1. ) In the first of these two bequests, Francis Tanner writes, "I give and bequeath to my beloved sone (namely) Josias Tanner my farm I formerly lived on in South Kingston of King’s County and state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantation be my said sone paying a mortgage which is on twenty-five acres of said farm and pay what I shall hereafter in this will enjoin on him to pay which land is bounded as followeth; beginning at a maple tree that stands by the river called Mumford’s Mill river {also called the Usquepaug River} where the farm now stands and from thence running northerly to a walnut tree marked on two sides standing near the end of the fence east of the old nuszery(?) and from thence northerly a straight line to a black oak tree which is the northwest corner of the lands I bought of my brother Benjamin Tanner and from thence running northerly bounding on land I bought of my brother Nathan Tanner till it comes to Rowland Robinson lands and from thence running easterly bounding partly on said Robinson’s land and partly on John Sheldon’s land and bounding easterly on the heirs of Isaac Sheldon’s land partly and partly on Henry Marchant’s land and southerly on said Henry Marchant’s land and southwesterly on said Mumford’s Mill river to the first mentioned bounds being it may be about one-hundred and thirty acres including within said bounds to a piece or lot of land. Theretofore gave by deed to my said sone Josias Tanner and like wise a lot of land he the said Josias bought of Job Card be the same more or less all which land is that is mine within said bounded together with all the buildings thereon standing except the fence running through the meadow on the west side which must be moved into the line on said west side of said farm and then the one-half of said fence together with the rest of the fence I give to him my said sone Josias Tanner his heirs and assigned forever." Thus Francis Tanner, bequeaths to his son Josias Tanner the southeast portion of the South Kingstown farm which his father William Tanner Sr. gave to his brother Benjamin.
    2. ) In the second bequest, Francis Tanner writes, "I give and bequeath to my beloved sone (namely) Isaac Tanner my farm I formerly bought of my brother Nathan Tanner that lives in South Kingston in King’s County and state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantation be my said sone paying a mortgage which is on twenty-five acres of said farm and pay what I shall hereafter in this will enjoin on him to pay which land is bounded as followeth easterly on land that I have heretofore in this will given to my sone Josias Tanner and southerly and westerly on a river called Mumford’s Mill river {this river is also identified as the Usquepaug River} and northerly partly on a miry brook and partly on Rowland Robinson’s land being it may be about one-hundred and thirty acres including within said bounds a piece on lot of land I have heretofore gave by deed to my said sone Isaac Tanner be the same more or less all which lands that is mine within said bounds together with all the buildings and fences thereon standing I give to him my said sone Isaac Tanner his heirs and assigns forever." So in a similar manner, Frances bequests the northwest portion of the William Tanner farm which William gave to his son Nathan and Francis subsequently acquired from Nathan.
    3. ) From these bequests in the Francis Tanner will, it can be ascertained that; Francis was the brother of Nathan and Benjamin, hence the son of William--which Francis further affirms by stating "my farm I formerly lived on in South Kingston of King’s County." Second, Francis acquired the entire family farm his father William Tanner Sr. had deeded to his brothers Benjamin, in 1723, and Nathan, in 1731, sometime between 1731 and 1776. Third, grandsons Josias and Isaac Tanner inherited the William Tanner Sr. family farm from Frances Tanner in 1776, and become the third generation Tanner owners of he property. Fourth, the size of the farm has grown from 100 acres when acquired by William in 1693, to 120 acres when it was deeded Nathan and Benjamin, and in 1776 the property bequeathed to Isaac and Josiah appears to be recorded as 130 acres (though this is not perfectly clear if the combined farm is now 260 acres or 130 acres from the text).
Tanner Farm Burial Ground

From the 1910 Tanner Genealogy it is noted that "On this land, near the river, and hard by an enclosed burial place may still be seen the graves of two or three generations, including the grave of William Tanner and two of his wives."

Maps and Location of the Farm

The the best way to locate the William Tanner Sr. farm today, is to use the address of the cemetery provided in the find a grave profile for Wm. Tanner. This cemetery, hence the William Tanner farm, may be found at 309 Laurel Lane, South Kingstown, Washington County, Rhode Island, 02892; on the grounds of the present day Laurel Lane Country Club. In the satellite view or in Google Earth you will find a spectacular vista of the farm in which the fairways of golf course outline the boundaries of the farm as described in the land deeds, i.e. the Usquepaug River to the south and west, and the "miry creek" to the north closely relate to those described in the early land deeds for the farm; hence it is very likely that the area of the golf course revealed in the satellite view more or less encompasses the entire area of the original William Tanner farm. NOTICE: you will need to use the Google Chrome browser and install the Google Earth app. in order to see the later image, but it is spectacular and well worth the effort .

The Peter Wells Wikitree page identifies an 1885 stone mansion at 1003 Liberty Lane as having been built on the 1693 Hall Purchase homesite of Peter Wells. Using Google Maps to plot a route from the centroid of the Wm Tanner farm cemetery address to the address of to the Peter Wells homesite it may be seen that they are less than two miles apart, which along with the proximity of the Usquepaug river, confirms this as the exact location of the Hall Purchase. The Peter Wells page also has a picture (shown below) of an unidentified early map of the area which shows the 1664 Cogamaquoant Purchase, i.e. the Hall purchase, marked just to the east of the present day Glen Rock reservoir. However, as the title for the Tanner farm states that the Tanner farm was the northernmost property in the Hall purchase and as the northern border of the farm (golf course) is about 1 mile south of the village of Useuepaugh (as can be see in the satellite and Google Earth view), it is obvious that this map places the Coguinquant purchase about 1-2 miles north of the actual location.

Early Map of 1664 Coginaquant purchase

Thus from the William Tanner property documentation and other previously stated, corroborating documentation, it can be be stated as fact that 1) William Tanner was the father of sons: William Tanner Jr., Benjamin Tanner, John Tanner, Francis Tanner, and Nathan Tanner; that he was the 1693-1731 owner of a South Kingstown farm, which he gifted to his sons Nathan and Benjamin, then to his son Frances, then to his grandsons Josias and Isaac Tanner, and that this farm is presently (Oct 2019) owned and occupied by the Laurel Lane Country Club. 2) William Tanner Sr. and his wives M.T. and E.T. are buried on the family farm. 3) No record of a gift of land or possessions from William Tanner Sr. to either William Tanner Jr. or Francis Tanner has been found as of Oct 2019. Wm may or may not have given either of these sons an inheritance, but either way it does not affect the certainty that these two men were the sons of Wm Tanner Sr. as their son-ship is established, far beyond a reasonable doubt outside the context of a documented inheritance.

1730 Census

In 1730, a census of the citizens of Rhode Island was enumerated; unfortunately, most of these census records have been lost and only two records are known to survive. The two surviving 1730 census records are for Portsmuth, and the other enumerates the district of South Kingston which includes the Hall purchase, hence William Tanner. Jane F Fiske provides a full transcription of this census record in Vol. 10 of Rhode Island Roots. [9] This 1730 Rhode Island Census enumerates William Tanner as a resident of South Kingstown, Rhode Island, and head of a household with nine whites. Listed adjacent to Wm Tanner is his son, Benjamin Tanner, head of a household of 11 whites, as would be expected based on the 1723 land deed cited above. William and Benjamin were also on the 14 July 1730 rate bill and William was on the 1 Dec 1735 rate bill in South Kingstown. [10] In an audit of this census record, testing for a match to William Tanner Sr. of this profile, it may be noted that William Tanner Sr. was about 70 years of age in 1730 and would be expected to be a resident of South Kingstown, but it seems a bit odd that he would have a household of nine persons at the age of 70. Exploring a possible 1730 household composition for Wm Tanner Sr. we have: head, William Tanner; wife, Elizabeth (Gardiner Cottrell) Tanner; son Francis Tanner (age 22); son Nathan Tanner (age 20), daughter Anna Tanner (age 18), daughter Rebecca Tanner (age 16); daughter Elizabeth Tanner (age 13); daughter Abigail Tanner (age 11), stepson John Cottrell III (age 18); stepdaughter Mary Cottrell (age 14) and stepdaughter Hannah Cottrell (age 12); which would account for a household of eleven. The list may be pared to nine by noting that Abigail and/or Anna may have died young or that Frances and/or Nathan may have "left the nest" prior 1730, in any case the data fits the William Tanner of this profile exceedingly well, and it was not only possible that Wm Sr. had a household of nine at age 70, but his known family structure would require a household of this size. Thus this census record corroborates other collected records and coupled with the rate bill establishes, with an exceedingly high degree of certainty, that William Tanner Sr. was alive as late as 1 Dec 1735.

Hall Purchase owners in the 1730 Census

This 1730 census also provides absolute proof this particular census is for the William Tanner of this profile and further affirms the asserted identity of Wm Tanner back to the 1693, 1687, and 1682 records, as it includes the following known Hall purchase owners and/or their descendants enumerated in close proximity to William and Benjamin Tanner:

  1. ) Isaac and John Sheldon III; sons of John Sheldon II
  2. ) Stephen Cottrill, son of Gershom Cottrill
  3. ) Peter Wells Jr., son of Peter Wells
  4. ) Job Babcock and sons Samuel Babcock and Capt. Job Babcock

In addition to the Hall purchase owners, Moses Barber, father to Thomas Barber, (the husband of William Tanner's daughter Avis Tanner) is enumerated nearby in this 1730 census, along with his sons: Moses Jr., Benjamin, and William. This provides a strong proximity confirmation that Avis Tanner was indeed the daughter of this Wm Tanner.

William Tanner and Mary Tanner belonged to the Westerly, Rhode Island Sabbatarian Church in 1740. [11]

Marriage and Children

First Wife, ____ Tibbitts

As of Sept 2019, what is known of the first marriage of William Tanner is derived from a solitary primary source document and that document is the Last Will and Testament of Henry Tibbitts, or rather a paraphrase and quotes of the Henry Tibbitt's will as recorded in John Austin's Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island and George Tanner's 1905 Tanner Genealogy. Of the two, Austin's [12] (Austin Page 202) record of Henry Tibbitts' will, written 27 Nov 1708 and proved 13 July 1713, is more complete and notes a bequest, "To grandson William Tanner, land purchased of Thomas Stanton of Stonington, and five loads of hay." This bequest infers that grandson William Tanner is an adult and of sufficient age to engage in independent farming operations because the five loads of hay are perishable and would require immediate care; furthermore the hay would need to be consumed in livestock operations within a year to retain its' value. Thus from this bequest we can infer that grandson William Tanner was (at a minimum) in his early to mid-twenties in 1708; his mother, ____ Tibbitts, daughter of Henry Tibbitts, was deceased prior to 1708; his father was ____ Tanner, born sometime prior to 1666; he was possibly the sole surviving child of the marriage union of ____ Tanner and ____ Tibbitts, (asserted because grandfather Henry Tibbitts named multiple grandsons and grand daughters as heirs of other deceased children in his will); and he became a North Kingston, RI. land owner (and likely resident). Thus, the identification of the father of this grandson, William Tanner (Jr.), as being William Tanner (Sr.) is an assumption based on a dual requirement criteria that the father was born in 1666, or earlier, and was physically located in Rhode Island near Henry Tibbitts at his courting age, that is to say about 1685 or earlier. The possible candidates meeting this criteria is a very short list of one; the previous notes documenting that William Tanner was in Rhode Island as early as 1682, and then in 1687 he was the only adult male Tanner in King's County, available to be the father of William Tanner Jr.

