Ralph Allen

Ralph ALLEN Sr. (1615 -1698) was Alex’s 9th Great Grandfather; one of 1,024 in this generation of the Miller line.

Ralph Allen – Quaker

Ralph Allen was born about 1615 in Thurcaster, Leicester, England.  His parents were George ALLEN and  Katherine WATTS.    Although it has not been determined when he arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, it is known that he did not travel on the same ship as his father, George.

Ralph was generally referred to as a planter and wheelwright. This was apparently to distinguish him from the other Ralph Allen residing at Sandwich who was married to a woman named Esther Swift and was a mason by trade. Although our Ralph is thought to have married sometime around 1630-1635, it is not known at this time whether he married in England, or after he arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Our Ralph is believed to have been married to a woman named Susannah [__?__].

Ralph Allen  died in Mar 1698 at Sandwich Mass.  His will, which had been written on 18 Dec 1691, was probated before the Barnstable County Court on 1 Jul 1698. Ralph was subsequently buried, as directed by his will, “in the Friends Burying place at William Allen’s in Sandwich.”

Children of Ralph and Susannah:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Philip Allen c. 1636
or c. 1662
13 Jul 1671
Portsmouth, Rhode Island
2. Benjamin Allen c. 1645
Sandwich, Mass
27 Feb 1669
3. John Allen 3 Jan 1647
Rebecca [_?_]
Rebecca Prince
1696  Massachusetts
Sandwich, Mass.
4. Joseph ALLEN 1 Apr 1642 Sandwich, Mass Sarah HOLLOWAY Jul 1662
Sarah Hall
7 Mar 1680
Sep 1704 Shrewsbury, Monmouth, New Jersey
5. Ebenezer Allen 10 Feb 1649/50 Sandwich Abigail Hill
18 May 1725 Dartmouth
6. Increase Allen 18 Dec 1648 Sandwich, Mass Rachel Sherman
7 Mar 1723/24 Dartmouth
7. Zachariah Allen 2 FEB 1650 Sandwich, Mass Sarah [__?__] bef 15 Nov 1732 Dartmouth
8. Mary Allen c. 1649
Sandwich, Mass
Benjamin Field bur. 18 Apr 1675
9. Patience Allen c. 1660
Sandwich, Mass
Richard Evans
10 Jun 1680
Newport, RI
4 Dec 1711
Newport, RI

Ralph eventually settled at Sandwich in the New Plymouth Colony of Massachusetts where his father lived. In 1657, while residing at Sandwich, Quakerism began spreading throughout the Colony, and Ralph and six of his brothers and sisters were apparently among the first to be “convinced.”   The adoption of Quakerism by the Allen’s resulted in their being persecuted and fined for many years for practicing their faith. Their persecution was particularly acute for refusing to take the Oath of Fidelity which they felt was unlawful.

Ralph’s father, George, was an Anabaptist, a sect originating in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1523, which rejected infant baptism, advocated separation of church and state, so it is easy to understand his family’s sympathy with the Quakers.

Ralph, William and Matthew, as well as his brother-in-law, William Newland, were in trouble with the authorities at one time or another because they were Quakers. Ralph  had numerous difficulties with the authorities because of his conversion to the Quaker faith in 1657. In 1658, he was deprived of his vote in town meeting. In 1658 and 1659, he had  £68 in goods taken from him for refusing to swear to oaths and for attending Friends Meeting. In 1661, he was jailed in Boston.  They were liberated by order of Charles II who came to the Throne in 1660, but were taken from the jail and whipped through several towns before being set at liberty.

Ralph and William were called to serve on the jury but declined to take the oath. They were arraigned before the Court for having “disorderly” meetings at their houses. It was the old story of religious persecution. The charge was based on the fact that a few Friends had met in silence to wait upon God. Assembling like this was viewed by the magistrates as a grave offence and each was fined 20 shillings with an order they should find sureties (bond) in the sum of  £80 for their good behavior in the following six months. If they agreed to this, it would imply acknowledgement of the offence and agreement to stop their Quaker worship, so they unhesitatingly refused to comply. They were then put in jail for five months. After two and a half months in jail, they were offered their freedom if they agreed not to receive or listen to a Quaker but this they promptly refused to do.

Ralph Allen and six of his brothers and sisters continued with their Quaker meetings. The local ministers and magistrates seemed to have especially singled out the Allen family.  They were the only individuals required to take the “oath of fidelity.”

By 1658, Quakers suffered increased detention of goods and were prevented from holding religious meetings. They were fined because of their conscientious refusal to take the “oath of fidelity,” which was purposely used to try to catch them, and also fined because they did not attend the local public worship. In the latter part of 1658, sixteen Friends were summoned to court in Plymouth and fined £5 each for refusing to take the oath. Some had already been fined previously on the same charge.

The futility of this punishment comes through clearly in the report that some of these Quaker sufferers, speaking of the persecution to which they had been subjected, remarked that it was “contrary to the law of Christ, whose law is so strongly written in our hearts, and the keeping of it so delightsome to us, and the gloriousness of its life daily appearing, make us to endure the cross patiently, and suffer the spoiling of our goods with joy.”

