Nathaniel White

Nathaniel WHITE (1660 – 1691) was Alex’s 9th Great Grandfather, one of 1,024 in this generation in the Shaw line.

Nathaniel White was born about 1660 in Purpooduck (Now Downtown Portland), York, Maine.   His father was [Unknown] WHITE.  See his father’s page for the story of  Nathaniel’s nephew Rev. John White of Gloucester, Mass.  Nathaniel’s ear was cut off and he was later killed in Indians.  Nathaniel died after 1691

Lighthouse at Cape Elizabeth, formerly Cape Purpooduck, Maine

Children of Nathaniel White:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Mary White 1684 Richard Danforth
(John’s brother)
30 Jun 1702
Newbury, Mass
Jonathan Danforth
(John’s brother)
21 Jan 1704
2. Dorcas WHITE 1687 in Newbury, Mass. John DANFORTH
24 Nov 1713 in Newbury MA.
26 Mar 1778 in Newbury in her 91st year

At the beginning of King Phillip’s War in 1675, Falmouth, of which Cape Eliabeth was then an integral part, was enjoying a thrifty trade in fish, masts( for the King’s ships), spars, timber, and sawed lumber. In Cape Elizabeth (then including South Portland), just prior to the outbreak of hostilities, the settlements were few and far between. The largest grouping was at Purpooduck, the area later called Spring Point(in South Portland) and consisted largely of the families of John Wallis, Joseph Phippen, Thomas Stanford, Robert Stanford, John Skillings, Joel Madiver, Issac Davis, Ralph Turner, Nicholas White, and Samuel Penley. The name “Purpooduck” is of Indian origin, meaning a place that conspicuously juts out into the water, and is little frequented.  Falmouth was the name of the” Greater Portland “area including So, Portland, Cape Elizabeth and Scarboro.

Map of Falmouth, Maine 1690 – Purpoduck where Nathaniel and Josiah White lived is across the Casco River at the bottom of this picture.

At the southern tip of the promontory, Richmond Island was visited about 1605 by Samuel de Champlain and was the site of a trading post in 1628. John Smith explored and mapped New England in 1615, and gave names to places mainly based on the names used by Native Americans. When Smith presented his map to King Charles I, he suggested that the king should feel free to change any of the “barbarous names” for English ones. The king made many such changes, but only four survive today, one of which is Cape Elizabeth, which Charles named in honor of his sister, Elizabeth of Bohemia.

The first habitation by Europeans in the area was on Richmond Island. Without title, Walter Bagnall (called “Great Walt”) in 1628 established a trading post, dealing in rum and beaver skins. “His principal purpose appears to have been to drive a profitable trade with the Indians,” writes historian George J. Varney, “without scruple about his methods.” His cheating caught up with him in October of 1631, when he was killed by the Indians, who also burned down his trading post.

Two months later, the Plymouth Company granted Richmond Island to Robert Trelawney and Moses Goodyear, merchants of Plymouth, England, who made it a center for fisheries and trade. By 1638, Trelawney employed 60 men in the fisheries. The first settlers on the mainland were George Cleeve and Richard Tucker, who settled in 1630 on the shore opposite the island, and near the Spurwink River. They worked at planting, fishing and trading. Two years later they were driven off by John Winter, Trelawny’s agent. In 1636, Sir Ferdinando Gorges, Lord Proprietor of Maine, gave Cleeve and Tucker a grant of 1500 acres including the neck of land called “Machegonne” — now Portland. In 1643 English Parliamentarian Alexander Rigby bought the large existing “Plough” of “Lygonia” patent which included the entire area including Cape Elizabeth.

The Cape Elizabeth settlement located on the Fore River would be known as Purpoodock.   It was located where downtown Portland Maine is today.

It was attacked during King Philip’s War in 1675. During King William’s War, in Major Benjamin Church‘s second expedition a year later on 11 September 1690 he arrived with 300 men as Casco Bay. He went up Androscoggin River to the English fort Pejepscot Fort (present day Brunswick, Maine).  From there he went 40 miles up river an attacked a native village. 3-4 native men shot in retreat; Church discovered 5 english captives in the wigwams; six or seven prisoners butchered as an example;  nine prisoners taken. A few days later, in retaliation, the natives attacked Church at Cape Elizabeth on Purpooduc Point, killing 7 of his men and wounding 24 others.  On September 26, Church returned to Portsmouth, Maine.

