Christopher Reynolds

Christopher REYNOLDS (1530 – 1600 ) was Alex’s 11th great grandfather, one of 4,096 in this generation of the Miner line through his grandson John.  He was also Alex’s 12th great grandfather, one of 8,192 in this generation of the Miller line through his granddaughter Catherine.

Christopher Reynolds – Coat of Arms (Note the foxes)

Christopher Reynolds was born in 1530 in Kent, England.  His parents were Robert REINOLDS and [__?__].  He married Clarissa HUNTINGTON.  Alternatively, he married Alyce Streetinge .  He settled in London where he and his sons engaged in trade and commerce.  Christopher died in 1600 in London.

Clarissa Huntington was born 1534.  Clarissa died in 1575.

Children of  Christopher and Clarissa:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Nathanial Reynolds 1553 Aylesford, Kent, England 1634 London, England
2. George Reynolds 1555 Kent, England Thomasyn Church 20 Jan 1585
St. James Clerkenwell London, England
1634 England
3. William REYNOLDS 1560 London, England Esther RUTH
2 Feb 1580 Kent, England
1646/47 Bermuda
4. Thomas Reynolds 1564 Middlesex, England Cicely Phippen
10 Mar 1593 Dorset, England
14 Jul 1603 St James, Clerkenwell, London, England
5. Christopher Reynolds 1565 1566 or
6. Mary Reynolds 1567  Died Young
7. John Reynolds 1569 1604 – London, England
8. Richard Reynolds 1575 Ann Harrison
York, England or York, Virginia
9. Robert Reynolds 1578 1579

Various explanations have been offered as to the origin of the surname Reynolds. It is thought by eminent authorities, however, to have had its source in the Norman French Renaud, or Regnauld, which the English render as Reynard, the fox. Renaud was one of the most popular font-names of the surname period, which accounts for its widespread popularity as a surname a century or more later. Reynolds is of the baptismal class, and signifies literally “the son of Reynold”, which is the Anglicized form of Regnauld, or Reginald. The common use of the fox on coats-of-arms of Reynolds families supports the fox theory, however, the use of the fox in a Reynolds family blazon, does not necessarily imply the origin of the name, but instead may be a play on the word and its similarity to ‘Reynard’. Arms were often ‘assigned’ by the rulers, there sole purpose to distinguish one warrior from another on the battle field, and some of them actually had senses of humor.

Christopher’s father  Robert REINOLDS b 1505 in East Bergholt, Suffolk, England m. 1526 Kent d. 1580 Kent, England. The children of Robert are: Christopher, Henry, Robert, Dorothy, Anne, Francis, Nathaniel. A study of early English records indicate that he had a brother – Nathaniel Reynolds – also engaged with his company. A sister, Dorothy, who d. 21 November 1552 [sic], m. 11 Aug 1567 William Tilghman, son of Richard and Julian (Newman) Tilghman, of (Kent) England. The record of the Tilghman Family is available in the DAR Library and the Library of Congress.

The Reynolds Family Association has no record to support any of the above information about this Christopher. Tillman did research the RFA files, but there is nothing in the files to support the information he provides on Christopher or his children. The RFA files have no sources that indicate any of the New England colonial settlers were children of any Christopher Reynolds. Several members of RFA have researched in England many times for this elusive Christopher with no success. There is no evidence that Christopher ever came to America and most likely he did not. The earliest record of a positive Reynolds arrival is Christopher Reynolds in VA in 1622, when Christopher of New Kent England would have been 92 years old. He probably died in London, England, but to date, no records have been found of his existence in County Kent or London.


2. George Reynolds

After their marriage, he and  Thomasyn Church settled in Bristol, England, and then in London. He is shown to have visited Virginia several times but did not settle in the colony.

Children of George and Thomasyn

i.  Robert Reynolds b. 1586; m. Mary [__?__]

Robert Reynolds is known to have been in Boston as early as 1632, and perhaps was a part of the Winthrop fleet in 1630. At least he was a part of the great immigration which streamed over to New England in the few years after 1630. With him came his wife, Mary (maiden name unknown), a son, Nathaniel, aged about five, four daughters, and probably his supposed brother, John Reynolds of Watertown, whose wife Sarah Reynolds is believed to have sailed in the ship “Elizabeth” of Ipswich in 1634 [Hotten, Early Immigrants].

In Genealogy of New England, Mr. Charles Nutt of Worcester, Mass. asserts, without stating his grounds, that Robert came from Aylesford, County Kent, some thirty miles southeast of London. The parochial records of that town now extend back to only 1660, earlier records having been lost. [Other sources list various places of birth for Robert. Charles Edward Banks in The Winthrop Fleet of 1630 (Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1989) states that Robert was "probably from Boxford, co. Suffolk." Col. Stephen Tillman in Christopher Reynolds and his Descendants, 1959, states that Robert was born 1586 in Kent Co., England and was the son of George and Thomasyn (Church) Reynolds, data taken from George's will. A source reference for the will is not given, nor is the will abstracted.]

Ueber of 1635 according to Boston records enumerating on 8 Jan 1637/38 those who were inhabitants of the town on the “14th day of the 10th month 1635.” Robert took his family back to Boston, where he acquired considerable property and lived the rest of his life. His wife Mary was admitted to the Boston Church Oct. 4, 1645. His occupation is frequently mentioned in various records as “cordwainer” (shoemaker), and property owner.

Robert Reynolds acquired just about 1640 ["Book of Possessions" compiled 1643] or shortly previous – the early pages of the “Book of Possessions” have been lost – a pretty large piece of land, which he afterward divided up into several lots, on the site of the southeast corner of Washington and Milk Streets [Shurtleff, History of Boston ch. LI] (then called High and Fort Streets, respectively) on the corner across Milk Street from the Old South Church, then part of Governor Winthrop’s home lot. On one of these lots of the Reynolds estate, Josiah Franklin about 1685 became the tenant of Capt. Nathaniel Reynolds, then living in Bristol, and apparently remained there until about 1712. It was thus on Reynolds property that Benjamin Franklin was born 6 Jan 1705/06. Though most of the other lots of the original homestead passed out of the hands of the Reynolds family before 1700, this particular Franklin lot was not disposed of until May 21, 1725, when the widow of the third Nathaniel Reynolds conveyed it to John Fosdick, son-in-law of Captain Nathaniel Reynolds.

Robert Reynolds also owned land at Muddy River (modern Brookline), which he conveyed in 1645 and 1653. In 1638 he was mentioned as owning land “bounded on NW with Newtowne” [Boston Record Comm. 2:29]. In 1640, Robert Reynolds is mentioned as selling land on Hogg Island. Robert’s name is often found in the county records of land transfers, as a witness to legal papers, as an appraiser of estates, etc.

At the time the sharp old Capt. Robert Keayne and Mrs. Shearman went to law over a stray pig in 1642, an excited public opinion turned upon the old captain, and judges wrangled over what has become a notable case in the history of bicameral “courts” or legislatures, Robert Reynolds apparently lent his voice to the defense of Keayne [see Palfrey, "Hist. New England" 1:618]. Some years later (Nov. 14, 1653) the following paragraph appears in Keayne’s will [NEHGR 6:156]: “Unto our brother Renolds, shoemaker, senior, twenty shillings; not forgetting a word he spake, publiquely & seasonably, in the time of my distresse, and other men’s violent opposition against me.”

About 1650, Robert’s only son, Nathaniel, rapidly came to be a young man of importance, being elected in 1658 to the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company; marrying in 1657; and commanding a company at Chelmsford, 1676, in King Philip’s Indian war.

In 1658 Robert, “being stricken in age,” realized his end to be approaching, for on April 20, he drew up and signed his will with his own hand, and died a year and seven days later on April 27, 1659. His wife Mary died January 18, 1663. Until a generation or so ago the original will was on file in the Suffolk Registry of Probate in Boston and was copied into the volume of early wills and also published in the New England Genealogical Register [NEHGR 9:137-8], but it has evidently long been stolen. The yellowed original inventory of his estate, 1659, taking minute account of pots, rope-ends, shoe soles, etc. is still to be seen at the Registry. Following is a copy of Robert’s holograph will, as nearly exact as can be had from Registry copies. The fact that its English is comparatively good would indicate that he had a fairly good education.

LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF ROBERT REYNOLDS (Suffolk, Mass. Registry of Probate, Book I, p. 324)

Will. Now Liuing in Boston. ITEM: I give to my wife, my house with all that appertaine unto it, with my Marsh ground at Muddy River, with one Lott of Ground at Long Island, so Long as she Liveth, with all my house hold stuffe whatever is in my house, and what money there is left, and after her decease I haue given my house & Orchard to my sonne Nathaniell and to his heyres foreuer, and if he should dye without Children, or any one Child Lawfully begotten of his owne body, then his wife to enjoy the said house and Orchard so long as she Liueth, and after her decease, to Returne to my fowre daughters Children, that is to say, one part to my daughter Ruth Whitneyand to her Eldest Sonne; a second part to my Daughter Tabitha Abdy & her sonne Mathew Abdy, and if he should dye, to her two daus. one part to either of them alike; a third part to my daughter Sarah Mason and her sonne Robert Mason, & if he dye, to her daughter Sarah; and a fourth part to my dau. Mary Sanger & her sonne Nathaniell & if he dye to her next child, either sonne or daughter; likewise I give to my daughter Ruth Whitney twentie pounds to be payd in good countrey pay & likewise I give to my Daughter Tabitha twentie pounds & also I give to my daughter Sarah twentie pound & likewise I give to my dau. Mary twentie pound, & for the payment of these Legacies I have eight accres of marsh Land, which if my sonne Nathaniell will pay £20 in good pay towards this fowre score pound, then he to haue and enjoy my Marsh land and his heyres foreuer; but if he refuse to pay the twentie pound, then to be devided equally to my fower daughters & to theire children, that is to my daughter Ruth & her Children one part, and to my daughter Tabitha & her Children one part, & to my daughter Sarah and her Children one part, and to my daughter Mary & her Children one part, or else that it may be sold for as much as it will yeeld, and devided among them equally as I said before, & the other three score pound to be raysed out of my owne estate, & what is ouer and aboue, my will & desire is, my wife shall haue, and so I do make her my Executrix to pay all my debts and receive all my debts, and also I joyne my sonne Nathaniell with her, to be as helpefull to my wife, his mother, as possibly he can, and these legacies to be payd within one yeare and a day, and if it should please God that I doe Liue so Long as any of my Estate should be spent, as it is likely it may, I & my wife being stricken in age & are almost past our Labour, then, for euery one of them to abate proportionably alike. Written with my owne hand the 20th day of the 2d month 1658.

Robert Reynols

ii. Thomas Reynolds (twin b. 1590)  m. Mary [__?__] Immigrated to Virginia Settled in Isle of Wight County, Virginia with his brother Christopher.  About 1637, Thomas and his family settled on the Rapidan River.  Children 1. Henry Reynolds b: 1624 Isle of Wight Co VA d 1669-04-06 2. John Reynolds b 1650 Isle of Wight Co VA 3. William Reynolds b 1655 d 1700 4. Rachel Reynolds b 1626 Richmond VA 5. Mary Reynolds b 1625 Richmond VA d 1711 6 Cornelius Reynolds b: 1639 in Old Rappahannock, VA 7. Thomas Reynolds 8 Richard Reynolds iii. John Reynolds (twin b. 1590) m. Sarah Chesterson; John Reynolds of Watertown, whose wife Sarah Reynolds is believed to have sailed in the ship “Elizabeth” of Ipswich in 1634 his brother Robert, sister-in-law, Mary (maiden name unknown), a nephew, Nathaniel, aged about five and four nieces , [Hotten, Early Immigrants]. Upon his arrival in the new world, John settled for a short while in Boston.  Then he removed to Watertown, Mass., with his brother Robert.  John followed Robert to Wethersfield, CT about 165/36.  John and his family remained in Connecticut, but Robert did not stay there long.

John’s name is noted on the monument to the original settlers of Watertown, Mass., to have arrived in 1630 with Governor Saltonstall. His name is included with the original 60 other settlers listed on that monument. Included on that monument, is also the name of Thomas Doggett, a progenitor of Elizabeth Daggett, who married Jeremiah Reynolds about 1772 or 3. Other historical records reveal them to be part of the Winthrop fleet, many of which emigrated from the area around Grafton and Boxford, in Suffolk, England. He married in England, before he came to Massachusetts, as Sarah his wife is known as Reynolds, on the ship passenger list, when they departed Ipswich on May 06, 1634.

He was admitted as a “Freeman”, of Watertown, suggesting he may have been indentured. In 1636, he removed with several other settlers, including Robert Reynolds (probably his brother [whose name is NOT on the monument of the original settlers]), to Weathersfield, Connecticut. The site of his home is noted on the early maps of that town. He is not to be confused with another John Reynolds, who arrived some time later, and was married to a Naomi Latimer.

John Reynolds was a founder of Wethersfield, Hartford, CT

Wethersfield was founded in 1634 by a group of ten Puritans hailing from Watertown, Massachusetts led by John Oldham and Nathaniel Foote Wethersfield is the second-oldest town in Connecticut after Windsor.

Along with Windsor and Hartford, Wethersfield is thought by some to be represented by one of the three grapevines on the Connecticut state flag signifying the state’s three oldest settlements.

John’s home was on High Street, third from the meeting-house and about the center of town, between John Gibbs and Andrew Ward, some 3½ acres. On 11 Mar, 11 Feb, 1640/41, he received a houselot and several other pieces of land. These were all sold to Lieut. John Hollister, recorded May 20, 1644, o.s. [Descendants of John and Sarah Reynolds of Watertown and Greenwich, p. 17; Stiles, History of Wethersfield].

In 1641, He and Sarah removed to Stamford, Connecticut, with some other Weathersfield men, and they established the town of Stamford. He is noted to have received 11 acres of land from the original division of land.

The place and date of his death is not known, but in 1651 the Stamford town records (p. 51) Deed: “the housing and lands of JohnHolly…. more or less bounded by ye lot which was John Renoles…” His name is not mentioned in 1657 when the death of SarahReynolds his wife is recorded. There is some speculation that he was a seaman, crew or officer, and perchance one of the Captains of one of the Winthrop fleet ships and that he made several trips back and forth to England, while at Watertown. This may explain why his name is not listed on the passenger manifest of any of these ships, but that later his wife Sarah’s name is so listed. He may have also died in England on a trip back to the land of his birth. The gravestone of Joseph, grandson of Robert Reynolds who is also noted to have come from Boxford, suggests that the family were of some stature in England, as the tombstone with this Reynolds Family coat of Arms, carries the helmet of a Squire.

There has been some suggestion of a relationship to Governor Winthrop, and or the Gray family (Lady Jane Gray) also of the same area of Suffolk, and related to the Duke of Clarence. A home of the Dukes of Clarence is still standing in the New World in Antigua. They were in residence there before Lord Horatio Nelson made the harbor below their home his dockyard.

More About Sarah Cheserton: April 1634, arrived at Watertown, Mass, as “Sarah Reynolds”, on board the ship, Elizabeth, from Ipswich, Suffolk county, England. This implies she was married before leaving Boxford, to John, before he left England. She was reported at that time to be 20 years of age. Their daughter Elizabeth, may have been named after this ship.

December 1640, They sold their Wethersfield property.

1651, Stamford town records, p. 51: Deed “the housing and lands of John Holly…. more or less bounded by ye lot which was John Renoles…” August 21, 1657, Stamford town meeting records [p. 25-26], record of Sarah Reynolds death. No similar records of John’s death have been found. Did he die before this? Did he make a trip back to England to visit his family, and die while he was there?

iv. Anne Reynolds

v. Christopher Reynolds b.  1611  d 1654 Isle of Wight Co. VA;  m. Elizabeth [__?__] The will of Henry Hobson of Bristol, proved 27 May 1636: …[to]…My kinsman Christopher Reynolds, son of George Reynolds, deceased, and Anne Reynoldes, sister of the said Christopher (at twenty one or day of marriage)… . [Henry F. Waters, A.M.,Genealogical Gleanings in England, 2 Vols. Balto: Genealogical Publications Co, 1969 (reprint edition).] / Although this Christopher and Anne are children of a George, there is no evidence that they are the Christopher and George of interest in this article.  While the possibility exists, until more clear and convincing evidence becomes available, The Reynolds Family Association does not accept Christopher born 1530 and George who married Thomasyn Church as the parents of Christopher Reynolds of Isle of Wight VA.

Christopher and Elizabeth came to Warwick County, Virginia in 1622 aboard the Francis and John, where they settled on 450 acres, patent to which was dated 9-15-1636. Issue: Richard b 1641 ; Christopher b 1642 ; John b 1644, who d. unm. 11 Mar 1668; Abbasha b 1646; Elizabeth b 1648 ; Jane b 1650; and Thomas b 1655 .

If Christopher was born in 1611 and came to Virginia in 1622, he would have been only 11 years of age at the time of his arrival (which is documented). In 1625 he testified as a witness (documented) in the General Court. It is possible that he might have been in such a position at age 14, but is it likely?

It is not known when Christopher married and it is not known who he married or how many wives he had.  Tillman named her Elizabeth, and stated that “They” arrived… No source given for this information.

RFA member Robert A. Reynolds presented an interesting theory. “There was a second arrival in Virginia of “Chri: Reinolds”, aged 24, aboard the ship Speedwell which departed from England 28 May 1635 (Hotten, p. 83; Boyer p67). I presume Christopher returned to England for a bride; his wife’s name was Elizabeth and there were two women of his age aboard the ‘Speedwell’ with that name.” The women on board Speedwell were Elizabeth Pew age 20, Elizabeth Tuttell, age 25, and a child Elizabeth Biggs, age 10. Was this our Christopher or another Christopher on his initial arrival in the new Colony.

Adventurers, 1987 ed., page 494-495, “Christopher Reynolds left a will dated 1 May 1654… [named] wife Elizabeth, and George Rivers (apparently a step-son), and directed that his wife Elizabeth have the ordering and bringing up of his sons John and Richard, to be of age at 16, and daughters Elizabeth and Jane to of age at 15. He apparently married (1) — and (2) Elizabeth [__?__] Rivers.”

3. William REYNOLDS (See his page)

4. Thomas Reynolds

Thomas’ wife Cecily Jane Phippen was about 1578 in Regis, Dorset, England. Her parents were William Phippen  and Jane Jordaine.  Cecily died before 1611 when her daughter Cecily traveled to Virginia with her twin sister Joan and brother-in-law Capt. William Pierce.

Cecily Reynolds first married Thomas Bailey (b. 1580 in England d. 20 Sep 1620 in Jamestown, Charles City, Virginia. Next she married Samuel Jordan (b. 1578 in England  d. 1623 in Virginia.  She married third to William Farrar. She married Peter Montague, first son of our ancestor Peter MONTAGUE fourth around 1645. After Peter died, she married Thomas Parker (b. 1600 in Burnham, Buckinghamshire, England d. 1663 in Isle Wight, Virginia. Cicely died 12 Sep 1660 in Charles City, Virginia.

