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Families of Norwich, Connecticut

 

 

 

Abell

 

Robert Abell was born circa 1605 in Stapenhill, County Derby, England, the second son of George and Frances (Cotton) Abell.  In 1630, Robert immigrated to New England, presumably with Governor John Winthrop aboard the Winthrop Fleet, which arrived at Charlestown, Massachusetts in June 1630.  Robert was mentioned in his father’s will (dated September 8, 1630) as “of New England”.  He settled initially in Weymouth, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts, where his name is found on a list of those desiring to be made Freeman dated October 19, 1630 and where he took the Oath of Freeman on May 18, 1631.  Robert’s name was mentioned in subsequent land records at Weymouth dated October 26, 1642 and May 21, 1644.

 

Robert Abell was married circa 1638 to Joanna ----, who was born circa 1610, presumably in England.  Robert and Joanna Abell had seven children:  Abraham, Mary, Preserved, Caleb, Joshua, Benjamin and Experience.  The burial of Robert’s eldest son, Abraham, November 15, 1639, and the birth of his eldest daughter, Mary, April 11, 1642, were both recorded in the early Weymouth town records.

 

Robert removed to Rehoboth, Bristol Co., Massachusetts circa 1643, where he purchased the land originally allotted to Job Lane.  Robert’s name is found on numerous land records and court orders in Rehoboth beginning in February 1646 and continuing until his death in 1663.  He was granted permission to keep an ordinary in Rehoboth on February 1, 1654 and was at the Court of Elections at Plymouth and on the Jury of the General Court at Plymouth on June 3, 1657 and June 4, 1657, respectively.

 

Robert Abell died at Rehoboth, Massachusetts on June 20, 1663, his death being recorded in the early vital records of Rehoboth  (see Arnold, James N.; Vital Records of Rehoboth, 1642 – 1895; Providence, Rhode Island: Narragansett Historical Publishing Company; 1897).  An “Inventory of the estate of Robert Abell of Rehoboth Deceased” was taken on August 9, 1663 and administration of his estate was subsequently granted to his widow, Joanna, on February 29, 1663/4.  Captain Willet was requested to administer an oath to “Widow Abell of Rehoboth” for the tenth of the inventory of the estate on October 5, 1664.

 

Mrs. Joanna Abell was remarried at Rehoboth on June 4, 1667 to “William Hide of New Norwich”, as recorded in the Vital Records of Rehoboth (see Arnold, James N.; Vital Records of Rehoboth, 1642 – 1895; q.v.).  William Hyde was among the original founders of Norwich, Connecticut (see below) and it was presumably upon her remarriage that Joanna removed to Norwich with her four younger children, Caleb, Joshua, Benjamin and Experience – the elder two surviving children, Mary and Preserved, remaining in Rehoboth.  “Goody Hide” was among those (along with her son, Preserved and son-in-law, Samuel Luther) who drew for lots in the North Purchase of Rehoboth on May 26, 1668, this being the last known reference to her in Rehoboth.

 

The four children of Robert Abell who removed to Norwich with their mother were each married and raised large families which are well-documented in the vital records of Norwich.  Caleb (~1646 – 1731) married first Margaret Post, daughter of John and Hester (Hyde) Post of Norwich, formerly of Saybrook and second, Mary Miller, daughter of George Miller of New London; Joshua (~1649 – 1725) married first Mehitable Smith, daughter of Nehemiah and Anne (Bourne) Smith of Norwich, formerly of New Haven and second Bethiah Gager, daughter of John and Elizabeth (Gore) Gager of Norwich, formerly of New London; Benjamin (~1650 – 1699) married Hannah Baldwin, daughter of John and Hannah (Birchard) Baldwin of Guilford; and Experience (~1653 –     ) married John Baldwin, son of John and Hannah (Birchard) Baldwin of Guilford.

 

James Savage in his Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, Vol. I provides the following entry for Robert Abell:

 

“ABELL, ROBERT, Weymouth, came, prob. in the fleet with Winthrop, desir. adm. 19 Oct. 1630, and was made freem. 18 May foll. had Abraham, bur. 14 Nov. 1639; Mary, b. 11 Apr. 1642; rem. next yr. to Rehoboth, there d. Aug. [sic] 1663, leav. wid. and four more ch. beside Mary.”

 

References:

 

-          Abell, Horace A. and Lewis P.; The Abell Family in America: Robert Abell of Rehoboth, Mass.; Rutland, Vermont: The Tuttle Publishing Company; 1940.

-          Lange, Paul; The Abell Family in America – transcription @ Paul Lange’s Genealogy Homepage

-          Maxfield King, Marilyn; Abell Family

 

 

Adgate

 

Thomas Adgate was born circa 1620, presumably in England, although his parentage and the details of his emigration to America remain a mystery.  He first appears in New England at Saybrook, Middlesex Co., Connecticut, where his name was included on a registry of lands and also on a list of those present at a town meeting, both in the year 1655.

 

Thomas Adgate was married twice.  The identity of his first wife is not known, although two children presumably born to this first wife were included in the Norwich family record (VRp I:10):  Elizabeth, b. October 1651 (m. Richard Bushnell); and Hannah, b. October 1653 (m. Samuel Lathrop).  James Savage in his Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, Vol. I  (see below) provides more specific birthdates for these two daughters, but the author’s source for this information is not known.  No record of the births is found in the Saybrook vital records, nor is it known whether these two elder daughters were born in Saybrook or elsewhere.

 

Thomas Adgate was among the original proprietors of Norwich, removing there in the original migration from Saybrook in 1660.  He was a Deacon of Rev. James Fitch’s Church, a title which he held until his death in 1707 and which is inscribed upon his gravestone.

 

Circa 1660, Thomas married as his second wife Mrs. Mary (Marvin) Bushnell, widow of Richard Bushnell of Saybrook and Norwalk, Connecticut and daughter of Matthew and Elizabeth (Gregory) Marvin, of Hartford, Connecticut, formerly of Great Bentley, County Essex, England.  Mary was baptized at St. Mary’s Church in Great Bentley on December 16, 1628 and had immigrated to America with her parents in 1635.  She married Richard Bushnell October 11, 1648 at Hartford and had five children with him, four of whom settled in Norwich and raised families (see Bushnell family below).  Four children were recorded to Thomas and Mary Adgate at Norwich (VRp 1:10-11):  Abigail, b. August 1661 (m. Daniel Tracy); Sarah, b. January 1663 (m. Christopher Huntington); Rebecca, b. June 1666 (m. Joseph Huntington); and Thomas Jr., b. March 1670 (m. 1st Ruth Brewster and 2nd Mrs. Elizabeth (Morgan) Starr).  These families and their descendants for a number of generations are documented in the Vital Records at Norwich.

 

Thomas Adgate Sr. died at Norwich on July 21, 1707, his death being included in the family record at Norwich (VRp 1:11).  He was buried at the Old Norwich Town Cemetery, where his gravestone inscription reads:  “HERE LIES THE BODY OF DEACON THOMAS ADGET WHO DIED JULY 1707 AGED 87 YEARS”.  He had made his will on May 22, 1704, at which time he termed himself, “I, Thomas Adgate, being in the 84th year of my age”.  Mrs. Mary (Marvin) Bushnell Adgate died at Norwich on March 29, 1713 (VRp 1:11).

 

James Savage in his Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, Vol. I provides the following entry for Thomas Adgate:

 

“ADGATE, THOMAS, Saybrook, had Elizabeth b. 10 Oct. 1651; and Hannah, 6 Oct. 1653; and by sec. w. Mary, wid. of Richard Bushnell, d. of Matthew Marvin, with wh. a. 1660, he rem. to Norwich, had Abigail, Aug. 1661; Sarah, Jan. 1663; Rebecca, June 1666; and Thomas, Mar. 1670.  He was after at Saybrook, deac. and d. 1707.  All the ds. were m. Elizabeth to Richard Bushnell, 7 Dec. 1672; Hannah, to Samuel Lothrop, but perhaps as sec. w.; Abigail, to Daniel Tracy, 1682; Sarah, to Christopher Huntington the sec. and Rebecca, to Joseph Huntington.”

 

References:

 

-          Baker, Henry Augustus; The History of Montville, Connecticut: Formerly the North Parish of New London from 1640 to 1896; Hartford, Connecticut:  Press of The Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co.; 1896; pp. 498 – 500.

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; pp. 155-156.

-          Langworthy, Hal; The Adgate Family in America

 

 

Allyn / Allen

 

Robert Allyn, progenitor of the New London County Allyn (aka. Allen) family, first appears in New England at Salem, Essex Co., Massachusetts in the year 1637.  His parentage and ancestry are unknown, although it seems probable that he was of English descent like the majority of his fellow colonists.  It is estimated that Robert was born circa 1609, since he was freed from military training in New London County, Connecticut in the year 1669, sixty being the usual age of such release.  If Robert’s testimony in a later court case is accurate (see below), he was born circa 1616.

 

Robert enrolled as a member of the Salem Church on May 15, 1642, and three children were recorded to him at the Salem Church:  John and Sarah, baptized May 22, 1642, and Mary, baptized November 19, 1648.   Two more daughters – Hannah and Deborah – were presumably born after the family removed from Salem.  Robert’s wife, Sarah, was a witness in court at Salem in 1642, but beyond this there is no further knowledge of her surname or ancestry.  In 1648, Robert served as Constable at Salem and in the same year his name is found along with fourteen others (including a William Allyn) on a petition requesting removal from Salem to “Jefferies Creek” (in the present town of Manchester).

 

Circa 1649 – 1650, Robert removed to New London, Connecticut and purchased a tract of property on the east side of the Thames (aka. Pequot) River now located in the town of Ledyard.  The property upon which he settled was later to become known as “Allyn’s Point”.  In 1660, Robert was among the original proprietors of Norwich and he removed there in the original settlement the following year, receiving an allotment of land in the western part of the town-plot.  In 1661, he termed himself, “of New Norridge” and in 1669 he served as Constable.  By 1681, Robert had apparently returned to New London, as he termed himself, “Robert Allyn, of New London” in a deed of that year.

 

In 1680, Robert Allyn gave testimony in the case of Edward Smith against the estate of his uncle, John Smith.  According to his testimony, Robert was aged 64 at the time.

 

Robert Allyn died at New London on September 20, 1683, probably on the family homestead at Allyn’s Point.  An inventory of Robert’s estate was exhibited to the New London Probate Court on November 23, 1683, at which time distribution of the estate was ordered as follows:  To the widow £100-00-00 of the personal estate to her dispose and one third of the Reall; To John Allyn, £145-00-00; George Geares, £85-00-00; Thomas Roas, £60-00-00; Deborah Allyn, £70-00-00, Thomas Parkes, £72-00-00.  Benjamin Brewster, Christopher Christophers and John Allyn were appointed to administer the estate and “to bee helpful to the widow”.  On December 5, 1683, the three administrators made a report of their division of the real estate (New London Deeds, 5:87).

 

The Allyn/Allen families of Groton, Connecticut descend through Robert Allyn (1671 – 1729), the only son of Robert’s only son, John Allyn (1642 – 1709) who married Elizabeth Gager, daughter of John and Elizabeth (Gore) Gager of New London and Norwich, Connecticut.  John Allyn’s only daughter, Elizabeth (1669 – 1755) married Thomas Waterman Jr., eldest son of Norwich proprietor, Thomas Waterman, Sr. (see below).

 

James Savage in his Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, Vol. I provides the following entry for Robert Allyn:

 

“ALLYN, ROBERT, Salem, 1637, adm. of the ch. 15 May 1642, had John, and Sarah there bapt. Sunday foll. and Mary, 19 Nov. 1648; in 1650 rem. to New London, and to the then adjoin. town of Norwich at its first settlem. 1659; but, high as is her authority on such a point, I hesitate to adopt Miss Caulkins's opin. that, intermed. betw. Salem and New London, he was of Saybrook. Tho. honor. with the office of constable at Norwich 1669, he went back to N. L. and there d. 1683, were part of his farm preserves in the harbor the name of Allyn's point. Other ch. beside those at Salem he had, as Hannah and Deborah, both prob. at N. L. Sarah m. 17 Feb. 1659, George Geer; Hannah m. Thomas Rose; and Deborah was unm. at d. of f.”

 

References:

 

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; pp. 156-157.

 

 

Armstrong

 

Benjamin Armstrong had settled in Norwich by the year 1670, when he was recorded as a landowner there in the Connecticut Census dated May 1, 1670.  His antecedents have not been proven as yet, although it is speculated that he may have been a son of Jonathan Armstrong of Misquamicut (now Westerly), Rhode Island, who was granted “one hundred acres of land near the bounds of Norwich” by the Connecticut Legislature on October 18, 1677.  Jonathan Armstrong sold his land in Norwich in 1693 and subsequently removed to Roxbury, Massachusetts.  A Nathaniel Armstrong who was a grantee of Norwich in 1679 may have been a brother or other relation of Benjamin Armstrong.

 

Benjamin was a grantee of Norwich in the year 1682.  On May 23, 1695, he purchased from John Read two parcels of land in Norwich comprising seven acres.

 

Four children were recorded to Benjamin and his wife, Rachel, at Norwich (VRp I:29):  Benjamin, b. November 30, 1874 (m. Sarah Raymond); John, b. December 5, 1678 (m. Ann Worth); Joseph, b. December 10, 1684 (m. Lydia Worth); and Stephen, b. March 31, 1686 (m. Hannah ----).  The death of Benjamin Armstrong on January 10, 1717/18 was included in the family record at Norwich.  Benjamin left a will dated November 15, 1717, in which he mentioned his three elder sons.  There is no account of the death of Mrs. Rachel Armstrong.

 

References:

 

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; p. 223.

 

 

Backus

 

The definitive research on the immigrant William Backus, progenitor of the New England Backus families, was completed by Mr. Everett F. Bingham and outlined in his 1988 article for the New England Historical Genealogical Register (cited below).  Mr. Bingham establishes conclusively that William Backus of Saybrook and Norwich was identical with the “William Backhouse” whose family is documented in the Sheffield, Yorkshire Parish Records in northern England.

 

It is estimated that William Backus was born circa 1606, assuming an age of twenty-one in 1627 when he was released from apprenticeship to William Nutt, of Grimesthorpe.  In 1631, he was admitted to membership in the Sheffield Cutler’s Company.  At the same time, his colleague Thomas Bingham Sr. (see below) was also a member of the company.  William was later married to Thomas’ widow, Anne (Fenton) Bingham.

 

The surname of William’s first wife, Elizabeth, is not known.  No record of the marriage has been found in nearby parishes, but it is surmised that Elizabeth was born circa 1610 in England.  Seven children are documented for the couple in the Sheffield Parish Registers:

 

  1. Sarah, christened on August 31, 1628;
  2. an unnamed infant, buried on January 7, 1630;
  3. Mary, christened on May 6, 1632;
  4. William, christened on November 30, 1634;
  5. Lydia, christened on December 31, 1637.
  6. an unnamed infant, buried on December 28, 1640; and
  7. Stephen, christened on January 3, 1641.

 

The burial of William’s wife, Elizabeth, on February 9, 1643 is also found on the Sheffield Parish Registers.  As Mr. Bingham notes, the names and birthdates of the five surviving children coincide precisely with the family of William Backus of Norwich.  Further evidence is provided by the aforementioned familial relationships with the Bingham immigrants, as well as a unique signature mark found on both papers William signed while in England and on his will written at Norwich in 1661.

 

The route of William’s immigration to New England is not known, but it is certain that he had settled in Saybrook, Connecticut by January 7, 1657, when his name was included on a list of those present at a town meeting.  Contrary to many earlier published accounts, William was most likely not the “William Backus” referenced in Saybrook records as early as 1637.

 

William Backus’ second wife was Mrs. Anne (Fenton) Bingham, widow of his colleague and fellow Sheffield cutler, Thomas Bingham.  There is no documentary evidence to show whether William and Anne’s marriage took place prior to or subsequent to their arrival in New England.

 

William Backus was among the Saybrook party that made up the bulk of the original Norwich settlers in the year 1660.  William was one of the original proprietors of Norwich and his name is found on the Norwich Founders Monument, listed as “Ensign Wm Backus”.

 

William died shortly after the settlement of the new town, presumably around July 1661, although no reference to his death is found in the Norwich Vital Records.  It seems certain that William was deceased by August 28, 1661, when a Norwich transfer of property shows that his youngest son, Stephen, had succeeded to the family homestead.  William had made his will on June 12, 1661 (dated at Norwich), but it was not until June 21, 1665 that the will was proved at the New London Court.  The reason for the delay is not known.

 

The death of William’s widow, Anne (Fenton) Bingham Backus, was listed in the Bingham family record in Norwich, the reference reading:  “Mrs. Anne Backus, mother of Thomas Bingham Sen. died in May 1670” (see the Published Vital Records of Norwich, Vol. I, pg. 8)

 

For definitive documentation on this research, please consult Mr. Bingham’s full article in the NEHGR.  Additional references on the family are found below.

 

References:

 

-          Bingham, Everett F.; “William Backus of Sheffield, Yorkshire and Norwich, Connecticut”; NEHGR, Volume 142, July 1988, pp. 253-254.

-          Backus, Reno Warburton; The Backus Families of Early New England; Nopeming, Minnesota; 1966.

-          Backus, William W.; A Genealogical Memoir of the Backus Family; 1889.

-          Backus, Mary E. N.; The New England Ancestry of Dana Converse Backus; Salem, Massachusetts; 1949.

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; pp. 157-161.

-          Taylor, Norris; William Backus - Early Norwich, Conn. Settler; 1999.

 

 

Baldwin

 

John Baldwin was born say 1630, most likely in England or New England.  He is first found in Guilford, New Haven Co., Connecticut, where he was married on April 12, 1653 to “Hannah Burchet” – that is, Hannah Birchard, youngest daughter of Thomas and Mary (Robinson) Birchard, formerly of Terling, County, Essex, England.  Hannah was baptized at Terling on October 17, 1633 and had immigrated to New England with her parents in 1635.  She was the younger sister of Norwich proprietor John Birchard (see below).  Two children were recorded to John and Hannah Baldwin at Guilford:  John, born December 5, 1654; and Hannah, born October 6, 1656.  Another son, Thomas, was born circa 1662, after the family had settled in Norwich.

 

John Baldwin was among the thirty-five original proprietors of Norwich, removing there in the original settlement of 1660.  He served as constable and was listed as a townsmen in the year 1683.  There is no mention of his death or that of his wife in Norwich records.  In 1702, an enrollment of the town of Norwich was taken and John’s name does not appear on the list of “The names of the first settlers now surviving” bearing the date January 2, 1701/2.

 

The three children of John and Hannah (Birchard) Baldwin were each married and resided in Norwich.  John Jr. (1654 – 1705) married Experience Abell, daughter of Robert and Joanna Abell, formerly of Rehoboth, Connecticut (see above); he removed to Lebanon, Connecticut when that settlement was planted in 1695.  Hannah  (1656 –     ) married Benjamin Abell, son of Robert and Joanna Abell of Rehoboth, Massachusetts.  And Thomas (~1662 – 1741) married first Sarah Calkins, daughter of John and Sarah (Royce) Calkins of Norwich, formerly of New London, and second Abigail Lay, daughter of John and Sarah (Andrews) Lay of Lyme.

 

References:

 

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; pp. 161-162.

 

 

Barstow

 

Job Barstow was born at Scituate, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts on March 8, 1678/9, the eldest son of John and Lydia (Hatch) Barstow.  Upon his maturity, he removed to Norwich, where he was married on March 2, 1707/8 to Rebecca Bushnell, daughter of Joseph and Mary (Leffingwell) Bushnell.  Their marriage and nine children – Rebecca, Jerusha, Jonathan, Lydia, Mary, Ebenezer, Yetonce, John and Abigail – were recorded in the Vital Records at Norwich (VRp I:63).  Job and Rebecca were baptized and received into the First Congregational Church of Norwich on August 9, 1709, later removing their affiliation to the Franklin Congregational Church which was formed in 1716.  Job Barstow was a selectman in the year 1725.  He resided in the section of Norwich later to become the township of Franklin in 1783.  He died there on September 14, 1764 and his wife on May 7, 1782.  The latter death was recorded in the death registers at the Franklin Congregational Church.  Job and Rebecca Barstow were buried at the Old Franklin Plains Cemetery in the present township of Franklin, Connecticut.

 

References:

 

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; p. 224.

 

 

Bingham

 

Thomas Bingham was christened at Sheffield, Yorkshire, England on August 4, 1588, the son of Thomas and Marie (Longley) Bingham.  The ancestry of Thomas Bingham Sr. has not been conclusively established, but it is estimated that he was born circa 1555 (based upon his marriage at Sheffield on January 26, 1577/8), probably in or about Yorkshire, England.

