Thursday, April 19, 2018

Nutfield’s Sixteen First Families – Are you a Descendant?

Next year marks the 300th anniversary of the founding of Nutfield, which became the towns of Londonderry, Derry, Windham and Manchester, New Hampshire.  I'll be featuring stories on the first sixteen families, and some of the other early Scots Irish settlers.  These stories will become part of the celebrations in 2019 when we celebrate here in "Old Nutfield".   Are you a descendant? Would you like to share these stories on this blog?  I'm looking for guest bloggers to help out with these feature stories.  Contact me at  

Rev. James MacGregor, brought his flock to the New World from Aghadowey, Northern Ireland in 1718.  They first landed in Boston, and then went by boat to Maine over the winter.   In the spring some of them went up the Merrimack River to where Methuen is located today. That April they traveled over land fifteen miles north to seek out land that was available, called Nutfield.  On April 12, by the east side of Beaver Lake, Rev. MacGregor gave his first service to his flock, under a large oak tree.  

The first sixteen families to settle in Nutfield built their first rough homes side by side along West Running Brook.  The heads of these first families were:

Randall Alexander
Samuel Allison
Allen Anderson
James Anderson
John Barnett
James Clark
Archibald Clendenin
James Gregg
James McKeen
John Mitchell
John Morrison
James Nesmith
Thomas Steele
James Sterrett
John Stuart
Robert Weir

In April of 1719 there were sixteen families, plus Rev. MacGregor’s family. By September of 1719 there were seventy Scots Irish families!  The first 20 lots were laid out, to the families above and to Goffe, Graves, Simonds and Keyes, as well as to Rev. McGregor. 

In June 1722 Nutfield was chartered as a town called Londonderry. It covered ten square miles and stretched all the way to Amoskeag Falls in current downtown Manchester, New Hampshire.  By 1734 there were 700 residents in Londonderry.  Eventually the town of Londonderry split off sections that became the towns of Derry, Windham and Derryfield (now Manchester).  In the next 50 years ten towns were settled by Scots Irish from Londonderry in New England.  Many families moved from Londonderry west to the Green Mountains, north to Nova Scotia, and south to Pennsylvania and the Appalachian Mountains.

The list of proprietors in Londonderry in 1722 lists about 100 Scots Irish land owners, and also several English names:  John Wheelwright, Benning Wentworth, Richard Waldron, Edward Proctor, John Senter, John Robey, Elias Keyes, Stephen Peirce, Andrew Spaulding, Benjamin Kidder, and Joseph Kidder.

For a great, condensed version of why these families came to Nutfield, see Paul Lindemann’s blog post at this link:

Also see this excerpt of Richard Holmes’s history book Nutfield Rambles, reprinted at the Londonderry Hometown Online News (Rick Holmes is the past town historian for Derry, New Hampshire):

Recommended Books:

The Scotch Irish In America, by Henry Jones Ford, 1915

The History of Londonderry, by Rev. Edward L. Parker, 1851

Nutfield Rambles, by Richard Holmes, 2007

Willey’s Book of Nutfield, by George F. Willey, 1895

Scotch Irish Pioneers in Ulster and America, by Charles Knowles Bolton, 1910


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Nutfield’s Sixteen First Families – Are you a Descendant?", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 19, 2018, ( accessed [access date]).


  1. James MacGregor was my 6th Great Grandfather.

  2. James MacGregor was my 6th GG.I am also a direct descendant of John Burnham, Mary Boyd,Mary Anne Cargill,and the Greeleys of Derry. I am also a direct descendant of James Rogers who married MacGregor's Granddaughter.

  3. I am descended from Thomas Steele and Martha Morrison, through their daughter Janet.

  4. James Nesmith is my 6th great grandfather.