The Sewards, Back to Caleb

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
Caleb Seward (the younger)'s grave.  Author's collection.

Caleb Seward (the younger)’s grave. Author’s collection.

Sarah (Carr) Seward's grave.  Author's collection.

Sarah (Carr) Seward’s grave. Author’s collection.

  • 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!

The grave of Caleb Seward, First Inhabitant of Durham!  Author's collection.

The grave of Caleb Seward, First Inhabitant of Durham! Author’s collection.

Next time, we’ll take one more step back in the Seward family tree.

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Seventh Great-Grandfather Thomas Strong, Jr.

Seventh Great-Grandfather Thomas Strong, Jr.

Let me start by saying that I only use the designation “Jr.” here because much of what I’ve read uses “Jr.” to distinguish him from his father; I have not seen that he actually used this designation himself.  Thomas Strong, Jr. was the oldest child of Thomas Strong and Mary Hewett of Northampton, Massachusetts Bay Colony.  He was born on November 16, 1661.  Thomas became a farmer.

Thomas married Mary Stebbins (daughter of John Stebbins and Abigail Bartlett) on November 17, 1683 in Northampton.  Their children (all born in Northampton) were:

  • Mary, born August 7, 1684; died August 31, 1684
  • Thomas, born August 27, 1686; married Mary _____; ended up living in Coventry, Tolland County, CT
  • Eliakim, born September 26, 1688; married Mehitable King on April 13, 1712; died January 24, 1745/46 in Durham, New Haven County, CT
  • Mary, born December 29, 1690; married Thomas Alvord, Jr. between 1707 and 1710
  • Hewett, born January 27, 1694; died March 25, 1694
  • Hewett, born May 1696; married Dinah ____ November 17, 1726 (who died in 1737); then married another wife on April 26, 1739; moved from Durham to New Berlin (New York? or perhaps actually Berlin, Connecticut?) to Farmington, Hartford County, CT; died in what became Durham, Greene County, NY (I am not sure if it was still Freehold at the time of his death.)
  • John, born April 25, 1698
  • Rachel, born April 15, 1700; married Samuel Robinson March 19, 1724
  • Damaris (some records say Tamar), born 1702; married John Camp; died August 25, 1737 in Durham, CT; buried in Old Durham Cemetery
  • Hannah, born 1704; married Benoni Hills 1724
  • Mercy, born Nov 16, 1707

With all of his family except for Eliakim and perhaps Mary, Thomas moved to Durham, CT “shortly after” 1708.  I assume that he continued his trade of farming there.  His wife Mary predeceased him on August 8, 1733.  He passed away on November 30, 1735, and both are buried in Old Durham Cemetery.

Sixth Great-Grandfather Abraham Scranton

I almost was ready to just post a simple sketch of Scrantons going back to England when it seemed like David Scranton was telling me, “Wait! There’s more!” As I took a closer look, I found there were more stories to be told, this time about David’s father Abraham.

Abraham Scranton, the fourth son and sixth child of Samuel Scranton and Elizabeth Bishop, was born 1724 in Guilford, New Haven County, Connecticut. He was the first Scranton to settle in Durham sometime before December 1749.

Abraham married Beulah Seward of Durham, the daughter of Joseph Seward. They had three sons, all born in Durham:

  • Abraham, born December 3, 1749, died January 28, 1836. He married Hannah Camp on January 1, 1772 in Durham (she died April 18, 1796). Abraham served in the Revolutionary War as a Lieutenant.  After the war, he served on the Connecticut General Assembly. On January 1, 1811, he married Louisa Fairchild, who later died during January 1839.
  • David, born October 27, 1751, died March 5, 1838 in Manchester, Nova Scotia. More information on David can be found here and here.
  • Enos, born 1753 (baptized November 25, 1753); died October 1, 1754; buried in Old Durham Cemetery.

Beulah died in 1756, when young Abraham was only seven and David was four years old. I had never noticed this before, and I wonder how it impacted his sympathies for his daughter Phebe when her mother died.

Beulah (Seward) Scranton's grave (here spelled Bulah), Old Durham Cemetery. Author's collection.

Beulah (Seward) Scranton’s grave (here spelled Bulah), Old Durham Cemetery. Author’s collection.

It wasn’t long before Abraham re-married, this time to a woman named Elennor (or Elenor), widow of James Picket, on May 10, 1757. They, too, had three sons:

  • Ichabod, baptized March 12, 1758; died October 29, 1760; buried in Old Durham Cemetery.
  • Garnsey, born circa 1759, died November 24, 1761; buried in Old Durham Cemetery. (Some online trees show him born in 1764 and dying in 1766.)
  • Ichabod born on August 31, 1762; married Rachel Seward, who died August 1819. Once she passed on, Ichabod moved to Vincennes, Indiana, and then to Terre Haute where he died in 1823.
Abraham Scranton's grave, Old Durham Cemetery. Author's collection.

Abraham Scranton’s grave, Old Durham Cemetery. Author’s collection.

Abraham passed away on May 3, 1780 in Durham at age 56. He is buried in Old Durham Cemetery. When his estate was settled on July 3, 1780, his eighteen-year-old son Ichabod was left under his half-brother Abraham’s guardianship. Elennor later died on April 26, 1797.