Saturday, April 9, 2016

Chapter 42 - Edward Doty, Mayflower Passenger

Edward Doty, one of the 99 passengers on the Mayflower's extradinary voyage to America in 1620, was my 9th great grandfather. His portrait to the left undoubtedly represents someone's imagination at work but it probably does portray what he may have looked like shortly before his early death in 1655 around the age of 57.

Most of us have been led to believe that the Mayflower passengers were all Pilgrims seeking religious freedom from the authoritarian rule of the Church of England. They were collectively known as "Separatists" and their move to America was their way of finding a place where they could live and worship without interference. In reality, of the 99 passengers on board the Mayflower, only 49 were actually religious Separatists and even that number includes their 18 children.  The remaining passengers were a combination of common English merchants, craftsmen, skilled workers, indentured servants as well as a few orphaned children all of whom were loosely referred to as the "Outsiders." In fact, about forty percent of all of the passengers were under the age of twenty-one and unlike the wealthier Puritans who began emigrating to the Boston area a decade later in the 1630s, the majority of all of the passengers onboard the Mayflower were of a lower social and income level. For the most part other than the crew, every one of the Mayflower travelers was hoping for a better life in America than the one that they had left behind. The chance to own land, raise farm animals, grow their own food, and worship as they pleased was more than they could ever have hoped for in England or in the case of the Separatists, in Holland. One minor issue that needs to be clarified is exactly how many passengers were actually on the Mayflower. While we noted above that Edward Doty was one of the 99 passengers, most sources seem to list there being 102 passengers. From what we can determine the 102 number must include the five crew members that remained behind in America when the Mayflower returned to England so technically they should not be counted as passengers. On the other hand the number must also exclude the baby born during the voyage and a second baby born shortly after the Mayflower arrived and lay moored in the Cape Cod Harbor. The website MayflowerHistory.com lists there being 99 passengers excluding the crewmembers and including the two new borns.  

My 9th great grandfather, Edward Doty, was an indentured servant or perhaps more accurately stated, he was an unpaid apprentice of fellow passenger and his employer Stephen Hopkins. Unfortunately we know nothing about the family origins of our 9th great grandfather other than he was English and he may have grown up in London where his parents may have indentured him to Stephen Hopkins at an early age possibly when he was still in his mid to late teens. This was a very common practice at the time and it is recorded that upwards of 19 of the passengers onboard the Mayflower were young indentured servants.  We also know that Edward Doty was uneducated at least to the respect that he was unable to read and write nor even sign his name beyond the placing of his "mark" on paper.

While the voyage of the Mayflower originated in England the majority of the Separatists began their voyage to America in Leiden, Holland when they boarded a second ship in July of 1620 by the name of the Speedwell. The Speedwell then met up with the Mayflower in Southampton, England and on August 15th both ships containing around 120 combined passengers departed for America.  Unfortunately not long after departure the Speedwell was determined to be unseaworthy and at the last minute before heading out into the open sea both ships returned to Plymouth, England located near the southwest corner of England.  At this point many of the Separatists who had been on the Speedwell then boarded the Mayflower, thus greatly overcrowding a ship that had never been built to house passengers in the first place.  Despite the rapidly approaching winter months and an overcrowded ship, by mid-September 1620, the Mayflower, now alone, headed west across the Atlantic to America. Not unexpectedly about half way across the Atlantic, the Mayflower met with strong winds and storms with high seas leading to the death on board of one crew member and one passenger.  As it turned out later this was actually a surprisingly low number of causalities considering the miserable conditions. The original plan was to sail to the mouth of the Hudson River in what is now the New York City area (but in 1620 considered to be part of Northern Virginia and not far north from the existing colony of Jamestown) but the extreme weather and treacherous seas drove them off course. Finally on November 19, 1620 after around sixty-six days at sea the Mayflower approached Cape Cod off the coast of the future State of Massachusetts.  On November 21st the ship finally anchored in the calm waters of Cape Cod Harbor. The air temperature at the time was probably quite cool as winter was rapidly approaching. There were obviously no small homes (or hotel rooms) available where they could all retire with a thick blanket, a warm fireplace, and a well stocked pantry. This was not to be a good winter for many of these new emigrants to America. The rapidly deteriating weather plus the filthy conditions onboard the Mayflower after three months of crowded occupancy, did not bode well for the immediate future.

Signing the Mayflower Compact
Upon arrival in the New World these new immigrants realized that they were about to settle in an area that was not in accordance with the original plan of their sponsor, the London Company.  The London Company had paid the cost of the voyage and was expecting to make money from their investment through the sale of goods shipped back to England by the new settlers. The "Pilgrims" also realized that they were a group that was not entirely united with some being Separatists and some Outsiders, so as a group they decided that it was critical that they draw up an agreement that all would sign pledging their common interest.  Forty-one of the adult males including five of the crew members who planned to remain in America signed an agreement on November 21,1620 later known as The Mayflower Compact wherein they pledged to establish and accept a common form of government and to remain loyal to the English Crown. One of the interesting things about this agreement was that two of the signers were indentured servants one of whom was our 9th great grandfather Edward Doty.

As best we can determine from reviewing records of the early Plymouth colony, Edward Doty was a fairly outspoken and determined individual and it was not surprising to learn that despite is young age in 1620 and his status as a servant, he was selected to be in the first group of men to disembark the ship and walk on dryland, which in this case took place way out on the tip of Cape Cod on November 21, 1620. (Note this date is based on our modern calendar and is ten days later than dates often noted in many of the early Plymouth Colony records.  The modern calendar took affect in the British Empire in 1752.)  Edward Doty was also part of the first exploratory group that left the Mayflower in a longboat on November 25th traveling down the western shoreline of Cape Cod a few miles before landing and then on foot the group followed a stream inland.  They returned the following day but not before observing the first "savages" and coming across an Indian village where they found kernels and ears of corn. By December 7th, a "shallop" (a small sailing boat) which had been stored below deck on the Mayflower, was ready for use after extensive repairs, and Edward Doty with 33 other men including the ship's captain and some of the crew, departed for more exploration of the Cape. This trip lasted around three days wherein they explored further down the cape discovering on November 10th some abandoned Indian wigwams and graves. Edward Doty was also part of a third exploratory group that departed on December 16th and again in their shallop they followed along the coastline of Cape Cod Bay until they ultimately passed into Plymouth Bay on December 21, 1620.  During this third exploratory trip they had their first actual encounter with the local Indians including a brief exchange of gunfire and arrows. They then returned to the Mayflower. On December 25, 1620, the Mayflower pulled up anchor from its mooring spot at the tip of Cape Cod and set sail for Plymouth Bay. Unfortunately they were driven back by high winds but on the following day the Mayflower at last arrived at Plymouth Bay and their new home.  The passengers and the crew of the Mayflower had been living onboard the vessel at this point for a little over four long months and it was not over.

The weather in the winter months of eastern Massachusetts is always cold, wet, and snowy as it was in the winter of 1620/21. While I am sure that the Pilgrims tried their best to keep their below deck home on the Mayflower as warm and clean as possible, it was nevertheless crowded with people and boxes and crates and it was unavoidably unsanitary and loaded with disease-bearing bacteria. For the most part the passengers sleep on blankets on the hard wooden floor. Their lack of healthy foods was also a major problem that contributed to issues with scurvy and other diseases and obviously the lack of heat and warm clothes further added to the problem.  While the men, including our Edward Doty, spent the better part of their days, weather permitting, building homes and other shelters, the women and children for the most part remained onboard the ship.  It is not surprising therefore to learn these horrible statistics.  During the winter of 1620-1621, 75% of the women died, 50% of the men died, 36% of the young boys died, 18% of the young girls died, and while the records are not entirely clear, upwards of 50% of the ship's crew died. The total loss of life, almost 50% of the people who sailed on the Mayflower, was a disaster.  Most of the bodies were buried in shallow, unmarked graves in what today is known as Coles Hill, that rises above what is believed to be the original landing site of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock. 

Construction of buildings began shortly after the "landing" at Plymouth Rock. The first structure built was a "common house" that was constructed on the relatively flat top of Coles Hill. Construction of this first building was completed within about two weeks and then over the course of the following winter months a total of seven residents were built along with four storage buildings plus a defensive fort, fences, and sheds. Fortunately for these Pilgrims the land on the top of Coles Hill had been previously cleared and then was later abandoned by the local Indians. This meant that it was not necessary for the Pilgrims to clear the land of trees before construction and before the later planting of crops could be started. Young Edward Doty undoubtedly played a major role in helping to construct the new village. As a servant of Stephen Hopkins he would have helped construct the Hopkins' family home where Doty would also have lived, plus he would have played a role in the construction of the common buildings and other structures.

Edward Doty's name appears numerous times in the early records of Plymouth Colony, although unfortunately not always favorably.  It is somewhat surprising that there are no records of his ever having served on a jury nor his ever holding a public office or serving on any governmental committees. This was very unusual for men during this period of our early history.  After reading that he appeared before a judge in at least 23 cases over an almost twenty year period wherein he was either suing someone or they were suing him over issues such as slander, trespassing, assault and battery, breaking the peace, and other miscellaneous mostly civil issues, it is no wonder that his apparent cantankerous and disagreeable personality may have made him unsuitable as a juror or public official.  My great grandfather Edward Doty is best known for his earliest transgression wherein he apparently fought a "duel" with his fellow servant Edward Leister (also a servant of Stephen Hopkins) in June of 1621. The duel with sword and dagger apparently ended up with both young men receiving serious wounds, however after an immediate punishment of their being tied up together, they were soon released for treatment of their wounds after a promise of behaving themselves in the future.  Despite his contentious personality, Edward Doty remained in the Plymouth Colony area for the remainder of his life and it appears that he ultimately achieved a certain degree of personal and financial success.

Edward Doty was undoubtedly present at the Pilgrim's "Thanksgiving" feast that took place sometime before the arrival of the ship Fortune that landed in November of 1621 bringing additional new settlers from England to the new Colony of Plymouth.  He was also a part of the "Division of Land" which occurred in 1623 wherein land was divided up among the settlers.  Since apparently Edward Doty was still under 25 at the time, and still a servant of Stephen Hopkins, and undoubtedly unmarried, he was granted only one acre. A few years later however in 1627, another distribution occurred that is referred to as the "Division of Cattle." By this time Edward Doty apparently had been freed from his indentured relationship with Stephen Hopkins and he was living on his own lot next door to fellow Mayflower passenger John Howland and his family. He had also received at this point another grant of 20 acres of land.  According to the historical writings of William Bradford, 2nd governor of Plymouth, when Edward Doty married Faith Clarke (my 9th great grandmother) on January 9, 1635 it was his second marriage. While there is no reason to question the accuracy of William Bradford's statement, there are no surviving records showing that he married anyone in Plymouth after 1620 nor does it seem likely based on his youthful age at the time, that he would have married someone in England before departing to America on the Mayflower especially if he were an indentured servant.  On the other hand, Edward Doty when he married Faith Clarke was around 37 years old which is very old for a first marriage especially in the 1600s.  My great grandmother Faith Clarke however, was only around 15 years old when she married Edward.

Faith Clarke and her father Thurston Clarke arrived in Plymouth sometime in mid-summer of 1634 after sailing to America on the ship Francis which initially brought them into the Massachusetts Bay Harbor.  Faith was the oldest child of Thurston and his wife, Faith Clarke.  Her mother and Faith's younger brothers and sisters remained behind in England in 1634, possibly because they were mostly too young to travel but more likely because Thurston may not have had enough money to afford for the entire family to travel. The fact that Thurston Clarke allowed his daughter Faith to marry so quickly and at such a young age after their arrival suggests that lack of money may have been an issue although at the time young girls marrying successful older men was not that uncommon and generally considered a good thing. The fact that Edward Doty and his father-in-law, Thurston Clarke were later suing each other in court, suggests that my great grandfathers were not best friends. In any case, by the 1635 marriage, Edward Doty had become a relatively large landowner and a reasonably successful farmer ("Planter") and a decent catch for Thurston Clarke's oldest daughter Faith. 

By 1634, Plymouth Colony was no longer the primary destination for new emigrants to New England as ships by this point were landing in more popular locations such as Maine, Salem, Boston, and even at some of the coastal settlements in Rhode Island and Connecticut. Despite the influx of almost 10,000 new immigrants to New England by the mid-1630s, the population of Plymouth Colony is estimated to have grown to no more than 350 to 400 people. Unfortunately as most of their citizens had too soon realized, Plymouth Harbor was much to shallow for many of the ships bringing new settlers to the colony and the soil in the area was of poor quality for planting of the necessary quantity of crops needed to feed the growing population of new settlers. Thurston Clarke's wife, Faith, and their two sons (several daughters had died young in England) arrived in America in early 1637. The Clarke family lived in Plymouth Colony until 1652 at which time they moved to Duxbury located a little north of Plymouth.  Unfortunately my 10th great grandfather, Thurston Clarke died in December of 1661. The unfortunate part of his death was not his young age for in 1661 he was around 71 years old.  What was unfortunate was the nature of his death for despite his older age he attempted to walk the eight miles or so from Plymouth to Duxbury on a cold and snowy day.  Traveling alone he apparently got lost. His body was later found frozen to death.  Perhaps sadden by her husband's death, Faith Clarke, my 10th great grandmother, died only two years later.

Edward and his wife Faith Clarke Doty were to have nine children beginning with Edward Doty Jr who was born in 1636/7 and ending with their last child Mary Doty who was born in 1653.  My 8th great grandmother and their 5th (or 6th) child, Desire Doty, was born in 1645. Some sources report that there was a tenth child, Faith Doty, named after her mother who died as a baby in 1639. Edward and his family apparently lived in an area about a mile north and up the coast from Plymouth Rock called High Cliffs (see map on the left).  Based on an inventory of his possessions taken following his death in 1655, the Edward Doty family must have lived a rather upscale life style.  The fact that they owned furniture that was probably imported from England and not commonly in use in the New World in the mid-1600s, is testament to Edward's success.  Edward Doty arrived in America as an indentured servant but who over a period of only 37 years following his arrival and less if you deduct the years he remained a servant in America, became a prosperous land owner, a wealthy farmer, and an owner himself of indentured servants.  Based on the numerous Plymouth Colony records that have survived, we see Edward Doty not only as an outspoken and confident individual, but also as a large land speculator owning many acres of land that he obviously had purchased for resale or trade.  In the inventory of his land holdings at the time of his death, he owned land not only at High Cliffs, but on Clark's Island out in Cape Cod Bay, Yarmouth out on Cape Cod, as well as in such remote locations (at the time) of Coaksett (now Dartmouth, Massachusetts) and Punckquesett (now Tiverton in Rhode Island).

Edward was around 57 or 58 years old at the time of his death, relatively young even in these early years.  His oldest child was only around 19, his youngest child only 2, and my great grandmother Desire Doty only 10 years old at the time of their father's death.  His wife Faith was only around 36 years old when she lost her hard working husband. Edward Doty was buried in Burial Hill Cemetery in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  The exact location of his burial within this old cemetery and the original carved wood grave marker have long been lost. Today however, within the cemetery there stands a memorial stone in his honor.

Not surprisingly, Faith (Clarke) Doty, still a young woman at the time of her husband's death, married for a second time in February of 1666 to a man named John Phillips who lived in Marshfield around 10 miles north of her home in High Cliffs.  Faith like her husband died young at the age of 56 years old on 21 December in the year 1675. One of the most wonderful things that I learned about my 9th great grandmother was that before she married her second husband, she requested that he sign a prenuptial agreement that effectively protected the assets of her former husband Edward Doty from being taken by her new husband. By protecting the assets it allowed her children to inherit these assets during her lifetime and some following her death.  This was a very unusual thing to do in the 17th century. Who knows, but perhaps she had learned a great deal from her first husband, the cantankerous Edward Doty, during their 21 year marriage.  I proudly join with the thousands of Edward Doty descendants alive today in honoring my 9th great Doty grandparents.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Chapter 41 - Our Cozad/Cossart Ancestors

Hannah Cozad Harpending
This portrait of my 4th great grandmother, Hannah Cozad Harpending, hangs prominently in the Dundee Area Historical Society in Dundee, New York.  I took this photo of her portrait almost a decade ago while we were spending our summers near Dundee and as I was just beginning to study our ancestors and write stories for this blog. Chapter 9 in this blog tells the story of Hannah's husband, Samuel Harpending and our Harpending ancestors. One thing that I did not know at the time was that Hannah and Samuel were actually distant cousins (3rd cousins, once removed) as they shared a common great grandfather, Jacques Cossart (1639-1685) who was the first Cossart to immigrate to America.  With that said, we shall begin in this chapter to tell the story of ours', and Hannah's and Samuel's ancestors, the Cossarts.

There have been many historical writings about our American Cossart family including some that trace their ancestry as far back as the 12th century. While the Cossart family name may have been recorded in ancient records it is still very presumptuous to assume that a 12th century man bearing the surname Cossart automatically must be one of our ancestors.  One of the best known books that traces the various Cossart families was The Early Generations of the DuPont and Allied Families written by Col. Henry Algernon DuPont and published in 1923.  In his extensive book Mr. DuPont uses dozens of pages to describe in detail the various early Cossart families including the wealthy "bourgeoisie" Cossart family line from Rouen, France and the various other early and unrelated Cossart families from Northern France including Picardy, Normandy, and Paris.  Despite his extensive research, Mr. DuPont readily admitted that he was unable to definitively identify any of these families as being the ancestors of our Cossart great grandfather, Jacques Cossart, who immigrated to America in 1662. It is hard not to agree with Mr. DuPont's conclusions, although in lots of subsequent writings about the ancient Cossart origins as well is in many of the Cossart family trees on Ancestry.com, his conclusion that we simply do not know the family's origins, is being ignored. In this chapter of our Blog we are going to begin with the earliest known and documented of our Cossart ancestors, the father of emigrant Jacques Cossart, Jacques Cossart Sr.

It is generally accepted that Jacques Cossart was born around 1595 although there is no evidence to confirm that his birth location was Picardy in France. Many of the writings suggest that he was a French Huguenot, a Protestant, and that his family had left France to escape the persecution of Protestants by the predominant Roman Catholic government and population of France. This may very well be correct although around the time of Jacques' birth, there was somewhat of a lull in attacks on Protestants in France and in 1598 the French King Henry IV actually signed a document known as the Edict of Nantes which essentially restored civil rights back to the Huguenots. Another possibility is that Jacques Cossart's parents were actually French-speaking people living in either the southern or eastern part of Belgium who were Protestants known as Walloons.  The general consensus seems to be that the family lived in Liege in present day Belgium before they moved eastward  into Holland. Whether the family was living in France or in the Spanish controlled Belgium during Jacques's youth, when the French King Henry IV was murdered in 1610, attacks on Protestants in both countries dramatically increased which probably caused the Cossart family to quickly relocate to Amsterdam in Holland where there was a greater degree of religious tolerance.

