There is no surviving record of the birthplace of Samuel Carpenter, Sr., or of any details of his emigration to Plymouth Colony.
Very little is known about the family of Samuel Carpenter, Sr. He was the son of William, Sr., (d:1658-59) and Abigail Carpenter (d:1686), and was one of seven children. His siblings included John, William, Jr., Joseph, Hannah, Abiah, and Abigail. Incidentally, in Joseph Carpenter's will of 1676, he referred to Samuel Carpenter, Sr., as his "loving brother".
Carpenter married a woman named Sarah, and had at least five children (all sons) with her: David (b:1675), Soloman (b:1677), Zachariah (b:1680), Abraham (b:1682), and Samuel, Jr. (b:ca.1660). The records of the court-ordered disposal of Carpenter's estate (since he left no will) mentions that his relict was left to bring up "four small children," likely referring to David, Soloman, Zachariah, and Abraham.
Although there is no explicit reference to Carpenter's occupation in the archives, an examination of his probate inventory suggests he was some type of wood-worker: carpenter, joiner, or turner. Perhaps his trade was passed down from generation to generation since his forebears originally took the surname "Carpenter".
Samuel Carpenter, Sr., was probably a literate man, since there were four books, worth ten shillings, listed in his estate inventory of 1683.
Samuel Carpenter, Sr., was a very wealthy resident of Rehoboth. When he died his estate was valued at £436.5, with his landholdings amounting to over 450 acres. Among his extensive properties was land "in Commonage in the town of Rehoboth" (surrounding the central village green), and £110 worth of "housing", orchards, home lot, and pasture opening.
According to his probate inventory, Carpenter owned forty-seven and one half livestock, almost 100 carpentry tools, and seventy bushels of Indian corn.
Samuel Carpenter, Sr., engaged in all of the civic affairs typical for someone of his wealth and prominence. He served on several juries (1661-1673), and was elected Constable twice (1666, 1677) and Surveyor of the Highways once (1680). He became a freeman by 1670, and was involved with the disposal of his brother's and sister-in-law's estates (1676, 1678).
1658 October- 1659 April. Death of William Carpenter, Sr., father of Samuel Carpenter, Sr. [Simmons, 1996, 357-367]
1661 June 4. Samuel Carpenter, Sr., served on the "Grand Enquest". [PCR 3:214-215]
1666 June 5. Samuel Carpenter, Sr., elected Constable of Rehoboth, with John Perram. [PCR 4:122-123]
1668 October 29. Report of the coroner's inquest, impaneled to investigate the sudden death of "an Indian". Samuel Carpenter, Sr., served on this jury, which found that the Indian, "going up upon a log, and setting his foot upon the first rail, the rail broke, and he fell down, and his head came first to the ground." Upon examination, the Indian had a broken neck and broken wrist. [PCR 5:4-7]
1670 May 29. Samuel Carpenter, Sr., listed as a freeman of Rehoboth. [PCR 5:274-278]
1673 November 11. Report of the coroner's inquest, impaneled to investigate the death of Roger Annadowne. Samuel Carpenter, Sr., served on this jury, which was convened because of potential foul play in Annadowne's death. Although there was publicly-known "strife between his wife and him" before his death, the jury found no evidence, "no wound or bruise", that might suggest an untimely demise. [PCR 5:137-141]
1675 April 17. Birth of David Carpenter, son of Samuel Carpenter, Sr. [PCR 8:62]
1676 November 1. Letters of administration granted to Samuel Carpenter, along with his brother, William Carpenter, Jr., "to administer on the estate of Margaret Carpenter, and to see Joseph Carpenter's will performed according to the tenor thereof…" To clarify, Joseph Carpenter died in 1675 or 1676, and his wife survived him by about two years. [PCR 5:211-212]
1677 June 5. Samuel Carpenter, Sr., elected Constable of Rehoboth, with Thomas Cooper, Jr. [PCR 5:229-231]
1677 December 23. Birth of Soloman Carpenter, son of Samuel Carpenter, Sr. [PCR 8:66]
1678 March 5. Samuel Carpenter, Sr., his brother, William Carpenter, Jr., declared "overseers of the estate of [sister-in-law] Margaret Carpenter," and ordered "to dispose of a competent part of the land of Joseph Carpenter, Senior, for the use of Joseph Carpenter, Junior…" [PCR 5:251-252]
1680 June 1. Samuel Carpenter, Sr., elected Surveyor of the Highways for Rehoboth, with John Fitch. [PCR 6:34-42]
1680 July 1. Birth of Zachariah Carpenter, son of Samuel Carpenter, Sr. [PCR 8:72-73]
1683 February. Death of Samuel Carpenter, Sr. He died without a will.
1683 February 20. Burial of Samuel Carpenter, Sr. [PCR 8:78-79]
1683 February 27. Inventory taken of the estate of Samuel Carpenter, Sr., by Daniel Smith, Captain Peter Hunt, John Pecke, Lieutenant Pecke, and William Carpenter. [Plymouth Colony Wills, Vol. 4, Part 2, Folios 42-44]
1683 March 5. Inventory of the estate of Samuel Carpenter, Sr., probated, by oaths of Daniel Smith and James Brown. [Plymouth Colony Wills, Vol. 4, Part 2, Folios 42-44]
1683 March 6. Court-ordered disposal of the estate of Samuel Carpenter, Jr. (he died without a will). The court named Samuel Carpenter, Jr., William Carpenter, Jr., and relict Sarah Carpenter to be the administrators of his estate. [PCR 6:102]
1686. Death of Abigail Carpenter, mother of Samuel Carpenter, Sr. Her estate inventory was probated in Bristol County. [Sherman 19]
Plymouth Colony Wills and Inventories, Vol. 1: 1633-1669. Ed. C. H. Simmons. Camden: Picton Press, 1996. Volume 2, Wills, pages 357-367.
Plymouth Colony Wills and Inventories, Vols. I-VII, 1670-1685. Unpublished compilation, ed. Patricia E. Scott Deetz. Department of Anthropology, University of Virginia, 1999.
Records of the Colony of New Plymouth in New England [PCR]. 1855-61. Ed. Nathaniel B. Shurtleff and David Pulsifer. New York: AMS Press, 1968.
Sherman, Ruth Wilder, and Robert S. Wakefield. Plymouth Colony Probate Guide, 1620-91. Plymouth Colony Research Group, 1983. Page 19.