When the great wave of Governor Endicott’s persecution, torture and hanging of Quakers reached its peak, King Charles’ restoration took place in England, in 1660. The local authorities had been confident that Cromwell would not punish them for their excesses against Quakerism and had therefore dared to run counter to British law. Now, with the Restoration, they were unsure of their power and concerned that the law might go after them. Twenty-seven Friends imprisoned in Boston were released, among them the brothers Ralph and William Allen.

A postscript: In 1678, four prominent Friends, including William Allen and Nathaniel Fitzrandall petitioned the General Court of Plymouth, giving their reasons why they could not in good faith contribute to the mandatory support of the established preachers. Almost fifty years later, King George I finally declared himself in no uncertain terms and the end came to persecution for refusal to pay church rates.

During the years 1663 and 1664, Ralph purchased land at Dartmouth in the New Plymouth Colony (now within Bristol County, Massachusetts), which he later conveyed to his children. Even though he was living at Sandwich at the time of his death, it is believed that he and Susannah probably resided at Dartmouth for a few years. Ralph is mentioned in several deeds as being “of Dartmouth,” and in 1684 he was involved in an agreement with three others to build a gristmill there.

Allen’s Neck Meeting was originally part of Dartmouth Monthly Meeting which met at Apponegansett Meeting House in Dartmouth. In 1758 they felt the need to have their own House of Worship and built their new Meetinghouse on a hill overlooking Buzzard’s Bay about six miles down the road from the Apponegansett Meetinghouse. The new Meetinghouse was finished in 1761.

Allen’s Neck Meeting House, Dartmouth, Mass.

Allen’s Neck Meeting and Smith Neck Meeting still met at Apponegansett once a month for a business meeting. In 1813 Allen’s Neck Meeting was officially designated as the “West Preparative Meeting” by Dartmouth Monthly Meeting. Preparative Meetings hold their own meetings for worship and have limited authority to conduct business. Some preparative meetings will eventually become Monthly Meetings. This was the case with Allen’s Neck when they experienced growth in membership and in 1955 the process began to establish Allen’s Neck as a Monthly Meeting. The process was completed in 1956 when Dartmouth Monthly Meeting approved of Allen’s Neck becoming a Monthly Meeting separate from Dartmouth Monthly Meeting. (Google Maps.)

Allen’s Neck Friends Meeting Religious Society of Friends still meets Sundays: 9 AM Worship & First Day School Fourth Sunday: 10:30 AM Meeting for Business. 739 Horseneck Road – Dartmouth, MA 02748 – Phone: 508-636-2756

Allen’s Pond Wildlife Sanctuary – Grab your binoculars if you’re heading to Allens Pond. You can observe spectacular bird life and salt marsh activity from a number of vantage points at this site. Over 300 bird species have been recorded during migration or nesting season. The sanctuary’s half-mile stretch of beach provides important nesting habitat for rare piping plovers and terns. The sanctuary also attracts many raptors in all seasons including nesting ospreys and migrant bald eagles.

The Quansett Trail system offers visitors the opportunity to observe, interact with, and learn about the great diversity of habitats in the sanctuary. Visitors have many options to choose from including two western loops: one around a fresh pond, the other with a giant boulder to climb for treetop views. Two smaller loops provide east and west overlooks of the pond. Please note that we do not have a nature center; however, correspondence may be directed to 1280 Horseneck Road, Westport, MA 02790, or call 508-636-2437.

The Allens Neck Trail system, located off Allens Neck Rd. in Dartmouth, MA offers 1.5 miles of trails along the Woodland and Boulder Loops. Visitors can wander through rich wetlands, across old pasture land and among giant boulders or pass vernal pools throbbing with fairy shrimp and tadpoles.

Two Ralph Allens in Sandwich

During a short span of time, two Ralph Allens resided in Sandwich, and both of them became involved, with the Quaker movement, along with other members of the Allen family.

The Ralph who was the son of George was the one designated at Ralph Sr. in the records, and was the second one to come to Sandwich.

The Ralph who was NOT the son of George was residing in Sandwich first, and had children born there named Jedediah, Experience and Ephraim. Before the arrival of Ralph Sr. to Sandwich, he was just named Ralph Allen in the records, and became Ralph Jr. after the arrival of the other Ralph to the town.

Prior to their both living there, one Ralph was residing at Sandwich and the other was residing at Rehoboth. Before moving to Rehoboth, however, one Ralph sold thirty acres of land at Weymouth, 22 acres of which originally belonged to George Allen.

The Ralph Allen who was at Sandwich first had a son named Jedediah born there in January 1646/47. The other Ralph was still at Rehoboth where he received a division of the New Meadow in February 1646/47. So based on this alone, the Ralph who sold a piece of land at Weymouth that belonged to George originally, and was living at Rehoboth in 1646/47, was not the Ralph who was the father of Jedediah.

The Ralph who was the father of Jedediah was also found to have had children born at Sandwich named Experience and Ephraim in 1651 and 1656, respectively. This Ralph is also listed as being a mason by trade. This Ralph Allen died in about 1662/1663 as abstracted from Jedediah’s bible. He was married to Esther Swift.

