"John Whitman, our ancestor, must have arrived in
this country some time, probably several years, prior to
December 1638, when as it appears by Winthrop's
Journal, he was made free, viz.: admitted to the rights
and privileges of a citizen.1
This was not usually admissible until after a
probationary residence of some time, and never until
after admission as a member of some established church.
He probably settled at Weymouth, twelve miles south of
Boston, soon after his arrival, but at what precise
period cannot be ascertained. He was, by the Governor and
assistants, appointed an ensign there in 1645, which was,
probably, the first military appointment in that town. In
the same year he was, by the same authority, with two
others, appointed 'to end small controversies'
there. What authority was exercised under the latter
commission is not known precisely, but probably not very
dissimilar to that which was subsequently expected of
justices of the peace. He was also deacon of the church
there, probably form its first establishment, until his
death which was on 13 November 1692.
"He must have lived to a very advanced age, probably but little if any short of ninety years. This supposition is strengthened by the fact that the youngest of his four sons, who was probably the youngest of nine children, was born in 1644. And his oldest son, Thomas gave a deposition in 1679, by which it appears that he was born in 1629. Some of the daughters may have been older, and they probably were as it is scarcely to be presumed that the nine children were all born in the course of fifteen years; especially as their parents were separated for four years or more of the time, the family not having removed to this country till about 1641. The tradition, among the descendants of Thomas, has been that he was about twelve years old when he was brought to this country. Thus it results, as probably, that the Ancestor was married not far from 1625; and early marriages not being so common in England as in this country, it may be reasonable to suppose that he was not married till twenty-three years of age. This would make him about ninety at his decease..
"John Whitman owned and lived upon a farm adjoining the north side of the highway, leading by the north side of the meeting-house of the north parish in Weymouth, and directly off against it, and extending to Weymouth river; and his dwelling-house was situated near the center of it. A part of the dwelling-house now remaining there is said to be 150 years old (in 1821). If so, the Ancestor must have resided in it a dozen years before his death. It was built in the old style, being a wooden house, two stories in front, facing the meeting-house, and one in the rear towards the river, and well preserved with paint... The foregoing was quoted by Charles H. Farnam from Judge Ezekiel Whitman's pamphlet published in 1821.
"John Whitman had four sons and five daughters, all but one of whom survived him, and six of whom lived to be over eighty.
"John died 13 November 1892, about ninety years of age. His will was dated 9 March 1685 and was proved 19 March 1692/93. In the Weymouth records there was an entry 'died 18.17.1662 Ruth wife of John Whitman.' While the date probably should have read 8.17.1662, it is not certain whether this was the wife of John."2