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  • Sarah Parkhurst & Tabitha Fulham alias Parkhurst

    Harold F. Porter, Jr.

    Published Date : April 1987
    No comprehensive Parkhurst genealogy has been compiled to date. In 1897 Gabriel H. Parkhurst published John Parkhurst, Born May 2, 1760, at Weston, Massachusetts, His Ancestors and Descendants, but as a genealogy it is often an uncritical reprint of pages 388-91 of Dr. Henry Bond’s Genealogies of the Families and Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, including Waltham and Weston, second ed., two volumes in 1 (1860, reprint 1978).  This paper is a critique of the coverage of two Weston transplants.

    John3 Parkhurst (George2-1) of Weston married Abigail Garfield, daughter of Edward Garfield, ancestor of the 20th president of the United States, about 1670, according to Bond, who, however, did not record his source.  That they were not married until some time after 30 December 1668, the day Edward made his will, is proved by this bequest therein:

    4thly I give unto my daughter Abigail Garfield twenty pound tenn pound to be paid at the time of her marriage and tenn pound to be paid two years after but if ye sd Abigail shall died unmarried then my will is yt ye sd twenty pound be equally devidid to Samuel Garfeild my son and John Garfeild my son and Joseph Garfeild my son and Beniamin Garfeild my son and Rebecka Mixter my daughter and if ye sd Abigail doe live unmaried yt then my will is she shall be allowed five and twenty shillings ayeere so long as she lives unmaried allso I give unto ye sd Abigail afether bed and boulster with arugg and two blankets and one pewter plate.

    However, then follows:

    5thly I give unto my grandchild Sara Parkhurst one ewe sheepe and an ewe lamb.

    (Middlesex County Probate Registry, No. 8905).  Who were the parents of this grandchild of Edward?  John and Abigail Parkhurst?  They had a daughter Sarah born at Watertown 26 November 1676 (Watertown Records, vol. 1 [1894], p. 41) but by that date the grandchild Edward named in 1668, if still living, would have been at least eight years old. May not the latter have been a first Sarah born following their betrothal whence the surname Parkhurst — but who died sometime before a second Sarah’s birth?

    On 19 March 1725/6 George4 Parkhurst (John3, George2-1) married Tabitha Fulham widow of Sargeant Jacob Fulham who had been killed in “Lovewell’s Fight.”  By her marriage to Fulham she had four children, including a daughter named Tabitha, born at Weston 12 May 1722 (Town of Weston, Births, Deaths and Marriages [1901], pp. 17, 19; Volney Sewall Fulham. The Fulham Genealogy [1909], pp. 24-29, 107-8).  By agreement between Francis Fulham. Esq., Jacob’s father and guardian of his four children, and George and Tabitha Parkhurst signed 27 January 1726, this daughter Tabitha and Jacob’s youngest (posthumous) son were raised by their mother and stepfather (Middlesex Probate Registry, No. 8716).  George and Tabitha Parkhurst had four sons born at Weston (Town of Weston, pp. 20, 23, 28, 35, 410, 411, 414, 420, 422).  Bond records them and adds a daughter Tabitha but gives no date for her birth (Bond, p. 389).  The Weston records mention no such child, and when George Parkhurst died, intestate, the four sons were the only children to share in the division (Middlesex Probate Registry, No. 16866).  Bond’s “source” was probably the £300 bond Francis Fulham signed on 27 July 1736 as “Guardian unto Tabitha Parkhurst a Minor in the 15th year of her age, Daughter of Mr. George Parkhurst late of Weston in the County of Middlesex Deceased (Middlesex Probate Registry, No. 16867).  Since this ward, “at her own Election,” of Fulham had to have been born about 1722, this document must refer to Jacob’s daughter Tabitha Fulham.  Could this be clerical error?  Or perhaps Francis Fulham’s oversight?  Or is this an early example of a child’s being known by, if not taking, a stepfather’s surname?  Perhaps George Parkhurst adopted Tabitha formally.  In any event, Gabriel Parkhurst repeated Bond’s mistake, which has been perpetuated for over 125 years.  Parkhurst and Fulham genealogists take note.

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