Genealogy, The Women Who Married The Orcutt Men

Mehitable Vining – The Women Who Married the Orcutt Men

Compiled by Judy Orcutt Holy

Mehitable Vining

Emerson (5) Orcutt, fifth generation of Orcutts in New England, is to be kept distinguished from his grandfather Emerson (3) Orcutt.  Emerson 5 married Mehitable Vining on March 10, 1804 in Abington, Massachusetts (FSO, p. 62, citing Abington V.R.).

Among their six children (one of whom died before 1 year of age) begins somewhat new naming patterns.  To begin with, as with Prudence Hayden of the prior chapter, little could be found for Mehitable Vining’s family of origin.  The difficulty in Mehitable’s case is due to the fact that almost no records for their home town of Abington are available in genealogical libraries, in contrast to the towns of Scituate, Hingham/Cohasset, the Bridgewaters.  (The same circumstance occurs also for the following two wives, as well:  Esther Damon, married William 6 Orcutt, and Dora Cook, married William Edwin 7 Orcutt.  Although the family names for all three women, Vining, Damon, and Cook, occur frequently in early southeastern Massachusetts history, the difficulty is to find the direct family links to prior generations of each family in the Abington area in order to document each wife’s family line.)

However, naming patterns can provide clues, and this does continue to occur with the oldest son of Emerson 5 and Mehitable Vining Orcutt:  Elisha Vining (6) Orcutt.  Although the given name “Elisha” occurs as a son of Elijah 4 and Prudence Hayden Orcutt, it seems quite probable that Mehitable’s father’s name was Elisha Vining.

Mehitable Vining’s background:

Again, as with Prudence Hayden, a World Family Tree (WFT) record provided a clue leading to the Weymouth area [in the following, as before, generations are added by JOH in brackets]:  A Mehitable Vining [6], born 1783 [no location given], father given as Elisha Vining, born 1714 in Weymouth, Massachusetts [however it is more likely that Elisha, Jr. [5] was Mehitable’s father, since the dates strongly suggest another intervening generation.  Corroboration for this supposition comes from a marriage record in Abington for Elisha Vining, Jr. [5] m. Deborah Fullington, May 2, 1764 (Early Massachusetts Marriages, edited by Rev. Frederick W. Bailey, 1897-1914, reprinted 1968, vol. 2:152); further corroboration comes from the Vining website by Karolyn Roberts at — she gives the following information:  RV172 Elisha Vining b. 1714 Weymouth, Norfolk, MA.  d. 1799 MA (The Vining Families, Chap. 3) m. 12/3/1741 Hingham, MA Mary Leavitt (dau. Israel Leavitt and Mary Bates) b. 6/24/1722, Hingham;  RV1721 Elisha Vining, Jr.  (Hist. of Weymouth, Chamberlain) b. 1742 Abington, Plymouth, MA – d. 3/11/1822 MA (Ancestral Records) m. 5/2/1764 Abington, Plymouth, MA Deborah Fullington (Early MA Marriages of Plymouth Co.) b. MA – d. 12/21/1822 MA.  Elisha of Abington, Private, Capt. Edward Cobb’s Co. of Militia, Col. Edward Mitchell’s Regiment which marched April 20, 1775 in response to the alarm of April 19, 1775 from Abington and Bridgewater to Marshfield; service:  3 days.  (Prominent American Descendants of Dorothea Vining Barnes);   RV17211 Deborah Vining b. 8/7/1766 Abington, Plymouth, MA (VR of Abington) – d. MA (Ancestral Records);  RV172111 Laura Vining b. 8/28/1802 Abington, Plymouth, MA  (VR of Abington)].

Note by JOH:  It is worth pointing out here that Elijah 4 Orcutt also served in Capt. Edward Cobb’s Co. over five years later during a 3-day service from July 30, 1780 to August 1, 1780.  See Chapter Four of this series (on Prudence Hayden), p. 20.  So Emerson 5’s father served in the same company as did his wife’s father, Elisha Vining 5.  See also the note that Elijah 4 Orcutt’s father Emerson 3 had purchased land from an Edward Cobb in 1766, same source/page.

