1. WILLIAM COMSTOCK1,2,3,4,5,6 was born on 4 July 1595 in England.7,8 He immigrated in 1635 to Massachusetts Bay Colony.2 He served in the military on 26 May 1637 at Attacked from Wethersfield, CT in Pequot Fort, Mystic County, Connecticut.1
Please be aware that Comstock may not yet have been in America during the Pequot War in spite of the many references that claim he "might" have been or "probably" was a part of that War. There has been no actual document found that he participated. WILLIAM died about 1683 at the age of 88 in New London, New London County, Connecticut.9
The following research results need additional substantiation. Please do not consider the following as absolute. I have used a reputable genealogist onsite that has not found anything more than what is indicated here - at least to date there were no more records of this family in England after the baptism of a son Christopher.
There is a baptism recorded at St. Martin in the Fields, the church in Trafalgar Square, London. The name is spelled William Coomstocke and no parents names are given - the date is most certainly 4 Jul 1596. The baptism can be found at FamilySearch.org. There was also a Georg Constocke, baptized 24 Jun 1590 whose father's name was recorded as John Constocke.
That other Comstocks were there is further proved by C. B. Comstock's findings for his books on the family - he had found these burials.
From his book, "Descendants of William Comstock of New London, Connecticut", published 1907:
The Harleian Society publications gives among the burials of the church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London:
"Mariana Combstocke, 30 Novr 1595.
"Joannes Combstocke, 26 Aug. 1597.
"Johannes Comstock, 1 Nov. 1603."
Unfortunately there is also a burial recorded at St. Martin in the Fields for William Comstock, 20 May 1598. No age or other details are given. This could very well be the child baptized two years earlier. On FindMyPast there is a database "Boy'd London Burials" which includes William Comstock and a John Comstock who was buried 1597 and a John Comstock, buried 1603. I have found other publications which contain transcripts of both the baptism and burial of this William Comstock, but not actual images of the original parish record.
We have no information or tradition that William Comstock, the immigrant ancestor of this study, ever lived in central London which is the location of St. Martin in the Fields. There are very few occurrences of the surname there at this time. I am inclined to believe this is not William, the immigrant, but a child who died very young.
Also from FamilySearch.org.
Wm. Camstock married Eliz. Cock, 2 Sep 1623, High Wycombe, Buckingham, England
It can be found in the database "England, Marriages, 1538–1973 "
This location is west of London and between London and Devon where the village of Culmstocke is located - where a family could easily have drifted toward the larger center of population. There is a strong likelihood the Comstock name derived from that place, as many of the English surnames were derived from a location and early Comstocks may have been present there. I have found no record placing a Comstock in Devon, however.
Then from Ancestry.com are the digital images, database "London, England, Baptisms, Marriages & Burials, 1538-1812". At Hillingdon, Uxbridge St. Margaret - a parish quite close to High Wycombe, I found the following baptisms. These images are difficult to read and spellings differ, but other colleagues have agreed with my interpretations as follows
1624, 21 Jul Indexed as "Damell", sonne to Willm Coomestone and Elizabeth his wife.
Note: I read the child's name as Daniell with an undotted i and the surname looks more like Coomestonk
1626, 10 Sep John, sonne to Willm Coomestocke and Elizabeth his wife
1629, 26 Apr Samuell, sonne to Willm Coomestock and Elizabeth uxor
Note: "uxor" is Latin for wife
1631, 18 Dec Elizabeth fillia William Coomstocke
Note: "filia" is Latin for daughter
1634, 18 Aug There is what appears to be an incomplete entry. The child is Christopher - the father's abbreviated first name, may indeed be Wm and the surname does look much like Coomestock in the other entries - it has been indexed as "Cumsters" which it certainly isn't.
1636, 17 May Christo'r. The father was William Coomestock, although this time indexed as "Cumscock". There is a word following the father's name - almost looks like "and" and doesn't seem to be "wife" or "uxor"
No other entries have been found in this database for any name resembling Comstock except in a Parish in Somerset, an area which lies immediately east of Devon and is closer to High Wycombe and Uxbridge than Devon would be. If the Comstock name came from Culmstocke, which is probable, it would seem they had drifted away by the late 1500's.
My conclusions are these:
...The child baptized at St Martin in the Fields cannot be ruled out - he is the approximate age of our immigrant William Comstock, and there is no way to tell if he is the same William that died two years after the baptism.
