James Badcock: Who WAS This Man?
The Tradition: Fact or Fiction?

In speaking and/or corresponding with members of the Babcock extended family, I have encountered on a number of occasions references, stated as known facts, to this man and the circumstances of his immigration to the New World. In some of these accounts, both the dates given and the circumstances are at variance with those contained in the genealogical data which appears on this webpage. My data, here, is based on the research of Stephen Babcock and set forth in The Babcock Genealogy which he compiled and published in 1903.

There is a family tradition that tells of a James Babcock, born in 1580 in Wivenhoe, Essex, England, and who emmigrated to Leyden, Holland in 1620 and then to Plymouth, MA, arriving aboard the ship "Anne" in 1623. Though this tradition appears to be widely believed, Stephen Babcock’s research, has, I believe, pretty well proved much of it to be false. Many of our people, not having access to The Babcock Genealogy, but having come across the above mentioned tradition, may well feel confused when reading the notes I’ve attached to James Badcock and his sons in the data base presented here, and the conflicts which become apparent.

I believe Stephen Babcock’s research is thorough and convincing and should be made available to any who peruse the material presented here. I will quote directly from The Babcock Genealogy, as it delves into the mystery of just who was this man and when and where did he arrive in the New World? The story is fascinating and should be of interest to anyone who is descended from James "The Immigrant." I’m sure that we are all concerned first and foremost with attempting to separate fact from fiction as best we can in regards to our family roots. -- Bryce Babcock, June, 2000.

"Coat of Arms and Family Origin"

In an introductory section of The Babcock Genealogy, entitled "Coat of Arms and Family Origin" (pp. xi-xv) , Rev. Charles Henry Babcock, D.D., after discussing the coat of arms, addresses the family roots and in the process defines the problem of, "the question as to precisely where, (when), and by whom the Badcock connection was made between old England and our New England shores". I quote verbatim, retaining most of the punctuation and format, except for adding paragraphing to make reading easier. (Writers in the past often had a habit of writing long paragraphs often extending over an entire page or more!) I have also incorporated footnotes into the text in parentheses preceded by an asterisk. -- Bryce Babcock

"...From what has now been said it goes without saying that the Babcock family is of English -- perhaps we may say of Saxon -- origin. Precisely when and where in England it originated it is impossible now to ascertain. Hence the amount of credence to be given to the assertion (*American Family Antiquity, vol. iii, p. 199) that it was founded A.D. 449 by a Saxon warrior in the ranks of Hengist and Horsa, who came with a Saxon army to succor the English against the Picts and Scots, must be determined by each reader for himself.

"Wherever it originated, the family -- judging by the name -- is numerous in the United Kingdom; representatives of it being found in Cornwall, Devonshire, Lincolnshire, Middlesex, and Essex, but found, seemingly, most numerous in Essex. The name Badcock -- probably pronounced ‘Badco’ -- may have been of Saxon origin, for the family may be provisionally traced to residence in Essex County at the time of the Norman Conquest. The word ‘provisionally’ is used advisedly here, and the proviso attaches to the reliability of the following statement.

"It is said (* ibid) that a certain Sir William Seager narrated, as a result of his visit to Essex County in 1612, that Sir Richard Badcock was the nineteenth in descent from the first holder of the family mansion there. If we accept this statement and allow a century to represent the lives of three generations, then six centuries must have elapsed between Sir Richard and his eighteenth ancestor, who, consequently, lived early in the eleventh century -- the century of the Norman Conquest.

"It is hereupon conjectured that while the Badcocks were among the Saxon settlers in England they had no family name or seat in a formal way until Richard Badcock’s ancestor permanently located, as aforesaid, in the eleventh century, at Wivenhoe, Essex County, near the sea. It is alleged, (* ibid) upon the authority of a reference to Wright’s History of Essex, that the Badcock mansion which was occupied by Sir Richard in Wivenhoe was still standing there in 1850; but as neither volume nor page in Wright’s big work is quoted, the reference cannot conveniently be verified.

