Search billions of records on
POTTER Research

Because there is a great deal of confusion in the sources, a summation of what appear to be 'facts', follows.

There are 2 contemporaneous William Potters of Connecticut.  One settled in Stamford, Fairfield County and died in 1684.  The other settled in New Haven and was hanged in 1662.
William Potter of New Haven is the Johnson ancestor because he is the one whose daughter Hope married Daniel Robbins.
William Potter of New Haven married Frances (possibly nee Child) in England and their first son was Joseph.
William Potter of New Haven had a brother John Potter and both were founders of New Haven.
HANNAH, Mother of William Potter of New Haven
The mother of William Potter of New Haven may be nee Mead but if so, she is not to be confused with the wife of the John Mead who was the son-in-law of the William Potter of Stamford.
She may be nee Hawes.
She (probably) married first to John I. Potter in England who died in 1623 and then married second to John Beecher.
CROSSING from England to Boston and then to New Haven
William Potter (along with his wife Frances, and his son Joseph) emigrated to the United States in 1635 on the Abigail.
In 1637, aboard the Hector, William's brother, John, along with his mother Hannah and her husband John Beecher immigrated to Boston; their son Isaac Beecher may have been with them.
They removed to New Haven in 1638/9  to take possession of property "owned" by John Beecher (who had died in New Haven the previous winter).
CHILDREN of William Potter of New Haven
Hannah Potter is not a daughter of William Potter of New Haven.
Hope (Potter) Robbins is the daughter of William Potter of New Haven and was baptised Oct. 3, 1641.  She married Daniel Robbins and moved with him to Woodbridge, NJ.


Posted by Tom Knox at PotterGenForum
Transcription of excerpt from "Brief Potter Notes", compiled for Mrs. J.M. Morrison, Towanda, PA, by Winifred L. Holman, 1949.  Found at the Boston Library of the New England Historical Society.
[This source is primarily about William Potter of Stamford; items of interest to us are highlighted in green]
Posted by Harman Clark at Potter GenForum
[This source is primarily about William Potter of Stamford; items of interest to us are highlighted in green]
Narrative from Joyce Lee Wiggins Kaufman, descendant of William Potter of New Haven
[Although not footnoting original sources, this narrative is very detailed]
Posted by Michael Beecher at Potter GenForum
[This source is referring to William Potter of New Haven and appears well informed, even though the original sources are not cited.  A logical next step is to check the internet sources and to contact the author of this discussion item]
Posted by Tom Knox at Potter GenForum
Narrative of J. Michael Poston with excerpt from THE NEW HAVEN (CONN.) POTTERS, 1639. by James Shepard, of New Britain, Conn.
Transcripton of the Passenger List of the Hector 1637

[There are many more GenForum Potter discussions but they introduce more confusion than clarity]
 Transcription of excerpt from "Brief Potter Notes", compiled for Mrs. J.M. Morrison, Towanda, PA, by Winifred L. Holman, 1949.  Found at the Boston Library of the New England Historical Society

WILLIAM POTTER, probably born in England, about 1610, died in Stamford, Conn., between 27 January and 9 March 1684-85, testate. The name of his wife is not known.

He must not be confused with his contemporary, William Potter of New Haven, Conn., about whom there is much in print.*
[footnote:] * This unsavory character was hung in 1662; see New Haven Col. Recds., 2:440,446,484; Jacobus' New Haven Fams., 1459; Savage; Mather; et als.

Banks' "Planters of the Commonwealth"(1930),page 151, cites a William Potter, aged twenty-five, who came on the "Increase"; she arrived in Boston, Mass., latter end of July 1635, having sailed from England, last of April, Robert Lea, master. This passenger may or may not be our William, for there were men of the same name, early, in Watertown, Roxbury and Braintree, Mass., one of whom may have been identical with the New Haven man.

