Name: George Austin
Birth: ABT 1761 in Dighton, Bristol Co., MA
Death: 13 JUL 1845 in Townshend, Windham Co., VT
Burial: Wiswall Cemetery, Townshend, Windham Co., VT
From Hamilton Child's "Gazetteer and Business Directory of Windham County VT 1724-1884," Vol. 1, pg. 304-31:
"George Austin came here from Rhode Island about 1789 and settled on the farm on which his grandson Henry Austin now lives, on road 20. He married Lois Nichols, of Putney, by whom he had eight children, three of whom are still living, Jonathan Austin, of Brattleboro; and Arnold Austin and Arvilla Simpson, of Townshend."
When Nathaniel Austin, of Addison County, VT, applied for his pension in 1832, his application was supported by an affidavit by George Austin of Townshend, VT. George stated that he had known Nathaniel from an early age, and that they both had enlisted at Dighton, Massachusetts. This Nathaniel Austin was born about 1760 in Dighton, Bristol Co., MA, the presumed son of Nathaniel Austin and Abigail Richmond, who married in Dighton on March 28, 1751.
It is possible that George Austin of Townshend is another son of Nathaniel and Abigail Austin. Nathaniel Austin Sr. came to Putney, Windham Co., VT before 1790, then moved to Brookline, Windham Co., VT. He married a widow, Tabitha (Harvey Witherell) Davis in Putney in 1794 (two years after George married Louisa Nichols in Putney). Tabitha (Harvey) Austin died in Townshend, VT about 1797. The records of the Westminster District Probate Court, Windham Co., VT (Vol. 2, page 11) show that: at a probate court held in Putney, VT, Oct. 9, 1798, letters of administration were granted to Josiah Witherell of Townshend on the estate of Tabethy Austin, late of Townshend. Delewis (?) Briggs and Benjamin Waldron (Woldin?) (Waldrin?) were appointed to take an inventory of the estate. The inventory amounted to $76.05. Judge was Noah Sabin, Jr. This deceased Tabitha (Harvey) Austin, was the wife, but more probably the widow, of Nathaniel Austin Sr. She was first married to Ephraim Witherell Jan. 21, 1766 in Norton (next to Dighton), Bristol Co., MA. The Witherell family moved to Westmoreland, Cheshire Co., NH. Ephraim Witherell died in Keene, Cheshire, NH in 1785. Tabitha remarried there to Benajah Davis Nov. 10, 1791. The Josiah Witherell named as the administrator of her estate was a son from her first marriage. The Benjamin Waldron appointed to take an inventory of the estate was her son-in-law, married to Celia Witherell, her daughter.
In any case, it is almost certain that George Austin of Townshend is closely related to this group of Austins from Dighton, Bristol Co., MA. However, he did serve in a Rhode Island regiment during the Revolutionary War. George Austin and his family are included in Edith Austin Moore's 1951 book, "A Genealogy of the Descendants of Robert Austin of Kingstown, Rhode Island." She could not connect him to Robert Austin's other descendants, but because of George's Rhode Island connections, she assumed that he descended from this Rhode Island line. However, it now seems much more likely that George is connected to Nathaniel Austin of Dighton, MA, and thus a descendant of Jonah Austin of Taunton, MA. For more on these various Austin lines, check out the databases on the AFAOA website:
George Austin was a Revolutionary War soldier from both Massachusetts and Rhode Island. On June 25, 1778, at the age of about 16, he enlisted in Captain Jacob Haskins's company of Colonel John Jacobs's regiment. Both Asa Austin and Nathaniel Austin enlisted in the same company. They served six months, eight days for the alarm at Rhode Island. They were discharged Jan. 1, 1779. This Asa Austin came to Townshend, VT even before George did. According to his widow, Mary Wiswall, Asa and she were married in Townshend in 1783 by Josiah Fish, a Justice of the Peace for Windham County; however their marriage intention was recorded in Putney Dec. 1782, and Asa was "of Putney." Mary's father, Samuel Wiswall had come to Townshend before 1775 and was one of the original proprietors. In 1782, Asa Austin served in a company of soldiers captained by Josiah Fish. Both Asa Austin and George Austin are buried in Wiswall Cemetery in the Northeast part of Townsend, along with their wives and various other family members. It is very likely that Asa Austin and George Austin are brothers.
