William Shattuck 1622-1672 Founder of the Massachusetts Shattucks

by Philip Shaddock

DNA testing as so far not refuted single progenitor of all American Shattucks proposed by Lemuel Shattuck in his "Memorials of the Descendants of William Shattuck" book of 1855. This graphic shows where DNA testing places American Shattucks in the Shattocke family tree. 



This page discusses William Shattock (ca. 1622-1672) of Watertown and his descendants. There are also discussions of the early history of Samuel Shattocke (ca. 1620-1689), although his complete story is told on a sub page.  There is also a sub-page with a discussion of William Shattuck of Boston and New Jersey. Massachusetts Shattucks migrated south to populate the south with the surname Shaddock. That is told on this page and the South Carolina page.  There is a sub-page about the birthplace of the ancestors of the Massachusetts Shattucks in west Somerset. 

Note: Shattock, Shattocke and Shatticke are the oldest forms of the family name found in English records dating back to the early 16th century. I use the term "Shattocke" to refer to all the descendants of our common ancestor in England. When I use the term "Shattuck" generically, I am referring to Shattockes who emigrated to New England in the 17th century.



Lemuel Shattuck (1793-1859), Shattuck family historian and genealogist.

Shattucks are the most prolific members of the ancient Shattocke family, numbering over 7900 Shattuck descendants out of a total of about 13,000 Shattockes. Almost 2 out of 3 Shattockes are Shattucks.

We probably know the most about the Shattuck family because of its most famous descendant, Lemuel Shattuck (1793–1859) from Massachusetts. Lemuel was not only a family historian, he was a professional genealogist who had lasting impact on the field. He has his own Wikipedia web page

What the Wikipedia entry does not say is that Lemuel Shattuck wrote and published a book called, "Memorials of the Descendants of William Shattuck: the progenitor of the families in America that have borne his name." It was printed in Boston in 1855. It is an exhaustive study of the Shattuck family down to 1855, over 400 pages in total. He not only drew on records, but on the oral history of many Shattucks and their relatives born in the previous century. Apparently he sent out questionnaires to descendants to harvest as much information as possible. Because the Descendants is full of first hand oral and written accounts, we have to treat his book as a very important source for information about Shattuck family history.

You can download a PDF version of the book here.

There was another book written by Beatrice Marie Larson and published in 1977 called "Shattuck Memorials II." It purports to take up where Lemuel Shattuck left off in 1855. Because it gathers much additional information about Shattuck genealogies it is very useful, but it does contain a lot of errors. You can find it at archive.org. 

The title of Lemuel's book suggests that all Shattucks and name variants descend from a single immigrant to New England, William Shattuck, born about 1622 and dying in 1672. He lived in Watertown, an early settlement that is today the Town of Watertown, a part of the Greater Boston area. But Lemuel was not entirely sure there was a single progenitor. He includes other possible immigrants in the appendix of his book, notably a Samuel Shattuck of Salem and a William Shattuck who settled in early Boston. He speculates that there are no surviving descendants of these two men with the Shattuck name or its variants. 

In fact, there is clear evidence that there are Shattuck descendants in America that do not descend from William Shattuck of Watertown (ca. 1622-1672). DNA studies have proven this. But the vast majority of descendants with the surname Shattuck or Shadduck are descended from the founder William. A major branch of the family, the South Carolina Shaddocks, are also descended from William Shattuck.

William Shattuck came in a second or third wave of English immigrants from west Somerset . The author of a study of those English immigrants, H.J. Wickenden, M.A., in his Emigration from Taunton and District to New England 1625-1645, points out that the first wave of Somerset immigrants probably were largely unaware of what they faced in the wilderness around Massachusetts Bay in New England. Although the area had been visited and stories abounded about conditions there, the stories were probably heard mostly be people who lived on the coast of Somerset, and never found their way into the interior where the Shattucks lived. However, it is probably true that once the colony was on a steady footing, stories did trickle back to Somerset of the social and economic opportunities in New England. 

