Genealogical and Family History
of the

Compiled under the editorial supervision of George Thomas Little, A. M., Litt. D.

New York

[Please see Index page for full citation.]

[Transcribed by Coralynn Brown]

[Many families included in these genealogical records had their beginnings in Massachusetts.]


Associated with Gorges and Mason in the Laconia Company, under whose auspices the first permanent settlements at Strawberry Bank and vicinity were made, were two London merchants, William and John Cotton, sons of Sir Allen Cotton, lord mayor of London in 1625 and 1626. These men did not join the company who emigrated to New England, and William died before 1634 when the partnership interests of the two brothers were sold to Mason. The similarity of name would suggest that William Cotton, the immigrant, who appeared on Strawberry Bank, and on the last day of March, 1650, bought of Anthony Brockett his dwelling house and farm, was of this family. Another reasonable supposition is that William, the immigrant, was connected with the family of Sampson Cotton, of London, whose daughter Elizabeth was the wife of Edmund Sheafe, whose descendants are numerous in Portsmouth.
Leaving the English ancestors to be hereafter determined, we take up William, the immigrant, as we find him a property holder in Strawberry Bank, which was the early name of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

(I) William Cotton, the immigrant, after purchasing a dwelling house and farm situated at Strawberry Bank next to the house of Walter Abbott, by the water side, March 31, 1650, married Elizabeth, daughter of William and Honor Ham. The Hams came probably from Devonshire, England, to the coast of Maine and thence in 1636 to the Isle of Shoals and soon after to Strawberry Bank.
William Cotton died in 1678, leaving six children to share his property, his third son, Solomon, having died before his property was divided by probate order Dec. 29, 1678. His widow survived him, but the date of her death is unknown.
Children, b. in Portsmouth, N. H.:
1. John (q.v.)
2. William, a tanner in Portsmouth, a member of the provincial assembly and a man of wealth and influence. Children by his wife Abigail: William, John, Elizabeth, Joseph, Abigail, Thomas, Mary and Sarah.
3. Solomon, a grantee with his brother William in a deed by William Ham, May 16, 1671. He probably died before his father.
4. Sarah, married Edward Beale, mariner of New Castle, and had four children: John, Sarah, Elizabeth and Martha Beale.
5. Thomas.
6. Joseph, a minor in 1678.
7. Benjamin, a minor in 1678, a house carpenter in Portsmouth, who by his wife Elizabeth had Deborah. He died in 1724 and his estate was adminustered by his four sons-in-law.

(II) John, eldest child of William and Elizabeth (Ham) Cotton, was born probably in Portsmouth, N. H., about 1650. He was a farmer and his wife was Sarah, only child of William Hearle, or Earle, of Portsmouth. William Hearle or Earle, in his will, dated May 17, 1689, left his property to his son-in-law, John Cotton, and "his wiff my daughter Sarah," to go after their death to their oldest son, William Cotton.
John Cotton, as the eldest son, received a double share in the distribution by probate order of his father's estate. He died in 1712, and his will, dated Sept. 14, was proved Dec. 9, of that year. His widow's death is not recorded.
Children, b. in Portsmouth, N. H.:
1. William, a gunsmith; married in Boston Nov. 6, 1699, Anne, daughter of Ralph and Susanna Carter and had one child, Sarah.
2. Solomon, a shipwright, lived in Kittery, Maine, and then in Portsmouth; married (first) Margaret Fernald, of Kittery, and (second) Judith Cutt, of Portsmouth; had seven children: Jane, Elizabeth, John, Sarah, Joseph, Benjamin and Solomon.
3. John, a butcher in Portsmouth, married May 6, 1714, Elizabeth Davis, and had five children: John, b. abt. 1715; William, Elizabeth, Timothy and Mary; he died in 1723, and his widow, Elizabeth, probably married Aug. 16, 1725, John Gilder of Kittery.
4. Thomas (q. v.)
5. Elizabeth, married George Thompson before Aug. 8, 1707.
6. Mary, married Moses Paul.
7. Joanna, married John Jones and removed to Scarborough, Maine.
8. Sarah, may have married Henry Nicholson, of Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1716; if not, he married her widowed mother.
9. Hannah, married Dec. 21, 1708, John Mead, of Stratham.
10. Abigail, died unmarried, in Stratham in 1722.
11. Margaret, married Jan. 30, 1714-15, Moses Caverly, of Portsmouth and had five children.
12. Susanna, married May 27, 1722, William Young.

