Genealogical and Family History
STATE OF MAINE
Compiled under the editorial supervision of George Thomas Little, A. M., Litt. D.
LEWIS HISTORICAL PUBLISHING COMPANY
[Please see Index page for full citation.]
[Transcribed by Coralynn Brown]
[Many families included in these genealogical records had their beginnings in Massachusetts.]
While the early origin of the Choate family is unknown, and while it is quite possible that at a still earlier period the family came from the Netherlands into the eastern part of Great Britain with some of the numerous migrations caused by the religious persecutions of the Roman Catholics in the sixteenth century. In their lowland homes, in the province of Brabant, the Choates bore the perfix Van, which was soon dropped in England. To this day, however, the name of Van Choate is common in and about Antwerp. The first seat of the family in England was near the line between Essex and Suffolk counties, and there are still many of the name in that locality. The name is found in Essex in the parish records of Finchingfield as early as A. D. 1500; later at Birdbrooke and Groton, in Essex, and at Hundon, Clare, county Suffolk.
(I) John Choate, immigrant ancestor of the American family, was baptized June 6, 1624, at Groton parish, Boxford, Colchester (postal division). In this place Governor Winthrop was also born. The inscription on the Winthrop brass in Groton chancel is as follows: "Here lyeth Mr. Adam Winthrop Lorde and patron of Groton which departed out of this worlde this ix day of November in the yere of oure Lord Gode MCCCCCXIV." The plate, removed at some remote period * * * and long in the possession of the family in America, was restored in 1878 by the Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, in New England, his descendant in the eighth generation. In a letter written June 12, 1633, by Rev. Henry Jacie, of Aughton, Yorkshire, to Governor John Winthrop Jr. of Mass., the Choates remind the governor of a promise: "Goodman Choate with his wife and Goodman Bowhan, an honest simple poor man, a locksmith of Sudbury and goodman Bacon with his good wife of Boxford (having divers young children) desire to have their service humbly remembered to Mr. Governor and desire his kind remembrance of them to pity their poor condition here and when he can send for them, as it pleased him to say he would."
The Goodman Choate and wife were doubtless the parents of the American immigrant; they died in 1638. The earliest record of John Choate in Massachusetts is in 1648, when at the age of twenty-four years he was a subscriber to the Major Denison fund. The probate records of Essex county contain a deposition stating that Choate was forty years old in 1664. He settled in that part of Ipswich known as Chebacco, now Essex. In a few years he purchased a farm near the line between Chebacco and Ipswich, at the head of the creek. His house stood a few rods northeast of the residence recently occupied by John Low, and for many years it was known as the Choate place, inherited successively by his son, Joseph Choate, and grandson Daniel Choate. In later years the old house was torn down, and nothing remains to mark the location but the old well across the street. The record shows that he paid for his little farm "in cattle not over eight years old; in grain English and Indian and partly in West India goods." As the years went by he added to his real estate purchase. As early as 1667 he began to buy the shares in Hog Island, which contains about three hundred acres, and in 1690 he was virtually the sold owner. As his sons came to manhood he was able to give each a farm, excepting the youngest, Benjamin, whom he sent to Harvard.
He was admitted a freeman in 1667; was sergeant of the militia company. He appears often in court records as witness or defendant, but was never found guilty of the petty offences charged. "He was tried for stealing apples in 1651, but triumphantly acquitted (having permission to 'help himself'); he was arraigned for lying in 1657, but the charge was disproved, and in 1659 he was brought before the court for refusing to assist the marshal in making an arrest, but made good his defence."
He died Dec. 4, 1695. His will was made Dec. 7, 1691, and an agreement of the heirs substituted for the will May 14, 1697. His widow, Anne, died Feb. 16, 1727, aged upwards of ninety.
1. John, born June 15, 1661, at Chebacco, married July 7, 1684, Elizabeth Graves.
2. Margaret, born Chebacco, married Abraham Fitts.
3. Samuel, born Chebacco, married Nov. 23, 1688, Mary Williams.
4. Mary, born Aug. 16, 1666, died before 1691.
5. Thomas, born 1671, mentioned below.
6. Sarah, born Chebacco, married April 13, 1693, John Burnham.
7. Joseph, born 1678, married Rebecca ____, who died Feb. 9, 1746.
8. Benjamin, born 1680, married June 12, 1707, Abigail Burnham.
(II) Thomas, son of John Choate, was born in Chebacco. Ipswich, 1671, died March 31, 1745. He inherited Hog Island from his father and became a practical farmer. He was a leading citizen of Ipswich and was representative to the general court in 1723-24-25-27. He was a man of sound sense and judgment, and his utterance in 1728 of ideas upon currency would do credit to the broader instelligence of today. He came to be popularly known as "the Govenor," or "Governor Choate," partly on account of his sole ownership of Hog Island, and partly because he was a natural leader. There is a tradition that, the people of the colony being dissatisfied with their governor, the majority of the Ipswich votes were cast one year for Thomas Choate.
