Rehoboth Carpenter family
The first immigrant and founder of this line was William Carpenter (generation 1) (b. c1575 in England), his namesake son, William Carpenter (Generation 2) (c1605 in England -1658/9 Rehoboth, Bristol, MA), and the son's wife and children (then numbering four) arrived on the Bevis from Southampton, England, in 1638. Nothing more is known of the father, William, in Massachusetts and he is presumed to have perished either in passage, shortly after arriving in the new world or, less likely he returned to England. William Carpenter (Gen. 2) is buried in the Newman Congregational Church Cemetery with a simple field stone marked with a "W. C.".
William Carpenter, (Gen. 2) first appears in New England records in 1640, as a resident of Weymouth, Massachusetts. He was among the founders (at Weymouth in late 1643) of the Plymouth Colony town of Rehoboth (settled 1644). His son, William (Gen. 3) Carpenter (b. 1631 in England - 1702/3 Rehoboth, Bristol, MA), was for many years Rehoboth town clerk, by virtue of which his name—not that of his father—appears with some frequency in Plymouth Colony records, in association with a number of local vital-records lists that he certified and forwarded to colony authorities. The name William Carpenter appears in copious Plymouth Colony records and in the writings of John Winthrop and in other public records over the generations.
Three Carpenter family houses in Rehoboth are listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places: Christopher Carpenter House, Col. Thomas Carpenter III House, and Carpenter House (Rehoboth, Massachusetts)|Carpenter House.
English ancestryShalbourne, an English parish near Hungerford that straddled the boundary between Wiltshire and Berkshire. The Rehoboth Carpenters' English origins were obscure until the discovery of Bishops' Transcripts of Shalbourne parish records containing marriage, baptismal, and burial records pertaining to them. Among these records is that of William (Senior) Carpenter's marriage in 1625 to Abigail Briant of Shalbourne. A search of Westcourt Manor tenants' records reveals William Carpenter (Gen. 1) as a copyholder at Westcourt Manor in Shalbourne from 1608 to late 1637.
William Carpenter (Gen. 1) born about 1575 in England. He died after 2 May 1638 (Bevis passenger list) and certainly before 1644 when his son, William settled in Rehoboth. He was of Newtown, Shalbourne Parish, Wiltshire, England, by 1608, when he became a copyholder (semipermanent leaseholder) at Westcourt Manor (Westcourt Recs 7). Shalbourne, completely in Wiltshire since 1895, previously it straddled the line separating Wiltshire and Berkshire, with Westcourt comprising the Wiltshire part of the parish (Shalbourne Map); the Hampshire border was/is about four miles away. It is likely that William was born in one of these three counties. William's renewal of his Westcourt tenancy on 22 June 1614 gives his age as 40 (Westcourt Recs 7). The passenger list of the Bevis, the ship on which he left England, is dated 2 May 1638 and states William's age as 62 leading to an estimate of about 1575 for his birth.
His son William Carpenter (Gen. 2) was born about 1605 in or of Wiltshire, England. He died 7 February 1658/1659 in Rehoboth, Bristol, MA. He married Abigail Briant, daughter of John & Alice, on 28 April 1625 in Shalbourne Parish, Berkshire, now in, Wiltshire, England.
- John Carpenter - Christened 8 Oct.1626 in Shalborne Parish - Bevis passenger
- Abigail Carpenter - Chr. 31 May 1629 in Shalborne Parish - Bevis passenger
- William Carpenter (Gen. 3) - Chr. 22 Nov. 1631 in Shalborne Parish - Bevis Passenger
- Joseph Carpenter - Chr. 6 Apr. 1634 in Shalborne Parish - Bevis Passenger
- Samuel Carpenter - Chr. 1 Mar 1636/1637 d. 20 Apr 1637 both in Shalbourne Parish.
