James Stanclift, my 9th great-grandfather, was stone carver, mason, and cutter.
Above Photo is cropped from Find-a-Grave picture of James’ handiwork (by Erik Andersen).
Stancliff family were the first to add the winged skull motif to their artistry and the feathered wings represent the ascent of the soul to heaven.
WikiTree entry for James Stanclift has excellent sources, and is available without membership at https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Stanclift-7 .
He is also briefly mentioned in this WikiPedia page at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portland_Brownstone_Quarries .
Some other internet tidbits are available at these Links:
“… A diary entry from 1702 notes an Indian named Sacient delivering a tombstone for Rebecca Minor to her family in Stonington-Portland’s stone carver James Stanclift had hired him for that job. …” at https://wakinguponturtleisland.blogspot.com/2008/03/east-hampton-maps.html .
“Memento Mori’s earliest known carver is James Stanclift [Stancliff] Jr. (1692-1772) of Middletown/Chatham.
He belonged to a family of carvers; their work can be found from Saybrook to West Springfield, and they are represented in Boston as well. The three Stanclifts known to us are represented by several remaining gravestones. They are notable for first “opening” the Middletown area quarries, and were the first to add the winged skull motif to their artistry. A typical stone stands in the front row of Memento Mori (photo below). It has borders of the “kidney and rope” type, and the abstracted skull is notable for its short nose and grim small straight mouth. The feathered wings, representing the ascent of the soul to heaven, characteristically seem to sprout high on the skull and are tightly restrained.” at http://fhs-ct.org/memento-mori-cemetery/ . This is another website written in 2006, and labeled “not secure”. None of the photos on page are now visible, altho they still have place-holders.
“Imagery began to appear on Connecticut gravestones late in the 1600s. Stones from this era feature hollow-eyed, grimacing skulls flanked by bat-like wings. These “death¹s heads” are believed to reflect Puritanism¹s grim attitude toward human mortality, emphasizing the specter of death and the decay of the flesh. The marker for Phenias Willson (Walking Tour No. 7), attributed to James Stanclift of Portland, Connecticut, is one of the earliest Connecticut gravestones to depict a skull.” at http://theancientburyingground.org/history/headstones-carvers/ .
A great entry that is not likely to disappear from internet is from the Connecticut Gravestone Network at http://ctgravestones.org/carvers/stancliff-family-carvings/ . It is all about the Stancliff family as a “carving” family. Excerpt is … “James I stones sometimes cannot yet be distinguished from some of the work of his eldest son William. For the most part they are distinguishable by the tented line he placed at the top of his letter “A.” He carved in large capital letters on stones that usually have evenly rounded tops rather than the lateral “shoulders” that were so characteristic on most New England gravestones. James I’s earliest dated stone is for Renold Marvin in the Duck River burying ground (Old Lyme) and is backdated to 1676. The stone for Rebecca Minor (1701) in Wequetequock (Stonington) is the farthest east in Connecticut any of his stones have been discovered.” Discovered website for CT Gravestones is also marked “not secure”, so saving that page to my records also.
our dna Route is Frey from Spencer from Bevins from Stancliff. We currently have only one dna cousin based on inheritance from this ancestor; 9th cousin once removed sharing 21cM dna on chromosome 22 with my maternal uncle — analysis thru GedMatch.
James Stanclift fss-SSS.qbaa!12 1639-1712
9th great-grandfatherMartha Stancliffe fss-SSS.qbaa!11 1688-1725
Daughter of James Stanclift fss-SSS.qbaa!12Mary Bevins fss-SSS.qaaa!10 1719-1805
Daughter of Martha Stancliffe fss-SSS.qbaa!11Israel-Lieut Spencer fss-SSS.aaaa!09 1743-1822
Son of Mary Bevins fss-SSS.qaaa!10Jesse SSS Spencer fss-SSS.aaaa!08 1772-1856
Son of Israel-Lieut Spencer fss-SSS.aaaa!09Jonathan William Spencer fss-SS.aaaa!07 1800-1885
Son of Jesse SSS Spencer fss-SSS.aaaa!08Webster Marshall Spencer fss-S.aaaa!06 1834-1910
Son of Jonathan William Spencer fss-SS.aaaa!07Charles Homer Spencer fss.aaaa!05 1864-1941
Son of Webster Marshall Spencer fss-S.aaaa!06Leota Pearl Spencer fs.aaaa!04 1892-1979
Daughter of Charles Homer Spencer fss.aaaa!05
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… and the wonderful entry at Laura’s blogsite https://gravestonegeek.com/tagged/James-Stanclift-I . ((Let me know if this becomes a broken Link, because i have saved it in my files.))
