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Henry Luce

Birthdate:
Birthplace: England
Death: before March 1689
Tisbury, Dukes County, New York
Immediate Family:

Husband of Remember Luce
Father of Robert Luce; Remember Merry; Israel Luce; Deacon Experience Luce; Eleazer Luce and 6 others

Occupation: Tanner, [uncertain parentage]
Managed by: Kris Russell Luce
Last Updated:

About Henry Luce

Henry Luce (c1640-bef Mar 1689), a tanner. He was the progenitor of the most common surname on Martha's Vineyard. He is often called a son of Israel Luce, but no proof exists. The theory was first put forward by Charles Banks in History of Martha's Vineyard.

"To my knowledge, as of November 2011 no proof has been found as to the birth place or ancestry of our Henry Luce I of Martha's Vineyard. Tom Luce, Bethel, Ohio".

Henry came to Massachusetts about 1666. His first undisputed appearance in recorded history is on 13 November 1666 when he was mentioned as a juror in Scituate. Although a history of Scituate calls him "of Barnstable", Banks believes he was then living at Scituate. In this connection it should be noted that a Harke Luce appears at Scituate in 1643. In 1668 Henry owned lands at Rehoboth (Savage). He moved to Tisbury on Martha's Vineyard, then a part of the Colony of New York, before 1 February 1671, when he is recorded as having a home lot on the west side of Old Mill River, about 40 rods north of Scotchman's Bridge Road. He joined the "Dutch Rebellion" against the Mayhew government of the island in 1673, was Surveyor of Highways in 1675, a juror in 1677 and 1681, and a selectman in 1687. He was last mentioned alive on 12 May 1687. He died before March 1689 when Remember was mentioned as his widow. Besides his home lot, he owned land at Great Neck and Kepigon, and 60 acres in Christian Town bordering on Great James Pond, all on Martha's Vineyuard. His children seem to have been underage at his death and there are scattered references to the division of his estate.

Biography

"The ancestor of the largest island family left behind him fewer traces of his movements, before and after his coming to the Vineyard, than any other of the first settlers. The first record we have of him is on November 13, 1666, when he was a juror in Scituate, where he may have resided, and in 1668 he was admitted as a proprietor of purchased lands in Rehoboth. [*Plymouth Col. Records; comp. Suffolk Deeds, VII, 163. The History of Scituate says he was of Barnstable (vide, p. 305).] The similarity of the name to Lewis, together with the varieties of spelling both names in early records, renders identification difficult. Lewis was written Luis, Luice, Lewes; and Luce appears as Lews, Lewse, Luice and Luse. The origin of the name is unknown to the author, as it is of the rarest occurrence in early English records, though the name Lucie or Lucy is well known. The Connecticut branch has a tradition that the family is of Huguenot extraction, while another statement is to the effect that it originated in Wales. [*History of Windham, Conn; comp. N. E. Hist. Gen. Reg., XXXI, 415. The spelling of the name in the island records is uniformly Luce and his signature is in that form. There was a Thomas Luce in Charlestown, according to Farmer (Gen. Dictionary), who had a son Samuel b. 1644, but of whom nothing further is heard. It is probable that this was Lewis.] When he came to the Vineyard, or through what connection, is not known, but he had acquired before Feb. 1, 1671, a home lot on the west side of Old Mill river about forty rods north of Scotchman's Bridge road. [*Tisbury Records, 5. The name is spelled Lewes in this case.] There is no record of the purchase, and he is not known to have been related to any of the settlers in the town. When he came here he had already married, probably in Scituate, Remember, daughter of Lawrence and Judith (Dennis) Litchfield of that town, about 1666, and had brought with him two or more children to his new home. His wife was born about 1644, and estimating him a few years older it would make 1640 as the probable date of his birth. He joined the "Dutch Rebellion" of 1673; was chosen surveyor of highways, 1675; juror, 1677, 1681, and selectman, 1687; the last recorded appearance of his name being on May 12 of that year. In March, 1689, his widow Remember is mentioned, and his death occurred between those dates. He was then a comparatively young man, but left behind him ten sons, all of whom married and seven of them begat large families to perpetuate the name. In 1807 there were 41 distinct families of Luce on the Vineyard, the largest quota of any of the island patronymics, and it has probably maintained the supremacy in the century which followed.