Leiden around 1620
It is a total mystery as to what happened next to Jacques Cossart's parents.  The next thing that we learn is that somewhere around 1630, then 35-year old Jacques Cossart married Rachelle Gelton, who is believed to have been around 20 years old and from Liege when they married in Amsterdam, Holland. Two years later in 1632 a child was born whom they named Rachelle obviously after her mother. Sometime later the new family relocated to Leiden, then Holland's second largest city after Amsterdam, where in 1639 my 8th great grandfather, Jacques Cossart Jr., was born.  There is a record of his baptism on 29 May 1639.  Leiden was an obvious choice as a place to live during this time period.  Not only was it popular as a home for Protestant refugees from both France and Belgium but earlier Leiden had been home to many of the English "Pilgrims" who later immigrated to America on the Mayflower in 1620.  The city was particularly prosperous as a result of its textile industry which obviously provided jobs for its rapidly increasing population. There are some accounts that report that Jacques Cossart Sr.  prospered while in Leiden or possibly later in nearby Rotterdam and that he died a very prominent citizen. We could unfortunately find no documentation that supported these statements. We also could not find any conclusive records of the death dates of either of my 9th great grandparents, Jacques Sr and Rachelle. 

My 8th great grandfather, Jacques Cossart, married my 8th great grandmother, Lea Villeman on the 14th of August in 1656 in the Walloons Church (Dutch Reformed) in Leiden when he was only 17 and she was around 18. There are some writings, notably author J.A. Cossairt, that claim that their marriage took place in Frankenthal, Germany although one has to be skeptical that at such a young age they would have relocated such a far distance to end up getting married alone and probably without family and friends present.  The argument however, is bolstered by the records that show that their first three children were baptized in Frankenthal: three daughters born in the years 1657, 1658, and 1661.  While in the late 1500s Frankenthal was a prosperous town inhabited largely by Dutch Protestants, in 1621 the Spanish besieged the town during the Thirty Years War followed with subsequent troop occupation by both sides, which resulted in the trade and industry and the town itself pretty much destroyed.  What would have attracted the young newlyweds to relocate over 300 miles into Germany is a complete mystery especially since there were numerous jobs available in Leiden. It is possible that Jacques had gotten into some kind of trouble in Leiden or perhaps their parents were opposed to the marriage and they fled to Germany to get away, or perhaps as some believe, they never when to Frankenthal in the first place.  We do not know.  What is know however, is that the young couple and their family returned to Leiden by around 1661 assuming of course that they had left in the first place. They did not remain in Leiden for long.


New Amsterdam 1660
On the 12th of October in the year 1662, the ship "De Pumerlander Kerch" (Purmerland Church) embarked on a voyage to the new world and the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam.  Onboard the ship were around ninety passengers including my 8th great grandparents, Jacques and Lea Villeman Cossant and their two young daughters. Obviously one of their three daughters had died sometime before the voyage. The voyage to America was not free so obviously Jacques Cossart, then only 23 years old, had been given or earned enough money to pay for the passage for himself and his family as well as enough money to be able to start a new life in America. It is really fascinating to consider what would have motivated a young man with a young family to leave a highly developed and prosperous city like Leiden in Holland to travel for three months on a small and crowded ship across a cold and rough sea to start a new life in a primitive town like New Amsterdam. As far as we can determine his move was not made for religious reasons. Perhaps Jacques Cossart was motivated to move by the Dutch West India Company which controlled the trade in the Dutch lands in the New World and was very actively encouraging immigration to New Netherlands.  Possibly he believed that given the right opportunities he would gain great wealth though his efforts. Whereas Holland was crowded and controlled by wealthy older men, the New Netherlands offered him the real possibility of achieving his goals for himself and his family. 

The population of all of New Netherlands is estimated to have been around 8,000 including men, women and children at the time of the Cossart's arrival in early 1663. The population in New Amsterdam on Manhattan Island would have been somewhat smaller, estimated to be maybe 1,400 residents in total living in around 200 poorly constructed wooden homes in a contained area of less than one square mile. There was a large fort, Fort Amsterdam, on the west and front side of the village which was occupied by the Dutch governor and the Dutch soldiers. Inside the fort was a large church.  Just outside the fort on the water side were several windmills and a large hanging gallows. On the north side of the village was a wooden wall (Wall Street) and on the other sides there was water.  The village was probably not an impressive sight from their ship, especially considering the view of the large hanging gallows, as it sailed into the harbor in January of 1663.

City of New Amsterdam in the year 1660

Jacques Cossart and his fellow emigrants must have been surprised when they first entered the village of New Amsterdam for it would have been totally unlike anything that they had encountered in the past. Besides the rundown condition of the buildings and the muddy streets, the population of the city unlike say Boston during the same time period, was very diverse.  For one thing it is estimated that maybe 20% of the people in the village were black Africans who were mostly slaves. Most of them however, resided in a community just north of the wall. The rest of the population was a mixture of various cultures although most were French and Dutch with a few Germans, Swedish, and even English.  Dutch however, was the predominant language. Incredibly many of the immigration records into New Amsterdam have survived and what we learn from these records is that the population of this small colony was growing rapidly during the time period of the Cossart's arrival.  What is surprising is that they were able to absorb so many new arrivals into their small village.  In March of 1663, Jacques and the other new immigrants petitioned the local Dutch government for grants of land as well as seed grains and provisions to cover a period of six months. It seems that their grants may have been awarded since there is a record of Jacques Cossart and his family living near the south end of present day Broadway Street on a parcel of land now occupied by the Produce Exchange Building which is bordered by present day Whitehall and Marketfield Streets and Bowling Green Park. On the above map, the location of his home was just east of Fort Amsterdam near a street identified as "Het Marckveit" or as later anglicized to Marketfield.  Obviously, the public market in old New Amsterdam was a short walk from the new home of Jacques and Lea Cossart and their family.

Unfortunately from the existing historical records we are able to learn only bits and pieces about the life of Jacques Cossart.  We know that he joined along with his wife, the Reformed Dutch Church in April of 1663. In October of 1664, following the takeover of New Amsterdam by the British in the prior month, he signed an oath of allegiance to England. Shortly thereafter he and his neighbors found themselves living in the newly named community of New York.  There is another record dated the first of January in the year 1666 wherein Jacques Cossart was appointed as a "collector of revenue," or tax collector, in the village to help cover the cost of the clergy and the soldiers. He was to receive a 4% commission on everything that he collected.  It was doubtful that his new position would have enhanced his position in the community.  While still living in their home on Manhattan Island, Jacques and Lea were to have an additional four children born between the years 1665 and 1673 including TWO of my great grandfathers, David Cossart who was born in 1671 and Anthony Cossart who was born in 1673.  While we have found fairly good records about the lives of their four children born in America, what is really strange is the total absence of any records about the two children that came with Jacques and Lea on the ship to America.  They were both daughters and perhaps their early marriages combined with some lost records resulted in their both being lost in history.  


Early towns that were combined to form Brooklyn
Jacques and Lea and their children lived in the lower Manhattan area until around 1674 when they and a number of other residents of the village which by that point had doubled in population, elected to move out of Manhattan and across the East River to Long Island to a village that was known at the time as Boswyck (later anglicized to Bushwick).  Bushwick later became absorbed into the city of Brooklyn. Their move was probably motivated in part by the population growth on Manhattan and by the fact that their neighborhood was starting to deteriorate as the wealthier residents were beginning to move away from the older sections of the village. Combined with the fact that the Dutch had recaptured Manhattan Island in 1673 did not help matters, especially since once the British recaptured the area only 15 months later in 1674 and their distrust of the Dutch citizens led to serious discussions about their forcible removal, which of course would have included our Cossart family. Although they were never forcibly removed, by 1674 the Cossart family had relocated to Bushwick and were soon owners of 40 acres of farm land and a new home.

From this point forward until his death in 1685 at the relatively young age of 46 we know little about the life of Jacques Cossart. It is written that he was a miller by occupation although this fact could not be confirmed.  In 1683 it was recorded that Jacques Cossart paid taxes on his land and personal property in the amount of 114 British Pounds and besides owning 18 acres at the time he also owned 2 horses, 5 cows, and 1 hog.  He was not a wealthy man by any means but he obviously was relatively successful.  A few years after Jacques's death my 8th great grandmother remarried a Frenchman named Charles de Niseau. The exact year of her death and the location of the graves of both Jacques and Lea Cossart is not known although their remains are undoubtedly somewhere buried under the buildings or roads of modern day Brooklyn, New York.

At the beginning of this story about our Cossart/Cozad ancestors we noted that Hannah Cozad and her husband Samuel Harpending, my 4th great grandparents, were distant cousins.  David Cossart (1671-1740), son of Jacques and Lea Villeman Cossart, was the great, great grandfather of Samuel Harpending.  David's daughter, Lea Cossart, married Samuel's great grandfather John Harpending. Information about the Harpending line of our family tree can be found in Chapter 9 of this blog.

