52 Ancestors, Week 35: Nathaniel Tilden

Replica of the ship Hercules

“The Tilden families of America descend from John Tilden, a clothier of Benenden, England born around 1400.” (1) 

“His descendant, Nathaniel Tilden was baptized at Tenterden, County Kent, 28 July 1583, the son of Thomas Tilden and Alice Biggs.” 

Parish records indicate that Nathaniel was married about 1606 in Tenterden, Kent, England, to Lydia Huckstep, (baptized on 11 February 1587/1588 in Tenterden, Kent, England, daughter of Winnfrithe.)

They had 12 children, all born in England:

1. Joseph, died young
2. Thomas, died young
3. Mary, born about 1610, christened on 20 May 1610 in Tenterden, Kent, England; 
               married on 13 March 1637 to Thomas Lapham in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
4. Sarah; married on on 13 March 1637 George Sutton.* (our ancestors)
5. Joseph; married Alice or Elizabeth Twisden.
6. Thomas; married Elizabeth (Bourne) Waterman.
7. Stephen, died young
8. Judith; married Abraham Preble.
9. Winifred, died young
10. Lydia, died young
11. Lydia; married Richard Garrett.
12. Stephen; married Hannah Little ”  (2)

“Nathaniel Tilden, sailed with his family (his wife Lydia, seven (surviving) children and seven servants) in March 1634 on the Hercules, from Sandwich, Kent to Massachusetts Bay Colony. 

Nathaniel Tilden, the first name on the passenger list of the Hercules, had been mayor of Tenterden in 1622 and his immediate family had held similarly official roles in Tenterden and the surrounding community. Nathaniel Tilden was chosen ruling elder of the first church of Scituate, Massachusetts within a year after his arrival. 

Scituate, Mass

His name is recorded in the first conveyance of land recorded in Scituate in 1634: "of all that land which I have of Goodman Byrd lying within the fence at the north end of the third cliffe, unto the land of Nathaniel Tilden." (1)

“Nathaniel Tilden had built the 20th house in Scituate by October 1636.” (3)

“Daughters, Mary and Sarah were married on the same day, 13 March 1636/37 and their husbands were Tilden's servants. 

Tilden was of the gentry and addressed as "Mr.," and he was one of the wealthier Scituate residents. 

He dated his will 25 May 1641, inventory 31 July 1641, and he named his wife Lydia and his children: 

  1. Stephen
  2. Lydia
  3. Joseph 
  4. Thomas 
  5. Judith
  6. Mary, the wife of Thomas Lapham 
  7. and Sarah, the wife of George Sutton 

and he also mentioned his two indentured servants, Edward Jenkins and Edward Tarte.   After his death, his widow Lydia married Timothy Hatherly.” (2)

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tylden_family
(2) http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~legends/tilden.html
(3) http://scituatehistoricalsociety.org/early-scituate-families/
(4) http://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/hercules2.htm
(5) http://www.open-sandwich.co.uk/town_history/hercules.htm


  1. The Hercules looks like a very small ship. It took a lot of courage and I suppose a lot of luck to cross the Atlantic in such a vessel.

  2. It does look small, so I went back and looked at the passenger list which included 99 people, plus the captain and crew. It looks like it was an 88 foot ship.

  3. I just discovered that Nathaniel Tilden is my 11th Grandfather and his son Stephen is my 10th GREat Grandpa.


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