Patience Harris



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Patience Harris (1683-1777)

Patience Harris was born on 15 May 1683 in Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut as the second child of Daniel Harris and Abigail Barnes. She had four siblings, namely: Abigail, Mary, Daniel, and Joseph.

Patience was born into a Puritan family. As she grew up, Puritanism became known as Congregationalism. Throughout her life, the Congregational Church remained the established church of the colony, with most of the population practicing that religion. While only some were granted full church membership, it was the law that all were required to attend church services, so most people were Congregationalists. Like the earlier Puritans, Congregationalists believed that governments existed for the benefit of the people, and that governors needed to rule according to the will of God. There was not a separation between church and state.

As a girl, her only opportunity was to “learn at home.” It wasn’t until after her death that a school for girls was built in Middletown. During her life, girls couldn’t attend public schools.

When she was 31, Patience married Ezekiel Gilbert, son of Jonathan Gilbert and Dorothy Stow, on 02 Dec 1714 in Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut.

Marriage and family record, Ezekiel Gilbert and Patience Harris.

Ezekiel Gilbert and Patience Harris had the following children:

  1. Jonathan Gilbert was born on 24 Feb 1715/16 in Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut. He married Prudence Harris on 25 Oct 1739 in Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut. He died on 03 Jan 1812 in Connecticut.
  2. Patience Gilbert was born on 12 Jun 1718 in Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut. She died on 15 Feb 1741/42 in Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut.
  3. Ezekiel Gilbert was born on 28 Dec 1720 in Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut. He married Elizabeth Blake on 08 Mar 1742/43, at Middletown. Ezekiel died in 1752.
  4. Elizabeth Gilbert was born on 15 Jan 1723 in Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut. She married Ebenezer Johnson on 29 Oct 1745 in Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut. She died on 24 Sep 1809 in Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut.
  5. Lament Gilbert was born on 20 Aug 1727 in Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut. She married Phineas Rice. Lament Gilbert Rice died at Guilford, Vermont, on 26 Jul 1789.
  6. Joseph Gilbert was born on 09 May 1731 in Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut. He married Eunice Wilder at Middletown on 13 Jun 1753. He died 07 Oct 1776 at Hartland, Hartford, Connecticut.
  7. Abigail Gilbert was born on 01 Jan 1733/34 in Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut.
  8. David Gilbert was born on 09 Apr 1736 in Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut. He married Bette Richard in Nov 1757 at Middletown.

In 1723, Patience lost her mother, Abigail Barnes Harris. Her father remarried a few years later. When her father, Daniel Harris, died in 1735, Patience and Ezekiel, and their oldest son, Jonathan, were remembered in his will.

“I give to my son-in-law Ezekiel Gilbert two acres of my boggy meadow. And to my grandson Jonathan Gilbert I give four acres of the western part of my home lot.”

I give to my grandsons, Jonathan Gilbert, Daniel Harris and Moses Harris, all my right in the commons or undivided land, to be equally divided. 

“I give to my daughters, Mary Ward and Patience Gilbert, all my household stuff and stock that shall remain after my wife’s decease or marriage. ”

– Daniel Harris, Last Will and Testament.

Life for Patience was probably easier than it had been for her immigrant forebears. But compared to life today, things were hard. For example, clocks were luxury items. She probably didn’t have one. She may have had an hour glass to help time her cooking. To measure minutes, Patience probably hummed or sang hymns, knowing how many verses or lines it would take to, for example, boil an egg.


1752 must have been a difficult year for Patience. First, her son Ezekiel died and then Patience became a widow when her husband died on 25 Aug 1752. She was 69-years old by then and her children were pretty much grown. Her youngest son, David Gilbert, was only 16, but the others were adults. As was customary in those times, Ezekiel provided for Patience in his will. She was allowed the use of some of his property while she remained a widow.

“I give and bequeath unto Patience my well beloved wife the use and improvement of such a part of my Real Estate as she shall see cause to improve for and during the time that she shall remain my widow, and the whole of my Personal Estate I give to her to be at her dispose.”

– Ezekiel Gilbert, Last Will and Testament.
Last Will and Testament, Ezekiel Gilbert.

Patience Harris Gilbert died on 15 Aug 1777 in Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut, at the age of 94. She was buried in the Washington Street Cemetery, Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut.

Where is she in the tree?

Relationship chart, Lona Iona Fawcett to Patience Harris.
Pedigree chart, Patience Harris.

Selected Sources:, Connecticut, Deaths and Burials Index, 1650-1934 (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.Original data – “Connecticut Deaths and Burials, 1772–1934.” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2009, 2010. Index entries derived from digital copies of original and compiled),

Connecticut Marriages, 1640-1939,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 12 May 2016), 007615715 > image 22 of 288; Connecticut State Library, Hartford., Family Search – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, discussion list (, Connecticut Town Birth Records, pre-1870 (Barbour Collection) (Name: Name: Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006.Original data – White, Lorraine Cook, ed. The Barbour Collection of Connecticut Town Vital Records. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1994-2002. Record for Patience Harris., Connecticut Town Marriage Records, pre-1870 (Barbour Collection) (Name: Name: Operations Inc; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2006;;),, Database online. Record for Ezekiel Gilbert., Connecticut, Wills and Probate Records, 1609-1999 (Provo, UT, USA, Operations, Inc., 2015),, Author: Connecticut State Library (Hartford, Connecticut); Probate Place: Hartford, Connecticut. Hartford, Connecticut Probate Records, 1729-1750 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000., The history of ancient Wethersfield, Connecticut comprising the present towns of Wethersfield, Rocky Hill, and Newington (The Generations Network, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT; Date: 2005),, Database online.

Cutter, William Richard, Genealogical and Family History of Central New York [ancestry] (Clearfield Company, 1912),, Vol. I, pp. 287-8.

Davis, Julia Elizabeth (Hickok), Colonial Connecticut [Cincinnati, The Ebbert & Richardson co., 1917] (;view=1up;seq=19 : accessed 11 May 2019).

Johnson, Paul Franklin, Genealogy of Captain John Johnson of Roxbury, Massachusetts, generations i to xiv [] (Los Angeles, California, The Commonwealth Press, Inc., 1951),, p. 28.

The Importance of Being Puritan: Church and State in Colonial Connecticut, ( : accessed 11 May 2019).

The University Hymn Book: For Use in the Chapel of Harvard University, [Harvard University, Cambridge: 1907] online images, Google Books ( : accessed 14 May 2019).

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