MYST: Chute Family Mysteries
Chute Family Mysteries

Donald E. Chute Disappears While Hunting
Date of Addition: Saturday, July 11, 2014

In an undated note to her daughter Sharon, Juanita Chute/Chutes Miller wrote:

"Sharon/Ronald, I was told by my father George Chutes, that his brother Donald (Don) went hunting with a man family friend and Don was never seen again by anyone. The man hunter friend said that they went into two different directions while hunting and he never came back. There was very little explanation about it from anyone.

My father always wanted to have it investigated. But you had to pay for it back then and he could not afford it. My father had many ideas of what took place but had no proof.

No trace of him was ever found. I'm sorry I couldn't be of more help.

A Mystery for Art Historians: George Chute and Eleanor Toke Chute
Date of Addition: Friday, January 27, 2006

Don't you just love it when auction houses stick your relatives upon the auction block without even the courtesy of a heads-up? I'm not convinced that such things happen to most of us on a regular basis, but in those rare moments when it does, just a "Pssst! We're planning on selling off your Uncle George and Auntie Ellie this Wednesday. Any takers?" would have been thoughtful. But noooooo ... come to find out, Uncle George and Auntie Ellie went off in the hands of strangers, who - we hope - will remember to dust them off every once in a while.

On the brighter side of this family drama, we finally are able to post the dual portraits of George Chute and Eleanor Toke Chute. These may have been the portraits described by Francis Chute in The Chutes of the Vyne,

"A portrait of George and Eleanor was loaned to the National Portrait Gallery in 1866 by Wm. Wiggett Chute. The picture had disappeared from the Vyne before the 1956 inventory. (Pearman in AC says it was at Godinton, the Toke family home, in 1889; there is no sign of it there now.)"

Is this is the same portrait - or a different set of portraits? They are described as follows:

"Circle of Daniel Mytens (Dutch, 17th century) Oil on canvas Portrait of George Chute of Bethersden (1611-1651), half-length wearing a black and white doublet with lace cuffs and collar, in a landscape, 74cm x 59cm; together with a companion portrait of Eleanor Toke, daughter of 'The Captain' and wife of George Chute, wearing an embroidered gown with lace cuffs and collar, a pearl necklace and pendant, holding a feather fan, in landscape, 70cm x 54cm; both in carved giltwood frames. The portrait of Lady Chute is featured in the picture "The Last Day in the Old Home" and is attributed to Daniel Mytens. Provenance: Exhibition of Old Masters from Houses of Kent, 11 June - 8th July, label verso Estimate - 4000-6000."

"The Last Day in the Old Home" is a painting made in 1862 by Robert Braithwaite Martineau (1826-1869). There is a link to a larger version of the painting (below), but it appears that the Eleanor Toke Chute portrait is in the top left corner, to the right of the window. The description reads:

"This work is typical of the moralising pictures of contemporary social life that were popular in Victorian art. The Pulleyne family has been forced to sell the ancestral home, Hardham Court, and its contents, thanks to the irresponsible behaviour of a feckless spendthrift, indicated by the betting book and the dice box. A sale catalogue on the floor to the right shows that the house is to be auctioned. The frame is decorated with a victor's laurel wreath and a fool's cap and bells, and the dates 1523 and 1860. These symbolise the changing character of a family brought low by foolishness."

That painting is on exhibit at Tate Britain, in Room 13: British Art 1500 -1900: Victorian Paintings of Modern Life. Tate Britain is located on the north bank of the River Thames at Millbank, south west of the city centre and not far from the Houses of Parliament.

The painting can also be viewed on line at

Does anyone else want to venture a guess as to why Martineau chose to use a portrait of Eleanor Toke Chute as the ancestral portrait for the family depicted in the painting as "brought low by foolishness"? Was it a deliberate reference to the Tokes or the Chutes? Out of all of the portraits in the painting, hers is is the most visible and recognizeable in the background. Any Chute art historians out there? It might be interesting to follow the paper trail on these portraits - how and when did they go from the Vyne to the National Portrait Gallery to Godinton - and then to the auction block?

Seeking a budding "Abraham Van Helsing" Chute
(or a Chute Family Debunker and Skeptic)
Date of Addition: Sunday, August 28, 2005

Is there a Chute out there absolutely convinced that, given an "Unsolved Mystery" of their very own, they know there's another DaVinci Code inside of them just waiting to be written? Here's a terrific story of the eerie, the inexplicable and the bizarre which the rest of us are hoping that someone out there can unravel.

