Sunday, January 07, 2007

Eltweed Pomeroy

Just over 100 years ago, under the name of William Woodbridge Rodman, A.M., M.D., of New Haven, Connecticut, a scholarly article on Eltweed Pomeroy (my own 8th great grandfather - CA) was posthumously published. Dr. Rodman was the first chairman of THE POMEROY FAMILY ASSOCIATION, which was founded in 1891 in New Haven. The object of the association was “to study, and to develop by organized effort the history and genealogy of the Pomeroys in America; including their British ancestry and connections; and all that may be pertinent and tributary thereto.” Although Dr. Rodman died in 1900, his papers found their way to Mrs. Henry Thorp Bulkley, of Southport, Connecticut, who generously finished the manuscript and saw to its publication. (see “Eltweed Pomeroy of Dorchester, Mass., and Windsor, Conn., and Four Generations of His Descendants.”, New-Eng. Historical and Genealogical Register, July 1903, Boston, Press of David Clapp & Son.) I excerpt from that article and insert a few of my own comments below:

Eltweed Pomeroy is believed to have come to America in 1630, in the ship “Mary and John.” He took the oath of freeman, in the Colony of Massachusetts, March 4, 1632. (Mass. Colony Records, Vol. I., p. 367.) He was one of the first settlers and proprietors in the town of Dorchester, and first selectman in 1633. (Hist. of Dorchester, 1859, pp. 33, 35.)

No knowledge of his English home and ancestry has been obtained though much effort has been made to verify various traditions. Researches are now in progress, and it is hoped they will not be entirely fruitless.

[Note: Dr. Rodman did not know more about Eltweed (as he indicates in the above paragraph), but as of January, 2007 the Pomeroy line has been traced back to 1328. Eltweed was born on 4 July, 1585 in Beammister, DC, England, christened as an adult on 4 May, 1617 in Beaminster, Dorchester, Dorset, England, a month after he married his first wife Joanne Keech Kreech on 4 March 1617. Joanne apparently died with no known surviving children, and on 7 May, 1629 Eltweed married his second wife Margery (or Mary) Rockett, in Shewbourn, Dorset, England. It was a year after this marriage that he and Mary embarked for Massachusetts. – CA]

The spelling of the surname has varied from that of his own signature of Pumery to the present Pomeroy. The Christian name is variously spelled, Elty, Eltwed, Eltwud, Eltwood, and Eltweed; and there are suggestions that the crabbed MS. may mean Eldad, or even Edward. But as Eltweed Pomeroy the sturdy armorer and gunsmith is now known to a large circle of descendants, and this spelling will be followed.

In 1636-7, Mr. Pomeroy emigrated with Mr. John Warham’s congregation to Windsor, Conn. (Hist. of Dorchester, p. 75) Scanty as are the records of his life – something of his standing and character may be gathered from incidental references to him to be found in Stiles’s “Ancient Windsor,” Vol. I., p. 164 et seq. His place in the meeting house was on the “long seats” ; land was granted him in 1638 ; he had a house and lot in the Palisado, which he sold to Thomas Nowell in 1641 ; and he made gifts of houses and land to his son Caleb, and his youngest son Joseph, the latter getting “the little stone house built on his land, adjoining his dwelling house” which he allowed Mrs. Elizabeth, widow of Rev. Ephraim Huit, to build “in time of her widowhood, by way of courtesy; which she enjoyed ; and after her death, said Eltweed Pomeroy took for his own, at a price agreed upon between him and those which she desired to be her overseers and friends to order that little estate which she left for children ; which price he hath payed as they appointed him.”

[Although I am not certain exactly where this house was located, I am providing a Mapquest link to the First Church in Windsor, the nation’s oldest Congregational Church. This building (their fourth) was built in 1794, but is next to the original cemetery, with the oldest marked gravesite dated 1644. (About 75 yards NE up the road, Palisado Ave., is one of the oldest surviving frame dwellings in Connecticut, the Fyler House, built in 1640.) This is most interesting if you click on "Arial Image" to see the actual terrain. No doubt grandpa Pomeroy’s home was in the neighborhood. – CA]

Of his first wife, the mother of his eight children, we know only that she was named Mary, and died in Windsor, July 5, 1655. [Actually, Dr. Rodman did not know about Eltweed's wife in England, Joanne, and this Mary was his second wife – but the one with which he emigrated to the U.S. – and we do know a bit more about her than Dr. Rodman did 100 years ago. – CA] On Nov. 30, 1661, he married second [third – CA] Lydia (Brown), widow of Thomas Parsons. In 1665 he made generous provisions for his “dear and loving wife Lydia.”

In 1671 he removed to Northampton, Mass., to live with his son Medad. Tradition says that he became blind. He died at his son’s house in March, 1673, being probably about seventy-eight years old.

