WILLIAM PATTEN OF CAMBRIDGE
(512) 1. WILLIAM PATTEN. The origin and location of the ancestry of William Patten has always been an open question. There are traditions regarding the family in England, but, in his case, there is no evidence in support of them. It is reported that a family of Pattens was in the north of England and went from there to Scotland in the fifteenth century, and about a century later some of their descendants went to the north of Ireland. Such a theory may be correct regarding the Pattens who came to this country in the eighteenth century, as they are stated to have come from Scotland and from Ireland.
A survey of Great Britain at the time of the settlement of New England shows but a few places where the name of Patten occurs to any very great extent. One of these was Lancaster County. In the parish of Warrington, sixteen miles east from Liverpool, there was a family of Pattens, and it was from this neighborhood that many settlers came to Dorchester and its vicinity. It is also from this region that the William Patten went who was Bishop of Winchester and founder of Magdalen College. The latter is a man who is claimed by most of the Pattens in this country as their ancestor, but we have so far failed to find any proof which could connect them with him. The earliest will to be found in this region is that of Thomas Patten, of Warrington, in 1579. After this we find no other wills until 1653, when one Thomas Patten, of Warrington, made his will and in it expressed gratitude to his brother William for various kind favors and appointed him as his executor. This could hardly have been our William, for as he had already been in this country at least eighteen years, it is not probable that he would at that time have been appointed an executor of a will in England.
Another locality where there were many Pattens was the county of Somerset, and it is to this family that we are inclined to think our William belonged. Nothing has been found to show by what vessel he came here, and if this point could be established a clue would perhaps be furnished to his residence before coming to this country.
We find also traditions in the family, not only in one branch but in many, that three brothers came to this country and settled in different places. This is a tradition that can be found to exist in a large number of New England families. This fact, as far as this family is concerned, is not supported by any evidence. Besides William Patten there seems to have been but one other of that name mentioned in the records of that time. This was Nathaniel Patten, who settled in Dorchester. Nathaniel Patten came from Crewkerne [crucis urna, the place of the cross], in the county of Somerset, England, and while he may possibly have been related in some way to our William, there is no evidence that he was a brother. In fact, the evidence is to the contrary. There is evidence existing to show clearly how and when he came to this country. In the notebook of Thomas Lechford, an attorney of that time, there is a legal document in which Nathaniel s former residence is stated and particulars as to his coming over as one of the charterers of the ship Charles of Bristol, on which he sailed on 18 June, 1640.
In the notebook, referred to is a notice of an account for which he brought suit against the undertakers of the ships Charles of Bristol and the Hopewell of London. The last items in the bill were as follows:
Itm for a bag of hoppes spoyled by the raine because some of the undertakers gave orders it should not be received aboard
Itm for a nimming sheet and rugg lent unto the Steward Robert Ring for the undertakers use
Itm fora cabbin bought in the ship because Ihad not convenience in the ship according to agreement for myselfe & family
Itm for a womans pillion lost in the ship Hopewell
Itm costs & charges att B ristoll from the 24th of May till thel8th of June for myselfe & family because att the said 24th day we should have bin gone
Itm they undertooke to victuall the said ship Charlesfor 16 weeks & to carry but 150 passingers to my remembrance, and they the passingers were debarred of our beere & water before landing & i/we had bin put to a long voyage we must needs have suffered much more than we did, wch I leave to the consideration of the Cort.
He settled in Dorchester and was a prominent citizen there and was interested in considerable real estate. In Suffolk Registiy of Deeds, under date of 21 July, 1671, we find that Nathaniel Patten, of Dorchester, in the county of Suffolk, appointed his "trusty and welbeloved kinsman Thomas Patten of Bristoll nowe resident in Boston" his true and lawful attorney to act in all business matters for him. This Thomas Patten probably did not remain here permanently, as there is no further evidence of him after the settlement of the estate of Nathaniel. Nathaniel Patten died 31 January, 1661. He left no surviving children that there is any record of. He left no will, but his wife Justine made a will dated 2 January, 1673. In this, she mentions different relatives to whom she left property, but no children. An agreement was entered into 14 December, 1674, between Benjamin Bale of Dorchester, and Thomas Patten, attorney for his father John Patten of Severalls in the parish of Crewkern, within the realm of England, referring to the settlement of the estate of Nathaniel Patten of Dorchester. This agreement refers to Benjamin Bale as being Nathaniel Patten s sister s son, and provided that all his estate outside of what the court had set aside for the widow should be divided into two equal parts; one part to be given to Benjamin Bale and the other part to Thomas Patten, attorney for John Patten, for the use of said John Patten and any other person concerned with him. By this agreement a division of the real estate was also made, one part being set off to Benjamin Bale in consideration of his delivering to Thomas Patten, sometime the next summer, one load of fresh hay. The other part was set off to Thomas Patten in consideration of his paying to Benjamin Bale fifty-nine pounds.