The story was chronicled by a Chute - Daniel Chute, to be exact, in April of 1778. This is from Reminiscences of a Nonagenarian, by Sarah Anna Emery, Newburyport, and written in 1879:

"April 27, 1778, the inhabitants of Byfield were startled by a phenomenon usually termed the "Flying Giant." The following description is from the diary of Deacon Daniel Chute:

"Yesterday, being the Lord's day, the first Sunday after Easter, about five of the o'clock in the p.m., a most terrible, and as most men do conceive supernatural thing took place. A form as of a giant, I suppose rather under than over twenty feet high, walked through the air from somewhere nigh the Governor's school, where it was first spied by some boys, till it past the meeting-house, where Mr. Whittam, who was driving home his cows, saw it, as well as the cows also, which ran violently bellowing. Sundry on the whole road from the meeting-house to Deacon Searles' house, saw and heard it, till it vanished from sight nigh Hunslow's Hill, as Deacon Searles saw. It strode so fast as a good horse might gallop, and two or three feet above the ground, and what more than all we admired, it went through walls and fences as one goes through water, yet were they not broken or overthrown. It was black, as it might be dressed in cloth indeed, yet were we so terrified that none observed what manner if at all it was habited. It made continually a terrifying scream, "hoo, hoo", so that some women fainted."

So ... what was the "Flying Giant of Byfield, Newbury"? My first thought was that they had seen their first (very small) tornado, as these are not at all common (and still aren't) in the Northeast; but I don't know how common they are in Great Britain, and there is no mention afterwards of rain or hail or the usual weather phenomenon that often accompanies them. And it is somewhat difficult to believe that a community of farmers weren't familiar with odd weather patterns, even if tornados weren't common in Great Britain. They are common in Spring, and the sound of the wind whistling might have been heard as a "hoo, hoo", if it was weak enough it could have passed through walls and fences without damaging them. And it disappeared next to a hill, which tornados also do when the terrain changes abruptly. But even small tornados can be seen as descending from a storm cloud, and don't appear as solid black, free-floating and remaining two or three feet above the ground and somewhat less than twenty feet high. So what was it? All conjectures, analyses, theories, pronouncements, denouncements, interpretations and other (publishable) responses will be promptly posted.

Were We Related to "The Great Liberator", Daniel O'Connell?
Date of Addition: Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Here's a historical footnote I cannot explain. One of the greatest nationalist leaders of Ireland is Daniel O'Connell, known as 'The Great Liberator", who came from the Tralee/Kerry area of Ireland. There is a collection of letters written by Mary O'Connell, wife of Daniel O'Connell, who in this example is writing to their son, Daniel, Jr. The book is, "My Darling Danny", part of the "Irish Narratives" series, Cork University Press, 1998. Here's the sentence that threw me for a loop:

"Your Grandmama is very well, but poor Aunt Chute is very bad. All our other friends in Tralee and Kerry are all well." (letter dated January 30, 1832, page 86).

Aunt Who??? Couldn't have been Mary Ann Bomford (already dead) or Theodora Blennerhassett (not yet a Chute). Some of Richard's sisters may have still been unmarried and would still have been "Chutes", although the words "poor Aunt Chute" sound like she - whoever "she" was - might have been old and teetering, and on her last legs at the time. Of Richard's aunts, Mary was off creating her own scandal, which might have been considered "very bad" at the time, but it sounds more that Mary O'Connell was referencing "Aunt Chute"s health status and not her scandalous behavior.

History tells us:

"In 1815 he (O'Connell) ridiculed the `beggarly Corporation of Dublin' and was challenged to a duel by a member, Norcot d'Esterre. D'Esterre was fatally wounded, and O'Connell, stricken by remorse, vowed never to fight again and settled a pension on the widow. He was later to say that `not for all the universe contains' would he `consent to the effusion of a single drop of human blood, except my own.'

Frances Blennerhasset Chute married Charity Norcott D'Esterre ROBERTS (logic suggests the two are related) - but that doesn't really explain "Aunt Chute", mainly because Charity, at least, would have been a generation younger.

