Ann "Hannah" Beecher, widow Potter

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Ann "Hannah" Beecher (Langford), widow Potter

Birthplace: Spaldhurst, Kent, England
Death: 1659 (70-79)
New Haven, New Haven, Connecticut
Place of Burial: Center Church on the Green, New Haven, New Haven, Connecticut, British Colonial America
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Edward Langford and Mary Langford
Wife of William Potter; William Potter, of Lewes and John Beecher
Mother of William Potter, of New Haven; John Potter; Mary Potter; Stephen Potter; John Potter, of New Haven and 1 other
Sister of Ann Langford and Mary Langford

Occupation: Midwife
Managed by: Hatte Anne Blejer
Last Updated:

About Ann "Hannah" Beecher, widow Potter

Burial record & bio:


See timeline tab for additional citations

"John Beecher's wife, Hannah and her children were to join John in the spring of 1638, but when their schooner landed, they received the tragic news of John's death.  Hannah Beecher was a respected midwife and was allowed to settle on John's land, where she raised her family alone, never remarrying."

See well reasoned article "The Widow Potter-Beecher of New Haven" by Donald Lines Jacobus, M.A., F.A.S.G. in The American Genealogist (1958) v.34, p.218, where he concludes, "It is my strong belief that only one woman is involved in the [above] records, a midwife who was mother of William and John Potter and of Isaac Beacher."

Patricia Law Hatcher, "English Origin of the Potter and Beecher Families of New Haven, Connecticut," The American Genealogist 79 (2004):28-33. Hatcher has definitively settled a problem which was tentatively resolved nearly half a century ago by Donald Lines Jacobus. References to a widow Beecher and a widow Potter in early New Haven have been thought by some to refer to two women, while others (including Jacobus) have thought these records referred to one woman. Hatcher has found English records for this family in Lewes, Sussex, where William Potter married Ann Langford on 6 October 1607. This couple had four children, two of whom, sons William and John, survived and accompanied their mother to New England in the late 1630s. William Potter died in 1619 and his widow married John Beecher early in the following year. They had two children, one of whom, son Isaac, also made the migration to New England.

From Dictionary of Ancestral Heads of New England Families by Holmes: "Hannah, widow of John BEECHER of Kent, England, came to Boston in 1637 with her family, the only son being Isaac who became identified with New Haven, CT."


  1. Families of Ancient New Haven by Donald Lines Jacobus, pg. 162, 1459



Category:New Haven, New Haven Colony {{OnePlaceStudy | place = New Haven Colony | category = New Haven, New Haven Colony }} Puritan Great Migration

Disputed Origins

:It has been suggested, without evidence, that Hannah was the daughterof John Mead and Cisely Love.:A 2004 TAG article identifies her maiden name as Langford.<ref name=Hatcher>Patricia Law Hatcher, "English Origin of the Potter and Beecher Families of New Haven, Connecticut," in TAG, 79:28 (2004): starting on page 28</ref>: A 2006 "TAG" article explores the possibility of her origins. Her father remains unknown, but he may have had brothers William, Richard and ____ (father of Stephen).<ref>Hatcher, Patricia Law. "Langford Origins Redux." The American Genealogist 81:133-140 (2006)</ref>


Hannah was born Ann Langford about 1584, based on her marriage date.<ref name=Hatcher /> Ann Langford married William (not John) Potter 6 Oct 1607 in St. Thomas at the Cliffe, Lewes, England.<ref name=StThomas>Hatcher, citing St.Thomas Parish records</ref><ref>"England Marriages, 1538–1973 ," database, FamilySearch ( 10 February 2018), William Potter and Ann Langford, 06 Oct 1607; citing Saint Thomas, Lewes, Sussex, England, reference , index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 1,067,241.</ref>William was buried there 14 Aug 1619.<ref name=StThomas /> They had four children:#William bpt 28 August 1608<ref name=StThomas /> William, his wife Francis and son Joseph immigrated to New England aboard the "Abigail" in 1635.<ref name="Hotten">Hotten, John Camden (editor). The Original Lists of Persons of Quality: Emigrants, Religious Exiles, Political Rebels, Serving Men Sold for a Term of Years, Apprentices, Children Stolen, Maidens Pressed, and Others, who Went from Great Britain to the American Plantations, 1600-1700. London: John Camden Hotten, 1874. p. 97,98</ref>#John bpt. 10 Jan 1608/9<ref name=StThomas /> John also went to New England<ref name=Hatcher />#Mary bpt 12 March 1611/12<ref name=StThomas /> No further Record.<refname=Hatcher />#Steven bpt 1 Aug 1614.<ref name=StThomas /> No further Record.<ref name=Hatcher /> Hannah married in January 1619/20, also at St. Thomas at the Cliffe, Lewes, England, her second husband John Beecher.<ref name=StThomas /> John had possibly an unknown first wife, by whom he had Richard and John Beecher.<ref name=Hatcher />: "It is generally supposed that her husband, John Beecher, was one ofthe seven whom Eaton sent to New Haven in advance of the colony and who died before the rest of the colony arrived." <ref>"Genealogies of Connecticut Families from The New England Historical Genealogical Register" vol III Painter--Wyllys,selected and introduced by Gary Boyd Roberts, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc.,Baltimore, 1983, p 150-151.</ref><ref name=Atwater>History of the Colony of New Haven to Its Absorption Into Connecticut By Edward Elias Atwater, Lucy M. Hewitt, Bessie E.Beach. Meriden, Connecticut: 1902. (death of John Beecher- see p 63); list of estates p. 108-111; seats pp 544, 549.</ref> Their children were: ::5. Isaac Beecher b. between 1620 and 1627, probably about 1623, wentto New England with his parents.<ref name=Hatcher /> Isaac Beecher was thought by some to be Hannah's step-son from her second marriage,<ref name=Shepard>Shepard, James, "The New Haven (Conn.) Potters 1639. in"Genealogies of Connecticut Families, from The New England Historicaland Genealogical Register" Vol III. Previously published as "The New Haven (Conn.) Potters, 1639." NEHGR 54:20. 1900. p. 21</ref> although Jacobus in Families of Ancient New Haven gives no such impression.<ref name="Jacobus">Jacobus, Donald Lines (compiler). Families of Ancient New Haven, Vol I-VIII. and Index Vol IX New Haven: 1931. Reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1974, 1981, 1997. Originally published as New Haven Genealogical Magazine, Volumes I-VIII. Rome, NY and New Haven, CT 1922-1932.</ref> Hatcher shows she was his mother based on his estimated birth date relative to her marriage to his father. She names him as her son in her will and gave him one-third of her property.<ref name=Hatcher /> ::6. Thomas Beecher, b. by 1627. No Further Records <ref name=Hatcher /> Widow Beecher, aka Widow Potter, was early in New Haven, Connecticut. Her sons John and William Potter both signed the Plantation Covenant in New Haven, Connecticut on June 4, 1639,<ref name=Hoadley1>Hoadley, Charles J, MA. (editor) Records of the Colony and Plantation of New Haven, From 1638 to 1649. Hartford: Case, Tiffany and Company, 1857. Covenant signers p. 17, estate list, p. 92</ref> just nineteen years after the Pilgrims settled at Plymouth, Massachusetts. She was a midwife in 1641 and 1646. She is called 'Sister Potter the midwife,' in seating the meeting house in 1646. There are among the early records of New Haven Colony a list of estates. It falls within the pages of 1643, but it is by analysis an earlierdocument from the end of 1640.<ref name=Atwater> This list contains the following entries::Widow Potter: 2 persons, estate L30, 20 & 1/4 acres and a rate of L 0.5.01.