Austin's 1887 Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island [12] (Page 451) is also the originating source of the mis-identification of the mother of William Tanner (Jr.) as Hannah Tibbitts. Austin asserts that it was ____ Tibbitts who was the Hannah Tanner identified as the wife of William Tanner and the mother of William Tanner and four other children born between 1712 and 1725 as recorded in the North Kingston, RI Vital Records [13](Page 103-104). However, it is a simple matter to show that this assertion is self-contradictory and incorrect because this Hannah Tanner was very much alive and making babies between 1712 and 1725, when the will of Henry Tibbitts makes it perfectly clear that his daughter, ____ Tibbitts, was deceased prior to writing of his will in 27 Nov 1708. Therefore Austin's assertion that ____ Tibbitts was Hannah Tibbitts is just plain wrong, however because this assertion appears in a published genealogy, it has been often and uncritically repeated in subsequent secondary literature, an example of which may be seen in the 1904 "Harris Genealogy". [14]

Regarding the birth and death of ____ (Tibbitts); as noted earlier, the will of her father is the solitary primary document which authenticates her existence. However, there is much that can be reasonably inferred from the document; the language and bequest to grandson William Tanner provides reasonable, circumstantial evidence to assert that he was at least 21 years of age by 27 November 1708, the date the will was written; it would also be reasonable to assert that his mother would have been at least 19 years of age prior to his birth, thus the latest date that ____ Tibbitts could have been born was about 1668. An approximate early boundary for her date of birth may be established by examining the marriage date of her parents and what is known about the birth dates of her siblings. Arnold (Vol 7, page 36) records a Dec 1661 marriage date for parents, Henry Tibbitts and Sarah Stanton, in Rhode Island. So, if ____ Tibbitt was their oldest child, then the earliest she could have been born was in 1662, with the underpinning assumption being that Sarah Stanton was the first wife of Henry and the mother of ____ Tibbitts. As there is no known data to undermine this assumption, it can be said with a reasonable degree of certainty that ____ Tibbitts was born between 1662 and 1668; taking the midpoint sets an approximated birth date of 1665. Her father's will establishes, with certainty, that she died prior to 27 Nov 1708, and it can be stated as fact that she would have had to be alive at the time her son William Tanner was born around 1686. Thus, it can be stated with a high degree of certainty, that ____ (Tibbetts) Tanner died sometime between 1686 and 1708. If one accepts the assumption that Mary Babcock was the second wife of Wm Tanner, then the range of dates for the death of ____ (Tibbitts) Tanner can be narrowed to between 1686 to 1690, because William's next son Benjamin was born in 1692.

Second Wife Mary Babcock

In his 1905 Tanner Genealogy, George Tanner cites the 26 March 1715 will of Job Babcock, of Westerly, RI, in which Job Babcock writes the following, Item: I give unto my daughter Mary Tanner's heirs one shilling. This will, links Mary Babcock, the daughter of Job Babcock, by marriage, to an Unknown Tanner who happened to be living in Kings County, Rhode Island at the time of the courtship age of said Mary. George Tanner, then asserts, using an argument of evidence based on initials WT and MT found on adjacent field stone markers in the Tanner Farm Cemetery, that the Unknown Tanner whom Mary Babcock married was William Tanner Sr., the ancestor of the Rhode Island Tanners. The information which may be gleaned from this transcription of the will is that Mary (Babcock) Tanner died prior to 26 March 1715; that she had Tanner offspring prior to her death; that her birthdate must be compatible with that of her siblings, the children of Job Tanner and Jane (Crandall) Babcock; and that she married a King's County, RI Tanner resident, who allowing time for this spouse to be 21 and to have then fathered a minimum of two children, would have had to have been born prior to about 1689. The universe of possible candidates satisfying this criteria are William Tanner Sr. and his son William Tanner Jr., the grandson of Henry Tibbitts. It should be noted here that this same Job Babcock will is cited in [12] (Austin Page 8), but this citation does not include the word "heirs" in the citation of the bequest to Mary Tanner; as of 5 Oct 2019 a copy of the original document has not been located, thus it is not presently possible to verify which transcription is correct. If the word heirs is absent in this bequest, the implication is that Mary Tanner is still alive on 26 March 1715, married to a Mr. Tanner born prior to about 1697, and may or may not have had children. The upshot of this discussion is that it is known that Mary Babcock was married to a Mr. Tanner in South Kingstown, with an exceedingly high probability that it was William Tanner, but with a 50/50 probability of whether this husband was William Tanner Sr. or William Tanner Jr.

The 2008 publication by Roger K. Crandall [15] is cited to assert (but this assertion is unverified) that Mary (Babcock) Tanner died in 1696, at Westerly Kings County Rhode Island. However, the basis for this asserted date is unknown. Others have asserted that Mary Babcock was the mother of all of William Tanner's Children (Except Wm Jr.) and lived until shortly before William Tanner's 1722 marriage to Elizabeth Gardiner Cottrell. However, these date extremes are incompatible with a number of well-defined and documented events which help narrow the window of time for her death. First, the tombstone of Mary's daughter Avis (Tanner) Barber defines Avis' date of birth to be 1700, which means that Mary Babcock had to be alive as late as 1700. The upper date-of-death boundary for Mary Babcock which can be asserted with primary source certainty is 20 Feb 1709, the date of birth of Nathan Tanner, son of William Tanner and Elizabeth (not the son of Mary Babcock, nor does Wm Tanner Jr. fit as the father of Nathan as he was not known to be married to an Elizabeth in 1709); this birth is recorded in the Rhode Island Vital Records, by Arnold [16]. This birth record affirms the 1910 Tanner Genealogy assertion that children Francis - Abigail were all children of third wife Elizabeth which, in turn, means William would have married third wife Elizabeth sometime in 1707 benchmarking a death date for Mary Babcock prior to 1707. In the section on "Other Children of William Tanner" daughters Jane, Rachel, and Dorcas are identified and are presumably the daughters of Mary Babcock, which would mean that Mary had at least seven children and this would typically require a time spange of about 14 years. Assuming Benjamin, born 24 Dec 1692 [17], was the oldest, then this birth count suggests Mary may have been alive as late as 1706; furthermore her death would have left William Sr. with seven young (Wm Jr was 20 by then) children and no mate to assist in their care, a desperate life situation which defines a highly urgent need to find a new wife to help with the care of his children. Thus, it seems highly probable that William would have remarried within two years of Mary's death which would place her death date in 1705. As a final note, on page 6 of the 1910 Tanner Genealogy [2], George Tanner cites a 26 March 1715 Will of Job Babcock, father of Mary (Babcock) Tanner, in which he bequeaths "one shilling to the heirs of daughter Mary Tanner; thus adding primary source proof that Mary Tanner was dead prior to 26 March 1715. Because this death date precedes the birth date of Wm's children Elizabeth and Abigail, it provides additional circumstantial, but powerful, evidence that none of the children in the Wm and Elizabeth group (Francis - Abigail) were of Mary, and thus an additional affirmation that Mary died prior to 1707. In summary, the known data suggests a most probable date of death for Mary (Babcock) Tanner between the years 1704 and 1706, probably in 1705.

Third Wife, Elizabeth ____, possibly Colgrove

George Tanner in his 1910 Tanner Genealogy [2] cites a hand written genealogy by Rev. Francis E. Tanner of Hopkinton, RI., a great grandson of William, in which he identifies his great-grandmother as Elizabeth _____, the a third wife of Wm Tanner. This handwritten genealogy then assigns Francis, Nathan, Anna, Rebecca, Elizabeth, and Abigail as children of this marriage union. George Tanner speculates that the maiden name of this Elizabeth ____, was Colgrove, daughter of Francis and Anna Colgrove of Westerly; and notes that his speculation was based on an argument of family proximity and of common membership in the Sabbatarian Baptist Church of Hopkinton, RI., but is unable to offer definitive proof of this assertion. The 1910 Tanner Genealogy identifies a So. Kingston birth record for Nathan Tanner, son of William and Elizabeth, b. 20 Feb 1709/10. [16] Because the only other known, adult William Tanner near South Kingstown in 1709 was his son, William Tanner Jr., who appears to have been unmarried in 1710 and whose 1757 will excludes Nathan as his son, this birth record provides a certain affirmation of the assertion that William Tanner Sr. had children with a third wife Elizabeth who was NOT Elizabeth Gardiner Cottrell, because Wm Tanner Sr. was not married to Elizabeth Gardiner Cotrell until 1722/3 twelve years later. As a final note on this topic, Francis Tanner, the first child of William and Elizabeth, in his 1776 will, [8] writes that he has a brother Nathan and a brother Benjamin, hence providing a primary source document which bridges the children of William and Mary (Babcock) Tanner with the children of William and Elizabeth Tanner as a common family group.

Fourth Wife, Elizabeth Gardiner Cotrell Tanner

George Tanner then goes on to note another South Kingstown, RI marriage record [18] (Page 286) {Editorial, this record is NOT included in the Arnold Vital Records for South Kingstown, RI} in which William Tanner is noted to have married a fourth wife, the widow Elizabeth Cottrell in 1722 or 1723. Both Tanner's 1910 Genealogy and other subsequent studies [19] affirm that Wm Tanner's 1722 or 1723 marriage to Elizabeth Cottrell made William her third husband, but George Tanner fails to note that this marriage was William Tanner's fourth marriage. In the Tanner Genealogy narrative, her first given surname identity is Gardiner and for which she is noted to have had a daughter named Elizabeth Gardiner with her first husband; however (as of Sept 2019) no documentation has been found to identify of the father of this child. Elizabeth is noted to have married John Cottrell (II) as her second husband and with whom she gave birth to three children between the years 1712 and 1718; her husband John Cottrell II died in April 1721 and she then married (third) William Tanner. Elizabeth ___ Gardiner Cottrell Tanner's daughter Mary Cottrell is documented to have married Nathan Tanner [16] ((SK_VR Page 32)) , her step-brother (no blood relationship), the son of her step-father Wm Tanner and Elizabeth his third wife. None of the relevant, cited source texts provide maiden name identification of this fourth wife. [2][19][18] It should be noted that this narrative assumes that Elizabeth was married first to a Mr. Gardiner, however this is an assumption as no evidence has been found to affirm this as fact. It should be noted that the Seventh Day Baptist Church (SDBC) membership roster identifies an Elizabeth Gardiner Tanner in it's 1740 membership roll and as few other members were identified in this three-name fashion, it is clear the Gardiner surname identification was provided to distinguish her from another Elizabeth Tanner, almost certainly Elizabeth (Reynolds) Tanner the third wife of William Tanner Jr. The interesting point of this observation is that she is named Gardner, not Cottrell which would have been her surname at the time Willliam Tanner married her; and this all suggests that her maiden surname was, in fact, Gardiner and hints that she may have had daughter Elizabeth out of wedlock or that the father of Elizabeth was also surnamed Gardiner. This assertion is substantiated by the birth citation in The History of Washington and Kent Counties; [20] Cole; Page 489: where it states, "Elizabeth Gardner, daughter of Elizabeth Gardner was born May 17, 1708" sans a father, however an examination of the Gardiner Genealogy, by Caroline Robinson, offers no genealogical hook to connect her to Gardiner parents.

