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Monday, July 11, 2011


ELTWEED-(this is *borrowed* from

A.A. Pomeroy provides a document that clearly shows that Eltweed was a felt maker in Beaminster in 1631, just prior to his departure for New England.

( Annie who has researched the wool trade extensively thinks this might be a mis-reading of Fell Monger a dealer in sheepskins for the glove and leather trades , a highly profitable occupation in the 17th Century- wool cloth was felted but the process was called fulling or tucking at that time)

From the Plimouth Colony website comes this
'In Plymouth Colony, there weren't any practicing local tradesmen from whom to purchase goods. Most of the colonists had been farm laborers, but even the few who had practiced trades back in England could not do so in Plymouth. They were too busy providing for the basic needs of food and shelter. Manufactured goods such as clothing, furniture and other items were purchased in England and sent to the colony aboard ships.'

There is no doubt at all that Eltweed's son Medad was a blacksmith, because town records show that that he was invited to move upriver to Northampton to serve as blacksmith there in 1660, and that town provided him with his anvil and tools. This raises the further question that, why did Medad need an anvil and blacksmith tools when he left Windsor to go to Northampton? Eltweed was 75 years old in 1660 when his son Medad left Windsor - if indeed Eltweed was a blacksmith, was he still needing his own tools at that age? Your point about Eltweed being named one of two inspectors of yarn (along with William Gaylord) is a good one, and certainly reinforces that Eltweed originally was involved in the cloth trade, as many in Beaminster were. That means he had to undergo quite a career shift if he became a blacksmith/gunsmith, and it is for a record of this big change that I am searching.

A.A. Pomeroy's statements about Eltweed being selected Constable of Dorchester and being named a selectman are all verified by documentary sources. So too is Eltweed's 24 year quest to be compensated for the loss of his mare in the Pequot war - he ultimately was paid in wampum in 1661 by the governor of Connecticut. His grant of 209 acres in Windsor is also documented in town and colony records along with all the other land grants to other individuals, some larger, many smaller. However, there is no mention in the records that the grant was made to him because he was a blacksmith or gunsmith.

The anvil you mention is actually held now in the collection of Historic Northampton (the historical society of Northampton, Massachusetts) - I have seen it, and actually took my son there this past June to see it too (actually, the one on display is an exact replica, the original is kept securely within the museum because of its value to the town). The problem is that there is no way to prove whether this anvil was brought by Eltweed to America or whether it is the very anvil that the town of Northampton gave to Medad in 1660, as shown by town records. Note that Bill Pomeroy has used this anvil as the model for the large granite Pomeroy markers he is placing around the country - I saw the beautiful one just outside the Bridge Street Cemetery in Northampton when I was there in June.

If I find any documented sources for Eltweed being a blacksmith or gunsmith I promise to get back to you and let you know. Once again, thanks very much for taking the time to get back to me so quickly and with such a thoughtful reply.

A discussion re -Eltweed Pomeroy (1585-1673)- blacksmith? What source?

Posted by: Alma LaFrance in September 07, 2008

Interesting discussion. We need to go back to the Windsor CT records; in a visit over a decade ago, I had a conversation with the then director of the Historical Society...regarding Eltweed Pomeroy; the location of his house "within the walls of the Palisade," and the "smith," and how he, Eltweed, taught his craft (metal and gunsmith) to some of the young men in Windsor, including his son Medad.

I have always wondered about the accepted tradition that Eltweed come on the Mary & John vs. the date of the document left in England; a indication that he did not come on the Mary and John after all. On the other hand, there is the evidence in the Dorchester MA records, that Eltweed's home lot was located in the very area chosen in the first round of drawing, by those who came on the Mary & John; he lived amongst them: Did he come, choose his lot, then go back home to give evidence, and perhaps bring his young wife Mary, on "an unamed ship" out of Bristol? The signed document left behind in England was written in his own hand, and not taken by a clerk as is the usual in dispositions; did he write it ahead of time since he knew he was leaving?

Dorset Pilgrims, The Story of West Country Pilgrims Who Went to New England in the 17th Century, by Frank Thistlethwaite 1989: Published by Butler & Tanner, Ltd, Frome London: British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data:

Below are the sources for two statements: Page 141: "Eltweed Pomeroy was a blacksmith, as was his son (Medad) and (Matthew) Grant's son Tahan. Indeed, most of these craftsmen brought up their sons to these trades." Also, page 151: "English crops needed more than mattock and hoe, and ploughs were soon imported. Made of wood with iron shares and coulters, they were repaired by local backsmiths (like) Tahan Grant and Eltweed Pomeroy,"
(Note: Tahan Grant was born born February 03, 1632/33 in Dorchester, MA.AND His father Matthew was "said to be a Carpenter." ),

Thistlethwaite lists his souces for Chapter 7 & 8:
J. H. Trumbull: The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, Vol I, 1636-1665 (printed 1850); Records of the Particular Court of Connecticut 1639-1663, printed, Connecicut Historical Society, Collections, vol. xxii (1928). Also the following mss collections in the Connectiut Colony Archives, (State Library, Hartford) contain useful fugitive material; Town and Lands, 1st Series, Private Controversies and Court Papers, I and II; Militia 1st Series.

"Apart from the volumes recording land grants and a few early town acts in Matthew Grant's Old Church Record, Windsor's town records are only extant from 1650 onwards in Windsor, Town Acts 1650-1714. Vol 1; these are in Matthew Grant's hand until his retirement in 1677. " Stiles included a selection, but not all, of the relevant material. The Connecticut Historial society, "Some early Records and Documents of and relating to the Town of Windsor, Connecticut, 1639-1703 (1930) consists largely of Matthew Grant's own records. Matthew Grant's mms "Diary" is to be found in the Connecticut State Archives.

PS In England a Yeoman was a social designation rather than an occupation- They worked the land, some owned the land but most leased it from the Lord of the manor, and earning above £40 a year from it , gave them the status of yeoman farmer.

In the 16th and 17th centuries many grew seriously rich . Outgoings , rent etc were low , but profits, from wool in particular, were high. Some of them used the money to turn their sons into Gentlemen, by sending them to University.

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