Joseph Putnam

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Joseph Putnam

Birthdate: (54)
Birthplace: Salem Village, Essex, Massachusetts
Death: May 1724 (54)
Salem Village, Essex County, Province of Massachusetts
Immediate Family:

Son of Lt. Thomas Putnam and Mary Putnam
Husband of Elizabeth Hawthorne Perley
Father of Mary Putnam; Elizabeth Carlton; Sarah Brown; William Putnam; Rachel Putnam and 8 others
Half brother of Mary Lindall; Ann Trask; Sarah Putnam; Mary Putnam; Thos. Putnam, organized Salem Witch Trials and 7 others

Managed by: Shirley Ann
Last Updated:

About Joseph Putnam

Joseph Putnam (1669-1724) was the son of Thomas Putnam (?-1686) and his second wife, Mary Veren (?-1695). In 1690. Joseph married Elizabeth Porter (?-1746), and moved her into the Putnam House, built by Thomas Putnam in 1648. [. . .] Here was born Israel Putnam (1717/18-1790), the famous future General, the youngest, but one, of the thirteen children of Joseph and Elizabeth Porter Putnam. (Find A Grave Memorial# 8046.) [. . .]

His many descendents may find encouragement in the example of Joseph Putnam (1669-1724), father of the first Israel. Joseph has been credited with voicing strong objections to the witchcraft hysteria, which pervaded Salem and the surrounding communities in 1692. Joseph Putnam was contemptuous of the proceedings even though his wife's uncle was a prosecutor/judge at the trials and despite threats of violence directed against him by some of his own Putnam relatives. Joseph was probably too well placed to be in any real danger. The witch-accusations suffered not only from an inherent cruel absurdity but also from a class elitism, which found its victims in the lower social ranks. [. . .] 


Info added per DAR's "Lineage Book of the Charter Members" by Mary S Lockwood and published 1895 stating "Capt Joseph Putnam and Elizabeth Porter, his wife" Joseph Putnam, parents John Putnam and Anne Holyoke, married Elizabeth Porter.


  1. Historic homes and institutions and genealogical and personal ..., Volume 2 By Ellery Bicknell Crane Pg.242
  2. The descendants of John Porter of Windsor, Conn. 1635-9, Volume 2 By Henry Porter Andrews Pg.739
  3. New England families, genealogical and memorial: a record of the ..., Volume 1 By William Richard Cutter Pg.94
Joseph Putnam was born on 14 September 1669 in Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts.1 He was the son of Lieutenant Thomas Putnam and Mary Veren.1 He was baptized on 4 September 1670 in First Church, Salem.1 He married Elizabeth Porter, daughter of Israel Porter and Elizabeth Hathorne, on 21 April 1690 in Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts.2 He died in 1724/25 in Salem Village.2
    The following is quoted from A History of the Putnam Family:
    Joseph Putnam will always be remembered for his opposition to Mr. Parris and the witchcraft trials. The position which he took could only have been maintained by one who, like himself, was allied with the principal families of the county. He opposed from first to last the proceedings which disgraced Danvers and his immediate relatives and friends. This was a source of peril to even him, however, and for six months, one of his fleetest horses was kept saddled, ready at a moment's notice, should an attempt be made to seize his person. This fact was well known and it was also known that he would resist every attempt of that nature, even though it cost the lives of those who came to take him. It is a significant fact that his children were baptized in Salem, this being a very public manner of showing his disapprobation of the course followed by Mr. Parris. Joseph Putnam should be honored far above all others of his generation; for he showed that not only did he have the courage common to all of the family, but was above the ignorant superstition of the time by which such men as Judge Samuel Sewall and Cotton Mather were overcome.3

Citations [S901] Eben Putnam, A History of the Putnam Family in England and America, Volume I, Recording the Ancestry and Descendants of John Putnam of Danvers, Mass., Jan Poutman of Albany, N.Y., Thomas Putnam of Hartford, Conn. (Salem: The Salem Press, 1891), 8. [S901] Eben Putnam, Putnam Genealogy, 49. [S901] Eben Putnam, Putnam Genealogy, 51.

_______ Gen. Israel Putnam was born, Jan. 7, 1718, in a house which is still standing on its original site, near the eastern base of Hathorne or Asylum hill, in Danvers. It has several times been enlarged and is still in an excellent state of preservation. Its first proprietor was his grandfather Thomas, who left it to his youngest son Joseph. Joseph wedded Elizabeth Porter, daughter of Israel and Elizabeth ( Hathorne) Porter, and grand daughter of John and Mary Porter, the emigrant progenitors of the Porters of Essex county. From this marriage sprang Putnam House ca 1648. 431 Maple Street. Joseph Putnam, uncle of one of the "bewitched girls," lived here in 1692. One of the few to decry witch trials, he kept pistols loaded and horses ready should he be accused. Maj. Gen. Israel Putnam, American commander Bunker Hill was born here in 1718. "Old Put" was famous for his command, "Don't fire 'til you see the whites of their eyes." The house, now owned by the Danvers Historical Society, includes a prominent 18th century gambrel roofed addition.the soldier whose history we are to trace. Elizabeth Ha- thorne was a daughter of Major William and Ann Hathorne, whose country seat was where the Danvers Asylum now stands, on the hill above mentioned. Nathaniel Hawthorne, the cele brated novelist, was also its lineal descendant. John Porter, likewise, was of "Salem Village," now Danvers. For many years he was deputy in the General Court, first from Hingham and then from Salem; and, as the Colonial Records testify, he was a man "of good repute for piety, integrity and estate." The ancestry of the future soldier-patriot, in various lines, / is thus seen to have been of Essex County stock. His later boyhood was probably spent in Boxford at the home of his step-father, Capt. Thomas Perley, while yet he would be a frequent visitor at the Putnam homes in Danvers. His early education was defective, partly because school advantages were then very meagre in the rural district in which he passed his youth, and partly, no doubt, because his strong natural inclinations were for farming and active out-of-door life, rather than for books and sedentary occupations. Robust and full of energy, he was as a boy given to sports, and to feats of strength and daring ; and numerous trustworthy traditions of his courageous exploits in those days have been handed down in the old home from then until now, somewhat prophetic of his more extraordinary prowess and achievements in maturer years. Having attained an age when he would care for a share of his father's farm, he returned to Danvers and settled upon the portion set off to him, and here built a small house, the cellar of which yet remains. On the 19th of July, 1739, he married Hannah, daughter of Joseph and Mehitable (Putnam) Pope. The spot is still pointed out, not far from that of his nativity, where stood the humble habitation in which for a brief period the young couple dwelt, and in which their first child, Israel, was born. Shortly afterward , they removed to Pom- fret, Conn., borne on by the continued tide of emigration that had already carried a large number of settlers into the eastern part of that state from towns about Massachusetts bay.There at length he was the head of a numerous family of chil dren, some of whom removed to other parts of New England or to the west, their descendants being now widely scattered abroad through the country. The ancient homestead in Dan- vers has been occupied by successive generations of his brother David, "the lion-hearted Lieutenant of the King's troops," as he has well been called. In 1739, Israel, and his brother-in-law, John Pope, bought of Gov. Jonathan Belcher, a tract of land of about five hun dred acres, of which he became sole owner in 1741. It was part of a large district known as the "Mortlake Manor," which, while it had special privileges of its own, was included in the territory that in 1786 was detached from Pomfret and erected into a separate and distinct township under the name of Brooklyn. Certain foundation stones, and a well and pear tree, have long marked the place where our brave pioneer built for himself his first house in Connecticut. Here was the family home, until larger accommodations were required, when he built the plain, but more commodious and comfortable house to which the domestic scene was transferred and in which many years afterward the old hero died. This, with its narrow chamber in which he breathed his last, is still standing and is an object of great interest with' patriot-pilgrims who year afteryear visit it from afar. From the outset, his fondness for agri culture and horticultural pursuits was conspicuously shown in the vigorous way in which he subdued and cultivated his land, and introduced into Pomfret and its neighborhood all its best varieties of fruit trees, while it is chiefly due to his taste, sa gacity, and enterprising spirit that were planted the long lines of ornamental trees which have graced the streets and added so much to the beauty of Brooklyn. Although at first the exemptions which the owner of Mortlnke Manor enjoyed created a jealousy among the inhabitants of Pomfret and rather estranged him from participation in their affairs, yet his sterling worth was early recognized and his public spirit be came more and more manifest. He was among the foremostin establishing good schools in the town and did not fail to ensure to his sons and daughters a higher education than he had received himself. Before he entered upon his military career, he joined other leading settlers in a library associa tion which had a marked effect in developing a love of reading . among the people and in elevating their general character. He was not only a thrifty and highly prosperous farmer, but, from first to last, he was also an earnest and helpful friend of all the best interests of the little, but growing colony. .The familiar story of his entering the wolf-den, together / with the accounts of his many other bold adventures in his earlier manhood, needs not to be repeated in this brief sketch of his life. The late Hon. Samuel Putnam, a native of Dan- vers and judge of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, wrote, in a letter to Col. Perley Putnam of Salem, July 16, 1834 : — " I was once in his house in Brooklyn where he treated me with great hospitality. He showed me the place where he followed a wolf into a cave and shot it, and he gave me a great many anecdotes of the war in which he had been en gaged before the Revolution, tracing the remarkable events upon a map." In 1755, there was a call upon the New England colonies and New York for a large military force tor the relief of Crown Point and the regions about Lake George, where theFrench had gained a strong foothold. The quota from Con necticut was to consist of a thousand soldiers. Though it would require him to leave behind a large property and a numerous family, Putnam was prompt and quick to respond to the sum mons. Brave, energetic and popular, he was at once ap pointed to the command of a company, which he soon succeeded in recruiting for Lyman's regiment, under the supreme com mand of Gen. William Johnson of New York. He received his "first baptism of fire and blood" in the unsuccessful en counter of Col. Ephraim Williams and his twelve hundred men with the enemy under Baron Dieskau, in the forests between Fort Edward and Lake George. This defeat of theprovincials was soon followed by a brilliant victory, in honor of which Johnson built a fort, named Fort William Henry, on the spot where it was won. The autumn of 1755 was spent in constructing defences and in opening means of communica tion between different parts of the immediate country. As winter approached, most of the men returned to their homes, but enough remained to garrison the fortresses. Putnam's regiment was disbanded with the rest, and he himself returned to Pomfret to spend the season with his family. The next year witnessed a renewal of the campaign, the entire forces being under the command of General Abercrombie. Putnam was reappointed as captain, to serve as before in Lyman's regiment. During the service which he rendered in all this war against the French and their Canadian and Indian allies, he acquired a great reputation as a soldier and hero, by his dauntless spirit and marvellous deeds. These, taken in con nection with his many perilous exposures, severe hardships, and hairbreadth escapes, gained for him swift and repeated honors from the Legislature of his adopted state, and made him immensely popular with all classes of his countrymen. The accounts of them, as given more or less fully by his biographers, Humphreys, Peabody, Cutter, Hill and various others, are no doubt exaggerated in some particulars.28 But enough is true to warrant the fame and distinction that werethen and subsequently accorded to him in abundant measure. In 1757, he was promoted to be major. He had previously connected himself with the famous band of rangers, whose chief was the notorious Major Robert Rogers. Near the time of the outbreak of the revolution, this remarkable hunt er, scouter and roving adventurer, notwithstanding all his ardent promises and professions of loyalty and devotion to the cause of the colonies, went over to the British and re ceived from them an appointment as colonel. His volume of "Journals" makes but very few and slight allusions to Putnam,p.93 __________________________


