(REVEREND) HENRY WHITFIELD (1597 - 1657) - IMMIGRANT
1618: MARRIAGE OF HENRY AND DOROTHY SHEAFFE
In 1618 HENRY (age 21) married Dorothy Sheaffe in Ockley, Surrey, England. HENRY and Dorothy had at least nine children:
1639: IMMIGRATION TO AMERICA
In July 1639 HENRY (age 42) and family had immigrated to America aboard the ship Hector with “considerable money in his pocket and, in the back of his mind, the purpose of founding a religious hierarchy of his own.” HENRY was a founder of Guilford, Connecticut. HENRY along with Colonial George and Lady Fenwick, Eaton and John Davenport arrived at Menunkatuck (or Guilford). The Indian “Queen Bee” Shaumpishuh relinquished this land in return for a dozen each of coats, shoes, pots, hatchets, knives, porringers, and finally, a dozen looking-glasses and two pairs of stockings. The Reverend and his company then built Guilford’s Old Stone House – a place of worship.
1651: RETURN TO ENGLAND
In 1651 HENRY returned to England. He had published several works, and was an Oxford graduate. The Guilford’s Old Stone House continued to be a place of worship for some time.
1657: DEATH OF HENRY
In September 1657 daughter Mary and son Nathaniel were with HENRY (age 60) when he died Winchester, England.
Notes On (Reverend) Henry Whitfield
Information is based on the following sources:
Henry Whitfield’s ancestry can be traced back to about 1271. He is descended from poet Geoffrey Chaucer’s sister Catherine and is found in the NEHGS, mag. Nexus, vol. X, Nos. 2 & 3. There he is listed as an ancestor of Mrs. Hathaway Lee Roosevelt, first wife of Teddy Roosevelt. In the Nexus he is called a Urfather, being an ancestor of so many.
The ship Hector was said to have been the first “that ever cast anchor in” that place. (Correspondence 27 Sept. to Lady Mary Vere)
Guilford’s Old Stone House is reputed to be the oldest stone dwelling in America and still stands in a somewhat restored status. (Connecticut Trilogy, p. 240)
(See Geneal. Reg. IX. 149.) No doubt he was bred up for the pulpit, but of his place of educ. we are ign. The common acco. of him is, that he was s. of a lawyer, b. a. 1597, sett. as min. at Ockham,a. 20 ms. from London, in Co. Surry [sic], but others say Ockley or Okely in that sh. a. three ms. from the metrop. was one of the founders of the ch. at G[uilford] yet the establishm. of the ch. Seems to be postpon. to 1643, prob. from the slow growth of the town. He had propty. eno. and disregard. the fulminat. of Bp. Laud for not read. the royal proclam. for sports on Sunday, resign. his place without dispute, after serv. at the altar near twenty yrs. in his native ld. Late in the autumn of 1650, he went home, publish. The foll. yrs. relations of the spread of the gospel among our aborig. andd. in the city of Winchester, it is said, in the office of min. tho. of this I much doubt, if my construct. of the lang. of letters from his s,-in-law and neph. both nam. Johm Higginson, as to his long life, be correct. See 3 Mass. Hist. Coll. VII. 200, 1 and 4. Commonly it is said he had ten ch. but I kn. only of Abigail, the first w. of Rev. James Fitch, and Sarah, wh. m. John Higginson."(James Savage, *A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, vol. 4, 1862, p. 517.)back to top
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