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First Settlers of Scituate


Nathaniel Tilden (1583-1641) and

Lydia Huckstep (1588-aft 1666)


Nathaniel and Lydia are my 11th great grandparents by the following path: RWA → Fred Pemberton Abbott → Arthur Merrill Abbott → Ellen Wilson Abbott → Rachel Mansfield Wilson → Richard Mansfield → Elizabeth Whittemore Mansfield → Edmund Whittemore → Joseph Whittemore → Lydia Bassett Whittemore → Mary Lapham Bassett → Mary Tilden Lapham → Nathaniel Tilden and Lydia Huckstep


In 1635, when they were 52 and 47 years old, Nathaniel and Lydia loaded their seven children on a boat in Sandwich, England and headed off to New England. Nathaniel was apparently well established in England as he brought with him seven servants. One of those servants, Thomas Lapham, was also my ancestor as he wound up marrying Mary Tilden one of the daughters of Nathaniel and Lydia. Nathaniel’s prominence is evidenced by his serving as the mayor of Tenterden, England in 1622 and also served as a justice. That makes it more curious why a family that was so well established, and not at a young age, would embark on such a trip. [Pictured above is St. Mildred’s Church in Tenterden, Kent, England.]


The Tilden’s had 12 twelve children, but five of them died in childhood. The seven children who made the trip ranged in aged from 25 years to 6 years at the time of the passage. Nathaniel received one of the first grants of land in Scituate. He became a large landowner and at the time of his death still owned land in Tenterden. [The first settlers’ monument at Scituate is pictured.]


Nathaniel died in 1641 at the age of 57. Lydia remarried the following year to Timothy Hatherly who was a widower. It is not known when Lydia died but she was still living in 1666 when Timothy Hatherly’s will was probated.


Nathaniel and Lydia’s daughter Mary is my ancestor. She married Thomas Lapham about two years after arriving in Scituate. Thomas died in 1649 leaving Mary with four young children. After Thomas’s death, Mary married William Bassett. William Bassett is also one of my ancestors through William’s son Joseph by his first wife Elizabeth. In fact, William Bassett’s son Joseph married Mary Lapham who was the daughter of Mary Tilden and Thomas Lapham.


To sum up: Nathaniel and Lydia Tilden are my ancestors as is their servant Thomas Lapham who married Mary the daughter of Nathaniel and Lydia. After Thomas Lapham died, Mary married William Bassett who is also my ancestor. William’s son Joseph married Mary Lapham the daughter of Thomas and Mary Lapham.


The is one more interesting piece of trivia about this family. One of the daughters of Nathaniel and Lydia, Sarah, married George Sutton in Plymouth Colony. George was another of the servants who traveled with the Tilden family. George seems to have been a Quaker because after the marriage, the young family left town and settled in North Carolina near what is now Elizabeth City. The primary reason that families left at that time was due to religious persecution. This is the earliest instance I have found of a relative heading to the southern colonies.


Family group sheet for Nathaniel Tilden and Lydia Husckstep:



Anderson, Robert Charles. (1999-2011). The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England 1634-1635, Volumes 1-7. Boston, MA: Great Migration Study Project.



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