Cliff McCarthy, 2014
The website for the Sackett Family Association — one of the best family history websites I’ve encountered — states, with meticulous detail, the facts surrounding the origins of John Sackett of New Haven. In part, it states:
“It has not yet proved possible to establish with any confidence the origins of John Sackett of New Haven, although a number of possibilities may be considered.
Weygant, in The Sacketts of America, records that he was the son of another John who would have been a brother of Simon Sackett the [Massachusetts] colonist, and that he was born in England in 1628 and brought to New England by his father in 1631. Weygant relied on the family tradition, handed down the generations, that ‘Simon and John Sackett, brothers, came from England to Massachusetts, in company with Roger Williams. John Sackett followed Mr. Williams to Rhode Island and finally settled at New Haven, becoming the founder of the New Haven branch of the family. Simon Sackett remained in Massachusetts, was one of the founders of the City of Cambridge, and is the progenitor of the Massachusetts and Long Island, N.Y., branches.’
According to Weygant, the brothers journeyed from Bristol, England, on board Captain William Pearce’s ship, Lyon, on the midwinter voyage which departed Bristol on 1 December 1630 and arrived at Nantasket Roads off Boston on 5 February 1631 after an ‘unusually severe’ crossing. It has not proved possible to confirm details of their passage, no reference to the Sackett name having been found in ships’ passenger lists of the period.”
Aside from showing how Simon’s brother, dubbed “John, the fisherman,” couldn’t be the John of New Haven, the site cites recent DNA testing that indicates that Simon of Cambridge and John of New Haven were NOT closely related. The family tradition makes a great story, but it doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.
Nonetheless, whatever his origins, John Sackett was an early settler at New Haven. The first evidence of him at New Haven is found in the court records in 1641:
“Att a Court held att Newhaven the 4th of the 6t M: 1641 … John Seckett servant to Mrs. Stolyon for goeing about to slaunder and reproach his said Mrs, was admonished to tender to his Mrs such satisfaction as she might accept, wch was referred to Mr. Goodyeare to determine.”
“Joh: Seckett” swore the Oath of Fidelity at a General Court of New Haven on 1 July 1644. Assuming that a man taking the oath would have been at least 21 years of age, this would indicate that John’s date of birth was earlier than 1623.
The Genealogical and Family History of the State of Connecticut states:
“In 1646 he was a member of the New Haven train band. The general court of that year first brought him to notice and gave him a place in the recorded history of Connecticut by fining him six cents ‘for wanting a rest at the training he attended.’ A rest was a stick crotched at one end which was used to steady the heavy musket then in use when taking aim.”
John appeared in court again later that year, on 2 March 1646/47, when he “demanded a debt dew from Stephen Medcalfe of 18s.” The Sackett website explains:
“At a further court hearing two months later, on 4 May 1647, two townsmen who had been appointed to assess work carried out by John on Medcalfe’s house confirmed that John had erected fencing, and John ‘gave in a noate to the court’ showing that he had spent 17s 8d on materials.”
On May 20, 1652, he married Agnes Tinkham. Cutter says she “was probably a younger sister of the colonist, Ephraim Tinkham, of Plymouth settlement.”
John Sackett was living on the Hamden Plains by 1650, where he was neighbors with Edmund Dorman. Wolves threatened livestock, there, to the point where a bounty was paid for each wolf killed. In 1656 John Sackett was paid 10 shillings for a wolf caught in a pit.
In the Third Division of land in 1680, John Sackett, head of a family of eight, was granted 48 acres of land on the west side of the river.
He remained a resident of New Haven until his death in 1684. Agnes (Tinkham) Sackett died at New Haven in the early part of the year 1707. Their eldest son John having pre-deceased her, her estate was probated by her youngest son, Lieut. Joseph Sackett, who had previously been appointed administrator of her husband’s estate.
Children of John & Agnes (Tinkham) SACKETT
JOHN SACKETT was born Bef. 1623 in England, and died 3 September 1684 in New Haven, CT. He married AGNES TINKHAM 20 May 1652 in New Haven, CT. She died 1707 in New Haven, New Haven Co., CT. The Children of JOHN SACKETT and AGNES TINKHAM are:
i. JOHN SACKETT, b. 30 April 1653, New Haven, CT; d. 6 November 1703, New Haven, CT; m. MARY WOODIN; d. 27 November 1717, New Haven, CT.
ii. JONATHAN SACKETT, b. 6 June 1655; d. 4 February 1726/27; m. (1) HANNAH; m. (2) RUTH HOTCHKISS, 12 March 1717/18; b. Abt. 1688; d. 24 March 1773, New Haven, CT.
iii. MARY SACKETT, b. 24 September 1657, New Haven, CT; m. BENJAMIN BRADLEY, 12 August 1719, New Haven, CT; b. 8 April 1657, New Haven, CT; d. 1728.
iv. JOSEPH SACKETT, b. 3 March 1659/60, New Haven, New Haven Co., CT; d. 1729; m. (1) ANNE, Abt. 1685; m. (2) SARAH DENISON, 18 May 1710, New Haven, New Haven Co., CT; b. 12 April 1671, New Haven, New Haven Co., CT; m. (3) HANNAH MORRIS, 26 February 1717/18, New Haven, CT; b. 10 August 1671, New Haven, New Haven Co., CT.
v. MARTHA SACKETT, b. 19 September 1662; d. 3 September 1684.
vi. SARAH SACKETT, b. 26 December 1665; m. SAMUEL ALLING; b. 24 March 1670/71.
- Cutter, William Richard et al., Genealogical and Family History of the State of Connecticut, Vols 1-4, (Lewis Historical Publishing Co., New York; 1911).
- Hartley, Rachel M., History of Hamden, Connecticut, 1786-1936, (Hamden, CT; 1943).
- Hopkins, Frances Blakesley and Pearl Delisle Flint, Blakesley Family, 1630-1957, (1958).
- Jacobus, Donald Lines, Families of Ancient New Haven, (Genealogical Publishing Co.; Baltimore, MD, 1981).
- Sackett Family Association Website, (at http://www.sackettfamily.info), “Electronic.”
- Weygant, Charles H., Sacketts of America: Their Ancestors & Descendants, 1630-1907, (Newburgh, NY, 1907).