“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)
Eno, James – barber (1) (on Founders’ Monument only, not DFAW list)
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
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)
Sammis (Samways, Samos), 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)
Young, John – none found (1)
- History and Genealogies of Ancient Windsor, by Henry Reed Stiles, 1892
- Early Puritan Settlers of Connecticut, by Royal R. Hinman, 1852
- Allen Memorial: Descendants of Samuel Allen of Windsor, Conn., 1640-1907, by Orrin P. Allen, 1907
- The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633 (3 volumes), by Charles Robert Anderson, 1995
- The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut 1636-1665, by J. Hammond Trumbull, 1850 (used to verify presence of founder only)
- Woodworkers of Windsor: A Connecticut Community of Craftsmen and Their World, 1635-514, by Joshua W. Lane, 2003
- Dorset Pilgrims: The Story of West Country Pilgrims Who Went to New England in the 17th Century by Frank Thistlethwaite, 1993
- Individual family genealogies
- The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635 (7 volumes), by Charles Robert Anderson, 1999-2011
- Apprentices of Connecticut, 1637-1900, by Kathy A. Ritter, 1986
- Windsor Historical Society’s family files
- Filley Genealogy
- Farmington in Connecticut, by Christopher P. Bickford, 1988
- 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.
Very interesting from my point of view, doing more research on the Gibbs family,. Being a Gibbs it perks my interest even more.
Edwin Fred Gibbs 83, grandson of Edwin Fremont Gibbs, Wisconsin.
John Tinker should be on your list too. He’s been added on the founders list. There is verification in Windsor land records and elsewhere that he lived here and owned land here.
If I had to guess, I would imagine that the reasoning behind excluding him from the DFAW list is because he’s the son of a founder, Mary (Merwin) (Tinker) Collins. So even though he was an adult by the time he arrived in Windsor, because he arrived with his mother, a widow, she gets to be named the founder and not any of her children who came at the same time.
We here at Windsor Historical Society are not opposed to adding people to this list who did not make the cut for the DFAW, as we have already done so, but it feels like it would diminish Mary Collins’ standing on this list to have her son there as well. No other adult children of founders are on the list, and in particular, because Mary is one of the few women founders, I say give her this title and not John.
In an article written for the New England Historical and Genealogical Register in October, 1995,, Douglas Richardson wrote that John Tinker immigrated to New England “sometime prior to 1638,” and perhaps as early as 1636, probably settling first at Dorchester. In 1638 he “returned to England on business, commissioned by Governor Winthrop to look after his affairs in England.” However, “By October 1640 he had returned to New England” and “In 1640, no month or day given, Robert Keayne, a prominent merchant taylor of Boston, Massachusetts, gave a letter of attorney ‘unto John Tinker of Windsore upon the river of Connectiott planter, to receive for him certain monies (Richardson, p. 419, citing Lechford’s Note Book, p. 312, original p. 189).”
In the published version of the Note Book, the letter reads:
“Robert Keayne of Boston in N E m; makes a ler of Attorn unto John Tinker of Windsore upon the river of Connecticott planter to receive of Willm Hubberd of Windsore 10s of John Haynes Esqr 2£ 10s Mr. Robert Saltonstall 50£. Henry Browning 4£ 4S 8d Thomas Witherle 2£ 14s 2d Willm Quicke 4£ 7s 10d Mr Higginson 15s. David Anderson 6£ 6d
A footnote states, “John Tinker, several times mentioned in the first few pages of the Notebook, was at this time at Windsor, but subsequently was of Boston, and afterwards of New London.” Richardson’s article, combined with the diary entry and footnote in Thomas Lechford’s Note Book, confirm John Tinker’s presence in Windsor prior to the end of 1641, DFAW’s cut-off for those recognized as Founders. However, this does not imply that John Tinker’s name should be added to the Founders List.
According to the Descendants of the Founders of Ancient Windsor’s Founders List overview, “strictly speaking, the Founders List is not a list of all individuals who were in Windsor before 1641, but of the individuals heading a family.” Although most of the heads of families were men, “if a woman had children by a man who was not a Founder, either before coming to Windsor, or after moving away, or after the close of the Founders Era, she is listed as a Founder, enabling her descendants to join DFAW in her right. An example is the widow Mary (Merwin) (Tinker) Collins.” Because Sarah, Helen, Mary, Robert, Rhoda, John, Ann, and Sarah Tinker are all recognized by DFAW as descendants of Founder Mary (Merwin) (Tinker) Collins, DFAW does not recognize John Tinker separately as a Founder because he and his descendants (as well as descendants of his siblings) are already eligible to join DFAW through his mother.