"The foregoing sketch of our ancestry in England is given -- in the absence of documentary corroboration -- for precisely what it is worth, and having by this gentle word of warning justified ourselves, we gingerly proceed along our somewhat uncertain way. We are about to try to get the family across from England to New England, and the only means available for our purpose seems to be ‘family tradition’. Now, tradition is unwritten history, and if it be genuine and authentic it is just as good as written history, which, notwithstanding it’s supposed superiority, has itself been defined as the most delightful of fictions. Now, it may be fiction and it may be fact, but it is certainly tradition that the first Badcock to come from Englant to our America was one James, alleged to be the younger brother of that Sir Richard Badcock who, in William Seager’s time lived at Wivenhoe in Essex.

(But) "The fact that there were Badcocks at Wivenhoe at all, is, indeed, held up to doubt.

A list of persons of that name born at Wivenhoe is, ‘tis true, given in Hinman’s Puritan Settlers of the Colony of Connecticut (* pp. 92 and 106); but a gentleman who is, we believe, a Babcock by maternal descent writes (* W.S. Appleton, A.M., in "New England Genealogical Society Reports", vol xix, p. 215) that in 1863 he visited Wivenhoe and examined the parish register in the church there without finding a single entry of the Badcock name. In producing this testimony it may be said that perhaps the gentleman’s search was not sufficiently thorough and we ought to add that not far from Wivenhoe -- probably a mile or two -- there is a locality named Wivenhoe Cross (* Vide map of Essex County in Wright’s Essex) about which we know nothing, and which possibly may have been confused by the preservers of our tradition, with the first named place.

"At all events, that the family abounded, and at a very early time flourished, in Essex County, is beyond reasonable question. The county was settled and named by the Saxons who devided this district of England and erected it into a kingdom (* Wright’s Essex, vol i, p. 1, ff). Formerly, and for long, it was considered unusually meager in its historical remains, but later discoveries have shown it to be quite rich in that particular. Incidental, and therefore most valuable, references in it’s history prove the presence of Badcock people there as early, presumably, as the twelfth century. In the parish of Abberton, or Adburton... in Essex, there is, a quarter of a mile northwest from the church. a manor house of Badcocks (* Wright’s Essex, vol. ii, p. 732).... This is pretty circumstantial and reliable, and although the property mentioned evidently passed out of the family holdings previous to 1281, it shows the antiquity of the Badcocks as residents of Essex County.

"Again, at East Thorp... there is confirmatory evidence of the ancient residence of the Badcock people in Essex in the existence there of a manor of the Badcocks (* ibid).... But East Thorp is not Wivenhoe, and Abberton is not Wivenhoe, and we are assured, as above, that the name Badcock is not in the Wivenhoe parish register. Nevertheless, ‘family tradition’ has it that at Wivenhoe lived -- born about 1580 -- a younger brother of Sir Richard, named James Badcock, a clergyman of the Church of England, of Puritanical persuasion, who became an exile in 1620 to Leyden, Holland, for the sake of religious liberty, and sailing thence, with others landed in New England -- some say at Plymouth, Mass. -- in 1623, thus becoming the founder of the family in this country. (* Dictionary of American Family Antiquity, vol.iii, p 199; also Hinman, Puritan Settlers, etc., p 106.)

"Whatever doubt, or denial, there may be of the truth of this tradition arises, presumably, in the first place, because the tradition is entirely unsupported by documentary evidence. There are no passenger lists of ships arriving at Plymouth in 1623 or 1624; no deeds, or land apportionments; no mention of election, or of appointment, to local civil, or military offices or duties; no wills or other probate papers; no references in contemporaneous literature -- in short, there is nothing in the shape of discovered records to show that James Badcock, aforesaid, landed in 1623, as tradition relates, at Plymouth, or elsewhere, in Massachusetts.

"On the contrary, there are circumstances and also records, which tend to impair, and for some minds to destroy, the trustworthiness of said tradition. What those circumstances and facts of record are may easily be learned by reading the pages following, in the body of this book, for it does not fall within the scope of this preface to relate or to comment upon them. One remark, however, we may permit ourselves, which is that there can be no slightest doubt that a man named James Badcock was living, in the year 1642, at Portsmouth, R.I.

" Who was this man? Was he the traditionary James, said to have been born in Essex, England, about 1580 and to have landed in America in 1623? This man himself, upon one occasion, in an affidavit, made it certain that he was born in 1611-12. Was he, then, a son of that reputed Plymouth James, or was he, possibly, a nephew or other relative?