Child of Thomas and Mary: Joseph Putnam, born 1669 -- below. i. Joseph5

Putnam, born 14 Sep 1669 Salem Village, Essex Co MA, married Elizabeth Porter 21 Apr 1690;

13 children. He brought her to America the same year. She was born 1673. Her father was Hahn Porter. Joseph is said to have staunchly opposed witchcraft accusations and the trials which took place at the village church. He offered sanctuary of his house to accused persons and kept a horse ready for flight around the clock for six months. He was recognised as a scholar and a man of great ability. He died 1724/25 Salem Village, age about 55. Elizabeth died 1746, age about 73. Mary Putnam, born Feb 1690, married Bartholomew Putnam 1710. Elizabeth Putnam, born Apr 1695, married Jonathan Putnam 1714. Sarah Putnam, born 1697, married Eleazer Putnam 1716. William Putnam, born Feb 1700, married Elizabeth Putnam 1723. Rachel Putnam, born Aug 1702, married John Trask and married John Leach. Anne Putnam, born Apr 1705, married Jethro Putnam 1726. David Putnam, born 1707 -- below. Eunice Putnam, born Apr 1710, married Thomas Perley (son of Capt Thomas). twin son and daughter, born Apr 1713, died as infants. Huldah Putnam, born Nov 1717, married Francis Perley (son of Jacob) 1734. Israel Putnam, born 1718 -- below. Mehitabel Putnam.

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Joseph Putnam's Timeline

September 14, 1669
Salem Village, Essex, Massachusetts
September 4, 1670
February 2, 1690
Age 20
Salem Village, Essex, Massachusetts, United States
April 12, 1695
Age 25
Salem, Essex County, Province of Massachusetts
September 26, 1697
Age 28
Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, United States
February 8, 1699
Age 29
Salem Village, Essex, Massachusetts, United States
August 7, 1702
Age 32
Salem Village, Essex, Massachusetts, United States
April 26, 1705
Age 35
Salem Village, Essex, Massachusetts, United States
October 25, 1707
Age 38
Salem Village, Essex, Massachusetts, United States