Cicely’s parents died before 1611 when Cecily traveled to Virginia with her aunt and uncle Joan Phippen and Capt. William Pierce.  Joan was her mother’s twin sister.

William Pierce was born about 1570.  He may have died in the Indian massacre on Mar 22, 1622. According to John Smith’s list of the dead of that massacre, it says that “at Apamatucks River, at Master Peirce his Plantation, five miles from the College.”

Captain Pierce came to Virginia in 1610 on the ill-fated “Sea Venture” with Capt. Thomas Gates.  Jone, his wife, children (William, Joan, Jr., and Thomas)   came  in 1611 on the “Blessing“. She also brought with her a young niece, Cicilly Reynolds, age 10, probably to help care for the younger children.

Capt. Pierce had a home in James Cittye and a plantation on Mulberrie Island.  In addition to the lands named above, Capt. Pierce owned large holdings in various sections of Virginia. On June 22, 1625, he received grant of 2,000 acres for transporting into Virginia 50 persons. May 1623 Gov. Francis Wyatt appointed him Capt. of the Guard and Gov. of the City.

In that year, as Lt. Gov. of James Cittye he led an expedition against the Chickahominy, in retaliation for the 1622 Massacre, falling on them on July 23rd, with no small slaughter. Shortly thereafter, George Sandys, Treasurer of Virginia, wrote to England that Capt. William Peirce “Gov. of Jamestown” was inferior to none in experience, ability and capacity, recommending him for appointment to the Council, which appointment was made 1631, at which time he was living in Surry County. [It was Capt. Pierce who transported to Virginia the renowned Capt. John Rolfe, soon to become his son-in-law] In 1629/30 he was in England, and while there prepared a “Relation of the Present State of the Colony of Virginia”, by Capt. William Pierce, and Ancient Planter of 20 years standing. His wife, Mrs. Jone Pearse accompanied him and was known in England as an honest, industrious woman, who after passing 20 years in Virginia, on her return to England reported that “she had a garden at Jamestown containing 3 or 4 acres,where in one year she had gathered an hundred bushels of excellent figs, and that of her own provisions she could keep a better home in Virginia than in London – for 3 or 4 hundred pounds a year, although she had gone there with very little.”

They returned to Virginia, and while in the Council, Dec. 20th he signed an Amity Agreement between that body and Gov. John Harvey. He was displeased with Harvey’s governing of the colony and was one of the Councillors who arrested and disposed him in 1635, leading the Musketeers who surrounded his house. Capt. Pierce went on an expedition to the Northern Neck, called “Chicoan” in 1645. Surry County, Va. records, 21 Jan. 1655, Book 1, p. 116: Capt. William Pierce, his son, Thomas and grandson William Peirce were living on Mulberry Island, Warwick Co., VA.

Cicely’s aunt Joan Phippen was born about 1578 and died 1650. In A Durable Fire, the following comments were made about Joan:

“Joan Pierce, brisk blackhaired young woman, who shared the house with Meg Worley and Temperance Yardley (during the Starving Time) had taken her 4 year old daughter and her servant girl to stay at another house , so as not to see Sarah’s last dying moments. Joan Pierce hated Jamestown even more than Temperance did. “There’s nothing here but sickness and laziness.”‘

“Tempers were short these days. Even the soft spoken were sharp, and those with a cantankerous nature, like Joan Pierce, were as easily provoked as hornets.”

“Joan Pierce, who lived next door to Governor Yeardley, had put on weight after the Starving Time. She took pride in her cooking and equal pleasure in eating.” She had plump hands.

Child of William Pierce and Joan Phippen

i. Jane Pierce b. 1588; d. 1625-35 Jamestown; m1. John Rolfe (Yes, that John Rolfe) m2. Roger Smith

Rolfe’s second wife was the Indian Princess, Pocahontas, daughter of the great Chief, Powhatan.

Pocahontas and John Rolfe

On what, in modern terms, was a “public relations trip” for the Virginia Company, Pocahontas and Rolfe traveled to England in 1616 with their baby son, where the young woman was widely received as visiting royalty. However, just as they were preparing to return to Virginia, she became ill and died. Their young son Thomas Rolfe survived, and stayed in England while his father returned to the colony.

In 1619, Rolfe married Jane Pierce. They had a daughter, Elizabeth, in 1620.  Rolfe died in 1622 after his plantation was destroyed in an Indian attack. It remains unclear whether Rolfe died in the Indian massacre or whether he died as a result of illness

Capt. Rolfe made his will in 1621 shortly after daughter Elizabeth was born. It was probated in London 1630, (copy in Va.) by his father-in-law, Capt. William Peirce. However, Capt. Rolfe was deceased. before 1625, as the Surry Co. Va muster of 1625 shows Capt. Roger Smith residing at his plantation on James Island, with wife – Mrs. Jone Smith, who came on the “Blessing”. Living with them was Elizabeth Rolfe, age 4, b. in Va.

Cicely’s first husband Thomas Bailey

Cicely Reynolds and Thomas Bailey were married in Virginia when she was at the tender age of 15.  He was killed by Indians 20 Sep 1620.

Despite her young age, legend says that she was spoken of as a “a notorious flirt” and “the Glamour Girl” in the colony. Within a few years she married her first husband Thomas Baley and–apparently before she was 17–bore their only child, Temperance.

Cicely’s second husband Samuel Jordan

Cecely and her daughter were living on their property that adjoined that of the commander of the local militia, Captain Samuel Jordan. A union of convience was entered into in which the property inherited by Mrs. Bailey reverted to her daughter when she married but until then it would be tended by Capt. Jordan. She then married Capt. Jordan.  Today, Jordan Point is a small unincorporated community on the south bank of the James River in the northern portion of Prince George County, Virginia.

On 2 Jun 1609 the  Sea Venture sailed for the first surviving English settlement in America. Among the 150 or so Adventurers and Planters aboard were Sir Thomas Gates (newly appointed Governor of the fledgling Jamestown Colony), Sir George Somers, John Rolfe (soon to be wedded to Pocahontas), Rolfe’s ill-fated first wife, and our young man, Samuel Jordan wiki .

File:Sir George Somers portrait.jpg

A portrait believed to be of Admiral Sir George Somers.  – On 2 June 1609, he set sail from Plymouth, England on the Sea Venture, the flagship of the seven-ship fleet, towing two additional pinnaces) destined forJamestown, Virginia, carrying five-to-six hundred people.

On June 2, 1609, the Sea Venture set sail from Plymouth as the flagship of a seven-ship fleet (towing two additional pinnaces) destined for Jamestown, Virginia as part of the Third Supply, carrying 500 to 600 people. On July 24, the fleet ran into a strong storm, likely a hurricane, and the ships were separated. The Sea Venture fought the storm for three days. Comparably-sized ships had survived such weather, but the Sea Venture had a critical flaw in her newness: her timbers had not set. The caulking was forced from between them, and the ship began to leak rapidly. All hands were applied to bailing, but water continued to rise in the hold.

Sea Venture in the Storm by William Harrington

The ship’s guns were reportedly jettisoned (though two were salvaged from the wreck in 1612) to raise her buoyancy, but this only delayed the inevitable. The Admiral of the Company, Sir George Somers himself, was at the helm through the storm. When he spied land on the morning of July 25, the water in the hold had risen to nine feet, and crew and passengers had been driven past the point of exhaustion. Somers deliberately drove the ship onto the reefs of what proved to be Bermuda in order to prevent its foundering. This allowed all 150 people aboard, and one dog, to be landed safely ashore.

Wreck of the Sea Venture by Christopher Grimes

The survivors, including several company officials and Samuel Jordan were stranded on Bermuda for approximately nine months. During that time, they built two new ships, the pinnaces Deliverance and Patience, from Bermuda cedar and parts salvaged from the Sea Venture, especially her rigging. The original plan was to build only one vessel, the Deliverance, but it soon became evident that she would not be large enough to carry the settlers and all of the food (salted pork) that was being sourced on the islands. While the new ships were being built, the Sea Venture’s longboat was fitted with a mast and sent under the command of Henry Ravens to find Virginia. The boat and its crew were never seen again.

Some members of the expedition died in Bermuda before the Deliverance and the Patience set sail on 10 May 1610. Among those left buried in Bermuda were the wife and child of John Rolfe, who would found Virginia’s tobacco industry, and find a new wife in Powhatan princess Pocahontas. Two men, Carter and Waters, were left behind; they had been convicted of unknown offences, and fled into the woods of Bermuda to escape punishment and execution. The remainder arrived in Jamestown on 23 May.

This was not the end of the survivors’ ordeals, however. On reaching Jamestown, only 60 survivors were found of the 500 who had preceded them. Many of these survivors were themselves dying, and Jamestown itself was judged to be unviable. Everyone was boarded onto the  Deliverance   and Patience, which set sail for England. The timely arrival of another relief fleet, bearing [our ancestor] Governor Thomas WEST3rd Baron de la Warr, which met the two ships as they descended the James River, granted Jamestown a reprieve. All the settlers were relanded at the colony, but there was still a critical shortage of food. Somers returned to Bermuda with the Patience to secure provisions, but died there in the summer of 1610. His nephew, Matthew, the captain of the Patience, sailed for England to claim his inheritance, rather than return to Jamestown. A third man, Chard, was left behind in Bermuda with Carter and Waters, who remained the only permanent inhabitants until the arrival of the Plough in 1612.  The ordeal was recounted by William Strachey, whose account is believed to have influenced the creation of Shakespeare’s play The Tempest .

Very soon after arrival, Samuel Jordan carved out a place on land up the River from Jamestown and very near the present town of Hopewell VA. His land jutted out into a great James River curl he named “Jordan’s Point“. On this plantation he called “Jordan’s Journey” he built his manor house, “Beggar’s Bush”. The fact that he started quickly was probably a major reason he was prepared for the harsh winter that followed and was able to build a very substantial plantation.

On the day of the Great Indian Massacre March 22, 1622, Capt. Jordan at once ganthered all the men, women, and children into his home at “Begger’s Bush” , known later as Jordan’s Journey,  and defended that place so resolutely that not a single life was lost; however, Capt. Jordan died before the census of the “Living and Dead in Virginia”  was taken in February of 1623. The muster of the living at Begger’s Bush was:  Sisley Jordan 24, Temperance Bailie 7, Mary Jordan 3, Margery Jordan 1, and William Farrar 31.

Great Indian Massacre of 1622 Woodcut by Matthaeus Merian, 1628.

A failed courtship

Jordan died a year later, and there was a rush for the hand of his beautiful young wife, led by the Rev. Greville Pooley. Jordan had been in his grave only a day when Pooley sent Capt. Isaac Madison to plead his suit. Cecily replied that she would as soon take Pooley as any other, but as she was pregnant, she would not engage herself she said, “until she was delivered.”

But the amorous Reverend could not wait, and came a few days later with Madison, telling her “he should contract himself to her” and spake these words: “I, Greville Poooley, take thee Sysley, to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold till death do us part and herto I plight thee my troth.” Then, holding her by the hand he spake these words, “I, Sysley, take thee Greveille, to my wedded husband, to have and to hold till death do us part.” Cicily said nothing, but they drank to each other and kissed. Then, showing some delicacy about her condition and the situation she found herself in, she asked that it might not be revealed that she did so soon bestow her love after her husband’s death.

Pooley promised, but was soon boasting of his conquest. Mrs. Jordan resenting this and chose to exercise her woman’s privilege to change her mind and said that “he could have fared better if he talked less.” She immediately announced her engagement to Capt. William Farrar, one of the Deputy Treasurer’s younger brothers, and member of the Council.

Enraged, Pooley brought suit for breach of promise. When the Parson sued, 14 June 1623, Capt. William Farrar, trained for the law in England and now the attorney who administered her husband’s estate, successfuly defended Mrs. Jordan in what was the first breach of promise suit in America, winning not only the suit but his client in matrimony. The Governor and Council could not bring themselves to decide the questions and continued it until 27 Nov., then referred the case to the Council for Virginia in London, “desiring the resolution of the civil lawyers thereon and a speedy return thereof.” But they declined to make a decision and returned it, saying they “knew not how to decide so nice a difference.”

At this point Rev. Pooley was persuaded by the Rev. Samuel Purchase to drop the case. Cecily and William were finally free to marry, which they did sometime before May 2, 1625, when his bond as overseer of Samuel’s estate was canceled.

Poole signed a formal release to the Widow Cecily bonding himself in the sum £500  never to have any claim, right or title to her, the Governor and Council of the Colony were so stirred by the extraordinary incident that they issued a solmn proclamation against a woman engaging herself to more than one man at a time. And there is not in Virginia any known record that this edict has ever been revoked.

The jilted Pooley soon found solace in a bride, it appears, but met a tragic death in 1629, when Indians attacked his house, and slew him, his wife and all his family.

Cecily’s third husband William Farrar

In 1625 Charles I appointed William Farrar to his King’s Council – a position of great responsibility which he held for over a decade.

Holmes writes, “It was during this critical period, 1625-1635, that William Farrar served on the Council, considered by historians the most important in the government of the colony, for laws were passed and the representative form of government which we have today became well established, based on the liberal charter, which [Sir Edwin] Sandys and Nicholas Ferrar are said to have written.”

In 1626 William was also appointed commissioner “for the Upper Partes kept above Persie’s Hundred,” and given the authority to hold a monthly court at either Jordan’s Journey or Shirley Hundred.

Sometime before November 1627, William’s father died, leaving him a fairly large inheritance. This may have been what enabled him to apply for a patent on 2,000 acres of choice land on a bend in the James River, formerly the site of Henrico Towne.

Henricus the second settlement in the colony, was established in 1611 and was the proposed site for the University of Henricus which was to be the first English university in America. The fortified settlement was burned to the ground in 1622 during the “Greate Massacre” and wasn’t opened up for resettlement until 1628 when William applied for the patent. [The area, which is still known as "Farrar's Island," is located 12 miles south of present-day Richmond and is the site of a state park.]

Some researchers believe William and Cecily moved their family to Farrar’s Island at this time. Others have them remaining at Jordan’s Journey until 1631, the year in which William returned to England and disposed of his entire inheritance. He sold his Hertfordshire properties to his brother Henry and his annuities from the Ewoods to his brother John for a total of 240 pounds. The agreement he made with his brothers gave him the option of buying back the property at its sale price, but he never invoked the privilege, remaining in Virginia the rest of his life.

In May of 1636, Nathan Martin patented 500 acres, 100 of which was due “by surrender from William Farrar Esquire for transportation of two servants.” William died sometime between this date and June 11, 1637, when the patent to Farrar’s Island was granted to “William Farrar sonne and heire of William Farrar Esquire deceased, 2,000 acres for the transportation of 40 persons [indentured servants] at his own cost.”

Holmes writes, “His land extending to Varina, the county seat, and his duties as “chief” justice of the county made him a close neighbor and associate of the leading families of Henrico, as well as of Charles Citty county. Continuing as a member of the Council until shortly before his death at the age of 43, he attended quarterly court at Jamestown and was closely associated with the governor, councilors and burgesses.”

Cicely’s fourth husband Peter Montague

What became of Cecily after William’s death is unclear. She was only 36 when William died, so it seems likely that she remarried. She may have been the “Cecily” who married and had five children with Peter Montague. Peter died in July 1659, after which another “Cecily” was married to Thomas Parker of Macclesfield. Parker had come to Jamestown in 1618 on the “Neptune” with William Farrar.

To have withstood the perils of the New World took endurance enough, to do so while bearing eleven children and burying five husbands took fortitude and courage. Cecily Bailey-Jordan-Farrar-Montague-Parker was, at the very least, a survivor.

Peter Montague’s Will dated 27 Mar 1659 and proved 25 May 1659

“In the name of God amen, I Peter Montague being weak in body and perfect memory do make this my last will and testament, this the 27th of March 1659 in name and form following,

First I bequeath my soul into the hands of my redeemer Jesus Christ, and my body to be buried.

Item, my debts being first paid I give to my loving wife Cicely one third part of all my real and personal estate according to law.

Item, I give to my two sons Peter and Will Mountague all my land lying on Rappahannock river to them and their heirs forever, and the land being divided it is my will, that the elder is to have the first choice, and in case of want of heirs of either, the survivor to enjoy all the land, and in case both of them shall depart this life without heirs, lawfully begotten, then my will is that the said land be sold by the commissioners of this county after public notice given either at an outcry, or by an inch of candle and the produce thereof to be equally divided between my three daughters Ellen, Margaret, and Elizabeth, and the child of Ann late wife of John Jadwin, and in case of any of these shall died without issue, then the produce of the said land to be divided between the survivors.

Item, I give the other two thirds of my personal estate to my four children Peter, Will, Margaret, and Elizabeth to be equally divided among them.

Item, I give to my daughter Ellen, the wife of Will Thompson, one thousand pounds of tobacco, and cask to be deducted, of a bill of thirteen hundred pounds of tobacco now due to me by the said Will Thompson.  Lastly I ordain my loving wife cicely and my son Peter jointly Executrix and Executor of this my last will and testament.  In witness of the previous I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year above written 1659 interlined before the signing and sealing therof.  (Signed) Peter Mountague, (Ye seal)

8. Richard Reynolds

Richard’s wife Ann Harrison was born 1575 in Yorkshire, England. Ann died 1618 in York, Virginia or England.

Richard Reynolds and Ann Harrison settled in Sussex County, England, where he became the head of vast trade and commerce business. This business had branches in Virginia, what is now the New England States and Bermuda. It is legend with this branch of the family that Richard Reynolds d. in York County. But as to whether York County, Virginia, or York County, England is not known. It is also recorded in the Reynolds Family Roster that Richard had several daughters.

Child of Richard and Ann:

i. William Reynolds b. 1606 in Kent, England; d. 19 FEB 1668 in Providence, Providence, RI; m. 1644 to Margaret Exton

He came to America either in 1661 or 1671, and landed in Burlington, New Jersey. He engaged in commerce and trade and made repeated trips to England, and died in England while on one such trip. He and his family had settled in Chester county, Pennsylvania.


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Posted in 13th Generation, 14th Generation, Artistic Representation, Historical Church, Line - Miller, Line - Miner, Place Names, Sea Captain, Storied, Twins | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Richard Martin Sr.

Richard MARTIN (1609 – 1694) was Alex’s 11th great grandfather, one of 4,096 in this generation of the Miner line.

Richard Martin - Coat of Arms

Richard Martin was born in 1563 in Ottery St Mary, Devon, England. His parents were Francis Martyn and Sarah [__?__]. He married Katherine LYDE 23 Nov 1579 in Branscombe, Devon, England. Richard died 6 Aug 1633 in Ottery St Marys, Devon, England.

Richard and Katherine were married in Saint Winifred's Church, Branscombe, Devon

Saint Winifred’s Church  dedicated to Saint Winifred, a Welsh saint. It is among the oldest and most architecturally significant parish churches of Devon. It probably dates back as far as about 995, but extant records on the vicars only go back to the thirteenth century.

There is some archaeological evidence to suggest an earlier Saxon church may have occupied the site.  The building has a traditional west-east alignment. It is built on a levelled area that can not be seen from the coast. The choice of location may have been for protection of the original Saxon church from Viking raiders. Alternatively, the church may have been placed on an earlier pre-Christian holy site. Occupying such a pagan site would have allowed the Church to both challenge paganism and benefit from any positive religious feelings associated with the site.

The church building is partly Norman and partly later medieval. The tower is central and the transepts which are later stand unusually to the west of the tower. The nave is Norman, the transepts perhaps mid 13th century. The chancel is probably 14th century, though the east window was replaced in the time of Bishop Neville (1458–64). Interesting features include the font which is 15th century and the pulpit which is a three-decker pulpit and as such almost unique in Devon.

Katherine Lyde was born 1566 in Ottery St Mary, Devon, England. Her parents were xx. Katherine died 16 Jan 1603 in Ottery, Devon, England.

Children of Richard and Sarah:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Robert Martin 1587 in Ottery St Mary, Devon, England Joanne Upham (daughter of Richard UPHAM)
16 Nov 1618
Bicton, Devon, England
1660 in Rehoboth, Mass.
2. Abraham Martin 1589 in Ottery St Mary, Devon, England Christiane Lange
15 Feb 1611/12 Ottery St Mary, Devon, England
Rehoboth, Mass
3. Isaac Martin 1591
Margaret Ford
Rehoboth, Mass.
4. Elizabeth Martin
Ottery St Mary, Devon, England
5. John Martin 1605
Ottery St Mary, Devon, England
19 Jun 1660
6. Richard MARTIN 22 Nov 1609
Ottery, St Mary’s, Devon, England.
Elizabeth SALTER
9 Jun 1631
Ottery, Devon, England.
2 Mar 1693/94
Rehoboth, Bristol, Mass.
7. Jane Martin 23 Feb 1611
Ottery, England
19 Jan 1622
Ottery, England
8. Agnes Martin 19 Feb 1616
Ottery, England
21 Mar 1636
Ottery St Mary, Devon, England

Richard Martin Sr. was the father of  Robert, Abraham, Isaac and Richard Martin who all settled in Rehoboth, Massachusetts.


1. Robert Martin

Robert’s wife Joanna Upham was born 1591 in Bicton, Devon, England. Her parents were Richard UPHAM and Maria [__?__].  Joanna died 8 Nov 1668 in Mass.

Robert and Joanna were part of the Hull Company which set sail on March 20, 1635, from Weymouth, Dorset, England.

Robert leaving his property to a brother, Richard, in England.

Widow Joanna Martin’s Inventory

[fol. 52] “Rehoboth the 26th february 1668 The Inventory of Johanna Martin” was taken by Thomas Cooper, Sr., Peter Hunt, Henry Smith and William Sabin. It was “exhibited to the Court held att Plymouth the 2oond of March 1668 on the oath of John Ormsbey;” The only mention of real estate is: “Housing and land” £120.

* See Mayflower Descendant, XI : 156.

Robert and Joanna did not have any children who survived them.     ”Joannah Martin widdow in the Towne of Rehoboth ” made her will 6 April, 1668. Bequests were as follows.

“wheras my late Dearly beloved husband Robert Martin by his last Will …. Did leave mee the use of his whole estate During my naturall life; and att my Death the Dispose of halfe the estate that is visible to my frinds according to my owne Descretion first That all my lawfull Debts be Discharged”

“my Loving Kinsman John Ormsbey [John ORMSBY]…. shall have the one halfe of my house lands Commons meddow both ffresh and salt orchyards and appurtenances belonging to mee in Rehoboth and the one halfe of my houshold goods tooles and husbandry geares within and without”

“my Cousin John Ormsbey shall have the bed wheron I lye with all the furniture therunto belonging and my brother Richard MARTIN to have equivolent out of the other goods according to the quallitie and quantity of it”

“to my sister Smith my wearing apparrell”

“To my Cosen Grace Ormsbey a silver spoone”

“It is my will That my Cousens Thomas and Jacob Ormsbey have ten shillings apeece ;”

It is my will That my Cozen Clapp his Children which hee had borne by my Kinswoman Jane Clapp (being six of them) have ten shillings apeece”

“It is my will That my brother Upham his Children att Mauldin, being 4 of them have ten shillings apeece”

“It is my Will That my Cosen Ormsbey whom I Chose to be the sole exequitor of this my last Will Doe pay or cause to be payed the aforsaid legacyes within a yeare after my Decease and that hee take the resedew of the estate belonging to mee; according to my husbands will : viz : goods within and without horned beasts and horses and swine to himselfe ;”

“Stephen Paine Junir and Richard Bowin Juni* To be the overseers of this my last Will”

The will was signed by a mark. The witnesses were Thomas Cooper, Sr., and Noah Newman.

“Mr Noah Newman tooke oath to this Will In the Court held att Plymouth June the second 1669″

Children of Robert and Joanne

i. John Martin b. 1617 in England; d. 1664 in Ipswich, Essex, Mass.; m1. Rebecca [__?__] 1639 in Charlestown, Mass; m2. Sarah Larrford in 1642 in Charlestown, Suffolk, Mass.

After John died, Sarah married [our ancestor] Reginold FOSTER on 19 Sep 1665 in Ipswich, Essex, Mass. and William White on 21 Sep 1682 in Haverhill, Essex, Mass. Sarah died 22 Feb 1682/83 in Haverhill, Mass.

2. Abraham Martin

Abraham’s wife Christiane Lange was born in 1589.

Abraham’s property went to the children of Richard and John ORMSBY,who were relatives. Elizabeth Martin, sister of Robert, Abraham and Isaac was the wife of Deacon John Upham.

3. Isaac Martin

Isaac’s wife Margaret Ford was born in 1599 in Ottery St Mary, Devon, England.   Margaret died in Plymouth, Plymouth, Mass.

Child of Isaac and Margaret

i. Mary Margaret Martin b. 1619 in Pontypool, Trevethan, Monmouthshire, Wales; d. 1684 in Taunton, Bristol, Mass.; m. 1640 Taunton, Mass to James Henry Leonard (1621 – 1691)

James’ parents were  Thomas Leonard, 1577-1638, and Lydia White. He emigrated  from Pontipool, Monmouthshire, Wales, with his brothers  Henry, and Philip.   These immigrants were the founders of the first successful iron-works in America.

“It is said that the Leonards had been in the iron industry for twelve hundred years, since the days of the “forestsmiths” of Germany, where the name Leonard is found in old German records of the sixth century. The Saxon Leonards, workmen in metals, came to England very early and settled among the iron hills of Kent and Sussex. Later, as the mines in this vicinity were less productive, some of them removed to the iron mining districts of Wales from whence James and Henry Leonard came, leaving their forges in England “plastered with mortgages,” not only at Pontipool but also at Belaton, Stafford County. In the nineteenth century the Leonards might have redeemed their title to this property, but it would have involved an expensive and lengthy suit in the Court of Chancery, which was not undertaken.

“Being well versed in the iron lore, the secrets of which had been long handed down from father to son, James and Henry Leonard, on their arrival in America, at first found employment with one John Winthrop at his bloomery near Lynn, established by Adam Hawkes in 1630. The following entry has been found in an old account book of Winthrop’s dated 1651. “James Leonard, fifteen days’ worke in ye forge oe 1.13.0.”

“After a short connection with John Winthrop’s iron effort at Braintres, the Leonard Brothers struck out for themselves, testing the streams and ponds for chalybeate evidence, little Thomas and James who had come holding onto “Uncle Henry’s finger,” probably having the time of their lives fishing with birch rods on these expeditions. Their elders found large deposits of bog iron, particularly in Quittacus Lake, Middleboro, which were extracted by means of great tongs from the lakes and swamps. They made a contract with the town of Taunton to set up a bloomery there. A stock company was formed, one of the stock holders being Elizabeth Pole, who had bought Taunton from the Indians for a peck of beans.

“The Leonards called their bloomery Raynham forge, doubtless from Raynbam in England, which is the station where one alights to visit Belhus mansion at Aveley Easex, the head quarters of the English Leonards where the beautiful portraits are of our English ancestors. The owner, Sir Thomas Barrett Leonard, is a landed proprietor of at least 10,000 acres of land inberited from the early Leonards. It may be that James and Henry Leonard lived here in their boyhoods and had childhood’s associations with Raynham, for which they named their forge. The site of this old forge which was carried on by seven generations of Leonards, was pointed out to me by my father, when as a child I rode with him through Raynham to Taunton.

“This was the parent forge for many others not only in this vicinity but all over the Atlantic sezboard of the United States, substantiating the famous saying “Wherever you find iron works you will find a Leonard.” The proudest accomplishment of these various forges was in 1775, when Eliphalet Leonard of the fifth generation made in Easton the first bar of American steel.

“James Leonard was a warm friend of the good Indian chief Massasoit who used frequently to visit him, sleeping under his roof and eating his bread. James gave him every assistance in the repair of his guns and making his weapons and tools. Massasoit, before his death, required a solemn oath of his son Philip that he would never harm a Leonard, and Philip in 1675 in an imposing meeting in Taunton Church at which James Leonard was present, affixed his mark to a document promising peace with the men of Taunton. Philip’s tribe molested the white settlers in Middleboro and New Bedford, but the inhabitants of Taunton and Bridgewater suffered little in King Philip’s war, and no harm was done to the Leonards with Philip’s consent. Thus the name of Leonard represents to Taunton not only splendid enterprise, but the hospitality and friendliness which secured safety for the town at a critical period. King Philip had a summer home near the Leonards, and Lake Nipenicket between Raynham and Bridgewater was a favorite fishing ground of his. There is a tradition that Philip’s head was secreted after his death under the old Leonard house in Raynham.

“James Leonard, the immigrant, died in 1691. His wife, Mary Martin, had died earlier and he had married a second wife named Margaret.

6. Richard MARTIN Jr. (See his page)

Richard’s will dated  6/2/1686 and probated 5/7/1695 names no wife.

At the Rhode Island Historical Society Library at Providence, in D.A.R. record books of Vital Statistics compiled by various Chapters, by years. In Vol. for year 1956. Abstracts of Wills and Probates of Pawtucket, R.I.

Probate of Will;

Name; Richard Martin of Rehoboth, Colony of New Plymouth
Date; June 2, 1686 Probated; May 7, 1695
Wife; None mentioned
Sons; Richard Martin, Jr.; John Martin; Francis Martin.
Grandsons; John Martin (Richard’s oldest son).
John ORMSBY (Grace’s eldest son).
Daughters; Grace ORMSBY, Annis Chaffee
Executor; John Martin assisted by Deacon Samuel Newman, and Wm. Carpenter.

Item: It is my will that my grandson, John Ormsby, my daughter Elanor’s son, shall posses and enjoy and improve my lands on the North of the Town of Rehoboth, divided and undivided, until my grandchildren in Old England come over to make use of them, and if, they never come over —- the said John Ormsby to have and enjoy them for ever.

*Note here that the genealogist uses the name Elanor for Richard Martin’s daughter, but at the probate proceedings the name Grace is used, as it is in other records.


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The Hull Company

Reverend Joseph Hull (1595–1665)  was born in Crewkerne, Somerset, England. His parents were Thomas Hull and Joane Pyssing. He graduated from St. Mary’s Hall, Oxford with a Bachelor of Arts degree on 14 Nov 1614. During the five years immediately following, he studied theology, serving meantime as a teacher and curate under his elder brother, William Hull, vicar of Colyton, Devonshire.


The Church of St. Andrew in Colyton, known for its rare octagonal lantern tower is said to have been used as a beacon for ships on the once navigable River Axe, to the eas

On April 14, 1621, having been ordained a clergyman of the Church of England, he was duly instituted rector of Northleigh, diocese of Exeter, which was the scene of his labors for eleven years.

In 1632 Rev. Joseph Hull resigned his rectorship at Northleigh and is thought to have returned to the vicinity of Crewkerne. During this rectorship he was married and three children were born of this union. Strange as it may seem, no record has been discovered of the marriage, the maiden name of his wife, or the date of her death, but it is not impossible to consider that the latter occurred at about the time of his resignation, and may have been the reason for it. Just how the next three years were spent by Rev. Joseph Hull is only a matter of conjecture, but during this period he married for a second time. Again there is no record of the marriage, but we do find that his wife bore the given name of Agnes.

At Crewkerne, he gathered a company of 106 souls, who, on March 20, 1635, set said with him from the harbor of Weymouth, bound for New England. The company consisted of 21 families – about 105 individuals – with no definite destination, preferring to leave the precise spot of their location to the direction of Providence. After a passage of 46 days, a fair one for that period, they passed the verdant islands of that beautiful bay, leaving on their left the bustling settlement of Hull, then a harbor for the inner plantations, and after a pleasant sail of about 10 miles cast anchor before Governor Winthrop’s infant village of Boston. This was on May 6, 1635, and it was not until July 2, 1635, that, with the permission of the General Court, they length settled upon Wessaguscus as their future home.

Governor Winthrop’s Official Journal, under date of July 8th of that year, contains the following entry: “At this court Wessaguscus was made a plantation and Mr. Hull, a minister of England, and twenty-one families with him allowed to sit down there.” The arrival of Hull’s Colony at Wessaguscus doubled its population, and the plantation was soon created a full-fledged town, invested with municipal rights, rechristened Weymouth and allowed representation in the General Court. Here, too, a church was gathered from the members of this company and others from Boston and Dorchester. On the 8th of July at the age of forty, Rev. Joseph Hull was installed as its first pastor and on the 2nd of the following September he took the oath as a Freeman of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Some of the Puritans living in the neighborhood looked with disfavor on this church and it was not long before dissension arose within it.

This selection of Wessaguscus was a serious business for the new colonists, whose eyes were familiar only with the highly cultivated fields of old England, who knew little of the capacities of the soil upon which they now trod, of whose history they knew nothing, and whose outlines they could hardly discern, so thickly were they wooded. There was no lack in quantity of land, but there was a choice in quality and location, and even that was left to Providence. So they sailed down the harbor, passing the many islands that thickly dot the surface. Entering Fore River, they came to anchor in a small cove about 4 miles from its mouth, afterward known as Mill Creek, and not far from the spot where Weston’s colony landed 13 years before.

Wessaguscus, present day  Weymouth, Mass. not wholly a wilderness, for with the Weston settlement of 1622, scattered remnants of people remained upon the ground and others who had since come in, quite a population had gathered within the limits of Wessaguscus. The Gorges company settled upon the deserted plantations of Thomas Weston’s people in September 1623. This company was wholly broken up in the following spring, yet a number of its emigrants remained and became permanent settlers. These were joined from time to time by single families or small companies, until, upon the arrival of Mr. Hull’s company, the settlement had attained quite respectable proportions. When the Hull company arrived, there were not less than 50 families, and perhaps 70 or 80 already residing there. A flourishing colony already established was sufficient evidence of good soil, a good location, a favorable position for trade with the Indians, for communications with other plantations about the bay, as well as protection from the savages. More than this, many of the previous settlers were relatives or friends of the later arrivals. The land had been so generally taken up, and the plantations were so closely connected that the newcomers were obliged to make their settlement upon territory further south.

There was already religious dissension in the community when Mr. Hull and his families arrived, introducing a new element of discord into the already divided community. The newcomers, not in full sympathy with either faction, deemed themselves strong enough and of sufficient importance to have at least an equal voice in the councils of the town. And as there was no minister at their coming, and as they brought one ready-made at their hands, what better could they do than accept him for all? This at once aroused the opposition of the older settlers, and measures were immediately taken to prevent such a result. Mr. Hull eventually retired from the contest.

Joseph Hull was the political and religious opponent of Governor Winthrop, apparently siding more with the Anglicans than Puritans. If he was of a contentious nature, as some claim he was, it is undoubtedly true that he only contended for what he believed to be right; for his was a moving spirit – the spirit of the pioneer, seeking new fields to conquer, and going forth and preaching the word of God according to his interpretations and the dictates of his own conscience. In less than a year, Joseph relinquished his charge and withdrew when the church called the Rev. Thomas Jenner of Roxbury to be their pastor. He now turned his attention to civil affairs, but apparently the spirit of the pioneer was strong within him as he received on the 12th of June 1636 a grant of land in Nantasket, then a part of Hingham. Here he remained for several years and represented that town twice as a Deputy in the General Court of Massachusetts in September of 1638 and March of 1639. On the 5th of May 1639 it is recorded in Hobart’s Journal that Mr. Hull preached his farewell sermon. Whether this took place at Weymouth or Hingham is not stated.

Apparently his “liberal views” led to his dismissal from his parish, and he moved to Hingham, where he served as its representative in the General Court (Massachusetts legislature). He was the political and religious opponent of Gov. John Winthrop, with the “very contentious” Hull apparently siding more with the Anglicans than the Puritan governor. Winthrop eventually expelled Hull from the colony

As a result of the dispute, the authority of the colonial government was gradually extended over the settlement. The town was reorganized, and September 2, 1635, the name of the settlement was changed from Wessaguscus to Weymouth, the name of which, in pleasant memory of the port in Dorset they had so recently left.  It was made a plantation with a privilege of a deputy to the General Court. However, because of the three opposing elements, the little town chose 3 deputies instead of the one to which it was entitled. John Upham [son of Richard UPHAM]  was the selection of the Hull emigrants, yet eventually retired, leaving the position to William Reade.

On June 12, 1636, a meeting of the town was held to distribute lots among the settlers. It was decided to “lott unto every compleate person 6 acres, and to every half passenger under 12 yearsrs of age, to have 3 to a head. And the place to begin is at the lower end of the pond and to run 84 Rodd eitherwards to the great plantation lotts.”

The tract selected was situated southerly from Burying Hill (beyond which, to the north, were the larger portion of the older farms), with King Oak Hill for a central point, a sightly, beautiful hill overlooking Boston Bay. The temporary habitations of the Weymouth colonists of 1635 were located in the valley lying along its western base, reaching to Burying Hill. Upon the latter were the meetinghouse, watchhouse, and the burying-place, while the farms were scattered for a distance to the west, south and east. The rude shelters first erected were replaced from time to time by more substantial structures built upon the farms themselves, when the lands had become better improved, and the danger from Indians less imminent.

“Berrying Island” has a history: Wessagusset Colony (sometimes called the Weston Colony or Weymouth Colony) was the second settlement in the colony, after Plymouth. The first settlers have not been held in the highest repute. They landed upon this “burying island”, and lived upon it, and near to it, in 1622-3. They had trouble with the Indians, and Miles Standish came from Plymouth to save them – the story of his march is historical.

The following is a complete list of the Hull company, with notes of correction. Several of the emigrants came from Broadway, Somerset. It is conjectured that most if not all the first settlers of Wessaguscus were West country people, and came from that point where the counties of Somerset, Dorset and Devon join.