During Queen Anne’s War, the town was destroyed in 1703. It would be resettled about 1719 or 1720.

Journals of the Rev. Thomas Smith, and the Rev. Samuel Deane: pastors of the First Church in Portland. By Thomas Smith, Samuel Deane 1849

24 July 1726- . (Sunday.) I preached here A. M. Mr. Tappan P.M. Mr. Fitch baptized the children, twenty-two in all, besides an adult person. Mr. White preached over to Purpoodock, A. M.

Probably Christopher Tappan, of Newbury; H. C. 1691; died July, 1747, aged 75. Mr. White was the Rev. John White, a connection of the old settlers at Purpoodock, of that name. He claimed his ancestor’s title in 1749. The original settlers were Josiah and Nathaniel, brothers, under whom White claimed; they lived at Maiden Cove. Nathaniel was killed by the Indians. John graduated at H. C. 1698. Nathaniel left but two children, Mary and Dorcas, married to Nathaniel and John Danford, of Newbury. Miriam, a daughter of Josiah, married Richard Suntay.

1726 – This fall came Isaac Savage and Mr. Pride, with their families; also Mr. White’s eldest son, who were sober and forehanded men The White was probably John, a connection of the Rev. John White, of Gloucester, if not his son; he had a daughter Lucy, born here December 1, 1732; his wife’s name was Jerusha. John and William White were admitted inhabitants April 22, 1728, paying £10 each. They were descendants, I think, of the old settler at Purpoodock, where they lived. William married Christian Simonton, 1736. The sons of the Rev. John White were born in Gloucester, as follows: John, 1704, William, 1709. There is therefore a doubt whether our settlers were his sons.

The history of Portland, from 1632 to 1864

We have also some doubt whether Josiah and Nathaniel White, who lived at Purpooduck, came until after the [King Philip’s in 1675] war

After the peace of 1698, a few of the old settlers straggled back to thoir cheerless places of residence, particularly at Purpooduck and Spurwink. The Jordan family, whose property lay in the latter neighborhood, collected upon their desolate possessions and began the world again ; they were probably the first who returned. In the spring of 1703, a number of persons had returned to Purpooduck Point and erected houses there. Their names were Michael Webber, Benjamin, Joseph, James, and Josiah Wallis, Joseph Morgan, Thomas Lovitt, Nathaniel White, and Joel Madeford; the latter had been an inhabitant before the first war. All these persons had families, and zealously entered upon the task of reviving the settlement.


Josiah White

Josiah and his brother Nathaniel went early to Falmouth, had grants at Maiden Cove, and remained until they were obliged to flee from the Indians. Nathaniel was killed later by the Indians; he left two daughters, Mary and Dorcas, who were married respectively to Nathaniel and John Danford, of Newbury.

Josiah White, before 1703, had returned to Purpooduck with Michael Webber, Joseph Morgan, Thomas Loveitt, Joel Madford, and Benjamin, Joseph, James, and Josiah Wallis, sons to John Wallis. They built houses, brought their families there, and “engaged heartily in establishing of the Settlement;” but they were again driven away by the savages. Josiah White had two sons, John and Samuel,  his daughter Miriam was married to Richard Suntay or Sontag.*

While property purchase records are strong evidence the Rev. John White was the son of Josiah White of Falmouth, Maine, many sources state that his parents were Joseph White and Hannah Scarborough.

Joseph White was born 1642 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts. His parents who might have been Nathaniel’s as well were John WHITE (1620 – 1691) and Frances JACKSON (1625 – 1696). He died 10 Sep 1725 in Brookline, Norfolk, Massachusetts. Joseph married Hannah Scarborough on 1670 in Brookline, Norfolk, Massachusetts.

Hannah Scarborough was born 3 Dec 1643 in Roxbury, Suffolk, Mass. She died 21 Jan 1720 in Brookline, Norfolk, Mass.

“John White was living in Watertown whe the first inventory of estates was taken. This appeaars to have been as early as 1639. He then owned ‘An Homestall of seven acres more or less bounded the south and east with the highway, the north with the swamp and the west with William Paine, bought from Ephraim Child.’ (Watertown Records, Lands, Grants and Possessions, p. 53.)