Anthony Cossart who was born in 1673 was only 12 years old when his father died and he undoubtedly went to live with his mother and her new husband after their marriage.  The first historical record of Anthony other than his baptism was his marriage in the Dutch Reform Church in Bushwick on 2 August 1696 to a young girl from Schenectady, New York named Elizabeth Tymensen Valentine, my 7th great grandmother. The church record of the marriage stated that besides her being from Schenectady that "beyde woonende alhier" meaning that both newlyweds were living here or presumably they were both living in the Brooklyn area as of 1696. Many of the writings about their marriage state that the marriage took place in Schenectady but this seems to be unlikely especially since Schenectady was pretty much destroyed in February of 1690 when the French and Indians attacked the city, killed many of its inhabitants, and burned most of their wood-constructed homes to the ground.  What is really a mystery (that we failed to resolve) is that Elizabeth's father and my 8th great grandfather, Jan (John) Tymensen Valentine is almost universally listed as having died in Schenectady in 1690 leading one to assume that he must have been killed during the "Schenectady Massacre" which occurred early in the second month of the year. Unfortunately, not only is his name not mentioned in the official listing of those killed during the attack or subsequently kidnapped and removed to Canada, his name also cannot be found in any of the old Schenectady records at least that we reviewed.  Many of the family trees on Ancestry.com also list Jan Valentine as having been born in Schenectady in 1649 which is completely ridiculous since Schenectady was not even settled until 1661.  Here is what we suspect to be true. The Valentine family was Dutch and originally settled in New Amsterdam.  Jan Valentine was a fur trader which led him to live for a time in or near Schenectady with his wife Catherine Tamamizer.  Their daughter Elizabeth was born there around 1675. Since Jan Valentine was not a permanent settler in the Schenectady area his name was never listed as a resident, a homeowner, nor a member of the church. After his death at some unknown date and location, his wife and daughter returned to the Brooklyn area. Here Elizabeth met and married Anthony Cossart. One other interesting possibility about the parents of Elizabeth and Anthony's in-laws, is that Jan did not died and he and Catherine moved to New Jersey with their daughter and son-in-law. A baptismal record of one of the daughters of Anthony and Elizabeth dated 1708 at the Dutch Reformed Church of Raritan (New Jersey) listed as the witnesses of the baptism "Jan Thuenissen and Catherine Tammizer, his wife."  Sure looks like Elizabeth's parents may have been alive and well in 1708.

The next historical record that exists that mentions Anthony Cossart is the 1701 Census of Brooklyn that lists Anthony with his wife, two children, an apprentice, and 10 slaves.  The mention of the slaves and particularly the quantity of slaves came as quite a surprise.  The Dutch were well known as slave owners but the real surprise in Anthony's case was that at only 28 years old he owned 10 slaves.  This quantity would suggest that he was fairly well-off financially as slaves were expensive to both buy and maintain. He must have been quite an entrepreneur at a young age as there is no evidence to suggest that he would have inherited a lot of money from his parents especially considering that he had two older brothers.  Furthermore an earlier census taken in 1698 shows Anthony living with his wife, 1 child, 1 apprentice, and no slaves showing that he must have purchased the slaves between 1698 and 1701. Anthony was a farmer and probably a large farmer, living in a community called Cripplebush or Cripple Creek that was near Bushwick (where his parents had settled) and according to some sources near where the Brooklyn Naval Yards were eventually built. Incidentally, my great grandparents Joris Janseen Rapalje and Catalyntje Trico owned land upon which the Brooklyn Naval Yards were later built and while they died before Anthony Cossart was living in Cripple Creek, it is entirely possible that Anthony may have known the Rapalje sons.  The story of my Rapalje (Rappleye) ancestors is told in Chapter 1 of this blog.

It was a little surprising to learn that in March of 1703 Anthony and Elizabeth decided to sell their home and farm in Cripple Creek and move to New Jersey somewhere in present day Somerset County which was originally founded in 1688. The vast majority of the earliest settlers in this area were people of Dutch ancestry who were moving from the New York City and Long Island areas.  There is some confusion however, as to exactly where Anthony and Elizabeth purchased land probably in the year 1704. Some of the Cossart family historians state that they moved to Piscataway whereas others write that they "migrated to the Raritan area". To some degree these are both correct when one considers the changing boundaries and names changes over the years. The "Raritan area" might be referring to the Raritan River area which runs from west of present day Raritan, through Somerville, Bound Brook, Piscataway, Perth Amboy and on into the Raritan Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. While there is a present day Township of Piscataway, the whole area was once part of the Piscataway Indian lands so to say that they moved to Piscataway may be understandable since the entire area was once referred to as Piscataway. In any case, the distance between the cities of Piscataway and Raritan is only around 12 miles. Based on where some of the Cossart children were baptized at the First Reformed Church of Raritan which is actually now in present day Somerville in north Somerset County, we have to believe that the village of Somerville was near the original location of the Cossart homestead.  Somerville was not called Somerville until around 1800 which might explain why it does not appear on the above Northern Jersey map of 1700. In a description of early Somerville it was noted that it was "originally a sparsely populated farming community." That sounds about right.

There are also two additional records that place Anthony Cossart in Piscataway during the early 1700s. In 1715 he was listed as a militia soldier in the New Jersey militia in Colonel Thomas Farmer's regiment, 4th Company of "Woodbridge and Piscataway".  A more interesting record shows the name of "Anthony Cozar" as a witness to the Will of Edward Doty of Piscataway, Middlesex County dated 18 October 1717.  Here again we see the location as Piscataway but what we do know based again on baptismal records of Edward Doty's children, was that he was a member of the Dutch Reformed Church of Raritan (later Somerville) at least in 1712 and 1714.  It would seem that he may have been a neighbor of our Cossart (Cozad, Cozar) family in an area later to be named Somerville.  Even more interesting is that Edward Doty was the grandson of Edward Doty, one of the passengers on the Mayflower in 1620 and as it turns out my 9th great grandfather on my mother's side of my family.  The Edward Doty who died in 1717 and was a friend of Anthony and Elizabeth Cossart (my father's side of my family) was my 1st cousin, 9 times removed.  Wow. What a coincidence.

Anthony and Elizabeth were to have six children together including my 6th great grandfather and their oldest son, Jacob Cossart, who was born in Cripple Creek (Brooklyn) in 1701. Three of their children were born at their home in Somerville in New Jersey, the oldest being born in 1712.  Unfortunately my 7th great grandmother died at the relatively young age of 46 in the year 1720.  Anthony still a relatively young man at that point married for a second time a woman by the name of Judith Hendricks who was 24 years younger than Anthony and had lost her husband.  Judith and Anthony had three children together. Anthony died at the age of 83 in 1756.  We could not determine where he and his two wives are buried.

Jacob Cossart's life is a little confusing particularly when it comes to where he lived in New Jersey since based on the reported different birth locations of his many children he was on the move quite a bit. It is said that he was a minister during his adult life which if true might help explain his seemly frequent relocations. Whatever the circumstances, here is what we have to offer about the life of my 6th great grandparents.  Jacob Cossart was only 21 years old when he married a young girl of English descent by the name of Hannah Cox on 19 April 1723. Hannah's father and my 7th great grandfather was a man named Phillip Cox who was born in England in 1677 and immigrated to America with his parents at the age of 13 in 1690.  They settled in what was then known as Elizabethtown (now just Elizabeth, New Jersey) which was originally founded back in 1664 by English settlers. At some point in his early life probably around 20 years old, Phillip moved southward around 25 miles to where he met his future wife Hannah Trembly in Woodbridge, New Jersey. They married on the 24th of September in the year 1698. There is some controversy as to the names of Hannah Trembley's parents although it would seem based on her surname that at least her father was of English descent.  We mention this because Hannah Cox was undoubtedly Presbyterian based on her parent's religion. On the other hand her new husband Jacob Cossart had been raised in a Dutch Protestant Church.  This may have been a problem, at least for Hannah's father (her mother had died long before Hannah's marriage) and consequently Jacob Cossart may have agreed to change his religious faith to that of a Presbyterian to appease the family.  This change was a very unusual move especially in the year 1723. What is even more unusual is that Jacob Cossart not only changed churches, but he may have became a Presbyterian minister.  We were unable to confirm this possibility.

Counties of New Jersey
Jacob and Hannah's first child, a son named Jacob was born in 1723/24 probably near Jacob's birth home in Somerset County somewhere in the area of present day Somerville in Bridgewater Township located just west of Bound Brook.  It was here that many of the earliest Dutch had settled including both of Jacob's parents who were still alive and were probably present at the birth of their grandson. We know that shortly following the birth of their son, Jacob and Hannah moved north up into Morris County into an area later know as Succasunna Plains in Roxbury Township.  In the time period of around 1725, Roxbury Township was scarcely populated by mostly white farmers and still a few Indians. While they were mostly English settlers many from Connecticut as opposed to Dutch settlers from New York, there were no churches and probably few if any commercial businesses or any structured government in place.  Land costs were inexpensive and the land was probably still forested so Jacob was undoubtedly faced with a lot of hard work to build his new home, clear his land, and plant the crops. One other interesting feature in early Roxbury and Succasunna Plains was the existence of ore mining that had started in the late 1710s. It is possible that the mining operations and the possible job opportunities may have attracted Jacob Cossart who was still in his mid-20s, although there is no evidence to support that possibility.

