Elizabeth Tuttle's Ancestors

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William Tuttle was baptized on December 26, 1607, at The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church (mouse over picture right) in Ringstead, Northamptonshire, England, the child of Simon Tuttle and his wife Isabel Wells. This was during the reign of King James I, four years after the death of Elizabeth I. William married Elizabeth, whose surname is unknown (some say it was Mathews), in about 1630 or earlier. They had three children before immigrating to America during what is known as the Great Migration. The Tuttles seemed to be part of the puritan community, in which a number of preachers were dismissed because they did not conform to the Church of England in their rituals and preaching. This was probably a factor in their decision to emigrate along with economic uncertainties of the time. The ship, Planter of London, with Nicholas Trerice as Master, sailed from London in April of 1635 and arrived at Boston on Sunday, June 7, 1635. It was one of five ships that sailed from London to Boston in April. It had 118 passengers. The extended Tuttle family, including servants, came to at least 27. Listed among the passengers were William Tuttle, 26 husbandman; Elizabeth Tuttle 23; John Tuttle 3 ½; Anne Tuttle 2 ¼; and Thomas Tuttle 3 mos. Also on the list are other Tuttles that appear to be William’s mother and two brothers along with their wives and children. In the book The Descendants of William and Elizabeth Tuttle, George Frederick (GF) Tuttle states that “The distinction between a husbandman and a farmer was, the husbandman was a proprietor and tilled his own acres; the farmer was a leaseholder and paid rent.It appears, however, from a petition on file In the Secretary of State's office in Boston, that he was a merchant, and this might be partly inferred from his joining Mr. Eaton's company, many of whom bad been engaged In commercial pursuits In the old country, and whose purpose was to found a commercial city in the new. The petition is as follows, without date: ‘To the right worshipful Thomas Dudley, Esq., and to the magistrates and deputies of this General Court, now In Boston assembled. The humble petition of Major Nehemiah Bowne, Edward Tynge, William Tutthlll, Joseph Youngs, William Payne. John Milam and James Oliver, with divers others, being merchants and owners of the ketch, called the Zebulon, now belonging to Ipswich.’ Abstract of Petition. -lntend to send the said ketch to the Indies and ask for two guns to arm her. This Is refused.-Mass. Arch., vol. 60, p. 168.

Altogether, William and Elizabeth were said to have had twelve children, several of whom manifested multiple cases of insanity or uncontrollable rage with a penchant for using an axe to inflict bodily harm (see his wife for details). It seems they first settled in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1638, William and his brother purchased 20 acres and a house there. Drake's History of Boston states that George Griggs received permission to “sell his house And garding under it and twenty acres of his great lot to Mr. Tuttell of Ipswich and Mr. Tuttell of Charlestown for his redeeming out of their debts.” GF Tuttle goes on to explain why “the use of the title Mr. which was very rare indeed, especially in the ease of young men” puts William, at age 29, in a high position in the town. His opportunities were limited, however, because, unlike his two brothers and notably his wife, he was not able to attain membership in the church, which was a necessity for any public office or land ownership. Requirements for church membership were rather rigorous, including financial status, evidence of a godly life and a public telling of your religious conversion story, after which church members voted to accept or deny you. This undoubtedly was at the heart of his decision to look elsewhere. William was among the men chosen to travel outside the community to start a new one in what would become New Haven, Connecticut. “On the 4th of June, 1639, the planters convened in Mr. Newman's barn and signed the Church Covenant. On this list the name of William Tuttle appears for the first time in the records of the Quinnipiac Colony.” In 1641 he was the owner of a home on one of the eight original allotments, on the square bounded by what became Grove, State, Elm and Church Streets.

Part of William's new prosperity came from his father’s will, which stipulated that he would get the bulk of the estate after his mother died. It is not known when she died, but it may have been around this time. William’s land grew each time the town divided the unowned lands outside the town to the community. How much one would get was dependent upon their family size and rates paid. In the first division made in 1640, William is rated at £400 of estate with a family of seven. In the second division William's proportion was 107 acres. In 1644 William “was granted liberty to enlarge his rate to £450.” This area became known as East Haven and folks began building houses and farming the land, including William Edwards, who was the father of Richard, who married Williams daughter Elizabeth. There is no documentation that proves William ever lived in East Haven, but he was involved in the surveying and road lay out. What is certain is that he owned a large tract of land in East Haven which included Tuttle’s Brook and Tuttle’s Hill. He was a well respected man whose name appears in the town records as an arbitrator, juror, and constable over the years.

