This article appeared in a series of articles pertaining to the early history of twenty two families of Westchester County, New York. They were published during the summer and fall of 1951 as part of a special feature in the Westchester Group Newspapers and Affiliates. The author was Maureen McKernan. The article on the Sutton family was the 17th of the series.
The name "Sutton" is one of the rare English and Saxon names that has remained unchanged in spelling through centuries. One authority says the "sut" stems from the Saxon word "south," the word "tun" from a Saxon word meaning "homestead." So the name originally designated the owner of "the south homestead."
Suttons originated in Lincolnshire, England, but records are not clear as to the date of arrival of the founder of the family in America. One Thomas Sutton was in Long Island in 1647 and his son, Thomas, came to the Byram River north of Port Chester. He was accompanied by Joseph Sutton, presumably his brother. They bought 200 acres on King Street from Thomas Williams in 1718. It is stated that Thomas came from Hempstead.
The Suttons were members of the Purchase Quaker Meeting. Destruction of records of that meeting covering more than 100 years of the Colonial ere has wiped out much early Sutton family history.
Land Stayed in Family
The big land holdings of Thomas and Joseph Sutton along King Street belonged to William Sutton of the second generation in 1785.
Title to much of this original land of the Suttons remained in the hands of descendants of Thomas and Joseph until recent years.
Among the 15 or more graves of Suttons in the old burying ground on Milton Point in Rye, near Playland, are some that date back to before 1700.
The New Castle Suttons are descended from Joseph Sutton who died in 1770. An interesting member of the Byram River Suttons of King Street was Benjamin who bought land from John Purdy above the old mill race on the Byram River, near today's Riversville, just over the Connecticut line. Benjamin was born in 1758 and at 18 married a Dutch girl, 16-year-old Jemima Van Wart, a cousin of Isaac Van Wart of Elmsford, one of the captors of Major Andre.
Refused to Take Up Arms
Benjamin was an ardent and devout Quaker who refused to carry a gun or fight for either side in the Revolution. Tories captured him and nearly beat him to death, trying to make him join the militia and then had him thrown into the Sugar House Prison on Duane Street in New York.
When Benjamin was thirty and Jemima twenty-eight, they decided to migrate to Shelburne, "Varmount," family tradition having it that they made the trip through dense forests, over mountain trails and sometimes along game trails, Benjamin walking while Jemima rode their horse. The story makes no mention of any little children traveling with them. However history credits them with fourteen children from whom descend the Vermont Suttons.
The old Sutton farmhouse that still stands in King Street at Cliffdale Road, just south of Purdy's Cider Mill near the Westchester airport, is thought to have been built in 1710. It was owned by Joseph Sutton, founder of the New Castle line of the family. Members of this line married into the Field family and Fields lived in the house until recent years. Miss Marietta V. Field of Upper King Street is a member of this line of the Sutton clan.
Descended from Jersey Line
New Jersey Suttons, from which line Thomas B. Sutton, Larchmont realtor, descends, were founded by William, presumably a brother of Thomas and Joseph, who went to New Jersey about 1672 to hold land under the Carterets. The were early New Jersey Quakers and the family centered around Baptistown and is still very prolific. Suttons there married into the Rittenhouse family.
Thomas B. Sutton of Larchmont was born in North Carolina where his forbears of four generations ago migrated from New Jersey.
The Joseph Sutton who settled in New Castle married Barbara Haight and he and his wife lived to be eighty. From New Castle younger Suttons moved up to the valley of the Croton. Names from this branch include Caleb who married Abby Pell, James who married Elizabeth Brown, Richardson who married Elizabeth Quimby, and William who married Dorcas Clapp. They all seem to have lived to be seventy or eighty.
Girls Came to Croton
Girls of the migrants to Croton were Abby Sutton who married Robert Fields; Mary who married Samuel Palmer; Sophie who married Benjamin Field, and her sister Jerusha, who married Benjamin after Sophie died.
The Sutton families living in New Castle in the middle 1800s where they had married into almost all the other families--the Wards, Conklins, Haitts, Underhills, Haights, Carpenters, Greens, Kirbys, Davenports, Van Tassels, Griffens, Tompkinses, Kipps, Secors, Bradys, Reynolds, Quimbys, Sarles and Merrits.
Genealogies of these families in the very excellent library of the Westchester Historical Society in the County Office Building in White Plains are worthy of study by Suttons who would like to trace individual and collateral lines of this sturdy old Quaker stock.
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