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Matthew Mitchell (abt. 1589 - 1646)

Matthew Mitchell
Born about in Halifax, Yorkshire, Englandmap
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married 16 Apr 1616 in St. John the Baptist Church, Halifax, Yorkshire, Englandmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Stamford, Fairfield, Connecticutmap
Profile last modified | Created 31 Mar 2011
This page has been accessed 4,063 times.
The Puritan Great Migration.
Matthew Mitchell migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).
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Notice: Parents of Matthew Mitchell were NOT Thomas Mitchell and Elizabeth Clay. Anderson, in the Great Migration notes no parents. NYGBR, however gives a "suggestive" ancestry. See biography -



Matthew Mitchell[1][2]was born in Halifax, Yorkshire by about 1591. (This date is based on the date of marriage.)[1]

The most recent research (2020) by Ogden and Owen and gives his birth as 1589 or earlier, the son of Thomas and Agnes Mitchell.[3]


Matthew Wood in his article published in The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, gives a suggestive genealogy for the emigrant Matthew Mitchell.[4]

Just four miles north of Ovenden, where Susan (Wood) Butterfield was left a widow, is a small town called Thornton-in-Bradforddale.[4]Here, researcher and author Matthew Wood found records of a Mitchell family which included a Matthew born at the right time to have been the husband of Susan. "The records of this Mitchell family are contained in the Yorkshire Fines, published in the Record Series of the Yorkshire Archaelogical and Topographical Society."[4]Following genealogy is quoted from The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record.

First Generation

"At the Easter Term of the Yorkshire Fines in 1565, Henry Batte received from John Mitchell and Isabel his wife two messuages with lands in Clayton and Thornton. At the Hilary Term in 1572/3, John Mychell received from Thomas Phillip and William Phillip, his son and heir apparent, two messuages with lands in Thornton."[4]

Second Generation

"John Mitchell had three sons, Christopher, John and Thomas, who divided his two messuages between themselves. At the Michaelmas Term of 1585, Christopher Mytchell and John Mytchel, junr., received from Thomas Mytchell, one messuage with lands in Thornton-in-Bradforddale. The share of John Jr. was subsequently obtained by Christopher. At the Easter Term in 1614, Isaac Haley, Jonas Mitchell and Samuel Robertshaw obtained from Christr. Mitchell and Ellen his wife, a messuage with lands in 'Thorneton in Bradford Dale.' Included was a 'warranty against John Mitchell brother of said Christr. and his heirs against heirs of John Mitchell decd. father of said Christr. and against heirs of Thos Mitchell decd. brother of said Christr.'"[4]

"The son John Mitchell Jr. seems to have lived for a time in Clayton, a small town within a mile of Thornton. At the Michaelmas Term in 1594, Edward Hemyingway obtained from John Mitchell, two messuages with lands in Clayton in Bradforddale."[4]

"Thomas, the other son of John Mitchell Sr., obtained the other messuage which had belonged to his father. At the Hilary Term in 1601/2, Abraham Sutcliffe and Thomas Whitley obtained from Thos. Mitchell and Agnes his wife a messuage with lands in Thornton-in-Bradforddale. The conveyance was reiterated at the Easter Term in 1610, when Abraham Sutcliff, John Whitley, William Stevenson and John Pearson obtained from Thomas Mitchell and Agnes his wife, John Mitchell and Matthew Mitchell, a messuage and lands in Thornton-in-Bradforddale."[4]

Third Generation

"The last conveyance indicates that Thomas Mitchell had sons John and Matthew, who probably came of age between 1602 and 1610. Matthew, the younger of the two (to judge by the order in the conveyance), would have been born about 1585 - 90. This makes him exactly the right age to have been the Matthew Mitchell who married Susan (Wood) Butterfield in 1616. We cannot, however, say that this is our man, because Paver's Marriage Licenses give an entry for 1622, in which a Matthew Mitchell of Bradford married Susan Field of Bradford, in that town (Yorkshire Archaelogical Journal 16:9)"[4]

"Although this does not establish a definite ancestry for Matthew Mitchell the emigrant, it is suggestive."[4]The author continues by offering places and names to research for further insight and information.


