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Elnathan's signature when he borrowed money from Cornelius Lewis in 1745. Cornelius Jenne was the witness. Two of the great great grandchildren of Eldredge and Jenne married about 100 years later (Mary Brown Thornton and Luther Jenney Briggs). Elnathan and his son Isaiah spelled their last name "Eldredg," although Isaiah included the "e" at the end in later years.

Elnathan is said to have been a ship's captain on coastal traders along the East Coast. His probate papers call him a mariner. A family Bible says he died of small pox in New York in 1746. Shipping reports in newspapers include a captain named Eldridge/Eldrige, etc., sailing in and out of various ports and traveling as far as Jamaica and Africa, but first names aren't given. His son Isaiah begins to appear in these reports probably as early as 1744, definitely in 1745, and only Isaiah appears after this time. However, Isaiah was 20 in October of 1744, so earlier reports wouldn't have been referring to him.
     Published accounts that include Elnathan's genealogical information say he was living in Yarmouth before moving to Dartmouth, Massachusetts (that part of which is now either Acushnet or Fairhaven), about 1740. His father Jehoshaphat was a resident of Monomoit (now Chatham), Massachusetts, as early as 1702 and continued to live there to his death in 1732. His wife Elizabeth was very likely the daughter of Nathaniel and Elizabeth (Eldredge) Covell, and they lived on the south side of Crow "Pond," (actually a cove), which has been described as the early harbor of Chatham. Jehoshaphat's homestead was adjacent to the Covell proporty on the west side of Crow Pond. Elnathan's first wife, Hannah O'Kelly, was very likely living in Yarmouth when they married, it being her parents' home town, unless she was a servant in a Chatham household.

Elnathan made the following is his request for a tavern license:

June 23 1724 Wee the subscribers humbly shew & petition y whereas Enathan Eldredg Living somewhat Remoate from Inhabitances & near to ye harbor whare all our Vessles both whaler and fisher men Resort & very often have nesessary bussness at his house.1

     This description likely places him in the same part of Chatham, likely on land he may have been given or bought from his father. There is no reason, without further evidence, to think that Elnathan wasn't living there throughout the time of his marriage to when he moved to Dartmouth. There is an identifiable source that says his children were born in Yarmouth, and that is from a Bible owned by Killey Eldredge, son of Isaiah, Elnathan's oldest child. This entry was long after these events and is not as credible as the primary records and evidence from them that show otherwise. The tavern license request was made the same year Isaiah was born. Elnathan of Chatham was appointed guardian of Bathsheba Small of Chatham in 1723 and of his minor neice Elizabeth O'Kelly (daughter of Jeremiah, Jr., of Yarmouth) in 1730.2 He was chosen as a juryman representing Chatham at the Court of Pleas in 17263 and pettit juryman in 1735.4 Due to a courthouse fire, there are no deeds for buying or selling land in Barnstable County to help confirm where the family lived and when.
     Deed records would have to be examined and compared to others to figure out where the family lived once they were in Dartmouth. Judging by those who sold him land the adjacent property owners, they certainly lived in the part of town that first became New Bedford, and later Fairhaven. There is a mystery that occurred after the move to Dartmouth. Elnathan sold every piece of real property he owned to Rev. Thomas Paine of Boston. Paine was involved in shipping, and that probably lies at the core of the situation. He is said to to have sold the property to settle a judgement against him, with Paine as the complainant, but nothing was found in the index of Suffolk County Superior Court minutes. It may appear in Bristol County court records. This was a serious setback for anyone who was not retired, as far as we know, and with a wife and family. There isn't anything in the deed to Paine that allowed the Eldredge's to continue to live on their land. After Elnathan died, his second wife Deliverance had the power, so she thought, to sell several pieces of their property. After Thomas Paine died, his son Robert Treat Paine of Taunton must have discovered to deed to the Eldredge land and found that part of it was sold for the benefit of the Eldredge estate. Deliverance said her husband didn't tell her he sold their land, and without it, Elnathan having died unexpectedly of small pox in New York City, the estate was insolvent. She faced a pile of debts and the loss of her home. The issue was solved years later, but only after several more court cases and persistance from Robert Paine.
     The following is taken from Elnathan's probate file. Modern capitalizations have been used.

Febuary ye of 20th 1746/7

Judg sir may it please you I being ye eldest son of Elnathan Eldredg latly dessesed and I being bound to sea and cannot tarrey at home this summer therefore I would pray you would give the letters of adminestration to my mother-in-law for their is no body else that can as I no of take it

Isaiah Eldredg

Sir may it please you you see that my eldest son will do nothing consarning ye estate and I being not capabel of comming over to you at presant so I would pray you would send me over your clark to give one letters of adminestration as soon as you can convaniantly for things are under defecul surcomstanses so wishing your honours helth and prosprity so remain yours to sarve you

Deliverance her x mark Eldredge
widow of Elnathan Eldredg...

Deliverance was given the administration of Elnathan's account on 28 March 1747, with Abraham Russell of Dartmouth and Ephraim Dexter of Rochester as her sureties. Witnesses were Joseph (probably Burgess) and Stephen Paine.

The inventory of Elnathan Eldredge's estate:

A true inventory of all and singuler the goods chattels and credits of Elnathan Eldredg of Dartmouth decest prized the seventeenth day of June seventeen hundred and for seven by Abraham Russel William Kimpton Jonathan Taber as followeth in old tener

Imprimis his purse and apparel
[£]61? 11 [sh] 06 [p]
Item his books 02 00 00
Item his lands and medow 120 15 00
Item three cowes and two calves 43 00 00
Item two stears 30 00 00
Item his horse kind 30 00 00
Item his thirteen goats 16 05 00
Item fore swine 10 08 00
Item eight shep and five lames 12 00 00
Item an old sloop of about thirty tuns and rigin 143 07 06
Item horse cart wheles and tacklin 06 02 00
Item his farming tools 04 00 00
Item his gun 08 00 00
Item cume and warpin bars 03 10 00
Item five slayes and three harnesses 06 15 00
Item one pair of worsted comes 01 10 00
Item iron dogs tongs slice tramels 07 02 00
Item twenty one pounds and half of led 02 03 00
Item two pair of brase scales 01 05 00
Item iron box and spoon mold 01 05 00
Item warming pan 02 05 00
Item iron pots and kittles 07 00 00
Item one pair of stilyards and an old case of bottles 03 05 00
Item his puter 04 08 00
Item desk and lookin glass 07 00 00
Item erthern and glass vessels 02 12 00
Item wooden ware 03 08 06
Item old cask 02 11 00
Item three saddles 20 05 00
Item two spining wheles 02 10 00
Item half an old parpus sane
[porpoise "seine" or net] 30 00 00
Item one fether bed and beding 25 03 00
Item three beds and beding 43 12 00
item five chears 01 04 00
Item six barrels of beaf 72 00 00
Item two barrels of pork 32 00 00
Item one hundred and one yards of canvis 13 15 00
Item blocks and iron 02 19 04
Item iron 23 18 00
Item three hundred twenty three pounds of rigin 27 00 00
Item six yards and a quarter of lining 03 08 06
Item one hundred and thirty posts 05 15 00
847 11 04

Abraham Russell
William Kempton
Jonathan Taber

Where as we the subscribers two of the apprizers nominated appointd and quallified to take a just and equal aprizment of the estate of Elnathan Eldridg late of Dartmouth decesed having omitted the house and original homestad of said decesed containing fifty three acres of upland and three acres of salt marsh medow by reason the same was then under a mortgage which being since redemd were by the administratrix to said estate desired to apriz the same which we accordingly did the 10th day of february 1749/50

In old tenor at £800=0=0

Jonathan Taber
William Kempton
two of ye apprizers of said estate
Abraham Russell

The accompt of Deliverance Eldridge administrator to the estate of Elnathan Eldrige late of Dartmouth in the County of Bristoll deceased intestate

The sd accompt chargeth her self with the inventory of the personall estate of the sd deceased - contained in an inventory thereof bearing date June 17th 1747 ammounting in bills of creditt of ye old tenr to ye sum of 726=16=4 which in lawfull money is £96=15=02

to be added to ye sd estate since the inventory was given
[as?] recvd by ye sd accomptants

by money recd of Abraham Hamman 00-08=00
recd of Caleb Jenne 00=02=11
recd of Daniel Spooner 01=16=10
recd of Charity Hamman 00=04=08
recd of Ephraim Jenny 00=01=03
recd of Jabez, Barnibus & Abigail Hamman 00=05=07
recd of John Eldridge 00=00=08
for ye improvement of two thirds of ye reall estate 03=11=04

The sd accompant prays alowance of the folowing charges paid out of ye sd estate equall to lawfull money as foloweth viz

paid to Thomas Southward £ 01=13=03
paid to John Ellis 00=05=08
paid to Caleb Lumber
[or Lumbar] 00=10=04
paid to Humphrey Wady 00=16=03
paid to Seth Hamman 03=12=00
paid to Gideon Southward 00=03=05
paid to Barnibus Eldridge 01=12=06
paid to Elizabeth Eldridge 00=03=11
paid to Ebenezer Eldridge 01=17=01
paid to Cornelius Jenne 01=08=08
paid to Capt Pope 00=01=11
paid to Mr. Hovey 00=02=07
paid to Thomas Southward 01=11=11
paid to Holder Slocum 09=06=08
paid to Cornelius Lewis 07=16=11
paid to Josiah Allin 00=02=8
paid to Nathaniel Jenne 00=13=04
paid to Stephen Paine Esq 00=18=2
paid to Jeremiah Eldridge 00=02=0
paid to Hannah Jones 00=02=8
paid to Benjamin Willis 00=17=0
paid to David Macy 13=3=4
paid to Peleg Simmons 00=08=4
paid to Daniel Wood 00=02=9
paid to William Kenton 00=09=4
paid to Jonathan Tabor 00=09=4
paid to Abraham Russell 00=09=4

also prays alowance for provision
[?] ye family and charges for provisions 04=[overwritten and obscured]
also prays alowance of charges of lyeing in with a posthums child born after ye faths decese 04=00=00
also prays alowance for time spent in adminstering upon estate 06=00=00
likewise prays alowance for necessarys for house keeping 06=13=04

the comisioners account of theyr charge in examining
[paper folded] creditor claims of debt dew from sd estate 02=05=4
[paper folded, "making?"] and registering this acct [amount obscured in this copy]
(paper folded) from inventory[?] (amount obscured)

brought over 72=3=7
paid James Badarain Sen 26=13=4

Due to severall persons from the sd estate as by a list appears drawn up by the
[misspelled word, probably intending "commissioners"] appointed to examine the claims to sd estate ammounting to the sum of 16-1-2

Deliverance her X mark Eldrige

Deliverance brought the account to court before George Leonard, Judge of Probate, which was approved the next day.

The second accompt of Deliverence Eldrige widow and administratrix on ye estate of Elnathan Eldrige late of Dartmouth deceased intestate the sd accomptant chargeth her self with the whole sum of ye inventory and debts recievd as sett in the former accompt as may appear on record in ye probate office for ye County of Bristoll all amounting in lawfull money to £103=6=5

Receivd of Samuel Steward 1=9=4
over charged
[?] in Peleg Simons accompt in ye first accompt 0=6=11 1/2
Received for ye sale of land sold by order of court 12=-0=0
117=2=8 1/2

The sd accomptnt prays allowance of ye debts paid before the making up the former accompt allowance for necessaries for house keeping allowances and expences in the whole as allowed in ye former accompt etc 98=16=11

Paid Holder Slocum 10=13=4
paid to William
-?- posting? book & setting accompts 2=18=4?
paid to Samuel Willis Esq 0=9=10 3/4
Paid David Macey 12=16=0
Paid John Buckas pr receipt 0=01=4
Paid Jedidiah Hammond 0=00=11
Paid Cornelius Jenne 0=18=1 1/2
Paid to ye Clerk of ye Superior Court for orders for sail of land etc, Paid for wrigting ye certificate & petition etc 0=15=0
Trouble in selling ye land notifications etc 0=2=8
To my time trouble and expence in going to Taunton to get an order of ye Superior Court and horse hire 1=18=10
To Israel Tupper coming to Taunton with me to assist in getting ye order 0=5=4
Time charge and expence in setting of the widows thirds 1=0=4
Prays allowance for a horse prized at £30 old ten
[or] which is since dead 4=0=0

13=0=4 1/4

Due to Nathll Jenne 0=2=1/4
Due to Stephen West 0=28=2 1/2


Due to Jirah Swift 2=15=5
Due to John Taber 0=9=5 1/2
Due to Samuel Bartlet Esq 0=2=1 1/4
Due to Ebenezer Perry 0=1=4
Due to Joseph Rotch 0=11=8
Due to Isaiah Eldrid on
[?] ballance 6=4=9
Due to Israel Tupper 1=7=2 1/2
Due to Ignatius Jenne 1=2=8
Due to Capt Noah Sprague 0=13=4
Due to Ichabod Shermon 1=8=9
Due to Benjamin Allen 0=13=4
To my time and trouble in coming to Norton to make up this accompt 0=16=0
To allowing and registring this accompt etc wrighting the same 0=10=8
Due to Benjamin Barnard 0=8=8
Due to John Brock decd estate 4=0-0


