Richard Everit, a Long Island patentee and magistrate under the Dutch government, was of parentage hitherto undetermined. He first appears on Long Island in 1656 as an original settler of the town called by the Dutch-Rustdorp and by the English Jamaica. Jamaica was originally settled by a small group of Englishmen from Hempstead, a neighboring village, and Hempstead was founded in 1644, by emigrants from New England, chiefly from Wethersfield, and Stamford, in the New Haven Colony.
It does not seem to be known that Richard Everit was in Hempstead before going to Jamaica, although it is entirely probable, as his name appears on such early records there as the tax list of 1657-1658. Still this may have been his son of the same name, Richard Everit being a name found in every generation for centuries.
It seems quite certain that Richard of Jamaica was not from the Connecticut settlements, and the search for his origin goes back to Massachusetts.
The distinguished Everett family of Dedham, Massachusetts, have always believed that it was their ancestor, Richard by name, who presumably arrived with William Pynchon, the founder of Roxbury and Springfield, on the Jewel, one of Winthrop's fleet, which left England on April 8, 1630.
When William Pynchon went through the wilderness to found Springfield in 1636, Richard Everit appears as his trader and agent. Everit witnessed an Indian deed there in 1636, and appears at various times as a landowner and town officer, certainly being there as late as June 29, 1643, when he married Mary Winch, a young girl of twenty, who had come over with the family of Rowland Stebbins in 1638 on the Francis, of Ipswich.
This assumption of the Dedham Everett family would seem to ignore certain facts and presuppose others. It would make the Richard who was at Springfield moving back and forth between Dedham and Springfield, a considerable distance- then, in every year up to the marriage in 1643, sometimes appearing in both towns less than four weeks apart. Pynchon does not seem to have had any interests in Dedham. Besides, assuming that one man owned the pieces of land granted to Richard Everit (Everitt, Everett, Evered) in both villages in the same period, the tradition, in order to accept the marriage in Springfield on June 29, 1643, to Mary Winch, has to presuppose an earlier marriage to a woman unnamed.
Six children were recorded at Dedham, the sixth on March 14, 1643, and another was born on June 12, 1644 ; others following to make eleven in all, so the second marriage, if such it was, appears somewhat unnatural. Moreover, it is decidedly important to note that almost invariably the Dedham records speak of Richard Evered, rather than Everit, and that the Dedham will proved in 1682 is signed Evered, while the Springfield records always speak of Richard Everit.
An early and particularly reputable family history says that Richard Everett of Dedham came over in 1634-1635 with his wife Mary, and this, with the implied continuity of this relationship, as Richard in his will mentioned his wife Mary, seems more probable than a second marriage, unconfirmed as this particular information is.
Admitting then the possibility that the Richards of Dedham and Springfield may be different men, there may be advanced reasons why Richard Everit of Springfield may have gone to Long Island. It is known that Everit was closely attached to the service of William Pynchon, in Springfield. The excellent Pynchon lineage is familiar back into Essex County, England, and there it has been learned that a Richard Everit (Everard), of gentle birth, married a sister of an earlier William Pynchon, and that some relationship existed between the founder of Springfield and his follower seems certain.
When Pynchon was so much angered and distressed by the harshness of the Springfield colonists after his publication of a so-called “heretic" book, he gave up America, returning to England in 1652. It can be believed that the position of Everit became less fortunate then and his thoughts might well have turned toward Long Island, for at Hempstead where the families of Coe, Ward, Osborn and Denton, among others, that came originally from Essex County, England, where Everit must have known of them, as all these names appear on the same parish registers. It is interesting, too, to note that an early Everit and a Denton of Jamaica married (1725), and that their young son, Daniel Denton, appeared in Springfield for a few years.
Such evidence as all this is admissible in an attempt to arrive at the origin of Richard Everit of Jamaica, surmise as it must largely be. The multiplicity of the name Richard in all branches of the Everit family is the greatest difficulty in arriving at positive identification. Richard Everit of Jamaica, who was a patentee in 1656, one of the very first town magistrates in 1659, and active in many public matters, seems to have lived until early in 1668, as on September 4th of that year an administrator was appointed.
His wife was Elizabeth Clare, sister of John Clare, of Jamaica, and he had at least four children, Richard being the eldest.
Richard Everit, of Springfield, had married in 1643, Mary Winch, but Elizabeth Clare is not mentioned until much later and may easily have been a second wife. Possibly the early death of Mary was the inducement to leave Springfield. Richard Everit, of Jamaica, signed his name as here given.
In 1658 Richard Everit is taxed for six acres of land at Hempstead. He had no house nor cattle on it and was taxed merely for meadow land and “fower gattes." This land seems to have been granted in the general allotment of that year, but Richard, Senior, may have been just adding to land owned before going to Jamaica, or Richard, Junior, may have been starting out as a landowner.
The Hempstead census of 1698 shows a Richard Everit, with wife, Elizabeth, but children with dissimilar names (although always a Richard!) than those of Richard of Jamaica, and this may well have been the son of Richard, Senior. His “ear-mark" for cattle was registered at Hempstead in 1714, and inherited by his son, George, on January 8, 1722/23.
A Richard Everit (also Everitt) died intestate in 1764, when his son, Clear, was appointed administrator. John Clare, of Jamaica, in his will, dated and proved in 1720, left land not only to Richard, eldest son of his sister, Elizabeth Everit, but after the death of his wife practically all his real property was to go “to my cousin Richard Everit during his life and after his decease to his son Clare." Just who this Richard was is not certain, but he was surely one of the Jamaica family. The son’s name is more usually spelled Clear, rather than Clare, but does not seem to have been St. Clair, as sometimes thought.