In England we find the will of Thomas Patten of Crewkern, in Somerset County, and he was clearly the father of Nathaniel. In this will, which was dated 27 March, 1629, mention is made of his nephews Robert and Thomas Patten; also his sons John, Thomas and Nathaniel; his daughters Sarah, Joane and Elizabeth, and his brother John; but the name of William nowhere appears in this family, thus showing that William and this Nathaniel were not brothers.
In Somersetshire we find the will of one Thomas Petten of Hardington Manfylde [Mandeville], Somerset, which we give here: In the Name of God Amen. The ninth daie of November in the second year of the Raigne of our Soveraigne lord Charles by the grace of god King of England, Scotland, Fraunce and Ireland defender of the faith, Anrw Domini One thousand sixe hundred twentie sixe I Thomas Petten of Hardington Man fyZde in the Co untie of Somset, carpenter, being verie sick of my body, but pfect of remembraunce thankes bee given to god therefore doe make my last will & testamt as followeth ffirst I give and bequeath my soule unto the allmightie god whoe gave it and is my maker and Redeemer of all mankind and my bodie to bee buried in the church yard of Hardington Man fyld. Item I give and bequeath unto four said (aforesaid) sonne William Petten one white calfe, one spitt, one Pyckeaxe, one co/er, my best wearing clot heres, my bedd, a Coverled and one paire of dowlish sheets. Item I give and bequeath unto my daughter Jone Petten a debt of neere eleaven pounds of lawful money a/England and the bill obligatory/or the same debt wch debt is in the hands of one WIlliam Joye ofLie and one little cow theme, one co/er and my old cloke. Item I give and bequeath unto my sonne Andrewe Petten All my carpenters working tooles; alsoe I the said Thomas Petten doe ordaine and make my two daughters Margaret Petten and Anne Petten to bee my whole executors joyntly and equallie and shall have all the Residue a/my goods and chattells whatsoever wch is not giver nor bequeathed upon this my last will and Testament. In witness hereof I have hereunto set my hand and seale the daie and yeare first above written.
Signed sealed and published in the presents of us John Marsh, John Apley, John Marsh the younger.
Proved at London 10 May, 1627.
Here we find a William Patten mentioned who may have been our pioneer. The county of Somerset was essentially farming country, and what would be more natural than that one coming from such a country should be selected by the inhabitants of Cambridge as a proper person and one well fitted to take the care of their town cattle. Unfortunately for us, the parish registers for that vicinity in England are not in existence for that period. The Hardington Mandeville registers only go back to the year 1687.
Another question that has been raised is whether there is any coat of arms of the family. We have found, in several branches, what has been held to be a Patten coat of arms, and while we have seen two or three of these,we have found no two of them exactly alike, and probably others, of which we have heard but not seen, have the same dissimilarity. Not every family in England was entitled to bear arms, and we are inclined to the opinion that the Somersetshire Pattens, being a farming class, were not of those who had this right, and consequently there is no true coat of arms for this branch of the family.
The first mention of William Patten to be found in this country is in the Cambridge Town Records under the date of 13 March, 1635/36, when the following vote was passed: Agreed Wth William Patten to kepe 100 Cattell on the otherside the Riuer for the space of seauen Mount hes to begine when the Towne shall appoint him and to haue Twenty pounds the one halfe paid him In Monny when he hath kept halfe his tyme and the other halfe In Come when he hath done keeping at the price wch the Comon Rate of Come goeth when he is to be paid and he is to have a man to help him the first 14 days he payinge him for one weeke the Towne for the other alsoe he is to lodg ther exsept once a weeke and to haue a man to keepe them everj other Sct both day and hee to paye Xs a beast/or every beast he shall loese and to keepe noe Cattell of anny man exsept the Townsmen give leaue vpon the for/etuer of 5s a head for every head he shall soe keepe.
