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Robert Linnell (Linnett-Lennet-Larnett)

Birthdate:
Birthplace: London, Middlesex, England
Death: Died in Barnstable, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States
Cause of death: Married 10 Aug 1610, London, Middlesex, England
Place of Burial: Barnstable, Barnstable, Massachusetts
Immediate Family:

Son of Linnell and Linnell
Husband of Peninna Linnell
Father of Sarah Linnell; Hannah Davis; David Linnell; Abigail Lombard; Mary Childs and 3 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Robert Linnell (Linnett-Lennet-Larnett)

Robert Linnell, born c.1584, was in his fifty-fourth year when he made the voyage from London, England to America. He was known as "Mr. Linnell" when he arrived at Scituate, a fact that gives some support to the belief that he was known and respected even in England before coming to this land. Mr. Linnell took the oath of allegiance to the King and of fidelity to the colony on 1 Feb. 1638 and was admitted a freeman on the 3rd of December of that same year. (Amos Otis; Genealogical Notes of Barnstable Families Vol. 2, p. 151). It was among the men of Kent that he first settled, men who may have been neighbors at one time before their removal to London and then to America. It is said that their choice of a settlement at Scituate may have been because the cliffs of that seaport reminded them of the cliffs of Dover in Kent.

That Kent was well known to Mr. Linnell is evidenced by the fact that his second wife, Penninah Howes was the daughter of John Howes, the parish clerk of Eastwell, Kent. It is probable that her mother was John Howes' wife Alice. Penninah's sister, Hannah, was the wife of the Rev. John Lothrop whose congregation in London had refused to accept the King as head of the Church. This conflict had resulted

in the imprisonment of the Rev. John Lothrop for two years. Upon his release, many members of the congregation made their move to America with him to be able to worship as they chose. That Penninah belonged to the congregation in London can be shown by the report of her being questioned by the Ecclesiastical Court along with others in the congregation in 1632. There she stated that only God was Lord of her beliefs.

It is probable that Robert Linnell had also been in London and a member of Lathrop's congregation. He must have been married to his first wife (unknown name) at this time. His first four children were probably born in England during the years 1627 (Otis's estimate of son David's birth date) to 1633/34. Why Robert did not leave London with the remainder of John Lothrop's congregation is not known. There may have been a connection with the death of his first wife; perhaps they waited for the the birth of a son Shubael whom Amos Otis names as a child in this family. Otis states, "I name him (Shubael) as his son and probably born in this country, though there is no record of his birth either in Scituate or Barnstable" (Otis, Gen. Notes, Vol. 2,p.152).If, indeed, Shubael was born in this country, he was the son of Penninah; for she had become Robert's wife before the passage to America. Kerry Bate omits Shubael in his listing of Robert's children and names Bethia, bap. 7 Feb. 1640/41, as the only child of Penninah (Kerry William Bate, The Ebenezer Hanks Story, 1962, p.164). Shubael has been retained in this history because there are references to such a person in later events. However, we cannot know which of Robert's wives was Shubael's mother.


The children of Robert Linnell were:

  • i David born c. 1627
  • ii Hannah born c. 1629
  • iii Mary born c. 1631
  • iv Abigail born c. 1633
  • v Shubael
  • vi Bethia bap. 7 Feb. 1640/41

Amos Otis also names Sarah as a daughter of Robert Linnell by his first wife (Otis, Gen. Notes, Vol.2, p.151). This I believe to be an error. Otis also notes that James Savage in his Genealogical Dictionary of New England calls Sarah the daughter of William Larnett or Larned of Charleston. The name Larnett is repeated by the Rev. John Lothrop in the account of Sarah's marriage to his son Thomas. The question of Sarah's parentage comes because the Linnell name was sometimes spelled Larnet or Linnet. Sarah has not been included in this work, though, because of the evidence from James Savage that William and not Robert was the father and that he lived in Charleston. A further consideration is that Sarah's date of birth, 1607 from custom house records, is so much earlier than those of the other children, the next being David in about 1627, as to question the possibility of her belonging to this family.