He was a man of great industry and energy, a little rough, according to some traditions, but well fitted for pioneer life. He was a warm friend of Rev. John Wise, his minister, and later his near neighbor. He was one of those who signed the letter to Rev. Mr. Wise in behalf of John Proctor, who was condemned for witchcraft. John Proctor was an uncle of Mary (Varney) Choate, wife of Thomas. Mr. Choate was one of the witnesses of the will of the condemned man, writing in Salem jail, while the manacles were on Proctor's wrists, only three days before his execution.
Mr. Choate lived on the island thrity-five years, and in 1725 removed to the main land, to what is known as the John Burnham place. Besides the farms on the island, Mr. Choate owned the Randall Andrews farm in Ipswich, a farm of four hundred acres in Rockport, on the coast near Thatcher's Island, a farm in the west parish, one on Jeffrey's neck, and the farm to which he had removed. In 1727 he gave farms to his three eldest sons, and subsequently he gave away the remainder of his real estate, and for some years tilled a forty-acre lot lying between Chebacco and Ipswich, which he rented from Joseph Thompson, of the Inner Temple, London, England. Thomas Choate's farm on the island is the only one that still remains in the possession of the famly. Thomas Choate was the first of the family to own slaves, and July 30, 1714, he bought a negro boy named Ned, just brought from Africa. He bought the boy for his son Francis, who in 1734 offered to give the man his freedom, but he refused to take it.
Choate Island, formerly Hog Island, the home of Thomas Choate, consists of three hundred acres of land rising to a central hill somewhat rocky on the northern side, and sloping gently on the east and south to the water's edge. It was sold by the Indians to the town of Ipswich, and surrendered by them reluctantly, as their burial-ground, held sacred by them, was situated on the island. It is sitll pointed out on a knoll at the northern end of that part of the island owned now or lately by L. G. Burnham. It is said that in Sept., 1633, there came to Ipwcih river forty birch canoes filled with Tarrentines, with the intention of cutting off the small settlement of whites on the island, but a friendly Agawam revealed the plot, and the colony was saved. There have been eighty persons by the name of Choate born on the island, covering a period of more than a hundred years.
Thomas Choate married in 1690, Mary, born 1669, died Nov. 19, 1733, daughter of Thomas and Abigail (Proctor) Varney. Her mother, known as "Madam" Varney, was the leader of a party of women who raise the frame of the meeting-house in Chebacco after an order had been issued by the general court that the men should not raise it. Madam Varney and her co-workers were arraigned before the court in Salem, but were finally discharged upon their achnowledgment of their offence. But their purpose had been accompished.
Thomas Choate married (second) Sept. 24, 1734, Mary Calef, widow of Dr. Joseph Calef, who died Dec. 28, 1707. He married (third) Nov. 9, 1743, Hannah Burnham, born 1692, died Oct. 2, 1782, widow perhaps of Thomas Burnham, and daughter of John and Hannah (Goodhue) Coggswell.
He died March 31, 1745.
1. Anne, born May 22, 1691, married Oct. 21, 1710, John Burnham; died Aug. 15, 1739.
2. Thomas, born June 7, 1693, married (first) Elizabeth Burnham; (second) Oct. 1, 1738, Mrs. Sarah Marshall; (third) May 11, 1769, Mrs. Rachel Lufkin; died Aug. 22, 1774.
3. Mary, born March 18, 1695, married Dec., 1716, Parker Dodge; died March 6, 1767.
4. John, born July 25, 1697, married March 2, 1717, Miriam Pool; died Dec. 17, 1765.
5. Abigail, born Oct. 20, 1699, married 1720, John Boardman.
6. Francis, born Sept. 13, 1701, mentioned below.
7. Rachel, born Nov. 8, 1703, married Jan. 16, 1723-24, Joseph Rust; married (second) March, 1737, Isaac Martin; died March 15, 1783.