Our  Ralph Allen, who moved from Rehoboth to Sandwich, died in 1698 and left a will naming all of his children. No Jedediah, no Experience, and no Ephraim were named. This Ralph did have a daughter named Mary, however, who died young in 1675. This Ralph was referred to as Ralph, Sr. in the burial record. He was also referred to in other records as being a planter and wheelwright by trade. In his will he also mentions his brother William, who is a known son of George Allen.

Although the suffix Sr. and Jr. were found in a number of cases in the records involving the two Ralphs, the definitive use of the suffix Sr. was with the Ralph Allen, who was a planter, and who died in 1698.

The other Ralph, who was a mason by trade, was married to Esther Swift, and was the father of Jedediah, may very well be related to George Allen somehow, but not his son. He could easily be a nephew or cousin, however.


3.  John Allen

John’s second wife Rebecca Prince was born 1672 in Sandwich, Barnstable, Mass. Her faterher was  Henry Prince born 15 August 1652 in Yoxall, Staffordshire, England  Rebecca died 1699 in Sandwich, Barnstable, Mass.

After John passed away, his widow, Rebecca, married for a second time to a man named Saunders. This second marriage was substantiated by a probate document dated 26 Feb 1711/12, which dealt with the appraisal and settlement of John’s estate. In this document, reference is made to “Rebecca Saunders, late widow of John Allen of Sandwich,” and their three children, Isaac, Benjamin, and Judah.

Children of John and Rebecca

i. Isaac Allen b. Mass.

ii. Benjamin Allen b. Mass. m. 9 March 1720 Falmouth, Barnstable, Mass to Waitstill Bowerman. Waitstill’s parents were Thomas Bowerman and Mary Harper.

iii. Judah Allen b. ~1696 in Mass.; d. Feb 1770 at Dartmouth, Bristol, Mass.; m1. 26 January 1727/28 at Sandwich, Barnstable, Mass to Rebekah Wing (b. 29 May 1702 – d. Mar 1756); Rebekah’s parents were Ebenezer Wing and Elizabeth Backhouse. Her grandparents were Stephen Wing(e) and Sarah Briggs and her great grandparents were our ancestors Rev. John WYNGE and Deborah BACHILER. Judah and Rebekah had five children born between 1729 and 1741.

m2. 8 June 1762 (intentions) Dartmouth, Bristol, Mass. to Elizabeth Allen. Elizabeth’s parents were Noah Allen and Rebecca Kirby. Her grandparents were our ancestors William ALLEN and Elizabeth [__?__] William and Judah were first cousin. If I have it calculated right, Judah and Elizabeth were first cousins twice removed.

Judah and Elizabeth had two children Noah and Rebecca. Judah was subsequently disowned by the Quakers for marrying outside of their Society. Judah died in 1770 at Dartmouth and later, on 31 Dec 1770, bond was posted by Elizabeth to serve as Administratrix of Judah’s estate.

After Judah passed away, Elizabeth married for a second time to Daniel Ormsby. Although an actual record of their marriage has not been found, their intentions to marry were recorded on 16 Nov 1771 at Dartmouth, Mass.

4. Joseph ALLEN (See his page)

5. Ebenezer Allen

Ebenezer’s wife Abigail Hill was born 16 Nov 1651 in Salem, Essex, Mass. Her parents were Zebulon Hill and Elizabeth Dyke. Abigail died 27 Mar 1699 Dartmouth, Bristol, Mass.

Ebenezer and Abigail were Quakers.

6. Increase Allen

Increase’s wife Rachel Sherman was born about 1658 in Dartmouth, Mass. Rachael died 10 Apr 1731 in Dartmouth, Bristol, Mass.

Abstracts of Bristol County, Massachusetts Probate Records, 1687-1745 Volume IV 1721 -1745

Order for inventory to Mrs. Rachel Allen, widow and  Exec. of estate  of her busband Increase Allen of Dartmouth , Yeoman, dated. 31 Oct 1722, probate 19 May 1724. Wife Rachell. Sons: Benjamin, Jedediah & Increase Allen. Hannah Russell,  Dianah Allen. Witnesses: John Tucker, William Wood and Richard Borden.

7. Zachariah Allen

I see two dates of death for Zachariah 10 May 1708  and 15 Nov 1732 – Dartmouth, Bristol, Mass.  It’s possible that both Ralph Allens had sons named Zachariah.

8. Mary Allen

Mary’s husband Benjamin Field was born in 1650 and died in 16668, the same year they were married.

In certain documents Ralph was also referred to as Ralph Allen, Sr., such as the burial record of his daughter, Mary, in 1675. This was apparently to distinguish him from the other Ralph Allen who resided at Sandwich, was married to a woman named Esther Swift, and was a mason by trade

9. Patience Allen

Patience’s husband Richard Evans was born 1654 in Boston, Suffolk, Mass.  His parents were David Evans and Mary Clark.  Richard died  9 Apr 1718 in Scituate, Providence, Rhode Island






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