Edmond Frank Peters.

Peters of New England: a genealogy, and family history; online

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Online LibraryEdmond Frank PetersPeters of New England: a genealogy, and family history; → online text (page 1 of 28)
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Peters of New England

A Genealogy, and Family History

Compiled by

Edmond Frank Peters


Eleanor Bradley Peters

(Mrs. Edward McClure Peters)

Author of " Hugh Peter: A Mosaic"

Ube Ikntcfterbocfter ipress









List of Illustrations and Signatures


The Making of the Book ....






Corrections and Additions

. xvii


. xxi


MASSACHUSETTS: Ipswich and Andover


Reading and Wakefield ....

. 53

The Revd. Andrew of Middleton

. . S6

Medfield .......

. 63



MAINE: Blue Hill

. 112




. 137


■ 152


General Absalom

. 241

• 257

New York State


Litchfield .......

. 2S2

Lost Tribes


Ohio .

. 311


. 314


• 349


Appendix :

Beamsley 357

My Native Land, Good-Night! .... 361
Autobiography op Colonel John op the Queen's

Loyal Rangers 366

Peters Traits 387

Divers Families 394

Military Service 408

Allied Families . . . . . . . .412

General Index . . . * . . . 420


Title-page, Edmond Frank Peters (about 1874),

Signature 1893 (see page 203)
Gravestone of Andrew Peters, 1713 (1901)
Will of Andrew Peeters, 1702 . . . .

Gravestone of Phebe Peters, 1702 .
Site of House of Andrew Peeters (1901)
Common and Pond adjoining House of Andrew

Peeters (1902) ......

Signature of Samuel Peeters, 1703 .

Grave of the Revd. Andrew Peters of Middleton

1756 (1901)

Signature of Joseph Peters (43), 1781
Signature of Capt. Adam Peters, 1781
Beulah Lovett, wife of Lt.-CoL. Andrew Peters
Lt.-Col. Andrew Peters (from an oil painting)

Signature, 1779 ......

Lovett Peters, Westborough, Mass.

Gravestone of John Peters of Andover, Mass. (17)

1797; Signature, 1767 ....

Portrait of John Peters of Andover (213), (from

A miniature), 1836 .....
Signature of John Peters of Andover (213), 1815
Sarah Peters (Mrs. Leopold Grozelier), 1857; Sig

nature, 1901 ......

Nathaniel Peters of North Andover, Mass. (242)

188- ; Signature, 185- ....
Monument to John Peters of Blue Hill, 1821; Sig

nature, 1813 ......

Portrait of Chief-Justice John Andrew Peters of

Maine, 1884; Signature, 1902












List of Illustrations and Signatures

Portrait of Edward Dyer Peters of Boston (from
an oil painting, 1839); signature, 1834

Country Residence of Edward Dyer Peters (built
1799, taken about 1861 ?) .

Portrait of the Revd. Thomas McClure Peters
(about 1885); Signature ....

Portrait of the Revd. John Punnett Peters, 1897
Signature, 1902 ......

Portrait OF Edward Dyer Peters, 2d, 1901; Signa
ture, 1903 .......

Gravestone of Colonel John Peters, Gilead, Conn.

1804 (taken 1902) .....

^'Signature of Colonel John Peters, 1783

' Residence of Colonel John Peters, Hebron, Conn

(built about 1740), 1902 ....

Portrait of Judge John Thompson Peters

Portrait of John Samuel Peters, Governor of Con-
necticut (about 1845); Signature, 1844

Monument to Governor Peters (taken in 1902)

Monument to the Revd. Samuel Peters (taken
1902) ........

Residence of Governor Peters (taken 1902), built


^Portrait of General Absalom Peters

Portrait of John Rogers Peters; Signature .

Portrait of Lt.-Col. De Witt Clinton Peters; Sig-
nature .......

" Portrait of the Revd. Absalom Peters; Signature

Signature of Major George Pierce Peters, 1814

Portrait of George Absalom Peters, M.D., (from an
oil painting); Signature ....

Portrait of Hannah Peters (Mrs. William Jarvis)

FROM A water-color (aBOUT 1787?)

Portrait of the Revd. Samuel Peters, from j
water-color (about 1787?); Signature, 1822

Graves of the Revd. Samuel Peters' Three Wives
(taken 1902) .......















