Thomas Rodman (1683 - c.1775) MP

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Birthplace: Ireland
Death: Died in Newport, Newport County, Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
Managed by: Bjørn P. Brox
Last Updated:

About Thomas Rodman

General Notes:

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF SOUTH KINGSTOWN.

page 519:

THE RODMAN FAMILY. -- The Rodmans were among the earliest settlers in Kingstown. We find the birth of Doctor Thomas Rodman's first child recorded there in 1707. He married in 1706 Katharine, daughter of Colonel Thomas Fry of Newport. Doctor Thomas Rodman was the third in descent from John Rodman of Barbadoes, the founder of the family in America, who was banished from his native land for stern adherence to his religious principles. In "Rutty's History of the Quakers in Ireland," page 366, published in 1751, we find: "In the year 1655, for refusing to remove his hat in the assizes in New Ross (where he was summoned as a witness) was John Rodman committed to Gaol by Judge Louder, kept a prisoner for three months and then banished his country." "It is probable that upon his banishment John Rodman went to Barbadoes. His will was recorded in the secretary's office in Barbadoes, December 4th, 1686. His oldest son, Doctor Thomas Rodman, came to Newport from Barbadoes in a yacht, of which John Bryer was master. He was a prominent member of the Society of Friends, and clerk of the monthly, quarterly and yearly meetings of Rhode Island for thirty years. He was also the first clerk of the New England meeting, which position he held until 1718. He was an eminent physician and surgeon, chiefly celebrated as an obstetrician, and was sent for in difficult cases to go great distances. Doctor Thomas Rodman built a house at the corner of Thames and Ann (now Touro) streets, which was afterward removed to Bridge street. This house was afterward the residence of Doctor Clarke Rodman, Doctor William Hunter, Doctor Isaac Senter, Doctor Benjamin Case, and other persons of distinction."

For his second wife Doctor Thomas Rodman married Patience, widow of Robert Malines, and daughter of Peter and Ann Easton. From this marriage descend the South Kingstown branch of Rodmans. His third wife was Hannah, daughter of Governor Walter Clarke. The name Clarke as a given name has often been repeated in the South Kingstown families. They do not have the Clarke blood.

Doctor Thomas Rodman, oldest son of Doctor Thomas Rodman of Newport, settled in South Kingstown, on a tract of land containing a thousand acres, "more or less," that was granted to his father in order to retain his services for the town of Newport. This land was given to Doctor Thomas of South Kingstown by his father. He added largely to the original inheritance by purchase, his son Samuel and grandson Daniel also increasing the estate until the family owned nearly all the land enclosed on the east by the Saugatucket river, north by the highway, west by highway, reaching in many places and extending over in some, the highway on the south. The greater part of the Dockray estate, so called, was bought from Robert Rodman.

Daniel Rodman, grandson of Doctor Thomas, also bought of George Hazard, in 1775, one hundred and seventy acres in Point Judith "known as Little Neck," "for five hundred and twenty-five good Spanish milled dollars." Rowland Robinson also sold to Daniel Rodman, in 1773, "a certain tract of land in Point Judith with dwelling house, stable and other houses thereon."

Daniel Rodman owned on Kingston, then called "Little Rest" hill, an estate given to him by his father, Samuel Rodman, which he sold in 1777 to Powel and James Helms "for seven hundred pounds, lawful money." The large double house still standing (1888) is known as the Helms house. Daniel Rodman was a merchant. He held many important offices, not only in the town, but in the state. At one time he was one of a committee appointed by the general assembly to draft a letter to General Washington. He moved about 1777 to Connecticut, and from thence to New York.

Doctor Thomas Rodman was probably the first physician settled in South Kingstown. It is also probable that he helped to build the first meeting house, for in 1748, we find that he gave to the Society of Friends and to their representatives, William Robinson, Samuel Rodman and others, "for the consideration of forty shillings a piece of land containing one acre more or less on which stands a certain meeting house, in which the people called Quakers meet adjoining to the souther end of the farm of Benjamin Hazard, son of George Hazard, deceased." This land was bought in 1720 by Rowland Robinson, Thomas Rodman and others of Benedict Arnold. The property was to be held by them, "their heirs and the heirs of them" for the use of the Friends as a place of worship forever.

On this land was the Quaker burying ground. Rowland Robinson, the first of the name in Kingstown, and his wife were laid here side by side. Many years afterward a descendant of Roland Robinson removed the mouldering bones of his ancestors to the cemetery in Wakefield.

Isaac Peace Rodman bought (about 1852) the Tower Hill farm, on a part of which now stand the Tower Hill House. He also bought the old Quaker meeting house, and moving it across the road to his own land, converted it into a dwelling house which is still standing near the hotel. He also soon after bought the old Episcopal church which stood on Tower Hill. Of this he made a barn near the house. It had been long unused as a place of worship.

