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John's signature as an estate executor

John's signature on his will, about 3 months after the above signature was made

It isn't known when John's parents came to New England. He may have been born in England. His first appearance in public records is probably in 1655, when Norwalk's "estate of lands and accomodations" lists him as a landowner.1 This means he was at least 21, so the unsubstantiated claim that he was born in October 1636 is wrong. I've found no evidence to support this, and it appears to be an internet fabrication. His mother was born about 1610.2 If she married when she was 20, so about 1630, John could have been born about 1631-1634.
John was very active in government affairs, both locally and in the Connecticut Colony legislature. He was one of two representatives (called "deputies") of Norwalk to the General Court of the Connecticut Colony at Hartford (roughly comparable to today's county representatives to the state legislature) in 1669, 1671, 1673, 1674, 1675, 1676, 1677 and between 1678 and 16821685,3 serving several times with his brother-in-law Daniel Kellogg. He was a surveyor for the Town of Norwalk in 1670.4 John was on a committee to oversee things concerning the new Norwalk meetinghouse. The first mention of the committee is in January 1678/79.5 A long controversy delayed building the new church, mostly from disputes about where it should be. The Town ended up appealing to the General Court of the colony to settle the issue.
     After 1678 he is referred to often as Sergeant John, and that prefix is used after this. He was "Serj'nt" John when he was selected for a committee to find a new minister in 1694.6 Rev. Stephen Buckingham was chosen and then approved by the town. In the Fall of 1692, it was probably he and not his son John who served on the petit jury at a special court in Fairfield, at which four woman were tried for witchcraft.7 The jury convicted one of them - Mercy Disborough. Her death sentence was confirmed after an appeal, but she managed to avoid the noose.

The following is a transcription of John's original will:8

In the name of God Amen, December the 25th and in the Year of our Lord one thousand seaven hundred and six - I John Boutton Senior of the Towne of Norwalk in the County of Faierfield Being by the hand of God upon me weak and infirme of Body but of perfect mind and memorye thanks be given unto God: Therefore calling unto mind the Mortallyty of my body and Knowing that it is appoynted unto all men once to dye Doe make and ordaine this my Last Will and Testament: Principally and first of all: I give and Recommend my Soale into the hands of God that gave it And my body I Recommend to the earth after Death to be Decently and Christian Like Buried at the Discretion of my friends nothing Doubting but at the Generall Resurrecttion I shall receive the same againe by the mighty power of God; And as touching Such Worldly Estate wherewith it hath pleased God to Bless me in this Life; I Give, Demise and Dispose of the same In following maner and forme - after my Just Debts and funerall charges payd and Leagacyes also payd and Discharged;

Imprimis - I Doe give unto mary Boutton my Beloved wife half my homlott and the whole house and half my Barnes that side of the homlott next to John Benedick Senr. and the orchard on sayd Lott and allso my Lott of Land at fruitfull spring and allso my Lott of Land at pine hill and to Dispose of sayd parcells as she shall stand in need for her [?] and in case she shall not stand in need for her nessesity to sellor disspose of them; then she may Dispose of them to my chilldren by her; as she shall see cause and allso I doe give to my sayd wife to cows and all my moveable Estate as shall or may remaine when all Debts and dues payd as abovesayd. Allso: my will is that what moveable Estate I had of herrs at marriage with her shall not be Inventoried as the estate but to remaine to her: all the above Estate I doe give unto her duering her natireall life:

Item. I Doe give to my grandchild John Boutton, of Danbury, the sume of five shillings,

Item. I Doe give unto my son Matthew Boutton: Besides what I have allready given him as portion sum of five shillings.

Item. I Doe give to my son Joseph Boutton and to his Assignes all my Right title and Intrest in Land Lying neere Ebenezar camfields Land over the river in the bounds of norwalk: allso my part in Barren Marsh Creek he paying to my Daughter Abigal smith; the sum of five pounds.

Item. I doe give unto my Daughter Rachell Sension: besides what she hath had as portion allready, the sum of five shillings.

Item. I Doe give unto my Daughter Abigall smith the sum of five pounds to be payd by Joseph Boutton as abovesayd.

Item. I Doe give unto my Daughter Hannah Betts the sum of five pounds to be payd by my two sonns Thomas and Richard Boutton equally Betwene them when they shall attaine to the age of twenty three years.

Item. I Doe give to my sonn Thomas Boutton and his Assignes my cow Lott, Allso half my Meadow Lying on the west of the Cove over the river in the bounds of norwalk. Allso half my swamp in the comon field. Allso one half of my Land Lying Betwene the parts of Norwalk River neer the [staddles?] Being in quantity eighteene Acres and half of Land: Allso seaven Acres of Land at crambery playne in the Bounds of Norwalk; Allso two Acres of Land in the Indian field, Allso half my Meadow above sillver mine so called.

Item; I Doe give unto my Daughter Elizabeth Warin to be payd by my two sonnes Thomas and Richard Boutton equally betwene them when she shall attaine to the age of twenty three years the sum of five pounds:

Item; I Doe give to my sonn richard Boutton and his Asignes that Lott Lying in the field behind noone so called neere the swamp called Bouttons Swamp; Allso half my Meadow on the west of the cove; Allso half my Land betwene the parts of the norwalk river; being eighteene Acres and a half; Allso seaven Acres at Crambury playne; Allso half My Meadow above sillver mine so called; Allso half of my swamp and Meadow east of pine hill Lying in the comon field;

Item. I Doe give to my Daughter Mary Boutton the sum of five pounds to be payd by my two sonns Thomas and Richard Boutton when they shall attaine to the Age of twenty three Yeares.

Item. I Doe give to my three sonns Joseph and Thomas and Richard Boutton; my whole Right of Bogge Lying on the Mill Brooke; and all my comonage equally to be Divided between them.

Item. I doe give to my two sons Thomas and Richard Boutton: twenty Acres of Land Lying on the east side of five mile river equally betwene them; And furthermore. I Doe make and ordaine my Beloved wife: and my sonn Joseph Boutton: Administrator of this my will And that this is my Last will and Testament: Revokeing and making voyd any and all former wills and Testaments that may have beene by me made; In testimonie wherof I: John Boutton Senior have sett to my hand and seale the Day and Yeare Above written;

John Buton Sr

Signed and Sealed In presence of us wittneses:

William Hanes
the mark of ----------
[mark] Gregory senior

John Bouton Senior Did on the Day of the Date above; Acknowledge the above written Instrument to be his Last will and his free act Before James Olmsted, Justice of the Peace

The will and testament of John Boutton Late of Norwalk, deceased being exhibited Jany ye 27:1706 ye sd will being proved..."

In Connecticut Nutmegger there's an article by Robert W. Hull about John's second wife Mary.9 In a review of John's will he says the spelling used was "Bowton." This is incorrect. He used the transcription of the will as his source. Evidence suggests that at this time, transcriptions were done by dictation, since spelling and some minor phraseology is often different. In any case, within the original will the name is spelled "Boutton" by whomever wrote it. John signed "John Buton [probably 'Sr']," but by then he was "weak and infirm," and the signature isn't as confident as it was the previous Fall, when he signed "John Bouton" as executor of the estate of Sarah Holmes.10

A: Inventory of the Estate of Serjnt. John Boutton of Norwalk: Late Deceased: taken this 28th of ffebruary 1706 [1706/1707]

Inprimis. Waring Clothes 11
[lbs] - 10 ["s" - shillings] - 00 ["d" - pence]
Item: one old flock bed 00 - 02 - 00
Item: a feather Bolster 00 - 07 - 00
Item: 3 feather Pillowes 00 - 10 - 00
Item: 2 Home made Blanketts 01 - 11 - 00
Item: an old Rugg 00 - 06 - 00
Item: 2 pieces of Blankett, a peice of an old Rugg 00 - 02 - 00
Item: 2 sheetes 01 - 04 - 00
Item: an old sheett 00 - 03 - 00
Item: A pillow Beere11 00 - 00 - 06
Item: a table cloath 00 - 04 - 00
Item: one Homemade pillow Beere 00 - 03 - 00
Item: 2 Towells 00 - 01 - 00
Item: one Trundle Bed Stead 00 - 02 - 00
Item: one Bedstead one Cord 00 - 16 - 00
Item: half a Yard of Searge and a piece of Linin 00 - 04 - 00
Item: one white Earthen Pott 00 - 02 - 06
Item: A platter and salt seller 00 - 04 - 00
Item: 8 spoons 00 - 06 - 00
Item: in old peuter 00 - 08 - 06
Item: one old chamber pott 00 - 02 - 00
Item: one quart pott of peuter 00 - 13 - 00
Item: one Iron Pott with Leggs 00 - 18 - 00
Item: one Iron Kettle Leggs 00 - 08 - 00
Item: one old Iron Skillitt with 2 feett 00 - 01 - 06
Item: one frying pann 00 - 04 - 00
Item: one iron spitt 00 - 03 - 06
Item: a small Brass Kettle 00 - 05- 06
Item: old Irone 25 pound weight 00 - 08 - 00
Item: a tinn pan 00 - 02 - 00
Item: Tramell Iron, pot hookes 00 - 13 - 06
Item: fire
[paile?] 4s [4 shillings], tongs 4s 00 - 08 - 00
Item: an Iron Hook 1s, sheeps sheares 2s 00 - 03 - 00
Item: 2 Iron Drawing Knives 00 - 03 - 00
Item: 3 Boxes for Cart wheeles 00 - 12 - 00
Item: one share iron12 00- 01 - 06
Item: 2 old narrow Axes 00 - 06 - 00
Item: plow Coulter13 00 - 05 - 00
Item: one Belle, ring 1s, a Round Share 1s 00 - 02 - 00
Item: one howell14 00 - 02 - 00
Item: a piece of horse fetters 00 -03 -00
Item: one old Chayne15 00 - 10 - 00
Item: an old share, collar and Bolt 00 - 05 - 00
Item: Cart and wheeles, Iron hoops, Boxes, 8 Extry pinns, one
[Linee?] pin, [Clany?] all 01 - 15 - 00
Item: horse geeres, and whiple tree chayne16 00 - 07 - 00
Item: yoake ring and staple 00 - 03 - 00
Item: one Chest 00 - [12?] - 00
Item: Long wheele, Iron spindle 00 - 07 - 00 Item: one old Hetchell17 00 - 15 - 00
Item: a salt box and salt 00 - 01 - 00
Item: one old Chayer 00 - 01 - 06
Item: Leather, tand 00 - 05 - 00
Item: one old gun and sword and Lead 00 - 12 - 00
Item: 2 old sythes 00 - 02 - 00
Item: old wooden Lumber and old cask 00 - 05 - 00
Item: Indian corne ten bushells 01 - 05 - 00
Item: oates 8 bushells 01 - 05 - 00
Item: Tray and dishes 00 - 01 - 06
Item: woolen yarnes 00 - 12 - 00
Item: one water payle and Bayle 00 - 03 - 00
Item: one Tunnell
[or Funnell]18 00 - 01 - 06
Item: [in?] feathers 00 - 04 - 00
Catell: one Browne ox 05 - 05 - 00
Item: one Black ox 04 - 15 - 00
Item: one Red pyed steere 03 - 15 - 00
Item: one Browne steere with a star on her forehead 03 - 05 - 00
Item: one White Cow 03 - 10 - 00
Item: a Red Cow 03 - 07 - 00
Item: a white heifer 03 - 05 - 00
Item: a Brown Cow 03 - 00 - 00
Item: one yerling Red with a star in the face 01 - 00 - 00
Item: one Red yerling 00 - 17 - 00
Item: one swine 05 - 00 - 00
Item: 2 more swine at 15 a piece 01 - 10 - 00
Item: eight sheep 04 - 00 - 00
Land: Item: Cove Lott 3 acres 13 - 10 - 00
Item: Homlott 6 Acres House Barn fences orchard all 75 - 00 - 00
Item: 2 Acres at fruitfull spring 12 - 00 - 00
Item: at pine hill 2 Acres one half 10 - 00 - 00
Item: 2 Acres one half behind noone 10 - 00 - 00
Item: 2 Acres in the Indian field 02 - 00 - 00
Item: fresh meadow east of pine hill 15 - 00 - 00
Item: Salt Marsh Meadow over the river nere the Cove 45 - 00 - 00
Item: Land on flax hill over the river 25 - 00 - 00
Item: Land Betwene the parts of the river 50 - 00 - 00
Item: Land above Cannoe hill 05 - 00 - 00
Item: Land at Crambury Playne 07 - 00 - 00
It: his creek at Barren Marsh 00 - 05 - 00
Item: Bogge up the Mill Brook on the west side 01 - 10 - 00
Land on
[Mamachimars?] Island 03 - 00 - 00
Itm: Land neere sillver mine19 04 - 00 - 00
Item: Comonage 01 - 10 - 00
Wheat in the House 01 - 10 - 00
Item: Graynes wheat on the Land growing 06 - 00 - 00
Item: Rye on the Land growing 01 - 00 - 00
Itm: one feather Bed and flock 03-00-00

