Plymouth! Why put Plymouth in the main menu?

Although I have never lived in Plymouth, Massachusetts, it is the place that the Cotton Family has lived the longest- one hundred and twenty years (1668 to 1788) in my line and two hundred and fifty years (1620 to 1870) overall. As a result, the bones of forty-eight of relatives reside on Burial Hill in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

The Cotton family first appeared in Plymouth in 1668 when Rev. John Cotton Jr. was asked to head the Plymouth Church. Three subsequent generations in my line remained in Plymouth and include: 1) Josiah Cotton, son of Rev. John Cotton. 2) Colonel Theophilus Cotton, son of Josiah Cotton, and, 3) Lieutenant John Cotton, son of Col. Theophilus Cotton.

Because Plymouth was founded by passengers of the Mayflower, it is common for early Plymouth families to have intermarried. For the Cotton family, it took four generations for Lt. John Cotton to marry into a Mayflower line. After the War of the Revolution, Lt. John Cotton moved to the Ohio Territory along with his wife and his wife’s parents. Their story follows.

 The Last Will and Testament of Keziah Little

  • Barry A. Cotton
  • (Published in the Mayflower Quarterly Vol. 68 No. 1 March 2002 & edited October 2018)

After the Northwest Territory was ceded to the United States at the Treaty of Fort McIntosh in 1785, the Ohio Company purchased one million acres of land along the Ohio River and a number of families from New England migrated to Ohio in 1788 and 1789.  One of the first families to settle Ohio was Nathaniel Little, his wife Keziah Atwood/Adams, his daughter Lucy and Lucy’s husband Lieutenant John Cotton, who served with Nathaniel Little in the War of Revolution. The marriage of John Cotton and Lucy Little links two of the oldest and most distinguished families of Old Plymouth Colony.  Lucy Little is descended from Richard Warren, Mayflower passenger and signer of the Mayflower Compact.  And, Lieutenant John Cotton is descended from Rev. John Cotton, who fled England in 1633 to escape trial by Charles I for being puritan.

Opening up the Ohio River Valley had been the dream of George Washington ever since he first surveyed the area in 1770.  After the Revolutionary War, Washington’s aide-de-camp, General Rufus Putnam, helped realize this dream by founding the Ohio Company on March 1, 1786 at the Bunch of Grapes Tavern in Boston, Massachusetts.  Another Putnam, Colonel Israel Putnam Jr., joined Rufus Putnam in settling Ohio.  Rufus Putnam and Israel Putnam Jr. were related, as their grandfathers were half brothers.  During Washington’s presidency, Congress made Rufus Putnam the first Surveyor General of the United States and he is known as the Father of Ohio. Major General Israel Putnam Sr. was a hero at the Battle of Bunker Hill and the father of Colonel Israel Putnam Jr. whom Keziah Little named executor of her Will. Not only was Israel Putnam Jr. named executor of the Last Will and Testament of Keziah Little, he also is shown in the appraisement of Keziah’s estate as having signed a note with Keziah for $368.75 due on June 4, 1814.  Israel Putnam Jr. died just prior to the disposition of the Will of Keziah Little so the court named his son, Aaron Waldo Putnam, executor after a $500 bond was posted with Aaron’s brother David Putnam and Keziah’s grandson, Robert Bradford, who also owed Keziah $33.84 in a note due on June 4, 1814.

The ancestors of the Little, Cotton & Bradford lines (shown below) were all from Massachusetts and most had lived in Plymouth since the landing of the Mayflower in 1620.  Richard Warren, Mayflower passenger, was one of these and his daughter, Anna Warren, married Thomas Little in Plymouth on 19 April 1633 to establish the Little line in America.  The Cotton family of Old Plymouth Colony was established in 1668 when Rev. John Cotton Jr. became vicar of the Plymouth Church.  The Bradford Family descends from William Bradford, Mayflower passenger and Governor of Plymouth Colony.  Captain Robert Bradford married Lucy Little’s sister, Keziah Little.  As a result, the Bradford grandchildren (shown below) descend from two separate Mayflower lines. The Last Will and Testament of Keziah Little brings to light a branch of Mayflower descendants previously undocumented in the membership of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants.  Included in this branch are at least five generations descending from the seventeen grandchildren named in Keziah Little’s Will.

