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Unknown Susanna Potter Anthony

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Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: Rhode Islandmap
Surnames/tags: Anthony Potter
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It has generally been thought that John Anthony's wife (currently listed as Unknown (Unknown) Anthony) was named Susanna, and that she was Susann Potter, the daughter of Robert Potter or George Potter (abt.1584-1630).

There currently is not enough direct/primary evidence to make that claim.



The following three pieces of information seem to be the evidence on which many people make the claim that a Susanna Potter married John Anthony:

1) There existed a Susanah Anthony who lived in early Rhode Island, as found in a deed in which John Anthony of Portsmouth sold land to Richard Tew in 1642. One of the witnesses to the deed was "Susanah Anthony."[1] However, there is no indication as to what, if any, the relation between the said Susanah Anthony and John Anthony might have been: parent/child, siblings, spouses or no relation.

2) In Austin's Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island, under the entry for Robert Potter,[2] there appear the following unsourced* references concerning Robert Potter and his relationship to John Anthony on pp. 156-57:

  • "1642. He sold his house and land in Portsmouth, to his brother-in-law John Anthony." (That there is no full date on this, it most likely was extrapolated from the testimony of 29 Dec 1662 below.)
  • "1660, Feb. 6. [John Potter] testified that in his conscience he did believe his father sold a certain house, &c., in Portsmouth, to my uncle John Anthony, and engages that when he comes to full age of twenty-one he will confirm said sale."
  • "1660, Feb. 6. Testimony was given by John Tripp, Sr., of Portsmouth, that he heard his uncle Robert Potter say he had sold certain land to John Anthony." (John Tripp was married to John Anthony's daughter, Susanna.)
  • "1662, Dec. 22. Testimony of John Briggs, of Portsmouth, that he heard Robert Potter say...that he had sold his brother his house and land in Portsmouth."
  • "1662, Dec. 29. On the above testimony, and the agreement of Robert Potter's son John to confirm when he came of age, the commissioners confirmed house and land to John Anthony, the property having been sold by Robert Potter to John Anthony, about twenty years since."
Under the entry for John Anthony,[3] Austin included:
  • "1662, Dec. 29. He had confirmation by Commissioners, of a house and land that he had bought about twenty years before of Robert Potter, deceased. Testimony had before this been given by John Potter, son of Robert, that, in his conscience, he did believe his father sold said house to my uncle, John Anthony, and he engaged, that when he, John Potter, came to full age of twenty-one, he would confirm the sale."
Concerning the above relationships, Anderson said:
"John Anthony was uncle to John Potter, son of Robert Potter, and Robert Potter was uncle to John Tripp (Austin 157)_, but, despite some suggestions that have been made, the basis for these stated relations has not yet been determined."[4]
* Note on Austin's work: Although no sources are given, in comparing other events found in the book that could be traced to reliable early records of Rhode Island (such as when John Anthony sold land to Richard Tew, became a freeman and a corporal, etc.), he seems to have accurately conveyed the information, and he most likely portrayed the information about Robert Potter's and John Anthony's information accurately as well, it is just not known what his sources were. In the entry for John Anthony, Austin only lists his wife's name as "Susanna."

3) John Anthony's oldest son was apparently named after himself (as he was named John) and his oldest daughter was named Susannah (possibly after her mother?) and there are many descendants who carried the name Susanna. However, it seemed to be a popular name as others in the family had it, such as John Anthony's son, John, married a Susanna.

Last Name at Birth - Potter?

It is currently believed that Susanna was most likely the daughter of Robert Potter (1566-1631) and Elizabeth (Marshall) Potter (1572-1628), baptized 18 Apr 1619.[5][6] (Another transcript has instead her baptism date as 28 May 1619.[7]) In addition to the baptism record for a Susan Potter, there is indirect evidence that John Anthony and Robert Potter were somehow related (as noted in the quotes from Austin). Based on the ages of the two men and the fact that they had different surnames, that relationship, if it existed, was most likely through one of their wives, hence John Potter called him uncle and Austin said he was Robert's brother-in-law. Thus it is assumed that the baptism record for Susan Potter, daughter of Robert Potter, was the wife of John Anthony.