Most of the Cossart family trees on Ancestry.com and many of the Cossart family histories report that of their children born between 1727 and 1742, they were all born down in Bound Brook, New Jersey or close by in Somerset County some 30 miles south of Succasunna.  We believe however, that the Anthony Cossart family never left the Succasunna area until at least 1750. We also believe that all of their children with the exception of their first child were born on their family farm in Morris County.  Unfortunately if there were any records of their children's births or baptisms other than the baptism of the last child, a daughter named Leah who was born in 1743, none of the records have survived. In Leah Cossart's case, her baptism is recorded at the First Presbyterian Church at Morristown.  As of 1743 there was no Presbyterian church located in Succasunna. Incidentally, if there were no local churches in the area including the church in Morristown that was not established until 1742, it is kind of hard to see where some family historians credit Jacob Cossart with being a minister.  He definitely was not listed as a minister or pastor at the Morristown church.  Anyway, the additional evidence that the Jacob Cossart family remained in Morris County is that their first five children were all married in Morris County between the years 1742 and 1760.  The marriage of their oldest son Jacob was recorded in Morris County in 1742, one year before his sister Leah was born. It is not clear what motivated Jacob Cossart to move his family back to Somerset County although possibly his father's death in 1756 may have been a factor.  Whether or not Jacob inherited money with his father's death is not known but it is likely and possibly a motivator to relocate. As we have outlined below it is likely that Jacob with his family moved south into what is today part of Warren Township in northeast Somerset County.

Old Presbyterian Graveyard Bound Brook, NJ
Jacob and Hannah Cox Cossart's youngest son, Anthony Cozad, my 5th great grandfather, was born on their family farm in Succasunna, Roxbury Township, Morris County, New Jersey in 1740 and he was in his early teens when his parents moved back to Somerset County.  In 1762, Anthony married my 5th great grandmother, Catherine Coon, who was at the time only 16 years old.  When his father Jacob died in 1772 ten years after their marriage, one of the witnesses on his will was a man named Thomas Coon who was probably an old friend of Jacob's, a neighbor, and the father of his daughter-in-law Catherine Coon Cozad. This would of course make Thomas Coon my 6th great grandfather.  Jacob and Hannah Cossart are buried in graveyard of the old Presbyterian Church in Bound Brook, New Jersey in what we have read was the family plot of the Coon family.  In Jacob Cossart's Last Will and Testament he leaves his modest assets to his wife and family but nothing is left to the church which if he were a minister might seem a little unusual. Another indication that the Coon and Cossart/Cozad families were friends and most likely lived near one another (as described in subsequent paragraphs), is that two of Catherine Coon's younger siblings, a brother and sister, married children of Anthony Cozad's older brother Jacob or put another way, Anthony was their uncle. We will not wonder if they called their older sister, Anthony's wife, their Aunt Catherine. Just kidding. What is also interesting is that Anthony Cozad was an executor on his father-in-law's will written just before Thomas Coon's death in 1785 and even more interesting was that Anthony as well as his father Jacob Cossart were both witnesses on Catherine's grandfather's will in 1761.  His name was also Thomas Coon and the fact that the two Cossart/Cozad were part of the will shows just how close these two families must have been.

Catherine Coon Cozad was only 17 years old when the first of her ten children was born.  She was 41 years old when her last child was born and only 44 years old when her husband Anthony prematurely died in 1790 at the relatively young age of only 50.  His will was written only two weeks before it was "proved" and the inventory of his assets compiled, which would imply that he had not anticipated his early death. He left to his wife Catherine in his will the right to use their home "to bring up my children, until they go to trades," and with four children under the age of ten when he died, Catherine was not about to move from the family home any time soon.  Strangely, Catherine Coon Cozad never remarried and when one her young daughters, 24-year old Hannah Cozad, my 4th great grandmother, married my 4th great grandfather Samuel Harpending in 1806 and then in the Spring of 1807 headed by wagon to central New York, Hannah's mother, Catherine Coon Cozad, went with them.  Catherine died in 1824 at the age of 78 having outliving her husband by 34 years.  She is buried near Dundee, New York in the oldest cemetery in Yates County located behind The Starkey Methodist Church.  Her name on her gravestone noted her as "Katherine Casad." My wife and I visited this cemetery around a decade ago with no idea that my 5th great grandmother was buried there alongside at least 216 other graves. 

There is very little historical documentation about Anthony Cozad and the few times that the name is mentioned we have to wonder if the Anthony Cozad mentioned might actually be his cousin Anthony (1739-1800) who was about the same age as our grandfather but he lived over in Middlesex County as opposed to Somerset County. The mix up may have occurred when the Sons of the American Revolution in 1954 accepted our Anthony Cozad  (1740-1790) as a Revolutionary War soldier and as a result granted membership to his descendant Charles C. Cosad.  Only problem here was that he is listed as having been a Private in the Middlesex County Militia.  One has to suspect that the Middlesex private was actually his cousin Anthony who lived in Middlesex. On the other hand our Anthony's father-in-law, Thomas Coon, was a private in Captain William Moffatt's Company, in Colonel Frederick Frelinghuysen's 1st Regiment of the Somerset County Militia, and if our Anthony Cozad was a soldier during the Revolution, this is likely the regiment in which he served.  Unfortunately we could not find any records to support this belief.  If our Anthony Cozad was in this regiment then he might have seen a lot of action during the American Revolution as there were many battles large and small fought within New Jersey including the nearby Battle of Bound Brook.


Townships in Somerset County, New Jersey
One other unfortunate circumstance is that we could not find any baptismal records for the births of Anthony's and Catherine's children which would normally tell us where the parents were living at the time of the births.  It is extremely unlikely that he was not a member of any church and it is a real possibility that the baptismal records were simply lost. An issue of the Somerset County Historical Quarterly reported that Anthony was a "warm supporter of the Mt. Bethel Church" located in present day Warren Township in Somerset County. What intrigued us about this was that before 1806, Warren Township was actually part of Bernards Township which is the location most often listed for the births of Anthony's and Catherine's children. Furthermore, Bernards Township (or Bernards Town) is listed as the location where Anthony Cozad was living when he prepared his will in 1790.  This might suggest that the family was actually living in present day Warren Township and possibly near Mount Bethel Church as opposed to present day Bernards Township.

Old Mount Bethel Church and Cemetery
Mount Bethel was founded in 1767 so it is possible that the Cozarts were early members but in any case they would have been members of this church long after all of their children had been baptised. We learned after reviewing the website of the "Warren Township Historical Society" that the Coon family was one of the earliest settlers in Warren Township as was a man named David Smalley. Obviously the Coon family was close to Anthony Cozad as he married their daughter but equally important is that David Smalley was not only listed as an executor on Anthony's will but his daughter Rachel Smalley married Samuel Cozad, son of Anthony and Catherine.  Combine this information with the fact that there is a small burg located near Mount Bethel Church named Coontown, convinces us even more that there is ample evidence to show that the Anthony Cozad family lived in Warren Township in Somerset County, near the Mount Bethel Church, near Coontown, and as it turns out only around five miles north of Bound Brook where Anthony Cozad and his parents and many members of the Coon family are buried. The suggestion as some have made that Anthony Cozad died in Bound Brook or in Millstone located just south of Bound Brook appears to be without merit. Anthony's will suggested that he was not well-off when he died as his assets totaled only a little over 160 English pounds. We found this description written about early Warren Township to be quite revealing: "A sparsely-populated region of marginal farmland and rocky hills."  Does not sound like a great place to find a prosperous farm in the late 1700s. That being the case we should not be surprised to learn that a many of the children of Anthony and Catherine left the area after their father's death and after they reached adulthood.  Two of their daughters however, Mary and Catherine, married local men, brothers Reuben and Joshua Compton, and they are all buried in the Mount Bethel Cemetery in Warren Township. Our 4th great grandmother, Hannah Cozad, followed the pattern of many of her brothers and sisters by moving away, in her case with her new husband Samuel Harpending to Central New York not long after the close of the American Revolution.  And so ends our story of our Cossart/Cozad ancestors.



     

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Chapter 40. - Our Hall Family Ancestors

My 5th great grandfather, Benjamin Hall, was born in Cheshire near Wallingford, Connecticut in 1736 and he died at the age of 50 in the year 1786. He was 40 years old when the Declaration of Independence was signed and it should be safe to assume that he was a patriot soldier during our War for Independence. In fact, we listed him as one of my Revolutionary War ancestors in Chapter 15 of this blog although we admitted at the time of writing that it was difficult to find any definitive information about him in the history records other than the mention of his name as a Connecticut soldier. When we decided to write a chapter on my Hall family ancestors, we spent a lot of time focusing on my 5th great grandfather hoping to narrow down his actual experiences during the war.  At first we became excited when we discovered that a Benjamin Hall from Connecticut was present during the Lexington Alarm in Massachusetts in 1775.  We than began to find his name listed multiple times in various regiments over the course of the war.  Our story was just beginning to develop when quite unexpectedly we came across a record of a Benjamin Hall again from Connecticut, who was an avid Tory, a British sympathizer. Could this man have actually been my 5th great grandfather, a Tory? Before we get to far ahead of ourselves and our story of our Hall ancestors, let us return to the beginning.

