The abundance of information about the early settle~s to this
country has made it possible to trace our ancestors back to the
first one to come to this country. This person is Richard Tarr and
he came from Wales some time in the late sixteen hundreds. Here he
married and he and his wives (it is believed he had two) raised a
family of eleven children. All but one of these children lived to
adulthood and married and had children of their own. At this point
in time there are eleven generations of descendants in our direct
line from Richard Tarr.
The origin of our family is the British Islands. Richard came from
Wales and based on maiden names of the women that married into the
Tarr family in the first five generations, they also appear to
have come from the British Islands.
The material presented here is an effort to trace the family line
with the Tarr nane. All the early generation material traces the
male descendants only. However, for the most recent
generations both the male and female descendants.
What is Known About Our Early Ancestors
The early history books give a fair amount of information about
Richard Tarr because he was the first settler at Sandy Bay, a
place now known as Rockport, Massachusetts. It is believed that he
arrived in this country at Marbelhead, Massachusetts. He first
settled on a farm at Blue Poi.n t, Maine and later at Saco, Maine
where he improved a saw mill for its owners and where he owned
fifty acres of land. He was driven from Saco by the Indians and
moved south to Sandy Bay. This spot is on Cape Ann and is north
east of Boston. He probably was induced to settle in this remote
area by coastal shippers who went to Sandy Bay to obtain trees to
be used for boat building purposes.
While living in Maine, he and his first wife (name unknown) had
two sons. He then married Elizabeth Dicer. From this marriage they
had five sons and four daughters, all of whom were born in
Rockport. He had five acres of land under cultivation. The extent
of his farming activities is revealed by his will. It listed his
assets as including three cows, one pair of steers, three
yearlings, one calf, twenty sheep, and six lambs. Richard died in
We descend from Richard Tarr's fifth son, Benjamin. He was born on
April 9, 1700 and died in 1783. Many of Richard's Tarr's
descendents today are from the Richard/Benjamin line. We have less
information about Benjamin then we have about Richard. During
Benjamin's life time Gloucester, which is adjacent to Rockport,
was a developing fishing center. Many of our early ancestors were
.either fishermen or seamen. This is borne out in the records of
Tarr deaths which report a number of drownings.
Benjamin and his wife Rebeca Wales Card had four boys and four
girls. We descend from his third son John who married Elizabeth
Gross. Two of their sons drowned unmarried, one son was a
bachelor. Their remaining son John junior is our ancestor. John
senior and John junior served together in the Sea Forces during
the Revolutionary War. John senior died while in the service in
New Jersey. There are at least fifteen other descendants of
Richard Tarr that served in the Armed Forces during the
Revolutionary War. Some of these men fought at Bunker Hill and
others were involved with the defense of the sea coast.
John junior was born in 1756 and married Agnes Thursten.
They had fourteen children, ten boys and four girls. Their son
Seth who was born in 1804 at Gloucester is our ancestor. Seth was
the first of our ancestors to leave the Rockport area. He moved to
New Market, New Hampshire where he married Mary Ann Wiley in 1826.
They had five children, three sons and two daughters. One of their
sons died in infancy and another son whom was in the Union"
army during the Civil War was captured and died in the infamous
Andersonville prison. Their third son was our ancestor Stephen A.
Stephen Augustus Tarr was born in 1834. At age nineteen he
migrated westward to Illinois living near Kewanee, Henry County,
Illinois. He lived there a year and then went back to New
Hampshire in 1854. The following year he returned to Kewanee
bringing with him his mother, father and sister Lida. In 1860 he
married Jane E. Hallock and in the following year moved to South
Paw Paw in Lee county, Illinois.
In August of 1862 he enlisted in Company K, 75th Volunteer
Infantry. Without any training his Company was sent into battle in
Kentucky. At the battle of Perryville he was wounded in the foot
and in December was discharged because of his injury.
In 1880 Stephen purchased the 110 acre farm from his father-in-law
Israel Hallock. His principal occupation was farming, but he also
worked as a painter. He died in 1906 and his wife, Jane in 1926.
Stephen and Jane had eight children. Two sons died in infancy and
a daughter died at age fourteen. Their daughter Mary Tarr married
David Morey. Their son Stephen Franklin lived in Indiana during
most of his adult life. Stephen and Jane had twin sons Rubert and
Reubin. Rubert stayed in Illinois and farmed his father's farm.
Reuben together with his brother Thomas Wiley first migrated to
Iowa. From there Reubin went out to the state of Washington where
he farmed. Thomas Wiley moved to Idaho where he farmed and was in
the cattle business.