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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Putnam

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[This information is from Vol. I, pp. 345-348 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

John Putnam, of Aston Abbotts, county of Bucks, England, was born about 1580, died in Salem village, now Danvers, Massachusetts, December 10, 1662. He was a resident in Aston Abbotts as late as 1627, but the date of emigration to America is not definitely known; 1634 is the year given by family tradition.- In 1641 the town records of Salem show he was granted one hundred acres of land. He was a farmer, and well-to-do for the times. In deeds he styles himself "yeoman," and once in 1655 "husbandman." He wrote a fair hand, as recorded deeds show. He was admitted to the church in 1647. His grandson Edward thus described his death: "He ate his supper, went to prayer with his. family, and died before he went to sleep." He married in England, Priscilla ————, who was admitted to the Salem church in 1641. They had eight children: Elizabeth, Thomas (of whom further), John, Nathaniel, Sara, Phoebe and John.

(II) Lieutenant Thomas, eldest son of John and Priscilla Putnam, was baptized at Aston Abbotts, England, March 7, 1614-15. He was the first parish clerk of Salem village, Massachusetts, where he died May 5, 1686. He was. well educated and held many of the Salem offices in town and church, and was also lieutenant of a troop of horse. He married (first) Ann, daughter of Edward and Prudence (Stockton) Holyoke, who bore him eight children. He married (second) Mary, widow of Nathaniel Vereen, who bore him a son Joseph, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Israel and Elizabeth (Hathorne) Porter. Elizabeth was a sister of John Hathorne, the "witchcraft judge." Joseph and Elizabeth Putnam were the parents of General Israel Putnam, of revolutionary fame. Lieutenant Thomas Putnam had by his first wife, Ann Holyoke, children: Sarah, Mary, Thomas, Edward, Deliverance, Elizabeth and Prudence.

(III) Sergeant Thomas (2), son of Lieutenant Thomas (I) and his first wife Ann (Holyoke) Putnam, was baptized in Salem First Church, February 16, 1652; died in Salem, May 24, 1699. He was well educated, yet took a prominent part in the witchcraft delusion, and was second to none but Reverend Parris in the fury with which he persecuted the victims of that strange delusion. He had great influence in the village and did not hesitate to use it. He had been in the Narragansett fight, belonging to a company of troopers, and was parish clerk. Many of the records of the witchcraft proceedings are in his fine, clear handwriting. His wife was also active in the persecutions. The strain was too great for him to bear up under, and he died shortly after the trials, his wife following him to the grave a few weeks later. He married, September 25, 1678, Ann, youngest daughter of George and Elizabeth Carr, of Salisbury. She was born June 15, 1661, died June 8, 1699. They were the parents of twelve children: Ann, Thomas, Elizabeth, Ebenezer, Deliverance, Thomas, Timothy, Experience, Abigail, Susanna, Sarah and Seth.

(IV) Seth, twelfth child of Sergeant Thomas and Ann (Carr) Putnam, was born in Salem village, May, 1695, and died at Charlestown, New Hampshire, November 30, 1775. He was the first of the Salem Putnams,to go out into the wilderness and make a home for himself and family. In 1750 he removed to Number Four, now Charlestown, New Hampshire. This was an exposed frontier post and suffered from ten Indian attacks between 1753 and 1755. In 1755 the inhabitants, fourteen in number, among whom were Seth and Ebenezer Putnam, petitioned Massachusetts for protection, and that state garrisoned the town. Ebenezer and Thomas, sons of Seth Putnam, were members of the military company. He was one of the foun.ders of the First Church of Charlestown, and one of the first ten members. At the first town meeting held in Charlestown, August 14, 1753, he was chosen "tything-man." On his tombstone is the inscription, "The memory of the just is blest." He married, September 16, 1718, Ruth Whipple, born 1692, died February 1, 1783, at Charlestown. Children, born at Billerica, Massachusetts, where he resided after leaving Salem, and before going to Charlestown: Ebenezer, Ruth, Sarah, Seth, killed by the Indians, May 2, 1746, Elizabeth, Thomas, Susanna, Timothy.

