NORTHERN NEW YORK
Genealogical and family history of northern New York: a record of the achievements of her people
in the making of a commonwealth and the founding of a nation.
New York: Lewis Historical Pub. Co. 1910.
Transcribed by Coralynn Brown
The surname Atwater belongs to a large class of early English family names where the personal name of a man qualified for identification by a description of his home-at-hill, at-the-wood, etc., became fixed as a surname on his descendants. Atwood and Atwater are survivals of the original form, where most of these surnames a few generations later dropped the preposition, as the similar preposition de was dropped from another class of names.
The earliest mention of the name Atwater found in England appears in the chartulary of the Cathedral Church of Canterbury, Godefried ate Water, of Eylwarton, parish of Stone, near Faversham, county Kent, before A.D. 1367. The old coat-of-arms of Atwater: Sable on a fesse wavy argent between three swans of the second two bars wavy azure. The family is large and important in England. The American lineage has been traced to Boyton, in Lenham, Kent.
(I) David Atwater, immigrant ancestor of the American Atwaters, was baptized in Lenham church, Oct. 8, 1615. He came to New Haven, Conn., where he was one of the first planters, and settled, lived and died in the district known as Cedar Hill.
He married Damaris, daughter of Thomas Sayre, of Southampton, Long Island. She died April 7, 1691. He died Oct. 5, 1692.
Mercy, born Feb. 29, 1647-48.
Damaris, Nov. 12, 1648.
David, July 13, 1650.
Joshua, Jan. 11, 1652-53.
John, Nov. 1, 1654; mentioned below.
Jonathan, July 12, 1656.
Abigail, March 3, 1660-61.
Mary, March 31, 1662-63.
Samuel, Sept. 17, 1664.
Ebenezer, Jan. 13, 1666-67.
(II) John, son of David Atwater, was born Nov. 1, 1654, and married (first) Sept. 13, 1682, Abigail Mansfield, born Feb. 7, 1664, died Sept. 24, 1717; (second) Nov. 27, 1718, Mary Beach. He settled in Wallington, Conn., upon a farm which belonged to his brother Joshua. He was called "weaver." He died in 1748.
John, born Aug. 17, 1683.
Abigail, Oct. 7, 1685.
Mercy, Feb. 6, 1687.
Hannah, Dec. 17, 1690.
Joshua, Sept. 18, 1693.
Moses, July 17, 1696.
Phineas, Sept. 23, 1699.
Caleb, Oct. 9, 1705.
Benjamin, Dec. 8, 1706.
Ebenezer, Feb. 6, 1709.
(III) Phineas, son of John Atwater, was born Sept. 23, 1699, and married (first) Nov. 9, 1727, Mary Ward. She died June 11, 1767, and he married (second), June 15, 1768, Hannah Ives, widow, of Goshen, Conn. He lived in Cheshire.
Reuben, born Oct. 13, 1728.
Thomas, Aug. 14, 1733.
Phineas, Dec. 12, 1735, died young.
Merah, Feb. 8, 1741.
Ambrose, mentioned below.
(IV) Ambrose, son of Phineas Atwater, was born Dec. 19, 1743, and married Oct. 2, 1766, Sarah Tryon. He died at the age of ninety-one years, two months. About the year 1797 he moved to Shelburne, Vermont, where he bought a farm, adjoining the town line between Shelburne and Burlington. He lived there five or six years, when he sold the farm and moved to Burlington. He had previously bought a farm in the latter place, about two miles south of the town itself, where he lived until 1813. Of him his grandson writes:
"My grandfather, being desirous of having religious services, invited a local Episcopal minister, named Chittenden, the living in Shelburne, to hold services in his barn. Accordingly the appointment was made for a meeting on a certain Sabbath, and a sermon was preached with appropriate services. This, to me, was rather a novelty, as it was the first religious meeting I had ever attended, and for aught I knew, was the first ever held in the village of Burlington. Yet there might have been others in the village previous to this time; but there was no house of public worship or church organization, for I recollect the first regular meeting was held, in the court house some time afterwards by Rev. Samuel Clark, then called a Congregational minister, but afterwards known as a Unitarian. During the year 1812 some of the militia cavalry, not being satisfied with their quarters in camp, hired their board at my grandfather's. At that time a fever was raging in camp, and my grandmother fell a victim, and died in 1813. Soon afterwards my grandfather sold his farm and went to live with his children. At the age of ninety-one he died, respected, and beloved by all good Christian people."