8. Ebenezer, born March 10, 1706, married Sept. 3, 1730, Elizabeth Greenleaf; died 1766.
9. Sarah, born July 24, 1708, married April 5, 1736, Rev. Amos Cheever.
(III) Elder Francis, son of Thomas Choate, was born at Choate Island Sept. 13, 1701, died Oct. 15, 1777. While a young man he learned the trade of blacksmith of his brother-in-law, Isaac Martin. It is said that he made all the ironwork for three schooners whilch he built in company with his brother, Thomas Choate, and also that with the assistance of his slave, Caesar, he sawed out by hand all the plank used in the construction of these vessels. Although he was not a seafaring man, he onwed and chartered many vessels engaged in fishing and the coasting trade.
During his early married life occurred the "great earthquake," Oct. 29, 1727. Following this there was a great religious revial, and Francis Choate and his wife Hannah were among those who joined the church. For many years he held the office of ruling elder, and it is said of him that he was a tower of stength in the Whitefield movement, and to the close of his life the right-hand man of his pastor, Rev. John Cleaveland. He was a slaveholder, and his slave Ned married a negress called Sabina, and they had a large family of chidren. Two of the daughers, when nearly grown up, took cold sleeping in the barn after a husking, and died. Their graves are the only ones on the island, with the exception of the Indians. The spot is marked by a pine-tree. Francis Choate was kind to his slaves, and in his will provided for their freedom or comfortable support should they become aged and unable to work. Old Ned chose to remain with the family, and died Sept. 27, 1800, at the age of ninety years.
About 1739 Elder Choate purchased a farm on the mainland known as the John Burnham place, to which he soon afterward removed, although he still carried on the island farm. His sons William and Isaac settled there, and in 1769 he gave them a full title to the estate. In 1725 he built on the island a well-constructed farmhouse, where in later years the famous orator, Hon. Rufus Choate, of Boston, was born. The house is still (1908) in good condition.
He married, April 13, 1727, Hannah, born in Boston April 4, 1708, died Oct. 2, 1778, daughter of Isaac and Mary (Pike) Perkins. She was a descendant of John Perkins, who came from Newent, Gloucester, England, in the ship "Lyon," in 1631. Her father was a sea captain.
Among the books in Esquire Choate's library was Flavel's work "On Keeping the Heart," which, with various law and custom house papers, are still preserved. Some years before his death he lost his right hand by a cancer. On his dying bed he called his children about him and gave them his council and blessing. To his son John he said: "Don't let the world run away with you, John." And later, it is said, "That as Elder Francis Choate lay dying, his minister, the Rev. John Cleaveland, jumped upon his horse and flew to his bedside, saying 'Burgoyne has surrendered!' The dying man waved his hand, with patriotic joy lighting up his face, but was to far gone to speak."
1. Francis, born Feb. 27, 1728, died 1740.
2. William, born Sept. 5, 1730, married Jan. 16, 1756, Mary Giddings; died April 23, 1785.
3. Abraham, born March 14, 1732, mentioned below.
4. Isaac, born Jan. 31, 1733, married Elizabeth Low; died May 30, 1813.
5. Jacob, born Aug. 17, 1735, probably died young.
6. John, born March 13, 1737, married Nov. 14, 1760, Mary Eveleth; married (second April 16, 1789, Mrs. Sarah Newman; died July 7, 1791.
7. Hannah, born April 1, 1739, married Nov. 10, 1757, Rufus Lathrop; died April 18, 1785.
8. Francis, born Sept. 18, 1743, died young.
(IV) Abraham Choate, son of Elder Francis Choate, was born March 24, 1732, died April 23, 1900. He was one of the grantees of the town of Stockbridge, N. H., July 22, 1761. He resided in Balltown, and after 1772 in Wiscasset and Whitefield, Maine.
He married Sarah, who died in 1811, daughter of Aaron and Sarah (Appleton) Potter. She was born in Ipswich.
1. Nehemiah, born March 23, 1757, died at sea on a privateer in the revolution in 1775.
2. Abraham, born Feb. 24, 1759, married Abigail Norris; died April 12, 1837.
3. Sally, born Nov. 26, 1761, died April, 1827.
4. John, born Jan. 1, 1763, died April 2, 1800.
5. Francis, born May 12, 1764, married Susannah Heath; died Sept. 2, 1799.
6. Aaron, born Feb. 7, 1766, mentioned below. 7. Moses, born Aug. 9, 1767, married July 22, 1797, Margeret Fountain; died Jan. 17, 1851.