Authors Originally had this info available at Link http://freepages.rootsweb.com/~rstancliff/genealogy/James01.htm , but last update was 2007, and Link has rarely been available when I tried recently. There is now a note at the top of the page saying “not secure”. So saving it here for when that page is not consistently available. 18Oct2020. Entire book is now available to borrow for one hour at https://archive.org/details/descendantsofjam00stan .
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STANCLIFF FAMILY GENEALOGY
From book “Descendants of James Stanclift of Middletown, Connecticut and Allied Families”, By Robert C. and Sherry [Smith] Stancliff
Go to: Home Page
JAMES STANCLIFT IN CONNECTICUT
(1) JAMES1 STANCLIFT
Born 1639 in England, very probably near the town of Halifax, Yorkshire, England, died East Middletown, Hartford County(1), CT Oct. 2 or 3(2), 1712 Aged about 73, buried in Riverside Cemetery(3), Middletown, CT. He married in Lyme, CT about 1685 MARY [TINKER] WALLER, widow of William Waller and daughter of John and Alice [Smith] Tinker born Boston, MA July 2, 1653, baptized First Church Boston July 3, 1653(4), died East Middletown, Hartford County, CT Dec. 30 1712(5), buried Riverside Cemetery, Middletown, CT.
James Stanclift probably arrived in Connecticut about 1684 at age 46 and lived first at Lyme, New London County, CT. He married about 1685 Mary [Tinker] Waller, the wealthy widow of William Waller Jr. of Lyme, CT. On Dec. 8, 1685 the widow, Mary Waller, placed land from the estate of her late husband in trust for the three Waller daughters, appointing as trustees her brother, Amos Tinker, and her late husband’s brother, John Waller(6). Ten days later on December 18, 1685 James Stanclift, mason, purchased 26 acres of land on the North East shore of “the great pond” now called Rogers Lake. It was described as being bounded “southerly by the great brooke running into the said pond” which must be the brook now called Grassy Hill Brook. The farm was adjoining land already owned by William Measure(7). William Measure was the second husband of Mary’s mother, Alice [Smith] Tinker Measure. The execution of trust deeds by Mary [Tinker] Waller and the land purchase by James Stanclift were in all probability in preparation for their marriage at that time.
As a stone mason, James Stanclift received permission from the selectmen of Lyme, to make “a clamp of bricks” on town land along side the River at a Town Meeting on Feb. 1, 1686. At the same Town Meeting it was ordered that the “land of William Waller Jur being the 21 Lott(8), was to be laid out near to the Jeames Stanclift farme”(9). This land was part of Mary [Tinker] Waller Stanclift’s portion of her late husband’s estate. James operated “Stanclift Farm” on the north eastern border of what is now Rogers Lake in Lyme. He paid taxes on 1 horse, 1 cow and 1 sow in 1688(10).
During his years in Lyme James Stanclift also cut gravestones for many of the most influential families in the area. Some of those stones were cut for individuals who had died many years before James had even arrived in the area, the earliest found to date being for Lt. Reynold Marvin who died in 1676(11). The buff sandstone in Lyme was very close in color and texture to the stone from the Shibden Valley in Halifax.
On February 24, 1686/7(12) the town of Middletown “approved of the agreement made by the selectmen with James Stancliff, concerning the building the chimneys, and other stone work, and that when work is finished the town empower the selectmen to give the said James Stancliff legal assurance of a parcell of land upon the rocks according to their agreement;”(13). The selectmen representing the proprietors offered James Stancliff, an English stonemason, a grant of town owned land, land often called “Common land” since the ownership was held in common by all of the proprietors of the town. This was the customary method employed by town officials to entice to their area, the tradesmen needed to establish and maintain a productive and growing community. James accepted the offer and moved his family to Middletown, CT.
On Oct.10, 1689 James Stanclift conveyed to Joseph Rogers of New London, New London County, CT for the sum of £40-00-00 a parcel of land in Lyme(14). An earlier Land record indicated that James had used at least a part of the return from this sale to repay a debt he owed to Joseph Rogers(15). This document was of particular importance because it proved the identity of James Stanclift’s wife. It specified that the land had been part of the late William Waller’s Lott # 21 in the fourth division of Lyme, which had been apportioned to the relict of William Waller, and sold this date by James Stanclift with permission of his now wife, Mary(16). James divested himself of his land in the Lyme area and moved to Middletown, CT.
