Butts #5630

English St George flag animationThomas Butts (1641-1703)

Born in England.  Arrived in Rhode Island by 1662.

USA flag animationElizabeth Lake (1642-1709)

Born in Massachusetts and later settled in Rhode Island.

Butts #5630

The English origins of Thomas Butts and the circumstances of his arrival in New England are not known with certainty.  It is widely published that Thomas Butts is the son of Giles Butts and Marie Muse, although on what authority I do not know.  There is also an English Butts family pedigree in the Visitation of Norfolk (1878) that gives generations of the Butts family extending through the 15th and 16th centuries.   The same pedigree may be found in Kent Genealogies  (London, 1830).  However, the connection between this family and Thomas Butts, immigrant to New England, has not been demonstrated.

The following information regarding Thomas Butts is taken from John Butts: His Ancestors and Some of his Descendants by Allison Butts (Poughkeepsie, New York: Press of A.V. Haight) 1898, p. 16[1]:

Thomas Butts came to America from Norfolk, England, 18 May 1660, and lived at Portsmouth and Little Compton, Rhode Island, which were then in Massachusetts and a part of the Plymouth Colony.

  • 16 Nov1662.  Portsmouth.  He bought four acres of Richard Hart.
  • 1 Oct 1666.  He bought of Richard Bulgar two acres in Portsmouth for a cow and 10 s. in wampum.
  • 20 Nov 1668.  He deeded William Earle seven acres.
  • 20 Nov 1668.  He bought of Ralph Earl of Dartmouth a quarter of a purchaser’s share of Meadow and an eighth share of upland in Dartmouth.
  • 31 Oct 1682.  Little Compton.  He and James Case were to be sent for to the next Court to give reason for their being and continuance at Punckateest without liberty first obtained so to do from this government (Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. VI, p. 98).
  • 27 Oct 1685.  He was granted a division of land in Dartmouth purchased of Woosamequin and Wamsutta.
  • 13 Mar 1696.  He sold to Edward Gray of Tiverton, land in Little Compton for £70.

Thomas Butts was occupied as a cooper.

Probably about 1666, Thomas Butts married Elizabeth Lake, the daughter of Henry Lake (1611-1678) and Alice [surname unknown] (1616-1650), who was hanged for witchcraft on Boston Common in about 1650 (discussed under their own heading).  The children of Thomas and Elizabeth are listed as follows:

  1. Zaccheus (1667-1718), married Sarah Earle.  Children: Sarah, John, Mary, Abigail, Elizabeth.
  2. Idido – no authentic record relating to this son had been discovered.  It appears from his father’s Will that he was an invalid.
  3. Moses, born 30 Jul 1673 at Little Compton and died 9 Jun 1734.  He married in about 1699 (wife’s name unknown) and they had the following children: Thomas (born 18 Oct 1700), Zaccheus (born 27 Jun 1702), Abraham (born 23 Nov 1703), John (born 31 Aug 1707), Anna (born 28 Mar 1709), Elizabeth (born 5 Dec 1719) and Hepzibah (born 19 Dec 1722).
  4. Hepzibah Butts, see below.

Thomas Butts died in 1703, leaving a Will which was proved 2 Feb 1703 and recorded in the Probate Office at Taunton, Bristol County, Massachusetts, in Book 2, p. 71.  The Will is as follows[2]:

In the name of God Allmighty, Amen.  This being the last will and testament of me, Thomas Butt of ye town of Little Compton, within the County of Bristoll in New England, Cooper, being very sick & weake of body butt of perfect memory and well in mind thanks be given unto Allmighty God for his manifold graces & merceys bestowed upon me and calling to mind the mortallity of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men to dye, and for the true settlement and divission of what I am seased of at this present to my beloved wife Elizabeth Butt, my children & grand children, to prevent law suits or any controversye that may after my decease arise amongst them about the same, do make & ordain this to be my last will and testament, that is to say and be understood princably and first of all I give and recommend my spirrit unto God that gave it me and my body to the dust or earth from whence it was taken.  And as touching my worldly estate wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me with all I divid & dispose of the same truly & senceerly in manner & form following, first & after all my just debts be truely & duely payd by my executrix after mentioned withall injoyning her to perform without any senister reservation.

Be it known for the true love & tender affection I have & bare to my beloved wife Elizabeth Butt who hath been a tender beloved wife to me, do constitute and appoint her to be my sole executrix of this my last will & testament to see it truely performed with and by the advice, approbation & consent of my two overseers (with her) of this my last will & testament their names inserted in the conclusion of this my will.