(V) Thomas (3), son of Seth and Ruth (Whipple) Putnam, was born in Billerica, Massachusetts, October 22, 1728, and died in Charlestown, New Hampshire, August 20, 1814. He took a soldier's part in the French and Indian wars; was an enrolled member of Captain Stevens' company at Number Four. He was settled at Lunenburg for a time, but in 1759 was again of Charlestown. He marched from Acworth to Bennington in August, 1777, in Captain Abel Walker's company, and no doubt was engaged at the historic battle of Bennington. He was one of the first members of the church of Charlestown, and later was chosen deacon. He resided for a time in Acworth, New Hampshire, where he was the first justice of the peace. He built the first grist-mill in that town and operated it. He was moderator of town meetings and selectman five years. He also served the Acworth church as deacon. He married in Lunenburg, Massachusetts, January 24, 1754, Rachel, born April 3, 1753, died June 12, 1812, daughter of Captain Ephraim and Joanna (Bellows) Wetherbee, of Charlestown. Children, the first four born in Lunenburg, Massachusetts, the others in Charlestown and Acworth, New Hampshire, sixteen in all: Elizabeth, Susannah and Seth (twins), Thomas, Ephraim, Rachel, Joanna, Abijah, Abel, Elisha, Hepsy, Ephraim (2), Martha, Dorothy, Asa and Elizabeth.

(VI) Seth, son of Thomas and Rachel (Wetherbee) Putnam, was born in Lunenburg, Massachusetts, September 16, 1756, a twin of Susannah. He died in Putnam, Ontario, Canada, September 3, 1827. His gravestone, erected in 1847, states he was born in Charlestown, New Hampshire, in 1758. He was a private in Captain Samuel Wetherbee's company, Colonel Isaac Wayne's regiment, which marched to reinforce the Northern Army in 1776. According to his gravestone he was a colonel in the Continental army. A family belief, as told in later years by his son Thomas, was that he was a member of the "Boston Tea Party." He was a man of education, with a good knowledge of civil and military engineering. In 1795 he emigrated to Canada to a wild and unbroken region. He entered into a contract with the Canadian government to construct a wagon road from the head of the lake where Hamilton now stands, to Chatham, eighteen miles east of Lake St. Claire, a distance of one hundred sixty miles, through a heavily wooded country. For this he was to receive sixteen hundred acres of land and a cash bonus. He built the road but never received his reward. He married, February 14, 1790, Sarah Harding (gravestone), of the Wyoming valley, Pennsylvania, one of the few who escaped from the massacre of Wyoming. She died about 1850. Children:

  1. Lewis, born November 11, 1790, died aged three years.
  2. William, born November 6, 1793; killed at the battle of Windsor, Canada, December 4, 1838; was associated with his brothers in business, all being prosperous farmers and lumbermen. He was captain of a Canadian troop and served at Lundy's Lane and Queenstown Heights. Later he joined in the "patriot" rebellion and led the attack on Windsor, which was made against his advice. He was instantly killed, shot through the brain. He married Eleanor, daughter of Sylvanus Dygert, a niece of General Nicholas Herkimer, and nearly related to the Van Rensselaers. Sylvanus was taken prisoner by the Indians in the same raid. His father was killed and scalped. He was held a prisoner at Montreal for three years.
  3. Joshua, born January 5, 1798, died September 19, 1859; he married (first), name unknown; (second), Malinda Flanagen; (third) Mary Barrows; they bore him fifteen children.
  4. Fanny, born May 16, 1802; married, June 21, 1820, Warner S. Dygert; married (second) Joseph Nicholas, a farmer near Ontario; two children.
  5. Thomas, of whom further.