The Battle of Naseby by an unknown artist.

What made them become pilgrims in a new land? It is an oversimplification to attribute their motive to religious persecution. In the 16th and 17th century many protestants felt the Church of England had not gone far enough in "purifying" the church of its "Catholic" practices. But they did not want to leave the church, just to reform it. There were other reasons why the dream of a new social order in a far away land was appealing. There was massive upheaval at home. A new middle class was emerging free of the bonds of serfdom and seeking greater freedom to pursue economic opportunity. A population explosion after wars and plagues had created large families with disenfranchised sons who sought land to start their own families. Parliamentarians and Royalists struggled for possession of the levers of government. All these tensions and more erupted into the English civil war between 1842-1851.

Contrary to what you might think most of the settlers in the Massachusetts Bay colony were not farmers. They were tradespeople. This is certainly true of William Shattuck of Watertown, who was a weaver, William Shattuck of Boston, who was a shoemaker, and Samuel Shattuck of Salem, who was a felt-maker and hatter. The pilgrims of New England were part of the emerging middle class in England. 

Where is the Ancestral Home of Shattucks in England?


William Justus Shattuck (1822-1905) belongs to the lineage that comes down from Philip Shattuck (1648-1722), another son of William Shattuck. We have no definitive DNA tests that verify this lineage. Descendants of this lineage can have their DNA tested free. Contact me.

There has been a long debate about how the first Shattuck pilgrims in the Massachusetts Bay colony were related and what parish in England they came from. There was a "widow Shattuck" and two children, William (ca. 1622-1672) and Samuel (ca. 1620-1689). The paper trail back to the first years of the colony have not yielded up the mystery of how the three were related. Were the boys children of the widow Shattuck? Were they brothers? Lemuel Shattuck provides no answer to this question and more than a century and a half later, there are no birth or death documents that have yielded a birth place or parents.

But it turns out we can narrow down the birthplaces of the male Shattucks to a very small area. It is in west Somerset, where all Shattockes in the world come from. DNA studies have shown the Massachusetts Shattucks share a common ancestor with the Southwark, London Shattocks, who originally migrated from a village west of Taunton in west Somerset. And it is almost certain William Shattuck (1622-1672) was born in a village called Stogumber in west Somerset. In the page on the Shattuck origins, I present evidence that Samuel Shattuck of Salem may also have been born in the nearby village of West Bagborough. In fact we have found the probable baptism entry in the Stogumber, Somerset parish records for William Shattuck of Watertown and the likely baptism record for Samuel of Salem in nearby West Bagborough. The identification of their birth places is based on a book written about emigrants from west Somerset, DNA studies and studies of early Somerset parishes and other documents like wills and land taxes (see the English Heritage page). The page devoted to Shattuck English origins makes for a fascinating study of the history and times of west Somerset in the early 17th century: "The Ancestral Home of American Shattucks in England.

Although the paper trail from the American Shattuck pioneers to the their ancestors in the tiny villages in England may be lost, the first Shattucks were actually carrying with them a biological record of where they came from. It was in their DNA, which was preserved by being passed down to their descendants. The final word is the DNA evidence. If you are a Shattuck, or other name variant descendant, and would like to contribute to the research, while exploring your own personal ancestral history, please contact me.


Mary Foss Shattuck (1880-1956) and Elna Francis Shattuck (1883-1927). They were granddaughters to William Justus Shattuck (1822-1905) shown below

Shattuck Descendants

George Clinton Shattuck 1786-1876 Read the fascinating account of his life in Lemuel Shattuck "The Descendants." Worthy of a Hollywood biopic: here.

Meanwhile, back in America... Lemuel Shattuck picks up the story of the Shattucks and details their descendants up to 1855 when his Descendants book was published. 

His book listing descendants is huge. There are reasons why so many Shattucks abound in America. The climate was favorable to northern Europeans, reducing the impact of disease on population growth. New lands meant there were resources available to support rapid family expansion. According to Fischer, that original founding Massachusetts Bay population of about 21,000 pilgrims had grown to almost 16 million by the time he published his book in 1989.