In 1638 there appears the following record: Agreed Wth William Patten to keep three score cowes more or lesse vnder 4 score att the direction a/the Townsmen/or all this sumr vntill they take them in att lOs a weeke the one hal/e to bepd in the first weeke in July eithr in monie or good come & thothr halfe when he leaveth a/keeping them in monie & those that Refuse to paye in monie shall paye in come att the price that it is att when it is merchantable he is to pay 3d/or eur cowe he lea veth out a night & Xs a cowe for eurie one that is lost through his Defaulte he is to take noe oth cattell without the townsmens consent he is to dryve them out by six a/the clock in the morning & bring them home by sunn hal/e an houre high att night at the latest & to bring them into the towne eure Evening he is to keepe them but eurie third Sabt & thoth to be prvided for as in former tyme & whoe eur shall bring in anie strange cattell shall synde a helpe for 2 or 3 dayes & the owners to bring them into the common eure morning by the tyme appoynted & his owne cow to be kept free as long as he keepeth them & he is to pay 6d damage for eurie morning that he is not gone out by the tyme appoynted.
In 1646 we find that Brother Patten was fined thrice one shilling for one hog without keeper. On the twentieth day of the third month in 1649, we find that Andrew Stevenson and William Patten were appointed to execute the town order concerning hogs, and to levy on all such as shall be found breaking that order the just penalty of the same therein prescribed. In the same year liberty was granted some of the townsmen, among them William Patten, for the present hay time to mow the common meadow at Shawshine, "prvided they intrench uppon noe prpriety."
On two or three different occasions we find him appointed as one of the surveyors of fences, his district being that about the Menotomy Fields. He was also appointed surveyor of highways on one or two occasions.
The Common, as it was called, was well-timbered, for we find that when anyone wished for lumber he went to the selectmen for permission to get it from the Common. In 1660, at a meeting of the selectmen, several people, among them William Patten, were granted liberty to take timber to repair their fences and for "reparaccon of their houses. In 1663 he was granted liberty to take timber from the Common for a cart, and at another time for a cow-house and half a hundred "rayles7 In November, 1665, he was granted liberty to fell timber to build a lean-to and an end to his barn, and in 1668 to "repayre his old house at towne." He did not always ask for permission, for in 1662 we find that he was fined twenty shillings for felling trees on the Common contrary to town orders. Fines levied by the selectmen were sometimes abated, for in 1663 we find that a fine imposed upon William Patten was abated five shillings. In 1642 we find William Patten enrolled as a member of the honorable Artillery Company of Boston.
William Patten lived on what is now Massachusetts Avenue, opposite the Common. We find in the proprietors records that William Patten had: One house and garden. about halfe an Acre upon the Cow Common, John Means East, Cow Common South, Thomas Blogget west pine swampe North. In the new Lotts next Manotomie two Acres of planteing grounde Persivall Greene East, Willam Manning west Richard Champnies South, Gregory Stone North. In 1645, forty-seven lots on the west side of Menotomy River were granted to the several inhabitants of the town. In this distribution William Patten had "three acr more or lesse, Richard Francis East Daniell Kempster West, Charlestowne lyne north Comon south." A reference to the accompanying plan will give an idea of the location of his place. In 1901 the city of Cambridge published its early town records and with them a plan of the place in 1635 which had been compiled from the best sources obtainable. By the courtesy of the city clerk we are able to reproduce that plan here.
