The Founders of Windsor: Their Trades or Professions

“We want to know more,” our visitors say, curious to learn more about Windsor’s earliest settlers than the bare dates of their birth and death and the story of their arrival in the New World. Where did they live? What did they do? What were they like? Early land records can help us answer the first question, but fleshing out these ancestors as real people is more difficult.

Long-time Society volunteer Sandy McGraw has examined a variety of sources here in the WHS research library looking for any mention of the occupation or trade practiced by those who came to Windsor in the 1630s. Nearly every man would have raised crops and livestock for his own household’s personal needs. As a self-sufficient community, however, the village would have needed men proficient in the smithing and building trades, others with military skill and acumen, and literate persons able to correspond with those back in England.

For a starting point, Sandy used the names on a founders list originally developed in 1983 by the Descendants of the Founders of Ancient Windsor (DFAW). This list has been amended several times. The most recent version (2007) contains the names of 138 individuals who were living in Windsor and entitled to participate in the distribution of real property in 1641. Regretfully, no occupational information was found for the six women on the list or for about one fourth of the men. Sources in parentheses are enumerated at the end of the list.

Abbot, George – servant (1)
Alford, Benedictus – sergeant, constable (1, 2)
Allen, Samuel – government, farmer (1, 2, 3)
Allyn, Matthew – government, Windsor clerk, merchant (1, 4, 5)
Barber, Thomas – carpenter/woodworker, soldier (1, 6)
Bartlett, John – river ferryman (1, 2, 5)
Bascomb, Thomas – brick/stone mason; to Northampton early on (1, 9)
Bassett, Thomas – none found; to Fairfield by 1644 (1)
Bennett, John – none found; left Windsor by 1652 after several court “misconducts” (1, 5)
Birge, Richard – landholder, farmer (1, 2)
Bissell, John, Capt. – river ferryman, juror (1, 2, 5)
Branker, John – elder in church, schoolmaster (1, 2, 4)
Brewster, Jonathan – possibly a mariner or merchant; partner to Elias Parkman (2, 4)
Buckland, Thomas – town government (1)
Buell, William – Joiner/woodworker (5, 6)
Carter, Joshua – none found; died 1647 (1)
Chappel, George – carpenter; to New London (5, 10)
Clarke, Daniel, Hon. – Secretary of Colonies, attorney, woodworker (1, 5, 6)
Clarke, Henry, Dea. – minister at First Church; to Hadley, MA (1)
Clarke, Joseph – none found; died 1659 (1)
Cooke, Aaron, Capt. – military, woodworker (1, 6)
Cooper, Thomas – servant, carpenter (6, 10)
Denslow, Nicholas – famer; left estate over £300 (1, 4)
Dewey, Thomas – jurist, farmer (1, 4, 8, 9)
Dibble/Deble, Thomas – farmer (1, 5)
Drake, John – woodworker (5, 6)
Dumbleton, John – servant to Mr. Whiting of Hartford, farmer (1)
Dyer, John – none found (not found in W. land distribution)
Eels/Eeles, John – none found (not found in W. land distribution); returned to England permanently (4)
Eggleston, Begat/Bygod – builder, farmer (1, 5, 7)
Filley, William – tinsmith (1, 5, 12)
Ford, Thomas – government (1, 4)
Foulkes, Henry – none found; died early (1, 4)
Fyler, Walter, Lt. – military (1, 5)
Gaylord, William, Dea. – minister in the church, woodworker (1, 5, 6)
Gibbs, Francis – none found (1)
Gibbs, Giles – government (selectman) (1, 11)
Gilbert, William – none found (8)
Gillett, Jeremiah – farmer (4)
Gillett, Jonathan – farmer (4, 5)
Gillett, Nathan – farmer (4, 5)
Grant, Matthew – town surveyor, 2nd town clerk, woodworker (1, 5, 6)
Gridley, Thomas – military; to Farmington (1, 14)
Griswold, Edward – legislature, attorney, woodworker; to Killingworth (1, 5, 6)
Griswold, Matthew – deputy to General Court; left W. early (1, 4)
Gunn, Thomas – innkeeper, jurist; to Westfield, MA early (1, 4)
Hannum, William – none found; to Northampton, MA early (1, 4)
Hawkes, John – jurist, tax collector (1)
Hawkins, Anthony – farmer; to Farmington (1, 14)
Hayden, William – mason, farmer (1)
Haynes, John – Governor of Mass. Bay Colony, judge, CT government (4)
Hill, William – auditor of public accounts, merchant (1, 4)
Hillier, John – grave digger (7)
Holcombe, Thomas – government (helped frame CT Constitution), jurist, woodworker (1, 4, 6)
Holmes, William, Lt. – military (4)
Holt, Mary – none found
Hosford, William, Elder – one of three elders in church; returned to England (1, 4, 7)
Hoskins, John – delegate to General Court; estate included books (9)
Hoyte, Simon – farmer; to Fairfield by 1647; able to write (1)
Hubbard, Samuel – none found; in Fairfield by 1647 (1)
Huit, Ephraim – teacher, pastor with Rev. Warham (1)
Hulbert, Williams II – none found; in Northampton, MA by about 1648 (9)
Hull, George – magistrate, surveyor, trader; to Fairfield by 1649 (1)
Hurd, John – none found; to Stratford early on (1, 5)
Hyde/Hydes, Humphrey – none found; a Royalist (1, 5)
Loomis, Joseph – woolen draper (1, 8, 11)
Ludlow, Roger – deputy Governor, CT legislature; college; moved to VA (1)
Lush, Henry – servant to a Wade family; died as young adult (9)
Marshfield, Thomas – merchant (9)
Marshall, Ann – none found
Marshall, Thomas – deacon in church, ferryman (8, 11)
Mason, John, Capt. – soldier, magistrate; to Norwich (1, 5, 9)
Merwin , Mary Collins, (Tinker) – none found
Merwin, Miles – tanner (9)
Mills, Simon – civil servant, fence viewer (8, 11)
Moore, John, Dea. – minister in the church, woodworker; built a ferry (1, 5, 6)
Moore, Thomas – civil servant, juror (1)
Newberry, Thomas – merchant (9)
Oldage, Richard – none found; died 1660 (1)
Orton, Thomas – deacon; to Farmington (1, 5, 14)
Palmer, Nicholas – sergeant in military (1)
Parkman, Elias – mariner (4)
Parsons, Thomas – soldier in military (11)
Pattison, Edward – none found; in New Haven by 1638 (1, 14)
Phelps, Frances (unknown) (Clark) (Dewey) – none found
Phelps, George – woodworker (1, 5, 6)
Phelps, William – woodworker, civil servant (juror, etc.) (1, 5, 6)
Phillips, George – none found; died 1678 (1)
Pinney, Humphrey – own wealth, administrator (1, 5)
Pomeroy, Eltweed – blacksmith, constable, selectman (1, 4, 5)
Pond, Samuel – farmer; died 1654 (1, 8)
Porter, John – woodworker, held elected offices, constable, juror; £600 estate (1, 6)
Preston, Edward – none found; in New Haven by 1644 (1, 13)
Rainend, Matthew – none found; died as teenager (1)
Randall, Philip – blacksmith, juror (1, 4)
Rawlins, Jasper – brick maker (4)
Reeves, John – servant to Francis Stiles, carpenter (9)
Rockwell, John – woodworker (6)
Rockwell, William – deacon in the church with Reverends Maverick and Warham (4)
Rossiter, Bray (Brian) – doctor of medicine, Windsor’s first town clerk (1, 4)
St. Nicholas, John – curate for the Church of England, parliamentarian (1)
Saltonstall, Robert – attorney (1)
Samos (Samways), Richard – none found but name mentioned in Hosford genealogy (8)
Sension (St. John), Mathias – chandler; to Norwalk (5, 9)
Sension, Nicholas – civil (petit jury); primary educated (5, 9)
Sexton, Richard – none found (1)
Staires, Thomas – sergeant in military with Capt. John Mason (1)
Starke, Aaron – none found; to New London (5)
Stiles, Francis – carpenter (9)
Stiles, Henry – carpenter (5, 9)
Stiles, John – carpenter (5, 9)
Stiles, Thomas – carpenter (9)
Stoughton (Barrett) (Huntington), Margaret – none found
Stoughton, Thomas – ensign in military, woodworker (1, 5, 6)
Stuckey, George – none found; sold lot in 1645 and moved to Fairfield (1)
Talcott, John – court deputy (4)
Taylor (unknown) (Nowell), Elizabeth – none found
Taylor, John – none found; left by 1649 (1, 4)
Terry, Stephen – woodworker; educated (4, 6)
Thornton, Thomas – tanner, minister (4, 6)
Thrall, William – soldier (1, 5)
Tilley, John – none found; killed by Indians in 1636 (1)
Tilton, Peter – magistrate in Mass. (1)
Try, Michael – farmer (1)
Vore, Richard – none found (1, 5)
Warham, John, Rev. – first minister of First Church (1, 4, 5)
Weller, Richard – woodworker; left Windsor soon after 1655 (1)
Whitehead, Richard – served on jury (1)
Williams, Arthur – none found; son-in-law of Joshua Carter (1)
Williams, John – none found; died 1665 (1)
Williams, Roger – juror; died 1650 (1, 4, 5)
Wilton, David – military lieutenant, graveyard keeper, trader, jury, legislator (1, 4)
Winchell, Robert – none found (1)
Witchfield, John – elder in the church (1, 4)
Wolcott, Henry – General Assembly, senate, other civic offices (1, 4, 5)
Youngs, John – none found (1)

Sources

  1. History and Genealogies of Ancient Windsor, by Henry Reed Stiles, 1892
  2. Early Puritan Settlers of Connecticut, by Royal R. Hinman, 1852
  3. Allen Memorial: Descendants of Samuel Allen of Windsor, Conn., 1640-1907, by Orrin P. Allen, 1907
  4. The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633 (3 volumes), by Charles Robert Anderson, 1995
  5. The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut 1636-1665, by J. Hammond Trumbull, 1850 (used to verify presence of founder only)
  6. Woodworkers of Windsor: A Connecticut Community of Craftsmen and Their World, 1635-514, by Joshua W. Lane, 2003
  7. Dorset Pilgrims: The Story of West Country Pilgrims Who Went to New England in the 17th Century by Frank Thistlethwaite, 1993
  8. Individual family genealogies
  9. The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635 (7 volumes), by Charles Robert Anderson, 1999-2011
  10. Apprentices of Connecticut, 1637-1900, by Kathy A. Ritter, 1986
  11. Windsor Historical Society’s family files
  12. Filley Genealogy
  13. Farmington in Connecticut, by Christopher P. Bickford, 1988
  14. Records of the Colony and Plantation of New Haven, (Connecticut) from 1638-1649, by Charles J. Hoadley, 1857

By Sandy McGraw, Volunteer and Barbara Goodwin, Librarian, 2011
Top image: Founders of Windsor monument on the Palisado Green, 2017. Photo by Michelle Tom.

2017-09-05T20:39:11+00:00