  • Little:  (Welthy Little, Charles Little, Henry Little, Lewis Little, Nathaniel Little & George Little)
  • Cotton: (Theophilus Cotton, Lucy Cotton, Joshua Cotton & John Cotton)
  • Bradford: (Robert Bradford, Samuel Bradford & Otis Bradford)
  • Seall:  (Betsy Seall & Morris Seall)
  • Nashe:  (George Nashe)
  • Dier:  ( Sally Dier)

The three witnesses to the signing of the Last Will and Testament of Keziah Little also originated from New England and were among the first families to settle Ohio. Colonel Ebenezer Battelle graduated from Harvard College in 1775 and fought as a Colonel in the Massachusetts Militia during the Revolutionary War.  After the war, Colonel Battelle joined the Ohio Company and migrated to Ohio with his son, Ebenezer Battellle Jr. in 1788.  Luther Dana was the son of William Dana who had been an artillery captain during the Revolutionary War and both father and son migrated to Ohio in 1788.  Philip Greene of Warwick, Rhode Island settled in Belpre, Ohio in 1796 with his parents and nine brothers & sisters.

The Last Will and Testament of Keziah Little documents the intermarriage of these two families as Lucy Cotton is named Keziah Little’s daughter and the children of Lucy Cotton (Theophilus, Lucy, Joshua and John Cotton) are named Keziah Little’s grandchildren.  The following is a transcription of Keziah Little’s Last Will and Testament  that is located in the records of the Washington County Courthouse in Marietta, Ohio.


In the Name of God, Amen, I Keziah Little of Belpre in the County of Washington and State of Ohio being in health of body and of a sound disposing mind and memory (for which I bless God) Do make and Ordain this as my last Will and Testament (to wit)  1st that my debts and Funeral charges be paid,  2ndly I give and bequeath to my three daughters Lydia Crain, Christian Tisdall and Lucy Cotton one dollar each  3. My Will is that the remainder of my estate or such Worldly good things as it hath pleased God to commit to my trust be divided equally to my grand children namely Theophilus Cotton, Lucy Cotton, Joshua Cotton, John Cotton, Welthy Little, Charles Little, Henry Little, Lewis Little, Nathaniel Little, George Little, Robert Bradford, Samuel Bradford, Otis Bradford, George Nashe, Betsy Seall, Morris Seall and Sally Dier.   And I do hereby Ordain constitute and appoint Col. Israel Putnam of Belpre aforesaid as executor to this my last Will and Testament, In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this third day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand and eight hundred and eleven, Done and executed in presents of these Witnesses who saw me sign as testator and each other as witnesses.

Ebenr Battelle Jr.       Keziah Little  {SEAL}

Luther Dana

Philip Greene

State of Ohio        In Court of Common Pleas

Washington County Js:       April Term:  Anno Domini 1814

This last Will and Testament of Keziah Little deceased was presented in Court and proved by the Oaths of Ebenezer Battelle junior and Philip Greene subscribing witnesses to the same and Ordered to be recorded, And the executor named in the said Will being dead.  On the motion of Aaron Waldo Putnam Ordered that letters of Administration with the said Will annexed be granted him on the estate of the said Keziah Little deceased he having taken the oath required by law and entered into Bond in the penalty of five hundred dollars with Robert Bradford & David Putnam his Securities Conditioned as the law directs.  The Court also appointed Nathaniel Cushing, Daniel Goodno and Daniel Loring to appraise the said deceased’s estate agreeably to law.

(Examined)        Attest-   Lewis Barber, Clerk

The following is a transcription of the record of Keziah Little’s estate appraisement from the records of the Washington County Courthouse in Marietta, Ohio.

An Inventory of the personal property of Keziah Little late of Belpre in the County of Washington deceased shown to us by A. W. Putnam, Administrator on said date (Viz):

  • One note hand signed by Israel Putnam balance due on said Note 4th June 1814 Three Hundred Sixty-Eight dollars and seventy five cents appraised at  $368.75
  • One note signed by Luther Dana bearing date Sept. 3, 1811 for Sixty-Three dollars.  Interest to 4th June 1814:  $10.55 appraised at $73.55
  • One Note hand signed by Robert Bradford balance due on 4th June 1814 Thirty-Three dollars eighty four cents appraised at $33.84
  • Appraisal of property of the deceased taken at Austin, County of Trumbull exhibited to the Administrator amount Thirty-Five dollars seventy-three cents  $35.73

Belpre, June 4th 1814 $511.87

Personally appeared before me one of the Justices of the Peace for said County, Daniel Goodno and Daniel Loving who swore the above Inventory was taken according to the best of their knowledge.

     Belpre, Oct. 10th 1815

              Cyrus Ames

State of Ohio In Court of Common Pleas

Washington County Js}   November Term Anno Domini 1815

This Inventory and Appraisement of the Estate of Keziah Little deceased being returned is ordered to be recorded examined.  Attest:  Lewis Barber Clk



  1. Hildreth, S. P. (1854). Memoirs of the Early Pioneer Settlers of Ohio. Baltimore, MD 1995 Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Company.
  2. Little, K. (1811) Transcribed Record of Last Will & Testament of  Keziah Little, 3 Sept. 1811 Marietta, Ohio, Washington County Court House. Public Records Volume I.
  3. Little, K. (1814). Transcribed Record of Keziah Little’s Appraisement, 4 June. 1814.
  4. Marietta, Ohio, Washington County Court House. Public Records Volume I.
  5. Wakefield (1999). Mayflower Families Through Five Generations: Family of Richard Warren. Volume 18, Parts 1 & 2, Plymouth, MA, General Society of Mayflower Descendants.
  6. Walker, C. M. (1869). History of Athens County Ohio. Bowie, MD, 1996 Reprinted by Heritage Books.


Kezia Atwood (aka Wood) married Francis Adams in Plymouth on April 4 1737 when she was 16 years old.  Francis Adams was a sea captain and died in Jamacia in 1752 when Keziah was 25 years old.  She had the following children with Francis Adams:  Francis (1), Samuel (1), Samuel (2), Lydia, Keziah and Francis (2).



Members of Family 11 of the Cotton DNA Project include the surnames COTTON, COTTAM AND COTHAM. The Cotton surname has been proven back to Roland Cotton born London, England 1558. The Cottam surname shows a lineage back to St. Michael on Wyre, Lancashire, England to a Thomas Cottam circa 1740 and a William Cottam born 1779.

Surprisingly, a link between the Cottam and the Cotton surnames has resulted from the results of my recent Big Y Test and these results placement in the Big Tree Project. The Cotton DNA Project attempts to bridge genealogical proofs with DNA Test results. Fortunately for Family 11, the Cotton surname genealogical proof has been confirmed by a large number of prestigious lineage and hereditary societies. In addition, the Family DNA Big Y test is the most extensive DNA test available. As shown below in yellow highlight, the Cotton line’s placement has been further defined several more subclades or subgroupings under Haplogroup R-ZZ7, as follows:

The subclade DYS435=12 groups the Cotton line solidly with the Irish Sea or Leinister Modality as the group is dominated by Z16430 and the Irish Clan O’Byrne. The Byrne family is named after the King of Leinster “Braen mac Máelmórda”, who was deposed in 1018. However,  along with the Clan Byrne subclade Z16430 is the subclade BY2573 containing a Byrne ,two Singletons and a Cotton (me). Further research seems to indicate that the Singletons took their name from the Lancashire township of Singleton.Later, in the early 12th Century,  a Singleton purchased land in the nearby township of Cottam and took the surname “de Cottam”. As a result, it seems that a potential nexus of historical and DNA data exists showing that Cottam and Cotton surnames derive from the Singleton family of Lancashire early in the 14th century.

“The Lancashire Chartulary, Series XX. Charter No. II (A.D. 1153-1160 Stephen to Henry II) shows the confirmation of William Warren, Count of Mortain, to Ughtred, son of Huck de Singleton, of the village of Broughton in Amounderness. “ A note by the Chetham Society, XXX. Page 5, in their Latin comments about the Charter state, “Broctun, now Broughton, in the parish of Preston, was assessed to Danegeld in 1066 as on teamland, and was a member of Earl Tostig’s great manor of Preston in Amounderness. Hucca or Uck is the Anglo Saxon Hoc, a tribal name retained in the place name “Hucking”. The individual so named in the charter seems to have been the successor of the preconquest thane or drengh of Broughton, and Singleton. He was the ancestor of the Singleton family, which with its various offshoots at one time held estates in Amounderness. Ughtred, son of Huck, is frequently mentioned in charters and other records of the time of Henry II. At Michaelmas, 23 Henry II, 1177, he rendered account at the Treasury of 5 marks to have the King’s confirmation or warranty of land which he held by the gift of Geoffrey de Valoiness…” Based on this charter and the notes of the Chetham Society, the following lineage has been established.⁠1

Huck (Ecke) de Singleton (lived about 1125)

Ughtred (Uctred) de Singleton (lived about 1153)

Robert de Singleton (lived about 1180)

Richard de Cottam (lived about 1204) Richard, son of Robert, owned land in the village of Cottam and thus changed his surname to conform to the common practice “of being from a place” i.e. Robert de Singleton and Richard de Cottam.  (Pipe Roll, No. 71, m.I.) From the Cockersand Chartulary it appears that Richard de Cottam was son of Robert, son of Ughtred, who was brother of Richard de Singleton (1180-1212)⁠2

† Geoffrey de Cottam

† John de Cottam

† Richard de Cottam

Writ dated at Westminster, June 10th, 21st year of Edward I (1293), directed to the sheriff of Lancaster and his coroners, reciting the same terms as the previous writ (No. LXXI) the petition of the venerable father R. Bishop of Coventre and Lichfield respecting the lands and chattels of Richard de Cotton, clerk, which had been taken into the King’s hands owing to a charge against the said Richard, of the death of William le pauper, and directing the sherif to make inquiry as to the said Richard’s conversation and reputation….. By the oath of 12 free and liege men of the neighborhood of Amundernesse, who say that Richard de Cotton is of good and honest conversation and of good report nor was he ever a public or notorious malefactor except for the death of William le Paumere of which he was accused (arectatus) before the Justices in the last eyre at Lancaster, of which he afterwards solely vindicated (expurgavit) his innocence.⁠3

† John de Cottam (lived about 1344)


1 Singleton, Sam, Singleton Family Association. A History of John Singleton of American Fork, Utah, His Ancestors and Descendants, Spanish Fork, Utah: JMart Publishing Company, 1973.

2 Cheshire, Record Society of Lancashire and. Record Society for the Publication of Original Documents Relating to Lancashire and Cheshire, 1903.

3 Ibid.


As I learn more and more about self-publishing, more and more options come up. So after a steep learning curve, I settled on the following strategy: 


  • Buy your own ISBNs through Bowker so that you own and control them.
  • Take the time and effort to register your own copyright. Own your work!
  • Get your work edited professionally. If it was worth writing, it is worth editing.
  • To Self-Publish, you need a good partner for print and eBook.
    • For print books, using a POD (print on demand) publisher is a must. I have settled on BookLocker for price, quality and ease of publishing.
    • For eBooks, my strategy is producing my own eBooks in SCRIVENER and publish as follows:
      • Use KDP to sell direct to Amazon.
      • Use KWL to sell direct to Kobo
      • Use D2D to aggregate all other eBook sellers.
  • Like it or not- marketing and promoting your own work is necessary.
  • Join the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).
  • Network with authors’ groups locally, nationally and internationally.
  • Promote your work by entering it in a Book Contest.
Unlike writers, who still write with paper and pen or pencil, I am grounded in the digital world that makes eBook publishing readily accessible. The digital revolution has leveled the playing field and now spares me the pain of having to submit to publishers and/or agents to get my work published.

I use SCRIVENER. I love I use SCRIVENER. I could not live without I use SCRIVENER. Why? I work ‘split screen’ with my research on the left and my writing window on the right. I find I can jam all the research I have done into SCRIVENER and use SCRIVENER in conjunction with PAPERS 2 (available from iTunes apps). With it, I am able to provide citations as I write with two clicks. These two applications enable me to create, organize and write freely and productively.  More importantly, SCRIVENER enables me to export my work directly as an eBook in either .mobi (Kindle) format or .epub (for Kobo eReaders, Apple iPad & iPhones, Kobo eReaders, Barnes & Noble NOOKS and Windows phone or Nokia Lumia’s Freda App).Like Andy Ihnatko, the tech journalist from the Chicago Sun Times said in his review of SCRIVENER for MacWorld, Andy “I’ve dumped Microsoft Word in favour of a hit cult app called Scrivener… Scrivener is a shrewd collection of tools that everyone will appreciate equally, but exploit differently. It’s the perfect word processor for people like me, who write weekly and monthly columns for a variety of publications and websites. To a pal of mine, it’s the perfect word processor for writing a very complicated science-fiction novel in which a large cast engages in complicated schedules and agendas that all have to be tracked and coordinated with each other through the story. To another, it’s the perfect tool for writing comic-book scripts. You see, Scrivener isn’t an oddball niche ‘alternative’ product. It’s poised to start a genuine revolution.”I do all my proof reading on my iPad by exporting a .mobi file that I email to myself and open with Kindle to read my work as it appears as an eBook.  I keep my iPad on my desk next to my iMac 27” Retina with 1 TB Flash Storage.For creating my own book covers, I use Adobe Photoshop CS6 create layered images and text which I usually finish in FX Photo Studio CK to add antique effects.

