Hallett #2572

Andrew Hallett (1607-1683)

Born in Symondsbury, Dorset, England.  Arrived in Massachusetts in 1635 and

Unknown Spouse.

Hallett 2572

BIBLIOGRAPHIC NOTE: In 1888 Amos Otis wrote a lengthy and useful account of this family[1].  He was not as confused as others who have writen on the family.  In 1960 and 1961 John G. Hunt published two brief articles on the English origin of this immigrant [TAG 36:123, 37:84].  In 1950 Florence Barclay published her compelling arguments on the chronology of the wives of this immigrant [TAG 26:193-95].  Paul W. Prindle[2] and Burton W. Spear[3] have published lengthy provisional accounts of the ancestry of this immigrant, based on the assumption that Andrew Hallett Sr. is the father of Andrew Hallett Jr. 

The parish church of St John the Baptist is in Early English style and cruciform shape.  It has a nave, transepts, south porch and square tower with 6 small bells and a clock.  The registers date from 1558.  Records show that the first rector arrived in 1325.  In the north and south transept there are spyholes, known as squints, through which the congregation could see the priest at the altar.  The stained glass in a memorial window in the church was designed around 1884 by William Lethaby, who later became Professor of Ornament & Design at the Royal College of Art.

Andrew Hallett was baptized on 19 May 1607[4] at Symondsbury, Dorsetshire, England[5] and died before 19 May 1684 at Yarmouth, Massachusetts.   He is believed to be the son of Andrew Hallett ( -1647) and Beatrice Knote (died before 1616).  The Symondsbury church registers at the Dorset Record Office (Dorchester, England) show that Andrew Hallett and Beatrice Knote were married there 18 Dec 1598.  The son, Andrew Hallett, is believed to have left Weymouth, England on 20 Mar 1635 aboard the Mary Gould[6] as a passenger for New England, with the following notation: Hallett, Andrew 28, servant[7] of Richard Wade[8].  After his arrival, he first resided at Dorchester, Massachusetts.

Confusion arises due to the fact that there were at least two men by the name of “Andrew Hallett” residing in Massachusetts around this time.  In the records, they are distinguished as “Jr.” and “Sr.”.  Both Savage[9] and Pope[10] appear to have jumbled together biographical details for these two men.  According to Savage, he settled first at Lynn and removed to Sandwich in 1637 and “soon after to Yarmouth” and after 1645 “went home” but soon came back again.  According to Pope, he resided first at Dorchester, where he was a proprietor in 1638, and he removed to Yarmouth about 1639.  In sorting out these two men, we need to determine which of the two, if either, was the immigrant of 1635, and what is the relationship between them (often assumed as father and son).

The age and parish of origin of the Andrew Hallett who appears on the 1635 passenger list mesh exactly with the baptism record of an Andrew Hallett at Symondsbury, Dorsetshire, on 19 May 1607[11].   We conclude, therefore, that this is the immigrant and make this the starting point for our analysis.  One of the men named “Andrew Hallett” appeared first in Yarmouth as early as 5 March 1638/9 and was always referred to as Mr. or Gentleman[12].  The other Andrew Hallett appeared briefly at Sandwich[13] before moving on to Yarmouth.  On 1 March 1643/4, by which time both men were residing in Yarmouth, a letter was sent to the General Court by Mr. Andrew Hellot, Senior, of Yarmouth[14].  The man with the designations of respect was, therefore, Senior, and the man who appeared first at Sandwich was Junior.  On 17 June 1641, the General Court ordered… that Mr. Andrew Hellott shall may Massatumpaine one fathom of beads within two moons, besides the net he adjudgeth the said Massatumpoine sold him, for the deer that Mr. Hellott’s son bought of him about two years since[15].  Simple subtraction tells us that thirty-two years elapsed between the birth of the 1635 immigrant Andrew Hallett and the transaction with and Indian conducted by a son of Andrew Hallett Sr.  This chronology does not permit the identification of the latter with the former.

Map of Plymouth Colony showing town locations

Andrew Hallett Jr. sold his land at Sandwich in 1640[16].  Since he must have been at least twenty-one to engage in this sale, he was too old to be the son of a man born in 1607.  Therefore, it seems probable that the immigrant of 1635, who was born in 1607, was the man known in New England as Andrew Hallett Jr.  No record has been found of the coming to New England of Andrew Hallett Sr.  Furthermore, there is no strong evidence to show that Andrew Sr. is the father of Andrew Jr., as some have claimed.  There is no record in New England stating this relation.  From the baptismal record of the immigrant we know that his father was named Andrew, and it is also known that the two men both resided from an early date in the same town and held adjacent parcels of land.  Otis wrote at great length about the landholdings of the two men, and commented directly on lands which had been held by Andrew Hallett Sr. and which passed to his presumed sons Samuel, Josias and possibly Joseph[17].  Otis says nothing about any land, which Andrew Hallett Jr. might have inherited from Andrew Hallett Sr.  In 1961 John G. Hunt took note of an interesting record, which bears on this problem.  In a Dorsetshire Subsidy Roll for 1641, for the parish of Stoke and Bawood [Stoke Abbot], a proxy payment of £5 was made for Andrew Hallet in New England[18].  Given the size of this assessment, this record almost certainly pertains to Andrew Hallett Sr., whose social status, and presumably also economic status, would have been much greater than that of Andrew Hallett Jr. at the time each of them left England.  Stoke Abbot and Symondsbury are very close to one another, so the Hallett families in these two places are probably closely related.  To summarize we have no direct evidence that the two men were father and son, and some slight indication that they were not, but the relationship is still possible.  The available evidence can be harmonized if we assume that they are related (i.e. cousins or uncle/nephew), but not father and son.  Further research in English records will be required to resolve this issue.

Andrew Hallett was an inhabitant of Sandwich in 1640, when he sold his estate there to Daniel Wing and removed to Yarmouth.  In 1642 he bought the house and ten acres of land of Giles Hopkins[19], the first house built in town (by a white man).  He afterwards bought eighteen acres of Nicholas Simpkins, on the east, and the farm of Robert Dennis on the southwest.  By subsequent purchases Andrew became the proprietor of some three hundred acres of the best tillage and meadowland in town.  Otis states that Andrew owned rights to 500 more acres of commonage in Yarmouth, lands and meadows in Barnstable, and 1,000 acres in Windham, Connecticut.  Andrew took the oath of fidelity while still living in Sandwich, and his name appears on a 1643 list of Yarmouth men able to bear arms.  He was a member of the Church of Christ in Yarmouth, but frequently attended services conducted by the liberal minister, the Rev. John Lathrop.  Mr. Hallett was prominent in town affairs, holding several minor offices: Surveyor of Highways in 1642, 1656 and 1658; Constable in 1651 and 1679 and Grand Juryman in 1660, 1667 and 1675.  He was placed on a committee in 1659 to raise funds for the local ministry, and in 1667, at the request of the town, the Colony Court named him a member of the land committee of Yarmouth.  Andrew Hallett was called ‘Husbandman,’ probably because he himself operated his extensive farms rather than through an agent or tenant.  By hard work and skillful management he became one of the wealthiest men in Yarmouth, and in 1676 his tax was one-twentieth that of the entire town.

Until 1950 it was generally believed Andrew Hallett (“Jr.”) had only one wife, Anne Bessee, daughter of Anthony Bessee and his wife, Jane.  However, Florence E. Barclay showed that Anne was still unmarried as of 4 Mar 1661/2, when she testified in a court proceeding[20].  Anne was probably the mother of Andrew’s youngest child, Mehitabel, born about 1663.  All of Andrew‘s other children were by an earlier and unidentified first wife, whom he presumably married about 1642.  Andrew Hallett died between 14 Mar 1681/2 (the date of his will) and 19 May 1684, when his widow, Anne Bessee, swore to the correctness of the inventory of his estate.  He probably died in the spring of 1684.  His long will, proved 4 June 1684 at Plymouth, provided that his loving wife was to receive her thirds, i.e. one third of his personal effects as her own, and a life interest in one third of the profits and use of his real estate.  Additionally, she was to have ownership of one third of his cattle and to have and Injoy ye easter end of my said house.

