Friday, March 16, 2018

Chapter 59 - My Hickok Ancestors

James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok
My 6th cousin, 4x removed
I was astonished when I recently discovered that I was a distant cousin of James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok who was born in 1837 and who died in 1876. When I was younger all of us knew about Wild Bill Hickok thanks in large part to numerous movies and TV shows that featured this man especially the 1936 movie titled The Plainsman starring the outstanding and then very popular actor named Gary Cooper. Fortunately for my cousin Wild Bill, his name and his often very make-believe stories still show up in movies, TV shows, novels, and even in comic books.  While this chapter of our blog is not about Wild Bill Hickok, we thought that it might be interesting to repeat a brief description of his life that we have copied from the Find A Grave website:

"Western Figure. Born in Troy Grove, near Ottawa, Illinois, he took part in the Kansas struggle preceding the Civil War, was a driver of the Butterfield stage line, and gained fame as a gunfighter. He was an assistant station tender for the Pony Express and the Rock Creek, Nebraska station. He served as a union scout in the Civil War. After the war he became deputy United States Marshal at Fort Riley (1866), Marshal of Hays, Kansas (1869), and Marshal of Abilene (1871). His reputation as a marksman in desperate encounters with outlaws made him a frontier legend. Hickok once shot and killed his own deputy in error, which was the downfall of his career as a lawman. After a tour of the east with Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show (1872-1873), he went to Deadwood, South Dakota where he was murdered by Jack McCall while playing cards at the #10 Saloon. The hand Hickok had held, a pair of aces and a pair of eights, thereafter became known as "The Dead Man's Hand."

Wow, anyway James Butler Hickok was or is my 6th cousin, 4x removed and we share as our common ancestor his 5th great grandfather and my 9th great grandfather, William Hickok (?-1645), whose life story as we know it shall begin this new chapter in our blog. Incidentally, the spelling of our ancestor's surname in historical documents is all over the place including Hickox, Hitchcock, Hickox, Hickock, and more but just to keep it simple we are going to stick with the more modern spelling of the family name, Hickok.

Voyage to America in 1635
Not surprisingly we know little about the early life of my 9th great grandfather William Hickok including not knowing the names of his parents nor exactly when and where he was born, other than we know that it was in England. There are numerous websites online especially, that name his parents and his birth date and location, but most of that information appears to be just guesses. We really just do not know his background. It is also further recorded that William sailed on the ship "Plaine Jane" that departed from England in 1635 headed for Virginia. He is listed in the ship records as "William Hitchcock" age 27. While this at first appears to be nonsense since we know that William immigrated to New England, what is interesting is that a number of the other passengers onboard the Plaine Jane besides our William also ended up in New England.  This fact might suggest that the ship never intended on sailing to Virginia in the first place. From what we understand there were some restrictions about who was allowed to emigrate to New England and one of these restrictions was most likely that one must be a Puritan with a good background and a certain amount of wealth. There is no evidence that William Hickok met any of these requirements and the fact that soon after his arrival in America, he left the strongly Puritan area of Boston and moved to Connecticut might suggest that he did not emigrate for religious reasons as did so many others.

It is generally accepted that William Hickok met and married my 9th great grandmother in the year in 1641. Here again we know nothing for certain about my great grandmother's background other than that her name was Elizabeth. There are some websites and family trees that suggest that her maiden name was Elizabeth Coles or Cole and that she emigrated to the New World on the ship "Bachelor" in 1635. She was listed in the ship records as a "maidservant" to the Lyon (or Lion) Gardner family. If this is accurate this is fascinating since Lyon Gardner (1599-1663) and his wife Mary are my 12th great grandparents. Lyon was an officer in the English army who served in the Netherlands. He apparently was a military engineer and was later hired to serve for four years at the mouth of the Connecticut River in America to build a fort and establish a village which he named Saybrook. His maidservant, Elizabeth Coles, was listed in the ship's records as having been born in 1621. Who knows for certain if this Elizabeth Coles is our great grandmother. One thing that we do know however, about my Lyon family and Lyon Gardner is that he was an early settler in Connecticut and that his first two children were born in Saybrook, Connecticut in 1636 and 1638. The family later moved to Long Island where they remained for the rest of their lives. Incidentally their home on Long Island was actually off the northwestern coast of the island on a small island still known today as "Gardiners Island."  This history of the Lyon family might suggest that their maidservant Elizabeth Coles may have accompanied the Gardner family to Connecticut where she may have eventually met her future husband. What is known is that in late 1636 the Pequot Indians attacked what was then Fort Saybrook, and it is entirely possible that Elizabeth Coles was among a group of people that following the Indian war vacated the area in 1637 or 1638 and moved north up the Connecticut River possibly to Hartford that had been settled only a few years earlier. It is certainly possible that William Hickok was among the first group of settlers in Hartford around that same time period although he is not listed as an original settler of Hartford. If this is accurate, then William would have met his future wife in Hartford sometime in the late 1630s or very early 1640s. Another interesting coincidence is that one of the original founders of Hartford was a man by the name of Samuel Gardner who was born in 1615. Whether or not he was related to my great grandfather Lyon Gardner and his family living in Saybrook is unknown but it is very possible that Samuel and Lyon Gardner were brothers or cousins.

Unfortunately or at least adding to the confusion, there are other websites and family trees that suggest that my great grandmother's maiden name was really Elizabeth Stacy who was born in 1624 and who emigrated to America with her parents Simon and Elizabeth Clerke Stacy around 1635.  The family soon moved to Ipswich located about 35 miles north of Boston. Assuming that Elizabeth Stacy was still living in Ipswich around 1641 when she was around 17 years old, it is hard to imagine that William Hickok met her there and they later married and then moved to Connecticut, but then again, who knows. We are going to have to accept that my 9th great grandparents' names are simply William and Elizabeth (unknown) Hickok.

It would appear that William and his new wife Elizabeth moved to the new community of Farmington shortly following their marriage in 1641. The community of Farmington located about 10 miles west of Hartford, had been established by residents of Hartford only a year earlier following their purchase of the land from the local Tunix Indian tribe. William and Elizabeth Hickok are thus credited with being among the founding residents of Farmington. Farmington has the distinction of being the oldest inland community west of the Connecticut River and being the twelfth oldest community in the future State of Connecticut. Some of the earliest of the communities of Connecticut include Windsor (1633), Wethersfield (1634), Hartford (1636), Saybrook (1636), and New Haven (1637). It is estimated that by around 1637 nearly 1,000 people had moved from Massachusetts to Connecticut including many of my ancestors. Our Hickok ancestors undoubtedly soon constructed a small log cabin on their new property in Farmington and quickly cleared the land, planted crops, and most likely raised some farm animals. Their life of course would have been very difficult as it was for all of the original settlers of Farmington and other early rural communities. Nevertheless they were to have two sons born within a few years of moving to their new home, Samuel Hickok who was born in 1643 and Joseph who was born in 1645. Samuel is my 8th great grandfather and his brother Joseph is the 4th great grandfather of our cousin Wild Bill Hickok. Both boys would have been born in their parents small home and undoubtedly without the benefit of a doctor overseeing their births.

Multiple early deaths like smallpox
One of the websites that we reviewed while trying to learn more about our Hickok ancestors described the huge problem that all early settlers had with life in America. This same problem was undoubtedly an issue worldwide. The problem was the frequent and rapid spreading of diseases that caused multiple deaths due to such illnesses as smallpox, measles, influenzas, whooping cough, and other diseases for which there was no cure. Larger cities were of course the most vulnerable and in a city like Boston in the 1600s a spread of a disease like smallpox might have led to the death of hundreds. Unfortunately even small rural communities like Farmington were also vulnerable. William Hickok died sometime in late 1645 undoubtedly as a result of some great sickness that had hit his area. We are not sure of his exact age in 1645 although he was likely still in his 20s or early 30s. His two sons were still babies and Elizabeth was in her mid-20s. Very sad but not at all that uncommon.  Fortunately for my great grandmother, she remarried soon after William's death, a man by the name of William Adams in 1647 and together they had two children. But here again the spread of diseases once more hit the family and William Adams succumbed to the effect of his illness and died on 18 July 1655 followed only a few weeks later by the death of Elizabeth on 3 August 1655. The four children living in their family's home, now ages 3 to 12, were suddenly left alone in the world. One other comment is worth mentioning with respect to the plaques that kept hitting the New World in the 1600s. While the white people that had immigrated from Europe and England had a certain amount of resistance to the various germs that were causing the deaths particularly since they were responsible for carrying the germs across the ocean in the first place, the local Indians had absolutely no resistance.  It is easy to believe that these new white immigrants were stronger from a military standpoint that the native American Indians as they did after all carry guns, in reality one of the main reasons for the Indians inability to prevent the loss of their land was that their population was being devastated by illnesses and deaths.  A great sadness that is often overlooked.

There are no records that exist or at least that we could find, that tell us what happen to my then 12-year old 8th great grandfather Samuel Hickok when his mother and his then step-father died in 1655. We only know that at around the age of 24, Samuel married an 18-year old girl named Hannah Upson who also lived with her family in Farmington. What we find interesting is that Hannah's father, Thomas Upson, who also happens to be my 9th great grandfather, also died of an epidemic illness in Farmington around the same time period as Samuel Hickok's mother and his step-father. Thomas Upson's wife Elizabeth Fuller Upson, my 9th great grandmother, was fortunate to have escaped death during this epidemic and almost immediately following her husband's death she married a man named Edmund Scott.  Now here comes a little bit of speculation. Samuel Hickok and his brother and his step-sister and step-brother having lost their parents were undoubtedly sent to live with different families in Farmington. In the case of William he was possibly "adopted" by Edmund Scott and his new wife Elizabeth Upson Scott along with all of their family including Elizabeth's then 9-year old daughter Hannah Upson. This being the case, Hannah and Samuel grew up together, became wonderful friends and then more, and on 25 October 1664 they married. Pure speculation of course. Incidentally Hannah's father Thomas Upson, is credited with being one of the original founders of Hartford, Connecticut having first settled there in 1638. He shortly thereafter moved to the new settlement later to be called Farmington, in the early 1640s and he too is credited with being one of the founders of Farmington.  Thomas Upson did not actually marry Elizabeth Fuller, who was to be his second wife, until early 1647 and there is some evidence via a court record dated 21 August 1646 that Thomas and Elizabeth may have given birth to a daughter prior to their marriage. It was implied in the court records that "Elizabeth was sentenced to be severely corrected for an offense against morality" which certainly implies that she did something morally wrong. The exact date of Hannah Upson's birth is not known but it is usually noted as being sometime in 1646 or maybe before her parents marriage. Not that it really matters.