Are there any Irish/Listowel Chutes out there who have some inkling of the Chute relationship with the O'Connells during this time period? Something else makes this even more intriguing: the infamous Penal Laws were in effect at the time. The O'Connells were obviously Catholic. The Chutes were just as obviously Protestant. It was against both British and Church laws to intermarry. That didn't mean that people didn't do so; just that they certainly didn't do it very often, and it would have been an enormous risk to do so. (In fact, there are records of Irish Chutes emigrating to the United States because there was freedom here to marry outside of their faith).

Update: Saturday, January 28, 2006

The relationship between the Irish patriot Daniel O'Connell family and the Kerry, Ireland Chute family may have been only partially solved: thanks to the contributions of Cynthia Harrer Anderson, a direct descendant of Richard Lyberton Chute and Frances Margaret Daley Chute. Frances Margaret Daley Chute is the daughter of Martin Daley and Margaret O'Connell - Margaret, of course, being the Daniel O'Connell relative. The drawback is that Margaret Scanlon Chute, married to Richard Lyberton Chute, could not have been the "Aunt Chute" mentioned in the letter: the letter was written in 1832, and the marriage of Frances Margaret Daley and John Joseph Chute didn't take place until 1857, in Cincinnati, Ohio. However, it does raise the possibility that these two families knew each other already and may have even been related in some fashion before the marriage of the Richard Lyberton Chute family line and the McConnell line. So, researching the Daniel O'Connell genealogy may help provide some clues to the lineage of Richard Lyberton Chute.

Richard Lyberton Chute has been described as "an English Army Officer" - not a description that would easily fit the Chute Hall Chutes (although it might), who were certainly part of the Irish Protestant Ascendancy group, but not what might be termed "English". Richard Lyberton Chute may have originally come from one of the British Chute families, but the research continues.

And the Lionel Chute, Sr. Problem
Date of Addition: July 23, 2002

Is there anyone out there who can definitively connect Lionel Chute, Sr. to Anthony Chute of Kent?

Another Lionel Chute - our present Lionel Chute, up in New Hampshire, who has been corresponding with the College of Arms in Great Britain - called the other evening with some rather startling news. It seems that, based on correspondence he has received from them, the College of Arms doesn't recognize any of us here in Canada and the United States as armigeral Chutes (that is, as being entitled to nail the family crest over the fireplace). Looking at your records, you'll note the line of ascent, from Lionel Chute, Jr., (spouse Rose) to his father, Lionel Chute Sr. (spouse Susan), to his grandfather, Anthony Chute of Kent (spouse with surname Gee). It appears that the College of Arms is unable to connect our Lionel's father, Lionel Sr., with Anthony Chute of Kent, and that they consider the entire North American line of Chutes to be, in their words, "suspect."

"Hey wait a minute " thousands of individuals named Chute are thinking to themselves at this news. "If they can't connect Lionel Chute, Sr. to the Main Line Chutes, that means ."

Well yes, it does and no it doesn't. Actually, what it means is that the College of Arms can't connect Lionel Chute Sr. to Anthony Chute - yet - and thus to the known lines of British Chutes. That doesn't mean they've turned themselves inside out in a dedicated effort to do so, either, so don't take that too personally, unless you're seeking their nod to nail a legitimate coat of arms to your wall, and then you're outa luck - for the moment. (The College of Arms also swears on their cantons that the Bethersden Chute line is extinct, and as a result have have just plummeted in the respect and admiration of a large number of Irish Chutes who are direct descendants of the Bethersden branch through Daniel or, they would have lost the respect, had these Chutes given them a minute of thought in centuries). The Baronetcy is extinct, yes - the line is most decidedly alive and kicking soccer balls around County Kerry in fine form, at this very moment.

It did pose a rather interesting question, though: can we prove that Lionel Chute, Sr. was the son of Anthony of Kent?

There is a reason why the College of Arms can't make the connection. Their information is largely based on the information obtained through "Visitations". You've heard of those. A courier from the College of Arms gets on his horse, trots out to the major landowning families of the region, and interviews the family members and their associates. The Visitation which cemented their records of the Chute family (in Arthur's line, from which Lionel descended) was conducted in (Lionel, if the date is wrong, correct me) 1722, and resulted from interviews with the Chutes who were alive, nine generations later. You'll note this is close to 100 years after our Lionel herded his family aboard a cross-Atlantic schooner and disappeared.

