The Millers and the Westcotts

 

In 2003 the Spirit of God sent Doyle and company to travel to the 48 mainland states to pray. In November 2003, God sent them to Plymouth, MA. Initially Doyle planned to fly into Providence, RI and rent a car and drive to Plymouth, however that airport didn’t have SUVs available. New Bedford was the next choice, and a car was reserved at that airport. About thirty minutes before they were to land, the pilot of their chartered flight informed Doyle they were not going to be able to land at New Bedford, due to weather conditions; they would have to land in Providence. Doyle said, “Well we don’t have a car reserved at that airport, but go ahead and land there, there will be one when we get there.” Of course there was; in fact there were two parked there. The group drove to Plymouth and spent some time there and then prepared to head back to Providence. They started out heading northwest, and as they turned back south, Doyle immediately had a headache like he had only experienced on two other occasions. He said, “There is a spirit somewhere down this road that hates me and I think its Providence. Ralph Edge started reading to him about Providence, and he said, “Doyle, did you know that the first Baptist church that was established in the United States of America, was established in Providence, RI?” It was just a few minutes and Doyle overcame that spirit and the headache left.

 

God continues to lead Doyle to delve deeper into his ancestors and there are some incredible things being revealed. Kathie recently found a document about the first Baptist Church in America. Reaching back 10 generations into Doyle’s maternal ancestors, Stukely Westcott (Westcote) was one of thirteen men who established that church.

 

Stukely was born about 1592, probably in Devon County, England. The Baptist Church at Yeovil, England lists his marriage to Juliana Marchant on Oct. 5, 1619. Among Rhode Island Governor Arnold’s papers was the following notation:

 

“June 24, 1635 – arrived in Mass. Bay. Sailed from Dartmouth of Devon May 1, 1635, all but one of the party (Wm. Carpenter) coming from Winchester in southern Somerset or within five miles of that place. My father, William Arnold, and his family “sett sayle” from England and arrived (Thurs.) June 14, 1635. On board was Stukely Westcott, 43, of Yeovil and his wife, with children: Robert, Damaris, Samuel 13. Amos 4, Mercy, and Jeremiah.”

 

Stukely Westcott was received as a freeman upon his arrival in Salem and was listed as having a house on Oct. 25, 1637. He was a member of the church of which Roger Williams had been pastor. Because of their beliefs, Westcott, along with three other men, were ordered on the 12th day of March, 1638, by the “General Court” to remove out of the jurisdiction of “The Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay” and to remove his family therefrom before the sitting of the next “General Court.” In the language of the tribunals of that day in that province, the “great censure” was passed upon him for “heresy”. Notice was also sent to the church at Dorchester of the excommunication to prevent them from being received into membership there.

 

Following the example of his friend Roger Williams, who had left for Rhode Island two years prior, he and his family left Salem, and walked on foot to Providence, arriving there in the spring of 1638. Roger Williams had treated the Indians kindly and received as gifts from them, a large amount of territory. The number of settlers to that area had reached fifty-two (Stukely being one of the original thirteen settlers) and they made a first division of lands among them. In the autumn of 1638, Roger Williams, with Stukely Westcott and his other associates, founded the “First Baptist Church of Providence”, the first church of that denomination established in America. Westcott and his wife were both received into its membership at the time of its organization after baptism by Roger Williams.

 

By 1648, Stukely left Providence with his family and went to the new settlement Shawomet, now known as “Old Warwick”, about nine or ten miles south of Providence. There are no writings giving an explanation why he left Providence. The first church in Warwick, organized soon after 1648 by Stukely Westcott and five others, was of the strict “Six Principles” order. The distinguishing features of this sect seems to have been the practice of the office of laying-on-of-hands as a condition of admission, of the rejection of infant baptism and of the doctrine of predestination and election, and a belief that by obedience man may attain a measurable degree of perfection. The Providence church, for the first century and a half of its existence was also of the “Six Principles” sect. Their creed was embodied in Hebrew 6:

 

“1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

 

2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

 

3 And this will we do, if God permits.”

 

Stukely was chosen a Deputy to represent Warwick in the Colonial Assembly on eight occasions throughout a period of years and twice was elected a “General Assistant”. These officers (usually two from each original settlement of the colony), formed the governors counsel. These were times of great hardships and danger for the colony. The year 1676 was the most eventful of all, during King Phillips War. During this war, Stukely’s son Robert was killed. It is recorded that on March 16, 1676, at the age of 84, Stukely was driven from his home in Warwick, RI by the Indians. He died the following January 12, 1677, at his grandson’s home in Portsmouth, RI.