"The man who is able to successfully reply to these queries has a most enthusiastic welcome awaiting him at the hands of many good, and would-be grateful, people. It is an intricate and a difficult question -- the question as to precisely where, and by whom the Badcock connection was made between old England and our New England shores -- and whoever deals with it is entitled to his own conclusion. Fortunately for himself, the writer of this article is not called upon to settle this question....

"But of one thing herewith connected we may be sure. James Badcock was in Portsmouth, R.I., in 1642. How came he to be there, and how long he had at that time been in this country, we do not know. To him those of us who are concerned in this volume trace our origin in this land. And as he evidently did not spring out of the earth in Portsmouth, or fall from the sky there, and as he has said he was born in 1611-12 -- and, therefore, not born in this country -- it is pretty plain that he came here from England, and there is strong presumptive evidence that Essex County was the region of his birth...."


We will now move to Stephen Babcock’s account of his research into this question, as set forth in his "Introduction" to The Babcock Genealogy (pp. xix-xxii). The author summarizes the "James Babcock tradition", details it’s sources and then proceeds to analyze the known facts. -- Bryce Babcock

"Many readers of the volume may be surprised to find that dates and incidents pertaining to James Badcock, the first immigrant ancestor of the Babcock family, as well as the records of his children, differ from records which they have long believed to be true. The reason is not difficult to find. In 1844 Mr. Sidney Babcock, of New Haven, Conn., printed a leaflet containing the Babcock coat of arms, and certain Babcock family records which he states were copied from records prepared by Albert Wells of Palmyra, N.Y. This leaflet must have been sent out in great numbers, as the author of this volume has learned of it from many parts of the country.

"In American Family Antiquity, published in 1881 by Albert Wells, the dates and incidents found in the leaflet are essentially repeated. A catalogue of the First Puritan Settlers of Connecticut, published by R. R. Hinman, 1846, contains virtually the same Babcock records as those given by Wells. In 1852 Hinman published another volume of the same name, in which his Babcock records are repeated and enlarged, and at the end of these records he states, ‘Communicated by Wells;’ hence it appears that Wells was responsible for Babcock records published by Hinman.

"Well-authenticated historical facts show that their dates and statements of incidents are wrong. While Wells and Hinman differ slightly as to details, the general statements given by them are about as follows: James Babcock, born in England 1580, removed to Leyden, Holland, in 1620, and in 1623 embarked in the ship Anne and arrived in Plymouth, Mass., in July, 1623, where he lived the residue of his life and died. At the time of his immigration he had four children, James, John, Job and Mary, who were born in England from 1612 to 1620, and were brought over with their father. He was married again about 1650 in Plymouth, and had one son, Joseph. James, the first, Job, the third, and Mary, the fourth, remained with their father in Plymouth. Joseph, the fifth, removed to Connecticut, near Saybrook, where he made settlement. John Babcock, the second son, removed with a number of others about the year 1648 into that part of Rhode Island now called Westerly, where the company began a settlement and named the place. Here he remained the residue of his life and died July 19, 1719, aged over one hundred years. He left ten children at the time of his death. (End of statements from Wells and Hinman.)

"While we are forced to admit that we have no knowledge as to the exact date when James Badcock came to America, it is certain that he did not come in the ship Anne and that he did not settle in Plymouth. In August, 1902, the author of this volume searched carefully in the library of Plymouth for records that might indicate that James Badcock came to America in the ship Anne or that he lived in Plymouth, but found no trace of any such record.

"In the History of the Town of Plymouth, by William T. Davis (former president of the Pilgrim Society), published in 1885, is the following statement: ‘No passenger list of the Anne and the Little James, which arrived in July and August, 1623, has been preserved; but unless some died before the division of lands in 1624, a list is given which must approximate to accuracy.’ In this list the name of Badcock or Babcock does not appear, hence it is evident that James Badcock did not come to America in the ship Anne. Ancient Landmarks of Plymouth, by William T. Davis, published in 1899, contains a genealogical record of all Plymouth families, including all the births and marriages to the present generation. The author in his preface says, ‘It is believed to contain nearly every name connected with Plymouth before the present century.’ The name Badcock or Babcock is not found among his settlers of Plymouth; hence it is safe to conclude that the statement so often repeated, that James Badcock settled in Plymouth, is not true.