Austin does not include a Susan/na as a child of Robert Potter.[8]

Austin notes that Sarah (Unknown) (Potter) Sanford, widow of Robert Potter, left in her will of 16 Mar 1686, inheritances to the children of Robert: John Potter, Elizabeth Potter and Deliverance Potter. [9]Although Susanna had died before the will was made, Elizabeth and Deliverance had both died previous to the will as well, so that wouldn't be a reason to leave them off. Some people, including Austin, assume that Isabel (Potter) Burton was Robert's daughter, and although alive at the time of the will, she was not named even though John Potter who was also still alive was named. If those named were indeed Robert's children, why were Elizabeth and Deliverance not mentioned by their married names? Why If Susanna or Isabel were Robert's children, why were they not named?

Previously she had been attached as a daughter of George Potter (abt.1584-1630) and Martha Weeden (Unknown) Potter (1585-1646), supposedly born in London, England, sometime from about 1618 to 1623. (See George Potter's profile for more information.) However, there are currently no known records of George and Martha having a daughter named Susanna/h, so the relationship was severed.

Marriage Research Notes

In NEHGR 31:416, the entry of John Anthony says that he sailed to America on the barque Hercules. "Tradition says he was accompanied by his wife; but we find her name nowhere mentioned."[10]

Torrey Lists a marriage between John Anthony and a "Susanna [Potter?]; by 1642; Portsmouth, RI."[11] (See a review of each source listed by Torrey.)

Margaret Bock, citing Carl Boyer,[12] stated that Susanna Anthony was the "daughter of John and Susanna (Potter) Anthony.[13] Each of the following sources are found in Torrey's entry for John Anthony.

  • Torrey lists the Reg. 31:416. source already discussed.

The following sources either do not include Susanna's last name at birth or state that it is "Potter" without giving proof for the assertion:

  • Anthony 21, 23. The source simply states John Anthony married Susanna Potter but provides no source for the claim.[14]
  • Boddie 111.James Greene married Elizabeth Anthony, daughter of Susanna and John Anthony.[15]
  • Davol-Willets 21. The source says, "It is known that his wife was Susanna and modern students of the family state she was the daughter of Robert Potter, but no evidence has been found to sustain it."[16]
  • Edwards (1887) 32 [23], 46. The page is 23, not 32. There is no page 46. The source says, "John Anthony and his wife came from England..." with no other mention of her or her last name at birth.[17]
  • Greene (1903) 65. "Elizabeth, daughter of John and Susanna Anthony..."[18]
  • McIntire Anc.75, 77-78. Says that John Tripp married Susanna Anthony, daughter of John and Susanna (Potter) Anthony (p. 75); says Mary Wait married Joseph Anthony, son of John and Susanna (Potter) Anthony (pp. 77-78); provides no sources for the claims.[19]
  • Shotwell 42. "James [Greene] m. (2) at Portsmouth 3 Aug. 1665, Elizabeth Anthony, dau. of John and Susanna (_____) Anthony of Portsmouth."[20]
  • Sv. 1:52. The source does not refer to Susanna, but seems to confuse the wife of John Anthony the father with that of John Anthony (1642-1715) the son as it refers to the elder John, stating, "His wid. Frances d. 12 Oct. 1692," which is the name and date his son's wife died.[21]

Cannot find why this is included:

  • Ballou 37, 64. [22]


