This English surname of ENDICOTT was a Devon topographic name for someone who lived at the 'end of the cottages'. The name was originally derived from the Old English word ENDECOTT. One locality so named is Endicott in Cadbury, Devon, and another is now called Youngcott in Milton Abbot. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, a stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries. John ENDECOTT (c1588-1665) was the colonial governor of Massachusetts, from whom several American families are descended. He was probably born in Chagford, Devon, and went to America in 1628 as one of six adventurers forming the 'New England Company for the Plantation of Massachusetts'. They went to Naumkeag, which was already settled by an offshoot of the Plymouth community, and the two groups agreed to combine and change the name to Salem at Endecott's suggestion. Little is known of his life before 1628, beyond the fact that his grandfather and mother were wealthy, but ENDECOTT was disinherited because of religious differences with his parents. When the first immigrants from Europe went to America, the only names current in the new land were Indian names which did not appeal to Europeans vocally, and the Indian names did not influence the surnames or Christian names already possessed by the immigrants. Mostly the immigrant could not read or write and had little or no knowledge as to the proper spelling, and their names suffered at the hands of the government officials. The early town records are full of these mis-spelt names most of which gradually changed back to a more conventional spelling as education progressed.
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