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The Sacketts of America, pgs 01-11



Ancestors and Descendants

by Charles H. Weygant,
Newburgh, N.Y.

Journal Print, Newburgh, N. Y.

Surname Index Sackett/Sackets indexed by Given names
(Go to Home Page of this site)

Introductory Statement.

When one takes up what purports to be an authentic history of his ancestors and kinsfolk, it is but natural he should want to know who wrote it and how it came to be written.  "May I ask whether you are a descendant or a professional genealogist, or what occasions your special interest in the family?"  This question embraces the purport of scores of others, asked by intelligent and interested members of the Sackett Clan, from whom I have sought information in the preparation of this book.  What so many have inquired about it is to be presumed others would be interested in knowing.

In my youth one of my most esteemed schoolmates was Henry McCoun Sackett, an only son who was greatly beloved by his parents and sisters.  A retired army officer, residing in the then village of Newburgh, organized a company of boys whom he armed with small muskets and drilled Saturday afternoons in the manual of arms and school of the company.  On the organization of this company of embryo soldiers, Henry McCoun Sackett was selected as one of its sergeants, while I had to be content with a corporal's warrant.  Several years later came the great civil war.  We both entered the army.  He was killed in his first battle, and his shell mangled body was hastily buried on the field where he fell, in an unmarked grave.  I participated in  many battles, was three times wounded in action, and after witnessing the surrender of General Lee's army at Appomattox, brought the battle-scarred survivors of my regiment back to Orange County, N.Y., and disbanded them on Washington's Headquarters grounds at Newburgh.  And then was married to Charlotte Sackett, the youngest sister of my schoolboy friend and (Civil War) army comrade.

About the year 1870, my honored father-in-law, Samuel Bailey Sackett, related to me this family tradition, which I subsequently found to be in full accord with colonial records of undisputed authenticity:

    "About ten years after the Pilgrim Fathers landed at Plymouth, Simon and John Sackett, brothers, came from England to Massachusetts, in company with Roger Williams.  John Sackett followed Mr. Williams to Rhode Island and finally settled at New Haven, becoming the founder of the New Haven  branch of the family.  Simon Sackett remained in Massachusetts, was one of the founders of the City of  Cambridge, and is the progenitor of the Massachusetts and  Long Island, N.Y., branches."

At the time of receiving this tradition I was made the custodian of many highly prized old family letters, and given access to a rare collection of ancient documents and manuscripts relating to Sacketts of former generations.  Some of these antedate the Revolutionary epoch by a quarter of a century, while by far the greater number are of that eventful period; and still others relate to men and events connected with the second war with England: Washington, Heath, Wayne, John Hancock, George Clinton, William Duer, Robert Harper, Eben Hazzard, and James Madison, are among the renowned soldiers, patriots and statesmen, whose signatures are affixed to certain of these letters and documents, which plainly establish the social as well as official standing of the members of the Sackett family to whom they are addressed.

No!  I am not a descendant or a professional genealogist, but my interest in the Sackett family, awakened and developed by the facts and events narrated, has never waned, and is, in this year of our Lord, 1907, more deeply rooted than an any period since I strove to equal Henry McCoun Sackett in the accuracy and promptness with which he handled his diminutive musket, at the word of command, over fifty years ago.

For fully thirty-five years no seasonable opportunity to add to my records of the family has been allowed to pass unimproved; and in the arduous task of gathering the material composing the following pages I have had valuable aid from numerous sources.  In 1830, Judge Garry V. Sackett, of Seneca Falls, N.Y., made an extended tour through New England for the express purpose of tracing, by means of ancient gravestone  inscriptions and church, town and county records, his ancestral line back to his colonist ancestors.  And at his death he left with his descendants and kinsfolk copies of both his original and his radically revised manuscript records of his progenitors and their children, which have served as a basis for later efforts of a more general character.  Riker, in his "Annals of Newtown," published in 1852, devotes several pages to what may be styled the first printed genealogical record of any branch of the Sackett family in America.  And he, in the preface of his book, names Garry V. Sackett, Esq., as one of his authorities.  Savage, in his Genealogical Dictionary of New England, published in 1862, devotes some two pages to early Sackett records, some which he credits to the author of the "Annals of Newtown."  Lucius P. Paige, in his "History  of Cambridge, Mass.," published in 1877, adds some exceedingly interesting data, copied from original records, relating to the colonist Simon Sackett and  his immediate family, as well as to other colonists whose descendants intermarried with the descendants of said Simon Sackett.  Mr. William W. Sackett, of Wilkes-Barre, Penn., compiled and had published, in 1892, a single line, entitled, "Our Family Record from the year 1675 to 1892."  Mr. Marinus Dewey gave to the newspaper press of Westfield, Mass., about the year 1895, several columns of records of Sackett families, who, at an earlier period had resided in that town and its immediate vicinity.  All of these records, which are mainly of a genealogical character, I have utilized to the fullest possible extent, rejecting only such items as have been proven misleading or incorrect.