‘Records in this book will show that James, Sr., was born in 1612; that he was in Portsmouth, R.I., 1642, where he resided for about twenty years; that March, 1661-2, he removed to that part of Rhode Island which was later named Westerly, where he spent the remainder of his life and died there June 12, 1679. It is not true that "he married his second wife in Plymouth about 1650." His first wife, Sarah, was living in Westerly in 1665, and joined by her husband in deeding land owned by them in Portsmouth. James Badcock by his first wife, Sarah, did have four children, James, John, Job and Mary, as stated by Wells, but it is not true that they "were born in England from 1612 to 1620," neither is it true that James, Job and Mary settled with their father in Plymouth. Records of these children found in this volume will show that they all settled in Westerly, R. I., where each married, had children, and died there.

"It is true that one of James Badcock’s children by his second wife, Elizabeth, was named Joseph, but it is not true that he was born about 1650 in Plymouth, nor that he settled near Saybrook, Conn. He was born in Westerly about 1670, as is shown by his father’s will and inventory, and settled in Stonington, Conn. (which town joins Westerly, R. I.), where he spent the remainder of his life.... A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, published in 1860 by James Savage (former president of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and editor of Winthrop’s History of New England), contains the following: ‘ Strange is the combination of errors in Hinman, that one James Babcock who went to Leyden in Holland, 1620, joined the friends of Robinson, came in the Anne 1623 to Plymouth.... Now we know that no passenger of this name came in that ship, and I have a very strong reason, after much inquiry, to doubt that any such man lived in the colony during its earliest forty years.’

"In the same volume Mr. Savage also states that James Babcock gave evidence in 1670 that his own age was fifty-eight years, that his sons James and John were twenty-nine and twenty-six years respectively. From this statement it will be observed that James, Sr., was born in 1612, that his son James was born in 1641 and John in 1644.

"The following quotation is taken from the History of Stonington, published in 1900 by Judge Richard A. Wheeler: ‘ James Babcock, born in 1612, who was the first progenitor of the Babcock family of Westerly and the region round about, first appears in Portsmouth in 1642.... During the year 1670 he gave testimony, calling his age fifty-eight years, his son James twenty-nine, and his son John twenty-six.’

"In reply to an inquiry by the author of this volume, Judge Wheeler wrote Sept. 29, 1900, that he was well acquainted with Mr. Savage in 1860, and that Mr. Savage informed him that his authority for the testimony given by James Babcock as to his age and that of his sons was unquestionable. J.O. Austin in his Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island, published in 1887, p. 8, states the following of James Babcock, Sr.: ‘June 18, 1670, he was warned by warrant from the Commissioners of Connecticut to appear before them to make answer for the seisure of three Connecticut men on a warrant issued by Tobias Sanders. He was released on bail. He gave testimony this year, calling his age fifty-eight years, his son James twenty-nine, and his son John twenty-six years.’

"From the records of James Badcock in this volume it will be seen that in 1670, during a controversy between Rhode Island and Connecticut as to the boundary line between the two colonies, James Badcock was arrested in Westerly by Connecticut authorities and taken June 23 to Stonington for trial. The original records of that trial have not been found by the author of this book, but it is believed the evidence of James Badcock as to his age and that of his sons, referred to by Savage, Wheeler and Austin, was taken at this trial.

"The following statement is taken from Family of Babcocks of Milton, Mass., by William S. Appleton, A.M., 1865: ‘The Babcock family has been so unfortunate as to be honored with an elaborate traditional pedigree more richly furnished with mistakes than is usual even in such. It may be read at length in Hinman’s First Puritan Settlers of Connecticut, pp. 92 and 106. and has justly excited the indignation of Mr. Savage. The long list of births supposed to have happened in England and Dorchester, Mass., is certainly wrong. Two years ago I examined the register of the church of Wivenhoe, England, and none of them can be found there, nor did I see a single entry of the name of Babcock."