8. Rufus Lathrop, born March 5, 1769, died June 26, 1769.
9. Rufus Lathrop, born May 21, 1770, died Jan. 15, 1771.
10. Rufus Lathrop, born Feb. 28, 1772, died Oct. 17, 1836; married Betsey Maynard.
11. Hannah, born April 26, 1774, died July 25, 1774.
12. Hannah, born Aug. 11, 1777, married May 30, 1798, Jeremiah Norris; died Sept. 13, 1873.
13. Polly, born Oct. 6, 1779, married Feb. 18, 1798, Isaac Marsh; died 1859.
14. Ebenezer, born March 21, 1783, married, 1806, Barbary Fountain; died Dec. 13, 1876.
(V) Aaron, son of Abraham Choate, was born Feb. 7, 1766, in Chebacco, Ipswich, died in China, Maine, March 18, 1853. He resided in Malta, later Gerry, and finally called Windsor, Maine. It is said that on Sept. 8, 1809, he was engaged in the survey of a brook on his land, when he was surprised by three masked men in the disguise of Indians, who placed a pistol at his breast, ordering strict silence. A few minutes later, Paul Chadwick, one of the chain-bearers, appeared in view. The word was given (Fire low) and three guns were discharged, Chadwick being mortally wounded. No hiostility was shown Choate. It transpired that Chadwick was one of a band known as the Malta Indians, who were bound by oath to prevent surveys and resist proprietors in enforcing claims to the lands, and because of his serving Mr. Choate was regarded as a traitor to his oath, and was accordingly murdered. This incident so shamed the people of Malta that they begged to have the name of the town changed, which was done.
Aaron Choate married Elizabeth, born in Waldonborough, Maine, died in 1844, daughter of John Acorn. They resided in Whitefield and Windsor, Maine.
1. Nehemiah, born 1789, married, 1816, Lois Stiles; died April 30, 1859.
2. Aaron, born May 17, 1792, married Mary Perkins; died June 21, 1874.
3. Sarah, born 1793, married Aaron Dudley.
4. John, married Mary Marsh; died March 8, 1861.
7. Almira, married Thomas Wain.
8. Daniel Lathrop, born 1803, mentioned below.
9. Moses, born April 16, 1805, married Merlita Stone.
10. Eliza, married ____ Stone.
(VI) Daniel Lathrop, son of Aaron Choate, was born in 1803 at Whitefield, Maine, and died Sept. 22, 1879 in Milltown, Maine, where he resided. He married, the intentions published June 22, 1839, Marinda Ann, born in Milltown Feb. 24, 1821, died April 14, 1865, daughter of William and Sarah (Bartlett) Griggs.
1. Charles Fairfield, born Jan., 1843, was a member of Company K, Twelfth Regiment Maine Volunteers, First Brigade, Second Division, Nineteenth Army Corps; was wounded at the battle of Cedar Creek Oct. 19, 1864, and died Nov. 10, 1863, in the National Hospital, Baltimore; he was left on the field and robbed of all his clothing but his shirt, by the rebel soldiers; when they pulled his boots they dragged him around by the feet, swearing and kicking him roughtly; he lay on the ground, naked and bleeding, from morning until night, and the exposure alone was enough to prove fatal; he was buried under arms at his native town, just three years to an hour from the time he left home to go to war.
2. Aldana Marinda, born Feb. 27, 1845, married July 4, 1869, John Dudley.
3. William L., born Aug. 6, 1847, married 1871, Isora M. Dudley; died July 14, 1890.
4. Sarah Morrison, born May 6, 1849, married May 4, 1868, Albert Hart.
4. [trans note: they have #4 twice, not me] Daniel Lathrop, born 1851, died young.
6. Minerva Adelaide, born June 30, 1853, married Aug. 5, 1874, William J. Milligan.
7. Peter Morrison, born 1855.
8. George Franklin, born Aug. 11, 1857, married Dec. 24, 1887, Myra G. Marshall.
9. Rufus Milton, born 1859.
10. Everett Shepley, born Sept. 9, 1862, married Dec. 30, 1892, Sarah J. Morrison.
11. Daniel, born 1863, died July 30, 1864.