 

Thomas Bingham Jr. resided in Sheffield the entirety of his life.  He made his living as a cutler and was a member of Sheffield Cutler’s Company, along with Norwich founder William Backus (see above), who later married Thomas’ widow.

 

Thomas was married twice and his family is well-documented in the parish registers at Sheffield.  He was married first at Sheffield on May 6, 1618 to Elizabeth Woodhouse, who bore him one son:  Thomas, christened at Sheffield on September 22, 1619 and buried there on September 2, 1621.  Mrs. Elizabeth Bingham was buried at Sheffield on April 28, 1631.

 

Thomas was married second at Sheffield on July 6, 1631 to Anne Fenton, daughter of Robert and Alice (Hancock) Bingham of Sheffield.  Anne was christened at Sheffield on February 5, 1615/6.  The Sheffield parish registers show that Thomas and Anne (Fenton) Bingham had eight children:

 

1.       Abel, christened on May 14, 1631;

2.       Stephen, christened on December 26, 1633;

3.       Edward, christened on March 26, 1636 and buried at St. Peter’s Church on July 16, 1643;

4.       Robert, christened on December 11, 1638;

5.       Elizabeth, christened on October 18, 1640 and buried at Sheffield on July 22, 1641;

6.       Thomas (the immigrant), christened on June 5, 1642;

7.       Anna, christened on November 5, 1644 and buried at Sheffield on January 14, 1646/7; and

8.       Mary, christened on July 2, 1648 and buried at Sheffield on June 16, 1651.

 

Thomas Bingham was buried at Sheffield on February 12, 1648/9.  Following his death, his widow, Anne, was remarried to William Backus, also of Sheffield.  Sometime circa 1650 – 1659, Anne and her youngest son, Thomas, immigrated to New England (possibly with her second husband), settling in the town of Saybrook, Middlesex Co., Connecticut.  It is not certain whether the emigration took place prior to or after Anne’s remarriage to William Backus; both scenarios are within the realm of possibility.

 

Anne and Thomas Jr. were both among the original settlers of Norwich in 1660, Thomas being counted with the thirty-five original proprietors.  The latter’s name is included on the Norwich Founder’s Monument.  Mrs. Anne (Fenton) Bingham died at Norwich in May 1670.  Her death was documented in the family record of her son at Norwich (VRp I:8) as, “Mrs. Anne Backus, mother of Thomas Bingham Sen. died in May 1670”.

 

Thomas Bingham III was married at Norwich on December 12, 1766 (VRp I:8) to Mary Rudd, daughter of Jonathan Rudd of Saybrook, Connecticut.  Based upon the age at death inscribed upon the gravestone (see below), Mary was born circa 1648, presumably at Saybrook.  Thomas and Mary (Rudd) Bingham had a large family of eleven children:

 

1.       Thomas, b. December 11, 1667 (m. Hannah Backus);

2.       Abel, b. June 25, 1669 (m. Elizabeth Odell);

3.       Mary, b. July 1672 (m. John Backus);

4.       Jonathan, b. April 15, 1674 (m. Anne Huntington);

5.       Anne, b. August 1677 (m. Hezekiah Mason);

6.       Abigail, b. November 4, 1679 (m. Daniel Huntington);

7.       Nathaniel, b. October 3, 1681 (m. Sarah Lobdell);

8.       Deborah, b. December 18, 1683 (m. Stephen Tracy);

9.       Samuel, b. March 28, 1686 (m. first Faith Ripley and second Elizabeth Manning);

10.    Joseph, b. January 15, 1688 (m. first Abigail Scott and second Rachel Wolcott); and

11.    Stephen, b. April 1690 (m. first Mary Kingsbury and second Rebecca Bishop).

 

The entire family was entered together in the Vital Records at Norwich (VRp I:8).  Circa 1690 – 1693, Thomas Bingham removed with the majority of his family to the new township of Windham, Connecticut.  Only the eldest son, Thomas IV, remained in Norwich, succeeding to his father’s privileges and property there.  Thomas Bingham’s name is found on the first list of “approved inhabitants” at Windham in the year 1693 and he was subsequently referenced frequently in the early Windham Town Records.  He served as sergeant, selectman and deacon of the church.

 

Thomas Bingham III died at Windham on January 16, 1729/30, his wife having predeceased him there on August 5, 1726.  Their deaths were recorded in the Windham Vital Records (Vol. I, pg. 27), aged “about 88 years” and “about 78 years”, respectively.  Thomas and Mary were buried at the Windham Center Cemetery, their gravestones there bearing the following epitaphs:

 

“Here lies ye body of that Holy Man of God Deacon Thomas Bingham.  He was ye son of Mr. Thomas & Mrs. Mary Bingham living in Sheffield in York Shier in England: he dyed Janr ye 16, 1729/30 in ye 88 year of his Age.”

 

“Mrs. Mary ye late wife of Mr. Thomas Bingham who died August ye 5 1726 & in ye 78 year of her age.”

 

The descendants of Thomas and Mary (Rudd) Bingham are found extensively in New London and Windham Counties throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries – most notably in the towns of Norwich, Windham and Lebanon.

 

References:

 

-          Munger, Donna Bingham; The Bingham Family in the United States: Descendants of Thomas Bingham of Connecticut; New York, New York: Bingham Association, 1996.

-          Bingham, Theodore A.; Genealogy of the Bingham Family in the United States especially of the State of Connecticut, including notes on the Binghams of Philadelphia and of Irish descent; Mediaeval records; Armorial Bearings; Etc; Bingham Association; 1927 (3 Volumes)

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; pp. 164-165.

-          Bingham, Richard; Binghams of Bingham County

 

 

Birchard

 

John Birchard, one of the thirty-five original proprietors of Norwich, was born in Terling, County Essex, England circa 1628, the eldest son of Thomas and Mary (Robinson) Birchard.  He was baptized at the Terling Parish Church on January 31, 1628.  On September 20, 1635, the family emigrated from London to Boston aboard the Truelove, the passenger list showing the family as:  Thomas 40, wife Mary 28, and children Elizabeth 13, Mary 12, Sarah 9, Susan 8, John 7, and Ann 18 mos.  This record coincides precisely with the family of Thomas Birchard documented in the Parish Registers at Terling.  Thomas Birchard settled in Roxbury, where he was admitted as a freeman on May 17, 1637.  Thomas subsequently removed to Hartford, where he was an original proprietor and from there to Saybrook, Connecticut, where he was Deputy to the General Court in the years 1650 and 1651.  In 1656, he made a quit-claim deed at Saybrook, terming himself “Thomas Birchard of Martha’s Vineyard”.  It seems probable that the family may have returned to Roxbury for a time, as the church records there show that “goodw. Birchard was buried 24 Mar. 1655”.  This was presumably Thomas’s wife, Mary (Robinson) Birchard.  Thomas is said to have died at Saybrook in the year 1684, although the primary source documentation of this information is unknown.  A Thomas Birchard is recorded as dying at Dorchester, Massachusetts (not far from Roxbury) on October 3, 1657 (see James Savage’s Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, Vol I. pg. 181).

 

John Birchard settled initially in Boston, where he was married to Christian Andrews, who is said to have emigrated from Monmouthshire, Wales.  The family resided initially in Boston, where John was recorded in 1655, but subsequently settled in Norwich upon its founding in 1660.  John Birchard was among ten of the inhabitants of Norwich who were accepted as Freeman at Hartford in October 1663.  John was clerk of the New London County Court in 1673, was a Commissioner and Justice of the Peace in 1676, and also served as Schoolmaster for the new township.  He was Deputy to the General Court of Connecticut from Norwich in 1691 and his name is found on numerous early town documents at Norwich.  A copy of his autograph, as found in these early town records, is reproduced in Frances Manwaring Caulkins’ History of Norwich, Connecticut (cited below), from which much of the Birchard family information presented here is derived.

 

The complete family of John and Christian (Andrews) Birchard is found in the Vital Records of Norwich (VRp I:22-23), including the date of their marriage and the births of all fourteen of their children, several of whom died young.  Tragically, it appears that their five eldest children as well as one of the younger sons died in extreme infancy.  The death of Mrs. Christian (Andrews) Birchard is not found in the family record, but it is surmised that she died not long after the birth of the youngest son, Daniel, in November 1680.

 

In 1692, John Birchard was one of the four original purchasers of Lebanon, Connecticut and he presumably removed there shortly afterwards.  He died at Lebanon on November 17, 1702 (Lebanon VR I:18), leaving a widow, Jane – that is, Mrs. Jane (Lee) Hyde Birchard, widow first of Samuel Hyde and daughter of Thomas and Phebe (Brown) Lee, who had immigrated to Connecticut from Rusper, County Sussex, England, Thomas Lee dying on the voyage.  John’s widow, “Mrs. Birchard”, died at Lebanon on January 21, 1723 (Lebanon VR I:18).

 

Five of John Birchard’s children who survived to adulthood raised families in Norwich and the surrounding towns:  Samuel (1663 – 1713) married Ann Calkins, daughter of David and Mary (Bliss) Calkins and settled in New London; James (1665 –     ) married Elizabeth Beckwith, daughter of Matthew and Elizabeth (Griswold) Beckwith of Lyme; Abigail (1667 –     ) married John Calkins, son of John and Sarah (Royce) Calkins of Norwich and subsequently removed to Lebanon; John Jr. (1671 – 1735) removed with his father to Lebanon and married there Hannah Loomis, daughter of Joseph and Hannah (Marsh) Loomis, formerly of Windsor, Connecticut; and Mary (1677 –     ) married Jonathan Hartshorn, son of John and Ruth (Swan) Hartshorn of Haverhill, Massachusetts.

 

Two of John Birchard Sr.’s sisters also settled in Connecticut:  the eldest sister, Elizabeth (1621 – 1699/1700) was married at Saybrook to Thomas Bliss, who was one of the original Norwich proprietors (see below); and the youngest sister, Hannah (1633 –     ) was married to John Baldwin, of Guilford and Norwich, Connecticut.

 

References:

 

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; pp. 165-167.

 

 

Bliss

 

Thomas Bliss (~1618 – 1688) of Norwich was the eldest son of the immigrant Thomas Bliss, who settled in Hartford, Connecticut circa 1639.  Thomas Sr. died at Hartford early in the year 1650 (inventory of his estate was taken on February 14, 1649/50), after which his widow, Margaret, and most of their children removed to Springfield, Massachusetts.  Thomas Jr. was the only member of the family to settle at Norwich.

 

Thomas Bliss Jr. was born say 1618 in England.  It is often reported that Thomas Jr. was born in Gloucestershire, although this is far from definite.  Thomas Bliss Sr. is known to have resided at Rodborough, Gloucestershire in the year 1622 when a son, Nathaniel, was christened at the parish church there.  However, there are no prior Bliss entries on the parish registers at Rodborough and all evidence indicates that Thomas had only settled there following his second marriage to Margaret Hulins, a native of Rodborough.  It is also probable that Thomas Jr. was a son of Thomas Sr. by an as yet unidentified first wife, rather than Thomas’ second wife.

 

Thomas Bliss Jr. settled first in Saybrook, Connecticut, where he was married “at the latter end of October 1644” to Elizabeth Birchard, the eldest daughter of Thomas and Mary (Robinson) Birchard, who had immigrated to Saybrook from Terling, County Essex, England.  Elizabeth was christened at Terling on November 1, 1621; her brother John Birchard (see above) was also an original proprietor at Norwich.

 

Six children were recorded to Thomas Bliss at Saybrook under the heading, “The marriage of Tho: Bliss and his children”.  Two more children were recorded in Norwich (VRp I:12) after the family removed there in 1660.  The eight children of Thomas and Elizabeth (Birchard) Bliss were:

 

1.       Elizabeth, b. November 20, 1645 (m. Edward Smith);

2.       Sarah, b. August 26, 1647 (m. first Thomas Sluman and second Solomon Tracy);

3.       Mary, b. February 7, 1648/9 (m. David Calkins);

4.       Thomas, b. March 3, 1651/2, d. unmarried at Norwich, January 29, 1680/1;

5.       Deliverance, b. August 1655 (m. David Perkins);

6.       Samuel, b. December 7, 1657 (m. Anne Elderkin);

7.       Ann, b. December 1660 (m. Josiah Rockwell); and

8.       Rebecca, b. March 1663 (m. Israel Lathrop).

 

Thomas Bliss died at Norwich on April 15, 1688.  His will, written two days prior to his death, was proved at New London on June 13, 1688.  The will made bequests to his wife, Elizabeth, son, Samuel, and six daughters.  Thomas’ widow, Elizabeth, died at Norwich on February 28, 1699/1700.

 

References:

 

-          Bliss, Aaron Tyler; Genealogy of the Bliss Family in America; Midland, Michigan; 1982.

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; pp. 167-168.

 

 

Brewster

 

Captain Benjamin Brewster of Norwich was a grandson of Elder William Brewster of Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts.  He was born at Plymouth on November 17, 1633, the son of Jonathan and Lucretia (Oldham) Brewster.

 

Through his associations with John Winthrop, Jonathan Brewster had acquired a tract of land at New London, upon which he established a trading post at the mouth of the Poquetannock Creek in the year 1650.  The property was later supplemented by lands granted to Jonathan by Chief Uncas of the Mohegan Tribe.  The property, known as Brewster’s Neck, was originally located within the bounds of New London, but in 1669 was attached as a portion of Norwich township.  It was afterwards successively included in the towns of Preston, Groton and since 1836, Ledyard.

 

Benjamin Brewster had come to Connecticut with his father as a young man.  He succeeded to the family homestead at Brewster’s Neck circa 1657.  Jonathan deeded the home property to Benjamin in 1658, and Benjamin also acquired additional contiguous lands from his brother-in-law, John Pickett.

 

Benjamin Brewster was listed as a freeman at Norwich in the year 1669 and was one of the town’s twelve patentees in 1685.  He served as Deputy to the General Court of the Colony of Connecticut in 1668, 1689, 1690 and 1693-1697.  He was a Lieutenant of New London troops in 1673 and Captain of the Military Company of Norwich in 1693.  In the same year, he was named Commissioner of the Peace.

 

Benjamin Brewster was married at Norwich, Connecticut on February 19, 1659/60 to Mrs. Ann (Addis) Darte, daughter of William and Millicent (Wood) Addis and widow of Ambrose Darte of Boston.  Ann was baptized at Frampton Parish, Gloucestershire, England on March 17, 1627.

 

Benjamin and Ann (Addis) Brewster had the following children:

 

  1. Mary, born at Norwich, December 10, 1660 (married Samuel Fitch).
  2. Ann, born at Norwich, September 29, 1662 (married Matthew Coy).
  3. Jonathan, born at Norwich, November 30, 1664 (married Judith Stevens).
  4. Daniel, born at Norwich, March 1, 1666/67 (married Hannah Gager).
  5. William, born at Norwich, March 22, 1669 (married first Elizabeth Read and second Patience ----).
  6. Ruth, born at Norwich, September 16, 1671 (married Thomas Adgate).
  7. Benjamin, born at Norwich, November 25, 1673 (married Mary Smith).
  8. Elizabeth, born at Norwich, June 23, 1676 (married Daniel Mix).

 

Benjamin and Ann’s marriage and the births of their eight children were entered together in the Vital Records at Norwich (VR I:21) as well as in “The Brewster Book” (see The Mayflower Descendant; Vol. XXXII, No. 1; January 1934) – the latter providing more complete dates.

 

Benjamin Brewster died at Norwich, Connecticut on September 14, 1710.  His wife, Ann, had died the previous year – on May 9, 1709.  Benjamin’s death was noted in “The Brewster Book”, as:  “The above Named Benjamin Brewster died in Norwich ye 14th of Sept: 1710 & was Buried on Brewster Plain”.

 

Benjamin and Ann Brewster were buried at Brewster’s Neck Cemetery, not far from the family homestead.  Their gravestones, which still stand on the site, were inscribed:  “HEAR LIS / THE BODY O / F CAPt BENJAM / IN BRUSTER / WHO DIED S / EPt THE 14 / TH AGED 77” and “HEAR LIS / THE BODY / OF MRS AN B / RUSTER WH / O DIED MAY / THE 9 1709”.

 

References:

 

-          Jones, Emma C. Brewster (comp.); The Brewster Genealogy 1566 – 1907 (New York, NY: The Grafton Press; 1908.

 

 

Bushnell

 

Richard Bushnell (1623 – 1660), of Hartford and Norwalk, Connecticut was the youngest son of Francis and Ferris (Quenell) Bushnell of Horsham, County Sussex, England.  Francis Bushnell immigrated to New England in 1639, in the company of Rev. Henry Whitfield.  He was among the party aboard ship who signed the “Guilford Covenant” agreeing to settle as a community “and to be helpful each to the other in every common work…not to desert or leave each other or the plantation without the consent of the majority”.  Together the signers of this compact purchased a tract property from the Indians and founded the town of Guilford, located on the Connecticut coast about midway between Saybrook and New Haven.  Francis resided there for the remainder of his lifetime, dying at Guilford on October 13, 1646.

 

Richard Bushnell was christened at the Parish Church in Horsham, County Sussex, England on April 20, 1623.  He presumably immigrated to New England with his father and several siblings in 1639.  (The mother, Mrs. Ferris (Quenell) Bushnell had died in 1628.  She was buried at Horsham on March 10, 1627/8, the same day that her youngest daughter, Elizabeth, was also buried.)  Richard Bushnell had two elder brothers who also settled in southern Connecticut and became the progenitors of extensive families – namely Francis Bushnell (1609 – 1681), who married Mary Grombridge in England and subsequently settled at Saybrook (eight children); and William Bushnell (1611 – 1683) who married Rebecca Chapman and settled at Saybrook (ten children).  Another brother, John Bushnell (1615 – 1667) settled at Boston (six children).

 

Richard Bushnell settled in Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut where he was married on October 11, 1648 to Mary (aka “Marie”) Marvin, daughter of Matthew and Elizabeth (Gregory) Marvin, formerly of Great Bentley, County Essex, England.  Mary was christened at Great Bentley on December 16, 1628.  She had immigrated to New England with her parents in 1635 aboard the “Increase”.   Within a year of his arrival in Boston, Matthew joined with the followers of Rev. Thomas Hooker who migrated into the Connecticut wilderness to found the town of Hartford the following year.

 

Richard and Mary (Marvin) Bushnell had four children:  Joseph, b. May 1651; Richard, b. September 1652; Mary, b. January 1854; and Mercy (aka “Marcie”), b. March 1657.  The first three children were probably born at Hartford (or possibly Saybrook), and the youngest at Norwalk.  The births were not recorded at either place, however a later record at Norwich (VRp I:10) gives the month and year of each birth under the heading, “the names and ages of the children of Richard Bushnell deceased, who stand in relation unto the second wife of Thomas Adgate as their mother…”

 

By 1656, Richard had removed to Norwalk, Fairfield County, Connecticut, where his father-in-law, Reinold Marvin, had settled a few years previously.  Richard Bushnell was listed as the owner of a home-lot at Norwalk in the year 1656.  He died there sometime between December 1, 1659 (the date of his will at Norwalk) and July 17, 1660 (the date of the inventory of his estate).  Richard’s will mentioned his wife and four children whose names were not given.  By the time the will was proved on March 6, 1661/2, his widow was remarried to Thomas Adgate of Norwich and was referred to as such in the probate record.

 

The marriage of Thomas Adgate and Mrs. Mary (Marvin) Bushnell is not found recorded, but the marriage probably took place in the latter part of 1660 given that their first child was born at Norwich in August 1661 (VRp I:10).  Mary’s four children were all still quite young children at the time of her remarriage and no doubt they removed with their mother and step-father to the new township of Norwich in 1660.  All four were married at Norwich in the 1670’s and raised families there:  Joseph (1651 – 1746) married Mary Leffingwell, daughter of Lieut. Thomas Leffingwell, and had eleven children; Richard Jr. (1652 – 1727) married his step-sister, Elizabeth Adgate, daughter of Deacon Thomas Adgate by his first wife, and had four children; Mary (1654 – 1745) married Thomas Leffingwell Jr., son of Lieut. Thomas Leffingwell, and had nine children; and Mercy (1657 – 1741) married Jonathan Rudd Jr., son of Jonathan Rudd of Saybrook, and had five children.

 

Mrs. Mary (Marvin) Adgate Bushnell died at Norwich on March 29, 1713; her death was recorded in the family record of her second husband at Norwich (VRp I:11).

 

References:

 

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; pp. 165-167.

-          Backus, Mary E. N.; The New England Ancestry of Dana Converse Backus; Salem, Massachusetts; 1949.