List of Illustrations and Signatures v


Portrait of the Revd. Samuel Peters (from a

1824) ...,.,... 262

Portrait of Samuel Jarvis Peters (from a da-
guerreotype, 185-?); Signature . . . 264
.Portrait of the Revd. Garret Eber Peters, De-
troit, 1903; Signature, 1902 .... 294

Portrait of John Peters of Henniker, N. H. (about

1862) 335

Will of William Beamsley, 1658 .... 359

Portrait of the Revd. Charles Russell Treat,

1899 387

Portrait of William Henry Peters, of Norfolk,

Va., 1898; Signature, 1899 ..... 388


Twenty-three years ago Andover was visited by the
present compiler, and for the first time the correct family
descent was ascertained. The work, however, was aban-
doned almost as soon as begun, to be resumed only in
1895. In the meantime, Edmond Frank Peters, a de-
scendant of the Tory colonel, as he is commonly called
(Colonel John of the Queen's Loyal Rangers), started on
his labors, and for six years toiled imceasingly on a
Peters history and genealogy, which at his death, in
1893, was practically finished. His papers were left to
his relative, the Rev. Thomas McClure Peters, who had
been greatly interested in and had given every encourage-
ment to the work, but his death also taking place the
same summer, the entire material passed into the hands
of the present compiler. For the past eight years she
has been correcting, adding to, and perfecting the book.
Sections of family history collected by some six or eight
different individuals have been studied and copied. At
least sixty towns have been visited for the personal in-
spection of town and parish records, probate, and some-
times deeds, being investigated as well. Between forty
and fifty graveyards have been visited, which in nearly
every case means the inspection of each stone. The
genealogy has been rewritten from end to end, the form
and system completely changed, and a number of sepa-
rate articles on subjects of family interest have been
added. Portraits, views, and signatures have been col-
lected, and, although very far from complete, the work is
believed to be in sufficient shape to justify its printing in

The Makinof of the Book vii


the hope that, by publishing what there is, in time an
almost perfect history may be obtained. Far more
could have been accomplished had individuals shown
more interest in the matter, it being in many cases almost,
or quite, impossible to obtain even the common courtesy
of a reply, or if information was sent it was often done
with so little interest as to be of no value.

To all those who have in any way aided or encouraged
the compiler, her heartiest appreciation is due, especially
to the Hon. John Andrew Peters, of Bangor, Me., whose
active sympathy and generous assistance are most grate-
fully acknowledged. To Miss Augusta Peters of Blue
Hill, Miss EHzabeth Sewall of Medfield, Mrs. Grozeher of
North Andover, Mrs. Annis Welles of Hebron, Mr. Jesse
S. Reeves of Richmond, Ind., Mr. George Albert Taylor
of Albany, and Mr. F. C. Bissell of Hartford; to Miss
Charlotte Abbott of Andover, who is a mine of informa-
tion on all town matters; and to Mrs. Almira Clarke of
Woodville, Conn., whose sensible and valuable letters
have been of the greatest service, the compiler wishes
also to express her thanks, as well as to the Essex Institute
for the loan of a copy of Edmond Frank Peters' papers.
Town histories have often been quoted and have been
found of great value.

Distant members of the family, in many instances
total strangers, have loaned valuable papers, autographs,
portraits, etc., and have sent information which, in some
cases, they procured at the cost of much time and
trouble to themselves. It is impossible to name all whom
the compiler would thank, in person if possible, but she
assures them that their kindness is fully appreciated.

The present compiler has again, in person, gone over
much of the groimd already carefully studied by Edmond
Frank Peters, and can hold herself responsible for the
sections entitled Ipswich and Andover, Middleton, An-

viii The Makine of the Book


dover, Maine, General Absalom, The Revd. Samuel, Lost
Tribes, Andrew in New Hampshire, nearly all of Reading
and Wakefield, and portions of other sections. The
articles before and after the genealogy and the illustra-
tions and signatures are furnished by the present com-
piler. Nearly the whole of Medfield, all of Colonel John,
most of Sebome, and the greater part of the sections im-
mentioned are wholly due to Edmond Frank Peters, and
the present compiler has everywhere been greatly assisted
by his thorough and conscientious labors.