In 1895, and for several years thereafter, Fred J. Sackett, Esq., then of Omaha, Neb., and later of Minneapolis, Minn., spent not a little time and money in a systematic gathering of Sackett records, accumulating an extensive collection of family tables and some interesting biographical notes, all of which he, in 1903, turned over to the writer with full authority to use such of them as circumstances would warrant.

In the early part of the year last mentioned, Mr. L. W. Sackett, of Buffalo, N.Y., volunteered to gather for this family history as complete records as could be secured of the descendants of his great-grandfather, Lemuel Sackett, who was born at Westfield, Mass., in 1758; and with persistent effort carried his undertaking to a commendable conclusion.

I am also indebted for valuable assistance and reliable collections of data to Mr. James DeLong Sackett, of Cleveland, Ohio; Mr. Porter D. Ford, of Richmond Hill, N.Y.; Miss F. Adelaide Sackett, of Hartford, Conn.; Adjutant General F. M. Sackett, of Provident, R. I.; the late Mrs. T. S. Bryon, of East Poultney, Vt.; Mr. W. W. Sackett, formerly of Wilkes-Barre, Penn.; Miss Amy C. Kenyon, of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Mr. F. J. Sackett, of Cincinnati, Ohio; Marcus Sackett, Esq., of Silver Creek, N.Y.; Hon. Leonard B. Sackett, of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; Mr. Charles W. Sackett, of Addison, N.Y.; Mr. James H. Sackett, of Katskill, New Mexico; Mr. Mark Hall, of Ogden City, Utah; Miss Anne C. Gott of Irondequoit, N.Y., and Mr. C. H. Clark, of Toronto, Canada.

Many other interested members of the clan have contributed Bible records, genealogical tables, and interesting items of family history.  Of the hundreds of printed volumes examined, in my search for reliable biographical data, those commanding my closest attention have been the New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut records of soldiers of the Revolution and earlier and later wars.  As the publication of some of these are of recent date, it is hoped the additional value given to not a few of the biographical notes and sketches printed in this book, will, by reason of extracts from them, in a great measure, offset the annoyance caused to many contributors and correspondents by the unavoidable delay in publishing it.
         Charles H. Weygant.
         Newburgh, N.Y., Mar. 14, 1907.

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The Sackets, Sacketts and Sackvilles, of England

The colonist ancestors of the Sackets and Sacketts of America came from England.  The Sackets, Sacketts and Sackvilles of England trace descent from a common ancestor whose forebears were natives of Normandy.  Before taking up the biographical and genealogical records of the family in America, a few pages may well be devoted to their English kinsfolk.

While proper names, distinguishing one person from another, have been in use from time immemorial, surnames are not met with in recorded history until near the close of the 10th century of the Christian Era.  They were first used in Normandy, and did not come into general use in England until the middle of the 15th century.

It is a self-evident fact that surnames were derived from various sources - from articles and terms used in commerce and navigation, from localities, from objects of nature, animals, colors, avocations, and not unfrequently from combinations of two or more objects or terms.  And after a surname had once been adopted by the head of a family it was no uncommon practice on the part of his descendants to drop, add to, alter or change a final letter or syllable for the purpose of distinguishing one branch from another.

Early English pursuits were mainly pastoral.  The chief staple was wool, and  to export this in an unmanufactured state was the practice.  Then, as now, wool was shipped in sacks.  It is recorded in the histories of England that in 1340, King Edward III was granted thirty thousand sacks of wool to enable him to carry on the French war.  In the records of those early days the name of Adam le Sackere (Adam the sacker) is met with, as one busied, not in the care of flocks or shearing of sheep, but in purchase and exporting of wool.  This man, whose father or grandfather came into England with William the Conqueror, is recognized by the Sackets, Sacketts, and Sackvilles of England, as their common ancestor.  Just when, or under what circumstances, the most prominent branch of the family in England changed the last syllable of their name from "et" or "ett" to "ville" is unknown to the writer.

But few families in America have played a more important part

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in founding, developing and maintaining this mighty republic, than the descendants of the colonists, Simon Sackett of Cambridge, Mass., and John Sackett, of New Haven, Conn.  Meantime, in these respects, the name Sackville has, in America, gradually become an unknown quantity.  But in England the credit of greater prominence rests with the Sackville branch of the family.

"Edward Sackville, fourth Earl of Dorset." writes Lord Clarendon, "was born in London in 1590.  His person was beautiful and graceful, and vigorous: his wit pleasing, sparkling and sublime, and his other parts of learning and language of that lustre that he could not miscarry in the world."  Lodge adds, "He was indeed one of the most accomplished orators of his time, and was held in high respect for the independence and purity of his principles.  He had a command in the forces sent to the Palatinate in 1620, and fought in the decisive battle of Prague.  The following year he was employed on a mission to the Queen Regent of France, and on his return was sworn of the Privy Council.  On the accession of King Charles, he was chosen a Knight of the Garter and appointed Lord Chamberlain to the Queen."

