Friday, November 8, 2019

The 1718 Shute Petition on Display at the New Hampshire Historical Society

On Saturday, October 19th, the New Hampshire Historical Society held a lecture by NHTI, Concord Community College professor R. Stuart Wallace on "300 Years Ago: The Scots Irish in Provincial New Hampshire".   Mr. Wallace gave a terrific synopsis of the 1718 migration story, including how between 1718 and 1723 about 200,000 Ulster Presbyterians came to the New World, and after the Revolutionary War this number increased to about 100,000. This was the largest group of migrants to the British colonies, followed only by the Germans.

There were lots of stories included in this lecture, from the Shute Petition to the founding of the Nutfield settlement.  The most interesting part of this lecture was Wallace's description of the boundary dispute between Massachusetts and New Hampshire over the new Nutfield colony.  He said it was one of the best decisions New Hampshire ever made when they recognized the Nutfield settlement and incorporated it as Londonderry, New Hampshire in 1723.  This allowed hundreds of Scots Irish to settled here, making it the second largest community in the state and moving the population from the seacoast to the Merrimack Valley.

Another highlight of the day was to see the actual Shute Petition on display.  The document was recently conserved and mounted for display, but it had only once been visible to the public (last April).  This was a rare experience, and one that may not be repeated for a long time.  There was quite a crowd present at the unveiling of the document, which only lasted about half an hour due to the fragile condition of the Shute Petition.

“To His Excellency the Right Honourable Collonel Samuel Suitte Governour of New England:
 “We whose names are underwritten, Inhabitants of ye North of Ireland, Doe in our own names, and in the names of many others our Neighbours, Gentleman, Ministers, Farmers and Tradesmen Commissionate and appoint our trusty and well beloved Friend, the Reverend Mr. William Boyd of Macasky to His Excellency the Right Honorable Collonel Samuel Suitte Governour of New England, and to assure His Excellency of our sincere and hearty Inclination to Transport our selves to that very excellent and renowned Plantation upon our obtaining from his Excellency suitable incouragement. And further to act and our hands this 26th day of March, Annoq. Dom. 1718.”
This petition from the Presbyterians asking for permission to migrate to New England was followed by over 300 signatures, most of these were residents of the Bann Valley in Northern Ireland.  Not all of the signatories left for New England, and it is unknown how many were on the first five ships that landed in Boston later that year. Look for the link below to read the names of all the petitioners.

For the truly curious:

The Shute Petition image at the NHHS website:

The Shute Petition transcribed (with names):


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "The 1718 Shute Petition on Display at the New Hampshire Historical Society", Nutfield Genealogy, posted November 8, 2019, ( accessed [access date]).

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