Original Proprietors of Hartford

From the files of Stephen M. Lawson


"The Original Proprietors," by Miss Mary Talcott, as published in
The Memorial History of Hartford County Connecticut,
edited by J. Hammond Trumbull (1886)


"The Original Proprietors" was Section II of the first volume of The Memorial History.... The first part of the work includes extended descriptions of the settler and the family of Hartford's original proprietors. Appended is a list of later settlers, with very brief identifying comments. Footnotes in the original have been moved into the text and [bracketted].

While this 1886 work builds on earlier classic works and subsequent research, there has been more than a century of additional publications and research since "The Original Proprietors" appeared. Readers are urged to review the material critically, and to seek corraborating sources whenever possible.

The sketches included here are limited to those about ancestors of the compiler. Selecting one of the SURNAME links will take you to "The Original Proprietors" entry. From there you may chose to proceed to top of the ancestral line for that surname, and can easily locate the desired person from the lineage provided.


BEARDING - BIGELOW - CROW - ENSIGN - GARDNER - GOODWIN - HOSMER - KELLOGG - LEWIS - MERRILL - OLCOTT - OLMSTED - PRATT - SPENCER - STOCKING - STONE - WADSWORTH - WATERS


THE ORIGINAL PROPRIETORS.

NATHANIEL BEARDING (BARDON) was in Hartford in 1636, but not an original proprietor, having land only "by the courtesie of the town." His home-lot in 1640 was on the brow of the hill, now called Asylum Hill, comprising six acres. He was chosen townsman, 1658; surveyor of highways, 1666. The name of his first wife is unknown, but he m. (2) Abigail, widow of William Andrews, of Hartford (q. v.); d. in Sept., 1674; will dated Jan. 7, 1674; inv., Sept. 14, £282. His widow, Abigail, d. March 20, 1682-3. Inv. £19.10. --Ch.: by first wife ­-Sarah, m. Sept. 11, 1645, Sergeant Thomas Spencer, of Hartford, as his second wife.

JOHN CROW was born in 1606; came to New England in 1634. He became possessed, by vote of the town, of the original right of Bartholomew Greene, forfeited by death. He m. Elizabeth, only child of Elder William Goodwin. Chosen surveyor of highways, 1656. He was one of the first settlers on the east side of the river, and the largest landholder in Hartford. "He owned a tract of land [in East Hartford] extending from near the present Hockanum bridge, north to the neighborhood of 'Smith's Lane,' and running eastward to the end of the three-mile lots. (Bolton.) Crow Hill in the river swamp still retains his name." [Goodwin's East Hartford, p. 49.] He went with his father-in-law to Hadley in 1659; freeman, Mass., 1666; he returned to Hartford about 1675, and he and his wife were admitted to the South Church, March 31, 1678; d. Jan. 16, 1686. --Ch.: i. Esther, b. 1628; m. 1655, Giles Hamlin, Esq., of Middletown; d. Aug. 25, 1700, aged 72. ii. John, lived in Fairfield; was a merchant in the West India trade; d. at sea, 1667, s. p. iii. Mary, m. (1) Dec. 27, 1666, Noah Coleman, of Hatfield; (2) Sept. 16, 1680, Peter Montague, of Hadley; she d. Oct. 12, 1720. iv. Nathaniel, lived in East Hartford; m. Deborah --- ; d. July 30, 1695; his widow m. Andrew Warner, of Hartford, afterward of Windham. v. Elizabeth, b. 1644; m. (1) William Warren, of Hartford; (2) Phineas Wilson, of Hartford, a wealthy merchant from Dublin; he d. May 22, 1692, and after his death she continued his business, and became the most extensive banker in the Colony. She was accustomed to loan money on mortgage not only to citizens of Hartford, but in the adjacent towns, and she managed her affairs with wisdom and judgment. She d. July 9 or 19, 1727, aged 86 (?), leaving a large property and many legacies. vi. Sarah, b. March 1, 1646­7, in Hartford; m. Nov. 1, 1661, Daniel White, of Hatfield; d. June 29, 1719, aged 72. vii. Anna, or Hannah, b. July 13, 1649; m. March 7, 1667­8, Thomas Dickinson; he was one of the first settlers of Hadley, but removed to Wethersfield in 1679; d. there, 1716. viii. Mehitabel, b. ab. 1652; m. Sept. 24, 1668, Colonel Samuel Partridge, of Hadley and Hatfield; d. Dec. 8, 1730, aged 78. ix. Ruth, m. (1) Dec. 21, 1671, William Gaylord, of Hadley; (2) ab. 1681, John Haley, of Hadley. x. Samuel, m. May 17, 1671, Hannah, dau. of Capt. William Lewis, of Farmington; slain at Fall's fight, May 18, 1676. xi. Daniel, b. ab. 1656; lived in Hartford; d. Aug. 12, 1693, aged 37, s. p.

JAMES ENSIGN (ENSING), Cambridge, 1634; freeman, Mass., March 4, 1635; an original proprietor at Hartford, 1639; his home-lot was on the south side of the highway now Elm St.; chosen constable, 1649, 1662; chimney-viewer, 1655; townsman, 1656. He and his wife, Sarah, were original members of the South Church, Feb. 12, 1670. He d. 1670; will dated Nov. 23; inv. Dec. 23, £729.2.9. His widow, Sarah, d. in 1676; inv. taken May 29, 1676. --Ch.: i. Sarah, m. May 6, 1651, John Rockwell, of Windsor; d. June 23, 1659. ii. David, b. ab. 1644, Hartford; m. Oct. 22, 1663, Mehitabel, dau. of Thomas Gunn, of Windsor; she obtained a divorce from him, October, 1682; chimney-viewer, 1666; surveyor of highways, 1669; [m. (2) Sarah, dau. of John and Sarah (Wadsworth) Wilcox; settled in the West Division about 1686; an original member of the West Hartford Church, 1713; died Dec. 13, 1727.] iii. Mary, m. ab. 1662, Samuel Smith, of Northampton, afterward of Hadley. iv. Hannah, m. Joseph Easton (q. v.). v. Lydia, bapt. Aug. 19, 1649.

SAMUEL GARDINER (GARDNER) was one of several persons to whom lots were granted in 1640, "if the Townsmen see noe just cause to the contrary, and they will accept of them vppon such tearmes as the Townsmen shall see cause to propose." He is said to have been at Wethersfield; removed, 1663, to Hadley. His wife's name was Elizabeth. [S]he d. June 21, 1676.

ELDER WILLIAM GOODWIN sailed from London in the ship "Lion," June 22, 1632, with Olmstead, Talcott, etc.; arrived in New England, Sept. 16, 1632; freeman, Mass., Nov. 6, 1632; deputy from Newtown, May 14, 1634; came to Hartford prob. in 1636, and was an original proprietor; his home-lot was on Main St., extending from the present Wadsworth St. to Arch St. He was a man of great influence in Church and State, and prominent in all the early transactions of the Hartford settlement; he purchased large tracts of land up the river, and was one of the agents of the town employed to purchase Farmington from the Indians. Gov. Hopkins appointed him one of the trustees of his will, and he therefore was one of those who had charge of establishing the Hopkins Grammar School. He was an ardent friend of Hooker, but after his death was deeply involved in the great dissension in the church at Hartford, and after several years of controversy "the Withdrawers," as they were called, under the leadership of Goodwin and Gov. John Webster, removed to Hadley in 1659. He was Ruling Elder of the church there, and remained there about ten years, then removed to Farmington, where he d. March 11, 1673. His widow, Susanna, d. in Farmington, May 17, 1676. --Ch.: i. Elizabeth, m. John Crow, of Hartford and Hadley (q. v.).

THOMAS HOSMER, son of Stephen and Dorothy Hosmer, was born in Hawkhurst, Co. Kent, Jan. 2, 1603. Stephen Hosmer d. in Hawkhurst, May 24, 1633. Thomas Hosmer was in Cambridge, 1632; freeman, Mass., May 6, 1635; removed to Hartford in June, 1636; he received 60 acres in the distribution of 1639, and his home-lot was on the edge of the South Meadow, near the south end of Governor St. He was chosen constable, 1639, 1663; townsman, 1643, 1647; also deputy several times. His first wife, Frances, d. Feb. 15, 1675, aged 73. He m. (2) May 6, 1679, Katherine, widow of David Wilton, of Northampton; removed to Northampton, where he d. April 12, 1687, aged 83. (Tomb-stone.) [He gave by will £5 towards a free school in Hartford "to be paid when there is any such settled effectually."] --Ch.: i. Stephen, b. 1645; Hartford; m. Hannah, dau. of Deacon Francis Bushnell, of Saybrook; appointed townsman, 1673, 1676, 1677, 1689; chosen deacon of the First Church, 1686; d. Nov. 4, 1693; he had a large family; the late James B. Hosmer was his great-great-grandson. [Also Chief Justice Stephen Titus Hosmer, of Middletown.] ii. Clemence, m. (1) Sept. 3, 1662, Deacon Jonathan Hunt, of Northampton; (2) 1694, John Smith, of Milford. iii. Hannah; m. (1) March 20, 1657, Josiah Willard, of Wethersfield; (2) Maltby. iv. Hester; m. Sept. 20, 1666, Rev. Thomas Buckingham, of Saybrook.

WILLIAM LEWIS, SEN., Cambridge, 1632; came in the "Lion," with Wadsworth, Talcott, Goodwin, and others. He belonged to the Braintree company which in August, 1632, removed from Braintree to Cambridge; adm. freeman Nov. 6, 1632; removed to Hartford, one of the original proprietors here; his home-lot in 1639 was on Main St., next south of John Talcott's; he was juror in 1642; townsman, 1641; removed about 1659 to Hadley; rep. for Hadley, 1662, and for Northampton, 1664. His wife, Felix, d. in Hadley, April 17, 1671. Prior to Nov. 29, 1677, he had removed to Farmington, where he d. Aug. 2, 1683.

THOMAS OLCOTT, an original proprietor of Hartford; his home-lot in the distribution of 1639 fronted on Meeting House Square; this was land which he had bought of Edward Hopkins, his first location having been directly east of the Square. This lot comprised the square, fronting on Main St., now bounded by Pearl, Trumbull, and Asylum Sts. On the southeast corner he erected a dwelling for his own occupation, which continued in possession of his family for several generations. Mr. Goodwin, in his "Descendants of Thomas Olcott," p. v., says that this dwelling was demolished in 1824, to make room for the large block called Union Hall, which was in its turn removed when the great pile of the Connecticut Mutual building was erected. He was a merchant, and carried on trade with parties in Virginia, for tobacco; constable, 1641; he died in 1654; his will is dated Nov. 20, 1653; in it he mentions his "beloved mother Mrs. Margrett Charlfount, sister Mrs. Mary Hardey (?), mother Hoare, Brother Will. Wadsworth, Brother Will. Lewis, Senr., deare Brethren and friends, John Talcott and Edward Stebbin, Overseers;" inv. Feb. 13, 1653­4, £1,466.8.5. Mrs. Abigail Olcott carried on her husband's business after his death. She bought, let, and sold lands, loaned money on mortgage security, "made contracts for delivering goods, etc." She d. May 26, 1693, æ. 78. --Ch.: i. Thomas, freeman, May, 1658; m. Mary --- ; he was living in 1719, prob. d. soon after. ii. Samuel, freeman, May, 1644; m. Sarah, dau. of George Stocking; d. in Hartford, 1704. iii. John, b. about Feb. 3, 1650­1; m. in 1695, Mary, widow of Thomas Welles, and dau. of John Blackleach; he d. in 1712. iv. Elizabeth, bapt. Dec. 7, 1645; m. Timothy Hyde, of Wethersfield. The Olcott family were prominent and influential in Hartford for many generations.

JAMES OLMSTED (HOLMSTED), arrived in Boston, Sept. 16, 1632, in the "Lion," from London, with Goodwin, Wadsworth, and others; there came also with him his fwo sons, two nephews, Richard and John, and a niece, Rebecca. He was made a freeman, Mass. Nov. 6, 1632; and was constable 1634­5, at Cambridge; removed to Hartford in June, 1636; an original proprietor. He received 70 acres in the distribution of 1639; his home-lot was on the highway now Front St. He d. before Nov., 1640; will dated Sept. 28; inv. £397.19.2. Mr. Hooker mentions his death in a letter, "slept sweetly in the Lord, having carried himself gratiously in his sickness." --Ch.: i. Nicholas, b. about 1619; served in the Pequot War, 1637; m. before 1640, Sarah, dau. of Joseph Loomis, of Windsor; surveyor of highways, 1647; townsman, 1654, 1658, 1667; list and rate maker, 1669; freeman, 1669; deputy, 1672-3; Lieut., 1673; townsman, 1671, 1679, 1683; appointed Capt. of a company sent to New London in 1675; was in active service in King Philip's War. His second wife was Mary, widow of Dr. Thomas Lord. He d. Aug. 31, 1684. ii. Nehemiah, probably under age when his father died; he removed to Fairfield in 1649; was a sergeant in 1657; he m. Elizabeth --- ; he d. in 1658, leaving one child; his widow m. Obadiah Gilbert. Deacon Joseph Olmsted, son of Nicholas, settled in East Hartford, and his descendants have been among its most influential citizens. Prof. Denison Olmsted, of Yale College, and the late John Olmsted belonged to this branch.

JOHN PRATT, an original proprietor of Hartford; his home-lot in 1639 was on the west side of Main St., and he purchased a lot belonging to Gov. Haynes, adjoining his own, so that his possessions extended from what is now the north corner of Asylum St. to the Melodeon building, and Pratt St. received its name because it was opened through land belonging to his descendants; townsman, 1654. He d. 1655; will, dated Oct. 20, 1654, names wife Elizabeth, and sons John and Daniel; inv. July 15, 16.55, £515.2.6. --Ch.: i. John, m. Hannah, dau. of James Boosy, of Wethersfield; freeman, 1657; constable, 1670; he had a second wife, Hepzibah, who m. (2) John Sadd, of Hartford. His will is dated April 9, I687; d. Nov. 23, 1687; names wife, sons Joseph and Jonathan, and 5 dau'rs. ii. Daniel, Hartford; freeman, 1656- 7; m. and had 8 children; will, dated April 19, 1690, names 7 dau'rs and son Daniel. He was buried April 24, 1691.

SERGEANT THOMAS SPENCER, Cambridge; freeman, May 14, 1634; removed in 1637 to Hartford, where he was one of the original proprietors; his home-lot in 1639 was on the east side of Main St., near what is now the junction of Main and Windsor Sts.; he served in the Pequot War; chimney-viewer, 1650; constable, north side, 1658; surveyor of highways, 1672; he was sergeant of the trainband in 1650, and received in 1671 a grant of 60 acres, "for his good service in the country." He m. (1) --- ; (2) Sept. 11, 1645, Sarah, only child of Nathaniel Bearding, of Hartford. He d. Sept. 11, 1687. -Ch. of 1st wife : i. Obadiah, Hartford; freeman, 1658; m. Mary, dau. of Nicholas Disborough; d. 1712. ii. Thomas; freeman, 1658; m. Esther, dau. of William Andrews, of Hartford; removed to Suffield. iii. Samuel. Ch. of 2d wife : iv. Gerard, Hartford; m. Dec. 22, 1680, Hannah, dau. of John Pratt, Jr., of Hartford; d. 1712. v. Sarah, m. Thomas Huxley, of Suffield; d. Oct. 24, 1712. vi. Elizabeth, bapt. March 26, 1648; m. Samuel Andrews, of Hartford. vii. Hannah, b. April 15, 1653. viii. Mary, b. May 18, 1655. ix. Martha, b. March 19, 1657-8; m. --- Benton.

GEORGE STOCKING, Cambridge; freeman, Mass., May 6, 1635; an original proprietor of Hartford; his home-lot in 1639 was on the south side of "the road from George Steele's to the South Meadow," and adjoining George Steele's lot on the west. He was surveyor of highways, 1654, 1662; chimney-viewer, 1659; freed from watching, etc., May, 1660; d. May 25, 1683, "at great age." His wife was Anna. --Ch.: i. Lydia, m. John Richards, of Hartford, son of Thomas. ii. Sarah, m. Samuel Olcott, of Hartford, son of Thomas. iii. Hannah, m. Andrew Benton, of Hartford. iv. Samuel, m. May 27, 1652, Bethia, dau. of John Hopkins, of Hartford; removed to Middletown about 1655; deputy, 1665, 1669, 1674; dea. in Middletown; d. Dec., 1683; his widow m. James Steele, of Hartford.

JOHN STONE, an original proprietor, had an allotment of lands, but conveyed it to Samuel Stone by gift before 1640. Lechford speaks of him as "Mr. John Stone, of Hartford," Sept. 16, 1639; removed to Guilford, where he was one of the signers of the original compact in 1639. Lands were recorded to John Marsh, Feb. 1639-40; "part whereof did belong to John Stone and were by him given to Sam'1 Stone, and so by the said Sam'1 Stone unto John Marsh, of Hartford, and now belongeth to him and his heirs." His home-lot was on the west side of Front St.

WILLIAM WADSWORTH ["William Wadsworth, the younger brother of James, was b. in Long-Buckley, Co. Northampton; rem. thence to Braintree, Co. Essex; emigrated to N. E." --Day's Hist. Discourse, 1843. Lt.-Col. John Talcott, in the memorandum book mentioned above, speaks of William Wadsworth as "my Oncle Wadsworth."], Cambridge, 1632, came in the "Lion" from London, Sept. 16, 1632; prob. bringing with him four children, Sarah, William, Mary, and John; freeman, Mass., Nov. 6, 1632; in June, 1636, removed to Hartford, where he was an original proprietor; his home-lot in 1639 was on the west side of the road from Seth Grant's to Centinel Hill, prob. extending along what is now the south side of Asylum St., from Trumbull St. to Ford St. He was chosen townsman, 1642, 1655, 1661, 1673; constable, 1651; list and rate maker, 1668. He m. (1) name unknown; (2) in Hartford, July 2, 1644, Elizabeth Stone, said to have been a sister of the Rev. Samuel Stone. [He had a sister Elizabeth, bapt. in Hertford; Oct. 21, 1621. -­ Hist. First. Church. p. 47.] He was deputy nearly every session between Oct., 1656, and May, 1675. He d. in 1675, will dated June 16; inv. Oct. 18, £1677.13.9. His widow, Elizabeth, died in 1682. --Ch.: i. Sarah, m. Sept. 17, 1646, John Wilcock, Jr., of Hartford, afterward of Middletown (q. v.). She d. 1648 or '49. ii. William, d. young. iii. John, settled in Farmington; m. Sarah, dau. of Thomas Stanley, in 1662; he was deputy, 1672-1677; Assistant, 1679-1689; one of the Standing Council during King Philip's War; d. in 1689, leaving seven sons, one of whom, John, was the father of the Rev. Daniel Wadsworth, pastor of the First Church, Hartford, who m. 1734, Abigail, dau. of Gov. Joseph Talcott, and was the father of Col. Jeremiah Wadsworth. iv. Mary, b. about 1632 (a. 53, 1684-5); m. ab. 1656, Thomas Stoughton, of Windsor. v. Elizabeth, b. May 17, 1645; m. Nov. 27, 1662, John Terry, of Simsbury; d. March 12, 1715. vi. Samuel, bapt. Oct. 20, 1646; freeman, 1676; d. 1682 (s. p.); his will, dated Aug. 16, gave his estate of above £1100, to a brother and a sister, a nephew and two nieces. vii. Joseph, b. ab. 1647; this was Capt. Joseph, the hero of the Charter, a man of prominence, and some turbulence of character; freeman, 1676; Lieut. in Philip's War, and afterward Capt. of the Hartford trainband. He m. Elizabeth, dau. of Bartholomew Barnard, of Hartford; she d. Oct. 26, 1710, having been the mother of his children; he m. (2) Elizabeth, dau. of Lt.-Col. John Talcott, and (3) Mary, dau. of John Blackleach, of Wethersfield, who had been widow of Thomas Welles and John Olcott. viii. Sarah, bapt. March 17, 1649-50; m. Jonathan Ashley, Nov. 10, 1669. ix. Thomas, b. ab. 1651 (a. about 36, Sept., 1687); m. Elizabeth --- ; freeman, 1676; d. in Hartford, 1725. His father gave him, in his will, his lands located east of the Connecticut River, and he settled in East Hartford. x. Rebecca, unmarried in 1682.

LATER SETTLERS.

JONATHAN BIGELOW, 1670; brother of John, b. Dec. 11, 1646; m. (1) 1671, Rebecca, dau. of John and Rebecca (Greenhill) Shepard, of Hartford; (2) Mary, dau. of Samuel Olcott, of H.; (3) Mary Benton; d. Jan. 9, 1710-11.

SAMUEL KELLOGG, son of Lieut. Joseph, rem. to H. from Hadley, where he was b. Sept. 28, 1662; m. Sarah, dau. of John Merrills, of H., Sept. 22, 1687.

JOHN MERRILLS, 1657; tanner; son of Abraham Merrills, of Newtown; adopted by Gregory Wolterton; freeman, 1658; chimney-viewer, 1664, 1673; townsman, 1684, 1694, 1700; m. Sarah, dau. of John Watson, of Hartford; rem. to the West Division; d. July 18, 1712; had 10 ch.

BEVIL WATERS ["Bevil Waters, alias Walters," in a deed dated Nov. 14, 1681.], 1661, Wethersfield lane; b. ab. 1648; apprenticed to Thomas Watts, carpenter, 1661­67; freeman, 1669; townsman, 1682; m. (1) unkn.; (2) Dec. 13, 1722, Sarah, widow of Joseph Mygatt, dau. of Robert Webster; d. Feb. 14, 1729­30; had 3 ch.


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