There is no certain proof of the exact time of the move from Lyme to Middletown, CT, but it took place after August 27, 1688(17) and before May 3, 1690(18), when the terms of the contract were satisfied. The contract specified a grant on completion of the stone work. The deed was recorded on May 3, 1690. Two days after the grant was recorded James Stanclift sought to purchase additional land under common ownership of the proprietors of Middletown. The request was taken up at the May 5, 1690 Middletown Town Meeting. The minutes of that meeting stated “At the same towne Meeting the towne Granted Mr James Standclift A parcell of Land on the East side the Great River neare his hous in quantity about Six Acres Lying Northward from his hous coming noe farther Southward than square with his house to have six Acres if it be within that Compass and being noe damage to highways”.(19) James Stanclift had already built a house “upon the rocks” in a location very near the place that was to be granted to him in payment for his work. Previous to the grant from the town, James had purchased three acres of land from Richard Goodall bounded on the north by the highway and on the west by common ground. It was probably upon this land that James built his house. There was no date to indicate when the deed was written but it was recorded May 2, 1690. Given the sale of his land in Lyme, the time needed to accomplish Middletown’s building needs, and the time needed to build a house before winter set in, it is probable that James had moved to Middletown by the summer of 1689.
The Middletown town boundaries at this date extended far beyond the settled portion of the town which was located upon the left bank of the Connecticut River. It was then merely called “the Great River”. Residents used the land belonging to Middletown and located on the East side of the River for crops and grazing, but they ventured across the River during the day using canoes or boats and returned to the safety of the Town every night(20). James Stanclift was the first white man to build a house and live “on the est side of the great river” among the Wangunk indians.
James opened the Stanclift Brownstone Quarry, on the bluff overlooking the river where the Triassic brownstone overhung the river. The physical characteristics of the stone in this deposit vary only slightly according to the variations in strata. It was easy to work and adapted to the finest carving needs(21), but most important it is found in few areas other than the concentration in the area where James Stanclift settled. As early as 1665 the proprietors of the Town of Middletown was aware of the unique resource and forbid residents of other areas from taking stone from this deposit without the approval of the Town and a charge for the stone.
James Stanclift was more than an inhabitant of Middletown. Besides the actual grant of ownership of the quarry land, there may have been an agreement that he also owned an interest in common, with the proprietors, in the town of Middletown. When divisions of Middletown land were made after his death, both of the sons of this man shared in those divisions and drew lots for their choice of land along with other proprietors of Middletown.
James Stanclift lived and worked in this location for over twenty years, until his death in 1712. For thirteen of those years the Stanclift family and the Gill family were the only permanent residents on the east side of the river(22). It would seem that during that time the Stanclift family was on friendly terms with their Indian neighbors. In 1702 an Indian was known to deliver Gravestones for James. Sacient, an Indian delivered a pair of stones, both Head stone and Footstone, to the Wequetequok Cemetery, Stonington, CT. They were for the grave of Rebeccah Minor, and “Stancleef” was paid for the stones(23).
Today in front of the Town Hall of Portland Connecticut is one of the distinctive blue signs erected by the Connecticut Historical Commission in all Connecticut communities. That sign states that the area first called East Middletown(24), later Chatham and finally Portland, Connecticut, was “…famous for it’s brownstone which was quarried here for over two hundred years.”, and that “….the first permanent settler, James Stancliff, a stone cutter, built his home here about 1690.” The image of his first house can be seen today in a painting by John Wells Stancliff, a descendant of James(25). The painting depicts a plain rectangular building and a smaller building on the bank overlooking the River, and there is a beam-well in the yard. At the bottom of the hill is moored a two masted sailing ship. The artist was said to have been born in that house according to the writings of his brother, Gilbert.
In addition to the stone taken from the quarry for building purposes, the gravestones cut by James were found in many far reaching areas. Moving a commodity of such great weight overland was difficult in that time, so it is not surprising that most of the gravestones cut by James are found in areas that can be reached by water and allows for transport by boat. There are a number of them on Long Island, Hartford, CT, and Stonington, CT and of course in Lyme as well as Middletown, CT. He made stones for many of the most prominent men in the Connecticut Colonies. The “Tablestone” was the monument of choice for the very wealthy families of that day, and most tablestones in New England came from the East Middletown area. The qualities of the brownstone made it uniquely suited for this type of a monument, and brownstone is the only stone used for this type of monument. A tablestone monument was constructed with a slab of stone measuring about three foot by six foot and four or five inches thick set upon the ground over the grave, then heavy carved legs of table height were set upon this base to support a second slab of the same dimensions as the base stone, completing the “Table”. The top stone was finished with a decorative edge like a molding, and bore the engraved inscription.