An agreement was made by the church 9 June, 1652, as to the division of Shawshine. In this William Patten was assigned lot 87, containing ninety acres. Although by the generosity of the church all the inhabitants received allotments of the Shawshine lands, comparatively few established a residence there. Although the name William Patten appears often in the matters of land distribution in the settlement of Billerica, it is doubtful if he ever took up his residence there, but remained in Cambridge until his death. As early as 1655, there were so many householders there that they were incorporated as a distinct town named Billerica. The town records, 29 January, 1654155, show that in answer to a letter sent them by their neighbors of Shawshine, alias Billerica, wherein they desire that the whole tract may be disengaged from this place and be one entire body by itself, a committee of five was appointed, who drew up an agreement for a separation, and this was consented to by William Patten and others present, the inhabitants of Shawshme. This agreement, or "Great Deed," as it is called, has been carefully preserved by the town ofBillerica, and bound between two covers which bear the title, "The Great Deed from the Cambridge Proprietors to the Billerica Proprietors, 1654." The body of the deed reads as follows:
To ALL PEOPLE to whome these prsents shall come Greeting KNOW YE that wee whose names are Subscribed FOR Sundry good consideracions us the reunto moving and for valluable consideracions to us respectively paid well & truly the recite whereof wee do by these prsents respectively acknowledge and therewth to be fully sattesfied & payd and thereof and of every part & parcell the reof do fully clearely and absolutely acquitt exonerate & discharge the Inhabitants of Billerica their heyres successors Ex ors administratoLtrs and Assignees forever by their prsent have given granted bargained sold aliened enfeoffed and con firmd unto & by these prsents do fully clearly and absolutely give grant bargain & sell alien enfeofe & con firme unto the Inhabitants of Billerica aforesaid their heyres assignes & such others as shall from time to time be by them admitted as free denizens of the said place & to the enjoyment of the priviledges thereof all our respective rights & interest therein unto any part of parcell of the said land now called by the said name of Billerica als Shawshine with all the.priviledges & appurtenances to the same appert eyning or in any wise belonging (only excepting & reserving our Joynt & respective interest that any of us have in the farme wherein John Parker now dwelleth comonly called by the name of the Churches farme (i.e.) the church at Cambridge with free liberty on all the comons of the said place for the Inhabitants on the said farme from time to time for the herbage timber & firewood as any other of the Inhabitants and a joint interest therein together with ye said towne & inhabitants thereof)
TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the said bargained prmises with all the priviledges & appurtenances (except before excepted) unto them the said Inhabitants their heyres assigns & successours for ever to their & their only propper use & behooffe. AND we whose names are subscri bed for us our heyres exorrs & administrators do respectively covenant promise grant to and with the Inhabitants of the said place their heyres assignes & law full associates & successors that they the said Inhabitants their heyres assignes successours & law full associates shall or may at all times & from time to time for ever hereafter lawfully & peaceably have hold occupy possess & Injoy the said bargaines & assigned prmises & every part & parcell the re of with all and singular priviledges & appurtenances thereof without the law full claims let hindrance contradiccon or denial of us or any of us whose names are subscribed our heyres executors administrators or assignes or any of them or of any other person or persons whatsoever claiming by from or under us or any of us provided always this instrument is to be understood of every mans engagement to be only for & in the behealfe of himself his owne heires executors & adm strators &c and no further or other. IN WITNESS whereof we have put our hands & seales this 25th day of March Anno Dom 1654.
This is the foundation upon which the town of Billerica was started, and to this document the name of William Patten with others was signed. We here reproduce the document, so that his descendants may see his name as he wrote it. The name may be seen in the fifth column, about halfway down.
He married before coming to this country a woman named Mary, who died 20 September, 1673.
William Patten died 10 December, 1668. He left no will, but on 2 April, 1669, his wife filed with the court the following inventory of his property:
His wearing Apparell:
1 Gray Coate
1 Strayte bodyed Coate
I Shagg d Coate 13s
2 pr Breeches
old cloaks, Jackett, & wescote
S/woes & stockins
Shirts, bands, cuffs & handkerchiefs
In ye Hall:
2 Tables & a forme
5 old chayres
1 cubbard & cubbard cloath
1 small chest
1 Tub & old payle
2 Sives, great bowle, trenchers, ladle
Iron Pott & kettle
Pewter, & a brass candlesticke
A smoothing Iron
And Iron, fire shovell, tongs, liakes, gridiron,
bellows, sheers, peel
Hand Saw, Trowell, Scales, weights,
2 axes, beetle rings
4 old cushins
4 pr sheets
2 Table cloaths & 4 napkins
4 Pillow beers
In ye Parlor, Parlor charnb. Hall chamb. & cellar:
1 old warmeing Pan
1 old wheele for spinning
1 old Tub
1 old trundle bedstead, thin flocke bed,
1 beame knife, with &Paring Knife
1 bedstead & furniture
2 spinning wheels
Sword & muskett
4 bush 1/2 barley
15 bush. Ry
1 halfe bush
1 Croscutt Saw
2 ft wood
3 bush pease
Pillion & old coverled
Old Iron & Sithes
Coopers ware & 2 glass bottles
In ye yard & barnes:
1 old mare
1 sucking calfe
cart rope & horse harness
forkes, rakes, flailes
25 bush Indian
1 old sacke
1 dung forke shovell & spade
4 sheep & a lamb
Plough, cart, yoakes, chaynes, cart ladders,
old hoops and boxes
old hows & grindstone & mattocks
House, barne, & 10 acres of land, where of 75
5 acres is sowne with Ry
4 acres plow land in west field
3 acres of swamp land
House & yard at Towne