Elisha Vining 4’s father is given in the WFT as George Vining [3], born 1679 in Weymouth, died 27 Mar. 1723 in Weymouth; m. Hannah Judkins, birthdate and place unknown according to this record died 14 Apr. 1720 in Weymouth.  However, in her Vining family chart posted on the Internet ( Joan Vining McGovern states that “257.Hannah Judkins was born on 14 Feb. 1676 in Boston, Suffolk, Ma.  She died on 17 Feb. 1774 in Weymouth, Norfolk, Ma.”

This WFT Vining chart can be corroborated in George Walter Chamberlain’s Genealogies of the Early Families of Weymouth, Massachusetts, republished in 1984, additionally giving George Vining 3’s father as John Vining [2] who was apparently the Vining immigrant ancestor.

Chamberlain’s entire account up to Elisha Vining [4] follows:

“JOHN VINING [2] had five acres of land granted to him by the selectmen of Weymouth, 14 Dec. 1663, in the First Division, and fifteen acres in the Second Division.  (Weymouth Land Grants, 282, 283.)  He or his son of the same name was made a freeman of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, 23 May, 1666 [JOH:  note that these records come, not from Plymouth Colony territory as for the prior four Orcutt wives’ families, but from the Massachusetts Bay Colony; Weymouth was then in Suffolk County].  There is a statement in the Register, 8:162, that he came in 1652 [JOH:  if as some records suggest, William 1 Orcutt arrived in Weymouth in 1660, he would have followed John Vining by around 8 years; would that someone had documented WO’s arrival, as the following account does for John Vining!].   Hilliard Veren, clerk of court at Salem certified under oath that he understood that John Vining from [Wincanton in Somersetshire] “came abord of Mr. Stratton’s ship” with others, sworn to 27 June, 1682.  (Essex Deeds, B.6, p. 168.)  He died at Weymouth, Feb. 1685.  He married (1) at Weymouth, 11 May, 1657, Margaret Read, daughter of William and Avis Read, baptized at Long Sutton, Somersetshire, 20 Jan. 1635-36; she died at Weymouth 6 July, 1659.  He married (2) at Weymouth, 22 Jan. 1659-60, Mary Reed, daughter of Philip and Mary Reed of Weymouth, John Vining was one of the appraizers of the estate of Margaret Snooke of Weymouth, widow of James Snooke, 9 May, 1660.  (Register, 9:338.)  She died at Weymouth, 2 Sept. 1717.   “Being weak of body” he made his will 18 Jan. 1685, proved 17 Feb. 1685, in which he mentions his eldest son John to have the new house which I have lately built, his wife Mary, son George under 21, son Samuel likewise under 21, four daughters, Jane, Sarah, Hannah and Margaret, to each 15 pounds at the age of 20, youngest son Benjamin, wife executrix.  Overseers, my friend Capt. John Holbrook and my kinsman Joseph Dyer. [JOH: probably closed quotes should follow Dyer’s name, concluding the direct quote of John Vining [2]’s will.]  (Suffolk Probate Records, 6:516.)  Inventory, taken 8 Feb. 1685, valued at 468 pounds, 19 shillings [JOH:  a sizeable estate in those days!] (Ibid. 9:259.) John Vining [2], son of Robert Vining [1], was baptized at Wincanton, Somersetshire, 17 Apr. 1636.  (Register, 66:188.)  [JOH:  An internet Vining researcher describes Robert Vining as “Owner of the White Horse Inn, Wincanton, England; another says he was born 1610.  Joan Vining McGovern’s internet site given above also lists Robert Vining as father to John Vining:  “1024 Robert Vining was b. in Wincanton, Somerset, Eng.  He married Mary (Vining); she died on 19 Apr. 1672.”]

Children by second wife [i.e. Mary Reed], born at Weymouth:

  • John 2 [JOH:  3 for our purposes, grandfather Robert being counted as 1], b. 15
    Apr.  1662.
  • Mary [3], b. 18 June, 1664.
  • Thomas [3], b. 30 Oct. 1667.
  • Samuel [3], b. 2 Feb. 1669-70.
  • Jane [3], b. 7 July, 1672; m. 1692, Jacob Turner
  • Margaret [3], b. 19 Mar. 1682
  • Benjamin [3], b. 22 July, 1684.
  • Sarah [3], b. perhaps 1675; m. 19 Nov. 1700, Nicholas Whitman of Bridgewater.
  • George [3], b. perhaps 1679.
  • Hannah, alive 18 Jan. 1685.  [JOH: as mentioned in JV’s will above.]”