On April 16, 1616[1]or August 21, 1616 at Halifax, Yorkshire,[1]Matthew Mitchell married Susan (Wood) Butterfield, daughter of Edmund Wood[1][2]and his wife whose name is not known. Previously she had married Thomas Butterfield, in about 1611.[2][1] Butterfield was known as "a man of most religious life blameless in the church."[2]


  1. Samuel Butterfield, Matthew Mitchell's step-son, was born about 1612 and died in 1636. He was taken captive by the Pequots and killed.[2]
  2. child Butterfield, step-child of Matthew Mitchell, was born about 1614.[2]
  3. Abigail Mitchell was baptized 26 Apr. 1618 at Halifax, Yorkshire, England;[1][2]she married Rev. Abraham Pierson about 1640.[1][2]
  4. David Mitchell was baptized 14 Nov. 1619 at Halifax, Yorkshire, England.[1][2]There is a difference of opinion on David Mitchel's wife. NYGBR Vol. 120 on page 99, says he married Sarah, daughter of Thomas Wheeler of Milford.[2]Anderson on the other hand says that he married a woman named Elizabeth[1]as in his will of March 11, 1685/6 he made his wife Elizabeth sole executrix.[1]Anderson says her surname was not Grave or Wheeler as explained on page 127.[1]
  5. Sarah was baptized 14 Oct. 1621 at Halifax, Yorkshire, England.[1][2]She married Samuel Sherman of Stratford by about 1640.[1][2]
  6. Martha was baptized 26 Oct. 1623 at Halifax, Yorkshire, England. She died and was buried at Halifax on Nov. 22 or 23,1623.[1][2]
  7. Jonathan was baptized 19 Dec. 1624 at Halifax, Yorkshire, England.[1][2]He was at Harvard College in 1647[1]and graduated, becoming a prominent minister. [2] On Nov. 19, 1650 at Cambridge he married Margaret (Borodell) Shepard, widow of Rev.Thomas Shepard.[1]Jonathan died July 9, 1668.[citation needed]
  8. Susan was baptized Oct. 14, 1627 at Halifax, Yorkshire, England.[1][2]By 1648 she married John Howell, son of Edward Howell.[1]She is mentioned in the will of her father in 1645.[2]
  9. Matthew was baptized July 5, 1629 at Halifax, Yorkshire, England.[1][2]He was buried at Halifax on October 4, 1629.[1][2]
  10. Hannah Mitchell was baptized June 26, 1631at Halifax, Yorkshire, England.[1][2]She married (1st) Robert Coe,[1](Robert Coe was born Dec. 14, 1651 at Stratford, Connecticut, the son of Robert Coe)[1]Robert died in 1659, either Sept. or Oct. of 1659.[1][2]Hannah married (2nd) Nicholas Elsey of New Haven, Connecticut between 1659 and 1667.[1][2]She died April 2, 1702 at New Haven, Connecticut.[citation needed]


Matthew migrated on the James,[1][5][2]a 220 ton ship.[5]His home had been in the West Riding region of Yorkshire.[2]More than likely Edmund Wood's family were also on the James. Matthew Mitchell's wife is mentioned by name on Chapter XXII, page 457of the book "Chronicles of the Planters of Massachusetts Bay."[5]Several bunches of emigrants who came to New England were from this locality, they sometimes traveled together, sometimes separately, but knew about each other's coming and going. The James sailed out of Bristol, England in 1635, specifically on June 4, 1635 (according to p. 452 of "Chronicles of the First Planters.)[5]According to Chapter XXII entitled "Richard Mather's Journal," the travelers had left Warrington, Lancashire on April 16 of 1635 and arrived at Bristol (the port of their departure) on April 23, 1635. They found the ship was not ready for departure, with items not stowed, but lying in heaps around on the deck. This lack of readiness, along with bad weather and westerly winds delayed their departure until June 4, 1635. Although the wait was lengthy, they sailed off "with glad hearts that God had loosed us from our long stay wherein and we had been holden, with hope and trust that he [God] would graciously guide us to the end of our journey." The ship James carried one hundred passengers according to Governor Winthrop's journal.[2][5]

Sailing for New England with the James, was the ship Angel Gabriel.[5]Additionally sailing with them but bound for Newfoundland were three other ships: the Diligence, a 150 ton ship; the Mary, a small ship of 80 tons; and the Bess.They had many days of rough seas, people getting seasick, unable to stand or go on the deck because of the tossing and tumbling of the ship.[5]

A prominent man voyaging on the ship James was Rev. Richard Mather who kept an interesting journal.[2][5]The journal names three passengers who were leaders of the group, himself, Rev. Mawde, and Mr. Matthew Mitchell who is the object of this profile. It seems very likely that the Edmund Wood family and John Lum were also passengers. Edmund was Matthew Mitchell's brother-in-law and John was Wood's nephew.[2]

Each Sabbath Day on their journey, Mr. Maud and Mr. Mather would take turns (one in the morning, one in the afternoon) doing what is called "exercised."[5]The meaning of "we exercised" as in the sentence "On the Lord's day we exercised..." as recorded in the book Chronicles of the First Planters of ..." can be found in the Dictionary of the Apostolic Church by Hastings, Selbie, and Lambert printed in 1919, "...the earliest distinctive feature in the Christian observance of the Lord's Day, the other exercises of prayer, reading, etc."[6]

Matthew duties on board had to do with overseeing water and food for the people and the animal cargo. Records reveal he and Mr. Mather approached the captain several times inquiring distance to land, as the amount of hay and water for the animals was running low. One occasion is recorded where the captain "sent Mathew Michel and me part, as good fish in eating as could be desired.[5] (which I take to mean that they were complimented by the captain for the fish they provided.)