BOUND FOR NEW ENGLAND   [Reprinted from John Camden Hotten's "Original Lists of Persons of Quality: Emigrants, Religious Exiles, etc. who went from Great Britain to the American Plantations, from 1600 to 1700"]

WAYMOUTH ye 20th of March, 1635

Joseph Hall of Somerst a Ministr aged 40 year
Agnis Hall his Wife aged          25 yr
Joane Hall his daught aged 15 Yeare
Joseph Hall his sonne aged 13 Yeare
Tristram his son aged … 11 Yeare
Elizabeth Hall his daught aged 7 Yeare
Temperance his daught aged 9 Yeare
Grissell Hall his daught aged 5 Yeare
Dorothy Hall his daught aged 3 Yeare
Judith French his s’vamt aged 20 Yeare
John Wood his s’vaunt aged 20 Yeare
Rob Dabyn his s’vamt aged 27 Yeare (should be Robert Davys)

Musachell Bernard of batcome Clothier in the County of Somersett 24 Yeare
Mary Bernard his wife aged 28 Yeare
John Bernard his sonne aged 3 Yeare
Nathaniell his sonne aged 1 Yeare

Rich pearsons salter & his s’vant: 30: yeare

Francis Baber Chandler aged 36 yeare

Jesope Joyner aged 22 Yeare

Walter Jesop Weaver aged 21 Yeare

Timothy Tabor of Som’st of Batcombe taylor aged 35 Yeare
Jane Tabor his Wife aged 35 Yeare
Jane Tabor his Daughtr aged 10 Yeare Anne Tabor his daughtr: aged 8 yeare Sarah Tabor his daughtr aged 5 Yeare
Willm Fever his s’vaunt aged 20 Yeare

Jno Whitmarck            aged 39 yeare  (should be Whitmarsh)
Alce Whitmarke his Wife aged 35 yeare
Jmo (John) Whitmarke his sonne aged 11 yeare
Jane his daughtr aged  7 yeare
Ouseph ( or Onseph) Whitmarke his sonne aged 5 yeare
Rich Whytemark his sonne aged 2 Yeare

Willm Read of Batcombe Taylor in Som’stt aged 28 Yeare
Susan Read his Wife aged 29 Yeare
Hanna Read his daughtr aged 3 yeare
Lusan (probably Susan) Read ;his daughtr aged 1 yeare
Rich Adams his s’vante 29 Yeare
Mary his Wife   aged 26 yeare
Mary Cheame his daughr aged 1 yeare

Zachary Bickewell        aged 45 Yeare
Agnis Bickwell his Wife aged 27 yeare
Jno Bickwell his sonne aged 11 year
Jno Kitchin his servaunt 23 yeare

George Allin  aged 24 Yeare     (George ALLEN the Elder was a much older man in 1635, closer to 54. He had been preceded by two sons (by a first wife) Henry and Samuel, who came in 1629-30.)
Katherin Allyn his Wife aged 30 yeare
George Allyn his sonne aged 16 yeare
Willm Allyn his sonne aged 8 year
Mathew Allyn his sonne aged 6 yeare
Edward Poole his s’vaunt aged 26 yeare

Henry Kingman           aged 40 Yeares
Joane his wife beinge aged 39
Edward Kingman his son aged 16 year
Joane his daught aged 11: yeeare  (married fellow passenger Thomas Holbrook in 1653)
Anne his daughtr aged 9 Yeare
Thomas Kingman his sonne aged 7 Yeare
John Kingman his sonne aged 2 yeare
Jn Ford his servaunt aged 30 yeare

William Kinge  aged 40* Yeare (* or 30.            One figure is written over the other, and it is impossible to tell which is the later.)
Dorothy his wife           aged 34 yeare
Mary Kinge his daughtr aged 12 year
Katheryn his daughtr aged 10 Yeare
Willm Kinge his sonne aged 8 year
Hanna Kinge his daughtr: aged 6 year


Thomas HOLBROOKE of Broudway aged 34: yeare
Jane POWYES Holbrooke his wife aged 34 yeare
John Holbrooke his sonne aged 11 yeare.
Thomas Holbrooke his sonne aged 10 yeare (married fellow passenger Joanne Kingman in 1653)
Anne Holbrooke REYNOLDS his daught aged 5 yea[re]
Elizabeth his daught aged 1 yeare

Thomas Dible husbandm aged 22 yeare
Francis Dible soror aged          24 Yeare

Robert Lovell husbandman aged 40 year
Elizabeth Lovell his Wife aged 35 yeare
Zacheus Lovell his sonne 15 yeares
Anne Lovell his daught: aged 17 yeare
John Lovell his sonne aged 8 yeare
Ellyn his daughtr aged… 1 yeare
James his sonne aged   l yeare
Joseph Chickin his servant 16 year

Alice Kinham aged       22 yeare

Angell Hollard aged     21 yeare
Katheryn his Wife 22 yeare (Aftter Angel died, Katherine married  as his second wife, John Upham, son of Richard UPHAM)
George Land his servaunt        22 yeare
Sarah Land (originally written Lang) his kinswoman 18 yeare
Richard Joanes of Dinder…….
Robt Martin of Badcombe husbandm 44 (Brother of Richard MARTIN)
Humfrey Shepheard husbandm.. 32
John Vpham husbandman        35     son of Richard UPHAM)    (note that the letter “U” hadn’t been invented yet)
Joane Martyn   44…. daughter of Richard UPHAM and wife of Robert Martin)
Elizabeth Vpham          32…. wife of John Upham
John Vpham Jun          07…. son of John Upham
William Graue [Grave] 12….
Sarah Vpham   26…. daughter of  of Richard UPHAM and wife of Richard ORMSBY)
Nathaniell Vpham        05….  son of John Upham
Elizabeth Vpham          03….  daughter of John Upham


Richard Wade of Simstuly Cop [Cooper] aged   60….
Elizabeth Wade his Wife           6+….
Dinah his daught          22….
Henry Lush his s’vant aged      17….
Andrewe Hallett his s’vaunt     28….

John Hoble husbandm  13….     (should be Hubble)

Robt Huste husbandm  40….     (should be Harte)

John WOODCOOKE ……………      2….      (should be  John WOODCOCK)

106-Rich Porter husband………….(age should probably be 23 or 33)

{Signed by}



These emigrants were joined on this side of the water by Edward Bennett, Mr. Thomas Jenner, sen., Thomas White, William Frye, Thomas Rawling (or Rawlings), Richard Sylvester, William Smith, Mr. Wright, Thomas Appelgate, Clement Briggs, Arthur Warren, Edmond Harte, Stephen French and others.

Joseph Hull’s Life After Weymouth

Joseph and his family moved in 1639 to Plymouth Colony, and there founded the present town of Barnstable, at a place called by the Indians, Mattakeese. As a part of the July, 1939 tercentenary celebration of the founding of the town, a memorial tablet was dedicated calling attention to Hull’s role in the town’s founding and marking the site of his home there. The rock still stands in the middle of the highway, from which he preached, surrounded by his armed parishioners.

Plymouth Colony was, however, not much more congenial for a man of his political and religious sentiments than the Massachusetts Bay Colony. His name appears as one of the first two deputies for the town of Barnstable in the records of the General Court of Plymouth at the June 3rd session. Whether Mr. Hull actually attended or did not attend the Court at that time cannot be ascertained from the court records. While he and Thomas Dimmock constituted the Barnstable committee, it is very likely that neither attended, as both made their oaths at the session on the 3rd of December 1639, when Joseph Hull was admitted a Freeman. In 1640, his name appears on the Barnstable list of “Men able to bear Arms.”

Tradition credits Rev. Joseph Hull with having preached the first sermon within the town of Barnstable, in spite of the fact that [our ancestor] Rev. Stephen BATCHELDER was in the vicinity as early as 1636. On the 11th of October 1639, [another of our ancestors Rev. John LATHROP arrived in Barnstable with his church from Scituate and on the 31st of that month a “Day of Humiliation” was observed, followed on the 11th of December 1639 by the celebration of the first Day of Thanksgiving within the town. After extended religious services the company broke into three sections, one of which dined at the house of Rev. Joseph Hull. Apparently Joseph made no effort to perform any ministerial functions after the arrival of Mr. Lathrop. Undoubtedly these two men were of very different natures and temperament, Hull being aggressive and of a roaming nature, while Lathrop appears to have been extremely strong-minded. Whether any dissension arose between them or not is not a matter of record, but about a year later Joseph Hull moved into the adjoining town of Yarmouth, where, at the request of some of the residents, he served them in a ministerial capacity. In so doing he neglected to secure the approval of the Barnstable church, and for this act was excommunicated on the 1st of May 1641.

While Joseph was in the Plymouth Colony he engaged in the business of cattle raising, and not unlike some clerics who turn to business affairs, did not have his ventures crowned with financial success. He was the defendant in a number of actions for trespass, and it is interesting to note that in all but one of these actions, the constable attached two of Mr. Hull’s steers. This might lead to the conclusion that his cattle were highly desired by those who initiated the suits.

The Separatist party increased, the opening of the civil war in England checked immigration in 1639, and Joseph and his political friends were left in a hopeless minority. After serving the Yarmouth church for a little over a year he began to journey afield, preaching the Word from place to place in the Colonies. In 1642 on the 7th of March, the General Court at Plymouth issued a warrant directing his arrest should he attempt to exercise his ministerial duties within the Plymouth Colony, and described him in the warrant as an excommunicated minister. There is no evidence that this warrant was ever served, for no return appears to have been made of it, and only four days later his wife was re-admitted to the church in Barnstable. “Our Sister Hull renewed her covenant, renouncing her joining at Yarmouth and confessed her evil in so doing, with sorrow.” To cap the climax, he himself was re-admitted to the Barnstable church on the 10th of August 1643 “having acknowledged his sin.”

A few months prior to this, however, he had journeyed as far afield as the Episcopal Colony of Sir Ferdinando Gorges in Maine, where he later settled. Here at Accomemticus (now York, Maine) he was minister. A “Church-Chapel” was also erected by the inhabitants of the Isles of Shoals on Hog Island for a congregation of which the records say Rev. Joseph Hull was the minister. Here he remained until 1653, when the Massachusetts Bay Colony subjected the provinces of Maine to their jurisdiction and Joseph again felt the power of his old enemies on the Bay. A sound Puritan minister, Mr. Brock, was sent to supersede him, and shortly afterward, Joseph returned to England where he was settled at St. Buryan, Cornwall, and remained there for ten years, at which time he was ejected from the parish. In the same year he returned to the Colonies and settled at Oyster River, now Durham, New Hampshire, from which he shortly thereafter removed to the Isle of Shoals, where he continue his ministry until his death on the 19th of November 1665. His estate was valued at 52 pounds, 5 shillings and 5 pence, 10 pounds of which was put down for books, and 20 pounds as due him from the Isles of Shoals for his ministry.


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Richard Upham

Richard UPHAM (1556 – 1635) was Alex’s 11th great grandfather, one of 4,096 in this generation of the Miner line.

Richard Upham Coat of Arms

Richard Upham was born 1556 in Bicton, Devon, England. His parents were John UPHAM (1525 – 1584 in Bicton) and Joane [__?__].   He married Maria [__?__]. Richard died 1635 in Bicton, Devonshire England.


Maria [__?__] died 26 July 1634 in Bicton, Devon, England.

Children of Richard and Maria:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Joane Upham 1591
Bicton, Devon, England
Robert Martin
(Son of Richard MARTIN Sr.)
16 Nov 1618
Bicton, Devon, England
8 Nov 1668
2. Thomas Upham  c. 1600 Sarah Slade
15 Jun 1625
2 Mar 1668
Bicton, England
3. John Upham c. 1600
Bicton, Devon, England
Elizabeth Slade
1 Nov  1626
Bicton, Devonshire, England
Mrs. Katherine (Richards) Hollard
Aug 1671
25 Feb 1680/81
Malden, Mass
4. Susanna Upham
 1603  1635
5. Judith Upham  1606 Edward Martyn
14 Jun 1632
Ottery, St Mary, Devon, England.
6. Francis Upham c. 1609
Bicton, Devon, England.
7. Sarah UPHAM c. 1609 Y Wanton
Richard Webb
Richard ORMSBY
9 Aug 1640
Saco, Maine
8. Frances Upham 1609
Bicton, Devon, England
William Ebdon
1 Nov 1636
Bicton, Devon, England
1 Nov 1636
Becton, Devon, England
9. Jane Upham 1612 Thomas Eliote
1 Nov 1642
Bicton, Devonshire, England.

Richard’s grandparents were Richard UPHAM (about 1500 – 1546) and Agnus [__?__] (about 1560 – after 1546). His great grandfather was Hugo de UPHAM.

Richard’s brother Thomas, Bev., M. A., matriculated at Magdalen Hall, Oxon, Feb. 25, 1580-81, (as Uppam), aged 20; Fellow of Exeter College, Oxon, 1583-1592; B. A. Nov. 10, 1586; M. A. June 30, 1589, (as Upham); vicar of East Worlington, Devon, 1591-1603, and vicar of Plymouth (St. Andrews), at his death in 1603. He was buried in the churchyard of St. Andrews at Plymouth, and was the first vicar known to have been buried there.

St Andrew’s Church, Plymouth is an Anglican church in Plymouth. It is the original parish church of Sutton, one of the three towns which were later combined to form the city of Plymouth. The church is the largest parish church in the historic county of Devon and was built in the mid to late 15th century. It was designated as a Minster Church in 2009 and it continues to operate as the focus for religious civic events for the city and as a bustling evangelical church.

It is likely to be on the site of the original Saxon church and was once attached to the abbey of Plympton.

The Resurgam Door St Andrews, Plymouth, England

In March 1941, St Andrew’s Parish Church was bombed and badly damaged. Amid the smoking ruins a headmistress nailed over the door a wooden sign saying simply Resurgam (Latin for I shall rise again), indicating the wartime spirit, a gesture repeated at other devastated European churches. That entrance to St Andrew’s is still referred to as the “Resurgam” door and a carved granite plaque is now permanently fixed there.

The following is the complete copy of the will of Richard Uppum, which is in the archdeaconry court of Exeter:

“In the name of God Amen. I Richard Uppam of ye parish of Bickton in ye county of Devon, yeoman, doe make this my last Will and Testament in manner and forme following. Imprimis. I give to Annie Chilper ye wife of Thomas Chilper of Otery 10*. Item. I give to Peter Morrice of Budleigh the elder 12d. Item. I give to Gastred Gutter of Budleigh, Widdy 12d. Item. I give to Thomas Upham my sonne my beste suit of wearing apparell that is to say breaches, doublett, gerkin, cloak, pockens, hatt. Item. I give to Sarah Upham my daughter in New England if she write that shee hath need of it that my executrixes may know of it under her hand within ye term of three years then my will is shee shall have 5£. Item. I give to John Upham my sonne in New England if he come for it 5*. Item. I give to John Martin my daughter Judith’s child my beste silver spoone. Item. I forgive Edward Martin and Judith his wife a debt of 3£, 10s. Item. My Will is that my executrixes shall pay and discharge ye summe of 8£ that I have agreed to pay Mr Duke* for Harriotte at my death. Item. My Will is that my executrixes shall not rip up or move any seeling

or glasse about y* house or ye bottomes of any hay loftes but to leave it to my reversioner. Item. I give to Richard Uppam and Thomas Uppam children of Thomas Uppam my sonne my two worst silver spoones to each of them one. Item. I give to Frances Uppam my daughter my greate chest that standeth in ye hall. But my will is that if shee die before shee be married that Richard Uppam my sonne Thomas’s child shall have him. Item. I give to Jane Uppam my daughter my white coffer. Item. I give to John, Joane, Mary and Sara, children of my sonne Thomas Uppam 12d. apiece. All ye rest of my goods, movable and immovable I give to Susanna Uppam, Frances Uppam and Jane Uppam my daughters whom I make joynt executrixes to my last Will and Testament and I doe ordaine my trustie friends Robert Conaut and Thomas Morris to be my overseers to see this my last Will and Testament to bee performed and to see all my goods (not above bequeathed) to bee equally Divided between them as much as lyeth in their powers.

“In witness hereof I the foresaid Richard Uppam have put my hand and seale this twelveth daye of December 1635.”

“richard Uppam” (no seal).
Witnesses: Thomas Morris.
Robert Conant.

Inventory taken by Thomas Morris, Robert Conant and Edward Martin.

The articles are numerous and of varying value, consisting of household goods: bedsteads, feather beds, feather pillows, candlesticks, table boards, table cloths, table napkins, the usual appurtenances and utensils of a farm house, jibbs and cider hogsheads, iron and brass crocks, trunks, boxes, coffers, one Bibell boke and other bokes to value of xiii.s. Total value £59-11-0.


1. Joanne Upham

Joanne’s husband Robert Martin was born 1587 in Ottery St Mary, Devon, England.  His parents were Richard MARTIN Sr. and Katherine LYDE. Robert died 1660 in Rehoboth, Mass.

Widow Joanna Martin’s Inventory

[fol. 52] “Rehoboth the 26th february 1668 The Inventory of Johanna Martin” was taken by Thomas Cooper, Sr., Peter Hunt, Henry Smith and William Sabin. It was “exhibited to the Court held att Plymouth the 2oond of March 1668 on the oath of John Ormsbey;” The only mention of real estate is: “Housing and land” ^120.

* See Mayflower Descendant, XI : 156.

Widow Joanna Martin’s Will  “Joannah Martin widdow in the Towne of Rehoboth ” made her will 6 April, 1668. Bequests were as follows.

“wheras my late Dearly beloved husband Robert Martin by his last Will …. Did leave mee the use of his whole estate During my naturall life; and att my Death the Dispose of halfe the estate that is visible to my frinds according to my owne Descretion first That all my lawfull Debts be Discharged”

“my Loving Kinsman John Ormsbey [John ORMSBY]…. shall have the one halfe of my house lands Commons meddow both ffresh and salt orchyards and appurtenances belonging to mee in Rehoboth and the one halfe of my houshold goods tooles and husbandry geares within and without”

“my Cousin John Ormsbey shall have the bed wheron I lye with all the furniture therunto belonging and my brother Richard MARTIN to have equivolent out of the other goods according to the quallitie and quantity of it”

“to my sister Smith my wearing apparrell”

“To my Cosen Grace Ormsbey a silver spoone”

“It is my will That my Cousens Thomas and Jacob Ormsbey have ten shillings apeece ;”

It is my will That my Cozen Clapp his Children which hee had borne by my Kinswoman Jane Clapp (being six of them) have ten shillings apeece”

“It is my will That my brother Upham his Children att Mauldin, being 4 of them have ten shillings apeece”

“It is my Will That my Cosen Ormsbey whom I Chose to be the sole exequitor of this my last Will Doe pay or cause to be payed the aforsaid legacyes within a yeare after my Decease and that hee take the resedew of the estate belonging to mee; according to my husbands will : viz : goods within and without horned beasts and horses and swine to himselfe ;”

“Stephen Paine Junir and Richard Bowin Juni* To be the overseers of this my last Will”

The will was signed by a mark. The witnesses were Thomas Cooper, Sr., and Noah Newman.

