Robert Theophilus Whaley

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Robert Theophilus Whaley

Also Known As: "Robert Whaley"
Birthplace: Kirkston, , Nottinghamshire, England
Death: February 14, 1720 (99-108)
West Greenwich, Kent, Rhode Island, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Richard Whalley and Francis Whalley
Husband of Elizabeth Whaley
Father of Martha Spencer; James Robert Whaley, I; Elizabeth Whalley; Theodosia Spencer; Samuel Whalley and 3 others
Brother of Lt-Gen Edward Whalley, MP and Regicide; Thomas Whalley; Elizabeth Tiffin; Margaret Hacker; Henry Whalley and 2 others

Managed by: Private User
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About Robert Theophilus Whaley

12. THEOPLUS ROBERT11 WHALEY (RICHARD10, THOMAS9, RICHARD OF8 DORALSTON, THOMAS OF7 KIRKTON, RICHARD WALEY OF6 NOTTINGHAMSHIRE, HENRY5 WHALEY, JOHN4, JOHN3, EUSTACE2, WYAMARUS1) was born 1615 in Kirkston, Nottinghamshire, England, and died 1719 in S. Kingston, Rhode Island. He married ELIZABETH MILLS 07 Feb 1665 in Rappahannock, Virginia. She was born 1645 in Virginia, and died 1715 in S. Kingston, Rhode Island.


"Austin's Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island" - (P. 221) -

Theophilus Whaley (1616-1720) married 1670 Elizabeth Mills (l6h~-l7l5). He is said to have been of wealthy parents and to have had a college education, in support of which he is quoted as saying that "till he was 18 years old, he knew not what it was to want a servant to attend him with a silver ewer & napkins whenever he wanted to wash his hands."

He came to Va. before he had reached his majority and served there in a military capacity, but soon returned to England and was an officer in the Parliamentary Army. In 1649, his regiment took part in the execution of King Charles I.

In 1660, Virginia, he came again from Eng. & married while in Va. where part of his children were born. In 1680, Kingston, he came thence about this time, his departure from Va. being conversant by a difference in religious views from his neighbors, he being a Baptist. His residence was near the head of Pettaquamscut Pond in what is now S. Kingston. He lived by fishing, weaving and teaching, being conversant with Hebrew, Greek & Latin, and his services as a penman were brought into requisition in executing the deeds and papers of his neighbors. 

The visits of distinguished men from Boston and other places, and his silence in regard to his previous history, perhaps account for the persistently held tradition that he was one of the Regicide Judges and had signed the death warrant of King Charles. Much of the mystery still clings to his history, notwithstanding the great service done by Rev. Dr. Stiles in his account of this interesting personage. The town records give but sparse items concerning him & he seemed to shrink from public office, tho he occasionally appears as witness to a will or deed. It has been conjectured that Theophilus Whaley may have been identical with Robert Whaley, a brother of Edward the Regicide and that he may have changed his name for some reason connected with the execution of King Charles.

  • 6 Sept. 1687 - Taxed 35, lld
  • 30 Jan. 1710 - He had 120 acres in E. Greenwich conveyed to him from the proprietors of the tract of land now comprising w. Greenwich.
  • 20 Feb. 1711 - He & wife Elizabeth deeded son Samuel for love, etc., 120 acres in E. Greenwich. He moved in the latter part of his life to the house of his son-in-law,

"Genealogical Dictionary of First Settlers of New England" - V. IV

Theophilus Whale, Kingston, R. le, came from Virginia with wife Elizabeth about 1676, had Joan, Ann, Theodosia, Elizabeth, Nartha, ~dia, and Samuel; but it is thought that if not more, the eldest two were born in Virginia.

Great uncertainty attaches to almost everything he said or did, as is found often in regard to those who emigrated from a distant country and lived to great age. Potter says he knew Hebrew, Greek, etc. and died about 1719/20, aged about l04. It would have been strange if more than one myth had not sprung out of his grave.

My first exercise of caution would be to examine the means of reducing his years by 20 or near, for his only son, it is said, died about 1782, and it is quite improbable that when he was born the father was much beyond 70. Beside that his wife died 8 or 10 yrs. before her husband. Dr. Stiles in the exuberance of his conjecture that was requisite to sustain his credulity supposes he may have been one of the regicides. But we know the names of all who acted in that tragedy, as well as of those who were nominated and declined to act or withdrew as did several after participating some hours in the mockery of trial before its end, among all of whom is not that of Theophilus Whale. Some of those misguided men would have resorted to any other part of the world, sooner than Virginia. - Samuel Whale, only son of Theophilus, had two wives, first a Hopkins, then a Harrington, as Potter reports; and that his children were seven: Thomas, Samuel, Theophilus, James or Jeremy, John and two daughters, and that he died about 1782."

Notes for ELIZABETH MILLS: Buried on Hopkins farm, S. Kingston, Rhode Island


  • i. JOAN12 WHALEY, b. 1670, Virginia.
  • ii. ANN WHALEY, b. 1672.
  • iii. THEODOSIA WHALEY, b. 1675; m. ROBERT SPENCER; b. 1674.
  • iv. ELIZABETH WHALEY, b. 1678, Virginia; d. 1752, S. Kingston, Rhode Island.
  • 13. v. MARTHA WHALEY, b. 1680, Rhode Island; d. 1773, Rhode Island.
  • vi. LYDIA WHALEY, b. 1683, Rhode Island.
  • 14. vii. SAMUEL WHALEY, b. 1685, S. Kingston, Rhode Island; d. 1782, Rhode Island.

