William Potter (c.1608 - 1662) MP

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Birthplace: of, Lewes, Sussex, England
Death: Died in New Haven, New Haven Colony, (Present Connecticut)
Cause of death: Execution by hanging
Occupation: Husbandman, fence viewer, planter, grist mill
Managed by: Larry Strait, Jr.
Last Updated:

About William Potter

William Potter (1608/09-1662) of New Haven Colony

William Potter arrived at Boston aboard the "Abigail" from London in July of 1635. Traveling with William were his wife, Frances CHILDS?, and his 20 week old son Joseph.

William's Mother (Hannah POTTER BEECHER), step-father (John BEECHER), and brother (John POTTER) followed William to America two years later. They were part of the company that arrived aboard the "Hector" that included the very prominent Puritans Rev. John DAVENPORT and Theophilus EATON. The party had intended to settle within the Massachusetts Colony, but upon their arrival, decided to found a new colony elsewhere because of what they perceived to be a tainted religious climate in Boston. The families made arrangements for temporary housing in Boston while a site was being selected. The BEECHERS and John POTTER probably moved in with William and his family during this period.

Shortly before the arrival of the "Hector", an army from the Massachusetts Colony had raided and slaughtered the Pequot Indians at their village of Quinnipiac on Long Island. The returning soldiers told stories of an abundant land and a favorable harbor. Hearing the glowing reports, Rev. DAVENPORT dispatched Rev. EATON with a party to explore the area. The party included John BEECHER, William's step-father. They arrived in the Quinnipiac area in early autumn and found it quite suitable for the establishment of a colony. Fearing the approach of winter, however, EATON thought it prudent to delay attempting the establishment until the following spring. He decided to leave seven men to winter at Quinnipiac, further explore the area, and to prepare for the arrival of the main colony. John BEECHER was one of the seven men left behind. He died sometime during that winter and was buried in an unmarked grave. The colony that became established the following spring was New Haven Colony. John BEECHER'S remains were discovered some years later while digging a cellar.

William POTTER, his family, Hannah (his mother), John POTTER, and Isaac BEECHER (John BEECHER'S son) all removed from Boston to New Haven. They may have went with the original settlers in that spring of 1638 but that cannot be established. They were definitely there by 1639, however, because both William and John POTTER signed the New Haven Agreement in a general town meeting that year.

Early New Haven records indicate that William's life was a 'good news - bad news' scenario. On the one hand his seating assignments in the church indicate that he progressed in the standing. On the other hand he was frequently fined for offenses ranging from absence at military training, improper care of arms, to failure to submit a timely inventory for taxation.

In 1659 Hannah POTTER BEECHER died and appointed William executor of her will. She left 2/3 of her estate to William and 1/3 to Isaac BEECHER. She requested that William 'be as a father to his younger brother and his children.'

William died between May, 1662, and March following , in New Haven. His estate was valued at over 190 English pounds, as shown by the inventory taken August 2, 1662. The family home was on the west side of Quinipiac River near the present Cedar Hill station.

The descendants of this early American include the names of many who have distinguished themselves as scholars, as ministers and in other professions. We omit any reference to incidents in connection with the close of his life for the reason that he appears to have been the victim of a mental disorder rather than an enemy of society.

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William Potter was freed from training (kind?) by the General Court of the New Haven Colony, May 1656. His will was dated 9 Mar. 1684/5. Source: History of Stamford, by E. B. Huntington. -------------------- Families of Ancient New Haven by Donald Lines Jacobus, pg. 1137, 1459 -------------------- Arrived in America in 1635 on the "Abigail."

The Potters are one of the "First Families of America".

William was hanged for sodomy. It appears he had a mental disorder which caused him to appear to be a menace to society.

Links

-------------------- WILLIAM POTTER, NEW HAVEN COLONY, CONNECTICUT (1608/09-1662)

William POTTER arrived at Boston aboard the "Abigail" from London in July of 1635. Traveling with William were his wife, Frances CHILDS?, and his 20 week old son Joseph.

William's Mother (Hannah POTTER BEECHER), step-father (John BEECHER), and brother (John POTTER) followed William to America two years later. They were part of the company that arrived aboard the "Hector" that included the very prominent Puritans Rev. John DAVENPORT and Theophilus EATON. The party had intended to settle within the Massachusetts Colony, but upon their arrival, decided to found a new colony elsewhere because of what they perceived to be a tainted religious climate in Boston. The families made arrangements for temporary housing in Boston while a site was being selected. The BEECHERS and John POTTER probably moved in with William and his family during this period.

Early New Haven records indicate that William's life was a 'good news - bad news' scenario. On the one hand his seating assignments in the church indicate that he progressed in the standing. On the other hand he was frequently fined for offenses ranging from absence at military training, improper care of arms, to failure to submit a timely inventory for taxation.

