Blended wives

"Two ladies and an officer seated at tea," 1715. Courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

After reading Alicia Crane Williams’ recent post on Nathaniel Glover of Dorchester, I was reminded of a Glover ancestor of my own, Uriah Glover of Long Island, New York. Looking back through my notes and revisiting “all things Uriah,” I recalled that Uriah’s first wife Sarah Hopkins was an alleged descendant of that old tempest himself, Mayflower passenger Stephen Hopkins.

Since I'm always on the hunt for any elusive Mayflower line, I had to check it out. Unfortunately, I recalled that this possible connection had already been long since debunked, and my chances of picking up another line to Plymouth Rock were (yet again) quickly dashed against said rock.[1] Regardless of those crashing waves, I wanted to take a closer look at the lives of Uriah and Sarah and see what I could find out about them. I figured I could always use another "supplemental" in the General Society of my many unproven lineages anyway. (Wink!)

My ancestor Uriah Glover was likely born about 1704 on Shelter Island in Suffolk County, New York. I found no record of this; just his implied age at the time of his marriage to Sarah Hopkins, and the hint that “the Glovers” had been on Long Island for several decades prior.[2] Their marriage is mentioned in a couple of sources, and while the proof for Sarah’s Mayflower ancestry quickly dissolves, their marriage record gives a reasonable starting point to their lives. However, in looking for any additional records to tell Uriah’s story, the only thing I could find was a transcription of his will and a (presumed) baptismal record for his youngest son Charles in 1749. Uriah’s will, drawn up in 1762, lists bequests to six of his children and to his wife Martha. There is no further mention any wife called Sarah.[3]

Sarah Hopkins's debunked Mayflower ancestry.

Strangely, and with the usual lack of proof, many family trees divide Uriah’s six children into two groups, three children by each wife. These trees allege a date of death for Uriah’s first wife Sarah (Hopkins) Glover as “sometime around 1736” and attribute the birth of Uriah’s last three children to his wife Martha. Yet I could find no record of Sarah’s death anywhere,[4] and little in the way of birth dates for his children. Additionally, I was unable to locate any marriage record for "the widower" Uriah Glover to anyone (let alone to someone named Martha) before or after the time frame 1726-62. I realize that this doesn’t mean anything, yet it appears that the only proof of the wives of Uriah Glover are in the record of his first marriage to Sarah and that he happened to refer to a wife called Martha when he prepared his will.

Still, the internet trolls be damned! With no death record for Sarah (Hopkins) Glover, and without even the “reasonable hearsay” of a timeline for his wife Martha, many of these family trees go on to blend his two wives into one. In these family trees she is referred to literally as “Martha-Sarah” (Hopkins) Glover. (I suppose this moniker eliminates the problem of no death record for either wife, or for any marriage record of Martha to Uriah.) In these trees this “Martha-Sarah” Glover conglomeration is, like Martha herself, presumed living at the time of probate (1769). This “blended wife” hypothesis then conflicts with trees that assume Uriah’s wife Sarah died circa 1736. Still, the multiple “working theories” of (a) Sarah (Hopkins) Glover died young, (b) his second wife Martha was the mother of three of his children, and (c) that “Martha-Sarah” (whatever genealogical combo-platter with fries that is) actually existed all seem to discount another possibility.

For me, that possibility is that either of his wives could have been the mother of all of his children. While my personal genealogical bias is that Sarah (Hopkins) Glover was the children’s mother, and that he simply married Martha late in life … it truly could be either way. At the time Uriah Glover prepared his will (1762), he would have been roughly sixty years of age, and Sarah was evidently dead. Since there is no answer to the question When did Sarah die?, and since there is no mention of any “Mrs. Martha Glover” before this time (1762), we have no way of knowing who the mother of his children was.

It’s just as easy to postulate that Uriah married Martha in 1726 as it is in 1761. It is also just as reasonable to assume that Sarah (Hopkins) Glover died in childbirth with his last child (son Charles, born in 1749), and that he married Martha post-1749. There is no record that Martha was Charles’s mother. The record only states that Uriah was his father.[5] Because of this, and perhaps just for me, it becomes plausible that Martha was not the mother of any of his children, and that she was only Uriah’s wife at the time he drew up his will.

So, in my effort to clarify “all things Uriah,” I decided to put down what (for me) are the clearest assumptions about Uriah’s life based on the records I was able to find. Believe me, I know that there are and must be other records out there, and that my unorthodox attempt at a quasi-genealogical summary here must be adjusted if not proven wrong. In the meantime, and in the absence of any “blended wives,” I thought I would share with you what I’ve confected with regard to the unsweetened facts of Uriah’s life.


Uriah Glover was born ca. 1704, likely in Suffolk County on New York’s Long Island, and died before 20 November 1769, likely at Roxbury in Morris County, New Jersey. His parents are only speculated. He married, first, at Southold, Suffolk County 26 March 1725, Sarah Hopkins, daughter of William Hopkins and his wife Rebecca Havens.[6] She died after 1726. He married, second (likely at Morris County, New Jersey before 1762), Martha ____.

Uriah Glover names the following children in his will. Their birth order is uncertain:

  1. Rebecca Glover, b. after 1725 and d. after 1769. She m._____Hull, probably a kinsman of her sister Martha’s husband Samuel.[7]
  2. John Glover, b. after 1725 and d. after 1769, possibly the man who m. at Morristown, N.J. 14 Sept. 1747, Martha Lyon.[8]
  3. Deborah Glover, b. after 1725 and d. after 1769.
  4. Uriah Glover, b. ca. 1740[9] and d. at Lost River, Orange Co., Indiana 11 June 1830.[10]
  5. Martha Glover, b. ca. 1744; likely the same woman who m. Samuel Hull ca. 1758-64[11] and d. in Licking Co., Ohio 14 May 1825.[12]
  6. Charles Glover, bp. at Morristown, N.J. 6 Aug. 1749 and d. after 1769; n.f.r.

Now, I wish I could tell you that I have miraculously found the hidden key that not only fills in the blanks for Uriah and Sarah but also somehow connects my Glover kin back to Stephen Hopkins; obviously I can’t do that yet. What I hope to have done is to ‘distill the facts,’ dispelling random birth dates for children and any assumed dates (and lives) for wives and mothers along with the way. I also wanted to “banish the blended wife” that I found in Uriah’s tale.

It’s okay to say that “we don’t know” something. Further, if we must extrapolate a genealogical theory, let it be a bare-bones one. If you will, let it be one that doesn’t reflect any more supposition than is necessary, and for God’s sake, please don’t let it be one that comes with any “combo-platter with fries” kinfolk or blended wives. To blend people is to manufacture people to fit any scenario. To accept this means we might as well give up genealogy and go back to logging Big Foot sightings in our own backyard. (No offense to Big Foot, as of course he or she is – or they are – always welcome here!)

A couple of weeks ago, Chris Child mentioned the problem of manufactured middle names and promised a “genealogical rant” about such things. As I complete this post about my ancestor Uriah Glover and my problem with his (often) blended wives, I can see that I may need to do a bit of time in the family history stockade for this myself. However, in attempting to tell Uriah’s story, I still believe that if I can be patient enough for new facts to arrive, I just might get lucky and end up discovering that runaway Mayflower line I’ve been looking for. In any event, there’s an eighteenth-century jailer from Suffolk County, Long Island at my door who time-traveled here to put me in said pillory.

Egads! It seems that I’m being charged with offending a “blended wife” or two. Guess I’d better run!


[1] John D. Austin, F.A.S.G., Mayflower Families in Progress: Family of Stephen Hopkins, 3rd ed. (Plymouth, Mass.: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 2001), 6: 9. “[No] proof has been found and it appears most unlikely that this man was identical with William Hopkins (1660-1718) of Shelter Island, NY, who married Rebecca Havens.”

[2] Henry B. Hoff, Long Island Source Records from The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1987), p. 259.

[3] Jacob E. Mallman, Historical Papers on Shelter Island and its Presbyterian Church, with genealogical tables… (New York: A.M. Bustard Co., 1899), p. 182.

[4] No source was found to confirm that Sarah (Hopkins) Glover was dead by 1736 (or by any date before or after), only that Uriah Glover had remarried “Martha _____.”

[5] History of the First Presbyterian Church, Morristown, N.J. (Morristown: Banner Stream Print, 1885), 2: 86, for the baptism of Charles Glover, son of Uriah.

[6] There was some discussion that her maiden name is unknown. I have deferred to the reference to her in Austin, Mayflower Families in Progress: Family of Stephen Hopkins, 3rd ed., vol. 6 [Note 1].

[7] By reference to her name in Uriah’s will only.

[8] History of the First Presbyterian Church, Morristown, N.J., 2: 148.

[9] Indiana Magazine of History 35 [1939]: 352, statement made by John B. Glover, great grandson of Uriah Glover II: “My great grandfather was born in Long Island in 1740.”

[10] Margaret R. Waters, Revolutionary Soldiers Buried in Indiana (1949): with Supplement (1954) (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1999), p. 40. See also FindAGrave memorial no. 6649156.

[11] Col. Charles H. Weygant, The Hull Family in America (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1913), p. 275.

[12] memorial no. 103857979 for Martha (Glover) Hull.

Jeff Record

About Jeff Record

Jeff Record received a B.A. degree in Philosophy from Santa Clara University, and works as a teaching assistant with special needs children at a local school. He recently co-authored with Christopher C. Child, “William and Lydia (Swift) Young of Windham, Connecticut: A John Howland and Richard Warren Line,” for the Mayflower Descendant. Jeff enjoys helping his ancestors complete their unfinished business, and successfully petitioned the Secretary of the Army to overturn a 150 year old dishonorable Civil War discharge. A former Elder with the Mother Lode Colony of Mayflower Descendants in the State of California, Jeff and his wife currently live with their Golden Retriever near California’s Gold Country where he continues to explore, discover, and research family history.View all posts by Jeff Record