When Nathaniel Foote's father Robert Foote died in 1608, Nathaniel's older brother, Robert Jr, became the head of the house. Robert Foote Jr apprenticed his brother Nathaniel at the age of sixteen, to Samuel Croyle of Colchester, "grocer and free burgess", on 21 September, 1608, for a term of eight years or until his 24th birthday in the year 1616, ("eight years from the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel last past". A wholesale merchant, or as often called in those days "a grosser," was one who sold by the gross instead of by the pound or small quantity.
A short time after he finished his apprenticeship training, he married Elizabeth Deming, in January of the year 1616, in Colchester, Essex, England. She is believed to be the sister of John Deeming, who was one of the first settlers of Wethersfield Connecticut in the year of 1635. John Deeming was for many years the one of the magistrates of the "Colony of the Connecticut" and one of the Patentees named in its charter.
While Nathaniel's main profession in England was that of a Grocer, when he settled on the frontier in Wethersfield, he became a farmer. He was also active in the public trusts of the town. He was appointed as a delegate to the "General Court" in the year 1644.
Nathaniel Foote was the first cousin of Sir Thomas Foote, Sheriff of London in 1649 and Lord Mayor of London in 1650 during the English civil war, on the side of Oliver Cromwell. Sir Thomas Foote was the son of John Foote (Foote-72) the brother of Robert Foote of Shalford, who was Nathaniel's Father.
Marriage and Children
Nathaniel was married in 1615 to Elizabeth Deming, sister of John Deming who served the town of Wethersfield many years as Deputy and 1662 was one of the Patentees of the Royal Charter. Elizabeth, oldest child of Nathaniel and Elizabeth Deming Foote was baptized in St. James Parish Church, January 14,1617 (or according to our reckoning,1618). Nathaniel, their oldest son, was baptized March 5th,1619 (1620), both children baptized in the same church, St. James in Colchester.
When did Nathaniel become a Puritan (aka non-Conformist, or someone not in "conformity" with the Church of England in the time of Queen Elizabeth I)? Here is evidence that he was born into a strong Puritan family in Shalford, a tiny Essex village to which his parents moved from London in the 1580s:
(a) From 1577 to 1608, the well-known preacher Rev. Richard Rogers was a leading Essex non-Conformist who favored personal conversion through Bible study, rather than the rituals and hierarchy of the Church of England. Rev. Rogers left Cambridge in 1577 to take up the afternoon lecture at the church in the market town of Wethersfield, just two miles away from Shalford.
(b) A strong indicator of conversion to Puritan aka non-Conformist beliefs during the 1560-1640 period was a sudden change in the names parents chose for their children. academic journal citation coming). Nathaniel's parents used typical English names for their first four children who were born between 1577 to 1585 (Robert, Elizabeth, James, Mary), but switched to names taken from the Old Testament and commonly used by non-Conformists beginning with Daniel, born in 1590).
(c) Nathaniel's parents are referenced in The Story of Shalford in its historical setting, a well sourced village history. They left London and moved to Shalford before 1587 and their home was on the northern edge of the village (closest to Wethersfield). It was still standing in 2009. :
Robert Foote, a Shalford yeoman who held the copyhold tenancy of Croziers, and his wife Joan had seven sons and two daughters. They were a family of non-conformist, indeed Puritan tendencies.
(d) The 1608 will of Nathaniel's father includes a bequest to Rev. Richard Rogers: "To Mr. Richard Rogers preacher of God his Word twenty shillings." This custom of leaving bequests to their religious leaders was only used by non-Conformists, since the priests of the Church of England received a stipend from the local government (called "the living"). The use of the word preacher back then meant someone who was not able to say the mass due to non-Conformity, but one who had studied the Bible at University and could explain the meaning of Bible passages to the people.
Nathaniel with his wife and six children: Nathaniel, Elizabeth, Mary, Robert, Frances and Sarah on the brig "Ann" with Sir Richard Saltonstall and settling at Watertown, Massachusetts (See Benjamin Trumbull's History of Connecticut 1798).
He first appears in Watertown MA in 1633 when he was made a freeman of Massachusetts Bay. He was granted a homelot of 16 acres in Watertown MA, and two acres of marsh along the river. Rebecca was probably born here.
