Trumbold Families

Samuel Twombly



Samuel Twombly was born August 26, 1772, to Joshua and Hannah Twombly in Madbury, New Hampshire.   Most family histories that mention Samuel refer to him as Samuel O. Twombly which is a misinterpretation of handwriting that occurred when the record of his children’s births was listed in the Sheffield, Vermont Town Record.  I have seen and copied the original document and the swirling curlicue in front of the “T” in Twombly looks like it could be an “O”.  This misinterpretation was recorded in the LDS Family Search record, was perpetuated, and gives rise to a popular misconception.  Samuel never used an initial in any other documents that I have found in New Hampshire, Vermont, or Illinois, and his family never referred to him as Samuel “O”.


Our first records of Samuel are in Sheffield about 17961.   Historical accounts 2say that the marriage of Capt. Samuel Twombly and Elizabeth Gray was the first marriage performed in Sheffield, Vermont, although no date is given (approximately 1796?).  She was born July 2, 1779.  They had the following children:


Polley (or Mary), born November 20, 1798

George G. Twombly, born August 11, 1804

Calvin A., born January 25, 1807

Almina, born March 8, 1809 who married William Nokes

Almira, born March 8, 1809 who married Jefferson Cleaves

Hannah, born September 12, 1811 who married John Nokes

Elizabeth, born November 21, 1820 who married George Nokes

Sarah, born November 29, 1828 who married James Lambert


The first six children were born in Sheffield, Vermont3, and the others in Swanton, Vermont.


The 1790 Vermont census states that Sheffield was not inhabited but the 1800 Vermont census, Sheffield, Caledonia County, lists Samuel Twombley whose household had

          1 free white male, aged 26 - 45            Samuel, 28

          1 free white female, aged 16-26           Elizabeth 21

          1 free white female under 10                Mary/Polley, 2


In 1799, Samuel Twombley of Wheelock purchased Lot #15 of the First Division except for 25 acres in Sheffield4.


In 1800, his father, Joshua, purchased approximately 140 acres in Sheffield, Vermont5 (Lot #16 in the First Division purchased for $280), presumably for his son.  In 1803, Joshua sold 115 acres of this land to another son, Jacob, who then moved to Sheffield6.


Samuel must have been one of Sheffield's earliest settlers.  At the first town meeting held March 31, 1796, he was voted Hog Reeve.  His children born before 1811 are listed in the Sheffield Town Record.  Samuel's name appears frequently in the town record because he was chosen selectman several times and was assigned various town duties from 1801 through 1805.  At a meeting on March 29, 1801, Samuel Twombly was chosen a select man.  He was also trustee for the school.


1810 Vermont census

     Samuel Twambly, Caledonia County, Sheffield, page 163

          1 FWM aged 26 -45       Samuel, 38

          1 FWF aged 26-45         Elizabeth, 31

          2 FWM   under 10         George, 6; Calvin, 3

          1    "    aged 10-16               ?

          1    "    aged 16-26               ?

          2 FWF under 10               twins, 1

          1   "     aged 10-16          Mary/Polley, 12

          1   "     aged 16-26               ?


Also living in Sheffield are Samuel's brother, Jacob Twambly, and his family of 8; David, Enoch, Joseph, and Stephen Drown; Henry, James, Jonathon, and Joseph Gray.  I don't know who else is living with the Samuel Twombleys, but it is possible it is his or Elizabeth's brothers or sisters.


His brother, Jacob, and his family joined Samuel in Sheffield before 1810.  Jacob may have then moved to nearby Orleans County and had a son he named Samuel which is causing some confusion in printed genealogies.  By 1820 a Daniel Twambly is shown as living in Sheffield as well.


Samuel apparently sold his portion of Lot #15 to Joseph Lord on March 10, 18127.  It must not have gone into effect because in 1819 there is a deed stating that Samuel sold his land to George Gray for $20008. Samuel apparently moved to Swanton, Franklin County, Vermont, in time to be included in its 1820 census.