Ittem, I give and bequeath freely & absolutely unto my eldest son Zacheus Butt & to his wife Sarah Butt & to my granddaughter Sarah Butt & to my grandson John Butt the son of Zaccheus, and to my grandchild Mary Butt & to my grand child Abigail Butt and to my grand daughter or child Elizabeth Butt all which children or grand children before mentioned being the children of my said son Zacheus Butt & Sarah his now wife, I will and bequeath unto my said son and Sarah his wife & children before mentioned the two and thirtyeth part of a purchase right or share of land lyeing & being within the Township of Dartmouth within the County of Bristoll aforesaid, to them their heirs or assigns forever, provided that if either of my above grand children decease before marriag or without issue that then their part or that part of said land by me willed unto them shall be equally divided amongst the survivors of them or their heires without fraud or deceit and my son Zaccheus Butt not to intermeddle or concern himself with his wives part of sd. land without her consent or leave “sealed.”

Ittem, I give and bequeath unto my grand son John Butt, the son of Zacheus Butt ten acres of wood land lyeing & being within the Township of Dartmouth within ye County above sd., to him his heires & assignes forever without reservation.

Ittem, I give & bequeath to my beloved son Zacheus Butt the eighth part of the last divission of land lyeing & being within the Township of Little Compton, within the County absd. being part of the 24 acre lott formerly belonging to Thomas “Purrkin.”

Ittem, I give and bequeath unto my two sons Idido Butt & Moses Butt thirty acres of land lyeing & being within the Township of Little Compton & on the north side of William Earle house where it now standeth.

Ittem, I will that my wife Elizabeth & my son Moses Butt shall build ann house upon the abovesd. thirty acres of land which house shall be sixteen foot square which may in time be tennantable & fence in a field & lett it out & the rent thereof shall be for my said wife & son Moses and they shall hereby be oblidged to maintaine Idido Butt dureing his lamenes but if it should please God to restore my said son Idido to his former health & of his lameness that then the said house that “they” build & thirty acres of land shall be Idido Butt his heires & assignes forever, but provided that my sonne Idido Butt shall or doth decease without lawfull issue that then what is above mentioned given to him & his heirs shall return to my said sonne Moses Butt & his heires & assignes forever, my wife Elizabeth Butt haveing her equal part in said house and land dureing her natural life.

Ittem, I give & bequeath unto my beloved wife Elizabeth Butt my now dwelling house and all the land thereunto belonging to be at her despose dureing her life, allwayes provided she remaineth unmarried and after her decease the above said house & land afore mentioned I will give & bequeath unto my said son Moses Butt his heires or assignes forever, it being a thirty acre lott be it more or less as first surveyed.

Item, My will is that after my wives decease my daughter Hephzibah Earl shall have a cow delivered to her for her own use.

Ittem, I will & bequeath unto my grandaughter Sarah Butt, the sum of five pounds to be paid to her at her day of marriage in money or equivolent.

And all the rest of my land or estate be it here or elswhere with my maid servant called by the name of Ann Dier and an Indian man called by the name of Pope I will and bequeath unto my beloved wife Elizabeth Butt her heires or assignes as firmely to all intents & purposes in law as might be recorded or written according to law without reservation.  Appointing my trusty and wel beloved friends Aron Davis, Jun. and Joseph Wilbore of Little Compton to be my overseers of this my last will & testament with the advice of my sd. wife to see it performed.

Ittem. I will and request the authority for the time being to ayde and assist my said executrix & overseers in the performance of this my last will to be fullfilled according to my true intent and meaning, makeing null & voyde all former wills or testaments by me made before the sealeing hereof confirming all sales, gifts, grants by me given before the sealeing hereof if leagle not any wise interposeing this my last will & testament.  To the confirmation of this my last will and testament I have hereunto sett my hand & seale in Little Compton this twenty-eighth day of December in the year of our Lord God one thousand seven hundred & two & signed sealed in the presence of


Dated Dec. 28, 1702.


John X Briggs.



Nicholas X Hart.



Jethro X Jefferson.



Richard X Craw.



Thomas X Townsend.



The daughter of Thomas Butts and Elizabeth Lake is Hepzibah Butts.  She was born about 1675 at Little Compton, Rhode Island and died 19 Dec 1722 at Pomfret, Windham, Connecticut.  On 26 Dec 1695 she married William Earle, the son of Ralph Earle (Jr.) and Dorcas SpragueWiliam was probably born about 1666.  The lineage of Hepzibah Butts and William Earle is continued under the heading of Ralph Earle (1606-1678) and Joan Savage (1609-1679).


[1] Essentially the same information is reported by John Osborne Austin, Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company) 1968 (first edition 1887).  However, Austin states only that Thomas Butts emigrated “by 1662”.

[2] John Butts: His Ancestors and Some of his Descendants by Allison Butts (Poughkeepsie, New York: Press of A.V. Haight) 1898, p. 17-20.



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