Son Jonathan was to get £20, stated parcels of real estate and certain furniture.  Sons Jonathan and John were to divide his other lands, Jonathan having first choice, but if they could not agree on the division an indifferent man was to make the decision.  The testator required that his sons bequeath the lands to whom they please, provided it be to any of their owne kindred of ye Halletts.  John was also to pay £10 to his brother Jonathan.  If one of the sons died intestate and without issue, the other son was to have half of the real estate, the other half going to his three sisters.  But if both sons die intestate and without issue the property is to go to their three sisters, to be equally divided between them.  Gifts of money were made to his daughter Ruhannah Bourne and to each of her children: Timothy, Hanah, Elezer and Hezekiah Bourne to daughter Abigail Alden, her husband Jonathan Alden and their children.  To his daughter, Mehitabel, he left the substantial sum of £60.  A special but unstated sum was to go to his grandson John Bourne when he attained his majority.  His wife Anne and sons Jonathan and John were appointed to be executors.  The will was signed with his mark.

Otis devotes three pages (501-503) to the Inventory of Andrew’s estate. Included in the inventory are several items of interest: Personal apparel, £90; horses, mares, sheep and swine, £21; 2 oxen, 15 cows, and 23 young cattle, £64 and arms and ammunition, £3.  His personal estate was valued at over £271 and real estate at £909, a total appraised value of £1,180, a very large estate in 17th century New England.

The children of Andrew Hallett and his unknown first wife are listed as follows (birth order of some of the daughters is unclear):

  1. (possibly a son, Samuel, born about 1643 who was drowned 22 Apr 1650)
  2. Ruhannah born about 1644 (possibly a twin of Abigail),, married (1st) Job Bourne 14 Dec 1664 and (2nd) William Hersey of Hingham.  She was living in 1714.
  3. Abigail, born about 1644 (possibly a twin of Ruhannah), married Jonathan Alden[21] on 10 Dec 1672.  She died 17 Aug 1725.
  4. Dorcas, born 1646 and probably died young (not living in 1684).
  5. Jonathan, born 20 Nov 1647 married Abigail Dexter.  His will is dated 5 Dec 1716 and was proved 14 Feb 1716/17.
  6. John Hallett, see below

The daughter of Andrew Hallett and his second wife, Anne Bessee is:

  1. Mehitabel, born about 1663 and married John Dexter on 10 Nov 1682.

John Hallett, the son of Andrew Hallett and his unknown first wife, was born 11 Dec 1650[22] and died about 1726.   On 16 Feb 1682, he married Mary (or Mercy) Howes.  She was born about 1663 at Yarmouth, Massachusetts and died 1 Jun 1733.

Otis reports the following regarding John Hallett[23]:

“[He] was a Corporal in Capt. John Gorham’s Co[mpany] in King Phillip’s War.  In 1682 he was the 2nd in wealth and was constable of Yarmouth. He was not taxed in Yarmouth in 1676.  He was a man of more note than his brother, Jonathan, as the Mr. affixed to his name indicates… He was Constable of Yarmouth in 1682 and held other offices.  The register on this family is lost.  John’s will of 14 May 1725 names his children then living.  He and wife Mary Howes Hallett are both buried in the Ancient Burying Ground, Yarmouth…”

The children of John Hallett and Mary (or Mercy) Howes are listed as follows (all born at Yarmouth): (1) Thankful, married Joseph Bassett 3 Dec 1719 (his 2nd wife) and died 12 Aug 1736; (2) Andrew, born 1684; (3) John, born 1688; (4) Joseph; (5) Samuel; (6) Seth; (7) Hannah, married her 2nd cousin Ebenezer Hallett (son of Jonathan) on 27 June 1728 and died 20 Apr 1729 at the birth of her first child; (8) Mary, died unmarried on 22 Apr 1751; (9) Mercy Hallett, see below; (10) Hope, born 1705, married Joseph Griffith of Harwich on 24 Jul 1729 and died 5 Jul 1784.

John Hallett's grave marker (Ancient Cemetery, Yarmouth, Massachusetts)

John Hallett’s grave marker (Ancient Cemetery, Yarmouth, Massachusetts)

John Hallett and wife Mary (or Mercy) are both buried in the Yarmouth Ancient Burying Ground in Barnstable County, Massachusetts.  The inscription on John‘s gravestone reads:

Here Lyes Buried / the Body of Mr JOHN HALLET, / Who Dec’d June ye / 14th 1726 in ye 76 / Year of His Age

Mercy Hallett, the daughter of John Hallett and Mary (or Mercy) Howes, was born about 1689 at Sandwich, Massachusetts and died 8 Nov 1773 at Wareham, Massachusetts.  The inscription on her grave marker in the Agawam Cemetery of Wareham, Massachusetts reads: In memory of Mr Mercy widow of Deacon Joshua Gibbs die Nov 8 1773 in ye 85th year of her Age (I have not been able to secure a photo of this stone).  On 27 Dec 1711 he married Joshua Gibbs, who was born 20 Dec 1690 in Plymouth, Massachusetts and died 8 Oct 1765 at Wareham, Massachusetts.  The inscription on his grave marker in the Agawam Cemetery of Wareham, Massachusetts reads: Memento Mori in memory of Deacn Joshua Gibbs who died Octo ye 8th 1765 in ye 76th year of his Age (I have not been able to secure a photo of this stone).  Their lineage is continued under the heading of Thomas Gibbs (1615-1693).



