In the 17th century, some event took the Verneys from whom I descend, from England to Barbados, West Indies. It is still unclear the lineage between Verneys of Claydon House and those that settled in New Hampshire.
Thomas Verney, a son of Sir Edmund Verney, was granted land in the British Colony of Barbados in the early 1600s. A child of privilege but of little ambition, Thomas freely spent his father's money on a plantation on the Island. His letters home to his father and older brother, Ralph, are historical documents, and are reflective of early colonial life. After spending time in a West Indies debtor's prison, Thomas returned to England in 1642, with little to show for his endeavor.
William Verney (my 11th great grandfather) married Bridgett Parsons Knight on the Island of Barbados, and in 1649, their family came to the United States via Ipswich, Massachusetts. Records confirm they were in Barbados for 25 years. After William returned to New England, his name is documented as Varney. He seemed to have divided his time between Dover, New Hampshire, and Ipswich, Massachusetts. William died shortly before March 28, 1654.
William's son, Humphrey (my 10th great grandfather), resided in Dover Neck, New Hampshire, near the original settlement made by Hilton in 1623. Humphrey was admitted as an inhabitant of Dover, New Hampshire on June 6, 1659. He was taxed at Dover Neck until 1662, and Cocheco in 1665. He, and most of his descendants, were Quakers.
Humphrey's son, Ebenezer Varney (my 10th great uncle), was also a Quaker, and a blacksmith. He built a home at the foot of what is now known as Garrison Hill in Dover, New Hampshire. The house was built in 1669, and the surrounding hill became known as Varney's Hill during the 1700s. In 1829, John Ham purchased the property and the house became called the Varney-Ham House. In the 1970s, the house was destroyed to make room for new apartment complexes.
Ebenezer's wife, Mary Otis, descended from original settlers of Dover. Her father, Stephen Otis, and grandfather, Richard Otis, were killed by Indians during the several attacks in Dover in the late seventeenth century. Mary herself was taken captive and brought as far as Conway, New Hampshire. She was safely returned.
In the late eighteenth century, the Varneys moved north to Rochester, New Durham, and Alton, New Hampshire. In the early part of the 1800s, a small Varney cemetery was established in Rochester along what is now Route 11. Many of my direct ancestors are buried there, including the siblings and parents of Dominicus Varney (my 5th great grandfather).
Dominicus moved his family to Alton, where he homesteaded Powder Mill Road. Descendents of Dominicus were farmers in Alton, Farmington, and New Durham, until the early part of the twentieth century. The last farmer was my great grandfather, Benjamin Evans Varney, who owned property off of Ten Rod Road in New Durham.