|In Ireland from whence the family came, the name Taft was spelled Taaffe. Originally, the Tafts moved from Ireland into Scotland, then to England, and from there to the United States. Sir William Taft was a knight of the protestant faith in 1610. Robert, a housewright, was born in Ireland in 1640. He was the first Taft to be noted in the United States; he purchased a house and lot in 1679, according to the records of the town clerk of Braintree, MA. He had the title of respect 'Mr.' given him early in the records. He moved to Bristol, Rhode Island, and then to Mendon(then called Mendham), Mass., where he was prominent in organizing the town. He purchased large tracts of land in Mendon and adjoining towns, some of which was purchased from the Indians. In 1680 he was elected to the board of selectmen of the town of Mendon and was on the committee to build the minister's house. (He was a strong Puritan.) He and his sons built the first bridge across the River Mendon. The whole Taft family was energetic, industrious, frugal, patriotic, honorable and was distinguished by its substantial virtues rather than genius.
From: Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worchester County vol1 - Robert Taft (1), the first emigrant of this surname, who is the progenitor of so many of the Taft families of Worcester county where the name is more common than in any other section of the country, was the ancestor of Lyman Josiah Taft, late of Worcester. Under the heading of other Taft families a pretty complete record of the life of Robert Taft in New England, gathered largely from the researches of the late Judge Alphonso Taft, father of the Secretary of War, may be found in this work.
Robert Taft was a native of Scotland. He appears to have come to New England in 1677 or 1678 and settled in Braintree, now Quincy, Massachusetts, near Boston. It was just after the disastrous King Philip's war. In 1678 and 1679 the colonists who had been driven away from the frontier towns by the Indians, were making plans for re-settling their farms. Robert Taft and Savill Simpson joined in the purchase of Colonel William Crowne's farm at Mendon for which they paid ninety pounds August 15, 1679. They sold their place in Braintree, November 18, 1679, and doubtless moved to Mendon with others from Braintree in the spring of 1680. The land was divided by deed dated July 29, 1680. Half the property which was on one side the road was known as Pondfield and that went to Simpson; while the land on the opposite side of the road known as Fortfield from an old fort built long before the days of King Philip, as shown by the name in earlier deeds, went to Robert Taft and became the nucleus of the Taft homestead. Taft was acquisitive. He got land in one way and another until he owned all about the pond which was in the earlier days known as Taft Pond. Alanson Taft, of Mendon, lately owned the original home site, besides owning for two miles and a half from his home a tenth interest in what became the town of Sutton. Massachusetts, in 1703. In rebuilding the town of Mendon, Taft was an important factor. He was on the first board of selectmen. He and his sons built the first bridge over the Blackstone river. He served during all his active life on important town committees and in other offices of trust and honor. He was for his day a citizen of wealth and distinction, and he founded a family than which there is none in Worcester county with a more honorable record or with a greater number of distinguished men. The children of Robert and Sarah Taft were: Thomas, born 1671; Robert, Jr., 1674; Daniel, 1677; Joseph, 1680; and Benjamin.
The death year may have been 1725.
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