Chamberlain reports that John [3] Vining [great-uncle to our Mehitable], whom he calls John Vining, Jr., lived and died in Weymouth, leaving son John and daughter Mary who married Ephraim Richards of Weymouth.

Likewise, Samuel [3] Vining married Sarah ___ and “removed to Enfield before 1717.”

It is worth noting in the context of John Vining [2]’s will the reference to “my kinsman Joseph Dyer” as one of the two overseers to the carrying out of John Vining [2]’s will as well as a witness to the will.  This Joseph Dyer appears to have been the son of Deacon Thomas Dyer who settled in Weymouth before 1641 and whose first wife appears to have been Agnes Reed.  According to Chamberlain, “Philip Reed of Weymouth, in his will dated 15 Dec. 1674, called Thomas Dyer his beloved brother.  They may have had one mother, or married sister, or Reed may have married Dyer’s sister, or Dyer may have married Reed’s sister; in any case they would call each other brothers.”  (Chamberlain, p. 209.)  Phillip Reed, of course, was John Vining’s father-in-law.  Another aspect:  according to Joan Vining McGovern, Phillip Reed married Mary Dyer on 26 Oct. 1635 in Long Sutton, Somerset, England; Mary died in Weymouth, Ma.

Next, Chamberlain records the following for Mehitable’s great-grandfather:

“GEORGE [3] VINING was born at Weymouth, near 1679; died there 27 Mar. 1723.  He married at Weymouth, 10 Oct. 1700, Hannah Judkins [4] who was probably the Hannah Vining who died at Weymouth, 14 Apr. 1720.  [JOH:  Joan Vining McGovern’s listing for Hannah Judkins Vining states in contrast that she died 17 Feb. 1774 in Weymouth.]
Children, born at Weymouth:

  • Thomas [4], b. 14 Sept. 1703.
  • Elisha [4], b. near 1714.
  • George [4], b. ____.”

According to Joan Vining McGovern, Hannah Judkins [4]’s father was “Samuel Judkins [3] who was born on 27 Nov. 1638 in Boston, Suffolk, Ma.  He died on 22 Feb. 1676 in Hingham, Ma. [JOH:  another chart states that Samuel Judkins died 22 Feb.1675/76  in Medfield, Norfolk, Ma.] He married Elizabeth Leavitt [2] on 23 Mar. 1667  in Hingham, Ma.  Elizabeth Leavitt was b. on 28 Apr. 1644 in Hingham, Ma.  She died 4 Feb. 1689.  Her father was Dea. John Leavitt [1] b. 1608 [abt. 1602] in Beverly, Norfolk, Eng.  who d. 20 Nov. 1691 in Hingham, Plymouth, Ma.  He m. Mary Lovett [or Levett/Leavitt/Lovit] who was b. 1617 [1615] in Plymouth, Devonshire.  She d. 6 Dec. [4 Jul] 1646 in Hingham, Plymouth [Suffolk], Ma.

An additional chart carries the Judkins’ Leavitt line further back.  John Leavitt [1]’s father was Percival Levett or Leavit, b. 1580 in Beverly, Yorkshire, England, d. 16 Dec. 1646/47; he m. Margaret Linkley in 1607; she b. 1589 in Beverly, Yorkshire, England.   Percival Leavitt’s father was also named Percival Levett (Leavitt), b. 1560 in Yorkshire, England, d. 1625 in York, Yorkshire, England; in 1580 he m. Elizabeth Rotherforth who was b. 1561 in Yorkshire, England.  The first Percival Levett (Leavitt)’s father was William Levett, b. abt. 1528 of Harewood, West Riding, Yorkshire, England, and d. 6 Jul. 1569, having m. 1553 Joan Ynglande (Yuglande) of Harewood, West  Riding, Yorkshire, England.  She d. 6 Jul, 1569.  William Levett’s father was Richard Levett (Leavitt), b. 1506 in Appleton, Yorkshire, England and d. Feb. 1567 there.  He m. in 1529 Mrs. Ellen Levitt who was b. 1508 in Appleton, Yorkshire, England.   Richard Levett (Leavitt)’s father was John Levett, b. 1474 in Bolton Percy, Yorkshire, England, and d. 1526 in the same place, having m. Agnes ____, b. abt. 1478 in the same place.  John Levett’s father was William Levett, b. 1448 in Bolton Percy, Yorkshire, England; he m. Constanlis Wickersly who was b. 1450 in Bolton Percy, Yorkshire, England.