Our William was of Stamford by 1648, when there was recorded, 13 February that year, "Willyam Potters lootte." (American Genealogist, 11:229.) Huntington's "Stamford"(1868), states that William's homelot was registered in 1650(?), that in 1652 he sold it to Thomas Lyon and bought of John Finch, and in 1661, sold property to Jacob Pearson. Later, he became possessed of the Shippan Point property inherited by his daughter. 28 May 1656, he appeared in court, as follows:

"William Potter of Stamford informed the court that he is a weake infirme man and not fitt to trayne, and desires he might be freed, of whom the court now tooke notice and so judg him to be, and therefore declared that while this weaknes continewes he shall be freed from trayning, but if god recover him to abilitie he is to attend that service againe." (New Haven Col. Recds., 2:180.)

On 27:11m:84 (27 Jan. 1684-85), William Potter, aged seventy-five or thereabouts, testified that he bought that lot which Danil Scolfield now lives upon of Goodman Ffinch "weh was Isaak Ffinch & Samuel Ffinches father, & yt the foresaid John Ffinch," told him "yt ye piece of medow was given to John Ogden & therefore ye said Ffinch did not sell ye lot as aforesaid to me," William Potter. (Stamford Deeds, A:36.) (American Genealogist, 19:59.)

His will was recorded in both the Stamford Town Records and in the Fairfield Probate Records. The following is a brief abstract from the former source:

The will of William Potter, 18 Sept. 1684, proved 9 Mar. 1684-85, signed with mark; to the church in Staford, £5; to Mr. Bishop's three sons, Joseph Ebenezer and Beniamin, and the children of my son-in-laws John Mead, equally; friends and brethren Jonathan Bell and Joshua Hoit to be overseers. Witnesses: John Bishop, ffrancis Bell. (Stamford Records, 106.) (ibid., 10:179.)

An abstract made from Fairfield appears below; there appear to be some errors in the dates:

The will of William Potter late of Stamford, dated 1 Sept. 1684, proved 22 June 1685, legacies to the church in Stamford, three sons of Mr. Bishop, viz: Joseph, Ebenezer and Benjamin; to the children of son-in-law, John Mead, Viz: John, Joseph, Ebenezer, Jonathan, Benjamin, Nathaniel, Samuel, Hannah, Abigail, Elizabeth, "Mary" and David; over- seers: Jonathan Bell and Joshua Hoyt; witnesses: John Bishop of Francis Bell. 10 Mar. 1684-85, letters of administration on this estate were granted to John Scolfield and Joshua Hoyt. Inventory made 27 Nov. 1684 (?), filed 22 June 1685, the appraisers being Peter Ferris, Jonas Weed and Jonathan Bell. (Vol. 3, 1675-1690, pp.165,166,167.) (Mead's "Abstracts of Fairfield Probate," 1:63.)

"Mr. Bishop," named in the will was the minister at Stamford.* The bequest of £5 to the church for the benefit of the Lord's Table, was expended in silver cups which were still in use by the First Congrega- tional Church there in 1868, and perhaps in 1949.
[footnote:] * John Bishop, A.M., (son of William Biship of Holway, Dorset, b. 1612; A.B., Balliol Coll., Oxford, 1632; A.M., 1635; Rector of Batcombe, Dorset, 1636?); sett. Taunton, 1640; went on foot from Boston to Stamford, Conn., 1644; settled there 1644-1694; d. there (will made 16 Nov.) 1694. (Weis& "Col.Clergy in New England," 1936.))

Hannah; m. about 1657, John Mead of Greenwich, Conn. See the "Mead Notes," compiled 1949, by W.L.Holman. In 1696, in his own will, John Mead mentions his father Potter, etc.

Huntington's Stamford(1868), and typed index to same.*
Special Indexes at the N.E.H.G.Society.*
Stamford Registration(1874).
Barbour's Conn. State Vital Records.*
Munsell's Indexes.
Jacobus Indexes, 1932 and 1949.
Colonial Records of Conn.
Collections of the Conn. Historical Society.
N.E.H.G.Register, 102 volumes.
The American Genealogist including New Haven Magazine, 24 volumes.
New Haven Colonial Records.
Register of the Conn. Soc. Colonial Dames.
Jacobus' Officials of Conn. and New Haven Colonies.
Mead's Abstracts Fairfield Probate, 1648-1750, typed and bound.*
Torrey's Index to N.E.Marriages ante 1700.*
Holman's Mead Notes, 1949, copy at N.E.H.G.Society.*
Bond's Watertown, 1862.
Pope's Pioneers of Mass., 1906.
Savage's Gen. Dictionary of N.E., 1860.
Mather's Magnalia.
Bunce's Frame-Dana(1948).
Banks' Planters of the Commonwealth, 1930.
* Refers to original sources or to manuscript compilations or copies.