 

 

Calkins / Caulkins

 

Hugh Calkins was a member of the so-called “Welsh Company”, which emigrated from Chepstow, Monmouthshire, England under the leadership of Mr. Richard Blinman whose ministry had been silenced by the Church of England for “non-conformity”.  It is estimated that Hugh was born circa 1600, but his parentage and ancestry remain undetermined.  In a deposition taken in the year 1672, he gave his age as seventy-two years.  It seems fairly certain that he was not native to Chepstow, but had taken up residence there shortly prior to his immigration to New England.

 

Recent research by Mr. Roy Edwards of Hayes, Middlesex, England has shown quite convincingly that the immigrant Hugh Calkins was probably the Hugh Calkins of Waverton, Cheshire, England who had several children born there, as evidenced by the parish christening and burial registers.  The surname was spelt with a number of variations, but the given names and  christening dates of the first three of these children coincide precisely with the three elder daughters of Hugh Calkins that are known to have come with him to America.  There was no reference to Hugh’s wife in any of the christening records, nor has any suitable marriage entry been located among the nearby Bishop’s transcripts.  Mr. Edwards did uncover a marriage record at Waverton for Rowland Calkin and Elen Payne on June 23, 1597 and three sons born to the couple:  William, christened on January 11, 1600/1; Hugh christened on April 8, 1603; and Peter, christened on August 18, 1605.  The second of these sons was quite likely the adult Hugh Calkins of subsequent Waverton parish records.  Mrs. Ellen Calkin was buried at Waverton on August 23, 1605.

 

The “Welsh Company” (ironically made up largely of families from Cheshire) is presumed to have arrived in America at Plymouth, Massachusetts circa 1640.  Both Richard Blinman and Hugh “Cauken” (as the name was commonly written in early New England records) were among the names of those who were submitted to be Freemen at Plymouth on March 2, 1640 (probably 1640/1).  Hugh was later on a list of men nominated to be Freemen at Salem, Massachusetts dated December 27, 1642 and shortly thereafter settled at Gloucester, Essex County, Massachusetts where he was a selectman from 1643 through 1651 and served as deputy to the General Court from 1650 to 1651.  By 1652, he had left Massachusetts as referenced by a note in the Gloucester town records which stated that he had “moved out of the Colony”.

 

Upon his removal from Massachusetts, Hugh Calkins settled at New London, Connecticut – again in the company of Rev. Blinman and several fellow members of the “Welsh Company”.  Hugh Calkins resided in New London for the following decade, serving the town in various capacities (see Francis Caulkins’ History of Norwich, Connecticut, full citation below).  In 1660, he joined with the Saybrook party which founded the town of Norwich.  Hugh and his eldest son, John, were among the thirty-five original proprietors of the new township and their names are commemorated consecutively on the Norwich Founders Monument.  Hugh Calkins served the town of Norwich in many capacities:  he was deputy to ten sessions of the Legislature between March 1663 and October 1671, was one of the first deacons of the Norwich Church and was regularly engaged in public affairs as noted in the early town records.

 

Hugh Calkins was married in England prior to his emigration – probably in Cheshire circa 1625, although to date no marriage record has been located.  As aforementioned, he resided at Waverton, Cheshire, England for a number of years prior to his emigration and the majority of his children were born there.  The given name of his wife is shown in Gloucester Vital Records to have been Ann, but there is no documentary evidence to indicate her surname or parentage, although several recent genealogical accounts have claimed without any known authority that she was a daughter of Francis Eaton of the Mayflower.  There appears to be no foundation for such a claim.

 

Hugh and Ann Calkins are known to have had seven children (possibly others who died young):

 

  1. Sarah, christened at Waverton on May 6, 1627.  She was married at Gloucester on October 28, 1645 to William Hough (~1619 – 1683) of Gloucester and subsequently removed with him to New London, Connecticut.
  2. Mary, christened at Waverton on December 27, 1629.  She was married at Gloucester on November 8, 1649 to Hugh Roberts (     – 1671) of Gloucester and subsequently removed with him to New London, Connecticut and later to Newark, Essex Co., New Jersey.
  3. Rebecca, christened at Waverton on November 9, 1631.  She died at Gloucester, unmarried, on March 14, 1650/1.
  4. John, b. circa 1634, probably at Waverton although no christening record is found.  He married Sarah Royce (1635 – 1711), daughter of Robert Royce (see below) and had a family of eight children.  John died on January 8, 1702/3 and his widow, Sarah, on May 1, 1711 – both recorded at Norwich (VRp I:20).
  5. Deborah, christened at Waverton on April 17, 1639 and buried there on October 4, 1639.
  6. Deborah, b. March 18, 1644 at Gloucester.  She was married at Norwich on June 4, 1660 to Jonathan Royce (1633 – 1689), son of Robert Royce (see below).
  7. David, b. say 1646, probably at Gloucester.  He married Mary Bliss (1649 – 1718), daughter of Thomas Bliss (see above) and had a family of seven children.  David resided in New London, where he died November 25, 1717 (VR II:17).  His will, dated June 20, 1717, was proved at New London on January 10, 1717/8.

 

The death of Hugh Calkins is not found recorded at Norwich, although it is generally reported that he died there in the year 1690 and was probably buried at the ancient “Post and Gager” Cemetery in Norwich.

 

References:

 

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; pp. vi-xi; 171-173.

-          Calkins, Keith G.; The Calkins Family Association; 1995.

 

 

Edgerton

 

References:

 

-          Armstrong, Mark E., Edgerton, Brian G., Edgerton, Robert C., Edgerton, William H. et. al; The Richard Edgerton Genealogy Database

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; p. 173.

 

 

Elderkin

 

John Elderkin was presumably born in England.  In a deposition at New London in the year 1672, he reported his age as 56 years, thus placing his birth circa 1615.  He was located first at Lynn, Essex Co., Massachusetts where he owned a mill in the year 1637.  He subsequently resided in Dedham (1641), Providence (1648) and New London (1651) before becoming an original proprietor at Norwich in 1660.

 

John Elderkin made his living as a master builder and carpenter.  He built the First and Second Churches at New London and Norwich, respectively, and also the first mill in each town.  He is noted in numerous early New England records as the builder of bridges, meeting houses, mills, houses and vessels.  On November 16, 1654, he was chosen to keep an ordinary at New London.  On May 17, 1655, it was noted in New London records that:  “John Elderkin of Pequot, being p’sented to this court as chosen by ye Towne of Pequot to keep an Ordinary, according to order of Courte, wch he hath accepted of to attend after 29 September next. The court confirms him in that place.” 

 

John Elderkin is said to have been married twice, although there is no definitive evidence of his first family.  Several recent genealogical reports have listed an Abigail Kingsland (or Kinsford) as John’s first wife, but documentary evidence of this identification has not been presented.  Hannah Elderkin (1634 – 1732) who married Richard Hendy is presumed to be a daughter by this first marriage, as is an Abigail Elderkin recorded at Boston on September 13, 1641.  Frances Caulkins’ (History of Norwich) also asserts that Paltiah Elderkin, wife of Daniel Comstock of Providence and New London, was a daughter of John Elderkin and his first wife, such belief being based upon continued references of “father” and “son” found in transactions recorded between Daniel and John.

 

John Elderkin was married secondly on March 1, 1660 at Windsor, Connecticut to Mrs. Elizabeth (Drake) Gaylord, widow of William Gaylord of Windsor and daughter of John and Elizabeth (Rogers) Drake, formerly of Wiscombe, Devonshire, England.  Five children were recorded to John and Elizabeth Elderkin at Norwich (VRp I:22):

 

  1. Anne, b. January 1661 (m. Samuel Bliss);
  2. John, b. April 1664 (m. first Abigail Fowler and second Hannah Coleman);
  3. Bashua, b. November 1665;
  4. James, b. March 1671, d. unmarried at Windsor, April 26, 1698; and
  5. Joseph, b. December 1672 (m. Deborah Brockway of Lyme).

 

John Elderkin Sr. died at Norwich on June 22, 1687.  His widow survived him several years, dying in Norwich on June 8, 1716.  Both deaths were included with the family record at Norwich (VRp I:22).

 

A reproduction of John Elderkin’s signature as found in early New London County records was published in Frances Manwaring Caulkins’ History of Norwich, Connecticut (cited below).

 

References:

 

-          Elderkin, John; John Elderkin: one of the founders of Connecticut, and some of his descendants;  New York City, New York: Heritage Quest; 1896.

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; pp. 215-216.

-          Taylor, Norris; John Elderkin; 2001.

 

 

Fitch

 

Reverend James Fitch was born at Bocking, County Essex, England on December 24, 1622.  His parentage and ancestry have not been discovered as yet.  In her History of Norwich, Frances Manwaring Caulkins asserts that James’ father died in England leaving a widow and several sons who subsequently immigrated to New England in the year 1638.  Among these brothers were Thomas Fitch, who settled at Norwalk, Joseph Fitch, who settled at Windsor, and possibly Samuel Fitch, who settled at Hartford.

 

The first records of James Fitch are found at Saybrook, Connecticut where he was ordained in the year 1646.  He subsequently served as pastor of the Saybrook church for the next fourteen years, until removing to Norwich along with the majority of his congregation when the new township was founded in 1660.  Rev. Fitch was evidently one of the most influential and respected residents of early Norwich.  Readers are directed to Francis Manwaring Caulkins’ History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866 and John T. Fitch’s Descendants of the Reverend James Fitch, 1622 – 1702 (both cited below) for in-depth details of his life, work and descendants.

 

James Fitch was married twice and had a total of fourteen children, all of whom survived to adulthood.  He was married first on October 18, 1648 at Guilford, New Haven Co., Connecticut to Abigail Whitfield, daughter of Henry and Dorothy (Sheaffe) Whitfield of Ackley, Surrey County, England.  The six children of James and Abigail (Whitfield) Fitch were recorded in the early Saybrook Vital Records (pp. 3-4) under the heading:  “James Fitch his children born in Seabrook”.  The family record also includes the death of Mrs. Abigail Fitch as follows:  “Abyegall the wife of James fitch deseased at Seabrook the 9th of September 1659”.  James was married second in October 1664 at Norwich to Priscilla Mason, daughter of Major John Mason (see below) and his wife Anne Peck.  The family of James and Priscilla (Mason) Fitch, including their marriage and the birth of eight children, was recorded in the early vital records of Norwich (VRp I:39).  The Norwich record also includes the births of James’ six children by his first wife born at Saybrook.

 

Upon his retirement from the pulpit, James Fitch removed to Lebanon, Connecticut, where a number of his children had previously settled.  He died there on November 18 (or 19), 1702, at the age of eighty.  His death was reported in the Lebanon Vital Records (Book 1, pg. 107), listing the date of death as November 19.  His tombstone inscription provides an alternate date of November 18.  James’ second wife Priscilla (Mason) Fitch survived him, although no record has been found of her death.  She was still living as of March 20, 1710/11 when, together with several other Mason heirs, she signed a quit-claim deed to rights on certain Mohegan lands.

 

Rev. James Fitch was buried at the Old Lebanon Cemetery where his grave was marked with an elaborate monumental stone bearing the following inscription in Latin (said to be written by his son, the Rev. Jabez Fitch):

 

In hoc Sepulchro depositae Sunt Reliquiae Viri ver Reverendi D. Jacobi Fitch;

natus fuit apud Boking, in Comitatu Essexiae, in Anglia, Anno Domini 1622, Decem. 24

Qui post quam Linguis literatis optime instinctus fuisset,

in Nov Angliam venit AErate 16; et deinde Vitam degit, Hartfordiae, per septennium,

Sub Insturctione Virorum celeberrimorum D. Hooker & D. Stone.

Postea Munere pastorali functus est apud Saybrook per Annos 14.

Illine cum Ecclesiae majori Parte Norvicum migravit;

et ibi caeteros Vitae Annos transegit in Opere Evangelico.

In Senectute, vero prae corporis infirmitate necessarie cessabit ab opera publico;

tandemque resessit Liberis, apud Lebanon;

ubi Semianno fere exacto obdormivit in Jesu,

Anno 1702, Novembris 18, AEtat 80.

Ingenii Acumine, Pondere Judicii, Prudentia Charitate, Sanctis Laboribus,

Et Omnimoda Vitae Sanctitate Peritiaquoque Et Vi Concionandi Nulli Secundus.

 

Frances Manwaring Caulkins in her History of Norwich provides the following translation of the inscription:

 

“In this tomb are deposited the remains of the truly Reverend Mr. James Fitch: born at Bocking, in the county of Essex, England, December 24, 1622: who, after he had been well instructed in the learned languages, came to New England at the age of 16, and passed seven years under the instruction of those eminent divines, Mr. Hooker and Mr. Stone.  Afterward he discharged the pastoral office at Saybrook for 14 years, from whence, with the greater part of his church, he removed to Norwich, and there spent the succeeding years of his life, engaged in the work of the Gospel, till age and infirmity obliged him to withdraw from public labor.  At length he retired to his children at Lebanon, where scarcely half a year had passed, when he fell asleep in Jesus, Nov. 18, 1702, in the 80th year of his age.  He was a man, for penetration of mind, solidity of judgment, devotion to the sacred duties of his office, and entire holiness of life, as also for skill and energy in preaching, inferior to none.”

 

References:

 

-          Fitch, John T.; Descendants of the Reverend James Fitch, 1622 – 1702; Camden, Massachusetts: Picton Press.

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; pp. 148-155.

 

 

Gager

 

John Gager, the Norwich proprietor, was the only known child of Dr. William Gager, who had emigrated from England aboard the “Arbella” with Gov. John Winthrop in June 1630.  William Gager settled at Charlestown, Massachusetts where he was chosen a deacon of the Church on August 27, 1630 and died shortly thereafter on September 20, 1630.  The cause of death was said to be from ill diet while at sea.  William Gager was apparently a man of high esteem.  He was referred to in accounts by his contemporaries as a “skilful surgeon, a right godly man and one of the deacons of our congregation”.  Gov. Winthrop referenced William’s death in a letter dated November 29, 1630.

 

According to several accounts, William Gager was a native of Little Waldingfield, Groton, County Suffolk, England; and recent research has uncovered a “John son of William Gager” who was christened at the parish church in Groton on May 25, 1620.  That these two families were one and the same is confirmed by the following letter written in February 1630 by Gov. Winthrop in recruiting William Gager to embark with his party for New England (see Gager, Edmund R.; The Gager family…; full citation below):

 

“To our loving friend, Mr Gager at Little Waldingfield in Suffolk, England.


Sir:

Be informed of your good inclination to furtherance of this work which through the Lords of the Church in New England, and having sufficient assurance of your godliness and abilities in the art of Chirurgerye to be of much use to us in this work; be informed also that the place where you live do not afford you sufficient employment as your gifts do require, we have thought good to offer you a call to join with us; and become a member of our family; your entertainment shall be your good content if you like to accept this motion, we desire you would prepare to go with us this spring if you come up to London we shall be ready to treat further with you; and so with our hearty solicitations we commit you to the Lord and rest.


Your loving friends”

 

John Gager presumably emigrated with his father and settled initially at Charlestown in 1630.  He appears circa 1645 at New London, Connecticut in the company of John Winthrop Jr. (son of Gov. John Winthrop).  John was a legatee in an early will of Gov. Winthrop dated August 29, 1639, the bequest reading:  “I will that John Gager shall have a cow, one of the best I have, in recompense of a heifer his father bought of me, and two ewe goats, and ten bushels of indian corn.”

 

The name of John Gager appears on the earliest list of inhabitants at New London.  He fought in the Pequot War, for which service the town of New London granted him a farm of two hundred acres on the east side of the river (now part of the town of Ledyard).  In 1660, he became one of the original proprietors of Norwich, to which place he removed and spent the remainder of his life.  He was made a freeman in 1675 and served as Constable at Norwich in the years 1674 and 1688.

 

John Gager was married and had a family of nine children.  He was survived by his wife, Elizabeth, who for lack of any conflicting evidence is presumed to be the mother of his children.  Many genealogical accounts have listed John’s wife as Elizabeth Gore, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth (Hill) Gore of Boston and Rehoboth, Massachusetts, but as yet no documentary basis for this assertion has been found.

 

The nine children of John and Elizabeth Gager were:

 

  1. John, b. September 1647 (m. Deborah Allyn);
  2. Elizabeth, b. March 1649 (m. John Allyn);
  3. Sarah, b. February 1651 (m. Caleb Fobes);
  4. Samuel, b. February 6, 1654 (m. Rebecca Lay);
  5. Bethiah, b. November 1657 (m. Joshua Abell);
  6. William, b. August 1660 and d. November 1662;
  7. Lydia, b. August 1663 (m. Simon Huntington);
  8. Hannah, b. February 1666 (m. Daniel Brewster); and
  9. Mary, b. May 1671 (m. Jeremiah Ripley).

 

The first five children were born at New London and the latter four at Norwich (VRp I:23).  The family record at Norwich also includes the death of Mr. John Gager on December 10, 1703.

 

John Gager had made his last will and testament on December 21, 1695, at which time he referred to himself as “being now aged and full of days”.  The will mentions his wife, Elizabeth, his “only son Samuel”, who inherited all of the real estate, and the “six sons that married my daughters, viz. John Allyn, Daniel Brewster, Jeremiah Ripley, Simon Huntington, Joshua Abel and Caleb Fobes”, each of whom were left twenty shillings, he “having already given them considerable portions in moveables and lands”.

 

References:

 

-          Gager, Edmund R.; The Gager family: the descendants of Dr. William Gager, of Suffolk County, England, and Charlestown, Mass., through his only surviving son, John Gager, who later settled in Norwich, Connecticut; Baltimore, Maryland: Gateway Press; 1985.

-          Gager, Harry G.; Genealogical and biographical record of the descendants of Dr. William Gager of Charlestown, Mass., 1630, and his English ancestors; San Francisco, California; 1944.

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; pp. 174-175.

 

 

Gifford

 

Stephen Gifford was born circa 1641, presumably in England.  Contrary to earlier suppositions, recent research has conclusively shown that Stephen was not a son of William Gifford (~1626 – 1687) of Sandwich, Massachusetts.

 

Stephen Gifford was among the original proprietors at Norwich, his home-lot being located on the northwest side of the old Norwich Town Green, on the site where the First Congregational Church now stands.

 

Stephen was married first at Norwich in May 1667 (VRp I:20) to Hannah Gore, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth (Hill) Gore.  Samuel and Hannah (Gore) Gifford had two children:

 

  1. Samuel, b. September 1668 (m. Mary Calkins); and
  2. Hannah, b. January 15, 1669/70 (m. Samuel Calkins).

 

Mrs. Hannah (Gore) Gifford died at Norwich on January 24, 1670/1.  Stephen was remarried on May 12, 1672 at Norwich (VRp I:20) to Hannah Gallup, daughter of John and Hannah (Lake) Gallup, of Stonington, Connecticut and formerly Boston, Massachusetts.  Hannah was born at Boston on September 14, 1644.  Stephen Gifford had four more children with his second wife:

 

  1. John, b. April 1673 (m. Martha Gallup);
  2. Ruth, b. December 30, 1673 (m. Jeremiah Fitch);
  3. Stephen, b. August 28, 1679; and
  4. Aquilla, b. October 23, 1682.

 

Stephen Gifford died at Norwich on November 27, 1724.  He was buried at the Old Norwich Town Cemetery, where his gravestone was inscribed with the epitaph, “MR / STEPHEN GIFF / ORD DYED NOVr / 27. 1724.  AGED / 83 YERS”.  Stephen’s second wife, Hannah (Gallup) Gifford, had died earlier that year – on January 20, 1723/4.  Her gravestone adjacent to her husband bears the epitaph,  “MRS / HANNAH GIF / FORD DYED JANy / 20, 1724.  AGED / 79 YERS”.

 

Stephen Gifford left a last will and testament, dated March 17, 1718 at Norwich, in which he mentioned his wife, Hannah; his three sons, John, Stephen and Equilla; the five daughters of his “son Samuel deceased”; and his two daughters, “hanah the Wife of Samuell Calken” and “Ruth the wife of Jeremiah ffitch”.  The will was proved at New London on December 30, 1724.

 

References:

 

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; pp. 175-176.

-          Warling, Steve; Descendants of Stephen Gifford; 2006.