In 1646-7 the first seating of New Haven church occurred. Seating was a custom that assigned seats to the church-goers, by a committee of men, appointed for this purpose. They graded the seats and dignified them according to predetermined rules by which they were rated as more or less honorable. The people were then voted into them one by one, in accordance with certain rules, usually of precedence: dignity of decency; public trust; pious disposition, value of estate; and ones serviceableness of any kind. William and two other men were voted into “the first cross seat at the end, near the pulpit and among the highest in dignity.” The women sat by themselves and most likely were placed in a similar way. Elizabeth was placed in the 5th seat in the middle. In 1655-6 another assignment of seats was made and William was placed “in the first cross seat at the upper end.” In his New Haven Historical Discourses, Dr. Bacon states that this practice “affords us a glimpse of the associations and relative social importance of the first settlers of New Haven.” In spite of his choice seating, he apparently never gained actual membership, which continued to limit his opportunities. Requirements for membership were even more rigorous than in Boston. His wife, however, as in Boston, was granted membership.

In 1656 William purchased more land recorded in the Proprietor's Record, as follows: “. . . Mr. Joshua Atwater passing over to Mr. William Tuttle his house, home lot and barn, ten acres in the first division in the Yorkshire Quarter, betwixt land of Thomas Johnson and land that was Mrs. Constable's, 28 acres in tho Neck . . .” This became what researchers call the Tuttle Homestead, where William and his wife spent the rest of his life. This land eventually was the first piece of land owned by Yale University and where they built their first college building. By 1659 he owned land in North Haven and Bethany. In 1661 he purchased a “. . . house and home lot, and seven acres of land with two houses on it, . . .” Most of the purchased lands went to his children almost immediately.

The Proprietor's Record tells us that in 1672, William with several others, was “commissioned to locate such Iands as may stand for town commons, and such as are fit for a third division.” By the time the third division was done, William had died.

Descendant GF Tuttle summarizes Williams life as follows: “From the foregoing we may infer that Wm. Tuttle was the equal, socially, of any of the colonists that he lived and brought up his children in a manner befitting his condition, and carefully provided for them the means of starting in life. That be was a man of courage, enterprise, intelligence, probity and piety; a just man, whose counsels and judgments were sought to calm the contentions and adjust the differences of jarring neighbors, and withal, of a tenderness of heart unusual in men whose lives were passed in strife and conflict with despotism, barbarism, and the savage forces of nature. Through all these years, that may truly be said to have tried men's souls, and to the last, he possessed the respect and confidence of men whose souls were tried like his own.

William died on June 16, 1673 in New Haven, and was buried there, probably in the Old Green, then moved to the Grove Street Cemetery (Entry gates pictured left.). No stone still exists for William. There are very few extant 1600's stones in Connecticut. The above gravestone picture is the general area of Tuttle stones which were removed from the New Haven Green and put in loose alphabetical order on the North Wall of the Grove Street Cemetery in 1821.

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Elizabeth was born about 1609 in Devon, England, to unknown parents. Some researchers believe she was the daughter, born in 1612 to Edward Mathews and his wife Elizabeth Nashe. But looking at all that is known about her, this seems highly unlikely. Elizabeth married William Tuttle and came to America in 1635. Their known children were (the first three were baptized at The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Ringstead, Northamptonshire, England on the dates listed): John on December 8, 1631; Anne on January 20, 1632/33; Thomas on January 4, 1634/35; Jonathan, the first child to be baptized at the First Church on July 2, 1637 in Boston, Massachusetts; David, baptized on April 7, 1639; Joseph was the first to be baptized in New Haven, Connecticut on November 22, 1640; Sarah was baptized in April of 1642; ancestor Elizabeth; Simon was baptized on March 28, 1647; Benjamin was baptized on October 29, 1648; Mercy was born on April 27, 1650, and baptized two weeks later on May 19th; and Nathaniell born on February 24, 1652, and baptized five days later at the New Haven Church. Elizabeth and William also raised Mary, their granddaughter, born in February of 1668 to their daughter Elizabeth three months after her marriage.

The event that rocked this family happened on the evening of November 17, 1676. Elizabeth’s husband, William, had been dead three years. Her son, Benjamin, was living with the family of his sister Sarah. Benjamin was nearly 30 years old and his position in the family subordinate to his sister apparently grated on him. Unmarried men were expected to live with family and, living in close quarters, being resentful of the situation, he probably had pent up anger that was ready to explode. The war between colonists and Native Americans known as King Phillip’s War was virtually ended, but sentry duty was still considered necessary and this night was Sarah’s husband's turn. Benjamin, Sarah and her four young children were gathered by the hearth and Sarah began to fret about her husband not having had dinner. Benjamin became annoyed and an argument ensued. He went out and came back with an ax and killed her in front of her children. He was tried, convicted and was hung on June 13, 1677, for the murder.

