Stick a fork in it!

Fork_5You can stick a fork in it, cause it’s done!

I was notified today that the final touches are complete and the 1787 Seth Babb Homestead is ready for the Greeneville Greene County History Museum to decorate and put on display!

On Tuesday, Sept 15, 2015 the remaining repairs to the daubing were finally completed. In order to more efficiently and effectively get both the daubing completed and to finally install the weatherboards in the eaves, Canjoe John brought in Buck & Eddie Otey, who have assisted with the project at several different stages of reconstruction.

In combined forces, the three of them preformed the last remaining tasks on this phase of the project; completed the daubing repairs; removed any visible screws and modern building materials from the structure, eg, from any of the trim where the screws and modern fixtures had been errantly applied by previous personnel and we then re-secured the trim with invisible attachment; cut, fit, and installed the weatherboards in the eaves, with trim.

 10468040_537908896343205_2073706938111819076_oThe Babb Homestead is now fully ready for the museum to continue in the curating of artifacts for and in getting it opened to the public. Of course the next phases will include the planned landscaping, etc., but the building is now ready for occupation.

This concludes a 3.5 year rebuilding process and marks 11 years since the project was first envisioned at the 2004 Babb Family Reunion. I’m going out tonight to celebrate!


Photo Credits: 1787 Seth Babb Homestead, by Bob Babb of Pennsylvania Forks: By S B (originally posted to Flickr as Fork 5) [CC BY 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

When was Phillip Babb of the Isles of Shoals (1) really born?

A keen reader noticed a little confusion about the birthdate of Phillip Babb of the Isles of Shoals. There are a few entries that appear contradictory to each other in Babb’s Rock (Volume 1 of the Babb Unabridged series). Let me start by saying good people disagree on how to show this date and at times I’m on both sides of the argument. My opinion has evolved over time and I made a decision right before publication that left this sounding a little confused. I’ll try to sort it out below.

The 1634 birth date

Our first record of Phillip Babb that we can unequivocally say is “our Phillip” happens in 1652, when he was made Sheriff of the Isles of Shoals. It is assumed that he was at least 18 years of age at the time to hold such an important position. So his birthdate would be before 1634. In certain places (such as charts) this gets abbreviated to b 1634. By the time that he died Mary Bailey and him had fathered 5 sons.

Just before publication, I thought better of a previous theory, which I called “Two Phillips”. Ruth Harrington had about taken me out one day during the 2009 Babb Family Reunion in Devon, England, when I suggested that there might be two Phillips instead of the one we know of. There is lots of circumstantial evidence that could point to this being a father/son combo, but nothing that could prove it.

Hearing Ruth’s voice from the grave saying “You can’t prove that!” I removed it before publication. Up until this point, I had shown Phillip of the Isles of Shoals as “1” and the Phillip we see in England as Phillip “0”. There are two different wives

The 1629 marriage date

We have a marriage record of a Phillip Babb in St. Saviour Church in Dartmouth, Devon, England. We do not know that this is our Phillip Babb, but most circumstantial evidence points to this. The real problem here is that the Phillip Babb who married here did not appear to have lived here. The wife Marie Plumlie was born and raised there, but virtually no other Babb record in the area seems to exist. It is reasonable to believe that this Phillip was at least 13 when getting married and likely older.

The 1614 birth date

Now cross reference this with a birth record of a Phillip Babb in Stepney, London, England in 1614. Many researchers have seized upon this record and made it the chiefly reported date. But thus far, there is no conclusive evidence that our fisherman Phillip (1) is this same Phillip in the record. Is it reasonable to say that there is only 1 Phillip Babb in all of England at this time?

Two Marys

At some point, I thought the two wives Mary and Marie were the same person, which seems to stump many researchers as well. However, Marie Plumblie could not be the mother of the shoals children because she would have been too old to give birth to the boys. We have her birth record in 1608.

The Final Answer

So, the final answer is that I have shown the alternate birth dates because although any of these theories is plausible, none of them are proven. I use the Before 1614 birthdate as the most plausible, given that the Association has concluded that the Phillip who married in Dartmouth, England is our Phillip (1). However, I don’t yet see evidence of the Stepney, London connection being substantiated. London is an extremely large city and not exactly a fishing village. It does have access to the English Channel through the Thames, but it is quite a distance inland and, to me at least, seems inconsistent.


It is my hope that one day we will be able to have a better grasp of the Babb lineages in England. I am just now starting work on that topic in preparation for my next volume on this very topic. We have identified 5 distinct lineages of Babb’s in England and I soon hope to be able to identify their homeland counties. Stay tuned for more!