What do we know about the first Shattocke pilgrims to New England? We know the approximate ages of the boys, Samuel and William. In his 1689 will Samuel says he is 69 years old. That means he was born in 1620. In a court document William's age is rendered as 1622. They were born two years apart. Since they likely emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay colony in 1634, that means they were about fourteen and twelve years old when they landed in the Massachusetts Bay colony. 

We do not know the name of the husband of "widow Damaris Shattuck." Presumably her husband died on the voyage over or soon after they arrived in the colony. She is recorded as being admitted to the church in 1641. 

A daughter of Samuel Shattock with the name of Damaris Shattock married Benjamin Pope about 1682.  This strengthens the argument that Damaris was Samuel Shattuck's mother. The other indication is that Samuel and Damaris lived in the same town, Salem MA. The daughter was born in 1653. There is also a Damaris Shattock born 1630, obviously back in England. In 1653 this Damaris Shattock married Isaac Page on either Jul 30 or Sep 30. This had to be a daughter of widow Damaris as she was too old in 1653 to be a daughter of William or Samuel. I have much more to say about this Shattock - Page  marriage, which is very significant in the search for ancestors of Carolina Shaddocks

There is also a Sarah Shattock who is said to be born in 1632 in Salem. She is apparently another daughter of widow Damaris. She married Richard Gardner (1628-1628).  Lemuel makes William Shattock of Boston also a son of the widow Shattock, effectively ruling out widow Damaris as the mother of William Shattock of Watertown (1622-1672), since she would not have two living sons with the same name.  William apparently moved to Boston, where he was a shoemaker. 


Lydia White Shattuck (1822-1889), daughter of Timothy Shattuck Jr. and Betsey Fletcher, and a descendant of William Shattuck's son William (1653-1732) and grandson Rev. Benjamin Shattuck (1687-1763). Lydia became a world famous botanist. 

Lemuel in his Descendants book places William Shattuck of Boston in the appendix and he does not appear to be the patriarch of any other Shattuck in Lemuel's records. In fact he says he has found no male descendants of William of Boston with the surname Shattuck or its variants. He lived in Boston between 1650 and 1658, before moving on to New Jersey to escape religious persecution.  We do not know when this William Shattuck emigrated to the colony, but I would not be surprised if he followed family members over from England.

It should not escape your notice that the Shattocks seem to arrive in the Massachusetts colony with a trade. William Shattock of Watertown did some farming but he owned a loom and made a living from weaving. William of Boston was a shoemaker. And Samuel Shattock of Salem was a felt maker or hatter. While these were cottage industries, I think these facts tip the balance to a scenario where the Shattucks of Massachusetts came from villages in Somerset. They were not farmers. And they seem to have prospered subsequently in trade. This is in keeping with what Fischer, in his Albion's Seeds book describes as the typical Puritan emigrant to the colony. (I gloss extensively from his book in the Ancestral Homes sub-page.)

It appears that there were at least two families of Shattockes that were living in the Massachusetts colony by 1653 and as early as 1841, the Shattockes of Watertown and the Shattockes of Salem. I think there might have been more. If it is true that William of Boston was a son of the widow Damaris, then William of Watertown might have been his cousin or more distant relative. It seems likely Samuel of Salem was the son of Damaris because she and he lived in Salem. That would make William of Watertown a cousin. Again, what I have discovered in written records of west Somerset about the Stogumber Area Shattocks supports this theory.

Samuel Walker Shattuck (1841-1915) is a descendant of William's son John Shattuck (1642-1675). He is in the Groton branch of the Shattuck tree. He was wounded in the Battle of Cedar Creek during the Civil War. He went on to become a professor of mathematics at Norwich university and the University of Illinois. He is credited in his role as regent of the University of Illinois with helping the university develop its full potential. 

