Sanderson Family Genealogy

   The present generation of the Cotton family is only the most recent to bear a name that dates back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. Their name comes from having lived in one of a number of similarly named settlements throughout England. Coton is found in Cambridgeshire, while Cotton was in Cheshire. There are places called Coatham in Durham and the North Riding of Yorkshire. Cotham is in Nottinghamshire. Settlements named Cottam exist in both Nottinghamshire and the East Riding of Yorkshire. All of these names stem from the Old English phrase "æt cotum," which means "at the cottages." Thus, the surname cotton belongs to the class of topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees. The family motto, "In utraque fortuna paratus," translates as: "Prepared for either good or bad fortune." The family's Coat of Arms features blue shield with a chevron between three hanks of cotton, with an eagle on the Crest.
   Spelling variations include: Cotton, Coton, Cotten, Coten, Cottan, Kotton, Kotten, Koten, Kottan, Cottun, Cotun, Kotun, Kottun, Cottune, Cotune, Cottane, Cottain, Kottain, Kottaun, Cottaun, Kuttune, Cottone, Cottaune and many more. The family was first found in Huntingdon where they held a family seat from very ancient times, where they were Lords of the manor of Connington, some say before the Norman Conquest in 1066.
Book Information
Book Image
Name: Cotton family of Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Author: Cotton, Frank Ethridge
Publisher: Boston, Mass., New England Hist. Geneal. Soc.
Year: 1905
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   Our lineage to this family can be traced all the way back to WILLIAM COTTON, born around 1630, who lived in Strawbery Banke (siclater called Portsmouth), Rockingham, New Hampshire.
   Strawbery Banke was first named by Captain Walter Neal and a small group of hunters, farmers and fishermen who had sailed up the Piscataqua River in 1630, and were impressed by the thick growth of wild berries along the west bank. They chose this site for settlement and named it Strawbery (sic) Banke. These initial settlers were the advance party sent out by a group of London merchants who called themselves the Laconia Company. Their primary motive in establishing a colony was economic, not religious. Among the associates in the Laconia Company were John and William Cotton, merchants, of London, sons of Sir Allan Cotton, Lord Mayor of London in 1625-6, and their brother-in-law and nephew, Thomas and Eliezer Eyre. Though neither of them came to New England, and their interest in the Company was sold to Mason in 1634, it seems likely that William Cotton of Strawberry Bank may have been of the same family.
   When the Laconia Company went bankrupt in 1638, the settlement was left without any legal authority. Then in 1641, the colony of Massachusetts Bay extended its jurisdiction over Strawbery Banke and the three other towns that then comprised New Hampshire: Dover, Hampton, and Exeter. Massachusetts would at least provide legal stability.
   Then, in 1653, Strawbery Banke petitioned the Massachusetts General Court for permission to change its name to Portsmouth, since "We are at the river's mouth and our port is as good as any in the land." The request was granted.
   Around 1649, William married ELIZABETH HAM (B: @ 1630), the daughter of William and Honor Ham. William Ham probably was from Devonshire, in a fishing venture on the coast of Maine. They had the following children:


  • JOHN COTTON was born in 1652 in Strawberry Banks, Portsmouth, Rockingham, New Hampshire. He died on 9 Dec 1714, in Portsmouth, Rockingham, N. H.) Family listed below.
  • WILLIAM COTTON (named after William Ham, who was also accused of being one of the three man-witches in Portsmouth) was born in 1651.
  • SOLOMON COTTON was born @ 1652 in Portsmouth, Rockingham, New Hampshire; He was a shipwright who married Margaret Fernald (b: 27 Mar 1681 in Kittery, NH) on 14 May 1702; They had a son named Benjamin (b: 21 Dec 1718 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire). Solomon died in 1755.
  • SARAH COTTON was born in 1654 in Portsmouth. No further information.
  • THOMAS COTTON was born in 1655 in Portsmouth. No further information.
  • JOSEPH COTTON was born in 1656 Portsmouth, Rockingham, N. H.; He died @ 1724.
  • BENJAMIN COTTON was born in 1657 in Portsmouth, Rockingham, New Hampshire, No further information.
  • Ham
       In Colonial America, children were named on a fairly consistent basis in the following order: The first son would be named after the father's father; The second son would be named after the mother's father. Thus, since William's first child was named John, we can assume his father back in England was named John; and his second son, William, was named after Elizabeth's father, not him.
       William was a juror and constable at Dover Court 1651. He took the oath of Fidelity 11 Jul 1659 and had lands assigned to him as resident of Portsmouth 13 Jan 1652. A deposition on 27 Jan 1660, listed him as about age 46.
       William died on 14 Dec 1678 in Portsmouth, and his property was distributed, by probate order of Dec. 29th, among six children. Elizabeth followed him on 24 Jun 1679, also in Portsmouth.
       Anyway, their first son (and our next ancestor in this line), JOHN COTTON, as the eldest son, receiving a double portion in the distribution of his father's estate. He then became a farmer. In around 1671, he married SARAH HEARLE (sometimes spelled EARLE), who was born around 1654 in Portsmouth. Her father, William Hearle, was born in Portsmouth in 1628. He married a girl from the Beaton family, but not much else is known. (Source: Noyes, Sybil: "Gen Dict of ME and NH", 1928-1939, p. 163-4)." William Hearle, in his will, dated May 17, 1689, left all his property to his son-in-law John Cotton aud ''his wiff my daughter Sarah," which would go after their death to their oldest son, William Cotton. The Hearle Coat of Arms features a black shield with a gold fesse between three shovellers (birds). The family was first found in Northumberland where they were anciently seated on the English/Scottish border.
       Portsmouth became during the latter half of the seventeenth century an economically diverse trading town and the leading port north of Boston. In the 1680s it also gained political importance. As a result of continuous pressure from heirs of Captain John Mason, New Hampshire was taken away from Massachusetts in 1679 and made a royal colony. John Cutt, appropriately, was named the first president, and for the first time, New Hampshire was to have its own legislature. Because of Portsmouth's growth and economic prosperity, it became the capitol of the new colonial government. Thus, by the end of the seventeenth century this northern colonial seaport on the Piscataqua River had established itself as the economic and political center of an independent royal province.
       John and Sarah Cotton had a long, productive marriage that spawned many children. We know the names of most of them through John Cotton's Will, dated September 14, 1714 (probated December 2, 1714). The document lists his wife and twelve children. They were:


  • WILLIAM COTTON was born in 1676 in Portsmouth, Rockingham, New Hampshire. He was a "gunsmith" in Portsmouth. He married in Boston, Nov. 6, 1699, Anne, daughter of Ralph and Susanna Carter of Boston. One child, Sarah,^ was born in Boston, Aug. 11, 1702, of whom nothing further is known.
  • SOLOMON COTTON was born @ 1678 in Portsmouth. He became a shipwright, living, for some time after his first marriage, in Kittery, then in Portsmouth until after his second marriage. He then kept an " ordinary " at Greenland until 1727, in which year he moved to Stratham, being an innholder there until nearly the close of his life. He married, first, May 14, 1702, Margaret, daughter of William and Elizabeth (Langdon) Fernald of Kittery, born Mar. 27, 1681, died Jan. 12, 1719-20 (or possibly 1718-19) ; and married second, Dec. 3, 1721, Judith, daughter of John and Sarah (Martyn) Cutt of Portsmouth, and widow of Joseph Purmort, son of Philemon. She was bom in Portsmouth, July 10, 1683, and died in Stratham, Mar. 5, 1744. Solomon Cotton returned, a few years later, to Portsmouth, where he died in 1755. His will was dated Mar. 25, 1754, and proved Mar. 27, 1755. Children were Elizabeth, John, Joseph, Benjamin Noys (b: 12 Sep 1718 in Portsmouth), Solomon (b: 10 Mar 1722/23), Jane, and Sarah. Solomon died after 27 Mar 1755 in Portsmouth, NH.
  • JOHN COTTON was born in 1679 in Portsmouth, Rockingham, New Hampshire. Family listed below. He died in 1723.
  • THOMAS COTTON was born @ 1680 in Portsmouth, Rockingham, N. H.; He died around 1768.
  • ELIZABETH COTTON was born @ 1681 in Portsmouth, Rockingham, N. H. She married George Thompson. No further information.
  • MARY COTTON was born @ 1683 in Portsmouth, Rockingham, N. H. She married Moses Paul and their children, Moses Jr. and Mary, were both baptized on Aug 8, 1707, when "Mother Mary" united with North Church.
  • JOANNA COTTON was born @ 1684 in Portsmouth, Rockingham, N. H. She married John Jones (b. @ 1680 in Portsmouth, NH) around 1702 in Portsmouth. They had a daughter named Elizabeth on 16 May 1708 in Kittery, York, Maine.
  • SARAH COTTON was born @ 1685 in Portsmouth, Rockingham, N. H. She married Edward Cater (b: @ 1675 in Dover, Strafford, New Hampshire) before 1708 in Portsmouth. Their children were Mary (b: 16 Jul 1710), John (b: 1712), Sarah (b: 1714), Margaret (b: @ 1716), and Edward (b: 1716).
  • HANNAH COTTON was born @ 1686 in Portsmouth, Rockingham, N. H. On December 02, 1708, she married John Mead of Strathan.
  • ABIGAIL COTTON was born @ 1688 in Portsmouth, Rockingham, N. H.; On October 06, 1722, she died unmarried at Stratham, in the home of her sister, Hannah.
  • MARGARET COTTON was born @ 1689 in Portsmouth, Rockingham, N. H. She married Moses Caverly (b: 1694 in Yorkshire, England) on 30 Jan 1714/15 in Portsmouth. They had the following children: Moses (b: 1719 in Portsmouth), William (b: @ 1717), John (b: @ 1725), Thomas (b: 1737), Hannah (b: @ 1739), Nathaniel (b: @ 1722), Mary (b: @ 1728), and Sarah (b: @ 1732).
  • SUSANNAH COTTON was born in 1695 in Portsmouth. She married William Young on 27 May 1722 at North Church, Portsmouth, Rockingham County, New Hampshire. They had two children: Joseph was born on 12 Feb 1729. He died on 14 Nov 1769. Elizabeth was born on 13 Jun 1723 in Boston, Suffolk, Ma. She died on 11 Jan 1787 in Hopkinton, Middlesex, Mass. Susannah died on 1 Oct 1775 in Weymouth, Norfolk, Massachusetts. William died on 16 Apr 1747 in Hopkinton, Middlesex, Ma. He was buried on 16 Apr 1747 in W/d, Hopkinton, Middlesex, Mass. Mormon Church leader Brigham Young was their great-grandson.

  • Davis
       JOHN COTTON II married ELIZABETH DAVIS (b. @ 1696 in Portsmouth) on 6 May 1714. She was born to Timothy Davis and his wife, Constant.
       The Davis line began in Wales, and their are innumerable famous descendants (not counting us). The family was first found in Flint, where the family was seated from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.
       The family's Coat of Arms features a red shield with a silver bend on which there is a black lion passant. A lion's head is displayed on the Crest.
       The Family Motto (in Welsh) is "Heb Dhuw heb ddym, Dhuw a digon," which translates as, "Without God without anything, God is enough."
       John was a butcher in Portsmouth, in partnership with John Downing. He andElizabeth signed a deed in 1720, and had the following children:


  • JOHN COTTON (after his father's father).
  • WILLIAM COTTON (this breaks the standard practice).
  • TIMOTHY COTTON (1721 - 1759) was named after Timothy Davis, and married MARY (last name unknown). Children: John Cotton (after Timothy's father) and William, who was probably named after Mary's father.
  • MARY COTTON-ATTWOOD married Walter Warren. No further information.
  • Personal Information
    Census Image
    Name: Cotton, John
    Township: Swanzey
    County: Bristol
    State: Mass.
    Year: 1790
    Roll: M637_4
    Page: 55
    Image: 0644