1820 Vermont census

     Daniel Twambly, Cal 063 Sheffield

     Jacob Twambly,     "     "         "

     Samuel Twanby (?sic) Swanton, Franklin County, page 209

          1 FWM aged over 45      Samuel, 48

          1 FWF aged 26-45         Elizabeth, 41

          2 FWM aged 10-16        Geo, 16; Cal, 13

          2 FWF aged 10-16          twins, 11

          2   "     under 10              Hannah, 9; Elizabeth, 1


Samuel is listed on the same page as Jacob Noaks which may mean they lived near each other.  Mary/Polley must have married (she would have been 22) or died before 1820. 


1830 Vermont census

     Samuel Twamly     Franklin County, Swanton  page 110

          1 FWM aged 60-70         Samuel, 58?

          1 FWF  aged 60-70         Elizabeth, 51?

          1   "      aged 30-40          Mary, 32?: widow?


The Twomblys and the Nokes' must have lived near each other because from 1826 through 1840 three Nokes brothers married three Twombly sisters.  I can find no record of these marriages, however, in the Highgate or Swanton records where I knew these families lived.  (Swanton's records begin with 1826 because they had a previous fire).


By 1830 only 1 female aged 30-40 was living with Samuel and Elizabeth.


On page 109 of the 1830 census, Samuel's son, George, is also listed (aged 26) with presumably his wife (aged 20-30), a girl under 5 years and a boy aged 15-20 (that I can't place - perhaps a brother?)


The Samuel Twombly family had moved to New York along with several Nokes families by 1840. The entry in the 1840 New York federal census reads:


Samuel Twombly, Franklin County, Duane Township, page 224

     1 Male 10-15

     1 Male 70-80   Samuel, age 68 (?)

     1 Female 60-70 Elizabeth, age 61 (?)


This entry follows those of Jacob, Jr., John (son-in-law), and George (son-in-law) Nokes who were likely neighbors.


Between 1840 and 1842, Almina and William Nokes were in Illinois because there is record of the birth of their daughter, Velida, in 1842 in Illinois.  Other Nokes and Twombly families came to Brown County, Illinois in the mid 1840s and Samuel Twombly must have been in Illinois about the same time because he died on June 15, 1846, and was buried in Cleaves Cemetery, Brown County, Illinois9. 


1850 Illinois census (Brown County, Township 1S4W [Lee], page 16 - next to William Nokes) shows

     Elizabeth Twombly, 72, born New Hampshire


Samuel’s wife, Elizabeth, lived until October 1859 and she was buried next to her husband in Cleaves Cemetery in Brown County, Illinois10.


Source Notes

1.      Sheffield, Caledonia County [VT] Town Record, 1796.

2.      Lamb, Alfred S: Sheffield, Vermont Historical Magazine [issue unknown], pages 413-414.

3.      Sheffield, Caledonia County [VT] Town Record, page 210 – 211.

4.      Sheffield Town Record, Recorded July 8, 1799, pages 35-36, Joseph Tasker to Samuel Twombley.

5.      Sheffield, Caledonia County [VT] Town Record, December 16, 1800, page 68-69, Joseph Place to Joshua Twombly.

6.      Barrington, Strafford County [NH] Town Record, 1803, page 127, Joshua Twombly to Jacob Twombly.

7.      Sheffield, Caledonia County [VT] Town Record, March 10, 1812, Samuel Twombly to Joseph Lord.

8.      Sheffield, Caledonia County [VT] Town Record, January 6, 1819, Samuel Twombly to George Gray.

9.      The Brown County [IL] Board of the Schuyler Brown Historical and Genealogical Society, Cemeteries of Brown County [IL] 1825-1972, Stevens Publishing Company, Astoria, Illinois, 1975, page 97, Samuel Twombly.

10.  The Brown County [IL] Board of the Schuyler Brown Historical and Genealogical Society, Cemeteries of Brown County [IL] 1825-1972, Stevens Publishing Company, Astoria, Illinois, 1975, page 97, Elizabeth Twombly.