Returning to the Judkins line as recorded by Chamberlain, Mehitable’s great grandfather Samuel Judkins [3]’s father Job Judkins [2] was born in 1606 in West Glasgow, Lanark, Scotland.  He died on 6 Nov. 1672 in Boston, Suffolk, Ma.  He m. Sarah Dudley (who according to the second chart was b. in 1608 in Scotland, m. 1628, and died  26 Nov. 1657 in Boston, Suffolk, Ma.)   Her father Thomas Dudley was b. abt. 1575 in Northhamptonshire, Eng.  He d. on 31 Jul. 1653 in Roxbury, Suffolk, Ma., having m. Dorothy York on 25 April 1603 in England; she d. 27 Dec. 1643 in Roxbury, Ma.

Job Judkins’ [2] father was Joel Judkins or Judson [1] b. on 9 Aug. 1579 in Scotland.  He died before 1606 in Scotland.”  (The second chart says that Joel Judkins d. 1657, and was married before 1606 in Scotland.  His unnamed wife was b. abt. 1582 in Glasgow, Lanark, Scotland.  The second chart also supplies Joel Judkins’ father as Samuel Judkins, b. 10 May 1556  in Scotland, who m. before 1579 his unnamed wife who was b. about 1560 in Glasgow, Lanark, Scotland.)

According to Karolyn Roberts’ Vining website cited above, the grandparents of Mehitable Vining Orcutt would have been Elisha Vining [4], b. 1714 in Weymouth; he died in 1799 in Massachusetts, having married on 12/3/1741 in Hingham Mary Leavitt [10] (daughter of Israel Leavitt [9] and Mary Bates [5]), b. 6/24/1722 in Hingham.  (The second chart gives a lengthy ancestry for Mary Leavitt, of some interest because after Mary Leavitt’s great grandfather Israel Leavitt, it parallels exactly the Leavitt chart for Mehitable’s great grandmother Hannah Judkins’ Leavitt ancestry for her mother, Elizabeth Leavitt who m. Samuel Judkins [3] – see above.  Hence, Mehitable’s great-great grandmother on her father’s father’s side Elizabeth Leavitt, and her grandmother Mary Leavitt’s grandfather (i.e. Mehitable’s great-great grandfather on her father’s mother’s side), Israel Leavitt [8] were brother and sister.   [WHEW!!]   To trace that latter side:  Mary Leavitt [10]’s father Israel Leavitt [9] was b. 1 Aug. 1680 in Hingham, died there 30 May 1757, and m. 18 Oct. 1716 in Hingham Mary Bates [5 – see below], who was b. 26 May, 1693 in Hingham and d. 29 Feb. 1768 in Hingham.  Israel Leavitt [9]’s father was also named Israel Leavitt [8], b. 23 Apr. 1648 in Hingham and d. 26 Dec. 1696 in Hingham, having m. 10 Jan. 1676 in Plymouth, Ma. Lydia Jackson, who was b. 29 Nov. 1658 in Plymouth, and died before 1699 in Ma. Israel Leavitt [8]’s father was John Leavitt [7] b. about 1602 in Norfolk, England, m. 16 Dec. 1646 in Hingham, Mass. Sarah Gilman. [JOH note:  discrepancy here for the Judkins chart, which gives Mary Levett (Leavitt, Lovit) as having m. this John Leavitt 16 Dec. 1646 in Hingham.]   John Leavitt [7]’s father was Percival Levett or Leavit [6] b. 1580 in Beverly, Yorkshire, England, d. 16 Dec. 1646/47 in Hingham, Suffolk, Mass., having m. probably in Beverly, Yorkshire, England in 1607 Margaret Linkley who was b. 1589 in Beverly, Yorkshire, England.   Percival Levett or Leavit [6]’s father was also named Percival Levett (Leavitt) [5], b. 1560 in Yorkshire, England, d. 1625 in York, England, having m. 1580 in Yorkshire, England Elizabeth Rotherforth who was b. 1561 in Yorkshire, England.  Percival Levett (Leavitt) [5]’s father was William Levett [4], b. abt. 1528 in Harewood, West Riding, Yorkshire, England and d. 6 Jul. 1569, having m. in 1553 in York, Joan Yngland (Yuglande), b. 1532 in Harewood, West Riding, Yorkshire, England, d. 6 Jul. 1569 in York, England.  William Levett [4]’s father was Richard Levett (Leavitt) [3], b.1506 in Appleton, Yorkshire, Eng., d. Feb. 1567 in the same place, having m. 1529 in Appleton Ellen ____ who was b. 1508 in Appleton.  Richard Levett (Leavitt) [3]’s father was John Levett [2], b. 1474 in Bolton Percy, Yorkshire, England, and d. 1526 in the same place, having m. Agnes ____, b. abt. 1478 in Bolton Percy also.  John Levett [2]’s father was William Levett [1], b. 1448 in Bolton Percy, Yorkshire, England who m. Constanlis Wikersley who was b. 1450 in Bolton Percy also.)