Before his death, James negotiated with the Winthrop family on a Tablestone for Elizabeth, the wife of John Winthrop Jr., Governor of Connecticut(26), the contract was completed many years later by his son, William. The letters concerning this stone, provided a real insight into the way gravestones were manufactured. It was learned that the stone for gravestones had to be removed from the quarry before the frost came in the fall, it was taken under cover, and “seasoned” before it was shaped and engraved. There is a “grain” to the stone and the skill of the early cutters is proven today by the number of brownstone gravestones that stand in fine condition, without shaling. There are many brownstones more than a hundred years older than their granite and marble counterparts that evidence less wear and erosion, and are more easily read. Without the advent of the power mower there would be many more examples to be seen. James probably worked on gravestones over the long winter months when it was impossible to work within the quarry, itself. Exposed to this endeavor, the young men of the household also learned the craft, and so it was passed from father to son. Both William and James were cutting stone at an early age.
Many years after the quarry had passed out of Stanclift ownership, the Washington Monument was under construction using stone from every state of the union. “It was fitting then that the block sent from Connecticut, as her contribution to the monument erected to the Great Father of his country, at Washington, should have been of Portland stone. It has already been placed in position in that structure”.(27) Stone from the Quarry in Portland was shipped to Boston and to New York and is the source of many of the famed brownstone houses in both locations.
James and Mary raised their four children in East Middletown as well as Elizabeth, Mary, and Alice Waller, the children by Mary’s first marriage. “William, James, Mary(28), and Martha ye children of our sist.r Mary, ye wife of James Stantlife” baptized March 4, 1694 at the Middletown Congregational Church(29), Middletown First Ecclesiastical Society. Perhaps if James held Nonconformist attitudes, they carried over to the restrictive practices of the Colonial Congregational Church as well. The Congregationalist church of the Puritans was no more tolerant than had been the Church of England. While James Stanclift had no choice about paying “rate”, and supporting the Ecclesiastical Society in which he lived(30), his appearance in church records was only in relation to his wife, Mary, a devout member of the Congregational Church.
By 1710 there were at least twenty seven families living on the East side of the Great River. It was often difficult, particularly in the winter for the residents on the East side of the river to cross over to Middletown to attend church. The inhabitants of the East Middletown area gathered and declared their intention of becoming a Society in their own right. The oldest record now extant of this emerging Society was written by Samuel Hall and is one of the first documents of the Third Society of Middletown, the East Middletown Society, and what would eventually become the First Congregational Church of Portland, Connecticut-
Mideltown March: 12: 1710/11
At a meeting of the Inhabitance on the est side the great River we there agreeing among our selves to build a meeting hous ~ for the forriding of the Setiling the means
of Preaching the gospell amongst us we thinking it convinient to chose A commity to take the care of the bulding the said house and to order the carying on of th sd work for the best advantage so as to have the sd house framed and claborded and shingeled by the Last of the next september ~ come twelve month ensuin the date here of the sd house to be bult twenty six foot wide and thirty six foot long and sixteen foot betwene Joints and for the carrying on of this work we charge our frinds whose names are here ritin viz William Cornwall Sener nathanell Savige Joseph warner Jonathan Sleed Richard Gill for the carying on this work that is to order the geting the Shingls clabord and to get the timber frame and rais and cover the fore sd hous and for their Incorigment and security we whose names are under Riten to each and every of us bind our selves to pay our equal proportion according to the estate we have on the List for the carying on the sd hous and for the performance of this our agreement we each of us bind our selves in a bond of twenty pound of good and lawful mony to be paid upon the failure of the foresd promises John Gill Senr John Sled william cornwell senr Samell Hall nat Savage Ebenr Smith shamger barns Ephraim willcock william stanclif Jonathan gleed Richerd Gill beriah bacon Thomas wright John biven george stocken david Strickland Thomas buck Joseph warner Ebenezer hulbut John meer
The building of a meeting house as a place of worship and as a place where inhabitants would gather to decide issues concerning their community illustrates the close connection between the civil jurisdiction and the church jurisdiction. They were one and the same in this period of New England history.