Hinman and Wells Babcock Records

Next, Col. Andrew J. Babcock, in a separate section entitled "Hinman and Wells Babcock Records," (pp. xxiii-xxvi) of The Babcock Genealogy, explores in greater depth the sources and details of the "Babcock tradition" as set down by Royal Hinman and Albert Wells. He then proceeds to detail the evidence that has emerged to cast a cloud of doubt over this tradition and to attempt to separate fact from fiction. -- BB

"Many persons whose surname is Babcock in searching for their early ancestors have, unfortunately, fallen in with the records prepared by Mr. Royal Hinman, in his First Puritan Settlers of Connecticut, and the statements of Mr. Albert Wells.

"In 1881 I first saw their writings, and with many others believed them implicitly, but after the most diligent and careful research I am convinced there is but little truth in the writings of either Hinman or Wells concerning the Babcock family. I would advise all of our name who are interested in their earthly origin not to credit the writings of Wells and Hinman, for they are certainly fabrications.

"Hinman states: ‘James, the first of the name known in New England, was an Episcopal clergyman, and settled in the rectory of Wivenhoe, Essex County, England. He went to Leyden, Holland, for the purpose of embarking for America, and, persuading others to unite with him, and actually became one of the ‘Puritan Fathers’... James was born at Wivenhoe, Essex County, England in 1580, ...came to New England in the ship Anne, and landed at Plymouth in July 1623, and afterward removed to Dorchester, Mass. (now Milton), where he lived the remainder of his life.’

"Mr. Hinman then gives the children of James as follows: James, Jr., born 1616; John, born 1618; Job, born 1620; Mary, born 1621. He states that James, Jr., married at Dorchester about 1637, and had children (gives the names of fourteen). Now, there was no James Babcock came in the ship Anne in 1623, or in any ship that reached Plymouth later. His removal to Dorchester, Mass., where he resided the rest of his life, the marriage of his son James, Jr., at Dorchester, 1637, to Jeanne ______, the birth to them of fourteen children, have no foundation in fact whatever. The true history of this James, Jr., is entirely different from the above.

"Now comes Mr. Albert Wells, who in 1844 compiled a record of the early Babcocks in this country, which many of us have seen, read, and believed until, by a personal investigation, we found it was devoid of truth. Mr. Wells states nearly the same as Mr. Hinman. Which was first out, we know not, but it looks very much as if one copied from the other.

"Mr. Wells recites the ship Anne, Plymouth, 1623, tale, and that ‘James Badcock lived in Plymouth the residue of his life.... At the time of his immigration he brought four children, James, John, Job, and Mary, who were born in England from the years 1612 to 1620... James, the first child, Job, the third, and Mary, the fourth, remained with their father in Plymouth.... John Babcock, the second son, removed about 1648, to that part of Rhode Island now called Westerly....died there July 19, 1719, aged over one hundred years.’

"In 1889 we made a trip to Plymouth, the chief reason for going being to substantiate Hinman’s and Well’s statements, and examined every document likely to impart information upon this subject, but found nothing whatever. Since then we have read several of the histories of the Pilgrims and of Plymouth, and are much impressed with Baylie’s History of Plymouth Colony, Boston, 1830. From it we learn the ships Anne and Little James arrived at Plymouth in July and August 1623. The Anne brought sixty immigrants, some of whom were the wives and children of those already there.

"Nothing has been found to show that any Badcock or Babcock came in either ship. From a record of the division of cattle which occurred on the 27th of May, 1627, it is believed that every family and person in the town can be ascertained, and the town was at that time the colony. No person named Badcock or Babcock appears in that record. Again, on p. 264, vol.i, Baylie’s History, is a catalogue of names of all persons in the colony, but the name Badcock or Babcock does not appear among them.

"The names of the first settlers of the towns of Duxbury, Scituate, Taunton, Sandwich, Barnstable, Yarmouth, etc., all in Plymouth Colony, have been examined, and the name Badcock or Babcock does not appear upon any of the early records of these towns. The first date we find the name of Badcock or Babcock in records of Plymouth Colony is Nov. 27, 1685. Benjamin Badcock, et. al., all of New Dartmouth (New Bedford), are defendants in a suit of law brought by William Woods, et. al., to recover damages for land alleged to have been purchased by Wood et. al. of Woosamquin and Waumesetta. Case again heard Mar. 2, 1686. The court grants a nonsuit. Again, we find the name of Return Badcock among the names of the proprietors of Dartmouth in the confirmatory deed of William Bradford, Dept. Gov. of the Colony and executed Nov. 13, 1694. We now know that Benjamin and Return Badcock were of Milton, Mass., set off from Dorchester in 1662.

