A Genealogical Dictionary of  The First Settlers of New England,
Before 1692


By James Savage

Special thanks to Robert Kraft and his assistant, Benjamin Dunning for scanning this book and to Warren Wetmore for perfecting the text and providing technical help in presenting this work for researchers to enjoy.


SOME explanatory introduction to so copious a work, as the following, will naturally be required; but it may be short. In 1829 was published, by John Farmer, a Genealogical Register of the first settlers of New England. Beside the five classes of persons prominent, as Governors, Deputy-Governors, Assistants, ministers in all the Colonies, and representatives in that of Massachusetts, down to 1692, it embraced graduates of Harvard College to 1662, members of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, as also freemen admitted in Massachusetts, alone, to this latter date, with many early inhabitants of other parts of New England and Long Island from 1620 to 1675. Extensive as was the plan of that volume., the author had in contemplation, as explained in his preface, calling it "an introduction to a biographical and genealogical dictionary, "a more ambitious work, that should comprehend sketches of individuals known in the annals of New England, and "a continuation  of eminent persons to the present time." Much too vast a project that appeared to me; and the fixing of an absolute limit, like 1692 (the era of arrival of the new charter), for admission of any family stocks, seemed more judicious. I suppose nineteen twentieths of the people of these New England colonies in 1775 were descendants of those found here in 1692, and probably seven eighths of them were offspring of the settlers before 1642.

My scope is wider than that of Farmer, of course, as it includes every settler, without regard to his rank, or wealth, since we often find, in the second or third generation, descendants of the most humble (thank God we are all equal before the [[vi]]law) filling honorable stations and performing important services.

But far more narrow is my plan than his projected dictionary, because, in a grandson of the first settler, it excludes every other incident after his birth. Space for another than is here given, would have demanded six volumes, while ten volumes would have been needed for a fifth generation; and since we now count eight, nine, or even ten generations of offspring from not a few of the earlier planters on our shores, fifty volumes, each as ponderous as the present, might be filled with details, whereof one tenth would seem ridiculous, one quarter worthless, and one half wholly uninteresting.

That New England was first occupied by a civilized people in so short a period before the great civil war broke out in our mother country, though half a century and more after its elementary principles began to ferment, especially in Parliament, and almost in every parish of the kingdom, was a very fortunate event, if it may not be thought a providential arrangement for the happiness of mankind. Even if our views be restricted to the lineal origin of those people here, when the long protracted impolicy of Great Britain drove our fathers into open hostility and forced them to become a nation in 1776, in that century and a half from its colonization, a purer Anglo Saxon race would be seen on this side of the ocean than on the other. Within forty years a vast influx of Irish, with not a few thousand Scotch and Germans has spread over this new country, but certainly more than four fifths of our people still count their progenitors among the ante-revolutionary colonists. From long and careful research I have judged the proportion of the whole number living here in 1775, that deduce their origin from the kingdom of England, i.e. the Southern part of Great Britain, excluding also the principality of Wales, to exceed ninety-eight in a hundred. Every county, from Northcumberland to Cornwall, Kent to Cumberland, sent its contribution of emigrants, and the sparse population of the narrow shire of Rutland had more than one offshoot in New England. But, during that interval, great was the diversity of circumstances between the old and the new country so far as the increase of their respective numbers by incoming of strangers was affected. In 1660 the restoration of Charles II.--in 1685 the expulsion of the two [[vii]] hundred thousand Protestants from France, the desired invasion of William and Mary in 1689, and the settlement of the House of Hanover in 1714, each brought from the continent an infusion upon the original stock, the aggregate of which may not have been less than five or six per cent. of that into which it was ingrafted. Yet hardly more than three in a thousand, for instance, of Scottish ancestry, almost wholly the migration of the heroic defenders of Londonderry, that came, as one hundred and twenty families, in 1718 and 19, could be found in 1775 among dwellers on our soil; a smaller number of the glorious Huguenot exiles above thirty years longer had been resident here, and may have been happy enough by natural increase (though I doubt it) to equal the later band. If these be also counted three in a thousand, much fewer, though earlier still, must be the Dutch that crept in from New York, chiefly to Connecticut, so that none can believe they reach two in a thousand, while something less must be the ratio of Irish. Germany, Italy, Sweden, Spain, Africa and all the rest of the world, together, did not outnumber the Scotch, or the French singly. A more homogeneous stock cannot be seen, I think, in any so extensive a region, at any time, since that when the ark of Noah discharged its passengers on Mount Arafat, except in the few centuries elapsing before the confusion of Babel.