 

 

Griswold

 

Francis Griswold was born at Kenilworth, Warwickshire, England circa 1629, the eldest son of Edward and Margaret Griswold.  In 1639, the family immigrated to Connecticut in the company of Rev. Ephraim Huit, pastor of Wroxhall Parish (Warwickshire) and an outspoken writer and preacher of the Puritan faith.  Edward’s brother, Matthew Griswold, was also among the company, which arrived in Windsor, Connecticut about August 17, 1639.  Edward Griswold later removed to Killingworth, while Francis settled in nearby Saybrook.  The first mention of Francis Griswold in Saybrook records is from a notice of a town meeting held on January 7, 1655/56, in which his name was listed among those present.  Francis was named a freeman at Saybrook the following year (1657).

 

An interesting entry in the Early Saybrook Town Records (Book 1, pg. 48), reads, “Horses in the year 1660 Francis Griswold carried away two mares from Seabrook this 14th day of November 1660 one mare a Chestnut Collor 4 black hoofs two white foot locks a crop on the near ear 7 year old, the other mare two years old and upwards of a sorrie color with a star in the fore head and two slits on both sides the right ear.”

 

Francis Griswold was married circa 1652.  The identity of his wife has not yet been established by documentary proof, however recent evidence from the New London Probate Court establishes that her Christian name was Sarah (see NEHGR 155:3; pp. 245-50; July 2001).  According to E. T. Nash’s Fifty Puritan Ancestors, Francis' wife was Mary Tracy, daughter of Thomas and Mary Tracy, however this has been definitively refuted by research conducted by the Griswold Family Association (see GFA Bulletin, Vol II, No. 20; 1935).  It has also been suggested that Francis’ wife may have been a daughter of Stephen and Tryphora (Lee) Tracy of Plymouth, although proof of this is likewise wanting.

 

In 1660, Francis became one of the original proprietors of Norwich.  His home-lot, consisting of seven acres, was located on West Town Street, extending from the street to the river.  Francis was quite active in town affairs.  He served as Deputy to the General Court for eleven sessions from 1661 to1671, appointed to the Court of Commission in 1662, was Lieutenant of the Norwich Train Band in 1666 and served on several town committees.  In May of 1668, he received a a colonial grant for 100 acres.

 

Francis and Sarah (----) Griswold had nine children:

 

  1. Sarah, born at Saybrook, March 28, 1653 (married Robert Chapman).
  2. Joseph, born at Saybrook, June 4, 1655, died at Saybrook, July 1655.
  3. Mary, born at Saybrook, August 26, 1656 (married first Jonathan Tracy and second Eleazer Jewett).
  4. Hannah, born at Saybrook, December 11, 1658 (married William Clark).
  5. Deborah, born at Norwich, May 1661 (married Jonathan Crane).
  6. Lydia, born at Norwich, June 1663, died at Norwich in April 1664.
  7. Samuel, born at Norwich, September 16, 1665 (married first Susannah Huntington and second Hannah ----).
  8. Margaret, born at Norwich, October 1668 (married Thomas Buckingham).
  9. Lydia, born at Norwich, October 1671 (married first Joseph Bartlett and second Joseph Holmes).

 

The births of the first four children were entered in the Early Saybrook Vital Records, under the heading, “the marriage of francis grisill”.  The latter five children were entered in the Vital Records at Norwich (VRp I:18).

 

Francis Griswold died at Norwich in October 1671 (VRp I:18), “cut down apparently by some sudden attack of disease, leaving seven children varying in age from infant of days to eighteen years”.  Thomas Adgate and John Post, Sr. were subsequently appointed guardians over the minor children.  Francis was presumably buried at the Post and Gager Cemetery, along with his fellow proprietors.  His name appears on the Norwich Founders Monument erected on the site of the ancient cemetery.

 

Francis Griswold had presumably died intestate.  The New London County Court Records (Vol. 3, pg. 47), contain the following entry relating to his estate: “The Inventorie of Liut. ffrancis Griswould Deseased was Exhibitted In Court & ordered to bee Recorded, this Court Grants ye Relict Administra[tion] & ordereth the Estate as ffolloweth, to the widdow the one third of all houseing & Lands Dureing her naturall Life.”.  The subsequent inventory also lists as heirs, one son and six daughters, although none are mentioned by name.  In the same volume (Vol. 3, pg. 51) is found the following entry:  “A County Court held at New London September 17, 1672.  This Court orders that Thomas Adgatt and John Post are appointed and Impowered as overseers of the Widdow Sarah Griswoll her Estate”.

 

It has been recently conjectured that Mrs. Sarah Griswold, Francis’ widow, was the “Widow Wiswall” who married as his second wife, Major William Bradford (1624 – 1704) of Plymouth, Massachusetts  For a detailed argument of this hypothesis, see David Jay Webber’s article, “Major William Bradford's Second Wife: Was she the widow of Francis Griswold?” (New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. 155, No. 3; pp. 245-50; July 2001).

 

References:

 

-          French, Esther Griswold & French, Robert Lewis; The Griswold Family: The First Five Generations in America; The Griswold Association, 1990.

-          “Major William Bradford's Second Wife: Was she the widow of Francis Griswold?”; New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. 155, No. 3; pp. 245-50; July 2001.

-          Griswold, Glenn E.; The Griswold Family in America; Rutland, Vermont: The Tuttle Co.; 1943.

-          The Griswold Family Association.

 


 

Hartshorn

 

David Hartshorn was born at October 18, 1657 at Reading, Massachusetts, the son of Thomas and Susannah (Buck) Hartshorn (VRp 120).  As a young man, David Hartshorn was a soldier in King Philip’s War.

 

David was married at Reading on March 15, 1683 to Rebecca Batchelder, daughter of John and Sarah (Lunt) Batchelder (VRp 361).  Rebecca was born at Reading on October 30, 1663.  David and Rebecca resided first in Reading, Massachusetts.  He was “of Medfield, Mass.” as of July 5, 1697, when he purchased property in Norwich, Connecticut from Thomas Waterman.  The property, consisting of about twenty acres together with a dwelling house, was located in the “West Farms” district of Norwich.  It was presumably at this time that David removed to Norwich with his family.  He was first listed as an inhabitant of Norwich in the year 1702.

 

David Hartshorn was referred to in various deeds as a “Tayller” and “yeoman”.  He also practiced for a time as a physician and taught school in Norwich in 1698.  In 1713, he built a sawmill along Beaver Brook, which was located adjacent to his property.  In civic affairs, he served the town as a selectman in 1709.  Francis Manwaring Caulkins, in her History of Norwich (citation below), writes that David was “a man of good report, and a valuable citizen”.  David and his wife, Rebecca, were among the original members of the West Farms Church (“Second Society”).  David served for a number of years as a deacon of the church.

 

David and Rebecca (Batchelder) Hartshorn had the following children:

 

  1. Rebecca, born at Reading, January 16, 1683/84; died at Reading, January 7, 1687/88.
  2. Jonathan, born at Reading, February 7, 1685/86 (married Lucy Hempstead).
  3. David, born at Reading, May 28, 1688 (married Abigail Hibbard).
  4. Samuel, born at Reading, June 10, 1692.
  5. Ebenezer, born at Norwich, June 8, 1702 (married Miriam Gregory).

 

The births of the four elder children were recorded at Reading (VRp 120-121); the birth of the youngest son, Ebenezer, was recorded at Norwich (VRp I:44).

 

David Hartshorn died at Norwich on November 3, 1738, at the age of eighty-one years.  His death was entered in the family record at Norwich (VRp I:44) as, “mr David Hartshorn died in Norwich on ye 3d day of November 1738”.  David Hartshorn left a will, dated May 9, 1727, in which he mentioned his wife, Rebecca, and four children, Ebenezer, Jonathan, Samuel and David.

 

David’s widow, Rebecca (Batchelder) Hartshorn, died at Norwich on March 4, 1742/43.  He death was entered in the family record at Norwich (VRp I:44) as, “mrs Rebeckah Hartshorn widow of mr David Hartshorn Died march 4th 1742/3”.  David and Rebecca were buried at the Old Franklin Plains Cemetery.

 

References:

 

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; p. 232.

 

 

Hazen

 

Lieutenant Thomas Hazen was born at Rowley, Essex County, Massachusetts on January 29, 1657/8, the son of Edward Hazen and his second wife, Hannah Grant.  According to The Hazen Family in America (full citation below), Edward Hazen was a native of Cadney, Lincolnshire, England, baptised there on December 14, 1614, “son of Thomas and Elizabeth Hassen”.

 

Edward Hazen immigrated to Massachusetts circa 1643, first appearing in Rowley on January 10, 1643/4, when his name was included on a survey of the town.  Edward’s first wife, Elizabeth, was buried at Rowley on September 18, 1649.  Edward died at Rowley on July 22, 1683, as noted on the probate record of his estate.  Inventory of his estate was taken on September 24, 1683 totalling ₤374, 4s, 3d.  Thomas Hazen was Edward’s eldest surviving son, and as such received a double share of his father’s estate and also inherited the home farm in Rowley.

 

Thomas Hazen was a soldier in King Phillip’s War, serving in Major Samuel Appleton’s company in the Narragansett campaign.  The company was active in the pivotal “Great Swamp Fight”, fought in November and December of 1675.  In compensation for his service, Thomas later received a grant of land in “Narragansett Township No. 4”, now Greenwich (see Bodge, George M.; Soldiers of King Philip’s War; 1906; pp. 154, 157, 426).

 

Upon his maturity, Thomas resided initially in Rowley, but later removed to the neighboring town of Boxford, where he was admitted as a freeman on March 22, 1689/90.   He was active in town affairs and held numerous civic posts in Boxford, serving as Ensign and later Lieutenant of the militia.  Thomas was admitted to full communion at the Topsfield Church on August 28, 1687 and most his children were baptised at the Topsfield Church.  On October 4, 1702, he was dismissed from the church to become one of the constituent members of the Boxford Church.

 

On March 17, 1711/12, “Thomas Hazzen of Boxford, Mass. yeoman”, purchased twenty acres of land in Norwich from Jonathan Hartshorn for the price of ₤200.  The property was described as “on the east highway that leads to Pottapouge, with a dwelling house, abutting easterly on the land of Benjamin Armstrong”.  This property was located in the western district of town, known as “West Farms”, which was later to become the township of Franklin.  Thomas Hazen was accepted as an inhabitant of Norwich on December 21, 1712.  About the same time, “Mr. Thomas Hazen member of ye church in Boxford and his wife” were received into the First Church at Norwich (date omitted in church record).  In 1716, Thomas, together with two of his sons, John and Thomas Jr., was among the petitioners for the formation of a separate church at West Farms.  The new parish was officially organized as the Second Church of Norwich on January 4, 1718, and Thomas Hazzen and Mrs. Mary Hazzen were among the original members.

 

Thomas Hazen was married on January 1, 1683/4 to Mary Howlett, daughter of Thomas and Lydia (Peabody) Howlett of Topsfield, Massachusetts.  Thomas and Mary had eleven children (all except the eldest born at Boxford):

 

  1. Hannah, born October 10, 1684 (married first John Symonds and second Joshua Morse).
  2. Alice, born June 10, 1686 (married Jeremiah Ripley).
  3. John, born March 23, 1688 (married first Mercy Bradstreet and second Elizabeth Turner).
  4. Thomas, born February 7, 1689/90 (married first Sarah Ayer and second Elizabeth Bacon).
  5. Jacob, born December 5, 1691 (married Abigail Lathrop).
  6. Mary, born September 1, 1694 (married Increase Moseley).
  7. Lydia, born September 1, 1694 (married Benjamin Abell).
  8. Hepsibah, born March 22, 1697 (married David Ladd).
  9. Ruth, born October 3, 1699 (married Jabez Crocker).
  10. Jeremiah, born January 4, 1701/2, died at Norwich, October 12, 1721.
  11. Ednah, born December 25, 1704 (married Joshua Smith).

 

Thomas Hazen died at Norwich on April 12, 1735.  His wife, Mary, had died on October 24, 1727.  Both deaths were entered in the Vital Records at Norwich (VRp I:29).  A gravestone for Mrs. Mary (Howlett) Hazen is found at the Old Indian Burial Ground in Franklin, the inscription reading:  “HERE LYES Ye BODY / OF MRS. MARY HAZEN / LAT WIFE TO LEUT / THOMAS HAZEN / WHO DIED OCTOr / Ye 24 1727 AGED / 63 YEARS”.   Thomas Hazen is said to be buried in the same plot, although no extant gravestone is found.

 

References:

 

-          Hazen, Tracy Elliot; The Hazen family in America: a genealogy; Thomaston, Connecticut: R. Hazen, 1985.

 

 

Huntington

 

Simon Huntington, the progenitor of the colonial Huntington families in America, was married at St. Andrew’s Church, in Norwich, County Norfolk, England on May 11, 1623 to Margaret Baret, daughter of Christopher Baret, mayor of Norwich, and his wife Elizabeth Clarke.  Margaret was christened at St. Andrew’s Church on September 29, 1595.  Simon and Margaret (Baret) Huntington had five children, Christopher, Ann, Simon, Henry and Thomas, of whom all but the youngest (Thomas) were listed on the christening registers at St. Andrew’s.

 

In 1633, Simon, Margaret and four of the children immigrated to America aboard the “Elizabeth Bonaventure”, Simon dying of smallpox while at sea.  Margaret initially settled with the children in Roxbury, Massachusetts, where her name is found on the “Record of such as adjoined themselves unto the fellowship of the church of Christ at Roxbury…”, the entry being as follows:

 

“Margaret Huntington, widow, came in 1633.  Her husband died of smallpox by the way.  She brought ---- children with her.”

 

Mrs. Margaret (Baret) Huntington was remarried to Thomas Stoughton, of Dorchester, and subsequently removed with him to Windsor, Connecticut (probably circa 1635 – 1636).

 

Much of the identification of and subsequent research regarding the English origins of the New England Huntington family is credited to the discovery of a letter found in an old volume of Saybrook Land and Miscellaneous Records, 1640-1656 (now on file in the Connecticut State Library at Hartford).  The letter written from Norwich, England and dated the 20th of April 1650 was sent to “Cozen Christopher Huntington” and signed “Your loving uncle Peter Baret”.  The letter was in answer to one from Christopher dated at “Seabrook” (ie. Saybrook) 20th of September 1649.  In this second letter, Peter directs the division of the sum of about œ140 between his sister’s children, Christopher, Simon, Thomas and Ann, and the investment of Thomas’ share until he should “come to be capable to employ it.”  Peter also speaks of “my brother Stawton” (ie. Thomas Stoughton, second husband of Mrs. Margaret (Baret) Huntington).

 

Simon and Margaret Huntington’s two eldest sons, Christopher and Simon, were among the original founders of Norwich, Connecticut.  The two sons presumably settled with their mother in Windsor, Connecticut following her remarriage.  In the mid-1650’s, the brothers removed to Saybrook, Connecticut and from there to Norwich upon its initial formation in 1660.  The names of both brothers are inscribed on the Norwich Founders Monument.

 

Christopher Huntington (christened July 25, 1624 at St. Andrew’s, Norwich, County Norfolk, England) was married to Ruth Rockwell, daughter of William and Susannah (Capen) Rockwell of Windsor.  They had eight children:      

 

  1. Christopher, b. January 1653/4 and d. in 1655;
  2. Ruth, b. April 1658 (m. Samuel Pratt);
  3. Christopher, b. November 1, 1660 (m. first Sarah Adgate and second Mrs. Judith (Stevens) Brewster, widow of Jonathan Brewster);
  4. Thomas, b. March 18, 1664 (m. Elizabeth Backus);
  5. John, b. March 15, 1666 (m. Abigail Lathrop);
  6. Susannah, b. August 1668 (m. Samuel Griswold);
  7. Lydia, b. August 1672; and
  8. Anne, b. October 25, 1675 (m. Jonathan Bingham).

 

The birth of the first child, Christopher, was recorded at Windsor, the record giving only the year “1653” (almost certainly an Old Style date); a more complete date of January 1654 is given in the family record at Norwich (VRp I:37).  The second child, Ruth, was presumably born at Saybrook and the latter six children at Norwich.  The births of all eight children, as well as the parents’ marriage, were recorded together at Norwich (VRp I:37).  In 1678, Christopher was appointed town clerk; in 1686 his name occurs as one of the committee “to make provision for maintaining the reverend minister”; and in 1687, he was one of the twelve patentees of the town of Norwich.

 

Christopher Huntington Sr. died at Norwich in the year 1691, in which year the probate on his estate was entered.  No primary record of his death has been located, although it seems certain that he would have been buried in the Ancient “Post and Gager” Cemetery in Norwich, on which site now stands the Norwich Founders Monument.

 

Simon Huntington (christened July 6, 1629 at St. Andrew’s, Norwich, County Norfolk, England) was married to Sarah Clark, daughter of John Clark of Cambridge, Massachusetts and Saybrook, Connecticut.  They had ten children:

 

  1. Sarah, b. August 1654 (m. Solomon Tracy);
  2. Mary, b. August 1657;
  3. Simon, b. February 6, 1658/9 (m. Lydia Gager);
  4. Joseph, b. September 1661 (m. Rebecca Adgate);
  5. Elizabeth, b. February 1663/4 and d. February 1663/4;
  6. Samuel, b. March 1, 1664/5 (m. Mary Clark);
  7. Elizabeth, b. October 6, 1669 (m. Joseph Backus);
  8. Nathaniel, b. July 10, 1672;
  9. Daniel, b. March 13, 1675/6 (m. first Abigail Bingham and second Rachel Wolcott); and
  10. James, b. May 18, 1680 (m. Priscilla Miller).

 

The entire family (including Simon and Sarah’s marriage and the ten births) was recorded at Norwich (VRp I:5), although the marriage and the first three births almost certainly occurred at Saybrook.  Simon Huntington was evidently an influential and highly-respected member of the early Norwich community.  He was one of the first Deacons of the Congregational Church led by Rev. James Fitch (see above).  In 1674, he represented Norwich in the General Court of Connecticut (together with fellow Norwich founder, Thomas Leffingwell).  He was a townsman in 1690 and 1696.

 

Simon Huntington Sr. died at Norwich on June 28, 1706 (VRp I:5).  He was buried at the Old Norwich Town Cemetery, his gravestone there bearing the following inscription:  “Deacon Simon Huntington Dyed June 28 1706 Aged 77 Years”.  Mrs. Sarah (Clark) Huntington survived her husband, dying at Norwich on January 4, 1720/1.  Her gravestone was inscribed with the following epitaph:  “Mrs Sarah Late Wife of Deacon Simon Huntington Who Died January Ye 4 1721 & In Ye 88 Year of Her Age”.

 

References:

 

-          Huntington Family Association; Huntington Family in America, A Genealogical Memoir of the Known Descendants of Simon Huntington from 1633 to 1915; Hartford, Connecticut: Huntington Family Association; 1915 (supplement 1962).

-          Huntington, Elijah Baldwin; A Genealogical Memoir of the Huntington Family in this Country, Descendants of Simon & Margaret Huntington; Stamford, Connecticut; 1863.

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; pp. 179-186.

 

 

Hyde

 

William Hyde (aka “Hide”) was among the most revered of the original Norwich proprietors.  He was no doubt born in England, probably circa 1595 – 1600.  In 1679, he was termed “Old Goodman Hyde” in Norwich records, indicating that he was probably one of the eldest inhabitants of the town.  William’s parentage and ancestral home in England have not been discovered, although much speculation exists – both in print and across the internet.  To date, however, there has been no documentary evidence presented to show where William Hyde was born nor who his parents may have been.

 

The first records of William Hyde in New England are at Hartford, Connecticut during the latter 1630’s.  It is commonly asserted (and certainly possible) that William had immigrated to New England circa 1633 in the company of the Rev. Thomas Hooker, who settled first at Newtown (Cambridge), Massachusetts.  In May of 1636, Rev. Hooker led the migration of a large majority of his congregation into the Connecticut, where they founded the city of Hartford the following year.  Stephen Post (see below), whose son John later married William’s only daughter Hester, was also among the Newtown contingent that settled Hartford.

 

William Hyde was among the original founders of Hartford, Connecticut in 1636 and also served as selectman there in 1637.  He owned lands in Hartford as late as 1639, but it was probably not long after this that he removed to Saybrook, where he resided for about twenty years.  In 1660, he took part in the original settlement of Norwich along with his son, Samuel.  Both William and Samuel were among the original proprietors at Norwich, their names being inscribed upon the Norwich Founders Monument.  William Hyde resided at Norwich the remainder of his life and was one of the most influential and honored residents of the town.  He was frequently elected townsmen (selectman) and served the town in many capacities during its formative years.

