Joseph is presumed to be the son of William Hills and his 2nd wife “widow Mary Risley,” BUT please consider the following argument (it’s a math problem!):
1)Baptismal records show JOSEPH son of WILLIAM HILLS baptized 17 March 1649;
2)John Winthrop, Jr. records show JOSEPH to have been 8 years old on 24 Feb 1657 and 9 years old on 14 Mar 1658;*
a)For it to be true that he was BOTH 8 years old on 24 Feb 1657 AND 9 years old on 14 Mar 1658 he would have had to be born ON or BEFORE 24 Feb 1649; as the following shows…
b)If he were born between 25 Feb and 14 March 1649, then he would be have been only 7 years old on 24 Feb 1657 and 9 years old on 14 March 1658;
c)If he had been born between 15th-17th of March 1649, he would have only been 7 years old on 24 Feb 1657 and 8 years old on 14 March 1658.
3)Baptismal records show RICHARD, son of RICHARD RISLEY baptized 2 Aug 1648;
4)Court records show RICHARD as “about 3 months old” on 7 Dec 1648; This would seem to indicate he was baptized very shortly after he was born (probably being born at the end of July and baptized a few days later);
5)If JOSEPH were born in February 1649 (as argued above), baptized when a few weeks old & conceived 9 months earlier (or about May of 1648) then he CANNOT be the son of “widow Mary Risley” as she would still have been pregnant with her son Richard.
6)There are two possibilities to explain this:
a)For Mary to be his mother:
i.She would have had to become pregnant IMMEDIATELY (within the same month!) after giving birth to Richard about August of 1648 (But was her 1st husband Richard already deceased by August?The inventory of his estate was filed 17 Oct 1648);
ii.And, she would have had to deliver Joseph 3 months prematurely… thus making his survival as a “preemie” born in 1649 in the middle of the Connecticut winter quite miraculous!
b)The alternative is that Philis Lyman is his mother:
i.Joseph would have had to be born late in 1648, probably (?) prior to 7 Dec 1648 when Court records show William Hills taking responsibility for the Risley children (this makes us ASSUME he is wed to the widow Mary Risley at that time);
ii.The death of Philis had to occurred in 1648 (as is estimated by many sources) associated with Joseph’s birth;
iii. And, Joseph was baptized when a few months old.
Given the previous argument about his birth date, it would still hold TRUE that he would be BOTH 8 years old on 24 Feb 1657 AND 9 years old on 14 Mar 1658 if he were born in December 1648. He would still be 8 years old in February 1657 having not yet celebrated his 9th birthday and 9 years old in March of 1658 having not yet celebrated his 10th birthday.
* NOTE: The source ("The Great Migration Begins")actually gives the dates as 24 Feb 1657/8 and 14 Mar 1658/9.Even if I have erred in my arguments about JOSEPH’s birth prior to 24 February 1649 based on the dates I used (“calendar confusion”), the arguments regarding Mary’s pregnancy & a premature birth would still hold if one believes JOSEPH was born as late as March 1649. Do the math.
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