Samuel Chatterton
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Samuel Chatterton Charlotte Beebe
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Point aux Trembles, Quebec, near present day Neuville, on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River looking downstream toward Quebec City, approximately 18 miles away. Is it possible that this is the location of Samuel Chatterton's and Richard Billingsley's company of the 31st in the last half of 1782, rather than the more commonly thought of military location of Point aux Trembles in Montreal?
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Origins in England

Since the publication of the Loyalists of Bay Chaleur, by A.D. Flowers in 1973, or possibly before, it was thought that Samuel Chatterton of the 31st Regiment of Foot, New Carlisle and Hopetown was Samuel D. Chatterton, the son of John Chatterton, the Westchester Loyalist. Subsequent Chatterton family researchers, Earle Irvine and then Susan Sylke, uncovered evidence in the mid-1990s that showed that Samuel D. Chatterton could not have been the Samuel Chatterton of New Carlisle and Hopetown. Despite their findings, this error continues to be found and propagated on the Net, several years after their refutation of Samuel D. Chatterton--son of Loyalist, John Chatterton of Westchester--as the Samuel of the 31st and New Carlisle.

While the evidence that Samuel Chatterton of New Carlisle and Hopetown could not have been Samuel D. Chatterton was clear and compelling, the origins of Samuel Chatterton remained a mystery until 1 November 1999 when a search of boxes I had directed at the Public Record Office (PRO) in Kew, England revealed a "tiny little muster," dated 31 Dec 1782, taken of men from the 31st Regiment of Foot at Point aux Tremble, Quebec. (A List of the Serjeants Corp Drummers and Private of the 31st Regiment of Foot, Point aux Tremble 13th Dec '82, WO 28/10/164) When I examined the muster, I noticed that, along with Samuel Chatterton, a Richard Billingsley was also present. According to this muster of a grenadier company within the Regiment, both men had been in his Majesty's service in both the 31st, and for total length of service in the British Army, for the same length of time--three years, and both men were listed as English.

The origins of Richard Billingsley, also of New Carlisle, had already been convincingly established by Billingsley family researchers as Codsall, Staffordshire, England. It seemed a reasonable hypothesis, then, that both Samuel Chatterton and Richard Billingsley could have been recruited by the 31st Regiment of Foot in the same area and at the same time.

A quick search of the International Genealogical Index (IGI) showed a Samuel Chatterton being baptized just three miles north of Codsall, at St. Mary's (Church of England) in Brewood, Staffordshire on 19 July 1761 to Thomas Chatterton and "Jane." Whether or not this Samuel Chatterton was the answer to the long search remained open until a thorough examination could be made of the microfilm of church records in both the parishes of St. Mary's in Brewood and St. Nicholas's in Codsall.

The subsequent search I made of these films revealed both Chattertons and Billingsleys in both Brewood and Codsall. Most importantly, a search of both parishes revealed the presence, and probable configuration, of Samuel Chatterton's family in both locations.

However, the coincidence of a Samuel Chatterton of the right age in the same place as Richard Billingsley could not be sufficient evidence to convince that this was the correct Samuel. What still remained was to find some other piece of evidence that would confirm this hopeful possibility. That conclusive link would also be found in a thorough examination and subsequent reexamination of the relevant church records in Brewood and Codsall.

That evidentiary link, a marriage record, dated 22 Apr 1753, for Thomas Chatterton and Jane Aston, was found in the Codsall Parish Registers, 1750-1764, Genealogical Society of Utah, FHL film #1040838. The significance of this finding resides in the name of one of Samuel Chatterton's and Charlotte Beebe's daughters-- and likely their first-born--Jane Easton Chatterton.

It is my contention that Jane Easton Chatterton was named after her grandmother, Jane Aston (Chatterton). The likely explanation for the difference between the spelling of Aston and Easton on records on either side of the Atlantic is the way that the recorder heard the name, (E)Aston. Spellings, including names, had little standardization until the mid-19th century. Spellings were often phonetic in nature and regional accents, then, probably accounted for many variations in the spelling of names during the 18th century. (Conversely, the reading of spellings among readers with varying degrees of literacy probably also led to some variation in the pronounciation of names. See also a description of the vulgarized pronounciation of Samuel Chatterton's wife, Charlotte Beebe as "Sharloty" Beebe, elsewhere on this site.)

The following list summarizes the findings from the examination of the church records of both Brewood and Codsall.