 

William Hyde was married twice.  The identity of his first wife is not known, although it is fairly certain that she was born in England and immigrated to New England with her husband, probably dying at Hartford circa 1636 – 1640.  William had only two known children (both by his first wife):

 

  1. Hester (or Esther), b. say 1630, probably in England.  She married John Post at Saybrook “in the last of March Anno [16]52”.  Hester died at Norwich on November 13, 1703 (VRp I:26).  For details on the family of John and Hester (Hyde) Post, please see the Post essay below.
  2. Samuel, b. circa 1636, probably in Hartford.  Samuel was married at Saybrook in June 1659 to Jane Lee, daughter of Thomas and Phebe (Brown) Lee.  Jane was born in Rusper, County Sussex, England and christened at the parish church there on September 12, 1640.  She had immigrated to New England as an infant – her father dying on the voyage.  Samuel and Jane (Lee) Hyde settled at Norwich in 1660, where they had a family of eight children (VRp I:16): 

 

                              i.                Elizabeth, b. August 1660 (m. Richard Lord);

                            ii.                Phebe, b. January 1663 (m. Matthew Griswold);

                           iii.                Samuel, b. May 1665 (m. Elizabeth Calkins);

                          iv.                John, b. December 1667 (m. Experience Abell);

                            v.                William, b. January 1669 (m. Anne Bushnell);

                          vi.                Thomas, b. July 1672 (m. Mary Backus);

                         vii.                Sarah, b. February 1675, d. the same year; and

                       viii.                Jabez, b. May 1677 (m. Elizabeth Bushnell).

 

Samuel Hyde died at Norwich in July 1677 (VRp I:16), at the age of 40 years.  His widow, Jane, was later remarried to John Birchard (1628 – 1702) and removed with him to Lebanon, Connecticut where she died January 21, 1723 (VR I:18).

 

William Hyde married as his second wife on June 4, 1667, Mrs. Joanna (----) Abell, widow of Robert Abell of Rehoboth, Connecticut.  The Rehoboth marriage record lists William as “William Hide of New Norwich”.

 

William Hyde died at Norwich, Connecticut on January 6, 1681 (probably 1681/2), as recorded in the Vital Records of Norwich (VRp I:26).  He left a will which was proved at New London in June 1682, at which time distribution of his estate was ordered to the heirs of his son, Samuel, and to his daughter, Hester, wife of John Post.  William Hyde was presumably buried at the Ancient Norwich Cemetery (aka “Post and Gager Cemetery”), the earliest known burying ground in Norwich and final resting place for most of the original Norwich proprietors.

 

References:

 

-          Walworth, Reuben Hyde; Hyde Genealogy; Albany; New York: J. Munsell; 1864.

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; pp. 186-189.

 

 

Knight

 

David Knight came to Norwich circa 1691.  He was a son of the immigrant Richard Knight (    – 1680) of Hampton, New Hampshire and Newport, Rhode Island.  Richard was presumably born in England where he was married and had at least one son prior to emigrating to New England.  He married as his second wife Sarah Rogers, daughter of James and Mary Rogers of Newport, Rhode Island.  For further information on Richard Knight, please see Norris Taylor’s well-annotated website referenced below.

 

David was married at Norwich on March 17, 1691 to Sarah Backus, daughter of Stephen and Sarah (Spencer) Backus (VRp I:48) and had a family of nine children by her:

 

  1. Rachel, b. November 14, 1691 (m. Jonathan Hendee);
  2. David, b. December 12, 1693 (m. Abigail Crane);
  3. Sarah, b. December 9, 1695 (m. Elisha Lillie);
  4. Jonathan, b. July 2, 1698 (m. Abigail Longbottom);
  5. Mary, b. April 2, 1700 (m. Thomas Wallbridge);
  6. Hannah, b. January 30, 1701/2 (m. Aaron Reed);
  7. Lurannah, b. February 1, 1703/4 (m. Ebenezer Bettis);
  8. Joseph, b. November 7, 1705 (m. Sarah Reed); and
  9. Benjamin, b. August 13, 1707 (m. first Hannah Jewett and second Isabell Wood).

 

The family record at Norwich (VRp I:48) includes the marriage of David and Sarah, as well as the births of seven of the children.  The second- and third-born children, David Jr. and Sarah, were born at Woodstock, Windham County, Connecticut and entered in the vital records there (VR 3:4).  David was a proprietor at Woodstock in 1693 and on August 1st of that year he was listed in the town records as a fence viewer.  The family had apparently returned to Norwich by 1698.  David and Sarah were later affiliated with the Congregational Church at Canterbury, where several of their children were baptized in July of 1718.

 

David was apparently a carpenter by trade.  In the year 1700, a tract of land in Norwich was granted to him as payment for repairing the meeting-house and school-house.

 

David Knight died at Norwich on November 24, 1744, as recorded in the family entry at Norwich (VRp I:44).

 

References:

 

-          Taylor, Norris; Richard Knight, Rhode Island Settler; 1998.

-          Cooper, Helen C.; Descendants of David Knight, 1656-1744, Sarah Backus, 1668-, Norwich, CT; 1985

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; pp. 93, 258.

 

 

Ladd

 

David Ladd, founder of the Norwich branch of the Ladd family, was a native of Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts.  He was born there on April 13, 1689, the son of Samuel and Martha (Corliss) Ladd (VRp 202).

 

David Ladd settled in the West Farms district of Norwich – which is now within the township of Franklin.  His elder brother, Samuel, had purchased land from David Hartshorn “on the hill beyond Thomas Hide’s farm” in 1709 and was admitted a freeman at Norwich the following year.  Samuel Ladd was an original member of the West Farms Church (“Second Society”), which was organized at Franklin on January 4, 1718.  David’s brothers, Nathaniel and Jonathan, also settled for a time in West Farms, but eventually removed north to Coventry and Tolland, respectively.  The Ladd property in West Farms was contiguous with that of Jacob Hyde, and three of David’s sons – Samuel, Ezekiel and Joseph – were married to daughters of Jacob Hyde – Hannah, Ruth and Silence, respectively.  

 

David Ladd was married twice.  He married first, at Norwich on October 1, 1716, Hepzibah Hazen, daughter of Thomas and Mary (Howlett) Hazen (see above).  David and Hepzibah had six children (Norwich VRp I:90):

 

    1. Azubah, b. at Norwich, November 3, 1717 (married Daniel Allen).
    2. Hepzibah, b. at Norwich, July 12, 1719 (married first Alexander Gaylord and second Eliakim Perry).
    3. Bathsheba, b. at Norwich, July 6, 1721 (married Abijah Smith).
    4. Jeremiah, b. at Norwich, October 8, 1723 (married Jerusha Sabin).
    5. Hannah, b. at Norwich, October 1725 (married Seth Allen).
    6. David, b. at Norwich, December 10, 1727 (married first Mary Wallbridge and second Eunice Guild).

 

Mrs. Hepzibah (Hazen) Ladd died on March 13, 1727/28, just a few months after birth of her youngest child.  Her death was included with the family entry in the Norwich Vital Records (VRp I:91) as, “Hephziba Ladd, ye Wife of David Lad, Deced ye 13th day of march 1727”.

 

David Ladd was married a second time, on March 20, 1729 at Norwich, to Mary Waters “of Colchester”.  David and Mary had five children (Norwich VRp I:157):

 

    1. Samuel, b. at Norwich, June 7, 1730 (married Hannah Hyde).
    2. Ezekiel, b. at Norwich, August 6, 1731 (married Ruth Hyde).
    3. Joseph, b. at Norwich, April 20, 1733 (married Silence Hyde).
    4. Daniel, b. at Norwich, January 8, 1735/36 (married first Hannah Boynton, second Rebecca Armstrong and third Elizabeth Cady).
    5. Abigail, b. at Norwich, March 20, 1738 (married Joseph Sampson).
    6. Abner, b. at Norwich, May 14, 1740 (married Abigail Perkins).

 

David Ladd died at Norwich on April 13, 1751.  His death was entered in the Vital Records at Norwich (VRp I:157) as, “David Ladd Died on the 13th Day of april in the year 1751”.  Inventory of the estate of “David Lad late of Norwich” was taken May 4, 1751 by Ebenezer Hartshorn, William Brett, and James Elderkin.  The value of the estate was £4864:11s:4d and consisted of 145 acres of land.  Distribution of the estate (including the allotment of the widow’s dowry) was made on March 26, 1789 to the sons Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Joseph, Daniel, Samuel, David, and Abner, and to daughters Hiphzibah [sic] wife of Eliakim Perry, Hannah wife of Seth Allen, Abigail wife of Joseph Sampson, Barthseba [sic] wife of Abijah Smith, and to the heirs of Azubah Allen deceased wife of Daniel Allen.  (see Norwich Probate Records, 1:98,174; 8:271).

 

David Ladd was buried at the Old Franklin Plains Cemetery.  His widow, Mary, died at Norwich on March 26, 1789, aged 87 years.

 

References:

 

-          Ladd, Warren (comp.); The Ladd Family: A Genealogical and Biographical Memoir of the descendants of Daniel Ladd, of Haverhill, Mass., Joseph Ladd, of Portsmouth, R.I., John Ladd, of Burlington, N.J., John Ladd, of Charles City Co., Va.; New Bedford, Mass.: Edmund Anthony & Sons; 1890.

 

 

Lathrop / Lothrop

 

Samuel Lathrop, founder of the Norwich branch of the Lathrop/Lothrop family, was a son of Rev. John Lothrop, Separatist minister, who had immigrated to Massachusetts aboard the “Griffin” in 1634.  The family settled first in Scituate and then removed to Barnstable on the peninsula of Cape Cod.  The life and times of Rev. John Lothrop have been extensively researched.  For further reading, please see the several published genealogies – notably, E. B. Huntington’s The Rev. John Lothropp, of Scituate and Barnstable, Mass and Mark Lothrop, of Salem and Bridgewater, Mass. and the First Generation of Descendants of Other Names (Hartford, Conn.: Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co.; 1884).

 

Samuel Lathrop was married at Barnstable, Massachusetts on November 28, 1644 to Elizabeth Scudder of Boston, Massachusetts.  The marriage was entered in the Barnstable Church Register by Samuel’s father as follows:  “My sonn Samuel & Elizabeth Scudder Marryed at my house by Mr. Freeman Nov. 28, 1644.”  Elizabeth had been dismissed from the Church at Boston on November 10, 1644 to transfer her affiliation to the Barnstable Church.  Elizabeth was the youngest daughter of John and Elizabeth (Stoughton) Scudder, formerly of Strood, County Kent, England.  Elizabeth was born at Boston, Massachusetts on July 31, 1725.  According to James Savage’s Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, she was a sister of John Scudder, who resided adjacent to Samuel Lathrop in Barnstable.

 

Samuel Lathrop made his living as a house builder and farmer.  He resided initially in Barnstable, Massachusetts.  In 1648, he removed to New London, Connecticut (then called “Pequot”), where he drew a house-lot (“on the east side of the river”) in the division of land on January 17, 1648/49.  While in New London, Samuel was engaged as a master builder in partnership with John Elderkin.  Together, they built the second meeting house in New London and later the first meeting house at Norwich.

 

In 1668, Samuel removed to Norwich, where numerous descendants are found in subsequent generations.  His business partner, John Elderkin, had also recently settled in Norwich.  Samuel Lathrop served the town of Norwich as constable and townsman.  He was a member of the First Church of Norwich, under the pastorate of Rev. James Fitch.

 

Samuel and Elizabeth (Scudder) Lathrop had the following children:

 

  1. John, bp. at Boston, December 7, 1645 (married Ruth Royce).
  2. Elizabeth, b. at Barnstable, March 1648 (married first Isaac Royce and second Joseph Thompson).
  3. Samuel, b. at New London, March 1650 (married first Hannah Adgate and second Mary Reynolds).
  4. Sarah, b. at New London, October 1655 (married Nathaniel Royce).
  5. Martha, b. at New London, January 1657 (married John Moss).
  6. Israel, b. at New London, October 1659 (married Rebecca Bliss).
  7. Joseph, b. at New London, October 1661 (married first Mary Scudder, second Elizabeth Waterhouse and third Martha Morgan).
  8. Abigail, b. at New London, May 1665 (married John Huntington).
  9. Anne, b. at New London, August 1667 (married William Hough).

 

The nine births were entered together in the Vital Records of Norwich (VRp I:20-21), under the heading: “The names & ages of the Children of Samuell Lothrup Senior are as followeth…”

 

Mrs. Elizabeth (Scudder) Lathrop predeceased her husband, although the date of her death is not known.  Samuel was remarried circa 1690 to Abigail Doane, daughter of Deacon John Doane of Plymouth, Massachusetts.

 

Samuel Lathrop died at Norwich on February 29, 1699/1700.  His death was noted in the family entry at Norwich (VRp I:21) as, “Mr Samuell Lothrup: Deceased february 29th anno Domini 1699/1700.  Samuel’s widow, Abigail, died at Norwich on January 23, 1735.  Her death was noted in the family entry at Norwich (VRp I:21) as, “Mrs Abigail Lothrup: the widow and Relict of mr Samuell Lothrup formily of Norwich Deceased, Died on the 23d day of Janary 1734/5.”  Abigail was buried at the Old Norwich Town Cemetery; her gravestone there was inscribed with the following epitaph:

 

HERE LYES INTERRD Ye REMAs

OF MRs ABIGAIL LOTHROP Ye

RELICT OF MR SAMUEL LO

THROP OF NORWICH BORN

AT PLYMOUTH 1631 &

LIVED IN NORWICH 43

YEARS & DIED JANUARY

23 ANOD 1634 5

IN YE 104TH

OF HER AGE

 

References:

 

-          Huntington, Elijah Baldwin; The Rev. John Lothropp, of Scituate and Barnstable, Mass and Mark Lothrop, of Salem and Bridgewater, Mass. and the First Generation of Descendants of Other Names; Hartford, Conn.: Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co.; 1884.

-          Lothropp Family Foundation Home Page; Lothropp Family Foundation; Barnstable, Massachusetts.

-          Taylor, Norris; John Lathrop – Noted Preacher of Barnstable, Massachusetts; 1998.

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; pp. 116-117.

 

 

Leffingwell

 

Lieutenant Thomas Leffingwell was a native of England, most likely from county Essex where parish and tax records show numerous Leffingwell families resided in the early seventeenth century.  According to The Leffingwell Register (first published in 1897), Thomas may have been a son of Thomas and Alice Leffingwell of White Colne, County Essex, England.  The White Colne parish records contain the following relevant entries:

 

“Christian, dau. of Thomas Lepingwell, bap. March 16, 1599”

“Michel, son of Thomas, bap. February 19, 1603”

“Thomas Leffingwell and Alice ---- weare married July 2, 1621”

“Thomas, son of Thomas and Alice Leppingwell, bap. March 10, 1624”

“Margaret, dau. of Thomas and Alice Leppingwell, bap. November 10, 1630”

“Robert, son of Thomas and Alice Leffingwell, bap. 1637”

 

The eldest son, Michael Leffingwell, immigrated to Massachusetts in the early 1630’s, settling at Woburn, where he died March 22, 1686.  It is conjected that young Thomas may have migrated together with his elder half-brother and then set out on his own shortly after their arrival in the colonies.  Alternatively, Ms. Francis Manwaring Caulkins in her History of Norwich, states that Thomas was “according to minutes preserved among his descendants… a native of Croxhall in England”  Subsequent research in Croxall parish (Derbyshire) has failed to produce any substantiation of this claim, nor of any Leffingwell families in the vicinity.

 

Thomas Leffingwell first appears at Saybrook circa 1637, when family tradition says as a young hunter he became acquainted with and befriended the local Mohegan Indian Tribe.  In his testimony before the Court of Commissioners at Stonington in the year 1705, Thomas stated that he was first acquainted with Uncas, the Mohegan sachem, in the year 1637 and that he was “knowing to the assistance rendered by the sachem to the English, then and ever after, during his life”.  His age as reported in various depositions indicate that he was born circa 1622. 

 

While serving as an ensign at Saybrook in the spring of 1646, Thomas Leffingwell was instrumental in granting military assistance to the Mohegans (led by chief Uncas) in their continued conflict with the rival Narragansetts.  As described by Benjamin Trumbull in his Complete History of Connecticut:

 

“Uncas, with a small band of Mohegan Indians, was encamped on a point of land projecting into the river, and there closely besieged by their most inveterate foes, the Narragansetts.  Finding himself in danger of being cut off by the enemy, he managed to send to his friends, the English colony at Saybrook, the news of his extremity, with perhaps some appeal for help.  Upon this intelligence, one Thomas Leffingwell, an ensign at Saybrook, an enterprising, bold man, loaded a canoe with beef, corn and pease, and, under cover of the night paddled from Saybrook into the Thames, and had the address to get the whole into the fort.  The enemy soon perceiving that Uncas was relieved, raised the siege.  For this service Uncas gave Leffingwell a deed of a great part, if not the whole of the town of Norwich.  In June, 1659, Uncas, with his two sons, Owaneco and Attawanhood, by a more formal and authentic deed, made over unto said Leffingwell, John Mason, Esq., the Rev. James Fitch, and others, consisting of thirty-five proprietors, the whole township of Norwich, which is about nine miles square.”

 

In the spring of 1660, Thomas Leffingwell was among the original party which settled the town of Norwich.  In the early years of the township, Thomas was prominent in military and civil affairs.  He was a lieutenant of the militia and served as selectman, surveyor, and on numerous town committees.  He was deputy to the general court for fifty-three sessions, from 1662 to 1700, and was also a commissioner.  His home-lot was located on the main road adjacent to Joseph Bushnell.  In addition to his original division of land consisting of eight acres, Thomas subsequently received several grants of land.  For a thoroughly researched and detailed account of Thomas Leffingwell’s life and career, please see the second chapter of The Leffingwell Record: A Genealogy of the Descendants of Thomas Leffingwell, One of the Founders of Norwich, Connecticut (full citation below).

 

The identity of Thomas Leffingwell’s wife has not been proven.  The only documentary reference to her is found in the record of her death at Norwich (VRp I:29), which states that “Mary Leffingwell, the Wife of Liut. Thomas Leffingwell Deceased the 6th day of ffebruary 1710/11”.  Family tradition has it that Thomas’ wife was named Mary White and that Thomas had married her during a return visit to England.  While worthy of mention, it should be noted that virtually no credible documentary evidence has been found to support this belief.  An equally popular tradition has it that Mary was a Native American of the Mohegan Indian Tribe and a relative of of Chief Uncas.  To date, no definitive evidence has been presented to establish (or refute) either of these theories.

 

At any rate, it seems safe to presume that Thomas and Mary were married in the mid 1640’s, given the birth of their eldest child in March of 1648.  They had a family of seven children:

 

  1. Rachel, born at Saybrook, March 17, 1648 (married Robert Parke).
  2. Thomas, born at Saybrook, August 27, 1649, died at Norwich, March 5, 1723/4 (married Mary Bushnell).
  3. Jonathan, born at Saybrook, December 6, 1650.
  4. Joseph, born at Saybrook, December 24, 1642.
  5. Mary, born at Saybrook, December 10, 1654, died at Norwich, March 31, 1745 (married Joseph Bushnell).
  6. Nathaniel, born at Saybrook, December 11, 1656, died at Norwich, September 20, 1697 (married Mary Smith).
  7. Samuel, born at Saybrook, circa 1658, died at Norwich, December 1691 (married Anna Dickinson).

 

The births of each of the children (excepting the youngest son, Samuel) were entered in the Early Vital Records of Saybrook as “The Children of Tho Leffingwell”.

 

Before his death, Thomas Leffingwell divided his property among his heirs.  In September 1714, he deeded to his grandson, Samuel Leffingwell, “the home-lot and buildings thereon… in consideration of my comfortable maintainance during my naturall Life.”  There is no record of Thomas’ death, however by January of 1714/15, his son, Thomas, had ceased to sign his name with the appelation “Junior”, so it seems probable that Thomas Sr. died sometime in the latter months of the year 1714.

 

References

 

-          Leffingwell, Albert & Charles Wesley; The Leffingwell Record, 1637 – 1897: A Genealogy of the Descendants of Lt. Thomas Leffingwell, One of the Founders of Norwich, Connecticut; Aurora, New York: Leffingwell Publishing Company; 1897.

-          Cutter, William Richard; Genealogical and Family History of the State of Connecticut: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Founding of a Nation. New York, N.Y.; Lewis Publishing Company; 1911.

-          Backus, Mary E. N.; The New England Ancestry of Dana Converse Backus; Salem, Massachusetts; 1949.

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; pp. 189-190.