What honorable ancestry the body of New England population may assert, has often been proclaimed in glowing language; but the words of William Stoughton, in his Election sermon 1668, express the sentiment with no less happiness than brevity: GOD SIFTED A WHOLE NATION THAT HE MIGHT SEND


By an instinct of our nature, we all love to learn the places of our birth, and the chief circumstances in the lives of our progenitors. More liberal than that is the sentiment by which our curious spirit desires knowledge of the same concomitants in the case of great benefactors of mankind; and the hope of ascertaining to a reasonable extent the early history of John Harvard was certainly one of the chief inducements of my visit to England early in 1842. I would have gladly given five hundred dollars to get five lines about him in any relation, private or public. Favored as I was, in this wish, by the countenance [[viii]] and aid of His Excellency, E. Everett, then our minister at London, no trace could be found, except in his signature to the rules on taking his degrees at the University, when he is titled of Middlesex. Perhaps out of such research sprang my resolution to prosecute the genealogical pursuits of John Farmer.

In fulfillment of this great undertaking more than fifteen years are already bestowed, and near two years longer may be necessary. Yet the rule imposed, of admitting upon these pages only the dates of birth and marriage, and names of children, of a child born on our side of the ocean to a settler whose tent was pitched here before May 1692, is severely adhered to, with the exception only of so distinguished a man as Cotton Mather; and even this variety may seem forced upon me by Farmer, who had received him to the copious honors of marriage and family. Yet, in many cases, will be named great grandchildren of first comers, and even in a very few, another generation, making a fifth. Explanation of this apparent deviation from my own law is easy. When Gov. Bradford and Gov. Winthrop came here, each brought a son, or sons, and the same is seen of Gov. Dudley and numberless others. Now each child must be rated as an emigrant no less than its father, so that John Bradford, John and Adam Winthrop, and Samuel Dudley are equally entitled as their parents to have their grandchildren entered in these pages; but William and Joseph Bradford, and Jaseph Dudley, sons of the Govs. born on our side of the water, shall not have grandchildren in their respective lines.

My apparatus for this work will sometimes be found incomplete, yet to a great extent, the public records of Colonies, Counties, and towns, where accessible, have been examined by myself or friends. Of the first ten folio volumes of our Suffolk registry of deeds I had an abstract always lying near me, and these embraced near one third of all the names of New England and more than half those in Massachusetts Colony; indeed for very many years, after the emigration from Europe ceased, only two other counties, Essex and Middlesex had been constituted. lt will be recollected, that large parts of Plymouth, New Hampshire, and Maine were occupied by those who removed from Massachusetts, as was almost the whole of Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Haven colonies. But [[ix]] modern labors of distinguished antiquaries furnish us almost in full their early records; and more than nine tenths of the names in these separate communities, I think, must have been acquired for this work. But even in my native city of Boston three or four in a thousand may have escaped me, yet probably in the second or third ages from its foundation.

For the time of births, marriages, or deaths in each family I have labored assiduously to be correct, in hundreds of cases finding wrong dates given, and commonly without hesitation supplying the true. Where baptism is fixed, by a decent record, weeks, and even months before the date of birth, no fear of injuring the town clerk's credit can restrain belief in his mistake. But the copious source of vexation is the variety growing out of the Old and New Styles. In many thousand instances, I have turned to the perpetual almanac, to be sure that the day of baptism was truly, or not, recorded for Sunday, since the rite

could, in the first century of New England, be performed only on that day. By this many printed errors may be corrected. As children are often seen to be baptized in January or February of the same year, by the ancient legal reckoning, that gives the parents' marriage in April or May, several weeks before, in our modern reckoning of the months, instead of so many months after, it is easy enough to put that right by calling those winter months not the eleventh and twelfth of the old year, as the statute absurdity required. Uniformly my chronology begins the year with 1 January; but to produce harmony between dates for the month of March is sometimes very difficult. A few town officers began to change the numerals for the year with the opening of the month, daring to ask, why the first month of 1679 should allow 24 of its 31 days to be drilled under old 1678, while the perverse will of the rulers in fatherland postponed the new-year's day until the 25th; and some records may be found, where the year ended in December; but this monstrous innovation did not begin before 1700, and the startling truth made irregular progress up to 1752, when Lord Macclesfield enlightened the legislature, and Chesterfield charmed it into consistency.