Children of William Tanner cited in the 1910 Tanner Genealogy

  1. ) Child of William Tanner & ____ Tibbetts:[2]
    1. ) William, b about 1687, S Kingstown, RI; d 1757, N Kingstown, RI
  2. ) Children of William Tanner & Mary Babcock, order uncertain:[2]
    1. ) Benjamin, b 24 Dec 1692 [17]
    2. ) John
    3. ) Avis m. 18 April 1723 Thomas Barber.
    4. ) Mary
  3. ) Children of William Tanner & Elizabeth (maiden name unknown, possibly Colgrove): [2]
    1. ) Francis, b 3 Jul 1708;
    2. ) Nathan, b 20 Feb 1710
    3. ) Anna, b 14 Mar 1712
    4. ) Rebecca, b 2 Jul 1714
    5. ) Elizabeth, b 14 Nov 1717
    6. ) Abigail, b 17 Oct 1719
  4. ) Children of William Tanner and Elizabeth ____ Gardiner Cottrell (maiden name possibly Gardiner):
    1. ) None.

Other children of William Tanner

  • On Jane Tanner from Samuel West's Memorandum Book: "My fathers mother was Jane Tanner Daughter of Frances Tanner hur mother was a Babcock hur Brothers names ware William Benjamin John Frances & Nathan hur sisters names ware Mary Avis Abigail Rechel Ann & Dorcas." from Samuel West's Memorandum Book. [21] (page 10) The list of children is so similar that we can easily see that Samuel could have made a mistake (there are Francises on the West side also) naming his grandfather Frances instead of William. Rebecca and Elizabeth are known children not listed by Samuel and Samuel listed a Rachel and Dorcas, unknown children. The Mayflower Society: Jane Tanner, wife of William West, and apparently daughter of William and Mary (Babcock) Tanner, was born in Westerly, Rhode Island, about 1702.[11] The assertion that Jane Tanner was the daughter of William Tanner is further supported by a 4 March 1723 Wm Tanner land deed cited on page 9 of the 1910 Tanner Genealogy. In this deed, it is noted that Wiiliam West, (husband of Jane Tanner) signed as a witness to the deed passing 60 acres of land from Wm Tanner to his son Benjamin. In addition the name Jean Tanner is found on the 1718 [22] Hopkinton Sabbatarian Baptist Church membership roll, along with several other of the children of William Tanner Sr.
  • Rachel (see comments with Jane)
  • Dorcas (see comments with Jane)
  • Sarah the Mayflower Society lists Sarah [Tanner?], possible wife of Clement West as perhaps a daughter of William and Mary.

Benjamin Tanner

As noted earlier only two of the fourteen children of William Tanner Sr. are known to have their births recorded in a King's County Town Record, and one of these is son Benjamin Tanner who has a birth record which may be found in the West Greenwich, Rhode Island Town Record. This birth record establishes Benjamin's date of birth to be 24 Dec 1692, but it does not provide the names of his parents. This same West Greenwich, Rhode Island Town Record also gives the names and birth dates of his children, with the obvious implication that they, as well as Benjamin Tanner were born in West Greenwich. Hence, this birth record is at odds with what is known of Benjamin Tanner, son of Wm Tanner shown in earlier documents; i.e. it is known that Benjamin Tanner son of William Tanner was born at South Kingstown, he was given half his father's South Kingstown farm in 1723, and he lived on that farm until at least the 1730 census, hence his children born prior to 1730 would have been born in South Kingstown, not West Greenwich. This discrepancy suggests that there may have been two Benjamin Tanners in Kings County RI between 1720 and 1740; the 24 Dec 1692 born Benjamin Tanner of West Greenwich, and the son of William Tanner, born and living in South Kingstown next to his father at least up to 1730. However there is one other record which links the Benjamin Tanner, of West Greenwich as being the same Benjamin Tanner, son of William of South Kingston and that is the West Greenwich Town record which calls Benjamin to give an account regarding his guests William West and family, who happens to be the husband of Jane Tanner, his sister. This suggests that vital records for Benjamin and his family were recorded at West Greenwich (after the fact) when Benjamin moved there after he sold his half of the family farm to his brother Francis Tanner. This is a subtle, but important point because the 24 Dec 1692 West Greenwich birth date is used by Dr. Tanner as a date anchor to tie the births of Benjamin, John, Avis, and Mary Tanner as children of Mary (Babcock) Tanner.

Death and Burial

William Tanner, his wife Mary Babcock and son John Tanner and John's wives are buried in the South Kingstown Rhode Island Historical Cemetery #129 now known as the Tanner Cemetery. The memorial stones are rough cut fieldstones bearing only their initials. [23]

Genealogical Records

The following section of this profile provides detailed information found in the various cited sources. The purpose of this section is to provide the reader access to the information contained within the cited sources; to identify source data conflicts and identify the origin of data errors; and, finally, to provide a platform to analyze, cross-correlate, and comment on important aspects of the cited historical data record.

Vital Records

  1. ) South Kingstown, RI Births; Page 57: Nathan Tanner, son of William and Elizabeth Tanner was born 20 Feb 1709.
  2. ) South Kingstown RI Marriage Records; Page 32: Nathan Tanner married Mary Cottrell, by Isaac Sheldon, Justice on 28 May 1734. {Editorial Mary Cottrell was Nathan's step sister, the daughter of John Cottrell II and Elizabeth Gardiner Cottrell, the fourth wife of his father William Tanner}
  1. ) Children of William and Hannah Tanner: {The following records are for William Tanner Jr., but are included here because they are cited by George Tanner and by John Austin in association with Wm Tanner Sr. in their genealogical records. John Osborne Austin asserts [12] (Page 451) that the Hannah of this primary record was Hannah Tibbitts , but on page 14 of the 1905 Tanner Genealogy, [4] George Tanner counters that "Austin has confounded the names and it is more likely that the wife of William Tanner of North Kingstown was Hannah Palmer because the name Palmer appears as a given name for several generations of children descended from this union." However, George Tanner missed the more powerful argument as to why the Hannah of this Wm and Hannah Tanner North Kingstown birth record absolutely could not be Hannah Tibbitts. The basis for this conclusive argument is that the Hannah of this birth record was still alive and having babies as late as 1725, but the Will of Henry Tibbitts, [12] (Page 202) written on 27 Nov 1708 passes the inheritance of his daughter Unknown (Tibbitts) Tanner to his grandson William Tanner, a bequest that would have been made if and only if his daughter was dead when the will was written; furthermore William Tanner, the first child of the union of Wm and Hannah, Austin's alleged grandson heir, was not born until after the will was written, (though he was born prior to the date the Henry Tibbitt's will was proved on 13 July 1713), and so, if he was the heir, then this 10 month old baby would have received as an inheritance, land and "five loads of hay"--an absurd, yet very humorous, assertion. Ergo, assuming yet another William Tanner as an implausible possibility, the William Tanner of this William and Hannah of North Kingston birth Record had to be William Tanner Jr., son of William Tanner Sr. and ____ Tibbitts.}
    1. ) North Kingstown, Rhode Island, Births; Page 103-104: William Tanner, son of William and Hannah, was born 22 Sept 1712 at North Kingstown, Rhode Island.
    2. ) Benjamin Tanner, son of William and Hannah, was born 16 June 1714 at North Kingstown, Rhode Island.
    3. ) Honor Tanner, son? of William and Hannah, was born 15 Dec 1716 at North Kingstown, Rhode Island.
    4. ) ____ah, of William and Hannah, was born 16 Oct 1723 at North Kingstown, Rhode Island.
    5. ) ____, of William and Hannah, was born 19 Jan 172_ at North Kingstown, Rhode Island.
  2. ) North Kingstown, RI Marriages; Page 45: North Kingston, RI marriages:
    1. ) John Tanner married Susannah West, of Frances; m. by William Hall Justice, May 9, 1721.
    2. ) William Tanner married Elizabeth Reynolds by William Spencer, Justice. March __, 1729.
  3. ) North Kingstown, RI Birth Records Page 104: Four children of William and Elizabeth Tanner were born In North Kingstown, Rhode Island. {The North Kingstown, RI. Vital records were damaged by a fire and were partially destroyed. This North Kingstown birth record has entries for four children of William and Elizabeth Tanner, but the children's names and birth dates were obliterated by the fire; hence without name or date identification these children could be for either William Tanner Sr or William Tanner jr. as both were married to an Elizabeth at some point in their life, though the North Kingston location strongly favors William Tanner Jr. and Elizabeth Reynolds as the parents of these children--see marriage above.}
    1. ) ____ Tanner, of William and Elizabeth, was born 6 Dec ____ at North Kingstown, Rhode Island.
    2. ) ____ Tanner, of William and Elizabeth, was born 11 Oct ____ at North Kingstown, Rhode Island.
    3. ) ____ Tanner, of William and Elizabeth, was born 5 Sept ____ at North Kingstown, Rhode Island.
    4. ) ____ Tanner, of William and Elizabeth, was born 6 Sept. ____ at North Kingstown, Rhode Island.