 Posted by Harman Clark on Potter GenForum

I don't have full list of children of John Mead and his wife, Hannah (who was either a Potter or a Brown -- but NOT daughter of William Potter of New Haven.
Here are some notes:
William Potter b. circa 1608-10, m. ----------- *Potter. William died 27 Nov 1684, Stamford, CT. See TAG 73:9 "The English Origin of William Mead of Stamford, Connecticut".
       Footnote reads: The will of William 1 Potter, dated 18 Sept. 1684 and probated 9 March 1684/85, mentioned the children of his son-in-law John Mead. . . John 2 Mead's first son, Joseph, was apparently born on 2 May 1656. . .TAG 10:44, For William 1 Potter of Stamford, see Prindle, "Gillespie Ancestry", 367-70; but note that Robert Charles Anderson hypothesizes that Hannah was the daughter of John 1 and Dorothy (_______) Brown of Watertown, Mass., and that Dorothy later married William Potter. TGMB 1:2546-257.
        NOTE: This is NOT the family of William Potter who was hanged in New Haven, CT in 1662. That William Potter did not have a daughter Hannah, and John Mead was not his son-in-law -- despite a number of erroneous messages and at least one website which has that identification.
       +       2.       i       Hannah Potter or Brown b. circa 1636.

Second Generation

2.       Hannah Potter or Brown (1.William1) b. circa 1636, Stamford, CT, m. circa 1657, in Stamford, CT, John Mead, b. circa 1628, (son of William Mead and Phillip *Mead) d. 05 Feb 1698/99, Greenwich, CT. Hannah died circa 1698.
       She was NOT the daughter of the William Potter who was executed in New Haven in 1662.
        See TAG 73:9 which calls her the "daughter or stepdaughter of William 1 Potter of Stamford, CT.
       R.C. Anderson in TGMB 1:256-257 hypothesizes that Hannah was the daughter of John 1 and Dorothy (_____) Brown of Watertown, Mass., and that Dorothy later married William Potter.

One more note -- Hannah, wife of John Mead, may not have been a Potter.
John Mead (1.William1) b. circa 1628, m. circa 1657, in Stamford, CT, Hannah Potter or Brown, b. circa 1636, Stamford, CT, (daughter of William Potter and ----------- *Potter) d. circa 1698. John died 05 Feb 1698/99, Greenwich, CT. TAG 73:9. They were the ancestors of the Greenwich, Conn., Meads. Hannah:
       She was NOT the daughter of the William Potter who was executed in New Haven in 1662.
        See TAG 73:9 which calls her the "daughter or stepdaughter of William 1 Potter of Stamford, CT.
       R.C. Anderson in TGMB 1:256-257 hypothesizes that Hannah was the daughter of John 1 and Dorothy (_____) Brown of Watertown, Mass., and that Dorothy later married William Potter.

William POTTER arrived at Boston aboard the "Abigail" from London in July of 1635. Traveling with William were his wife, Frances CHILDS?, and his 20 week old son Joseph.

William's Mother (Hannah POTTER BEECHER), step-father (John BEECHER), and brother (John POTTER) followed William to America two years later. They were part of the company that arrived aboard the "Hector" that included the very prominent Puritans Rev. John DAVENPORT and Theophilus EATON. The party had intended to settle within the Massachusetts Colony, but upon their arrival, decided to found a new colony elsewhere because of what they perceived to be a tainted religious climate in Boston. The families made arrangements for temporary housing in Boston while a site was being selected. The BEECHERS and John POTTER probably moved in with William and his family during this period.