"Besides his home lot, he owned at Great Neck, and by the several proprietors' divisions had land at Kepigon. To this he added by purchase 60 acres in Christian town bordering on Great James pond. There is no record of any division of his estate among the heirs, all minors probably at the time of his death, but there are scattering references to such an allotment. The same obscurity attends the wife and widow of Henry Luce as followed him. This grand old Puritan mother of ten children was living as late as 1708, but the date of her death or burial place is not known. She left not less than 42 grandchildren, of whom twenty were boys, on the Vineyard, which is exclusive of those of the Connecticut and New Jersey branches."

(Charles Banks, History of Martha's Vineyard.)

Search for His Origin

Henry Luce's descendants in the male line have tested consistently as belonging to yDNA haplogroup I2b1a. (Luce Surname DNA Project at FamilyTreeDNA.com) Wikipedia says this group "has been found almost exclusively among the population of Great Britain, suggesting that the clan may have a very long history in that island." So, it is nearly certain that the Luces were an indigenous Welsh family, not descendants of the Norman family of de Lucy. (Wikipedia)

Wales

A descendant of Henry's son Eleazar wrote, "My great great great great grandfather Israel Luce lived and died in Wales. My great great great grandfather Henry Luce was born in about 1645 and brought up in Wales. He married Remember Munson. He sailed with his wife and three children to America in 1676, and landed and settled at Martha's Vineyard, Mass. where he reared a family of seven children."

This statement contains a number of inaccuracies, but is broadly consistent with the known facts. The surname Luce is found throughout Gloucester, along the Welsh border, and there is no reason to doubt that Henry's father was an Israel Luce. Further, since the surname of Henry's wife was Litchfield, not Munson, and since generations often become confused in family tradition, it is entirely possible that Henry's mother was a Munson. Henry is tentatively thought to have been a son of Israel Luce, of Horton, Gloucester. Horton is only a few miles from the Welsh border. There is a gap 1624-1653 in the records of St. James Church, Horton, so this theory cannot be confirmed.

In support of this identification, Henry named his second son Israel, and had two grandsons named Israel. However, these children might have been named after Israel Peakes, half-brother of Henry's wife. The case for Henry's birth at Horton is supported by Banks' theory that Arthur Bevan, who settled at West Tisbury in 1677, and was Henry's neighbor, came from Yate, four miles from Horton. However, this identification rests reciprocally on Henry being from Horton. Leslie Pine, a noted genealogist, has said that Henry Luce probably comes from the same family as the Luces of Pucklechurch.

Thomas Luce, of Charleston

It has often been stated that Henry Luce was a merchant and farmer born 1630 in Gloucester to Thomas Luce (1600-1670?) and Sally Monson. This information comes from The Litchfield Genealogy but no proof is offered. This source states that Henry arrived at Martha's Vineyard about 1650 and later moved to Charleston, which must certainly be inaccurate given the chronology of settlement at the Vineyard.

Savage, citing Farmer, names a Thomas Luce at Charleston, whose son Samuel was born in 1644 (Savage). Banks dismisses Thomas Luce of Charleston as a misreading for Lewis, but only because he building a case for Henry's relationship with a Harke Luse of Scituate. The possibility of a connection with Thomas Luce should be examined more closely. Harke Luse was mentioned at Scituate in 1643. Because Henry Luce's first appearance is at Scituate in 1666, there might have been a close relationship between them. Banks believed that "Harke" was a misreading for "Darke, " and used this idea to support the theory that Henry came from Horton, Gloucester, where an Abraham Luce married Cecily Darke in 1608.

Harke Luse, of Scituate

A more credible suggestion is offered by Caroline Lewis Kardell, Historian General of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants. She believes that "Harke Luse" was an otherwise unknown Archelaus Lewis. The aspirated H is common in some parts of England, and there is the case of an Archelaus Woodman, 1635 of Newbury, Massachusetts, who is called Hercules Woodman in one document. George Lewis of Scituate and Barnstable came from a seafaring family, and Kardell believes that he might have had a brother Archelaus Lewis who was a mariner and came to Scituate on one of the early ships. George Lewis received 2 shares at Scituate while the other settlers received only a single share. The additional share might have been intended for the absent Archelaus. Since Archelaus disappears from the records it is possible that he was lost at sea. George's descendant, John Lewis (Luis) of Dartmouth and Rochester, named his eldest son Archelaus, indicating that Archelaus might have been family name. These facts suggest that "Harke Luse" belonged to the family of Kent Lewises of which George and John settled in Scituate. In this case, there is no reason to suppose that Henry Luce came necessarily from Horton. He might still have been son of an Israel Luce from Wales or Gloucester (perhaps even from Horton), but might also have been a member of the family Kent Lewises.