The family began a steady decline from their once prominent position. Jonathan was charged with unlicensed liquor sale, illegal leather transport and breach of peace for which he was fined 3.5 pounds. Then both she and eldest son John had financial troubles. John died in 1683 and then she died.

According to the New Haven, Connecticut, vital records, “Elizabeth Tuttle widdow dyed ye 30th day of Decembr 1684.” GF Tuttel tells us that she had been living with her youngest son, Nathaniel, who, at a court held in New Haven, July 28, 1685, presented her will, but “the other children objected and the court would not allow it.” She was buried in New Haven, in the Old Green, but her stone (pictured) was moved to the north wall of the Grove Street Cemetery in 1821. All the moved stones were placed more or less in alphabetical order. The inscription is mostly all worn off and difficult to read: 76: 31: 10: 1684 Elisabeth Tutle. This probably means she was in her 76th year of life when she died and was buried on December 31, 1684. December being the 10th month of the year at that time. GF Tuttel, in his 1883 book The Descendants of William and Elizabeth Tuttle, states about the inscription:

“A part of the Inscription is still plain; a part is obscure by the crumbling of the stone, and a part is entirely gone. Some "Old Mortality" has recently retouched the letters, and brought out a few that were before uncertain. It is still but a fragment, like a faint and broken whisper from the far distant and still receding past:
Age: 76: 31: 10: 1684
Elizabeth Tutle
The: best: live: af
They: are: the: blest
That: live: at: Rest”

He goes on to say that the inventory of her estate taken February 3, 1685, “indicates a ladylike refinement in apparel and household appointments.” It is also interesting to note GF Tuttle’s observation that “The name of Elizabeth was a favorite one among her children and later descendants, especially in the line of her namesake and daughter, while that of William (singularly) was not given to any of the eight sons, and to but one of the numerous grandsons.

Meanwhile, son David’s faculties deteriorated to the point that he was judged incompetent to handle his own affairs and was placed in his brother Thomas’s care. Mercy began to exhibit mental health problems and Joseph died in 1690 at the age of fifty.

On the morning of June 23, 1691, the next great family tragedy occurred. Mercy, who had risen early for household chores, killed her sleeping seventeen-year-old son Samuel with an axe. Her husband heard the commotion and managed to get the axe from her before she could hurt any of the other children, which seemed to have been her intention. She was tried and convicted in October of 1691, but the verdict was overturned, essentially on the basis of her mental illness. She was held in custody by the town for quite a long time, possibly for the remainder of her life.

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Simon (Symon) Tuttle was born about 1560 in the Ringstead/Woodford, (about 2 miles apart) area of Northamptonshire, England, the third child of seven born to parents Elizabeth and Richard Tuttle. In about 1592 he married Isabel Wells in Ringstead. They had at least five sons together; see his wife's bio for details. His will, dated December 19, 1627, was proved at Northampton and reads as follows:

In the Name of God Amen The nyneteeneth Day of December in the yeare of our Lord god one thousand six hundred twentie seaven I Symon Tuttell of Ringsted in the Countie of Northton yeoman strong in minde and of good and pfect memory thanks and praise be to allmighty god and weighing and considering the frailety of mans life and the uncertainty of this world doe make and ordayne this my psent Testamt contayning therein my last will in mann[er] and forme as followeth that ys to say ffirst I [c]om[m]end and com[m]itt my soule into the hands of Allmighty god Creator assuredly believing through the onely meritte of Jesus Christe my saviour to be made ptaker of Everlasting life And my body I comitt to the earth from whence it came to be buried [torn] Christon burialls at the discrecion of my Executrix hereafter named, hopeing assuredly to receive the same again at the gene[ral] resurreccion not a mortall but an immortall and glorious body.

And now as concerning those lands and goodes wch god of his goodness hath lent me I give and bequeath unto Isabell my wife All that moytie or prcell of land meadows and com[m]ons wth theire and each of theire appurtenances wch ys due to me out of the land formerly [?] conveyed to my Edlest sonne Richard and the house messuages or ten[emen]ts wherein I now dwell together with all the houses yards lands meadows pastures com[m]ons comodities and appurtenances whatsoever thereunto belonging or in any wise appurteyning and also All those landes meadows and comons wth thappurtances wch I lately had an purchased of Thomas Holding Edward Asin [?] al[ia]s James, and of Will[ia]m Sillyman and of each of them To ahve and to hold the same for and during the terme of her naturall life and after the naturall death of decease of y saide wyfe I give and bequeath all and singular the said mentioned lands and premisses wth their and each of their appurtenances unto Will[ia]m Tuttell my youngest sonne to have and to holde the same unto the saide Will[ia]m Tuttell and to the heirs of his Body Lawfully to be begotten, and for want of such yssue to the second sonne of my sonne Richard and to his heirs for ever.

