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Family Histories & Biographies

The Kidder Family Genealogy

Contributed by Judy Smith Magons

Site visitor Judy Smith Magons provided the family history below. Thomas and Lucy Holt Kidder migrated from Silver Creek, Hanover Township, Chautauqua County, New York to Elk Creek Township, Erie County, Pennsylvania, about 1832. A summary of the 1940 Kidder Genealogy is provided below. An Index is provided on another web page. Any questions or comments concerning this family history should be sent directly to Judy.


Genealogy of The Kidder Family,
Descendants of Thomas and Lucy Holt Kidder

by Nora K. Miller, 1940

This document and Index prepared by Judith Smith Magons, July 20, 2016.



Contents of this document




Cover of the original book, Genealogy of The Kidder Family by Nora K. Miller, Foreword by Nora K. Miller, Secretary, page 1 of original book.


Photograph of Thomas Kidder, page 2 of original book. Word of Introduction by The Secretary, Nora K. Miller, page 3 of original book.


Letter to Perry Kidder from the Rev. James Holwell Kidder, Owego, Tioga County N.Y., dated Aug. 14, 1891, pages 4 through 10 of original book.  The entire letter is included.


Index of “Our Family Line,” pages 11 through 34 of the original book.

Index contains names and page numbers from original.

(*) indicates a name appears more than one time on a page.

Married women are listed by both maiden and married names.



The Kidder Family


Descendants of





Here is our Genealogy.

In a book of this nature, comprised almost entirely of names and dates, it is almost inevitable that there will be some errors.  Should you find any, please let me know so that I may correct our record.  Also make the correction (and additions as they occur) in your book, looking toward some future time when further additions to our family will make necessary a new and larger Genealogy.

    Thank you for your helpful co-operation.



 Word of Introduction

By the Secretary, Nora K. Miller

                This is a revised edition of the Kidder Genealogy in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Reunion held on August 18, 1940.  In this book you will find a number of changes since our first book was published by R. P. Kidder in 1916.  How little did our forefathers think, when they met in Goodenow’s Grove on August 12, 1891 to have the first reunion, that we would still be having them.  There are very few attending now that were there then.  Our oldest living descendant is John P. Kidder of Pierpont, Ohio, who passed his 91st birthday April 2nd.  On account of ill health he is unable to attend.

                It may be of interest to a great number that it has been found by The Media Research Bureau that among those who fought in the War of the Revolution were: Abel, Asa, Benjamin, Daniel, Corporal Enoch, Francis, Isaac, Lieutenant James, Jeremiah, John, Fifer Jonathan, Joseph, Josiah, Nehemiah, Phineas, Lieutenant Samuel, Samuel Jr., Captain Solomon, Thomas, Fifer Wilder, and William Kidder of Massachusetts; Benjamin Kidder and Christopher and Jacob Kider of Pennsylvania; Sergeant Wildare Kiddare and John Kidder of New York, as well as numerous others.

                Mrs. Florence Whipple has in her possession a letter written to her great-grandfather, Perry Kidder, by Rev. James H. Kidder of Owego, N. Y., which is of great interest to anyone looking up the family tree.  The letter follows:


Rector St. Paul’s Church

Owego, Tioga County, N. Y.

Aug. 4, 1891

Mr. Perry Kidder,

Dear Kinsman: 

        I promised to send you a brief account of the Kidder Family that might be read to the kindred assembled on the 12th of August, to whom I send, through you, cordial greeting.

        In 1852 Frederic Kidder of Boston, in the History of New Ipswich published the results of his search into the History of the Kidder Family in Old England, with some accounts of the family in New England.  He gave in that book a tabular pedigree showing the descent of James Kidder, our American patriarch, from Richard Kidder of Maresfield, County of Sussex, England, 1492, the year in which Columbus discovered America.  From 1492 to 1892 is a stretch of four hundred years that warrants us in regarding ours as one of the ancient families of English stock.

        But traces of the name are found further back.  In the account already mentioned is reference to a transfer of land in Maresfield dated 1270, in which the name of one party is Kydder.  Also to the tradition that the Kidders “are of the stock of ancient Britons, and existed as a family previous to the excursions of the Romans, Danes, or Saxons, and were not disturbed in the possession of their lands at the conquest.”

        If they are correct who tell us that the use of surnames in England does not go farther back than the 13th century, this is as early as we could expect to find the Kidder name.  It was variously spelled in days when there was no settled orthography of even common words.  The spelling KIDDWR is thought to confirm the tradition “of a Welsh, or more properly speaking, ancient British lineage.”

        The origin of the name is a matter of conjecture.  It is said that KYD in Welsh means a town on a hill, and DWR means a small river or brook; while in Saxon “KIDDER means a dealer in grain.”   Webster says, “an engrosser of corn, one who carries corn, provisions and merchandise about the country for sale.”  From the fact that KIDDERS are mentioned as bayliffs of one of the Royal parks abundantly stocked with deer, one of our friends has fancied the name may be a play on the words KID-DEER, young deer, which fancy we may smile at without accepting it seriously.