...The name of William Comstock's wife is proved as Elizabeth in Connecticut records - but her surname has never been proved as Daniel or Daniels. The fact that it appears as Daniel(s) in very many places cannot be taken as proof - I have found no substantiation for this name anywhere. It was given in a lineage society application when no proof documents were required and many of these early applications contain major errors. The marriage in 1623 to an Elizabeth (Cock, or perhaps Cocke) is timely and in a possible location either for a young groom born earlier in the inner city or an outlying parish. Although some claim William was married more than one time, there is no record that indicates he was - the term "my now wife" in New England in this time period was a common legal term indicating a present wife, whether she was the first and only, or one of several. There are instances in some of the southern colonies in later years when the term does have a different meaning - but not at this time in New England.
...The names of the sons baptized coincide closely with the names and possible birth dates of the four probable sons of William Comstock, to include possibly an infant Christopher that died young and a second child named Christopher. There is also the baptism of the single daughter Elizabeth
...The Comstock records in this Parish end with the baptism of Christopher in May of 1636. William Comstock is listed on a list of settlers who came to Watertown, CT between 1636 and 1640 and he was not one of the original settlers - many of these that came between 1636-1640 are said to have come direct from England. A Wethersfield, CT record shows that William Comstock owned land in 1641 that he had purchaed from Richard Milles - Milles had left Wethersfield in 1639. This suggests William Comstock had come before 1639, but not before 1636, which coincides nicely with the end of the records in Uxbridge, England and the lack of records in Connecticut prior to 1636 even though some researchers have alluded to the possible presence of William Comstock, without actual citations, before 1636.
Records of William Comstock on this side of the Atlantic follow.
The History of Ancient Wethersfield by Adams & Stiles.
Possibly William Comstock and family first lived in Watertown, Massachusetts Bay Colony. Puritan settlers from Watertown asked permission to establish a new town in Connecticut 1634/1635. Although William Comstock was not among the first ten men to do so he is on a list of 108 additional settlers who came between 1636 and 1640.
In 1637 there was an attack on the Pequot Indians near Mystic. There were 61 men from Hartford, 43 men from Windsor, and 26 men from Wethersfield, under the leadership of a Capt John Mason. Adams and Stiles list 22 men from Wethersfield and Comstock is among them. Note: Unfortunately they do not list their data source, nor can the name Comstock be connected to this battle with any actual known record. 500 Indians were killed, many of them women and children.
In 1641, Jeffrey Ferris sold one acre of land to William Comstock - bounded by Fort Street on the northe, east by Jacob Waterhouse, south by the home of the late Samuel Ireland, and west by the land of George Chappell [father of Abigail that married William's son John]
It seems likely that William had immigrated by 1639:
This appears to be one the very first record of any Comstock in America.
24 Nov 1639. John Ressell in his will gave to his wife Jane "the remainder of his time to be served by John Comstock"
quoted from E. B. Comstock in The Comstock Family in America, 1938.
Quoted from E. B. Comstock's, The Comstock Family in America.
Wethersfield record: 2nd month and 28th day 1641 ...lands of William Comstock which he purchased of Richard Milles ...on Connecticut River ... one piece whereupon a barn with two cellars and other buildings standeth as is now fenced ....two acres or more
12th month 10th day, 1743 [sic - should be 1643]. upon ...land bought by Andrew Langdon of William Comstock. One piece whereon a house standeth on three acres more or less.
The Connecticut Colonial Records, Vol. 1, p.109 [found online], state that Richard "Mylls" sued William Comstock and John Sadler for slander in the Court of Elections in Hartford in Aug of 1644. Damages were 200 pounds - a huge sum for that time. Disposition is unknown.
A book on the Douglas family says he moved to New London [first known as Pequot] about 1649 along with sons William and Daniel. [This statement is very confusing and may be the source of the possibility about a "son William". There is no other evidence there was ever a son named William. Maybe the deed re the grandsons was misread.] Also Daniel went to Rhode Island near this time. In fact William appears in Court records at Hartfort in 1644 and 1649, after which he no longer is found at that location - Connecticut Puritan Settlers by Royal R. Hinman.