(III) Thomas, fourth son of John and Sarah (Hearle or Earle) Cotton, was born in Portsmouth, N. H., where he was a joiner and carpenter and carried on the same business after he removed to Gloucester, Mass., upon his marriage July 28, 1718, to Comfort, daughter of John and Ruth (Wheeler) Riggs, of Gloucester. His wife was born May 3, 1698. After 1722 he made his home in Greenland, N. H., and he made his will there Jan. 2, 1768, and it was proved Sept. 17, 1770, but the date of his death has not been preserved.
Of their thirteen children the first three were born in Gloucester, Mass., the next eight in Greenland, N. H., and the last tgwo at Rye, N. H.
1. Comfort, married Aug. 25, 1738, William, son of Samuel Wallis, of Rye, and had three chidlren: Samuel, William and Spencer Wallis; she died before 1768.
2. Sarah, b. 1721, married June 25, 1741, Thomas, son of Thomas and Mary Seavy, of Portsmouth.
3. Ruth, b. 1722, married a Mr. Ayres.
4. Elizabeth, b. 1724, married John Sherburne.
5. Thomas (q.v.)
6. Mary, b. 1728, married Richard Terleton.
7. Abigail, b. 1730, died before 1768.
8. John, b. 1732, died in infancy.
9. John, b. 1733, died before 1768.
10. Martha, b. 1735, died before 1768.
11. William, b. 1736, was a farmer in Brunswick, Maine; married (first) Nov. 5, 1761, Lucy Pennell, (second) June 6, 1786, Joanna Ferrin, (third) Mary Sweetser. By first wife he had ten children, by second six and by third three.
12. Adam, b. 1738, was a mariner in early life; married Judith Haskill, of Gloucester, Mass.; settled in New Gloucester, Maine, about 1763; he died in Hebron, Maine, about 1830; he had nine children born in New Glouceter, Maine, the first, Jacob, being the only son.
13. Nathaniel, b. 1740, was a farmer in Portsmouth; married (first) Sept. 1, 1762, Elizabeth Berry, and (second) Oct. 27, 1770, Hannah (Elkins) Beck, who survived him and married as her third husband Daniel Moulton, of Scarborough, Maine; he had seven children, all by first wife.

(IV) Thomas (2), first son and fifth child of Thomas (1) and Comfort (Riggs) Cotton, was born in Greenland, N. H ., and died in North Hampton, N. H., Sept. 24, 1803. He was known as "Thomas 3rd," was a farmer in Rye, then in Portsmouth, and after 1767 at North Hampton, where he purchased the farm subsequently owned by George D. Cotton.
He married Oct. 27, 1747, Sarah, daughter of Noah and Abigail (Partridge) Broughton, of Portsmouth, who was baptized Nov. 18, 1722, died at North Hampton and was buried Sept. 2, 1810.
1. Abigail, b. Aug. 26, 1748 in Rye, N. H., married Dec. 6, 1770, Josiah Batchelder, of North Hampton, and had nine children.
2. John (q.v.)
3. Comfort, b. Oct. 15, 1752, Portsmouth, N. H.
4. Thomas, b. May 6, 1754, Portsmouth, N. H., was a farmer in North Hampton, was a revolutionary soldier in Captain Parson's company, Colonel Gilman's regiment; married Abigail Lamprey and had four children; he died in North Hampton, N. H. Dec. 31, 1801.
5. Noah (or Mark), b. Dec. 15, 1755, died young.
6. Nathaniel, b. Jan. 10, 1757, Portsmouth, N. H.
7. Sarah, b. May 1, 1759, Portsmouth, N. H., married Stephen Batchelder, of Deerfield, had five children, and died in Wellington, Maine.
8. Mary, known as "Molly," b. April 16, 1762, Portsmouth, N. H., married John Batchelder, Nov. 20, 1780, and had twelve children. She died April 3, 1807.

(V) John, eldest son and second child of Thomas (2) and Sarah (Broughton) Cotton, was born in Portsmouth, N. H., Oct. 28, 1750, died at Gilford, N. H. Aug. 14, 1820. He was brought up on his father's farm in Portsmouth and removed with him to the new farm in North Hampton in 1767. He was a soldier in the American revolution in 1778. He married, in 1773, Abigail, daughter of John and Abigail (Drake) Taylor, of Hampton. She was born April 15, 1775, became the mother of eight children, and died May 1, 1790. He married (second) Aug. 9, 1790, Hannah, daughter of Simon and Sarah (Robie) Lane, of Hampton, b. March 1, 1768; had by this marriage ten children.
Children of 1st wife:
1. Edward Chapman (q.v.)
2. Thomas, born and died 1776.
3. John, b. June 10, 1778, married July 23, 1805, Sarah Philbrick, of Sanbornton, N. H,; was a farmer in Meredith, N. H.; had eleven children: John, David Philbrick, Abigail, Sally, Mary, Nathan, Hannah, Isaac, Ruth, Mary Fernald and Nancy.
4. Abigail, b. Aug. 7, 1780, died May 8, 1802.
5. Sally, b. April 12, 1783, died Oct. 30, 1803.
6. Polly, b. Aug. 10, 1785, married Feb. 9, 1812, Jonathan James, of Gilmanton, and had three children.
7. Elizabeth (known as Betsey), b. Feb. 21, 1788, married Nov. 17, 1811, Henry Hoit, of Gilford; lived in Plymouth, N. H., where eight children were born to them.
8. Hannah, b. April 9, 1790, died Feb. 8, 1814.
Children of 2d wife:
9. Ruth, b. May 1, 1791, died the same day.
10. Simon, b. June 1, 1792, was brought up on his father's farm in Gilford, which he inherited; married Dec. 13, 1813, his cousin, Susanna Lane, of Hampton, and had ten children.
11. Comfort, b. Feb. 8, 1794, married Daniel Avery and died childless.
12. Samuel, b. Nov. 28, 1795, was an apothecary's clerk in Dover, N. H.; was twice married and had three children by first and two by second marriage.
13. Nathaniel, b. Nov. 28, 1795, [trans note: twin to Samuel??] was a carpenter and lived in Gilford, Ellsworth, Rumney and Nashua, N. H., and New Bedford, Mass.; married twice and had seven children.
14. Jeremiah, b. Nov. 21, 1797, lived in Meredith and Rumney, N. H.; married Lavinia Peace and had six children.
15. Nancy, b. Dec. 2, 1800, married and died Oct. 10, 1852. [trans note: this is confusing. Did she die on her wedding day or did they mean to put a comma after 'married'?]
16. Cynthia, b. Aug. 17, 1802.
17. Morris, b. Aug. 22, 1805, a farmer in Gilford, N. H., married Hannah Libby Bartlett, of Centre Harbor, and had two children.
18. Oliver, b. Oct. 11, 1811, master mechanic in Berlin and Portsmouth navy yards; postmaster of Northend, N. H.; married April 17, 1836, Sarah Furber, of Northend, and had six children.