Also in 1779, George Austin served in the 9th company of Colonel Hathaway's regiment. George's name appears on a descriptive list of men mustered by James Leonard, muster master. The list was dated Oct. 29, 1779. George was described as 17 years old, 5 feet 5 inches tall, dark complected with brown hair and dark eyes. His residence was Dighton, Bristol County, Massachusetts. His enlistment period was for nine months, from time or arrival at Springfield. It was recorded that he had been delivered to Lieutenant J. Grace.
George was mustered into service for at least a couple other short periods. He served six days with Lieutenant Abiel Whitmarsh's company of Colonel Thomas Carpenter's regiment on an alarm from Rhode Island. They marched on July 29, 1780 to Tiverton, RI. He served another six days with Captain Brightman's company of Colonel James Dean's regiment, starting from March 8, 1781. The company was detached from Freetown, Berkley and Dighton.
He probably relocated to Rhode Island, because on March 15, 1782, while a resident of Smithfield, Providence County, RI, he enlisted for nine months with Captain Humphrey's company of Colonel Jeremiah Olney's Regiment. According to George's description of his service in his pension application, the company marched to Philadelphia, where they stayed for three or four months, then marched on to Peekskill and Saratoga, NY. He was discharged at Saratoga, New York on Dec. 19, 1782.
It is not known if he returned to Massachusetts or Rhode Island after his army service. He may have simply stayed in Vermont. Ebenezer Austin was in Windham County, VT by 1781, because that is the year that he was married in Putney, VT to Susannah Negus. The marriage was performed by the same justice of the peace, who later married George Austin and Lois Nichols. This Ebenezer Austin is presumed to be the son of Nathaniel Austin and Abigail Richmond. His birth date of Aug. 10, 1753 and parents' names are recorded in Dighton, MA. This Ebenezer Austin died in 1799, while a resident of Brookline, Windham Co., VT. Asa Austin witnessed his will, which is recorded in Vol. 2, page 43 of the Westminster District Probate Court records. Cyrus Whitcomb, Jr. was named as administrator for the estate, and Ebenezer Wellman was appointed to take an inventory. These names are significant because George Austin's son, Jonathan, later married Cynthia Whitcomb; and Ebenezer Wellman was married to Sarah Austin, a known daughter of Nathaniel Austin and Abigail Richmond.
In any case, George Austin was in Townshend by the mid 1780s. He purchased two parcels of land from Garner Rawson in 1786 and 1787, totalling about 53 acres, and adjoining land owned by Elias Holbrook, and Captain Ezra Holbrook. These deeds are recorded in Townshend deed books: Vol. 2, page 42 and Vol. 2, page 184.
In 1790, George appeared on the census list for Townshend, Windham County, Vermont, along with Asa Austin and Jonas Whitcomb. In 1792, he was married to "Lois" Nichols in Putney, Windham County, VT by Justice of the Peace Noah Sabin, Jr. His name appeared continually on the tax lists and census enumerations for Townshend, Windham County. When he applied for his army pension in 1819, George was a resident of Townshend, VT. He was aged 56 at that time. The pension was granted, but then soon disallowed. It was suspended under act May 1, 1820. That's why, in 1821, George traveled to Smithfield, Providence County, Rhode Island, where he had enlisted in Captain Humphrey's company of Colonel Jeremiah Olney's Regiment in 1782, and reapplied for a pension. He claimed he was a resident of Smithfield, although he had been on every census and tax list from Townshend since 1790. At that time, he referred to his wife aged 59 and a daughter aged 15. The pension was granted, George returned to Townshend "to be near his son Jonathan," and applied to transfer his benefits to VT. After his death, George's widow, Lydia, was allowed a pension on her application from 1853. She resided in Chester, Windsor County, VT.
In 1820, at about the time he applied for his army pension, George Austin transferred 52 acres 123 rods to his son, Jonathan, in exchange for $600. See deed volume 6, page 542. The land adjoined Arba Holbrook and heirs of Jared Holbrook. In another deed, recorded in vol. 7, page 318, Jonathan agreed to lease the farm back to his father and to provide for George and his wife "Loisa" for the duration of their lives. He also agreed to permit Polly and Arvilla Austin to live with his parents, in their home, as long as they remained single or unmarried.