Itm I give and bequeath unto John Tuttle my second sonne all that dwelling house wherein Mr Wrothfall now dwelleth wth all the houses thereunto belonging and the yarde and orchard thereunto adjoyning, and sometyme in the tenure or occupason of John White to have and to hold the same unto the saide John Tuttell and to his heirs and assignes for ever Itm I give and bequeath unto Isabel my said wyfe the one halfe [torn] that meadow wch I lately purchased of Joane Bateman wydow to have And to hold the same for and during her naturall life, And I give and bequeath the other Mytie or half of the same meadowe to my sonne Will[ia]m to enter [there] upon ymmediately after my decease, and I likewise give and bequeath unto my said sonne Will[ia]m the other Moytie of the same meadow to enter thereuppon after the naturall decease of my said wyfe to have and to hold the same unto him the said Will[ia]m and to the heires of his bodye lawfully to be begotten, so as he my said sonne [re]linquishes the twentie poundes given to him by his grandfather John Welles in and by his last will and testamet and the fyve pounds wch fell to him by the death of his brother Thomas Tuttell and for want of such issue of the body of the said Will[ia]m I give and bequeath the same meadowe unto the eldest sonne of my said sonne Richard and to his heirs for ever and I doe gie to my sonne Richard [illegible] halfe [illegible] the lord mordant [?] on both sides of it.

Itm I give to my sone John and his heirs for ever one dole of meadow [of?] forty foote in same which I purchased of Eusache Morton Thomas Ekins [?]. Itm I give to my sunn John his Daugher Abigaill fiue pounds at the age of fifteene years: Itm I give and bequeath unto the poore of Ringsted aforesaid xxs. to be distributed amongst the poorest sorte at the discreson of the minister and churchwardens. Itm I give to my godchildren xxs. apeece. Itm I give to my sonne Will[ia]m my best bedsted wth the bedding and furniture thereunto belonging, or therewith usd, the table in the hall wth the frame, halfe a duzzen of framd stooles, the yron barres on the chimneys wth the hookes and hangings the bed whereon he lyeth my best brasse pan my best brasse pott, my mault mill as now yt standeth, my bolting [twine and yeelding?] fatt, the barr of yron and the package [?], and I will that all my sheepe be equally devided betweene my said wife and my said sonne Will[ia]m wth the increase thereof so long as he keepeth himselfe unmarried. Itm I give and bequeath unto my said sonne Richard and to his heirs for ever one acre of leyes wch I purchased of Mr Carier, and half a dusson sheep. Itm I forgive . . . . my said sonne John thirtie pounds. Itm I give more unto my said sonne Will[ia]m my great cubbord in the . . . . the greater chest, two of the biggest chaires, and the chest that standeth by the bedsted. Itm I give untomy grand [childre]n xxs. a peece Divided allwaies And I will that all the said Movable goods herein given to my sonne Will[ia]m carefully to apply and husband his mothers business to the best of his power in . . . . of the person herein bequeathed pformed and my funeral expenses discharged. I give & bequeath unto Isabel my said wife . . . . and to be executrix of this my psent testamt and for the better execuson thereof I order . . . . them supervisores thereof and . . . .s. apeece . . . . and seal the day and year above written.

Another sentence was written in the will in a finer penmanship, obviously made by a different writer at a later date leaves "to my sunn John, his daughter Abigail, five pounds at the age of fifteene years." Abigail was born about two years before Simon's will was proved in 1630. The will was signed by Simon T...., the rest of the surname and the date of probate could not be transcribed because of damage. Jacobus' Hale, House and Related Families states that his will was probated in 1630. According to the U.K. Parish Register, Simon Tootell was buried on June 15, 1630, in The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary church cemetery (mouse over picture left) in Ringstead. This church dates back to the first half of the 13th century and today is still active in the Church of England. 

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Isobel (Isabel) Wells was born about 1565 in Ringstead, Northamptonshire, England, to father John Wells and unnamed mother. Isabel married Simon Tuttle in about 1592 in Ringstead and had at least five children, all born in the Ringstead/Woodford area – Richard born about 1593; Thomas born about 1594 and died before December 19, 1627, the date of his father’s will; John born on June 4, 1596; Simon born about 1597 and died on December 14, 1630, in England; and ancestor William.

