Richard Wilbur, Poet Laureate of the U.S. and two time winner of the Pulitzer Prize in poetry, was born in New York but his family can be traced back to Ruben (Reuben) Henry Wilbur, born in Chatham, Columbia County, New York. Other Wilbur families from Chatham in the mid 1700s are descendants of Samuel "the Immigrant" Wilbore. I started this project to document the Wilburs of Columbia County and see if they related and if so, then Richard Wilbur is also a descendant of Samuel "the Immigrant" Wilbore (as am I). I like the coincidence that my father, Richard Rubenstein, was also a poet and from his library I know that he read and admired Richard Wilbur's work. How amusing that Richard Wilbur and Richard Rubenstein's wife (my mother) would turn out to be distant cousins.
As you will see, there are a number of mysteries or controversies around the Wilbore family:
- Who are the parents of Samuel Wilbore, The Immigrant's wife, Ann?
- What is the relationship between Samuel and William Wilbore?
- What is the relationship between the Wilbores of Rhode Island and the Wilbor/Wilbur families of Chatham, Columbia, New York?
- What is the relationship between Ruben Henry Wilbur, Mayor of Omaha and great grandfather of the Poet Laureate, Pulitzer Prize awardee, Richard Wilbur?
Wildbore Wilbore Wilbor Wilbour Wilbur
The history of the family, in New England, starts with two ancestors who are relatives:
- William Wilbore 1630-1710, married to Martha
- Samuel Wilbore, "The Immigrant", married to Ann, born between 1594 - 1600 in Sible Hedingham, Essex, England.
Samuel and Ann may have raised William as their son, but records show that they had a son, William, who died in England. Most sources assume that William Wilbore was the nephew of Samuel. Samuel came to New England before 1633, as he and his wife Ann were admitted to Boston church, Dec. 1, 1633. William is not mentioned in New England until July 10, 1654, when he received 10 acres of land in Portsmouth from Samuel. In the Big Tree, William has been connected to either Samuel and Ann or to Samuel's brother Joseph, as a grandson, which would make Samuel the great uncle of William. It is hypothesized that William is the son of Joan Drane, John being claimed to be the son of Samuel's brother, Joseph.
Wilbor Family Plot, Old Chatham
- Samuel 1755 and his wife Cornelia Boice 1758
- their son Samuel 1785 and his wife Hannah Fitch 1782
- their son Samuel 1809 and his first wife Else Marie Van Valkenburgh 1815 and second wife Margaret R. Whiteside 1822
- sons Samuel, John J. and Thomas W
Richard Wilbur's Chatham ancestor
- Reuben Henry 1825, moved to New Lebanon, from there moved to Omaha, Nebraska where he served as Mayor and from there moved to Colorado where he died
- The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, Vols I - III (Online database: AmericanAncestors.org, NEGHS, 2010) Specfic Wilbore material pp 1986-1989.
- The Wildbores in America John R. Wilbur, St. Paul. 1907. (This has been revised in 5 volumes but the 1907 version is free of copyright and free on Google Books.)
- An Online Wilbur Family Genealogy
- [NEGHS article on the wife of Samuel "Immigrant" Wildbore]