<ref name=Hoadley1 /> The second person is most likely her son Isaac Beecher.:Joh: Potter: 4 persons, L25 estate, about 30 acres and a rate of L 0.7.09<ref name=Hoadley1 />:Will Potter: 4 persons, estate of L40, about 58 acres and a rate of L0.8.09<ref name=Hoadley1 /> Another document from 1646, known as the book of Alienations, shows her share as listed under the name of Widow Beecher, proving conclusively that Widow Potter and Widow Beecher are the same person.<ref>Great Migration Newsletter, V.1-20.(Online Database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2015.) Vol 13. pp 9, 15</ref> In 1646, Sister Potter the midwife was assigned the little cross seatewith Old Sister Nash, and in 1656, Goodwife Beecher the elder was assigned a seat in the alley for convenience of hearing.<ref name=Atwater/> The Widow Potter had some trouble about her fence and was fined 12d for a gap on 6 Aug 1650<ref>Dexter TR1: p. 43</ref> Then about 7 months later 10 Mar 1650/51: "It is ordered that the treasurer paye out of the Towne stocks for the making of 5 or 6 rod of fence, for Widdow Beecher ye midwife<ref>Dexter TR1: p. 67</ref> It is a measure of the value of the midwife to the towns well-being that the town paid for this repair and again 4 Aug 1651. "It is ordered that the Treasurer take care and see that widow Potter the midwives house be mended, and paid for out of the Treasury.<ref>Dexter TR1: p. 80 The footnote claims this is the widow of John Potter, however John Potter's widow married Edward Parker in 1646, and would have had no need of someone to tend her house.</ref> Widow Beecher (4 Nov 1651) testified that John Bishop, deceased, was sane enough to make a will. <ref>Dexter TR1: p. 96</ref> and 4 May 1652, Goodwife Beecher ye midwife testified in a case of fornication<ref>Dexter TR1: p. 124 </ref> Hannah Beecher died before 2 Mar 1658/9 in New Haven, when her inventory was appraised, but after she wrote her will 13 June 1657.<ref>Hoadley, Charles J, MA. (editor) Records of the Colony or Jurisdiction ofNew Haven, From May 1653 to the Union Hartford: Case, Tiffany and Company, 1858. p. 357</ref> The will of Hannah Potter Beecher was proved April 5 1659, and is recorded in first part, vol i, p 80 of New Haven Probate Records.:"I Hannah Beecher of New Haven, expecting my great change do make this my last will and testament, I bequeath my soul unto the hands of my Lord Jesus Christ by whose meritt I hope to be saved and my body to beburried at the discretion of my Son William Potter my Executor. And for my worldly goods I give unto John Potter my Grand Child twenty shillings and to Hannah Blackly, my Grand child, wife to Samuel Blackly, twenty shillings, And to Samuel Potter my Grand child twenty shillings to be paid to them within three months after my decease. And for the rest of my estate I give one third part to my son Isaac Beecher and twothirds to my eldest son William Potter, making him my Executor, desiring him to be as a father to his younger brother and his children. Andin dividing my goods my will is that my son William should have my feather bed with that belongeth to it, unto his part and that the rest be divided at the discretion of my Overseers with the assistance of Sister Wakeman and sister Rutherford and I desire my loving freinds Mr. Mathew Gilbert and John Wakeman to be overseers of this my last will whereunto I have set my hand this 13th day of June, Anno 1657." Witnesses: Mathew Gilbert, John Wakeman, Sarah Rutherford. Hannah Becher signed by mark.<ref name=Shepard /> 5 Apr 1659 "The last will & testament of Hannah Beecher, late of Newhaven deceased, was by her sonne Wm Potter presented, wch being read…to be ye last will of the deceased,… It was judged legall." An inventory was presented in the amount of L55.05.06, attested to by WilliamPotter. At some time later Isaac Beacher acknowledged receiving his third part.<ref>Dexter TR1: p. 399</ref>


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Ann "Hannah" Beecher, widow Potter's Timeline

Spaldhurst, Kent, England
June 13, 1585
Age 1
Saxlingham Nethergate, Norfolk, England
Lewes, East Sussex, England
August 28, 1608
Lewes, Sussex, England
Lewes St John Without, Lewes, Sussex, England
Lewes, Sussex, England
August 1, 1614
Lewes, Sussex, England