The following Birth Record benchmarks an approximate date for the marriage of William Tanner and Mary Babcock prior to 1691/2:

  1. ) Kent County Vital Records, Vol 1; West Greenwich, Kent County, RI., Births and Deaths; Page 98: Benjamin Tanner was born 24 Dec 1692. {It is well known that early town clerks would record the vital data of citizens into the town record when they moved into the community. This appears the be the case of Benjamin Tanner, as it is known that his father Wm Tanner was a lifelong resident of South Kingstown (whence he was settled from his immigration), hence in all likelihood Benjamin was born in South Kingstown and did not move to West Greenwich until he was married and purchased land in said locale. The birth date of Benjamin Tanner was likely a data anchor in the record books for the births of his children in West Greenwich.}
    1. ) Sarah, of Benjamin, 19 May 1716.
    2. ) Mary, of Benjamin, 21 Feb 1719..
    3. ) Joanna, of Benjamin, 3 July 1721.
    4. ) Content, of Benjamin, 8 Nov 1726.
    5. ) Benjamin {Jr.}, of Benjamin, 20 Aug 1730.
    6. ) James, of Benjamin, 5 April 1733.
    7. ) Deborah, of Benjamin, 22 Jan 1741.
  • Secondary Source, Clarence Almon Torrey, U.S., New England Marriages Prior to 1700, [24] Data extract:
  1. ) Image 742 of 1022: Marriage records for William Tanner:
    1. ) William Tanner and first wife ____ Tibbett, daughter of Henry; ca. 1685?; ?Stonington, CT.
    2. ) William Tanner and second wife Mary Badcock; b. 1692?; Stonington, CT {Editorial, notation in this book: b. 1692 means there was a child born in 1692 as a result of this marriage. 1692 would correspond to the date of birth presently assigned to Benjamin Tanner.  ? means the data is uncertain.}
  1. ) Some Early Marriages Recorded at South Kingston, R.I.; Page 285: Thomas Barber and Avis Tanner were married on the 18th day of April 1723 at South Kingston, RI. by Rowse Helme, Justice of the Peace
  2. ) Some Early Marriages Recorded at South Kingston, R.I.; Page 286: Francis Tanner and March Tosh were married February 26, 1728 at South Kingston, RI. by Rowse Helme, Justice of the Peace
  3. ) Some Early Marriages Recorded at South Kingston, R.I.; Page 286: William Tanner and Elisabeth Cottrell were married 1722[?]* at South Kingston, RI. by Rowse Helme, Justice of the Peace. *Only the tops of the last two digits visible.

Rhode Island Records

  1. ) Coginaquant's deed to Henry Hall and Robert Knight Page 70: 19 Jan 1664. Coginaquant's deed to Henry Hall and Robert Knight, of about two square miles, which they named Westerly Manor. Definition of bounds by Indian names. This purchase was afterwards confirmed by the Assembly, in 1708. It's bounds as finally settled, appear to the the Usquepaug River on the west, the Pettiquamscut purchase on the East, and on the North, the purchase of Lang, Boss, Wickham and others from the State Committee on 17 May 1710.
  2. ) Notes from General Assembly; Page 112: Feb 1712. In a lawsuit between John Knight and Job Babcock, an appeal allowed to Great Britain.
  3. ) Report of the Committee on the Vacant Lands, Page 213-219: Report of Committee appointed by the General Assembly of Rhode Island to hear claims and titles on Narragansett land and to present a draft recommendation. The deed of Coginaquant to Knight and Hall with a deed of said Coginaquant to Captain Cranston and Co., and a deed to John Green, John Fones and Partners, which here we present, we leave to the to the opinion of the General Assembly with several papers presented to us. 27 Oct 1708. Committee members; Henry Tew, Weston Clarke, Richard Arnold, and Randall Holden. Page 215-219 contains a list of sales of these vacant lands.
  4. ) Notes from General Assembly; Page 111: Oct 1708. The assembly confirmed the Deed of Coqinaquand to Knight and Halls, provided it should not interfere with the Pettaquamscut purchase. Coqinaquand's deed to Capt. Cranston and partners, was not confirmed, those lands having already been granted out by the Assembly to East Greenwich, or to Fones, Green and partners.
  5. ) Deposition by Capt. Joseph Davell regarding the Hall Purchase Page 225-226: Transcription of Capt. Joseph Davel's Deposition regarding the Hall Purchase; footnote on the location of John Sheldon's house. {This text is cited in Dr. George Tanner's 1905 Tanner Genealogy.}
  • Secondary Transcription of a Primary Source, Jane F. Fiske, Rhode Island Roots, Vol 10, No. 1, [9] Data Extract:
  1. ) 1730 Census, South Kingstown, R.I.; page 8: 1730 South Kingstown enumerations:
    1. ) Benja Tanner, Whites: 11, Blacks: 0, Negroes: 0.
    2. ) William Tanner, Whites: 9, Blacks: 0, Negroes: 0.

Church Records

  1. ) First Sabbatarian Church of Hopkinton, ; Page 114: Tanners listed on the Hopkinton Sabbatarian Baptist Membership Roll: The dates are from the revised list of members at the time given.
    1. ) Charter Members 1708: William and Mary Jr. {Editorial these name entries have traditionally been interpreted as being William Tanner Sr. and Mary Babcock. However, as it is highly probable that Mary (Babcock) Tanner died at least a year prior to the birth of Francis, son of Wm and his 3rd wife Elizabeth, in 3 July 1708; it follows that Mary Babcock was deceased at least a year prior to the 1708 Charter Membership date and this entry could not be for her. At present, (21 Sept 2019) a scanned image of the original membership document has not been found to review; and this is important because if the original document is written as "William and Mary Tanner Jr.," then it would be certain that these charter members were William Tanner Jr. and a heretofor unknown first wife Mary (Unknown) Tanner, rather than his father William Tanner Sr. and Mary Babcock. It seems intuitively obvious that Mary Jr. is an artifact of Arnold's transcription process as it is highly unusual to find the Jr. designation used with a female first name, not to mention that Jr. has no meaning in the context of female descendancy; nevertheless Mary Tanner is not the only Mary Jr. to be found in this Arnold record as there is at least one other, Mary Witter Jr. on page 116. As William Tanner Jr. was born in 1686, he would have been 22, fully of age for church membership and marriage, in 1708; and thus this membership roll would also identify Mary ____ as his first wife. As a further argument that this Wm Tanner is Wm Tanner Jr., there is no record of an Elizabeth Tanner, the 1707-1719 third wife of Wm Tanner Sr. in the SDB Church rolls, but in 1740, Elizabeth Gardiner Tanner the fourth wife and widow (post 1730) of Wm Tanner Sr. appears on the roll after his death. }
    2. ) 5 Sept 1712: Benjamin, Mary Jr., Mary, William. {Editorial: based on the comments for the charter members: Benjamin, Mary and William {Jr.} would be the children of William & Mary (Babcock) Tanner Sr.; and Mary Jr. would be the first wife of William Tanner Jr. The assertion that Mary Jr. is the wife of Wm Tanner Jr. is made stronger being present in the 1712 roll, as the 20 Feb 1709 birth [16] (Page 57:) of Nathan Tanner, son of Wm Sr. and Elizabeth benchmarks, with certainty, the demise of Mary Babcock prior to this date, i.e. Mary Babcock was not alive to be on the church roll in 1712.}
    3. ) 1712: William, Mary Jr. "{William and Mary Tanner Jr.}
    4. ) 1718: Benjamin, Mary, William, Jean. {Benjamin, Mary, William, Jean--is probably the Jane Tanner in Soule [11] , children of Wm Tanner Sr. Note in 1718, Mary Jr. asserted here as the first wife of William Tanner Jr. is missing from the church membership roll and presumed deceased sometime between 5 Sept 1712 and 1718.}
    5. ) 1740: Benjamin, Mary, William, Elizabeth Gardiner, Joannah, Joannah (2nd), Joseph, Nathan. {Benjamin, Mary, Nathan, and William Jr., are children of William Tanner Sr. Elizabeth Gardiner Tanner, is almost certainly the widow of William Tanner Sr. and John Cottrell; this three name SDB church membership identification provides a strong indication that her maiden name was Gardiner. Her three name identification, i.e. Elizabeth Gardiner Tanner, in the church membership roll was clearly a device to distinguish her from another, contemporary Elizabeth Tanner; who, in all likelihood, would have been Elizabeth (Reynolds) Tanner (not a listed SDBC member), the 1740 wife of SDBC member William Tanner Jr. Joannah, was probably Joanna (Lewis) Tanner, first wife of Benjamin Tanner, and Joseph & Joannah 2nd, were probably Joseph Tanner, son of John and Jane Tanner and his wife Joannah }
    6. ) before 1750: Content (by her father John Maxson), Francis, ____ wife of Francis, Mary.
    7. ) July, 1768: Content, Mary.
  2. ) Newport, RI., Sabbatarian Church Records (Arnold Vol. VII): The Newport RI Sabbatarian Baptist church, the "mother church" of the Hopkinton Sabbatarian Baptist Church contains no reference whatsoever to William Tanner.
  • Secondary Source, Dedication of Ministers' Monument, August 28, 1899, [25] Data Extract; The following information has been extracted from a footnote on page 26 and 27 of the pamphlet commemorating the Dedication of the Ministers' Monument on August 23, 1899 at the First Hopkinton (Conn.) Cemetery. This footnote identifies a list of 133 men who were known (to the Sabbatarian Baptist Church) to have been associated with the SDBC movement in southwestern Rhode Island prior to the formation of the Hopkinton SDBC in 1708. These men have been identified as the progenitors of 5/6 of the Hopkinton SDBC membership, and their descendants comprised 2/3 of the ensuing church plants spawned by the Hopkinton church. The following is an abridged version of the list, limited to individuals known (from other documents) to have been either a business associate of William Tanner or to have been an ancestor of an individual known to have married a descendant of Wm Tanner.
  1. ) List of pre-1708 Seventh Day Baptist Church Progenitors: Source footnote presents a tentative list of male immigrants and a few others, nearly all of whom settled in Rhode Island, especially in its Southwestern portion, and also in Southeastern, Connecticut, prior to the formation of the Westerly (now Hopkinton) church in 1708; and who themselves largely and very many of their descendants were, during the period occupied by the early pastors, connected with the Hopkinton SDB church, making in all fully five-sixths of its membership; furthermore, the descendants of these men account for over two-thirds of the membership of churches planted by the Hopkinton church in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York.
    1. ) SDBC Men with descendants married into the family of William Tanner Sr. and his descendants: tJohn Allen, Arthur Aylesworth, neighbor to Wm Tanner and his great grand daughter married Wm's Grandson; James Babcock, grandfather of Wm Tanners second wife Mary Babcock; William Bailey, Moses Barber, son Thomas married Avis daughter of Wm Tanner; Elijah Berry, George Bliss, Edward Bliven, Edward Boss, Thomas Brand, John Briggs, James Barker, William Bassett, Samuel Beebe, Robert Bennett, George Brown, Robert Burdick, Peter Button, Abiah Carpenter, Robert Carr, Bryant Cartwright, Jeffrey Champlin, Benjamin Chase, Christopher Chester, Jeremiah Clarke, Joseph Clarke, Francis Colgrove, possibly the father of Wm Tanner's third wife Elizabeth, Elizur Collins, Nicholas Cottrell, great grandfather of Wm Tanner's Cotrell step-children, Hope Covey, John Crandall, grandfather of Mary Babcock, wife of Wm Tanner, Sr.; John Sheldon Sr., neighbor to Wm Tanner, and grandfather of Elizabeth Sheldon, wife of Wm Tanner's son Francis
    2. ) SDBC men who were known business associates of William Tanner Sr.: Henry Hall, sold South Kingston land to Wm Tanner; son James was a brother-in-law to Wm Tanner through the Babcock sisters; John Lewis, Thomas Stanton, original owner of Kingston land deeded to William Tanner by Grandfather Henry Tibbetts Jr.