As each of the sons of Doctor Thomas Rodman arrived at the age when he was entitled to a vote, he was given by deed twenty-five acres of land "more or less," thus qualifying him to become a freeman or voter. At his death his lands and houses were equally and justly divided amongst his sons; daughters in those days, it seems from the wills of the old landholders, were provided for by giving them fifty pounds and a husband. To Samuel and William was given his homestead with several hundred acres of land. This house now standing in the village of Rocky Brook, in which four generations of Rodmans were born, remained in the family until 1817, when it was sold by James and Clarke Rodman to Rowland Hazard. In 1838 it was again in the possession of the Rodmans. Samuel Rodman, seventh in descent from the first John Rodman, of Barbadoes, bought the Rocky Brook property of Thomas R. Hazard. The house is now owned by descendants. For nearly one hundred years the Rodmans bought land which, though often divided by will and deeds of gift, was never sold. Like Mr. Sprague, father of Ex-Governor William Sprague, when asked to seel land, they could have made the same answer: "We buy land; we do not sell."

In 1777 Daniel Rodman, grandson of Doctor Thomas Rodman, made the first sale, the next was by Benjamin, son of Doctor Thomas Rodman, in settling the estate of his brother Robert in 1783. Robert was, as he writes himself in a transfer of property to his nephew William, a "gentleman," and died insolvent.

Benjamin Rodman, youngest son of Doctor Thomas Rodman, was born in 1726 and died in 1821, living to be nearly one hundred years of age. He married Hannah, daughter of Nathaniel Niles, who built and occupied the house now standing near the village of Wakefield, named quite recently by Thomas R. Hazard "Dalecarlia." At one time this house was occupied by Samuel Hazard, about whom Doctor William H. Hazard tells the story that Samuel had a beautiful daughter who sickened and died when sixteen years old. Doctor Hazard meeting the old gentleman soon after, expressed his sympathy for him in the loss of his daughter. Said Mr. Hazard, "Yes, doctor, I had rather have lost the best cow in my yard." To Benjamin and Hannah were born seven daughters, remarkable for their beauty and sweet voices. One daughter, Deborah, married Joseph Congdon, who built on land previously sold to him by Deborah, in 1807, the house now standing in Peace Dale, owned by the Hazards, in which Rowland G. Hazard lived for many years.

Samuel Rodman, son of Doctor Thomas, was a prominent man in the business of the town. He added much to his inheritance by purchase. That he was honored and loved by his brethren seems to be shown by a pathetic clause in the will of his brother Thomas, which reads: "I wish to be buried in the yard of the Friends' Meeting House, as near as possible to be body of my brother Samuel." He inherited his father's house, in the building of which was used good old English oak, brought from the mother country ready framed. The late Honorable Samuel Rodman, in repairing the old house in 1846 for the use of his eldest son, Isaac Peace Rodman, had the old stone chimney removed; the shell cement used in building had become nearly as firm as the stones. On a stone built in the chimney was the date 1742. In this old house where so many Rodmans first saw the light were born four of General Isaac Peace Rodman's children.

In 1786 Robert and William Rodman, sons of Samuel and grandsons of Doctor Thomas, made a division of the property given to them conjointly by their father, Robert retaining the house, where were born to him fourteen children. William built on his land, not far from the homestead, a large house now standing owned by Samuel Arnold Rodman, a descendant in the ninth generation of John Rodman of Barbadoes. William was a bachelor. Fond of good company and good cheer, he always had one or more friends among his gentlemen acquaintances ready to share his home and help to squander his goodly inheritance; consequently he is soon found selling his land, and finally renting a part of his house. At one time Christopher Raymond Perry was his tenant, and here, in the great west chamber, his son Oliver Hazard Perry was born.

The old Rodmans were Quakers, peace-loving, law-abiding people, consequently the name is rarely found in state or colonial records; in connection with lawsuits or criminal cases never; rarely in the records of the war. As the old ancestor gave up his native land for an adherence to his Quaker principles, so here his immediate descendants, though not royalists and [524] never treacherous to the interest of the colony, were ready to leave the new home and the fair estates they had builded [sic] up, rather than take part in shedding the blood of their fellow-man. For this reason the name is rarely seen amongst the many who fought for and won our independence. Neither is the name found amongst those who brought in large bills for shoeing a horse or nursing a sick soldier. Such services, if rendered, were probably gratuitous. This course would be in keeping with the large-hearted generosity that has always been a distinguishing characteristic of the family. In the sixth generation of the Narragansett Rodmans, to the peace-loving was added ease-loving, and there remained for the seventh no broad acres to cultivate, but a work of labor and love, to restore some of the old glory to the ancient name.

Two sons of Clarke Rodman, Daniel and Robert, are known in the town, not only as men who have made large fortunes, but as men of sterling integrity of character. Daniel owned the village of Mooresfield and the manufacturing property at Glenrock. He left a fine fortune to his children. His son, Daniel B. Rodman says of his father: "He owed his success in business to his industry, perseverance and economy, coupled with these two principles. 'What little you do, do well. Be careful in making business engagements; be more careful in fulfilling them.'"

The line of Samuel Rodman's paternal ancestors is traceable for more than two hundred years. The first progenitor of the family in America of whom we have record was John Rodman, of Christ Church parish, Barbadoes, a planter. He died in Barbadoes in 1686. His elder son, Thomas, a physician, removed to Newport, R.I., and settled there, and from him the direct line of descent was through Thomas, Samuel, Robert and Robert, to Samuel, the seventh in the line from John Rodman of Barbadoes.

