Rowland Stebbins was born in Stebbing (Parish of Bocking), Essex County, England and baptised on 5 November of 1592 at St. Mary's Parish. In the baptism register his name was recorded as Rowlandus. On 30th of November, 1618 Rowland Stebing married Sarah Whiting. A record of this was found in the same parish register as "1618 Rowlandus Stebbing & Sara Whiting nupti 30 November". Rowland and Sarah had 4 children together there. Rowland Stebbins sailed from Ipswich, England On the ship "Francis" with his wife Sarah Whiting and his young children Thomas, John, Sarah and Elizabeth in 1634. Also listed with the family on the ship reigter was Mary Winche age 15. It is unknown who she was in relation to the family. They settled for a short time in Roxbury, Massachusetts. The descendants of Rowland Stebbins have played key roles in the local history of Springfield, Northampton, Westfield and Deerfield.
Around 1639 Rowland Stebbins moved to Springfield. He received his first plots of land there in 1640. He owned land on both sides of the Connecticut River as shown in this early land map. He also owned a home lot just north of Union Street and a plot of land between Mill River and Pecowsic Brook. The plots of land were awarded with a condition that the recipient live on the land for a period of years. In Springfield the condition was based on 5 years or the land would be forfeited back to the town. Rowland Stebbins was a freeman, a seat holder in the meeting house and a surveyor. He left Springfield for Northampton on an unknown date between 1664 and 1669. The first proof of his presence in Northampton was in 1669 when he wrote his will. He died in Northampton on 14 of December 1691. He is buried at the Bridge Street Cemetery in Northampton. His original tombstone was lost to time, however, in 1850 a descendant found his original place of burial in the records and marked the spot with a new tombstone. That tombstone erected in 1850 can be seen here.
LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT of Rowland Stebbins, dated the first day of the first month, 1669
"Know all men by these presents, that I Rowland Stebbins of Northampton Hampshire, in the Colony of Massachusetts: having my perfect memory,through the goodness of GOD, though very weak and sick in body, wayting for my great Change, w'ch I desire the Lord in mercy to fit me for -- doe make and ordayne this to be my last will and testament -- viz In fe Icommitt my soule to God, that made it, and to the Lord Jesus Christ that redeemed it, by his most precious blood: and doe hope it shall be united to him forever, and my body to be in comly and decent manner buryed,hoping at the Great Day of the Resurection, the Lord Jesus will change the vile body, and fashion it like to his Glorious body and so shall beforever with the Lord.
Also I do make my beloved Son John Stebbins to be my full and Sole Executor which I hope will be faithful in all things committed to his trust -- Also will and desire is that all my Just debts and funeral expenses be satisfyed & paid, and as concerning my outward and worldly Estate, that the Lord in his mercy hath given unto me I dispose of in this manner:
Viz. I give and bequeath unto my beloved Son Thomas Stebbins he several children twenty Shillings apiece, to be paid within three years after my decease those that be of age, the Sons to be twenty-one years -- and daughters Eighteen years. I give and bequeath to my son John's Children that is to say to John Stebbins his first born an Iron pott, my bed and bed clothes and all that belongs to it. My best Jackett & wascotte, myold coate and worst paire of gray stockings. I give and bequeath to Benoni Stebbins my best Breeches and new cotton wescotte & twenty shillings -- I give and bequeath to my son John's son Samuel my oldKersey Sute and twenty shillings. I give and bequeath to my son John's other six Children to be paid unto them when they come to age twenty Shillings apeece. I give and bequeath to my son in Law Merricks three daughters, twenty Shillings apiece, to Sarah, Mary and Hannah to be paid within three years after my decease. I give and bequeath to my beloved Daughter Elizabeth Clarke three pounds to be paid within three years and to her three Children twenty Shillings apeece to be paid within three years after my decease, and to Mary the Bell Metal Skillet. I give and bequath to Mary Maunde ten shillings to be paid within a yeere after my desease. I give and bequeath to my son John Stebbins my Great Brass pott and be best coate, and to my son Johns Wife my best stockings, and as for the rest of my Estate that remaynes my will is, that it should be equally divided between my two beloved sons Thomas Stebbins and John Stebbins.
Also my desire is that my much honored friend Cap't John Pynchon and mybeloved brother Robert Bartlett, would be in the overseers of this mylast will and testament. That this is my last will and Testament Ideclare by setting my hand and Seale the first day of the first monthAnno Domini 1669-70. My will is that my son John Stebbins doe keepe thismy last will and testament.
signum ROWLAND STEBBINS
Signed and Sealed in ye presence of William James, Thomas Hanchett, sen'r.
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