The enormous amoimt of material he amassed in the
six years of his toil would have been remarkable had he
devoted his entire time to the work, but when one realizes
that it was the result of his leisure hours only, it seems
little short of a miracle. His system of collecting matter
was most elaborate, painstaking, and complete, and was
undoubtedly the principal cause of his remarkable success.
Were it not for him this work would doubtless never
have been written, certainly not by the present author.
Even in the portions more especially her own he has
been an ever-present guide, counsellor, and friend, often
presenting her with some curious bit of information, or
warning her of some rock or shoal. In short, the entire
work is founded upon and permeated by Edmond Frank
Peters, and as his face is the first one sees upon opening
the book, so is his guiding and sustaining spirit the last
one leaves upon closing the volume.


A WELL disseminated tradition causes our family history
to begin in Boston, in 1634, with one WilHam Peters, a
merchant, who was educated at Leyden, was a brother
of the Revd. Hugh Peters of Salem, and of the Revd.
Thomas Peters of Saybrook, and removed to Andover,
where he built a church and was buried under the pulpit.*
This attractive fiction emanates from the Revd. Samuel
Peters, a gentleman of whom it may be truly said that he
was indebted to his imagination for his facts, the facts
necessarily changing with the amoimt of imagination
temporarily at his command, and thus producing varied
versions of one and the same event. For instance, he in
one letter says that William Peters came to Boston in
1634, in another that his great-grandfather went from
London, a merchant, in 1640.! Now he supposes his

* " William Peters Esq., of Boston, in 1634, was rich and noble, did
good in his day, built a meeting-house in Andover about twenty miles
from Boston for the Puritans and ordered his body to be buried under
the pulpit and turned his soul to God, to sing Praises with the pious
and venerable fathers who settled New England." — (Letter from the
Revd. Samuel Peters to Gen. Absalom Peters, dated New York, Oct.
10, 1821.)

t In the rough draft of a letter he is composing in London, November
14, 177s, to Lord Petre of Writtle, the Revd. Samuel says: "My
Lord, I lately came from New England to which country my Great-
grandfather went from London, in the year 1640, a Merchant, his son
bore his name William Peters, his Grandson bore the name of John,
his great Grandson bears the name of Samuel who is a clergyman of
the chiurch of England. The family have ever lived in Affluence in
America and with the Honorable Tradition that William who first
went to Boston was a nigh Relation of the then Lord Petre. I had
a manuscript copy of my great-grandfather giving an Account of his
Pedigree but the Rebels have Seized it and all my Property."

X Tradition

great-grandfather to be William, and always so designates
him; but in fact his great-grandfather was Andrew (of
whose existence the reverend gentleman apparently had
never heard), bom in 1634 (we always find some sub-
stratum of truth at the bottom of the reverend gentle-
man's assertions) and of him we have no record before
1659. (Curiously enough there is record of a William
Peters in Virginia in 1634.) Nor has any record of any
William Peters been found in New England prior to that
date, or of any one there who could be Andrew's father.
Andrew did remove to Andover (about 1686), but there is
no mention of any of the family building a church or
being interred in any part of it, and if such an event had
occurred it is almost certain there would be some record
or recollection of it. As for William (who if he existed
would necessarily be the father of Andrew) being educated
at Leyden, again there is no record there of any such
person being in any way connected with that university.*

* Leiden, i April, 1896.
My dear Prof. Peters.

I have gone over our Album Academicum and compared all students
of the name of W. or G. Peters, Peter, Petri, Petrijii, Petraeus, in-
scribed between 1614 and 1634, but all of them were either Dutchmen,
by the name of Gerardus or Godofredus, or Danes, Swedes, or Germans.
Dickwood, Dirkwood or Duykwood, nor anything coming near, is to
be found among the students of our University. No Professor, Lector
or Master of a College of either name has taught at Leiden. I am
sorry that this is only a negative result, and though I have no idea in
what other way your forefather could be connected with our University
I will ask the Recorder of our Senatus if he can give any light. He is
just recovering from a serious illness, so I cannot trouble him for the
moment, but I hope to have his advice after a couple of weeks. I
don't think there will be any expense ; only if we shotdd be so happy
as to find some documents relating to Peters or Dirkwood, there might
be wanted a small remuneration for copying. I thank you very much
for your kind intention to send me an off-print of your last article
the subject of which most interests me. Believe me dear Sir, Yours

C. P. TiELS.

(Letter to the Revd. J. P. Peters.)

