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Descendants of John Niles

Generation No. 1

1. JOHN1 NILES was born Abt. 1603 in (Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales) Welsh Border, Great Britain, and died February 08, 1692/93 in Braintree, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts1. He married (1) JANE ?REED Abt. 1636 in Braintree, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts, daughter of WILLIAM READE and LUCY HENEAGE. She was born Abt. 1611 in St. Peter's, Maidstone, Canterbury, Kent, England, and died May 15, 1654 in Braintree, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts1. He married (2) HANNAH UNKNOWN Abt. 1656 in Braintree, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts. She was born February 1617/18 in of Braintree, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts, and died January 31, 1702/03 in Braintree, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts.

Notes for J
"JOHN NILES1 is believed to be the ancestor of all persons bearing the name in this country. It is said that he was from Wales. He was b. about 1603; came to New England; was of Dorchester, 1634; of Braintree, 1639; freeman, May 26, 1647." Family tradition has held that he came to New England on the ship 'Speedwell.'

He was a weaver. His wife, the mother of six sons and a daughter, whose names appear on Braintree Records, was JANE ------; she d. May 15, 1654. Whether he was ever married again is not quite certain; but I find the following in Marshall’s Diary: "Old goodwife Niles died Jan. 31, 1702-3." The wife of neither of the sons would thus be spoken of, when not over the age of sixty. It seems quite probable, then, that John Niles, the emigrant, had a second wife; that her name was HANNAH; that she was the mother of Isaac, below; (9) and that she d. as above, Jan. 31, 1702-3. "Old John Niles, aged about 91 years, died Feb. 8, 1693-4." (Braintree Records." (The Vinton Memorial, p. 344) His second wife Hannah was the widow of William Ames.

"John1 Niles, born about 1603 in England is first of record when as John Nile. He shared in the allotment of lands on Neponset River, near the mill, Sep.1,1634. He again shared in Dorchester lands in 1637, but evidently soon came to Braintree where all of his children are recorded in the early records of the town which was founded in 1640. "Old John Niles" died Feb.8,1693/4, aged "about 91 years" at Braintree. He lived for a time, at least previous to 1648 on present Elm St. Braintree, between it and Monatiquot River where he had 2 1/2 acres that were purchased by Richard Thayer (S.D. 5-455). This was one of the small lots in the vicinity of the iron works forge. His son Samuel acquired a large tract of land in present Randolph where by tradition he is said to be the first settler. This was procured at the time Andross was Governor when two other tracts were invalid after his downfall and the lands were granted to others after their purchase in 1700 from Boston by Braintree men. The Nile's land, however, was granted to sons of John Niles in 1700 as proprietors of the Purchase Lands, and this might tend to confirm the tradition that it already had been settled upon by the family. This is, however, very doubtful at best, as no one could have had title to this land between 1688 and 1700 except the town of Boston, part of whose common lands it was." (Sprague, 3534)

John 1 Niles' birthplace: The late G. Caspar of Dorset VT found in 1949 a Nile or Nyle family in Beaminster, Dorset, England. He found no other family of that name elsewhere in English records. In 1986, Gerald Parsons, F.A.S.G., obtained a LDS Church microfilm of the Beaminster parish records which start in 1585. Parsons found records for a John Nile, son of John Nyle, baptized on 10 Jan 1607/8, and for a John, son of William Nyle, baptized 7 Jun 1612, and for a John, son of Richard Nyle, born on 10 Apr 1625. Joseph, William & Nathaniel, are some of the given names that appear in these records and are some of the same names John 1 Niles gave his own sons. John 1 Niles is said to have died at about the age of 91 in 1693/4 (born ca.1603). This indicates his exact age was unknown. If his age was an exaggeration he may have been the John Nile who was baptized 10 Jan 1607/8 or the one baptized 7 Jun 1612. The holders of the Nile name were among the labor class in the year 1525 according to Mrs Marie de G. Eedle in her book, A History of Beaminster (1984), p. 63. John 1 Niles of Dorchester, Mass, was a weaver by trade. County Dorset is known for its weaving and sheep raising industry. These are perhaps the best clues found yet to the birthplace of John 1 Niles of Dorchester & Braintree, Mass. (from Allen D. Niles)

Vinton, in his 1859 book Vinton Family (and Savage if I recall correctly) remarked that "John Niles is generally accepted as the original progenitor of all families by the Niles name in North America." That wasn't ever true. One example would be Tobias Neale who came over in the late 1600's to Philadelphia and adopted the Niles spelling for his own name. Tobias's grandson was the famous publisher Hezekiah Niles for whom the cities of Niles, MI, & OH, are named. A Jonathan Nile was at Hull, Mass., in 1680. (Austin's Dictionary of Rhode Is, has a Nicholas Niles in RI in 1646; however, Austin erred as the correct surname was Wyle, not Nyle or Niles.) Also, during the mid 1850 emigrants from Ireland & Norway adopted the Niles spelling for their own names. Generalities make for nice quotes but exceptions usually can be found. (from Allen D. Niles)

Notes for J
Tradition has it that John 1 Niles' first wife was Jane Reed born ca.1611 at Maidstone or St Peters at Canterbury, County Kent, England, the daughter of Wm & Lucy (Henage) Reed. No proof of her birth nor record of her marriage to John Niles has been found in the records of England or Colonial New England. Her name does not appear in the Reed families who emigrated to New England. It seems unlikely they would even have met while in England considering the distance between Kent & Dorset Counties. She may have come over on the same ship with another family and made the acquaintance of John during the voyage. It seems unlikely they were married much before 1 Sep 1634 when John received his first grant of land at Dorchester, Mass. Otherwise, their first child born here would have likely been born sooner than 16 Feb 1636/7. Jane's surname remains a mystery. (From Allen D. Niles)

Notes for H
Jane's surname remains a mystery as does the surname of John's second wife, Hannah (__) Ames, widow of the attorney Wm Ames. The name "Adams" has been posted on the internet as Hannah's surname, but I don't know the source of that claim nor the proof. Until proof is provided it should be written as: Hannah [?Adams] (Ames) Niles or Hannah (___) Ames, widow of William. (From Allen D. Niles)
Children of J
2. i.   HANNAH2 NILES, b. February 16, 1636/37, Braintree, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts; d. January 15, 1701/02.
3. ii.   JOHN NILES, b. March 04, 1638/39, Braintree, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts; d. September 07, 1683, New Shoreham, Block Island, Washington Co., Rhode Island.
4. iii.   JOSEPH NILES, b. August 15, 1640, Braintree, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts; d. Bef. 1694, Braintree, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts.
5. iv.   CAPT. NATHANIEL NILES, b. August 16, 1642, Braintree, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts; d. December 22, 1727, Braintree, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts.
6. v.   LIEUT. SAMUEL NILES, b. May 12, 1644, Braintree, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts; d. November 23, 1715, Braintree, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts.
7. vi.   INCREASE NILES, b. December 16, 1646, Braintree, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts; d. September 01, 1693, Braintree, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts.
8. vii.   BENJAMIN NILES, b. February 01, 1650/51, Braintree, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts; d. October 12, 1712, Lyme, New London Co., Connecticut.
  viii.   ISAAC2 NILES, b. April 02, 1658, Braintree, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts1; d. January 30, 1659/60, Braintree, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts1.

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