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  • Unmasking Hannah Stover

    Jane H. Schotland

    Published Date : August 30, 1990

    [105] Sometimes the answer to a nagging genealogical problem can be found in the already published literature -- if one is lucky enough to stumble onto it.  Among the few "loose ends" in the ancestry of my maternal grandfather (most of whose forebears never left Massachusetts) was a Hannah Stover who married Richard3 Church, a fourth-generation descendant of Richard Warren of the Mayflower (Richard Church4, Nathaniel Church3, Elizabeth2 Warren, Richard1).  A 1913 family history by John A. Church (Descendants of Richard Church of Plymouth, Mass.) states only that Richard's wife was 'Hannah ___.'  The Mayflower Descendant 21[900]:35 notes that Richard Church and his wife Hannah were married in Scituate, Mass. 2 February 1697; Hannah's maiden surname is omitted.

    The Mayflower Families in Progress (MFIP) pamphlet, Richard Warren of the Mayflower and His Descendants for Four Generations, 3rd ed. (1989), compiled by Robert S. Wakefield, Janice A. Beebe, and others, stated that the wife of Richard3 Church was Hannah Stover.  No parents were given, but after the death of Richard Church in 1704 Hannah was said to have married a David Bryant in Scituate 31 July 1706.

    MB. Colkett, Jr., in Founders of Early American Families (rev. ed., 1985), p. 299, lists a Sylvester Stover whom I considered but quickly rejected because he lived and died in York, Maine.  Thus I gave scant attention to an article on Sylvester in the Register (85[1931]: 300-05).  I guess that such premature rejection is the kind of error novice genealogists are prone to make.

    After some months of leaving Hannah Stover on the back burner, I perused the Register article more carefully.  There was my answer, plain to see.  After Sylvester Stover#s death his widow moved to Scituate, where she died in 1722 (will proved 4 September in Plymouth).  Sylvester Stover#s will (proved at York 14 February 1689/90) lists his sons by their names, but groups his daughters as #the rest of my children.#  His wife Elizabeth is more specific -- she names all her children in her will.  The last is# Hannah Bryant.#

    The Mayflower Descendant 8[1906]:205 confirms the date given above from the MFIP pamphlet for the marriage of Hannah Church and David Bryant.  And finally the Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire (1928-39, reprint 1972, by Sybil Noyes, C.T. Libby and W.G. Davis), p. 667, states that Hannah, daughter of Sylvester and Elizabeth (Norton) Stover of York, Maine, appar. m. twice in Scituate, 1st Richard Church 2 Feb. 1696-7, 2d David Bryant 1 July 1706.  Much English ancestry for Hannah's mother, a daughter of Henry and Margaret (___) Norton, sometime of York, Maine, can be traced in TAG 16 (1939-40):101-13 (Norton), R.E.C. Waters, Genealogical Memoirs of the Extinct Family of Chester of Chicheley, vol. 2 (1878), pp. 443-45, 448 esp. (Cranmer), and J.W. Walker, ed., Hunter#s Pedigrees (Publications of the Harleian Society, Visitations Series, vol. 88 [19361), pp. 90-91 (Hatfield).

    Some of Jane H. Schotland's Mayflower research ("Sylvia Sturtevant and her Seven Mayflower Lines") recently appeared in Mayflower Quarterly 55(1989):296-97.  Interested readers may write Mrs. R.M. Schotland, 3726 N. Pantano Road, Tucson, AZ 85715.

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