Much has been written and discussed about our ancestor William Orcutt who married Mary Lane, and having done so founded the ORCUTT family in America. Myths, supposed legends, and “red herrings”, in the Orcutt family, as in most families, abound. In the latter 1980’s I began to doubt much of what was then being continually repeated in regard to William Orcutt. I decided I was going to start from scratch, and having become unshackled from “traditional wisdom” and the considerable “fluff” in recorded Orcutt history, embarked on a decided course of simply letting the records speak.
Boston Evening Transcript
September 19, 1904
Some Orcutt Homesteads
An Address Delivered before the Orcutt Family Association at the reunion held in South Weymouth, Mass., Sept. 17, 1904
By Frank A. Bates
President of the Association
“ Of our mutual progenitor, William (1) Orcutt, the early part of his life is yet a mystery. That he came to this town, (Weymouth), it’s immediate vicinity is sufficently proved. That was about 1664, for on Jan. of that year he married Mary Lane of Hingham….Without other evidence than the business he did, we should naturally suppose that he was more than fifty years old when he died in 1693.”
Thus we have Mr. Bates word, and we can trust that word is good in light of the in depth information and knowledge he had of the Orcutts at that time, 1904, that he, nor anyone he knew of, had any information at all in regard to William Orcutt’s origins or life prior to having married Mary Lane. As he plainly stated, ‘the early part of his life is yet a mystery.” Having been President of the Orcutt Family Association one would expect if Mr. Bates had any further knowledge, or clue, such as any legend he would have said as much. .
The reins of leadership of the Orcutt Family Association had passed by the 1930’s to a Mr. F. W. Ingalsbe, and he and his contributors gathered information from every source they could find and made things start to roll as far as an more fully organized effort to collect and compile Orcutt history on a wide basis. Mr. Ingalsbe, who became widely referenced throughout compiled and published subsequent Orcutt histories by many persons in following years, wrote he also had no information about William Orcutt’s native origins;
Orcutt Family Association 1935
“William Orcutt (whence he came we have no trace) married Mary Lane of Hingham Jan. 24, 1664, daughter of Andrew and Triphany. When he died his widow was Martha Whether this is a twist of names or an evidence that he married again, I am uncertain. Benjamin was the ninth child born 1679. I have just returned from Plymouth, where I have been looking up old Orcutt deeds, and I have some good materials. We are rapidly collecting data for an “Orcutt Genealogy” and will be thankful if anyone having any data on the family will send it to the Transcript. The reunion of the Orcutt Family Association will be held this summer, and all new material will be made public at that time, in the various addresses.”
The statement, “William Orcutt (whence he came we have no trace) married Mary Lane…”, in view of all proceeding installations of the Orcutt Association newsletter, cannot mean that Mr. Ingalsbe in this passage was referring to from “whence he came” as not having any knowledge of where William might, or might not have been first settled, or lived prior to his marriage while in America as it’s clear that assumptions had long been made and accepted as to him having resided at Weymouth at the time of, or just prior to the marriage. Mr. Ingalsbe also previously stated that William first settled at Salem, (which place he didn’t), and various other places, as shown in earlier installations of his newsletters. Plainly, Mr. Ingalsbe is referring to the country and place of William’s nativity and origin, and relates that there was no knowledge of where that might have been, at that date.
William Orcutt had been the main subject in many, if not most, of the Orcutt Association newsletters, even as far back as Mr. Bates. This simple statement, made by Mr. Ingalsbe, “whence he came we have no trace”, is clearly indicative that he had no personal knowledge of William Orcutt’s early origins, and none had been shared with him by any other person during those early years of his leadership of the Orcutt Family Association, up and until the mid 1930’s.
Recently uncovered records (October 2018) prove William Orcutt was baptized “William Horkott”, son of John Horkott and Margarett Bickley, May 15, 1637, Over Whitacre, Warwickshire, and set out to come “over” to the Massachusetts Colony in 1658. See The Mystery of William Orcutt Solved.