CALEB ORCUTT was born to WILLIAM 2 ORCUTT and his wife Hannah–HANNAH SMITH or HANNAH NEWTON–about 1715 or 1716 in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. He married MEHITABLE HARVEY in Bridgewater on January 24, 1738.(1)
Three of the children of THOMAS HARVEY (a Puritan who died in Somersetshire, England) came to America in 1636. They were a daughter, whose name has been lost but whose husband was THOMAS SLOCUM, and two sons, WILLIAM and THOMAS 1 HARVEY. They helped to form the new community of Taunton, Massachusetts, where their families grew over the next generations.(2) Mehitable is descended from these pilgrims.
Nahum Mitchell’s History of Bridgewater contains the following statement, “Elizabeth, D. of Dea. John Willis m. a Harvey, and the following were probably her children or grand children, viz.: Joseph, Nathaniel 1705 ; Jenny, Mary, Elizabeth, and Mehitabel…
Mehitabel m. Caleb Orcutt 1738.”(3)
We know that ELIZABETH WILLIS, mentioned above, married THOMAS 3 HARVEY on December 10, 1679, in Taunton,(4) making Mehitable’s descendancy Thomas 1, William, Thomas 3. It is believed that Mehitable is a granddaughter, rather than a daughter, of Thomas 3 and Elizabeth Willis Harvey.
No birth record is readily available to prove the names of Mehitable’s parents, but it is believed by most researchers that she is the daughter of JOHN HARVEY, son of Thomas 3 and Elizabeth Willis Harvey, and MEHETABEL LEONARD. John was born in Taunton on February 4, 1683-4, and was married July 23, 1710, to Mehetable Leonard, also of Taunton. The couple lived in Taunton, Massachusetts, until about 1718 or 1719, when they moved to Norton, about 7 or 8 miles away.(2) Mehitable is almost certainly their daughter.
Caleb and Mehitable’s Life Together
Caleb and Mehitable made their home in Stafford, Connecticut, westward about 80 miles from their native Bridgewater, Taunton, and Norton, Massachusetts. Also in Stafford were Caleb’s brother David and his family and others bearing the surnames Orcutt and Washburn.(5)
On March 16, 1740, Caleb Orcutt bought 9 acres of land of his brother David. May 26, 1740, he bought 24 acres more, a part of the farm where “David now lives.”(6)
This was a rich agricultural area at the time with easy availability of water from tributaries of the Willimantic River. Mineral springs at nearby Stafford Springs were popular.
Children born to Caleb and Mehitable in Stafford follow:
WILLIAM ORCUTT, born November 16, 1739.(5)(7)
KETURAH ORCUTT, born July 14, 1741.(5)(7)
CALEB ORCUTT, born August 8, 1743.(5)(7)
JOSIAH ORCUTT, born March 2, 174[ ] (5) or JACOB ORCUTT, born March 22, 1746.(7)
JOHN ORCUTT, born May 15, 1748 or 175[ ]. Died July 8, 1761.(5)(7)
CHRISTOPHER ORCUTT, born May 26, 175[ ].(5)
JOBE ORCUTT, born June 1, 1755.(5)(7)
French & Indian War
From 1756-1763, the British and French battled for land. The colonies supported the British with money and men. “The (Connecticut) General Assembly in March. 1758, resolved to raise 5,000 men, officers included, for the coming campaign; this force to be divided into four regiments of twelve companies each. These troops were to act in conjunction with those of the other New England Colonies under Major General Abercromby, Commender-in-Chief of the King’s forces in North America.”(8)
Caleb enlisted on May 29, 1758, and was discharged September 10, 1758. William Orcutt (who may have been Caleb’s son or another William Orcutt married to Mehitabel Jones) enlisted April 4 and also was discharged September 10. Nathan Orcutt (descended from William 1 Orcutt and Mary Martha Lane, Joseph Orcutt and Sarah Smith, and son of Nathan Orcutt and Phoebe Lillie) enlisted April 4 and died in camp at Fort Edward on October 6, 1758. He was 22.(8)
All served in the Third Connecticut Regiment and participated in the campaign to take Fort Carillon, which had been constructed by the French in 1755. In July 1758, General Abercromby led an army of 17,000 British and Colonial troops against a small French force of 3700 entrenched in the fort. Abercromby lost the battle and nearly 2000 men. However, a year later, the French abandoned the fort, and it was taken over by the British and renamed Fort Ticonderoga.(9)
Life Cut Short
Caleb died in Stafford on November 16, 1758, just two months after returning home from battle.(5) One has to assume that his death may have resulted from an injury or illness sustained in the war. Caleb was in his 40’s, leaving Mehitable with small children to raise.
Caleb’s belongings were inventoried, and, on January 4, 1759, his estate was declared insolvent. A list of “moveables” was set out for the widow.(10)
It is not known how Mehitable spent the remainder of her life or when and where she died.
(1) Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 (Online Database: AmericanAncestors.org, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001-2010).
(2) Harvey, Oscar Jewell. The Harvey Book. 1899. http://www.mdhervey.com/xtra_pages/archive/HERVEY/ HBOOK.PDF (Accessed 6/30/2015)
(3) Mitchell, Nahum. History of the early settlement of Bridgewater in Plymouth County, Massachusetts including an extensive family register. Boston, Kidder & Wright, 1840. http://dunhamwilcox.net/ma/bridgewater5.htm. Accessed 6/30/2015)
(4) Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988. http://www.Ancestry.com. Provo, UT, USA
(5) Connecticut Vital Records to 1870 (Online Database: AmericanAncestors.org, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011.) From original typescripts, Lucius Barnes Barbour Collection, 1928.
(6)Ancestry.com. Ancestors of Florence Julia Brown : and some of their descendants [database on-line]. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005. Original data: Brown, Walter LeRoy,. Ancestors of Florence Julia Brown : and some of their descendants. Albion, N.Y.: Eddy Print. Co., 1940.
(7) Michigan Bible Records and Genealogical Notes 1935-1936. Compiled and Indexed by Vivian Lyon Moore, State Chairman Genealogical Records, D.A.R. of Michigan. http://www.Ancestry.com.
(8) Rolls of Connecticut Men in the French and Indian War, 1755-1762, Volume 2, by the Connecticut Historical Society. http://books.google.com.
(9) www.fortticonderoga.org (Accessed 7/7/2015)
(10) Connecticut Nutmegger, Vol. 38, p. 257.