Brought to court on 6 May 1752

The following is a list of creditors with accounts due to the estate

Imprimis Due to William Mitchel by book to ballance old tenor [£]2 4 [s] 7 [p]
Due to Nathll Jenney
[same as above] 0|15|2
Due to Stephen West 3|1|10
Due to Jireh Swift 8|15|9
Due to said Swift by note of hand dated May 1746 12|0|0
Due to John Taber 3|12|0
Due to Saml Bartlet Esq 0|15|8
Due to Ebenezer Perrey 2|15|0
Due to Joseph Rotch 4|7|5
Due to Isaiah Eldred 46|15|7
Due to Israel Tupper 10|14|0
Due to Ignatious Jenney
[book balance and note of hand] 8|10|0

amounting in ye whole old tenor to £104|7|0

Mone due to Capt Noah Sprague by note of hand which is lost, in old tenor 05|4|0
Mone due to Ichabod Sherman by book to ballance old tenor 10|18|0


Stephen West
Israel Tupper

Inventory of moveable estate £47-11-4

The third accompt of Deliverance Eldrige administration on the estate of Elnathan Eldrige late of Dartmouth in the County of Bristol decd The sd accomptant chargeth himself with the personall estate of the sd deceased which she has receid and what she has receid in his second accompt amounting to ye sum of £117..2
[under "s," meaning shillings]..6 [under "d," meaning pence]

Receid for sail of 26 acres of land sold by order of the Superior
[?] Court dated [?] May 1752 to Jo Cornish £40..6..0

Chargeth her selfe with money paid to James
[?] Esq which was [rong?] charged in her first accomt she paying it for land she bought[?] as she [?] 157..6..6 1/2
184-1=10 1/2

The said accomptant prays allowance out of the same as follows viz to what was allowed her in her second accompt

amounting to ye sum of 136
[under "£" ]..4 [under "s"]..0 [under "d"]..1 [under "w?"]

Paid to Experience Osborn & John Hopkins 3
Paid William Palmer 0..6..0
Paid Juery
[?] Hovey 0..12..6
Paid to Nathaniel Jenne 0=2..0 1/4
Paid to Jireh Swift 2..15..5
Paid to Isaiah Eldridge 6..4..9
Paid Israel Tupper 0-8-0
Paid to Ignatius Jenne 1-2-8
[crossed out]
Paid to Capt. Noah Sprague 0..13..4
Paid to Ichabod Sherman?
[crossed out]
Paid to Benjamin Allen 0..13..4
Paid to Benj= Barnard 0..8..8
Paid Coll Tim Ruggels for charges of duty
[?] at court[?] 8..0..0
Paid the Clerk of the Superior Court and for ye petition & 0=18=0
Paid for my expences at court in getting the petition & 1..0..0

[looks like 162..12 in the total brought over to the next page]

Paid Luke Tobey 0..18..0
to horse hire and expences to sundry courts 2=0=0
Paid Mr. Hovey for a
[petitioning?] to ye Generall Court 0..12..0
To the expence of the vendue getting land notifications etc 0..13..4
To my charges and expences in going three times to the Cape in an action with Theophilus
[sic: Thomas]Paine 2=0-07
To cash paid Coll Ruggels in ye affair 0..18..0
Prays allowance for a half a sane
[seine] prized which was prized at 60 pounds tenor [following crossed out: but one half belonged to ye estate and then part was lost] which was lost 4..0..0
To my time and trouble in getting and paying people & making up this accompt 1..0..0
To wrighting allowing & registering this accompt etc 0..9..3
Paid to William Peckham -- 06-8
for recording 2 deeds -- 02-8
Paid to Benjn Allin 4-0-0
for going to Freetown to make up these accounts 0-06-0

Delivarance her X mark Eldrich

Bristol May ye 2nd 1758

Then before the Honble George Leonard Esq Judge of the Probate of Wills & for ye County of Bristol came Deliverance Eldirge administrator on ye estate of Elnathan Eldrige late of Dartmouth decd and made oath that the before written is a just and true account of her adminstration which I do allow of and order to be of record

