Location: West Greenwich RI
Surnames/tags: Martha_Sweet Martha_Case William_Wickaboxet_Sweet
The Sweet Connection
In the early seventeenth century, after Roger Williams negotiated with the native inhabitants of Narragansett country for land, it was primarily the islands and coastal areas of the mainland that were occupied. Even by the early eighteenth century the backcountry was sparsely settled. . Initially the Narragansett Indians accepted the new settlers as neighbors but as time went on they were either decimated by small pox and other white man's diseases or became assimilated through intermarriage.
The settlers established a form of democratic government consisting of a General Assembly of Freemen with representatives from towns throughout the colony who were elected by the voting population. Only adult males who had been admitted as Freeman of the colony were allowed to vote and to serve as officers in towns and as representatives in the General Assembly. Thus at its annual meetings in May the General Assembly regularly accepted individual applicants as Freemen of the colony.
William Sweet who settled in the westerly part of East Greenwich, Rhode Island, applied for and was admitted as a Freeman of the colony in May 1730. Eight years later his son William Sweet, Jr., who was born on February 14, 1715/16, and had reached voting age also was admitted as a Freeman. He would become the father of Martha Sweet who married Henry King.
In 1741 the western part of East Greenwich was split off to become West Greenwich so that, thereafter, the William Sweets and their families were residents of West Greenwich.
The elder William Sweet had married Thankful Hamilton, the mother of William, Jr., and, therefore, the grandmother of Martha Sweet King. Later Martha King would name one of her daughters Thankful. William, Jr., was known as 'Wickaboxet,' an Indian word still perpetuated in the names of a pond and a management area in West Greenwich. [On A Geological Map of Rhode Island of 1840 the entire westerly portion of West Greenwich is labeled "Wickerboxet"!] During his lifetime, 'Wickaboxet' William Sweet courted and married three successive women. The first of these was Martha Cass whom he married on November 12, 1739, and by whom he fathered at least seven children. I suspect there were two or three others. Martha Cass Sweet is said to have died of smallpox in 1761. Wickaboxet then married Sarah Briggs, widow of Burton Briggs, in a civil ceremony. To quote from the record:
This may certifie all persons that William Sweet and Sarah Brigs Both of West Greenwich in the County of Kent was Lawfully married at West Greenwich fore said the Third Day of May A.D. 1761- By me J.Isaac Johnson Justice of the Peace They had at least one child who was born within a year of their marriage and named it Burton after Sarah's first husband. Sarah died in 1775. 'Wickaboxet' next married a widow named Mary who survived him and, therefore, is mentioned in his Will. She is believed to have been the former Molly Matteson. As mentioned earlier William 'Wickaboxet' and Martha (Cass) Sweet had at least seven children: Dorcas B. born September 15, 1740; Benedict born October 30, 1741; Patience born March 12, 1743; Job born August 16, 1744; William born December 1, 1745; Martha born July 1, 1747; and Thankful whose date of birth I do not know but presume must have been after Martha's. With births coming so regularly and less than two years apart it is unbelievable that William and Martha would suddenly stop producing although the spacing between progeny might increase. On the other hand, only son William and daughters Martha and Thankful, the youngest of their children, are mentioned in their father's Last Will and Testament of 1794. .
Dorcas B. Sweet married her cousin Isaac Peckham of Westerly, Rhode Island, but then died on March 24, 1758, ten days after giving birth to their first child, a daughter who also was named Dorcas and is listed in William Sweet's Will. Evidently sons Benedict and Job, the sailor, had died before 1794. Later Martha Sweet King named two of her sons after these brothers.
Grandsons William and Caleb Sweet, also listed in William Sweet's Will, probably are offspring of son William and Rebecca Nichols who were married in 1769. Grandson Sylvanus Sweet*, who emigrated to the Town of Northampton in New York State as a pioneer settler there around 1793, probably is the son of Benedict Sweet; for in the Will his grandfather sandwiches him between the daughter of Dorcas and the two daughters of Patience. Furthermore, it was customary to bequeath only a dollar or two to decendents who had moved far away. Shortly before 1800 Henry and Martha Sweet King also would settle in the Town of Northampton; however, in 1794 when the Will was written, they were still in New England albeit near the western border of Massachusetts in Hancock town. Presumably Martha was not far enough away to be given the customary treatment but, instead, was bequeathed "one cow one bed and beding and bedstead.
- Although  The data for him are:
3M<10,0M 10-15,1M 16-25, 1M 26-45, 0M>45 4F<10, 0F 10-15, 0F 16-25, 1F 26-45, 0F>45 November 23,1987 written by Allen Lewis King