Adams, Sherman W. and Henry R. Stiles. The History of Ancient Wethersfield Connecticut. Reprint New England History Press in collaboration with the Wethersfield Historical Society, 1990.
Bickley, Wayne T. “Master John Tinker (1613-1662). Descendants of the Founders of Ancient Windsor Newsletter vol. XXVII, no. 4 (Summer 2010).
Descendants of the Founders of Ancient Windsor. DFAW Founders List Updated 2007.
Hale, Edward Everett, Jr., ed. “Note-book kept by Thomas Lechford, esq., lawyer, in Boston, Massachusetts bay, from June 27, 1638, to July 29, 1641.” Transactions and Collections of the American Antiquarian Society, Volume VII (1885).
Richardson, Douglas. The English Ancestry of the Merwin and Tinker Families of New England. New England Historic Genealogical Register, v. 149 (Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995).
Stiles, Henry R. The History and Genealogies of Ancient Windsor, Connecticut…. Reprint. Somersworth, NH: New Hampshire Publishing Co., 1976.
Some of this information is incorrect. For example, John Taylor did not leave Windsor per se. He died in January of 1646 on the “Phantom Ship” memorialized my Longfellow. His widow Rhoda Hobbs who married him in Windsor stayed after that 1649 date listed. She married Walter Hoyt around 1653 who bought the Backer Row property from John Young.
John Tinker SHOULD be on this list! It is ridiculous that archaic rules were applied to keep him off of it and an insult to his family. He lived in Windsor very early on as did his family. Not only that, he was one of the largest landowners in Windsor. He was an agent to John Winthrop Jr., had businesses in Windsor including one to make tar, and he represented several people in Court including those trying to recoup their debts from the Marshfields. Not including John Tinker is a coverup of the actual history.
Lastly, John Young was a carpenter by trade. Very specific carpentry tools were found in his probate records. He also was a farmer and owned several parcels of farmland in Windsor. There is no “s” on his last name. This is a repeated mistake that the CT State Library has confirmed.is wrong.
These are just three examples. Even so, the list is very helpful in general.
Using Windsor Land Records might be helpful as well.
It would be nice in the spirit of inclusivity that WHS aims for if women were a part of that inclusivity. Mary Tinker Collins has been left off the original list. How come you only list the male founders? Did they found this town all by themselves? Did they cook by the hearth for hours or give birth to Windsor’s earliest children? Did they take care of those same children? Did they make all the cloth and sew all the clothes? Did they tend to the kitchen gardens and do many other things needed for family survival? The answer is no. It was the women who did these many things. Without them, Windsor would not have survived. Not to include them is continuing misogyny. I hope you will improve this list in the future by acknowledging the town’s founding mothers.
By the way Michelle, referring to my above response, John Tinker’s mother was omitted from your list. And by following the Founders of Windsor rule, you are essentially erasing John Tinker’s name anyway because his mother had a different last name. This is why it is not fair to his descendants. There is no other example where a man’s name is being erased from existing in Windsor because normally it follows the father’s name which is the same as theirs. This isn’t right to erase this family’s history. It’s important to include this family. Where do you think the town name came from? John Tinker, his mother (Mary Tinker Collins) and his sisters (Mary Tinker Sension, Rhoda Tinker Hobbs Taylor Hoyt, Anne Tinker Thornton, and Ellen Tinker Hulburd/Hubbard) were all from Windsor, Berkshire, England. It would be nice if WHS would correct this list to accurately reflect the true history. Just because the Founders of Windsor made mistakes doesn’t mean you have to follow suit. Thanks for considering these requests.
The list above, while certainly not inclusive of all the women who helped found Windsor, does include the full names of six women:
– Mary Merwin Tinker Collins (although now I’m wondering why the DFAW files her alphabetically under Merwin instead of Collins when the other married women are placed under their last husband’s surname)
– Mary Holt
– Ann Marshall
– Frances Clark Dewey Phelps
– Margaret Barrett Huntington Stoughton
– Elizabeth (unknown) Nowell Taylor
I agree with you that there are some flaws with the founders list, the dearth of women being the foremost among them. But I would also quibble that this page doesn’t contain a definitive founders list, just a baseline list of people who have been considered “founders” at one time or another, for the explicit purposes of delineating their trades and professions because we get that question so often here. This article (and our organization) isn’t trying to regulate who is and who is not considered a founder.