Migration of the Endicott Family in America

There are two things to bear in mind about the Endicotts in America.

First of all, there are many different spellings of the name, including Endacott, Endecott, Endicott, Enticott, Indicut, etc. (In fact, Kyle Elwood says that there are dozens of variant spellings going back to the Middle Ages.) So in this book, where the name Endicott is referred to it really means all members of the family with the various spellings, not just the spelling Endicott.

The second thing to bear in mind is that not all Endicotts in America descend from Governor John Endecott; there are multiple lines here. For example, according to Charles M. Endicott, Esq, of Salem, Massachusetts, writing in 1847, in “The Endicott Family,”

It is the general impression that all having this name in this country are descended from Governor Endecott. This is a mistake. There were families of “Indicotts,” distinct from his, residing in Boston and its vicinity, some time previous to 1700. The two names probably had the same origin, though so different in orthography. Of these there was a “John Indicott,” warden of King’s Chapel, and a man of some consequence in 1691; “Gilbert Indicott,” yeoman, of Dorchester, born in 1658; and a “William Indicott,” They appear to have been brothers, and contemporaries of Governor Endecott’s grandchildren but could not have been derived from him...

Indeed, they were brothers and not derived from the Governor. But they were nephews, or more precisely, half-nephews of John Endecott. Ted Sandford, former President of the Endicott Family Association, has explained how this happened in his work “Out of the Mists of Time.” According to Ted, Governor John had a half-brother, believe it or not, also named John, who lived from January 30, 1616 and died on February 24, 1683 and this half-brother was the father of the aforementioned John, Gilbert, and William.

According to Ted, after this John (baptized in 1642) came to America, he owned an inn near Boston and he was also a cooper, the maker of barrels. He became the Junior Warden of Kings Chapel in Boston in 1698-1699 and the Senior Warden in 1699-1700. This is the evidence that the family line he came from had remained loyal to the Church of England, unlike Governor John who was a Puritan.

Gilbert (1648-1716) fought in King Philip’s War (see below). After the war, he lived successively in what are Maine today, then Dorchester, Reading and Canton, where he died.

William 1658-1709) may have come to Boston like brother John, but he moved to Canton, Massachusetts area. He was also an innkeeper. He is believed to be buried in the Kings Chapel cemetery like his brother.

Here is evidence of yet another Endicott line, Ronald Burdette Endicott, who was killed at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. His ancestor, James M. Endicott, came from England around 1820 and the line in America is documented after that.

Here is yet another Endicott line in America, the Reverend John Endacott (1865 – 1934) who was born in Devon, England emigrated to America and by 1887 was a Methodist preacher in Eudora, Kansas.

In addition to these lines, a lot of Endicotts emigrated to Canada and some of the mmight have subsequently come to the United Sates. On the other hand, it’s also likely that descendants of the Governor immigrated to Canada. Take for instance John Endicott, who fought for the British Queen’s Rangers in the American Revolution. He appears to have been born in the American colonies, fought for the British and then had to flee the country when Britain lost the war.

To complicate matters even further, it may be that some people assumed the name Endicott when moving to Devon from another place and are not really Endicotts at all, and then had descendants move to America. This information comes to us in the form of a note on a genealogical chart written by a John Endacott (1840 - 1924), dated 1898. On the bottom, right of the chart is this message:

"Foot-note: the following paragraph explains what appears to be an intermarriage. The original and several copies of the document from which this paragraph is taken, are now held by various members of the family. To understand fully, one needs to know the conditions at Chagford, England, where the ancestral home of the Endacotts is located and where there are many people by that name, today. Outsiders coming into the settlement often took the name of Endacott, for along with the name would go certain privileges in that particular community. The two families of Endacotts united in 1832 were before that distinct lines. John and Jane held the Gidley Mill and Greber estates from their families for 300 years. Edward and Jane came from the North of England and settled in Exeter during the French War in 1814, as a "Smith" and about 1830 bought land at Dockham near Moreton, where he followed the life of a farmer and where James and Susan met each other. The land he bought is called "Manavers"; he also farmed "Coswick" and "Hill", two farms in the parish of Moreton, Hamstead, at the same time.

"The other branch of Endicotts, into which Susan Maria married, should more properly be called Hannaford, but they chose to adopt the name Endicott, about 1848. No one but myself could have furnished these particulars.

"Signed John Endacott, dated June 1898"

So, while it's likely that there multiple separate non-Governor John Endecott lines in the U.S., not enough is known about this at the present time to speculate as to what percentage of the Endicotts in America descend from these other lines.

However, it also seems probable that these lines and Governor John Endecott are related in the more distant past. This is because in almost every case, whether it be Endicotts in the U.S. military, or Endicotts in the militaries of Australia, Britain, Canada or New Zealand, they all trace back to the area around Devon, England.

Having said all this, it is safe to say that the Endicott family in America began in Salem, Massachusetts, with the arrival of John Endecott in 1628. He was the first (and only) Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Company residing in America and then later the longest-serving Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. According to Charles M. Endicott (1793 -1863) writing in 1847, the spelling of the surname Endecott in John Endecott’s immediate line was changed from Endecott to Endicott in 1724 although other lines may have changed it at other times or not at all.

(Charles Moses Endicott was educated at the Phillips Andover Academy and then had a seafaring career. In 1831, his ship “Friendship” was captured in a famous incident by pirates in Sumatra, but he was able to attack the pirates later and get it back again. He wrote a 76-page story about the incident called “Sumatran Pirates and the Friendship (1831): A True Tale of Piracy and Pepper” that was published in 1856. He is also the father of Ingersoll Bowditch Endicott, a Union soldier in the Civil war – see Civil War chapter.)

We know more about the Governor John Endecott line than any of the others. Some of John’s descendants moved successively to New Jersey by 1700; to North Carolina by 1759; to Kentucky by 1786; to Indiana by 1815, and after that to Missouri, especially Clay County, before the Civil War. Colonies of Endicotts exist in all of those places to this day. From there, the clan dispersed all over America, with a group migrating as far as to the Pacific Northwest and others to Louisiana (probably Missouri Endicotts going down the Mississippi River prior to the Civil War) and to California.

Endicotts owned slaves in Missouri and an African-American by the name of Alvin Eugene Collins is a descendant of one of those Clay County Endicotts, Lewis Endicott, 1793 - 1858, a descendant of Governor John Endecott, and one of Lewis’s slaves. Alvin is alive today and a member of the John Endecott Family Association.

Here is an “up close and personal” look at some of the people involved.

Governor John Endecott had two sons, John, Jr. and Zerubbabel. But only Zerubbabel had children, so it is thought that a plurality of Endicotts in the United States today descended from John through Zerubbabel.

Zerubbabel had 10 children, so there was a lot of “descending,” too. Since it is thought that most Endicotts in America descend from one of these lines, it’s worth mentioning the names of the children of Zerubbabel Endecott and Mary Smith here:

1. John Endecott, b. 1657

2. Samuel Endecott, b. 1659

3. Zerubbabel Endecott, b. 1664

4. Benjamin Endecott, , b. 1665

5. Mary Endecott, b. 1667

6. Joseph Endecott, b. 1672, Salem, Mass.; d. 1747, Northhampton, Burlington County, New Jersey.

7. Sarah Endecott, b. 1673

8. Elizabeth Endecott, b. 1675

9. Hannah Endecott, b. 1676

10. Mehetabel Endecott, b. 1677

In 1698, Zerubbabel’s son Joseph left Massachusetts and settled in Northampton, Burlington County, New Jersey. Joseph married a Quaker and converted to Quakerism. Since his father, Governor John Endecott, had hanged some Quakers in his day, this may have had something to do with why Joseph decided to leave Massachusetts.

In 1759, Thomas Endicott, grandson of Joseph, moved to Surrey County, North Carolina, just on the border between Virginia and North Carolina.

His eldest son was named Moses and Moses fought in the American Revolution. An affidavit signed by Moses indicates that he was born in Burlington County, New Jersey in 1759, the same year his father moved the family to North Carolina.

Thomas has written that after the Revolution he moved the family a second time in 1786, this time to Kentucky and Moses went with them, as did Moses’s son Joseph, who was only 2 at the time.

And then shortly after 1799, his first wife having died, Thomas moved a third time, this time to Posey County, Indiana. In 1814, Thomas returned to Kentucky to marry his second wife and at some point thereafter went back to Posey County. While the exact date of his return to Posey County is not known, it is known that he died there and his will was dated October, 1827.

It is also known that on September 1, 1815, Moses’s son, Joseph, grandson of the aforementioned Thomas, left Harrison County, Kentucky for Posey County, Indiana.

After reaching Indiana, other Endicotts went on to Missouri, Wisconsin, Kansas, Oregon, Colorado, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and California.