The Havens Family

Our Little Cabin in the Big Internet Woods

Our Havens Ancestry

The gravesite of the earliest Havens who settled in western New York,  where Benjamin and Penninah Havens are buried is Buell Cemetery, just east of LeRoy, NY, in Genesee County, on NY Route 5 at the juntion of Havens Road.

Havens Family Ancestors

The video below was shot in September, 2010, on Shelter Island, at the eastern tip of Long Island, NY, where many Havens ancestors settled in colonial America. The local cemetery is the last resting place of many Havens ancestors.

James Havens was an early American farmer, storekeeper, and patriot. His home, Heartsease, built in 1743, is now a museum, open to the public, and is administered and maintained by the Shelter Island Historical Society. The Society also has a presence on Facebook here.



Remembering Our Roots
Click on the image above to open the photo album.

This is a photo album of images related to burial sites:

  • Benjamin & Penninah Havens
  • George & Elizabeth Havens
  • Frank & Julia Havens
  • Clara Anderson Havens Franklin Tooke
  • Other loved ones no longer with us

Our Branch

By Robert F. Havens

(1)  The Havens family tree in America originated when William Havens arrived circa 1635.  He probably came from England to the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  The first recorded history of his arrival was in 1638, when he was identified as a resident of a new settlement named Pocasset, later renamed Portsmouth, Rhode Island.  We know from historical sources that Pocasset was founded in 1638 by people from the Massachusetts Bay Colony who supported the religious freedom goals of Roger Williams and a woman named Anne Hutchinson.  William Havens made his living as a carpenter.  In 1639 he cosigned (with an X) a letter from the Pocasset settlers to England's King Charles I as follows:

"We whose names are underwritten do acknowledge ourselves the Loyall subjects of his Majestie King Charles and in his name do hereby bind ourselves into a Civill body Politicke; and do submit unto his lawes according to matters of Justice."

Around this time William took a wife named Dionus (or Dennis) Allen, and they lived their lives together in the Portsmouth area.  William died in 1683, and in his will he mentioned 13 children who were still living at that time.

(2)  Their son George was born circa 1653.  He married a woman named Eleanor Thurston, and they lived in Kingston, RI.  They raised nine children; four sons and five daughters.  George owned farms in Boston Neck (apparently near Kingston) and E. Greenwich.  He sold his farms in Boston Neck in 1696 and, in 1698 purchased 1000 acres on Shelter Island.  Their oldest son (also named George) had already married and settled in Rhode Island, but George and Eleanor moved with their younger children to Shelter Island.  They were the first Island settlers interested in farming the land.  Prior to their arrival, the Island was owned by people interested in harvesting its timber for use in making barrels for the rum industry on Jamaica.

George sold his E. Greenwich farm in 1702.  He was only 53 years old when he died in 1707, and he was buried in New London, CT (possibly because there were no churches or cemeteries on Shelter Island yet).  Eleanor remarried to Thomas Terry of Southold (on Long Island, west of Shelter Island across Southold Bay).  She lived to be 93 years old, and she is buried in "the south church cemetery" in Southold.

(3)  George and Eleanor gave land on Shelter Island to their sons who were interested in farming, including 250 acres to son John.  John was born in Rhode Island circa 1685.  He married a woman named Sarah Conkling, and they raised nine children.  During this period, Shelter Island was a growing community.  By the year 1730 there were twenty men, mostly heads of families, living on Shelter Island.  Six of the twenty were named Havens (including John and his son Henry), and certainly others were related by marriage.  Those men met and founded a town government on Shelter Island.

John owned other land in the area at Hog Neck (now Southampton) and Yaphank Neck (now South Haven).  In 1742 he purchased land in Brookhaven and moved his family there, where he died in 1750.  However, like his father George who is credited with founding a large Havens clan on Shelter Island, John is credited with founding a large Havens clan in the Brookhaven/Moriches area of Long Island.

(4)  William, one of John's older sons, remained behind on Shelter Island when John departed for Brookhaven.  William had already married Ruth Falconer and started his family before his father departed.  William and Ruth were known to have had eight children before Ruth died at 39 years of age in February 1759.  Current thinking is that William then remarried and continued having children, including another son named Benjamin.

William was among the Shelter Island residents who cosigned a 1775 document called "The Resolution", in which they bound themselves together in support of the colonial resistance to English rule that was beginning then.  When the Revolutionary War began in 1776, Long Island and its adjoining islands were taken over by the British army.  Most of the resistance supporters were forced to evacuate to Connecticut.  It's unclear if William went to Connecticut during this time or not, as he was getting older by then.  He did leave Shelter Island, and died in Hog Neck in 1780 before the war ended.  Most of William's sons were seafaring men, including a son named William who was a famous privateer during the War.