Later land records suggest that James was more than an inhabitant of the area and did own an interest in Middletown, for his sons both drew lots at the time of land divisions of the town. James Stanclift did not appear to have signed the document as his son, William had. The bottom of the page has deteriorated and perhaps at one time was inscribed with the name or mark of James Stanclift.
It may have been that James Stanclift signed documents with his “Mason’s Mark” (Which was a capital I with a horizontal dash at mid height) from choice, but no document has been discovered with a written signature of James Stanclift. There is a question that James was able to read and write. His printing on gravestones was exceptionally accurate for the time, and there were “severall books” listed in James’ Inventory after his death. Mary evidently was unable to write as she signed the Letter of Administration in her husband’s probate papers with the mark “S”. James may have had a scribe print out the epitaphs for proposed stones as a guide, for his stones had far better spelling than that of his sons.
Both James Stanclift, and wife Mary, seem to have been casualties of the influenza epidemic that swept through New England in 1712(31). James died October 2, 1712(32), and Mary followed on December 30, 1712(33). They are the only members of this family who are buried in Middletown, and they lie in Riverside Cemetery under stones cut by their son, William. There was no Cemetery in East Middletown at this date(34).
James lies under a Table stone with an unusual tripod arrangement of legs as shown in the sketch below. There is a fairly large inset(35) missing on this stone, but the inscription was carved across the entire face of the stone. Even with the missing inset, it is possible to interpret the inscription as the wording favored by each carver, makes the inscription carved by that man predictable. The probable lettering has been inserted in the missing portion. Above the inscription is a crude skull carved by William, son of James, which is identical to those William had engraved on other stones. Unfortunately in 1991 it was found that a large corner of the stone has been broken off the table top.
Sketch not included
The Tablestone stands near the fence at the east, or river end, of Riverside or McDonough cemetery. There is a good possibility that this stone was originally intended for Elizabeth Winthrop, the wife of the Governor of Connecticut. James Stanclift had been commissioned to carve a Tablestone for the wife of Governor John Winthrop Junior(36) in 1709. The following year JamesStanclift wrote to the Winthrops and indicated that the stone was ready, but the Winthrops had not provided the information to be engraved upon the stone, nor had they decided whether it should have pillars or be enclosed on the sides. James asked for instructions, but the Winthrops could not determine the words they wished to have on the stone. Before the stone could be finished James died. His son, William, would finally complete the contract, but not until 1718. When William finally took the stone for Elizabeth Winthrop to Hartford his letters confirm that it was a newly cut stone. Before his death James and William both carved Gravestones. James carved the Tablestones and William carved many of the smaller upright stones. Because the stone is a unique design and done in the style used by James Stanclift, it may be that the stone William used for his father was the special stone his father had shaped for Elizabeth Winthrop. It is also the only Tablestone of the many that William carved that had an inset. Perhaps the inset was put there to erase carving that had already been placed upon the stone.
Near the Tablestone of James Stanclift, in a line of upright stones to the west, is an upright stone for Mary Stanclift(37) upon which her son, William, carved this tribute-
“HERE LIES ONE BEREFT OF LIFE SHE WAS A TENDER MOTHER AND A LOVING WIFE”.
The stone was cut in William’s preferred style. The lettering was all done in Upper Case letters. It has three arches at the top, the large central arch flanked at the shoulder by two lower and narrower arches. William’s “signature” rosette in each of the shoulder arches. The stone is identical to the one William would later carve for his wife, Olive.
The children of James Stanclift are all registered in the back of Middletown Land Book I. The book was turned upside down and the Vital records of the Middletown inhabitants were entered and numbering started at page 1. On page 20 of Vital Records is the following entry-
“James Stanclifts Records of births
William Son to James Stanclift & Marah his wife was born Septemb:25 1686
Martha Dafter to James Stanclift & Marah his wife was born Desemb:12 1688
James Son to James Stanclift & Mary his wife was born march ye 24th 1691/2
Sarah Dafter to James Stanclift & Mary his wife was born Desembr ye 8th 1695″
The entry for Sarah’s birth probably should have been for the year 1694. The use of the name Marah is significant since it was the practice of the Town Clerk of Lyme, CT to substitute the spelling Marah for all women named Mary. It is probable that when James and Mary moved to Middletown they brought with them some sort of a document written by the Lyme Clerk to verify the births of the first two children, the town clerk of Middletown entered these births exactly as written. All four entries are written in the same handwriting, but the entry of the second two children not only uses the name Mary but also inscribes the dates in the manner favored by the Town Clerk of Middletown.
