Chelmsford Historical Society

The following information was provided by a Kidder family member and contributed to the Chelmsford Historical Society in July of 2002. Descendants of Ensign James Kidder (1626-1676) of Cambridge and Billerica, Massachusetts, by Stafford and published by the  NEHGS, 1941 is the source of much of the information given here, along with the Chelmsford vital records. 

JOHN KIDDER (James), of Chelmsford, Mass., born at Cambridge, Mass., in 1655/6; died at Chelmsford before Oct. 7, 1731. He married at Chelmsford, Sept. 3, 1684, Lydia Parker, who was born probably at Woburn, Mass., 17 Feb. 1665; died May 10, 1742, aged 77, daughter of Abraham and Rose (Whitlock) Parker of Woburn. John Kidder resided for some years in Billerica, and in 1675/6, during King Philip's War, was assigned to the garrison house of Thomas Pattin with six other soldiers, and five families. The oath of fidelity was administered to him before the chiefe officers, Feb. 4, 1677/8. In 1681, he purchased of Jonathan Tyng 500 acres of land lying on the West side of the Concord river, in Chelmsford, in which town he resided thenceforth. Chelmsford town records show that in 1698 payment was made to 'John Kyder' for tythin mens staues, 4s-6d. Under date of 16 Mar. 1691/92, John Kide (sic) & family are mentioned as being in the garrison at Chelmsford. After 1698 no additional references to him are found. Even though John and Lydia had 12 children born to them, not much is known about some of them. Only five sons are mentioned in the Kidder book with information.

Children born at Chelmsford:

 i.  ANNA, b. 12 Sept. 1685.

ii. JOHN, b. 23 Dec. 1687.

iii. THOMAS, b. 13 Oct. 1690.

iv. NATHANIEL, b. 13 Dec. 1692.

v. MARY, b. 9 Apr. 1695.

vi. JOSEPH (twin), b. 11 Aug. 1697.

vii. BENJAMIN (twin), b. 11 Aug. 1697.

viii. JAMES, b. 28 Jan. 1700.

ix. JONATHAN, b. 14 Jan. 1701/2; d. 27 Apr. 1728.

x. ELIZABETH, b. 12 July 1704; m. at Chelmsford, 25 Dec. 1725, JONATHAN POWERS of Littleton, Mass., son of Isaac and Mary (Winship) Powers. Children:

i. Jonathan, b. 18 July 1726; d. 16 Oct. 1777.

ii. Betty, b. 24 Feb. 1727/8.

iii. Isaac, b. 26 Feb. 1730/1; d. in 1766; m. Elinor Whitney.

iv. Lois, b. 27 Mar. 1732.

v. Mary, b. 16 Aug. 1734.

vi. Abigail, b. 9 Aug. 1736.

xi. DAVID, b. 11 Oct. 1706.

xii. SARAH, b. 2 June 1709; m. at Concord, Mass., 12 Sept. 1751, JOHN FLETCHER of that town, b. there 26 Aug. 1692.

THOMAS KIDDER (John, James), of Chelmsford, later of Westford, Middlesex Co., Mass., born at Chelmsford, 13 Oct. 1690; died there 22 Sept. 1729. He married at Chelmsford, 31 Dec. 1716, JOANNA KEYES, born there 10 Feb. 1695; died at Westford, 4 Mar. 1787, "aged 92," daughter of Joseph and Johanah (Cleveland) Keyes. She married secondly, 24 Apr. 1732, SAMUEL FITCH or FLETCHER.

Thomas Kidder resided in the south part of the town of Chelmsford, beyond Parkerville, near Nonesuch Hill, now a part of the town of Westford. He is said to have been a man of considerable property, his house being an unusually fine one for the period, "possessing much architectural symmetry, with some adornments." His name appears on the muster roll of Capt. John Shipley's Company from 26 June 1722 to 10 Dec. 1722. He was admitted to the church in Westford, 17 April 1728. He died intestate, and letters of administration were granted to his widow, 29 Dec. 1729.

Children, born at Chelmsford:

i. THOMAS, b. 18 Jan. or 2 Feb. 1717/18.

ii. AARON, b. 22 Dec. 1719.

iii. REUBEN, b. 1 Jan. 1723.

iv.  JOSEPH, b. 13 or 31 Oct. 1725.

v. ISAIAH, b. 20 Feb. 1727/28; d. at Chelmsford, 19 Apr. 1728.

vi.  FRANCIS (?), b. in or near Westford probably about 1730.

JOHN KIDDER (John, James), born at Chelmsford, Mass., 23 Dec. 1687; died there 28 Aug. 1762. He married first, at Chelmsford, MARY or MARIA ---; and secondly, at Brookfield, Mass., 26 Aug. 1736, MARY WHEELER of Hardwick, Worcester Co., Mass., died 30 Aug. 1778, aged 84. On 13 Mar. 1746/7, he with his brothers James and David petitioned the Probate Court of Middlesex County for the appointment of an administrator on the estate of "Our Brother Benjamin Kidder deceased for all the service that he did in the expedition at Cape Breton, who enlisted and went under the command of Capt. Joseph Richardson.

