In my post about my Fifth Great-Grandfather Thomas Strong, I introduced his wife Phebe Seward (also my ancestor). I don’t have her line going much further back, but it is very interesting.
Phebe was born February 3, 1723 in Durham, New Haven County, CT, the second child and oldest daughter of Thomas Seward and Sarah Camp. Since we’ve already explored her life after her marriage, I will move on to her father.
Thomas Seward was born December 19, 1694 in Guilford, New Haven County, CT. He was the fourth child of the seven children of Caleb Seward and Lydia Bushnell. He married Sarah Camp on March 31, 1720 in Durham. Their children (all born in Durham) were:
- Solomon, born January 19, 1721; married Alenor Baldwin
- Phebe (just discussed)
- Amos, born March 25, 1726; married Ruth Rogers on January 16, 1751 [in Durham]; died May 8, 1794; buried in Edgewood Cemetery in Wolcott, New Haven County, CT
- Catherine, born December 28, 1727
- Nathan, born 1730 (baptized June 14, 1730)
Sarah died on March 12, 1762. Thomas died before then (since she had remarried to a Daniel Benton), and is said to have died in Wallingford. I have not been able to find their burial places.
Thomas’s father Caleb is who I’ve been most interested in. Caleb was born March 14, 1662 in Guilford, New Haven Colony, to William Seward and Grace Norton, the fifth of nine children. He married Lydia Bushnell (daughter of William Bushnell) on July 14, 1686. They first made their home on East Creek in Guilford. Then on May 4, 1699, they and their four oldest living children moved to the area of Coginchaug, where Caleb was soon to be given a land grant. This ended up giving them the distinction of being the very first settlers of the town of Durham, which was incorporated in 1708.
Caleb had the honor of being the first town clerk in 1706-1707, and then was a representative to the General Assembly in Connecticut on and off between 1710 and 1723. This was in addition to his usual job of being a tanner.
His and Lydia’s children were as follows:
- Daniel, born 16 October 1687; died April 28, 1688, both in Guilford
- Lydia, born May 22, 1689 in Guilford; married John Howe on April 5, 1714
- Caleb, born January 2, 1691 in Guilford; married Sarah Carr on January 21, 1713 at the Church of Christ in Durham; died July 4, 1769; buried in Old Durham Cemetery
- Thomas (discussed above)
- Noadiah, born August 22, 1697 in Guilford; died 1744
- Ephraim, born August 6, 1700, having the distinction of being the first white child born in Durham; married Abigail Wetmore on October 19, 1743 in Durham; died 1780
- Ebenezer, born June 7, 1703 as the second white child born in Durham; married Dorothy Rose; died October 19, 1795 in Chester, Hampshire County, Massachusetts
Caleb died in Durham on August 2, 1728, and Lydia followed much later on August 24, 1753. Both are buried in Old Durham Cemetery, and I was able to see and photograph Caleb’s gravestone myself. To see the words “first inhabitant” on the stone, and think: “That’s MY ancestor!” was pretty exciting!
Next time, we’ll take one more step back in the Seward family tree.