The reunion of the Linnells with the Rev. John Lothrop and his flock in Scituate must indeed have been joyous, especially for Penninah Linnell with her sister, Hannah Lothrop. The sixtieth entry in John Lothrop's records of the church at Scituate was that "My Brother Robert Linnell and his wife having a letter of dismission from the church in London joyned to us September 16, 1638."

Robert Linnell was one of those who petitioned to be granted land in another area of the colony. They wanted to develop their own close knit group, observing their religious practices according to their interpretation. Land was granted to this group first at Sippican; but there seem to have been problems connected to this location and a new grant was given for removal to Mattacheese. On "June 26, 1639, a fast for the presence of God in mercy to go with us to Mattacheese" was held with a Thanksgiving celebration when they had all arrived in that place now known as Barnstable (Frederick Freeman, History of Cape Cod, Vol.II, p. 246).

The list of 45 townsmen and voters in 1640 included Robert Linnet, and in 1643 those able to bear arms also included David Linnet, by this time 16 years old. Capt. Miles Standish was placed in charge of this militia. They were expecting trouble with the Indians.

At the town meeting in 1641 "Mr. Thomas Lothrop and Bernard Lombard were appointed measurers of land," and authorized "to lay out all the lands that the several inhabitants are to have laid out, and to bound them with stakes." The land thus measured to Mr.Linnell ranked him one of those with large holdings. "His house lot, Lot #9 of the original town plan, contained ten acres and was bounded northerly by the harbor, easterly by the lot of Thomas Lumbard, southerly by the highway, and westerly by the home lots of William and John Casely. He also owned three acres of planting land in the Common Field, three acres of meadow at Sandy Neck, nine at Scorton, a great lot containing sixty acres, and rights of commonage" (Otis, Gen.Notes, Vol.2, p.151).It was here that Mr. Linnell lived for twenty-four years until his death in January, 1662. These were years of carving a home and a living out of the wilderness, a quite different life from that in London and Otis notes that he died a poor man.

These twenty-four years in Barnstable saw many changes in the Linnell family. In the records of the Rev. John Lothrop,

"Since our coming to Barnstable, Octob. 11, 1639

(bap.) Bethia daughter of Robert Linnell Febru. 7, 1640

Marryed since my comeing to Barnstable

John Davis and Hannah Linnett marryed att Nocett by Mr.Prince March 15, 1648

Richard Childe and Mary Linnett marryed the 15th day of October 1649 y Mr.Collier at my Brother Linnett's house.

Joshua Lumber and Abigail Linnett marrd by Mr. Prince May 27, 1651.

David Lynnett and Hannah Shelley marryed by Mr. Prince March 9,1652"

(Arthur Ellsworth Linnell, manuscript notes,

Linnell Family at New England Historic and Genealogical Society Library, Boston).

Of this last record, a matter of great pain to the young couple and the families had taken place. David and Hannah had violated the old law, enacted by the Pilgrim fathers, "That if any shall make any motion of marriage to any man's daughter, or mayde servant, not haveing first obtayned leave and consent of the parents or master so to doe, shall be punished either by fine of corporal punishment or both at the discretions of the bench" (Otis, Gen.Notes Vol.2, p.154).

David and Hannah were summoned to appear at a meeting of the church. They appeared May 30, 1652, and there in the presence of the whole congregation confessed their fault. "They were both, by the sentence and joint consent of the church, pronounced to be cutt off from that relation which they hadd formerlye to the church by virtue of their parents covenaunt." The action of the church was an accepted proceedure; but the action of the civil court just three days later added anguish and shame. (Otis, Gen. Notes Vol.2, p.157).

In the list of presentments made in the civil court by the "GrandEnquest" dated June 2,1652 neither David Linnel nor Hannah Shelley were indicted; yet, on the next day, June 3, 1652, the Court condemned "both of them to be publicly whipt at Barnstable, where they live," and the sentence was executed at Barnstable five days afterwards,that is on the 8th day of June, 1652. (Otis, Gen.Notes Vol.2, pp.154,155,156,157).

