William Orcutt & Mary Martha Lane


To America

WILLIAM ORCUTT was in America by 1663, but exactly when he came and where he came from continue to be topics of debate for researchers.  Orcutt scholar Judy Orcutt Holy presents his possible origins in An Orcutt Line (With wives and descendants of William I and Thomas 2 Orcutt through William Edwin 7 Orcutt).(1)  A brief summary of the possibilities follow:

1)  He may have come from Scotland by way of England.  She says, “There is a baptismal record from Fillongley, Warwickshire, England, 6 December, 1618 in the name of William Orchar, son of William Orchar, a name which Frederick Scott Orcutt Sr. believed may have been modified from the Scottish Urchard/Urquhart…Sir Thomas Urquhart (1611-1660) 11th Chief of the Scottish Clan Urquhart, wrote that some Urquhart cousins had migrated from Scotland into England…”

2)  He may have been an Englishman named Aucotte or Harcutt.  Joel Thomas Orcutt has identified a William Aucotte, born in 1639 in Warwickshire, who may have been our William.

3)  He may have been one of the many Scottish prisoners of war brought to New England 1650-53 and sold as indentured servants.

Marriage to Mary Martha Lane

WILLIAM ORCUTT and MARY MARTHA LANE were married in Hingham, Massachusetts, on December 24, 1663.  Judy Orcutt Holy explains that, while many secondary records show the date as January 24, 1664, the original journal of the Rev. Peter Hobart, first minister in Hingham, solves the mystery.  “Hobart’s Journal for the turn of the year 1663-64 has two pages…The first page lists baptisms/births/marriages/deaths for 1663, the last three lines giving early December events.  Then the following page–which begins with the last events of December and goes on the January-March events–is headed 1663   1664.  But at the top are first the concluding December events (without the word December repeated from the prior page) covering Dec. 20-24th.  It’s among that particular group of concluding Dec. events where we find the listing:  24 Andrew Lanes Daughter Maryed.” (1)

The Lane Family

Our William married into an old and prominent American family.  “WILLIAM LANE, his wife and son” were passengers on the Hopewell on 8 May 1635, bound for Massachusetts Bay. (2)  They resided in Dorchester, Massachusetts, where William received several parcels of property. (3) Wife Agnes was admitted to Dorchester church in late 1638 or early 1639. (2) William Lane was described in the Lane Genealogies this way: “this ancestor of a numerous posterity was a person of competent property, a freeman, a virtuous and good citizen who evidently had the esteem and confidence of the people.”  He died about 1654. (3)

His children include (in order mentioned in will): (2, 3)

ELIZABETH LANE, born in England, lived in Dorchester, married THOMAS RIDER, a “caulker” who came to America aboard the Hercules in 1634.

MARY LANE, born in England, married JOSEPH LONG, who died in England.  In Dorchester, she married JOSEPH FARNSWORTH.

ANNIS or AVIS LANE, born in England, married THOMAS LINCOLN there, and came to Hingham, Massachusetts, about 1635.

GEORGE LANE, born in England, became an early planter of Hingham, Massachusetts, and married SARAH HARRIS.

SARAH LANE, born in England, married NATHANIEL BAKER, one of the original settlers of Hingham, Massachusetts.

ANDREW LANE, born in England, became an original proprietor of Hingham, Massachusetts.  According to the Lane Genealogies, he was a “feltmaker and farmer, was an industrious, worthy citizen, resided on North Street, Hingham.”  He received and purchased several parcels of property between 1635 and his death on 1 May 1675.  He married THIPHENY/TRIPHENA (maiden name unknown), and they became the parents of William Orcutt’s wife, Mary.  A list of Andrew and Thipheny’s children follows:

—MARY LANE was born in 1640, baptized 16 August 1646, and married our WILLIAM ORCUTT.  Read more about her life below.

—ABIGAIL LANE was born 11 August 1642, baptized 16 August 1646, and married DANIEL STODDER, who came with his parents to Hingham in 1638.

—ANDREW LANE was baptized 16 August 1646 and married ELIZABETH EAMES.

—JOHN LANE was born 30 January 1647/48.  He married first SARAH BEAL and later BERTHA LINCOLN.

—EPHRIAM LANE was born in February 1649/50 and married SUSANNA HUET and ELIZABETH BEAL.

—DEBORAH LANE was baptized 20 June 1652 and married WILLIAM SPRAGUE, a resident of Hingham and Providence, Rhode Island.

