LIFE OF RUFUS PUTNAM WITH Extracts From His Journal

Published in Cleveland: William W. Williams - 1886


JOHN PUTNAM came from Buckinghamshire, England, Anna Domini 1634, and settled in Salem, Massachusetts. He brought three sons with him, Thomas, Nathaniel and John. He, that is the father, died at the age of eighty years, very suddenly. He ate his supper, went to prayer in his family, and died before he went to sleep.

Edward Putnam, grandson of the first John, gives the above account in a manuscript dated 1733, himself being then seventy-nine years of age, and adds: "From these three proceeded twelve males; from these twelve, forty males; and from these forty,eight-two males. There were none of the name of Putnam in New England but those of this family.

"With respect to their situation in life," he remarks, "I can say with the Psalmist: 'I have been young and now am old, yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread,' except of God, who provides for all. For God had given to the generations of my fathers, Agar's petition-' neither poverty nor riches '-but hath fed us with food convenient for us, and their childrenhave been able to help others in their need. The third generation have all gone to their account but three, and he that gives this account is one of them, aged seventy-nine years."

In 1741,at the age of eighty-seven, he gives the names of the following heads of families of the fourth generation, viz.: Edward, Elisha, Joseph, Ezra, Isaac, Nathaniel, Daniel, Benjamin, Tarrent, Cornelius, Stephen, Israel, Thomas, Edward, Archelaus, Joseph, Samuel, John, Amos, Josiah, James, Caroline, Jethro, John, Jonathan,Henry, Holyoak, Jacob, William, David, Ely, Joshua, Henry-32. But how many there were at that time, [10]of that generation, he says he could not tell. This good, old man died in the year 1747, in the ninety-fourth year of his age.

The Putnam family, as before stated, settled at Salem, Massachusetts, in the year 1634, and they were very numerous at that day in that and the neighboring towns. However, they are a family by no means so governed by local habits as some others. They now spread through all New England and many other parts of the United States; nor have I ever found one of the name but was descended from the Salem family. It would be in vain to attempt, at this day, to give an account of all the male descendants of the family. However, I shall attempt a genealogy, as far as has come to my knowledge:

First, Thomas Putnam, the eldest son of our ancestor, John Putnam, had four sons Thomas, Edward, Archelaus and Joseph. Edward was born July 4, 1634, and died at upwards of ninety-three, before mentioned. His sons were the fourth generation, viz.: Edward, born April 29, 1682, lived to an old age; Holyoak, born September 18, 1683, killed by the Indians; *Elisha, born November 3, 1685, died June 10, 1745; Joseph, born November 1, 1687; Nehemiah, born December 20, 1694, died young; Ezra, born April 29, 1696, died aged fifty-one, Isaac, born March 14, 1698, died aged fifty-nine.

Of the fifth generation, sons of Edward2,viz.: Edward3 settled in Sutton, died at an advanced age, leaving a numerous issue; Holyoak, who also settled in Sutton; and Miles, who first settled inMiddleton.

Fifth generation, sons of Elisha, third son ofEdward1: Elisha, born December, 1715,died in the army, 1758; Nehemiah, born March 22, 1719,died at Sutton, November 27, 1791; Jonathan, born July 19, 1721, died at Sutton; Stephen, born April 4, 1728, died at Northampton March 5; Amos, born July 22, 1730, died August 19, 1804, Rufus, born April 9,1730.

Fifth generation, Sons of Joseph, fourth son of Edward1: Oliver and Joseph. [11]

Fifth generation, sons of Ezra, sixth son of Edward1: Nehemiah, died young. Ezra had three sons; all died without male issue.

Fifth generation, sons of Israel, seventh son of Edward1: Phineas, Asaph, Nathan, Isaac, Edward, Daniel. Edward died young. The others have numerous families.

Sixth generation, descending from Elisha, son of Edward1, viz.: sons of Elisha2: Andrew, Elisha, Antepas,Jockton, Luke, William. Sons of Nehemiah-Aaron, Reuben, Joseph, Benjamin. Sons of Jonathan- Adonijah, Trolinsbee, Jonathan, Francis, John. Sons of Stephen-Solomon, John, Elisha, Gideon, Lewis, David, Rufus. Son of Amos-Paul, who died in childhood. Sons of Rufus_**Ayres, William Rufus, **Franklin, Edwin.

Seventh generation, grandsons of Rufus, son of Elisha. Sons of William Rufus-William, died a few days after birth; William Rufus, born June 13, 1812. Sons of Edwin-Franklin, Rufus, William Rice. 

In reviewing this memoir, in justice to the character of my father, Elisha Putnam, I ought to mention that he was much respected as a citizen and Christian, was town clerk many years and deacon of the church, and represented the town of Sutton in the general court, how many years I cannot say.

Descendants of Joseph, the youngest son of Thomas and grandson of our venerable ancestor. He was half-brother to Edward 1,whose descendants have been noticed:

Fourth generation, sons of the above Joseph-William, David, Israel1.

Fifth generation, sons of David - William, Allen,Joseph, Israel, Jesse.

Fifth generation, Sons of ttIsrael2: Sixth generation-Israel, David (who died young), Chuyler.

Sixth generation, sons of William, son of David1 - Andrew and William.

Sixth generation, sons of Joseph, son of David1-Jesse.

Sixth generation, sons of Israel, son of David1 - Allen, David, Israel.

[12]Sixth generation, Sons of Israel, son of Israel1-Israel, Aaron Waldow,David, William Pitt,  George Washington.

Sixth generation, sons of Daniel, son of General Israel-William.

Sixth generation, sons of Chuyler, son of General Israel-John, Nathan, P. Schuyler, Oliver.

Seventh generation, sons of Aaron Waldow, son of Colonel Israel-William Pitt, Aaron Waldo, Israel Loring.

Seventh generation, sons of David, son of ***Colonel Israel-Benjamin Perkins, Charles M., Peter R., Douglas, David, Murray, George.

The descendants of the branches of the Putnam family are very numerous, an account of whom has not been attempted for want of documents, and it is to be observed that, of the thirty-two heads of families mentioned by my grandfather in 1741, the descendants of only eight of them have been noticed, and those very partially in several instances.

*Elisha removed from Salem and settled in Sutton, May, 1725. Isaac also removed to Sutton soon after.
**Died in childhood. tCommenced the settlement at Marietta, on the Ohio, April 7, 1788, and arrived there with his family November, 1790.
ttThis is the celebrated General Putnam, born at Danvers, Mass., 1716; settled at Pomfret, Conn.
*** Colonel Israel Putnam, with all his family, removed to the Ohio between 1788 and 1797; settled at Marietta and Belpre.


Other work by Mary Cone