        “About 1500,” says the History of New Ipswich, “and for about 100 years, the name was written KYDDER; once without E, Kyddr; and in the Cambridge Church Records, New England, as early as 1656, it was written KIDDAR.”  This signifies nothing more than the fact that in those days spelling was freer than it is now.  A name or a word was the sound that fell on the ear; not the characters that represented it to the eye.  A man did not always spell the same word in the same way.  He put together the letters that would suggest it, and on the next page perhaps he wrote it again with a little different letters.  So KIDER, with one D, KYDDER with Y in place of I, KIDDAR with A instead of E in the last syllable, is still the same name.

        Maresfield, supposed to be the original home of the family is about 70 miles from London, in Sussex.  After 1500 there was a removal of some of them to the next county, Kent.  And a family that came over from Kent in 1840 is now settled in Otsego County, N. Y.  This and one other family claiming descent from the Irish Kidders, a claim not proved as yet, are the only known exceptions to the statement that all American Kidders now living are descendants of James Kidder who emigrated before 1649 from East Grinstead, Sussex Co., England; settled first in Cambridge, New England; married Anna Moore; had six children born in Cambridge; moved to Billerica, where six more children were born to him.

        A very common saying often repeated by persons who do not know certainly about their ancestry, is that three brothers came over and we are all descended from them.  I have met this story as applied to the Kidders.  So far as we are concerned it is not true.  With the exceptions just named, we are all children of one man.  We can say of him as the Bible says of Abraham:  God called him alone, and increased him and blessed him.  It does indeed appear probable that other Kidders came over, but they were not brothers of James.  What was the degree of their relationship is not known.  Among the settlers of Reading and South Reading, Mass. 1645-1700, was an Edward Kidder.   Thaddeus Kidder was made freeman in Lynn, 1672, and was in Marblehead, 1674.  A few others are named in the early records who can hardly be traced to our James.  But as far as is yet known, none of these left descendants.  The Kidders found out thus far excepting only the family that came in 1840 from Kent, are all children of James and Anna Moore Kidder.  No doubt the family from Kent is of the same stock.

        I may here refer to another tradition common to many families, that there is a large amount of property in England awaiting proof of descent and so forth.  It comes to me sometimes in a letter replying to my questions in the family genealogy.  What is it about that great fortune that was left in England to the Kidders?  Some of the family think that is what we are after.  Some cannot discern any reasonable motive for so much writing but the getting of that fortune.

        Now if all Kidder listeners will kindly prick up their ears, I will tell them in short order about that fortune.  The true story of it is this:  THERE ISN’T ANY.   There a few rich Kidders, but they are, as far as I know, all on this side of the ocean, and they made their own money.  Besides the few rich are a great many who have enough to be comfortable without coveting other men’s goods; and most of us have better business than fortune hunting.

        The family has not given many bright and shining lights to the world, but it has done honestly its full share of the world’s work.  It is a thoroughly respectable, useful, honorable family that you belong to; that is the great satisfaction in this genealogical work.  I don’t say there are no black sheep in our flock.  Time was when that was supposed to be true, possibly was true indeed.  Thus Frederic Kidder could say in 1852: “After a search over the records of two centuries, not an individual of the name is ever found to have been guilty of a crime against the laws.”  In 1886 when F. E. Kidder published a genealogy of the descendants of John Kidder (one of the sons of James), this paragraph of the family history was changed for another which runs as follows:  “The majority of those bearing the name are farmers, but many have shone as lawyers, bankers, philanthropists, poets, surgeons, ministers, merchants, etc., and very seldom has the name been disgraced by any unlawful acts.”

        This is coming down gracefully and prudently.  Since then we have searched wider and closer.  There is a Kidder in State prison—not in the post of Chaplain, either.  He is there for killing his brother.  Another has served his time for bigamy, and is now restored to his family and living as a reformed member of society.  Another was killed in a quarrel with a neighbor.  Another was head of a gang of horsethieves, and I’ve not investigated his descent, tho the prison officers could probably give me the clue.  Another was arrested on charge of obtaining money by false pretenses, and as no report of the trial has reached me, I prefer to believe the charge was false.  Another was arrested for threatening bodily harm to somebody, but an arrest is one thing; such conduct as warrants it is another.  He may have threatened only to defend himself if assaulted.  A James Kidder died Jan. 3, 1832, while a prisoner in State prison; I don’t know in which of the states, nor what was his crime.  A newspaper tells of another taken before a magistrate to face charges of bigamy made by his third wife.  In the Century Magazine for August, 1890, is an account of the Mutiny on the Whale Ship Globe, one of the crew being a Kidder, whose record I have.  He seems to have been a worthy man, and may have been overborne by his shipmates.