Land over Sacotuck river20 02-00-00
Item: in flax 02-01-00

children of John Bouton and Abigail Marvin (the full dates are from Norwalk town records, otherwise the names are from John's will. As was common at the time, the will clearly names them chronologically by birth):

i. John, b. 30 September 1659
ii. Matthew b. 24 December 1661
iii. Joseph b. abt 1664
iv. Rachel b. 15 December 1667
v. Abigail b. 1 April 1670
vii. Mary b. 26 March 1671 (probably died young since his younger daughter Mary is named in his will and John had 5 children in 1672)21
viii. Hannah b. abt 1673
ix. Elizabeth b. abt 1678 (given that there are no known children by Abigail after this and John didn't marry until abt 1690-91, Elizabeth may have been born at the end of her mother's fertility at abt 45 years old. Normally there is or was a 4-5 year gap between the last child and the previous born in this scenario, Hannah being born abt 1673. This also would make Elizabeth about 20 when she married.)

children of John Bouton and Mary:

x. Thomas b. abt 1692 (must have been 21 by 8 Apr 1713, and his turning 21 likely prompted the deed since his mother sold her right in 1712. See deed to David Scott, his right in his half-brother Jonathan Stevenson's land in Ridgefield, CT, Ridgefield deeds 1:47 verso)
xi. Richard b. abt 1694 (16 May 1715, to Scott, 1:48)
xii. Mary b. abt 1696 (same deed, Mary "Jr.," she was likely considered to be old enough to legally sell her right. In any case, she was surely the last born, given the sequence of names in her father's will)

vital records sources: John's first marriage is recorded in "Connecticut: Vital Records (The Barbour Collection), 1630-1870," database online (New England Historic Genealogical Society:2011), Norwalk, p. 20, images from original volumes of the Lucius Barbour Collection, CT State Library. The year is double dated to indicate the overlap of the Gregorian and Julian calenders. Both from Norwalk, Abigail, daughter of Matthew Marvin, Sr. John's death was between the dates of his will and his estate inventory.

1. Edwin Hall, The Ancient Historical Records of the Town of Norwalk, Connecticut (hereafter AHRTN) (Norwalk: 1847), 46.
2. Fairfield (CT) District probate record, 3:61.
3. The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut (hereafter PRCC), vols. 2-3 (Hartford:1850), vol. 2, pp 116 (John "Bowgh"), 159 ("Bowton"), 209, 217, 221, 249, 286 (Bowden), 300, 318; vol. 2, pp 3, 35, 48, 75 (Boughton), 97, 106, 115 (Bowten), 169, 181. 4. AHRTN, 58.
5. Ibid, 70.
6. Ibid, 87
7. PRCC, 4:76.
8. Fairfield (CT) District probate packet 914, CT State Library, see also "Connecticut, U.S., Wills and Probate Records, 1609-1999," database online (), Hartford [sic], Probate Packets, Booth, J-Bradley, Hez, 1648-1880, image 342.
9. Connecticut Nutmegger 39:182, see database online (New England Historic Genealogical Society.
10. Fairfield (CT) District probate packet 3001.
11. pillow case
12. "share" as in plow share.
13. a cutting attachment on the beam of a plow separate from the share.
14. a cooper's plane.
15. there is a small possibility that the "n" is an "r," but given its occurrence among other hardware, it was more likely a chain.
16. the whipple or whiffletree is part of the connection mechanism between cart and harness.
17. a kind of hook.
18. whether "T" or "F," either of these words have been used to refer to a funnel-like item.
19. north of Norwalk village, between that and/or in what is now New Canaan.
20. Saugatuck River.
21.AHRTN, 62.

all text and photographs © 1998-2021 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted