Tuesday, July 3, 2018

When he managed to drown himself in a duck pond

Genealogical snippets. In the early days of colonial America, records were frequently incomplete and emigres would show up with similar family names to those already in the colonies but with no known connection. I am trying to straighten out a line involving the Puritan Eliots. In doing so, I come across this minor mystery of William Elliott, no kin.

On 16 April 1634, "William Elliott" was enrolled for passage to New England from Southampton on the Hercules [Drake's Founders 71].

On 2,4 November 1634, Gov. Winthrop recorded that "one Scott and Eliot of Ipswich were lost in their way homewards, and wandered up and down six days, and ate nothing. At length they were found by an Indian, being almost senseless for want of rest, etc." [VVJ 180].

"We embarked at Ipswich August 11, 1635, with our families and substance, bound for Marble-head, we being in all twenty-three souls, viz., eleven in my cousin's family, seven in mine, and one Mr. William Eliot, sometimes of New Sarum, and four mariners" [Young's First Planters 486]. Soon after, this vessel foundered in a storm, and most of the passengers, including Elliott, perished.

COMMENTS: There is no certainty that the Ipswich wanderer was the same as the passenger on the Hercules, but the only others by the surname of Elliott in New England at this date were the Rev. John Eliot of Roxbury and his brothers, and none of these resided in Ipswich, nor would they have been reported in this way by Winthrop.

The account of William Elliott's death is from the narrative of Anthony Thatcher, describing the shipwreck in which Rev. John Avery and others died as well [Young's First Planters 485-95). In his brief note on this immigrant, Pope says "In Salem Court in 1660" [Pope 154]. This was a different man, a William Ellett of Salem, who appeared regularly in Salem court records from 1641, when he was called a "boy" [EQC 1:27], until 1660, when he managed to drown himself in a duck pond IEQC 2:223, 260].
Poor William Ellett/Elliott. A lost wanderer in a hard new land.

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