“He remained in Watertown until 1650, when he moved to Muddy River (now Brookline), and bought from Thomas Oliver of Boston ‘50 acres upland 18 acres of marsh and six acres of fresh marsh in Muddy River … for & in consideration of … the full & just summe of one hundred & thirty pounds sterl. to be paid in good & merchantable corne & fatt cattle at prices current or as they shall be prized by two men indifferently chosen.’

“The deed conveying the property is dated ‘thirteenth day of the twelfth month one thousand six hundreth & ffifte.’ (Papers of the White Family of Brookline, 1650-1807. Published by the Brookline Historical Publication Society.)

“He afterwards bought other tracts of land in Brookline, and became a large proprietor. His will, dated April 13, 1691, names wife Frances and three sons.”

Child of Josiah White and xx.

i. Meriam White m.  Richard Suntay.

ii. Samuel White. m. Hannah [__?__] of Boston

ii. Rev. John White  was born about 1677 in Brookline, Norfolk, Mass. His first wife, whom he married about 1703, was Lucy Wise, daughter to “the excellent John Wise.” “MTM Lucy (wife of our Rev. past’ aged about 46 years) Dyed March 5, 1727,” in Gloucester. She was the mother of all his children. The marriage intention of “Rev. Mr John White & Miss Abigail Blague of Boston” was dated Aug. 26, 1727; there is no record of her death. His third wife was “Mrs. Alice Norwood,” to whom he was married June 1, 1749, by “Mr Bradstreet.” She survived her husband. Issue by first wife: I. John White, b. June 10, 1704, in Gloucester. He was a tanner, and lived at Cape Elizabeth on the present site of Fort Preble. He died in 1738; on Oct. 17, of that year, his widow, Jerusha (said to be daughter to Joshua Woodbury, though not mentioned in his will), was appointed administratrix of his estate. His inventory, presented June 25, 1739, amounted to ^1275 : 9: 6. On Nov. 17, 1740, Jerusha White was published to Benjamin Thrasher, a tanner of Cape Elizabeth. Issue by first husband: I. Lucy4 White, b. Feb. 1, 1731-32, at Falmouth ; she was mar. (intention April 13, 1751) to Aaron Chamberlain

John White and his wife Abigail, of Gloucester, in the County of Essex, “for love & parental affection,” conveyed “to my Sons John & William White of Falmouth . . . Tanner & Carpenter . . . fifty acres in Falmouth . . . adjoining to Maiden Cove it being the Fifty acres bought of the Heirs of Josiah White formerly of Falmouth and which were granted to him by said Town under Governor Danforth’s Settlement as by the Town Grant may farther appear or by living evidences of said Grant viz of an Hundred Acres between Maiden Cove Brook & Little Brook so called which Fifty acres William White has given to him Twenty acres Adjoining to the Fifty formerly given to him & to John White Thirty acres adjoining to said Williams Land & between that & Maiden Cove Brook.”

Witnesses: (Signed) “Samuel Stevens Junr “John White [seal] Abigail White Jun'” Abigail White “* [seal]

There appears to be no occasion to doubt (though it has been questioned) that the Rev. John White, of Gloucester, was son to Josiah White, one of the grantees of Falmouth in its first settlement. The Rev. John White, in the desire that his sons should profit by the land that had cost his father so dear, purchased, as he says, of the other heirs their interests at Maiden Cove. On February 16, 1724/25, he bought of “Hannah White, Relict of Samuel White in the Town of Boston,” for £10, one half of the grant of fifty acres formerly “laid out to and possessed by Josiah White of Falmouth … in Casco Bay . . . Situate on Papooduck;” it is evident that the other half already belonged to Rev. John White, as an heir.

On April 18, 1727, “ye Rever John White of ye Town of Gloucester in ye County of Essex Pastour,” bought of Nathaniel Danford, of Newbury, for £25, fifty acres “joining to little Brook near Maiden Cove … in Falmouth . . . Casco Bay.”  This was the land formerly granted to Nathaniel White, as deposed by one John Lane, in August, 1727. The said John Lane, aged seventy-three years, testified that about forty-two years ago [1685], “while I lived there the Town of Falmouth did grant unto Josiah White & Nathanael White one hundred Acres of Land lying between Little Brook so called & a Brook called Maiden Cove Brook,” which they divided equally and lived, “each on his Part,” several years. “Josiah died possessed of his Part of sd Land, and Nathanael White possessed his . . . until he was driven away from the same by the Indian War & he was afterward slain by the Indians.”  Besides these hundred acres, Rev. John White bought, for £40, on January 26, 1724/25, of James Wallis, of Gloucester, his tract of land “in papooduck, which he drew by lot near his brother Benjamin.”