Quoted in E. B. Comstock's, The Comstock Family in America, 1938
12 Jun 1647. William Comstock was granted a lot at Pequot (later New London) by the town, also 10 acres of upland, 10 acres on East side of River Thames
2 Dec 1651 William Comstock granted by the town 20 acres at Niantic, 8 acres of upland, 100 acres upland laid out to Mr. Tinker, 100 acres upon a high hill up Mohegan bounded by land laid out to Mr. Picket.
On 10 Nov 1650 at a town meeting in New London, he voted to cooperate with John Winthrop in erecting a corn mill. He also applied for a house lot 1650/51 and was a settler there by 1651 [see above]. His location was on Post Hill near the corner of Vauxhall & Williams Streets . John Elderkin whose daughter married Daniel Comstock adjoined on the south. This was an elevated neighborhood called Waller's Hill. [From History of New London CT by Caulkins.]
Quoted in E. B. Comstock's, The Comstock Family in America, 1938
25 Jan 1659. William Comstock of New London deeded 8 acres in New London to Will Houge, carpenter, with consent of wife Elizabeth.
Quoted in E. B. Comstock's, The Comstock Family in America, 1938
Old goodman Comstock was chosen Sexton to order youth in the meeting of 25 Feb 1662. The title "old goodman" could indicate a birth as early as 1590.
This is obviously the source of the appearance online of William Comstock, as "William Goodman Comstock" in many family trees. The term goodman, was not a name, but referred to an elder citizen.
From History of New London, pp.305-306:
[There are numerous errors in the following, particularly regarding the children of William Comstock, as he had more than the two sons listed. I post it here to show I have not overlooked this book.]
"William Comstock, father of Daniel, came from Hartford in 1649 and lived to old age in his house upon Post Hill; (near north corner of Williams and Vauxhall Streets.) His wife Elizabeth was aged fifty-five in 1663. No record has been found of the death of either. His land was inherited by his son Daniel, of New London, and grandson William, of Lyme. The latter was a son of John Comstock deceased -- and his mother Abigail, in 1680, was then the wife of Moses Huntley, of Lyme. It is probable that Daniel and John were the only children of William Comstock, sen., and his wife Elizabeth. John is the ancestor of the Lyme family of Comstocks, and Daniel of those of the North Parish or Montville. The latter, as appears from statements of his age, was born about 1630. His wife, whose name was Paltiah, was a daughter or step-daughter of John Elderkin. They had a son Daniel and eight daughters, whose births are not recorded; but they were all baptized by Mr. Bradstreet in April and November, 1671. After this two others sons were baptized; Kingland in 1673, and Samuel in 1677."
Quoted in E. B. Comstock's, The Comstock Family in America, 1938
William had sons John & Daniel as shown by deed of 4 Dec 1694 in which grandsons William Comstock of Lyme [son of John] and Daniel Comstock of New London [son of Daniel] conveyed land at Nyantik which said land was given to our grandfather William Comstock, deceased, by the town of New London, 20 acres. This is the 20 acres granted 21 Jun 1647, as above.
William also probably had a son Samuel.
Daniel Comstock moved from Providence to New London. He had been in Providence on 19 Feb 1645 when he accepted a grant of 25 acres of land.
24 Jun 1648, Daniel Comstock, with other young men, was arrested in Providence for giving a false Indian alarm.
In 1660, Daniel Comstock was paid 20 shillings in New London for killing a wolf.
Daniel and Samuel Comstock had adjoining lots in Providence and Samuel remained in Providence - Daniel returned to New London. Daniel named a son Samuel & Samuel named a son Daniel. Both William and a Samuel were in Hartford Court Records in 1648 and in 1653 Samuel was both at New London and Rhode Island; giving rise to the presumption that Samuel Comstock of Providence was also the son of William of New London.
William probably had a son Christopher:
Christopher Comstock of Fairfield and later of Norwalk, CT, made an affidavit about visiting good wife Knapp who was charged with being a witch at New Haven 29 May 1654. He named three of his children Elizabeth, Daniel & Samuel. These facts suggest that Christopher was a son of William.
William is also said to have had a daughter Elizabeth Comstock who married Edward Shipman in Saybrook, CT.
I believe the ages of the children are all estimates in online databases. The discovery of the baptisms at Uxbridge St. Margaret are really quite close to the supposed ages. Elizabeth is often reported to have been a second wife based on a statement in a record that she was William's "now wife". This is an incorrect interpretation of the New England records as most wives were referred to as the "now wife" whether they were the first, second, third, etc. This was customary legal language in that time and place. There is nothing I've found that indicates whether or not William Comstock was married to more than one lady.
