The Origins of Andrew Langworthy

who was in Newport, Rhode Island by 1652

Revised March 2014

Here's a brief summary of the situation: There is no evidence to indicate where Andrew was born, where he lived before coming to America, what port he left from, what ship he came on, or when he arrived.

Even so, it's not unusual to find online databases which assert that he was Andrew Langworthie, the son of Richard, baptized at Widcombe, Devonshire, England November 30, 1610. That statement almost certainly comes from The Langworthy Family, by William Franklin Langworthy (WFL) (Tuttle, 1940), which says (p.3):
"Andrew Langworthy probably born in Devonshire, England. He may have been Andrewe Langworthie, son of Richard, who was baptized at Widcombe 30 Nov. 1610."

But a closer reading of WFL's book make it clear that he did not intend this sentence as a statement of fact. The following is a summary of the points he made:

  • It is reasonable to assume that Andrew came from England. The name Langworthy appears to be English, and WFL suggested that Langworthy, Longworthy, Langworth and Longworth were all variants of the same name which meant "long farm", from lang = long and worthy = farmstead.
  • The surname Langworthy occurs in several areas of England, and WFL said (p.309) "The name is so common that your historian dispairs (sic) of connecting us more definitely with any particular place in England".
  • Because there seemed to be a concentration of Langworthys in Devonshire, and because some of the Langworthys of early Newport, RI are known to have come from Ashburton, in Devonshire, WFL did examine several parish registers in that area. His limited time and resources did not allow him to visit all towns or all parishes, but he did examine the existing records in the parishes of Ashburton, Woodland, Bickington, Islington and Widecombe.
  • He found only one Andrew of about the right age and concluded (p.310): "Our Andrew may have been the Andrewe Langworthie, s. of Richard, who was baptized at Widecombe 30 Nov. 1610. This is merely conjecture. ...... If Andrew's family were not members of the church of England, we can not expect to find a record of birth or baptism. Something may possibly come to light but it is hardly to be expected."

A few other points:

  • The gravestone of Lawrence Langworthy of Newport says that he was "of Ashburton, in ye county of Devonshire", but WFL's search did not turn up a record of his birth. So it wouldn't be surprising if the search didn't find the birth record of Andrew either.
  • We know that Andrew Langworthy of Newport was a Baptist, so it would not be surprising if his parents were non-conformists. And then, as WFL noted, there would be no birth record for him.
  • 1610 seems too early for Andrew's birth. He would have been 48 when he married Rachel Hubbard in 1658, and she was 16 at the time. Her father, Samuel Hubbard, was a literate, respected member of the community, and his daughters should have been able to find good matches. In particular, his two other daughters didn't marry men much older than they were:
    • Ruth, the oldest, married Robert Burdick, born ca 1630
    • Bethia, the youngest, married Joseph Clarke, born ca 1642,
    and it's reasonable to think that Rachel didn't marry a much older man either. Particularly since Andrew and Rachel had 10 kids!

When and if new information about Andrew's origins comes to light you can be sure that it will appear on this site!

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