This was only the fourth case that had required the interposition of the authority of the magistrates in the thirteen years the town had been settled (Otis, Gen.Notes, Vol.2, p.156). The possibilities of embarrassment and grief in this close knit society were great. The fact that the love of David and Hannah withstood this test and that they were married in March of the following year is cited by Otis as a story having as much romantic interest and poetic appeal as the story of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins. Even so David did not join the church again until in the final years of his life; Hannah never did.

Robert Linnell's death on 23 January 1662 completed the first generation of this family in America.

Robert Linnell's will reads as follows:

"The last Will of Robert Linell Deceased the 23 of January 1662 I give to my wife my house and home lott soe long as shee lives a widdow; alsoe...all my household stuffe and plow and Cart and two Cowes and a calfe for ever; I give my house and home lott to David and his heires after my wife either Dieth or marrieth

alsoe my mersh att sandy necke I give to David and his heirs for ever and my lot by John Casleyes; I give my ground and mersh att the lower end of the pond att Mattakeessett to Abigail; I give to John Davis my two oxen to find my wife wood and to mow my marsh and plow my ground for her for two yeare if she Remaine a widdow so longe; if she marryeth before the two yeares bee out then to bee free; I give to Bethya one Cow to have it when my Will; It is my will that the swamp I bought of Thomas Lewis to goe with my house lott; Robert Linell"

"The tearme; and a Calfe in the third line in the originall was put in since the man Deceased.

Thomas Laythrop

Trustrum Hull "

The Pioneers of Massachusetts, by Charles Henry Pope, Baltimore, Genealogical Publishing Co., 1965 LINNELL, LINNETT, LENNET, LARNETT Robert, called "my Brother," by Mr. John Lothrop, adm. chh. scituate with his wife Sept. 16. 1638, "having a letter of dismission from the church in London.: Took oath of allegaince 1 Feb. 1638. Propr. at Barnstable 22 jan 1638-9. ch. Hannah (m. 15 March, 1648, John Davis of Bar.,) Abigail, (m. May 1650, Joshua Lombard,) David, (m. March 9, 1652, Hannah Shelley). He made will 23 Jan. 1662, prob. 12 March, 1662-3; beq. to wife; to son David; to Abigail and Bethys; to John Davis. The widow Penninnah petitioned the Court 29 Oct. 1669, to recover the house her husband had left her from the hands of David L. Robert Linnell's will reads as follows:

"The last Will of Robert Linell Deceased the 23 of January 1662 I give to my wife my house and home lott soe long as shee lives a widdow; alsoe...all my household stuffe and plow and Cart and two Cowes and a calfe for ever; I give my house and home lott to David and his heires after my wife either Dieth or marrieth

alsoe my mersh att sandy necke I give to David and his heirs for ever and my lot by John Casleyes; I give my ground and mersh att the lower end of the pond att Mattakeessett to Abigail; I give to John Davis my two oxen to find my wife wood and to mow my marsh and plow my ground for her for two yeare if she Remaine a widdow so longe; if she marryeth before the two yeares bee out then to bee free; I give to Bethya one Cow to have it when my Will; It is my will that the swamp I bought of Thomas Lewis to goe with my house lott; Robert Linell"

"The tearme; and a Calfe in the third line in the originall was put in since the man Deceased.

Thomas Laythrop

Trustrum Hull "

The home lot, dwelling-house, and some articles of personal estate, were appraised by Thomas Lothrop and Thos. Lewis at L55,4,6. He owed Mr.Thomas Clark L1,10 shillings, and some other small debts, and the Court ordered March 3, 1662-3, that Joseph Lothrop and Nathaniel Bacon "bee helpful to the Widdow Linnel in seeing the debts payed either out of the whole or pte of the estate."

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Robert Linnell's Timeline

1584
1584
London, Middlesex, England
1607
1607
Age 23
Bermondsey, Surrey, England
1625
April 17, 1625
Age 41
London,Middlessex,England
1626
1626
Age 42
London, England
1627
1627
Age 43
London, Middlesex, England
1630
1630
Age 46
Of, London, Middlesex, England
1631
January 1, 1631
Age 47
Of London, Middlesex, England
1637
1637
Age 53
Of, London, Middlesex, England
1641
1641
Age 57
Harwich,Barnstable,Mass
1662
January 23, 1662
Age 78
Barnstable, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States