|Stamford located just west of New Haven, CT|
|Trial of Martha Mead|
Second Generation: John Mead (1634-1699) and his wife Hannah Potter (1636-1700): Despite John Mead's rather negative reputation in Stamford, he married my 9th great grandmother, Hannah Potter, in Stamford on the 10th day of July in the year 1657. He was only 23, Hannah was only 20 years old. John already had a reputation despite his young age, as a man who liked to make land purchase deals. This fact alone may have pleased John's new father-in-law, William Potter (1608-1684), who himself was a fairly wealthy man and a land speculator. William apparently was very generous to both John and his daughter both at the time of their marriage and again later in his last will and testament written in 1684. We suspect that John Mead's later success in life was due in large part to his father-in-law financial help perhaps even more so than his own father's help. William Potter is said by some family historians to be at one point the largest landowner in Stamford and of course, he was my 10th great grandfather.
John and Hannah Potter Mead along with John's brother Joseph and his wife Mary Brown Mead did not remain in Stamford for long considering John's and their sister's legal issues with the Court and in part the church, as well as their concerns about the strong Dutch claims over the Stamford area, and in 1658 they both sold all of their lands and homes in Connecticut and moved to Hempstead on Long Island. Hempstead had been founded back in 1644 by a large group of families from Stamford and other parts of western Connecticut. The land had been purchased (stolen?) from the local Indians following their almost total annulation during a massive attack on their villages only a few months earlier. Typical behavior on the part of the new English settlers. We are confident that the Mead families were welcomed new comers but their stay in Hempstead was short lived. In 1660 they moved back to Connecticut and with others they helped to establish a new community known as Greenwich located only 7 miles west of Stamford and at the time considered to be part of Stamford. In 1664 however, John Mead working with a group of six men, now known as "the Seven Proprietors," were able to separate their community from Stamford thus officially establishing Greenwich, Connecticut. Here again, of the seven men listed as the original founders of Greenwich, Connecticut, four of them were my great grandfathers and two were my great uncles.
Third Generation: John Mead (Jr) (1658-1693) and his wife Ruth Hardy (1660-1727): John Mead and Ruth Hardy were married in Greenwich, Connecticut on 27 October 1681 and according to some family historians, their marriage was the first recorded marriage in the new community of Greenwich although it would seem logical that some other none recorded marriages must have taken place following the communities founding 20 years earlier. Unfortunately, John Mead (Jr) died at the young age of only 34 years old but over the period of his short life he had four children, the oldest of whom was only 14 years old when his father died. Their second son, Jonathan Mead born in 1684 is my 7th great grandfather. John Mead was appointed in 1687 to the role of Constable in Greenwich which was quite an honor considering that at the time he was only 29 years old. He held the position up to the time of his death on the 12th day of May in 1693. We could find no documentation as to the cause of his death nor the location of his burial although it was undoubtedly in Greenwich. My great grandmother, Ruth Hardy Mead was only around 32 years old when her husband died so not surprisingly she remarried to a man named Joseph Finch although not until the year 1713 at which point all of her children had reached the age of twenty or older. Undoubtedly John Mead (Jr) was highly respected in his community and all would have been sadden by his early death. It is written that the town officers called a special meeting in Greenwich to honor John upon his death, an action that was quite unusual but showed what great respect that they must have had for John. We feel confident that both of John's parents along with his brothers and sisters attended the meeting to honor their son and their sibling.
Fourth Generation: Jonathan Mead (1684-1754) and his wife Esther Butler (1687-1731): Greenwich, Fairfield County, Connecticut may have been an excellent place to live during this period in history. It was far enough west in New England to have avoided such things as the King Philip's War fought between 1675 and 1676 but it was close enough to the great port cities of New Haven, Connecticut and to New Amsterdam (New York City by 1664) to receive the benefits of trade. Its location on the Long Island Sound and its fertile land made it an excellent location for farmers which made up the majority of its population. The area was soon known for its growth and sales of potatoes, grains, and fruits. While the majority of its population especially in the mid to the latter part of the 1600s, were Puritans, the church did not control the government of the colony as was more common in the Boston area during this period. Finally, Connecticut during the latter part of the 1600s was the largest of the northeastern Colonies considering that it population extended onto Long Island and almost westward to the Hudson River. While we do not know much about the life of our 7th great grandparents, Jonathan and Esther, what we do know is that they lived during a fairly peaceful period of our country's history. Jonathan died the year that the French and Indian War began in America and as far as we know he was not engaged in any militia actions during his lifetime.