Later on a large part of the Watertown settlers, consisting mostly of the Colchester Party, went on and formed a new settlement on the banks of the Connecticut River, which they called Wethersfield, after the old Essex town they knew so well. Besides Nathaniel we find the names of Robert Francis, Thomas Welles and John Deming.
He removed to Wethersfield about 1636. In the 1640 original distribution of lands in Wethersfield, Nathaniel was assigned a house lot of ten acres on the east side of Broad Street, near the south end of the street. He became the owner of several others tracts of land, partly in the Great Meadow east of his house lot, upwards of 400 acres. He was a farmer, one of the largest landowners in Wethersfield, and across the Connecticut River in Glastonbury. He served as Deputy in 1641 and 1644.
By 1633 Boston, Massachusetts
The Movement To America
Sometime before the year 1633 the family moved from London, England to Boston, Massachusetts and then Watertown, Massachusetts. In the same year (1632 or 1633) Nathaniel took the "Oath of Freeman", as is indicated by the records of the "Colony of Massachusetts Bay." He was also one of the first settlers of Wethersfield, Connecticut around the year 1635.
According to the records of "The Original Distribution of Lands Around Wethersfield" recorded in 1640, a short time after arriving in Wethersfield in 1635, Nathaniel received a ten acre lot on the east side of Broad Street. This land was near the south end of the street. Additionally, he became the owner of several other tracts laying in part in the great meadow east of his house and containing to 400 acres of land.
Death and Summary of Estate
He died intestate at Wethersfield in 1644 at age 42. Inventory amounted to £380-17-00, and was taken 20 November 1644 by Richard Tratte, Samuel Smith and Nath: Dickinson. The Children are listed: Nathaniel Foote, about 24 years, to have £148-00-00; Robert Foote about 17 years to have £74-00-00; Francis Foote about 15 years to have £74-00-00; Sarah Foote about 12 years to have £74-00-00; Rebeckah Foote about 10 years to have £74-00-00. (Two other children were already married.) The Wyddow of sd. Nathaniel Foote Adms. her portion £212-00-00. The inventory included his purse and apparell, meat cattell and hay, horses, hogs, English corn, goats, carts, ploughs, Indian corn, old wheat and pease, ammunition, four beds with the furniture, fine linen, and other household goods and about 200 acres in various plots of land. He was buried in the ancient burying ground in the rear of the Meeting House, location not known.
References to this family's date of migration to Watertown in this biography are inconsistent and undocumented. Nathaniel is believed to have been affiliated with Rev. Thomas Hooker who hoped to keep his flock together but was forced to take refuge in Holland about 1632. Rev. Hooker and two other well-regarded Puritan preachers had to disguise their identities to board a ship to Boston in 1633. Some members of the flock came over early, and migrated to Connecticut Valley in 1634-35. WikiTreers with documentation: kindly add information to the Comments section!
Note: "This most reputable Conn. family, commenced its American history in Wethersfield, yet, owing to an apparently unconquerable migratory tendency in its earlier representatives, the name had entirely disappeared form the town by the end of the third generation. Through its various early intermarriages with other Wethersfield families, however, the history of these early generations possess Colchester, Conn., and Hadley, Hatfield, Deerfield and other old towns in Western Mass. The family has also been fortunate in having had its history written by a competent hand, half a century ago." [The Foote Family, by Nathaniel Goodwin, 1849.]
"A conspicuous feature in the history of the first generations of the Foote family, is the deaths, sufferings and captivities of its members, and of those connected with them by marriage, at the hands of the Indians."
"It is by no means certain that Mr. Foote, as some have asserted, was the first settler at Wethersfield, but it is probably true that he was one of the first ten men, known as 'adventurers,' who absolutely first settled here; and that he was the largest holder of so-called 'Adventurer's lands.' In the original lay-out of the town, 1640, he received a home-lot of ten acres, at South End of Broad St., East side, and gradually became the owner of other pieces of land, partly in the Great Meadow, east of his home-lot, amounting in all to over 400 acres.
On February 4, 1641, Nathaniel represented the town in the General Court, an evidence of the respect and confidence in which he seems to have been held by his fellow-townsmen. In May 1637, when the little army under Capt. John Mason was being provisioned for the memorable Pequot campaign, it was 'ordered yt that there shal be 1 hogg provided att Wythersfeild for the design in hand, which [i.e. the hogg, not the expedition] is conceived to be Nathaniell Footes' - a compliment, certainly from the colonial authorities, to Mr. Foote's ability in raising good pork!"
When Nathaniel was 15 he was an apprentice to Samuel Croyle, grocer of Colchester. He arrived at Watertown, MA, in 1633, a freeman there in 1634. He removed to Wethersfield, CT, in 1636.
In Jan 1615 when Nathaniel was 22, he married Elizabeth Deming, daughter of Jonathan Deming (ca 1574-) & Elizabeth Gilbert (ca 1578-), in Colchester, Essex, Eng. Born about 1595 probably in Colchester, Essex, England, Elizabeth died in Wethersfield, Connecticut, on 28 Jul 1683; she was 87.
That Elizabeth "was a woman of character and a good wife, is evidenced by the fact that her first husband (Foote) dying intestate, she was by the Particular Court to whom the inventory of his estate was presented, 'admitted to administer the estate;' and by the will of her second husband (Welles) 'she was to enjoy and improve' his whole estate, so long as she remained a widow, ... 'that she may keep the better hospitality.'
Nathaniel arrived in Watertown, Massachusetts in 1634. He died in Wethersfield after 1 August 1644 , but before 20 Nov 1644 when his inventory was presented at Hartford. He was the son of Robert Foote and Joan (Brooke) Foote of Shalford, Co. Essex. His wife was Elizabeth Deming. She was a sister of John Deming of Wethersfield. After Nathaniel Foote's death, she married Thomas Welles (Governor of Connecticut 1655-1658).
Elizabeth Foote Churchill (1616 - 1700)
Nathaniel Foote Jr (1620 - 1655)
Mary Foote Stoddard Goodrich Tracy (1623 - 1685)
Robert Foote, (1627-1681)
Frances Foote Dickinson Barnard (whose second husband was Francis Barnard),
Sarah Foote Judson (1632 - 1673)
Rebecca Foote Smith Cook (1634 - 1701)
Burial: Unmarked grave, Wethersfield Village Cemetery, Wethersfield, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA
Inscription on Memorial:
Born in England 1593
Died in Wethersfield 1644"
Erected by the Foote Family Association of America on the Original Home Lot, September 17, 1908
Nathaniel's will was probated 20 Nov 1644 in Wethersfield, Hartford Co CT. The probate record for Nathaniel includes a complete inventory, copied here with the spelling as found in the original. The Children: Nathaniel Foote, about 24 years, to have 148 pounds; Robert Foote, about 17 years, to have 74 pounds; Frances Foote, about 15 years, to have 74 pounds; Sarah Foote, about 12 years, to have 74 pounds; Rebeckah Foote, about 10 years, to have 74 pounds. The Wyddow of sd. Nathaniel Foote Adms. her portion, 212 pounds Imprs His purse and apparrell, 7 pounds-16-00 It. In neat Cattel and in Hay, 93 pounds-00-00 It. in horsse fleshe, 34 pounds-00- 00 It. in hoggs 66 pounds -00-00 It. in debts, 29-pounds-03-04 It. In Englishe Corne, 70 pounds-00-00 It., in goats, 3 pounds-15-00 It. in Carts, ploughs, etc. 6 pounds-00-00 It. in nayles, 1 pound, 1 pound-10-00 Ite. Indean Corne, 8 pounds-00-00 It. in old Wheat and pease, 6 pounds-06-00 It. for certain things in the chamber, 2 pounds-00-00 It .for ammunition, 5 pounds -00-00 Ite,for fouer beds with the furniture,13 pounds -06-08 It. in fyne lynen 5 pounds-10-00 Ite. 2 table boards,2 chests,1 Trunke,with other Impits, 5 pounds-00-00 It. pewter and brasse and other vseful vessels,12 pounds -00-00 It. in husbandry tools, 3 pounds -00-00 It. in biefe, butter, and cheese and other necessary prvision for the howse, 8 pounds -10-00 It. in poultry, 1 pound-00-00. somm: 380 pounds - 17-00. The Land; ten acres of home lotts with one dwelling howse and 2 barnes with other buildings therevppon, 4 acres of home lotts, 6 acres of meadow with an acre of swampe, 20 acres of plaine fenced in being 14 ac. broke vp, 7 acres of plaine meadow plowed vp, 20 acres in the great meadow of hay ground, 4 acres in bever meadow, 27 acres of Swampe Ground, 81 Acres of Vpland in the Weste field 32 Rod broad beyond the River, being 3 miles in length, (endorsed by the inventorers, Richard Trott, Samuel Smith, and Nathaniel Dickinson)
Addendum to Will - Disposal of Land
Land Devided to The Widow
4 a-c house lott wherr her house is
2 ac Unsubdued
7 ac plaine brok
3-1/2 plaine med:
14 ac meadow
3 ac plaine not broaks up
30 ac upland in Westfield
Land Devided to The Eldest Sonne
3 ac home lot next her
2 ac unsubdued
7 ac plaine broke up
3-1/2 of meadow
3 ac in great med:
4 ac in beavermed:
27 ac swampe
3 ac not broke up
30 ac upland West Field
Halfe the east side
Land Devided to The youngest Sonne
3 ac homelott
6 ac med: in the swamp
21 ac West Field
halfe of the east sd.
The age of the 5 children Dwelling with their mother.
Nathaniel Foote - 24 years
Rob Foote - about 17 years
Francis - about 15 years
Sara - about 12 years
rebecka - about 10 years.
The widdowe of the said Nath: ffote is admitted to administer the
Estate, and the eldest sonne is to have the lands before mentioned as
they are valued at 1261. 10s wch is to be made uppe 1481, and the
youngest sonne the particular landes above mentioned for him at 651.
wch is to be made uppe 741, and the daughters disposed in merrage are
to have 301 .8 peece wch they have receevede made uppe 741. and the
other children are to have 741. a peece provided it is left at the
dispose of their mother to etacte from any of them if she sees just
cause 51. of the portion here sett downe and to adde yt to such of the
other as best desearve yt.
The Will was endorsed by the inventorers, Richard Trott, Samuel
↑ Robert Charles Anderson, Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volume II, C-F, 2001, pages 540ff.
Great Migration 1634-1635, C-F. (Online database. AmericanAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2008.) Originally published as: The Great Migration, Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volume II, C-F, by Robert Charles Anderson, George F. Sanborn, Jr., and Melinde Lutz Sanborn. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001. Nathaniel Foote, pages 540 - 544
Jacobus, Donald Lines, compiled & edited (1930-2). History and Genealogy of the Families of Old Fairfield. For the Eunice Dennie Burr Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution (Fairfield, Connecticut), Vol. 1, page 655
Early CT Probate Recs 1635 to 1650, p. 461. Nathaniel Foote inventory taken Nov 1644 in Wethersfield.
Torrey, Clarence Almon. Torrey’s New England Marriages Prior to 1700 (Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. Baltimore, 1985), Vol. I, p. 559. FOOTE, Nathaniel (1593-1644) & Elizabeth [DEMMING](1595-1683), m/2 Thomas WELLES; in Eng, by 1616; Watertown.
Nathaniel Foote's English Relatives, by George E. McCracken,The American Genealogist. New Haven, CT: D. L. Jacobus, Vol 53 (Oct 1977), pages 193-206, see especially pages 201, 205,
Great Migration 1634-1635, T-Y. (Online database. AmericanAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2012.) Originally published as: The Great Migration, Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volume VII, T-Y, by Robert Charles Anderson. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011. Thomas Welles, pages 288-292
Goodwin, Nathaniel. The Foote Family: or, The descendants of Nathaniel Foote, one of the first Settlers of Wethersfield, Connecticut (Case, Tiffany and Company in Hartford, Connecticut, 1849) Introduction p. v - xlvi; p 47.at archive.org
Mary Walton Ferris, Dawes Gates Ancestral Lines, A Memorial Volume Containing the American Ancestry of Mary Beaman (Gates) Dawes. Vol. II, Gates and Allied Families. pp.337 - 344 (Privately Printed,) 1931. at hathitrust
The American Genealogist. New Haven, CT: D. L. Jacobus, 1937-. (Online database. AmericanAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2009 - .) Ancestry of President Rutherford B. Hayes, by George E. McCracken (concluded from Vol. 56, page 169), Vol. 56, page 232, #350.
The Goodrich Family in America. A Genealogy of the Descendants of John and William Goodrich of Wethersfield, Conn., Richard Goodrich of Guilford, Conn., and William Goodridge of Watertown, Mass. Lafayette Wallace Case M.D., Author Role: Editor Publication: Fergus Printing Company, Chicago, Illinois, 1889, Second Date, 1984, pg 33