  • Marriage: Thomas Chatterton and Jane Aston, 22 Apr 1753, Codsall, Staffordshire England (Codsall Parish Registers, 1750-64, Genealogical Society of Utah, FHL film #1040838)
  • Baptism: Ann Chatterton, 29 Feb 1756, Saint Mary, Brewood, Staffordshire, England. Parents: Thos Chatterton (Bishop's Transcripts for Birth, Marriages, and Burials: 1618-1812, Brewood, Staffordshire, England, Genealogical Society of Utah, FHL film #417174)
  • Baptism: Lucy Chatterton, 21 Oct 1759, Saint Mary, Brewood, Staffordshire, England. Parents: Thomas Chatterton (Bishop's Transcripts for Birth, Marriages, and Burials: 1618-1812, Brewood, Staffordshire, England, Genealogical Society of Utah, FHL film #417174)
  • Baptism: Samuel Chatterton, 19 Jul 1761, St. Mary, Brewood, Staffordshire, England. Parents: Thomas Chatterton. (Bishop's Transcripts for Birth, Marriages, and Burials: 1618-1812, Brewood, Staffordshire, England, Genealogical Society of Utah, FHL film # 417174)
  • Baptism: Thomas Chatterton, 30 Jul 1763, Saint Mary, Brewood, Staffordshire, England. Parents: Thos Chatterton and Jane. Burial: 28 Dec 1770, Saint Mary, Brewood, Staffordshire, England. Parents: Thomas Chatterton and Jane. (Bishop's Transcripts for Birth, Marriages, and Burials: 1618-1812, Brewood, Staffordshire, England, Genealogical Society of Utah, FHL film # 417174)
  • Baptism: James Chatterton, 23 Jul 1771, Codsall, Staffordshire, England. Parents: Thos. Chatterton and Jane (Codsall Parish Registers, 1750-1876, Microfilm # 1040838)
  • Marriage: James Cooper and Lucy Chatterton, 28 May 1782, St. Nicholas, Codsall, Staffordshire England. (Codsall Parish Registers, 1750-1876, Genealogical Society of Utah, FHL film #1040838)
  • Burial: "Jane, wife of Thomas Chatterton of Oaken," (Oaken is one mile south of Codsall) 6 Dec 1801, Codsall Parish, Staffordshire, England. (Codsall Parish Registers, 1750-1876, Genealogical Society of Utah, FHL film #1040838)
  • Burial: Thomas Chatterton, "aged 70" on 8 Apr 1803, Codsall, Staffordshire, England. (Codsall Parish Registers, 1750-1876, Genealogical Society of Utah, FHL film #1040838)
  • Baptism: Jane Aston, 27 Apr 1727, Brewood, Staffordshire, England, daughter of John Aston and "Ann." (Bishop's Transcripts for Birth, Marriages, and Burials: 1618-1812, Brewood, Staffordshire, England, Genealogical Society of Utah, FHL film #417174)
  • Burial: "Ann," wife of John Aston, 24 Jul 1753, St. Mary, Brewood, Staffordshire, England. (Codsall Parish Registers, 1750-1876, Genealogical Society of Utah, FHL film #1040838)
  • No marriages were noted through 1840, burials through 1865, or any other record involving a Samuel Chatterton was noted in either Brewood or Codsall through 1865. (Bishops Transcripts for Birth, Marriages, and Burials 1618-1883, Brewood, Staffordshire, England, LDS Microfilm #417174; Codsall Parish Registers, 1587-1876, Codsall, Staffordshire, England, Genealogical Society of Utah, FHL film #1040838)
  • No record of baptism was found for a Thomas Chatterton in either Brewood or Codsall, within a few years, either way, of 1733, his expected birth date based on the age given on his burial record. (Bishops Transcripts for Birth, Marriages, and Burials 1618-1883, Brewood, Staffordshire, England, LDS Microfilm #417174; Codsall Parish Registers, 1587-1876, Codsall, Staffordshire, England, Genealogical Society of Utah, FHL film #1040838)

In the IGI there are two Thomas Chattertons from nearby parishes with approximately the anticipated date of birth: 1) Thomas Chatterton of St. Mary's, Lichfield, Staffordshire, bpt 9 Jun 1734; father, Richard Chatterton, mother unnamed. 2) Thomas Chatterton of Tettenhall, Staffordshire, bpt. 8 Mar 1733; father, William Chatterton, mother, "Anne." Further research is necessary to pinpoint one of these two Thomases, or another, as the correct one.

Land Tax Assessments for Oaken: Seisdon North in 1781 indicate a Tos Chatterton as a tenant on the land of Mr. Boyden. A later entry in the tax ledger of 1783 reveals nothing of Tos Chatterton, but the same land is now occupied by James Cooper, possibly the husband of Lucy Chatterton, who married James in 1782, and Thomas Chatterton's daughter as well as Samuel Chatterton's sister. By 1785 there is no further trace of Tos Chatterton or James Cooper on this land. (Land Tax Returns for Oaken, Item 5, Genealogical Society of Utah, FHL film #1537606)

Might Thomas Chatterton and Jane Aston--ages about 50 and 56 respectively, in 1783--have been living with daughter Lucy and her husband, James Cooper, from 1783 to 1785?

Samuel Chatterton in North America

More to come, stay tuned.

© Copyright 2003-2004 William J. Flowers. All rights reserved.

St. Mary's (Church of England), Brewood, Staffordshire, England. This is the church where Samuel Chatterton was christened on 19 July 1761. Photograph (2003) courtesy of Susan Sylke. Enlarge and show more pictures.
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