Tradition xi

As to William's being a brother of the Revd. Hugh and
of the Revd. Thomas, and simultaneously "a nigh rela-
tion of the then Lord Petre," he might have been one or
the other, but hardly both, for Hugh and Thomas Peter
(not Peters) had parents whose names were, respectively,
Thomas Dirkwood and Martha Treffry * the former de-
scending from ancestors who fled from Antwerp on ac-
count of religious persecution in 1543. The name of
Dirkwood was changed to Peter between 1599 and 16 10,
for cause unknown, unless it might be from the marriage
of Deborah Treffry (sister of Martha, who married Thomas
Dirkwood), in 1609, to Henry Peter, M. P. for Fowey,
and descendant of a sister of Sir William Peter, who was
"secretary and of the Privy Cotmcil to four Kings and
Queens of this realm and seven times ambassador abroad
in foreign lands," said Sir William being also ancestor of
the Barons Petre of Writtle, Essex, which seat the Revd.
Samuel Peters persistently places in Devonshire. Now if
we descend from the Dirkwood family, it is difficult to see
how we are closely related to the family of Lord Petre,
imless it might be through the female side, several Peters
having married Treffrys ; but this is not what the reverend
gentleman intends. f Even at the present day there are
Peters who will insist, rmblushingly, — though Hugh Peter
left but a daughter — that they derive the name of Peters
from the fourth pastor of the First church in Salem. Being
closely connected with two families of such consequence
as that of Treffry and of Peter, it is not impossible that
lands and the coat -of -arms may have been given to the
descendants of the Flemish merchant to place them on an
equality with their relatives by marriage, — but even here
there is little hope for us. There is record of a William,

* Parish records, Fowey.

t "William, fourth son of Sir John Petre, Knt. of Exeter, is said to
have been father of Hugh."

(Letter from the Revd. Samuel Peters.)

^ii Tradition

"son of Thomas Dirkwood," born in Fowey in 1600, but
there is also the burial of William, " son of Thomas Peter,*
17th October, 1609." It certainly is self-evident that we
could not descend from William, brother of Hugh, and
yet have the ancestry claimed for us by the Revd. Samuel
Peters. t Personally the compiler is of the opinion that
we descend from some branch of the Peter family form-
erly of Devonshire and Cornwall, and that the relation-
ship to the Revd. Hugh Peter — if relationship there
be — comes through the Treffrys and not through the
Peters. It might be worth the while of some one, with
idle pence and hours, to investigate the claim of descent
from "the fourth son of Sir John Petre, Knt. of Exeter,
in Devon" (this is the usual version), who actually did
live and did have four sons, the yoimgest being named
William. In the face of what has here been said it seems
unnecessary to make any comment upon the pedigree
given in the Revd. Samuel Peters' Life of Hugh Peters,
or to do more than remark that the Revd. Thomas
Peter was not the first Englishman to arrive at Say-
brook (in fact there is no evidence of his being there

* The names of Peter and of Dirkwood appear to have been used

t In a letter dated New York, Oct. 10, 182 1, to his nephew Gen.
Absalom, he says: "You are the oldest surviving son of my oldest
brother Col. John Peters, the honest man, and son of John Peters the
good man, who was the grandson of William Peters Esq. of Boston in
A.D. 1634, who was the fourth son of the Right Honorable Lord John
Peters, Lord of Writtle in Devonshire, England, and one of the six-
teen Peers who educated King Edward VI and governed England dur-
ing the minority of that good King. J By the Herald's office of London
you know now the rock from which you descend, you cannot boast of
Royal blood in your veins, but you can boast of Noble Blood running
in your veins and arteries."

J (At the period mentioned there was no Lord Petre ; this title not
existing until 1603, when Sir John Peter was made baron. Our
reverend relative means Sir William, father of the first lord. That he
is often confused as to his own belief on the subject, these various
quotations from his writings sufficiently prove.)

Tradition xiii

before the summer of 1645 ; a few months later he was
certainly at the Pequot Plantation, now New London,
and he returned to England in December, 1646) ; that
he did not found an academy in Saybrook which later be-
came Yale College, nor did he die after the restoration of
Charles II; neither did he "bequeath his library"* to
that College, all his books being left in his will to his
only son, John.

That the Revd. Samuel Peters, while in England, did
actively interest himself in the family pedigree is evident
from the following letter f : but he did not possess an
exact mind, and as years acctmiulated his impressions, at
least upon this subject, became greatly confused, imtil we
finally come upon this astonishing statement : " Therefore
King William in 1066, gave Sir John Peters, his secretary
of State, this motto in his Coat of Arms, Sans Dieu rien!"
(Letter from the Revd. Samuel Peters, dated Harsimus,
July 6, 1822.)