The College of Arms does not consider Burke's pedigree to be an accurate rendering of family history. They also do not consider the pedigree roll in Hampshire as proof. They will accept as proof other official documents, such as wills, birth records, marriage records and, in some cases, verifyable items of correspondence. They won't go out searching for these things, no. But they will regard them seriously, if such items are handed to them. In other words, if you're in the College of Arms, peering over your bifocals at your "shhhh-edule", connecting a rowdy crowd of unruly Americans and irritating Irish to a distinguished British line of Chutes probably isn't high on your list of "must do"s for the week.

In any event, the bottom line is that because the connection of Anthony Chute to Lionel Chute, Sr. is unproven, the entire line of American Chutes is "suspect". One hopes they meant that only in the genealogical sense, and aren't planning to answer our query, "Er suspect of wot?" using words like "impudence" and "cheek" and "commoners trying to rise above their station".

Lionel (the New Hampshire one!) had a number of thoughts on this, which I hope he'll share with us ... until he puts them down on paper, here is my line of thought:

(1) Let's start with the basic assumption that if Lionel Chute, Jr. was intelligent enough to be elected by the good townspeople of the Massachusetts Bay Colony as an Ipswich schoolmaster, he was also intelligent enough to know the name of his own grandfather. Whatever pedigree he brought over with him from England would have named his own grandfather. He was literate. He could read. Had he glanced at his own pedigree and noticed that the name on it was NOT his own grandfather, he would have gone down in history not as the first Ipswich schoolmaster but as the "Man Who Invented the First American Eraser".

(2) William E. Chute - who had never seen Lionel's parchment - used Burke's pedigree to open his 1894 North American Chute genealogies. He did not use the parchment roll brought over by Lionel.

(3) There is no proof that Lionel's pedigree - which he brought with him - matched the pedigree listed by Burke's pedigree. For all we know, without any of us having actually seen it, his pedigree could have contained the entire Chute family of Norfolk or Combe St. Martin on it - which would have still taken his lineage back to Alexander, but by a different route.

(4) Historian and genealogist James Savage reported that he saw Lionel's "genealogy traced back to 1268" - which suggests that he DID see the parchment scroll with the pedigree on it, but did not specifically state that Lionel was the grandson of Anthony of Kent. Obviously, it went back to Alexander, however the pedigree was constructed.

(5) There is the official will of Lionel Chute, Sr., which was witnessed by "Arthur Chute, Gentleman". The reason this is not acceptable as proof of the lineage is that it does not say "Arthur Chute, brother ..." All that proves is that Lionel Sr. knew Arthur Chute. It certainly is good circumstantial evidence, though. It just doesn't prove the lineage.

(6) One of the worrisome problems with the relationship between Lionel Sr., and Anthony of Kent is all that all Lionel's elder brothers were specifically named in Philip's will, as his brother Anthony had died prior to its creation, and Philip provided for his nephews and nieces as well. Lionel is the only of Anthony's children not named or mentioned in Philip's will. Without official dates of birth, we're not even certain that Lionel, Sr. had been born before Philip wrote out his will.

(7) Nonetheless, we have always assumed that Anthony Chute as Lionel Jr.'s grandfather appeared both in Burke's and on Lionel's document, based on James Savage's visual recollection of what we assume is the parchment scroll brought across the Atlantic by Lionel. This may be an erroneous assumption. We're going to proceed on the assumption that Lionel's parchment was correct, and that Burke (and therefore WEC) may be in error.

Dispensing with some alternatives: living in a cynical day and age, someone might also raise the possibility that Lionel's pedigree might have been invented also. After all, we've all just been through the realization that Baron Edouard LeChute was probably a Chute family invention, from somewhere along the line, so it's not as though the precedent hasn't been set on making things up as they went along.

But there's a considerable difference between inventing a remote ancestor that no one could possibly dispute at the time, and inventing your own grandfather, particularly in Lionel's case. The original settlers in the 1600's American Colonies had very close ties to each other and to their English roots. Lionel was not the only citizen of Dedham and Ipswich (Great Britain) to settle in the American Colonies - the very name of the new settlement, taken directly from the original - reflected the large number of local residents who originated from the same location in England. It would be extremely difficult if not impossible to re-invent one's pedigree when people were still living who would have known who his grandfather was, because they knew him personally! A Baron Edouard LeChute, from multiple generations ago, could be invented. A grandfather was a much more difficult relative to invent, especially in a small village atmosphere filled with individuals who had moved there from Dedham & Ipswich.

More importantly, Lionel Chute, Jr. was not only known to the residents of Dedham, he was part of the highly intense, very close-knit Puritan movement, which was closely tied to Dedham, England. The famous Puritan preacher John Rogers preached in Dedham; both he and his son Nathaniel emigrated to Ipswich and preached there. So, not only did these parishioners know Lionel Chute in Ipswich, Massachusetts; they knew him in Ipswich and Dedham, England. They worshipped with him. He was an evangelical Puritan, just as they were - in both places.

Lionel was also a Puritan, which made him a man so closely bound to his faith he chose to move to an unknown land free from religious persecution so that he could live out that strong faith on a daily basis in the midst of like-minded religious people. They were forced to confess personal infractions before their entire community. They were forced to beg forgiveness for those infractions. This was a society where people were put into stocks and whipped for even smaller infractions than falsehoods, and is, naturally, one of the many reasons they don't exist today - this was not an easygoing bunch given to compassionate forgiveness of Biblical infractions without severe punishments being inflicted first. In the 17th century, they were the judges, juries and executioners. They ran the towns, the churches, the political machinery. I would also point out that many of the punishments meted out in Ipswich, Massachusetts are a matter of public record. An example: there is, in the town records, the report of a woman who had argued with her husband being publicly whipped on her bare back. Sadists like this you probably tried to avoid, if you could help it, even if you agree with their methods of punishment. Lying about your pedigree when people knew your family personally was a sure-fire way of getting the attention of somebody looking around for a handy sinners with a gleam in their eye.

And of course, one would hope that Lionel would feel the way many people do today about telling lies, and perhaps even more so, given his religious background and the society around him. Making up a pedigree would have been a big lie, and he would have probably been unsuccessful at it, given the closeness and familiarity of the people around him. I don't know that any of us would feel comfortable making up false pedigrees to make ourselves look important, and none of us have the fear of being publicly beaten and humiliated as a deterrent! We do, however, have our consciences. Lionel was a Puritan and was, one would assume, given to examining his conscience on a daily basis. This isn't proof that he didn't make up a pedigree, but one of the many reasons why we're regarding the remote possibility that he did with healthy skepticism.

The College of Arms uses as a basis for their findings an interview of Arthur's descendants, and was written down in 1722. As this was nearly 100 years after Lionel sailed to Massachusetts, it is quite likely that he was forgotten, overlooked or dismissed as irrelevant, by the titled Chutes who provided the information to the questioners. Possibly, being a Puritan, he was still considered something of a religious crackpot, to the rest of his family.

Another possibility - also remote - was that Lionel was illegitimate. Illigitimacy was certainly a part of life in 17th century Great Britain, but it was also - especially in the days when land ownership and the right of succession was everything - something that was noted, remembered and regarded with both pity, condescension and horror. Again, people emigrated from Lionel's native Dedham who would have known this fact. There's very little chance he could have hidden it.

No other documents have yet come to light to dispute the absence of information provided by Arthur's descendants.

My position at the moment is that the line of succession is legitimate but as yet unproven. Records that might have backed him up have disappeared in at least two fires which destroyed many records in the Dedham area. That said, there are also wills, letters, birth records, property records, that need to be uncovered. (The wedding record does not mention parentage, so that avenue is of no help). IGI records are also unacceptable UNLESS they are records of official documents culled from, for example, parishes, as opposed to family records.

It really is to our advantage to find proof of who Lionel, Sr's father WAS. Even if his father wasn't Anthony of Kent, his father was some Chute who was connected all the way back to Alexander. His canton with a Lion points almost unquestionably to Philip's line, though.

Our belief in its accuracy (Lionel was a Puritan with strong religious beliefs; Lionel also was surrounded by friends from England who knew his family) is not proof, however. Any references to the Greene family, or to the Gee family, who might have mentioned Lionel in wills or property documents would be useful; letters, official documents, census information, etc. Now that we have a more accurate date of his passage (late 1638, early 1639, rather than 1634 as originally thought), we might also find references to him in letters of people he traveled with or lived with in Ipswich.