(VI) Edward Chapman, eldest child of John and Abigail (Taylor) Cotton, was born in Northampton, N. H., Dec. 19, 1773. He was brought up on his father's farm and was by occupation a miller. He was married in 1805 to Jane (Jellison) Robinson, a widow. and he lived in Saco, Maine, where he carried on an extensive flouring mill and where he remained during his lifetime.
Children, b. in Saco, Maine:
John, Mary Batchelder, Abigail Taylor, Edward, Benjamin Robinson, Abigail Taylor, Edward, Benjamin Robinson (q.v.), Thomas, Cutts, Sarah Hannah.

(VII) Benjamin Robinson, third son and fifth child of Edward Chapman and Jane (Jellison) (Robinson) Cotton, was born in Saco, Maine, about 1812-13. He was a master mechanic and iron worker in mill machinery, and was living in Woodstock. Connecticut, at the time of his marriage to Abby Jane Pike, of Saco. Maine. He subsequently removed to Clinton, Mass., and thence to Lewiston, Maine, where he died March, 1867, and his wife died March, 1873. Their son, John Bradbury (q.v.), was born in Woodstock, Conn.

(VIII) John Bradbury, son of Benjamin Robinson and Abby J. (Pike) Cotton, was born in Woodstock, CT., Aug. 3, 1841, died Jan. 5, 1909. He received his name as a compliment to his father's friend, John Cotton Bradbury, who was cashier of the York Bank in Saco for many years.
He attended school in Clinton, Mass., and Lewiston, Maine, preparing for college at the Lewiston Falls Academy, Auburn, Maine, and was enabled to take his college course through the kindness and liberality of his father's friend, John Cotton Bradbury, who always manifested a special interest in his namesake, prophyseying for him a brilliant career and whose own life was a succession of good deeds. While at college he studied law in the office of Fessenden & Frye, of Lewiston, both Thomas A. D. Fessenden and William P. Frye being his instructors. He was graduated at Bowdoin, A.B., 1865, A.M., 1868, and on leaving college went into the law office of Fessenden & Frye as clerk, and the next June was admitted to the Maine bar in 1867 and to the bar of the United States supreme court in 1889. On the death of Mr. Fessenden in 1868, he was made junior partner in the newly formed firm of Frye & Cotton, and later, when Mr. White was admitted as junior partner, the firm became Frye, Cotton & White. In June, 1889, the firm was dissolved, and Mr. Cotton accepted the position of assistant attorney-general of the United States by appointment of President Harrison, made in May, 1889, and his position gave him charge of the interests of the U. S. government in the court claims at Washington. While practicing law in Lewiston, he was attorney for most of the manufacturing corporations of that city and vicinity and of the Maine Central Railroad Company. He retired from the attorney-general's office in June, 1893, to engage in the general practice of law in Washington, D. C. His long residence in the National capital made him a familiar personage in government circles and at the Cosmos Club, of which he was early made a member, and at the University Club, where he met many of his fellows of the Kappa Chapter of Psi Upsilon Fraternity of Bowdoin College, and he was also a member of the Maine Society of Washington.
In the Masonic fraternity he became a Knight Templar and a Scottish Rite Mason. While a citizen of Lewiston, he served one term on the board of the common council of the city and as a member of the Lewiston school board. He was a member and attendant, with his family, of the Congregational church.
Mr. Cotton married, Dec. 5, 1866, Amanda Gorham, born March 10, 1842, daughter of Mark Lowell, of Lewiston, Maine, and their only child, Ethel Bradbury, was born at Lewiston, Maine, March 24, 1877, and married Oct., 1899, F. Willard Carlisle, a banker of New York City. Their daughter, Marjorie Cotton Carlisle, was born in Washington, March 5, 1904, being of the tenth generation from Willam Cotton, the immigrant, Portsmouth, N.H., 1650.
Mr. and Mrs. John Bradbury Cotton have their home at 1355 Euclid Street, N. W., Washington, D. C.

Blind Counter