 

 

Mason

 

Major John Mason was born in England in the year 1600.  No further details of his parentage or ancestry are known.  As a young man, he entered military service and rose to the rank of Lieutenant in the English army.  He served as an officer under Sir Thomas Fairfax in the Netherlands, fighting on behalf of the Dutch against the Spanish.  Lieutenant Mason had clearly distinquished himself in the military, as evidenced by the fact that in 1645 at the outbreak of the civil war between King Charles I and Parliament, Sir Thomas Fairfax wrote to his colleague in American, urging him to return to England and accept the commission of a Major-General in the Parliamentary army.  John however declined the invitation, stating that he was “then much interested in laying the foundations of a new Colony” (see Mason, Theodore West; Family Record in our Line of Descent from Major John Mason of Norwich, Connecticut, full citation below).

 

Although details of his formal education are not known, it is clear from his writings that he was well-educated while in England and was also trained as a military engineer.  Much of his writing has survived to this day, notably his correspondence with the Governor John Winthrop and his Brief History of the Peqout War (written about 1670, first published in 1677).

 

John Mason immigrated to America circa 1630.  Tradition has it that he came with the company of Rev. John Warham aboard the Mary and John, which sailed from Plymouth, England on March 20, 1630 and arrived at Nantasket on May 30th, however documentary proof of such a voyage has not been presented.

 

John Mason settled first in the town of Dorchester, Massachusetts.  He was elected a Freeman on March 4, 1634/5 and also represented the village in the General Court.  During his time at Dorchester, he was generally referred to as “Captain John Mason”.

 

Circa 1635, John Mason left Dorchester and moved to Windsor, Connecticut, where he resided for about twelve years.  He was a resident of Windsor by September 3, 1635, when a note on the Windsor Town Records reports that, “Captain Mason is authorized by the Court to press men and carts to help towards the finishing of the fort at Castle Island, and to return the same into the Court”.  He was elected “Assistant” (ie magistrate) of the Connecticut Colony from Windsor in 1642 and served as Deputy from Windsor to the Connecticut Court for seven sessions between November 1637 and September 1641.

 

In 1637 as conflict with the Pequot Indian tribe escalated, Captain John Mason led a company of Connecticut Colonial Forces in an offensive expedition against the tribe.  On May 1, 1637, the Connecticut General Court raised a force of ninety men to be under the command of Captain John Mason.  The company, together with the allied Mashantucket and Narrangansett tribes, was subsequently victorious in a devastating attack upon the Pequot fort at Mystic River, decimating the Pequot stronghold and virtually eradicating the entire Pequot tribe.  The battle – the only major engagement of the war – has become known as the “Mystic Massacre”.

 

In 1647, John Mason removed to Saybrook and from there went to Norwich in the spring of 1660, as part of the original party which settled the town.  Major John Mason was among the original proprietors of Norwich, his name appearing (together with Thomas Tracy) as a witness on the original deed for the township granted by Chief Uncas on June 6, 1659.

 

Major Mason was the chief military leader of the Connecticut Colony for over thirty-five years.  In addition to his leadership in the Pequot War, he was for several years commander of the fort at Saybrook, led the War Committee for Saybrook in May 1653 and October 1654, and was later head of the Militia Committee at Norwich from May 1667 until his death.  He served eight years as Deputy Governor of Connecticut, during two of which he was acting Governor in the absence of Gov. Winthrop while the latter was in England petitioning for Connecticut’s charter from King Charles.  When the Connecticut charter was subsequently obtained, John Mason was one of the patentees.  He was without doubt one of the most widely regarded and trusted men in the early days of the Connecticut Colony.  In his latter years, he was regularly referred to in colony records as simply “the Major”.

 

John Mason was married twice.  The identity of his first wife is not known.  According to the records of Matthew Grant (second town clerk of Windsor), the wife of “Capten Masen” died at Windsor, Conn. before Mar. 10, 1638/9.  John was married a second time at Hingham, Massachusetts in July of 1639 to Anne Peck, daughter of Rev. Robert Peck and Anne Lawrence.  The marriage was recorded in the private journal of Rev. Peter Hobart of Hingham (see NEHGR 121:22; 1967). John Mason had the following known children – all but the first with his second wife:

 

  1. Israell, b. circa 1738 at Windsor (married John Bissell).
  2. Anne, b. circa 1740, at Windsor d. October 7, 1640 at Windsor.
  3. Priscilla, b. October 1641 at Windsor (married James Fitch).
  4. Samuel, b. July 1644 at Windsor (married first Judith Smith and second Elizabeth Peck).
  5. John, b. August 1646 at Windsor (married Abigail Fitch).
  6. Rachel, b. October 1648 at Saybrook (married Charles Hill).
  7. Anne, b. June 1650 at Saybrook (married John Brown).
  8. Daniel, b. April 1652 at Saybrook (married first Margaret Denison and second Rebecca Hobart).
  9. Elizabeth, b. August 1654 at Saybrook (married James Fitch).

 

Matthew Grant, in his Reports to the Connecticut Colony, mentions the family of John Mason in a list of “some omitted in former records being gone yet had children born here”.  Although not providing any details of names or dates, Mr. Grant reported that four children of Capt. Mason were born at Windsor.  This agrees with the year in which the family removed to Saybrook (1647).  No record of the family appears in the records at Saybrook.  The family of John Mason was recorded in the Vital Records of Norwich (VRp I:20) under the heading, “names & ages of the children of Major Mason”.  The family entry includes the births (month and year) of the younger seven children, but fails to mention their respective birthplaces.

 

The death of Mrs. Anne (Peck) Mason is not recorded.  In 1672, Samuel Green published at Cambridge a “Sermon preached upon the occasion of Death and Decease of that piously affected and truly religious Matron, Mrs. Anne Mason, sometime wife to Major Mason, who not long after finished his course and is now at rest.  By Mr. James Fitch, Pastor of the Church at Norwich”.

 

John Mason died at Norwich on January 30, 1671/2.  His death was entered in the private journal of Rev. Simon Bradstreet of New London (see NEHGR VIII:4; October 1854; pg. 327) as follows:

 

“1671… Jan. 30.  Major Jno. Mason who had Severall times been Deputy Governr of Connecticut Colony, dyed.  He was aged about 70.  He lived the 2 or 3 last years of his life in Extream misery wth ye Stone or Stranguary of some such disease.  He dyed with much comfort and assurd it should bee well with him.”

 

A monument in honor of Major John Mason stands on the Palisado Green at Windsor, Connecticut.  The monument was recently moved from its original location at Mystic, Connecticut and a plaque was affixed to the base of the monument bearing the following inscription:

 

MAJOR JOHN MASON

BORN 1600 IN ENGLAND

IMMIGRATED TO NEW ENGLAND IN 1630

A FOUNDER OF WINDSOR, OLD SAYBROOK AND NORWICH

MAGISTRATE AND CHIEF MILITARY OFFICER OF THE CONNECTICUT COLONY

DEPUTY GOVERNOR AND ACTING GOVERNOR

PATENTEE OF THE ORIGINAL CHARTER

DIED 1672 IN NORWICH

THIS MONUMENT ERECT IN 1889

BY THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

RELOCATED IN 1993 TO RESPECT A SACRED SITE

OF THE 1637 PEQUOT WAR

 

 

References:

 

-          Mason, John; A Brief History of the Pequot War; reprinted by J. Sabin & Sons, 1869 (originally published 1736).

-          Mason, Louis B.; The Life and Times of Major John Mason 1600 – 1672; New York, NY: Putnams; 1935.

-          Mason, Theodore West; Family Record in our Line of Descent from Major John Mason of Norwich, Connecticut; New York, NY: The Grafton Press; 1909.

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; pp. 140-148.

 

 

Peck

 

Benjamin Peck Jr. was born at New Haven, Connecticut on January 4, 1670/1 (VRp I:33), the eldest son of Benjamin and Mary (Sperry) Peck.  He was a grandson of Henry Peck, who had immigrated to New England aboard the “Hector”, which arrived at Boston on June 16, 1637.   Henry Peck subsequently settled in New Haven, Connecticut, where he was a prominent member of the First Church of New Haven.

 

Benjamin Peck Jr. was married at New Haven on May 2, 1700 to his first cousin, Mary Sperry, daughter of John and Elizabeth (Post) Sperry of New Haven.  Shortly after his marriage, Benjamin removed to Norwich, Connecticut, settling in the northwestern section of town which was later to become the township of Franklin.

 

Benjamin Jr. and Mary (Sperry) Peck had a family of ten children.  The eldest daughter was born at New Haven and recorded there (VRp I:86) and the remaining children at Norwich (VRp I:27):

 

  1. Dinah, b. November 30, 1700 (m. first Jacob Willes and second Samuel Hartshorn);
  2. Elizabeth, b. August 16, 1704, d. August 4, 1720;
  3. Joseph, b. November 14, 1706 (m. first Hannah Carrier, second Elizabeth Edgerton and third Elizabeth Carpenter);
  4. Mary, b. February 19, 1708/9;
  5. Benjamin, b. December 4, 1710 (m. Martha Carrier);
  6. John, b. March 7, 1712/3;
  7. Ebenezer, b. February 15, 1715/6 (m. Elizabeth Deming);
  8. Jonathan, b. March 1, 1717/8 (m. Bethiah Bingham);
  9. Daniel, b. May 9, 1719 (m. first Hannah Dodge, second Mrs. Jerusha (Tracy) Hyde and third Mrs. Mary Chapman); and
  10. Submit, b. August 1, 1722 (m. first Aaron Cooke and second John Wheatley).

 

Benjamin and his wife were admitted to the First Congregational Church of Norwich in 1700 and their eight eldest children were baptized at the Church between 1703 and 1718.  (Church records for about twenty or so years after 1718 are not extant, but it is probably that the younger two children, Daniel and Submit, born in 1719 and 1720 were also baptized at the Norwich Church).

 

Mrs. Mary (Sperry) Peck died at Norwich on March 3, 1727/8 (VRp I:27).  Benjamin was remarried at the Franklin Congregational Church on May 14, 1719 to Phebe Hatch.  He died at Norwich, March 31, 1742 (VRp I:27).  Benjamin and his first wife, Mary, were buried at the Old Franklin Plains Cemetery in Franklin (then Norwich), Connecticut.

 

References:

 

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; p. 238.

 

 

Post

 

Brothers John Post (1629 – 1710) and Thomas Post (1631 – 1701) were both original proprietors at Norwich.  Their names are inscribed upon the Norwich Founders Monument.  John and Thomas were born at Otham, County Kent, England, sons of Stephen and Elinor (Panton) Post of County Kent, England and later Saybrook, Connecticut.  They immigrated to New England with their parents in the mid-1630’s.

 

Stephen Post, the father, was christened at Hollingbourne, County Kent, England on June 24, 1604, the son of Abraham and Ann (Hurst) Post.  He was married at Langley, County Kent, England on October 17, 1625 to Elinor Panton.  The marriage banns recorded in the Langley Parish Register list Stephen as a “carpenter of Otham”.  The most current research on the family and English origins of the immigrant Stephen Post is presented in Steve Carter’s article, “The English Ancestry of Stephen Post, of Saybrook, Connecticut” for the New England Historical Genealogical Register (full citation below).

 

Stephen and Elinor (Panton) Post had five known children:  Katherine, John, Thomas, Joseph and Abraham.  The eldest child, Katherine, was christened at Hollingbourne on September 15, 1627.  The baptisms of the next three children are found recorded in the Parish Registers at Otham, County Kent, England:  John, christened September 13, 1629, Thomas, christened November 1, 1631; and Joseph, christened August 9, 1633.  The youngest son, Abraham, was presumably born after the family left England.

 

Stephen Post immigrated to New England with his family circa 1633 – 1634.  It is generally reported that he came to America aboard the Griffin, which arrived at Boston on September 3, 1633, however there is no extant documentation to prove this assertion.  The root of this belief seems to derive from Stephen’s subsequent affiliation with the Rev. Thomas Hooker, who was aboard the Griffin; however there is no documentary evidence to show that this association originated in England.

 

Stephen Post was a carpenter by trade and settled originally at “Newe Towne” (Cambridge), Massachusetts, where he was granted twelve acres of land in September 1634.  In May of 1636, he joined with Rev. Hooker and several members of his congregation in the settlement of Hartford, Connecticut, where he was one of the original founders and was noted as such on the Hartford Founders Monument.  In 1648, Stephen purchased property on the west side of Oyster River in Saybrook, Connecticut and resided there until his death in 1659.  He was named Lieutenant of the Fort at Saybrook on October 10, 1649 and was appointed to finish building the Fort together with his son, John.  Stephen Post died at Saybrook on August 16, 1659 and his widow, Elinor, there on November 13, 1670.  The former death was recorded in the Original Saybrook Land Records as:  “Stephen Post died 16th of August 1659”; and the latter is found in the early vital records of Saybrook as:  “Ellener Post Disseased this life the 13 day of November 1670”.

 

Stephen Post’s two eldest sons, John and Thomas, had presumably settled in Saybrook with their father circa 1648.  Both were married there in the 1650’s; and in 1660, they became proprietors in the new township of Norwich, removing there with their families in the original settlement the following year.

 

John Post was married at Saybrook on March 31, 1652 to Hester (aka “Esther”) Hyde, daughter of William Hyde (see above).  The marriage is found recorded in the Early Saybrook Vital Records as:  “The marriage of John Post...He was married in the last of March Anno [16]52 to Esther Hide”.  John and Hester (Hyde) Post had nine children:

 

  1. Margaret, b. February 21, 1853 (m. Caleb Abell);
  2. Elizabeth, b. February 22, 1655 (m. John Sperry of New Haven);
  3. John, b. April 12, 1657 (m. Sarah Reynolds);
  4. Sarah, b. November 6, 1659 (m. John Hough of New London);
  5. Mary, b. ~1662 (m. Nathaniel Rudd);
  6. Abigail, b. November 6, 1664 and d. April 1676;
  7. Samuel, b. March 8, 1668 (m. Ruth Lathrop);
  8. Hannah, b. October 1671 (no further record); and
  9. Lydia, b. March 11, 1674 (m. first Abel Moore and second Joseph Harris, both of New London).

 

The first four children were recorded in Saybrook as “The Children of John Post”.  The four youngest children were recorded at Norwich (VRp I:25-26).  The Norwich record also reports the deaths of Mrs. Hester Post on November 13, 1703 and of Mr. John Post on November 27, 1710.  John Post was buried at the Old Norwich Town Cemetery; his headstone there bears the following epitaph:  “HEARE / LIES THE BO / DY OF MR JO / HN POST WHO / DYED NOVr / 27, 1710.  AGED / 84 YEARS”

 

Thomas Post was married in January 1656 (presumably at Saybrook) to Mary Andrews, by whom he had one child:  a daughter, Sarah, born November 1657 (m. Thomas Vincent).  It is assumed that both the marriage and birth took place at Saybrook, although neither is found in the vital records there.  Both were included in the later family record at Norwich (VRp I:21), which also gives the death of Mrs. Mary Post in March 1661.  Her death is supposed to have been the first death in Norwich.  Thomas was married second at Norwich in September 1663 to Rebecca Bruen, daughter of Obadiah Bruen of New London (VRp I:22).  Three children were recorded to Thomas and Rebecca Post at Norwich (VRp I:22):  Thomas, b. December 1664; Hannah, b. February 1666 and d. June 1667; and Mary, b. June 1669 (d. unmarried at Norwich on March 7, 1742).  Frances Caulkins (History of Norwich) also reports two additional sons, Obadiah and Joseph, who survived their father.  Thomas Post Sr. died at Norwich on September 5, 1701; and his widow, Rebecca, at Norwich on April 15, 1721.

 

References:

 

-          Carter, Steve; “English Ancestry of Stephen Post of Saybrook, Connecticut”; NEHGR, Volume 160, January 2006, pp. 30-34.

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; pp. 195-196.

 

 

Read / Reed

 

Josiah Read, progenitor of the Norwich Read/Reed families, was born circa 1643, probably at Weymouth, Massachusetts.  He was the eldest son of William Read and his first wife, Susannah Hayme.  William and Susannah had come to Massachusetts from Gillingham, Dorsetshire, England, where they were married at St. Mary’s Church on October 12, 1629.  They had immigrated to America in 1635 in the company of Rev. Joseph Hull, which sailed from Weymouth, England on March 20, 1635.  According to the passenger manifest, William’s family consisted of:  “William Read of Batcombe, taylor in Som’stt, aged 28 years, Susan, his wife, aged 29 years, Hanna, his daughter, aged 3 years, Susan, his daughter, aged 1 year”.  The company arrived at Dorchester on June 7, 1635 and the majority of the passengers subsequently settled at Weymouth, Norfolk County, Massachusetts.  William settled first at Weymouth, but had removed to Boston by September 1646.  In 1672, he lost his property in Boston to foreclosure and afterwards went to New London, Connecticut, where he resided until his death in 1679.

 

Documentation of William’s early years in Massachusetts is complicated by the presence of a contemporary William Reed, who also settled at Weymouth.  However, extensive research conducted by the Reade Historical and Genealogical Association of Boston, Massachusetts and published in The Reade Record convincingly shows that the majority of the Weymouth references pertain to the immigrant William of Batcombe who later removed to Boston.  William Read was first admitted a freeman of Weymouth on September 2, 1635.  He was listed as a freeman in subsequent years and was elected deputy to the General Court on December 7, 1636 and again on September 6, 1638.

 

William Read and his wife, Susannah, were admitted to to the First Church of Boston on May 15, 1647, “upon letters of Dismission from the Church at Weymouth”.  Their youngest son, John, had been baptised at the Boston Church on September 27, 1646 (“four days after his birth”).

 

Mrs. Susannah Read died at Boston on October 12, 1653.  William was remarried at Boston on May 20, 1654 to Ruth Crooke.  William Read ten children with his second wife.  In 1669, Ruth had gone back to England abandoning her family just after the birth of her youngest child.  When she returned to Massachusetts four years later, she was brought to trial and banished from the colony for “misconduct while abroad”.  Ruth was residing in Rhode Island on September 2, 1674 when William petitioned the Massachusetts Court requesting permission for her to return.  The petition was denied.  It may have been at this time that William removed to Connecticut, where his wife presumably would be able to join him.  Ruth was remarried to Robert Percy of New London, Connecticut shortly after William’s death.

 

William Read, died at New London, Connecticut in 1679.  His youngest son, Hezekiah (born July 6, 1663) was then a minor.  On June 13, 1679, the New London Court granted Hezekiah permission to select a guardian.  In accordance with Hezekiah’s request, the court granted guardianship to Hezekiah’s brothers, Josiah and John, ordering as follows:

 

“The Court haveing Considered of the petition of Hezekiah Read an orphane under age, & the allegations therein doe grant him Liberty according to Law to choose his Guardians, & accordingly he did in open Court chose Josiah Read & John Read, his Elder Brothers, to be his Guardians who are accepted by the Court & the sd orphan Committed to their care for his good Education in the feare of God, good Literature, & some particular calling, and the sd orphane desireing to be with his bother Jn Read dureing his minority to the age of twenty-0ne yeares, the Court have Consented thereunto, he the sd John his Brother ingageing before the Cout to give him good education as before & to teach him the trade of a weaver according to his best skill & to allow him Competent & Comfortable maintenance, meate, dinke, cloathing & other necessaries Convenient dureingthe sd terme & to pay him five pounds towards his setting up at the expiration of the terme with Comly apparell, his Eldest Brother & Guardian, the sd Josiah Read Consenting unto this dispose.” (see New London County Court Records, 3:124).

 

Hezekiah’s mother, Ruth, was mentioned in subsequent court documents.  On June 7, 1681, “Ruth Percy Plantiff Contra Jn Read Deffendt in an action of Debt due to her for the sevice of her sonn Hezekiah Read for the time he was with him to the value of eighteene pounts:  In this action the Court orders a nonsuite.” (see New London County Court Records, 3:156).

 

Josiah Read, eldest son of William Read, was among the original settlers of Norwich.  Although, not strictly an “original proprietor” (due probably to his still being a minor in 1659), Josiah was granted a home-lot in the original division of land, together with all the priveleges of the first proprietors.  His home-lot was located in the eastern section of the township on the road towards “Ox Hill” and adjacent to the properties of Richard Bushnell and Christopher Huntington.  Josiah was a constable for the town of Norwich in 1682.  He was a member of the First Church of Norwich from its inception until his death.

 

Circa 1687, Josiah removed from the home-lot to a farm in the “Crotch of ye Rivers” (between the Shetucket and Quinebaug Rivers), which is now located within the township of Newent.  Josiah and his four sons (Josiah, Joseph, John and William) were listed as inhabitants on a subsequent roll of “Farmers in ye Crotch of ye Rivers” taken in 1718.

