THE FIFTH GENERATION
BASSETT ORCUTT was born September 27, 1782, in Willington, Connecticut. (1) He was the youngest child of Caleb and Chloe Parker Orcutt. His only brother, Daniel, died as an infant in 1775, and his sister Roxca died a month after Bassett’s birth, so he grew up with five older sisters. Bassett was baptized by Rev. Gideon Noble, second pastor of the First Congregational Church of Willington, in February 1783. (2)
On June 12, 1803, Bassett married PATIENCE LITTLE/LYTLE, who had been born October 7, 1779. She was the daughter of JOHN LITTLE/LYTLE and MARY PIERCE/PEARCE, originally from Greenwich, Rhode Island. A family story tells of John’s father, WILLIAM LITTLE/LYTLE, “an Irishman, a servant in a family of English nobility, some say a coachman, others a butler, who eloped with a daughter of the house, and came to America. This was sometime before the Revolutionary War…The wife inherited a large fortune from England…She received this up to the time of the revolution when both herself and the witnesses all dying it was never possible for her heirs to obtain the money.” (3)
Bassett and Patience in New York
Shortly after their marriage, Bassett and Patience moved to Salem, Washington County, New York. (3) The Northern Turnpike, opened in 1799, may have provided their route north; Salem was on this route. At this time, Washington County had a population of about 35,000. It was becoming settled, roads were being built, and frame houses were beginning to replace log ones. Farmers raised sheep and, increasingly, flax, and they rode to church on Sundays in their farm wagons. (4)
The War of 1812, waged against Britain and her colonies, continued from 1812 until 1815. At the beginning of the war, folks from Washington County did not feel much interest or urgency to fight. But, in August, 1814, they were roused by a threatened invasion by General Sir George Provost at Plattsburg. The militia was ordered out, and everyone responded. After a victory at sea and General Provost’s retreat to Canada, the untrained soldiers could return home to their farms. (4) There is a service record for Bassett Orcutt showing him as Sergeant in the 6th Artillery Regiment of New York for the War of 1812. (5)
We are told that the first and fifth children of Bassett and Patience were born in Salem, Washington County, New York and that the family later moved to Monroe County. (3) Since Monroe County was not formed until 1821 and their last child was born in 1819, we can assume that all of their children were born in Washington County.
Their children follow:
CHLOE PATIENCE ORCUTT, born December 18, 1803, in Salem, Washington County, New York. She married REUBEN ROGERS in 1826, and they made their home in Otsego County, New York.
CALEB ORCUTT was born November 19, 1805. Later, he married ELIZA NICHOLS.
WILLIAM ORCUTT was born October 1, 1807. He married ESTHER WATKINS in 1836.
JAMES ORCUTT was born July 9, 1813. Read more about him here.
ORSON ORCUTT was born September 14, 1814, in Salem, Washington County, New York. On June 28, 1841, he married SARAH ANN CHAPPELL. They made their home in West Concord, Minnesota.
DANIEL ORCUTT was born May 6, 1817. He married LYDIA LANGDOM/LANGDON in Bergen, New York, on October 22, 1854. (3) They eventually made their home in Matteson, Branch County, Michigan. (6)
BASSETT ORCUTT was born November 10, 1819. He married MARTHA (MART?) on August 3, 1844. They eventually made their home in Michigan. (3)
Bassett and Patience later moved to Monroe County, New York. (3) Since this county wasn’t formed until 1821, we can assume that the move took place sometime between that date and 1838, when they made their next move to Michigan.
From 1817 to September 10, 1823, the Champlain Canal was being built from the beginning of the Erie Canal at Albany to Whitehall, passing through Washington County. (3)
The Erie Canal was completed a bit later, opening October 26, 1825, running from Albany on the Hudson River to Buffalo on Lake Erie. The canal provided the first cost effective way for farmers in western New York to move their produce to the eastern cities, and it fostered a population growth in western New York state. (7) Did it provide the transportation route for Bassett and Patience to move to Monroe County? A family story says that the Orcutt’s arrived on a potato boat. Could they have shared a barge with a load of potatoes on the Erie Canal, making this the mysterious family potato boat?
Bassett and Patience in Michigan
Bassett and Patience moved to Michigan in 1838. (3) They were part of the migration westward, settling the United States.
They made their final home in Leonidas, St. Joseph County. Leonidas was first settled in 1831, and it appears that son William preceded his parents to this location. His was the first marriage of white people recorded in Leonidas Township in the fall of 1835. William Orcutt married Esther S. Watkins, daughter of Captain Levi Watkins, who arrived in Leonidas in 1833 and started the first nursery of apple and peach trees. (8)
At some point, other children of Bassett and Patience also lived here. Records for Caleb, James, Daniel, and Bassett are found in St. Joseph County. Eldest daughter Chloe stayed in Otsego County, New York, and son Orson moved to Minnesota.
Six years after the move to Michigan, Bassett died on April 20, 1844. Patience survived him sixteen years, living with son Daniel, “in whose arms she died March 16, 1860, after an illness of only two days.”(3) They are buried at the tiny Banta Cemetery near the farmland that once belonged to their family.
(1) Connecticut Vital Records to 1870 (Online Database:,New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011.) From original typescripts, Lucius Barnes Barbour Collection, 1928.
(2) Ancestry.com. Connecticut Church Record Abstracts, 1630-1920 (database online.) Provo, UT, USA: 2013. Original data: Connecticut Church Records Index. Connecticut State Library, Hartford, Connecticut.
(3) Ancestry.com. Genealogies of the following families, Baker family, Steel family, Sturges family, Shepard family, Hall family, Lytle family. (database on-line). Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. Original data: Baker, Francis A.. Genealogies of the following families, Baker family, Steel family, Sturges family, Shepard family, Hall family, Lytle family. Minneapolis, Minn.: unknown, 1909.
(4) History of Washington Co., New York by [Johnson, Crisfield] [from old catalog]; Everts & Ensign, Philadelphia, pub. [from old catalog], 1878. https://archive.org/details/historyofwashing00john.
(5) United States War of 1812 Index to Service Records, 1812-1815, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q29K-KJT8 : accessed 9 April 2016), Bassett Orcutt, 1812-1815; citing NARA microfilm publication M602 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); roll 156; FHL microfilm 882,674.
(6) 1900 U.S. Federal Census Record for Daniel L. Orcutt.
(7) http://www.wikipedia.com. Entry for Erie Canal. Accessed April 9, 2016.
(8) St. Joseph Co MI: History of Leonidas Township. http://genealogytails.com/mich/stjoseph/leonidastwp.html. Accessed April 10, 2016.