Early Life

John Putnam was born on January 17, 1580 in Wingrave, Buckinghamshire, England to Nicholas Putnam and Margaret Goodspeed. He married Priscilla Gould in 1611 in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, England. In the 1630s or 1640s, John, Priscilla, and their children immigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony and settled in Salem, Massachusetts. John died on December 30, 1662 in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts. He is buried in Salem.

John recived from his father, Nicholas, his house and lands in Aston Abbotts. The Putnam farm was most likely in Burstone, a locality adjoining Rowsham in Wingrave. John probably lived in Stewkley with his parents until his father's death, and then being of age capable to conduct a farm, seems to have taken possession of the property given him by his father and to have continued in possession, occupying himself with its care, until his migration to New England. In 1614, when his name appears on his mother's marriage license as one of the sureties, he is described as husbandman. No further mention is found of him in England, except upon the occasions of the baptism of his children, who were baptized at Aston Abbotts.

John was married in 1611 or 1612.

John Putnam was well equipped for the work of founding a home in a country, both in ability and financial resources. In 1640, John Putnam settled in Salem, Massachusetts. There is no record of his having been in any other part of New England prior to his appearence in Salem. His son Thomas first settled in Lynn, and his coming thought to have preceded his father's. In 1685/6, Nathaniel Putnam deposed that he was aged sixty-five years and had lived in Salem for forty-six years, and his brother John made a like statement, giving his age as fifty-eight years and his residence in Salem as about forty-five years, both of which statements agree with the date 1640 as that of the coming of their father. As it is not likely that the removal was effected in the winter season, either John arrived in the preceding year or else his son Thomas in the person referred to by Leachford. There is no authority for the date 1634, sometimes given as that of the arrival of John Putnam, other than family tradition, probably originating with John's grandson, Deacon Edward Putnam, who left a brief genealogy of the family compiled in 1733.


John was admitted to the Church on February 4, 1647 in Salem, Massachusetts.

Grants of land, were made by the town of Salem to John Putnam and to his sons on their account. The first grant is not of record, and the land so granted was not occupied by him. The earliest recorded grant, which was that on which he established his homestead, was 100 acres, November 20, 1640, or January 1641, new style. On that date, a meeting, there being present, Mr. Endecott, Mr. Hathorne, John Woodbury, Jeffry Massy, the selectmen, there was "Graunted to John Putnam one hundred acres of land at the head of Mr. Skelton's Farme between it and Elias Stilemen the elder his Farme, if there be an hundred acres of it. And it is in exchange of one hundred acres weh was graunted to the said John Putnam formerly and if it fall out that there be not such there then to be made up neere Lieutenant Davenport's hill to be layed out by the towne. And tenne acres of meadow in the meadow called the pine meadow if it be not there formerly graunted to others." There was also "Graunted Fiftie acres of land unto Thomas Putnam and Five acres of meadow both to be layed out by the towne."

At a meeting of the selectmen, March 17, 1652, "There being formerlie graunted unto John Putnam Sen' 50 acres of land and complaint being made that the said land laid out to him is not soe much it is ordered that the layers out of the land shall make up what the said land shall want of his grant in land lying between his sonne Nathaniells land and Richard Huchisson."

In 1653 he divided his lands between his sons Thomas and Nathaniel, having evidently already granted his homestead to his younger son, John.

In deeds John is described as both husbandman and yeoman. He was a man of substance and probably of much education as his contemporaries, but neither seeking or desiring public office.

At a general town meeting held the May 7, 1644 it was ordered "that twoe be appointed every Lords day to walk forth in the time of Gods worshippe, to take notice of such as either lye about the meeting house without attending to the word or ordinances, or that lye at home or in the fields, without giving good account thereof, and to take the names of such persons & to present them to the Magistrate, whereby they may be accordingly proceeded against. Seventeen men were appointed, John Putnam and John Hathorne were appointed for the ninth day. All the men were of prominence and to whom a perusal of the records shows that the town people looked with respect.


In describign his final hours, "He ate his supper, went to prayer with his family and died before he went to sleep."


Offspring of John Putnam and Priscilla Gould (1585-1668)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Elizabeth Putnam (1612-1643) December 1612 Aston Abbotts, Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom 1682
Thomas Putnam (1615-1686) 8 March 1615 Aston Abbotts, Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom 5 May 1686 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States Ann Holyoke (1621-1665)
Mary Veren (1623-1694)
John Putnam (1617-1620) July 1617 Aston Abbotts, Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom 5 November 1620 Aston Abbotts, Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom
Nathaniel Putnam (1619-1700) 10 October 1619 Aston Abbotts, Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom 23 July 1700 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States Elizabeth Hutchinson (1629-1688)
Sarah Putnam (1623-1680)
Phoebe Putnam (1624-1624)
John Putnam (1627-1710) 27 May 1627 Aston Abbotts, Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom 7 April 1710 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States Rebecca Prince (1627-1704)

Name Birth date Birth place Death date Death place
Children of John Putnam and Priscilla Gould
Elizabeth Putnam December 1612
Thomas Putnam March 7, 1615 England May 5, 1686
John Putnam July 1617 November 5, 1620
Nathaniel (Capt) Putnam October 1619 July 23, 1700
Sarah Putnam March 1623
Phoebe Putnam July 1624
John Putnam May 1627 April 7, 1710



Footnotes (including sources)

‡ General

Robin Patterson