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There are numerous assumptions about John Bouton that have no apparent validity - a circumstance that has plagued the history of a number of early Norwalk families. For the Boutons, we have a remarkably bad publication called Bouton-Boughton Family: Descendants of John Bouton, a Native of France, Who embarked from Gravesend, England and Landed at Boston in December, 1635, and Settled at Norwalk, Connecticut (1890), by James Bouton. It is the result of some of the worst genealogical scholarship seen in print. Conversely, William T. R. Marvin does an admirable job outlining and refuting the major mistakes made about the first two generations of the family. (1) Sadly, it's James Bouton's book that most Bouton researchers see, not the NEHGR article, and with the ever-increasing spread of genealogy on the internet there has come a mind-numbing repetition and compounding of James Bouton's errors.

It is a very widely accepted and repeated idea that John Bouton of Norwalk was the same as "Jno. Bowton," age 20, who sailed in July from London on the ship Assurance in 1635. The destination was Virginia. I have seen no evidence to connect these two men, or anything to suggest the ship left people in Boston or Hartford on the way. Savage, in his Genealogical Dictionary of New England(2) mentioned the ship in connection with the Norwalk Boutons before James Bouton, but the latter made his statement while acknowledging that he did so based only on the fact that the Assurance manifest is the only one with a name relatable to John "Bouton." The fact that there were ships with New England settlers-to-be that sailed in the 1620s and 1630s for which we have no manifests is very significant. John Bouton most likely came on a now undocumented ship destined for New England at the end of the so-called "Great Migration" and we should allow poor "Jno. Bowton." to continue his voyage to Virginia.

Immigrant John had a wife named Alice, who identifies herself as the mother of Bouton children in her will.(3) This isn't proof she was their biological mother, but it is likely. There isn't any evidence, made known publicly at least, to support the idea that she was a Kellogg. Her daughter Bridget married Daniel Kellogg. Some have supposed, based on that assumption, that she was the daughter of Nathaniel Kellogg, presumably because he was in the right area at the right time, but who, in his will, mentions no children of his own.

James Bouton makes the gigantic leap of saying that immigrant John was born in France to Count Nicholas Bouton. There is absolutely nothing to support this, and James Bouton himself offers nothing, nor is there anything to suggest the Boutons were French Hugeunots. While the spelling "Bouton" relates to the French language, there isn't any way to determine a "correct" spelling of the name, which has been found as Boughton, Bowton, Bowden, Bowten and Boutten. This were undoubtedly written phonetically. John Bouton, Jr. (d. 1707, see link below) signed his name as "Bouton," although the signature is poorly written. His son Joseph spelled it "Boutton," according to a transcription of his will. The Norwalk Boutons' origins on the other side of the Atlantic simply aren't known.

After John's death Alice married Matthew Marvin and probably had the two Marvin children who were baptized at separate times in Hartford in the late 1640s.(4) Allowing for a civil bereavement and a normal period of gestation, this places immigrant John's death about 1645. Her will says she was about 70, placing her birth about 1610. Being the mother of immigrant John's children indicates that she was his first wife. There isn't anything to suggest he had previously married a woman named Joan Turney. However, his son Richard married Ruth Turney.

children of John and probably Alice Bouton:

Bridget m. Daniel Kellogg
Richard d. abt. June 1665 (5), m. Ruth Turney (6)

1. The New England Historical & Genealogical Register (1897), vol. 51, pp. 330-334.
2. James Savage, The Genealogical Dictionary of New England
3. Fairfield District Probate Court.
4. citation pending, see also Marvin's NEHGR article.
5. citation pending
6. citation pending

all text and photographs © 1998-2009 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted