chr.26 Dec 1607 Ringstead, Northamptonshire, England
d.bet 10 Mar 1672/73 and 27 Apr 1673
m. bef 1593
m. bef 1631
Facts and Events
Came to New England aboard the Planter with two other Tuttle families: John who settled in Ipswitch and Richard who settled in Boston. Recorded in the ship’s record is William, husbandman, age 26, Elizabeth, age 23, John, age 3 1/2, Anna, age 2 1/2 and Thomas, age 3 months when they set out. A girl age 11 named Maria Bill was also with them. John and Richard were probably brothers (although John supposedly died in Ireland) and Jacobus (in Hale, House) says their mother Isabel accompanied them as well. [Subsequent research has confirmed, based on their father's will, that Richard, John and William Tuttle were brothers. John did die in Carrickfergus, Ireland, where he had gone after a somewhat disastrous mercantile career in New England].
Elizabeth joined the church in Boston 24 Jul 1636. The family had two sons baptized in Boston in the early years, Jonathan and David. They moved by 1640 to New Haven.
The profession of “husbandman,” listed on the passenger list, indicates he likely owned land, but he may also have been a merchant, as that was the profession of most of the other men in the company aboard ship. William is later listed as a creditor to a man named George Griggs in 1638 - along with John Tuttle, indicating a possible connection of some sort. On June 4 1639, the planters of Eaton’s company gathered in Mr. Newman’s barn and signed the Church Covenant for the Quinnipiac Colony. William’s name is on the list. In 1656 William Tuttle bought of Joshua Atwater his original allotment, large house, barn and other lands. This land, situated at the corner of Chapel and College Sts, later became the first lands of Yale College. Other records in New Haven attest to his continued involvement in civic affairs, including when he took the Constable’s oath in March 1666/7.
His children were not exactly known for being models of decorum. His daughter Elizabeth was fined for being with her husband before they were married when a child was born less than 9 months after the wedding. Her husband (Richard Edwards) later found out it wasn’t his child, and sued her for divorce. The town fathers didn’t grant it and he brought the petition again in 1691. By this time he needed the divorce to marry another woman, who had already been fined for laying with him. The divorce records say Elizabeth had committed adultery on several occasions and was no longer really right in the mind. The divorce was granted and there are no further records of Elizabeth. (On a somewhat ironic note, Elizabeth and Richard were the grandparents of puritan preacher Jonathan Edwards.)
Daughter Mercy, who married Samuel Brown, killed her 17-year-old son Samuel Jr. with an axe in the summer of 1691. Her husband at first claimed she seemed rational, but others testified to her “distracted” state. She was indicted for murder on October 1, 1691 and eventually sentenced to death. However, due to confusion resulting from the deposing of Edmund Andros as colonial governor, she escapted the death penalty.
William himself was apparently involved in an incident in 1660 where his daughter Sarah was prosecuted for “sinful dalliance” with Jacob Marlain. They were accused of sitting on a chest and kissing for half an hour, in front of witnesses. There was a law that basically allowed a father to charge a young man with stealing away his daughter’s affections. The two were found guilty and admonished sharply by the court. Sixteen years later, Sarah was killed by her brother Benjamin, who hit her on the head with an axe (there’s a nice gruesome description in Connecticut court records). Benjamin was tried and convicted of murder and was hanged June 13, 1677.