“Mr Noah Newman tooke oath to this Will In the Court held att Plymouth June the second 1669″

3. John Upham

John’s first wife  Elizabeth Slade was born in 1603 in Bicton, Devon, England. Her parents were Roger Slade and Margerye Reede.  Elizabeth died 2 Dec 1670 in Malden, Mass.  For awhile it  was assumed Elizabeth’s maiden name was Webb, due to John being the uncle of a Joseph Webb, Richard Web’s son. Richard was either John’s brother-in-law through his wife or a sister. We now show Richard Webb was the husband of John’s sister, Sarah.

John’s second wife Kathryn Richards was the widow of Angel Hollard.   In 1671, Suffolk deeds, book 7, p. 224, has the following record:

“John Upham—Know all men whom it may concern That whereas there is a consummation of marriage intended between me John Upham, Sen. of Malden in New England and Katherine Hollard widowand Relict of Angell Hollard late deceased I the said John Uphamdo hereby wholly disclaim and utterly refuse to receive and take any goods Estate or appurtenances any way whatsoever belonging to the said Katherine and especially any money goods Estate or movables whatsoever that have been formerly or now or anyway belonging to the Estate of her former husband Angell Hollard. In witness whereof I set my hand and seal this fourteen day of August 1671.

“john Upham,” and a seal.
“Signed and sealed before Joshua Hubbart The mark H of Hannah Long and John Ballantine. This deed of disclaim was acknowledged by John Upham to be his act and deed
23-6-1671.” “R. Bellingham Governor.”
“grace Randall Clerk.”
Recorded & compared 28th, 6m, 1671 O. S.”

John  and his wife Elizabeth were among the 106 persons to set sail from Weymouth and land at Boston, May 6, 1636.    He arrived with his sister Sarah age 26, his wife Elizabeth, age 35,  sons John and Nathaniel and daughter Elizabeth.  He was made a freeman of Weymouth shortly after arrival.  He was a land owner.  In 1636 he was elected representative to the General Court in Boston; also in 1637, 1638, and 1639 at Newton.  He was a selectman in Weymouth in 1645, 45 and 46.

Rev. Hull’s Colony (21 families that came in 1635) were looked upon by Plymouth settlers as less pious, more mercantile, and Rev. Hull had problems…but apparently John Upham was respected in his towns. When Weymouth was split between the rigorous Puritans and the newly arrived Hull folk, John sided with Hull, but later apologized and was still accepted there.

John Upham memorial – Bell Rock Cemetery Malden Middlesex County Massa

About 1648 he moved to Malden, Massachusetts where he also became a selectman.  He was appointed six times as Commissioner  in Weymouth and Malden to settle “lesser legal matters” and to deal with the Indians.  In total 8 years a Selectman and 3 years a moderator of Town Meetings. He was also actively interested in the settlement of Worcester, Mass..  The church appointed him the high position of Deacon, which office he held for nearly twenty-four years.  He died 25 Feb 1681 at age 81.

Worcester was first settled by the English in 1673, along the Upper Boston Post Road. The modest settlement of six or seven houses was burned to the ground during King Philip’s War on Dec 2, 1675, when settlers were either killed or driven off. The town was subsequently resettled and was incorporated in 1684. On Sep 10 of that year, Daniel Gookin and others petitioned to have the town’s name officially changed from Quinsigamond to Worcester. However, its inhabitants were still vulnerable to attack, and some were taken hostage by natives during the 1690s. When Queen Anne’s War started in 1702, the town was again abandoned by its English inhabitants except for Diggory Sargent. Sargent was later tomahawked, as was his wife, who was too weak to make the journey on foot to Canada. Their children were taken to Canada and survived.

John Upham was involved in the initial settlement of Worcester, Worcester, Mass.

Children of John and Elizabeth:

i. John Upham  b. 1628;  d. Weymouth MA, 5 Jun 1640.  John immigrated with his parents when he was 7 years old;  m. Elizabeth, dau. of John Mousall; buried at Weymouth, New England, 5d, 4m, 1640

ii. Nathaniel Upham b. 1630; immigrated with his parents when he was 5 years old; m. at Cambridge 5 Mar 1661, Elizabeth Steadman, daughter of John Stedman {1638, Cambridge}. He died at Cambridge 20 Mar 1661/2, just 15 days after his marriage. His widow married Henry Thompson at Cambridge, 27 Apr 1669. Nathaniel was assistant pastor with Rev. Marmaduke Matthews 1650-52.

iii. Elizabeth Upham Welch b. 1632; ; immigrated with her parents when she was 3 years old; m.  by about 1653 Thomas Welch; d. at Charlestown, 12 Jan 1705/06.

iv. Lt. Phineas Upham b. 1635 in Weymouth, Mass; d. 8 Oct 1676 in Boston, Middlesex, Mass of wounds suffered in King Philip’s  War Great Swamp Fight; m. 14 Apr 1658 Malden, Mass to Ruth Wood. After the deaths of her parents [and our ancestors] Edward WOOD and Ruth LEE  in 1642, Ralph and Alice Mousall took their daughter Ruth in, and raised her.

In 1700, Phineas’ grandson Phineas Upham,  received a land grant in North Malden which is now called Melrose. In 1703, Phineas Upham married Tamzen Hill and built the house which is still standing today called the Phineas Upham House of Melrose. It has been passed down through family tradition that the house was built for Phineas Upham in 1703 and that Phineas came to this house, then new, on horseback with his new bride, Tamzen. (Elevation)

The Phineas Upham House, built in 1703, is a historic house at 255 Upham Street in Melrose, Mass.

v. Mary Upham b.1637 in Weymouth, Norfolk, Mass.; d. 27 Jun 1677 Charlestown, Suffolk, Mass; m. 12 Mar 1661 in Malden, Suffolk, Mass. to John Whittemore.

vi. Priscilla Upham b. 1642 in Weymouth, Norfolk, Mass.; d. 8 Dec 1717 Malden, Essex, Mass.; m. 1662 in Charlestown, Middlesex, Mass to Thomas Crosswell.

vii. John,t b. about 1647, adopted; d. Nov. 25, 1677.

Phineas was in command of men, and in service during the latter part of the summer; and in September, 1675, led a company of thirty-eight men out to Mendon to meet [our ancestor] Capt. John GORHAM of Plymouth Colony, and the account of their service on that occasion is explained in the following letters:

Letter of Lt. Phineas Upham to the Governer and Council.
From Mendum, ye 1st: Octobr: 1675.
Honerd Gourner & Counsill.

These are to certify your worships that Capt. Gorum with myselfe & our Souldiers of both Companys are in good health at prestt through mercy;

And to give your honer an account of our seaverell marches; first we Came to Mendum one the 25th day of the weeke at nightt being the 24th day of September and one the 25th day we marched from Mendum unto Hassanemisett hoping there to have had an Indian for our guide; butt the Indians were all gone from thence; and were thereby disapoynted of our expecttation & one the next day we marched unto Packachoug where we found a feild of good corn and well fenced: which we did think convenient not to destroy: Concluding that for ought we Knew Sum of the neeriest of our Inhabitance would be willing to save itt; butt we could not finde any Indians neither the signe of any being there of late and we marched from thence unto Manchoag and Chobanamagungamung where we found sum cornfeilds and sum wigwams, which Corn and wigwams we burnt and destroyed butt [we did not] finde any of our enimies which was a greate discouragement to us, having taken soe much paynes to finde them; then we Returned and marched to an Indian Plantation called Shockebogue where we Could not finde any Indians butt found a Considerable quantity of Good Corne which we did not destroy butt Reserved itt at the Request of Sum of Mendum who thinke to fetch itt home for there use; and from thence we Came to Mendum one the 30th of Septbr: now seeing in all our marches we finde noe Indians verily thinke thatt thay are drawne together into greate bodyes far Remote from those partes:

If your honers please to send us one any further Service I hope we shall nott be unwilling butt forwarde to doe our uttermost Indeavours with all desiring that you would be pleased to add unto our number seeing that besides the Garrison men which must be left heere in garrison we have butt 30 men besides my Selfe, Capt. Gorum being now in his march to Mounthope and If we goe further we desir thatt we may have a Surgeon and some other thatt may be acquainted with the woodes where you Sende us the want of wch hath beene a discouragement to our men: And as for the town of Mendum I am desired to Commend the desolate condition of ym unto your honers: Severall of there Inhabitance being removed from them: and those in garrison being butt poore helps in divers respects and in number but 12 men, with theire armes very defecttive.

The plantation is very Remotte & therefore soe much the more stands in neede of helpe; itt is very Likely to be a prosperous place if itt please God to putt an Ishue to thes troubles and therefore it is the more pitty to have itt deserted by there people: who think it must be If they have nott sum assistance they hope: 20: men well fitted with this one Returned might be sufishent If your honers se Causs; and further they desired to acquainte your honers that ye Indians of Hassanamisett which your honers apoynted to set down with them have desertted there one town and come nott to that at Mendum And soe nott havening any more to troublee your honers with

I Rest your Honrs
To Command
Mass. Archives, vol. 67, p. 275. Liftenantt.

Letter of Capt John Gorum to Govor & Councill

Mendum Octob : th : 1 : 1675.

Much Honrd my servis with all due Respeckts humbly presented to yourselfe and the rest of the Counsill hoping of your helths I have made bold to troble you with these few lines to give your honnors an account of our progress in your Jurisdiction: According unto your honers order and detirmination I arived at Mendum with fifty men and the next day Leftennant Upham arived with thirty-eight men and the day following wee joyned our forces together and marched in pesuite to ffind our Ennimy; but God hath bin pleased to denigh us any oppertunity tharein; though with much Labor and travill we have indeavored to find them out which Left. Upham hath given you a more particular acount: our Solders being much worne out having bin in the ffeeld this foretene weeks and little hoops of finding the Enimy, we are this day Returning towards our Genrall: but as for my one part I shall be Redy to sarve God and the Country in this just warr soe long as I have life and helth. Not Else to troble you I Rest yours to Sarve in what I am able.

From Mendon Lieut. Upham marched his company to Brookfield, towards Springfield, where he was ordered by the Court to report to Capt. Wayte, who was expected to command a company in the service under Major John Pynchon, and that arrangement failing, he was assigned to the command of Capt. Jonathan Poole, with whom he joined forces and marched to Hadley before October 12th. He was formally placed under command of Capt. Poole in the organization of the army under Major Appleton, and served thus, in the stirring events of the weeks following.

November 20th, he was credited as Lieutenant under Capt. Poole, £6. 19. 04. He returned home when the army withdrew from the west; but joined the forces at Narraganset, probably after the muster at Dedham, December 10th. He was assigned to Capt. Johnson’s company, and after that gallant officer’s fall, was himself fatally wounded, at the head of the company, inside the fort. He was among the wounded at Rhode Island, Jan 6, 1675/76. He died at Boston, Oct 1676, and Oct 12, 1676, the court issued the following order:

Order of the General Court

October 12, 1676. In answer to the peticon of Ruth Upham, widdow & relict of the late Left. Phineas Upham, the Court Judgeth it meet to order, that the bills of charges to chirurgeons, doctrs & diet, mentioned in said peticon, be paid by the Treasurer of the country; and in consideration of the long and good service hir husband did for the country, & the greate losse the widdow susteynes in his death, being left with seven small children, & not able to carry on their affaires for the support of hirself & family, doe further order the Treasurer to pay unto the said widdow tenn pounds in or as money.

Items Treasurer to pay
£ s d
Mr. Chickering bill 2 14 08
Edward Ellis, Chir 2 10 00
Mr. Addington 1 03 05
Dr. Cooke 1 05 00
Mrs. Peirc for diet 4 18 00
To ye Widdow 10 00 00
Secretary Allowance 40 00 00
Col. Records Vol. V. p. 122.

Credited under Lieut. Upham

December 20th 1675

Robert Skelton 01 01 04
Robert Bardall 02 02 00
John Shaw 00 10 02
June 24th 1676
John Hall 01 00 00
August 24th 1676
Thomas Hoppin 00 07 08

I have found that the men who served under him were mostly paid off under the vouchers of Capt Poole; and after the fight at Narraganset he was never again able to take command.

5. Judith Upham

Judith’s husband Edward Martin was born 27 Nov 1609 in Bicton, Devon, England. His parents were  Richard MARTIN Sr. and Katherine LYDE. Edward died 19 Sep 1635 in Bicton, Devon, England

Children of Judith and Edward:

i. John Martin b. 22 Feb 1635 in Ottery Saint Mary, Devon, England; d. 21 Mar 1713 in Swansea, Bristol, Mass. ;m.  26 Apr 1671 Swansea, Bristol, Mass. to Joanna Esten

A legal record states that John Martin, living in his uncle Upham’s household testified in the suit of Priscilla Upham versus Paul Nixon, June 15. 1658.

John Martin Gravestone – Tyler Point Cemetery Barrington Bristol, RI Plot: Outside NE corner of the Bowen plot

6. Frances Upham

Frances’ husband William Ebdon was born 1607 in Bicton, Devon, England. William died 1636 in England.

7. Sarah UPHAM (See Richard ORMSBY‘s page)

Sarah  first married [Y__?]  Wanton.   She second married Richard Webb.  She came in 1635 to Weymouth, Massachusetts, age 26 and single (OR widowed).   When Sarah boarded ship on 20 May 1635, she gave her surname as Upham. In her father’s will dated 12 Dec 1635, (he was buried 7 days later), he refers to his daughter as Sarah Uppam. Sarah died after 3 Oct 1665 in Rehoboth, Mass.

Sarah came to America as part of the 1635 Hull Company, a large addition to the population of Weymouth.

Partial list of the Hull Company  from Weymouth in England, but some of them were from other towns in Dorset and in counties near by.

88 Robert Martyn of Bakombe, husbandman, aged 44. (Richard MARTIN’s brother.  Sarah’s brother-in-law; Sarah’s daughter-in-law Grace was Richard’s daughter)
89 Humfrey Shepheard, husbandman, 22 years.
90 John Upham, husbandman, aged 35 years. (Sarah’s brother)
91 Joane Martyn, aged 44 years. (Sarah’s sister)
92 Elizabeth Upham, aged 32 years.  (Sarah’s sister-in-law)
93 John Upham, Junior, aged 7 years.
94 William Grane, aged 12.
95 Sarah Upham, aged 26.
96 Nathaniel Upham, aged 5 years.
97 Elizabeth Upham, aged 3 years.

8. Frances Upham

Frances’ husband William Ebdon waas born in 1607 Bicton, Devon, England. William died in 1636 in England


The record of my ancestry By Charles Lyman Newhall

Posted in 13th Generation, Historical Church, Line - Miner, Place Names | 12 Comments

Rev. Henry Whitfield

Henry Whitfield Coat of Arms

Rev. Henry Whitfield (1597 – 1657) was the father of Rev. James FITCH’s first wife Abigail. While he is not one of our direct ancestors, I thought his story would be interesting to include.

Henry was minister at St. Margaret’s Church Ockley, England for more than twenty years before he resigned and came to America.

Rev. Henry Whitfield was born 1597 in Mortlake, Surrey, England, now a district of London. His parents were Thomas Whitfield (1545 – 1629) and Mildred Fortune Manning (1560 – 1627).  He married Dorothy Sheaffe 1618 of Ockley, Surrey, England. In 1639, he resigned as Rector of St Margaret’s Church in Ockley and led a  group of 25 families to America. They sailed on the vessel St. John, which left London in June, 1639, and arrived about September 10, 1639 in Guilford CT. Henry returned to England, died there 17 Dec. 1657 and is buried in Winchester Cathedral.

Henry is buried in Winchester Cathedral

Dorothy Sheaffe was born in 1601 Cranbrook, Kent, England or  St. Dunstan, Cranford, Kent, England. Her parents were Rev. Thomas Sheafe, D.D. and Maria (Mary) Wilson.  Dorothy died in 1669 Guilford, New Haven, CT.

Children of Henry and Dorothy:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Dorothy Whitfield 25 Mar. 1619 Ockley, Surrey, England Samuel Desborough
Thomas Jordan
Guilford, CT
Surrey, England
2. Sarah Whitfield bapt.
1 Nov. 1620 Ockley, Surrey, England
Rev. John Higginson 8 July 1675 Salem, Essex, MA
3. Abigail Whitfield 1 Sep 1622 in Ockley, Surry, England Rev. James FITCH
18 Oct 1648 Guilford, CT
9 Sep 1659 Saybrook, CT.
4. Thomas Whitfield bapt.
28 Dec. 1624 Ockley, Surrey, England
Died Young
5. John Whitfield 11 Feb 1627 Ockley, Surrey, England Elizabeth Waldish England
6. Nathaniel Whitfield 28 June 1629 Ockley, Surrey, England Aft. 1685
7. Mary Whitfield 4 Mar 1631 Ockley, Surrey, England Aft. 1657
Surrey, England
8. Henry Whitfield 9 Mar 1634 Ockley, Surrey, England 28 Feb 1634/35 Ockley, Surrey, England
9. Rebecca Whitfield 20 Dec 1635 Winchester, Litchfield, CT Died Young

Henry Whitfield was born in 1597, and was descended from an old and well-known English family which had long been distinguished in the south of England both in church and in state. He was the younger son of Thomas Whitfield Esq., an eminent lawyer in the courts of Westminster. His mother was Mildred Manning, daughter of Henry Manning, Esq. of Greenwich in the county of Kent.

With the intention of preparing him for the bar, his family furnished him with a liberal education. He attended the university of Oxford first and then attended the Inns of Court. (A prestigious finishing school for gentlemen).

According to Cotton Mather, Henry Whitfield became a Christian in early life and was ordained to be a preacher. He entered the Christian ministry in the Church of England in 1618 (1616 according to Foster’s Alumni Qxonienses.) and enjoyed “the rich living of Ockley” in the county of Surrey, in the diocese of Winchester. He married Dorothy Sheaffer, daughter of a Kentish clergyman, and settled into the quiet, gracious life of an English Vicar.

Rev. Whitfield was a conformist of the established church of England for twenty years. By the 1630′s, however, his home became a haven for pious nonconformists in their time of troubles and persecutions. John Cotton, Thomas Hooker, and John Davenport were among the prominent clergy and future leaders of The Great Migration who found refuge and concealment in his comfortable home.

Ockley is a historic village in Surrey, built on Stane Street, a Roman Road stretching from Chichester to London. Situated between Dorking and Horsham, close to the Sussex/Surrey border, Ockley nestles in the shadows of Leith Hill, the highest point in South east England.

St Margaret’s church, dedicated to St Margaret of Antioch, is believed to date from 1291.

St Margaret’s Ockley

The original construction was simply a single aisle and sanctuary, of which probably only the south wall still remains. The porch was added around the 16th Century and the tower, despite its Norman appearance was added in 1700. The peal of six bells was hung in 1701. A replica of the tenor bell was shipped to America in 1752, and is now called ‘The Liberty Bell’ because it was rung to proclaim the Declaration of Independence. The famous herbalist, Nicholas Culpepper, son of one of the Rectors was born in Ockley in 1616.

St Margaret’s used to have a gallery, but this was removed during major restoration work in 1872, together with the high box pews which were used for ‘the gentry’.