Shortly before the arrival of the "Hector", an army from the Massachusetts Colony had raided and slaughtered the Pequot Indians at their village of Quinnipiac on Long Island. The returning soldiers told stories of an abundant land and a favorable harbor. Hearing the glowing reports, Rev. DAVENPORT dispatched Rev. EATON with a party to explore the area. The party included John BEECHER, William's step-father. They arrived in the Quinnipiac area in early autumn and found it quite suitable for the establishment of a colony. Fearing the approach of winter, however, EATON thought it prudent to delay attempting the establishment until the following spring. He decided to leave seven men to winter at Quinnipiac, further explore the area, and to prepare for the arrival of the main colony. John BEECHER was one of the seven men left behind. He died sometime during that winter and was buried in an unmarked grave. The colony that became established the following spring was New Haven Colony. John BEECHER'S remains were discovered some years later while digging a cellar.

William POTTER, his family, Hannah (his mother), John POTTER, and Isaac BEECHER (John BEECHER'S son) all removed from Boston to New Haven. They may have went with the original settlers in that spring of 1638 but that cannot be established. They were definitely there by 1639, however, because both William and John POTTER signed the New Haven Agreement in a general town meeting that year.

Early New Haven records indicate that William's life was a 'good news - bad news' scenario. On the one hand his seating assignments in the church indicate that he progressed in the standing. On the other hand he was frequently fined for offenses ranging from absence at military training, improper care of arms, to failure to submit a timely inventory for taxation.

In 1659 Hannah POTTER BEECHER died and appointed William executor of her will. She left 2/3 of her estate to William and 1/3 to Isaac BEECHER. She requested that William 'be as a father to his younger brother and his children.'

William died between May, 1662, and March following , in New Haven. His estate was valued at over 190 English pounds, as shown by the inventory taken August 2, 1662. The family home was on the west side of Quinipiac River near the present Cedar Hill station.

The descendants of this early American include the names of many who have distinguished themselves as scholars, as ministers and in other professions. We omit any reference to incidents in connection with the close of his life for the reason that he appears to have been the victim of a mental disorder rather than an enemy of society.

The Children of William POTTER and Frances CHILDS? were.
1. JOSEPH, b. Nov. 1635, m. Phebe IVES
2. THOMAS, b. ca. 1637
4. MARY, bap. Aug. 22, 1641, m. about 1657, Joseph MANSFIELD
5. SARAH, bap. Aug. 22, 1641,but not the twin of Mary, m. 1659, Robert FOOTE; m. 2nd, 1686, Aaron BLAKESLEY/BLACHLEY and removed to Guilford.
6. HOPE, bap. Oct. 3, 1641, m. Feb. 3, 1663, Daniel ROBINSON.
7. REBECKAH, bap Jan 1643, m. Nov. 27, 1667, Thomas ADAMS
8. NATHANIEL bap. Dec. 22, 1644, m. April, 1675, Elizabeth HAWES
Submitted by Joyce Lee Wiggins Kaufman of Dallas, Texas

 Posted by Michael Beecher on Potter GenForum

I have found some information regarding Hannah Mead Potter Beecher (Mead was her maiden name; Father John Mead of Spaldhurst, Kent County, England Mother unknown) that you may be interested in.

Hannah was born ?/?/1584 Spaldhurst, Kent Co., England (Ref.
Married John Potter about 1607, and gave birth to William Potter ?/?/1608, and John Potter between 1609 and 1620.

Hannah's husband, John Potter died ?/?/1620, for reasons unknown, and she married John Beecher (b.03/28/1594 Kent Co., England d.winter of 1637/38 New Haven, Conn.) in 1622. They had a son, Isaac Beecher (b. ?/?/1624 d.12 Nov. 1690 New Haven, Conn.)

