Richard Sawtell was born 7 April 1611 in Aller, Somerset, England to John Sawtell (1575-1622) and Agnes Pittard (1579-1622) and died 2 August 1694 Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts of unspecified causes. He married Elizabeth Pople (1611-1694) 5 February 1627 in High Ham, Somerset, England.


Richard Sawtell (Sawtle/Sartwell,etc.) was probably from Somerset, England where the name is numerous, but no proof of this has been established. He had a brother, Thomas, who was admitted Freeman 2 May 1649 at Boston and died there in 1651 childless and apparently unmarried. Thomas's will of 14 May 1651 refers to brother Richard and brother and sister Kenrick of Muddy River. These are possibly John and Ann of Muddy River, now Brookline, but Savage says that Ann Kenrick was probably sister of Robert Smith; she died 15 Nov 1656. Richard administered the estate of brother Thomas. "Richard Sawtell of Watertown - Addenda," pg. 79, English Origins of New England Families CD, Series 2 Vol. 2 names Richard as son of John & Agnes (Pittard) but no son Thomas or daughter Ann are mentioned.

Watertown Founders Monument

Watertown Founders Monument

He is listed on Watertown Founders Monument, commemorating the first settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts. The town was first known as Saltonstall Plantation, one of the earliest of the Massachusetts Bay Colony settlements. Founded in early 1630 by a group of settlers led by Richard Saltonstall and George Phillips, it was officially incorporated that same year. The alternate spelling "Waterton" is seen in some early documents.

Richard's name first appears in New England records as a proprietor of Watertown, MA 25 July 1636.

On 28 Feb 1637 at Watertown, the plowlands at Beverbroke Plains were divided and allotted out to townsmen, one acre per person and likewise for cattle vaued at 20 pounds per head. Richard was granted one acre, indicating that he was a single man. Since his first child was born 1 May 1638, he was likely married in the summer of 1637.

=== Burning of Groton ==- Richard lived at Watertown for more than 25 years and then, with sons Jonathan and Zacharish, became an original proprietor and settler of Groton, Massachusetts. He served as the first town clerk there, 1662-1664. King Philip's War broke out in 1675 and Richard's home, one of the 5 garrison houses in Groton, was burned on 13 Mar. 1676. Richard and most of the others, including his sons, returned to Watertown where he lived the remainder of his life. He served as a Selectman in Watertown in 1689.

Richard's Will

Richard's will is dated 16 May 1692 and he died "aged man" 21 Aug 1694. His estate was valued at 147 pounds, 11 shillings; real estate was located at Watertown except for a 20 acre right at Groton. ("Richard Sawtell of Watertown, MA," NEHGS "Register," Vol 126, pg. 3)

Marriage and Family


Offspring of Richard Sawtell and Elizabeth Pople (1611-1694)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Richard Sawtell (1634-1676)
Elizabeth Sawtell (1638-1675)
Jonathan Sawtell (1639-1690)
Hannah Sawtell (1642-1723)
Zachariah Sawtell (1643-1691)
Enoch Sawtell (1643-1741) 26 July 1643 Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts 1 March 1741 Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts Susanna Randall (1657-1720)
Bethia Sawtell (1646-1714)
Obadiah Sawtell (1648-1741)
Ruth Sawtell (1650-1720)
John Sawtell (1656-1700)


Research Notes

1952 Lowell Tribune Article

This August 28, 1952, Lowell Tribune article, appeared on page 11, columns 5-6:

"The life of Richard Sawtell is well documented as he was a prominent early Colonial settler. He was born at High Dam, Sommersetshire, England about 1611 and passed away in Watertown, Mass. on 2 August 1694 at age 83. He emigrated to America in the 1630's and was a Proprietor of Watertown, Mass. by 1637. He was married to Elizabeth Pople in England before they came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. All of their children were born in Watertown. In about 1662, they relocated to the new town of Groton, Mass. where he was a Proprietor and Town Clerk for several years. Three of their sons, Obadiah, Jonathan, and Zachariah also established homes in Groton. The town of Groton was burned down by the Indians in the spring of 1676 and they returned to Watertown where he died in 1694. Elizabeth passed away on 18 October 1694, shortly after her husband died."



Footnotes (including sources)