James Cate
of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, b early 1600s

REVISED 19 August 2011

My goal is to provide a clear and thoroughly documented page of all the known facts of James and Alice (?) Cate.

This is obviously a work in progress. Please feel feel to contact me with any corrections at ancestry@eagleswind.com I KNOW that I am missing a several documented facts and lists. If any could provide them to me I would be very happy! Please let me know what you think of this page!

If you are a male Cate/Cates please give consideration to the information at this Ancestry message board post.


JAMES CATE, b abt 1634 [Gen. Dict. of Maine & NH, p.132], a carpenter from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. d. 15 May 1677 [N.H. State Papers, 31:201]. According to U.S. and International Marriage Records, Yates Publishing, 1560-1900 [database on-line]. (Provo, UT, USA) James was born about 1634 and married Alice _____ in 1655. We need to remember the years of his birth and marriage are only a GUESS. The estimated year of marriage is probably due to the year of the birth of their oldest child, Edward. I have not found any evidence or sources that James was born in Hillmorton, Warwick, England or even from England as some have supposed. According to Filby, P. William, ed.. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s. Farmington Hills, MI, USA: Gale Research, 2006, he was born abt. 1624 and came to Portsmouth about 1657. I have not seen anything that would suggest that these facts are anything more then just a GUESS. Piscataqua Pioneers by John Scales (pub. 1919, archive.org), pg. 23, claims that James Cate arrived in Portsmouth in 1640. A History of Barrington, NH, by Morton Wiggens, Barrington Historical Society, 1966. pg. 15, "Knowledge of the Cate family begins with James and Alice Cate who where first listed in Portsmouth in 1648." I have not been able to find that list.

Officially, the earliest known record of James Cate is his court appearence on 25 June 1656 at Portsmouth, Rockingham, NH, USA. "Jams skat and his wife being presented for furnication befor marriage is admonished, and to acknolidg the falt and to pay the fees of the Court 2 shillings siz penc." Maybe Edward was the product of this law breaking! :)

Children taken from Cates, Edward Earle, and M. Ray Sanborn. The Cate-Cates Family of New England (hereafter Cate-Cates Family). Frederick, Md: Marken & Bielfeld, 1904, pgs 3,4, and the probate records of New Hampshire, State Papers Series, vol. 31, pp 201-203.

1 . Edward Cate b. cal. 1655, m. Elizabeth, daughter of Philip Tucker.
2 . John Cate m. Judith _____, d. Jan 4, 1748.
3 . Sarah Cate m. Peter Babb
4 . Rebecca Cate m. Nov. 12, 1686, Jhn Vrin.
5 . Mary Cate m. Samuel Widden
6 . Elizabeth Cate
7 . Poss. William Cate See NOTE below
8 . Isabel Cate m Joseph Jewell
9 . Joseph Cate

Cate-Cates Family, p 4 states that the last three probably died before 1702.

NOTE: William Cate - In Cate-Cates Family, p.4 it mentions "William Cate Jr. age 16, killed (by the Indians,) and three children of William Cate wounded, Portsmouth Plains, (N.H.,) June 26, 1696. Nothing further is known of this family."

In Gen. Dict. of Maine & NH, p.132 it states, "James Cate is first mentioned in the "Lists" (the customary record keeping system of that era) in 1657, 330ab, 326c, 327ad, 3561 (Portsmouth) 52. Adm. gr. To widow Alice, who m. 2nd, before 1679, John Westbrook; and there after used the name , Westbrook or Cate according to which family she was dealing with. Children named in settlement in 1702, on her petition, after son Edward had kept her out near 24 years: Edward, John, Rebecca, Sarah, Elizabeth, and also William, last mentioned in 1690,dsp Lists 329, 57 NH Historical Society viii 65. We must disregard Doctor Brewsters imaginary list of Indian victims (kambles i, 73.) also presume Isabel (m. Joseph Jewell) in 1682 gave power of attorney to Samuel Reed of Mendon to sell Portsmouth land."

If we were to assume that the “Rambles” are accurate – and I still have no reason yet to question otherwise – I think it a possibility that William Jr. (age 16), the one who was killed by Indians, and the three Cate children wounded, were the children of a William Cate, son of James. But this is only speculation. There does not seem to be any additional records on the three children who survived. One must question – did the children die a short time later? Even if they did I doubt “d.s.p.”, as recorded in the Gen. Dict. Of Maine & NH , would have been used to describe “died without surviving issue.” That wouldn't be normal.

I get very frustrated with older publications like Gen. Dict. Of Maine & NH that tell us “we must disregard” and in the same breath list William Cates “d.s.p.” without telling us their sources.

It is my opinion that the only thing we know for certain is that a (emph. “a”) William Cate was around during this time. There is no record that suggests who his father was. Even though I personally think a William was a son of James Cate, the records do not support me designating William as nothing more then a “possible” son of James.