Another tradition, emanating from Mary Peters,
daughter of Col. John and Lydia Phelps, and wife of

* History of Connecticut, p. 51.

t Harlyn, 26th August, 1776.

Dear Sir : — Your last favor I received and am much obliged to you
for your friendly invitation sent. As I find you are not so happy as
to enjoy a good state of health perhaps a journey into Cornwall may be
of service to you and I will do myself the pleasure of meeting you on
any part of the Road to conduct you to my house where you may be
sure of meeting with a sincere welcome. I live in the country on my
Estate which is situated on a dry healthy spot near the sea. I am a
young man and had the misfortune of losing a very good father in
January last. My Mother and six sisters live with me and I have
a brother at a Latin school. I have made all the inquiries into our
ancestors and make not the least doubt but that you and myself came
from Padestow as five of the most capital Estates in that Parish were
in the possession of the Peters, viz., Treator, Trenarse, Tregewin,
Trengho and Trebouza. The latter is my possession and a Mr. William
Peters lives at Treator; the three other Estates are not in the family,
I see by a deed dated the 2nd year of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth
[which would be in 1560] w^herein Mr. John Peters conveys Trebouza to

xiv Tradition

Joseph Hosford of Thetford, Vt., is incorrect from end
to end, and is not worth quoting. It is said she left to
each of her children a paper entitled "Genealogy of the
Ancestors of Molly Gillette by her mother and written
by her own hand in the 66th year of her age."

his father John Peters of Trenara. My father's name was Wilham and
I had three uncles named Samuel. There was a family in the Parish
(St. Merryn) there were four brothers John, Hugh, Walter and William
Peters and they are extinct. My mother and sisters join me in best
comp'ts to you and am. Dear sir, your most obedient hurable servant,

Henry Peters.

To the Revd. Mr. Samuel Peters.

A somewhat curious paper in the handwriting of the Revd. Samuel
and inscribed "Veritas March 25, 1792, London. Kipha Bar lona
Cedras Libani Galilae" gives his pedigree as follows:

1736 Samuel Peters Hebron. 1696 John Peters, Hebron, Conn.

1640 William Peters, Boston, N. E. 1598 William Peters, Fowey,

1574 William Peters, Fowey, Cornwall. 1550 John Petre, Exitor,


Having shown in tradition what does not exist in our
family history, we now come to what does : this is soon
disposed of. We know nothing whatever of the antece-
dents of Andrew Peeters, barring certain safe inferences.
From the date of his death and of a deposition made in
Salem, we find him to have been born in 1634 or 1635.
He came to this country a young man, well educated, as
his will shows, — somewhat remarkably so for those days,
in fact ; for if, after a life of farming and distilHng (some
sixteen years of these being largely taken up with fighting
Indians), his hand and mind were still so docile to the
pen as to write and spell as he does in his will, it seems
probable that he possessed a liberal education. It is also
evident that he came to this country well provided with
money and that he possessed, or acquired, a social posi-
tion which gave him the title of Mr., a word of meaning
in those days. Inferences point to a residence in Hol-
land ; some have consequently inferred him to be Dutch.
It is safe, flatly, to contradict this theory. If in law a
man is judged innocent until he is proved guilty, so among
the early settlers of New England it is safe to assert that
a man is English until he has been proved a foreigner.
Were he the latter he would be referred to as the Dutch-
man, would not be persona grata among his neighbors,
and his spelling and writing — arts which he would be
little called upon to exercise after his emigration— would
assuredly not be of the character foimd in his will. His
education was certainly all European, whether Conti-
nental or British. The spelling of his name, Peeters, is or,
was, a recognized one in the west of England. It is by
no means impossible, as Miss Charlotte Abbott suggests,
that he came to New England from New York, from Vir-
ginia, or even from the West Indies, and not directly
from Europe. The compiler is of the opinion that, being

xvi Inference

a distiller by trade, he would probably be a member of that
guild in England, and that his ancestry might thereby be
traced on the other side of the water. Being unable to con-
tradict the Revd. Samuel Peters' statement that Andrew
(or his father) was the fourth son of John Peters, or Peter
(Knt., or otherwise), of Devon, this or something approxi-
mate may be found to be correct, and those of the family

Online LibraryEdmond Frank PetersPeters of New England: a genealogy, and family history; → online text (page 1 of 28)