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    View blank 1790 census form
     (PDF 13K)
    SOURCE INFORMATION: 1790 US Census Records. Index created from United States of America, Bureau of the Census.
       John died in 1723, and administration on his estate was granted to William Cotton and John Davis. Elizabeth, probably married again, on 16 Aug 1725, to John Gilden of Kittery. She eventually died sometime in 1761 in Portsmouth, Rockingham, New Hampshire.
       John had several children, including TIMOTHY COTTON, in 1721. He was a joiner in Portsmouth, and married MARY (last name unknown). We know this because after he died, she administered his estate to children Mary (b. Jan 1745, bapt. 20 Jan 1745; d. in infancy), Elizabeth (b. 13 Jun 1746), John (b. 13 Feb 1748), Mary (b. 30 May 1750), William (bapt. 13 Sep 1751 ; d. in infancy), and William (b. Dec. 6, 1752/1753).
       Their first son, JOHN COTTON, was born in Portsmouth on 13 Feb 1748. He settled in Swanzey, Massachusetts, and married ABIGAIL MASON on 23 Mar 1775, Abigail was probably a daughter of James and Mary (Coggeshall) Mason. They moved to Adams, Massachusetts, and had a family:


  • MARY COTTON b. 19 Feb 1776; d. 23 Dec 1833.
  • CONTENT COTTON, b. 5 Sep 1777. She married LEMUEL BRIGGS @ 1800. Family listed below. Content died in 1825 in Herkimer, Herkimer, New York, United States.
  • SALLY COTTON b. 1783; d. Aug 1803.
  • ELIZABETH COTTON b. Jan. 6, 1788 ; m. John Gray of Swanzey, as his second wife; d. in Swanzey, April 14, 1837.
  • JOHN SLADE COTTON b. Swanzey, 26 Feb 1795. He was a merchant in Fall River; m. (1) June 16, 1825, Avis, dau. of Samuel Gardner of Swanzey, who d. Jan. 6, 1843 ; m. (2) Apr. 2, 1844, Elizabeth, dau. of Joseph and Avis (Anthony) Gray, of Somerset, Mass. Children: John Slade, Elizabeth Slade, Avis Gardner, Mary Ann, Susan Biiffington, Caroline, Abigail Mason, Elizabeth Gray, Mary Kingsley, and James Mason Cotton.

  • Briggs
       Their daighter, CONTENT COTTON, married LEMUEL BRIGGS (b. 23 May 1773) of Savoy, Massachusetts, on 20 Oct 1797, according to Savoy Marriage Records. They then followed Lemuel's father, Phinehas Briggs, to Herkmer County, New York, and had several children together in Russia township, Herkimer county, according to the 1810 census (Roll M252_27, Page 400). Almost nothing is known of this family. In 1815, a Lemuel Briggs was listed as a general laborer in the town of Orange in The Annual Register, and Albany Directory, by Joseph Fry, printed in Albany by H.C. Southwick, Packard & Van Benthuysen, and Churchill & Abbey, June 13, 1815. By the time of the 1820 census, Phinehas was still living in Russia township (Series: M33 Roll: 67 Page: 46) and Lemuel was either mistakenly listed as Samuel (Series: M33 Roll: 67 Page: 30), or was gone.
       We have no idea what happened to Lemuel and Content, but the land records of Herkimer County show that in 1829, Phinehas ("guardian") sold Lemuel's land for heirs Esther, John, Stephen, Nancy, and Polly.
       Using that information and other sparse records, here is the best listing we have of their children:


  • THOMAS BRIGGS. No further information.
  • LELAND BRIGGS b. 1800 in Russia, Herkimer Co., New York. He married REBECCA GOUGE. No further information.
  • JOHN SLADE BRIGGS married CATHERINE LUCINDA TRIPP (1811 - 1847) and they had the following children: Leonard (b. 1829), Helen (b. 1830), Melissa (b. 1834), Oscar (b. 1836), Sarah Jane (b. 1838), David C (1841 - 1917), Charles W (1844 - 1896) and Catherine L Briggs (1846 - 1867).
  • SALLY BRIGGS b. 1801 in Russia, Herkimer Co., New York. She married LEONARD SPERRY (1802 - 1893) and they had the following children: Henry Willis (1826 - 1896), Mary Amelia (1829 - 1899) and Charlotte Sperry (b. 1829), Sally died in Waupun, Dodge, Wisconsin.
  • ADA BRIGGS b. in Russia, Herkimer Co., New York. She married JOSEPH HALL. No further information.
  • STEPHEN BRIGGS b. 10 Jan 1808 in Russia, Herkimer, New York. He married ROSETTA LUCRETIA BATES (1828 - 1906) and they had the following children: Leland Hurcules (1845 - 1901), Elmer (1850 - 1935), and Dell Adell Briggs (b. 1853). Stephen died on 13 Mar 1884 in Lapeer, Lapeer County, Michigan.
  • POLLY BRIGGS (1811-1867). Family listed below.
  • ESTHER BRIGGS (b. 1814) married JOSEPH TERRY (1760 - 1849). They had the following children: Silas M (1840 - 1858), Joseph B (1846 - 1915), Mary (b. 1854), and Chauncey Terry (1855 - 1904).
  • NANCY BRIGGS (b. 1817) 1814 in Russia, Herkimer, New York. She married ELIHU McCUMBER (b. 1805). She died on 6 Nov 1866 in Wisconsin, United States.
  •     In 1831, their daughter, POLLY BRIGGS (pictured at right), was born on 5 Aug 1811. She married DAVID SANDERSON (1804 - 1884), of Russia township in Herkimer county, New York, on February 23, 1831, where Polly was staying with the family of 80-year-old Phinehas. David and Polly had their first son, Edward (named after David's brother), in that state.
       But David and Polly eventually moved to Bainbridge Township, Geauga County, Ohio, sometime in the early 1830's, where David apparently worked as a yeoman along with his brother, Edward. Finally, David moved the family to Riley Center, Michigan, sometime between 1850 and 1860. They bought a nice piece of real estate, worth $4000 in 1860, and had a personal estate of $1879, as well.


    WILLIAM COTTON (@1630 - 14 Dec 1678) married ELIZABETH HAM (@1630 - 24 Jun 1679) and begat...

    JOHN COTTON (1652 - 1714), who married SARAH HEARLE (b. @1654) and begat...

    JOHN COTTON (1679 - 1723), who married ELIZABETH DAVIS (1696 - 1761) and begat...

    TIMOTHY COTTON, who married MARY (Unknown) and begat...

    JOHN COTTON, who married ABIGAL MASON and begat...

    CONTENT CLINTON, who married LEMUEL BRIGGS (b. 1773) and begat...

    POLLY BRIGGS (1811 - 1867) who married DAVID SANDERSON (1804 - 1884) and begat...

    MELISSA SANDERSON (1839 - 1921) who married LABAN HAUSE (1831 - 1906) and begat...

    FRANK HAUSE (1867 - 1951) who married FLADELLA RAYMOND (1869 - 1961) and begat...

    CARLISLE HAUSE (1891 - 1972) who married MARJORIE MARCHANT (1892 - 1939) who begat...

    CARLETON MARCHANT HAUSE, SR. (1917 - 1983) who married JEANNE BRUNNER (1918 - 2000) and begat...

    CARLETON MARCHANT HAUSE, JR. (b. 1939) who married MARTHA WENK (b. 1940) and begat...

    JEFF (who married LORI ANN DOTSON), KATHY (who married HAL LARSEN), ERIC (who married MARY MOONSAMMY), and MICHELE HAUSE (who married JOHN SCOTT HOUSTON).

    Literature on the Ham and Cotton Families:

    • "Ham & Related Families," Mary May Cordier, 1975
    • "Genealogy of the Ham Family & of the Young Family," Thomas Caverno Ham, 1949
    • "Ham Family of Dover," NEHGR
    • "Search for Mary & John v19; The Cotton Family of Portsmouth, New Hampshire," by Frank E. Cotton
    • Genealogical Register of Plymouth Families by William T. Davis 1895