—JOSHUA LANE was baptized 20 August 1654 and married ELIZABETH (unknown.)

—CALEB LANE was baptized 20 July 1657.  It is assumed that he did not marry.

—HANNAH LANE was born 30 September and baptized 17 October 1658.  She married JEREMIAH BEALE, of Hingham.  He was a blacksmith.

William and Mary Martha Orcutt’s Life Together–The Hingham/Weymouth and Marshfield/Scituate Years

William and Mary spent the first few years of their marriage in Hingham or Weymouth (3 1/2 miles southwest of Hingham)–or perhaps between the two towns–in Massachusetts Bay Colony.  Their first child, WILLIAM ORCUTT 2, probably was born there about 1664.

By the birth of their second child, who was baptized 24 March 1666/67, they had moved from the Massachusetts Bay Colony to Plymouth Colony, living in Marshfield (South Scituate.) (4)  They lived here through the birth of their eleventh child, baptized in 1683.  They attended Second Church in Situate (now First Unitarian Church, Norwell, MA), then located at the corner of Main Street (Route 123) and Old Meeting House Road, and that is where all the children, except the eldest and youngest, were baptized. (1)

Map by Kmusser, Wikipedia Commons User

Map by Kmusser, Wikipedia Commons User

The Massachusetts Vital Records (4, 5) show the following baptism records for ten children after William 2, spelled as recorded:

First Parish Unitarian Universalist, Norwell, MA

First Parish Unitarian Universalist, Norwell, MA

ANDREW ORCOTT, baptized 24 March 1667.

JOHN ORCOTT, baptized 18 April 1669.

MARTHA ORCOT, baptized 23 April 1671.

JOSEPH ORCOTT, baptized 9 December 1672.

HANAH ORCUT, twin of Mary, baptized 11 April 1675.

MARY ORCUT, twin of Hanah, baptized 11 April 1675.

THOMAS ORCUT, baptized 2 (worn) October 1677.

BENJEMEN ORCUT, baptized 9 March 1680.

ELIZABETH ORCUT, baptized 16 July 1682.

DEBORAH ORCUT, baptized 7 October 1683.

A twelfth child SUSANNA ORCUTT, included in William’s probate records, is widely assumed to have been born about 1685, probably in Bridgewater.  No record of her birth or baptism has been located to date. (5)

Property in Bridgewater, Massachusetts

Bridgewater was originally a plantation, or common land, for the people of Duxbury. When Marshfield was carved from Duxbury, Bridgewater was proposed as compensation, and the Old Court at Plymouth approved the request in 1644.  In 1645, 54 Duxbury residents were given permission to negotiate with the Native Americans to purchase the property, and they (plus Rev. James Keith, of Scotland, their first minister, and Deacon Samuel Edson, of Salem, who erected the first mill in the town) became the original proprietors of the town center, although only about 1/3 of them actually lived on their property.  Our William Orcutt was not among them, of course, since there is no record of him in this country before 1663. (6)

However, a deed dated May 27, 1670, states “Edward Gray of New Plymouth sells to ‘William Orcute of the Towne of Marshfield’ for thirty pounds sterling ‘my one share of upland and meadow land that I have within the Towne of Bridgewater bought and Purhased of John Paybody of Duxburrow; as by deed under the said Johns hand and seal dated the two and twentieth day of December 1668…which share was given the said John by his Grandfather John Paybody in his will…with all and singular the appurtenances and priviledges unto the aforesaid premises…” (1)

So, Naham Mitchell relates that, on December 24, 1683, “when the outermost mile of the ‘old original four mile grant,’ that is, one mile in width all round on the outside of the purchase, was laid out…into four great divisions, one on each side of the town, and the shares in each were drawn by lot,” William Orcutt was among the 56 proprietors to draw a lot. (6)

The town records state, “And those fourteen on the west are to begin at the end of the mile in breadth at the north end, and run along in the line betwixt Taunton, (now Easton and Raynham), and Bridgewater, till it meet with a cove in the pond that cuts the line betwixt Taunton, (now Raynham), and Bridgewater; and are to have a mile in breadth inward from the west line, as those have upon the north line, except it be against the great meadow. (6)

Their Lots and Names are as followeth: —
THOMAS SNELL,    w. of Thomas Gannett),

Life & Death in Bridgewater

William earned his living as a yarn spinner, as recorded in Scituate merchant John Cushing’s account book. (1)

William passed away in Bridgewater on September 14, 1693. (7)

His estate, valued at 119 pounds and 11 shillings, was probated on October 30, 1694.  Along with furniture and clothing, his household items included spinning wheels, 2 guns and a sword, iron pots and pewter vessels, a plow and lumber. There were cattle, sheep, 1 mare with bridle and saddle, swine, tobacco, wheat, rye, oats, and Indian corn.  Real property listed were the dwelling house, barn, and 70 acres of adjoining improved land and 50 acres of dormant land; 20 acres more of land; 14 acres more; 2 lots of meadow; and a whole share in the Cedar swamp.