Another Francis Chute Mystery, 1668
... and the Whipple Family Mystery
Date of Addition: April 22, 2002

From The Hammatt Papers: Early Inhabitants of Ipswich, Massachusetts, 1633-1700, written by Abraham Hammatt, in 1890, here's something interesting: in the section on the Clarke Family, a will of one Thomas Clarke, Senior, "sometime Sargent", dated June 24, 1668, and proved May 14, 1691. He left various items and articles to his son Freeman, his wife Sarah, friends and neighbors ... and to "Mr. Francis Chute and Stephen Cross, overseers." If the will was written and dated in 1668, and Francis was already an "overseer", this would make him about the same age as Lionel's son, James ... and nothing has ever connected Lionel and Rose with any children other than James and Nathaniel, who died after arriving in the colonies. So who's THIS Chute - another Shute misspelled as a Chute, a genuine Chute, or ... was Clarke posssibly referring to an overseer of property still living back in England? He may also be related to the "Francis Choot" recorded later.

Another mystery from the same book is the brief notation on Matthew Whipple: "Was a commoner in 1641. His second wife, Rose, he married November 13, 1646. His children were John, born July 15, 1657, Matthew, born December 20, 1658, Joseph, Mary, Ann and Elizabeth. He had land with his brother John, 200 acres of land granted February 19, 1637, at the Hamlet, where he resided. He died October 20, 1658."

Here's the problem with that ... Hammatt is seemingly unaware, as he writes this, that the "Rose" he's writing about is the widow of Lionel Chute. And if Rose was anywhere near Lionel's age, she would have been in her 70's when all of these births occurred - her son James was already an adult when she remarried. Has anyone located any record of her birth year, or the date she died? It seems more likely that Whipple remarried a third time, sometime prior to the birth of son John Whipple in 1657 ... or if not, Rose was extremely young when she married Lionel, much younger than our Chute sources have suggested.

Eureka ..! (Maybe?)
Date of Addition: March 12, 2002

Steve Chute and I were discussing the problems with Shutes and Chutes - he'd found a Judith Chute who none of us had heard of before (Boston, around the time of Lionel and James), and I tracked her down - and discovered that her father was an Enoch Shute, discovering she wasn't a "Chute" at all. It got Steve thinking: if it's so easy to confuse a Shute for a Chute, the same ought to work in reverse, given the spelling irregularities of the time, and perhaps there are some Chutes floating around who have been confused with "Shutes".

So Steve, his curiosity aroused, went fishing for "Shutes" who might have been "Chutes", and found a little more than he anticipated. You can imagine his surprise when he unearthed ... a Robert de Shete, one generation earlier than our Alexander's.

He couldn't help but notice the marked similarity between an "Edouard LeChute" and a Robert de Shete, particularly when our own oral tradition has a "Robert" named as the grandson of "Edouard". Robert came out of Shute, Devon, Great Britain ... 15 miles north of Taunton. Not living in Taunton itself puts this Robert out of the property owned by the Bishops of Winchester (which was one of our biggest problems with Alexander), and onto former Saxon lands held by a Norman nobleman after the Battle of Hastings. This Robert does have a father's name attached to him: Lucas de Shete. That last little inch ... was Lucas's father named Edward??? ... might have clinched this, but is (naturally!) missing from this genealogy and database.

When we found the same duo (Robert and Roesia Coffin) in other databases (Family Ancestry and there was an interesting notation on the marriage date: "before 1238". The birth of Joan didn't account for the need to have the marriage date set before 1238, if she was born ~1245 ... the usual reason (although there are others) for a notation such as "before 1238" on an estimated wedding date is that an eldest child was born that year, ergo the marriage had to have taken place earlier. The odd numbering of the "before date" suggests an actual birth date of some individual is being used, not just an estimate ... most people use increments of 5 or 10, when making such estimates. And you can't help but notice that the date associated with Alexander (his death in 1268) is equally as specific - exactly 30 years later.

So, who was the eldest child whose birth required the marriage of Robert and Roesia to be set "before 1238"? That, of course, is the burning question at the moment, and if anyone out there would like to crack at this unusual development, and can find those last links that connect Robert to Alexander or (better yet) Lucas to "Edward" ... you may have solved the "Who was Edouard le Chute?" question!!

Needless to say ... if this turns out to be the next step in the Chute genealogy, Steve has just accomplished something that Chute family researchers haven't been able to do for centuries - even the parchment Lionel brought with him stopped at Alexander! We definitely oughta throw him a parade or something!

The Pocahontas Connection
Date of Addition: 3 Feb 2002

While rummaging around in looking for another Thomas Chute entirely, I came across this Thomas Chute about whom so little information is provided that it's nearly impossible to place him anywhere on our Chute family tree. Small hints were the dates of the others surrounding him, and his place of death, listed in this Gedcom as South Pickenham, Norfolk County, Great Britain. This places him in close proximity and time frame to the Chutes at the Vyne. However, what made this Thomas Chute rather interesting was his marriage to Esther Elwyn, who had yet to appear in the records at all. That might not be as remarkable as it sounds, were it not for Esther's unusual pedigree - a straight line of ascent, according to this Gedcom - to the legendary Captain John Rolfe and Pocahontas, who would have been her great-grandparents.

You'da thunk this little historical connection would have already been discovered, uncovered, celebrated and written about somewhere along the line, and that was my thought as well. (Actually, that's not entirely true - my very first thought was "Huh?", but I've had a few moments to rewrite my first thought into one a little more dignified and respectable.) After all, this is a woman who has achieved legendary status in the intervening years, so it's not as though the entire Chute family would have failed to take notice of her connection to the family. Au contraire, most of us would have dragged our embarrassed children to the Disney movie, just to point at the screen and announce, "We're related to her!" in loud voices.

Anyone want to take a logical crack at the mystery behind the sudden appearance of this "Thomas Chute"? The link on the Family Group sheet will take you to the Gedcom from which this new information was derived. Because I'm guessing that just about every Chute genealogist out there, like I did, raised a skeptical eyebrow at this new piece of surprising information, I'm keeping this family link out of the "Surname Index" until we can verify it.

Walter Chute Vs. Dad and The King
Date of Addition: 17 June 2001

In a study presented by Professor Jean McIntyre, "Priority and Place: Elder & Younger Brothers in Jacobean Fact and Drama", Department of English, University of Alberta, is the following reference:
"Could I ever believe that a father would disinherit his sunn, his first born, whom only the law of God terms the Lords, nay allmostt uppon any demeritt, yet what hath Watt (Walt) Chute done ... why should you throw him oute as a bastard from your nest, spoile him of his birthright, nay of his honor, and reputation in the world ... no cause ... can be so operative to make nature forgett nature, without a great curse inherent potentially ... Give me leave to tell yow that it behooves yow to satisfy the world allso, who this notwithstanding believe no ill deserving in your son."

The quote was lifted from a letter written by Sir John Holles. In a letter to an "ould Mr. Chute", Sir John is trying to dissuade him from disinheriting his eldest son, calling the act "this bloe from your selfe, and house." Prof. McIntyre added that "Holles, himself an eldest son, regards disinheriting an eldest son almost contrary to nature and cannot believe that Walt Chute could have offended his father so grievously, even if his behavior in Parliament had offended the king." In a response to my inquiry on the subject, she cited the source as "Holles, John. Letters 1587-1637, ed. P.R. Seddon. Nottingham: Thoroton Society Record Series, XXXI, 1975, Vol 1, (1 think), 111."

The dates don't comfortably fit the Walter we know as Sir Walter Chute, son of Philip of Appledore (not to mention that Philip's Walter wasn't the eldest son, according to our records.) Philip has several dates of reference: born around 1494; acquired old Surrenden in 1553; acquired his additional armorial bearings in 1544 ... by the date of Sir John Holles' earliest possible letter (1587), Philip would have been 93 years old, awfully advanced in age for that time period, and an awfully late date in life to be disinheriting his son Walter -- who, again, wasn't his eldest son. It's possible that Philip's son Walter also had a son named Walter ... and that "ould Mr. Chute" was in fact, our Sir Walter Chute, and not Philip of Appledore. This Walter could be another Walter altogether. If so, this may be our first record of him, whichever Walter he was.

And to give you some further historical perspective, Walter might have possibly been familiar to Lionel Chute, the first American Chute, who was born in 1580 and emigrated to America about 1634.

I've written to the Curator of the Thoroton Society Series in Kew, to see if we can get a copy of the text of the letter, and to try and see if we can get some historical background on how poor Walter had managed to both offend the King of England and enrage his father with his behavior in Parliament, to the point where he may have gotten himself disinherited -- although there's nothing further to suggest that his father actually followed through with his threat. Anyone else want to take a crack at this mystery?