Sometime after her husband's death, the entire surviving family traveled south to London (see map) on a journey to America. In the summer of 1635, five years after her husband died, widow Isabel along with her three living sons, their wives, and nine grandchildren, set sail for New England from London on the ship, The Planter, captained by Nicholas Trerice. The ship left London on April 2nd or 11th in 1635 and arrived in Boston, Massachusetts on June 7, 1635. The oldest son, Richard, settled in Boston, where he died five years later on May 8, 1640. The next oldest, John, a mercer, dealer in textile fabrics, settled in Ipswich, Massachusetts, and was in Ireland in 1654. He probably fell sick there, as his wife, Joan Antrobus, went to Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, and wrote on April 6, 1657, that he had died there on December 30, 1656.

There is no record of Isabel Wells Tuttle’s death, but it is presumed to have been in Boston soon after her arrival in New England. Some researchers believe she may had died onboard the ship and buried at sea, as there isn't any mention of her in any of the many New England records and books.

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Richard Tuttle, sometimes spelled Tootill, was born about 1530 in Woodford, Northamptonshire, England probably to Thomas Tuttle and an unnamed mother. Not much is known about him except that he was supervisor of the will of Richard Beare of Woodford on November 3, 1579, and a witness in 1556 to the will of Elizabeth Lyncoln, whom some say, he soon after married. They had at least seven children, see Elizabeth’s bio for details. Richard Tuttle’s will was proved, March 11, 1589/90, at Peterborough, Northamptonshire, England. In his will he named his seven children and assigned his wife and youngest son Anthony as co-executors.


Elizabeth was born about 1534 in Woodford, Northamptonshire, England to unknown parents. Some researchers say her father or deceased husband may have been Richard Lyncoln, who had Richard’s father, Thomas Tuttle, witness his will. Other researchers say her maiden name was Southcott. Unfortunately there are no records that confirm exactly who she was. Elizabeth married Richard Tuttle in about 1556 and they had at least seven children, all born in Woodford – Elizabeth born about 1556; Ellen in about 1558; ancestor Simon; Mary in about 1562; Thomas in about 1564; Anthony in about 1566; and Frances in about 1568. Elizabeth Tuttle died after her husband as she was the co-executrix of his will in 1589, along with their son Anthony. Unfortunately nothing more is known about her and her line ends here.

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John Welles was born about 1537 in England to unknown parents. Henry VIII died that year and the next 11 years would be unsettled. Henry’s nine-year-old son, Edward, was king for the next six years, followed by sixteen-year-old Lady Jane for 10 days. Henry’s Catholic daughter then ruled for five years, returning England to the Roman faith temporarily. Finally, Protestantism and stability were restored with the rule of Elizabeth I for the next 45 years. John had at least one brother named Thomas. John married and they lived in Ringstead, Northamptonshire, England. Some researches say his wife was Janet Lawtie who was born in 1545 and died in 1571, but there is no supporting documentation for this marriage. John and his wife had at least two daughters, one being ancestor Isabel.

John wrote his long and detailed will on January 20, 1617/18 in Ringstead, “of Northhampt yeoman in health & pfct memory” which indicates he was a yeoman-a free man owning his own farm. In it, he mentioned my daughtr Tootell, as well as his four Tootell grandsons and his son-in-law Simo Tootell, who he made a co-executor of his will; his daughter, grandchildren and son-in-law Willm Morto (Morton) who he made the other co-executor of his will; and his brother Thomas, who witnessed the will, and Thomas’ sons. His daughter who married William Morton is never mentioned by first name. She was probably older than ancestor Isabel, as he left daughtr Morto all the best and great items, while Isabel received the items described as second.

His will was probated on March 25, 1618, which means John Wells died sometime before that date. It is not known where he was buried, but there are just two burial sites in Ringstead. One is the Ringstead Cemetery (mouse over picture left). The other is The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Cemetery (pictured above in Simon's bio) which dates back to the first half of the 13th Century.  Unfortunately, nothing else is known about John.


Thomas Tuttle, also spelled Totehyll or Tootill in documents, was born about 1506 in Woodford, Northamptonshire, England, about 80 miles north of London. There are no records which confirm he is the father of ancestor Richard, but most genealogists believe he is. Thomas was assessed for the subsidy in Woodford on November 10, 1544. He was a witness to the wills of Robert Crosse in 1524; Robert Oashler in 1538; Sir William Longe in 1541; Elizabeth Whitbred in 1552; and Richard Lyncoln in 1545, the last possibly being his daughter-in-law Elizabeth’s father. His only known child was ancestor Richard. Nothing else is known about him.

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