My 9th great grandfather was a man named John Hall who was born in England around 1605 and emigrated as a young man to America around 1632. Fortunately we find that much has been written about our John Hall although unfortunately at the same time much of what has been written is contradictory. Even in these early years of our country with a small population, the name John Hall was fairly common and perhaps it should not be surprising to discover that two of the earliest settlers of Hartford, Connecticut both were named John Hall and their histories have been somewhat intertwined. That said, what we are about to write is what we believe is the accurate story of our 9th great grandfather, John Hall.

John Hall was 21 years old when he married my 7th great grandmother Mary Lyman on the 8th day of December in the year 1692. Some believe that John Hall sailed from Downs, England on the ship Griffin which arrived in the Boston Harbor on 4 September 1633 carrying around 200 passengers including the well known religious dissenters, Thomas Hooker and John Cotton. The only real hint that John may have been part of this group is that in 1636 he followed Thomas Hooker and a group of around 100 other individuals, mostly Puritan followers of the Rev. Hooker, on a wilderness trip into Connecticut where he and the others helped found the new settlement of Hartford on the Connecticut River. In Chapter 29 of this blog we go into a rather detailed description of the founding of Hartford which we will not repeat in this chapter particularly since it appears that by 1640 John Hall had already sold his land in the new community of Hartford. We suspect that our John Hall may not have been ready to settle down when he first arrived in Hartford in 1636.  His name does not appear on a 1636 lot map listing the original settlers of Hartford and then on a later 1640 map of Hartford his name appears as follows: "John Hall sold (land) to William Spencer."  Apparently he had already sold his land by 1640 and had moved elsewhere.  In 1640 John Hall was around 35 years old and unmarried and perhaps not ready to settle down or at least not settle down in Hartford. There are some historians who believe that our John Hall was part of an early group of explorers led by a man named John Oldham who traveled extensively throughout Connecticut as early as 1633 to trade in furs with the local Indians. This might of course suggest that when John later traveled with the Thomas Hooker group in 1636 he may have been serving as their guide. This is of course, pure speculation but it might help to explain why he did not ultimately settle in Hartford.

We know that in 1637 John Hall served in the militia during the Pequot War probably volunteering and serving with other men from Hartford. Without going into a lot of detail about the war and its causes, it should suffice to say that the Pequot were an Indian tribe who lived in southeastern Connecticut who along with their Dutch partners were in an intense struggle with the English to control the fur and wampum trade.  The first military action against the Pequot Indians followed the killing by the Pequot of John Oldham, trader and possible former partner of our John Hall, in July of 1636.  It was not however, until a large force of Pequot warriors attacked English settlers in Wethersfield on the 23rd day of April 1637 and killed nine men and women that the Colony of Connecticut declared war on the Pequot tribe on May 1st. Ninety soldiers from the towns of Hartford, Wethersfield, and Windsor formed an expedition to attack the major Pequot villages.  Our John Hall was undoubtedly one of these ninety men.  The war from this point ended quickly for on May 26th the English soldiers along with some of their Indian allies attacked a fortified Pequot Indian village known as Mystic Fort and killed around 400 to 600 Pequot old men (the younger men were not there), women, and children which effectively ending the war and the Pequot Indian tribe.  Only two English soldiers were killed in the brief battle. While some tribal members continued to fight in other locations without much success, the war officially ended on the 21st of September in 1637 with the signing of the Hartford Treaty. The Treaty stipulated that the Pequot tribe was to be no more.  No Pequot Indians were present at the signing to protest the terms.

It is not obvious why John Hall decided to leave Hartford in 1640 and move to the new settlement that was to be called New Haven.  If John had been a fur trader as some believe, this would have meant that his job required him to be away from home for long periods and therefore he may have spent little time at his small log cabin home in Hartford. Thus when he had the opportunity to sell his property in Hartford, he took it. Again, if John Hall had been a trader, New Haven's location near the Great Bay (the Long Island Sound) was an excellent choice to relocate since it opened up the possibility of his being able to readily ship his goods to the other colonies and to England. That, plus the original settlers were for the most part newly arrived and well financed merchants from England and not primarily farmers as they had been in Hartford. New Haven it would appear was "founded to be a commercial town." If John Hall was indeed a trader it was probably a good move on his part.

Sketch of early New Haven
Perhaps after his move to New Haven he realized that at the age of around 35 it was about time that he found a wife and start a family. It was in fact somewhat unusual to find a single man in his mid-30s during these early colonial years. We are not certain as to the date of John's marriage to our 9th great grandmother Jeanne Woolen, although we suspect that it was not long after his arrival in New Haven and certainly no later than early 1644 as he is listed as already married in court records in July of 1644. Jeanne Woolen was brought to America in 1633 by William and Abigail(?) Wilkes and it is believed that she was possibly the niece or cousin of Mrs. Wilkes. In exchange for the cost of her passage, my 9th great grandmother agreed to work for the Wilkes for a period of at least five years or possibly longer essentially working as Mrs. Wilkes maid-servant. She was to receive for these services a small annual allowance plus 10 English pounds when she married. They apparently immigrated on the ship Griffin and if this is the case it is possible that Jeanne Woolen had met her future husband, John Hall, during their voyage and they had spent a short time together while both were living in Boston.  The Wilkes family along with Jeanne Woolen moved to the new settlement of New Haven probably in the spring of 1638 along with the other new settlers.  If John Hall and his future wife Jeanne Woolen had met each other previous to John Hall's move to New Haven, that might explain in large part John's motivation to move from Hartford to New Haven in or around 1640.  This is however, but pure speculation.  What is known based on court records is that when John and Jeanne married, William Wilkes refused to give her the 10 pounds that he had promised and then sometime later in 1644, William Wilkes probably for business reasons, returned to England where he is believed to have died.  His wife returned to England in 1646 and she too unfortunately died when her ship was lost at sea. John Hall, very much angered by the Wilkes' failure to pay his wife the 10 pounds she was promised, sued the Wilkes' estate in 1647, and after a long drawn out court battle the Halls were awarded the 10 pounds that they were owed.

John Hall spent thirty years living in New Haven.  Based on the amount of land that he accumulated he was fairly successful at what he did for a living (whatever that was) although he was not by any means a wealthy man.  During their time in New Haven, John and Jeanne Woolen Hall raised seven (7) children, five boys and two girls, including their third child, Samuel Hall, our 8th great grandfather, who was born in 1648. Despite the fact that John Hall's name was found in the historical records on a number of occasions we still have learned very few details about his life. While he did sign the New Haven Planters' covenant, the Fundamental Agreement, that created the new settlement of New Haven on 4 June 1639, he was considered an "after-signer" in that he signed the document at some unknown later date, and consequently we do not really know the exact year that he moved to New Haven.  Another confusing item is that if he married Jeanne Woolen in late 1643 or early 1644 as is generally assumed and their first child John Jr. was born sometime in 1644, why then did John and Jeanne wait until 9 August 1646 to have their first two children, John Jr. and Sarah, baptized in the First Church of Christ. This church was organized six years earlier back in 1639 but the first reference to John Hall as a member in their records was not until the 1646 baptisms. Since being a recognized citizen in the plantation of New Haven and belonging to the church were synonymous and inseparable, either the Halls were not permanently living in New Haven until a few years after their marriage or the church records are simply missing.  Even if there are missing records, this still does not explain the delay in having their children baptized.  We suspect here again, that John Hall continued as an active trader both with the Indians as well as with merchants in the settlements north of New Haven. It is possible that this would have required him to travel a great deal perhaps even with Jeanne, his new wife. It is also a possibility we suppose that he did not permanently settle in New Haven until after the birth of their daughter Sarah, at which time they formally joined the church and then had both of their young children baptized.  This explanation conflicts of course with why he was granted land on Mill River in New Haven on 17 January 1641 and that he took an Oath of Fidelity in July of 1644. Both of these occurrences suggest that he was living in New Haven and was likely a member of the church. Some of the fun of studying the history of our ancestors is that we occasionally encounter these types of mysteries that we know will never be solved no matter how much time we spend looking through the records.

In 1670 John's and Jeanne's three oldest sons, John, Samuel, and Thomas, ages 25, 23 and 21 respectively, moved to the new community of Wallingford located about 14 miles north of New Haven up the Quinnipiac River (then referred to as "the east river.")  Wallingford had just been formed a year earlier and sons John, Samuel, and Thomas undoubtedly eagerly signed their names to the founding covenant.  Moving to a new community such as Wallingford gave the young men a chance to own their own land, build their own homes, start up new businesses, and raise their families without having to share everything with their parents and siblings.  Both John and Samuel were married and their wives moved with them.  Their father and mother were also to moved to Wallingford, only a few years later and even then for a few more years John and Jeanne Hall maintained homes both in New Haven and in Wallingford.  In 1665, John Hall Sr. had turned 60 years old and as a result his obligation to serve in the militia had ceased and we suspect that his business, perhaps at that point as a store owner and merchant, may have either been sold, closed, or turned over to one of his two youngest sons to manage.  It seems apparently in any case, that John Hall Sr had slowed down somewhat since in 1675 in Wallingford he agreed to serve on a committee of thirteen men along with his sons John Jr. and Samuel to formally establish a church. There are no records of John Hall in the past ever finding the time to serve on committees and in fact, in New Haven in 1669 he had actually turned down a request to serve as a constable.  Some of the biographies of John Hall state that he served as one of the 1st deacons of the church in Wallingford and as a Selectman although we believe that it was in fact his son John Jr. who served in these rolls. My 9th great grandfather John Hall died somewhat unexpectedly at the age of 71 in early 1676.  We believe it was unexpected simply because he left only a verbal will and despite his modest wealth he had not anticipated his death. The death was probably caused by illness that took his life rather quickly.  Not unexpectedly, my 9th great grandmother, Jeanne Woolen Hall married, not long after John's death, a widower named John Cooper whom she had known in New Haven.  Jeanne died in 1690.  Some believe that John Cooper's first marriage was to Jeanne Woolen's sister Mary Woolen although we found absolutely no evidence to support this claim.  John Hall was in the end a good man.  He worked hard during his life providing for his family and clearly he had set a good example for his sons for they all were successful in their own lives after their father's death. 




