"Thomas Sackville, Earl of Dorset." says Lodge in his Portraits of Illustrious personages of Great Britain, "was born in 1636, and educated at Oxford and Cambridge.  He was the first poet, and one of the first statesmen of his time; and the biographer who would profess to celebrate his fame with justice, should be at once a poet and an historian, a politician and a critic.  He was the only son of Sir Richard Sackville, a lineal descendant of one of the Norman band which accompanied William the Conqueror to England: Chancellor of the Court of Augmentation under Edward the Sixth, and in the two following reigns, and a Privy Councillor to Mary and Elizabeth, the last of whom he served also in the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer.  This gentleman was nearly related to Elizabeth, for he was the first cousin by his mother to Anne Boleyn."

George Sackville, Viscount, son of Lional Sackville, the first Duke of Dorset, was born January 26, 1717.  He entered the army,

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served under the Duke of Cumberland and was wounded in the breast at the famous battle of Fontenoy.  In 1758 he had risen to the rank of Lieutenant General and was Privy Councilor.  In the expedition to Germany that year in aid of the King of Prussia, he was appointed second in command of the English forces, under the Duke of Marlborough.  On the death of the  latter before the close of the year the command in chief devolved on Lord George.  He held that office until the memorable battle of Minden, Aug. 1st, 1759, when in consequence of some misunderstanding between himself and Prince Ferdinand, he returned to England in disgrace.  Lady Betty Germain, at her death in 1769, left her property to Lord George Sackville, on condition of his assuming her surname, which he did accordingly.  After the acession of George the Third, he was again received at court, and on November 10th, 1775, was appointed Secretary of State for the Colonies.  This position he held throughout the long conflict which ended in the colonies' achievement of independence and permanent establishment as the United States of America.

No authentic records have as yet been discovered which establish beyond question the name of the father of Simon and John Sackett, the colonist founders of the Sackett clan in America.  The generally accepted tradition is that they came to Massachusetts Bay Colony, from the Isle of Ely, Cambridgeshire, England.  But was their ancestral home located there"  It is established by official records that Simon Sackett was one of the founders of Newtown, Mass., which became the City of Cambridge, and is now an integral part of Greater Boston, and that his brother, John Sackett, became a resident of New Haven, Conn.  In the early records of both Cambridge and New Haven, the name is invariably spelled "S-a-c-k-e-t-t."

J. N. Clark, Esq., register of the University of Cambridge, England, replying to a letter addressed to him by Fred J. Sackett, Esq., formerly of Omaha, Nebraska, and latter of Minneapolis, Minn., says: "I find the following persons of the name of Sacket on the Registers of this University:
George Sacket, Sidney Sussex College, A. B. 1617; A. M. 1621; B. D. 1628 from St. Johns, Coll.
Stephen Sacket, Sidney Sussex College, A. B., 1624; A. M. 1628.

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George Sacket, Sidney Sussex College, A. B. 1650; A. M., 1654.
George Sacket, Sidney Sussex College, A. B., 1661; A. M. 1665.
John Sacket, Corpis Christi College, A. B., 1690; A. M., 1694
After this, no persons of the name appears and I cannot give you any further particulars."

It will be observed that these names are all spelled "S-a-c-k-e-t," and so far as ascertained that is the way in which the name is spelled at and in the vicinity of Cambridge, Eng.

In the "Genealogies of Kent," we find records of marriages as follows: "Thomas Claybrooke of Swaleleave, to Margaret, daughter of John Sackett"; "Hannah, daughter of Samuel Tritton, to Richard Sackett," and "Sarah, granddaughter of Richard Sackett, to Robert Tonelin of Sackett's Court, near Northdown" - all spelled "S-a-c-k-e-t-t."

In "London Marriage Licensed" we find a record of marriage of "John Sackette, of Folkstone, Kent, A. M., bachelor, and Margaret Tempest, spinster, of Patricksborne, Kent, 24 Oct., 1702."  In 1716, this John S-a-c-k-e-t-t-e wrote a scientific work, entitled, "Sinking of the Earth near Folkstone, Kent," which attracted the attention of scholars throughout Europe and America.

In the "restoration of the church of St. Nicholas at Wade Thenet, in 1876," brass plates were discovered on removal of the pews, bearing these quaint inscriptions:

"Here lyeth buried the body of John Sacket, so' time of the P'ishe of S. Nicholas at Wade, hou died the xxii daye of Juine A' Ve D'ni 1588, whose soule we hope God take he to hys marcie."

"Here lyeth buried the body of Jhane Knooler, late wife of John Sacket and Richard Enitage.  By the forsaid Richard Enitage she had issue two sons and two daughters, the which said Jhane deceased the 6 of January A'no D'ni 1603."

The branch of the family in England who spell their name S-a-c-k-e-t-t-e does not appear to be represented in the United States.  The entire clan in America - barring a few Sackvilles - seem to be lineal descendants of either Simon or John Sackett, the colonists of 1630-31.

We regret exceedingly our inability to state, with any degree of  certainty, just where in England the ancestral home of the col-

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onists Simon and John Sackett, was located, or from which branch of the family they are descended.  It is claimed, however, that the armorial bearing of the Earls and Dukes of Dorset were, in a some what modified form, conferred on the father or grandfather of the common ancestor of the clan, Adam le Sackere.

(Page 12)