According to page 479 of the book "Chronicles of the First Planters," sailing west, the final sight of England for the voyagers and mariners was June 22nd 1635. The first sightings of land was August 8 - six weeks and five days on the sea. They landed in Boston in New England on August 17, a voyage that totaled twelve weeks and two days.[5]

Arrival, Residences, Possessions

  • Matthew Mitchell and his family, upon arrival, first settled in Charlestown.

On December 30, 1635he bought a house from Michaell Bairstow[1]

  • He moved to Concord in 1635. On September 2, 1635, he along with 12 more families he were granted permission by the General Court to begin a town at Muskeetaq (Concord.)[1]
  • To Springfield in 1636: On May 14, 1636 in the founding agreement at Springfield he received 50 acres laid out together with "meadow and pasture called Nayas toward Patuckett on the side of Agaar lying about four miles above the river." The lots of Samuel Butterfield, his step-son; Edmund Wood, his brother-in-law; Jonas Wood, Edmund's son were to were to be "adjoinging to Mill Brook, the whole being to number twenty-five acres."[1]
  • Saybrook in 1636:[1][5]
  • Wethersfield in 1637. On April 24, 1641 the lands of Matthew Mitchell in Wethersfield on the Connecticut river consisted of twelve parcels. On October 27, 1643 he sold ten parcels to Richard Tratt and one parcel to James Boosy.[1]
  • Stamford in New Haven around 1641. His name was second on the list of those who bound themselves to go to Rippowams (Stamford) to begin a plantation there, and first on the list to contribute financially. He received a grant of twenty-eight acres which was the largest grant of all the twenty nine men who were also granted lands at that time.[1]

Occupation, Freeman, Education, Offices

Regarding occupation, Matthew Mitchell was a merchant. He was made a freeman on April 6, 1642. He was sufficiently educated to be chosen as town clerk for Whethersfield.[1] The following is a list of offices he held:[1]

  • Springfield committee to distribute land on May 14, 1636.
  • Connecticut Assistant November 14, 1637, February 9, 1637/8, March 1637/8, April 5, 1638.
  • Deputy for Wethersfield to Connecticut General Court May 1, 1637[1]which declared war on the Pequots.[2]
  • Chosen as town clerk at Wethersfield in 1640 but prevented from assuming the office by the General Courtunless he "give satisfaction" to Mr. Chaplin at a public meeting.[citation needed]
  • Stamford selectman November 1641
  • Magistrate April 5, 1643

Hardships of Matthew Mitchell

Cotton Mather wrote about some of Matthew Mitchell's tribulations in his book about Matthew's son, Rev. Jonathan Mitchell. In it, Mather states that the first winter after the families arrival at Charlestown, the Godly man (Matthew Mitchell) and his family had much sickness and the scarcity (I assume this means scarcity of provisions). After moving to Concord the following spring, his buildings burned down. When he lived In Wethersfield he lost additional possessions and they lived in fear of the Pequot Indians who tragically killed his son-in-law and also destroyed his cattle. His estate which by then was worth hundreds of pounds was severely diminished. In addition to this loss of life and possessions, he had a shallop (a 2 masted small open sail boat with oars that was used for coastal fishing) that was burned by the Pequots and three men in the vessel were killed. One of those killed was his son, Rev. Jonathan Mitchell who was "roasted alive." Another was his step-son Samuel Butterfield. Both he and the third man were "shot through the eye with an arrow."[1]Additionally here at Weathersfield, he had conflicts with important people, namely Deacon Clement[2]Chaplin,>who had the General court censure Matthew Mitchell. He acknowledged his fault to the court and the censure was removed[1]From these conflicts his esteem suffered greatly since he had previously been well known as a person who lived quietly and peaceably with all people. In Stamford his house and barn were tragically consumed by fire, along with his other earthly goods.[1][5]

Death, Burial, Will

Matthew Mitchell was infected with the horrible disease called "the stone" which caused him great physical distress and debilitation. He died by May 19, 1646 which was the day his estate was inventoried. He was fifty-five years of age. There was no real estate and the largest item was in debts due to the estate. His will, which was proved on June 16, 1646, lists various sums of money to his children with the remainder of the estate left to his wife.[1]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 1.31 1.32 1.33 1.34 1.35 1.36 1.37 1.38 1.39 1.40 Anderson, Robert Charles. The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633, Volumes 1-3; The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volumes 1-6. Boston: New England Historical and Genealogical Society, 1996-2011. pp. 125-131
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 2.28 Wood, Matthew. "The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record". English Origins of the <Mitchell, Wood, Lum and Halstead Families. Vol. 120, #1, pp 1 - 9, January 1989.
  3. Louis G. Ogden and Brent M. Owen in "Revisiting the Stamford Pioneers of Halifax Parish, Yorkshire, West Riding, England" in The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Vol. 151 in October 2020.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 Wood, Matthew. "The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record" English Origins of the Mitchell, Wood, Lum and Halstead Families. (Continued from The Record 120:9.) pp 100-101, January 1989. (copy in the files of Cheryl (Aldrich-908) Skordahl.)
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 Young, Alexander "Chronicles of the First Planters of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay from 1623-1636." Printed by Freeman and Bolles, Devonshire Street, Boston.1846. pp 454, 456, 457, 460, 464, 465.
  6. Hastings, James "Dictionary of the Apostolic Church" Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1919. Vol. 1, p. 710
  • Anderson, Robert Charles. The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633, Volumes 1-3; The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volumes 1-6. Boston: New England Historical and Genealogical Society, 1996-2011. pp. for subscribers
  • Bartlett, J. Gardner. Robert Coe, Puritan, his ancestors and descendants, 1340-1910 : with notices of other Coe families. Boston: Bartlett, 1911. Page 81.see at
  • Young, Alexander "Chronicles of the First Planters of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay from 1623-1636." Printed by Freeman and Bolles, Devonshire Street, Boston.1846. pp 454, 456, 457, 460, 464, 465.see at
  • Wood, Matthew. "The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record". English Origins of the Mitchell, Wood, Lum and Halstead Families. Vol. 120, #1, pp 1 - 9, January 1989.(copy in the files of Cheryl (Aldrich-908) Skordahl.)
  • Wood, Matthew. "The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record" English Origins of the Mitchell, Wood, Lum and Halstead Families. (Continued from The Record 120:9.) pp 100-101, January 1989. (copy in the files of Cheryl (Aldrich-908) Skordahl.)
  • Hastings, James "Dictionary of the Apostolic Church" Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1919. Vol. 1, p. 710see at googlebooks
  • Savage, James. "A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England." Little, Brown and Company, Boston. 1861. Vol. III, pp. 220, 221.see at
  • Great Migration Newsletter, V.1-20.(Online Database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2015.)subscription site

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Comments: 17

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Hello PMs. Please note that I added parents in the biography, based on NYGBR151, dated 2020. NYGBR says "Matthew Mitchell, born say 1589 or earlier, died in Stamford, Connecticut, in 1645, son of Thomas and Agnes ([__?__]) Mitchell. Footnote says there are additional details on Matthew Mitchell at NYGBR 151, pp 112, 113. (which I do not have in my possession since I have only pages 276-278.) Thomas and Agnes should be added as parents (in the data section) to this profile by someone who has access to all the pages of NYGBR151. Thank you.
posted by Cheryl (Aldrich) Skordahl
edited by Cheryl (Aldrich) Skordahl
Actually, there were two instances of "references /" -- they were just hard to see; now there is just one. Thanks.
posted by Jillaine Smith
Yes....I wasn't sure if I could make the correction due to the PP status. It was interesting to me that all the sources appeared twice in the bio section, but when you went into the edit mode, only the "references /" tag appeared at the bottom. Not sure how that happens...
Victoria, you mean that the "references /" tag was duplicated; this is a change you could have made yourself.
posted by Jillaine Smith
Per the Suggestion List, sources 1-6 are duplicated. Please remove the second set.
I'll move ahead and detach parents and also children: James and Abraham Mitchell. Thank you for responding, Rusty.


Okay with me, Cheryl.
posted by Rusty (Boland) Ehler
I want to detach Thomas Mitchell and Elizabeth Clay. They were not the parents of Matthew Mitchell. See g2g question here: Any comments before I move ahead? I'll wait a few days to detach, but work on the biography.

I will wait until Friday, Aug. 25 to detach. Please let me know if you have any valid sources. Thank you.


James Mitchell-14508 and Abraham Mitchell-5035 are not listed as children of Matthew Mitchell and his wife, Susan (Wood) Butterfield Mitchell in the most current research sources. NYGBR p. 100, "Origins of Mitchell, Wood, Lum, and Halstead." I plan to detach them. Any comments?
Mitchell-9275 and Mitchell-1313 do not represent the same person because: not the same person. one born in Scotland, one in England. Different death dates and locations.

M  >  Mitchell  >  Matthew Mitchell

Categories: Puritan Great Migration | Halifax, Yorkshire | James, sailed May 23, 1635