List 327a. Inquest of 6 July, 1663.
Robert Marshall and Jer. Dolly, in a canoe drunk, "both drowned last night".
Coroners Jury
Abraham Corbett Peter Wallis Robert Sheares
Wm. Seavey John Odyovne Wm. Pasmore
James Johnson _ Richard Tope Edward Beale
Francis Drake John Haskell James Cate

List 327d Inquest of John Ellis, 13 Sept., 1673.
John Ellis, James Skate (Cate), George Ford, Walter Luckrait, Edward Skate
, and Hanca a Negro, were near the house of Caleb Beck. James Skate (Cate) and
his son were taking leave the rest, who had been drinking flip (a quart of rum mixed with
water or beer), Ludowick Fowler had been drinking with them, but now "being of the
watch came up the lane alter them". Fow1er’s gun went off , shooting Ellis in the leg so
that he died. Fowler was indicted and convicted in Boston. Evidence sworn before
Richard Curt.
Coroners Jury
John Shipway Richard Jackson George Lavis
John Curt Jr. John Goff Samuel Kees
John 'l`ucker Thomas Carter Thomas Crawford
Thomas Ladbrook Israel Phillips Edward Beale

List 330a 1660 Land grants, Strawberry Bank
James Cate's grant increased to 8 acres, Jan. 22, 1660.

List 1684 sent to London Transcripts
Petition against Gov. Cranfield taken to London by Nathaniel Weare, agent for
John Seavey James Prescott Wm. Cate
Nathan Seavey Samuel Bean Richard Sanborn

Partial list only
New Hampshire tax lists, P.R.O. C. O. 54, no. 25 [VIII. Intended only for those
refusing to pay taxes to Gov. Cranfield, many willing to pay were included, while some,
especially a large part ofthe population of Strawberry Bank, were omitted. Apparently
the complete lists for Greenland and Sandy Beach were sent.
Portsmouth and Strawberry Bank '
(In this list those not refusing to pay were omitted)
Richard Martin Samuel Case (Keais) John Tucker
John Baker James Lovett William Cotton
John Fletcher John Cotton Edward Skat (Cate)

Partial list only

Petition of New Hampshire Settlers
(Mass. Archives, Cook 35, p 229)

To the Honorable the Governor and Council of their Majesty's Colony of
Massachusetts in New England.
The humble Addresse of the Inhabitants and train solders of ye Province of New
Hampshire, Feb. 20, 1689.
Humbly sheweth:
That whereas since the late Revolution in your Colony you have Exerted a power
of Government over their Maj esty's Subjects Inhabitants therein which wee are given to
understand their Majesty have been graciously pleas'd to approve of} and lmpowered you
to continue the same till further order; and wee who were formerly under your
Government having been for some time destitute of power sufficient to put ourselves into
a capacity of defense against the common enemy, and with great expectation awaited
their Majesty‘s order for a settlement amongst us which not yet arriving considering also
how liable wee are to destruction by the Enemy which ourselves wee cannot prevent; wee
are therefore necessitated at present to supplicate your Honours for Government and
1 Protection as formerly until their Maj esty's pleasure shall be Known conceming us.
l Hereby oblij ing ourselves to a due submission thereto, and payment of our equivalent
l portion (according to our capacity) of the charge yet shall arise for the defense of the
l Count:ry against the common Enemy, praying also that such persons may be
Cornrnissionated to command the Militia as have already been, or shall be chosen by
trained solders in the respective Towns desiring your Honor to grant us this our requests.
Your Petitioners ever pray
Isaac Cole Jonathan Clark Peter Coffin

John Cate Edward Cate Wm. Cotton l
Aaron Moses n Wm. Scavcy Wm. Cate · [
Richard Jose Sam Powel John Gilman l
Samuel Neal John (X) Bartlett John Vrin

The folowing is the inventory and settlement of James's estate contained in the probate records of New Hampshire, State Papers Series, vol. 31, pp 201-203. All his children are mentioned except for William and Isabel.


[Inventory of the estate of James Cate, who died May 15, 1677 ;
amount, £62 .15 .0 ; signed by Richard Cummings and George _____;
attested by Alice Cate Oct . 31, 1677.]
[Citation, May 28, 1702, to Alice Cate, widow and administration
of James Cate of Portsmouth, carpenter, to appear and give
an account of the estate, which amounts to $62.15.0 ; signed by
William Partridge.]
Ports may 30th: 1702
The deposion of mary Partridge aged fifty nine yers or there
abouts Testifieth that Edward Catt Comonly so Called was borne
about forty seven years agoe and brott up and sockled by hi s
mother wife to James Catt decesed and the sd Edward was th e
first Child that she Ever had as I Ever hered of and was bor n
in wedlock : and forther saith not
by me Mary Partridge
Capt et Jurat 8° June 1702 :
Coram me Wm Partridge Lt Govr