No apology would be necessary for filling room with enumeration of contributions from many friends other than such as are [[x]] open to all in printed volumes; but much of what is now within every one's reach had been furnished in MS. to me, and still more is from the same hands, in many cases, given first to the light on my pages. Our town histories are crowding forward, and sometimes in less compact space than might be wished. Windsor, though its History is large, has not equalled ancient Woodbury in bulk, yet seems to contain all, with three-fold of the interest, that might have contented us in the other. The point of research may occupy long time, and be expressed at last in brief phrase, so that no comparison can be made between the result in different parts of the same field of battle from taking only the numbers engaged in each. One initial letter in this dictionary required a year and a quarter for its complete preparation, more than three months were given to each of several names, like Hall or Williams, and the progress of a page has often demanded a week. It seemed my duty to expose every error in our genealogy that has got imbedded in any reputable book; and the suspicion of any such may lead to a long train of inquiries before the refutation can be reached. If my success has been less than my ambition, it has not been owing to lack of industry, or to hurried operation. Printing of the first volume began in Dec. 1858, and was prosecuted without interruption of a day to this time; while for the next volume the careful amanuensis has ready for the compositor two hundred pages, a part of which will be given to the press to-morrow. For the access of new information that reaches us almost every month, a constant watch is kept; and life and health being continued, my contract with the community may be decently discharged in the autumn of 1861.

A very extensive catalogue of gentlemen, that might be graced by one of more than half a dozen ladies, could here be supplied, were it useful to mention the smaller as well as the greater contributors to these sheets. To Goodwin, Bond, Harris, father and son, Kingsley, Abbot, Day, Shattuck, Lunt, and Kilbourne, of the respectable file who have passed out of active service, it would not be easy to state the respective proportions of indebtedness; nor could I specify the ratio of benefit derived in my pages from benevolence of the living Babson, Boltwood, Brayton, Budington, Clapp, Day, Edwards, [[xi]] Felt, Field, Herrick, Hoadley, Jackson, Judd, Kelly, King, Kellogg, Lincoln, Locke, Otis, Paige, Patterson, Riker, Sargent, Sewall, Shurtleff, R. D. Smith of Guilford, Staples, Vinton, Wentworth, Whitmore, Willard, Wyman, and twice as many more. Not one of the living or dead could complain of my declaration, that from the distinguished antiquary of Northampton the acquisition exceeds that of any other ten contributors. Early in 1846 I had solicited the benefit of uniting his name with mine in producing these volumes; but while he shrank from the responsibility of such unbroken labor, I can offer several hundred pages of letters to vouch for his sympathy, and encourage my perseverance.

19 APRIL, 1860

[[vol. 4, iii]] CLOSING ADDRESS.

THE task, that, near twenty years since, was assumed by me, is now ended; and no regret is felt for the time devoted to it. Pleasure and duty have been equally combined. In the result some exultation might be felt, if suceess rewarded diligence, and proficiency had always followed patience; but in parts of so wide a range around genealogy, as this of New England, frequent failures ought to be anticipated, since the triumphs even within the narrow space traversed, in their long campaigns, by Bond or Shattuck, Judd or Goodwin, proved imperfect. Gleaners may find reward in following even their footsteps.

