Family Card - Person Sheet
Family Card - Person Sheet

NameRichard SAWTELL 158
Bapt Date7 Apr 1611
Bapt PlaceAller, Somersetshire, England
Death Date21 Aug 1694
Will Date16 May 1692
Immigr Dateby 1636
FlagsImmigrant, King Philip’s War (1675-76), Presidential Ancestor
FatherJohn SAWTELL-DOLMAN (1572-)
Misc. Notes
A comprehensive treatment of Richard Sawtell and his descendants was published by Kellogg and Threlfall in the Register in 197246. At that time no information was available on Richard’s ancestry, but that want has since been supplied by Threlfall in his GMC50158, which revises some of the information about Richard himself that had been included in the earlier Register paper. The information here about Richard and his ancestors follows GMC50, with the information on Richard’s descendants being taken from Kellogg and Threlfall.

According to GMC50: “RICHARD SAWTELL (John, John) was baptised 7 April 1611 at Aller, Somersetshire, the son of John and Agnes (Pittard) Sawtell.

“Richard Sawtell of Watertown, Massachusetts first appears in New England records 25 July 1636 as a proprietor of Watertown when he received a grant of 25 acres, it being Lot 8, the 4th division. He was apparently unmarried when he emigrated, for in February 1636/7, he was granted a one acre homestead lot, the allocation being at the rate of one acre per person in each family. He had a brother, Thomas, also in New England. Thomas was admitted freeman in 1649 and died in Boston in 1651, childless and apparently unmarried. In his will of 14 May 1651, proved 18 September, he referred to his brother Richard and a brother and sister Kenrick of Muddy River (Suffolk County Probate #111). This would presumably be John and Ann Kendrick. Ann died 15 November 1656.

“Richard Sawtell lived for about 25 years at Watertown and there all his children were born. Then, about 1662, he and his family all moved to the new plantation of Groton, where he was a proprietor with a 20 acre right and was chosen the first town clerk there for 1662-4.

“On April 4, 1671, he petitioned the Middlesex Court to be excused from further military training. Since military service was required of all able bodied men to the age of 60, he presumably had reached that age. This fits in perfectly with the baptismal date for Richard Sawtell of Aller.

“King Philip’s War broke out in 1675 and on 13 March 1675/6, Groton was attacked and burned. His house was one of the five garrison houses of the town (History of Middlesex County). The inhabitants deemed it necessary to abandon the town at this time and he returned to Watertown and remained there the rest of his life, as did several of his children. On 4 November 1689, he was chosen a selectman of Watertown.

“His wife, named Elizabeth, was probably a daughter of one of the early Watertown settlers, but which one is unknown. Richard Kimball had a daughter, Elizabeth, of marriageable age and was living in Watertown at the time. [p. 344] She was still living when her father died, but who she married is unknown. However, there were at least two other Watertown men who married Elizabeths about that time, but there is no clue as to which of these was Elizabeth Kimball, if any.

“In 1670 or 71, Richard Sawtell and his wife took into their home the illegitimate child of Zechariah Smith, deceased. In 1672, he went to court against Thomas, John and Joseph Smith to collect for the child’s keep out of the estate of the boy’s father, and charged them with illegally administering the estate. He won £10.

“On 16 May 1692, Richard Sawtell wrote his own will. In this will he provided for his wife Elizabeth, mentioned son Obadiah of Groton, son Enoch of Watertown, daughters Bethia, Hannah Winn, Ruth Hewes, son John, son Jonathan, deceased, son Zechariah’s children, and daughter Starling’s children. His lands were at Watertown except for his 20 acre right in Groton. He died 21 August 1694, ‘an aged man’. Elizabeth died 18 October 1694 and son Enoch was granted administration of the estate. His signature on his will is reproduced below. [A facsimile of the signature appears here.]

“A Henry Sawtell was a patentee of Flushing, New York in 1665 and was a freeholder of Newton, Long Island, New York, 4 December 1666. Any relationship to Richard of Watertown is unknown.”

Accounts of Richard’s children and a complete transcript of his will follow.

Richard Sawtell and his wife Elizabeth are ancestors of U.S. Presidents Herbert Hoover (probably, through daughter Hannah) and Richard Nixon (through son Zachariah).650
Death Date18 Oct 1694158
Misc. Notes
Torrey652 identifies a marriage between a Richard Sawtell and Elizabeth Pople at High Dam, Somersershire, England, 5 Feb 1627/8. If this is the Massachusetts couple then Richard would have been very young at the time of their marriage (assuming Threlfall’s birthdate for Richard is also correct). This requires further investigation.
ChildrenElizabeth (1638-<1692)
 Jonathan (1639-1690)
 Mary (1640-1665)
 Hannah (1642-1723)
 Zachariah (1644-)
 Bethia (~1647-1714)
 Obadiah (~1649-1741)
 Ruth (~1651-1721)
 Richard (-1676)
 Enoch (-1742)
Last Modified 14 Dec 1999Created 1 Dec 2017 using Reunion for Macintosh
New England genealogy files of Robert J. O’Hara, automatically output by Reunion for Macintosh. For additional genealogical data in other formats, including specialized lists of immigrant ancestors and notable kin, please visit my main genealogy page: For information about many of the localities mentioned here please visit