In 1825, George Austin purchased a small 30-acre farm from his son Arnold Austin. See deed Vol. 8, page 79. This farm was located in the North part of Townshend, adjoining Lyman Brigham, the Athens town line and lands formerly owned by Jeshuran Walker. This same land had been sold by Daniel Barnes to George Austin Jr. in 1820 (Deed Vol. 6, page 431). George Austin Jr. lived on this farm for a time, but then sold it to his brother Arnold Austin in 1822, before he moved to Franklin County, NY (Deed Vol. 7, page 339). At some time, George Austin Sr. moved to this smaller farm, leaving the larger one to his son Jonathan. At the time of his death, in 1845, George owned just this smaller 30-acre tract. A series of deeds from 1845 and 1846 reveal the identities of George's seven living children. These heirs all sold their "undivided one seventh" shares "of the farm on which George Austin lived before his decease" to Archelaus Bixby. These seven children were:
1. Polly Burt, wife of Warner Burt (see Deed Vol. 13, page 364 and Vol. 13, page 365)
2. Jonathan Austin (see Deed Vol. 13, page 365)
3. Arnold Austin (see Deed Vol. 13, page 365)
4. Lydia Lowe, wife of Lodowick Lowe (see Deed Vol. 13, page 365)
5. Arvilla Simpson, wife of Willard Simpson (see Deed Vol. 13, page 365)
6. Hiram Austin, "of parts unknown" (see Deed Vol. 13, page 376 and Vol. 14, page 29)
7. George Austin, Jr. of Brandon, Franklin Co., NY (see Deed Vol. 13, page 376 and Vol. 14, page 30)
Another child, Rufus Austin, died in 1817, and is buried in Wiswall Cemetery, where George and Louisa are buried.
Another possible child is the Mary Austin, who married Abishai Bailey in 1831 in Townshend. The AFAOA database lists her as a child of George and Lois, along with Jonathan, Arnold, Lydia, Rufus and Arvilla. The source is Edith Austin Moore's book, "A Genealogy of the Descendants of Robert Austin of Kingstown, Rhode Island." However, the book does not reveal the source of this information. This Mary Austin was born about 1809 in VT. She and her husband are found on the 1850 census for Townshend, but they moved to Saratoga Springs, NY before 1855. She died at Saratoga Springs in 1856, and is buried in Maple Grove Cemetery in Townshend. She is not named as one of the heirs of George Austin, even though she was alive and living in Townshend in 1845. Perhaps Abishai Bailey married "Maria" after his first wife, Mary Austin, died, but another marriage record has not been found in the Townshend records. Or, perhaps this Mary Austin is not a daughter of George and Louisa, but is the daughter of Asa Austin or someone else. She might be the daughter of Appollos Austin, who is another presumed son of Nathaniel Austin and Abigail Richmond. This Appollos Austin lived alongside the other Austins from Dighton in the 1790 Putney census and the 1800 Brookline census. He also appeared in the Townshend town records in 1807 and 1809, as a candidate for councilor. See Townshend town records Vol. A, pages 175 and 196 (microfilm #0029009). He was elected in 1807, but did not get enough votes in 1809 to be reelected. Appollos had married Polly Holbrook in 1791 in Putney, and might have relocated to Townshend along with George Austin, Nathaniel Austin and the many Holbrook families. He does not appear in the Townshend records after 1809, the year that Mary Austin was born. He might be the Appollos Austin who settled in Chazy, Clinton County, New York.
Father: Zachariah Austin b: 1699 in Taunton, Bristol Co., MA
Mother: Lydia Waldron b: BEF 1727
Louisa "Lois" Nichols b: 1762
27 JAN 1792
in Putney, Windham Co., VT by Noah Sabin, Jr., J.P.
- Lydia Austin b: 1793 in Windham Co., VT
- George Jr. Austin b: ABT 1794 in Townshend, Windham Co., VT
- Jonathan Austin b: 5 AUG 1796 in Townshend, Windham Co., VT
- Hiram Austin b: ABT 1798 in Townshend, Windham Co., VT
- Arnold Austin b: 9 MAR 1800 in Windham Co., VT
- Polly Austin b: ABT 1802
- Arvilla Austin b: 1 SEP 1806 in Townshend, Windham Co., VT
- Rufus Austin b: 1808 in Townshend, Windham Co., VT
- Mary? Austin b: ABT 1809 in VT
Lydia Mann b: 13 MAR 1767 in Chester, Windsor Co., VT
19 SEP 1839
in Chester, Windsor Co., VT by R.M. Ely, NAM