For a partial indication of the ample assistance from modern copious correspondence, a reference to my preface in Vol. I. may seem sufficient; yet it appears requisite, in this valedictory obeisance to subscribers, to desire their forgiveness for the awkwardness they may discover, that among the ten or twelve thousand items of improvement in or increase upon the first text, as herein set forth, not a few hundred additions to additions with a score or two of corrections for corrections are interspersed. Of such materials the History of Watertown has subjoined 303 pages to its first 672; and parallel to such overflow might always be expected in a larger work, though not in exact proportion to its size. To exhauust the vocabulary of a civilized nation in a living tongue would appear impossible, for we all know, that new streams are constantly flowing into it from sources before unknown; and similar sypplies, by analogy, in a dictionary to set forth the origin of our families subsisting one hundred and seventy years ago, may naturally arise.

[[vol. 4, iv]] Unavoidable omissions in these two thousand five hundred closely marshalled pages ought, therefore, to be expected; but if neither residence nor time were given, no right to a place for a new surname on my page would be yielded, though popular opinion traced the pretender to a Plantagenet, or his veins swelled with all the blood of all the Howards. Half a million, I presume, of those incidents may be found in this work. Blanks, not above two or three in the thousand, I believe, may remain in the myriads of names of family or baptism, and, I hope, the erroneous may only slightly outnumber the deficient.

Some notes of events and of men have been lost, probably, though only a single instance, but of half a line, occurs to my recollection, and this is more cause of sorrow, than surprise, when I remember how many hundred have been written twice, thrice, and even four times over. To a few, who consult these volumes, such vacancies may give no disquiet, as thereby room was gained for a little general biography or historical criticism in place of the multitudinous ocean of numerals, or names as little discriminated as fortemque Gyan, fortemque Cloanthum. But never was such occasion made, however easily found by one who will feel pleasant surprise at a rare deviation from predominant dulness. I have dared to express, in a very few instances, my sense of the need of correction in old contemporary statements of history, either public or private, and more gladly to detect the modern adoption of idle traditions that kept long out of sight, when their small value would not have saved, the perpetuation of trifing fictions.

May not some degree of favor be extended to my departure from the narrow circle of universal genealogy to snatch a few additional lines or some and sentences for others bearing prominent names like Bellingham, Burrows, Chauncey, Clark, Davenport, Dudley, Eaton, Endicott, Goffe, Hoar, Hopkins, Hull, Jackson, Johnson, Leverett, Mather, Osgood, Paddy, Parker, Phips, Pratt, Rogers, Saltonstall, Scroop, Sherman, Smith, Temple, Welde, Whalley, Wigglesworth, Williams, Wilson, and Winthrop.

The prosecution of this work has continued without interruption in this long course of years, except twice, in both cases from illness, first, short but severe, more than fourteen years

[[vol. 4, v]] ago, next, lighter and longer, less than four years since; yet from the time printing of the volumes began, Dec. 1858, no day has passed without progress, except the legal holidays By the majority who in careless hours may turn over these columns, the scrupulous diligence of the printer will justly be more observed than the research of the author, who should feel sufficient reward, if his countrymen acknowledgd they have no further claim to use of his pen after the owner's reaching so near the age of fourscore. Still my rejoicing should be rather, that my service is finished, than that I have no more to do.

No slight vexation arose from defeat of my utmost vigilance in gathering the desired additions to this immense array of names, collected while the volumes have been passing under the press; but it was soothed by reflecting how many would show no regard to the defect, and better still how liberal would be the allowance of the few that duly weighed the excuse by making the suffering their own. I desire the reader in

[[NOTE: these have all been corrected in the electronic edition.]]

Vol. I. p. 277, I. 12, aft. 1701. add, Perhaps his d. Hannah m. William Punchard.

Vol. IV. p. 160. I. 3, at the end, add, He was s. of Thomas, and m. 28 Nov. 1677, Priscilla Buckley, had Priscilla, b. 10 Oct. foll. and d. next yr.; William, 21 July 1680, d. young; Thomas, 28 Mar. 1682; Sarah, 17 Jan. 1684; William, again, 25 Dec. 1686; Priscilla, again, 3 Aug. 1689, prob. d. soon; for next is Priscilla, 1 May 1690; and Simon, 1 Mar. 1695.

MAY 17, 1862.

November 2000

November 2000

You are the 4674th Visitor to this USGenNet Safe-Site™ Since March 9, 2001. 66,000 Visitors before this counter was changed.

Html by Debbie

[Register Index][AHGP][Blackwell's New England Books Project]