William Potter arrived in Boston in 1635, accompanied by his wife, Frances and young son, Joseph. Also with him was his mother, Hannah Potter Beecher, and her son, Isaac Beecher. [Note from Sharon Johnson:  if John Beecher died in 1637/38 in New Haven, why isn't he listed as accompanying his wife and son to Boston?]  The family arrived in New Haven, Conn. 26June 1638, where they settled on John Beecher's parcel of land, held for the family as compensation for his loss. Hannah was allowed to claim the property as "she was a goode-wife,(midwife)and sorely needed"

Hannah and her family remained in New Haven, and upon her death 5 April 1659, her will stipulated that William Potter would be the executor of her estate, and that Isaac Beecher would recieve 1/3 and William would control the other two thirds, taking care of his younger brother, and family.
William Potter was executed in late may 1662, for "perversions and bestiality".

Other Ref.s www.,,,,,,,, and

 Posted By Tom Knox on Potter GenForum

HOPE Potter (1641 CT - aft 1663 NJ) married Daniel Robins (before 1648 - 1714 NJ), not Hannah. Hannah Potter (1631/8-1723) was the daughter of John Potter (1607/10-1643/4), Hope Potter was the daughter of William Potter (1608-ca.1662) who was the brother of John Potter. (Coincidentally, John and William's mother's name was Hannah.) Both John and William Potter were born in England (Lincoln?) and emigrated with their wives to New Haven, CT

 By J. Michael Poston

I descend from William Potter who sailed to the Boston area (perhaps Salem) in 1635 with his wife, Frances, and young son, Joseph. He was accompanied by his mother, Hannah Potter Beecher.

Hannah was widowed in England and married a second time there. She is believed to have married John Beecher who was a member of the advance party which was sent to prepare for the settling of New Haven, CT. John died in New Haven before the arrival of the colony. The well known Beecher family (Henry Ward Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe, being two of the clan) descend from Hannah's son Isaac Beecher.

William Potter had a good sized family in New Haven. His daughter Hope married Daniel obertson/Robinson/Robins (he was known by each of these names at various times in his life) in 1663 and about five years later they moved to New Jersey. They settled ultimately in Crosswicks (which I
believe is in Burlington County). Daniel Robins is buried near Allentown, Monmouth County. I suspect that one or more of Hope's siblings may also have come to New Jersey. Whereas Potter was a member
of the church in New Haven (until it was discovered that he was perverted and was executed), Robins appears to have joined the Quakers in New Jersey.

I descend from Hope and Daniel's son Benjamin whose daughter Ann married Samuel Cheshire in Burlington County.


by James Shepard, of New Britain, Conn.

[from "Genealogies of Connecticut Families from The New England Historical Genealogical Register" vol III Painter--Wyllys, selected and introduced by Gary Boyd Roberts, Genealogical Publishing Co.,
Inc., Baltimore, 1983, p 150-151.

Shepard gives some data about John and some about William and then quotes from William's will made 19 May 1662 (just prior to his execution for bestiality) p. 153-4

"William Potter disposes of his estate of outward things as followeth.
After all Debts discharged my will is that my wife should have her living
out of the farms till my Sonne Nathanll, come to ye age of 21 years, then
ye sd. Nathaniell is to posses ye sd. farms and all yt is upon it, if my
wife continue a widdow my will is yt my Sonne Nathanll allow her a
comfortable Living out of the same and if shee see cause to Dwell
elsewhere my will is yt my sonne Nathaniell allow her 12th a yeare.

"it; my will is yt my sonne Joseph should have 30th. payd him
within yt term of six years after ye date hereof.

"it; my will is yt my daughter hope nad my daughter Rebeckah
shall have 20th. apiece payd ym when their mother sees good to pay it
them. My will is that those Legasyes be payd out of the farms before it
come into my sonnes Nathanll's hands.

"19. 3. 62

"Witnesses. William Peck. Richard Miles"

Inventory filed Aug 1. 1662. Amt. 190 pounds, 4 shillings, 0 pence

i. Joseph, b in England, in 1635; m. Phebe ____
ii. Mary, bapt. in New Haven, Aug 22, 1641; m. about 1657, Joseph
iii. Sarah, bapt. Aug. 22, 1641, but was not a twin with Mary. She m.
1st Lieut. Robert Foote of Branford, Conn.; 2d, Aaron Balkesley
iv. Hope, bapt. Oct 3, 1641; m. Feb 3, 1663, Daniel Robinson.
Removed to New Jersey.
v. Rebecca, bapt. 1643; m. Nov. 27 1667, Thomas Adams. Removed
to Crosswicks, N.J.
vi. Nathaniel, bapt. Dec 12 1644; m. April 1, 1675, Elizabeth Howes.