Of the original 38 families who were assigned lots in Wallingford in 1669, three of the eight acre lots were granted to sons of John Hall.  Lot number 5 went to John Hall Jr,; Lot number 15 went to Thomas Hall, and lot number 3 was given to my 8th great grandfather Samuel Hall.  This small acquisition of land by Samuel was only the beginning of his land acquisitions for it is said that by the time of his death in 1725 Samuel had become a large landowner.  His ability to acquire all of this land was obviously a result of his successful business career as a "dishturner." He had constructed in Wallingford on the east river (the Quinnipiac River) a water mill that powered a saw for cutting lumber.  From the cut lumber he manufactured wooden dishes, cups, and possibility furniture which were all in high demand during this period of history when china, copper, and silver dinnerware was not yet readily available nor affordable. My 8th great grandmother's name was Hannah Walker, daughter of John and Grace Walker who are believed to have been good friends of Samuel's parents and settled near them in New Haven.  Hannah and Samuel married in New Haven in the year 1668 shortly before they moved to Wallingford.  Their first child, John Hall (1670-1730), my 7th great grandfather was born shortly after their move to Wallingford in 1670. Obviously Hannah was pregnant while Samuel Hall labored to build them a new home in the wooded wilderness land on the hillside above the Quinnipiac River. In total, Samuel and Hannah were to have seven children.

Samuel Hall was not only a good business and family man but he also played an active role in maintaining his civic responsibilities.  As with most men his age in Colonial America, he was a member of the local militia.  He not only served during the King Philip's War of 1675-1676, but by 1696 he was listed as a lieutenant of his "trainband" (groups of local men who were trained periodically to fight to protect their community) which probably meant he was second in command of the local Wallingford militia, and then by 1704 (during the Queen Anne's War) he was promoted to the rank of captain (first in command of his militia unit) which would have been quite an honor and showed that he was highly respected in the community both for his military training skills as well as for his leadership ability. What is not really clear in any of the history records that we reviewed is whether or not Samuel Hall and his small militia unit ever actually engaged in any direct battles with the Indians. The constant threat of an Indian attacked however, existed during Samuel's entire life and therefore constant military training was an essential and important feature in all early American communities. The threat of Indian attacks continued long after Samuel Hall's death in 1725 for the French and Indian War did not even begin until 1752. Besides his military duties, Samuel Hall also served for many years as a Deputy to the General Court where he and the other selected deputies worked to determine the laws and taxes within the various local towns.

We also know that in 1716 Benjamin Hall was made a Deacon of his church an honor that was immortalized on his gravestone after his death at the age of 76 on 5 March 1725.  There is also a record that Samuel served as one of the "selectman" in his town, a position that basically works with the other selectmen to manage the town's affairs. Samuel Hall's appointments as a captain in the militia, a deacon in his church, and one of the town's selectmen, clearly shows the respect that his friends and neighbors had for my 8th great grandfather. He helped found the settlement of Wallingford in 1670 which began as a community of 38 families consisting of around 100 men, woman and children living in mostly small log homes. By the time of his death in 1725 Wallingford had more than tripled in size and a number of other nearby communities had been organized and were growing rapidly.

As we researched our Hall ancestors it quickly became apparent that most members of the Hall family in these early generations were all hard working and successful individuals and my 7th great grandfather, John Hall, was no exception.  He was born in Wallingford on the 22nd day of December in the year 1670.  His birth home was probably a new log cabin that his father had just finished constructing.  As Christmas was approaching there may have been a roaring fire in their new stone fireplace and quite possibly snow was laying on the ground surrounding their home.  We have to believe that shortly following his birth, his uncles John and Thomas Hall along with Uncle John's wife Mary, and possibly even his grandparents John and Jeanne Hall stopped by the home to welcome the newborn baby and congratulate the new parents. In their house on this 22nd day of December there were three John Halls, a fact that helps explain the confusion that historians have had when researching the life of my 7th great grandfather.  The problem is further compounded when we add another John Hall to the list, a son of Uncle John and wife Mary who was born in 1678 and as it turns out lived in Wallingford during the same time period as his cousin.

John Hall married my 7th great grandmother Mary Lyman on 8 December 1692.  Mary was the daughter of John  and Dorcas (Dorothy) Lyman of Northampton, Massachusetts which immediately begs the question as to how did John Hall of Wallingford meet his future wife Mary Lyman of Northampton. While today these two communities are only about a one hour drive apart, in 1692 the 60 mile trip might take as long as two long days.  While we do not really know how they met, we have a theory.  Mary's older sister by two years, Dorothy Lyman married a man named Jabez Brockett who was an early settler of Wallingford.  Jabez Brockett was born in 1656 and was 35 years old when he married 26 year old Dorothy.  Jabez Brockett was known to be a militia soldier during the King Phillip's War and it is possible that during the war which took place in 1675 and 1676 that he may have met Dorothy and Mary Lyman's father, John Lyman, who was known to be a lieutenant during this Indian war.  Whatever the case, Jabez Brockett and Dorothy Lyman were married in November of 1691 and shortly thereafter she became pregnant.  Since Dorothy knew few people in her new home in Wallingford, we suggest that she may have invited her sister Mary, who was two years her junior, down to Wallingford to help her through her pregnancy. While Mary was in Wallingford she met John Hall and they fell in love.  Her sister's baby was born on 17 September 1692 and John and Mary were married less than three months later on 8 December 1692.  This makes for a great story and it makes sense.

John and Mary Lyman Hall's first child, John Hall, Jr., was born on the 13th day of September 1693 only nine months and five days after his parents' marriage.  Together my 7th great grandparents were to have seven children (who were alive at the time of John's death and mentioned in his will) including my 6th great grandfather Benjamin Hall who was born in 1704.  John Hall's life was eulogized at his funeral in 1730 by the Reverend Samuel Whittlesey, pastor of John's church, who fortunately hand wrote his eulogy on paper so that today we can still see the words he used to describe the life of our great grandfather.  Some of these words tell us quite a story: "Skillful and righteous judge," "Wise and able Counsellor," "Extended foresight," "Truly fitted for government and public service," and finally, "excellent talents." We also see in many of the historical narratives describing John's life where he is referred to as the Honorable John Hall, and based on his civic activities during his life time it is quite easy to see why he was so respected. In his Will it reports that he distributed to his sons almost 1,000 acres of land that he owned so obviously what ever John Hall did for a living in addition to the work that he did in government, he was successful enough to be able to acquire land.  Like his father before him, John Hall was elected to be the Captain in the local militia and while we do not know whether he directly participated in any of the Indian wars, what we do know is that he lived during tumultuous times when the colonies were in a state of constant excitement and alarm and it is therefore probable that he faced on numerous occasions situations where military action was necessary.

My 7th great grandfather, John Hall, was also prominent in public affairs. The early colonial government of Connecticut was very special in our country's history as its "Fundamental Orders of Connecticut" established in 1636 was one of the first written democratic constitutions that established a representative government and it is generally accepted by most historians that it formed the basis of the later United States Constitution. It was modified slightly with the Connecticut Charter of 1662 which merged all of the colonies within Connecticut under one government and perhaps more importantly, the new charter gave the colony a legal basis and the approval of the King of England.  The governmental structure of the colony of Connecticut within which our John Hall participated was organized as follows:  At the head of the government was an elected governor and a deputy governor. Below the governor was another elected group referred to under various names including the Governor's Council or Assistants or the General Court which consisted of a group of elected magistrates to advise the governor, to make the laws, and to act as the justices of the court.  The final group was known as the General Assembly which was composed of elected deputies from each of the towns. Our understanding is that our John Hall served first as one of the town's deputies in the General Assembly and then from 1722 until 1730 he was elected and served on the Governor's Council as an Assistant and as a justice of the Supreme Court of the Colony.  The title of "Honorable" often seen proceeding the name John Hall would certainly be appropriate for a man who served as a judge. John Hall's service in the government of Colonial Connecticut was cut short when he died at the relatively young age of 59 in the year 1730.  One final observation worth mentioning before we explore the life of our 6th great grandfather Benjamin Hall, is that John Hall was the grandfather of a man named Lyman Hall who was the son of John Hall's oldest son John Hall Jr. Lyman Hall was only six years old when his grandfather died. He is important in our country's history not only because he was a governor of Georgia but also because he was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Lyman Hall is my 1st cousin, 7 times removed.