George Leonard

Bristol May ye 4th 1758

entered in ye 18th book folio 39

sworn May 2nd 1758

Deliverance's "widow's thirds" were ordered 12 June 1751, set off on 27 June 1751 and approved 2 July 1751 by George Leonard:

all the upland belonging to the homestead which did belong to said deceased...beginning at a heap of stones lying in the southermost line of sd homestead forty rods to the east ward of square off set in said south line and from a heap of stones north thirty & two rods to an heap fo stones from thence west to a large poppler tree standing in the end of a [?] then we began at the east end of a peice of stone wall being two rods and a half from the north west corner of the house and from thence north eight rods to a small rock from thence eaast eleven degrees and a half north to the aforesaid poplar tree then from the end of said all boundeed by the sd wall till it comes to the salt meadow said thrid part bounds west on the salt meadow in part south ward part on Benjamin Allen land part on land belonging to Blake Shaw other ways bounded by the remaining part of sd homestead togather with the northerly room in the dwelling house stranding thereon with half the celler under said house and half the chamber room with the bedroom and butter? that is petitioned off of the east end of said north room togather with all that part of the salt meadow belonging to said deceased lying to the southward of the line hereafter described (viz) begining at a stake standing in a ditch between this meadow and the meadow of Samuel Spooner six rods distant from a rock on the edge of the upland above sd between sd Spooners meadow and this meadow and from sd stake the line is to run west eighteen degrees and a half southerly till it comes to the north westerly line of said meadow all which was sett of to sd widdow by us ye subscribers june ye 27th 1751 allways excepting and reserving liberty for him or they that shall have the remaining part of the house liberty to pass and repass to and from said house to the remaining part of said farm as he or they shall have occasion

Jethro Delano, Abraham Russell, William Kempton, Benjamin Allen, Bartholomew Taber, Comttee

children of Elnathan Eldredge and Hannah O'Killey:3

1. Isaiah, 22 Oct 1724
2. Phineas, b. 26 May 1726
3. Salome, b. 3 March 1728
4. Rhoda, b. 26 July 1730
5. Salathiel, b. 15 July 1732
6. Elnathan, b. 11 Aug 1734

children of Elnathan Eldredge and Deliverance Lambert:

7. Hannah, b. abt 1737
8. Elihu, b. abt 1739
9. Elizabeth, b. abt 1743
10. Deliverance, b. abt 1745
11. Edward, b. abt 1746

vital records sources: Elnathan's death is recorded in the Killey Eldredge Bible (citiation below), which was also transcribed for the New Bedford published vital records, in his 51st year.

1. John Braginton-Smith & Duncan Oliver, Cape Cod Shore Whaling: America's First Whalemen (Charleston, SC:2008), p. 73.
2. Barnstable County probate records, 4:122, 5 July 1723; 4:583-4, 10 July 1730.
2.1. Chatham town records, town meeting held on 3 October 1726, vol. 1A, p. 124.
2.2. Ibid, 11 Mar 1735, p. 153.
3. Killey Eldredge Bible entries, published in The New England Historical & Genealogical Register (July 1940), vol. 94, pp. 299-300.
7. Elnathan was involved in a court case with Paine beginning, as far as is now known, in 1740. There was a judgement against him on 20 Jan 1740 for £ 273-17-9 plus costs. In the Paine papers at the MA Hist. Soc. (not yet seen): Elnathan Eldredg to a Judgment of Court, 30 Jan. 1740-24 July 1741; Promissory note: Elnathan Eldredg to Thomas Paine, 24 July 1741; deed: Elnathan Eldredg sells to Thomas Paine land at Dartmouth, 27 July 1741; writ of attachment: Thomas Paine vs. Elnathan Eldredg, 28 Sep. 1741; writ of execution: Thomas Paine vs. Elnathan Eldrid of Dartmouth, 1 May 1742; writ of execution: Robert Treat Paine, Joseph Greenleaf of Abington and his wife Abigail, and Eunice Paine vs. Deliverance Eldred of Dartmouth, as administratrix of estate of Elnathan Eldred, 19 Aug. 1762; also letter: Elnathan Eldredge to Thomas Paine, [Jan. 1739]; Elnathan Eldridg to Thomas Paine, Dartmouth, 8 Nov. 1740; Elnathan Eldridg to Thomas Paine, Dartmouth, 2 Nov. 1741; Elnathan Eldridg to Thomas Paine, Nantucket, 22 Apr. 1742; Elnathan Eldridge [Jr.] to Robert Treat Paine, Boston, 5 Apr. 1769. See also "The Papers of Robert Treat Paine" By Robert Treat Paine, Stephen T. Riley, Edward William Hanson, Massachusetts Historical Society Published by Massachusetts Historical Society, 1992 Original from the University of Virginia

all text and photographs © 1998-2018 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted