Miriam Sperry
  b: 19/Feb/1742(1743) - Cheshire, New Haven Co., CT
  d: NC or VA

Father: Abel Sperry
Mother: Miriam Hotchkiss

Spouse: Timothy Perkins, Sr.
  m: ~1764 - New Haven Co., CT

Child-1: Lutheral or Lighteral - b: ~1765 -  New Haven Co., CT
          2: Jared
          3: Jabez
          4: Aarod
          5: Timothy, Jr.
          6: Levi - b: 26/May/1772 - Surry Co., NC - m: Minnie Hale
          7: Gordon
          8: Stephen
          9: Lucy - b: 2/Feb/1776 - Surry Co., NC
                         d: 28/Nov/1848 - Grayson Co., VA - bur: Youngs Chapel Baptist Church Cem.
                        m: Joseph Young - 20/Oct/1796
         10: William

Biographical Details:

Miriam Sperry was the daughter of Abel and Miriam Hotchkiss Sperry and was apparently born in Cheshire Township, New Haven County, Connecticut, February 19, 1742 O. S.  It seems that she married Timothy Perkins, Sr., about 1764 in New Haven County, probably in either Cheshire or Wallingford Township.  Their first five children and possibly their sixth child as well were born in Connecticut.  However, about 1770 the family moved with other relatives to the North Carolina frontier.  Thus, Timothy and Miriam's remaining children were almost certainly born in North Carolina.

Subsequent details of Miriam's life are extremely sparse.  In particular, Ms. Eleanor Baker Reeves quotes Judge Paul M. Perkins that, "We know that Jabez' mother Miriam died at the birth of her last child in 1777."  His factual basis for this statement is unknown.  Moreover, if William Perkins was the son of Timothy, Sr., and Miriam Sperry Perkins, then she must have survived until at least early 1783.  (Evidently, this son may have been born after the death of his father.)  Alternatively, Mr. David A. Sturgill, as quoted by Mr. Danny Miller, has proposed that Miriam Sperry Perkins married Daniel Jones before 1796 and that she survived as late as 1817.1  As proof of this he cites land and marriage records from Grayson County, Virginia, which explicitly give "Miriam" as the name of the wife of Daniel Jones and Lucy and William Perkins as his stepchildren.  However, these researchers also accept the hypothesis, first asserted by Mr. Dow Perkins, that Timothy Perkins, Sr., lived until 1834.  Obviously, this would require that Timothy and Miriam Sperry Perkins had been divorced.  This seems hardly likely considering the customs and common law prevailing at the time.  Indeed, divorce was difficult and extremely uncommon in comparison with present social practices.  Obviously, this difficulty is removed if one simply accepts that Timothy Perkins, Sr., was killed in the Revolutionary War as seems likely from circumstantial and documentary evidence cited elsewhere.  Moreover, if definitively confirmed, the remarriage of Miriam Sperry would actually strengthen the case for the death of Timothy Perkins, Sr., about 1782.  Furthermore, the possibility of a remarriage by a widow could also explain why Miriam was not appointed guardian of her son, Jabez, even if she was still living.  Under English and colonial common law, which continued to prevail after the Revolution, the rights of a married woman were subsumed under those of her husband.  Therefore, although an unmarried widow had full legal rights as a "femme sole", once a widow had remarried she no longer would have any legal rights apart from those of her husband and, thus, could not act independently from her husband's wishes.  Moreover, in the patriarchal society of the eighteenth century, an orphan was, by definition, a minor whose father was deceased, irrespective of the status of the mother, i.e., in contrast to present legal doctrine, a surviving widow was not automatically the legal guardian of her own children.  The mother would be appointed guardian only if there was a reasonable expectation that she would not remarry before the majority of the child.  Within this context, it was common for an uncle, other male relative, or even an unrelated male or, perhaps, stepfather to have been appointed guardian for a minor rather than the child's mother.  To summarize, it seems plausible, perhaps even likely, that Miriam Sperry Perkins did remarry after the death of her husband and survived until the second decade of the nineteeth century.