Waterbury on the Naugatuck River
Samuel and Hannah Upson Hickok were to have eleven children born between the years 1668 and 1692 including their first child and my 7th great grandfather Samuel Hickok Jr.  It always comes as a surprise to see families during this period of history up and move from their homes especially when the location of their new homes was in a total wilderness area previously occupied only by Indians. The defeat of the Indians during the King Philip's War that took place between 1675 and 1676, meant that more free land suddenly became available in western Connecticut. This opening obviously attracted new settlers who desired more land for their families and for farming. Nevertheless, despite the obvious difficulties created by moving, Samuel and Hannah along with their children and around twenty-five other Farmington families moved on or shortly following the year 1677 to a new area originally known as Mattatuck and later to be known in 1686 as the town of Waterbury located about 20 miles southwest of Farmington and around 33 miles southwest of Hartford. This area was extremely attractive to these new settlers as it was located on the Naugatuck River and the available land was in a large valley mostly void of trees and surrounded by hills. At the time of their move the oldest Hickok child who was my 7th great grandfather was only around nine or ten years old. Samuel Hickok's name is mentioned frequently in a book written by Henry Bronson and published in 1858 titled "The History of Waterbury." Also acknowledged in the book as original settlers of Waterbury were Samuel's brother Joseph and his brother-in-law and his wife's brother, Stephen Upson.

Early Map of Waterbury (Mattatuck)
"Serj Samuel Hickox" name on map
While there are not a lot of details in the various historical books and documents, Samuel Hickok apparently became a fairly prominent and influential man in his new community. In May of 1680 he was one of only two men who were selected to be their community's "townsmen" and he apparently held the position for a number of years. Records also show that he was appointed as a sergeant in their local militia referred to in documents as a "first train-band." There are no records that we uncovered that indicated whether he ever engaged in any battles or wars. Their Train-Band was formed in 1689 and their local group of only 32 soldiers was headed up by a Lieutenant John Stanley who just happens to be my 9th great grandfather and whose name also appears on the above map of early settlers in Waterbury. It was a small world. Anyway, Samuel is known to have owned land both in Waterbury as well as in Farmington at the time of his death and according to his will he was fairly wealthy leaving 434 pounds to his family. He is also credited according to the Waterbury history book with having one of the nicer homes in the area which makes us somewhat curious as to what might have happened to their home following the major flood that occurred in Waterbury in 1691 when the Naugatuck River overflowed.  Fortunately for Samuel and his family some of his wealth was obtained following the settlement of his father-in-law's will in 1671 which may have helped pay for some of the flood damage. Unfortunately for his community and especially for his family, Samuel died somewhat unexpectedly in March of 1694 at the fairly young age of  only 51. Samuel's youngest son had only been born a few years earlier so obviously his wife Hannah, my grandmother, was left alone at a still fairly young age to raise her younger children and manage their home. Fortunately for Hannah she was surrounded by friends and some of her children were in or nearing adulthood and one son had already married. She was undoubtedly well cared for until her death in 1707 at the age of 61 years old. At the time of Hannah's death the population of Waterbury had grown to around 200 people of which 10 were her surviving sons and daughters and around 24 were her grandchildren. Her family was obviously a major part of the population of the soon to be growing community of Waterbury. In 1707 the population of Connecticut was approaching 36,000 making it the fourth largest of the futures states behind Maryland, Virginia, and Massachusetts. Incidentally, while the next part of our story deals primary with Samuel's oldest son, Samuel Jr, our 7th great grandfather, we might mention that another of his sons and Samuel Jr's younger brother, a man named William Hickok (or Hickock) (1673-1737) has the dubious distinction of being Waterbury's first slave owner. Not much of a distinction by today's standards but apparently on the positive side he was at the time also fairly wealthy.

Samuel Hickok Jr, was around 22 years old in 1690 when he married 21 year old Elizabeth Plumb daughter of John and Elizabeth (Norton) Plumb from Milford, Connecticut. Exactly how Samuel and Elizabeth met is a mystery as Milford and Waterbury are around 30 miles apart which was quite a distance back in the late 1600s. The fact that the families may not have known each other might suggest that it was an arranged marriage which in 1690 might not have been that unusual. On the other hand both settlements sat on the shores of the Naugatuck River and its contributory the Housatonic River which would have greatly reduced the difficulty in travelling between the two communities. John Plumb's grandfather and my 9th great grandfather, Robert Plumb (1617-1655), emigrated with his father from County Essex, England to America around 1635 and he is credited with being one of the earliest settlers in Milford in 1639. His son John Plumb was born in Milford in 1648 and he married Elizabeth Norton in 1668. Elizabeth's family as turns out lived in Farmington, Connecticut which is almost 50 miles from Milford so here again is another example of how two individuals who lived so far apart were able to meet each other and eventually wed. We know very little about the Plumb family other than according to an early historian named James Savage, "he (John Plumb) was a man of distinction."

Unfortunately once again there are not a lot of details about the life of my 7th great grandparents Samuel and Elizabeth Plumb Hickok. It is written that at the age of only 18 he was granted a three acre parcel of land which would certainly suggest that even at a young age he was highly respected. There are also other records reporting other land grants and home construction but we believe that the most interesting record lists him as the first settler in 1702 of a settlement later known as Naugatuck located about six miles or so south of Waterbury. This distinction is noted on a historical marker in Naugatuck as shown to the left.

An Old Fulling Mill
Samuel is also recorded as having built a sheep wool mill in 1709 on a small river known as Fulling Mill Brook that flows westward just north of the Naugatuck settlement into the much larger Naugatuck River. Incidentally the word "Fulling" is defined on Wikipedia as "the cleansing of cloth (particularly wool) to eliminate oils, dirt, and other impurities, and making it thicker."  Samuel and Elizabeth also built a home next to Samuel's Fulling Mill where they eventually raised ten children including their last child, a daughter named Silence Hickok who was born in September of 1613. Silence is my 6th great grandmother. Her name might suggest that she was very noisy as a baby and her mother was forced to yell "SILENCE." Wonder if it worked?  Unfortunately beginning around October of 1712 another "Great Sickness" sweep through the Waterbury/Naugatuck area and it is written that the sickness killed around 10% of the population and left many others seriously ill. The disease raged until around September of 1713 but not before it killed our great grandfather Samuel on June 3rd in 1713. One of Samuel's and Elizabeth's sons also died as a result of the disease.

Elizabeth Plumb Hickok was in her early 40s when her husband died and she was left with at least seven surviving children ranging in age between a few months old to around 20 years old. It is likely that all of her children were still living at home. Elizabeth lived until the age of 77 but we know nothing about her life following the death of her husband other than she undoubtedly continued to raise her children. Her youngest child, my 6th great grandmother Silence was 24 years old when she married Abraham Bennett in 1737. Her mother who was then around 68 years old, undoubtedly attended her youngest daughter's wedding as she had the weddings of all of her other children.

My 6th great grandfather Abraham Bennett was around 6 years old when he moved with his parents and siblings in 1621 from Fairfield, Connecticut located down on the Long Island Sound up to Ridgefield, Connecticut located about 37 miles west of Silence Hickok's home in Waterbury. Ridgefield had been first settled back in 1708 but despite the Bennett's later arrival, Abraham's father, James Bennett (1675-1725), my 7th great grandfather, apparently was fairly wealthy as he was thus able to purchase a large section of land in the area. Obviously the family does not own the same property today but nevertheless the Bennett name is still well known as there is a road in the Ridgefield area named  Bennett's Farm Road and a state park by the name of Bennett's Pond State Park. Abraham Bennett's great grandfather and my 9th great grandfather, James Bennett (1618-1659) settled in Fairfield back in 1644 around five years following the founding of the settlement in 1639. Grandpa James is believed to have sailed from England and arrived in Massachusetts on or before 1639. Whatever the date of his arrival, he is recorded as marrying my great grandmother, Hannah Wheeler, (1617-1659) in Concord, Massachusetts in 1639.

Abraham and Silence Hickok Bennett were to have around eleven children born between the years 1738 and 1767 including their son Abraham Bennett Jr, my 5th great grandfather, who was born in 1742. While the records are very unclear, the Bennett family eventually moved west into the future State of New York to a place later to be known as Warwick, in the future County of Orange. Warwick was first settled in 1764 so the family moved there sometime after this date. During the American Revolution Warwick was known to be the site of a Continental Army encampment and the records of the encampment show that both Abraham and his son Abraham were listed as Revolutionary War soldiers. Abraham Sr. would have been in his 60s during this period and it is doubtful that he actually fought in any battles although their Orange County Militia unit did fight at the Battle of White Plains and at the disastrous Battle of Minisink, so who knows. Anyway, Abraham died after the Revolutionary War around 1790 and his wife and my grandmother Silence Hickok Bennett died in 1795 thus ending the last of my Hickok ancestors. My relationship to my Hickok ancestors is shown below:

6th great grandparents:    Silence Hickok         m    Abraham Bennett
5th great grandparents:    Abraham Bennett     m    Jersuha Wanzer
                                          (1742-1795)                  (1750-1839)
4th great grandparents:    Comfort Bennett       m    Abigail Miller
                                          (1781-1864)                  (1787-1872)
3rd great grandparents:    Sally Bennett            m   Joseph Livesay
                                          (1814-1881)                  (1806-1882)
2nd great grandparents:   Ellen Livesay            m    David Reynolds
                                          (1841-1917)                   (1836-1899)
Great grandparents:         Ella Reynolds            m   Henry Spaulding
                                         (1863-1935)                   (1863-1889)
Grandparents:                 Helen Spaulding       m    Charles S Baker
                                         (1887-1937)                   (1885-1952)
Parents:                          Charles A Baker        m   Marian Patterson
                                         (1916-2999)                    (1916-1973)
Living generation:            Charles A Baker Jr
                                       Anne Baker Fanton
                                       Joan Patterson Baker

And so ends another story . . . .