After the death of his mother, William assumed sole administration on his father’s estate.
The Real Estate listed in the Inventory includes the following entries
-dwelling hous and shop £30-00-00
-half an acre of land abuting
on the quary and the quary £12-00-00
-six acres of land at home £15-00-00
-three acres of land nearby £06-00-00
-nine acres of upland £12-00-00
-six acres pond and 2 of medew £16-00-00
All of the property can be accounted for. The dwelling house, shop and barns though evaluated separately were located upon the homelot or “6 acres of land at home”. James did not acquire much land during his time in Middletown. He was awarded by judgement of the court 30 acres of land on Mar. 2, 1696. His neighbor, John Thomas, who later married James’ step-daughter, Mary Waller, owed James a debt of £10, and was unable to pay. The court decision, in favor of James Stanclift, ordered the Sheriff to seize the land belonging to John Thomas and turn it over to James Stanclift(38). On April 17, 1704, James Stanclift and John Thomas for the sum of £06-10-00 jointly conveyed to Noahdiah Russell, the local minister, 13 acres of the 30 acre tract of land. This left 17 acres remaining(39). On Dec. 21, 1710 James gave as a gift to his son, William, eight acres of that property(40). The remaining nine acres described above as “upland”. The other piece of property that James acquired was the purchase of six acres of land from Edward “Ned” Durant of Boston for £8 on June 17, 1708(41). It was described as being land originally laid out to Edward’s father George Durant at pond meadow. George Durant was a blacksmith living in Lyme, CT who, like James Stanclift, had been offered land in Middletown to entice him to move to that area. Two of George Durant’s daughters were married to brothers of Mary [Tinker] Waller Stanclift. When Edward Durant disposed of his father’s land in Lyme it was sold to the Tinkers and the land in Middletown sold to James Stanclift. That is the “pond and medew” mentioned above.
CHILDREN: James and Mary [Tinker] Stanclift(42)
+ 2- 1. WILLIAM STANCLIFT born while the family lived in Lyme, New London County, CT Sept. 25, 1686, baptized First Congregational Church Middletown, Hartford County, CT Mar. 4, 1694, died Jan. 26, 1761, married 1. Middletown, Hartford County, CT Mar. 10, 1710 OLIVE [STANBROUGH] WRIGHT, married 2. Oct. 5, 1721 ESTHER ADAMS.
+ 3- 2. MARTHA STANCLIFT born while the family lived in Lyme, New London County, CT Dec. 12, 1688, baptized First Congregational Church Middletown, Hartford County, CT Mar. 4, 1694, died East Middletown, Hartford County, CT Nov. 8, 1725, married as his second wife THOMAS BEVIN.
+ 4- 3. JAMES STANCLIFT born East Middletown, Hartford County, CT Mar. 24, 1691/2, baptized First Congregational Church Middletown, Hartford County, CT Mar. 4, 1694, died Chatham, CT Jan. 1, 1772, married Apr. 8, 1714 ABIGAIL BEVIN.
+ 5- 4. SARAH STANCLIFT born East Middletown, Hartford County, CT Dec. 8, 1695, baptized First Congregational Church Middletown, Hartford County, CT Dec. 9, 1694. One of the dates was entered incorrectly. Since the church records were entered in chronological sequence(43), it is probable that they contain the accurate date. Sarah married NATHANIEL CHADWICK.
See Appendix A: TINKER, SMITH and WALLER
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- .Area became Middlesex County in 1785
- .The partial Inscription on his tombstone is still legible and says Oct. 2. Also read as Oct. 2 in INSCRIPTIONS FROM MONUMENTS IN RIVERSIDE CEMETERY, a hand written manuscript by Frank Farnsworth Starr in the 1870s, property of the Middlesex County Historical Society. The Middletown Land Book 1, page 1 states his death date was Oct. 3, 1712, and the notation at the top of his inventory in his Probate Papers also says Oct. 3, 1712.
- .Old Riverside Cemetery also on records today as McDonough Cemetery
- .CITY OF BOSTON, Report of the Record Commissioners, Boston Births, Baptisms, Marriages and Deaths 1630-1699, Boston 1883, Page 40 and 44.