 

Seven generations later, Newell Miller was born July 28, 1842 in Hartford Township, Trumbull, Ohio to William and Vashti Miller. Records show that William and Vashti were both born in New York in 1818 and 1813, respectively and they were married in Ohio in 1841. On the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, William’s occupation was listed as farmer.

 

Newell married Sarah Louisa Paddock on May 19, 1867 in Ingram, Michigan. They had eight children (one died in infancy); five girls and three boys. Doyle’s grandfather, Frank Miller was the youngest of the three boys. Frank’s brother James became a Baptist minister. Newell enlisted with the Michigan 2nd Cavalry Regiment, Company B, on Oct 2, 1861 at Danville, Michigan. His rank at enlistment was Private. He was promoted to a Full Corporal on January 6, 1864 and on June 13, 1865 he was promoted to Full Sergeant. He mustered out on August 17, 1865 at Macon, Georgia. Newell’s uncle, Austin Miller also fought in the Civil War and died from wounds he received at the Battle of Shiloh in 1862.

 

The 2nd Michigan Cavalry Regiment was organized at Detroit, Michigan and Mustered in, in October 1861. They left the state for St. Louis, Missouri, November 14. They were attached to numerous divisions throughout the war, the first one being the Cavalry Division, Army of Mississippi. The list of military operations this regiment was involved in is lengthy and included reconnaissance missions and expeditions, and they were involved in decisive battles that contributed a great deal to the course of the war. In the beginning of the war, the northern cavalry lacked the skill of their southern counterparts; however by the end of the war, they became proficient. Much credit for this can be attributed to an up and coming officer, Phillip Sheridan. Sheridan was born in New York, but raised in Ohio. At the outset of the war, he was chief quartermaster and chief commissary of Subsistence in the Army of Southwest Missouri under General Halleck. In May of 1862, recommended by numerous officers who knew him, the Ohio bred Sheridan became commander of the 2nd Michigan Cavalry. He immediately demonstrated his quick wits in Boonville, Mississippi. He went on to distinguish himself in a host of engagements, including Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga and a particularly dramatic charge at Missionary Ridge. General Grant was impressed by his initiative at Missionary Ridge and appointed him Chief of Cavalry for the Army of the Potomac in 1864. He was instrumental in cutting off Lee’s forces at Appomattox. Although records do not list Company B apart from the 2nd Michigan Cavalry, one can assume that Newell served under Philip Sheridan until he was appointed as Chief of Cavalry for the Army of the Potomac.

 

Ulysses S. Grant, also, born and raised in Ohio returned to the military at the outset of the Civil War and by May of 1861 was appointed as Brigadier-general of volunteers. He became general-in-chief of armies of the United States on March 17, 1864. By an act of Congress, he was made general of the United States Army on July 25, 1866, but resigned this commission on March 4, 1869, having been elected President of the United States. In this brief account, his accomplishments as a soldier and statesmen are far too numerous to list but following is a quote from his one of his contemporaries:

 

“General Grant was a great rider, simply splendid. He could ride 40 or 50 miles and come in perfectly fresh and tire out younger men…General Grant was the only man I ever saw, except one, who could go through a battle without flinching. He never lacked in courage, never dodged. He wouldn’t as much as wink when bullets went whizzing by. He had iron nerves. He was never hurt by a bullet, despite his exposure…” -General Horace Potter.

 

“Hold fast to the bible. To the influence of the Book we are indebted for all the progress made in true civilization and to this we must look as our guide in the future.” Ulysses S. Grant

 

It was a terrible war, as Doyle’s grandmother said and though there are volumes written about the war, the men on both sides who fought it and their personal accounts of what they witnessed and experienced, I doubt the readers can fully appreciate the sacrifice these people made. It is evident that God raised up men for that hour, that this nation would not be destroyed. Men he made with strength, courage and the heart to fight until the victory was won, always believing in their cause. Do we find it strange then, that Doyle’s great-grandfather was part of that war? It is not a coincidence that Newell Miller was born in the same state that the leading general of the Union Army was born and raised in; that Philip Sheridan, raised in Ohio, led Newell’s regiment. Both Grant and Sheridan have ancestors from the Ulster Ireland area, which has been discussed in Doyle Davidson’s Ancestors.

 

One cannot read about the people and events of America in its earliest days and not see it was by divine ordinance that God established this nation for his purposes. Nor can we ignore the obvious facts that Doyle Davidson’s ancestors have played a significant role in that plan.

 

“24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;

 

25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;

 

26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed and the bounds of their habitation;” Acts 17

 

Sources: Ancestry.com; Ulysses S. Grant Homepage; Civil War Home.com; Historynet.com; Society of Stukely Westcott, Descendants of America; First Baptist Church in America-Ancestry.com

 

Written by Kathryn Currier

posted June 13, 2009

 

 

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