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Chapter 58 - Our Wood Family Ancestors

Map showing Yorkshire, England
It probably should not be surprising to learn that the surname Wood may have originated when an individual or family lived in or near a woods or a forest. It is also possible we suppose, that the name may have originated as an occupational surname such as naming a man "Wood" to reflect that he was a woodcutter or a forester. Whatever the origins of the name might be, the earliest of our confirmed Wood ancestors was a man by the name of Richard Wood, my 12th great grandfather, who was born in 1515 in the parish of Halifax in County Yorkshire, England. There is some speculation that Richard's father was also named Richard Wood although we know little about the life of our Richard born in 1515 and almost nothing at all about the life of his possible father. In any case, if the origins of the name Wood were a result of nearby woods or the wood business, the family must have lived in the Yorkshire area of England for many, many generations.

Sheep on the poor lands of Yorkshire, England
When the first settlers arrived in Yorkshire around 7,000 BC the land was covered with a thick forest, however in the thousands of years following the earliest settlement the forests were cut down and thus by the early years of the first century AD the land was being used primarily for farming and the raising of sheep with the eventual rise of the wool industry. Exactly what Richard Wood did for a living is unknown but we have to believe that he was probably in the woolen industry or at the very least a farmer and raiser of sheep. From what we have learned the soil in the land surrounding Halifax was poor at best which encouraged the ancient people away from the growing of crops to the raising of sheep and the weaving and selling of their sheep wool. Halifax is approximately 170 miles north of London and in the 16th century and earlier, the area where my Wood family ancestors lived was rural and scarcely populated. Life would have been very difficult or impossible were it not for the wool business. It is said that the wool products made in the Halifax area were sold throughout England and as far away as northern Europe.

Halifax Parish Church in early 1800s
Richard Wood (1515-1548) married my 12th great grandmother Margaret Ambler (1520-1599) on the 26th day of November in 1540. Their marriage took place most likely in their local Halifax Parish Church which was dedicated to and called the St. John the Baptist Church. (Some people believe that following the beheading of John the Baptist around the year A.D. 28 his head was actually buried under the original church). The church was constructed around 100 years before their marriage and surprisingly this same church, significantly modified of course, still exists today. All of the children of Richard and Margaret Wood were probably baptized at this church including my 11th great grandfather, Edmund Wood, who was baptized on 6 March 1546. Again, we know very little about the life of Richard Wood other than it is believed that he may have been fairly well off financially especially if he sucessfully operated in the woollen cloth industry. We also believe that at least four or five generations of his ancestors were born, lived and died in the Halifax area of Yorkshire including at least three generations who attended the same church where he and Margaret were married and where their children were baptized.  Richard Wood is believed to have died at the young age of 33 in 1548 meaning that his son Edmund, my great grandfather, was only around two years old when his father died. The records are not clear but if his death date is accurate, it must have been very sad for his family. We found no records that might suggest that my great grandmother Margaret remarried although this would seem likely. In any case, Margaret Ambler Wood's death date is believed to have been in 1599.

Edmund Wood most likely continued in his father's wool trade business as he reached adulthood. On the 4th of May in 1573 at the age of 27, he married my 11th great grandmother, Jenet Hurst, and together they had at least three or four children before Janet's rather early death in 1583 at the age of around thirty-three. The exact number and names and ages of their children is very unclear other than the name and birth year of my 10th great grandfather, Edmund Wood Jr., who was born around 1578. While nothing is particularly known about the lives of Richard Wood and his son and grandson what is known is that they all lived in rather controversial times in England particularly with respect to the ruling kings and queens and their control of the churches and the acceptable forms of worship. While very early England was mostly Pagan in a religious sense, following the invasion of England by the Roman armies beginning around 43 AD, religious worship eventually changed in prominence by the mid-first century to Roman Catholicism under the leadership of the Roman Pope. The English Church remained under the control of the Pope for almost a thousand years until the year 1531 when the then current king, Henry VIII, declared himself "Supreme Head of the Church of England" thus making the Church of England independent of the Pope. Despite this rather arrogant move on the part of King Henry VIII, very little changed with respect to how the church was operated. On the other hand, the Pope was very upset and almost immediately excommunicated the King of England. This arrogant action on the part of King Henry VIII took place only nine years prior to the marriage of Richard Wood and Margaret Ambler thus showing that the Wood family and the St John the Baptist Church in Halifax had been Roman Catholic up to this point.
King Henry VIII and his three children who were Queens and a King of England

King Henry VIII died in 1547 and the crown was then passed to his son Edward VI. King Edward VI only ruled for a few years as he died of tuberculosis in 1553. During his short reign there were unfortunately both economic as well as social unrests within England nor did it help that England and Scotland were at war between the years 1543 and 1550. There is no evidence that any members of my Wood ancestors were soldiers in the war and most likely they continued in the manufacturing of woolen cloth despite the economic downturn. One major change did occur during this period of history which was the rise of Protestantism which most likely had a major impact on the local Halifax Church. Unfortunately for those individuals who were converting to Protestantism, when Queen Mary was crowned Queen of England following the death of her step-brother Edward VI in 1553, she insisted that the English church be restored to Roman Catholicism. What followed was that many religious dissenters, upwards of 300, at the direction of the Crown were burned at the stake between the year 1555 and the year of Mary's death in 1558. Most of the turmoil was taking place in the London area which was fortunate for our Wood ancestors although it certainly did not help the economy considering that she supported her Spanish husband, Philip of Spain, when he encouraged her to send English military forces to join with the Spanish forces in their war against France.

Queen Elizabeth 1
Fortunately perhaps for both our Wood ancestors and for England, Queen Elizabeth I, another daughter of  King Henry VIII, assumed control of the English throne upon the death of Queen Mary in 1558. It was during Elizabeth's 45 year reign that religious tolerance became the norm and as a result, at least in England, there was a strong decline in Catholicism.  Furthermore during this period both the English population as well as the economy grew as did the rise of Puritanism which is noted as having begun in the late 16th century. The Puritans were strong believers in changing the Protestant church by ridding it of any and all features that were Catholic in nature.  Things were not perfect however during Elizabeth's reign what with major plagues hitting London in 1563 (20,000 deaths) and again in 1592 (17,000 deaths), wars in France and the Nine Years' War with the Irish, and then in the early 1600s an economic recession that certainly did not help the woolen cloth business. But generally speaking these problems while awful by todays standards, were more the norm in this period of English history.

My 10th great grandfather, Edmund Wood Jr. (1578-1660) married my 10th great grandmother, Martha Lum (1581-1635) on the 21st day of May in 1611 at the St John the Baptist Church in Halifax. Somewhat surprisingly considering this period of history, they were, according to many sources, both in their early 30s at the time of their marriage. It is possible however, if not probable, that their birth dates are both wrong which certainly suggests that neither of my ancestors came from prominent families where birth and death records may have been better recorded. What is known about Edmund is that he was for at least a few years, a Church Warden at the St John the Baptist Church in Halifax and a devoted Puritan as were no doubt many of the other families in Halifax. Edmund and Martha are believed to have had five children who survived before Martha's early death sometime before April of 1635.

King Charles 1
Following Queen Elizabeth's death in 1603, King James 1 of Scotland assumed the crown and ruled England and Scotland from 1603 until 1625. It was during his reign that the bible was translated into English, now known as the "King James Version." Also during his reign he did his best to avoid religious disputes and wars and the nature of his leadership resulted in a strong rise in the number of Puritans in England including a large number of Puritans who were members of the English Parliament. Unfortunately upon his death in 1625, the crown was assumed by King Charles 1 whose leadership dramatically differed from his predecessor. We wrote the following about Charles 1 in our previous chapter: "Unfortunately, life for families in England beginning shortly following the coronation of King Charles 1 in 1625 was very difficult from a religious standpoint as well as from an economic standpoint. King Charles' disagreements with the English Parliament on issues like raising taxes to cover the cost of foreign wars and the like, forced him, perhaps foolishly, to dissolve Parliament beginning in 1629. As it turned out many members of the Parliament were Puritans. Furthermore, his insistence on the Devine Right of Kings, his demands that everyone must attend the Church of England against the wishes of the Puritans, his foreign wars against both Spain and later France, and the recurring rise in the cost of land in England and other displeasures, resulted in many English citizens leaving their country for the New World. By some estimates as many as 80,000 people migrated to America and other places from Britain between 1620 and 1640. These families and individuals who left for a better life and opportunities in America were not for the most part poor and uneducated individuals. Quite the opposite."

Voyage to America in 1635
It should not be surprising to understand why our Edmund Wood and so many other Puritan families choose to abandon their English homeland in the early 1600s. Considering the religious persecution of Puritans and the failure of the Puritans to reform the Church of England, the failing economy especially in the wool industry, the rising taxes, and the constant wars with both Spain and France, it should not be surprising to learn that Edmund left England with other members of his family in addition to his five children. His half-sister (different mothers) Susan Wood Mitchell and her "wealthy" husband, Matthew Mitchell, were the first of Edmund's family to push the idea of immigrating to America. Some sources, although they may not be accurate, say that Edmund Wood and his brother-in-law Matthew Mitchell got together with the former and non-conformist minister of the church in Halifax, a man by the name of Rev. Richard Denton, and together they planned their exit from England. This exit ultimately took place when they all boarded along with their families a ship by the name of the "James" and departed England in June of 1635 headed for the "New World." Apparently this particular voyage was not to pleasant for as the ship approached New England a hurricane struck and while the ship ended up heavily damaged they all survived, eventually landing in Boston on August 15, 1635.  Unfortunately no records survived that can verify that our great grandfather, Edmund Wood, and his children including his son and my 9th great grandfather, Jonas Wood (1614-1689), were actually on this particular ship, but what we do know for certain is that they did travel to New England sometime in the year 1635.

Wood Family travels from 1635 (Boston) through 1637 (Wethersfield)

What is known is that the Wood and the Mitchell families originally settled in Watertown (or some historians report their settlement to be in Charlestown), Massachusetts, located near Boston, but apparently the quality of the land, the politics, and the local Puritan leadership, as well as the awful weather during their first winter encouraged them both to seek land elsewhere. They soon learned of "ideal" land on the Connecticut River and in early May of 1636 they joined with other adventurers and walked around 100 miles to the west on an old Indian trail, eventually arriving ten days later at what would be named a few years later the village of Springfield. Our great grandfather, Edward Wood, is credited with being one of the eight original founders of Springfield, Connecticut. Somewhat surprisingly the Wood and Mitchell families remained in Springfield for only a few months since apparently the leader of these original settlers, a man by the name of William Pynchon, allocated a poor section of land to both of them that would often flood, or so they were told by the local Indians. Both Edward and Matthew were also told by Pynchon that they could not operate their own trading business as apparently Mr. Pynchon lay claim to all such operations and asserted that he alone was the sole decision maker. My great grandfather and his brother-in-law quickly decided to leave the area.