Children by first wife, born at Chelmsford:

 i. MARY, b. 11 May 1719; d. at Chelmsford, 12 Sept. 1742.

ii. ISAAC, b. 1 June 1722; d. at Chelmsford, 23 Nov. 1742.

iii. JONAS, b. 9 Jan. 1723/4; d. at Chelmsford, 25 Dec. 1738.

iv. LIDYA, b. 6 Apr. 1726; d. at Chelmsford, 31 Oct. 1738.

v. RACHEL, b. 23 Oct. 1728; d. at Chelmsford, 27 Nov. 1728.

vi. AMOS, b. 4 Feb. 1729/30.

Child by second wife:

vii. JOHN, bapt. 7 Dec. 1737.

 JOSEPH KIDDER (John, James), born at Chelmsford, Mass., 11 Aug. 1697; died there 15 Apr. 1758. He married at Chelmsford (int. 8 May 1720), HANNAH PROCTOR, died in 1786, whose parentage has not been determined. Gersham and Sarah (Whittaws) Proctor of Chelmsford had a daughter Hannah, born at that place, 3 Oct. 1701.

While Joseph Kidder was born and died at Chelmsford, he appears with his brother Benjamin as owners of sixty acres of land at Nutfield, NH. In 1720, and in A schidule of the Names of the Proprietors of London Derry. In 1722, he and his brother Benjamin are recorded as holders of one share each. On 18 Mar. 1724/5 Joseph Kidder, Suten (Sutton) County of Suffolk, Mass., transfers to his brother Benjamin one share or right in the Township of Londonderry, of which he was a proprietor by virtue of the Charter, thus apparently disposing of the share referred to in the Schidule. He owned a seat in the meeting-house at Londonderry. He was taxed at Hudson, NH., then known as Nottingham West, in 1740, and also owned land in the eastern part of Sutton, Mass. He served in the militia in the French and Indian Wars. He was by occupation a farmer.

JAMES KIDDER (John, James), born at Chelmsford, Middlesex Co., Mass., 28 Jan. 1700. He married first, at Chelmsford (int. 26 Apr. 1729), ABIGAIL WHITCOMB, born 13 Mar. 1687/8; died probably 15 Dec. 1732, daughter of Josiah and Rebecca Whitcomb; secondly, SARAH ---, died at Chelmsford, 16 Apr. 1749; and thirdly, at Chelmsford (int. 30 May 1752), ABIGAIL BALL. He is supposed to have served in Lovell's Expedition against the Indians in 1724, as a member of Capt. Richardson's Company. His home was destroyed by fire 14 July 1754.

Child by first wife:

i. JAMES, b. at Chelmsford, 4 Jan. 1730/31; d. there 21 Dec. 1732.

Children by second wife, born at Chelmsford:

ii. ELIZABETH, b. 26 Dec. 1738; d. at Chelmsford, 29 Apr. 1756.

iii. SAMUEL, b. 2 Oct. 1740.

iv. SARAH, b. 15 Mar. 1741/42; d. at Chelmsford, 11 Apr. 1756.

v. LYDIA, b. 2 Aug. 1743; d. at Homer, Cortland Co., NY; in 1824, she m. at Chelmsford, 30 July 1761, WILLIAM BUTTERFIELD, b. there 4 Nov. 1737; d. at Francestown, Hillsborough Co., NH about 1800, son of William and Rebecca (Parker) Butterfield. Children (surname Butterfield):

i. Benjamin, b. 25 Jan. 1762.

ii. Moses, b. at Francestown, 4 Jan. 1764; d. at Homer in May 1820; m. (1) 6 May 1793, Beulah Bradford; m. (2) Hepsibah Butterfield, his cousin; m. (3) --- Goddard.

iii. Joseph, b. 1 Dec. 1765.

iv. William, b. 19 Mar. 1768.

v. Joanna, b. 24 Apr. 1770.

vi. John, b. 6 Apr. 1772; d. at Francestown, 30 Sept. 1777.

vii. Lydia, b. 7 Sept. 1774; d. at Francestown, 1 Sept. 1777.

viii. Rebecca, b. 17 May 1777.

ix. Sara, b. 11 Aug. 1780.

vi.   JAMES, b. 14 May 1745.

vii.  THOMAS, b. 8 Nov. 1746.

viii.  ISAAC (twin), b. 14 Apr. 1749; d. 18 May 1749.

ix.   Child (twin), b. 14 Apr. 1749; d. 15 Apr. 1749.