The Comstock DNA Project so far has tests only from descendants of Samuel and Christopher - they do match well enough for them to share a common ancestor within this time period.
Four descendants of William Comstock, who still carried the surname, have served in Congress and their brief biographies may be found in the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress online and their lineages traced in John A. Comstock's book, The Comstock Family in America.
Descended through son John:
Charles Carter Comstock (1818-1900), Democrat from Michigan in the House of Representatives, 1885-1886.
Daniel Webster Comstock, (1840-1917) Republican from Indiana in the House of Representatives, 1917-1918 [died in office]
Descended through son Samuel:
Oliver Cromwell Comstock, (1780-1860) Republican from New York in the House of Representatives, three terms, 1813-1818.
Solomon Gilman Comstock, (1842-1933) Republican from Minnesota in the House of Representatives, 1889-1890.
Kinship to Gerald Ford....
Sat, 30 Dec 2006
From: "David Hoffman" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: [CTNEWLON] Gerald's Ford's New London County Ancestry
Gerald Ford 's additional New London County ancestry--William Comstock,
George Chappell, Richard Ely and short-time resident of Lyme Joseph
My Note: This relationship of Gerald Ford is likely through William's son John who married Abigail Chappel Ely & Seldon also seem to be connected to this line.
A more recent book on the Comstock family - The Family of John Everett Comstock written by Rogers Henry Comstock, Syracuse, NY, 1981 - has a quite good summary of some of the early discoveries of the name Comstock in England and a good discussion of some of the various theories of origin of the family, as well as disputing any "coat of arms" for the Comstock name. All of it seems to have been taken from the earlier Comstock books, but does provide a rather good summation.
WILLIAM COMSTOCK and ELIZABETH COCK were married on 2 September 1623 in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England.9,10 ELIZABETH COCK11 was born circa 1608 in England.11,12 She died after 1665 at the age of 57.12
There is apparently testimony in a court record that Elizabeth was aged 55 in 1663. That would give her a birth year of 1608. [If true, she may have been only about 14 when married.]
History of New London, Quintin Publication, WorldVitalRecords online.
I have seen parents for Elizabeth posted online - father, Henry Daniel, but I can't confirm that this has ever been proven by an actual record. Her surname was stated in an application to the Daughters of Founders & Patriots society circa 1913. Although standards of proof are quite high for the direct line to the founder/patriot, there would be no such requirement for a spouse not in the direct line. No proof was offered.
The truth is I believe that she was not a Daniel or Daniels at all. I found the marriage record for a William Coomstock in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire - just outside London and very near the Parish where I found baptisms for all four of the proposed sons found later in America. The wife was Elizabeth Cock ...not Daniels. The mother of the baptized boys was Elizabeth.
From John A. Comstock, The Comstock Family in America
(*)In "History of The National Society of
Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America"
for the fifteenth year, ending May 13,
1913, Mary Ella Comstock (Mrs. Carl J.
Vietz) gives the wife of William1 Comstock
as "Elizabeth Daniel."
Notes from John A. Comstock Manuscript held at the NEHGS library on Elizabeth:
Robert Daniel and his wife, Elizabeth, came to Watertown, MA in 1636 and were early inhabitants of Cambridge, MA. About 1638, he purchased of Thomas Blodgett, a house and land on the westerly side of Garden Street, which he sold about 1645 to Nicholas Wyeth. Elizabeth died 2 Oct 1653 and Robert remarried the next year. He died 6 Jul 1655, aged about 63 years [born 1592]
Elizabeth Daniel, daughter of Robert & Elizabeth, married Thomas Fanning 17 May 1655 and died in 1689.
Bib: Genealogical Register of Sherborn & Holliston, Morse, 1856
History of Cambridge, Paige, 1877, p.532
Ancestral Heads of New England Families, Holmes, 1923
Pioneers of Massachusetts, Pope, 1900
Note: Elizabeth, wife of Robert Daniel, was the daughter of Samuel & Elizabeth Morse. Compendium of American Genealogy, Vol VI, Virkus, 1937
Note: According to Three Hundred Colonial Ancestors, Rixford, 1934, and History of the National Society of Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America, for the Fifteenth Year, ending May 13, 1913, the wife of William Comstock was Elizabeth Daniel. If so, she may have been a sister of Robert. The names Daniel and Daniels seem to have been confused in early records. A John Daniels was in New London in 1672.