- Samuel Carpenter - b. abt. 1638 of, Weymouth, Norfolk, MA - his mother was probably pregnant on the Bevis
- Hannah Carpenter - b. 3 Apr. 1640 Weymouth, Norfolk, MA
- Abiah Carpenter - b. 9 Apr. 1643 of, Weymouth, Norfolk, MA
There is no record to confirm it, but it is said that certain Rehoboth Carpenters were among the founders of the Rehoboth (now Newman) Congregational Church (See: Newman Congregational Church and the Newman Cemetery)
This much we know: William (Gen. 2) Carpenter's admission as a Massachusetts Bay Colony freeman from Weymouth in 1640 required church membership. The minister at Weymouth was Rev. Samuel Newman, most of whose congregation accompanied him to Rehoboth, where he was also the minister. William (Gen. 2) Carpenter was one of Rehoboth's fifty-eight original proprietors and is buried in Old Rehoboth (Newman Church) Cemetery. (While records of the time provide no direct evidence as to the religious affiliation of William (Gen. 2) Carpenter of Rehoboth, he was certainly not a Baptist, even though other Carpenters in New England were. In this regard, he is sometimes confused with William Carpenter (Rhode Island) of Providence and others.
Notable Carpenters of the Rehoboth Carpenter family
Through his five sons, Capt. William Carpenter became known as the father of "The Family of Heroes." Over 300 of his male lineal descendants served America in the Revolutionary War. No other American family can make such a claim. 
- Among the Rehoboth Carpenter descendants who fought in the American Revolution was Captain Benajah Carpenter, a founding member of the United States Army Field Artillery Corps under Henry Knox.
- Another member of this family was George Rice Carpenter (1863–1909), born in Labrador and a graduate of Harvard in 1886. He taught at Harvard from 1888 to 1890 and at Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1890 to 1893. In 1893 he became a professor of English rhetoric at Columbia University and authored a long list of textbooks on literature and rhetoric and biographies of Whittier, Whitman, and Longfellow. A classics library at Columbia is named in his honor.
- Painter Francis Bicknell Carpenter's (1830–1900) work hangs in the United States Capitol. Carpenter also resided with President Lincoln in the White House and published a memoir of his stay.
- Project Mercury astronaut and argonaut M. Scott Carpenter (b. May 1, 1925) descends from Joseph Carpenter, the fourth son of William Carpenter (Gen. 2).
- Early U.S. Naval Aviator Donald Marshall Carpenter of whom the USS Carpenter DD 825 was named for. He descends from William Carpenter, a son of William Carpenter (Gen. 2).
- Cyrus C Carpenter, eighth Governor of Iowa, is a descendant of William Carpenter, a son of William Carpenter (Gen. 2).
Relationship with other New England Carpenter families
William Carpenter of Providence, son of Richard Carpenter of Amesbury was a reportedly a first cousin of William Carpenter of Rehoboth, son of William Carpenter of Shalbourne, England. In addition he supposedly was closely related to Alexander Carpenter of Wrington, Somersetshire, and Leiden, Netherlands, of whom his four married daughters were in the Plymouth Colony in the early 1620s. This derives from Amos B. Carpenter’s unsupported claim that Richard of William of Shalbourne, and Alexander Carpenter were brothers. No genealogical evidence has been found even hinting at a link between the Wrington Carpenters, on the one hand, and either of the other two afore-mentioned families, on the other; a connection is highly improbable. Traditional genealogical research methods provide good reasons to doubt also that Providence William and Rehoboth William were closely related.
Results of recent genetic (Y-DNA) testing coordinated by the Carpenter Cousins Y-DNA Project support this conclusion: Based on a number of 67-marker tests, “we can state with 95% confidence that the most recent common ancestor of the two groups [descendants of the Providence and Rehoboth Carpenters, respectively] was more than 2 generations before the immigrants and less than about 20. Therefore, the DNA testing has very nearly ruled out the often-repeated claim that the Williams were first cousins. The most likely estimate is about 7 generations, but that is a very rough estimate, and the 95% confidence interval is a more reasonable description of what the DNA is telling us” (Carpenter Cousins).
The Carpenter Cousins Y-DNA Project has conducted Genealogical DNA testing on twenty males with genealogical paper trails. Nine males who have incomplete genealogical data but match genetically were placed in subgroup of Group 3. These twenty nine males are believed to be descendant of the immigrant William Carpenter (born about 1605) who settled in Rehoboth, Bristol, Massachusetts from England.