The Wood and Mitchell families soon moved southward down the Connecticut River to what was then called Fort Saybrook (now named Old Saybrook) located just off the Long Island Sound. Their arrival in July of 1636 soon proved to be ill-timed as beginning in the fall of 1636 the Pequot Indians attacked Fort Saybrook therein forcing the families to remain inside the fortification. When the war finally ended in June of 1637, the Wood and Mitchell families again elected to relocate this time they moved north again up the Connecticut River and here again they are often listed as among the earliest settlers of the present day city of Wethersfield, Connecticut. Incidentally, one of the very first settlers of Wethersfield was a man by the name of Nathaniel Foote who settled there in 1635. Nathaniel Foote is my 10th great grandfather and hopefully he was good friends with my other 10th great grandfather, Edmund Wood. I wonder if it ever occurred to them that they might eventually have a common great grandson, myself of course. By the way, the story of the Pequot War and my Foote ancestor is told in Chapter 48 of this blog titled "My Churchill Ancestors."

Wood Travels from 1640 (Stamford) to Huntington (1656)

We were honestly quite surprised to learn that Edmund Wood and his children moved once again in around 1640, this time to Stamford, Connecticut where here again they are listed among the original settlers. To say that Edmund moved with his children might be a little misleading in that by 1641 at least three of his five children were already married. Unfortunately due to the lack of church records since the family kept moving to new communities where churches did not yet exist or were just beginning, many of the family trees found online and in history books are inconsistent with respect to the exact marriage dates and locations. For example, Edmund Wood's oldest daughter, a girl named Martha, is often noted as marrying a man named Thurston Raynor in Southampton on Long Island sometime between 1635 and 1639. Besides the fact that the Wood family were never near this community during this time period, it is also an unlikely location in that Southampton was not founded until the year 1640. More likely is that then 25-year old Martha Wood married her new husband in Wethersfield in 1637. Another daughter named Susannah Wood is believed to have married a man named Samuel Clark around 1640 also in Wethersfield although here again marriage records providing exact dates and locations do not exist. What is really interesting is that as the small groups of settlers kept relocating and organizing new communities, the children within these groups of settlers made friends with one another and then often married at relatively young ages. In the case of Jeremiah Wood, Edmund's 4th child, he married around 1640 the daughter of one of his father's closest friends and soon after both families relocated to and helped found Stamford. Both families, parents, sons, and daughters, soon after relocated to Hempstead on Long Island in 1644. In the case of my 9th great grandfather, Jonas Wood (1614-1689), he is believed to have married Elizabeth Strickland (1620-1683) in Stamford on the 25th day of February in 1642 and they too moved to Hempstead, Long Island with the rest of their family in 1644. We should also not be surprised to learn that another one of the original founders of Hempstead, Long Island is a man by the name of the Rev. Richard Denton, who its seems our family followed from England to the New World and then around Massachusetts and Connecticut until their arrival on Long Island almost a decade later. It is said that they were all in search of a place where they could more freely express their particular brand of Protestantism. It appears that the land they purchased from the local Indians in Hempstead was to be such a place and it is reported that the Presbyterian church that they founded shortly following their arrival is "the oldest continually active Presbyterian congregation in the nation." At last our Wood family had found their home or so they may have thought.

Despite the rather positive comment made about the early Presbyterian Church in Hempstead as it turned out, by 1656 Edmund and some other members of his community as well as his son Jonas were unhappy with Hempstead, and once again they moved to and help establish another community on Long Island, this one later to be called Huntington. We must admit that it amazing when reviewing all of the histories of these early Connecticut and New York communities including these two on Long Island, to find the name of my great grandfather Edmund Wood or in the case of Huntington his son Jonas Wood listed among the names of the original founders. In the case of Huntington, a history of the township written in 1902 it was noted that "Another tract of land was in 1656 sold by Asharoken, Marttinicock Sachem, and the rest of the Indian owners with him to Jonas Wood, William Rogers and Thomas Wickes . . . "  This sentence was particularly interesting because it not only added another of my Wood ancestors as a founder of an early settlement in America, but it also lists as a founder a man by the name of Thomas Wickes who just happens to be another of my 8th great grandfathers. Such exploratory genes we must have. Anyway, the spelling of the name Wickes is often seen spelled as Weeks. In 1656, Edmund Wood was in his 70s when he and his son and his family moved to Huntington, so not surprisingly only a few years later around 1662, he died. Unfortunately his burial stone and its location have been long ago lost.

My 9th great grandparents Jonas Wood and Elizabeth Strickland Wood were still living in Stamford (Connecticut) when their first of four children was born in 1643, my 7th great grandfather, Jonas Wood Jr. It must have been quite an experience considering the young age of their child when they up and moved to Hempstead on Long Island in 1644. Historians report that somewhere between thirty to forty families left Stamford at this time with most of them being Puritans wanting to "freely express their particular brand of Protestantism." No doubt that Jonas Wood and the other Wood family members were all part of this group and their religious beliefs. What is interesting is that this part of Long Island was at the time under the control of the Dutch so it is very interesting, assuming that they had a choice, that they allowed English families to settle in their area. They apparently did allow the English settlers, unlike their English counterparts in New England who had very strict rules regarding who was allowed to settle in their area. Their tolerance may have ultimately backfired and caused their loss of their Dutch colony of New Amsterdam for in 1664 the English took control of all of the land then under the leadership of the Dutch. Incidentally, the Indian natives living in this area might very well have disputed any statements that the land in the Hempstead area was under the control of the Dutch for they in fact take credit for selling the land to the English. Their sale was for approximately 64,000 acres for which they were paid in todays dollars a total of around $10. Such a deal!

Here again Jonas Wood, his wife, and their now four children moved once again, this time in 1650 to the future village of Southampton located way out at the eastern end of Long Island. His motives for moving along with other members of his family including his father and his brothers and their families are unclear, although they may very well have been motivated by their desire for more religious freedoms and perhaps more likely, they simply wanted to get as far away as possible from the Dutch. While the First Anglo-Dutch War which began in 1652 did not take place in their area, the growing antagonism between the two countries must have made life in Hempstead more difficult. In fact, a treaty that took place in 1650 in Hartford between the Dutch and the English, mistakenly perhaps, turned the town of Hempstead over to the Dutch. In any case, this was a strong motive to move and dozens of families did so.

Map shows Huntington, Hempsted, Jamaica, and Newtown
All places where out Wood family lived on Long Island
Perhaps for the first time since arriving in America, our Wood ancestors are not credited with being among the original settlers of a new area, this time Southampton. Southampton was originally founded around ten years earlier in 1640 by a group of around forty English immigrants who had left the town of Lynn, Massachusetts and moved to Long Island. Southampton is usually credited with being the first English Colony on Long Island followed by Hempstead in 1644 and Huntington in 1653. The eastern end of Long Island was closer to Connecticut than it was to the Dutch controlled western end which accounts for the reason as to why the Dutch did not have control over this part of the island. Their early settlement may very well have been on the part of the English an effort to limit the growth of the Dutch colony. Incidentally, one of these original settlers of Southampton was my 8th great grandfather, Thomas Sayre, whose family story which includes a brief description of the early settlement of Southampton, is told in Chapter 13 of this blog. In a listing of the Southampton settlers as of 1650 we find Jonas Wood's name along with the name of his brother-in-law, Thurston Raynor. Not included in this listing however, was Jonas's father, Edmund Wood, who as of 1650 would have probably been in his late 60s and was undoubtedly living with one of his sons. Despite our efforts to learn more about Jonas Wood's time in Southampton we could uncover very little including the motives as to why he and his family relocated once again in 1656, this time to the new community of Huntington also located on Long Island. This was to be, at least for our Jonas Wood and his father Edmund, their final home. Jonas was at this point around 44 years old. Here once again he is listed as one of the earliest settlers of Huntington being among a group of three men who purchased land from the Asharoken, Marttincock, and Sachem Indians in 1653. Also in the list of early settlers in Huntington is my 9th great grandfather, Robert Seeley,  and my 8th great grandfather, Thomas Weeks. Later records show that Jonas Wood made numerous other purchases and sales in the local area and in March of 1666 there is a record of his father-in-law, John Strickland, deeding him his land before he left the area and moved westward to Jamaica near the present day City of New York.  This new settlement fixation must have been in the genes of our early Wood ancestors but at least our Jonas Wood finally decided not to again move.

Huntington town records tell us that our great grandfather Jonas Wood whose occupation was undoubtedly that of a farmer, was elected as a town magistrate in 1660 and subsequently he and other members of the town voted to become part of the Connecticut Colony thus placing Huntington under their jurisdiction. In 1662, Jonas was also listed as part of a committee along with their local church leader the Rev. William Leverch, who made the decisions as to whether or not to accept new settlers into their community obviously based largely on their origins and their religion. This control obviously made many of the residents happy as many like the Wood family, had moved from community to community obviously seeking a place where they could live and worship as they pleased. At this point the Dutch still controlled much of the western part of Long Island and parts of the future State of New York, however in 1664 this quickly changed when the English military gained control over New Amsterdam and ended the Dutch leadership. In 1665, our Jonas Wood was one of two members of his town elected to represent Huntington at an assembly meeting of all of the local English communities that was to take place in Hempstead. The purpose of the meeting was to establish a new English government for their area. Apparently Jonas Wood and the other residents of Huntington still supported their relationship with Connecticut, however at the meeting in Hempstead they were soon overruled and a new government was set up that basically was to control what was now to be part of the Colony of New York.

Jonas Wood's name is mentioned dozens of times in a book titled Huntington Town Records which was published back in 1887. His name is also mentioned in many other historical accounts most of which are realistic and show clearly that he was a respected and fairly prosperous man. There are a few records however, that are confusing especially considering his age and it makes us wonder if perhaps Jonas Wood, my 8th great grandfather, was being confused with his son and my 7th great grandfather, Jonas Wood Jr. For example, Jonas Wood Sr. is reported to have been licensed to practice surgery in October of 1677. If accurate he would have been around 63 years old which would seem to be totally unrealistic. In his will however, made out on February 20, 1688 he mentions his son Jonas, leaving him "all my chirurgeons' instruments and concernments of that kind . . " confirming that he was indeed a surgeon.  In 1682 he is listed as a Justice of the Peace and then in 1684 he is recorded as a lieutenant in the Suffolk County Troops. If accurate he would have been in his late 60s and then 70 years old as a military leader.  Whether accurate or not Jonas Wood was obviously an important resident in the early years of Huntington, Long Island. Records of Jonas Wood's death note that he died on 12 June 1689. He would have been around 75 years old. His wife and my great grandmother, Elizabeth Strickland Wood died earlier than her husband as her name did not appear in her husband's will although the exact date of her death is unknown.      

