Tuesday, June 19, 2018

William OTWELL (1610-1690), married KENNER

Edna OTWELL-SIM > Edwin > Maurice > John F. > William > Francis > William OTTWELL > Francis OTWELL > Charles OTWELL > Francis OTWELL > William OTWELL

The following (indented) is from the research of Rev. Edward H. OTWELL and Edward BREGENZER’s The Otwell Manuscript (The Otwells in America Since 1619) which is a compilation of their research on the Otwell family history, dated 1998. (You can find a link to this document on our resource page.)
  • William was born about 1610 in England. He was married in England to a woman with surname KENNER. William had at least 4 children born in the colonies: our ancestor Francis, Richard and 2 daughters.
  • It is believed that William was the son of Thomas OTWELL who came to the colonies from England. 
  • On the north end of Chesapeake Bay, Kent Island was an English settlement with a trading post as early as 1629. Between 1631 and 1638, colonist were brought north to settle the area. In 1636, William and his brother John travelled to Northumberland and Kent Island. John died and William settled on a tobacco farm somewhere on the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay.
The document linking William to the KENNER family is interesting. Richard KENNER’s will of 17 September 1627, proved 13 November 1627, states: “Residue to my sons in law William OTWELL als STEVENS and Thomas SKAY executors.” This indicates that William also used the surname STEVENS, at least when he was in England, and leaves us with many questions as to his true identity and the origins of the OTWELL surname.

On the eastern shores of the Chesapeake Bay stands a house known today as "The Otwell".  We have not found evidence that William lived here, but the Otwell Manuscript says that this land was under legal dispute for many years and our William was involved in the dispute. In 1659, the area was platted for the first time by William TAYLOR, who grew up there.  It encompassed about 500 acres, a house and some outbuildings. Originally known as "The House of William Taylor", it  is now known as “The Otwell” and believed to be named after either TAYLOR's mother's or wife’s family. Successive owners built onto the original house.  The document from the National Registry of Historic Places does not list owners prior to 1659, so we do not have evidence that this house or land was owned by our ancestor.

William was known to have travelled from Virginia
thru Northumberland to Kent Island.

"The Otwell" still exists today and was highlight in National Geographic magazine (April 1955). Where Land and Water Intertwine: An Architectural History of Talbot County, Maryland by Christopher WALES, 1984 has more information on this building. Our cousin Jim O. visited this location a few years ago and shared these photos:
The Otwell, photo courtesy cousin Jim O.
Front gate of The Otwell, photo courtesy cousin Jim O.
(I wonder who planted those trees.)
Little Otwell Road, photo courtesy cousin Jim O.

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