This week’s challenge is “Large Family”. I think that my ninth great-grandfather’s family qualifies. I believe that Hope Allen had the most children of any of my ancestors.
Hope Allen was born in 1625 in England. His parents were Arnold and Mary Reynolds Allen. It is not known when Allen Hope came to the United States but it appears that he married Rachel Knight in 1648 in Boston, Massachusetts when he was twenty-three years old and she was twenty-two years old. Hope Allen is first found in the Boston Town Records in 1651 where “Hope Allen, a Currier, is admitted an inhabitant.”
Hope and Rachel Allen had ten children, born from 1648 to 1664. Two of the children were twins. In May 1660, Hope bought 400 acres at the Casco River (at what is now known as Portland, Maine, about 115 miles from Boston). It appears that Hope Allen and his family always resided in Boston. When Rachel died around 1667, at least three of their ten children had already died.
Hope Allen married for a second time to Mary (last name unknown) in about 1669. They had one child born in 1670, which is also the year that Mary died, so she may have died in childbirth. The child (a son, John) died before 1677.
In 1671, a year after Mary died, Hope married for a third time to Hannah Townsend. Hannah was the widow of Thomas Hull. She had seven children with Thomas, but only three were living when she married Hope. Hope Allen and Hannah had five children, with two of them being twins.
All in all, Hope Allen fathered sixteen known children, by three wives.
Hope Allen died in Boston in1677 at the age of fifty-two. He was buried in Boston. His wife Hannah was pregnant with their fifth child at the time of his death.
From a source based on the inventory following his death, it indicated that "The home was unusually large for those days and its value was estimated at 450 pounds, it consisted of a kitchen, hall, Lodging roome next to Streete, the parlour, the 'little Lodging roome next the parlour',the little chamber next the street, the chamber over the hall, the garret next the street, the little chamber next to the yard, the chamber over the parlour, the garret over the parlour, and the work house. Included many items indicative of culture and also listed '2 negroes a man & woman' ". (Negroes named as Dega and Hager in his will.) Hope Allen’s will also refers to his unborn child that Hannah was carrying when he died. (Also named Hope). In his will, Hope Allen left all of his property in Portland Maine (400 acres) to his oldest son, Edward Allen.
Hope’s wife Hannah went on to marry twice more and lived until 1721 when she was eighty years old.