Mary Walker about Seaventy two years deposeth to the ful l
contents of the above Deposicon to her best Remembrance .
Mary X Walke r
Capt et Jurat Octavio die Junii 1702
Coram me Wm Partridge Lt Govr°r
[Court records :-Alice Cate, widow, appeared June 1, 1702 ,
and asked for more time, which was granted .
June 8, 1702, Alice Cate and Edward Cate, her son, appeared
and asked that the estate be settled according to law . Samuel
Penhallow and Dr. Thomas Packer, both of Portsmouth, were
appointed commissioners to receive claims .
Alice and Edward Cate asked for time to perfect an agreement
for the settlement of the estate, which was granted .
The agreement follows in full . ]
Alice Cate appears and Releases all her Right and title of
Dowry unto the Estate of her formr husband James Cate decd
unto her said sonn Edward Cate ; aforesaid. In Considerac'on of
which the Said Edward Cate doth Obleidge & promise for himselfe
his heires Exec" and Admrr to pay or Cause to be paid to his Sai d
Mother Alice Cate Seaventeen shill- and Six pence in Mony :
and Seaventeen shillings and Six Pence in Provisions or wha t
else either Goods or Mony, as she shall have occasion for : to
Said value dureing her Naturall Life yearely and every yeare : to
Commence and beginn from y° day : the Provisions or Good s
to be paid the Eight day of Novbr in every yeare and the Mony
to be paid the Eight day of June every yeare : for performance o f
which Said Edwd Cate bindes himselfe to his Said Mother Alic e
Cate his heires Exec" & Adm r' in the Sume or penaltye of one
hundred pounds, Curr t mony of New England . /
Acknowledged the Said 8 th day of June 1702 Coram
Wm Partridge Lt Gov°r
Cha: Story Secretary


John Cate Sonn of Said Alice Cate ; John Urin husband to
Rebecca Cate daughter alsoe of Said Alice Cate ; Peter Babb
husband to Sarah Cate Sister to Said Rebecca ; appears and Re -
leases all yr Right and Title to any part or portion of Said Estate
of James Cates dec d unto Edward Cate sonn of the said James
Cate decd aforesaid And Alice Cate and the said John Cate John
Urin and peter Babb cloth obleidge themselves in the Sum'e of
one hundred pounds Joyntly and Severally their heires Exec" and
Admen unto the Said Edw d Cate his Exec" Adm" or Assignes
neither they or any of them or Sam° Whidden or Mary his wife ;
or Elizabeth Cate (which Said Mary and Elizabeth are also
daughters to Said James Cate decd ) or the heires Exec" Adm" or
Assignes of the said Sam11 Whidden and Mary his wife, or the
Said Eliza Cate shall or will for the future ever Claime or bring
any Acc'on Suite in Law or Equitye agr the Said Edwd Cate his
heires Exec r° or Adm" for any part or portion of Said James Cate
decd yr fathers Estate as aforesaid/
Acknowledged the Said 8th day of June Cora m
Wm Partridge Lt Govr°r
[Court Records, June r, 1702 .]



James Cate was in court on 25 June 1656 at Portsmouth, Rockingham, NH, USA. "Jams skat and his wife being presented for furnication befor marriage is admonished, and to acknolidg the falt and to pay the fees of the Court 2 shillings siz penc."
On 22 January 1660/61, at Portsmouth, Rockingham, NH, USA,, Grant increased to 8 acre. He Had a bill against the town. on 4 February 1660/61 at Portsmouth, Rockingham, NH, USA.
Cate, James, Portsmouth, carpenter, had a bill against the town 4 Feb. 1660-1.
He was in court on 24 April 1662. “James pendleton & Wm Howard agts & Attorneys to Capt Brian Pendleton & mr Jno payne pl against James Cate of Portsmouth in an acc’on of debt upon acct & due damages
James Cate came into Court & Confest a Judgmt of 10l 17s 6d due unto the p”
He was in court on 27 January 1663.
He was in court on 2 February 1663. “James Keat acknowledgeth his excessive drincking yt night hee brake Rechel Websters signe & doore fined 3s 4d & Clerks fees”
He was in court on 6 July 1663 at Portsmouth, Rockingham, NH, USA. Member of jury: Robert Marshall and Jer Dollet, in a canoe drunk, both "drowned lasr night."
He was Signed petition on 9 October 1665 at Portsmouth, Rockingham, NH, USA.
He was in court on 13 September 1673 at Portsmouth, Rockingham, NH, USA. Inquest, John Ellis. "John Ellis, James Skate, George Ford, Walter Luckraft, Edward Skate, and Hanca, a Negro, were nere the house of Caleb Beck. James Skate and his son were taking leave of the rest, who had been drinking flip ( a quart of rum mixed with water or beer) and Lodowick Fowler had been drinking with them but now "being of the watch came up the lane after them" Fowler's gun went off, shooting Ellis in the leg so that he died. Fowler was indicted and convicted in Boston.
He was in court on 30 June 1674. “James Cate & his sonn being bound in a bond of 10l to appear at this court to answr for abusing mr Jno Cutts man & being called & not appearing ye Court declaires his bond forfeited”
He died on 15 May 1677 at Portsmouth, Rockingham, NH, USA.
His estate was probated on 8 June 1702; Estate was settled. Edward received his father's estate. He was to pay his mother, Alice Cate, 17 shillings 6 pence yearly.


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