Land Records

  1. ) Rhode Island Gleanings Vol I, The Fones Record; 1894, Page 79: On 12 May 1682, William Tanner signs as a co-witness with Peter Wells a quit claim deed authored by Mrs. Francis H. Houlding, wife of Mr Randall Houlding; in support of a 6 Nov 1681 sale of 158 acres of land including Fox Island and parcel on a neck of land in Narragansett countrey, by her husband Randall Houlden to William Tailor and Rich'd Wharton via their agent Richard Smith, Esq. This quit claim deed was entered into the Fones record twice, first on page 79 and then again on page 108; both accounts note that the quit claim deed was approved to be entered into the record at Rochester, Rhode Island on 28 June 1686.

Death Records

There are two find a grave profiles for the William Tanner, first:

  • Primary Source, (burial); Tertiary Source (biography), Find A Grave Index [26] Data Summary:
  1. ) Find A Grave: Memorial #77355209: William Francis Tanner was born 10 Mar 1657 at Surrey, England, and he died 23 Dec 1740 (aged 83) at South Kingstown, Washington County, Rhode Island, USA. {As of 24 Sept 2019: No evidence has been found to substantiate the asserted birth date, birth place, nor death date. Also it should be noted that the only source which has identified the Wm Tanner of this profile as Frances is the Samuel West Memorandum [21]}
    1. ) Marriage. William Francis Tanner married Hannah Avis Tibbetts (1664–1687), Mary Babcock (1678–1696) in 1690, and Elizabeth Colgrove (1688–1745) in 1723. {24 Sept 2019: The marriage data in this profile conforms to the 1905 Tanner Genealogy, does not include the information citing four wives in the 1910 Tanner Genealogy and assigns, without evidence, Elizabeth Gardiner Cottrell Tanner as a Colgrove by birth}
    2. ) Children:
      1. ) William Henry Tanner (1687–1757)
      2. ) John Tanner (1694 – unknown)
      3. ) Francis Tanner (1708–1777)
  2. ) BURIAL. William Francis Tanner was buried in the Tanner Cemetery at South Kingstown, Washington County, Rhode Island, USA
    1. ) Find a Grave Notes: "William Tanner, Tenterdum, Kent Co, England. Sometime in the seventeenth century a boy by the name of William Tanner was kidnapped in the street of London,on his way home from school, with a Bible under his arm,and put on board a ship as a cabin boy, taken to America, settling in Rhode Island where he married and died. He came to the colony about 1678 when he was near 21. He may have come to RI as an attendant of Roger Williams of Randall Houlding. In 1693 William Tanner purchased from Henry Hall of Westerly a 100 acres of land lying on the east side of the Usquepaugh River. This was about a mile below what was known as the village of Usquepaugh, earlier known as Mumford's Mills.
      1. ) William Tanner was married to Hannah Tibbetts, 1660, Mary Babcock 1690, and Elizabeth Colgrove Gardinier Cottrill, 1707. I am a decendent of William and Elizabeth.
      2. ) William Tanner was buried on his farm. Tanner Cemetery is located behind the Laurel Golf Course, West Kingston, RI. Instead of going down the golf course lane, drive straight down the driveway to a house. Walk from the right rear corner of the house about 45 degrees to a path through the woods to an enclosed burial grounds #17, the most NW rough granite stone is marked W.T. (William), to the right one is marked M.T. (Mary). These stones were seen in 1997. "
    2. ) Tombstone Photo: Simple field stone with the inscription, "W. T."

And second {Note both profiles have a picture of the same tombstone}:

  • Primary Source, (burial); Tertiary Source (biography), Find A Grave Index [23] Data Summary:
  1. ) Find A Grave: Memorial #188683106: William Tanner was born (unknown) and he died (unknown).
  2. ) BURIAL. William Tanner was buried in the Tanner Cemetery at South Kingstown, Washington County, Rhode Island, USA
    1. ) Tombstone Photo: Simple field stone with the inscription, "W. T."

Probate Court Records

The following primary source is the evidentiary glue that the binds the children of Wm Tanner and Mary Babcock, and the children of Wm Tanner and Elizabeth (Unknown) Tanner together as a single family unit. The statement that Francis makes in his will that both Nathan and Benjamin are his brothers absolutely binds this as a single family unit, fathered by William Tanner Sr., because there are no other William Tanner family units in Rhode Island during this pre-1776 time period which have three brothers named Nathan, Francis, and Benjamin; the will of William Tanner Jr. excludes the name Nathan as a child. Furthermore, it is not possible to rearrange the groups of children for the various wives assigned to Wm Sr. and Wm Jr. in order to assemble a family containing Francis, Nathan, and Benjamin in other way than the way George Tanner arranged the family groups in his Tanner Genealogies.

  1. ) Last Will and Testament of Francis Tanner of Hopkinton, Rhode Island Image taken from microfilm of original document.
  2. ) Transcription of Francis Tanner's Will Will of Frances Tanner, Hopkinton, Rhode Island, 22 October 1776.
    1. ) Bequeaths to son Josias my farm in South Kingstown... boundary which is the NW corner of the land I bought of my brother Benjamin Tanner, then to the land I bought of my brother Nathan Tanner. {Note that Francis does not differentiate between Nathan, a full brother, and Benjamin, a half-brother, because they were both truly his brothers.}
    2. ) Bequeaths to son Isaac Tanner my farm I formerly bought of my brother Nathan Tanner. In addition, I give...
    3. ) Bequeath to son William Tanner the north part of my land in Hopkinton.
    4. ) Bequeath to son Joshua Tanner, the south part of my Homestead in Hopkinton partially bounded the land of Nathan Tanner and Francis West.
    5. ) Bequeath to sons William and Joshua Tanner my saw mill.
    6. ) My will is that my wife Elizabeth Tanner shall have the use of a defined portion of my dwelling house, defined furnishings and provision.
    7. ) Bequeath to my 3 daughters Amy, Dorcas, and Susannah, remaining lands, not already given away.
    8. ) Witnessed by William Tefft, Francis West, and Abel Tanner.
    9. ) William Tefft, Francis West Esq., and Abel Tanner appeared in at the town Council 20 January 1777 to swear to the authenticity of the will.
  1. ) Last Will and Testament of Nathan Tanner: In the name of God, Amen, ye 15th day of March AD 1752. I Nathan Tanner of Westerly, in ye County of Kings, County and Colony of Rhode Island, yeoman: Being Crassy? of body, but of perfect mind and memory, Thanks be given Unto God for the Same...
    1. ) Item: I give & bequeath to Mary Tanner my Dearly Beloved wife all my movable estate (after expenses) forever, likewise one third part of ye profits of my Land, together with ye best Room of ye house During her Life.... Mary Tanner (wife) and David Tanner (Son) Executrix and Executor.
    2. ) Item: Give and bequeath to my Said mother, Elizabeth Tanner, ye Sum of five pounds in money, old tenor to be paid yearly During her life by my Executor, out of the profits of my Land. {Note his mother cited here is Elizabeth (Gardiner Cottrell) Tanner; she was his mother in the sense of 1) step mother, 2) mother-in-law, and 3) mother who cared for him during his teen years; but not his birth mother who died prior to 1722/3. Nathan uses the term mother in an inclusive sense as did Francis with regard to his brother Benjamin in his will. Furthermore, this bequest affirms that his father William Tanner Sr. was deceased (prior to 15 March 1752) and not present to provide for his widow, and that Elizabeth Gardiner Cottrell Tanner was very much alive as late as 15 March 1752.}
    3. ) Item: I give and bequeath to David my beloved Son (wearing apparal) and a parcel of Land...To be under his control until such time as sons Nathan and Abel reach 21 year, then portioned to them each a third.
    4. ) Item I give and bequeath unto Nathan Tanner my beloved son ye North part of ye Remainder of my old Farm, the division line....
    5. ) Item: I give and bequeath unto my beloved son Abel Tanner all the Remaining part of my Land, it being the south part of my Farm With buildings & Fence and containing by Estimation One Hundred Twenty Acres, be it more or less.
    6. ) Item: I bequeath all my Books to my Wife and three Sons to be equally divided Amongst them.
    7. ) Item: my Will is that if either of my Sons should not Live to the age of Twenty One years or should leave us before, That his part Shall be equally Divided between the other two Sons, their heirs and assigns forever.
    8. ) Signed by witnesses: John McArtor, Frances Tanner, Samuel Laekia, and Joshua Clark.
    9. ) Witnesses John McArtor, Frances Tanner, and Joshua Clark appear before the Town Council 27 April 1752 and testify that the document was authentic, the will is proved and recorded.

Biographic and Genealogical References

The quintessential genealogy text for William Tanner was written by Rev George Clinton Tanner, DD. and was first self-published by the a uthor in 1905; but a subsequent, revised version was later published in 1910. The later edition has a substantial improvement in the number of cited sources, hence in the breadth of information given for the original immigrant William Tanner; consequently the two editions paint remarkably different pictures regarding the marriage record of William Tanner, the 1905 version documents William as having three wives, whereas the 1910 version clearly defines William as having four wives. Both versions are available on line, but the 1905 is more readily available. Much of the subsequent Wm Tanner genealogical work appears to have been built on the 1905 edition of the "Tanner Genealogy" without the knowledge or benefit of the information contained in the second 1910 edition. Data extracts from both editions are provided here to highlight the changed content.

It should also be noted that the 1905 edition of this Tanner Genealogy documents descendants of son William Tanner Jr. of North Kingstown, RI, only. The 1910 edition, in addition to expanding the breadth of source material, also expands the genealogical study to cover other (but not all) of the children of William Tanner Sr.