Monmouthshire

In a 1991 article, Justin Swanström pointed out the possibility of a connection with Monmouth. A possible reference to Henry Luce is the indenture of Henry Lewes, of Chepstow, Monmouth, tanner, on November 4, 1659 to serve Thomas Bickford, planter, for three years (Coldham). Chepstow in Monmouth, Wales is just across the Severn from Horton in Gloucester, and it is possible that Henry was born at Horton and living at Chepstow just prior to emigration. I have not been able find a Thomas Bickford in Massachusetts, although there was a John Bickford in New Hampshire (then sometimes a part of Massachusetts) from about 1623. He had a son Thomas, born 1640 at Dover, a sometime resident of Scarborough, Maine. Further, John had another son Samuel Bickford, who was in Marblehead by 1666 (when he married Christian Rand). He lived briefly at West Tisbury on Martha's Vineyard (1680), having come from Nantucket. He was later a son-in-law of Edward Cottle, and was named in a 1678 deed concerning land on the Vineyard. It is possible that the Thomas Bickford who engaged "Henry Lewes" lived in Barbados, where also a Luke Luce, merchant, of London, was mentioned in 1660 and 1668 as owning a plantation. It is possible that Henry Luce was a relative of this Luke Luce, and emigrated first to Barbados then later moved north in Massachusetts. The same document which records the indenture of Henry Lewes names William Weekes, of Salisbury, Wiltshire to serve Augustine Greenwood, planter, for four years. I have not been able to find an Augustine Greenwood in America, but Mary Allen of Martha's Vineyard married 1655 Nathaniel Greenwood. Banks thought that William Weeks of Martha's Vineyard was probably son of Richard Wickes of Staines, Middlesex and therefore brother of John Weeks of New England. This might preclude his being "of Salisbury, Wiltshire."

In 1661 William Weeks of Martha's Vineyard sued Thomas Jones for his passage from Rhode Island. Based on this information, Henry Luce might possibly have been connected with the family of John Lewis, living 1669 at Westerly, Rhode Island. This John had sons John, Daniel, James, David, Israel and Samuel (note the occurance of the name Israel).

Lewes, of Llysnewydd

It has been suggested that Henry Luce might have belonged to the family of Lewes of Llysnewydd, Carmarthenshire (Justin Swanstrom, 1979). The possibility remains open.

"Llysnewydd was bought in 1610 by John Lewes, third son of David Lewes of Gernos, and grandson of Lewis Dafydd Meredydd of Abernantbychan in Cardiganshire, a descendant of the medieval chieftain Ednowain ap Bradwen of Merioneth, whose arms — three snakes intertwined on a red shield — are still borne by his descendants. On 16 October 1614, John Lewes married at Llangeler church, Jenet daughter and coheiress of William Lloyd of Glandywely, a marriage that brought further broad acres to the new owners of Llysnewydd. John took a leading part in the Civil War, and like most of the Tivyside squires was a strong Royalist, being described by his opponents in a contemporary document as "John Lewes of Llisnewith, a noted delinquent, very active for the King." He survived the vicissitudes of those stormy times to witness the restoration of the Stuart dynasty, and died in 1662. The family flourished, and at one time owned over 20 estates, large and small, in Carmarthenshire, Cardiganshire, and Pembrokeshire, and gave 26 High Sheriffs to those counties. Among their more eminent members were William Lewes of Llwynderw (1652-1722) the noted genealogist and antiquary whose manuscripts are preserved in the College of Arms, and Sir Watkin Lewes (1740-1821) sometime M.P. for the City of London, and its Lord Mayor in 1780." (Original Documents: Llysnewydd at The Carmarthenshire Historian <http://carmarthenshirehistorian.org>, visited July 20, 2009.)

Jersey

Some descendants believe that Henry came from the Isle of Jersey, one of the Channel Islands. A Rev. Edward Luce, Canon of Winchester, born 1851 at St. Lawrence, Jersey, son of Francis Edward Luce, was a member of family that traces its descent to the generation before "our" Henry Luce and claims to be descended from a Welsh family. No additional leads are available concerning this theory, although it is worth noting that many residents of Marblehead and Gloucester, Massachusetts, fishing communities, came from the Channel Islands.