Another Orcutt family connection for Mehitable comes through her great grandmother Mary Bates [5] who was married to Israel Leavitt [9].  Mary Bates [5]’s great grandfather George Lane was uncle to Mary Martha Lane who married William Orcutt [1].  The relationship is as follows:  Mary Bates [5]’s father was Caleb Bates, b. 30 Mar 1666 in Hingham, d. 15 Aug. 1747 in Hingham, having married 15 Apr. 1691 Mary Lane [4], b. 26 Sep. 1671, d. 9 Oct. 1751 still in Hingham.  Mary Lane [4]’s father was Josiah Lane [3], b. 23 May 1641 in Hingham, d. 26 Mar. 1714 in Hingham, having m. 9 May 1672 in Hingham Deborah Gill who was b. 8 May, 1653 in Hingham, and d. 16 Apr. 1727.  Josiah Lane [3]’s father was the before-mentioned George Lane [2], uncle to Mary Martha  Lane who married William Orcutt [1].   George Lane [2] was b. 1612 probably in Norfolk county, England; he d. 11 June, 1689 in Hingham, Mass., having m. in 1635 in Hingham Sarah Harris who d. 26 Mar. 1694 in Hingham.  George Lane [2]’s father was William Lane [1], b. 1580 probably in Norfolk County, England, and d. 6 Jul. 1654 in Dorchester, Suffolk, Mass.  He m. before 1612 in England, Agnes ____, who was b. 1584, probably in Norfolk County, England.  This second chart says she d. 3 April 1671, but this is likely in error, since there is no mention of a wife in William Lane’s will nor mention of a wife from the time of William Lane’s 1635 arrival in Massachusetts – see chapter One, page 2 where the Lane Genealogies by Fitts considers William Lane’s wife was Agnes Farnsworth, possibly a second wife.)

The next generation following Elisha 4 Vining, then, would be Mehitable’s parents, Elisha Vining Jr. [5].  According to Karolyn Roberts, he was born in 1742 in Abington, Plymouth, MA, and died 3/11/1822 in MA (Ancestral Records).  He married Deborah Fullington on May 2, 1764 in Abington, who was born in Massachusetts and died 12/21/1822 in MA. (Early MA Marriages of Plymouth Co.)

As of this date, 7/2002, no further information has yet been found regarding Mehitable’s mother, Deborah Fullington.  But note the Revolutionary War record for her father, Elisha Vining Jr. [5] on p. 2 above.

It may be of interest to note what may be known of some other relatives, so information from Chamberlain for Mehitable’s great-uncle Thomas [4] also follows, since nothing further was given there for either Elisha [4] or for George [3]:

“Thomas [4] Vining (George, John) was born at Weymouth, 14 Sept. 1703; married at Weymouth, 25 July, 1727, Hannah Randall, daughter of John and Susanna (Benson) Randall of Weymouth.  [JOH:  Another Orcutt family connection here:  Hannah is niece to Elizabeth Randall, b. about 1679, who married Benjamin 2 Orcutt about 1705 in Weymouth.  Elizabeth Randall Orcutt was a younger sister to John Randall, Hannah’s father.]  Hannah Randall was born in Weymouth 4 Jan. 1708.

Children, born at Weymouth:

  • Susanna [5], b. 9 July 7 1728.
  • Josiah, b. 8 Dec. 1729.
  • Hannah, b. 10 Nov. 1731.
  • Mercy, b. 5 Apr. 1734.
  • John Randall, b. 4 July, 1736
  • Benjamin, b. 16 Nov. 1738.
  • Sarah, b. 9 Nov. 1741.
  • Jonah, b. 17 Mar. 1744.
  • Elizabeth, b. 21 Sept. 1746.”