  1. ) Tanner 1905 Tanner Genealogy; Page 7-8: Early Records for William Tanner:
    1. ) The first mention of William Tanner of Rhode Island appears in the Fones Record, Vol I, Pg 70, as a witness to a deed of Frances Houlding of Warwick. " I Frances Houlding, doe consent to ye deed of sale, and forever will quitt clayme, etc. Witness my hand and seale ye 12th day of May 1682. {Witnessed by} William Tanner, Peter X (his mark) Wells.
    2. ) The next mention of William Tanner is on the tax roll of the town of Rochester (Kingstown), under Gov. Andrus. for 1687, where he is taxed for one pole, 1 1-2d. {Examination of full transcription this record [5] reveals a more correct transcription of this record would be that Wm Tanner was assessed a pole (poll) tax of 1s and an estate tax of one and a half pence.}
    3. ) In 1693, Wm Tanner bought a tract of land of one hundred acres more or less, of Henry Hall of Westerly, weaver, the deed bearing date July 4th, 1693. This deed is on record in the town of Westerly and was not recorded in South Kingston until 1 August 1728. In the deed he is said to be of Kingstown, "planter." This parcel of land lies on the east side of the River, about a mile below the village of Usquepaugh, and is described as follows:
      1. ) "Lying westerly from John Sheldon's dwelling house as followeth: beginning at the brook at John Sheldon's bounds and so up his bounds six score poles (rods) more or less to a white oak tree marked on three sides, and so from thence south and by west nearest six score poles to a walnut bush and from thence west nearest to the river to an ash tree marked on four sides and so up stream to the furthest that I have under the hand and seal of Coianaquanto as appeareth more largely upon the general records of Rhode Island."
      2. ) This "Hall Purchase" contained about two square miles, and "the house of John Sheldon appears to have been one of the first, if not the very first, built on this purchase, being referred to as a well known land mark in the oldest deeds." (Early history of Narrangansett, by Judge E.R. Potter, [6] page 226) {From the deposition of Capt John Devol, it is known that all the lots, including John Sheldon's were surveyed at the same time in 1693. Hence, as the John Sheldon house was cited as a landmark in this Tanner deed it would clearly have to have been built prior to the execution of the Hall purchase deeds. Therefore, either the house was built on land adjacent to the Hall purchase, or John Sheldon was squatting on land owned by the Indians, then Henry Hall, then purchased in the Hall Purchase in 1693.}
      3. ) On this land, near the river, and hard by an enclosed burial place may still be seen the graves of two or three generations, including the grave of William Tanner and two of his wives. {The the best way to find this land today, is to use the address of the cemetery from Wm. Tanners find a grave profile where the cemetery, hence farm, may be found here or near the Golf Course clubhouse in this Google Earth Image. Note the Usquepaug River on the Western portion of the golf course, hence the Laurel Lane Country Club is built over much, if not all of the William Tanner Farm. NOTICE: you will need to use the Google Chrome browser and install the Google Earth app. in order to see the later image, but it is spectacular and well worth the effort }
  2. ) 1905 Tanner Genealogy; Page 10-11: William Tanner, of South Kingstown, RI, born in the west of England.
    1. ) Children of William Tanner and ____ Tibbitts:
      1. ) William {Jr.}; settled in North Kingston, RI on land given to him by his grandfather Henry Tibbetts.
    2. ) Children of William Tanner and Mary Babcock:
      1. ) Benjamin ; b. 24 Dec 1692, in South Kingstown, RI. Settled in West Greenwich, RI, where many of his descendants were living as late as 1905.
      2. ) Thomas Tanner; assumed to be a son who settled about 1730 in Litchfield, Conn. and in Cornwall. He had three sons: William, Thomas, and John. (See Genealogy of Thomas Tanner, by Elias F. Tanner, 1893). {Editorial; this assumption has been demonstrated to be incorrect. Thomas Tanner was raised in Lyme, Conn., and lived in the Lyme/East Haddam Conn. area near his father John Tanner. John Tanner may possibly have been the brother of Wm Tanner of this profile.}
      3. ) John; settled in Richmond, RI, (or Charleston from which Richmond was taken)
      4. ) Avis; m. Thomas Barber 18 April 1723.
      5. ) Mary m. Lawrence Willett of North Kingston, RI. Surname is also rendered as Vilet, Violett, and Vilate in various records. Children:
        1. ) Lawrence Willett, probably d. young.
        2. ) Mary (unmarried)
        3. ) Grace (Willett) Brand
        4. ) Thankful (Willett) Clarke
    3. ) Children of William Tanner and Elizabeth Cottrill: {Important editorial Note, the revised 1910 Tanner Genealogy provides new source information which explicitly eliminates Elizabeth Cottrill as the mother of these children. It should be noted that all post 1905 William Tanner Genealogical literature which identifies only three wives for William Tanner and declares the following children as the offspring of Elizabeth Cottrell is INCORRECT and was generated from this 1905 Genealogy without the benefit of the knowledge found in the additional cited source information in the 1910 edition}
      1. ) Francis; b. 3 July 1708; bought 1200 acres in Hopkinton, RI and settled there. His descendants are located in RI, NY and beyond.
      2. ) Nathan; b. 20 February 1709-10; settled in Hopkinton RI., descendants in RI and NY.
      3. ) Anna; b. 15 March 1712; no further record.
      4. ) Rebecca; b. 2 July 1714; m. Benjamin Brand of Westerly RI (which, at that time included Hopkinton).
      5. ) Elizabeth, b. 14 Nov 1717; m. Benjamin Burdick.
      6. ) Abigail. b. 17 Oct 1719; No further record.
    4. ) It appears that William Tanner married first the daughter of Henry Tibbitts; second Mary Babcock, daughter of Job Babcockof Westerly; and 3rd Elizabeth Cottrill. {George Tanner proves this three-wife assertion to be INCORRECT in his revised 1910 edition [2] of the Tanner Genealogy. In the 1910 edition, he cites the Wm Tanner - Elizabeth Cottrill 1722/3 marriage record; a marriage which occurs 3-4 years after the birth of Abigail, daughter of Elizabeth, and thus (with other supporting information) establishes that over the course of his life, Wm Tanner was married to four different women.}
  3. ) 1905 Tanner Genealogy; Page 12: William Tanner {Jr.}, son of William Tanner {Sr.} married Elizabeth Reynolds on March 1729. He was admitted a freeman in North Kingstown 1723-4.
    1. ) Abstract of the 13 June 1757 Will of William Tanner {Jr.}: {This Will} names son William; grandson Samuel Tanner, son of my son Benjamin Tanner deceased; son Palmer; Son Francis, not of age; wife Elizabeth; daughter Hannah Cha(dsey); daughter Mary Reynolds; daughter Deborah Fowler; daughter Elizabeth Tanner; son Henry; daughter Avis Tanner.
    2. ) Thus from the will of William Tanner {Jr} {Editorial Note: children of William Tanner Jr. posted here to delineate from the children of his father William Tanner Sr. }
      1. ) William {III}
      2. ) Benjamin
      3. ) Palmer {Transcribed as Honor in Arnold's North Kingston Vital Records [13]}
      4. ) Hannah
      5. ) Mary
      6. ) Henry {A nod of respect to his grandfather Henry Tibbitts}
      7. ) Deborah
      8. ) Elisabeth
      9. ) Francis
      10. ) Avis
  1. ) 1910 Tanner Genealogy; Page 6:
  2. ) 1910 Tanner Genealogy; Page 10:
    1. ) Inventory and disposal of Wm Tanner Estate: An inventory of the estate of William Tanner of South Kingstown, Rhode Island is presented, noting that the inventory was "Taken and disposed of ye twenty-third day of December Anno Domini 1730." {This document has all of the earmarks of a probate record and, if so, benchmarks the death of Wm Tanner at or just slightly prior to this date. However the 23 Dec 1730 is the same date as the land deed transferring land from Wm to son John (shown below). So how could he sign a land deed if he was deceased. }
    2. ) Land deed to son John: Next a land deed transferring ownership of 75 acres of land from Wm Tanner to John Tanner, Blacksmith, on 23 Dec 1730, signed by Wm and Elizabeth Tanner and witnessed by Francis Tanner, and Isaac Sheldin is presented.
    3. ) Seventh Day Baptist Church Membership Roll: Also the 1910 text provides a full account of the information in the membership roll of the Westerly (Hopkinton) Seventh Day Baptist church [22] and asserts that William Tanner was a founder and constituent member of the SDB Church. {Editorial note: refer to the SDB membership roll data extraction [22]; Analysis of the SDBC membership data suggests the members were Wm Tanner Jr. and his siblings, rather than William Tanner Sr.}
  3. ) 1910 Tanner Genealogy; Page 14-15: Plan of the William Tanner burial place in South Kingstown RI.
    1. ) The burial place of the early Tanners is on the original farm owned by William Tanner Sr. and is in an open field near the "Great River" and a short distance from the walled grave yard. The most north westerly grave is that of William Tanner, marked with a rude granite field stone, engraved with the letters W. T. Adjacent are two graves marked M. T and E. T. {Note: only two of Wm's four wives are noted to be buried here. There is no grave identified for ___ (Tibbitts) Tanner and there is only one Elizabeth Tanner grave. It is likely that Elizabeth Cottrill Tanner was buried at the side John Cottrill (location unknown) as it is customary for a wife to be buried beside the husband with whom she bore children.} At the foot of these graves are four small graves, probably the children of William Tanner as the custom was to bury young children at the foot of their parent's graves. {From the list of children, having no adult records are Anna, Abigail, Rachael, and Dorcas. Perhaps buried here}
    2. ) Eastward of these short graves are three graves, the middle one marked J. T., the one to the right indistinct, but may be J.T., and the one on the left clearly S. T. These are undoubtedly the graves of John Tanner, son of William, and his first and second wives, Jean and Susannah.
    3. ) About sixteen paces west of the northwest corner of the walled enclosure and about twenty three paces to the north are the graves of Josias Tanner, and at the right one marked A.T., Amy Tanner, and at the left one of the one marked J.T., is one marked P.T for Phebe Tanner, the wives of Josias. {The detailed description of locating graves by a number of paces from a walled enclosure provides powerful evidence that the author George Tanner visited this graveyard and that he made a detailed record of his observations from the time of his visit. It also affirms that he was physically present in South Kingstown to collect genealogical evidence from town records.}
1910 George Tanner map of Tanner Cemetery located on the Wm Tanner Farm in South Kingstown, RI.
  1. ) Genealogical Dictionary of RI; at, Page 8: or at Genealogical Dictionary of RI; at Family Search, Page 8: Job Babcock, son of James and Sarah Babcock, was born ____ at Westerly, RI. and he died in 1718. Job Babcock married Jane Crandall, daughter of John. Job was a blacksmith and a miller. On 26 March 1715, the will of Job Babcock was proved; Summary of Will: Executor, son John. To son John my now dwelling house, grist mill, etc. To eldest son Job 1s. To youngest son Benjamin 1s. To daughters Jane Braman, Sarah Hall, Mary {Babcock} Tanner, and Elizabeth Brand 1s each. To daughter Hannah Babcock, a feather bed, pewter, and the rest of household stuff. To daughter Mercy Babcock, 1s. To son John all that is due after payment of debts and legacies.
  2. ) Genealogical Dictionary of RI; at, Page 202 also at Genealogical Dictionary of RI; Family Search, Page 202: Henry Tibbitts (____ - 1713) married 1661, Sarah Stanton (____- 1708) daughter of Robert & Avis Stanton. Kingstown, RI. The Will of Henry Tibbitts written 27 Nov 1708 was proved 13 July 1713: Execs, wife Sarah and son George. To wife half of certain land.... To grandson William Tanner, land purchased of Thomas Stanton of Stonington, and five loads of hay.
  3. ) Genealogical Dictionary of RI;, Page 451 (corrections and additions): also at Genealogical Dictionary of RI; Family Search, Page 451 (corrections and additions): TIBBITTS. 2d column. VIII. Hannah m. William Tanner. Children: 1) William, 22 Sept 1712; 2) Benjamin, 16 June 1714; 3) Honor, 22 Sep 1716; 4.) H___an, 16 Oct 1723; 5) ____, 19 Jan ____. [Editorial: this assertion posits that the Hannah, mother of the listed children from the North Kingtown, RI vital records is ____ Tibbitts, the mother of William Tanner cited in Henry Tibbitts will (see page 202 above). This assertion is absolutely incorrect and is self-contradictory; Henry Tibbitts will bequeathing "land and five loads of hay to his grandson William Tanner" was written 27 Nov 1708, four years prior to the birth of the Wm Tanner asserted in this passage to be that grandson. Further comments in North Kingstown Vital Records Source Extraction.}
  4. ) Genealogical Dictionary of RI; Family Search, Page 176: From the will of Isaac Sheldon proved 25 Aug 1752, ...To daughter Elizabeth Tanner, a silver spoon....
  5. ) Genealogical Dictionary of RI; Family Search, Page 176: From the Will of Samuel Lewis, proved 1 Feb 1739: ...To son Samuel's Children, son Jonathan's children, and daughter Joanna Tanner's children, the rest of the estate...
  1. ) Genealogy of John Knight Page 610: On 31 July 1711 Joseph Devol of Stonington, Conn. deposed that in 1693, when he lived in Westerly, he surveyed the Chepechewog purchase of Henry Hall and John Knight (Westerly Deeds, book 2, pg 44) in the Narrangansett Country for them and further made a plot of the divisions for them and the persons who purchased of them, namely, Job Babcock (200 acres), Peter Wells (100 acres) , William Tanner (100 acres), John Sheldon (200 Acres), John Crandall (180 acres), Gershom Cottrell (180 acres) James Ray (100 acres) and Jonathan Knight (200 acres). From the papers of Knight vs. Babcock. (John Knight Jr. and Job Babcock).
  1. ) ImageRI Taxes under Gov. Andros Page 592: Taxes under Gov. Andros: Assessments of ye Estates of ye Town of Rochester (later renamed Kingstown) in ye Kings Province September 6th, 1687: Wm Tanner assessed Tax 1.5 pence. {Editorial comment: this tax assessment for William Tanner is the smallest tax amount assessed to anyone in the entire list; as this tax was based on the assessed value of the person's estate, the obvious implication is that Wm Tanner had a small estate, which further suggests (though there certainly are many other possible valid reasons) that he was a very young man and had not sufficient time as an adult to accumulate assets. This observation concurs with the assertion that Wm Tanner Jr. was his first son born in 1686}
    1. ) Other persons associated with Wm Tanner (and his family) named on this list: Henry Tebbits Sr., Robert (torn)d {possibly Robert Stanford}, Francis West Sr., Francis West Jr., Henry Tybitts Jr., Petter Welles, John Callerrell {John Cottrell} and John Sheldon. Job Babcock is noticeably absent from this list, but may well be the entry: " Joh (torn)."