Luce DNA Project

From: Tom Luce [mailto:tomluce@outlook.com] Sent: 05 May, 2006 8:24 PM To: 'johnf14246@aol.com' Subject: Re: Luce Luse Surname DNA Group Dear Mr. John Fuller, Our group is trying to determine the ancestry of the Luce family. We are hoping to get living males with the surname Luce, and descended from the Perrin Luce family who moved from Wales, or England to the Channel Islands in about 1500 to join our group. We can then determine if Henry Luce of Martha’s Vineyard, MA is related to Perrin Luce. Could you please publish news of our group to your web site?

Project Background: This project is for all males with surname LUCE, LUSE, or other variations. Most persons of this surname, tracing back to the 17th century in America, find they are descended from HENRY LUCE and wife REMEMBER LITCHFIELD of Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

Project Goals: Many LUCE family researchers have collectively conducted thousands of hours of genealogical research in America and abroad, in an effort to find proof of LUCE family origins. Several theories exist, but none have apparently been proven. This project will hopefully allow participants to compare their Y-DNA with HENRY’S, and to discover further clues leading to Luce Family ancestry. Several descendants of the Luce family from the Channel Islands and Canada are currently active in American genealogy. One goal of this project is to compare Henry’s DNA to Luce’s not known to be connected by genealogy, in an effort to determine Luce family origins!

Should you decide to join this project the only cost is for the DNA test. The group price for the Y-DNA12 - Male 12 marker paternal test is $99.00. The testing for this project is being done by Family Tree DNA in association with DNA Scientists at the Arizona Research Labs, at the campus of the University of Arizona. Taking the DNA sample at home is as simple as brushing your teeth. Select “Join This Group” in the left panel of this page to join our group and order the test. We prefer you select the Y-DNA25 test if possible.

ATTENTION: All participants of the National Geographic Genographic DNA Project who are descended in a direct paternal line from the Luce family are welcome to join the LUCE/LUSE Surname DNA Project! Joining Family Tree DNA after you received your results from the Genographic Project is simple. At the bottom of your results page you will see a link "Learn More", which takes you to Family Tree DNA. You will also be offered to join a Surname Project during the process of transferring your data, and obtain additional information related to genealogy at no extra cost.

All members of the Luce Luse Surname DNA Project may join the National Geographic Genographic DNA Project by logging into your personal page at Family Tree DNA where you will see a new tab "Genographic Project". You will be able to upload from that link. There is a nominal cost of $15.00 to join. If you will send me your phone number by Email I will give you a guided tour of our web sites. Please look at our sites below:

http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~lucesurnamednaproj/

http://www.familytreedna.com/public/lucesurnamednaproject/

Sincerely,

Tom Luce, Project Administrator Bethel, Ohio tomluce@fuse.net

Lewis Surname DNA Group: Subgroup 40


Kit #56867 George Lewes, Brenchley, Kent, England R1b1a2

                                                                                                                                          

Kit #157996 No name listed R1b1a2

                                                                

Kit #191241 No name Listed R1b1a2

                                          

Kit #159064 David Lewis, b. 1694 and d. 1773 R1b1a2

                                                                                                                                                

Kit #153639 Henry Robert Lewis, b.c. 1885, Baldwin Co., AL R1b1a2a1a1b4

                                                                                                                                                

Kit #123523 No name listed R1b1a2

Hello Justin Swanstrom, thanks for your great work on the Henry Luce Ancestry. As you can see above George Lewes (that you mention above), of Brenchly, Kent, England cannot be related to Henry Luce of MV. (Haplogroup R1b1a2)



Henry Luce (c1640-1689), a Puritan, came from Wales to Massachusetts about 1666. Attempts to discover his ancestry have been unsuccessful, but some researchers believe he might have belonged to the Lewes family at Chepstow in Monmouth.

Henry Luce settled on Martha’s Vineyard, and was progenitor of the largest single family there. During the French and Indian Wars of the 1760s, a branch of this family moved to Vinalhaven, off the coast of Maine, where they were fishermen and whalers.