        A friend sent me the following, copied from the History of Fitzwilliam, N. H.  “In the eastern part of the town, Abner Stone kept a tavern for many years.  About a mile and a quarter south on the same road was the tavern of Abijah Warner.  Both were in business before 1793.  On the same road farther south was another tavern kept by one Kidder.  These three men were popularly known as Honest Stone, Cheating Warner, and Lying Kidder.”

        That completes my blacklist.  I submit its blackness is well offset by the thousands of Kidders who have lived reputable and useful lives, done their duty in the state of life to which it pleased God to call them, brought up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and left an honorable name and clean record for the comfort of their descendants.  I believe Kidders, sprung from our American ancestor, are now in every state and territory in the Union, and in every reputable and useful calling.

        James and Anna Moore Kidder had 12 children, 6 born in Cambridge and 6 in Billerica.  The latter place has been always regarded as the family home.  There is a History of Billerica from 1653 to 1883 by the Rev. Henry A. Hazen, which gives a genealogical list of its families.  Naming these 12 children in the order of birth they are: Hannah, Dorothy, James, John, Thomas, Nathaniel, Ephraim, Stephen, Enoch, Samuel, Sarah, Joseph; nine sons and three daughters.  Of Thomas’ descendants we have no record; Nathaniel died unmarried; Joseph died aged 13.  The other sons, six in number, all raised families.  I here set down the line in which they who may listen to this reading are most nearly interested:


        1st gen.  James Kidder m. Anna Moore                       

                They had 12 children: 9 boys, 3 girls


        2nd gen.  Enoch m. Mary Hayward

                They had 7 children: 4 sons, 3 daughters



3rd gen.  Francis m. Elizabeth Hill

                They had 10 children: 5 sons, 5 daughters


        4th gen.  Francis m. Mary Chase

                They had 9 children: 5 sons, 4 daughters


        5th gen.  Thomas m. Lucy Holt

                They had 7 children: 4 sons, 3 daughters, namely:

        Lucetta, Putnam, Perry, Betsey, Azem, Ransom and Adela.


        I have already said that the fullest account of the family published is given in the History of New Ispswich by Frederic Kidder.  It was published by Gould & Lincoln, Boston, 1852.  It does not include a complete genealogy of the family.  Frederic was a descendant of John, 2nd son of James.  Some time later, the Rev. Corbin Kidder, a descendant of Ephraim, 5th son of James, collected some records of his own branch of the family.  These were added to by the Rev. Sam’l Thos. Kidder, son of Corbin, and printed in 1876 for private distribution amongst the families immediately interested.  Meantime, Frederic Kidder’s papers and books relating to the genealogy of the family were put into the hands of Miss Susan Blanchard Kidder, a descendant of Samuel, 8th son of James, with a view to the compilation of a complete History and Genealogical Register of the whole family in America.  This work is now in progress.  In 1886, Frank Eugene Kidder, another descendant of John, 2nd son of James, printed a History and Genealogy of his part of the family—that is of the descendants of John, or about a sixth part of the whole family.  Many additions have since been made in manuscript to this part, and some corrections.  It appears from the publishers’ preface that F. E. Kidder had the assistance of Miss S. B. Kidder’s papers.

        Kinsmen, do what you can to assist in making Miss S. B. Kidder’s work full, accurate, and complete.  Send in your records plainly written.  Be careful to write all names at full length; not letters, but what the letters stand for.  Give full dates, day of month as well as of year, of births, marriages, and deaths.  Of  Kidder girls married into other families, give list of children for one generation as part of their mother’s record.  Bear in mind that there is no profit for anybody in this kind of work.  It is a labor of love for all who bear the name, in those who give their time to it.

Every day removes from this life some who could give us information.  Secure it when you can.  Keep your family records; make them legible and unmistakable.  You cannot trust such things to memory.  They may seem unimportant to you, but how soon they will become important, and some need will be found for them you know not.  Make all the Kidders, whether they belong to your branch of the family or to some other branch, send in their records to me, or to our principal in this matter: S. B. Kidder, 1015 Exchange Building, 53 State St., Boston, Mass.  She is now going over the collection of records to put them in proper form for the printer.  How soon the work will be ready I cannot say.  It is done by persons who have their daily bread to earn, and done necessarily in their intervals of leisure, and when they might otherwise rest or play.  For this reason it has taken long to reach the present stage of the work.

        Knowledge of an honorable ancestry is a great incentive to honorable conduct in the children.  Let men know that they bear a good name and they will have that as a motive to be good themselves.  The world has received from the past generations of Kidders reason to expect that present and coming generations of their blood will keep clean hands and pure hearts.  To this aim and end may the grace of God assist our inheritance from nature.

        With kindly and Christian regard, I am your kinsman,

                                     JAMES HOLWELL KIDDER    

Change 1 [11/9/07] Updated contributor's email address.

This page was originally created on  Monday, December 12, 2016 .

This page was last updated on  Friday, November 9, 2007 .

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