Birth: 1615 Royton, Lenham, Kent, England
Christening: 08 Oct 1615 Lenham, Kent, England
Immigration: 26 JUN 1637
Details: Arrived in Boston on the ship, Hector, with brother Joshua and sister Ann, in company with Rev. John Davenport and Theophilus Eaton (founders of New Haven).
Note: David Atwater was 22 years old when he arrived in New England in 1637. If he was one of those who accompanied Mr. Eaton to Quinnipiack in the autumn of that year, he returned to Boston, for only seven of the company, including his brother Joshua, remained at Quinnipiack thru the winter. It is likely that David and his sister Ann stayed in Boston for the winter and sailed with the company for their new home in the spring of 1638. He signed the plantation covenant on June 4, 1639, the day of the constituent assembly in Mr. Newman’s barn.
Note: David was unmarried thru 1643 when his name appears on the list of 21 planters with a valuation upon their estates of £500 or more, “according to which he will pay his proportion in all Rates and Public charges from time to time to be accessed for civil uses, and expect Lands in all divisions which shall generally be made to the planters”. (Barber’s History and Antiquities of New Haven, edition 1831.)
Marriage: BEF 10 MAR 1647
Note: Per Trumbull’s History of Connecticut after the Union of the Colonies, and Atwater’s History of the City of New Haven, David married Demaris Sayre before March 10, 1646/7, the date of the General Court, when the name of “David Atwater’s wife” was read among those seated in the meeting-house.
Birth of Daughter: 29 FEB 1647/48
Name: Mercy Atwater
Place: New Haven, New Haven Co, Connecticut
Birth of Daughter: 12 NOV 1648
Name: Damaris Atwater
Birth of Son: 13 JUL 1650
Name: David Atwater
Birth of Son: 11 JAN 1652/53
Name: Joshua Atwater
Birth of Son: 01 NOV 1654
Name: John Atwater
Birth of Daughter: 03 MAR 1659/60
Name: Abigail Atwater
Birth of Daughter: 31 MAR 1662
Name: Mary Atwater
Birth of Son: 17 SEP 1664
Name: Samuel Atwater
Birth of Son: 13 JAN 1666
Name: Ebenezer Atwater
Note: Was a founder of the Colony of New Haven. Was the first of the New Haven Colony who was sworn a freeman of the united colony. “David Atwater was one of the first planters of New Haven, and in the first division of lands among the settlers a farm was assigned him in the ‘Neck,’ as the track between Mill and Quinnipiac Rivers was called, upon which it is believed he lived till his death, which occurred Oct. 5th, 1692.”
Death: 08 OCT 1692 Cedar Hill, New Haven Co, Connecticut
Burial: Center Church on the Green Churchyard, New Haven, New Haven Co, Connecticut
Click here to see parents: John Atwater and Susan Narson/Norson
The conditions in England that resulted in the immigration of David, Joshua, and Ann Atwater to America will be presented here. They include religious persecutions and illegal “taxation” by King Charles I, and that their parent had just died as had their uncles. The information is taken from Atwater History, sometimes summarized, sometimes verbatim.
From David’s birth thru 1633, George Abbott was the Archbishop of Canterbury. During this period, the Puritans in his own Diocese of Canterbury were largely protected from the persecutions of Charles I by his personal authority. Archbishop Abbott permitted the French and Dutch churches to continue to worship according to their Presbyterian form in Maidstone, Sandwich, and Canterbury. One of these congregations worshiped according to that form in his own Cathedral Church of Canterbury as had been done from the time of Queen Elizabeth. [Abbott was employed on the authorized translation of the Bible under King James I.]
However, another Archbishop, Laud, had gained unlimited sway over the mind of Charles I and convinced him that the Puritans should no longer be afforded asylum in England. Therefore, when Archbishop Abbott died in 1633, persecution of the separatists became much more active. On Christmas Day, 1636, Laud wrote to the king that even tho the ringleaders of the Brownists and other separatists from the Church of England had been imprisoned, the movements continued. “Neither do I see remedy like to be, unless some of their seducers be driven to abjure the Kingdom, which must be done by the judges at the common law, but is not within our power.”
Charles I responded with the memorandum: “C. R. Informe mee of the particulars and I shall command the Judges to make them Abjure.”
Six months later, on June 26, 1637, Joshua, David, and Ann Atwater arrived in Boston in the company of Theophilus Eaton, John Davenport, and the other founders of the New Haven Colony on the Hector.
In addition to these eccleaiastical troubles, the forced loans and illegal extractions, resulting from the attempt of King Charles I to govern without a parliament, were severely felt. Each person was required to pay a fixed proportion of his property in land or goods. Those who refused were impressed to serve in the navy, others were imprisoned, “committed by special command of his majesty.” (There are many pages of detail, including many quotations from original documents of the time, in Atwater History.)
The financial implications on David, Joshua, and Ann Atwater were significant. According to the custom of gavelkind of the time, David, the youngest son, would retain the homestead and remain at Royton when his father died. Joshua had received the rest of the estate and was a mercer (merchant in fabrics) in Ashton, about seven miles from Royton. Both had received much from the estates of their uncles George and David, and from that of Ann, George’s wife. Therefore, to leave for America on short notice likely meant selling all of their lands and possessions at a considerable disadvanage.
David Atwater was 22 years old when he arrived in New England in 1637. If he was one of those who accompanied Mr. Eaton to Quinnipiack in the autumn of that year, he returned to Boston, for only seven of the company, including his brother Joshua, remained at Quinnipiack thru the winter. It is likely that David and his sister Ann stayed in Boston for the winter and sailed with the company for their new home in the spring of 1638. He signed the plantation covenant on June 4, 1639, the day of the constituent assembly in Mr. Newman’s barn.
David was unmarried thru 1643 when his name appears on the list of 21 planters with a valuation upon their estates of £500 or more, “according to which he will pay his proportion in all Rates and Public charges from time to time to be accessed for civil uses, and expect Lands in all divisions which shall generally be made to the planters”. (Barber’s History and Antiquities of New Haven, edition 1831.)
Per Trumbull’s History of Connecticut after the Union of the Colonies, and Atwater’s History of the City of New Haven, David married Demaris Sayre before March 10, 1646/7, the date of the General Court, when the name of “David Atwater’s wife” was read among those seated in the meeting-house.
Examination of David Atwater’s will, in connection with knowledge obtained from other sources, affords information of interest to all his descendants.
One of his six sons, Joshua, had removed to Wallingford, Connecticut, where he married, June 24, 1680, Lydia Rothwell, and died soon after, leaving no children.
One of his four daughters, the eldest child, Mercy, who married John Austin, appears not to have been then living, by the terms of the will in relation to her children.
There are special bequests of lands to each of the surviving five sons, David, John, Jonathan, Samuel and Ebenezer, determined in relation to the portions of the estate already received by each.
Two of the sons had already been established in business in New Haven, namely, Jonathan, whose name appears in the list of “Proprietors of New Haven, Conn., in year 1685,” the bequests to him being, in the words of the will, “besides what also he hath already received,” and the youngest son and child, Ebenezer.
The portions of the estate already received by these two sons may be conjectured to have been the requisite money capital for business, and possibly the town lot (now 120 to 128 College Street, north of Elm), assigned to David in the original division of the lands, with its improvements and the house and land formerly owned and occupied by Joshua, on what was known as Fleet Street, bought by David from Joshua 19th June, 1665, after the removal of Joshua to Boston—which house is said to have been occupied by the descendants of David more than two hundred years—neither of these properties appearing in the inventory of his estate in 1692.
It is known that the house of David, the eldest son of Jonathan, “was in that part of State Street formerly called Fleet Street,” and the house of James, the only son of Ebenezer, “was in State Street, between Crown and George Streets.”
To each of the three remaining sons there is a specific bequest of a homestead.
To David Atwater, Jr., whose name was in the list of Proprietors in 1685, as follows.
Item. I doe Ratify and Confirm to David Attwater, junior, my eldest son, my old House, Barn and Orchard, which he already possesseth, and twelve acres, lying on both sides ye creek, adjoining to meadow of Issac Turner’s, and twenty acres of upland, ten to ye Cornfield and ten in ye Neck, soth halfe that peese of land fensed in on ye west side of Road and ye Rock.
To John Atwater, whose name was in the list of Proprietors in 1685, as follows.
Item. I doe give and bequeath unto my son, John Attwater, ye House and accommodations at Wallingford, with ye Rights and privileges and appurtenances thereunto belonging, wch I bought of Samuel Potter, with two acres of meadow I had of John Dod, formerlv Ephraim Young’s land, and one acre more of silt marsh next ye River, lying near my son David’s.