(VII) Thomas (4), youngest son of Seth and Sarah (Harding) Putnam, was born in Delaware, Upper Canada, October 28, 1804, and died at Hamilton, Ontario, March 26, 1880. In 1825 he located in Dorchester, Upper Canada, which town was later (1839) named Putnam in his honor. He was largely engaged in mercantile and lumbering enterprises and became one of the most prominent men in private life in western Ontario. During the "patriot" rebellion of 1837-38 he became an object of suspicion to the Tory party, and was obliged to remain in concealment many weeks to avoid imprisonment and possibly a worse fate. He had a secret chamber in his house constructed to enter only by a sliding panel, where he lay while British soldiers searched the house. He greatly aided the rebel cause by money and influence. He was appointed a magistrate in 1838 by the governor-general of Canada, a life office and carrying the title of "Esquire." He refused all other public office. By the dishonesty of a partner, Squire Putnam met with severe business reverses late in life, which left him only a moderate competence after satisfying in full every creditor. He married (first) Nancy; daughter of Nicholas Dygert, a niece of General Nicholas Dygert, and granddaughter of John Dygert, who fought with General Herkimer at the battle of Oriskany. She was a sister to Eleanor Dygert, wife of William Putnam, who was killed at the battle of Windsor, Canada, previously mentioned. She bore him two children:

  1. Harriet Ann, born July 24, 1833; married Hugh Duncan Cameron, a grand-nephew of the Duke of Athol and Earl of Graham. He was born in Perthshire, Scotland, July 26, 1833, came to Canada in 1852, was treasurer of the Hamilton Provident Loan Association at Hamilton, Ontario, where he died May, 1895.
  2. Marshall Spring Bidwell, born October 25, 1837, died at Hamilton, March 13, 1880. Squire Putnam married (second), in 1844, Nancy, born 1822, died 1884, daughter of Rev. John Harris and his wife, who was also a daughter of Sylvanus Dygert.

Children of second marriage, all born at Putnam, Ontario:

  1. Ephraim, born October 12, 1845, accidentally killed at the age of twenty-two years.
  2. Rev. Alanson Harris, born December 20, 1847; a minister of the Baptist church, Toronto, Ontario.
  3. Dr. Thomas Job, born December 25, 1848, graduate of Cleveland Medical College, 1877; now a practicing physician at Springfield, Massachusetts.
  4. Dr. William Byron, of whom further.
  5. Dr. Warren E., born May 6, 1857, graduate of Cleveland Medical College, 1881; now a practicing physician of Bennington, Vermont; he is surgeon-general on the staff of the governor of Vermont, and is now serving his second term (1910).

(VIII) Dr. William Byron, son of "Squire" Thomas (4) and Nancy (Dygert) Putnam, was born at Putnam, Ontario, Canada, November 28, 1854. He was educated at Woodstock College, University of Toronto, and obtained his degree of M.D. from Cleveland Medical College, where he was graduated in the class of 1879. In the same year he located at Hoosick Falls, New York, where he has since been actively engaged in the practice of his profession. He has attained high rank as a physician, and is prominent in all village affairs, public, political and charitable. He was elected president of the village in 1906 and again in 1909; was village trustee in 1905; was president of the board of police commissioners, and chairman of the board of town auditors, 1901-1905. He is a director of the Provident Building and Loan Association, director of the Hoosac Club, member of the executive committee of the Hoosick branch of the Hudson-Mohawk Society, vice-president of the village Library Association since its organization in 1907. He is a member of the American Institute of Homoeopathy, and a well-known contributor to medical journals. He is an authority in pulmonary diseases, and has written a great deal on that subject. He is a Presbyterian in religion, and a Republican in politics.

He married, June 14, 1899, Isaphene Spencer, daughter of Louis and Emma (Birch) Spencer. They have one child, Dorothy Dygert, born October 12, 1900, now attending the private school of Mrs. Dewey at Hoosick Falls, New York.

The coat-of-arms of the Putnam family of Salem, Massachusetts, and its various offshoots found in every state in the Union, in Canada, Australia, and in Old New England, is thus described: "Sable, between eight crosses, crosslet fitchee (or crusely fitchee) argent, a stork of the last, beaked and legged gules." Crest, "A wolf's head gules." This is the coat-of-arms used by Nicholas Puttenham, or Puttnam, of Putnam Place, Penn, England, born 1460, from whom John Putnam, of Salem, descended.

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