181. Stetson


  1. John Stitson (d. 1614) m. Agnys ____ (d. 1622); Modbury, Devon, Eng.
  2. Thomas Stitson (d. aft. 1618) m. 1605 Argent Lukesmore (d. 1643); Modbury, Devon, Eng.
  3. Cornet Robert Stetson (1615–1703) m. (1) 1635 Honour Tucker (b. 1613); Plymouth, Devon, Eng.; Scituate, Mass.
  4. Thomas Stetson (b. 1644) m. ca. 1670 Sarah Dodson (b. 1652); Scituate, Mass.
  5. Caleb Stetson (1683–aft. 1735) m. (1) 1706 Sarah Brewster (ca. 1682–ca. 1730); Scituate, Kingston, Mass., Falmouth, Me.
  6. Abisha Stetson (1707–ca. 1755) m. 1730 Elizabeth James (1706–1768); Hingham, Mass.
  7. Capt. John Stetson (1741–1799) m. 1766 Joanna Green (1745–1815); Boston, Mass.
  8. Joanna Stetson (1776–1851) m. 1802 Capt. William Perkins Matchett (1774–1848); Boston, Brighton, Mass.

183. Stetson


  1. Abisha Stetson (1707–ca. 1755) m. 1730 Elizabeth James (1706–1768); Hingham, Mass.
  2. Lemuel Stetson (1731–1789) m. Susanna ____ (ca. 1735–1794); Boston, Mass.
  3. Catherine Marriot Stetson (ca. 1778–1828) m. 1796 Capt. William Stevens Plummer (1766–1800); Boston, Mass.

Related surnames

1449, 1465. Brewster · 2897, 2929. Dodson · 363, 2911. Green · 725, 733. James · 45. Matchett · 91. Plummer · 5793, 5857. Tucker

No further information on the Lukesmore family is available at this time.

Comment 1: Lineage of Abisha Stetson

The English ancestry and origin of this family was first established in 1938, and was recently enhanced with new transcriptions from parish registers.[1] Consequently, the first three generations of the lineage are not in dispute. From Robert forward, however, two distinct lines of descent have been proposed for Abisha. The line set out above was originally proposed in 1985, in a book that does not provide completely satisfactory documentation.[2] Previously, genealogists had followed the earlier version set out by John Stetson Barry in 1847:[3]

  1. Cornet Robert Stetson and Honour Tucker
  2. Robert Stetson and Joanna ?Brooks[4]
  3. Isaac Stetson and Elizabeth Pray[5]
  4. Abisha Stetson and Elizabeth James

The reasons for overturning this account of the Stetson ancestry had to await the release of the relevant Mayflower Families in Progress pamphlet in 2003.[6] Barbara Lambert Merrick observes that while Isaac resided in Pembroke, Caleb lived in Kingston, the town that Abisha gave as his residence in the church record of his marriage.[7] Furthermore, Isaac’s son Abisha and his family could be identified as the inhabitants of Pembroke who were warned out of Bridgewater in 1763.[8] Abisha of Kingston and Caleb were both shipwrights, whereas Abisha of Bridgewater was a cordwainer.

Merrick thus demonstrates that Abisha exhibits more continuity in geographical placement and manner of living with Caleb than Isaac, which renders it more likely that Abisha belongs to Caleb’s family. That this genealogical adjustment gives Abisha a firmly documented birth date and his descendants a Mayflower descent adds a certain charm. Accordingly, the new account of Caleb’s family in Mayflower Families through Five Generations simply lists the Abisha Stetson who married Elizabeth James as Caleb’s son, and represents Abisha’s children as a further generation of Mayflower descendants, without indicating that Abisha’s own parentage had been disputed in the past.[9] For the resolution of that dispute, the Mayflower Families in Progress treatment from 2003 remains essential.

Comment 2: Susanna, Wife of Lemuel Stetson

Lemuel Stetson was born 27 January 1730/1, in Hingham, Suffolk (now Plymouth) County, Massachusetts, son of Abisha and Elizabeth (James) Stetson,[10] and died 13 January 1789 in Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts.[11] He married, probably in the First Church in Boston on 23 January 1758, Susanna Irving (or Erving).[12] There is also record of a widow Susannah Stetson who died in April or May 1794, aged 59 years.[13] Given that Lemuel’s wife is the only Bostonian who matches on age and name,[14] and that Lemuel himself had died five years before, it is reasonable to suppose preliminarily that the records refer to Lemuel’s widow. Susannah’s birth date is thus fixed at about 1735.

The now-standard work on the Stetson family claims that Susanna Erving was the mother of all of Lemuel’s children. Had this publication drawn on manuscript death lists from eighteenth-century Boston, it might well have further identified her with the decedent of 1794.[15] There is, however, reason to be wary of such an identification. It is true that a key document names Susanna Studson as mother of Catherine Marriot Stetson, Lemuel’s youngest child.[16] Nor, on its face, is the identification chronologically objectionable. As we shall see, the first of Lemuel’s children was born in 1760 and the last in about 1778. Placing Susanna Erving’s birth in 1735 would make her some 25 years old at the first birth and about 43 at the last. This range is altogether typical for an eighteenth-century New England woman who lived to middle age and was married once. A closer look at the documentation, however, inspires doubts that the Lemuel Stetson family actually conformed to this pattern.

The will of Catherine’s much older namesake, the widow Catherine (Weaver) Marriot of Boston, is minimally cited in the Stetson genealogy, and its mentions of Susanna Studson, wife of Lemuel Studson of Boston, housewright, and of Catherine Marriot Studson, their daughter, are extracted.[17] But the genealogy takes no notice of the omission of all of Lemuel’s other children.[18] In view of the known residence of only one Lemuel Stetson in Boston during the eighteenth century,[19] the most likely explanation is that Catherine (Weaver) Marriot had no kinship with any of Lemuel’s family except his wife and their daughter Catherine.

The family chronology supports this observation. The known children of Lemuel and Susanna (Erving) Stetson are:

  1. Levi Stetson, son of Mr — Stutsen, bp. West Church, Boston, 3 Feb. 1760,[20] d. Wilmington, New Hanover Co., N. C., before 11 Nov. 1806, aged 47y,[21] m. Boston 20 April 1784 Mary Emmes,[22] apparently the one bp. New South Church, Boston, 20 Sept. 1761, dau. of John and Hannah (____) Emmes,[23] d. Sandwich, Barnstable Co., Mass., 28 Dec. 1846, aged 86y.[24]
  2. William Stetson, bp. Old South Church, Boston, 10 Jan. 1762,[25] poss. m. ca. 1794 (first child, bp. New South Church, Boston, 6 June 1795) Lydia ____.[26]
  3. Susanna Stetson, bp. First Church, Roxbury, Suffolk Co., Mass., 26 Feb. 1764, the daughter of Lemuel Hutson (Boston) & [blank] his wife,[27] d. Boston shortly before 6 June 1821, aged 56y,[28] m. Boston 6 Aug. 1786 James Ferriter,[29] prob. bp. New South Church, Boston, 8 July 1764, son of Nicholas and Elizabeth (Allen) Ferriter,[30] d. Boston 4 April 1822, aged 59y.[31]
  4. Elizabeth Stetson, bp. Old South Church, Boston, 2 Feb. 1766,[32] d. 18 March 1815, aged 49y, unm., bur. Granary Burying Ground, Boston.[33]
  5. Edward Marret (or Merrick) Stetson, bp. West Church, Boston, 13 March 1768,[34] d. before 13 April 1789, when named as deceased in his son’s baptismal record,[35] m. (int. Boston 20 Dec. 1787) Abigail Mills.[36]

The children were baptized in different churches, but at regular intervals of two years and, in many cases, at moments reasonably concurrent with birth years estimated from ages at death. From this pattern, Catherine herself marks a sharp contrast. Not only is there a significant time-lapse between her and her next older sibling, but her church membership pattern differs drastically.

  1. Catherine Marriot Stetson, b. ca. 1778, d. Boston 20 Oct. 1828, aged 50y,[37] bp. as an adult, New South Church, Boston, 6 Dec. 1794,[38] m. there 23 Oct. 1796 Capt. William Stevens Plummer,[39] b. Gloucester, Essex Co., Mass., 5 July 1766, son of Dr. Samuel and Anna (Stevens) Sanders Plummer,[40] d. at sea 27 April 1800.[41]

Such discontinuity in chronology, associations (witness Catherine Marriot’s will), and behavior (witness the New South Church record) gives reason to doubt that Susanna Erving played the same role in Catherine’s life as in those of Lemuel’s older children. Investigation of Catherine Marriot Stetson’s maternal ancestry must await stronger evidence of her mother’s identity than her father’s one recorded marriage.


1 L. Vernon Briggs, History and Genealogy of the Briggs Family, 1254–1937, 3 vols. (Boston: Charles E. Goodspeed & Co., 1938), 3:858-60; Search for the Passengers of the Mary & John, 1630, vol. 26 (Toledo, Ohio: Burton W. Spear, 1997), 57-8. The birth date of Thomas, son of the immigrant, in the outline above reflects an adjustment suggested by Jeremy Dupertuis Bangs, Cornet Robert Stetson’s Arrival in Scituate and the Birth Date of His Son Joseph, New England Historical and Genealogical Register 151 (1997): 438-41.

2 Milton E. Terry and Anne Borden Harding, comps. A Notebook on the Descendants of Elder William Brewster of Plymouth Colony (Westfield, N. J.: Union Printing Company, 1985), 33, 124.

2 John Stetson Barry, A Genealogical and Biographical Sketch of the Name and Family of Stetson; From the Year 1634, to the Year 1847 (Boston: William A. Hall & Co., 1847); Oscar Frank Stetson, ed., The Descendants of Cornet Robert Stetson of Scituate, Sixteen Hundred and Thirty Four, 1 vol. in 3 pts. (Providence, R. I.: Stetson Kindred of America, 1933–56).

4 This identification is traditional. Like most of the traditionally ascribed alliances of William Brooks’s daughters, however, Deborah’s marriage to Robert Stetson has not been proven by documentary evidence. See Robert Charles Anderson, George F. Sanborn Jr., and Melinde Lutz Sanborn, The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634–1635, 7 vols. (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1999–2011), 1:414. Robert’s wife’s forename is known as Deborah, however, from a son’s death record (Briggs, Briggs Family, 3:872; Susan Augusta Smith, Pembroke, Mass., Births, Marriages, and Deaths, Genealogical Advertiser 1 [1898]: 25-32, at 29.

5 This identification was made by Barry shortly after the publication of his book, on information from Isaac’s granddaughter:

The next year after Mr. Barry published his record (1848) he called on Mrs. Content Crocker, a daughter of John Stetson and a granddaughter of Isaac. She told Mr. Barry that her grandmother was Elizabeth Pray of Marshfield, and said she remembered her well. (Barry’s Private Notes.) (Stetson, Descendants of Cornet Robert Stetson, no. 1 [1933]: 56)

It is true that the mother of Isaac’s children was called Elizabeth, just as the mother of one of Robert’s was called Deborah (Smith, Pembroke Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 29). Stetson extended this identification to accord with the best Pray family summary then in print: Henry Ernest Woods, Pray of York and Kittery, New England Historical and Genealogical Register 55 (1901): 280-1. See also Susey A. Smith, Robert of Pembroke and a Few of His Descendants, in Stetson Kindred of America (Incorporated): Containing Account of Annual Meetings.—Short Biographical Sketches.—Historical Papers.—Genealogy.—List of Members, etc., [Booklet no. 4,] comp. Nelson M. Stetson (Rockland, Mass.: Press of A. I. Randall, 1914), 101-3.

6 Barbara Lambert Merrick, comp., Mayflower Families in Progress: William Brewster of the Mayflower and the Fifth Generation Descendants of His Son Love2 (Plymouth, Mass.: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 2003), 87-8.

7 Thomas W. Baldwin, comp., Vital Records of Cohasset, Massachusetts, to the Year 1850 (Boston: Wright & Potter Printing Company, 1916), 170. Merrick, unfortunately, appears to misinterpret this record: The marriage certificate of Abisha Stetson . . . stated that he was born in Kingston (Mayflower Families: William Brewster and His Son Love, 88).

8 Merrick, Mayflower Families: William Brewster and His Son Love, 88, gives an incorrect reference for this record. The correct reference is David Thomas Konig, ed., Plymouth Court Records, 16 vols. (Wilmington, Del.: Michael Glazier, Inc., 1978–81), 3:106.

9 Barbara Lambert Merrick, Mayflower Families Through Five Generations: Descendants of the Pilgrims Who Landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts, in December 1620, vol. 24, The Descendants of Elder William Brewster, Part 1, ed. Scott Andrew Bartley (Plymouth, Mass.: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 2014), 371-4; Part 3, ed. John Bradley Arthaud (Plymouth, Mass.: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 2019), 195-6.

10> [George Lincoln,] The History of Hingham, Massachusetts, 3 vols. in 4 (Hingham, Mass.: published by the town, 1893), 3:189; George Lyman Davenport and Elizabeth Osgood Davenport, The Genealogies of the Families of Cohasset, Massachusetts (Cohasset, Mass.: Committee on Town History, 1909), 405.

11 Robert J. Dunkle and Ann S. Lainhart, Deaths in Boston, 1700 to 1799, 2 vols. (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1999), 2:860.

12 Anson Titus, transcr., Marriages of the Rev. Thomas Foxcroft, A.M., Boston. 1717–1769, New England Historical and Genealogical Register 42 (1888): 152-5, 250-4 at 254.

13 Dunkle and Lainhart, Deaths in Boston, 2:860; Robert J. Dunkle and Ann S. Lainhart, transcrs., John Haven Dexter’s Memoranda of the Town of Boston in the 18th & 19th Centuries (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1997), 481.

14 The only Susannah Stetson known to Annie Haven Thwing is Susannah Townsend, wife of James Stutson. They were married in 1696 and thus, for procreative purposes, hardly count as Lemuel’s contemporaries (Inhabitants and Estates of the Town of Boston, 1630–1800, CD-ROM [Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society and Massachusetts Historical Society, 2000)], refcodes 56126 and 56749). A search of all extant church records likewise shows contemporary records of no Susannah Stetson other than Lemuel’s wife, daughter, and niece (Robert J. Dunkle and Ann Smith Lainhart, transcrs., The Records of the Churches of Boston and the First Church, the Second Parish, and the Third Parish of Roxbury: Including Baptisms, Marriages, Burials, Admissions and Dismissals, CD-ROM [Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2002]; records relevant to this question include 15,130, 34,868, 34,998, and 57,763). Finally, no Stetson or Stutson man in Boston married a Susannah forward of 1752, the year Lemuel attained majority, except Lemuel himself (Edward W. McGlenen, A Volume of Records Relating to the Early History of Boston, Containing Boston Marriages from 1752 to 1809, 30th Report of the Record Commissioners [Boston: Municipal Printing Office, 1903]).

15 Stetson, Descendants of Cornet Robert Stetson, no. 3:11-2, also gives their date of marriage as 3 November 1757, but careful examination of Stetson’s source shows that this was the day they registered their intentions to marry (McGlenen, Boston Marriages, 1752–1809, 26).

16 Catherine Marriot will (1789), Suffolk County, Massachusetts, Probate Records, 91:718-23; FHL microfilm 493,895, item 1.

17 Stetson, Descendants of Cornet Robert Stetson, no. 3:12. Catherine was aged 89 years when she died, and was buried 4 November 1792 from Trinity Church in Boston (Andrew Oliver and James Bishop Peabody, eds., The Records of Trinity Church, Boston, 1728–1830, 2 vols., Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, vols. 47-8 [Boston: The Society, 1982], 2:807).

18 Catherine Marriot will, 718.

19 Thwing, Boston Inhabitants and Estates, refcode 56132.

20 Records of the West Church, Boston, Mass., New England Historical and Genealogical Register 92 (1938): 10-28 at 13.

21 Capt. Levi Stutson death notice, New-England Palladium (Boston, Mass.), 11 Nov. 1806, 2, col. 4.

22 McGlenen, Boston Marriages, 1752–1809, 104.

23 Dunkle and Lainhart, Churches of Boston, record 76,853.

24 Stetson, Descendants of Cornet Robert Stetson, no. 3 (1956): 110; Russell A. Lovell Jr. and Caroline Lewis Kardell, Vital Records of Sandwich, Massachusetts, to 1885, 3 vols. (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1996), 2:1581.

25 Dunkle and Lainhart, Churches of Boston, record 34,868. Stetson omits this child (Descendants of Cornet Robert Stetson, no. 3 [1956]: 12).

26 Dunkle and Lainhart, Churches of Boston, record 78,104.

27 William H. Whitmore and William S. Appleton, A Report of the Record Commissioners, Containing the Roxbury Land and Church Records, 2nd ed., 6th Report of the Record Commissioners (Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1884), 158. The surname is believed to be in error; there is no other record of a Lemuel Hutson or Hudson in Boston at that time.

28 Columbian Centinel (Boston, Mass.), 6 June 1821, 2, col. 6. John Haven Dexter, who would have seen this notice, puts the death in May (John Haven Dexter’s Memoranda of the Town of Boston in the 18th & 19th Centuries, comp. Robert J. Dunkle and Ann S. Lainhart [Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1997], 188).

29 McGlenen, Boston Marriages, 1752–1809, 79.

30 Dunkle and Lainhart, Churches of Boston, records 76,950 (baptism), 79,356 (parents’ marriage).

31 Columbian Centinel, 6 April 1822, 2, col. 5, dates his death to Thursday.

32 Dunkle and Lainhart, Churches of Boston, record 34,998.

33 Gravestone Inscriptions and Records of Tomb Burials in the Granary Burying Ground, Boston, Mass. (Salem, Mass.: Essex Institute, 1918), 223. Robert J. Dunkle and Ann S. Lainhart, comps., Inscriptions and Records of the Old Cemeteries of Boston (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2000), omits this tombstone.

34 Records of the West Church, 18.

35 Oliver and Peabody, Records of Trinity Church, 2:627.

36 McGlenen, Boston Marriages, 1752–1809, 459.

37 American Antiquarian Society, comp., Index of Obituaries in the Massachusetts Centinel and Columbian Centinel, 1784 to 1840, 5 vols. (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1961), 4:3597; David F. March, Boston Deaths Reported in the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, 1828–1829, New England Historical and Genealogical Register 151 (1997): 343-52, 463-82 at 475.

38 Dunkle and Lainhart, Churches of Boston, record 74,995.

39 Ibid., record 79,685; McGlenen, Boston Marriages, 1752–1809, 382.

40 Vital Records of Gloucester, Massachusetts, to the End of the Year 1849, 3 vols. (Topsfield, Mass.: Topsfield Historical Society, 1916–24), 1:544; Sidney Perley, The Plumer Genealogy, Historical Collections of the Essex Institute 50 (1914) 337-56 at 354; 51 (1915): 217-32 at 223.

41 Massachusetts Mercury (Boston, Mass.), 9 May 1800, 2, col. 4.

Created 26 May 2003; last updated 31 March 2022.
Austin W. Spencer | email: spencer@rootedancestry.com