Thomas Gatchell and Susan Peach of Somerset County, England are probably the parents of John and Samuel Gatchell/Getchell, the two brothers who left England for North America in 1635. Of their generation, and prior, only John and Samuel seem to have emigrated to Amerca. The rest stayed in England. Later Gatchell generations emigrated to Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and North America. Thomas Gatchell’s brother Henry Gatchell was the sheriff of Somerset County. John Gatchell/Getchell named his two yougest children Thomas and Henry.

Samuel Gatchell/Getchell’s wife Dorcas Woodin was probably born in England, too. Salisbury, Massachusetts records show activity for John Woodin, who was from England, and possibly the brother to Dorcas. Some researchers have speculated that the spelling of her last name was Wooden, but early Salisbury/Amesbury records only show Woodin, not Wooden. The same records show various spellings for Sam Gatchell/Getchell: five instances of Getchell, one of Gatchell (Sam II) and one of Gechel.

According to researcher Curt Fredrikson, the West Monkton, Somerset County parish records were lost in a 1710 fire. He and researcher Ben Getchell also note from first-hand observation that the gravestones in the area are too worn to be readable. However, some records can be found in Somerset and Dorset counties. Presumably, as more records are transcribed, more connections will be made.

Somerset County is located in the England’s West Country (southwestern England). It is directly south of Wales and two counties east of Cornwall. See map of England. In 878, Somerset served as a refuge for Alfred the Great when the Danes almost overtook England. His stay in Somerset gave King Alfred an opportunity to regroup and drive the Danes to northeastern England.

Gatchell House
See photos of Gatchell Meadow, Gatchell House and historical records about the 400-year old house King’s Gatchell, all in Trull, Somerset County. The photos were taken by Ben Getchell on his 2002 trip to England.

English Connection Notes
See Curt Fredrikson appendix, bottom of page
See Dean Newhouse notes on Samuel Gatchell, middle of page