"Of these children, Mary and Sarah are not named in their father's will,
but Sarah was living Aug. 23, 1706, when "Sarah Blakesley, alias Foote,
alias Potter, daughter of William Potter," acknowledges on p. 130, vol.
v., New Haven Land Records, the receipt of her full share in
her father's estate."

1. Potter, Sarah - born: ABT 1632 @ Connecticut
2. Potter, Joseph - born: Nov 1635 @ Connecticut
3. Potter, Mary - born: 1637 @ Connecticut, USA
4.X Potter, Hannah - born: ABT 1638 @ Connecticut, USA
5. Potter, Hope - born: ABT 1641 @ Connecticut, USA
6. Potter, Rebecca - born: ABT 1644 @ Connecticut
7. Potter, Nathaniel - born: 22 Dec 1644 @ Connecticut
8. Potter, Nathaniel - born: ABT 1637 @ Massachusetts
9. Potter, Hope - born: ABT 1640 @ Massachusetts
10. Potter, Rebecca - born: ABT 1642 @ Massachusetts
11. Potter, Hannah - born: ABT 1646

From Ship Passenger Lists by Carl Boyer referencing a previous work by Isabel MacBeath Calder entitled Passengers on the Hector, 1637-38, The New Haven Colony pp. 29-31.
A special thanks goes to Molly Kernan who transcribed this ship's list for The OLIVE TREE and included background information from her own research.

THe following is the passenger list for the vessel Hector, which brought the passengers accompanying John Davenport and Theophilus Eaton to Connecticut in 1637. There is another ship called the Hector that brought the first Scottish Highlanders to Nova Scotia in the mid-1700's, but the Hector Heritage Foundation in Nova Scotia states that the ship that brought the Davenport/Eaton party is a different vessel.
The Hector that brought the Davenport party to Massachusetts was a new vessel of 250 tons, which had already made a previous passage to Massachusetts Bay. The records indicate that the ship actually arrived in Massachusetts, but other references mention that the Hectoralso took the party to Connecticut in late 1637 or 1638. A passenger ship list for the trip from Massachusetts Bay to New Haven, Connecticut has not been located.
Passengers on the Hectorsold their belongings in preparation for the sailing, but then the English government impressed the ship for the service of the crown. The owners petitioned for its release in January 1637, but the ship was not freed until May. According to the records of John Winthrop of Massachusetts Bay, the ship arrived in Boston (from London England) on June 26, 1637.
John & Elizabeth Davenport
Theophilus Eaton
Old Mrs. Eaton, his mother
Anne Eaton, second wife of Theophilus Eaton and daughter of George Loyd Bishop of Chester and widow of Thomas Yale
The children of Anne Eaton by her former marriage
Edward Hopkins
Richard Malbon
Nathaniel Rowe
William Andrews
Henry Browning
James Clark
Jasper Crane
Jeremy Dixon
Nicholas Elsey
Francis Hall
Robert Hill
William Ives
George Smith
George Ward
Lawrence Ward
Ezekiel Cheever
Edward Bannister
Old Jewry
Richard Beach
John Brockett
John Budd
John Cooper
Arthur Halbidge
Mathew Hitchcock
Andrew Hull
Andrew Low
Andrew Messenger
Mathew Moulthrop
Francis Newman
Robert Newman
Richard Osborn
Edward Patteson
John Reader
William Thorp
Samuel Whitehead.

FROM Narrative of Steve Spicer at Steve's GenDex pages 10 Person file

John Potter was the first husband of the "Widow Potter" of the New Haven colony. Since this woman appears in the records of the New Haven colony as both the Widow Potter and the Widow Beecher, there has been controversy over whether she was one or two persons. She had sons by both marriages. Her Potter sons were the progenitors of the Potter line in New Haven, while her son Issac Beecher was the forebearer of the Beecher line that claims Harriet Beecher Stowe.