I have incomplete information on this couple due to a lack of surviving vital records. Jehosophat (sometimes Jehosaphat) Eldred was born in Yarmouth about 1658, the son of William and Ann (Lumpkin) Eldred. Later the family name was spelled in a variety of ways including Eldredge and Eldridge.
Jehosophat was raised in Yarmouth with his nine siblings. I have read that he moved to Chatham circa 1701, but I would guess he was there earlier as that is where his wife was from and likely where their children were born.
Jehosophat married Elizabeth Covell (sometimes Covel), date unknown, but probably by 1689. She was the daughter of Nathaniel and Sarah (Nickerson) Covell of Chatham. Sarah Nickerson was the daughter of William Nickerson, the founder of what is now Chatham. Elizabeth’s maiden name is not 100 percent certain, but the will of James Covell, son of Joseph, calls Jehosophat’s son Barnabas Eldredge his cousin. Torrey's New England Marriages states he married Elizabeth (Covell?) circa 1690?, at Chatham. W. Sears Nickerson wrote that he came to Chatham soon after Nathaniel Covell and married his daughter Elizabeth. They set up housekeeping in the house her father had built and where she was born, and here they raised a large family. His homestead was on the West side of Crow's Pond, in what is now Chathamport. In 1711 he was listed, along with 33 others, as a head of household in Chatham.
|Map showing where Jehosophat lived, near top middle|
source: Images of America: Chatham
Children, all births but Edward’s unrecorded and order uncertain:
- Nathaniel, born 1690, married Sarah Conant, had seven children and died before February 1732
- Elisha, born about 1695, married Fear Nickerson and had six children
- Elnathan born about 1695, married Hannah Kelley and Deliverance Lombard, had six children with Hannah
- Edward, born Chatham 17 July 1702, married Mary Nickerson and had two children, deceased at time of father’s 1732 will
- Ebenezer born February 1706/07, married Deliverance Nickerson and had 14 children
- Barnabas born about 1710, married Mary Hurde
- Elizabeth, born about 1712, she was unmarried in February 1732
All seven children were mentioned in Jehosophat's will. I descend from Ebenezer whom I wrote about here. I have not done a substantial amount of research on all of the siblings. If anyone descends from them, I would love to hear from you.
William Smith wrote that Jehosophat was a Quaker, but I haven't seen other evidence of this.
Jehosophat died at Chatham in 1732, at about age 74. His will was dated 9 February 1731/32 and was proved 29 November 1732 (Barnstable Co. Probate 5:175-6). It states he was infirm of body but sound of mind and mentions his wife Elizabeth. He was a large landholder, being one of the first settlers at Chatham. He had a house and land at Red River Neck, a neck of land at Chathamport called Short Neck, meadow at Ragged Neck, meadow at Matchapuxett and woodland near Red River.
He left his house and house lot to his wife Elizabeth as long as she remained his widow. He made sure his daughter Elizabeth Eldred would live comfortably as long as she was single by giving her such things as a room in his house and use of firewood. He gave his son Elisha Eldredge part of his house lot, land at Red River neck, three acres of meadow below the house, his eighth part of creek flats at Gregory’s Neck, and half lot at Red River Hole. His son Elnathan Eldred receive four acres of meadow at Red River Neck, with the rest going to sons Ebenezer and Barnabas who will pay for their part, ten acres of upland and swamp on the northwest part of the Old Field. Ebenezer and Barnabas Eldred were also to receive the dwelling house after their mother’s decease or second marriage, as well as any land not bequeathed to others.
He also remembered the grandchildren of his sons who predeceased him. His granddaughters Mercy and Anna Eldred, daughters of his deceased son Edward, were to receive five shillings plus 20 pounds if they live to mature age. He left grandsons Jonathan and Nathaniel Eldredge, sons of his deceased son Nathaniel Eldredge, meadow at Ragged Neck, his eighth part of the high meadow at Gregory’s Neck and eight acres of his homelot. He also left five shillings each to Nathaniel’s daughters Bathsheba, Bethiah, Kezia, Nelly, and Mehitabel.
Jehosophat showed how important land ownership was to these early settlers by stating no one could sell the land to anyone other than their own children. He named beloved wife Elisabeth and son Elisha Eldred executors of his estate. It was witnessed by John Rider, John Rider Junr and Joseph Lord. Jehosophat signed by his mark.
An inventory of “Jehosophat Eldredg late of Chatham” was exhibited by Elizabeth Eldrid on 4 July 1733. It included a detailed accounting of household goods including sheets, napkins, table cloths, pewter, salt cellar, earthen ware, brass, iron items, chairs, woolen wheel and four small wheels, tubs, barrels, guns, hand saw and many other tools, horse, pair oxen, four cows, two pairs of steers, heifer, bull, 25 sheep, knives, roll of tobacco, flax knitting needles, wheat, rye, Indian corn, plow and other farming equipment, iron wedges, iron roll, auger, chisels, grindstone, and a bill book. Real estate included homestead, house lot, barn, neck of land called Short Neck, meadow lying on J.W.(?) of Mattepoxit, meadow at Ragged Neck, louse lot and lot lying at Mattapoxit, half of meadow lying at Mattapoxit flat, half wood lot near Red River. Items in his inventory seem to indicate Jehosophat was a blacksmith.
Elizabeth survived her husband, living as late as 1755.
Sources Not Listed Above:
Charles Swift, History of Old Yarmouth…, 1884
William C. Smith, History of Chatham, Massachusetts, 1909
William C. Smith, Library of Cape Cod History & Genealogy, No. 36, "Early Chatham Settlers," 1915
Amos Otis, Library of Cape Cod History & Genealogy, No. 47, "The Yarmouth Families of Eldredge," 1914
Delores Bird Carpenter, Early Encounters Native Americans and Europeans in New England, From the Papers of W. Sears Nickerson, 1994