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.]
The origin of the family and name of Fletcher are so remote that little, if any, is known of either. Different writers have claimed England, Normany and Switzerland as the original home of the Fletchers. Probably families of this name originated in each of these lands. Lower, in his essay on "English Surnames," says: "Fletcher is from the French flechier, that is, 'arrow-maker,' or, more generally, a 'superintendent of archery.'" The occupation of fletcher, or arrow-maker, existed in Britain long before it became a surname. The English word fletcher signifies "an arrow-maker," or "a maker of bowes and arrows." There is no doubt that this family is one of great antiquity, as is apparent as well from constant mention of its members in the early public records, as also from its ancient arms - sable, a cross flory between four scallop shells argent; and, indeed, from these latter it would seem probable that one or more of its members took part in the crusades. The name in England is an honorable one. It is not eminent in politics, but in various ranks of society. No less thatn three Fletchers hold baronetcies, and other have high offices in the army and navy and in civil life. And nineteen of the gentry are Fletchers.
(I) Robert Fletcher, the immigrant, was born in England in 1592, but whether in Yorkshire, which tradition indictes, or Shropshire, which one circumstance indicates, or elsewhere, in not known. He came to America in 1630, and settled in Concord, Massachusetts. He was then thirty-eight years of age, and had two sons, Luke and William, and it may be supposed a wife, and his daughter Cary. It was five years later that Concord was organized, and his name appears in the earliest records of the town. In the court files of Middlesex county his name frequently occurs as petitioner for bridges, as juryman, etc. He was a wealthy and influential man, and died in Concord, April 3, 1677, aged eighty-five.
The only public office he is known to have held was that of constable, to which he was elected in 1637, and from which he was formally discharged in 1639, in the language of the record "not being found faulty."
Luke, William, Cary, Samuel and Francis.
(II) William, second son of Robert Fletcher, was born in England in 1622, came with his father to Concord, Mass., when he was eight years old, and was admitted freeman May 10, 1643. In 1653 he settled in Chelmsford, of which he was one of the first inhabitants, and held the office of selectman, to which office "he was chosen Nov. 22, 1654. This first publick meeting was holden at his house." This was the first framed house in Chelmsford. He had a great landed estate which has been divided and subdivided by inheritance through several generations, and has mostly passed to owners of other names. The part where is now the center of Lowell descended to his great-grandson Andrew, who owned three hundred acres, and was sold out of the family soon after Andrew's death in 1792. One farm still remains in Middle Chelmsford. William Fletcher, who owned it in 1881, of the eighth generation from Robert, held it from consideration of family attachment.
The name of William Fletcher appears frequently on court files of Middlesex county. In 1665 as petitioner for a road; the same year a bill of costs for his servant being put in the house of correction; the same year a bill of costs for suit against William Shaw; in 1663 as appraiser of an estate; in 1673 as commissioner of Chelmsford.
The birth of his daughter Lydia, only found in the Concord records, is the first birth of a Fletcher that is recorded in America.
He died Nov. 6, 1677.
He mararied, in Concord, Oct. 7, 1645, Lydia Bates, who died Oct. 12, 1704.
Lydia, Joshua, Paul, Sarah, William, Mary, Esther and Samuel.
(III) Joshua, second child of William and Lydia (Bates) Fletcher, was born March 30, 1648, was admitted freeman March 11, 1689, and died Nov. 21, 1713. He married (first) May 4, 1668, Grissies Jewell, who died Jan. 16, 1682. He married (second) July 18, 1682, Sarah Willy.
Children of 1st wife:
Rachel, Timothy, John, Joseph, Sarah, Jonathan, Elizabeth and Jonas.
(IV) Captain Joseph, fourth child and third son of Joshua and Sarah (Willy) Fletcher, born at Chelmsford, June 10, 1689, died Oct. 4, 1772, aged eighty-three. He settled and lived in Westford, Mass., where all his children were born.
