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four wills, four generations, four courts: the Allins of Barrington

I’ve begun to poke around in the history of the Allin family to see about the land and house. The attributed builder of our house is Thomas4 Allin (Matthew3, Thomas2, William1), who lived from 1742 to 1800. His great-grandfather, William1 Allin, had bought a portion of the original land purchased from the family of the Wampanoag chief Massasoit, in 1653, by a group of proprietors from the Plymouth colony. In the cold winter of 1680, the legend goes, William1 Allin allegedly transported his own house across frozen Narragansett Bay to Barrington (then part of Swansea), but it is impossible that this would have been the stone-ender attributed to him by Bicknell. Nevertheless an original Allin house anchored the parcel, but a second one must have existed on it by the latter part of the 18th century, suggesting a subdivision of the farm lands that can hopefully be found in wills and deeds.

Here are the Barrington Allins as I have them so far:

Straightforward enough. So where are the Allin wills? This is the odd part. Though he held this land in Barrington, which was then Swansea, part of the Plymouth Colony, when William1 Allin died, he was still officially a resident of Prudence Island, belonging to the town of Portsmouth, in the Rhode Island colony, where his will was proved. His son Thomas2 Allin died in 1719, when Barrington had become independent of Swansea, but was still part of Bristol County, Massachusetts; his will is at Taunton, Massachusetts, the county seat. Matthew3 Allin died in 1761, when Barrington had been given to the Rhode Island colony, but lost its independence as a town; it was then part of the town of Warren, where Matthew’s will would be. Finally, Thomas4 Allin died in 1800, hopefully testate. The town of Barrington, Rhode Island, was incorporated in 1770 and preserves its own wills from that date, so Thomas4 should be found there. Now, I haven’t pulled any of these yet, but I know where they’re likely to be. (Alas the volume of Bristol County, Massachusetts wills with Thomas2 Allin’s will in it was omitted from the LDS microfilm set from which the volume of published abstracts was made in the 1980s.)

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