Walter Chute Vs. Dad and The King
Date of Response: 2 MAR 2002

I have uncovered a bit of information that I feel sure relates to Walter's problems with his inheritance:

On 17th May 1614 an unknown Chute along with an unknown Neville (of the very royally connected Nevilles) along with cronies Wentworth and John Hoskins were charged with conducting themselves in a disorderly fashion in Parliment and were confined in the Tower of London. This incidence caused enough of a stir that William Camden (1551-1623), a well known Elizabethan writer & historian, recorded it in his diary.

Philip's grandson, Walter, would have been about 45 yrs of age at this time and I believe him to be the same grandson who served as a Captain in Sir Walter Raleigh's fleet during their attack on the island of Fayal in the Azores in 1597 at which time he was roughly 27 years old. If so his father's disapproval had little impact on his fortunes as he continued in Parliment, was knighted, toured Europe for a year or so in the company of the English poet John Donne (1572-1631), was one (along with his brother Sir George) of Sir Walter Raleigh's Company of Adventures to Virginia and became Carver to King James I of England.

As an aside there was also a Chute from southern England who led a troop of cavalry known as Chute's Troop under I believe the regiment headed by the Earl of Essex.

Steve Chute

Walter Chute Vs. Dad and The King
Date of Response: 3 MAR 2002

Thanks to Steve's contribution, I was able to find a little more information on this. The event took place during the 1614 "Addled Parliament" called by James I, which lasted a mere 3 months and passed no legislation. The relationship between James and Parliament was particularly hostile:

James and his Parliaments quarrelled over finance, foreign policy and each party's perceived rights and prerogatives. Within five years of James's ascension, Crown indebtedness stood at 600K and the royal deficit was running at 200K annually. When Parliament proved unwilling to grant James the supply needed to make good this deficit, James resorted to raising funds through non-Parliamentary means, such as the sale of monopoly licences, import and export duties, selling peerages etc, reinforcing his moves through court decisions. While not technically illegal, James's actions angered Parliament and offended its presumed right to monitor, approve and endorse Crown expenditure. Without a clear set of guidelines to clarify each side's prerogatives and privileges (i.e. a constitution), friction was almost inevitable.

The entry from William Camden's diary (written in Latin) read as:

Iunii 7. Parlamentum abrupte dissolvitur, et eiusdem nullitas pronunciatur. *** Chuttus, *** Nevillus baronis Abergavenii filius, Wentworthus, Ioannes Hoskinus, qui tumultiosius in consessu inferiori se gesserunt, in arcem Londinensem coniecti.
Translation: 17 (May, 1614) Parliament is abruptly dissoved, and its nullity proclaimed. *** Chute, *** Neville, son of Baron Abergavenny, Wentworth, and John Hoskins, who conducted themselves in a disorderly manner during the session, were committed to in the Tower of London.

The text can be found at, "William Camden, Diary (1603 - 1623), A hypertext edition, by Dana F. Sutton, The University of California, Irvine, Posted February 18, 2001"

The problem with this Parliament was one of the factors which eventually resulted in the law granting only Parliament the right to dismiss itself. By the way, Hoskins was released on June 8th. No mention of when Walter finally saw the light of day again. And we're still not sure what he did, exactly ... but it must have been quite scandalous.

Walter Chute Vs. Dad and The King
Date of Response: 4 MAR 2002

Concerning the mystery of the conflicting data on Walter Chute: the Walter Chute who enraged his father and might have been disinherited, seems to have been the same Sir Walter Chute who went to the continent for a year (1605 -'06) with the poet John Donne as a travelling companion.

Kind regards,

Erik Spaans, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Walter Chute Vs. Dad and The King
Date of Response: 4 MAR 2002

I'm combining the notes on the Walter's - the Tower of London, Sir Walter Raleigh and John Dunne cohort Walter, as well as the Walter who is the subject of Holles' letter - into the notes as the same person, but uncomfortably, because my stubborn argument still is that the Tower of London/John Dunne Walter wasn't the eldest son, and Holles was clearly talking about an eldest son.

Jackie Chute

Walter Chute Vs. Dad and The King
Date of Response: 5 MAR 2002

Well it sure enough seems that this Holles fellow knew who he was talking about. We can be pretty sure that the Parliament incident took place in 1614 and the dates make good sense for our Sir Walter that was Philip's grandson via George (who was, according to Francis, in Parliament). And Philip's son Walter would be ruled out because Philip was long dead at this point. Of course we still have any children of this first Walter and any children of the third son (suspect another Philip) as possible candidates. Maybe one day we'll stumble on another clue?

Steve Chute

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