It became quite obvious as I researched the Partridge-Daniell connections in Medfield, that past genealogists had gotten a kinship determination incorrect. This article is an attempt to right their wrong, and as a result, correct what you may have recorded in your family tree.

Jameson states in his history that Joseph Daniell, son of Joseph and Mary (Fairbanks) Daniell, married Rachel Partridge, daughter of John and Magdalene (Bullard) Partridge. This is untrue. The will of John Partridge written in 1700 clearly bequeathes “unto my Son in Law Theophilus Clark and my Daughter Rachel his wife…” This evidence clearly defines that Rachel, the child of John and Magdalene, was both alive in 1700 and at that time married to Theophilus Clark. It is impossible then for her to be Rachel, wife of Joseph Daniell, who died in 1687. This mistake in identity probably originated in “A genealogical register of the descendants of the early planters of Sherborn, Holliston, and Medway, Massachusetts” by Abner Morse, p. 186, written in 1855, “v. Rachel, ’69, m. Joseph Daniel.” The misinformation is cleared up in 1887 in Tilden’s History of Medfield, but not in the manner genealogists may expect. To find the answer we must go back one more generation to Joseph’s father, Joseph Daniels.

Joseph Daniels was born about 1635 to Robert and Elizabeth Daniell. He likely removed from Cambridge to Medfield after his father’s death in 1655. About the age of 30 he married Mary Fairbanks on 16 Nov 1665, daughter of George and Mary (Adams) Fairbanks. Mary was born, 10 Sep 1647 and died 9 Jun 1682 [1]Medfield VR p. 206. The list of children born to them in Medfield were:

Joseph, b. 23 Sep 1666. [2]Medfield VR p. 44
Mary, b. Jul 1669. [3]Medfield VR p. 44
Samuel, b. 20 Oct 1671. [4]Medfield VR p. 44
Mehitabell, b. 10 Jul 1674. [5]Medfield VR p. 44
Elizabeth, b. 9 Mar 1678/9.[6]Medfield VR p. 44
Jeremiah, b. 17 Mar 1679-80. [7]Medfield VR p. 44 Died 16 Jun 1680. [8]Medfield VR p. 206
Eleazer, b. 9 Mar 1680/1. [9]Medfield VR p. 44

This ends the list of children attributed to Mary (Fairbanks) Daniell who died in Medfield on 9 Jun 1682.

The Medfield Vital Records also provide a list of children attributed to a Joseph and Rachel Daniels:

Jeremiah, b. 3 Nov 1684. [10]Medfield VR p. 44
Rachel, b. 10 Oct 1686. [11]Medfield VR p. 44
Zechariah, b. 9 Apr 1687. [12]Medfield VR p. 44, record states 1689, [?1687]. 1687 is the more likely choice.

Finally, Joseph Jr. and Bethia Daniels are recorded in the Medfield Vital Records as having the following children:

Samuel, b. 25 Dec 1693. [13]Medfield VR p. 44
Joseph, b. 15 Dec 1695. [14]Medfield VR p. 44
David, b. 21 Feb 1698/9. [15]Medfield VR p. 44
Hannah, b. 30 Sep 1701. [16]Medfield VR p. 44
Ezra, b. 10 Mar 1703. [17]Medfield VR p. 44
Sarah, b. 1 May 1707. [18]Medfield VR p. 44

We also know this couple had the following two other children:

Abigail, b. 15 Mar 1715. [19]Medway VR p. 45
Tamar, b. 17 Mar 1717. [20]Medway VR p. 51

As one can see from the lists above the 3 different couples do not overlap in births of children, and an incorrect interpretation can cause additional confusion. Lacking the actual marriage record for Joseph Daniell and Rachel we are left to deduce which of the two Josephs, father or son, is the one who married Rachel . To that point, I argue the following two points in favor of it being the father and can find none in favor of it being the son.

The Joseph who married Bethia Breck is identified twice as Jr. in the Vital Records of Medfield for their six children, while the Joseph who had three children with Rachel _______ is never identified in that manner.

Joseph Jr. would have only been 17 when Rachel _______ conceived Jeremiah, a much younger age than men married at that time in Medfield.

The will of Joseph Sr. was written on 29 May 1713 and he bequeaths to his wife Lydia, eldest son Joseph, Ebenezer, and youngest son Jeremiah. He did not name his daughters, but left them his house and land in Boston. The younger Jeremiah born in 1779/80 died only a couple of months of age. He is therefor referring to the second Jeremiah, son of Joseph and Rachel . This then attributes the marriage of Rachel to the father.

A side note. It is interesting to see that Jonathan Partridge signed the will of Daniel as a witness along with Ebenezer Thompson and Jasper Adams. The only Jonathan Partridge living in the area in 1713 was 10 year old Jonathan (1693-1758), son of John (1656-1743). The fact that John named his first son Jonathan may portend that he went by the name of Jonathan himself at times during his life. I will need to see further evidence though. This will is a copy of the original and written in one hand, so the signature is not a real signature and cannot be used for comparison. John Partridge (1656-1743) usually went by John, or John Jr. in the records. If this John is also Jonathan, as I believe him to be, then he is brother-in-law to Ebenezer and Jeremiah Daniell, who themselves are brother’s to Joseph Daniell, the incorrectly placed husband of Rachel Partridge. One can see with this evidence how the early “genealogists” without looking at John’s will, and without a marriage record to guide them, could have made the incorrect determination, attributing three Daniell brothers to have married three Partridge sisters.

In actuality, the Joseph Daniell who married Rachel _______ and then had three children by her, was actually the father Joseph, who married first, Mary Fairbanks and had seven children. After her death in 1682, he married Rachel Sheffield, and had the three children which have been attributed to Rachel Partridge and Joseph Daniell, Jr.

Jasper Adams (1647-1742) who also signed the will as a witness was a bachelor who lived near the present town of Holliston. He was the son of Henry and Elizabeth (Paine) Adams. Ebenezer Thompson, who also signed as a witness, married in 1713, Dorothy Fairbanks, niece of Joseph Daniels’ wife, Mary Fairbanks. At the time he signed the will he was also a bachelor. John Partridge (1662-1718/19) was a bachelor his entire life and resided in Medfield. Is it possible this Jonathan refers to him instead of John Partridge (1656-1743) ?


1 Medfield VR p. 206
2 Medfield VR p. 44
3 Medfield VR p. 44
4 Medfield VR p. 44
5 Medfield VR p. 44
6 Medfield VR p. 44
7 Medfield VR p. 44
8 Medfield VR p. 206
9 Medfield VR p. 44
10 Medfield VR p. 44
11 Medfield VR p. 44
12 Medfield VR p. 44, record states 1689, [?1687]. 1687 is the more likely choice.
13 Medfield VR p. 44
14 Medfield VR p. 44
15 Medfield VR p. 44
16 Medfield VR p. 44
17 Medfield VR p. 44
18 Medfield VR p. 44
19 Medway VR p. 45
20 Medway VR p. 51