Philley Arms

   Samuel and Anna Filley

Family is Important

 

 

 

Family Data

Contents 

Home

 

Samuel was the first son of William and Margaret Filley, the first Filleys in America. He was born in 1642 in Windsor Connecticut. In 1663 he married Anna Gillett, also a Windsor native. They began their family right away. She gave birth ten months later in 1664. Anna was to give birth to eleven children, but the couple's life was hard. How hard is difficult to portray. Let the facts speak.

    • Anna Filley b. August 16, 1664, d. April 18, 1686
    • Mary Filley b. April 12, 1667, d. July 20, 1683
    • Abigail Filley b. January 20, 1668, d. Before 1674
    • Samuel Filley b. April 2, 1670, d. Bef. 1673 
    • Jonathan Filley b. November 30, 1672
    • Samuel Filley b. March 7, 1673, d. October 7, 1679
    • Josiah Filley b. January 21, 1675, d. 1750
    • John Filley b. February 10, 1677, d. After 1718
    • Abigail Filley b. January 3, 1679, d. 1758
    • Samuel Filley b. September 8, 1681, d. November 10, 1767
    • Mary Filley b. December 14, 1683

A careful look at this list shows that there are two Marys, two Abigails, and three Samuels! Here is what happened. First, three girls were born; Anna, named for her mother, Mary, and Abigail. Then the first boy, Samuel, named for his father. Then Jonathan was born, named after his maternal grandfather. Between his birth in 1672 and 1673, Samuel died, "drowned in a well." So, the next son born in 1673 was named Samuel in memory the dead brother. Then came Josiah and John. Somewhere after 1668, and we believe in 1674 Abigail died so the next girl born was named Abigail to replace the dead sister. Two months after her birth, the second Samuel was "killed by a cart wheel." The next child, a boy, was named Samuel. In July of 1683, Mary died at age 16, and Anna was three months pregnant with her last child, the second Mary.  

This is an unusually poignant illustration of the severity of life in America in the seventeenth century and the determination of the people who lived then. Anna lived to be seventy one and Samuel sixty eight and each died within a year of the other. They saw five of their eleven children die before them. Most of us can only imagine the fear and horror of losing one child. But five, and  to such tragic accidents and at such early ages. Still, they stalwartly continued having children until all the lost ones were replaced, but of course, only in name.

Their experience was unfortunately not rare. Disease and accidents carried off many children and decimated or even wiped out whole families. In some places new borns were not named for a year, so as not to become too attached to them. I saw in a cemetery in Williamstown, Massachusetts a row of graves. They were of a minister, his wife and five children. A look at the dates showed that Diptheria had struck the family. One after the other over ten days time, all the children died, then, a week later, the wife and finally, the minister. I wondered if I could have filled his shoes and kept my faith or my sanity for that matter.

The Filleys did it, however, and the fact that we can now read about it is because of their strength and determination to survive and go on. The Crossetts are related to Samuel and Anna through their son Josiah who, luckily for us, lived to be seventy four and had, with his wife Esther Eggleston Filley eight children and among them a Mary, an Abigail, and a Samuel. Family is important.

Contents