The Vining family move from Weymouth to Abington appears to have occurred directly after the 1741 marriage of Mehitable’s grandfather Elisha [4] and grandmother Mary Leavitt Vining, since her father Elisha [5] Vining was born in Abington in 1742.  The distance is actually negligible:  some writers even refer to Abington as “south Weymouth.”   On a current map, Weymouth center is located about nine miles northwest of Abington center.  North Abington is two miles closer.

But there is a difference in counties.  Although Norfolk County was established in Massachusetts in 1643, it was abolished in 1680.  Then in 1793 it was again established as separate from Suffolk County.    The township of Abington became separated from Bridgewater in 1712; in 1727 a part of Abington became Hanover; in 1874, a part of Abington became Rockland; and in 1875 a part of Abington became South Abington.  (The town of Hanson – see Dora Cook chapter 7 – came from Pembroke and was defined in 1820.)

[Further note:  In Chamberlain’s Weymouth book regarding the Vinings, p. 714, notes of the marriages are from Norfolk Probate Records, beginning around 1868.]

Family of Emerson Orcutt and Mehitable Vining

(Source for family chart:  FSO.  Other sources as indicated.)

As described on page 1, Emerson [5] Orcutt and Mehitable Vining were married March 10, 1804 in Abington, Massachusetts.  If her birthdate is correct as 1783, she was then 21, while her husband was 25.  Both appear to have been born and lived their entire lives in Abington, indeed as second full generations in both their respective birth families to do so.   Several of their five surviving children remained in the Abington area as well, but the youngest was  first of this Orcutt line to leave Massachusetts entirely.

Of their six children, five boys and one girl all born in Abington, only the daughter did not survive childhood.  So Emerson and Mehitable (was she nicknamed “Hittie” as were others by that given name?) raised five sons to adulthood, with the eldest, Elisha Vining, fourteen years older than the youngest, Oran.

Elisha Vining [6] Orcutt was born March 17, 1805.  He married Ruth J. Damon of Weymouth, Mass. Nov. 28, 1826.

Emerson [6] Orcutt was born April 14, 1806.  He married first Sarah Leach Sept. 11, 1831; second, Adaline (Beal) Novel Sept. 14, 1842.

Diantha [6] Orcutt was born December 4, 1808, and died the next year, Aug. 12, 1809.

Louis [6] (Lewis according to family records) Orcutt was born March 20, 1812.  He married Mary C. Wade Jan. 1, 1833.

William [6] Orcutt was born April 8, 1817.  He married first Anna Esther Damon (called Esther) of Hanover, Mass. April 9, 1837; second Anna Shaw March 13, 1849.  (See following chapter)

Orren [6] (Oran according to family records) Orcutt was born August 7, 1819.  He married first Mary J. Jones April 8, 1841 (1858 in FSO records); second Melana Winchester Sept. 14, 1861 (Jan. 1, 1859 in FSO records).

This is the first generation for which stories handed down in the family begin to be available in written form.  JOH has stories relating to both Elisha Vining Orcutt and Lewis Orcutt as adults.   The source for these accounts is a “book” written by Agnes Pinkerton Gurney, granddaughter of Oran Orcutt and his first wife Mary Jocelyn Jones through their daughter Mary Williams Orcutt.  This “book” was given to Marion Orcutt Hersey, great granddaughter of Oran Orcutt, by Edith Hart Hathaway, granddaughter of Oran Orcutt through his second wife, Melana Winchester, and their daughter Orpha Orcutt Hart.   Marion Orcutt Hersey kindly passed along the relevant pages to JOH in 2001.

Agnes refers to “Uncle Elijah” and “Aunt Ruth” but this would have been Elisha Vining Orcutt, eldest in the family and married to Ruth Damon (interesting that she has his given name slightly wrong – his speech impediment? – see below).   Lewis Orcutt married Mary C. Wade:  “Uncle Lewis” and “Aunt Mary”.  The stories delightfully reflect a child’s life in Massachusetts:

“Thus far I haven’t said much about my Orcutt relatives, and there is material for interesting stories concerning some of them.