To Samuel Atwater, whose name was not in the list of Proprietors in 1685, as follows:
Item. For all the Rest of my lands, both uplands and meadow, with my dwelling house, barne and other buildings, wth the Orchard, privileges and appurtenances, I give to my son, Samuel, to be to him and to his Heires forever.
And for these lands and meadows, above mentioned, given to my other sons, my will is that it be to them and to their Heirs forever. And my further will is yt, if any sons see Cause to sell any of their lands, they shall first offer it to their Brothers, that they may have ye first refusal.
It would appear that there had been three divisions of lands to the planters, according to their original agreement, the third division, as indicated in the inventory, being about one hundred acres to him:
Item. From my owne 3d Division, and wt I had of my son John, I give and bequeath unto my ffour sons, David, Jonathan, Samll and Ebenezer, to be equally divided between them.
And forr all ye Rest of my p’sonal estate, movables and stock of cattle, my will is it be equally divided between all my children, at least to ye vallew of it, my Grandchildren, sons of my daughter Austin, to be included for one share.”
On the day of the marriage of Ebenezer, the youngest son and child, to Abigail Heaton, which was the last of the marriages of his ten children, David Atwater could doubtless reflect that, upon the execution of his will, each of his eight surviving children would be established in life with a place of residence.
On that day, December 9, 1691, he recorded his great thoughtfulness and equal care for all his children in an Appendix to his will, without the formality of witnesses, in these words:
Know all men whom it may concern, that I, David Attwater, Senr, Doe upon further consideration, and from a desire to promote love and peece among my children, and to make, as neere as I can, an equall distribution of that estate wch God hath given me, I Doe heereby, as my will, give to each of my children, out of Samuell’s part, five pounds, to be paid out of ye stock of cattle or as he may think best.
This Appendix to ye will admitted by all of ye children & ye Court as if proved by witnesses. Agrees with ye Original Text.
Wm. Jones, Clerk.
These extracts from the will of David Attwater, of Royton in Lenham and Cedar Hill, New Haven, of natural interest to all who trace their lineage to him, whether they bear his name or not, mav appropriately end with its opening and closing words:
Know all men by these p’sents, that I, David Attwater, Senr, of New Haven, in ye Colony of Connecticut in New England, though weak of body, yet of Competent, sound understanding & memory, Doe Make and Ordaine this as my last will and testament, in manner and fform following:
Imprimis. I comend my sowle unto the hands of God, through Jesus Christ, my Redeemer, & my body to the earth, to be buried in a Comely and desent manner, according to the discression of my executors hereafter named.”
Lastly. I doe hereby constitute and appoint my loving son-in-law, John Punderson, and my son Samuell, to be Executrs of this, my last will and testament. And Capt. Moses Mansfield, Overseer. And Doe order my son-in- law, John Punderson, and my son Samuell, to pay him twenty shillings for his trouble. And I doe hereby Revoak and make voyd all former will or wills. And Declare this to be my last will and testament.
In Witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand & seale this fourteenth day of April, one thousand six hundred ninety-one. 1691.
David Attwater. [Seal.]
Signed, sealed and delivered in p’sense of
Sworn in court:
With this will of David Attwater, of Royton in Lenbam and Cedar Hill, New Haven, ends the record by wills of the English ancestry of the Atwaters in the United States.
David Atwater was the only male descendant of his grandfather, Christopher, to have male heirs.
Per Genealogical Register …, David Atwater was one of the first planters of New Haven, and in the first division of lands among the settlers, a farm was assigned him in the “Neck,” as the tract between the Mill and Quinnipiac Rivers was called, upon which it is believed that he lived until his death.
* Atwater, Francis, Atwater History, 1901, pp. 51–94
* Jacobus, Donald Lines, Families of Ancient New Haven, vol. V, p. 1058.
* ibid., vol. I Donald Lines Jacobus pp. 60–63, 90.
* ibid., vol. VI Donald Lines Jacobus p. 1494.
* Genealogical Register of the Descendants in the Male Line of David Atwater, One of the Original Planters of New Haven, Conn., to the Sixth Generation, 1873.
Birth: ABT 1625 Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, England
Death: APR 1691 (1st or 7th) New Haven, New Haven Co, Connecticut
Burial: Center Church on the Green Churchyard, New Haven, New Haven Co, Connecticut
Click here to see parents: Thomas Sayre and Margaret Aldrich