Most of the information on the early HAZARD pioneers of Rhode Island come from a series of genealogical publications written in the 1800s, each quoting from earlier publications with revisions and additions. Colonial papers and local histories and records are also referenced. The most recent of these compilations, published in 1896, was “The Hazard Family of Rhode Island” by Caroline Elizabeth Robinson. She in turn referenced the 1869 publication by Thomas R Hazard and Willis P Hazard, laboriously titled "Recollections of Olden Times: Rowland Robinson of Narragansett and His Unfortunate Daughter. With Genealogies of the Robinson, Hazard and Sweet Families of Rhode Island”. Their sources included "Outline of the History and Genealogy of the Hassards and their Connections” by John Hassard Short Esq of Edlington Grove County Lincoln.
It is obvious that a lot of effort was made over many generations to immortalized the ancestors and the great deeds of this prolific family, with ancestral claims going back to the time of William the Conqueror and to aristocracy in Switzerland. My present view is that this ancient lineage is far from a certainty. As it is, I am taking the identity of my 9G Grandfather on faith that others much closer to the source got it right.
Thomas certainly acquired land in Rhode Island. In 1639 he became one of their 4 "proportioners" of land in Newport, and freeman of Newport. On 12 Mar 1640 he was appointed member of the General Court of Elections; he was also admitted as freeman of Portsmouth RI. From the early land records in the town of Portsmouth RI:
“June 30, 1658, Thomas Hazard bequeaths to Stephen Wilcock, as dowry of his daughter, Hannah, thirty-four acres of land;"
“1675, January 11, inventory of estate of Thomas Sheriffe (lately deceased);”
“1675, May 29, Thomas Hazard under promise of marriage with Martha Sheriffe, but disclaims any interest in or control of her estate”.
“Imprimis, I give unto my son, Robert Hazard, one shilling, to be paid in silver coigne, one month after my death.” The same to his daughter, Hannah Wilcox. Again, “I give and bequeath unto my loving daughter, Martha Potter, wife of Icabod Potter, of Portsmouth, one shilling, to be paid one month after my death.” “Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the thirteenth day of November, one thousand six hundred and seventy-six. Signed by his mark, Thomas (T.H.) Hazard. Witnesses: Thomas Gould, John Coggeshall, John Heath.”
According to the “Recollections of Times Past” compilation, this first Thomas Hazard of Rhode Island “disinherits his only son Robert and his two daughters because, as it would appear, of the opposition to his contemplated or accomplished marriage with Martha Sheriffe, the widow of Thomas Sheriffe, to whom he bequeathed all his real and personal property.” Extracts from Thomas's will:
The Hazard Family of Rhode Island book by Caroline Elizabeth Robinson, 1896
Recollections of Olden Times: Rowland Robinson of Narragansett and His Unfortunate Daughter. With Genealogies of the Robinson, Hazard and Sweet Families of Rhode Island. Book by Thomas R Hazard, 1879
Outlines of the History and Genealogy of the Hassards and their Connections by John Hassard Short Esq of Edlington Grove County Lincoln
A history of the Episcopal Church in Narragansett, Rhode Island by Updike, Wilkins, 1784-1867
A Genealogy of the Potter Family Originating in Rhode Island by Jeremiah Potter, 1881
Thomas Hazard - wikipedia
List of Early Settlers of Rhode Island - wikipedia
A Brief History of Newport - Newport Historical Society
The Mysterious Narragansett Pacer - History of Rhode Island and its horses
Rhode Island History - Sons of the South website
"52 Ancestors" is a reference to the "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" challenge I am participating in.
Reference the No Story Too Small blog by genealogist Amy Johnson Crow for more details.
It is giving me the much needed incentive to write and publish my family stories.