Rev. John White assisted substantially the new settlement at Cape Elizabeth; he also organized the town of New Gloucester, Maine, and was moderator at the first meeting of the Proprietors of the new town, held in Gloucester, Massachusetts. In March, 1736/37, when the first division of lots at New Gloucester was made, “The Rev. John White ” had “lot N° 20” set off to him; “lot N° 21 ” was given to him for his son Thomas, who removed there.

New Gloucester was established under a grant from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1736, the General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony granted a six-square-mile tract of land in the Maine Territory to sixty inhabitants of the Gloucesterfishing village on Cape Ann. The first settlers followed the road newly bushed out from North Yarmouth and built cabins on Harris Hill between 1739 and 1742. The settlement was abandoned from 1744-1751 due to the heightened Indian attacks during King George’s War.

Settlers returned and in 1753 commenced work on a two story, fifty-foot square blockhouse with a palisade stockade 110 feet  on a side. This was home to twelve families for six years. The men worked at clearing the surrounding 60 acres (240,000 m2) of common land under the protection of two swivel guns manned by a garrison of six soldiers. One attack was made upon the fort, resulting in one scalping and two men captured. As the Indians gradually withdrew to Canada, the settlers moved out into their own newly built homes. The blockhouse continued to serve for worship and town affairs until the first meetinghouse was built in 1773. In 1788, the blockhouse was sold at auction for seven bushels of corn and moved to a farm in the intervale, where it was rebuilt as a hog house.

Probably no divine of his day was more sincerely revered for his learning and piety than Rev. John White. He was graduated from Harvard College in 1698, and was ordained April 21, 1703. The following notice of his death is in the Gloucester records : —

“The Revd. Mr John White who had been settled a minister in this town from the 21 day of October 1702 as appears by Votes of the Town on Record deceased in his chair about eleven of the clock in the forenoon on the 16 day of January 1760 being the 59 year after his beginning his ministry here and the eighty third year of his age.”

The will of the Rev. John White, J of Gloucester, “clerk [minister],” dated Aug. 4, 1758, was admitted to probate, at Ipswich, February 4, 1760* His wife Alice was to receive such part of his real and personal estate “as is proscribed in the Law of this Province.” The “four Daughters of my Son John [to] have each of them ten shillings. He having in his Life time received a double portion.” Following mention of his son Samuel, the Rev. John ordered, that after payment of debts, legacies, and funeral charges, “the whole of what remains both real & personal … be equally divided by the Heirs of my Son William and to my daughter Moodyes Heirs & to Abigail Allin, Hannah Haskel & Mary Allin . . . Sons in Law Deacon Haskell & Deacon Allin in conjuction with Doctor Samuel Plumer … to be Exequitors.”


1. Mary White

Mary’s husband Richard Danforth was born in Newbury 31 Jan. 1679/80. His parents were William DANFORTH and Sarah THURLOW. He married there June 30, 1702, Mary White. No other particulars of this couple have been found. Removal to some distant region or the early death of Richard would seem to be the only explanation of the entire absence of their names from the documents in which we find references to the other children of William of Newbury.

Mary’s possible second Jonathan Danforth was born in Newbury18 May 1685; was living at the time of his brother Thomas’ death in 172324. It may be that he is the Jonathan Danford who became an early settler at Pennecook, N. H., along with other Newbury men. “Jonathan Danford, of Pennecook, carpenter,” bought land in Canterbury, N. H., Sept. 3 1733. “Jonathan Danford, of Canterbury, carpenter,” sold land in Canterbury, formerly the home lot of William Bussell, June 2, 1738.

2. Dorcas WHITE   (See John DANFORTH‘s page)


The history of Portland, from 1632 to 1864: with a notice of previous ... By William Willis

Descendants of Edward Small of New England, and the allied …, Volume 2 By Lora Altine Woodbury Underhill

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5 Responses to Nathaniel White

  1. Pingback: Missing Parents | Miner Descent

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  5. Thomas Marsh says:

    Reverend John White married Abigail Mather who was born 26 Aug 1727 in Boston, MA. She was first married to Newcomb Blake (Blague). She died on 10 December 1748 in Boston, MA. She was sister to Cotton Mather.

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