Sunday November 29, 1914; Portland, ME, Sunday Times
By G. T. Ridlon, Sr.
This family is of undoubted Scandinavian origin, their ancestors having established themselves in England during the invasion of that country by the Danes. The name was originally Boby and Booby. A distinguished antiquarian writer states that about the year 800 A.D. King Egbert divided the nation into counties, hundreds and wapentakes, and that one of the latter sections in Lincolnshire was named Boothby. In the same country there was a market town named Boothby-Paynell, and a manor house of the same designation. Cambden says these places received their names from the Boothby family then resident there; and the ancient historian, Leland, makes a like statement. Some modern writers have taken exceptions to this view from the fact that few surnames existed at so early a period, but the family tradition is that the name in its rudimentary form was derived from a Danish tribe named "Bobi" that settled early in Britain, and that the family of Boothby is descended from the chiefs of this tribe who held lands in Lincolnshire. Charles Boothby, Esq., a distinguished representative of the family in England, with whom the writer has had the honor of corresponding, says: Judging from the termination of the name ethnologists have been of opinion that the name is of undoubted Danish origin. Certainly it is not Roman, nor is it Saxon." In Norman times, the "de" was added.
Two Parishes in Lincolnshire still bear the name of Boothby; one in the wapentake of Boothby-Graffo, a few miles south of Lincoln, and Boothby-Paynell, a few miles southwest of Grantham. If in King Egbert's time the family owned the intervening land, their territorial possessions must have been very extensive. The ancient manor house which belonged to them is still standing in the last named parish. The name Paynell came in only when the Boothby's lost their Lincolnshire estates by the marriage of the only child of the then owner to a Paynell of Devonshire. But the male line of the family was preserved. Descending from an uncle of their heiress, in unbroken succession; and the male line has continued intact through all the centuries since their first settlement in Lincolnshire in the ninth century. The pedigree of the family was compiled by Dr. Sanderson, who, subsequently, became bishop of Lincoln, and the manuscripts are preserved in the British Museum.*(note from Mimi: you can still get your own copy of this information from the British Museum)* It was in Latin and a copy in English was made for the author of this sketch, covering two broadside sheets. This pedigree comprises 29 generations in regular succession and is ornamented by the names of many distinguished noblemen.
Their principal family seat is Ashburnham Hall, County Derby, England, a view of which we take pleasure in presenting to the eyes of the readers of this paper; as well as one of the Boothby Hall, and several portraits of the English and American families.
The Boothby coat of arms is described in heraldic language as follows: "Argent, on a canton, Sable, a lions' paw, erased, in bend argent. Crest, a lion's paw, erased, erect, gold. Mors Christi, mors mortis mihi."
The history of the American families of Boothby is somewhat obscure and the traditions held by the various branches cannot be harmonized with the public records. Judge Bourne, who was an excellent authority, made the statement that Thomas and Henry Boothby came from Magwater, Ireland to Wells in 1720. I find that Thomas and Richard Boothby were in Wells as early as 1726. Henry Boothby, whose name appears in Scarborough as a church member in 1727 returned to Wells and died there, leaving descendants who have been accounted for. Southgate has written of those who early settled in Scarborough as follows: "Joseph and Samuel Boothby emigrated from the north of Ireland to Kittery early in the last century whence they came to Scarborough." This is in part incorrect. Thomas Boothby, born in Ireland, came with his parents to Kittery, where he married Lydia came in 1724, and his sons were Jonathan, Samuel and Joseph. He came to Scarborough with the Deering family, with whom his daughters intermarried about 1730-1736. The first Samuel Boothby who settled in Scarborough was a brother of Thomas and had children baptized there in 1736.
Rev. Samuel Boothby, who had traveled extensively as a missionary in Maine and had been entertained by many of his kindred, left, with other data relating to the family, the following written statement: "Two brothers, so far as I know, went from England into Ireland, married and had families. They afterwards came to Nova Scotia, then to what is now the State of Maine. One settled in Wells near the sea; the other in Kittery. The latter had a son Thomas who came to Scarborough." This statement was in part correct, but he does not mention Samuel Boothby, brother of Thomas who also settled in that town, and from whom many families who bear the name in Saco were descended.