The Wood Family surgeon tools
Despite spending quite a bit of time doing online research trying to uncover more about the life of my 7th great grandfather, Jonas Wood Jr., we did not learn much of anything. Based on his father's will, Jonas Jr was granted land so it is probably safe to assume that he was a farmer most of his life as were almost all who lived in this area during this time period. He was also willed his father's surgeon's tools so it is likely that he too was a surgeon. Surgery during his lifetime was still very crude and being a surgeon in the 17th and early 18th centuries probably did not require much if any training other than learning how to cut something off the body like a broken arm or leg. We have to believe that deaths as a result were all to common. We also learned that Jonas Wood Jr married my 7th great grandmother, Elizabeth Conklin, around 1668 and their first child was born around 1669. In total they had eight children including their 7th child and my 6th great grandfather, a son named Timothy Wood who was born or baptized on July 10, 1683. As far as we could determine Jonas and Elizabeth Conklin Wood spent their entire lives living and raising a family in Huntington. My great grandmother Elizabeth died at the age of around 48 years old in 1697. Her youngest child at the time was only around 10 years old. My great grandfather died in 1712 at the age of 69. My 6th great grandfather, Timothy Wood was around 23 years old when his father died and considering that he was their youngest son, it seems unlikely that he had the benefit of a large inheritance.

Unfortunately we know almost nothing about Timothy Wood including for certain the name of his wife and children. One problem is that the name "Timothy Wood" was quite common on Long Island back in his day and many of his cousins and second cousins carried the same name, hence the confusion. During our research we found a number of different women listed as his wife including a Hannah Oakfield, Hannah Conklin, Judith Conklin, Judith Lawrence, or just plain Judith. The added problem is that depending on whom he married, the names of his children differed. What does not help a bit is that Timothy's mother's surname was Conklin so the implication might be that he married one of his cousins. Anyway, what we are going to summarize below is what we strongly believe to be the accurate facts about our Wood ancestry and how Timothy Wood ties into my own family tree.

Timothy Wood was a cordwainer or a shoemaker
Timothy Wood was undoubtedly born in his parent's home in Huntington on Long Island and at some point he moved to Jamaica, Long Island located about 28 miles or so west of Huntington. As we previously mentioned his great grandfather John Strickland had moved to Jamaica and it is possible that at his death his property in Jamaica was willed to the Wood family. What is known is that around the year 1706 at the age of 23, he married a girl by the name of Judith who some believe was Judith Lawrence whose parents lived in nearby Newtown, Long Island (now Elmhurst) located about seven miles west of Jamaica. How they met is unknown although it is very possible that they both attended the same church which was most likely the First Presbyterian Church of Newtown that was founded in 1664. This same church was where their daughter Judith (or Judah) Wood was married in 1738 and where Timothy's wife's death records are on file. Also in these same church files are the names and marriage dates of five other children with the surname of Wood although there is no sure way of confirming for certain that they were children of Timothy and Judith. Their marriage dates range from 1728 to 1741. It is believed that Timothy and Judith may have married around the year 1707 for the record shows that Timothy "sold off his father's farmland (in Jamaica) and purchased a home lot suitable for a tradesman" in Newtown around that same time period. Timothy in this same record is reported to have been a "cordwainer" or in less archaic terms, a shoemaker. There are no records that we could find that list Timothy Wood in any governmental positions or serving in a major church role which helps explain why so little is known about my great grandfather. Judith Wood died in the year 1751 at around the age of 69. Timothy died 12 years later in 1763 at the age of 80. Where they are buried is unknown.

Judith (Judah) Wood, daughter of Timothy and Judith Wood married my 6th great grandfather, Matthes Baker, in the First Presbyterian Church in Newtown on 27 August 1738. Their story is told from this point forward in Chapter 28 "My Baker Ancestors - Part III." At first it was hard to understand how these two individuals may have met since Matthes Baker grew up in Maidenhead Township in New Jersey  (now Lawrenceville) and Judith as we have seen lived in Newtown in New York (now Elmhurst) and the two areas are at least 60 miles apart which was a rather long distance in the early 1700s. We have to believe it possible that their two families had known one another or were related. As it turns out there was a relationship although very distant in nature. Their common ancestor was a man by the name of John Strickland (1584-1672).

                        John Strickland (1584-1672)
                         |                                 |
      Elizabeth Strickland        Susannah Strickland
           (1620-1683)                     (1632-1712)
                         |                                 |                                  
            Jonas Wood               Susannah Matthews  
             (1643-1712)                    (1703- ?)
                        |                                  |
           Timothy Wood               Matthes Baker
             (1683-1763)                  (1710-1788)
            Judith Wood
             (1710- ?)

Their family relationship if the above family tree is correct, means that Matthes Baker is Judith Wood's second cousin once removed. We also note that Matthes' mother Susannah Matthews was born and grew up in Jamaica on Long Island and she may very well have known her cousin Jonas' son Timothy Wood who also lived for a period in Jamaica. We also suspect that it is very likely that Timothy would have known that Susannah's mother was his grandmother's sister. Anyway, with that said it might help to explain how Judith Wood and Matthes Baker met and were married although it is entirely possible that it was an arranged marriage by their families.

We are related to Judith and Matthes Baker as follows:

6th Great Grandparents:   Judith Wood         m    Matthes Baker
5th Great Grandparents:   Timothy Baker     m   Deborah  ?
                                           (1742-1810)              (1753-1817
4th Great Grandparents:   Francis Baker      m   Sarah Bogart
                                           (1787-1864)              (1793-1827)
3rd Great Grandparents:   Elijah Baker        m   Susan Osborn
                                           (1812-1876)            (1812-1868)\
2nd Great Grandparents:  Charles S Baker  m  Hannah Harpending
                                          (1835-1891)              (1842-1891)
Great Grandparents:         Asbury H Baker    m  Helena Rappleye
                                          (1860-1933)             (1860-1944)
Grandparents:                  Charles S Baker   m  Helen Spaulding
                                          (1885-1952)              (1887-1937)
Parents:                          Charles A Baker  m  Marian Patterson
                                          (1916-2000)              (1916-1973)
Living Generation             Charles A Baker Jr
                                        Anne R Baker
                                        Joan P Baker

And that is the end of another family history story . . . .

Monday, January 29, 2018

Chapter 57 - My Tuller, Case, Spencer, Moses, and Thrall Ancestors

Tuller Family Tree - Click to enlarge
My initial reason for selecting my Tuller ancestry as the subject of this chapter is because I was fascinated to read about the life of the man I assumed was my 9th great grandfather, a man referred to in many writings as Lieut. Willem Teller (1620-1701). Willem emigrated to America from the Netherlands in 1636 apparently in the service of the Dutch East India Company who basically controlled all of the land in and around New Amsterdam. He was originally sent up to Fort Orange (the future Albany) where he was appointed quartermaster of the fort and where he remained for a little over 50 years raising a large family and gaining great wealth and influence. In 1692, he returned to what was by then the village of New York and then in 1701, he died. We have not spent a lot of time describing Willem Teller's fascinating life since after many hours of research trying to learn about his life and how my 8th great grandfather, John Tuller (1652-1742) was related to his father and mother, we reached the disappointing conclusion considering all the time spent, that John Tuller was not related to Willem Teller. Unfortunately, after reviewing the dozens of Tuller family trees on as well as reading many other websites online such as, all of which show John Fuller's father to be Willem (William) Teller, we quickly realized how easy it is to be misled.  We are afraid that many of us do not do enough research when tying to tie together our family tree lines.  Despite all of the time that we spent on this subject we have concluded that there is just insufficient information available for anyone to determine the ancestry of my 8th great grandfather, John Tuller.

Obviously without knowing the names of the parents of John Tuller it is next to impossible to know the location and the exact date of his birth. What we do know is that he married my 8th great grandmother, Elizabeth Case (1656-1718), in Windsor, Connecticut on 30 April 1684 and that my grandmother was at the time of her marriage around 28 years old. It was not her first marriage as her first husband had died in 1680.  Assuming that John Tuller was a few years older than his wife, it is probably safe to assume that he was born around 1652 (or 32 years old when he married) which is the year often given as his birth year on and other websites. Admittedly however, a guess.  Where John Tuller was born may always be a mystery although we doubt that he was born in the Windsor or Simsbury, Connecticut area where he married and spent much of his life. Frankly, there are pretty good records of the names of the earliest settlers in this area and there is no mention of a Tuller family. What we suspect is that John Tuller immigrated to this area sometime around the period of the King Philip's War, 1675 to 1676, where he eventually met his future wife.  But these are all just guesses so let us step back for a minute and describe what we do know about his wife's family, her grandparents and my 10th great grandparents, William and Agnes Harris Spencer.

King Charles 1
William Spencer (1601-1640) was born around 1601 in Stotfield in Bedfordshire, England the oldest son of the many children of Gerald and Alice Whitbread Spencer.  Very little is known about his father, Gerald Spencer, other than he died sometime around the year 1625 and it is assumed that he was fairly prosperous and left his family in a relatively strong position financially.  The fact that four of his five surviving sons eventually emigrated to America in the early 1630s, which was a fairly costly move, strongly suggests that they were not poor or at least not struggling financially. It is always interesting to learn the reasons that might have motivated so many English people to move away from their homeland so many years ago. While a large portion of the immigrants at least those who moved to New England in the early 1600s, were Puritans whose reasons for leaving England were obviously to seek religious freedoms, there were many others, particularly single young men like the Spencer brothers, who left their homeland simply because they felt they had a better chance for success in America. That is, they were more interested in finding economic freedoms. Unfortunately, life for families in England beginning shortly following the coronation of King Charles 1 in 1625 was very difficult both from a religious standpoint as was well as from an economic standpoint. King Charles' disagreements with the English Parliament on issues like raising taxes to cover the cost of foreign wars and the like, forced him, perhaps foolishly, to dissolve Parliament beginning in 1629. As it turned out many members of the Parliament were Puritans. Furthermore, his insistence on the Devine Right of Kings, his demands for absolute control over government expenditures, his demands that everyone must attend the Church of England against the wishes of the Puritans, his foreign wars against both Spain and later France, and the recurring rise in the cost of land in England and other displeasures, resulted in many English citizens leaving their country for the New World. By some estimates as many as 20,000 people migrated to the New England area from Britain between 1630 and 1640. These families and individuals who left for a better life and opportunities in America were not for the most part poor and uneducated individuals. Quite the opposite. We feel quite certain that William Spencer and his brothers were educated and had some wealth and they were simply fed up with the way that they were being treated in England. In all it is believed that upwards of 80,000 people left England for America and other places during the time period of 1620 to 1640. Fortunately for the English people, in 1645 King Charles 1 was forcibly removed as king following a bitter English civil war and than in January of 1649, he was beheaded, perhaps a well deserved conclusion to his awful reign.