He married, Nov. 17, 1712, Sarah Adams, of Concord, Mass., born in 1691, died April 24, 1761.
Joseph, Benjamin, Timothy, Thomas, Sarah, Edith, Pelatiah, Joshua, Ruth and Mary.
(V) Captain Pelatiah, seventh child and fifth son of Capt. Joseph and Sarah (Adams) Fletcher, born May 3, 1727, died Feb. 23, 1807, aged eighty. He was a man of ability, much respected and trusted by his fellow townsmen, well known for his devotion to the patriot cause, and was sent as a delegate from Westford to a convention of town committees held in Dracut, Nov. 26, 1776.
He married (first), Jan. 13, 1757, Dorothy Hildreth, daughter of James Hildreth, born Aug. 26, 1736, died June 17, 1782; (second) Widow Betty (Hartwell) Keyes, Oct. 13, 1782.
Children, all by 1st wife:
Betsey, Dorothy, Joseph, Sarah, Lucy, Pelatiah, Joseph, Lucy, Adams (died young), Ezra, Polly, Adams.
(VI) Adams, youngest child of Capt. Pelatiah and Dorothy (Hildreth) Fletcher, was born Aug. 17, 1779. He married (first) Betsey Bateman, of Chelmsford, Mass., May 27, 1806; (second) Jan. 28, 1813, Abigail Davis, daughter of Jonathan Davis, who died in 1806.
Children of 1st wife:
Adams, Betsey and Elzina.
Children of 2d wife:
Porter Kimball, Abigail Davis and Jonathan Hartwell.
(VII) Jonathan Hartwell, youngest child of Adams and Abigail (Davis) Fletcher, was born in Westford, Mass., July 27, 1821, and was apprenticed to Phineas Chamberlain, a blacksmith. After working at that trade for a time he went to Portland to visit his siste, wife of T. C. Hersey, of the firm of Smith & Hersey, proprietors of a general store, the senior partner being St. John Smith. He clerked for this firm some time, and then returned to Mass. and remained two years. He then returned to Portland and became a partner in the firm of Smith & Hersey. Mr. Smith sold out his interest soon after, and the firm became Hersey, Fletcher & Company, Mr. Fletcher being the second member of the firm, and when Mr. Hersey dropped out it became Fletcher & Company.
Mr. Fletcher practically began business in 1840, dealing in West India goods and groceries, and subsequently carried on a wholesale grocery trade. In this last line a large part of his trade was in supplying vessels bound out on voyages, some of them of two or three years duration.
In politics he is a Republican, and is also a member of the First Parish Church (Unitarian). He is now the oldest member of the Portland Board of Trade. He has been a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
He married, Sept., 1852, Mary J., daughter of Henry N. and Sarah J. West.
1. George Hartwell, born Oct. 1, 1854, went into the employ of his father in 1872, and in 1880 was admitted as a partner in the firm of which he has ever since been a member. In politics he is a Democrat. He married, June 26, 1877, Ella F., born Oct. 1, 1856, daughter of Capt. Albion M. and Mary E. (Dyer) Jordan, of Cape Elizabeth. Seven children were born to Capt. Jordan and wife: Winfield S., Edgar W., Elizabeth, Ella F., Clara, William A. and Edward J. To George H. and Ella F. (Jordan) Fletcher have been born five children: Edward Jordan, b. Nov. 30, 1878; Hartwell Garfield, b. Sept. 19, 1881; Harry Varnum, b. Feb. 14, 1884; Marion, b. Aug. 6, 1885; Mary, b. June 27, 1887.
2. Henry Adams, born Jan. 29, 1858, married Annabelle B. Haley, and has three children: Gordon, Catherine and George Wetcott.
3. Clementine, born June 1, 1862, married Arthur B. Morrill, principal of Norman School, New Haven, and has one child, Arthur B.
4. Marion, born July 9, 1867, died Aug. 26, 1868.
5. Mary, born Sept. 30, 1871, married Chase Eastman. They have one child, Mary, born March 29, 1904.