“As I have said, Rockland was once one of the Abingtons, of which there were North, South, East, West, and Center Abingtons; now, of them all, only North Abington is called by its original name.  The others all have been renamed.  Some of my relatives still live in North Abington, and over back of that small town is another locality called the “Thicket”.  There several families lived when I was a child.  First, there was Uncle Elijah Orcutt and his wife, Aunt Ruth.  Uncle Elijah was my Grandfather’s oldest brother, though I couldn’t realize that anyone could be older than my grandfather who died when he was sixty-two, which now seems young to me!

“I once asked Elijah, ‘Are you really older than my grandpa?’  And Uncle Elijah, who stammered, replied, ‘Ye-e-e-es, Agnes, I was the o-o-o-oldest one in the f-f-ffamily and the biggest fool they had!’  I felt so sorry for him.

“Aunt Ruth was very different, very religious.  She interlarded her remarks with pious expressions.  For instance she might say at the table, ‘Please pass the bread, bless the Lord.’  Or, ‘have you got a headache?  Praise His holy name.’  She was an ardent Seventh Day Adventist, and she once showed me her ‘Ascension Robe’ but quickly shut the bottom drawer where it was kept.  It looked like a white night-gown to me.  On several occasions she and like-minded friends went to the dismal, unkempt ‘buryin’ ground’ to meet the Lord when He came for His ‘Second Coming.’  Why they expected him to come to such a desolate spot, I could never understand.

“Aunt Ruth was a great lover of hearty food and a fine cook.  In the fall when winter threatened she would make up her supply of mince meat and bake a large number of pies, putting one on top of another as they froze, until she had a huge pile of them – twenty or more.  The pile would be as tall as I, and was supposed to last throughout the season of freezing weather.  Nights when she couldn’t sleep she would come out of the ‘buttry’ with a piece of mince pie in one hand and a chunk of cold beef in the other.

“I liked to visit at Aunt Ruth’s, for there I could do about as I pleased, while at home I was under considerable restraint.  I once heard my Mother tell a friend that she had to give Agnes a whipping about once every three weeks to keep her in bounds, or words to that effect.  But don’t get the idea that Agnes was in any way mistreated – quite the contrary.  She was a wonderful mother, and I adored her, always.

“Uncle Elijah and Aunt Ruth made Christmas wreaths of the wild holly which grew on their place.  They sold them at the Boston market and so had employment for the cold days as well as a sum of extra cash.

“Up on the hill not far from Uncle Elijah’s lived Uncle Lewis Orcutt and his wife, Aunt Mary, and two motherless granddaughters, Ella and Louisa, who were just the right age to play with me.  They introduced me to the joys of fishing in the big mill pond in behind the house.  We would sit on a rock and see the shining little fish come and jerk at our bent pins, then go gaily away.  But we did manage to catch a few little bullheads occasionally.  Across the road there was a fine huckleberry pasture and what fun it was for us to take our little shiny tin pails and go berrying.  We always thought the most tedious part was getting the bottom covered.  So, soon after we had each located a nice bush and were hard at work, one of us would call to another, ‘Have you got your bottom covered?’  And the answer might come back, ‘Yes,” or ‘No,’ or ‘Not quite.’  Down below the house in the orchard ran a little brook with small waterfalls here and there where we sailed our paper boats made by my mother.  There was no end to the wonderful things to do at Aunt Mary’s.    The nearby woods were full of azaleas in springtime.  To my mind nothing can equal a spring in New England unless it is a spring in Oregon.

“So the years of my childhood passed, with vacations in many delightful spots

“Once, I remember we went to Duxbury to visit at a farm on a hillside above the tide flats a few miles from the ocean.  Miles Standish’s home was near….”

The account soon comes to skipped pages.  Apparently they are determined to be irrelevant to Orcutts.   Uncle Lewis’ and Aunt Mary’s granddaughters can be identified through FSO’s genealogy:  Lewis [6] and Mary Wade Orcutt had three sons, one of whom was Albert Lewis [7] Orcutt, b. Jan. 23, 1835, m. Mary Louise ____ in 1864.  Mary Louise must have died, for her two eldest children were Ella Frances [8] Orcutt b. 1864 and Mary Louise [8] Orcutt, b. 1866.  Hence, Ella and Louisa.     (There were also two boys:  Albert Lewis [8} b. 1868, and Edgar [8] b. 1873, but no further information is available for them.  Did they survive childhood?  Possibly not.)

