|Battle of Worcester in Worcester, Worcestershire, England
|John & Sara, May 1652
|Prisoner and List:
|Other SPOW Associations:
Published: 30 Jul 2014, Updated: 09 April 2018
Page contributors: Teresa Rust
Daniel Robins, Daniell Robinson, Robbins, Robens, Robines
First Generation in the New World
1. DANIEL ROBINSON, was presumably born in Scotland. He married at New Haven, Connecticut on 10 Feb 1663, HOPE POTTER.
See: “Daniell Robinson Scottish POW also known as Daniel Robins
Written by Sara Robbins Hoffman for the Daniel Robinson/Robins family,” below!
Children of Daniel and Hope (Potter) Robinson: (Eleven children)
2. i. MARY ROBINSON, was born at New Haven in 1664.
2. ii. DANIEL ROBINSON (ROBBINSON), was born at New Haven in 1666.
2. iii. LYDIA ROBINSON (ROBINDS), was born at Woodbridge, New Jersey on 25 Jul 1668.
Sources and Notes:
Daniell Robinson Scottish POW also known as Daniel Robins
Written by Sara Robbins Hoffman for the Daniel Robinson/Robins family
Daniel Robinson, Robison, Robbinson, Robinds, Robens, Robins wrote no papers, letters or signed any document with his signature. We can determine after reviewing all available records for Daniel Robinson also known as Daniel Robins that he was unable to write. This conclusion was reached because Daniel Robins used a crude scribble of what appears to be the letter “D” as his mark on documents requiring a signature such as his will and deeds.
The name Daniell Robinson was recorded on May 13, 1652 in the Suffolk Deeds, Lib., 5, 6. The Suffolk Deeds of the Massachusetts Bay Colony contain a list of names of Scottish prisoners of war along with other documents pertaining to the voyage of the ship John and Sara from London, England to New England. The records were filed in Boston approximately three months after the ship John and Sara arrived in New England in the winter of 1652. Thirty-seven year old Edward Rawson, Secretary of the Massachusetts Bay Colony recorded the documents. The original papers were first penned in London before the ship John and Sara set sail in 1651. The name of the London recorder is unknown and by what means the names of the Scottish prisoners of war first came to him is also not known. Did the names come directly from the mouths of the prisoners of war to the London recorder or from a person or persons assigned to guard them? Was there a list of names written by another recorder or clerk and handed to the London recorder? Were the Scotsmen co-operative with their captors in providing them with their actual names? By whatever means the names originally came to the transcriber, it is evident they were not entirely accurate.
It appears none of the Scotsmen were able to pronounce their own name in a manner that was completely understood by the English recorder. From the perspective of the English recorder it is unlikely they were preoccupied with achieving any form of accuracy for the names of the prisoners. The intention of the English government was to dispose of the Scottish barbarians and in the process profit by selling them in the colonies. The records show the Scottish prisoners of war were expendable commodities, itemized along with the ship’s cargo to be sent with “household stuff and other provisions for Planters” and “to be disposed of.” Before the Scottish prisoners departed from England, they were herded into the bowels of the ship, fastened in irons and held in conditions unfit for any human being or animal. In light of this, it is doubtful a record their correct names were of very much importance to the English government.
Michael Tepper in reference to the Scottish prisoners of war named in the Suffolk Deeds writes in his book New World Immigrants “For some reason not apparent all the documents in this transaction, together with a list of names of these prisoners, were recorded in the Suffolk Deeds, possibly for permanent record in case of litigation. While this is fortunate for historical purposes, yet this list is not to be accepted as a true record of their correct names. It offers to the student in philology many puzzles left by the scribe in his attempts to spell out clan names of Gaelic origin, spoken in a dialect that defied reproduction in English. Most of these Scotchmen were unable to write, knew little English and as a result their names have undergone curious transformations.”
In 2005, I contacted Dr. David Dobson renowned Scottish author and researcher seeking information regarding any history he may have or any suggestions for research on our ancestor Daniel Robinson. Dr. Dobson informed me that despite repeated research on his part, there seems to be no military lists pertaining to the Scottish soldiers and there appears to be no records for these men other than what has been uncovered in the New England colony records. Dr. Dobson writes in his book Scots in New England 1623-1875 “Probably the only time that significant numbers of Scots settled in New England was in 1650-1651 when Oliver Cromwell dispatched hundreds of Scots prisoners of war, captured after the battles of Dunbar and Worcester, into exile or in the period immediately before the outbreak of the American Revolution when the Scots American Company of Farmers established a settlement in Vermont.” Daniel Robinson is first found in the Suffolk Deeds in 1652, New Haven Records in 1663 to 1666 and New Jersey records 1668 to 1714. The National Archives of Scotland has not produced any record of Daniel Robinson and he has not been located in documents published by the English government.