There is a lot of confusion as to when and with whom William Spencer may have traveled to America. There are some writings that report that he traveled with his brothers possibly with the Winthrop Fleet as early as 1630. There are others that state that he traveled with his wife, Agnes, following their recent marriage in England although this possibility seems unlikely since his future wife lived in Barnstable in County Devon, near the west coast of England and not at all close to William's hometown. All that is really known about William's emigration to America is that that on the 4th of March in 1632 he took the freeman's oath in what would later be the town of Cambridge, Massachusetts implying only that he arrived sometime before that date and probably at the latest just prior to the winter of 1631-2. The exact date of the arrival of my 10th great grandmother Agnes Harris is also unknown for certain although we did take comfort reading an article written by Douglas Richardson in 1988 titled "The English Origin of Agnes Harris, of Hartford, Conn." wherein he goes into a lot of detail describing Agnes' parents Bartholomew Harris (1560-1615) and Elizabeth Collamore (1566-1647).  He describes in some detail the life of the Harris family in Barnstable and the political and financial successes of Agnes' father Bartholomew prior to his untimely death in 1615 at the age of 55. Agnes was only around 11 years old when her father died. What is suggested in this biography is that following her father's death in 1615, young Agnes went to live with her possible relatives Matthew and Martha Allyn and that sometime later she traveled with the Allyn family to America as a servant obviously arriving sometime prior to her marriage to William Spencer in 1633. Whether or not her relationship with the Allyn family is accurate, it is interesting that Matthew Allyn is mentioned as "Cosen" (cousin) Matthew Allyn in William's will in 1640 obviously implying a close family relationship. It is known that the Allyn family was also from Agnes' hometown of Barnstable clarifying that it was Agnes and not William who was a possible cousin of Matthew Allyn.

William and Agnes Spencer lived in Cambridge until 1639 at which time they relocated with their family to Hartford, Connecticut. While living in Cambridge, Agnes gave birth to three children including their third child, a daughter named Sarah Spencer (1636-1691), my 9th great grandmother, who was born on 7 March 1636.  During William's time living in Cambridge he made quite a name for himself. William was a Deputy representing Cambridge to the General Court of Massachusetts from 1634 until 1637. He was a member of the committee formed to frame a body of fundamental laws for the Colony of Massachusetts. In March 1636, William was appointed Lieutenant of the Military Company of New Town (Cambridge) and also in March of that year he was a founder of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Boston. Furthermore, he served as the town clerk at Cambridge from 1632 until 1635 and was elected a town selectman in November of 1635. Obviously my 10th great grandfather was a highly respected man in his community which makes it quite interesting to learn that in 1639 he and his family moved to the recently formed and highly rural settlement in Connecticut later to be named Hartford.

Founders Monument - Hartford
It is not hard to question why William, then in his late 30s, might have wanted to relocate to such a rural community.  The first of the English settlers in the Hartford area arrived only three years earlier than our Spencer family in June of 1636 and they were led by the well known Rev. Thomas Hooker. While the Dutch had built a fort in the area years earlier, much of the land in and around Hartford was still largely occupied by Indians although records show that in 1636, Hooker and the new settlers "purchased" the land in the area from the Indians. It is doubtful that the Indians realized that when they sold their land they were expected to move, since for the most part they did not. One of the reasons that William Spencer may have moved to Hartford was that his younger brother, Thomas Spencer, had moved there in 1637 and he may very well have encouraged William to follow. It is also possible if not probable, that William had grown tired of living in Massachusetts. The Puritans who controlled much of the greater Boston Massachusetts area were over zealous in the manner in which they controlled both the church as well as the government. While William Spencer was undoubtedly a Puritan in a religious sense, he probably was not too happy with the rigid way that the Puritan leaders controlled their local citizens. It is a well known fact that Thomas Hooker was also a prominent Puritan leader but he too was strongly opposed to the manner that the Puritan leaders were controlling everything and that in the end he was a strong advocate of what we now think of today as the "Separation of Church and State". In other words, you do not have to be a member of the church to be eligible to vote or run the government. Both Samuel Spencer as well as his brother Thomas are considered to be among the original founders of Hartford and their names appear along with 161 other founders on a large monument in downtown Hartford.  I was totally amazed to discover that included in this listing of the original Hartford founders were a total of 24 of my great grandfathers on both my mother's and on my father's side of my family.

Following Samuel Spencer's early and unexpected death in 1640, my 10th great grandmother, Agnes Harris Spencer, remarried in December of 1645 a much younger man by the name of William Edwards. Agnes was 41 years old when she married 27 year old William Edwards and somewhat surprisingly considering her age she gave birth to a son in 1647. The exact date of Agnes' eventual death is not known although it is usually given as sometime during or shortly after 1680. Her daughter and my 9th great grandmother Sarah Spencer undoubtedly lived with her mother and her step-father right up until the point that she married John Case, my 9th great grandfather, sometime in early 1656. Unfortunately no records have been found that verify the exact date of their marriage. Sarah was around 21 years old when she married but the age of her new husband is unknown, although numerous sources report his birth year as 1615 which would have made him in his early 40s when they married. Frankly this seems highly unlikely and we have to believe that John Case was likely in his mid to late-20s when they married, although who knows. The best but unlikely story that we found about the origins of my 9th great grandfather, John Case, is that he emigrated to America on the ship "Dorset" in the year 1635 along with his parents and his four brothers. According to some stories, his parents' names were William and Ruth James Case, my 10th great grandparents, both of whom along with their children are believed to have been from Alysham, Norfolk, England. Unfortunately as the story goes, William Case died onboard the ship during the voyage prior to their ultimate landing in New England. He was only around 45 years old at the time of his death. What happened at that point to my great grandmother Ruth James Case, is lost in history. We did however, find a detailed passenger list of those on the "Dorset" in 1635 but the only names in the list that were close to my family's names were a 19 year old boy named William Casse and an 18 year old boy by the name of John Casson. Who knows if this is our John Case and whoever made up this story about his parents and brothers on board the "Dorset" shall have to remain a mystery.

The first actual record of John Case in America was a court record in 1655 in Hartford, Connecticut that mentioned his name. While there are no documents that have been located, it is calculated that he married Sarah Spencer in Hartford in early 1656 and apparently for some unknown reason they may have soon moved to Long Island, New York to an area then known as Maspeth Kill, which as best we can determine was the name of a river in the southwest corner of Long Island (now part of Brooklyn). It is possible of course, that John Case may have been living on Long Island prior his going to Hartford possibly for business or military reasons, but nothing is known about this in any case. What is interesting is that the Maspeth Kill (Creek) area was at the time, largely occupied by Dutch speaking people and was still under the control of the Dutch (until 1664), so it is hard to imagine why John Case may have actually lived there. Could he possibly have been of Dutch descent? Anyway, in August of 1656, John Case wrote a legal document wherein he listed himself as "now inhabiting in Mashpath Kills in new Netherland. . "  The document gave authority to his new stepfather-in-law and his attorney, William Edwards, Sarah's stepfather, to go after the collection of the money willed to Sarah by her late father, Samuel Spencer, when he died in 1640. Apparently Sarah now married was also old enough to finally receive the remainder of her father's inheritance. The other verification that Sarah and her new husband John Case were for at least a short period living on Long Island, was that their first child, a daughter named Elizabeth Case (1656-1718), my 8th great grandmother, was baptized on 26 November 1656 at the Reformed Dutch Church in New Amsterdam. If this is indeed an accurate record of the baptized of Elizabeth Case, it is truly amazing considering that John Case is assumed to be Puritan or some variation there of, and having a child baptized in a Dutch Reformed Church makes little to no sense certainly during this period of history. Anyway, who knows what is truly accurate. In any case, Elizabeth Case was my 8th great grandmother.

Founders Monument - Windsor
We know that John and Sarah Spencer Case returned to Connecticut some time before June of 1660 for their second child, Mary Case, was baptized in Windsor on 22 June 1660. Windsor, Connecticut is an important city in Connecticut not only because it was the first village settled by the English in Connecticut but also and most importantly, because a number of my great grandfathers are listed as among its earliest inhabitants. In September of 1633 a small group led by a man named William Holmes arrived at the site of the future village of Windsor and there they set up a trading post. They were followed a few years later in 1635 by another group of 30 settlers and the growth of the village was soon underway. In a listing of the original settlers of Windsor as of 1640 eighteen of them are my direct ancestors including Henry Wolcott (Chapter 16 of this blog) and Joseph Loomis (Chapter 55 in this blog). John and Sarah Case probably returned to Connecticut and settled in Windsor located about eight or nine miles north of Sarah's mother's and step-father's home in Hartford sometime around 1658 or 1659.

Map showing Hartford, Windsor, and Simsbury
John and Sarah Case lived in the Windsor area for about nine years during which time Sarah gave birth to four more children. During this time period John established himself as a farmer and some say as a shoemaker and harness maker. Why exactly in 1667 he was with twenty others who were granted land in an area later to be named Simsbury, is hard to imagine, especially considering that the land was up to that point occupied primarily by Indians.  The land however, was gradually being deeded over by the Indians to the Englishmen. While Simsbury was only around 10 miles west of Windsor, to move there meant that John would have had to leave his already established home and farm and start all over again in a new wilderness area. Nevertheless in the spring of 1669 they moved west and built a new but probably a largely primitive home undoubtedly constructed of logs covered with a thatch or bark roof and with dirt floors and no windows. John Case as it turns out must have been considered as one of the leaders of the movement for he was in October of 1669 appointed their first constable and for the next few years he was to be one of the representatives from his community who was sent to the new Connecticut General Court. It is also reported that he owned 17 parcels of land , a corn mill and a saw mill and obviously he was considered a man of wealth at least within his small community.

Burning of Simsbury in 1676
Unfortunately this small community of Simsbury was to become a victim in the King Philip's War. Without going into a lot of details, beginning in 1675 a revolt began which was led by an Indian chief by the name of Metacomb ("King Philip"). Metacomb and his tribe were fed up with the way that the English colonists were gradually taking away their land, forcing them to accept one-sided peace agreements, and demanding that they surrender their guns. Raids by the Metacomb forces against the rural communities within New England expanded rapidly including unfortunately with a raid against Simsbury in March of 1676. The residents of Simsbury were quickly forced to abandon their homes which soon resulted in the complete destruction by the Indians of everything within the community including the entire farm of my Case great grandparents. Everything was burned to the ground. In total it is estimated that at least forty dwelling houses were destroyed along with a large number of barns and other public buildings. It is unclear as to exactly where John and Sarah and their children moved at this point although most likely they stayed at Sarah's mother's home in Hartford or possible at a friend's home in Windsor. It is said by historians that during all of the Indian Wars before and after the King Philip's War, no English settlements had suffered such a total and complete destruction as that which took place in Simsbury.

Gravestone of Sarah Spencer Case (1636-1691)
Not unexpectedly however, after no more than a year or so following the burnings, the settlers began returning to Simsbury to rebuild their homes and businesses and get on with their lives. John Case and his family returned as well, although based on his name being infrequently mentioned in the Simsbury public records, we suspect his life was focused primarily on rebuilding his home, his barn and other needed structures on his land, managing his farm, and raising his family.  Sarah unfortunately died in November 1691 at the fairly young age of only 55 years old. By the time of her death she had given birth to ten children. Her youngest child, a daughter, was only 9 years old when her mother died. This number of births is enough to wear out any mother, now and especially back then in the 1600s. John Case, not surprisingly, remarried shortly after Sarah's death. His new bride was also a widow, having lost her husband, Nathaniel Loomis, only a few years earlier. What came to me as quite a surprise was to discover that John's new wife, Elizabeth Moore Loomis, and her first husband Nathaniel, were both my 9th great grandparents on my mother's side of my family tree as opposed to John Case and Sarah being my 9th great grandparents on my father's side of my family tree. Wow. Small world, at least back in the late 1600s and earlier. Incidentally my Loomis ancestry is described in Chapter 55 of this blog. One of the reasons perhaps, that John Case following his second marriage was not deeply involved in his community affairs was the enormous size of his new family. John and Sarah had a total of ten children, six of whom were still single and living at home when their father remarried. Elizabeth and her first husband Nathaniel had a total of twelve children, six of whom were still single and probably living with their mother when she remarried. This would mean that John and Elizabeth were taking care of a total of twelve children when they married, a task that would be considered inconceivable today.

Simsbury Cemetery
Final Resting Place for many members of Case Family
Unfortunately for John Case and his second wife, John died in 1704 only a little over a decade or so following his second marriage. Perhaps he knew in advance that he was soon facing death for he first prepared his Last Will and Testament in November of 1700 and then revised it only a matter of days before his death in November of 1704. His will reflects that he was fairly wealthy and a major landowner and he distributed his holdings fairly evenly to all ten of his children. Elizabeth died at the age of 89 years old in July of 1728. The burial location of my great grandfather is not known for certain but it is assumed that he is buried alongside his first wife Sarah in the Simsbury Cemetery.

John and Sarah Case's first daughter and my 8th great grandmother was named Elizabeth Case (1656-1718) and she was only 17 years old when she married her first husband Joseph Lewis in Simsbury on 30 April 1674. We know little to nothing about the background of Joseph Lewis. Together however, they had three children before Joseph's untimely early death in 1680. He was at the time of his death only in his early 30s but diseases were very common during this period of history and doctors and medicines were mostly non-existent. For someone to die an early death was not that uncommon. Elizabeth married my 8th great grandfather, John Tuller (1652-1742), in 1684. She was now 28 years old. As we stated at the beginning of this story, we know nothing about the family origins of our great grandfather John Tuller. We believe that he may have arrived in the general area of Hartford just before or during the King Philip's War that took place between 1675 and 1678, but this is just a guess. In any case, Elizabeth and John had six children together including their fourth child and third son and my 7th great grandfather, Jacob Tuller (1694-1746), who was born in May of 1694.

By the year 1700, Simsbury and the other villages in and near Hartford had grown considerably. The effects of the Indian attack and the burning of Simsbury in 1676 were long over and the population had grown considerable to almost 350 people including all men, women and children (but excluding Indians). Incidentally in the year 1700, Connecticut was considered to be the fourth largest "state" with a total population of around 26,000. Surprisingly, the largest "state" at the time was Virginia with an estimated population of 58,600 people followed by Massachusetts with 55,900 and Maryland with 29,600.  The area consisted mostly of farmlands although in 1705 copper was discovered in Simsbury and copper mining soon became a big business. It is reported that the first copper coinage in America was initiated in Simsbury in 1737. In 1728, the first steel mill in America is said to have begun in Simsbury.  But with that said, as best we can determine John Tuller was primarily a farmer and not a particularly wealthy man. In his final will and testament written prior to his death in 1742, while he left some money and land to his children, he had some debts to pay which required the sale of some of the land that he had left to his sons. What we found interesting while reviewing some of the court records of John Tuller's Will was that Jacob Tuller, my 7th great grandfather, was the Administrator of his father's will despite being his parents' youngest son. Incidentally, John's wife, Elizabeth Case Tuller, had died a number of years earlier than her husband, in 1718, and my great grandfather, married for a second time a year later after his wife's death, to a woman named Hannah Slowman of whom little is known.

Cousin Don Wayne Tuller
One fascinating thing that we learned while exploring the life of my 8th great grandfather, John Tuller, is that a number of my great grandfather's descendants still live in the Simsbury area. The photograph to the left was taken recently of a man named Don Wayne Tuller who with his cousin Buzz Tuller, are co-owners of a 265 acre farm in Simsbury known as Tulmeadow Farm. This farmland apparently has been in his family for around 250 years and undoubtedly was originally purchased by one of Jacob Tuller's grandsons. Tulmeadow Farm raises and sells fruits, vegetables, milk, and all kinds of other related items that are produced on their farm and sold at their large family store. Obviously Don and Buzz Tuller are my distant cousins and I feel almost certain that Don probably resembles very closely our common great grandfather, John Tuller. Just kidding, I think.

My 7th great grandfather, Jacob Tuller, married my 7th great grandmother, Mary Moses (1702-1748), in Simsbury on 27 January 1721. Since Mary was only 18 years old when she married 26-year old Jacob, per tradition at least in the 18th century and earlier, Jacob would have had to seek permission from Mary's parents prior to their being allowed to marry. Fortunately for both of them their parents were good friends and both had lived in Simsbury for a number of years. Furthermore, Mary's older brother, John Moses, had married Jacob's older sister, Sarah Tuller, a number of years earlier confirming again that their families were close. Mary Moses' grandfather and my 9th great grandfather, John Moses (Jr) (1626-1683) had in fact moved to Connecticut on or before 1647 originally settling in Windsor and eventually moving to Simsbury.

Early Colonial ship building
His father and my 10th great grandfather, John Moses (Sr.) (1604-1696), was the first of my Moses' ancestors to arrive in America landing sometime in the early 1630s and apparently they first lived in Plymouth before eventually moving to nearby Duxbury located on the Atlantic coast about 10 miles north of Plymouth. We were surprised to learn that John Moses Sr. was neither a Pilgrim nor a Puritan. He apparently had emigrated to America not for religious reasons but as a "shipwright" or a shipbuilder figuring that this business would be in high demand in the New World. Clearly the maintenance of ships was a high priority following their long voyages across the Atlantic Ocean. What is known about his business life is only that he was classified as a blacksmith and that eventually in Duxbury he owned a cider mill, a sawmill, and a gristmill and that he was financially quite successful. Nothing is really known about John Moses' wife, Mary, nor any of their children except for their son John, and even then some historians question whether the John Moses (Jr), my 9th great grandfather, who later moved to Windsor, was their son. Their ages and their common names however, strongly suggest that they were father and son.

Forge and Iron Mill (Recreated)
At least one family historian speculated that John Moses (Jr) was sent to the Windsor, Connecticut area by his father possibly to engage in the iron mining and forging business as iron certainly was a needed commodity in his father's blacksmith as well as in the ship repair business. While the mining and production of iron was already taking place in Massachusetts at this time, iron mining in Connecticut did not begin until the 1660s down in the New Haven area but then not in the Windsor area until the early 1700s. Obviously this was not his motive for moving. On the other hand, there is a book that was published back in 1890 and written by Zebina Moses that suggests that John Moses (Jr) was actually sent to the Windsor area by his father to obtain supplies of "pitch and tar" that were recently being mined in the Simsbury area. The pitch and tar was a product in high demand in the Boston area and used for caulking the sea-going vessels. Again we do not know for certain whether or not this was John's motive for moving and furthermore, if he actually relocated on or about 1647, he would have been only 21 years old.  Most likely his move was mostly motivated by his desire to just get away from Massachusetts and his belief that far greater opportunities existed in the recently settled areas around Hartford and Windsor. This was for most new settlers a very common reason for moving westward.

John Moses' name occurs several times in the public records of Windsor including his purchase of a house in 1649 which is kind of unusual for the strict Puritan laws of the time forbid a single man from living alone in his own home. What is also unusual is that at the relatively young age of only 23 he would have had the money or even the desire to spend what he might have earned to purchase land and a house. Four years later however, the old Windsor Church records of 18 May 1653 record the wedding of John Moses to a Mary Brown. The origins of my 9th great grandmother Mary Brown have been a great mystery to many of the family historians over the years and for good reason.  In 1653, the population of Windsor and the other nearby communities was still relatively small yet in none of the local public records has anyone been uncovered who might be the father or mother of Mary. There has been a lot of wild speculation that Mary Brown may have been a daughter of one of the original Mayflower passengers, a man by the name of Peter Brown, although (unfortunately for me) this relationship has been disproven. It would have been wonderful to have added another of my ancestors on my list of those who arrived in America on the Mayflower.

