Letter from Dean Tidd to James Wilbur Hill

I just learned of the passing of Dean Tidd, who helped research two significant lines of the family, the Hills and the Tidds. Years back I posted a letter he had written to James Wilbur Hill on my genealogy website. (I’ve added a short biographical post about Dean, based mostly on information in his obituary.)

Originally part of my site at GeoCities, a free hosting service which was absorbed by Yahoo and then abruptly ended amid much controversy, I had long forgotten my password and there was no easy way of retrieving or changing it, so I had essentially abandoned my little project there. But Dean’s name popping up in my inbox reminded me of him and his work.

Oct. 10, 1987

Dear Wilbur:

Along with the information on the Hills I am sending some on the Tidds that I thought you may find interesting.

Unfortunately I do not have many dates, especially on the descendants of Martin Hill. Most of this information was sent to me by Martha Baird Walker when she made an inquiry about Martin Tidd. She lives in California and I haven’t heard from her in several Years.

The first enclosures show the signatures of David Teed, Benjamin Teed and John Teed. There has been a common assumption that Tidd and Teed were various spellings of the same name. However I find it differently. Harrison in his book “SURNAMES OF THE UNITED KINGDOM” says that Tidd is Old English and is derived from Tyd(d)a, meaning time, season, and that Teed is a form of Tedd, Old English, and derived from the Anglo-Saxon word Peod, meaning nation, people, Old English made it Theod- the first element of names, Theodoric, Theodred, Theodberth etc. The early New England records both names in signatures.

On Mar. 10, 1747 David Teed entered into an agreement with Richard Peters, Land Secretary to the Penns and a land speculator to purchase 325 acres of land in Dansbury Township, Bucks County for a sum of one hundred sixty two pounds, ten shillings, of which thirty pounds was paid that day in cash. On the same day he also took a warrant for 100 acres next to his other tract from the Province of Pennsylvania, and an order to survey this 100 acres was given made for twenty some years and this record (Harrisburg Archives) shows the tract next to land owned by Richard Peters and labeled “Formerly David Tidd’s Settlement”. As near as I can determine this land is about where Tannersville, Pa. is now located.

David Tidd died in the summer or fall of 1748, he signed a road petition earlier that year, and Benjamin assumed the responsibility of the land and debt as he paid the interest and signed a note for the remainder. Benjamin was killed by the Indians in 1755 and after this the land was taken back by Peters.

After the massacre of 1755 at Dansbury some of the inhabitants returned and lived near or in Fort Hamilton, which was built in January and February of 1756. Indians continually nibbled at the settlement, taking a victim frequently, a young lad was killed and scalped within 200 yards of the fort in May, 1757, prompting the petition, including John Teed’s signature, to be sent to the Lt. Gov. Wm. Denny of Pennsylvania requesting additional military protection. This list of names probably is the total number of families remaining there. John Tidd was killed a few weeks after this petition was presented to the gov. and the account of his murder is recorded in Pa. Archives in Capt. Van Etten’s diary. (A copy included)

Daniel Brodhead, one of the first settlers in Dansbury, recognized the need of spiritual leadership among the people living there and requested the the Moravians at Nazareth, Pa. send one of their missionarys to Dansbury. They readily complied and D. Brodhead built a house along the now Brodhead creek for a parsonage. There was not any church building so weekly meetings were held in private homes, changing every week or so. A church was built in 1752-3 but was burned during the 1755 raid. Sven Roseen was one of the first missionaries to serve there and excerpts of his diary, dates concerning the Tidds, is also enclosed. His dairy was written in German and parts have been translated into English.

His diary indicates that David, John and William were brothers and that John, at this time, had eight children, the twins and six others. This corresponds with information in two depostions made by Betsy Tidd Henry, one of Martin’s daughters, in 1853 and 1855, supporting the identification of James Tidd, Susan Tidd Smith, Sarah Tidd Struby and Polly Tidd Draper as being the children of her Uncle, William Tidd, a Rev. War Vet. and his second wife Ann Bristol. She says that her father, Martin, was William’s youngest brother and that Martin was next to the youngest of fourteen or fifteen children of her grandfather, John Tidd, four of whom died in infancy. This information corresponds with the diary as the twins were the 7th and 8th children and Martin and another daughter born after the twins. Elizabeth also says that her father, Martin was 84 years old when he died in 1834, thus setting his birth year as 1750.

I have found that David Tidd paid taxes in the Southern District (now Putnam County) of Dutchess County, N.Y. for the years 1740 through 1747. He apparantly was prosperous as his taxes increased from 1 pound in 1740 to over 5 pounds in 1747. He no longer pays taxes there and this is the year he purchases the land in Pa. John Tidd pays taxes one year during this period.

This part of Dutchess County was inhabited by English people from Conn. and Long Island N.Y. where a John Teed is found in 1665 and his will dated 1683 names three sons, John, Joseph and Benjamin and indicates several daughters. A son Samuel was born after his death. I have evidence supporting speculation that this Benjamin is the father of David, Benjamin, John and William all of whom were in Dansbury. Other evidence indicates that the John Teed, died 1683, was born 1641 and is a son of Joshua Teed who was a merchant, trading in furs along the coast.

I am still searching and trying to tie all of this together by documentation and have a lot of leads to follow, just need more time. I have rambled enough and I hope you find this interesting.


[signature, first name only]


I am really glad I typed this up. There’s tons of good historical tidbits contained in his letter.


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