Matthew Mitchell in America

Matthew Mitchell was born in Southowram, the son of Thomas Mitchell.

He was a local Puritan, and one of the leaders of a group who sailed to New England to escape religious persecution.

Their party included:

They left Bristol on the James on 23rd May 1635, and landing at Boston on 17th August 1635.

On arrival, they bought a house in Charlestown, Massachusetts, and then moved to Concord Massachusetts early in 1636.

His home and goods were destroyed by fire.

In May 1636, he was at Springfield and then moved to Saybrook.

His step-son Samuel died in Saybrook, Middlesex, Connecticut, the victim of an Indian massacre.

One account says

In 1636, Samuel Butterfield was taken by the Pequot(t) indians and tortured to death

The community is said to have lived in fear of their lives from the Barbarians, and many cattle were destroyed and his estate damnified. The Indians chased away his cattle, and most of them came back with arrows in them.

A Shallop which he had sent unto River Mouth was taken and burned by Pequot, and 3 men in the vessel slain; to all of whom he was closely connected. So that, indeed the Pequot scourge fell more on his family than any other in the land.

In Spring 1637, Matthew moved his cattle (losing a few to Indian raids along the way) up river to Wethersfield.

In 1637, the General Court – of which Matthew was a member – declared war on the Pequots

In 1643, he was said to be by far the wealthiest settler in Stamford, his tax being three times that of Thurstan Raynor, the next largest tax payer. Thurstan was married to Martha, daughter of Susan's brother Edmund.

Another report which seems to refer to the above reads as follows:

Old Mitchell was very urgent with me to lend him the boat to fetch hay from Six Mile Island, but I told him they were too few men, for his four men could carry hay aboard and one must stand in the boat to defend them and they must have two more at the foot of the rock with their guns to keep the Indians from running down on them.

And in the first place before they can carry any cocks of hay, to scour the meadow with the three dogs – to march all abreast from the lower end up to the rock and if they found the meadow clear then to load their hay, and the Indians presently rose up out of the long grass and killed three and took the brother of Mr Mitchell and roasted him alive


Note Old Mitchell was Matthew and the brother of Mr Mitchell refers to Jonathan Mitchell, son of Matthew, but it was Samuel Butterfield who was killed.

Matthew died in Fairfield, Connecticut when

that most horrible of diseases the Stone arrested him and he underwent unspeakable dolours from it, until he went unto his rest about 55th year of his age

Some accounts give his death as 16th June 1649, and other say the year 1645.

Matthew and Susan his wife are said to be the ancestors of Winston Churchill through their daughter who married Robert Coe

It has been suggested that the family were possibly ancestors of US president George W. Bush

© Malcolm Bull 2023
Revised 22:06 / 10th August 2023 / 6943

Page Ref: X72

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