David Stevenson, professor emeritus of Scottish History at the University of St. Andrew’s in Scotland writes in his book Highland Warrior, Alasdair McColla and the Civil Wars “The origins of clans were thus diverse and complicated. Quite what the clans were in practice is both complicated and controversial. The modern image of the clan is a body of people related by blood, descended from a common ancestor, inhabiting a clan territory, ruled by a chief who is head of the clan, wearing a clan tartan and all having the same surname. The last of these two characteristics can easily be disposed of; tartans were worn, but there were no fixed clan tartans, and clansmen did not share a common surname, for the very good reason that until the seventeenth century most Highlanders had no fixed surnames.”
Professor Stevenson explains that not all clansmen who identified and lived under the protection of a clan were related by blood. He writes “probably the majority, of lesser men who followed a chief were not really his kin.” Since Daniell Robinson was born in the early seventeenth century (1627) possibly he never had a fixed surname. Perhaps his identity was taken from his clan association.
In the New Haven Connecticut Vital Records (NHVR) we find the marriage of Daniel Robison to Hope Potter on February 10, 1663 and in 1664, the birth of Daniel and Hope’s daughter Mary Robinson. Two years later in 1666, the NHVR records the birth of their son Daniel Robbinson. The NHVR shows three different spellings of Daniel Robinson’s surname, one at the time of his marriage to Hope Potter another at the birth of his daughter Mary and a third at son Daniel’s birth. In spite of the variety of spellings, it is obvious the name was intended each time by the transcriber to be Robinson. By 1668, Daniel Robinson had moved from New Haven Colony and settled in Woodbridge, New Jersey with his wife Hope, his daughter Mary and his son Daniel. On July 25, 1668, the Woodbridge Vital Records (WVR) lists the birth of Lydia Robinds daughter of Daniel and Hope Potter Robinds. Nine children were born to Daniel and Hope Robins at Woodbridge and all of their births are recorded in the town’s vital records. After Daniel Robinson settled in New Jersey he never used the surname Robinson. His surname changed to Robins and was spelled in a variety of ways, Robinds, Robens, Robines, Robbins and Robins. The reason Daniel used the surname Robins in New Jersey and not Robinson is unknown. The former ties Daniel and Hope Potter Robins had to New Haven Colony are recorded in the will of Daniel Robins written on June 22, 1714. Daniel Robins refers to “that interest of land and goods that falls to me in New Haven in Connecticut Collony.” My research indicates this land came to Daniel Robins from an inheritance his wife Hope Potter received from the estate of her father William Potter of New Haven in 1662. After Daniel’s death, Daniel Robins, Jr., sold the New Haven property on June 13, 1718 to Nathaniel and Samuel Potter of New Haven.
Charles Gordon a Scottish immigrant wrote the following letter from Perth Amboy, New Jersey, dated March 5, 1685 to Andrew Irvine a merchant of Edinburgh, Scotland “I am just now drinking to one of them (the old Buckskin planters) our countrymen, who was sent away by Cromwell to New England; a slave from Dunbar, living now in Woodbridge like a Scots laird, wishes his countrymen and his native soil well, though he never intends to see it.” Scottish Emigration to Colonial America 1607-1685 by David Dobson. An interesting observation is Daniel Robinson aka Robins was living in Woodbridge in 1685. I have searched Woodbridge records for the names of other Scottish prisoners of war and have found none.
It is important for the Daniel Robins family researchers to understand the surname Robins or Robbins evolved from Robinson or Robertson. Not only Daniel Robinson’s surname, the surnames of the other Scottish prisoners of war by comparison with their present day surnames also changed. Some of the surnames began to appear in a different version after the prisoners of war integrated into the colonies or they evolved into another spelling or a completely different surname down through the generations. A few examples are surnames like Hume to Holmes, Woodall to Wattles and Robinson to Robins. Who was Daniel Robinson aka Robins? I believe this mystery will eventually be solved through the use of genetic genealogy. SRH, July 2014