In consequence of the imperfection of the public records of Kittery and Wells, and from the absence of one yearly book of records once belonging to the former town, a record of the first two generations cannot be compiled with assurance. I have not even found the name of the first Henry Boothby, said to have settled in Kittery, on any document there, but the presence of sons in the town supports the tradition that such a person might have been an inhabitant there. The absence of a person's name in the early records is no proof that he was not a resident of the town. From a careful examination of the record, printed statements and traditions handed down in several branches of the family, I have reached the conclusion that follows: Thomas and Henry Boothby, natives of Ulster, Ireland, along with many other planters; that they married and had born there children who had grown to man's estate when they came to seek for homes in the New World; that these parents were well advanced in life before coming to England, and soon after deceased. The McLellans came with the Boothbys, and were connected by marriage after the settlement. Here I must point out another error. In the history of Parsonsfield (1888) the following statement may be found: "Brice Boothby came to this Country from Scotland and settled in Scarborough, and from him all of the name have descended." This is unwarranted tradition and without a shadow of foundation. The fact is that Joseph Boothby of the third generation, married Susanna, a daughter of Brice McLellan , and a son who settled in Buxton and became the progenitor of the Boothbys in Parsonfield was named for his grandfather, Brice McLelland Boothby. To sum up we present the following condensed record comprising the first two generations of the New England families:
Thomas Boothby, born in England, settled in Ireland, married and had children born there; came by way of Nova Scotia to wells in the District of Maine with his son, where he lived the remainder of his days. No record of his death.
Henry Boothby, born in England, settled in Ireland, with his brother; married there, and come with his children to Kittery, now in Maine, about 1720, where he sat down. It is possible that he moved to Scarborough with his sons and was the Henry Boothby whose name appears as a charter member of the Black Point Church; if so there are numerous families descended form him now in this State. Richard Boothby, born in Ireland, came to Wells with his father, and was recorded as an inhabitant in 1722, at which time he had built a small house there. He became a useful and prominent citizen and his funeral expenses amounted to about 30 pounds. He died January 2, 1782, aged 82, consequently was born in 1700. His widow, Mabel Boothby, died January 1,1798, aged 96. Issue accounted for. John Boothby, supposed to have been a brother of the preceding, was an inhabitant of Wells in 1756, and was one of the expedition sent toward Canada. He was taken ill and died in the service. Henry Boothby, son of Thomas, married Sarah Trafton, of York, previous to 1736, and settled in Wells near the present "Boothbys Crossing," on the line of the Boston & Maine Railway, where the terrible accident occurred in 1880. The house of Henry was in a field and the cellar could be seen a few years ago. He was the father of one son and three daughters of whom we have record. Thomas Boothby, son of Henry, born in Ireland in 1700; married Lydia Came, in Kittery, the intention recorded, January 8, 1725, and settled in Scarborough about 1730-1736; made his will November 16, 1756, died March 25, 1758; mentions wife Lydia; sons Jonathan, Samuel, Joseph,; daughters Miriam, Eunice and Lois. He lived near the line between Scarborough and Saco, the "Debatable land" and I think found himself in the latter town at the time his will was made.
Samuel Boothby, son of Henry, and only known brother of the preceding, was born in Ireland, came to Kittery with his father's family as early as 1729; married Esther Burbank (?) and settled in Scarborough in 1736, where seven children, six sons and a daughter, were baptized between 1736 and 1744. This man was the progenitor though his youngest son, as records prove, of nearly all of this name in Saco and vicinity. Jane Boothby, probably a daughter of Henry, was published with John Moore, Jr., of Kittery, December 18, 1742, and her numerous descendants are scattered into many towns in York County.
**( if you are interested in any of the people mentioned in the following brief biographies. I made them even briefer. I copied this document and ran out of steam here, but if you are interested, I will furnish the rest of the article, which contains information on the following gentlemen))**
Rev. John Boothby, son of John of Saco, was born in that town September 30, 1787; married Ann Foss, November 20, 1811 by whom seven children.
Deacon George Boothby, son of Jonathan of Limington, was mothered by a daughter of the good Orthodox Deacon of Hazelton of Buxton. He was arpil 11, 1784; married and had issue.
Uncle Enoch Boothby was a son of Brice McLelland Boothby, born November 19, 1788.
Rev. Samuel Boothby was a son of Stephen Boothby of Leeds, Maine, and was born in 1808.
Chase Boothby, son of Israel and Sally was a veteran school teacher
Colonel Stephen Boothby, son of Reverend Samuel, was born October 3, 1833; died June 5, 1864, unmarried.
As a family the Boothbys have been sharp financiers. They have lived within their income; they were prudent, thrifty and industrious; they had foresight and good judgement and as farmers were always found settled upon good soil and were prosperous. Strong willed, conservative, closemouthed and religious, they were reliable, truthful and good citizens. Nearly all have been large men of dark complexion.