|Early Map of Dutchess County|
Fifth Generation: Jonathan S. Mead (1715-after 1790) and his wife Sarah Guernsey (abt 1724-abt 1800) Jonathan S. Mead would probably have been in his late teens or early 20s when he moved to Dutchess County with his family and somewhere around five years later he met and married Sarah Guernsey in 1743. My 6th great grandmother, Sarah Guernsey, is somewhat of a mystery person. Many of the online websites are clear as to the names of her parents but as best we can determine, her parents never went to Dutchess County so how 19-year old Sarah Guernsey ended up meeting and marrying Jonathan in Dutchess at such a young age is a total unknown. One has to believe that we do not actually know the origins of Sarah. What we do know is that Sarah and Jonathan had a least five children including their third child, a son named Hezekiah who was born in 1748. As far as we could determine, there are little to no historical documents that have been uncovered that tell us much about the life of Jonathan S. Mead. He was probably a farmer for most of his life and he apparently was not engaged in any governmental or religious leadership functions. It is noted that in 1775 he was a signer of the Dutchess County Declaration of Independence although at the age of 60 when he signed the document, it is unlikely that he actually participated in the war itself. There are some family historians who write that he fought in the war alongside his son Nathaniel but no evidence is offered. On the other hand, Jonathan was around 40 years old at the onset of the French and Indian War which was fought between the years 1754 and 1763 and it is known that his brother Enos Mead was a participant in that war. Whether Jonathan participated or not is unknown although considering that whether one was a soldier under these conditions was not always a volunteer decision. Furthermore, the last child of Jonathan and Sarah, our great grandfather, Hezekiah, was born before the start of the French and Indian War which perhaps suggests that Jonathan was away from his wife for awhile. Anyway, both Jonathan and Sarah are believed to have died in Dutchess County, New York sometime after 1790 although the dates of their deaths and the location of their burials is unknown.
Sixth Generation: Hezekiah Mead (1748-abt 1810) and his wife (name/dates unknown): Here again there is a lot of information about the life of my 5th great grandfather that is missing. The single biggest missing item is the name of his wife, my 5th great grandmother. Her name cannot be determined with any degree of certainty which is kind of strange considering the existence of church records that name Hezekiah. The Mead family lived in Warwick in Orange County, New York following the American Revolution and Hezekiah's name appears several times in the records of the Old School Baptist Church in Warwick showing that he was a member between 1790 and 1800 and then again between 1810 and 1820. The 1800 to 1810 records apparently are missing. The following female names also appear alongside his name: Elizabeth Mead 1790, Mary Mead 1790 to 1800 and then showing that she died in 1805, and finally an Ann Mead as a member between 1810 and 1820. As far as we know, none of these woman were his daughters or sisters. Hezekiah had a sister named Ann although by 1810 she would have married and not been using the surname of Mead. Family trees on Ancestry.com give us additional guesses like Charity or Charity Mercy Hyde and another woman named Hannah Paddock. In the case of Hannah Paddock there was even a Mead descendent who via a DNA test claimed to be genetically connected to both the Paddock family as well as to Hezekiah's mother's family tree, the Guernsey family, therein claiming absolute proof that Hannah Paddock was Hezekiah's wife. And finally, another family historian reported that Hezekiah married a woman named Sarah in Warwick. It is probably safe to say that we may never know my great grandmother's name. Perhaps an argument in support of his wife being Hannah Paddock is that Hezekiah and his wife named their first child Hannah, my 4th great grandmother, after her mother. Hannah was born in 1771 which is actually earlier than most family trees list the marriage date of Hezekiah and Hannah Paddock. Oh well. It is also possible we suppose, that Hezekiah may have had several wives and that records of their marriages and their deaths are simply missing.
|Meads from Fairfield to Dutchess to Orange Counties|
|Battle of White Plains 1776|
Subsequent Generations: The following is a listing of our Mead descendants down to the present time:
Hannah Mead (1771-1842) married Gersham Livesay (1771-1862)
Joseph Livesay (1806-1882) married Sally Bennett (1814-1881)
Ellen Livesay (1841-1917) married David DeGroff Reynolds (1836-1899)
Ella McBlain Reynolds (1863-1935) married Henry Clinton Spaulding (1863-1889)
Helen Mary Spaulding (1887-1937) married Charles Schenck Baker (1885-1952)
Charles Asbury Baker (1916-2000) married Marian Coapman Patterson (1916-1973)
Charles Asbury Baker Jr. (1942- )
Anne Rappleye Baker (1943- )
Joan Patterson Baker (1950- )
The end (until the next chapter).