Your Turn with Ray Winslow: Suttons have long history here

By Ray Winslow

The Perquimans Weekly

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The following column written by Ray Winslow was originally published in the Perquimans Weekly in September 1988.

The great exodus of English non-conformists to New England in the second quarter of the seventeenth century spilled over into Perquimans County in the person of George Sutton.

Sutton left England in 1634 aboard the ship “Hercules” of Sandwich. He was then a single man attached to the household of Nathaniel Tilden as a servant. Settling with the Tindens in Sciuate, Plymouth Colony, George was married on March 13, 1636 to Sarah Tilden, daughter of Nathaniel. Having been baptized at St. Mildred’s Church in Tenterden, Kent on Jan. 13, 1613, Sarah was already an adult woman when she married.

According to a genealogy published in “The New England Historical and Genealogical Register” in January 1937, George and Sarah Sutton had eight children. The eight were (1) Joseph, who married Deliverance Nicholson: (2) Daniel, who married Mary Cole; (3) William, who married Damaris Bishop and Jane Barnes (4) Nathaniel, who married Deborah Astine; (5) Lydia; (6) Sarah; (7) Sarah born after the death of a child of the same name, married John Barrow and (8) Elizabeth who married Ralph Fletcher. That genealogy overlooks the likelihood that Mary, wife of John Gosby was the daughter of George and Sarah Sutton.

As New England aged, it became rigid. There were persecutions of Quakers, a situation opposed by Timothy Haterly, Sarah (Tilden) and Sutton’s stepfather. Possibly the Suttons became Quakers themselves although no proof of such a religious affiliation has been found in North Carolina records.

For whatever reason, some of the Suttons moved to Perquimans County about 1668. They evidently settled on the eastern side of the creek, which still bears their name. George and Sarah Sutton are seldom mentioned in the scanty North Carolina records of the period, but the deaths of George Sutton on April 12, 1669 and of Sarah Sutton on March 20, 1677 were recorded in Perquimans.

Joseph and Nathaniel Sutton flourish in Perquimans as did the Barrows, Fletchers and Gosbys. Joseph became a justice of the precinct court, an institution which was meeting in the home of Nathaniel Sutton’s widow as early as 1706.

Nathaniel died on Dec. 29, 1682 while his brother Joseph died in 1695 or 1696. Both left wills in Perquimans and divided land among their sons. Nathaniel was survived by three sons and a daughter, Joseph by four sons and a daughter.

The male line of Suttons in descent from the patriarch George has never died out in Perquimans. They form one of the oldest families in

the county.