Seventh Greath-Grandfather Thomas Strong: His Descendants, With A Royal Connection

Thomas Strong, like his father, was one prolific man. Again, the following information is to the best of my knowledge. Thomas and Mary Hewett’s children (all born in Northampton) were:

  • Thomas, born November 16, 1661; married Mary Stebbins, November 17, 1683; died November 30, 1735 in Durham, New Haven County, CT
  • Maria, born August 31, 1663; married Samuel Judd; died May 18, 1751
  • John, born March 9, 1664/65; never married; died May 21, 1699 in Deerfield, Hampshire County, MA
  • Hewett, born December 2, 1666; never married; died before September 29, 1689 (Benjamin Woodbridge Dwight states in “The History of the Descendants of Elder John Strong” that he was one of the first settlers of Durham, CT. However, Durham was not even settled until 1699, so this cannot be true.)
  • Asahel, born November 14, 1668; married Margaret Hart; died October 8, 1739 in Farmington, Hartford County, CT; buried in Memento Mori Cemetery in Farmington

Thomas and Rachel Holton’s children (all born in Northampton) were:

  • Joseph, born, December 2, 1672; married Sarah Allen; died December 23, 1763 in Coventry, probably Hartford County (now Tolland County), CT; buried in Nathan Hale Cemetery in Coventry, although it must not have been known as such when Joseph was buried. (In fact, Nathan Hale was Joseph’s grandson. Another famous descendant of Joseph was Princess Diana, whose ancestry back to Joseph is best outlined here – thanks to Barbara Poole of the “Life From the Roots” blog.)
  • Benjamin, born 1674; never married; died August 27, 1755 in East Guilford (what is now Madison), New Haven County, CT; buried in Hammonasset Cemetery in Madison
  • Adino, born January 25, 1676; married Eunice Johnson; died December 31, 1749 in Woodbury, Fairfield County (now Litchfield County), CT; buried in South Cemetery in Woodbury
  • Waitstill, born 1677/78; married Mindwell Bartlett; died November 13, 1762; buried in Bridge Street Cemetery, Northampton, Hampshire County, MA
  • Rachel, born July 15, 1679; married Miles Dudley January 23, 1705/06
  • Selah, born December 23, 1680; married Abigail Terry; died April 8, 1732 in Brookhaven (what is now Setauket), Suffolk County, NY; buried in Saint Georges Manor Cemetery in Setauket
  • Benajah, born September 29, 1682; some trees indicate several marriages, but I haven’t explored them at this time
  • Ephraim, born January 4, 1685; died in Milford, New Haven County, CT
  • Elnathan, born August 20, 1686; died May 22, 1727 in Woodbury, Fairfield County (now Litchfield County), CT
  • Ruth, born February 4, 1688; married William Dudley (brother of Miles, who married Rachel Strong); died September 18, 1763; buried in Old North Cemetery in Guilford, New Haven County, CT

“The History of the Descendants of Elder John Strong” states that a daughter named Submit Strong was born February 23, 1690, but Mr. Dwight does not state where he may have obtained this information. (Perhaps she is actually a daughter of Thomas, Jr.?) There is some conflicting data about her on FamilySearch’s International Genealogical Index (IGI), so that is not even worth repeating.

1703 New England and New York.  Thomas Strong's children settled all over New England and New York.  Courtesy The New York Public Library Digital Collections.

1703 New England and New York. Thomas Strong’s children settled all over New England and New York. Courtesy The New York Public Library Digital Collections.

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Seventh Greath-Grandfather Thomas Strong: Simply His Life

As I climb further and further back into my family history, I find that there are less primary sources and more derivative and authored sources. I know that this can be “dangerous” in that what I try to determine what to write about. So I preface this and other stories set in colonial and early American times with that phrase I love on my tax return: this is all “to the best of my knowledge”. I am completely open to learning new and better information!

The following is Thomas’ story, leaving out the details of his many children (which I will cover in the next post):

Thomas Strong was born in the mid- to late-1630s, probably in Hingham, Massachusetts Bay Colony, the oldest child of John Strong and Abigail Ford. He was the first child in this line born in the New World.

Thomas seems to have spent much of his childhood in Taunton, Plymouth Colony, then the family moved to Windsor, Connecticut Colony. It was in Windsor where Thomas became a man and served as a trooper in 1658 under Major Mason. Thomas also had to have met his future wife, Mary Hewett (daughter of Reverend Ephraim Hewett or Huit and Isabel Overton) in Windsor. (As a side note, Reverend Huit’s gravestone is known to be the oldest legible gravestone in Connecticut.)

In 1659 Thomas (going along with most of his family) moved from Windsor to Northampton, Massachusetts Bay Colony. He must have returned to Windsor at the very least to wed Mary Hewett on December 5, 1660.

In Northampton, Thomas (like his father) became a part of community life. He was a member of the Church of Christ in Northampton. In July of 1666 he helped with the building of a mill in Northampton.

On February 20, 1770/71 Thomas’ wife Mary died, leaving him with their five children under the age of ten. I’m sure that his extended family in Northampton came alongside Thomas to help with the children, but they didn’t have to do so for long. On October 10, 1671 he married Rachel Holton (daughter of William Holton and Mary Winche). Thomas and Rachel went on to have at least ten more children of their own.

As a farmer, Thomas donated bushels of wheat to Harvard College between 1672 and 1673. On February 11, 1679/80 he, along with others, was sworn into office as a “tithing man”, a church official who was in charge of the morals of the community.

On October 3, 1689, Thomas died in Northampton. I imagine that, like his parents, he is buried at Bridge Street Cemetery in Northampton, although I have nothing that proves that.

After Thomas’ death, Rachel married Nathan Bradley of East Guilford (now Madison), New Haven County, CT in May 1698, and moved there with her younger children.

Ninth Great-Grandfather John Scranton: Puritan

We’ve arrived at the end of the Scranton line in the “New World”! One thing I’ve discovered is that when you trace your lines back to this point, you may find books and articles written about your ancestor, but just like online family trees, you also find plenty of conflicting information. Which only goes to show that there is nothing like finding original primary sources or at least sources contemporary to your events. I’m saying all this because I’ve found quite a bit of information on John Scranton, the forefather of my Scranton line, but some of this information does not agree with each other. What I’ll attempt to do is tell John’s story as best I can, trying to note conflicts where I’ve found them.

John Scranton’s birth was estimated to be around 1609-1610 in England. It is possible that he may have lived in Guildford, England with his fellow immigrants. (Guildford is a town that is 27 miles southwest of London.) While in England, it is thought that John married his first wife Joanna (whose last name is unknown).

When John left England is uncertain. I’ve seen an article state that he and others left in 1637 for Boston, Massachusetts; another stated that he was among the twenty-five families that traveled with Henry Whitfield to New Haven in May of 1639, to later take part in the “Fundamental Agreement” that formed the government of New Haven Colony. As his name is nowhere on the document, I think it was unlikely. I feel that the article that stated that John arrived in a second ship that arrived in New Haven in July 1639 is a more likely conclusion. Whenever he actually arrived, he was among a number of families that left England to escape religious persecution from the Church of England. He is credited to be among the original group who settled in Guilford Plantation on October 10, 1639. (Today, Guilford is a shoreline town that is bordered by Branford, North Branford, Durham, and Madison. I’m sure it took up most of these lands during its colonial days.) Minister Henry Whitfield was the leader of the settlers. Whitfield’s stone house (which also doubled as a fort and likely the settlement’s initial church meeting place) still stands. The early settlers helped build the house, so I have to wonder if John Scranton was one of them. Certainly he must have spent some time there.

Henry Whitfield House, the oldest stone house in New England. Courtesy Wikipedia

Henry Whitfield House, the oldest stone house in New England. Courtesy Wikipedia.

One account I read said that John Scranton first had two acres on East side of State Street. It’s unclear whether it was here or in the “Hammonasset Quarter”, where he moved in 1656, where he experienced success as a farmer, though I suspect it was the earlier spot. It was John who started the practice of cutting down trees (as opposed to digging them up) to clear the land before planting his wheat. He had “…astonished the people by gathering from [his acre of land] twenty bushels”.

John and Joanna’s known children, all born in Guilford, New Haven Colony were:

  • John, Jr., born circa 1641; married Mary Seward, March 12, 1773/4; married Elizabeth (Bishop) Clark, December 10, 1691; died September 2, 1703 in East Guilford (now known as Madison)
  • Thomas, born circa 1643; more info on him found here
  • Sarah, born May 16, 1645; married John Bushnell, May 15, 1665; they lived in Saybrook, Connecticut

John was admitted as a freeman on May 22, 1648. He later served as a Marshall from 1661 to 1662, and then as a Deputy to the New Haven Colony court during the “extra session” of January 1664. Soon after, New Haven Colony merged with Connecticut Colony.

Joanna Scranton died July 22, 1661. Less than two weeks after New Haven County was formed, John remarried Ada or Adaline (most recently widowed by Robert Hill) on May 22, 1666. John continued in public service as a Deputy to the General Court in 1669 & 1670. He later died on August 27, 1671.

Being the closest ancestral land to where I live now, I’m probably long overdue for a trip to Guilford. I would love to visit the Whitfield House and walk on the land where my ancestors walked. Perhaps if I’m lucky, I will find some records that will clarify John Scranton’s life.