52 Ancestors 52 Weeks: 16th Week John Putnam

Another post in response to the challenge of posting about 52 ancestors in 52 weeks by Amy Johnson Crow

John Putnam was my 9th great grandfather. Eben Putnam in his 1907 “The Putnam Lineage” has tied John Putnam (1579/80  - 1662) back to Louis IV, King of France who died in 954. I think it’s hard enough to tie our family back to the late 1500s so I’m not going to try to tie someone back another 500 years to the 900s.

John Putnam was born about 1580 as the second of five children to Nicholas and Margaret (Goodspeed) Putnam of Wingate, Buckinghamshire, England, which is northwest of London. That part of Buckinghamshire and neighboring Hertfordshire were well known to be populated by “Nonconformists”, or so-called Puritans. It’s not surprising that when John and his family came to America they chose to go to the primarily Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony in the Boston area.

He had an older sister, Anne, and younger siblings, Elizabeth, Thomas and Richard. All were born and baptized in Wingate but John moved to nearby Aston Abbotts as a young man onto land given him by his father. John married Priscilla Gould (or Deacon) early in the 1600s, probably in Aston Abbotts or Wingate. No records have been found giving the exact date or place of the marriage and no records exist which definitely establish Priscilla’s surname. Families with the name of Gould and Deacon lived in the area and family tradition seems to favor Gould.

Present Day Church at Aston Abbotts - may not be the one from 1600s

Present Day Church at Aston Abbotts – may not be the one from 1600s

John and Priscilla had seven children; six of whom lived to adulthood and came to America. All were baptized in Aston Abbotts. Elizabeth on Dec. 20, 1612 (she is the “Eliza Putnam” admitted to the church at Salem in 1643). Thomas was baptized March 7, 1614/15 and died in Salem Village on May 5 1686. (Salem Village is just north of Salem and was later incorporated as Danvers.) John was baptized July 24, 1617, died in infancy and was buried at Aston Abbotts on Nov. 5, 1620. Nathaniel was baptized Oct. 11, 1619 and died in Salem Village on July 23, 1700. Sara was baptized March 7, 1622/23 and Phoebe on July 28, 1624. John, the youngest child, was baptized on May 27, 1627 and died in Salem Village on April 7, 1710. I am descended from John (1579/80), through Nathaniel (1619) and through his son Benjamin ( 1664).

John Putnam house drawn from descriptions of residents

John Putnam house drawn from descriptions of residents

The date John, Priscilla and the family came to America and on what ship have not been discovered. Family tradition says 1634 and we know they were in Aston Abbotts in 1627 when the youngest child was baptized. In 1641 records show that Priscilla Putnam was admitted to the church at Salem and town records show that John was granted 100 acres of land. The records in 1647 show that John was admitted to the church and as freeman. John was a farmer and was probably considered wealthy and a “man of standing in the community”.  In addition to the original grant from the town, he acquired other lands over the years from various individuals.

Salem Deaths - John Putnam the elder

Salem Deaths – John Putnam the elder

Starting in 1653 John began to grant his land, piece by piece, to his sons. According to Eben Putnam in his book “History of the Putnam Family…”, it was apparently the rule among earlier generations of the Putnam family to dispose of their lands to their children while still alive.  Parents then had the pleasure of seeing their children settled prior to their own deaths.

John Putnam died October 30, 1662 in Salem Village, Essex, Massachusetts. His family remained in the area for a long time and his grandson Thomas (with wife Anne and daughter Anne) was a major participant in the infamous Salem Witch Trials of 1692 as I have commented on before. That Thomas was the son of Thomas ( 1614/15 – 1686 ).

Sources:

1.  Source Information: Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital and Town Records. Provo, UT: Holbrook Research Institute (Jay and Delene Holbrook). CT. R. references Essex Co. Quarterly Court.
2.  Source Information: Ancestry.com. U.S., New England Marriages Prior to 1700 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2012. Original data: Torry, Clarence A. New England Marriages Prior to 1700. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2004.
3.  Putnam, Eben; ”The Putnam Lineage”; The Salem Press Company; Salem, Mass.; 1907. (public domain).
4.  Putnam, Eben; “A History of the Putnam Family in England and America”; The Salem Press Publishing and Printing Co., The Salem Press; Salem, Mass. U.S.A.; 1891. (public domain).

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