The reigning church hierarchy of Charles I, specifically Archbishop William Laud, did not look favorably on the views and activities of these clergymen. In 1637, when Henry Whitfield refused to read The Book of Sports and follow the new liturgy, he was censured by Laud and other High Churchmen of the High Commission Court.

The “Book of Sports,” reprinted under Laud’s direction, brought Henry Whitfield to the attention of the High Church Commission in 1637. Conceived as a well-intentioned guide to permissible after-church leisure activities that people could engage in without violating rules of the Sabbath, it was seen by Puritans as a blasphemy. To them, the Sabbath was a day of worship, not of frivolities.

Although the book is strange and the subject matter trivial to modern ways of thinking, the issues were considered to have serious religious and political implications in those times: The declaration listed “archery, dancing, leaping, vaulting, or any other such harmless recreation” as permissible sports, together with “May-games, Whitsun-ales and Morris-dances, and the setting up of May-poles”. Also allowed: “women shall have leave to carry rushes to the church for the decorating of it, according to their old custom.” Amongst the activities that were prohibited were bear- and bull-baiting, “interludes” and bowling.

James I had first published the “Book of Sports” in the 1620′s, and now Charles I reissued it in 1633. The point of contention was that King Charles insisted that every pastor read it aloud to his congregation. Many Puritans, like Henry Whitfield, flatly refused to do so and, like Reverend Whitfield, were called before the Archbishop Laud’s Commission and censured. Ezekiel ROGERS, founder of Rowley, Massachusetts also refused to read from the Book of Sports and was discharged from his post in Rowley Yorkshire.

It was said that Henry Whitfield’s courteous manners, attainments as a scholar, purity, gentleness, and eloquence as a preacher made him eminent in an age of great men. According to Cotton Mather, “his doctrines were enlightened and evangelical so that his labors were blessed not only to his own people, but throughout all the surrounding country where people flocked to hear him.”

Henry Whitfield Statue in the gardens of his house in Guilford, Connecticut

He continued preaching as he had before, arousing the ire of The High Churchmen one again. Rather than face another censure, in 1638 Whitfield resigned his position as Vicar of Ockley Church and became an itinerant preacher traveling to parts of southern England. Like many of the charismatic ministers of the time, he formed a “Clerical company” and gathered around him 25 families of young people, largely farmers of Surrey or Kent, to make plans to emigrate to the New World as his congregation.

Rev. John Davenport, a friend of Whitfield’s, had emigrated and founded New Haven colony in 1638. Another college friend, George Fenwick, was a grantee of the Warwick Patent and had helped found the Saybrook colony in 1635. These two colonies, forty miles from each other in Connecticut, encouraged Whitfield to consider the welcoming prospect of southern New England.

Guilford, New Haven, CT

Henry Whitfield was one of the founders of Guilford, Connecticut.  It was first settled in 1639 after being purchased from Native American leader Wequash.  The place was named for Guilford in Surrey, the native place of many of the colonists. After negotiating with the local Native Americans, who were represented by their squaw sachem (female chief) Shaumpishuh, the group purchased land halfway between New Haven and Saybrook. There they established the plantation of Menuncatuck, which would later be known as Guilford.

Like most 17th century New England towns, Guilford was organized around a common or green. The first houses were small huts with thatched roofs, wooden walls, and dirt floors. Guilford, unlike other villages, had no protective palisade fence surrounding the community; instead they build four large stone houses for the leaders of the plantation. These homes were strategically located and used for shelter during times of danger. Life in Guilford was extremely primitive and resembled a medieval village for several generations.

It was on June 1, 1639, while still at sea that the twenty-five male family heads drew up and signed an agreement known variously as the GUILFORD COMPACT or THE PLANTATION COVENANT.  This simple agreement formed the basis for the establishment of a new settlement along the shores of what is now Long Island Sound in Connecticut.

GUILFORD COVENANT - signed “on shipboard” June 1639

“We, whose names are hereunder written, intendending by God’s gracious permission to plant ourselves in New England, and, if it may be, in the southerly part, about Quinnipiack:  We do faithfully promise each to each, for ourselves and families, and those that belong to us; that we will, the Lord assisting us, sit down and join ourselves together in one intire plantation; and to be helpful each to the other in every common work, according to every man’s ability and as need shall require; and we promise not to desert or leave each other or the plantation but with the consent of the rest, or the greater part of the company who have entered into this engagement.

As for our gathering together in a church way, and the choice of officers and members to be joined together in that way, we do refer ourselves until such time as it shall please God to settle us in our plantation.  In witness whereof we subscribe our hands, the fist day of June 1639.

  • Robert Kitchell
  • John Stone
  • Thomas Norton
  • John Bishop
  • William Plane
  • Abraham Cruttenden
  • Francis Bushnell
  • Richard Gutridge
  • Francis Chatfield
  • William Chittendon
  • John Hughes
  • William Halle
  • William Lute
  • Wm. Dudley
  • Thomas Naish
  • Thomas Joanes
  • John Parmelin
  • Henry Kingsnorth
  • John Jordan
  • John Mepham
  • Henry Doude
  • William Stone
  • Henry Whitfield
  • Thomas Cooke
  • John Hoadly

Guilford is considered by some to have the third largest collection of historic homes in New England, with important buildings from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries There are five historic house museums, including the Henry Whitfield House (1639), the oldest dwelling house in Connecticut and the oldest stone house in North America.  If this house was actually begun in 1639, it would be the oldest extant New England Colonial building, but there is no original interior wood, so the tree-ring method of dating (dendrochronology) cannot be used.  According to tradition, the stone of which it is built was brought by Indians on hand-barrows across a swamp from Griswold’s lodge, about eighty rods distant. The walls are three feet thick. The house was kept in its original form till 1868, when it underwent considerable renovation.

Whitfield House

The Henry Whitfield House is a historic house located at 248 Old Whitfield Street in Guilford, Connecticut. This house dates from 1639, having been built just before the town of Guilford was settled. The house, with its massive stone walls, also served as a fort.  It was one of four stone houses that served to protect the community. Henry Whitfield was a Puritan minister who had come from England to flee religious persecution.

Whitfield House

The house was remodeled in 1868 and opened to the public in 1899 as a museum of the State of Connecticut, the Henry Whitfield State Museum. The house was restored in 1902-04 and in the 1930s and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1997.  It is the oldest house in Connecticut and the oldest stone house in New England. It was named a State Archeological Preserve in 2006.

Henry Whitfield House

After eleven years of service to the community he founded, Henry Whitfield returned to England. The contemporary historian Hubbard wrote, “After sundry years continuance in the country he found it too difficult for him, partly from the sharpness of air, he having a weake body, and partly from the toughness of those employments wherein his livelihood was sought…he at length took his departure about the 25th of August, 1650, in a small vessle bound for Boston, where he expected to take a ship to London. The whole town accompanied him to the shore and took their farewell of their pastor with tears and lamentations.” He left behind his wife Dorothy and some of his ten children.

It may be that Whitfield returned in what was called “The Counter-Migration” to enjoy a welcoming religious and political climate. Charles I and William Laud had been beheaded. The Cavaliers had been routed on all fronts by Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army. The Puritans had the upper hand in the revolutionary government which was to engage several constitutional experiments over the next few years.

Back in England, Henry Whitfield became involved in fundraising for Indian missions and joined the corporation for the Puritan Missionary Society. There were, in parts of New England, communities of “Praying Indians” who had been converted to Christianity. Henry Whitfield reported on the progress of evangelical efforts to the Puritan Parliament and asked for government support.

In 1652, he published “Strength out of weakness, or a glorious manifestation of the further progress of the Gospell among the Indians in New England: Held forth in sundry letters from divers ministersand others to the corporation established by Parliament for promoting the Gospell among the heathen in New England and to particular members thereof, since the last treatise to that effect.”  Henry is also the author of “Helps to stir up to Christian Duties” (London, 1634); and “The Light appearing more and more toward the Perfect Day, or a Farther Discovery of the Present State of the Indians in New England ” (1651)

Whitfield took a parish in the Diocese of Winchester and appears to have resumed his former life as a quiet English Vicar. He remained there until his death on September 17, 1657. He is buried in Winchester Cathedral.

Savage [with some of his abbreviations expanded]

“WHITFIELD, …(5030) HENRY, Guilford, came to New Haven in July 1639, with Col. George Fenwick and his lady, and a child of famous John Davenport, who, in a letter of 27 Sept. aft. to lady Mary Vere, tells of the ship, that she was the first “that ever cast anchor in” that place. See Geneal. Reg. IX. 149 No Doubt he was bred up for the pulpit, but of his place of education wh. are unknown. The common account of him is, that he was son of a lawyer, b. about 1597, settled as minister at Ockham, about 20 miles. from London, in Co. Surry, but others day Ockley or Okely in that shire about three miles. from the metropolis

“was one of the founders of the church at Guilford yet the establishment of the church. seems to be postponed to 1643, probably from the slow growth of the town. He had propty. eno. and disregard. the fulmination of Bishop. Laud for no read. the royal proclaimation. for sports on Sunday, resigned his place without dispute, after serving at the altar near twenty years in his native land.

“Later in the autumn of 1650, he went home, published the two following years. relattions of the spread of the gospel among our aborig. and died in the city of Winchester, it is said, in the office of minister though. of this I much doubt, if my construct. of the language of letters from his son-in-law and nephew. both named (5011ii[1]) John 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 children but I know only of (2515) Abigail, the first wife of (2514) Rev. James Fitch, and (5011ii) Sarah, wh. m. Rev. John Higginson.


1. Dorothy Whitfield

Dorothy’s first husband Samuel Desborough was born in Nov 1619 in Surrey, England. “Samuel Desborough, the first magistrate of Guilford, Connecticut, returned Aug/Nov 1650 to England and became in 1656, under Cromwell, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland. His brother John had married Cromwell’s sister Jane. He died 10 Dec 1690,in Elsworth, Cambridgeshire England.

Cromwell had a plan to ship out the Irish and repopulate Ireland with Protestants under his control.  He turned to New England people because they were Puritans of approved metal; they had been schooled in adversity and had demonstrated their ability to overcome great difficulties in the settlement and development of a country. Late in 1649 or early in 1650 he began systematic efforts to get New England people into Ireland. He wrote to New England for settlers and especially for missionaries. To whom he addressed himself can only be conjectured. There is no trace at this time of correspondence between Cromwell and anyone of Massachusetts except John Cotton, to whom Cromwell wrote early in October in answer to a letter of July, 1651. Samuel Desborough, however, who was close to Cromwell, kept in communication with Cotton. But Cromwell and Cotton were brought into communication by William Hooke, of New Haven, with whom Cromwell was frequently corresponding just at this time. Hooke in turn was intimately known to Desborough, and New Haven was the colony with which Cromwell was most closely connected.  Probably, therefore, the matter was managed by Hooke and Desborough through John Cotton, of Boston, and William Cobbet, of Lynn.

Cromwell now turned his attention toward New Haven, where the general despondency seemed to offer a good opportunity. These efforts did not cease until October, 1654. William Hooke, Samuel Desborough, and William Leete were Cromwell’s agents in the matter. Very probably the movement began while Desborough was still a resident of Guilford in 1650.  After Desborough left for England he induced Leete to write to Cromwell (some time before March, 1653-54) in behalf of New England, entreating him to relieve their afflicted and straitened condition. Cromwell made a favorable answer, which was enforced by a letter from Desborough March 5 1654. Leete took the matter up and spread the Protector’s offer through the colony. Some more or less definite arrangements were made for removal, and the city of Galway  was chosen as a place for settlement. The form which this arrangement took and why no general migration resulted can not be ascertained, because of the loss of the New Haven records from 1649 to 1653.

Dorothy’s second husband Thomas Jordan was born in 1618. Thomas died in 1650 in Guilford, Connecticut.

Children of Dorothy and Samuel

i. Sarah Desborough b. 1649; m. Christopher Milles of Herne

2. Sarah Whitfield

Sarah’s husband Rev. John Higginson was born 6 Aug. 1616 Claybrooke, Leicester, England. His parents were John Higginson and [__?__].  After Sarah died, he married Mary [__?__]  (c. 1626 – 1709) of Boston, Mass, widow of Joshua Atwater.  John Higginson was Henry Whitfield’s assistant as teacher and minister.   John died 9 Dec. 1708 Salem, Essex, Mass.


HIGGINSON, …(5031ii[1]) JOHN, Salem, disting. in the annals of that place, eldest son of [John Higginson] b. 6 Aug. 1616, at Claybrook, Co. Leicest. (wh. was dwell. of ano. fam. of the same name), came with his family. was freeman 25 May 1636, served as chaplain 1637, at Saybrook, but in 1641 went to Guilford, and was some years. colleague with (5030) Rev. Henry Whitefield, whose d. (5031ii) Sarah he married

“On a design of going to England he came in 1659 to Salem, there was prevailed on to remain, ordained Aug,. 1660, and died among the most honored of our clerg. 9 Dec. 1708. He had second wife Mary, wid. of Joshua Atwater of Boston, only three mos. survived him.”

Children of Sarah and John:

i. John Higginson b.1646 Guilford, New Haven, CT; d. 23 Mar. 1719/20 Salem, Essex, MA; m. Sarah Savage (25 June 1653 Boston, Mass – 26 June 1713)

ii. Nathaniel Higginson, b. 11 Oct. 1652, Harvard College 1670; d. Nov 1708 London, England

iii. Thomas Higginson

iv. Francis Higginson, b. 9 June 1660, went to Eng,. and was, it is said, sent to the Univeristy by his uncle Francis, [[vol. 2, p. 414]] but d. at London, of smallpox, 1684

v. Henry Higginson, 22 Dec. 1661, or 2, wh. d. 1685 at Barbados, of smallpox

vi. Sarah Higginson m. 1672, Richard Wharton

vii. Ann Higginson m. 4 Oct. 1682, William Dolliver of Gloucester.

2. Sarah Whitfield

Sarah’s husband Rev. John Higginson was born 6 Aug 1616 in Claybrook, Leicestershire, England. His parents were Francis Higginson and Anne Herbert. After Sarah died, he married 1676 in Stratford, Fairfield, CT to Mary Blakeman (b 1636 in Stratford, Fairfield, CT – d. 9 Mar 1709 in Stratford, Fairfield, CT. John died 9 Dec 1708 in Salem, Mass.

3. Abigail Whitfield (See Rev. James FITCH‘s page)

5. John Whitfield

John’s wife Elizabeth Waldish was born in Surrey, England.  Her parents were Alexander Waldish and [__?__].


Whitfield 1 – Relatives on Henry Whitfield’s mother’s side

Whitfield 2

Whitfield 3

Whitfield 4 (Virtual Tour of House)

The history of Guilford, Connecticut, from its first settlement in 1639 By Ralph Dunning Smith

Historical papers relating to the Henry Whitfield House, Guilford, Connecticut reprinted by vote of the Trustees. Published 1911


Posted in Artistic Representation, College Graduate, Dissenter, Historical Church, Historical Site, Immigrant - England, Line - Miner, Pioneer, Place Names | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

John Mason’s Controversial Statue

Maj. John MASON (1600 – 1672) was the commanding officer in the Pequot War.

John Mason Portrait

At the time, he was a victorious hero who later became  Deputy Governor of Connecticut and founded Norwich, Connecticut.  Now, he is viewed by some as a war criminal due to his responsible for the Mystic Massacre.  He was Alex’s 10th great grandfather, one of 2,048 in this generation of the Miner line.

A statue of Major John Mason is on the Palisado Green in  Windsor, Connecticut . The John Mason statue was originally placed at the intersection of Pequot Avenue and Clift Street in Mystic, Connecticut, near what was thought to be one of the original Pequot forts.

Major John Mason Statue now in Windsor, CT

The statue remained there for 103 years. After studying the sensitivity and appropriateness of the statue’s location near the historic massacre of Pequot people, a commission chartered by Groton, Connecticut voted to have it relocated. The State in 1993 relocated the statue to its current setting.

The work of the committee is an interesting piece of history in its own right, raising issues of history, our national identity, fairness and revisionism.   Even before his committee got to the issue at hand, Lon Thompson knew the members were in trouble.

At the outset, early in 1993, the job had not seemed too difficult. They were to take six months to recommend to the town what to do with a statue. The monument was hardly central to this tourist village at the east end of Long Island Sound. Most residents could not give you directions to it.

But quickly it became apparent that the volunteers on the committee were involved in much more than a decision about a statue. They had been pitched into a debate about what happened on a June morning 357 years ago-one of the most hotly contested events in Colonial history and one that some scholars argue is at the root of relationships between European colonizers and Native Americans.

Almost from the start, the angry unfinished business of the 17th century seeped into the committee’s meetings. Furious members soon gave up taking minutes because no one could agree on what had been said at the previous session. The audience grew increasingly hostile, jeering expert witnesses.

An invited speaker once threatened a committee member. Thompson remembers thinking: “Reality check. Hello.” Thompson was called a dictator and compared to Hitler. The statue was likened to erecting a monument to Heinrich Himmler at Auschwitz.

It was a curious turnaround for Capt. John Mason. A century earlier, Mason’s place in history seemed unassailable when the leading men of Mystic lifted his towering bronze likeness, frozen forever grasping at his sword, onto a 23-ton granite block.

A plaque on the stone declares that near the spot, Mason “overthrew the Pequot Indians and preserved the settlements from destruction.” He was a figure of reverence; mythlike. He was a defender of the colony and an instrument of God.

But history ebbs and flows. The very events Mason is credited with setting in motion have lately been kinder to the vanquished than the victor. Decades of development have relegated the statue to an out- of-the-way part of town. Its huge pedestal now sits in the middle of Pequot Avenue. Locally, Mason’s legacy is a means of slowing traffic.

Pequot fortunes, meanwhile, recently moved in a reverse direction. Two decades of historical revisionism cast the Puritan war with the Pequots in terms more sympathetic to the tribe. Coincidentally, a century after the statue went up, the tribe Mason had been credited with burning from the Earth broke ground for a gambling casino that has become the most profitable in the Western Hemisphere.

In 1992, well into this shifting historical context, there was a prayer service at the foot of Mason’s statue. It remembered not Mason’s victory, but those who suffered and died at the hands of the European invaders. Wolf Jackson, a Pequot, then circulated petitions calling for the statue’s removal. In October 1992, the Groton Town Council-the western half of Mystic is part of Groton-appointed the committee.

Thompson became chairman by virtue of his strong lack of opinion on the subject; he lives in the neat subdivision that has grown around Mason’s statue and is a beneficiary of its effect on traffic.

The committee’s work stretched past its deadline. For most of 11 months, Thompson was more referee than chairman. The committee split roughly between people who hated the statue and people who liked it; people who thought Mason was all bad and those who thought he wasn’t. Illustrative of the group’s divisions was the decision against keeping meaningful minutes.

“The reason we did that,” Thompson said, “was that the early meetings, the first few months, were almost 911 contentious. So rather than devolve into spending three hours each week trying to get every word of the minutes from last week approved, we kind of somehow came to the decision to just not say anything.”

One night, Moonface Bear, a leader of Connecticut’s Golden Hill Paugussett tribe, addressed the committee.

“I thought I was going to get hit with a chair,” Thompson said. “That was a very heated meeting. And I think the minutes say, `We had Native American speakers here.’ That kind of thing.”

In such an atmosphere, how were nine people in modern-day Connecticut — including a descendant of the Pequots and a descendant of Mason-supposed to discern the motives of an English colonist? How were they to decide what the erectors of the statue had in mind? How would they agree on whether history’s wrongs can be righted?

It was as if the battle for the colony had to be fought again.

Preludes to war

Whatever the motives of Mason and the Pequots, history suggests a clash between cultures was inevitable.

By the 1620s, a flourishing commerce existed between Europe, where beaver coats were the rage, and North America, where trappers and traders filled the void left by overhunting in the Russian forests.

Already there were territorial scrapes between the Pequots, the dominant tribe, and their neighbors, including the Narragansetts. The earliest European incursions into the Connecticut River Valley only exacerbated them.

The Dutch sailed up the Connecticut River as far as modern Hartford to trade with the Pequots. The English from Massachusetts Bay sent a band of settlers to Hartford and established relations with lesser tribes who hoped to gain a degree of protection from the Pequots.

The English also established a trading post of their own at Windsor, where the Farmington River joins the Connecticut. Their plan was to intercept furs bound from the interior for the Dutch.

Tension grew.

The Pequots killed some Indians-probably Narragansetts-who were attempting to trade with the Dutch. The Dutch reacted by kidnapping and killing a Pequot sachem. The Narragansett response was to consider war against the Pequots. And the Pequots retaliated with an attack on the Dutch post, the House of Hope.

But it took the apparently unrelated murder of John Stone, an English trader, to really begin the destabilizing slide toward general war. It is curious that Stone contributed so to hostilities, because if there was anything the Pequots and English agreed upon, it was that Stone needed killing.

He was a West Indian trader-cum- pirate who landed in Massachusetts Bay after trying to hijack a Plymouth ship. The citizens of Plymouth howled for his head, but Stone had friends in high places. For some reason, the Colonial magistrates smoothed things over, at least until Stone next surfaced, in bed with another man’s wife. Stone is said to have used “braving and threatening speeches” to bully his way out of the jam, but he was banished on pain of death.

On his way to Virginia, Stone kidnapped some Indians at the Connecticut River for ransom, but he was caught off guard and killed, probably by Western Niantics, allies of the Pequots.

About the same time, the Pequot sachem Sassacus traveled to Massachusetts, hoping to stop the violence with diplomacy.

The English insisted that the Pequots produce Stone’s killers. But before anything could be done, another Englishman, John Oldham, was killed, this time on Block Island. The English, who also were hearing rumors that the Pequots were secretly plotting war against the colonists, held them responsible for Oldham’s death, even though Block Island was Narragansett territory.

On Aug. 25, 1636, Massachusetts Bay launched a punitive expedition under the charge of John Endecottto avenge the murders of Oldham and Stone.

Endecott attacked Block Island, but probably killed only one man. He burned some wigwams and crops and headed for Connecticut. At Pequot Harbor, site of modern New London, he demanded Stone’skillers.

Again, there was no real violence. Endecott chased some Pequots into the woods, where they hid, laughing at the sight of the Englishmen, armored and sweating under the hot sun. Endecott burned some more corn and wigwams. Then he returned to Boston.

Endecott was apparently enough to dissuade Sassacus of whatever peaceful intentions he may have held.

Fed up, he ordered his warriors on a series of raids. On April 23, 1637, 200 warriors attacked Wethersfield as the colonists left their homes to tend their fields and cattle.

Nine settlers, including a woman and a child, were killed. The war party took two 15-year-old girls hostage and retreated down the Connecticut River in dugout canoes. As the Indians passed the English fort at Old Saybrook, they hoisted the settlers’ bloody clothes in mimicry of sails on English boats.

The Wethersfield attack increased colonists’ fear that the Pequots were planning general war. The raid brought the total of English dead from the hostilities to 30 — 5 percent of the English population of Connecticut.

The English became convinced that their very survival was at stake. They decided to strike first. In the spring of 1637, the General Court at Hartford declared war on the Pequots, the first such declaration north of Mexico.

Heated views of history

It is a relatively new school of historical thought that asks whether the colonization of America was inherently evil-the same thinking that created a backlash of protest during the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ voyage to the New World.

Such revision of history is what drove the movement for a new look at Mason’s statue. The town council asked the committee for advice on “possible solutions to resolve the conflict that now exists over the statue, its language and symbolism.”

Vine Deloria Jr., a Native American activist and author, wrote to the committee that conservative historians perpetuate many of society’s problems by refusing to “revise” interpretations of events, such as the battle between Mason and the Pequots.

“The real problem today is the irresponsibility of the ruling class of white man and the propensity of people to reclassify such massacres as `battle’-to use euphemisms to cover a multitude of sins,” he wrote.

To some committee members, such as David Silk, some Colonial histories were little more than propaganda.

“The history, first of all, was written by white men,” Silk said. “Some of the stuff was just terrible. Some of it written in the ’50s was just vile. Almost making heroes out of anyone who killed redskins.”

Silk was one of two committee members from the Southeastern Connecticut Coalition for Peace and Justice, a group that formed by holding protest vigils during the Persian Gulf war and that was drawn to Wolf Jackson’s crusade.

Silk brought to the table robust ideas about what to do with John Mason’s statue.

“I’d like to see the thing destroyed,” he said. “But, well, that’s down the road someplace.”

Silk viewed opposition to the statue as an obligation of cultural solidarity.

“The newspaper constantly refers to the Pequots’ objecting to the statue,” Silk said. “Sometimes it even seems like it’s a white-against-a-Native- American type of issue. Not only is it not true, but it’s harmful.

“It’s like, `If it wasn’t my ancestors who were slaughtered, then it doesn’t matter.’ It’s a way of denial. And I think it’s part of the denial that we have about Native Americans. `They once were, they no longer are.

Yeah, we treated them bad, but that was way back then.’ ”

Patron historian to all those who would remove the statue from its present site is Francis Jennings, author of “The Invasion of America: Indians, Colonialism and the Cant of Conquest.”

His 1975 book broke with traditional thinking and formulated a view of Colonial New England that casts Native Americans as victims. Its provocative arguments invigorated Colonial history.

In his writings on Mason and the Pequots, Jennings argues that their battle was the first of a continuing series of duplicitous attacks against Native Americans by Europeans who coveted their land.

Such thinking at times evoked passionate responses from the committee and members of its equally disputatious audience. Thompson struggled to maintain order, and after a time, his most frequent discussion with his wife became why he put up with it.

“I can’t even remember some of the things I was, on some nights during those meetings,” Thompson said. “I was used to being Hitler all the time. Every time I would cut somebody off and try to get things moving again, I was a dictator.”

At the fourth meeting, it was a member of the audience who informed the committee that the statue on Pequot Avenue is about as appropriate as a monument at Auschwitz to Heinrich Himmler, architect of the Nazis’ Final Solution.

The following week, Melinda Plourde- Cole, the other representative of the Southeastern Connecticut Coalition, wondered aloud whether “the statue’s energy” was “racism.” At the sixth meeting, Wolf Jackson compared Mason to Josef Stalin.

For a brief time, the state Department of Environmental Protection had a member on the committee, since the state owns the statue. He excused himself early one night, whispering to a friend, “I’m late. I hope I don’t get scalped.”

He did not whisper quietly enough. The committee-which not incidentally argued over who invented scalping, Indians or Europeans-voted that it would be his last meeting.

But the meeting almost everyone on the committee seems to remember was the night Moonface Bear came to speak, shortly before the Paugussett leader became a fixture in the news because of his armed standoff with the state over the sale of tax- free cigarettes.

“After the Moonface Bear incident, I made sure I found out how to get help in there, quickly,” Thompson said.

“What happened was, we were in a very small room that night and he had a lot of people with him. Some of these guys are pretty damn big. And they dress sort of to intimidate.”

Some on the committee and in the audience clapped and nodded in approval at Moonface Bear’s plea for Native American rights. “He just got spun up and encouraged enough at one point where it was like, `We’re going to get our rights. And we’ll fight. And we’ll kill people if we have to.’ And he got up and got very close to the table and said: `I’ll bring in as many people as we need.’ ”

A deadly inferno

In 1637, rightly or wrongly, the attack was planned and the Connecticut General Court chose Mason to lead it.

He was a 37-year-old militia captain who had arrived in the colony three years earlier, a leader among the families from Dorchester, Mass., who settled Windsor.

His march against the Pequots did not begin well.

There is some disagreement about the exact size of Mason’s force when he left Hartford. He probably had 90 Englishmen, from Windsor, Hartford and Wethersfield, and 70 Mohegans, led by the sachem Uncas, who had split from the Pequots.

They sailed to the English fort at Old Saybrook, commanded by Lt. Lion Gardiner. Gardiner knew a little about the Pequots; his outpost had been besieged for months following Endecott’s retaliatory raid at New London.

Gardiner pronounced Mason’s mission foolhardy-he was not outfitted for the attack, lacked the requisite military training and was depending for support upon Uncas, who was unreliable.

Uncas acted immediately to dispel doubts about his reliability. He killed four Pequots who happened to be in the vicinity. But the expedition was put on hold for five or six days. Eventually, the Englishmen decided to replace Mason’s 20 frailest men with 20 of Gardiner’s lustiest.

Again, there are inconsistencies about what followed-principally in numbers of troops-but the broad outline of events leading to the battle is agreed upon.

Mason had been ordered to make a frontal attack on a principal Pequot village. But after hours of prayer, he adopted a plan provided by the Narragansetts-attack from the rear.

From Old Saybrook, he sailed down Long Island Sound. When he passed Groton Long Point, Pequots lined the shore, waving and taunting; challenging the English to stop and fight.

But Mason continued to Rhode Island, apparently causing the Pequots to believe the English had given up and were returning to Massachusetts, petrified and defeated.

Still farther east, beyond the land of the Pequots, Mason touched shore in Narragansett territory. Again, he could have hoped for a more encouraging greeting. The Narragansett sachem Miantonomo was about as impressed as Gardiner. Mason’s force, Miantonomo said, was too paltry.

Nonetheless, after some talk, Miantonomo gave Mason his blessing, as well as his permission to march westward-across Narragansett territory. He also assigned agroup of Narragansetts and Niantics to join Mason’s force, bringing the number of the combined force to 500 by some accounts.

Mason and his army struck out through the woods, and it seemed as if all the dire warnings were proving true. First, a portion of his Indian allies had a change of heart and needed a rousing speech from Uncas to keep them from going home. Then, after camping for the night, the Englishmen overslept. Mason had hoped for a dawn attack.

When they finally roused themselves, the Englishmen found they were lost.

At last, Mason’s Indian scouts found a path that led to some cornfields, a sure sign of settlement. Mason found a 2-acre Pequot compound of homes, spread along lanes. It was surrounded by a 10- to 12-foot palisade of posts. There were entrances at the southwest and northeast sides.

Mason’s luck seemed to turn. The village was quiet, the inhabitants apparently sleeping late after a celebration of the spring fish runs.

Still undetected, Mason divided his force. He planned to attack from the northeast. His second in command, Capt. John Underhill, would enter from the southwest. As Mason approached, a dog barked. A sleepy Pequot emerged from his wigwam, and walked smack into the approaching English.

“Owanux, Owanux!” the Pequot cried. “Englishmen, Englishmen!” But Mason’s surprise was complete. His force was within the compound before the village was aroused. Mason charged into a wigwam full of sleeping inhabitants. He was nearly shot by an arrow, but one of his men slashed the warrior’s bowstring before he could fire.

The attack was only minutes old when Mason made a decision that raised one of the most enduring and hotly debated questions in New England history.

The Pequots were awake and trying to mount a defense. There was a great confusion of white men and red men running about. Mason, most historians believe, may have wanted to gain the upper hand before another Pequot village 5 miles away, where the sachem Sassacus was believed encamped with a large contingent of warriors, could send in reinforcements.

Mason had dashed along the village’s main lane and was at the compound’s northeast perimeter. There was a breeze freshening from the northeast. He ducked into a wigwam and grabbed an ember. He touched it to the wigwam’s bark mat covering. It was dry and ignited in a moment, and the breeze carried the flames south over the entire village.

In minutes, it was a deadly inferno.

The English and their allies bolted outside the palisade, and Mason ordered the English to form a ring around the village. Behind them, the Narragansett and Niantic allies formed a second, concentric circle.

The English were ordered to kill Pequots fleeing the flames, and the Indians were ordered to kill any the English missed.

Years later, Underhill wrote that the Pequots, who were absolutely without hope and being cut down by the score, fought valiantly:

“Many were burnt in the fort, both men, women and children. Others forced out, and came in troops to the Indians, twenty and thirty at a time, which our soldiers received and entertained with the point of the sword. Down fell men, women and children; those that scaped us, fell into the hands of the Indians that were in the rear of us.

“Most courageously these Pequots behaved themselves . . . many courageous fellows were unwilling to come out and fought most desperately through the pallisadoes . . . and so perished valiantly. Mercy did they deserve for the valor, could we have had opportunity to bestow it.”

It was a slaughter.

Before the flames died, Mason and his forces fled west. Sassacus, at the adjacent Pequot village, had been alerted and was in hot pursuit. Mason ran to the Thames River, where the English ships were waiting by prearrangement.

Accounts of the battle suggest 400 Pequot men, women and children — virtually the village’s entire population-were massacred. Mason probably lost two English killed and 20 wounded. Some accounts say as many as half his Native American allies died.

And it was only the first blow in what became a campaign by the English to exterminate the Pequots. Expeditions were commissioned in Massachusetts and Connecticut to finish the tribe off.

The war ended in scattered skirmishes; warriors were killed and women and children were dispersed among settlers and their Native American allies. Some were sold into slavery.

Near the end of 1637, the few remaining Pequot sachems pleaded for an end to the war, offering their freedom for the close of hostilities. A peace convention was arranged. The Treaty of Hartford was signed on Sept. 21, 1638, and, under its terms, the Pequots ceased to exist.

Before the war, there were probably 3,000 Pequots. Possibly half the tribe,principally combatants, were killed.

The treaty forbade the surviving Pequots from calling themselves Pequots.

They were not permitted to live in their tribal lands. The Pequot River was renamed the Thames River. Pequot Village was renamed New London. The word Pequot was not to be spoken.

Sassacus fled north, seeking refuge among the Mohawks. They killed him and made a gift of his head to the English in Hartford.

The monument question

By and large, the John Mason Statue Advisory Committee did not begin its work amid a general public hand-wringing over the rightness or wrongness of John Mason’s attack on the Pequots.

“Truly, I went in with an open mind on it,” said J. Neil Spillane, who was appointed to the committee as a representative of the Mystic River Historical Society.

“I did know that most of the Mystic residents really were strongly in favor of keeping the monument in Mystic. They didn’t see that there was all that much of a problem. To say the least, I suspect they felt it was a tempest in a teapot.”

But as the committee delved into its subject, it confronted the war’s central question, and it plagued the members just as it has historians in general. It is the question of what motivated Mason and his superiors in the Colonial administration.

On the one hand, it can be argued they were despicably venal; that they launched a premeditated, genocidal attack to exterminate the Pequots and steal their lands. On the other, there is the argument that Mason and the colonists acted from desperation; the settlers were afraid of being run out of Connecticut, and Mason fired the village in a frantic attempt to cover a retreat from a superior force.

The committee searched for answers. “We collected a stupefying amount of information,” Thompson said.

What it found were more questions. Did Mason attack an encampment of women and children? Or had the village been reinforced the night before by a contingent of warriors?

“There are a lot of misconceptions about the facts and I really shouldn’t even use the word facts,” Kevin McBride, a University of Connecticut archaeologist who works with the Pequots, told the committee. “It is all interpretation.”

The bottom line is that the Pequots were nearly eliminated. Whatever cultural contributions an intact tribe might have made to modern Connecticut were lost, replaced by the legacy of the English.

Confronted by the indisputable fact, the committee wondered what, if anything, it could or should do. Nothing, some argued. There is no way to impute motive to events nearly four centuries old, they reasoned. What has happened cannot be changed.

“It’s just terribly unhistorical and unprofessional to say what happened in the past didn’t happen or shouldn’t have happened,” said Christopher Collier, the state historian of Connecticut.

Collier declined an invitation to address the committee, but shared some of his thoughts in an interview.

“Whether it should have happened or not, it did happen. We’re stuck with it.

“The statue of Mason stands in the long tradition of what we broadly call American history. . . . There’s no question but that there were terrible injustices perpetrated on the Indians. I don’t think anybody questions that. But the event occurred and as a result of that event, large numbers of English people were made safe.

“And a large area of territory was opened up to settlement by these English people, whose descendants have made the United States what it is. Their descendants wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. So the fact of this victory is terribly significant to Americans generally and to Connecticut people in particular. And it seems to me something that’s very worthy of notice.

“Just think about it,” Collier said. “What would have happened had the Pequots won?”

Events before the committee were terribly gruesome: massacre, immolation, torture. Emotions were bared. Passions were aroused. Some people were frightened.

More than a year after he addressed the committee, for example, William N.

Peterson, curator of the Mystic Seaport Museum, possibly the world’s foremost 19th-century maritime collection, remains so rattled by having received a hostile reception that he refused to discuss it or his views.

“They savaged Peterson,” Thompson said. “In writing and at the meeting.”

Peterson is a local history buff who lives in Stonington. He now politely refers any questions about the issue to a transcription of his remarks before the committee.

He told the group that if anyone today were to propose erecting a monument to Mason at the site, that person would quite properly be shown the door.

But, he said, the question before the committee-what to do with a statue erected a century ago-is not so easily answered.

He argued that events take place in the context of their times. By that standard, the battle was not calculated genocide, but “rather the unhappy consequence of bitter warfare,” Peterson said.

And the statue was not erected as an offense. The Pequots were honestly-but mistakenly-regarded as a vanished race in the 19th century. Herman Melville, in “Moby Dick,” called them “as extinct as the ancient Medes.” In “Democracy in America,” Alexis de Tocqueville wrote that the Pequots, Narragansetts and Mohegans “now live only in men’s memories.”

In any event, Peterson said, anyone alive today can only guess what was in the minds of Mason and the makers of his monument. And to remove a monument erected by long-dead people to someone dead even longer smacks of book burning.

“To be offended by something that was created by a past generation and base the argument for that offense by applying the values and beliefs of a later generation is, in my view, historical madness,” Peterson said. “Moreover, to take irrevocable action in response to those ancient events and attitudes is, again, in my opinion, to take a very narrow view of our collective culture.

“Carried to its logical extreme the Colosseum in Rome should be plowed under and the Alhambra in Granada dynamited to atoms. They, after all, to some, are symbols of a terrible intolerance.”

`Bloody footprints’

In 1889, 250 years after the great battle-or, if you prefer, massacre- New England was obsessed with success rather than survival. The Civil War was over and the nation was intact. America had celebrated the Centennial. Manifest Destiny was no longer abstract ambition. There was a sense that the country was destined to claim a place of greatness among nations.