Amelia, born July 3, 1767.
Linus, Feb. 23, 1769.
Jonathan, Oct. 18, 1770.
Ambrose, April 5, 1773.
Thomas, April 19, 1775.
Sarah, Feb. 11, 1777.
Mary, Oct. 17, 1778.
Phineas, July 12, 1780.
Merab, April 17, 1782.
Clara, May 6, 1786.
William, mentioned below.
(V) William, son of Ambrose Atwater, was born May 9, 1789, in Cheshire, Connecticut.
"His father, Ambrose Atwater, removed with his family from Connecticut to Burlington about the year 1797. William became a student in the University of Vermont, and graduated Aug. 16, 1809, the class of which he was a member being the sixth that was graduated from the University. He at once commenced the study of medicine in the office of Dr. John Pomeroy, where he continued the required period of three years. While a student of medicine he was drafted for service in the war of 1812 by the following warning:
"Burlington, July 7, 1812.
"In compliance with instructions received from Hezekiah Barnes, Jun., captain of the detached militia, you, William Atwater, are herby warned to appear at the place of redenzvous in Burlington, on Friday, the 10th inst., at 11 o'clock A.M. completely armed and equipped for taking the field, and to consider yourself in actual service, agreeable to law.
Charles V. Clark, Corporal."
He did appear at the time and place mentioned, and with his gun and knapsack took up the line of march for the northern frontier, but was taken ill a few miles from Burlington, and was obliged to return home, and thus did not see any actual service in the field.
"After receiving his diploma he still remained for a time in the office of Dr. Pomeroy, practicing with him, enoying, in a high degree, the confidence of his preceptor and extensive practice. In 1816 he recieved the commission as surgeon of the squadron of cavalry in the Second Brigade, Third Division, of the militia of Vermont.
"Dr. Atwater remained in Burlington practicing medicine until about the year 1818, when he removed to St. Lawrence county, N.Y. He was married to Delia Wetmore, June 20, 1820. He practiced in that county until 1829, when he returned with his family to this town, and resided there until his death, which occurred July 27, 1853, at the age of sixty-four years.
During this long professional career of forty years he had the confidence of the people with whom he lived, and especially during his last residence in Burlington, a period of twenty-four years. He received the patronage of the people of this and the adjoining town to as great an extent as could be disired. During the epidemic of malignant erysipelas that prevailed so extensively and fatally in this town in the year 1843, he contracted the disease by making a post-mortem examination, and came near losing his life. He always attributed his recovery to his own firmness in resisting the majority opinion of a council of physicians that he ought to be bled. He was among the first to discard phlebotomy in the treatment of this disease, which had been hertofore so commonly resorted to as a remedy, and his success well attested the correctness of his judgment. The honorary degree of M.D. was conferred on him by the corporation of the University of Vermont at their annual commencement in 1844."
Frances M., born March 20, 1820, mentioned below.
George E., Feb. 8, 1824.
Clarissa, Feb. 17, 1826, died young.
Hiram H., Feb. 17, 1828.
Frederick A., July 17, 1830.
Edward D., Aug. 17, 1833.
Lyman W., May 30, 1835.
John P., July 22, 1840, died young.
(VI) Frances Merah, daughter of William Atwater, was born March 20, 1820, and married, January, 1856, Sidney Lawrence, of Moira, New York. She died Oct. 13, 1888.
William Sidney Lawrence.
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