DAVID KIDDER (John, James), born at Chelmsford, Mass., 11 Oct. 1706; died after 28 Nov. 1787. He married at Chelmsford, 20 Feb. 1751, ESTHER (COREY) ESTABROOK, widow of Moses Estabrook, born at Chelmsford, 17 Nov. 1722; died after 28 Nov. 1787, probably daughter of Josiah and Esther Corey.

He was admitted to the church, May 4th, 1746. He deeded to his brother Benjamin of Londonderry, NH, his share in certain parcels of land in Chelmsford, Mass., being the homestead of my father John Kidder, late deceased. Nov. 28, 1787 one of his heirs gave security to the town of Chelmsford for the support and maintenance of David Kidder and his wife. Children, born at Chelmsford:

 i.  ESTHER, b. 6 Jan. 1751/2; m. there 6 Apr. 1775, JEREMIAH WIER, d. in 1784. Children (surname Wier):

i. Lydia, d. about 1858, "aged 83."

ii. Jeremiah, Jr., d. about 1864, "aged 80."

iii. Stephen.

iv. Esther, d. 1872, "aged about 90."

v. Moses Parker, d. in 1833.

vi. Infant, bur. 21 Aug. 1786.

ii. STEPHEN, b. 24 Apr. 1754; d. 27 May 1755.

iii. PHINEHAS, b. 17 July 1756.

iv. PHEBE, b. 20 May 1759.

v.  EBENEZER, bapt. 16 May 1762.

 Additional Notes relating to the Kidder family:

John, b. 1687 married two Mary's. He died in Chelmsford in 1762. Only one son by his first wife, lived. His name was Amos. A son by his second wife is mentioned, but no information on him (John b. 1737).

Thomas b. 1687 married Joanna KEYES in 1716. Thomas and Joanna lived in the part of town which became Chelmsford. Thomas died in 1729 soon after the move and left his wife with five young sons, including an infant. Joanna remarried Samuel FITCH and had two more children. It is believed that the Samuel Fitch B&B in Westford was his home. Three of their sons left in 1750 to help found New Ipswich, NH.

Joseph and Benjamin, b. 1697 were twins. Joseph married Joanna PROCTOR in 1720. Joseph and Joanna seem to have lived in both Londonderry and Hudson, NH and in Sutton, MA. They had five sons and one daughter, born in Sutton. Benjamin married Sarah GOFFE in Londonderry, NH. They were some of the first inhabitants of Manchester, NH. Benjamin died in Nova Scotia during the Siege of Louisburg. His son, Benjamin Kidder, also died in the wars in 1759 while a prisoner-of-war in Canada then NY. His son, John Kidder, moved to Bristol, NH.

James, b. 1700, married Abigail WHITCOMB in 1729, the first of three wives for him. Their home in Chelmsford was destroyed by fire in 1754. The three sons mentioned in the book with information were Samuel b. 1740 and James b. 1745, who both moved to Alstead, NH, and their brother, Thomas b. 1746 moved with his wife and children to Enfield, NH. The whole family became Shakers.

David, b. 1706, married Mrs. Esther ESTABROOK, and they reportedly lived on the Kidder homestead in Chelmsford. But he and his wife must have become ill in 1787, because that year, they deeded the land to David's brothers and the brothers gave money to the Town to take care of David and Esther, but they died in 1787. They had two sons with information in the book. Phineas Kidder moved to Lyndeboro, NH and Ebenezer moved to Antrim, NH

Just how long did John Kidder's descendants remain in Chelmsford? It looks like all of his sons were dead long before 1800 and most had moved out of town. It appears that David Kidder was still living in Chelmsford on the homestead until he and his wife got sick in 1787. James Kidder's home in Chelmsford was destroyed by fire in 1754. Benjamin died while a soldier but he had moved to NH. His twin, Joseph, had also moved to NH. Thomas Kidder was in the part of town which annexed off to become Westford. John Kidder died in Chelmsford in 1762. Most of this John Kidder's children died young, but one son, Amos Kidder, was still living in Chelmsford in 1780, but around that time moved to Carlisle, where he died at age 80.

The Kidder book does not state what happened to the Kidder Homestead in Chelmsford after it was deeded to David's brothers in 1787. So, there was that 100-year period when we don't know whether there were Kidder's living in Chelmsford, from 1787-1875. Although there is a Kidder Road off Littleton Road . Thomas' house became part of Westford and we know almost nothing about that 500 acres in the South Lowell part of town.

There is a little information about John Kidder's sons in the History of Chelmsford Massachusetts, by Wilson Waters.

  • In 1725, Benjamin Kidder is listed with Chelmsford men in the Company of Joseph Blanchard of Dunstable.
  • David Kidder is mentioned in Rev. Bridges diary, for June 28, 1765: Sunday contributed to David Kidder who lost a cow and a pig.
  • He is on a tax list for 1775: Joseph Hodgman, guardian for David Kidder.
  • In 1758: desired reconciliation with the church. He apparently attended Baptist services. Thomas Kidder has some mentions in The History of Westford.
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