"It appears quite evident that there was no James Badcock who came to Plymouth on the ship Anne in 1623, and no settlers of an early date, surnamed Badcock, in Plymouth, nor in the colony of Plymouth. The first official information we find of James Badcock he is admitted an inhabitant of Portsmouth, R.I., Feb. 25, 1642. That he was related to Robert and George Badcock of Dorchester, Mass., later of Milton (set off from Dorchester), we believe there is no doubt. They may have been brothers. We have examined all the lists of immigrants who came to this country from 1600 to 1700 that we could find, and failed to find mention of either of the above. We are of the opinion they came between the years 1630 and 1640.

"Soon after James Badcock removed from Portsmouth to Westerly he with others became involved in the dispute with Connecticut relating to the boundary line; Connecticut claiming jurisdiction east of the Pawcatuck River.... (Acting on a warrant issued by a Rhode Island Justice of the Peace, James was constituted a constable and proceeded to arrest three Connecticut men. Connecticut authorities then issued a warrant under which James and the R.I. Justice were in turn arrested and placed on bond. -- Bryce Babcock)

"It was probably at the hearing of this case that James Badcock gave testimony, under oath, calling his age fifty-eight years, his son James, Jr., twenty-nine, and his son John twenty-six years. This testimony under oath establishes beyond a shadow of a doubt, the year of his birth to be 1612, his son James, Jr., 1641, and his son John, 1644. His first four children were born in Portsmouth, R.I.. At all events that was where the parents of James and John were then living.

"In 1623 James Badcock was eleven years of age. It will, for obvious reasons, be readily seen that he brought no children with him from England, as claimed by Messrs. Hinman and Wells. His son John died early in 1685 at Westerly, aged forty-one years, and not on July 19, 1719, aged over one hundred years, as given by Wells.

"In conclusion, I will add that these records have led many of the Babcock family astray and given untold annoyance to the genealogist to explain away the delusion they labored under, caused by the erroneous records of Royal R. Hinman, of Connecticut, and Albert Wells, of Palmyra, N.Y..

"Springfield, Ill., Feb. 4, 1903."

Finally, Stephen Babcock, resumes the narrative and proceeds to sum up in his own words (pp xxvi-xxviii) the problems created by the Hinman/Wells "tradition" and the confusion it has caused for descendants of James Badcock as we have attempted to trace our family history. Mainly he focuses on descrepancies in Wells’ dates. -- Bryce Babcock

"So much space has already been given to controverting the Wells history that the author of this volume would drop the discussion were it not that Well’s early dates and incidents are so misleading, and so many have believed them, that facts demand that his errors and inconsistencies be further shown.

"Wells, in his pamphlet containing Babcock history and coat of arms, claims that John, the son of James, was born in England, between 1612 and 1620. Again, in American Family Antiquity, he states that John Babcock settled in Westerly in 1648, was a brother of James, Sr., and that he was born about 1625. Then follows the story of love and elopement, reference to which is made in the records of John Babcock in this volume. He then says, ‘There have been contradictions of this romance, but they come from persons who could not make the John born in 1644 old enough for the elopement story.’

"Town records of Westerly, Colonial Records of Rhode Island, and Colonial Records of Connecticut make it perfectly sure that among the early settlers in Westerly there was but one John Babcock and that he was a son of James the immigrant. Hence it will be seen that Wells has given three different dates for the birth of John Babcock the son of James -- namely, about 1615, 1625, and 1644. It will be seen from the records of John Babcock, mentioned above, that he with his father and others first settled in Westerly in March, 1661-2; hence the statement of Wells that John settled in Westerly in 1648 cannot be true.

"The further quotations from Wells will all be taken from his American Family Antiquity.