(5)  Benjamin is something of an enigma.  Nothing is known for sure about his early years.  I've concluded that he probably was a son of William and a second unknown wife, based on reports that he claimed to be a brother of William, the famous Revolutionary War privateer mentioned above.  His age when he died (63 years old on August 23, 1823) suggests that he was born approximately 1760, well after the death of William’s first wife Ruth (February 18, 1759). 

We don't know where Benjamin spent the war years.  He would have been only 15 when the hostilities started on 1775.  His first wife was a Sag Harbor resident named Lucretia Payne.  (Sag Harbor is just a hoot an' a holler from Hog Neck, where Benjamin's father spent his last years.)  Lucretia didn't live long, and was buried in the Payne family cemetery in Sag Harbor in 1793.  Benjamin remarried to a woman named Penninah (her maiden name may have been Buell), and they emigrated to what would have been frontier lands in those days, near LeRoy, NY.  They raised a large family of their own, including sons Joseph and George and probably a daughter named Peninnah (slightly different spelling than her mother's, based on their gravestones).  As I mentioned, Benjamin died in 1823.  Penninah died in 1831, and they are buried together in the Buell family cemetery in LeRoy.

(6)  Peninnah married a man named Heman Buell.  Brother Joseph married twice, and both of his wives were named Polly.  George's first wife was named Elizabeth Salisbury.  These three families all removed westward to what is now the Town of Newstead in Erie County NY.  Heman and Peninnah probably lived in the newly founded village of Akron, where Heman served as one of the early mayors of the village.  Joseph and George were farmers, probably living in the area now named Havens Road in the town of Newstead.  Elizabeth Salisbury, daughter of Milburn Salisbury of Rose NY, was able to claim a more renowned genealogical line back to English nobility and beyond to Henry IV, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

Additional information about the Salisbury line.

George and Elizabeth had four children before Elizabeth died at age 32 in 1844.  George remarried a woman named Saphronia (or possibly Sophrina), and had at least two more children before he died in 1858 at 53 years of age.  Saphronia remarried another Newstead farmer named Danniel Peck, and her son Horace Havens lived with them at least through 1870 before he married a woman from Buffalo (1875) and moved west to Missouri.  George and Elizabeth, Joseph and both Pollys are all buried in the Ledge Lawn Cemetery across Route 5 from the corner of Havens Road.  Heman and Peninnah Buell are buried together next to Benjamin and Penninah Havens in the Buell family cemetery in LeRoy.

Additional information about George Havens

(7)  Rensselaer Havens was the youngest of George's children by Elizabeth.  He was born in 1839, and he eventually settled in Silver Creek NY, a small village in Chautauqua County on Lake Erie.  He married a woman named Ellen Zipporah Gage.  Ellen was born and raised in the Forestville area.  She was born in 1844, and apparently was orphaned before she was six years old.  (In the 1850 and 1860 censuses, she was living with two different families, neither of whom were Gages.)  Rensselaer and Ellen owned a farm in Forestville in 1870, but by the 1880 census living in Silver Creek he identified himself simply as a "laborer".

They had four children that we know of, daughters Nellie and Alice and sons Frank Gage and Charles Lee.  Nellie died young.  Charles always preferred to be called by his middle name Lee.  Allie married and moved to Binghamton NY, where Rensselaer joined her after Ellen died.  Lee settled in Ohio, and Frank settled in Buffalo.

(8)  Frank married Julia Milloy, who came from a large family in Erie PA.  They married in 1896, and in 1910 they were living in a two-family house at 15 South Putnam St in Buffalo with sons Gage Rensselaer and Walter Lee, and daughter Doris Ellen.  Frank always worked as an electrician in spite of the fact that he was color blind.  At the 1920 census, they had moved to 363 Rhode Island St where they lived next door to Julia's sister's family, Ella (Kit) and Howard Thomas.  Julia's mother, Mary Ann Milloy, was also living with Howard and Kit at that time.  By 1930 they had moved again to a house they'd had built, that my brother and I remember fondly at 55 Shoreham Blvd. in Buffalo, NY.

Gage eventually moved to Oceanside CA, where he owned and operated a drive-in theater.  Doris remained in Buffalo, where she worked as a private secretary at the Marine Trust Company all of her life.  She lived in the family home at 55 Shoreham after her parents had died.  Julia died in 1942, and Frank in 1955.  Frank, Julia and Doris are buried together in Elmlawn Cemetery in the Buffalo suburb Tonawanda NY. Walter lived and worked as a truck driver in the Buffalo area for many years and later moved to Oneida, NY. He eventually moved to Houston, TX, where he died and is buried.


On this page...

Havens Ancestry
A video

Photos of family burial sites.

Our Branch --
An article about what we've discovered.

Salisbury Connection
Additional ancestry discoveries related to Elizabeth Salisbury.

George Havens
Background and known history.