 Research Notes:

Married Katherine Fry 09/20/1706 in RI. b. Nov 11, 1683 in Newport, Rhode Island; m. Katherine Fry, daughter of Thomas Fry and Mary Griffin, Sep 20, 1706 in Rhode Island; d. 1775 in Newport, Rhode Island. The Will of Thomas Rodman, January 4 1762. To son Thomas,140 acres at west end of homestead, and if he die without issue then to my son Joseph, and if he die without issue, to go to my sons living. They giving value in money to children of son Joseph. To son Thomas also 60 pounds and my riding horse.

To son Joseph 100 pounds and next best suit of clothes, he having had portion. To son Robert 85 acres of homestead, and house and shop in Newport where Thomas Leach formerly lived. To son Samuel remaining half of Homestead, dwelling house, orchard, etc. To son Benjamin ,meadow lot and house he lives in with land equal to Samuel and one third of fruit in north end of orchard for 10 years, and my clock and silver tankard. To grandson William, son of Joseph, riding horse at 21 and if he die then to his brother Thomas.

To daughter Patience, house room till otherwise provided for. To grandsons Thomas and James sons of my son John, deceased, each 100 pounds at 21. To daughter-in law Mary Greene 20 pounds. To children of my daughter Patience Bull 250 pounds.

To four daughters of my daughter Ann Greene deceased ,600 pounds at 18. To granddaughters Katherine Bull and Katherine Greene each a silver spoon. Negro man John to have liberty to choose which son he lives with and such son to treat him kindly.

Codical of December 4 1767-----In codical he states that being informed son Joseph is dead, he wishes land given him go to Thomas and if he die without issue land to go to brothers of Thomas, they paying each son of Joseph 200 pounds and each daughter of Joseph 100 pounds. Executors sons Samuel and Benjamin, Proved May 8 1775. Inventory of Eastate---779 pounds 14 shillings and 6 and a quarter pence---viz-- 4 Ivory headed walking sticks, pewter, wearing apparel, 2 silver porringers, 4 spoons, silver buttons, etc. Notes for 525 pounds 16 shillings and 7 and a half pence, Negros Cuff, 0 pounds, Ely 0 pounds, Kat 0 pounds, Jack 51 pounds, Abraham 51 pounds, Israel 40 pounds. 2 mares, 3 colts, cow, calf, turkeys, hens, Bible, Sewells History, desk, old small case with 5 bottles, bell metal mortar,etc. -------------------- Dr. Thomas Rodman

Born: 11 Nov 1683 Ireland

Died: Abt 1775 Newport, Rhode Island, USA

Father: Dr. Thomas Rodman, b. 26 Dec 1640, Ireland, d. 11 Jan 1728, Newport, Rhode Island, USA

Mother: Patience Easton, b. 11 Jan 1655, Newport, Rhode Island; d. 21 Nov 1692, Newport, Rhode Island

Married: 20 Sep 1706, Rhode Island

Wife: Katherine Fry, b. 22 Nov 1683, Newport, Rhode Island; d. 4 May 1740, Newport, Rhode Island

Children

  1. Thomas Rodman, b. 9 Mar 1708, Kingston, Washington, Rhode Island; d. 1778, South Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island
  2. Patience Rodman, b. 22 Mar 1710, Kingston, Washington, Rhode Island; d. date unknown
  3. John Rodman, b. 26 Nov 1711, Kingston, Washington, Rhode Island; d. Bef 1754, Hillsdale, Columbia, New York
  4. Joseph Rodman, b. 1 Oct 1713, South Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island; d. 1767, Columbia, New York
  5. Samuel Rodman, b. 22 Mar 1716, Kingston, Washington, Rhode Island; d. 10 Mar 1774, Kingston, Washington, Rhode Island
  6. Ann Rodman, b. 20 Apr 1717, Kingston, Washington, Rhode Island; d. 2 Mar 1748, Rhode Island
  7. Robert Rodman, b. 11 Jun 1720, d. 1787, At Sea
  8. William Rodman, b. 12 May 1723, d. date unknown
  9. Benjamin Rodman, b. 22 Jul 1726, South Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island,; d. 11 Feb 1821

Sources:

http://rea-williams.com/getperson.php?personID=I9296&tree=tree1

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Dr. Thomas Rodman's Timeline

1683
November 11, 1683
Ireland
1706
June 5, 1706
Age 22
Kingstown, Washington, RI
September 20, 1706
Age 22
Newport, RI
1708
March 9, 1708
Age 24
Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island, United States
1711
November 26, 1711
Age 28
Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island, United States
1713
October 1, 1713
Age 29
South Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island, United States
1716
March 22, 1716
Age 32
Kingstown, Washington, RI
1717
April 20, 1717
Age 33
Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island, United States
1720
June 11, 1720
Age 36
Kingstown, Washington, RI
1723
May 3, 1723
Age 39
Kingstown, Washington, RI