The English surname Cheetham is an habitational name from a place in Lancashire called Cheetham, named with Celtic ced meaning “wood,” and the Old English term ham meaning “homestead.” The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey de Chetham, witness, which was dated 1246, in the "The Assize Court Rolls of Lancashire. On August 1st 1542 Ellis Cheetam; an infant, was christened in Middleton by Oldham. John Chetham was also christened in that parish. The christening of John, son of Richard Cheetham, took place in Prestwich on July 10th 1608. The name is first recorded in the New World in the 17th and a notable bearer of the name in the US was Benjamin Franklin Cheatham ( 1820-1886) a Tennessee aristocrat, California gold miner and a Civil War Confederate General.