  1. Dorothy Worthington, Rhode Island Land Evidences, Volume I, 1648-1696, Abstracts (Providence: Rhode Island Historical Society, 1921); image of p. 65 at InternetArchive.org
  2. John Osborne Austin, Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island: Comprising Three Generations of Settlers Who Came Before 1690 : With Many Families Carried to the Fourth Generation, (Albany: J. Munsell Sons, 1887), pp. 156-57; image of pp. 156-57 at InternetArchive.org.
  3. John Osborne Austin, Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island: Comprising Three Generations of Settlers Who Came Before 1690 : With Many Families Carried to the Fourth Generation, (Albany: J. Munsell Sons, 1887), pp. 4-5; images of pp. 4-5 at InternetArchive.org.
  4. Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration, Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volume V, M-P, (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2007), p. 502; image of p. 503, under entry for Robert Potter, by subscription AmericanAncestors.
  5. Parish Baptisms, "Baptisms, Marriages & Burials, 1558-1664", Parish Registers, Buckinghamshire Archives, Ref. PR_153/1/1; "Buckinghamshire Baptism Index," Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, England, transcription of Susanne Potter, 18 Apr 1619 by subscription at FindMyPast.co.uk.
  6. "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," FamilySearch Susann Potter, 18 Apr 1619; citing Newport Pagnell, Buckingham, England, index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 88,489.
  7. Parish Baptisms, "Baptisms, Marriages & Burials, 1600-1682", Bishop's Transcripts, Buckinghamshire Archives, Ref. D-A/T/140; "Buckinghamshire Baptism Index," Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, England, transcription of Susan Potter, 28 May 1619 by subscription at FindMyPast.co.uk.
  8. John Osborne Austin, Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island: Comprising Three Generations of Settlers Who Came Before 1690 : With Many Families Carried to the Fourth Generation, (Albany: J. Munsell Sons, 1887), p. 156; image of pp. 156-57 at InternetArchive.org.
  9. John Osborne Austin, Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island: Comprising Three Generations of Settlers Who Came Before 1690 : With Many Families Carried to the Fourth Generation, (Albany: J. Munsell Sons, 1887), p. 156; image of p. 157 at InternetArchive.org.
  10. John Gould Anthony, "Geneaology of the Anthonys of New England." The New England Historical and Genealogical Register 31 (1877):416 (Boston: The Society House, 1877); image of p. 416 at InternetArchive.org.
  11. Clarence Almon Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700 1:41, (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2015); image of p. 41 by subscription AmericanAncestors.org.
  12. Carl Boyer, Ancestral Lines, Revised: 190 Families in England, Wales, Germany, New England, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania (Newhall: Boyer, 1981), p. 33, fn. 9. "Susannah Potter?"
  13. Margaret Buckridge Bock, "Descendants of John Tripp of Portsmouth, R.I." The Geneaologist vol. 4, no. 1 (1983):62; PDF of entire article, see p. 62 found on Margaret Bock's website, Tripp Family Genealogical Web Site―John Tripp (1611-1678) of Portsmouth, Rhode Island.
  14. Charles L. Anthony, Genealogy of the Anthony Family from 1495 to 1904 Traced from William Anthony, Cologne, Germany, to London, England, John Anthony, a Descendant, from England to America (Sterling: C.L. Anthony, 1904); images of pp. 21, 23 at InternetArchive.org.
  15. John Thomas Boddie and John Bennett Boddie, Boddie and Allied Families, p. 111 (Privately Printed for John Thomas Boddie, 1918); image 189 of 378, p. 111 at HathiTrust.org.
  16. Josephine C. Frost, Ancestors of Frank Herbert Davol and His Wife, Phebe Downing Willits, p. 21 (F.H. Hitchcock, New York, 1925); image of p. 21 at InternetArchive.org.
  17. Elizabeth Edwards Gifford, Our Patronymics, p. 23 (Auburn: Jewhurst & Plumb, 1886); image of p. 23 at InternetArchive.org.
  18. Louise Brownell Clarke, The Greenes of Rhode Island, With Historical Records of English Ancestry, 1534-1902 (Knickerbocker Press, New York, 1903); image of p. 65 at InternetArchive.org.
  19. Robert Harry McIntire, Ancestry of Robert Harry McIntire and of Helen Annette McIntire, His Wife (Norfolk, Va., 1950); images of pp. 75, 77-78 by subscription at FamilySearch.org and also Ancestry.com.
  20. Ambrose Milton Shotwell, Annals of Our Colonial Ancestors and Their Descendants; or, Quaker Forefathers of Their Posterity. Embracing a Genealogical and Biographical Register of Nine Generations of the Shotwell Family in America (Lansing: R. Smith, 1895); images of p. 42 at InternetArchive.org.
  21. James Savage, A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, Showing Three Generations of Those Who Came before May, 1692, on the Basis of Farmer’s Register, 1:52 (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1862); image of p. 52 at InternetArchive.org.
  22. Adin Ballou, An Elaborate History and Genealogy of the Ballous in America (Providence: E. L. Freeman & Son, 1888); images of p. 37 and p. 64 at InternetArchive.org. The source was searched and it does not appear any Potter or Anthony names appear in the right time frame to be of use.

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Thank you very much Scott. This is research well done - the way it ought to be.
posted by Tim Potter