Seanchaí Books

Having researched how self-published authors approach self-publishing, I have decided to publish my eBooks as ‘doing business as’ DBA- Seanchaí Books, as I strive to be like traditional Irish storytellers, the seanchaí. Storytelling was one of the main forms of fireside entertainment among ordinary Irish folk and the storyteller was held in high esteem by the ordinary Irish who revered and cultivated story and song as their principal means of artistic expression.



He is gone the veteran is no more

Come drop a grateful tear

The love of God to call his (home?)

While he resided here

In that blessed faith through life he (persevered?)

And died without a fear.

On the Fourth of July 2017, I reflect on my 3rd great-grandfather, Lt. John Cotton, who was the son of Colonel Theophilus Cotton. Lt. John Cotton was a veteran of the American Revolution and the first of his line to move west.

After the Northwest Territory was ceded to the United States at the Treaty of Fort McIntosh in 1785, the Ohio Company purchased one million acres of land along the Ohio River and a number of families from New England migrated to Ohio in 1787.  One of the first families to settle Ohio was Nathaniel Little, his wife Keziah Atwood/Adams, his daughter Lucy and Lucy’s husband Lieutenant John Cotton, who served with Nathaniel Little in the War of Revolution.

The marriage of John Cotton and Lucy Little linked two of the oldest and most distinguished families of Old Plymouth Colony.  Lucy Little is descended from Richard Warren, Mayflower passenger and signer of the Mayflower Compact.  And, Lieutenant John Cotton is descended from Rev. John Cotton, who fled England in 1633 to escape trial by Charles I for being puritan.

John Cotton’s father, Colonel Theophilus Cotton, was head of the Plymouth Militia and the Plymouth Sons of Liberty. Together with his father, John helped the cause of the American Revolution well over a year before the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776. In April 1775, he was appointed Quarter Master under his father, Col. Theophilus Cotton and served for about 8 months, assisting George Washington to organize the Continental Army. In January 1776, he was reassigned to Ensign Elija Crother’s Company under Col. John Barbey. Then in December 1776, he was reassigned to Col. Baily’s Regiment and, in January 1777, was promoted to Lieutenant and assigned to Col. Rufus Putnam’s Regiment. Finally, in 1778, his commission transferred to Gen. John Nixen, under whom he served as Quartermaster.

Lt. John Cotton retired his commission in 1780 and recorded his intentions to marry Lucy Little, the daughter of Captain Nathaniel Little, whom he served with under Colonel Rufus Putnam. The two were married in Plymouth, MA on August 28, 1780, and moved west to Ohio with Lucy’s parents and siblings in 1787. They settled first in Belpre, Ohio and later moved to Youngstown, Ohio, he died on February 1st, 1831 at the ripe old age of 85. He and his wife, Lucy are buried next to each other in “The Cotton Cemetery” in Youngstown, Ohio.



Today, as my prize for having won the 2017 Writers; League of Texas Manuscript Contest for Nonfiction, I met with Andy Ross. Andy is from the West Coast and represents authors who write books in a wide range of subjects including narrative non-fiction, science, journalism, history, current affairs, contemporary culture, religion, children’s books and commercial and literary fiction. He was also the nonfiction judge in the 2017 Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest.

My prize for winning was 10 minutes with Andy. To put things in context, I was scheduled to meet Andy at the 2017 Agents & Editors Conference here in Austin, Texas. This conference enables members of the Writers’ League of Texas to meet with agents to pitch their book projects and/or to meet with editors that might help edit their work. Any member can schedule a session with an agent or an editor by paying for it up front. I think 10-minute sessions are around $20 each.

Andy was entirely charming and honest. We hit it off  with the realization that my work would never be picked up by an agent or a publisher because it has little market value. The work is a biography of John Cotton, the 17th-century puritan patriarch of New England who left Boston, England and helped establish Boston, Massachusetts. Andy said that normally an academic publisher might be interested but only if I were to have “academic credentials”, which is to say a member of academia with Ph.D. I already knew this but it was good to hear Andy say, “Your work is written very well.” Like most wanna-be writers, I need as much encouragement as I can get. My time with Andy wrapped up with us agreeing that the best route for me is to self-publish. So stay tuned, as I continue down that path.