Source Notes and Citations:
1. "Mr. David Sturgill of Alleghany Co NC ... has researched this Jones family thoroughly.  He shows that a Daniel Jones with a wife named Miriam lived on the waters of Fox Creek in Grayson Co VA about 1795, about 2 miles east of Grant VA.  Some of this land was sold in 1796-97 and the deeds were signed by Daniel and Miriam Jones.  The Grayson Co VA marriage record of Lucy Perkins and Joseph Young in 1796 names her as a stepdaughter of Daniel Jones.  Daniel was a surety for the marriage of William Perkins in 1819 and Frances Jones married William Porter in 1823 and is named as a daughter of Daniel Jones.  It is known that Lucy and William Perkins were children of Timothy Perkins and Miriam Sperry so the conclusion is inescapable that Miriam did not die 1778-79 but that she and Timothy Perkins were divorced and that she later married Daniel Jones.  Deed records show that Miriam Jones was still living in 1817 and marriage records show that Daniel was alive in 1823.  In 1824 Hudson Jones and six females named Jones, who are assumed to have been his sisters, sold this land on Fox Creek to Stephen Perkins.  The deed was obviously made to settle an estate but does not say whose estate. The only conclusion here is that Daniel Jones died 1823-24 and Miriam had died before this.  This deed also leaves no doubt that this Daniel Jones was the father of Hudson Jones so he must also have been the father of William Jones of Grayson Co VA who married Jane Sturgill and the Daniel and John Jones who moved to Alleghany Co.  Daniel Jones married Ellender/Eleanor Long and John Jones married her sister Leah Long."  This analysis seems quite plausible.  The only necessary clarification is that William Perkins, who married Catherine Mitchell in Grayson County on July 8, 1819, was not the son of Timothy Perkins, Sr., but was instead his grandson, son of Jared Perkins.  Even so, it is possible that his step-grandfather might have provided surety under some circumstances. (Danny Miller, private communication, posted to: New River History List, groups.yahoo.com/group/ncnr/messages, 2001.)
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2. "A few years ago Dow Perkins, a descendant of Timothy Perkins of Ashe Co., published a short history of the Perkins family.  He had found records to prove that Timothy had married Miriam Sperry in Connecticut and that they came to Ashe Co. from there.  He had also identified most if not all of their children.  As he found no further record of Miriam Perkins after 1778 he concluded that she had died about that time.  Dow Perkins and his cousin Don Perkins who both now live in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, have both been working on a revision of this Perkins history for the past few years.  Old Timothy who died in 1834 was buried alone in the Sturgill Cemetery (now Zion Hill Cemetery) on Helton Creek in Ashe Co.  In researching the Sturgill family I discovered that he had married Ann Sturgill, daughter of Francis Sr. and Rebecca, about 1812, and that she had died in 1813, probably as a result of childbirth.  Her child, who was named Lydia (after her oldest sister Lydia Sturgill Parsons) was raised by her brother Francis Sturgill Jr. who later bought 2500 acres of land on Helton Creek from William Perkins and moved there.  This daughter of Ann and Timothy married a Price but nothing is known of their family, if any.  Don and Dow both agree as to the second marriage of Timothy Perkins but the mystery of where his first wife Miriam was buried still remains.  Ann was buried in the original Sturgill family cemetery on New River where her parents and grandparents were buried. ... the conclusion is inescapable that Miriam did not die 1778-79 but that she and Timothy Perkins were divorced and that she later married Daniel Jones.  Don and Dow Perkins agree with this conclusion.  The land where Daniel and Miriam lived is still known locally as the Perkins place.  The original grant to Timothy Perkins was probably made in Montgomery Co., as no record of this was found in Grayson Co."  As noted elsewhere, Ashe County was not organized until 1799; hence, when the extended Perkins-Sperry family settled in North Carolina, the area was probably part of either Rowan or Surry Counties, later Wilkes and then Ashe.  Of course, this is only a minor and, perhaps, insignificant point.  However, a more serious issue is the proposition that Timothy and Miriam were divorced but, as asserted above this seems very unlikely and it seems simpler just to accept family tradition that he was killed during the Revolutionary War.  Finally, there were no patents issued by the Virginia Land Office to Timothy Perkins for land in Montgomery County.  Therefore, the assertion made by some researchers that the Perkins-Sperry family settled in Virginia first is not supported by the evidence. (ibid.)
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Additional Citations:

3. Ancestral File: FLSP-JS, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, UT, continuously updated.

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