The following George Soule genealogy, tightly links, by marriage, three of the known children of Wm Tanner Sr. with the Frances and Susannah (Soule) West Sr. family:

  1. ) Soule Genealogy, Page 28, 29: William West, son of Susanna (Soule) West, was born 31 May 1681. He married first Abbiah Sprague who died sometime prior to April 1721. William married second, before 1723 Jane Tanner, daughter of Frances and ____ (Babcock) Tanner. {Editorial dau. of Wm and Mary Babcock?}
    1. ) 27 July 1741. William West, wife and children were ordered by the Charlestown RI town Council to be transported to No. Kingstown. In July 1742, Benjamin Tanner was ordered to provide an explanation to the town council regarding his guests William West and Family.
  2. ) Soule Genealogy, Seventh Edition, 2015 Page 41(available in print only): Jane Tanner, second wife of William West, b. Westerly ca. 1702; d. perhap a Dutchess Co., NY after 31 Jan 1758William Tanner was a 1730 head of house in South Kingstown, nine whites; Benjamin Tanner head of house in adjacent enumeration, eleven whites. William and Benjamin are on the 14 July 1730 rate bill at South Kingstown and William is on the 1 Dec 1735 rate bill.
  3. ) Soule Genealogy, Page 28, 29: 22 June 1733 Clement West, son of Susannah (Soule) West and his wife Sarah sold 140 Acres of land in East Greenwich to Benjamin Tanner. {If this was West Greenwich it would explain the post 1730 move of Benjamin Tanner to West Greenwich}
  4. ) Soule Genealogy, Page 99, 100: Susannah West, daughter of Francis West Jr., and grandaughter of Susanna (Soule) West, born ca. 1700 at North Kingstown, RI.; died priot to 14 Aug 1759. On 9 May 1723 married John Tanner (1694-1777), son of William and Mary (Babcock) Tanner. John Tanner probably married first Jane Shelley, and third Susannah Hall on 14 Aug 1759 at Richmond, RI.
  5. ) Soule Genealogy, Page 106, 107: Thomas Barber (b. 19 Oct 1699 at So. Kingstown, RI - d. ~9 Nov 1762 at Exeter, RI), son of Susannah (West) Barber, and grandson of Susannah (Soule) West married 18 April 1723 at South Kingstown, RI Avis Tanner, daughter of William and Hannah (Tibbetts) Tanner. {Editorial: George Tanner assigned Avis as a daughter of Wm and Mary Babcock, but the assertion that she was the daughter of ____ Tibbetts is a better namesake fit as Avis (Almy) Stanton was the grandmother of ____ Tibbetts; but, if correct, creates date conflicts with Avis' 1700 birthdate and the Wm and Mary Babcock marriage.}
  1. ) Crandall Genealogy; Page 16: Cites the 1905 Tanner Genealogy [4] as the information source. Mary Babcock, b. Westerly, RI., daughter of Job and Jane (Crandall) Babcock, married as the 2nd wife of Wm Tanner Sr., b. 1660 in England, resident of So. Kingston, RI.
    1. ) Children of William Tanner Sr. and Mary Babcock;
      1. ) Benjamin Tanner, b. 24 Dec 1692; m. (1st) Joanna Lewis 2 and (2nd) Deb. Stillman
      2. ) John Tanner; (b. ca. 1694); m. (1st) Jane Shelley, and (2nd) Susannah West, daughter of Francis West and Sarah (Meakins) West
        1. ) Eleven of 14 children named with birthdates.
      3. ) Avis, and
      4. ) Mary.
  2. ) Crandall Genealogy; Page 17: Susannah {Crandall} Tanner, daughter of Peter Crandall and Susannah (Tefft) Crandall, b. 1755, m. 12 Apr 1774 (VR of RI) Benjamin Tanner, son of William Tanner and Elizabeth (Colgrove) Tanner. { Editorial: Benjamin was not the son of Elizabeth (Colgrove) Tanner as he was born in 1692 prior to his father's marriage to Elizabeth (Unknown) Tanner in 1707.}
  1. ) Bierce Genealogy; Page 97: John Cottrell, son of John, b. 22 March 1682. Married 1 Feb 1708/9 Mary Arnold, daughter of Oliver and Phebe (Cook) Arnold, of Jamestown, RI born 10 March 1687; died 1710. His second marriage was to Elizabeth {____} Gardiner, widow, who had a daughter Elizabeth Gardiner by her previous marriage. Elizabeth (Gardiner) Cottrell, then married for her third husband, William Tanner in 1722.
    1. ) Children of John Cottrell and Elizabeth ____ Gardiner:
      1. ) John Cottrell, b. 1712
      2. ) Mary Cottrell, b. 1715, married Nathan Tanner, 28 May 1734.
      3. ) Hannah Cottrell, b. 1719 married Joshua Clarke
  2. ) Bierce Genealogy; Page 98: March 1738. William Tanner consents to a quitclaim deed for 25 acres belonging to the former husband of his wife, Elizabeth ____ Gardiner Cottrell Tanner for the benefit of his stepson, John Cottrell {III}, son of his wife Elizabeth and her former husband, John Cottrell II.
  1. ) History of Stonington; Page 212: Job Babcock (No. 4) m. Jane, daughter of John Crandall. He d. 1718 and she d. 1715.
    1. ) CHILDREN of Job Babcock and Jane Crandall:
      1. ) JOB, b____ ,
      2. ) JOHN, b____ .
      3. ) BENJAMIN, b____ .
      4. ) JANE, b.____ , m.____ ____ Braman,
      5. ) SARAH, b.____ , m.____ ____ Hall,
      6. ) MARY Babcock, b.____ , m.____ ____ Tanner,
      7. ) ELIZABETH, b.____ , m.____ ____ Brand.
      8. ) HANNAH, b.____ , m. ____
      9. ) MERCY, b.____ , m.____ .
  1. ) History of Washington and Kent Counties; Page 489: Elizabeth Gardner, daughter of Elizabeth Gardner was born May 17th, 1708. {Editorial Comment; This is the only entry listed absent the name of the father with the child's birth.

This record provides strong evidence that Elizabeth Gardner was born out of wedlock.}

  • Secondary Source, James Tanner; The Life and Wives of William Tanner [1] This is a 2017 white paper study on the wives of William Tanner of this profile written by James L. Tanner, 1382 E. 2300 North, Provo, Utah 84604. Citations of primary records associated with William Tanner from the LDS archive at Salt Lake City.
  1. ) South Kingston, Rhode Island Town Clerk, Land Evidence 1696 – 1885, Salt Lake City, Utah Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1973. FHL US/CAN Film 932299. Deed from William Tanner to Benjamin Tanner, 1723.
  2. ) Hopkinton, Rhode Island Court of Probate, Probate Records, 1757—1920, Salt Lake City, Utah, Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1973, 1993. FHL US/CAN Film 931571. Will of Francis Tanner 1776.