 

Josiah Read was married in November 1666 to Grace Holloway, daughter of William Holloway of Marshfield, Massachusetts.  The marriage was recorded both at Norwich (VRp I:15) and also at Marshfield (see NEHGR Volume 6; October 1852; pg. 347).  The identification of Mrs. Grace (Holloway) Read’s parentage is established by the settlement of her father’s estate at Marshfield.  Specifically, the home farm there had passed to William’s only daughters, Grace and Hannah, upon William’s death; and in 1670, “Josiah Reed of Norridge, in the Colony of Connecticut” sold half of this farm in the right of his wife, Grace.  The other half was sold in 1673 by “Hannah Read, formerly Holloway”, who is speculated to have been the wife of Josiah’s younger brother, John Read.

 

Josiah and Grace (Holloway) Read had eight children.  The births were entered together in the Vital Records of Norwich (VRp I:15).  Remarkably for colonial times, all eight of the children survived to adulthood and were married themselves.

 

  1. Josiah, b. at Norwich, April 1668 (married Elizabeth Amsden).
  2. William, b. at Norwich, April 1670 (married Anna Stark).
  3. Elizabeth, b. at Norwich, September 1672 (married William Brewster).
  4. Experience, b. at Norwich, February 27, 1674/75 (married Shadrach Lanphere).
  5. John, b. at Norwich, August 15, 1679 (married first Deborah Niles and second Lydia Caswell).
  6. Joseph, b. at Norwich, March 12, 1680/81 (married Marcy Guppie).
  7. Susannah, b. at Norwich, September 20, 1685 (married Isaac Lawrence).
  8. Hannah, b. at Norwich, July 1688 (married Benjamin Fitch).

 

Josiah Read died at Norwich on July 3, 1717.  His death was included in the family entry at Norwich (VRp I:15) as, “josiah Read the first above Named Died the 3d day of July: 1717”.  The family entry also included the death of Josiah’s widow, that is: “mrs Grace Read ye widow of mr Josiah Read Died ye 9 day of may 1727”.  The burial locations of Josiah and Grace Read have not been ascertained.

 

References:

 

-          Page, Marion Read & Symonds, David R.; Some Descendants and Allied Families of William Reed of Batcombe, England; Boston, Mass.; 1992.

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; pp. 197.

-          Taylor, Norris; William Read  1607 – 1679; 1998.

 

 

Reynolds

 

John Reynolds first appears in America as a resident of Saybrook, Connecticut circa 1655.  He was a wheelwright by trade and resided in the area of Saybrook later to become the town of Lyme.  Neither his ancestral home nor the names of his parents have been determined.

 

John Reynolds was one of the original proprietors of Norwich in 1659, settling there the following spring with his wife and family.  His home-lot in the original division of land consisted of nine acres along the main highway to the “Great Plain”, adjacent to the home-lot of Thomas Leffingwell.  John later referred to Thomas in his will as a “Kinsman”, but the nature of their familial relationship (if any) is not known.  On December 3, 1658, John sold his property in Saybrook to Wolston Brockway (see Lyme Deeds I:25).

 

John Reynolds was made a freeman at Norwich in October 1663.  He was a selectman in 1669

 

John Reynold's wife was Sarah Backus, daughter of William Backus of Saybrook and Norwich (see above).  There is no known record of John and Sarah’s marriage.  The identification of Mrs. Sarah Reynolds is established by the will of William Backus (dated June 12, 1661) which mentions, “the rest of my children as John Renalds and his wife…”  John and Sarah were presumably married at Saybrook circa 1654.

 

John and Sarah (Backus) Reynolds had eight children:

 

  1. John, b. at Saybrook, August 1655, d. at Norwich, January 1675.
  2. Sarah, b. at Saybrook, November 1656 (married John Post).
  3.  Susannah, b. at Saybrook, October 1658.
  4.  Joseph, b. at Norwich, March 1660 (married Sarah Edgerton).
  5. Mary, b. at Norwich, April 1664 (married first John Edgerton and second Samuel Lathrop).
  6. Elizabeth, b. at Norwich, November 1666 (married first Jonathan Fowler and second Samuel Lyman).
  7. Stephen, b. at Norwich, January 1669/70, d. at Norwich, December 19, 1687.
  8. Lydia , b. at Norwich, February 1670/71 (married Benjamin Millard).

 

The family was entered in the Vital Records of Norwich as the “names & ages of the children of John Ranols” (VRp I:12-13).  The family entry also includes the deaths of John Jr., Stephen and John Sr.

 

John Reynolds died at Norwich on July 22, 1702 (VRp 1:13).  His will, dated July 15th of the same year, mentions his wife, Sarah, only son, Joseph, and four married daughters, namely Sarah Post, Mary Lothrop, Elizabeth Lyman and Lydia Miller [sic].  The instruments of his trade he left to his son, together with his house and lands, subject to the dowry of his widow.  John’s widow, Sarah, and his son, Joseph, were named administrators, and he also directed that, “I do make choice of my loving kinsman Ensign Thomas Leffingwell overseer to be helpful to them”.

 

There is no record of the death of Mrs. Sarah (Backus) Reynolds.

 

References:

 

-          The Reynolds Family Association.

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; pp. 197-198.

 

 

Royce

 

The Royce families of colonial Connecticut are descended from the immigrant Robert Royce, who settled initially at Stratford, Fairfield County, Connecticut, subsequently removing to New London, where he died in the year 1676 – his estate being probated there on November 22 of that year.  (Note:  Robert Royce of Connecticut has frequently been confused with a contemporary Robert Royce, who immigrated to New England about the same time.  This latter Robert Royce settled at Boston and was made a freeman of the Massachusetts Colony on April 1, 1634.  He and his wife Elizabeth had three children recorded at Boston, namely Joshua, Nathaniel and Patience.)

 

It has long been known that Robert Royce of New London had a wife, Mary, who survived him (dying at Wallingford, Connecticut in 1697) and six children who survived to adulthood:  Jonathan, who married Deborah Calkins; Sarah, who married John Calkins; Nehemiah, who married Hannah Morgan; Isaac, who married Elizabeth Lathrop; Samuel, who married first Hannah Churchill and second Sarah Baldwin; and Ruth, who married John Lathrop.

 

Robert Royce was a shoemaker by trade.  He was Constable at New London in 1660, represented the town in the General Court in 1661, was townsman in 1663 and 1668 and also served as tax collector.  In 1667, he was appointed to keep an ordinary and the same year was “freed from training”, indicating that he had probably reached the age of sixty (the usual age of exemption from military training).

 

Following Robert’s death, his widow and several of the younger children removed to Wallingford, New Haven County, Connecticut.  Mrs. Mary Royce died there in the year 1697.  The New Haven County Court Records (Vol. 1, p. 251) show that on July 14, 1697, “Vpon ye Request of Ensigne Saml Royse son of Mary Royse of Wallingford Deced intestat the Court graunted powr of Adstration of ye Remaining estate of ye sd Deced to him ye sd Ensigne Royse for ye Recovering of any debt or debts due to ye Deced and yt he give an accompt of his Adson wn by ye Court Requird.” (see Donald Lines Jacobus; “Parentage of Mary, Wife of John Beach of Wallingford, Conn.”; NEHGR, 1926; Vol. 80, No. 1; p. 107)

 

The English ancestry of Robert Royce has traditionally been claimed to be in Somersetshire, England.  However, recent research conducted by Mr. Charles Julian (see references below) has refuted this supposition.  In his well-documented research, Mr. Julian shows persuasively that the immigrant Robert Royce was almost certainly the Robert Royce of Stamford, Lincolnshire, England who married Mary “Jugkson” (presumably Jackson) on April 8, 1627 at St. Michael’s Church in Stamford.  Mr. Julian has reconstructed a family of six children born to this couple at Stamford, based upon the parish registers at All Saints Church (also in Stamford) and St. Michael’s Church.  The names and christening dates of three of the surviving children – John (Jonathan), Sarah and Nehemiah – coincide precisely with the three children that Robert Royce is known to have brought with him from England.  For further details on Mr. Julian’s research, please see the link below to his posting at the Genealogy.com GenForum message board.

 

The two eldest surviving children of Robert Royce – Jonathan and Sarah – were among the original settlers of Norwich, Connecticut.

 

Jonathan Royce was presumably the “John, son of Robert and Mary Royce” who was christened at St. Michael’s in Stamford, Lincolnshire, England on April 21, 1633.  Circa 1640, he immigrated to New England with his parents, settling first at Stratford and afterwards at New London circa 1657.  In 1660, Jonathan took part in the formation of the new township of Norwich and was one of the original proprietors there.  He was married at Norwich on June 4, 1660 to Deborah Calkins, daughter of fellow Norwich proprietor, Hugh Calkins (see above).  The marriage was entered in the Vital Records at Norwich (VRp I:33) and also at New London – the latter giving an alternate date of March 1660/1.  The Norwich record (VRp I:33) includes the births of ten children:

 

  1. Elizabeth, b. January 1661 (m. William Backus);
  2. John, b. November 1663 (m. Sarah Perigo);
  3. Sarah, b. October 1665 (m. Samuel Lincoln);
  4. Abigail, b. September 1667 and d. August 1668;
  5. Ruth, b. April 1669;
  6. Hannah, b. April 1671;
  7. Abiah, b. April 1673 (m. Robert Wade);
  8. Jonathan, b. August 1678 (m. Ruth Beckwith);
  9. Deborah, b. August 10, 1680 (m. Thomas Stoddard); and
  10. David, b. August 19, 1682.

 

Jonathan Royce Sr. died at Norwich on September 22, 1689 and was most likely buried at the Ancient “Post and Gager” Cemetery, which was later to become the site of the Norwich Founders Monument.  His widow, Deborah, survived him a number of years, dying at Norwich on October 2, 1723.

 

Sarah Royce was presumably the “Sarah, daughter of Robert and Mary Royce” who was christened at St. Michael’s in Stamford, Lincolnshire, England on February 8, 1634 (probably 1634/5).  Sarah was married to John Calkins, son of Norwich proprietor, Hugh Calkins, and elder brother of Deborah Calkins who married Sarah’s brother, Jonathan.  John Calkins was himself a proprietor of Norwich.  Please see the Calkins essay above for information on the family of John and Sarah (Royce) Calkins.

 

References:

 

-          Julian, Charles; Robert Royce of Connecticut – posting at Genealogy.com GenForum; February 25, 2006.

-          Dobson, Michael Edward; Descendants of Robert Royce of New London, Connecticut; Rockville, Maryland, April 2002.

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; p. 199.

 

 

Rudd

 

Jonathan Rudd, progenitor of the Norwich Rudd family, appears first in Hartford, Connecticut under rather dubious circumstances.  It is supposed that he was born in England and had immigrated to New England at a very young age.  The first reference to him at Hartford is on April 2, 1640, when he and several other youths were brought before the Particular Court for being “intimate” with Mary Bronson.  He subsequently removed to New Haven, Connecticut, where on January 4, 1643/4 he was fined for defective arms.  Three months later, he was fined for attending a drinking party.  He took the oath of fidelity at New Haven on October 1, 1644.

 

By the winter of 1646/1647, Jonathan had settled in Saybrook, Connecticut, where he was married at the site known as “Bride’s Brook”.  Francis Caulkins, in her History of Norwich (p. 164-165), relates the romantic legend of Jonathan’s marriage which gave this location its name.  The identity of Jonathan’s wife is not found documented anywhere; and although many have speculated that her given name was Mary, there is no credible evidence to support such a supposition.  Still others have gone further, asserting that Jonathan’s wife was Mary Metcalf, daughter of Michael and Mary (Fairbanks) Metcalf, christened at St. Benedict’s, Norwich, County Norfolk, England on February 14, 1618/9, but again no credible authority for this claim has been presented.

 

It is known that Jonathan and his wife had four children who survived to adulthood:

 

  1. Mary, b. circa 1648 (m. Thomas Bingham);
  2. Patience, b. circa 1652 (m. Samuel Bushnell);
  3. Jonathan, b. circa 1655 (m. Mercy Bushnell); and
  4. Nathaniel, b. circa 1658 (m. first Mary Post and second Abigail Hartshorn).

 

Jonathan Rudd was made a freeman of the Colony of Connecticut on May 15, 1651, and on February 23, 1652/3 he was appointed with Thomas Tracy to assist Capt. John Mason in fitting out the six great guns for the defense of Saybrook.  He was made leather sealer for Saybrook on October 4, 1656.

 

Jonathan Rudd died at Saybrook in 1658.  An inventory of his estate (totaling £106-03-10) was taken in July of that year (filed August 28, 1658) and Mr. Fitch was “desired to be helpful to the Children, as is declared are two sons & four daughters”.  The administrators on the estate were John Westell and Stephen Post.  (see Manwaring, Charles W.; Digest of the Early Connecticut Probate Records (Hartford District); Hartford, Connecticut; 1902; Vol. 1, p. 148)

 

The two sons of Jonathan Rudd – Jonathan Jr. and Nathaniel – removed to Norwich during its early years.  Jonathan settled on property east of the Shetucket river and Nathaniel settled in the section of town known as “West Farms”, which was later to become the independent township of Bozrah in the latter 1700’s.  Jonathan and Nathaniel were each married at Norwich and had families there, as evidenced by the town’s early vital records.  Descendants of the Rudd brothers are found in Norwich for a number of generations following.

 

Jonathan Rudd Jr. was married at Norwich on December 19, 1678 to Mercy Bushnell (VRp I:2), daughter of Richard and Mary (Marvin) Bushnell, and had four children: Mercy, Jonathan, Nathaniel and Mary (see VRp I:2).  Jonathan died at Preston on August 19, 1689 (Preston VR I:11).  His widow was remarried to Joseph Cary of Windham and removed there, where she died on January 23, 1741, “aged about 84 years” (Windham VR I:150).

 

Nathaniel Rudd was married first at Norwich on April 16, 1685 to Mary Post (VRp I:50), daughter of John and Hester (Hyde) Post, by whom he had three children:  Jonathan, Mary and Lydia.  Mrs. Mary Rudd died at Norwich in November 1705 (VRp I:50) and Nathaniel was remarried at Norwich on January 31, 1706 to Abigail Hartshorn (VR I:50), daughter of John and Ruth (Swan) Hartshorn of Haverhill, Massachusetts.  Nathaniel had ten more children with his second wife:  Nathaniel, Joseph, Daniel, Sarah, Abigail, Lydia, Anne, Susannah, Gideon and Patience.  The complete family of Nathaniel Rudd (including both marriages and all thirteen children) was entered in the Vital Records at Norwich (see VRp I:50-51).  Nathaniel Rudd Sr. died at Norwich on April 18, 1727.  His widow, Abigail, later removed to Canterbury, where she died on May 20, 1783.

 

References:

 

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; pp. 164-165, 239-240.

-          Snyder, Celia G.; Genealogical Notes:  Lieutenant Jonathan Rudd; May 9, 1999

 

 

Sluman

 

Thomas Sluman first appears at Norwich, Connecticut in the year 1688.  His antecedents prior to arriving in Norwich remain unknown.  A number of genealogical accounts have listed a birthdate of August 16, 1647; and although such a date is certainly possible, there is no documentary evidence to establish its authenticity.   It is also worth noting that this supposed date is suspiciously similar to the documented birthdate of Thomas’ wife, Sarah Bliss, who was born at Saybrook, Connecticut on August 26, 1647 (see Vital Records of Saybrook, Connecticut 1647-1834; Hartford, Connecticut: The Connecticut Historical Society; 1952; pg. 6).

 

Thomas was married at Norwich in December 1668 to Sarah Bliss, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth (Birchard) Bliss.  Thomas and Sarah’s marriage was recorded in the vital records at Norwich (VRp I:13), as were the births of six children:

 

a.       Sarah, b. March 13, 1669/70 (m. Hugh Calkins);

b.       Mary, b. February 13, 1670/1;

c.        Thomas, b. December 19, 1674 (m. Sarah Pratt);

d.       Elizabeth, b. July 23, 1677 (m. Samuel Abell);

e.        Abigail, b. March 14, 1679/80 (m. Caleb Abell); and

f.        Rebecca, b. October 3, 1682 (m. John Abell).

 

Thomas Sluman was a constable at Norwich in 1680.  He died at Norwich in the year 1683 and his widow, Sarah, was subsequently remarried at Norwich on April 8, 1686 (VRp I:31) to Solomon Tracy, son of Norwich founder, Lieut. Thomas Tracy (see below).  Solomon served as administrator on the estate of Thomas Sluman.  In a deed signed at Preston on June 14, 1698 (LR 4:744), “Solomon Tracy of Norwich…being administrator to ye Estate of Thomas Sluman of the same town Deceased” reported on his sale of certain properties in Preston and the subsequent transfer of the proceeds “unto Thomas Sluman Son & Heir to Thomas Sluman Deceast”.

 

Sarah (Bliss) Sluman Tracy had one child by her second marriage – a son, Solomon Tracy Jr., born at Norwich on September 22, 1688 (VRp I:32).  Sarah died at Norwich on August 29, 1730 (VRp I:32).

 

References:

 

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; p. 240.

 

 

Smith

 

Rev. Nehemiah Smith was born in England circa 1605.  His parentage has not been ascertained.  Various family accounts and genealogies state that he was a native of New Castle, Staffordshire, England, however documentary proof of this assertation has not been presented.  According to later testimony (see below), Nehemiah was “aged about seventy-four” in October of 1679.  He was a religious teacher and for many years was engaged in the raising of sheep.  Nehemiah was referred to in colony records as “Shepherd Smith” and was also termed “Goodman”.  

 

Nehemiah Smith immigrated to Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts, where he made application to be admitted a Freeman on March 6, 1637/38.  He settled first at Marshfield – or “Greens Harbor” as it was then called.  He later resided successively in Stratford, Connecticut, Long Island, New York, New London, Connecticut and finally Norwich, Connecticut.  For a detailed account of Nehemiah Smith’s life and times, see Henry Allen Smith’s A Genealogical History of the Descendants of Rev. Nehemiah Smith of New London, County, Conn. 1638 – 1688 (Albany, N.Y.: Joel Munsell’s Sons, Publishers; 1889).

 

Nehemiah Smith was married at Marshfield, Massachusetts on January 21, 1639/40 to Ann Bourne, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Bourne.  Within a few years of their marriage, Nehemiah and Ann left Massachusetts and settled in Stratford, Connecticut.  They were members of the New Haven Church, probably joining with the Church shortly prior to December 14, 1645, on which date their three eldest daughters were baptised together as the children of “Sarah [sic] Smith, wife of Nehemiah Smith”.  Two more daughters were baptised together on February 22, 1645/46 and son Nehemiah was baptised on October 24, 1646.  The first four baptisms also made note of the children’s respective years of birth (see NEHGR, Vol. 9, October 1855).

 

Nehemiah and Ann (Bourne) Smith had the following children:

 

  1. Sarah, b. at Marshfield, 1642, bp. at New Haven, December 14, 1645.
  2. Mary, b. at Marshfield, 1642, bp. at New Haven, December 14, 1645 (married Samuel Raymond).
  3. Hannah, b. at Marshfield, 1644, bp. at New Haven, December 14, 1645.
  4. Mercy, b. at Stratford, 1645, bp. at New Haven, February 22, 1645/46.
  5. Elizabeth, bp. at New Haven, February 22, 1645/46 (married first Joshua Raymond and second George Dennis).
  6. Nehemiah, bp. at New Haven, October 24, 1646 (married Lydia Winchester).
  7. Lydia, b. circa 1647 at New London, d. May 8, 1680 at Norwich.
  8. Mehitable, b. at New London (married Joshua Abell).
  9. Ann, b. at New London (married Thomas Bradford).

 

Rev. Nehemiah Smith was among the original proprietors of Norwich.  In November 1659, a home-lot was set out to him and he presumably removed to Norwich the following spring in the original settlement of the town.  Nehemiah’s original division of land was supplemented by later grants of land from the town and state.  By 1663, he was referred to as “now of New Norridge”.

 

In 1666, Nehemiah gave testimony before the Connecticut Superior Court requesting to be freed from military service.  The testimony, sworn to on September 20, 1666, was recorded as follows:  “Nehehomyah Smith of Norwig declaring himself to be above sixty years in age, his brother John Smith declaring also the same, upon his earnest desire is freed from training, watching and warding.”

 

In October of 1679, Nehemiah Smith “aged about seventy-four”, and Anna his wife aged sixty-four or “thereabout”, testified at Norwich in relation to an attempt by his nephew, Edward Smith, to break his uncle, John Smith’s will.  The testimony indicates that Nehemiah and Ann had resided in Long Island for a few years circa 1652.  Full details of the case can be found in Henry Allen Smith’s A Genealogical History of the Descendants of Rev. Nehemiah Smith of New London, County, Conn. 1638 – 1688 (referenced above).