All of the sons of John Hall were successful and prominent in their lives including my 6th great grandfather, Benjamin Hall, who was born on 17 December 1704 in the Town of Wallingford, Connecticut. Benjamin was 22 years old when he married my grandmother Abiah Chauncey. Abiah Chauncey was descended from a very well known and religious family.  Her great grandfather, Charles Chauncy (1592-1672) was an early pastor in Plymouth Colony and he was later elected to be the second president of Harvard College in 1654.  Her grandfather Israel Chauncy (1670-1745) is credited with being one of the founders of Yale in New Haven, Connecticut.  Her father, Charles Chauncey (1668-1714) graduated from Harvard in 1686 and served as a pastor at his church in Stratford, Connecticut for nineteen years.  The story of my Chauncey ancestors is told in Chapter 3 of this blog. Abiah Chauncey's mother's name was Sarah Walcott and they also were descended from a well known, respected, and somewhat wealthy family whose story is told in Chapter 16 of this blog.

Benjamin Hall's father died in 1730 and in his will he left Benjamin and his brothers a lot of land including a large landholding on the Mill River over in Cheshire just west of Wallingford, where Benjamin and Abiah moved along with their three children who had been born prior to the move.  It was undoubtedly due to the fact that Benjamin came from a wealthy family, was a large landowner, and was probably respected for his apparent leadership traits, plus the fact that his older brother Samuel was pastor of the local church, that he was elected in 1733 to be a Representative to the Assembly by the town of Cheshire and then in that same year and even greater honor was bestowed on him when he was commissioned to be not only a Magistrate in the Governor's Council/General Court but also a captain in the local trainband, the militia.  Benjamin was only 29 years old and still a young father when all of this occurred.  Despite being very busy for the next two decades, traveling, serving his legal duties as the local magistrate, and being head of the local militia, Benjamin and Abiah managed to raise nine children including their sixth child and my 5th great grandfather Benjamin Hall Jr. who was born the 27th of September 1736.

Before and after the French and Indian War
The French and Indian War in America which began in 1754 was actually a war between the British and the French with both sides using Indians as allies. The war itself, at least in America, was about throwing the French out of territory claimed by the British, namely the colonies including all land east of the Mississippi including upper New York and Vermont, and even eastern Canada. By this point in his life Benjamin Hall was now a colonel in the militia and he could hardly avoid playing an active role in the war against the French and the Indians. It is estimated that upwards of 16,000 men in the Connecticut militia participated from time to time during the war years of 1754 through 1764.  Although there are not a lot of records that have survived that describe Benjamin Hall's role during the war, we do find his name mentioned on a few occasions. As a colonel in the 10th Regiment we know that his regiment helped to restore and garrison an abandoned French fort at Crown Point on Lake Champlain in 1755.  In 1756, he commanded a regiment that was sent north up to the St Lawrence River but whether they engaged the French or Indians during this campaign we could not determine. In 1757, his regiment was sent to Fort William Henry to help protect the fort against a French attack but their company arrived to late to protect the fort's capture by the French. As late as 1759 there is mention of Col Benjamin Hall's war activities as well as copies of his war correspondence in a history book entitled History of Cheshire, Connecticut written by Joseph Perkins Beach in 1912. The capture of Quebec in 1759 and Montreal in 1760 pretty much ended the war as far as the Connecticut militia was concerned.  Whether Benjamin Hall was present at either of these victories we could not determine although it would appear likely.

Benjamin Hall's active political career continued into the 1760s.  He was not only a judge (magistrate) on the General Court but he served on the House of Assistants under then Governor Thomas Fitch.  Unfortunately Benjamin Hall's political career ended abruptly in May of 1766 as did Governor Fitch's and several other of his Assistants when they all were voted out of office for having supported the notorious Stamp Act.  The Stamp Act, which was essentially a tax assessed against the colonies by the British Parliament to help raise money to pay the cost of British troops in America, angered the majority of Americans and was one of the many causes leading up to the American Revolution. As a result of his vote, Benjamin Hall's career abruptly ended at the age of 62 and for the remaining six and a half years of his life until his death on 1 January 1773 he lived in retirement and obscurity.

Benjamin Hall 1736-1786
This now brings us back to the beginning of our story of our Hall ancestors and Benjamin Hall (1736-1786), son of Benjamin Hall and Abiah Chauncey, and our initial quandary as to whether my 5th great grandfather was a Patriot or a Tory during the American Revolution.  Benjamin Hall was 36 years old when his father died and he must have been very much aware of his father's British sympathies in his support for the hated Stamp Act.  Benjamin Hall graduated third in his class from Yale in 1754 and he obviously was an intelligent and perhaps even a very opinionated individual when considering his minority status as a British sympathizer. My 5th great grandfather married my 5th great grandmother, Hannah Burnham, in 1767 and together they had four children including my 4th great grandfather, William Burnham Hall, who was born in 1774.  Their youngest son who was born in 1784 near the end of the American Revolution, they named Edmund Fanning Hall.  This is very significant for their son Edmund was named after an infamous and hated American named Edmund Fanning who had joined the British Army and fought against the Americans during the War. In 1783 he and other Loyalists moved to Nova Scotia.  The fact that our great grandfather named his son after a well known Loyalist is pretty clear evidence that he did not support the American cause for liberty. At least following the war he did not choose to relocated to Nova Scotia although it is possible that his early death at the age of fifty in 1786 may have prevented an otherwised planned departure.

William Burnham Hall was just under 12 years old when his father died and while we do not know for certain, he probably continued to live with his mother at his parents' home until her death in 1797 when William was only 22.  At that point what we believe is that he like so many others during this same time period moved westward, and eventually settled in Seneca County, New York in the Town of Fayette located between Cayuga Lake on the east and Seneca Lake on the west. Here he met his future wife and my 4th great grandmother, Rebecca Meekins Boardman, and they married sometime around 1797.  Rebecca was only 14 years old when they married.  She was only around five years old when she had left her birth home in Hubbardton, Vermont in 1788 and moved with her parents and two older siblings to central New York State.  Her father, Benajah Boardman, our 5th great grandfather, was a soldier during the American Revolution and he is credited with being a sergeant in a company under the command of Col. Ira Allen, brother of Ethan Allen.  The company under which he fought has been called the Green Mountain Boys.

William and Rebecca were to have only three children before her early death in 1805 at the age of 22. Unfortunately of their three children only one survived beyond childhood and that was my 3rd great grandmother Elizabeth Boardman Hall who was born on the 15th of April 1801.  Unfortunately, we found very little about the life of our great grandfather.  It seems that he remarried a woman named Lucinda shortly after Rebecca's death but his new wife also died in the year 1808 also at the young age of 22.  William was only 34 years old when his second wife died so it is probable that he remarried for a third time. We did find US Census records for the years 1810, 1820, and 1830 for a William B Hall in Fayette which is undoubtedly our great grandfather that would suggest a third marriage and at least one additional son and possibly two additional daughters.  We also found an 1812 voting record for Seneca County giving the results for the election of an assemblyman to the New York State Assemble.  William B Hall was listed as one of the candidates for the position however, he received only one vote out of several thousand which probably reflected the fact that he voted for himself.  Clearly our 4th great grandfather, William Barnham Hall was not as highly regarded as his forbearers.

The only other historical information that we could find about William Hall was that he was one of three purchasers of a large parcel of land in the Town of  Fayette in Seneca County in 1807. The size of William's land was 163.9 acres and what is interesting about the land is that it was part of a larger section of land purchased from the Cayuga Indian tribe in 1795.  What is interesting about this is that the Cayuga Indians have been trying to claim ever since their original sale of their land, including filing a recent lawsuit that began in the 1980s, that they are entitled to be compensated for their land.  Their argument is that the original agreement was never ratified by the US Congress as they claimed was required under the terms of the original sale therefore they still owned the land.  Had the Indians won their suit which they did not, the poor current owner(s) of William B Hall's land would have had a very clouded title to their property. On the map to the right our grandfather's land would have been part of the reservation land immediately to the west of Cayuga Lake. We could not learn the exact date of William's death although he does not appear in the 1840 US Census so he may have died prior to that date.  Some of the family trees on Ancestry.com have William dying in 1842 although we could not find any records to confirm this date.

It appears that Elizabeth Boardman Hall was still living with her father and her father's third wife in 1820 as she is listed as the oldest daughter in the 1820 US Census.  We do know however, that she married Mosely Hutchinson on 22 March 1822. Mosely was originally from Ithaca, New York but he had moved to the Village of Cayuga which was only a few miles from the Hall homestead in the town of Fayette when considering that in the year 1800 a bridge had been built that crossed Cayuga Lake connecting the Village of Cayuga directly to Fayette.  It is not clear how they actually met although in 1822 Mosely Hutchinson, then 26 years old, was already a successful farmer and undoubtedly some of his travels had taken him across the bridge and into Seneca County and the Town of Fayette.


Elizabeth's marriage to Mosely was long and prosperous.  Mosely became an attorney, and for a period a judge and a State Assemblyman. Together they had seven children including my great, great grandmother Mary Rebecca Hutchinson who was born on the 24th of April in 1825.  We are related to the Hutchinson and Hall families through my mother's grandfather, Eugene Hutchinson Ferree, whose grandparents were Mosely and Elizabeth Boardman Hall.  We have visited the graves of my great grandparents Eugene Hutchinson Ferree and his wife Marian Coapman Ferree, and his mother Mary Rebecca Hutchinson Ferree, and his grandparents Mosely Hutchinson and Elizabeth Hall Hutchinson who are all buried near one another in the Lakeview Cemetery in the Village of Cayuga, New York.  The Hall family tree was a wonderful ancestral line to explore and write their story, as once again we have discovered more of our ancestors who played strong roles in our country's history.