John and Mary Brown Moses must have had a fairly good life at least based on the number of children that they had and John's apparent wealth and the amount of land that he owned at the time of his death.  Together they had around eleven children, seven of whom John mentioned in his will, plus two boys who died early of wounds received in battle, and two other possible sons of which little is known. Their oldest son, John Moses 3 (1626-1683), my 8th great grandfather, was only 29 years old when his father died in 1683. Unfortunately for John and his wife and family, Windsor and the surrounding area was during much of his lifetime, not always a safe place to live as the local Indians greatly outnumbered the white settlers. It is historically a fact, that the new white settlers were slowly "stealing" the land from the local Indians although in many cases, the theft consisted of a land "sale" in which the Indians were paid a small amount of goods to give up their land. Often the Indians had no idea that by accepting whatever they were offered, they had in fact sold their land. Naturally what often followed this misunderstanding, was a war.

In March of 1658, John Moses (Jr.) joined a new troop of soldiers considered to be the first cavalry forces in Connecticut. This military force initially consisted of only thirty-seven soldiers under the command of a Major John Mason of which at least 17 of these part-time soldiers were from Windsor including our John Moses (Jr.). These troops were called into action against the local Indians on numerous occasions over the following years, a fact that was probably very annoying to John Moses' young and growing family. Unfortunately in March of 1675 the largest action against the Indians began in what is now known as the King Philip's War. The leader of the Indian forces was a chief by the name of Metacomb who many years earlier in an attempt to maintain a friendly relationship with the English had adopted the name Philip. Hence the name "King Philip's" War. John Moses (Jr.) and the Connecticut forces were engaged in only a few of the many battles of the war. They were however, part of one of the largest and ugliest engagements that is now known as the Great Swamp Fight which took place in present day Rhode Island. By this point in the war the Connecticut forces had greatly increased in size and John Moses was joined in the battle by his three oldest sons including my 8th great grandfather, John Moses 3. Unfortunately for the Moses' family, two of their older sons, Thomas then age 17 and his brother William age 19, were both wounded during one of the battles of the Great Swamp Fight. They apparently were both hit by poisoned Indian arrows, and they both subsequently died a few years later as a result of their wounds. Overall the Indians took the greatest hit during the war and in the case of the Great Swamp Fight, the English forces out of revenge even attached one of the Indian villages and unmercifully killed around 1,000 Indians who consisted mostly of women, children, and older men. My ancestors were undoubtedly involved in this slaughter. The war ended in late 1676 following of course, the burning and complete destruction of the village of Simsbury in March of 1676. Overall it is estimated that around 1,000 colonists were killed during the war as compared to around 3,000 Indians. At the time, the population of the New England area consisted of around 80,000 English people but only around 10,000 Indians. Obviously the number of deaths during the war had a much greater impact on the Indian population. Indian wars at least in the Windsor, Hartford, and Simsbury area were pretty much over for the remainder of John Moses' lifetime.

Apparently sometime prior to the King Philip's War, John Moses (Jr.) must have acquired land and a home in Simsbury, since according to the records his property was burned by the Indians along with everything else when they attacked Simsbury in March of 1676. This loss apparently did not have a huge impact on John Moses' life, financial or otherwise, for according to his final Will, John owned many parcels of land and other records show that he also owned and operated grist mills, saw mills, and cedar mills. We also find interesting is that one of the mills that he erected near Simsbury was near the site of the Tuller mills that were built around the same time and that we mentioned earlier. This is the business that is currently operated by our distant Cousin Don Wayne Tuller. Great grandfather John Moses (Jr.) died at the age of 57 in 1683. My great grandmother Mary Brown Moses outlived her husband by only a few years finally dying in 1689 at the age of only 56.

Approximate view of Mount Philip from Moses' property
At the time of his father's death, John Moses 3 was 28 years old, married, with two children, and living with his family in Simsbury. As his father's oldest son he had been left in his father's will 124 pounds which was a sizable sum of money, plus a portion of the land he owned in both Windsor as well as Simsbury. He also was one of the administrators of his father's estate.  Despite John's rather strong financial beginning we know very little about his life and what if any positions he may have held in his community. We know that he lived on his late father's land alongside the Farmington River and adjacent to Mount Philip, named after King Philip or Metacomb, and that besides being a farmer he undoubtedly ran some of his late father's grist and other mills. John's wife and my 8th great grandmother Deborah Thrall (1660-1715), was 19 years old when she married John on 14 July 1680 and together they had at least ten children including my 7th great grandmother, Mary Moses (1702-1748) who was born in 1702.

Deborah Thrall's grandfather, my 9th great grandfather, William Thrall (1605-1678), arrived in America on the ship "Mary and John" and first came on shore on 30 May 1630 which just happens to be exactly 312 years before the day I was born.  Their group first settled in an area now known as Dorchester which is around six miles south of Boston. They remained there for less than five years and for a number of reasons including trying to distance themselves from the strict Puritan leadership in the Boston area, they travelled westward to the Connecticut River Valley where they settled in an area now named Windsor. My 9th great grandfather William Thrall is credited with being one of the original settlers of Windsor. William would have been around 30 years old at that point having been born in England around 1605 and it is probably safe to assume that he was married although nothing is known about the background of his wife nor her name although some report it to be Elizabeth. The above map of Ancient Windsor has on it the name "Wm. Thrall" showing his property at the high end of the little river titled as "Little Meadow." Little Meadow is now named the Farmington River. The larger river on the map, "The Great Meadow," is now called the Connecticut River and it runs south to the Long Island Sound and north all the way to Canada, a distance of 410 miles. It is no wonder that settlers chose areas like Windsor to call their home.

Unfortunately for the new English settlers and before them the Dutch settlers, all of the New England area was first settled by numerous Indian tribes. The English, probably somewhat naively, tried to purchase the land from the Indians, and the Indians even more naively, sold much of their land to the English without realizing that once their land was sold, they had to move. Another serious problem for the Indians were the many deadly diseases brought to America by the English and the Europeans. The end result of all of this were numerous battles between the new settlers and the Indians whose lives were gradually being wiped out. Our William Thrall was among a group of thirty men then living in Windsor who responded in 1637 to a call for arms to join a fight against the Indians later to be called the Pequot War. The Pequot Indian tribe was soundly defeated losing about 700 of their members of their tribe who were killed or captured. The victors including our William Thrall were granted free land as a reward for their services. William and his wife, sometimes referred to as "Goode" Thrall, had somewhere between two and six children, the records are mostly missing, although it is recorded that my 8th great grandfather, Timothy Thrall (1641-1697) was born in Windsor in 1641. It might also be noted that William Thrall in his will mentioned the names of only two children although obviously some children may have already died. William Thrall lived a long life finally dying at the age of 79 years old in 1679. His wife died a few years earlier at the estimated age of 67 years old. Based on his will and what we read about the history of William Thrall, he was a fairly wealthy man during his lifetime.  Not only was he a large land owner but he also owned a stone quarry that was granted to him by the Town of Windsor in 1652.

Obviously Timothy Thrall, as the oldest child and only son of William Thrall, was the major beneficiary of his father's will with Timothy's sister Phillipa inheriting mostly money. On the other hand, Phillipa's husband, John Hosford, did inherit land from his father-in-law which is not that unusual and the fact that John Hosford's father, William Hosford had also come to America on the ship "Mary and John" along with William Thrall meant that the two families were probably very close friends. Timothy Thrall at the age of only 18 married 18 year-old Deborah Gunn in Windsor on 10th of November in 1659. Deborah's father and my 9th great grandfather, Thomas Gunn, was also one of the first of the settlers in Windsor and considering the young age of both his daughter and his new son-in-law, we have to believe that the Gunn and Thrall families were also probably very close friends. We know that in 1678, Thomas Gunn moved to Westfield, Massachusetts away from Windsor and having done so he gave his homestead in Windsor to his son-in-law. Clearly Timothy and his then rapidly growing family were well off.

We did read one interesting story about Timothy Thrall and his friend and brother in-law, John Hosford that is worth noting. They were both prominent members of the first and at the time only church in Windsor, and incidentally, this church is now considered to be the oldest Congregational church in Connecticut. However, when their minister died and the church leaders tried to promote their then assistant minister, Nathaniel Chauncy, Timothy and John were among a group of church members who strongly objected. We might point out that Nathaniel Chauncy's father was the Rev. Charles Chauncy, my 9th great grandfather, whose story is told in Chapter 3 of this blog. Anyway, in protest both Timothy and John helped form a new church that they founded in Windsor in 1669. This new church was said to be more Presbyterian than Congregational although a number of years later the two churches eventually merged. Timothy and Deborah Gunn Thrall were to have at least nine children who survived until adulthood including my 8th great grandmother, Deborah Thrall, who was born on the 19th day of August in the year 1660. As we mentioned earlier in this story, Deborah Thrall married John Moses on 14 July 1680. Not surprisingly we suppose considering how small the villages were back in the late 17th century, Deborah's younger brother, John Thrall, married one of John Moses' sisters, a girl by the name of Mindwell Moses.

I believe that enough has been written about the ancestry of my Tuller family. Jacob Tuller and his wife Mary Moses Tuller had around 10 children including their fourth child, Sarah Tuller, my 6th great grandmother, who was born in 1728. Sarah married Phineas Holcomb in 1745 when she was only 17 years old. My family tree from this point down to today is as follows:

6th Great Grandparents:   Sarah Tuller          m     Phineas Holcomb 
                                       (1728-1787)                  (1726-1781)
5th Great Grandparents:  Sarah Holcomb      m    Phineas Spaulding
                                       (1751-1825)                 (1749-1825)
4th Great Grandparents:  Phineas Spaulding  m    Matilda Tichenor
                                       (1781-1851)                 (1784-1848)
3rd Great Grandparents: Henry Spaulding     m    Clara Wisner
                                       (1812-1902)                 (1822-1906)
2nd Great Grandparents:Charles Spaulding   m   Mary Catherine Sly
                                       (1841-1875)                (1844-1917)
Great Grandparents:       Henry Spaulding    m   Ella M. Reynolds
                                       (1863-1889)               (1863-1935)
Grandparents:                Helen Spaulding    m   Charles S. Baker
                                       (1887-1937)               (1885-1952)
Parents:                         Charles A. Baker   m    Marian Patterson
                                      (1916-2000)               (1916-1973)
Living Generation:          Charles A. Baker Jr.   (1942-   )
                                     Anne Baker Fanton   (1943-   )
                                     Joan Patterson Baker           (1950-   )

And so ends another story. . . . .