The probate agreement between widow Martha and her children gave Martha the house and adjoining lands until son Thomas reached the age of maturity at 21.  After that, she would have 4 acres of improved land, her firewood provided for her, and full and free liberty to live in the house and improve it for her use.

Eldest son William Orcutt received 15 acres of land plus a 5 acre lot on the north side of the town river, as well as land that his father William deeded to him before his decease.  Son John received 20 acres with land formerly given to him.  Andrew received the land given to him prior to father William’s decease and which Andrew sold to his brother John.  Joseph received 50 acres and 1/3 of a meadow, the other 2/3 of which he bought from brothers John and Andrew.  At age 21, Thomas would receive about 35 acres, being half of the lands adjoining the house in which the Widow Orcutt would live, plus 1/2 of the house and barn.  At age 21, Benjamin would receive the other half (35 acres) of the land adjoining the house plus the other half of the house and barn.

Daughters Martha, Mary, and Hanna each received six pounds.  Susanna’s six pounds were delivered to eldest brother William to hold until she came of age or had need of it.

Neither Elizabeth nor Deborah are mentioned, so it can be assumed that they predeceased their father.

Thomas, Benjamin, and Susanna had not yet come of age.  Edward Mitchell was “chosen and allowed to be ye Guardian” of Thomas and Benjamin, as noted in a sidebar to the agreement.

Massachusetts Vital Records include a Widow Orcutt, who died April 30, 1712, at Weymouth, Massachusetts. (8) This is assumed to be our Martha, widow of William, who may have gone to Weymouth to live with son Andrew or Benjamin, both of whom relocated there.

No grave markers remain.



(1) Holy, Judy Orcutt 10. An Orcutt Line (With wives and descendants of William I and Thomas 2 Orcutt through William Edwin 7 Orcutt).(1), Revised Version September 2006.

(2) Great Migration 1634-1635, I-L. (Online database. AmericanAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2008.) Originally published as: The Great Migration, Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volume IV, I-L, by Robert Charles Anderson. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2005.

(3) Chapman, Jacob and James H. Fitts. Lane Genealogies. Exeter, N.H.: unknown publisher, 1891. Retrieved from HeritageQuest)

(4) Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 for Scituate (accessed from http://www.americanancestors.org on 6/26/2014.)

(5) Orcutt, Frederic Scott, Sr. Family of William Orcutt and Mary Martha Lane.

(6) Mitchell, Naham. History of Bridgewater. The Online Edition (www.plymouthcolony.net/bridgewater/mitchell/contents.html) accessed 11/25/2014.

(7) Ancestry.com. Millennium File (Heritage Consulting. Millennium File [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2003. Original data: Heritage Consulting. The Millennium File. Salt Lake City, UT, USA: Heritage Consulting.)

(8) Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 (accessed from http://www.americanancestors.org on 11/26/2014.)



3 thoughts on “William Orcutt & Mary Martha Lane

  1. After many searches online for other Orcutt researchers, I found your blog today. I enjoyed your concise historical and genealogical detail. Until I read your blog I was unaware of Judy Orcutt Holy’s research as well. Granted, I have just begun in earnest my research about my Orcutt branch of the family. Thus far, I can only trace Daniel Orcutt b. 1809 back to Washington and Hamilton Cty NY. Daniel left NY in 1836 and moved west to IL and later IA. His younger brother Phillip joined him in IL in 1845. I am attempting to find records to indicate who their parents are. Two possibilities are John or Jehu Orcutt or William Orcutt. The NY records are more scarce.

  2. After tracing my family back to the 1600’s, I found that the Orcutts are in my family tree. It has been such an eye-opening experience… Love the hisotry so much….

  3. Thanks for your blog and research. You give a balanced account of the origins of Orcutt and a well documented record of their doings in Plymouth Colony. A pleasure to read.

    John R. Orcutt

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