 

On June 12, 1684, Nehemiah and his wife, Ann, deeded the family homestead to their son-in-law, Joshua Abell, “in consideration to of maintenance for the remainder of their lives…they being in an infirm and weakly state.”

 

Nehemiah Smith died at Norwich in the year 1686.  His will was noted in the New London Probate Court Records as follows:  “The last Will with an Inventory of the estate of Mr. Nehemiah Smith, Sr., of Norwich, being exhibited in Court, was proved and ordered to be recorded, and this Court grants power of administration unto the heir, Nehemiah Smith.  This Court approves of the agreement drawn between the legatees, bearing date the 30th of June, 1686, and ordered it to be recorded.  The above was exhibited in a Court holden at New London, September 22nd, 1686.”  Neither the will itself or the inventory have been located.  The records were probably among those lost when the British burned New London in 1781.

 

As referenced above, Nehemiah Smith had a brother John Smith (c. 1609 – 1678) and a nephew Edward Smith (c. 1637 – 1689), both of New London.  The latter married Elizabeth Bliss, daughter of Norwich proprietor Thomas Bliss and left several descendants who resided in Norwich throughout colonial times.  Both Edward and Elizabeth, along with their son John died in the New London epidemic of July 1689.

 

References:

 

-          Smith, Henry Allen; Rev. Nehemiah Smith – A Genealogical History of the Descendants; Albany, New York: Joel Munsell & Sons, Publisher; 1889.

 

 

Story

 

Samuel Story was born circa 1660 at Ipswich, Massachusetts, the son of William and Sarah (Foster) Story.  Samuel was raised in Ipswich and resided their the majority of his lifetime, removing in his later years to Norwich, Connecticut.  Three of his sons – Samuel Jr., John and Stephen – raised families in Norwich and left numerous descendants there throughout the eighteenth century.

 

Samuel Story was married twice.  He married first Elizabeth ----, with whom he had the following children.

 

  1. Elizabeth, b. at Ipswich, October 1, 1680 (married first Ebenezer Hidden and second John Hobson).
  2. Mary, b. at Ipswich, May 14, 1682 (married John Andrews).
  3. Samuel, b. at Ipswich, January 10, 1683/84 (married Mary Burnham).
  4. Hannah, b. at Ipswich, July 10, 1685 (married Timothy Knowlton).
  5. Jacob, b. at Ipswich, February 17, 1686/87 (married Martha Burley).
  6. Anna, b. at Ipswich, March 31, 1691 (married John Proctor).
  7. Ephraim, b. at Ipswich, October 22, 1692 (married Elizabeth Emerson).
  8. John, b. at Ipswich, June 19, 1694 (married Sarah Choate).
  9. Solomon, b. at Ipswich, March 13, 1695/96 (married Mary Choate).
  10. Stephen, b. at Ipswich, October 7, 1697.
  11. Dorothy, b. at Ipswich.
  12. Margaret, b. at Ipswich.

 

Samuel Story married second on July 16, 1716 at Ipswich, Mrs. Mary (Williams) Choate, daughter of Capt. Stephen and Sarah (Wise) Williams of Roxbury, Massachusetts and widow of Samuel Choate.

 

Samuel Story removed to Norwich circa 1720.  He and his wife, Mary, were received into the Norwich Church in 1722.

 

Samuel Story left a will, dated August 25, 1726, in which he mentioned his wife, Mary, sons Samuel, John, Solomon and Stephen, the children of his son, Ephraim deceased, and six married daughters, Elizabeth Hidden, Mary Andrews, Dorothy Day, Hannah Nolten, Anna Proctor and Margaret Choate.  Inventory of the estate was taken on September 15, 1726 and the will was submitted to probate at New London on December 1, 1726 (see New London Probate Records, Vol. C, pg. 88).

 

References:

 

-          Pratt, Robert Lee; The Descendants of William Story: Who Came to Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1637; Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press; 2000.

 

 

Tracy

 

Thomas Tracy was born in England circa 1609.  Family tradition has it that he was a native of Gloucestershire, England, however substantive proof of this assertion has not been presented.

 

Much research has been conducted attempting to establish the parentage of Lieut. Thomas Tracy.  To date, none of the various theories propounded have proved conclusive.  In The Ancestors of Lieutenant Thomas Tracy of Norwich, Connecticut (1894), Charles Stedman Ripley contends that he was a son of Sir Paul Tracy, Baronet of Stanway, Gloucestershire, his argument being principally based upon a review of English ancestral charts together with anecdotal evidence from Thomas Tracy’s descendants in the United States.  Donald Lines Jacobus in The Waterman Family (1939) refutes this claim rather handsomely.  Dwight Tracy, in his pamphlet, The Tracys in America – Recently Discovered English Ancestry of Governor William Tracy of Virginia (1908) argues that Thomas Tracy of Norwich was a son of Governor William Tracy, however subsequent research has shown that Thomas, son of Gov. William Tracy, had died prior to May 29, 1633 when his will was proved (see Hunt, John G.; “Fiction Versus Possibility in the Tracy Genealogy”; TAG, Vol. 41; 1965).  The most recent theory, first suggested by Mr. John G. Hunt of Arlington, Virginia, and recently reviewed by Mrs. Edward A. Williams in February 1986, conjectures that Thomas Tracy was descended from the Tracy family of Norwich, England (see The Origins of Thomas Tracy of Connecticut).

 

Thomas Tracy first appears in America as a resident of Salem, Massachusetts in the year 1636.  He was noted twice in the Early Town Records of Salem (Book 1, pp. 24 and 29).  First, “On the 23 of the 11th month anno. 1636 Thomas Tracy, ship carpenter, applied to be received as inhabitant upon a certificate of divers of Watertown, and is to have five acres of land”; and then, “On the 2 of the first month 1636 Thomas Tracy received for inhabitant upon a certificate from Watertown and is to have 5 acres of land (which he may have laid out when he hath a ticket from me, Govenor Endicott that he hath paid me).”  On December 25, 1637, Thomas was included in a division of land at Salem, at which time he was listed as one in family.

 

Thomas soon removed to Wethersfield, Connecticut and from there a few years later to Saybrook, Connecticut, where he had been appointed to assist Capt. John Mason, who had charge of the Saybrook Fort.  In 1645, he and Thomas Leffingwell were instrumental in granting military assistance to the Mohegans (led by chief Uncas) in their continued conflict with the rival Narragansetts.  In gratitude, Chief Uncas later bequeathed to a group of the Saybrook settlers a nine-mile square tract of land, which was to become the town of Norwich (originally called “Mohegan”).

 

Thomas Tracy was among the most influential of the original proprietors of Norwich.  He and John Mason were the sole witnesses to the original deed for the township granted by Chief Uncas in 1659.  Thomas Tracy served the town in numerous capacities – civil, ecclesiastical and military.  He was appointed to the Court of Commission in 1662, was deputy to the legislature for several sessions from 1667 through 1678, sat as a member of the Colonial Assembly for twenty sessions, and was appointed a justice in 1678.  In 1666, he was appointed an ensign in the Norwich Train Band and in 1673 was commissioned a lieutenant of the New London County Dragoons.

 

Thomas Tracy’s home-lot lay was situated on the south side of the main street, east of Simon Huntington’ property, and consisted of nine acres, measuring thirty-four rods on the street.  The original division of land was supplemented by subsequent grants from the town and state.

 

The identity of Thomas Tracy’s first wife is not known.  Contrary to long-standing assertions in print and elsewhere, there is no basis for the claim that she was “Mary, widow of Edward Mason”, much less that her Christian name was even “Mary”.

 

Thomas Tracy had seven children by his first wife:

 

  1. John, b. at Wethersfield, circa 1642 (married Mary Winslow).
  2. Thomas, b. at Wethersfield, circa 1644 (married Sarah ----).
  3. Jonathan, b. at Saybrook, circa 1646 (married Mary Griswold).
  4. Miriam, b. at Saybrook, circa 1648 (married Thomas Waterman).
  5. Solomon, b. at Saybrook, circa 1651 (married first Sarah Huntington and second Sarah Bliss).
  6. Daniel, b. at Saybrook, circa 1652 (married first Abigail Adgate and second Hannah Backus).
  7. Samuel, b. at Saybrook, circa 1654.

 

Thomas’ first wife is said to have died at Saybrook in the year 1659.  Thomas was twice remarried – first to Martha Bourne, daughter of Thomas Bourne of Marshfield and widow of John Bradford; and second to Mary Foote, daughter of Nathaniel and Elizabeth (Deming) Foote and widow successively of John Stoddard and John Goodrich.

 

Lieut. Thomas Tracy died at Norwich on November 7, 1685, “in his seventy-sixth year”.  His death was entered with the family record of his son, John Tracy, at Norwich (VRp I:7) as, “liut Thomas Tracy deceased 7th november 1685”.  Thomas left an estate, including about 5,000 acres of land, was was appraised at 560 pounds.  The New London Probate Court ordered distribution of the estate as follows”  “to John, the oldest son, 120 pounds; to the other sons, and to Sergeant Thomas Waterman, each 70 pounds”.  No mention of a widow’s dowry was made, so it is presumed that Thomas’ third wife had predeceased him.

 

References:

 

-          Abbey, Matilda O.; Genealogy of the Family of Lt. Thomas Tracy, of Norwich, Connecticut: compiled from the genealogical works of the Hydes and Tracys by Chancellor Reuben H. Walworth and other reliable sources; Milwaukee, Wisconsin: D.S. Harkness & Co.; 1889.

-          Hunt, John G.; “Fiction Versus Possibility in the Tracy Genealogy”; The American Genealogist; Vol. 41; 1965.

 

 

Wallbridge

 

The parentage and ancestry of Henry Wallbridge have not been discovered, but it seems fair to presume that he was born in England.  It is commonly asserted that he was a native of either Dorchester (in Dorsetshire) or Devonshire, but the authority behind these claims is not known.  It is estimated that Henry was born circa 1668.  William Gedney Wallbridge’s genealogy of this family, Descendants of Henry Wallbridge Who Married Anna Amos, December 25th, 1688 at Preston, Conn. (full citation below), provides the following account of Henry’s ancestral home and subsequent emigration to America:

 

“Henry Wallbridge, a seventh son, with his brothers William and Stephen, were from the County of Devon, or else from near Wareham in Dorsetshire, southern part of England; the latter statement being supported by the fact that in Dorsetshire, Wallbridges are now living who trace their ancestry back for many generations and report that some of their kin came to this country in early days.  The three brothers are said to have fought with the Duke of Monmouth in his rebellion against King James the Second, and after the defeat of the rebel army at Sedgemoor, July 5, 1685, to have fled, to this country, thus escaping trial and almost certain death at the hands of that human tiger, the notorious Judge Jeffreys.  They are reported to have settled first at Dedham, Mass. but no record of them can be found there, and thence went to Preston, Conn., six miles east of Norwich. William, unmarried, was thrown from his horse and killed soon after coming to this country.  Stephen changed his name to Stephen Meech, taking, it is said, his mother’s maiden name, and he has many descendants, among whom Wallbridge is frequently used as a middle name.”

 

Henry Wallbridge first appears on record in New England at Preston, New London County, Connecticut, where he was married on December 25, 1688 to Anna Amos, daughter of Hugh and Hannah Amos (Preston VR I:19).  Anna was born at Boston, Massachusetts on January 28, 1667.  Her father, Hugh Amos, was a freeman at Boston in 1666 and later one of the original grantees of the town of Preston.

 

Henry and Anna resided initially at Preston, later removing to nearby Norwich.  In November 1699, Henry’s name appears on a list of inhabitants of “Quinebog” at a meeting in Preston.  By 1702, he had settled in Norwich, where he and his wife resided for the remainder of their lives.  The Norwich Deeds show numerous land transactions (from 1702 through 1727) in which Henry took part; and in 1718 he was listed among the sixteen “Farmers in Ye Crotch of Ye Rivers” – that is, the tract of land lying in the fork of the rivers Shetucket and Quinebaug, about three miles above where the junction of the former with the Yantic produces the Thames.

 

Henry and Anna (Amos) Wallbridge had a family of seven children:

 

1.       William, b. March 20, 1690 (m. Abigail Lawrence);

2.       Amos, b. April 9, 1693 (m. Theoda Porter);

3.       Henry, b. May 26, 1696 (m. Mary Jewett);

4.       Thomas, b. circa 1699 (m. Mary Knight);

5.       Anna, b. March 8, 1702/3 (m. Elisha Munsell);

6.       Ebenezer, b. May 15, 1705 (m. first Mary Durkee and second Mrs. Elizabeth (Leffingwell) Hyde); and

7.       Margaret, b. September 11, 1711 (m. Ebenezer Hammond).

 

The first three children were recorded at Preston (VR I:19) and the youngest three at Norwich (VRp I:67).  The fourth child, Thomas, was not recorded at either place.  Henry and Anna were members of First Congregational Church at Preston and three of their children appear on the baptismal registers there:  Thomas, baptized on November 4, 1699; Ebenezer, baptized on July 1, 1705; and Margaret, baptized on March 4, 1711/2.

 

Henry Wallbridge died at Norwich on July 25, 1729 (VRp I:67).  Just two days previously (July 23, 1729) he had made his last will and testament, in which he termed himself, “I Henry Wallbridge of Norwich, in the County of New London and Colony of Connecticutt, in New England, Yeoman”.  The will made bequests to his “well beloved Wife Anna”, to his six surviving children (William, Amos, Thomas, Anna, Ebenezer and Margaret) and to the three children of his deceased son Henry.  Mrs. Anna (Amos) Wallbridge died at Norwich in the year 1751.  Her will, dated April 14, 1748, was proved at Norwich on June 10, 1751.

 

References:

 

-          Wallbridge, William Gedney; Descendants of Henry Wallbridge Who Married Anna Amos, December 25th, 1688 at Preston, Conn.; Litchfield, Connecticut: Press of Franklin Print Co.; 1898.

 

 

Waterman

 

Thomas Waterman was born at Marshfield, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts on November 30, 1644, the second son of Robert and Elizabeth (Bourne) Waterman of Marshfield.  Upon his maturity, Thomas removed to Connecticut, where he was one of the original thirty-five proprietors of Norwich in 1660, despite not yet having attained the age of even sixteen years.  It is presumed that Thomas removed to Connecticut in the company of his uncle John Bradford (second husband of Thomas’ aunt, Martha Bourne), who was also an original proprietor at Norwich, dying there in 1676.

 

Thomas Waterman was married at Norwich in November 1668 to Miriam Tracy, the only daughter of Lieut. Thomas Tracy (see above).  Thomas and Miriam had a family of eight children:

 

  1. Thomas, b. September 1670 (m. Elizabeth Allyn);
  2. John, b. March 1672 (m. first Elizabeth Lathrop, second Judith Woodward and third Elizabeth Bassett);
  3. Elizabeth, b. August 1675 (m. John Fitch);
  4. Miriam, b. April 1678 (d. unmarried at Norwich on September 22, 1760);
  5. Martha, b. December 6, 1680 (m. Reinold Marvin of Lyme);
  6. Lydia, b. August 1683 (m. Eleazer Burnham);
  7. Joseph, b. January 15, 1685 (m. Elizabeth Woodward); and
  8. Anna, b. April 1689 (m. Josiah DeWolf of Lyme).

 

The family was fully recorded in the Vital Records at Norwich (VRp I:14).

 

Thomas Waterman was a Sergeant in the Connecticut train band of the Colonial Militia of Norwich in 1669 and was made a freeman of Norwich, Connecticut on May 16, 1671 by the General Assembly.  He was listed as one of the original patentees of Norwich when the official patent was issued by the General Court of Connecticut on March 30, 1687.  He was listed as a townsmen in Norwich records in the years 1675, 1681 and 1684, the latter record listing him as “Sergt. Waterman”.  In 1681, his name was included on the roll of freeman in Norwich.  On December 11, 1704, he was made a collector of taxes.

 

Thomas was the first known innkeeper in Norwich.  A note in the Norwich Town Records dated December 11, 1679 reads as follows:  “Agreed and voted by ye towne ye Sergent Thomas Waterman is desired to keepe the ordynary.  And for his encouragement he is granted four ackers of paster land where he can convenyently find it ny about the valley going from his house into the woods.”

 

Thomas Waterman died at Norwich on June 1, 1708.  He was buried at the Old Norwich Town Cemetery, where his gravestone was inscribed with the following epitaph:  “SERT / THOMAS / WATERMAN / DECD JUNE 1ST / 1708.  AGED 64 Y”.  He left an estate which was inventoried at £855.11.4.

 

References:

 

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; pp. 206-208.

 

 

Willes

 

Rev. Henry Willes was born at Windsor, Connecticut on October 14, 1690, the second son and third child of Joshua and Hannah (Buckland) Willes.  He graduated from Yale University on September 14, 1715 and was subsequently ordained on October 8, 1718 as the first pastor of the Franklin Congregational Church, also known as the Second (or “West Farms”) Society.  Henry served as pastor of the Franklin Church for thirty-one years, resigning on January 23, 1749/50 amidst a “long and obstinate” controversy involving the site of a new meeting house.

 

Henry Willes was married at Norwich on October 27, 1718 (VRp I:92) to Martha Kirtland, daughter of John and Lydia (Pratt) Kirtland of Saybrook, Connecticut.  Martha was born at Saybrook on August 11, 1695.  Henry and Martha had a family of nine children born at Norwich (VRp I:92):

 

  1. John, b. September 14, 1719 (m. Elizabeth Dodge);
  2. Martha, b. April 20, 1721 (m. Jabez Edgerton);
  3. Parnel, b. March 14, 1722/3 (m. Simon Abell);
  4. Lydia, b. November 25, 1725, d. unmarried at Franklin, December 16, 1816;
  5. Henry, b. January 20, 1727/8 (m. Ruth Edgerton);
  6. Hannah, b. July 13, 1730;
  7. Ruth, b. January 21, 1732/3 (m. Simeon Peck);
  8. Joshua, b. August 28, 1735 (m. first Martha Edgerton, second Eunice Huntington and third Elizabeth Bushnell); and
  9. Temperance, b. May 19, 1738 (m. Abner Hyde).

 

Rev. Henry Willes died at Norwich, Connecticut on September 3, 1758 (VRp I:92), and his widow, Martha, on December 11, 1773 (VRp I:421)

 

Franklin Bowditch Dexter’s Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College (cited below) provides the following entry for Rev. Henry Willes:

 

“HENRY WILLES was born in Windsor, Connecticut, October 14, 1690, son of Lieutenant Joshua Wills, or Willes, of Windsor, by his second wife, Hannah, daughter of Thomas Buckland, of that town.  In October, 1716, the General Assembly of Connecticut granted liberty to the inhabitants of that part of Norwich known as Norwich West Farms (incorporated in 1786 by the name of Franklin) to form a religious society; and not long after Mr. Willes was invited to preach as a candidate.  He proved acceptable to the people (about fifty families), and with a view to his settlement permission was obtained, in May, 1718, from the Assembly for the organization of a church.  Accordingly, on October 8, 1718, a church of eight members (the Second or West Church in Norwich) was gathered, and Mr. Willes ordained pastor.  For a long series of years his ministry was quiet and happy; but the derangement produced by the formation in 1734 of another society in Norwich, and the attempts to fix the location of a new house of worship, resulted in great disaffection among the people.  In the Great Awakening of 1740, Mr. Willes sympathized with his friend, Benjamin Lord (Y. C. 1714), the pastor of the parent church in Norwich, and bade the revival godspeed.  By 1746, however, a Separate Society was formed at the West Farms, by skilfully taking advantage of the existing elements of discontent.  In October, 1747, the General Court interposed to prevent the summary dismission of Mr. Willes, and two years later they gave a final decree for the payment of his dues, and advised him to resign.  He resigned accordingly, January 23, 1749-50; but remained in the parish until his death, which happened there, after a week’s illness, from paralysis, September 3, 1758, at the age of 68 years.  The inventory of his estate amounted to £651; it included one hundred and eighty-six volumes.  He married, October 27, 1718, Martha, daughter of John and Lydia (Pratt) Kirtland, of Saybrook, Connecticut, and a sister of the Rev. Daniel Kirtland (Y. C. 1720).  She was born August 11, 1695, and died December 11, 1773, in her 79th year.  The Rev. Dr. Lord, of Norwich 1st Society, preached and published funeral sermons on occasion of the deaths of Mr. Willes and his wife.  They had a large family, three sons and eight daughters.  The Rev. D. Ellis Willes (Y. C. 1850) is a direct descendant.”

 

References:

 

-          Caulkins, Frances Manwaring; History of Norwich, Connecticut: from its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866; Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard; 1878; p. 430.

-          Dexter, Franklin Bowditch; Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College: With Annals of the College History; New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press; 1912; Vol. 6, pp. 146-147