Table 1 shows the reconstructed haplotype of William Carpenter (born about 1605) showing 74 DNA Y-chromosome Segments (DYS-markers).
Carpenter ancestry of 3 presidents
Rehoboth Carpenter family descendants in America have played a part in American history, including the ancestry of at least three U.S. presidents - James A Garfield, 20th President of the United States, George H. W. Bush, 41st President of the United States (1989–1993) and father of George W. Bush, 43rd President.
References and notes
- Carpenter, Amos B. A Genealogical History of the Rehoboth Branch of the Carpenter Family in America, a.k.a. "The Carpenter Memorial", Press of Carpenter & Morehouse, Amherst, Mass., 1898), reprinted and duplicated by many organizations in print, CD, and DVD formats. Note: This 900-plus page tome was remarkable for its day, but many corrections has been made in the genealogies it contains over the last century. The best compiled corrections to this work and related lines is in the "Carpenters' Encyclopedia of Carpenters 2009", data DVD format.
- Bowen, Richard LeBaron. Early Rehoboth: Documented Historical Studies of Families and Events in This Plymouth Colony Township, 4 vols. (Rehoboth, Mass.: Rumford Press, 1945-1950).
- Zubrinsky, Eugene Cole. "William Carpenter of Newtown, Shalbourne, Wiltshire (Bevis, 1638)" (Ojai, Calif., 2009).
- Zubrinsky, Eugene Cole. "The Family of William Carpenter of Rehoboth, Massachusetts, With the English Origin of the Rehoboth Carpenters," The American Genealogist, Vol. 70 (October 1995), pp. 193-204. This work establishes the English origin of William Carpenter of Rehoboth (c1605-1658[/9]); identifies his wife, Abigail Briant; and revises their children's birth order.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. http://nrhp.focus.nps.gov/natreg/docs/All_Data.html.
- Now located in present day Rumford, Rhode Island (site of the original Rehoboth settlement). See: [History of Rehoboth, Massachusetts.]
- Savage, James. A Genealogical Dictionary of The First Settlers of New England Before 1692, Showing Three Generations of Those Who Came Before May, 1692, on the Basis of Farmer's Register - with two supplements in four volumes, Baltimore, Md., Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., originally published 1860-1862, Boston, Mass., reprinted with "Genealogical Notes and Errata" excerpted from The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. XXVII, No. 2, April, 1873, pp. 135-139. Corrected electronic version copyright Robert Kraft, July 1994
- Dexter, O. P. A Genealogical Cross Index of the Four Volumes of the Genealogical Dictionary of James Savage, originally published 1884, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. Baltimore, Md., 1965, 1969, 1977, 1981, 1986, 1990. Library of Congress Catalogue Card Number 65-18541, International Standard Book Number: 0-8063-0309-3, Set Number: 0-8063-0795.
- Carpenter, Raymond George "The Family of Heroes"
- Alphabetical List of Officers of the Continental Army - C - Fifteenth Virginia - page 145. Carpenter, Benajah (R. I.). Captain Lieutenant of Knox's Regiment Continental Artillery, 10th December, 1775; killed at Long Island, 27th August, 1776.
- Carpenter, Amos. Number 793 on page 139. See in addition: Benajah Carpenter
- U.S. Senate Art & History site retrieved 2008. See also Francis Bicknell Carpenter
- Carpenters' Encyclopedia of Carpenters 2009 (DVD format)
- Carpenter Cousins Y-DNA Project
- "Carpenter Cousins Y-DNA Project". http://carpentercousins.com/carpdna.htm#toc. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
- "Carpenter Cousins Y-DNA Project - Table 1 - Group 3". http://carpentercousins.com/carpdna.htm#table1. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
- WorldRoots.com, Genealogy Archive. "Ancestors of George W. Bush" by William Addams Reitwiesner. Retrieved May 2009. Alternate website.
- Official website - Town of Rehoboth, Massachusetts
- Community website for Rehoboth, MA, started 10/2008
- For the surname Carpenter, see: Carpenter (surname)