[Source: ]

According to the History of Rhode Island: Mystery shrouds the founding of the Whaley family in America, and a long established and well founded tradition connects the ancestor, Theophilus Whaley and Edward Whaley, the English regicide, who was one of the judges who signed the death warrant of Charles I. It has been conjectured that Theophilus Whaley may have been identical with Robert Whaley, brother of the regicide, and that he may have changed his name for reasons connected with the execution of King Charles.

Circumstances of his life in America substantiate the belief that he was connected with the noted English family of the name, and his extraordinary reticence as to his history only intensifies it. The English Whaleys or Whalleys are an ancient Lancashire family, dating backward to the close of the twelfth century.

(I) Theophilus Whaley, immigrant ancestor and founder, was born in England, of an opulent family, about 1616, and received a university education. His remarkable reticence in regard to his family and early history has left us only the fact that “till he was eighteen years old he knew not what it was to want a servant to attend him with a silver ewer and napkin whenever he wanted to wash his hands.” When nearly twenty years of age, under official auspices, he came to America, and served as an officer in the Indian difficulties in the Colony of Virginia. In personal appearance he was full six feet high, of a strong though not heavy frame, and preserved his erectness to his one hundredth year. Returning to England after his experience in Virginia, he served in the memorable Parliamentary wars, and also through the period of the Protectorate, and was an officer in a regiment of guards that participated in the execution of the monarchy on 1660, the political situation induced him, as it did the regicide judges and others, to flee the country. Again he came to Virginia.

Where the most we have learned of his is that about 1670 he married Elizabeth Mills, and here probably four of his children were born. On account of religious dissensions, as he was a Baptist, and from variances with the Royalist, possibly fearing the consequences of being known as a participant in the execution of Charles, he removed with his family from that colony and came to Narragansett, R. I., about 1680.

Here he settled neat the head of Pettaquamscut pond, in South Kings Town, on what was known as the farm of Colonel Francis Willitt. His first abode was very humble and he lived by fishing, weaving and teaching. Here his three children, Martha, Lydia, and Samuel, were born. Theophilus Whaley later opened a private school of high order. He could speak Hebrew, Greek and Latin, all of which he desired to teach his grandson, Samuel Hopkins. Among the Narragansett settlers he was conspicuous as a gentleman of manners, talent, attainments, and character, though he habitually shrank from public affairs in England or in the colonies. He preferred the life of a student and a recluse. He did much service to the planters as a penman in executing their deeds and papers and in teaching their children. Distinguished men from Boston and other parts of the country visited him, and it is believed supplied him with money.

A Captain Whaley once entered Narragansett bay in his ship and, landing, called at Theophilus Whaley’s residence, where there was a cordial meeting. Facts like these, coupled with his persistent silence in regard to his English history, awakened the suspicion, which finally grew into an accepted opinion, that he was of the Whalley family and had altered his name lest he be detected. 

His wife died about 1715, aged seventy years. His daughter, Martha, became the wife of Joseph Hopkins, and the mother of Judge Samuel Hopkins.

In his last days, leaving his old home in South Kings Town, he lived woth his daughter in West Greenwich, where he died about 1719. Aged one hundred and three years, and was buried with military honors on Hopkins Hill, in what has since been known as Judge Samuel Hopkins’s lot. The grave may be found about six miles southwest from East Greenwich Court House.

  • (II) Samuel Whaley, son of Theophilus and Elizabeth (Mills) Whaley, was born in South Kingstown, R. I., after 1682. He was a resident of North Kingstown.

On February 20, 1711, he received from his father and mother the deed to one hundred and twenty acres of land in East Greenwich, granted Theophilus Whaley on January 30, 1710. Very little is known of him. Samuel Whaley married (first) ----- Hopkins, daughter of Samuel and Susanna Hopkins, of South Kingstown. He married (second) Patience Hearnden, daughter of Isaac and Sarah Hearnden. The line descends through Thomas.

  • (III) Thomas Whaley, son of Samuel and ----- (Hopkins) Whaley.
  • (IV) Jonathan Whaley, son of Thomas Whaley.
  • (V) Albert Whaley, son of Jonathan Whaley, was a prominent resident of Coventry, R. I. He married Ruth Andrews.
  • (VI) Ruby C. Whaley, daughter of Albert and Ruth (Andrews) Whaley, was born in Coventry, R. I., January 19, 1827, and grew to young womanhood on her father;s farm there. For a short period prior to her marriage she was employed in Phenix. On May 31, 1848, she married the late Alanson Crandall, of Rockville, R. I. Mr. and Mrs. Crandall were the parents of the following children: 1. Albert W., born Aug. 16, 1854, of Providence. 2. Mary E., born June 9, 1861, who died Nov. 16, 1889. 3. Ruth A., born Oct. 15, 1862, who became the wife of the late Enoch Wilcox Vars, of Westerly (see Vars VII), Oct. 15, 1889. Mrs. Crandall was a member of the Seventh Day Baptist church of Rockville. She passed her closing years of her life at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Vars, in Bradford, R. I., where she died May 11, 1903.

Robert Theophilus Whaley

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Robert Theophilus Whaley's Timeline

Kirkston, , Nottinghamshire, England
Age 54
Age 56
Age 58
New Kent, VA, United States
Age 60
September 1680
Age 64
East Greenwich, (Present Kent County), Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, (Present USA)
Age 64
East Greenwich, Kent County, RI, United States
Age 66
Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, USA
May 13, 1684
Age 68
North Kingstown, RI, United States
February 14, 1720
Age 104
West Greenwich, Kent, Rhode Island, USA