Research Notes

  1. ) 2019-10-03. Changed the death date of Mary Babcock Tanner from 1696 to 1705. The 1696 death date was asserted without evidence and did not fit with other hard evidence (for example the birth of her daughter Avis in 1700).
  2. ) 2019-09-18. Thomas Tanner was listed in the 1905 Tanner Genealogy "Assumed to be a son who settled about 1730 in Litchfield County, Connecticut and about 1740 in Cornwall." [4] The 1910 Tanner Genealogy [2], by the same author, modified the family linkage for Thomas Tanners now suggesting he was "an assumed son of Benjamin Tanner," that is to say a grandson of William Tanner. Both assumptions are verifiably incorrect, Thomas Tanner was the son of John Tanner of East Haddam, Connecticut. Refer to the Thomas Tanner Wikitree profile for further details.
  3. ) 2019-09-18. Wikitree profile for William Tanner was modified to remove Elizabeth Cottrill as the mother of Wm Tanner's children (Francis thru Abigail) because William did not marry Elilzabeth Cottrill until 1722 or 1723, a date which is at least 2 -3 years after the birth of the youngest of these children. The 1910 Tanner Genealogy by George Tanner cites a family genealogy written by a great-grandson of Wm Tanner Sr. (what should be a reliable source) linking these children by name and birth date as children of William Tanner and Elizabeth Unknown. Thus, an Elizabeth Unknown (possibly Colgrove per George Tanner) was added as the third wife of William Tanner and children (Francis thru Abigail) were reassigned from fourth wife Elizabeth Cottrell to third wife Elizabeth Unknown.
  4. ) 2019-09-22. In order to enhance the veracity of this profile, it would be very beneficial to obtain and post to this web page scanned copies of the following original documents :
    1. ) Hopkinton Sabbatarian Baptist Church membership roll.
    2. ) The 1730 probate record of the inventory and distribution of the estate of Wm Tanner.
    3. ) The land deed records.
  5. ) There is a Wm Tanner genealogy blog at the Family Search site which may be accessed Tanner Blog at Family Search here or here.
    1. ) #)
  6. ) 2019-09-28: The following list is an ongoing compilation of any Tanner with some sort of documented evidence that they lived in North America prior to 1700:
    1. ) Torrey [24] lists four in New England:
      1. ) William Tanner, husband of ____ Tibbett and Mary Badcock, of South Kingstown, Kings, Rhode Island. (of this profile.)
      2. ) John Tanner b ca 1655, Rebecca (Spencer) Kenard, of Lyme, New London, Connecticut. Possibly a brother.
        1. ) Son, Thomas Tanner Sr. b. 1694
      3. ) John Tanner b. 1664 husband of ____ , Portsmouth. NH and
      4. ) Nicholas Tanner, husband of Mary Sturges m. 7 July 1696. Swansea, MA.
    2. ) Joseph Tanner of Henrico, Virginia.
    3. ) Wm Tanner of Middlesex Co., Mass. Nov1656
  7. ) Here is a possible Thomas Stanton, of Stonington, of whom Henry Tibbetts may have purchased the North Kingstown, RI land he bequeathed to William Tanner Jr. This text guesses that Robert and Thomas Stanton Sr. may have been brothers (no proof). If all these guesses are correct, then Henry would have purchased the property from his wife's first cousin.
  8. ) Page 113 North Kingstown and South Kingstown divided under separate charters in 1722.
  9. ) The wikitree profile of Peter Wells contains a xxxx plat map of area of the farm of Peter Wells including the village of Usquepaug showing the land in the 1664 purchase from Cogamaquont. If the original can be located, it may also show the William Tanner farm.
  10. ) The following definitions and syntax conventions apply to the preceding text of this profile:
    1. ) A Primary Source contains data that was recorded by the person in the profile; or by someone known to or with first hand knowledge of that person, during the person's lifetime, death or within two generations thereafter.
    2. ) A Secondary Source is a genealogical reference created as the result of a extensive study of available source material and it provides some evidence of the source documentation used to generate the text data.
    3. ) A Tertiary Source is a genealogical data source which is a collection of genealogical information that does not cite Primary or Secondary information sources, and the data may be factual or hearsay.
    4. ) Braces {Editorial Note Example} are used to insert editorial comments; that is to say, information or clarification that is not contained in the original, cited source material.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Tanner, James; The Life and Wives of William Tanner (1660 (?) to after 1735) of Hopkinton, Rhode Island Including his descendants to John Tanner; 17 March 2017.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 Tanner, Rev George C. DD; William Tanner, Sr. of South Kingstown, Rhode Island and His Descendants; Faribault, Minn., Self published by the author, 1910 revised and updated edition. Public Domain
    1. ) Also available at Tanner Genealogy; at Family Search, Title Page:
  3. 3.0 3.1 Arnold, James N., Rhode Island Gleanings Vol I, The Fones Record; 1894. Providence, R.I., Narraganssett Historical Publishing Co., 1894.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Tanner, Rev. George C. D.D. William Tanner, of North Kingstown, Rhode Island and His Descendants, Faribault, Minn., Self published by the author. 1905 (original publication). Public Domain.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Roberts, Gary Boyd; Genealogies of Rhode Island Families, Vol. II, Niles - Wilson; Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore 1989.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 Potter, Elisha, The Early History of Narragansett, Volume III of a three Volume set, Collections of the Rhode Island Historical Society V III, Providence, Marshall Brown and Co., 1835. Also here
  7. 7.0 7.1 Tanner, Nathan; Last Will and Testament of Nathan Tanner of Westerly, Kings Co., Rhode Island, Westerly, Rhode Island Town Records, 15 March AD 1752
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Tanner, Francis; Last Will and Testament of Francis Tanner of Hopkinton, Rhode Island, Hopkinton, Rhode Island Probate Records, 1757 -1920, Film #931571, Pages 64 to 77. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah. 22 October 1776
  9. 9.0 9.1 Fiske, Jane Fletcher; Rhode Island Roots, Vol 10, No. 1, "1730 Census, South Kingstown, R.I.," a quarterly publication of the Rhode Island Genealogical Society, Warwick, RI., March 1984. Available here, by membership only
  10. 10.0 10.1 Soule, John; Terry, Milton; and Wakefield, Robert;George Soule of the Mayflower and his Descendants for Four Generations. Seventh Edition Plymouth, Massachusetts: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 2015.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Soule, John; Terry, Milton; and Wakefield, Robert;George Soule of the Mayflower and his Descendants for Four Generations, Second Edition, Plymouth, Massachusetts: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1995.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 Austin, John Osborne. Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island: Comprising Three Generations of Settlers Who Came Before 1690 : With Many Families Carried to the Fourth Generation., Albany, NY., Joel Munsell's Sons, 1887. Public Domain. {Note there are two on-line sources offering scanned images of this text; and the book library of Family Search. The scanned image quality of the copy is poor, in some places unreadable. Family Search has three scanned copies of the book with good scanned image quality.]
    1. ) Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island, Title Page
    2. ) Family Search book library: Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island; Title Page
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Arnold, James N., Editor of the Narragansett Historical Register, Vital Record of Rhode Island, 1636-1850, Providence, RI., Narragansett HIstorical Publishing Co., 1894. Twenty one Volume set of Early Rhode Island Vital records compiled by from James Arnold. Vital Record of Rhode Island. 1636-1850, Volume 5. Washington County--Title page
  14. Ham, Mrs Thomas H. (compiler). A Genealogy of the Descendants of Nicholas Harris, M.D., Fifth in Descent from Thomas Harris of Providence, R.I., and Sketches of the Harris and the Following Families Connected by Marriage, Tew, Hopkins, Smith, Arnold, Tibbits, Waterman, Olney, Williams, Carmichael, Canfield, Willoughby, Treat, and Fowler (C.I.F. Ham, 1904) p. 57
  15. Crandall, John book by Roger K. Crandall Title: Roger K. Crandall, Descendants of Elder John Crandall (N.p.: n.p., 2008.) Page: 78.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 Arnold, James N., Editor of the Narragansett Historical Register, Vital Record of Rhode Island, 1636-1850, Providence, RI., Narragansett HIstorical Publishing Co., 1894. Twenty one Volume set of Early Rhode Island Vital records compiled by from James Arnold. Vital Record of Rhode Island. 1636-1850, Volume 5. Washington County--Title page
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Arnold, James N.; Vital Records of Rhode Island 1636-1850 Vol 1, West Greenwich Part III {Kent County}, Printed by E.A Johnson & Co., Providence, RI., 24 Nov 1890.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Scott, Henry Edwards, Editor; The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. 67, Published by the Society, Boston, 1913. Public Domain. Available on line at:
    1. ) The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. 67, Title Page, and
    2. ) The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. 67, Google Books, Title Page
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Bierce, Thurber H., and Cottrell, Lisle; Ancestors in the United States of Byron H. Bierce and his wife Mary Ida Cottrell of Cortland County, New York, New Jersey, New York, No Publisher, 1962.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Cole, J. R. History of Washington and Kent counties, Rhode Island, Title Page, New York, W. W. Preston & Co., 1889.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Descendant Volume 26, No.1 (1924); Article entitled "Susanna Soule's husband Identified She Married Francis West, of which the key evidence is from a transcription of Samuel West's Memorandum Book. Link at AmericanAncestors ($), Diary was written between 1784 (pg 2) and 1836 (pg 175), record of Jane Tanner written in 1802. Page 10
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 Arnold, James A., Rhode Island, Vital Extracts, 1636-1899, Vol 10, Town and Church Published under the Auspices of the General Assembly, Providence, R.I., Narragansett Historical Publishing Co., 1898.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 25 September 2019), memorial page for William Tanner (unknown–unknown), Find A Grave Memorial no. 188683106, citing Tanner Cemetery, South Kingstown, Washington County, Rhode Island, USA ; Maintained by Stan Arnold (contributor 48121400) .
  24. 24.0 24.1 Torrey, Clarence Almon; U.S., New England Marriages Prior to 1700, Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1985. Available:
    1. ) On line at
      1. ) Ancestry Record 3824 #69553 Operations Inc Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2012. or
      2. ) Am
    2. ) Print edition. This manuscript is still in print and may be available at or or other rare booksellers.
    3. ) Family Search exposee on New England Marriages Prior to 1700 This article provides excellent insight regarding access to Torrey's source citations, which are not included in the single volume edition.
  25. Dedication of Ministers' Monument, August 28, 1899, Published for the Association by The American Sabbath Tract Society, Plainfield, NJ., 1899.
  26. Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 26 September 2019), memorial page for William Francis Tanner (10 Mar 1657–23 Dec 1740), Find A Grave Memorial no. 77355209, citing Tanner Cemetery, South Kingstown, Washington County, Rhode Island, USA ; Maintained by M Tanner (contributor 47588861) .
  27. Roberts, Gary Boyd; Genealogies of Rhode Island Families, Vol. I, Alden -Mowry; Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore 1989.
  28. Crandall, John Cortland;Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and his descendants, New Woodstock, New York, 1949. Also available online here
  29. Wheeler, Richard, Anson; History of the Town of Stonington, County of New London, Connecticut, from its First Settlement in 1649 to 1900, New London,Conn., Press of the Day Publishing Co., 1900. Public Domain.

Other Sources

The following section provides a listing of source material that is pertinent to the profile subject, but not cited in the text of the profile.

  • Seventh Day Baptist Church Project. Wikitree free space profile on the Seventh Day Baptist Church.
  • Thorngate, Janet; Baptists in Early North America Volume III; Newport, Rhode Island, Seventh Day Baptists; Mercer University Press; Macon, Georgia and The Seventh Day Baptist Historical Society; 2017.

Web based Genealogies

There are two aggregated William Tanner profiles in the Family Search web site. The first of these is a generously inclusive profile which may be too inclusive and may have conflated several William Tanner identities. Nevertheless it contains a extensive bibliography of source material, most of which is in a friendly hot-link format. The second William Tanner profile in Family Search is a highly selective profile and uses a very exclusive information filter, built solely from-the-ground-up original primary documents for Wm Tanner, and rejecting all other genealogical information sources as potentially conflated, contaminated, and invalid. However this extremely selective filter also means this genealogy has information gaps (until a full repertoire of primary documents has been assembled) and consequently this approach has resulted in some some family relationship conclusions which are debatable. For example, it asserts, from the term brother, that Benjamin Tanner is the son of William and Elizabeth Tanner, rather than a half brother, son of William and Mary (Babcock) Tanner. This site presents the findings drawn from an active research project of original material and will hopefully result in an updated systematic genealogical text on the genealogy of William Tanner. For now, it contains the largest collection of accessible images of original primary source information on the William Tanner family to be found on the internet



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