Now comes the major caveat. There is a tendency among Shattuck descendants to take Lemuel's book title literally and attempt to trace their family lineages back to that single progenitor, William Shattuck. But the earliest Shattuck immigrants
 were Puritans, part of a mass exodus of Puritans from England. The Puritans tended to emigrate as families rather than isolated individuals, seeking economic freedom and the freedom to practice their religion. Banks studies the earliest settlers, but did other family members follow in the decades after 1640? Why not?

It is probable Shattocke relatives followed the earliest members of the family to the colony. The estimate is 20,000 immigrants, arriving in the Massachusetts colony between 1620 and 1640. Many of them would have followed in the footsteps of relatives who spoke of freedom and opportunity in the new world. 

In fact I have discovered discrepancies in the records that suggest the attempt to make all descendants with the last name of Shattuck or Shadduck or Shaddock descendants of William Shattuck (1622-1672) a risky proposition. See the discussion of Samuel Shattuck born in 1666 in the Carolina Shattucks page.

Lemuel Shattuck wrote his history in the middle of the 19th century, two centuries after the original immigrants arrived in New England. The gaps in the records of births, deaths and marriages, of land transactions and court cases, had already made his task of reconstructing the history of the Shattuck family in the English colony difficult and error prone. He had the problem faced by many early English immigrants to America. The paper trail to the past runs into road blocks in the early 19th century. By the early 18th century records of ancestors are lost or ambiguous. Few find the paper trail back to England. Lemuel could only guess at his family's origins in England.

But there is another trail to the past, DNA mutational analysis.

What DNA Tests Tell Us About Shattucks

Joseph Cummings Shattuck (1835-1921) is the great grandfather of Donald McKeown Shattuck, a Shattuck descendant who has been DNA tested. This family is descended from William Shattuck's son John Shattuck (1642-1675).

There is another record of our family's ancient tribal wanderings that is preserved and passed intact from one generation to the next. It is the record in our DNA, particularly the Y-DNA passed on from father to son. The DNA record does not record names and dates. What it does do is tell you how two people are related by identifying the date of a common ancestor and the genetic distance from relatives. The more recent the common ancestor, the more matches you find in the markers found in their DNA.

Immigration to the New England colony occurred over a century and a half, between the middle of the 17th century and the late 18th century, before the door was closed when the U.S. won independence from England. DNA testing is beginning to sort out the basic question: how many Shattockes landed in the Massachusetts colonies in the early to late 17th century? The value of DNA testing is it can give you an actual measurement of how closely related two people are (genetic distance) and with advanced DNA testing you can get an approximate date when the common ancestor lived.

As I am writing this there are a number of DNA tests underway that are going to help resolve the central issue of Shattuck genealogical research. Are all Shattucks descended from a single individual or did an extended family come over from England? 

The DNA Story So Far
I have compiled the DNA results of Shattucks in an Excel spreadsheet (along with Shattocke relatives), which can be viewed either in Excel or a compatible program. I have also written a page that provides information on how to read and understand the spreadsheet. Contact me if you are interested in viewing the spreadsheet.  I have developed a graphic that gives you a visual interpretation of the DNA results. You can see it at the top of this page.

What the graphic shows is that the Massachusetts Shattucks are a unique branch of the Shattocke family who share a common ancestor with other Shattockes. That is in fact consistent with the genealogical data. The Shattocke family is not that old and Shattucks are one of its oldest branches. The split from other Shattockes to form a new branch appears to have occurred sometime between the common ancestor (14th century) and the 16th century, at a time when the Shattocke family was rebounding from a bout with the black plague. 

The Shattucks belong to a branch of the family called Y19751, shown in red text at the top of the Shattuck branch of the Shattocke tree (Stogumber Area Shattocks). DNA testing found two more branches, Y24059 and Y23841, shown in the diagram also in red.  

We have DNA confirmed descendants of two of William's sons, John Shattuck (1647-1675) and Philip Shattuck (1648-1722). There is something pretty amazing in the genealogical record, which is that the descendants of John Shattuck appear to be by far the most numerous of all William Shattuck descendants. Even Lemuel Shattuck was a descendant of John Shattuck. There is a  measure of just how lopsided are the sub-branches under William Shattuck. By far the John Shattuck lineages have the most number of descendants on Ancestry.com with trees. This is also the case with the number of people that have DNA tested. There are six John Shattuck descendants who have DNA tested, two Philip Shattuck descendants and no descendants of other William Shattuck sons. In fact this is a well known phenomenon. I have discovered only six branches of the Shattocke family surviving since the 14th century. If you are a descendant of one of the other William Shattuck sons, we badly need your DNA test results to define the Massachusetts Shattuck family tree.

Of the twelve Shattucks I have tested so far, all of them have the Y19751 SNP mutation that defines the Shattuck branch of the family. It would have been convenient to the research if I could identify William Shattuck (abt. 1622-1672) as the progenitor with that mutation. But we discovered the same SNP mutation in Bob Shattock of Melbourne, Australia, which means the mutation arose further up the tree from William. When you look at the STR mutations you see that Bob shares 4 of the 7 defining STR mutations of the Shattucks. This suggests that all of the Shattucks we have tested so far descend from a much more recent ancestor. But was that William or his grandfather? Are Samuel and the husband of widow Damaris related, but from a closely related common ancestor in England? What about William of Boston? There are three Shattucks with an unknown common ancestor. They have all seven signature STRs of American Shattucks, but I wonder if their common ancestor may not have been a later immigrant to America that was closely related to William Shattuck of Watertown but not descended from him? The current DNA results do not support this scenario, but there is a DNA test in the works whose results may clarify this issue.

I am sure some of the mystery around these results will evaporate, but the fact is that the DNA evidence is pointing to a common ancestor for all descendants of Shattucks and curiously, Shaddocks of South Carolina Shaddocks as well.



Shattuck Hotel in Berkeley

If you are as descendant of Philip Shattuck 1648-1722, you are eligible for a free DNA test. Again contact me.  

If you have a paper trail back to the Shattucks of New England, I encourage you to contact me and discuss DNA testing. Even if you do not have a paper trail back to early New England, DNA testing would be a good investment for you, saving you time and money by refining your genealogical research. As more people test, the tangles in Shattuck family genealogy will surely iron out and the gaps will be filled in.

If you do go ahead and conduct your own test, make sure you join the Shaddock - Shattuck project at the DNA testing company FTDNA (Family Tree DNA). I administrate the group. It is free to join. When your results come in I will be able to provide you with support and help you analyse your results in the context of other people who are part of your family. Here is the link to join: https://www.familytreedna.com/my/group-join.aspx?group=ShaddockShattuck

The Pennsylvania Shadducks

A version of the Shattuck name appears to be "Shadduck." Indeed a study of a major Shadduck branch, the Pennsylvania Shadducks has shown to be closely related to Shattucks. The fact is the name occurs virtually exclusively in the U.S. The Onomaps study shows there were 885 people with this name variant in the U.S. in 2005 and a small handful in Germany (3 or 4!). 

Watertown, Salem and Boston Shattucks

I am now going to discuss the three Shattucks found in Lemuel's descendants, William of Watertown, Samuel of Salem and William of Boston.

William Shattuck of Watertown (ca. 1622-1672)
Lemuel Shattuck's biography of William Shattuck of Watertown is still the best that I have found. You can read a complete excerpt from The Descendanthere

William Shattuck and his son John's gravestone.

For William Shattuck's birthplace in England, Stogumber in west Somerset, see the Ancestral Home in England of American Shattucks. There are no passenger lists that reveal when William traveled to Massachusetts Bay from Stogumber.