- .Inscription on tombstone
- .Lyme Land Records, Book 1, page 154
- .Lyme Land Records, Book 2, page 461
- .Towns in early Connecticut were purchased by a consortium of individual men, who at first built a walled town and distributed land for crops and pasture outside the town as needed and in proportion to each owners share in the original purchase. As the town grew “divisions” of outlying land within the town land limits were distributed among the proprietors or owners of the town. They drew lots to determine who would receive the first choice of the location of their land. Before his death, William Waller Jr had drawn lot #21 or twenty first choice in the fourth division of Lyme.
- .LYME RECORDS 1667-1730, Compiled and Edited by Jean Chandler Burr, Pequot Press 1968, page 57 and 62
- .TAXES UNDER GOV. ANDROS, communicated by Walter Lloyd Jefferies in New England Historical and Genealogical Register Vol.34, page 379.
- .Stone in Duck River Cemetery, Lyme, CT
- .The dates written in this manner result from varying beliefs as to the first day of the year. Before the change from Julian to Gregorian Calendar in 1752 the dates between January 1 and March 25 were written with the / and both years included. It was then possible to calculate the date according to both calendar variations.
- .HISTORY OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY, Beers 1884, page 498 quoting Town Records of Middletown, CT
- .Lyme Land Record Book 2, page 460 and a duplicate of the transaction entered into New London Land and Property Records Vol.5, page 124.
- .One of the three New London Merchants to whom James Stanclift owed money shortly after arrival in America.
- .Lyme Land Record Book 2, page 116
- .This is the date that Taxes under Gov. Andros were assessed by Lyme Townsmen William Ely, Abraham Bounson, Joseph Peck and Amos Tinker. James Stanclift was counted among the 70 residents of Lyme.
- .Middletown Land Records, Vol.1, page 97, the land was registered on May 3, 1690.
- .The deed of sale for this land was recorded on the same page with the two May 1690 deeds, it was recorded on June 6, 1690.
- .THE HISTORY OF PORTLAND, CONNECTICUT, Published by the Portland Historical Society 1976, page 3
- .THE HISTORY OF PORTLAND, CONNECTICUT, published by the Portland Historical Society 1976, page 28
- .CONNECTICUT HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS by John Warner Barber, New Haven 1836, page 518
- .DIARY OF MANASSAH MINOR 1696-1720, published by John A. Minor 1976, page 53, 61.
- .East Middletown, was part of the town of Middletown, it became Chatham in 1767, and finally Portland, CT in 1841.
- .Property of the Portland, CT Historical Society
- .Unpublished Winthrop Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society
- .HISTORY OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY, Beers 1884, page 520
- .Mary Waller
- .Middletown First Congregational Church Records 1668-1871 page 18. Original records Archives section, Connecticut State Library
- .In order to provide for the maintenance of the Congregational Church in New England, Ecclesiastical Societies were formed, each society supported a church and a minister. In order to own land in an area it was necessary to abide by the rules of a given society and to contribute to the support of that society and the church. The church was closely aligned to the Government and the organization and maintenance of the Society was under the jurisdiction of the Assembly in Hartford. The payment for the maintenance of the Society was called the “rate” and was collected much like a tax. Actual membership in that church was a separate decision and it was left to each individual to make his own choice, subject to strict rules on eligibility.
- .The gravestone research conducted by Dr. Ernest Caufield in the 1950s has been of enormous value to anyone studying gravestones in Connecticut. He began his research searching through graveyards for clues to causes of death and more particularly an attempt to document epidemics that occurred in Colonial New England.
- .The gravestone cut by James’ son, William, says died Oct. 2, 1712, the Middletown Vital Records LR 1, page 1 indicate death date as Oct. 3, 1712.
- .Middletown Vital Records, Land Book I, page 1 refers to her as “Widdow of Mr. James Stanclift” and the death date is identical with the date upon the gravestone cut by her son, William.
- .The following February a child died in East Middletown and the ice on the river made access to the Riverside Cemetery in Middletown impossible. An acre of land abutting the Stancliff Quarry was hurriedly selected as a Cemetery on the east side of the River. It was called the Quarry Cemetery
- .Insets were sometimes employed as a decorative measure, and were also used when a flaw or mistake occurred on the face of the stone, or to obliterate carving that was no longer desired. Occasionally a contrasting material, such as marble or metal, was inset as a method of adornment. In the case of lead inserts, many were removed at the time of the Revolution and melted down for shot. The insert on James’ stone was missing before the stones were read by Frank Farnsworth Starr in 1870 or 1875.
- .Unpublished letters in the Winthrop Papers at the Massachusetts Historical Society
- .In the early Cemeteries people were buried in a line as they died, only later were “Family” plots reserved and families found in groups.