Also in John A. Comstock's manuscript file, but written by Samuel Willett Comstock. Samuel W. had copied this, possibly from the old letters of Noah D. Comstock.
From History of the National Society of Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America For the Fifteenth Year Ending May 13, 1913I
Mary Ella Comstock, [Mrs. Carl J. Viets]
Born in East Lime, Connecticut
Descendant of William Comstock, through the Revolutionary ancestor, Peter Comstock, born of Connecticut as follows:
2. William H. Comstock [Mch 20, 1819 - Feb 24, 1895] and
Eliza Ann Comstock [Feb 22, 1821 - Dec 4, 1876]
3. Peter Comstock [Dec 5, 1779 - Oct 29, 1862] and
Sally Warren [1785 - Aug 20,1830]
4. Peter Comstock [1731 - apr 3, 1803] and
Sarah Myrick [1754 - Aug 9, 1826], his second wife
5. Peter Comstock [Mar 4 1702 - 1742] and
Martha Avery [1707 - ]
6. Daniel Comstock [1669 - Apr 25, 1746] and
Elizabeth Prentis [m. May 3, 1700]
7. Daniel Comstock [abt 1630 - 1683] and
8. William Comstock [abt 1590 - after 1662].
[note the period following next to last line and omission of the word "and"- AWB
*spelled without the "s"
William Comstock [abt 1590 - aft 1662] a native of England settled in Wethersfield, Conn. before 1641. He was granted a lot in Pequot [New London] in 1647 and built a corn mill there in 1650. In 1662 he is mentioned as an "old man" and chosen sexton to "order the youth in the meeting"
Peter Comstock [1731-1803] served as Captain in the Continental Army and was at Fort Turnbull when New London was burnt. He was born and died Montville, Conn.
[This reads like a typical lineage society application - the lineage given and the service of the "Founder - William Comstock" and the "Patriot - Peter Comstock".]
In the left margin is written:
The is authority quoted in "Three Hundred Colonial Ancestors," Rixford, 1934
3912 Rittenhouse St. NW
In the right margin: (There was a John Daniels in New London in 1662) AWB
I researched John A. Comstock's The Comstock Family in America and discovered a reference to Lt. Comm. Archy Wright Barnes [AWB] whose residence was given as the above address in Washington DC. He was listed as the grandson of Ellen Comstock who married Thomas Jefferson Wright, 10 Oct 1839. Ellen was an 8th generation descendant of William Comstock through his son Daniel.
I also looked for Mary Ella Comstock, whose application is above. She was also in the Comstock book as a daughter of William H. H. Comstock & Eliza Ann Smith. She married Carl J. Vietz and resided at Niantic River, Waterford, CT. Mary Ella was an 8th generation descendant of William, also through his son Daniel.
Correspondence with Lee Daniels in 2002. Her ancestors were John Daniels, b. abt 1640 in Weymouth, England who moved to New London in 1666 and married Mary Chappell of New London. Mary's sister was Abigail Chappell who married John Comstock, son of William & Elizabeth. She had found a Henry Daniel in Much Hadem who had a daughter Elizabeth Daniels, born 8 Jan 1607/08 at Culmstock, Devon, England. She believed William Comstock was also from Devonshire and they had married circa 1622. Henry Daniel was born 1582 at Much Hadem, the son of John Daniel & Elizabeth Pebite of Kelshall, Hertford, England. It should be noted that no such suggested marriage has been found, nor records of Comstocks actually in Devon in this time period. However, further research should be done if possible to determine what became of the child Elizabeth Daniels after her birth.
WILLIAM COMSTOCK and ELIZABETH COCK had the following children:
|Christopher COMSTOCK was christened on 18 August 1634 in St Margaret of Uxbridge, Middlesex, England. He died before May 1636. |
Ancestry.com: "London, England, Baptisms, Marriages & Burials, 1538-1812"
Baptisms at Hillingdon, Uxbridge St Margaret
There is what appears to be an incomplete entry 18 Aug 1634. The child is Christopher - the father's abbreviated first name, may indeed be Wm and the surname does look much like Coomestock in the other entries - it has been indexed as "Cumsters" which it certainly isn't. There is definitely a later entry for a Christopher Comstock - perhaps this child died as an infant.