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by Dave Winterstein
The beginnings of Puritanism can be traced back to the last half of the 16th Century. Henry VIII had succeeded in creating the Anglican Church with himself in control instead of the Catholic Pope. The Puritans disagreed with many of the practices of the new English Church, but instead of trying to split from the Church, they tried to work from within as a type of reform movement.
The fortunes of the Puritans, both as a group and as individuals, ebbed and flowed with each change of monarch. When Charles I ascended the throne in 1625, attempts were made to compel obedience with the religious uniformity established by the Anglican Church. Many of the Puritans of the day were merchants, and many held public positions. Now, being a Puritan meant not only being unable to worship as you pleased, but also meant losing your public office or business.
John Winthrop was one of a growing number of Puritans who suffered under Charles I.
On March 4, 1629, Charles I chartered the Massachusetts Bay Company. For some reason, that charter failed to contain the usual provision that company headquarters be located in England. Not all of the members of the Company were Puritans, but those that were, including John Winthrop, were able to convince the others to move Company headquarters to the colony, which insured control by the Puritans.
Winthrop was made governor, and in 1630, he moved Company headquarters to New England. He also brought along about 1,000 colonists. Governor Winthrop preceded the main group with a fleet of four ships. One of the passengers from that group of four ships was John Doggett of England.
There were several John Doggetts living in England at the time, so it is not clear just who that particular John Doggett was. Governor Winthrop's wife's sister was married to Thomas Doggett of Boxford, Suffolk, England. Thomas had a brother named John, and it is supposed that he was the John Doggett who came to New England with Governor Winthrop.
When the four ships landed, the colonists first went to Salem, Massachusetts, but a group of them left Salem and started a settlement called Watertown in July of 1630 (Watertown is now part of the Greater Boston Area). Mr. Doggett was among those that settled Watertown.
It is not known whether or not Mr. Doggett had been a Puritan prior to his arrival in the New World, but in order to become a member of the Company, and therefore, entitled to complete citizenship rights in the colony, one had to become a “freeman.” One of the requirements in becoming a freeman was membership in the colonial Puritan Church. On May 18, 1631, John Doggett became a freeman, which meant that he had joined the Church.
In Watertown, Mr. Doggett became acquainted with Thomas Mayhew, Sr. In 1641, Mr. Mayhew was given a grant for Martha's Vineyard, and Mr. Doggett became involved with him in developing the island. Instead of moving directly to Martha's Vineyard, however, Mr. Doggett moved first to Rehoboth, Massachusetts after 1643. He was one of its early settlers.
Sometime before 1651, Mr. Doggett finally moved to Edgartown on Martha's Vineyard. His son, Thomas Doggett, married a daughter of Thomas Mayhew, Sr. At some point in his life, Thomas began using the name “Daggett.”
Mr Doggett's first wife may have been named Hepzibah, and they had five children.
Hepzibah died, and Mr. Doggett married for a second time on August 29, 1667 in Plymouth, Massachusetts, to Bathsheba Pratt, a widow. From that point on, he resided in Plymouth until his death in May of 1673. I have found no evidence that he ever used the name “Daggett.”
During his lifetime, Mr. Doggett engaged in agriculture and acquired a good deal of land, some of it in Martha's Vineyard and some at Chappaquiddick.
Mr. Doggett's oldest son, John Doggett, was probably born in England around 1626. He settled in Rehoboth, and in 1651, he married Anne Sutton. They had five children, including a son named Nathaniel. Nathaniel was born in Rehoboth and lived there his entire life. He was a wheelwright and weaver. On June 24, 1686, he married Rebecca Miller. Bessie Daggett thought that Rebecca was related to the Miller Family that settled Millerton, but as of yet, I have not found any proof of that. Nathaniel and Rebecca had eight children.
There were several variations of the Doggett name in use in England. One of them was “Daggett.” Nathaniel began using the name Daggett.
Nathaniel's oldest son was named Nathaniel also. He was born on April 3, 1695. He moved from Rehoboth to Attleboro, Massachusetts. There he married Lydia Tiffany on April 30, 1724. Mr. Daggett was a cooper and husbandman.
Nathaniel and Lydia had a son named Reuben who was born in Attleboro on August 31, 1733. He married Isabel Round, and they had five children.
Reuben and Isabel's oldest son was named Reuben, and he was born in Attleboro on November 11, 1755. He eventually moved to Westmoreland, New Hampshire. There on December 11, 1777, he married Esther Cobb. They had ten children, all of whom were born in Westmoreland.
In 1797, some, but maybe not all of Reuben's family moved to Paris Furnace, New York. Paris Furnace was also known as Paris and is now known as Clayville. It is approximately eight miles from Utica, New York
His first wife died there on December 2, 1798.
Reuben married for the second time on December 9, 1800 in Utica to Kesiah Darby.
Reuben moved to the Daggett Area around 1807. His sons, Reuben Daggett, Jr. and Seth Daggett, came a few years later. All of his children, with the exception of a child that died in Westmoreland, eventually moved here.
His second wife died on March 15, 1827. Reuben married for a third time, this time to Abigail Woodward.
Reuben died February 8, 1835 and was buried in Lower Daggett in the old Daggett Family Cemetery. He served in the Revolutionary War and is considered to have been the pioneer settler in the Daggett Area.
While researching John Doggett, I found information about a Captain Robert Seeley. Captain Seeley was originally from England, but I do not know from what part of England he came from. Like John Doggett, he came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony with Governor Winthrop in that same group of four ships.
Captain Seeley also went to Watertown and was part of a group of 40 individuals that started the Church there in 1630. Like John Doggett, he became a freeman in 1631 at Watertown.
Captain Seeley later moved to Connecticut. His early background in the Massachusetts Bay Colony was almost identical to Mr. Doggett's. It is very likely that they knew each other.
In 1791, two of Captain Seeley's descendants, Bezabel Seeley and Nathaniel Seeley, moved to the Elmira, New York Area. Two later descendants, Nathaniel Seeley and Morris Seeley, lived on the Pony Hill Road (SR 1018) near its intersection with the Rumsey Road (T-721). The world can be a small place at times.
Daggett, George H. and Sydney B., A Supplement to the Section Entitled John Doggett-Daggett of Martha's Vineyard (Maryland: Gateway Press, Inc, 1974), 1-34.
Daggett, John, A Sketch of the History of Attleborough From Its Settlement to the Division (Boston: Press of Samuel Usher, 1894), 7-35.
Doggett, Samuel Bradlee, A History of the Doggett-Daggett Family ( Massachusetts: Rockwell and Churchill, 1894), 70-133.
Jordan, John W, ed., Genealogical and Personal History of Northern Pennsylvania Vol. I (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1913), 995-996 and 1267-1270.
“Massachusetts Bay Company,” Encyclopedia Americana International Edition Vol. 18 (New York: Americana Corporation, 1966), 412.
“Puritanism,” Encyclopedia Americana International Edition Vol. 23 (New York: Americana Corporation, 1966), 28-30.
Secretary of the Commonwealth, ed., Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War Vol. 4 (Boston: Wright & Potter Printing Co., State Printers, 1898), 358.
The Winthrop Society, The Freemen of Massachusetts Bay 1630-1636, https://www.winthropsociety.com/doc_freemen.php (May 19, 2018).
“Winthrop, John,” Encyclopedia Americana International Edition Vol. 29 (New York: Americana Corporation, 1966), 59-60.