It was America’s historic monument movement. Communities all over the Northeast were looking for famous sons to cast in statuary. New London honored John Winthrop. Norwich honored Uncas.

Mystic chose John Mason.

He was still regarded as a key figure in New England’s history. After the defeat of the Pequots, Mason had been made a major general and given control of the Connecticut militia. He was rewarded with hundreds of acres of land in southeastern Connecticut, including Mason’s Island, at the mouth of the Mystic River, and much of what is now Norwich.

Later in life, he was repeatedly elected deputy governor of the colony, and held the position until his health failed. He died at 72 in Norwich, the town he founded.

The Mystictown fathers and county historical society decided the scene of the great battle was the spot for their monument. They undertook a survey for the precise location. Old photographs show the land then was cleared and probably tilled; plows regularly turned up artifacts and bits of charcoal consistent with the burned palisade of long ago.

J.G.C. Hamilton, one of a community of stone carvers and sculptors from Westerly, R.I., was chosen to create the likeness. He captured a stern Mason, 9 feet tall in high- crowned Puritan hat.

Mason stands, according to modern archaeologists, just about where Underhill massed his forces for their rush through the village’s southwestern gate.

The day of the dedication, a crowd of dignitaries arrived in New London by train and met in Mystic. Among those present were Gov. Phineas C. Lounsbury, his foot guard, four companies of the 3rd Regiment of the National Guard and the regiment’s machine-gun platoon.

There were three bands. When the members of the state legislature arrived, 27 carriages were required to haul them up the slope from the river.

There was a light fog. After prayer, poetry and music came the high point of the day. A man identified in the official account of the proceedings as Isaac H. Bromley of Boston launched the principal oration.

Bromley required 42 pages just to touch lightly on the strength of Mason’s character. In his view, Mason was on a heavenly mission. He marched into darkness carrying the future of truth and goodness.

“Before him,” Bromley rumbled, “were the wilderness and a wily and courageous foe numbering more than ten times his force; and around him a large gathering of red men, whose deceitfulness was too well known to admit of trust in their assertions; behind him, a settlement in the wilderness, over whose scattered homes the shadow of sudden and cruel death lay dark and gloomy.”

At Page 44, as if pausing to inhale, Bromley made an abrupt digression. He acknowledged that, even at the height of the 19th-century American spasm of hero worship, there were some who might argue that Mason’s victory was too bloody. These, he needed only paragraphs to dismiss.

“It is well to remember, too,” Bromley said, “that from the beginning of history, all progress has been in the wake of war, and every forward step in our boasted Christian civilization has been in its bloody footprints.”

Bromley urged his audience to look beyond the hilltop, over the tilled fields to the north, beneath the fog at the busy village below, and south, toward the fisheries and sea lanes of the Atlantic.

“Does your justification still lag, my peace-preaching brother?” he asked. “Lift up your eyes to the scene spread out before you; upon these grassy hillsides sloping to the river and sea, upon field and meadow waving with ripening harvests, upon farm and cottage, the rewards of toil and thrift, upon towns and villages teeming with life and humming with industry, upon yonder waters white with a commerce that keeps the world’s remotest shores in constant touch.”

Even the dullards in Bromley’s audience could not miss his point.

“All this had not been, had John Mason been less prompt or less resolute,” he said.

“And we are here, too, amid these peaceful scenes whose peace was bought at such a price, to remember, first of all, that homely axiom of common life that `to have an omelet there must be breaking of eggs.’ ”

Sweet irony

After months of anguish, the committee experienced a moment of truth.

Many miles away and months earlier, Stephen Katz, a historian at Cornell University, had reached independently the same position about the statue.

He had been studying the Pequot War as part of a three-volume history he was writing of the Holocaust. He concluded that Mason was not genocidal, and he believes that historical events must be viewed, in part, within their own context.

“But this is not just a question of what happened and a debate among historians,” he said during an interview, after the committee had completed its work.

“This is a debate about the public space in Mystic. And that’s a different matter. That involves not the people who lived in Mystic 300 years ago only, but the people who live there today. And what they’re willing to sanction and prefer to be remembered or not remember.”

So the committee simply stopped trying to figure out what happened on the hill above the Mystic River in 1637.

“We decided, there is no way to decide,” Thompson said. “Nobody knows what John Mason was thinking. Nobody knows if he went in with the intent to have a massacre, if it turned into a massacre, if there were women and children there, if there weren’t, if there were warriors there or there weren’t.”

Instead, the question became one of sensitivity. “The defining moment of the entire debate was sort of, `It’s sensitive to Native Americans, therefore, that’s enough,’ ” Thompson said.

“The key is that plaque. That `Heroic Deed of John Mason’ inflames most anybody who is sensitive toward Native American affairs. At the very, very least, what you have is an insufficient amount of information on the monument today to tell you what the hell happened.”

Spillane, a representative of the historical society, agreed. If only one person is offended, he said, that is one too many. “After many months,” he said, “I think we got consensus because we felt there was only one issue. Everything else was scenery.”

The town’s instructions to the John Mason Statue Advisory Committee were to recommend whether the statue should be removed, and, if so, to where.

After 11 months, the committee got half the job done and quit.

For Spillane, the determining fact was that the statue was erected on a burial ground. “If I were a Texan and somebody wanted to put Santa Ana on the Alamo, I’d be up in arms, too,” he said.

“So with that as background, I actually made the motion to relocate it. And it turned out to be a unanimous vote.”

On the subject of a new home for the statue, the committee considered more than a dozen locations. Perhaps not surprisingly, it was unable to agree on one.

So the committee disbanded, leaving some wounds.

In Thompson’s opinion, the Southeastern Connecticut Coalition for Peace and Justice succeeded only at raising political correctness to an art form.

“Let’s face it,” Thompson said. “That’s what brought them to the table because that’s what they’re all about. Look at any of their stuff. It’s trite.”

Silk, a coalition representative, was slightly more charitable.

“There was strong debate,” Silk said. “I don’t think it was personal. But in the beginning, and still, I have a lot of respect for all the members of the committee. Well, most of them.” The man who began the drive to remove the statue, the Pequot Wolf Jackson, is pleased with how it ended.

“I’ll always inside believe that statues of this sort have no business being displayed anywhere,” Jackson said. “But I can understand also that if we have to take another 50 or 100 years to let the statue teach a lesson, then maybe someone else will stand up there and say now that this thing has taught us all about history, let’s get rid of it.

“I’m satisfied that the people who lost their lives, the women and children, can now rest in peace. They won’t have this statue looming over their spirits.”

The statue’s fate is still in question; it still slows traffic on Pequot Avenue.

The Groton Town Council has adopted and expanded upon the committee’s recommendation; in one of history’s sweetest ironies, the council resolved in late April to move the statue to a museum the Pequots have built on their rich reservation. But the final decision still lies with the state Department of Environmental Protection. “What we really accomplished-sort of a one-page thing-bears not a whit to what really happened,”Thompson said.

“It was a long, tedious, but educational and enlightening journey to come up with kind of a one-liner that says — `Yeah. Move it.’ ”

CORRECTION/CLARIFICATION: Correction published May 28, 1994

  • Moonface Bear, leader of the Golden Hill Paugussetts, told the John Mason Statue Advisory Committee last year that the statue in Mystic should be removed because it is a “gross misrepresentation” of what happened between Indians and English colonists. He said that if the committee did not vote to remove the statue, he would take further measures. However, he did not say he would “kill people,” as one committee member paraphrased his remarks. His remarks were reported incorrectly in a Page 1 story Thursday.


History Revisited: An Old War, A New Battle Edmund Mahony The Hartford Courant, Thursday, May 26, 1994

Allyn, James H. Major John Mason’s Great Island (Roy N. Bohlander, Mystic; 1976)

Jennings, Francis. The Invasion of America: Indians, Colonialism, and The Cant of Conquest (W.W. Norton & Company, New York; 1975) Katz, Steven T. “The Pequot War Reconsidered.” New England Quarterly, June 1991.

Kimball, Crol W. The Groton Story (Groton Public Library; 1991)

Mason, Louis B. The Life and Times of Major John Mason 1600-1672 (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York and London; 1935)

Mason, John . A Brief History of the Pequot War (Readex Microprint Corp; 1966)

McNeill, William H. Mythistory and Other Essays (University of Chicago Press;1986)

Posted in History, Line - Miner | 4 Comments

Mr. Fitch’s Mile

In 1695 at the age of 74, Rev. James FITCH (1622 – 1702) founded and settled Lebanon, Connecticut, a new town nearby Norwich where he lived.  He moved to Lebanon in 1701 when he retired from the church in Norwich. He remained in Lebanon until his death at age eighty on November 18, 1702. He is buried at the churchyard there and his stone remains in the old cemetery.

The town of Lebanon has its origins with the settlers of Norwich, who wanted to expand beyond the “nine miles square” they had bought from the Mohegan sachem Uncas. In 1663, the first grant in the area was given in to James’ father-in-law  Maj. John Mason, deputy governor of the Connecticut colony; the next year, Mason accepted 500 acres  northwest of Norwich. This area, known as “Pomakuck” or “Pomocook” by the Mohegans, is now the Goshen Hill area of Lebanon. In 1666, Connecticut granted an additional 120 acres  to the Rev. James Fitch, minister of Norwich, adjacent to Maj. Mason’s land which was now known as Cedar Swamp. The Mohegans conferred their blessing on the grants by giving an additional seven-mile strip to Maj. Mason’s son in 1675, who split the land with the Rev. Fitch, his father-in-law. This area is now known as “Fitch and Mason’s Mile,” or just “The Mile.”

Mr. Fitch's Mile

Mr. Fitch’s Mile

Lebanon, Connecticut, a mere dot on a road map of that state, is an attractive New England town noted for its mile-long Common. The town lies just to the northwest of Norwich and has its origins in the expansion of Norwich residents to land beyond the “nine miles square” they had bought from the Mohegan sachem Uncas. The first grants in the area were given in 1663 to Maj. John Mason (ca. 1600-1672), deputy governor of the Connecticut colony, and in 1668 to Rev. James Fitch (1622-1702), minister of Norwich. These two men were doubly connected by marriage. Rev. Fitch’s second wife was Mason’s daughter Priscilla, and John Mason, Jr. married Abigail Fitch, the minister’s daughter by his first wile, Abigail Whitfield (for some notable descendants of Rev. Henry Whitfield, founder of Guilford, Connecticut, and his wife Dorothy Sheafe, parents of Abigail, see NEXUS10[1993]:71, 74). Maj. Mason and Rev. Fitch were also among the founders of Norwich. The grants were in the southwestern part of what is now Lebanon, an area the Indians called Pomakuck, and lay between Deep River and Goshen Hill. Fig. 1 is a reconstructed map of the area, based on maps in G. McL. Milne, Lebanon (1986), p. 6.

The next significant grant was a strip of land a mile wide and about six miles long on the Norwich border; this land became known as “Mr. Fitch’s Mile,” “the Fitch and Mason,” or just “The Mile.” Then, in 1692, four Norwich men bought a large tract from Owaneco, one of the sons of Uncas; this area was called the “Five Miles Square” or simply the “Five Mile.” The dashed line represents the Owaneco grant; the solid outer perimeter is the present Lebanon boundary. The Lebanon Historical Society has even located a 1693 corner marker known as the “Five Mile Rock” at the southwest corner of the tract.

Traditionally, it has been thought that, a few years before selling the “Five Mile,” Owaneco had given the “Mile” to Rev. Fitch. As Frances Caulkins wrote in History of Norwich, Connecticut (1873) following the description of James Fitch’s Pomakuck grant:

To this grant, Owaneco, the son and successor of Uncas, at a subsequent period, in acknowledgement of favors received from Mr. Fitch, added a tract Five miles in length and one in breadth. This munificent gift was familiarly called the Mile, or Mr. Fitch’s Mile. 

Others have repeated this story: notably, Rev. Orb D. Hine in Early Lebanon (1880) (pp. 9-10); the 1986 town history cited above; and Robert Charles Anderson, who in a master’s thesis on the settlement of Lebanon  cited a 1687 Norwich land record which seemed to support it.

All of these accounts are incorrect. The land was not given by Owaneco, but by Joshua, another of the sons of Uncas, and it was given to Capt. John Mason, Jr. (1646-1676), not to Mason’s father-in-law Rev. Fitch. The grant was made not in 1687 but eleven years earlier, in 1676. The 1687 grant by Owaneco cited in the Anderson thesis was to Capt. James Fitch, son of Rev. James Fitch, and was for land to the northeast of Norwich. The 1687 tract does include (as the first of many items) a piece “six or seven miles in length and a mile in breadth.” But that piece was “bounded east on quienabaug River” (the Quinnebaug joins the Shetucket River northeast of Norwich). The actual grant for what became Mr. Fitch’s Mile was on 8 Mar 1675/76, three months after Capt. Mason had received his” death wound” in King Philip’s War (he lived nearly a year thereafter) and two months before the death of Joshua.

Lyme this 8th of March 1675/76 Know all men by These presentsthat I Joshua Seachem of a great part of the Moheag Country doe for divers good & valluable considerations & for sufficient reasons moveing me thereunto doe freely give & bequeath unto Capt John Mason of the Towne of Norwich a certaine Tracke & parcell of land lyeing & being on the north west side of Norwich Bounds bounded as followeth one mile from Norwich Boundswestward wch is to be the breadth thereof, & in length to run from Hartford Roade to Showtuckett River….

A strip of land a mile wide along the northwest border of Norwich, from the road toward Colchester up to the Shetucket River, would be about six miles in length along its inner border and seven miles along its outer. How then did this land given to John Mason, Jr., become known as “Mr. Fitch’s Mile” or the “Fitch and Mason”? We know that Mason gave half the land to Fitch, because on 26 June 1695, his son John Mason III (1672-1736), who lived at Stonington on the coast, formally acknowledged the arrangement.

Whereas Joshua sonn of unkas Sacham of mohegen did in his life time…confirm unto my honoured father Captain  John Mason deceased…a certain tract of Land on ye west of Norwich Town Bounds. ..and whereas my honoured father in his life time did Agree too and with my Honoured grandfather the Revarant Mr. James Fitch of Norwich [John III’s maternal grandfather]that my said Grand father should petition the Genrall Court…that my Honoured grandfather and his heir or Asigns should ye Moety [moiety] or half that should be by the Court Granted.. and I finding that my Grandfather hath obtained grant of y’ Court…To All Christian people to whome these presents may come know you that I John Mason unto my Honoured Grand father Grant unto the above named James Fitch…all the Above…

Three or four years later, on 9 March 1698/99, James quitclaimed half the land to the heirs of Capt. John Mason. Probably on the same day, Rev. Fitch and his 26-year old grandson John Mason III agreed on a division of the “Fitch and Mason” into six parts. Fig. 2 is an attempt to reconstruct these divisions, based on the following entry in the Lebanon records:

The first Devision of the Mile of Land west of present Norwich bounds belongs to John Mason bounded on the River Northeast Abutting east south east on Norwich bounds abuting west Northwest on Indian Land Abutting South southwest on Land of Joseph Ranalds Isral Lothrop the heirs of Jonathan Foster and Loutn Backus.

This first division evidently had its southwestern end on a 440-acre piece that James had already sold to Messrs. Backus et al.(“Foster,” incidentally, was “Fouller” in the earlier transaction).

The second Devision of Land belongs to the Revernd Mr James Fitch abutting north north east on the first Division three hundred and twenty rods abutting west north west on Indian lands from thence to Suscutonescut Brook Abutting south south east on said Brook through out ye mile abutting east south east on Norwich bounds from Suscakokomscut brook to the first Division.

The “three hundred and twenty rods” tells us that the strip was, in fact, one mile wide.

The third division belongs to John Mason Abutting north northeast Suscutomscut Brook throughout ye mile Abutting west North west on Lebanon Land two hundred Rods Abuting south southeast on Norwich bounds three hundred and twenty Rods Abuting on the highway which runs from Lebanon Towne Street South South east untill it corns to the South end of A swamp called Elderkins swamp Then it runs east south east Across the mile.

This division includes the area from the brook down to the road that now connected Norwich Town to the Lebanon area.

The fourth division of Land belongs to ye Reverflt M’ James Fitch Abuting on ye high way North norwest and North North east throughout ye mile Abuting west North west on Lebanon Land three hundred & twenty Rods Abuting east southeast on Norwich bounds two hundred Rods Abutting South south west on the farms layed out on peases Brook three hundred and twenty Rods

Below the fourth division, the land is split into two strips.

The fifth division of Land belongs to John Mason Abuting east north east on said farm eight score Rods Abutting North north west on Indian Land from the said farm to Hockunum path or wethersfield Road Abuting southward on ye abovesaid Road half the mile abutting south south east on y sixt division

The “Hockunum path or wethersfield Road” is the road west which ran through James Fitch’s Deep River property. After passing through Colchester, it turned northwest toward Hartford. Both Hockanum and Wethersfield are just south of Hartford, the former on the east side of the Connecticut, the latter on the west.

The sixt division of Land belongs to the Reverant James Fitch Abutting east north east on the farm of John Baldwen eight score Rods Abutting North north west on the fift devision from ye Above said farm to wethersfield path Abutting southward on the Above said path half the mile Abutting South south east on Norwich Line this Distribution of the Mile of Land west of Norwich Bounds made and Agreed to the 9th day of March 1699.

The surveyor for the division was John Fitch, the minister’s son. Rev. James Fitch received the even-numbered divisions, John Mason III the odd ones. Note that the property extends beyond the Five Mile at both ends (in fact it even extended a little past the present eastern boundary of Lebanon, to the river). This extension accounts for the change in the description of the outer boundaries of the divisions between Indian land and Lebanon land.

The division explains why the grant came to be called the “Fitch and Mason.” As to why it was also known as “Mr. Fitch’s Mile,” we can only speculate that it was named after residents – Rev. James Fitch and several sons actually lived on the band, while John Mason lived in Stonington.

Mary E. Perkins wrote in 1895 that the Biblical name Lebanon“was suggested to Mr. Fitch, by the height of the land, and a large cedar forest” (M.E. Perkins, Old Houses of the Ancient Town of Norwich, 1660-1800 [1895], p. 97). In the lower left corner of Fig. 1 there is a “Red Cedar Lake,” close to Rev. Fitch’s Deep River land. Rev. Fitch also owned a “Ceder Swamp” in that area, which he later gave to his children. On the other hand, an “Indian Trails” map, produced for the National Society of Colonial Dames in the State of Connecticut in the 1920s, clearly shows a “Lebanon Path” leading northwest from Norwich, supposedly in 1625; possibly, however, this designation and date are errors of a modern cartographer. In sum, then, a major grant in what became the town of Lebanon, Connecticut, dates to 1676, not 1687, and was given by Joshua, a son of Uncas, to Capt. John Mason, Jr., son-in-law of Rev. James Fitch. One mile wide, six miles long on one side and seven on the other, this strip of band was divided into six parts in 1698/99; three were given to the elderly Rev. James Fitch, and three to his grandson John Mason III.

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