[1] Genealogical Notes of Barnstable Families, being a reprint of the Amos Otis Papers, originally published in the Barnstable Patriot, revised by C.F. Swift, largely from notes made by the Author, 2 vols (Barnstable, Massachusetts: F.B. & F.P. Goss, Publishers and Printers) 1888-1890, p. 473-506.

[2] Paul W. Prindle, Ancestors and Descendants of Timothy Crosby, Jr., Vol 2 (Orleans, Massachusetts: self-published) 1957.

[3] Burton W. Spear, Search for the Passengers of the Mary & John 1630, Toledo, Ohio: self-published, 1993, Vol. 19: West Country Ancestries, 1620-1643 ( Part 3) and 1996, Vol. 25: New Ancestral Discoveries (Part 1).

[4] On the xix daye of Maye 1607 was baptized androwe hallit, the sonne of androwe hallit & betrix his wife; cited in Prindle.

[5] According to an article in The American Genealogist 37: 84-85, Andrew Hallett is probably the son of Andrew and Beatrix (Knote) Hallett, baptized 19 May 1607 in Symondsbury, Dorset, England. Older sources and some published genealogies state Andrew Hallett is the son of Andrew and Mary Hallett born in England about 1615.  The younger Andrew is now believed to be a nephew or cousin of the elder Andrew Hallett.  The elder Andrew Hallett also lived in Yarmouth and died there about 1649.

[6] At Weymouth, the Mary Gould, Edward Cuttance master, was taking on goods and passengers on 30 March 1635.  The only passengers known for certain are ‘Thomas Holbrook, his wife and children’ [NGSQ 71:173]. Given this date and the presence of Thomas Holbrook and his family, this vessel is almost certainly the one with passenger list dated at Weymouth 20 March 1635 that carried the Reverend Joseph Hull and his company of more than twenty families from Broadway and Batcombe in Somerset, a total of 106 passengers [Hotten (cited below) 283-86].  This means that Andrew Hallett arrived on the same voyage as George Allen (1568-1648), my 11th g-grandfather, and Philip Taber (1604-1672), my 10th g-grandfather.  They are discussed under their own headings.

[7] It is therefore evident that he did not come over with his father, as some have suggested, and his description as servant to Wade, judging by his resources and standing in the community afterwards, was assumed for convenience, as were descriptions of their occupations by other emigrants, were in many cases.

[8] John Camden Hotten, ed. The original lists of persons of quality: emigrants, religious exiles, political rebels, serving men sold for a term of years, apprentices, children stolen, maidens pressed, and others, who went from Great Britain to the American plantations, 1600-1700 (1874).

[9] James Savage. Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, showing three generations of those who came before May 1692 on the basis of Farmer’s Register (published with two supplements in 4 volumes, 1860-1862), vol II, p. 340.

[10] Charles Henry Pope, Pioneers of Massachusetts: A Descriptive List, Drawn from Records of the Colonies, Towns and Churches, and other Contemporaneous Documents (Boston, Massachusetts, 1900), p. 209.

[11] The American Genealogist 36:123

[12] Plymouth Colony Records 1:117, 121, 130, 135, 162, 2:20, 58, 70, 7:12, 33, 42

[13] Plymouth Colony Records 1:149, 8:184

[14] Plymouth Colony Records 2:70

[15] Plymouth Colony Records 2:20

[16] Otis 1:483-84

[17] Otis 1:480-81

[18] The American Genealogist 37:84-85

[19] Mayflower passenger

[20] The American Genealogist 26:194

[21] Son of Mayflower passengers John Alden (1599-1687) and Priscilla Mullins (1602-1688), my 10th g-grandparents, discussed under their own heading.

[22] According to Plymouth Colony Records 8:12 (or 1648, according to Otis).

[23] Otis 1:509-510

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