The Children of William POTTER and Frances CHILDS? were.

  • 1. JOSEPH, b. Nov. 1635,   m. Phebe IVES
  • 2. THOMAS, b. ca. 1637
  • 3. HANNAH,?
  • 4. MARY, bap. Aug. 22, 1641,   m. about 1657, Joseph MANSFIELD
  • 5. SARAH, bap. Aug. 22, 1641,but not the twin of Mary,   m. 1659, Robert FOOTE;   m. 2nd, 1686, Aaron BLAKESLEY/BLACHLEY and removed to Guilford.
  • 6. HOPE, bap. Oct. 3, 1641,   m. Feb. 3, 1663, Daniel ROBINSON.
  • 7. REBECKAH, bap Jan 1643,   m. Nov. 27, 1667, Thomas ADAMS
  • 8. NATHANIEL bap. Dec. 22, 1644,   m. April, 1675, Elizabeth HAWES

Submitted by Joyce Lee Wiggins Kaufman of Dallas, Texas

Links

------------------------- Notes

  1. "Engish Origin of the Potter and Beecher Families of New Haven, Connecticut," The American Genealogist, Vol. 79, pp. 28-33; pub. January/April 2004 issue.
  2. probably came in the Abigal from London, in 1635, aged 27, with wife Francis, aged 26, and child Joseph, aged twenty weeks." The Abigal sailed in May of 1635. January or February of 1635 would seem reasonable for Joseph's birthdate.

Birth dates of the children are approximate and based on Jacobus. Hope was baptised in the First Congregational Society in October of 1641 following the baptisms in August of her sisters, Mary and Sarah. 1

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  • 1 Shepard, James, The New Haven (Conn.) Potters, 1639 (New England Historic Genealogy Register, (Boston, 1900)).
  • 2 Jacobus, Donald Lines, Families of Ancient New Haven (Genealogical Pub. Co., Baltimore, 1974), Vol. VI, p1459.
  • 3 New Haven Colony Historical Society, Ancient Town Records (New Haven Colony Historical Society, 1917).
  • 4 Shepard, James, The New Haven (Conn.) Potters, 1639 (New England Historic Genealogy Register, (Boston, 1900)), From Savage.
  • 5 Ancestral File.
view all 25

William Potter's Timeline

1608
August 28, 1608
Lewes, Sussex, England
August 28, 1608
Lewes, Sussex, England

England & Wales Christening Records, 1530-1906
Name: William Potter
Gender: Male
Christening Date: 28 Aug 1608
Christening Place: Lewes, Sussex, England
Father's Name: William Potter
Source Citation: Place: Lewes, Sussex, England; Collection: St Thomas; -; Date Range: 1606 - 1881; Film Number: .
Source Information:
Ancestry.com. England & Wales Christening Records, [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.
Original data: Genealogical Society of Utah. British Isles Vital Records Index, 2nd Edition. Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, copyright 2002. Used by permission.
--------------------
England & Wales Christening Records, 1530-1906
Name: William Potter
Gender: Male
Christening Date: 28 Aug 1608
Christening Place: Lewes, Sussex, England
Father's Name: William Potter
Source Citation: Place: Lewes, Sussex, England; Collection: St Thomas; -; Date Range: 1606 - 1881; Film Number: .

August 28, 1608
Lewes, Sussex, England

England & Wales Christening Records, 1530-1906
Name: William Potter
Gender: Male
Christening Date: 28 Aug 1608
Christening Place: Lewes, Sussex, England
Father's Name: William Potter
Source Citation: Place: Lewes, Sussex, England; Collection: St Thomas; -; Date Range: 1606 - 1881; Film Number: .
Source Information:
Ancestry.com. England & Wales Christening Records, [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.
Original data: Genealogical Society of Utah. British Isles Vital Records Index, 2nd Edition. Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, copyright 2002. Used by permission.

1635
March 1635
Age 26
Sussex, England
June 30, 1635
Age 26
London, Middlesex, England

The Abigail left London, England April to July 1635 with her master, Robert Hackwell, arriving in Massachusetts Bay.

1635
- present
Age 26
1636
August 10, 1636
Age 27
Stamford, Fairfield, Connecticut, United States

William married Frances about 1634 in England. (1)

Conflict with the LDS date of marriage (Aug. 1636) (5) and birth of first child, Joseph (Nov. 1636). Both are no doubt wrong. Jacobus has no date for marriage, but c1635 for birth of Joseph.

Citations
1 Shepard, James, The New Haven (Conn.) Potters, 1639 (New England Historic Genealogy Register, (Boston, 1900)).

5 Ancestral File.

September 8, 1636
Age 28
Probably England
1637
1637
Age 28
Rhode Island
1641
August 22, 1641
Age 32
Wallingford, New Haven, Connecticut