- .Middletown Land Records, Vol.2, page 63, transaction crossed out probably after James Stanclift and John Thomas sold a portion of the property in 1704.
- .Middletown Land Records Vol. 2, page 130.
- .Middletown Land Records, Vol. 3, page 36
- .Middletown Land Records, Vol. 2, page 241
- .There is a partial duplication of the birth records found in Middletown Vital Records, Land Book I, page 20. In Middletown Vital Records, Land Book II, page 26, the births of William and James are again listed, William as Sept. 25, 1687, and James as Mar. 24, 1692. The dates cited are slightly different. It is on this page that the marriage and children of James Stanclift and Abigail Bevin are recorded. This explains why some records seem to indicate two men by the name of William and two by the name of James were born to this family.
- .Original handwritten records available at the Connecticut Archives, Connecticut State Library, Hartford, CT.
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Last Updated: Click on this Link
This book is a comprehensive genealogy and history of American Stancliff, Stancliffe and Stanclift (and other spellings) descendants of immigrant ancestors of James Stanclift from Old Lyme and Middletown, CT; Rev. John Stancliff and Benjamin Stancliff of Philadelphia, PA; David Stancliffe of Lake County, IL; John Stancliffe of Pittsburgh, PA; and New York City. IT IS THE ONLY KNOWN PUBLISHED AUTHENTIC GENEALOGY OF THE STANCLIFF AND ALLIED FAMILIES IN AMERICA. It follows the migration of the families throughout the United States including AL, AR, AZ, CA, Canada, CO, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, and WV for 10+ generations.
Over 2650 individuals named Stancliff /Stancliffe /Stanclift including children of married Stancliff women have been identified and related to their ancestors. The index lists an estimated 7,500 individuals. This genealogy includes about 175 “Allied” families from which spouses are descended. The book is fully name and place indexed and source referenced with a coat of arms and sketch of the house built by James Stanclift in about 1690. It contains over 550 pages and is hard cloth bound and of “library” quality. Nearly 350 copies of this book have been purchased by Descendants, Libraries, and Genealogical and Historical Societies. It has been awarded the Connecticut Society of Genealogists 1996 Literary Awards Grand Prize for Genealogy and the Ohio Genealogical Society 1997 First Prize for an Ohio Related Family History.
The majority of the ten plus generations of Stancliff’s in America are descended from the immigrant Yorkshire, England stone cutter named James Stanclift of Middletown, CT. James was first found in the Old Lyme, CT in 1684. In about 1690 he was the first settler (the founder) to build a house and live in what is now Portland, CT a fact commemorated by a Connecticut State sign by the Portland Court House. He opened the famous Portland, CT brownstone quarries that were later the source of stone for the brownstone mansions of New York, Philadelphia and Boston. The Washington Monument in Washington D.C. was to be built with stones from each of the states. The stone from CT was from what was once the Stanclift brownstone quarry. The campaigns and battles that Revolutionary War, War 0f 1812, and Civil War soldier’s units participated in during the time of their service are linked to this file. (Click on the above links)
The Stancliff/Stancliffe/Stanclift surname originated in 1274 when surnames were first becoming established in the Shibden Valley, near Halifax, West Yorkshire, England. The first head of the family was known as John de Stanclyf or John of the stone cliff. It is believed that nearly all individuals of that name and similar spellings in both America and England are descended from this ancestor and thus are all cousins. The family grew in the Halifax area and owned at least three large land holdings known as Scout, Hagstocks, and New Hey. Scout Hall built in 1680 on the site of the first Stancliff houses named Scout still exists.
Surnames of families “Allied” to the Stancliffs cited 4 or more times in the text are as follows: Those now included in this site are underlined and linked. To access them click on the name. If the link you desire is not available, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate your relationship to the family in question.
Families of Stanclift, Stancliff, Stancliffe are included in these internet pages. To access them click on their name: Links to generation 9 and 10 and later are not included since some are still living.
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Originally available at Link http://freepages.rootsweb.com/~rstancliff/genealogy/James01.htm , but last update was 2007, and Link has rarely been available when I tried recently. There is now a note at the top of the page saying “not secure”. So saving it for when that page is consistently not available. 18Oct2020. Entire book is now available to borrow for one hour at https://archive.org/details/descendantsofjam00stan .
… and Family History index is at https://truthfulkindness.com/about/life-other/family-history-index/ .