"He says, ‘It is further stated that John Babcock owned nearly all of Westerly and a portion of South Kingston, R.I.’ The truth is, all of the present township of Westerly was bought from the Indians by the Misquamicut Company. (See copy of the company’s deed in Westerly and its witnesses.) John Babcock in common with other members of the company received an apportionment of land. (See records of John Babcock in this book.) No record has been found showing that he owned land in South Kingston.

"Wells states, ‘John Babcock and others signed an agreement to allow bounty in Misquamokuck (Westerly) on Saturday, 22nd of Feb., 1662. (R.I. Hist. Collections, vol. 111, p. 260.)’


"The above quotation by Wells is wrong and misleading. The names of James and John Badcock do occur in the book and page quoted by Wells, but it is with reference to a meeting held at Newport Feb. 22, 1661-2, at which eighteen men were selected to go and abide at Misquamicut. (See records of John Babcock.)

"Wells says, ‘In the list of inhabitants in Westerly in the W.T.R., book i, p. 2, dated May 18, 1669, the name of John Babcock and his son John may be found.’

"In the book, and on the page referred to is a list of the freemen of Westerly. Among them were four Badcocks, and only four, namely, James, Sr., James, Jr., John and Job. There is no reference to a John Badcock, Jr.

"Wells gives the date of birth of the eldest of John’s children at 1650, and the youngest at 1675, and places the births of the remaining eight children at intervals between these two dates. These dates are all wrong, and much too early; for instance, he says, ‘George was born 1663.’ George Babcock and his wife were buried in South Kingston, R.I., in what was formerly known as the Babcock burying ground, but is now known as the Tucker burying ground, and is about four miles from the railroad station at Kingston. In the summer of 1900 these graves were visited by the author of this book, and the gravestones were found in a good state of preservation. From George’s monument was copied the following: ‘He departed this life on May the 1st, A.D. 1756, in ye 83d year of his age.’ This record shows that George Babcock was born in 1673, or ten years later than the date given by Wells.

"Again, Wells states that ‘Robert was born 1670, Joseph 1672, and Oliver 1675.’ In another place he states that Robert, Joseph and Oliver chose ‘our beloved brother James to be our guardian, at Westerly, 21st of April, 1698.’ (W.T.R., vol. ii, p. 170.) The last of his two quotations is correct. If the dates of birth given of these three boys were also correct, it would follow that when they chose their guardian, Robert was twenty-eight years old, Joseph twenty-six, and Oliver twenty-three; but such a conclusion is absurd, hence it is certain that the dates of birth given by Wells for this family are all wrong.

"While the records in this volume are of the descendants of James Badcock, who it is believed was the first of that family to settle in this country, it is well known that there were two brothers George and Robert Badcock who settled in Dorchester (now Milton), Mass., about the year 1650. In a work by William S. Appleton, A.M., 1865, called Appleton’s Badcock Family, or Family of Badcocks of Milton, Mass., the author, referring to George and Robert Badcock, says: ‘While I cannot prove that they were related to James Badcock, born about 1612, of Newport 1642, and of Westerly 1661 (1662), I have no doubt of the fact. They were probably his brothers....

"Appleton’s Badcock Family of Milton, Mass., contains records of many families who sprang from George and Robert and settled in Massachusetts and Connecticut. A History of Ancient Windham, Conn., by William L. Weaver, 1864 contains records of many families who descended from George and Robert Badcock of Milton."

That concludes the introductory sections of The Babcock Genealogy. I’ve included them here as I’ve just recently become more fully aware of how much confusion and misunderstanding has existed among Babcock descendants as a result of familiarity with the "traditions" based on the writings of Hinman and Wells. My own assessment is that, while Stephen Babcock’s research may not be exhaustive or without gaps, he has exposed many errors and inconsistencies in the tradition and set many of them straight. There are still unanswerd questions, and the history of the family in England offers a considerable challenge to anyone who has the time and energy to persue it. My belief here is that the history of the Badcock/Babcock family is closer to the facts as presented in The Babcock Genealogy, though I admit to feeling some regret over having to discard most of the "tradition" stories and dates that many of our family had assumed were factual. I hope readers will share my view that we prefer to know the truth even though fiction or myths may sometimes be more entertaining. -- Bryce Babcock, Cottonwood, AZ, June 2000.