We are descendants of Eltweed’s 8th child, Joseph, who was born in Windsor in 1652. Our grandfather Joseph had just turned three years old (on 20 June) when the next month his mother Mary died.
It is interesting to point out that it is this child Joseph Pomeroy who grew to adulthood and married Hannah Lyman, and Hannah’s lineage traces back into the oldest of lines in England (through the Lymans to the Lamberts to the de Umfrevilles - Hannah was 18th great grand-daughter to King Henry I.

- Craig


Blogger Josh Daniels said...

Did Hannah Lyman have a sister Eliza who married Joshua Pomeroy 20 Aug 1672 in Northampton, Hamps, Conn?

8:15 PM  
Blogger Rusty said...

I have been researching Eltweed Pomeroy (1585-1673), of Beaminster, England, Dorchester, Mass., Windsor, Conn., and lastly Northampton, Mass (where he died). I have examined virtually all of the primary sources and nowhere do I find mention that he was a blacksmith or gunsmith. There are plenty of secondary sources, including the Journal of American History, that say he was, but ALL of these refer back to other undocumented secondary sources. I am wondering if anyone can tell me whether they know of any primary sources that prove he was a gunsmith/blacksmith. I would be content to let his reputation as a gunsmith rest upon "family tradition" but in fact, the only primary record I have seen that states Eltweed's trade is a deposition, dated April 5, 1631, given by him at a Chancery hearing at Beaminster, Dorsetshire, England, in which he states under oath that he is a felt maker (transcript published in Pomeroy, Albert A., History and Genealogy of the Pomeroy Family, Volume III, p. 33). There is no doubt at all that Eltweed's son Medad was a blacksmith, because town records show that that he was invited to move upriver to Northampton to serve as blacksmith there in 1660, and that town provided him with his anvil and tools. This raises the further question that, why did Medad need an anvil and blacksmith tools when he left Windsor to go to Northampton? Eltweed was 75 years old in 1660 when his son Medad left Windsor - if indeed Eltweed was a blacksmith/gunsmith, was he still needing his own tools at that age? Eltweed was named one of two inspectors of yarn (along with William Gaylord) in Windsor, Conn. which certainly reinforces that Eltweed originally was involved in the cloth trade, as many in Beaminster were. That means he had to undergo quite a career shift if he became a blacksmith/gunsmith, and it is for a record of this big change that I am searching.

If anyone can help me I would be grateful Thank you.

8:37 AM  
Blogger Jean M said...

Thanks for this posting. I am also related to Eltweed Pomeroy, although by his son Medad. Medad's granddaughter, Experience Pomeroy (don't you love these names?), married a Lyman, which makes me wonder if our family might also be linked back to the Lyman family in England. I'd be interested in learning more about this. Please contact me directly at my e-mail address: Thanks - Jean

4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a 9 Great grandson of Eltweed , an 8 G Grandsonson of Meadad born 1638 - died 1686 , 7 G Grandson of Joseph born June 26, 1672 - died Dec. 16,1712 , 6 G Grandson of Noah born 1700 - died 1813?- 5 G Grandson of Daniel born March 26, 1740 - died 1805 , 4 G grandson of John born Jan. 22, 1799 - died Jan. 16, 1870 - 3 G Grandson of Daniel born 1825 - died Aug. 1903 , Great Great Grandson of William McKenzie born 1849 - died 1924 , Great Grandson on Irwin Smith Pomeroy born Feb.6, 1878 - died July 29, 1946 in Fort St. John British Columbia. Grandson of Gordon Webster Pomeroy born Jan. 27, 1917 - died May 17, 2009 in Fort St. John british Columbia. Son of DeWayne Gordon Pomeroy born Aug. 25, 1942 in Pouce Coupe British Columbia died Aug. 2, 1986 in an accident in Fort St. John British Columbia. I am Chris Pomeroy born Sept. 2, 1964 in Fort St. John B.C.

10:34 AM  
Blogger dr2chase said...

I need to look this up, but my great-grandfather's brother Frederick asserted that Pomeroy comes from William the Conqueror's apple-keeper.

My great-great-grandmother was Mary Pomeroy; she and her sister Emma married into the Chase and Lord families in Hanover, NH, and their children were extraordinarily long-lived. Mary and Emma were descendants of Eltweed Pomeroy.

Here's a bunch of tombstones.

3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I need some help please. I have been trying to locate the parents of James Pomeroy born 1781 King George VA. He moved to WV early 1800 and died there abt 1864, Boone County WV. I have read many books on the Pomeroy History but cannot find any hard records to show who his parents were. Please contact me at if you can help. Thank you all.

Don Pomeroy

3:17 PM  

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