There was surely at least one more set of relatives who continued to live in the North Abington area.  FSO lists the family of George Brooks [7] Orcutt, son of Elisha Vining [6] and Ruth J. (Damon) Orcutt.  GBO’s son George Webster [8] Orcutt was living in North Abington in 1936 at age 78.

Emerson 5 and Mehitable Vining Orcutt produced  the first generation of this line of Orcutts to move to the Midwest when the Western Reserve territory opened up.  Oran and his family, with 2nd wife Melana Winchester, moved to Austinburg, Ohio in about 1859.   And Oran’s nephew, William Edwin 7 Orcutt, son of Oran’s slightly older brother William 6 Orcutt moved with them (see following chapter 7).

Shoemaking/ bootmaking had become a family profession certainly by this 6th generation of the Orcutt men, and there were many shoe/boot factories in the Abington/Hanover area.  Both William 6 and Oran 6 were shoemakers, as was William’s son Wm. Edwin 7 Orcutt.   Perhaps other Abington relatives, too?
Mehitable’s Era

Once again, we do not know death dates for Emerson 5 or Mehitable Vining Orcutt.  Did they live into and through the American Civil War?  Probably the War of 1812 was of note (son Lewis was born that year), coming just eight years after their marriage; and both were born not long after the onset of the Revolutionary War and before the establishment of the U.S. Constitution.  Perhaps they lived through three major wars in American history; if so, they were the only generation to compass that entire period.  [JOH:  future research in the Abington, Massachusetts area is anticipated for late 2002; perhaps more light can be shed on this question.]

Emerson 5 and Mehitable Vining Orcutt were the 2nd generations in both their families to live in the Abington, Massachusetts area.  This experience is worth noting, since it continues into the following, 6th generation, and indicates a lengthier settledness in one locality not found to that extent for prior or subsequent generations.   They did not move away, so far as we know, from the community where they were born and married.   This is an interesting note in the pattern of settlement in the USA, even though the Orcutts and their wives’ families mostly reflect the generally westward movement of settlement, generation by generation, through the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

In terms of the nation’s history, Emerson 5 and Mehitable Vining Orcutt as children witnessed the presidencies of George Washington and John Adams, then Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe, since their youngest son Oran was born in 1819 during Monroe’s presidency.   Then perhaps they were aware of the presidencies of John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, James Polk, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan – might they have lived even all the way to the presidency of Abraham Lincoln?    (Mehitable would have been 78, and Emerson 5 aged 82 in 1861.  Their grandson William Edwin 7 Orcutt was born in 1841 in Hanover, Mass. during the first year of John Tyler’s administration — were they still alive when he and their son, his uncle Oran and family, moved to Ohio around 1859?   If so, Mehitable would have been 76, Emerson 5, aged 80.)

Much earlier in their younger lifetime on the world stage Napoleon had been active, then defeated and exiled with Europe redesigned by the Congress of Vienna in 1815.  The Louisiana Purchase tremendously extended the U.S. territory, destined to include the home settlements of three later generations, grandchildren of their grandson WEO.    (In the year of Mehitable’s birth, 1783, settlement to the west had not passed the Mississippi River.)

In the 1820s the slavery issue was set at rest for a time by the Missouri Compromise.  Railroads were introduced in the 1830s, the telegraph system in 1844.   In Massachusetts writers like Whittier, Longfellow, Hawthorne, and Emerson appeared between 1830 and 1840.    Popular education was improved.   Multi-page city newspapers began to replace the old “blanket-sheet” newspaper, first in New York City in the 1830s.

Speculation grew in the 1820s and 30s, culminating in the panic of 1837.  What did that do to the shoe industry in the Abingtons/Hanover area?

The war against Mexico was declared in 1846, and slavery soon became a burning issue.  Immigration mushroomed in the late 1840s and after, such that over 2 ¼ million persons from abroad settled in the U.S. between 1847 and 1854.   All that impetus helped to push
venturesome people westwards; soon this particular branch of the Orcutt line under study moved well beyond Massachusetts and the Eastern Seaboard.  But that journey remains to be depicted by the next two generations.

Transcribed by Danielle Mead Skjelver.

One thought on “Mehitable Vining – The Women Who Married the Orcutt Men

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