The ancestor of the largest island family left behind him fewer traces of his movements, before and after his coming to the Vineyard, than any other of the first settlers. The first record we have of him is on November 13, 1666, when he was a juror in Scituate, where he may have resided, and in 1668 he was admitted as a proprietor of purchased lands in Rehoboth. [*Plymouth Col. Records; comp. Suffolk Deeds, VII, 163. The History of Scituate says he was of Barnstable (vide, p. 305).] The similarity of the name to Lewis, together with the varieties of spelling both names in early records, renders identification difficult. Lewis was written Luis, Luice, Lewes; and Luce appears as Lews, Lewse, Luice and Luse. The origin of the name is unknown to the author, as it is of the rarest occurrence in early English records, though the name Lucie or Lucy is well known. The Connecticut branch has a tradition that the family is of Huguenot extraction, while another statement is to the effect that it originated in Wales. [*History of Windham, Conn; comp. N. E. Hist. Gen. Reg., XXXI, 415. The spelling of the name in the island records is uniformly Luce and his signature is in that form. There was a Thomas Luce in Charlestown, according to Farmer (Gen. Dictionary), who had a son Samuel b. 1644, but of whom nothing further is heard. It is probable that this was Lewis.] When he came to the Vineyard, or through what connection, is not known, but he had acquired before Feb. 1, 1671, a home lot on the west side of Old Mill river about forty rods north of Scotchman's Bridge road. [*Tisbury Records, 5. The name is spelled Lewes in this case.] There is no record of the purchase, and he is not known to have been related to any of the settlers in the town. When he came here he had already married, probably in Scituate, Remember, daughter of Lawrence and Judith (Dennis) Litchfield of that town, about 1666, and had brought with him two or more children to his new home. His wife was born about 1644, and estimating him a few years older it would make 1640 as the probable date of his birth. He joined the "Dutch Rebellion" of 1673; was chosen surveyor of highways, 1675; juror, 1677, 1681, and selectman, 1687; the last recorded appearance of his name being on May 12 of that year. In March, 1689, his widow Remember is mentioned, and his death occurred between those dates. He was then a comparatively young man, but left behind him ten sons, all of whom married and seven of them begat large families to perpetuate the name. In 1807 there were 41 distinct families of Luce on the Vineyard, the largest quota of any of the island patronymics, and it has probably maintained the supremacy in the century which followed.

Besides his home lot, he owned at Great Neck, and by the several proprietors' divisions had land at Kepigon. To this he added by purchase 60 acres in Christian town bordering on Great James pond. There is no record of any division of his estate among the heirs, all minors probably at the time of his death, but there are scattering references to such an allotment. The same obscurity attends the wife and widow of Henry Luce as followed him. This grand old Puritan mother of ten children was living as late as 1708, but the date of her death or burial place is not known. She left not less than 42 grandchildren, of whom twenty were boys, on the Vineyard, which is exclusive of those of the Connecticut and New Jersey branches.

Sources

His burial location is somewhere on Martha's Vineyard.

Spouse:

Remember Litchfield 1644-1708

He is the Ancestral Immigrant of most of the Luces in Anerica including Publisher Henry Robinson Luce (1898-1967)

Children:

Israel Luce (1671-20 May 1727) Experience Luce (07 Feb 1672/73-02 Jan 1746/47) Eleazer Luce b.1674 Robert Luce (1667-1713) Henry Luce (03 Apr 1678-01 Apr 1743)

Married: Alice Daggett (1675-1711)
Married: Sarah Look (1678-1743)

Remember Luce (16 Nov 1669-31 Jan 1738/39) Thomas Luce (1679-01 Apr 1727) William Luce (1681-1734) David Luce (1683-13 May 1752) Josiah Luce (1685-Abt. 1749)

Great Grandson:

Capt Charles Luce (1759-1821)

view all 17

Henry Luce's Timeline

1640
1640
England
1666
1666
Age 26
Scituate, Plymouth Colony, British Colonial America
1667
1667
Tisbury, Province of Massachusetts Bay
1669
November 16, 1669
Rehoboth, Bristol, Massachusetts, United States
1671
1671
Tisbury, Dukes, Massachusetts
1673
February 7, 1673
Martha's Vineyard, Province of New York
1675
1675
Martha's Vineyard, Province of New York
1678
April 3, 1678
Tisbury, Martha's Vineyard, Province of New York
1679
April 1, 1679
Tisbury, Dukes, Massachusetts