We know that William was a landowner in Watertown by 1639 when the first inventory was taken. Lemuel estimates 1621 or 1622 as his date of birth in England, which would make his age 17 when he acquired "an Homstall of one acre and three acres of upland." Legally he could purchase land at the age of seventeen, but it was common practice to have the transaction pass through a guardian because under common law minors could repudiate legal transactions when they reached the age of majority (21). This makes it unlikely that William purchased the land as a minor. Either he received it as a grant or inherited it. In fact we do not know when he actually acquired the land because the document was an inventory of land ownership in 1642 when he was twenty. So the question becomes, did he inherit the land from his father or was he granted land for some reason? It does not seem likely his father would pass on such a small parcel of land, and there is no other Shattuck in Watertown. Possibly his father was a weaver, and used the land primarily for feeding his family not growing food for market. But since there are no records of other Shattucks in Watertown, this seems unlikely. In the page I wrote about William's probable English home, I speculate that he may have come over as an apprentice to a weaver and received the small acre of land as payment for supporting that weaver's business venture in the new colony. 

In fact we know that one acre of land was insufficient to provide sustenance and income for a family. In Carl Bridenbaugh's history of the period ("Vexed and Troubled Englishmen 1590-1642") he tells us five acres was "insufficient to support themselves and their families without additional outside income. (p. 205) This makes it almost certain that he relied on weaving to support his family and the acre of arable land would not provide enough food or meat and dairy from animals to sustain his family.

Nancy Shattuck, who is a descendant of the Elder Pepperell Shattucks, has tracked down the original land grants for William Shattuck. You get a good idea of where William lived and how his personal wealth expanded over the years. Apparently he began as a weaver and used the money he earned to buy additional land. This is reminiscent of how the Milverton Shattocks (who were also weavers) used their earnings from weaving to expand their wealth and income through purchasing farm land. You can view the actual map of his lands. In a photograph Nancy shows a view of Boston from the hill on William's property. Planning a visit? Use the map and the photo to find the original Shattuck household and stand where your ancestor stood. I have added Nancy's work in a sub-page

William probably married in the new world as his first child was born in 1643, four years after he acquired his land. We do not know the last name of his wife Susannah. In Lemuel Shattuck's The Descendants a picture emerges of a respectable, skilled, creative man who founded a family dynasty in Massachusetts that was prominent and influential. 

William Shattuck's name appears as Wm. Shattocke in the will of Thomas Olliver of Boston dated 13 March 1652. He apparently owed the estate money.

Susannah survived William and remarried to Richard Norcross in 1873, in the year following William's death. 

William had ten children. His children and children's children would have very large families. Major branches of the family emanating from the first generation have the surnames Church, Morse and Brown. In the first century and a half they largely stayed in New England and then subsequently spread to other parts of the the U.S.  

As you will see if you read the South Carolina Shaddocks page, one long lost branch of the William of Watertown may be one of his grandsons.

Samuel Shattock of Salem

I am going to follow Lemuel's example and assign Samuel Shattuck of Salem to a subpage: here. Lemuel believed that this family died out, but I have found records not available to Lemuel that suggest the family may moved to the Carolinas. Read about  the Salem Shattucks here. Read about the evidence for a family move to the Carolinas here.

William Shattuck of Boston and New Jersey

Following Lemuel's lead again, I am going to assign William Shattuck to a sub-page of this one. Apparently there were no sons who carried on the name. 

William Shattuck of Watertown Descendants' Family History

In this section of the page I include the lineages for the Shattucks that have been Y-DNA tested. As more Shattucks are tested we will be able to determine through genetic analysis how precisely they are related. We will eventually be able to get clear answers to Shattuck questions. Are all Shattucks who trace their ancestry back to the Puritan immigrants to the Massachusetts colony descendants of William Shattuck (1622-1672) or was there more than one Shattuck immigrant? Where in England did the Shattucks emigrate from?

As it turns out DNA analysis promises to bridge over the gaps in the historical records, finally revealing the answers to the most fundamental questions you can ask about the Massachusetts Shattucks and bringing us ever closer to finding the parish or parishs they left in England to populate and become major players in the history of the U.S.

Genealogy of the Massachusetts Shattucks

Please see the branches of the Massachusetts Shattucks on the Branches page.

Want your family store told on this site? Contact me.