City of Derby
New Haven County

History of the Colony of New Haven Connecticut

History of the Colony of New Haven to it's Absorption into Connecticut
by Edward Elias Atwater

Chapters 9-10

Introduction    Chapt. 1-2    Chapt. 3-5    Chapt. 6-8   
Chapt. 9-10    Chapt. 11-12    Chapt. 13-14    Chapt. 15-16   
Chapt. 17    Chapt. 18-19    Chapt. 20-21    Appendix 1-7

Page 155


BENJAMIN FENN, Thomas Buckingham, Thomas Welch, Richard Miles, Henry Stonhill, William Fowler, Peter Prudden, James Prudden, Edmund Tapp, Timothy Baldwin, Richard Platt, and Zachariah Whitman were mentioned in the last chapter as having removed to Milford. Other persons from New Haven who engaged with them in commencing a new plantation were John Pocock, Thomas Tibbals, John Fowler, Richard Baldwin, Nathanael Baldwin, Joseph Baldwin, and John Baldwin. The four last named were perhaps sons of the widow Baldwin, who was one of the proprietors in the Herefordshire quarter at New Haven. To these was added a company from Wethersfield, who, with perhaps a few from other places, increased the number of planters commencing the settlement at Milford to fifty-four.

Before their removal to Milford, a church had been organized by them at New Haven on the twenty-second day of August, 1639, the day when the New Haven church was constituted, or, as Mather reports it, one day later. The same method of organization was adopted by the people who were to remove to Milford as by their brethren who were to remain at New Haven.

Page 156

They chose seven men for the foundation, and these admitted others. The names of the seven were Peter Prudden, William Fowler, Edmund Tapp, Zachariah Whitman, John Astwood, Thomas Buckingham, and Thomas Welch. Six of them had been resident at New Haven; and one, viz., John Astwood, had resided at Wethersfield.

The town records begin with a list of forty-four persons "allowed to be free planters, having for the present, liberty to act in the choice of public officers for carrying on of public affairs in this plantation." The list was prepared in accordance with an order passed at the first general court of the planters held in Milford on the 2Oth of November, 1639, at which it was "voted and agreed that the power of electing officers and persons to divide the land into lots, to take order for the timber, and to manage the common interests of the plantation, should be in the church only, and that the persons so chosen should be only from among themselves."

At the same court other orders were passed, as follows: viz., -

That they would guide themselves in all their doings by the written word of God, till such time as a body of laws should be established;

That five men should be chosen for judges in all civil affairs, to try all causes between man and man, and as a court to punish any offence and misdemeanor;

That the persons invested with the magistracy should have power to Call a general court whenever they might see cause, or the public good require;

That they should hold particular courts once in six

Page 157

weeks, wherein should be tried such causes as might be brought before them, they to examine witnesses upon oath as need should require;

That, according to the sum of money which each person paid toward the public charges, in such proportion should he receive or be repaid in lands, and that all planters who might come after should pay their share equally for some other public use;

That the town seal should be the letters M and F joined thus:

The court then proceeded to choose for judges, William Fowler, Edmund Tapp, Zachariah Whitman, John Astwood, and Richard Miles, to continue in office till the next court of election, to be holden the first week in October.

It appears from this action taken at their first general court, that the planters of Milford, like those of New Haven, allowed the right of suffrage to church-members only, and that forty-four of them out of fifty- four were at first possessed of this qualification. This was a much larger proportion than at New Haven, where a great majority of the planters not possessing this qualification, though "having a purpose, resolution, and desire that they may be admitted into church-fellowship according to Christ as soon as God shall fit them thereunto," voluntarily deprived themselves of the right of suffrage till they should become thus qualified. One might easily believe that Milford, where so great a majority of the planters were church-members, would adhere to the rule once established, longer than New Haven; but in truth Milford within three years, and perhaps in much less time, admitted six of the ten who

Page 158

had been excluded, to be free burgesses while they were not church- members. On second thought one will conclude that the smallness of the minority was in itself a reason why the rule was changed. Perhaps, when four of the ten had become members of the church and of the court, the absurdity of apprehending any evil from the admission of the remaining six to equal political rights was an irresistible appeal to the majority to change the rule. There may have been less objection to the change for the reason that the rule was not, as at New Haven, a fundamental law, but subject to repeal by a majority of votes, like the common orders of the court. Indeed, the heading of the list of the forty-four reads as if there were some doubt at the time whether the exclusion of the ten would be permanent. It is a list of persons "having for the present, liberty to act in the choice of public officers."

At the second general court, held March 9, 1640, "it was agreed between William Fowler and the brethren (the five judges), that he should build a mill, and have her going by the last of September, when the town were to take it off his hands, if they saw proper, for one hundred and eighty pounds; or else the brethren were to appoint what toll he should take." "It was (says Lambert) the first mill erected in New Haven colony." The high estimation in which it was held by the planters is evident from the fact that when it had been injured by a freshet, they voted in a general court held in December, 1645, tnat all the town should help Mr. Fowler repair the mill, and he was to call for them, each man a day, till he should have gone through the town, whenever he needed help. "If he went not

Page 159

through the town in one year, the same liberty was granted till he had gone through." Until this time the plantation had been called by its Indian name of Wepowaug; but at a general court held Nov. 24, 1640, "with common consent and general vote of the freemen, the plantation was named Milford." The letters in the town seal indicate, however, that the name of Milford had been chosen at an earlier date, and that this formal action was taken for the purpose of superseding the Indian name.

A record of home-lots was made in 1646, from which a map of the town plot can be drawn, showing the names of all who were proprietors at that time, and the relative position of their dwellings; for as every planter was required to erect a good house within three years, or forfeit his lot, it may be presumed that nearly all to whom home-lots were recorded in 1646 had complied with this condition. The number of proprietors had by this time increased to sixty-six. The map opposite page 155 was enlarged from Lambert's History of the Colony of New Haven. It exhibits the line of palisades which enclosed the whole settlement, and the arrangement of the home-lots on both sides of Mill River and of West End Brook. A footway across the field, such as is often seen in England, led from the West End to the meeting-house, "the stiles to be maintained by brother Nicholas Camp at the West End and by brother Thomas Baker at the meetinghouse (for the outside stiles); and for the inner fences, each man shall maintain his stile in the most convenient place; and the passage over Little Dreadful Swamp in John Fletcher's lot, shall be by a long log hewed on the upper side."

Page 160

In the allotment of out-lands, a course was taken similar to that taken at New Haven. "In the first division abroad" a tract lying south,of the town and east of Mill River was assigned to the planters whose home-lots fronted on that river, and was called Eastfield. Another tract west of the same river was allotted to the planters whose houses fronted on West End Brook, and was called Westfield. Each of these fields, or quarters as they would have been called in New Haven, being subdivided among the proprietors according to the estates they had respectively reported for taxation, was enclosed with a fence, to the expense of which each proprietor contributed in proportion to the number of his acres. Meadow- land was also allotted to each planter in proportion to his estate. Several divisions of upland subsequently made, were conducted according to the same rule.

We have already observed that a few families from Kent, moved by the change which took place in ecclesiastical administration when Laud succeeded Abbot, had emigrated in the company of Mr. Davenport. These were the earnest of a company from Kent, Surrey, and Sussex, which came two years later, and settled in Guilford. That the two companies were connected, and that they were in communication after the arrival of Mr. Davenport at Quinnipiac, appears from the fact that Mr. Whitfield sailed direct for Quinnipiac, and that Mr. Davenport's only child, whom his parents had left behind on account of his tender years, came with his nurse in the same ship, as also from the covenant

Page 161

which Mr. Whitfield's company made and signed on shipboard.(*) The covenant was as follows:-

"We, whose names are hereunder written, intending by God's gracious permission to plant ourselves in New England, and, if it may be, in the southerly part, about Quinnipiac: We do faithfully promise each to each, for ourselves and families, and those that belong to us; that we will, the Lord assisting us, sit down and join ourselves together in one entire plantation; and to be helpful each to the other in every common work, according to every man's ability and as need shall require; and we promise not to desert or leave each other or the plantation, but with the consent of the rest or the greater part of the company who have entered into this engagement.

"As for our gathering together in a church way, and the choice of officers and members to be joined together in that way, we do refer ourselves until such time as. it shall please God to settle us in our plantation.

"In witness whereof we subscribe our hands the first day of June, 1639.


The exact time when Mr. Whitfield and his fellow voyagers arrived in the harbor of Quinnipiac cannot be

(* Inquiry for the autograph of this covenant has been unsuccessful.)

Page 162

ascertained; but there is reason to believe they were near the end of their voyage when they signed the above agreement, three days previous to the meeting of the New Haven planters in Mr. Newman's barn, when permanent foundations of ecclesiastical and civil order were laid. It is here given as found in the "History of Guilford" by Ralph D. Smith. Under date of "Quinnipiac, July 28, 1639," Mr. Davenport writes to his friend Lady Vere:-

"MADAM, - By the good hand of our God upon us, my dear child is safely arrived with sundry desirable friends, as Mr. Fenwick and his lady, Mr. Whitfield, &c., to our great comfort.

"Their passage was so ordered, as it appeared that prayers were accepted. For they had no sickness in the ship except a little sea-sickness; not one died, but they brought to shore one more than was known to be in the vessel 'at their coming forth, for a woman was safely delivered of a child, and both were alive and well. They attained to the haven where they would be, in seven weeks. Their provisions at sea held good to the last. About the time when we guessed they might approach near us, we set a day apart for public extraordinary humiliation by fasting and prayer, in which we commended them into the hands of our God whom winds and seas obey, and shortly after sent out a pinnace to pilot them to our harbor: for it was the first ship that ever cast anchor in this place. But our pilot, having waited for them a fortnight, grew weary and returned home; and the very next night after, the ship came in, guided by God's own hand to our town. The sight of the harbor did so please the captain of the ship and all the passengers, that he called it the Fair Haven. Since that, another ship hath brought sundry passengers, and a third is expected daily."

It appears from this letter that Mr. Whitfield's company did not all come in one ship. The signers of the agreement are twenty-five in number, of whom one, and perhaps two, did not settle at Guilford. Thomas Nash,

Page 163

being a smith competent to repair guns as well as to do general work in the line of his trade, became a planter at New Haven, and is third in the list of those who signed the fundamental agreement after it was copied into the record-book. The reasons why he should reside in the larger plantation were so weighty that his fellow-passengers doubtless released him from his agreement. The name of John Hughes not appearing on the earliest record of planters at Guilford, it may be conjectured(*) that he died at an early date, or was diverted from that to some other plantation.

As the first ship brought only twenty-three of the first planters of Guilford, we must conclude that the others arrived in the second or in the second and third ships mentioned in Mr. Davenport's letter. If the first ship arrived in June, the second early in July, and the third soon after the date of the letter, we may conclude that only preliminary steps were taken for selecting a site previous to the arrival of the last division of their company. Soon after all had arrived, a meeting was held in Mr. Newman's barn, which is thus alluded to in the "Guilford Book of the more fixed Orders for the Plantation." "JANUARY 1st 16_9 (N. S. 1650).

"Upon a review of the more fixed agreements, laws and orders formerly and from time to time made, The General Court here held the day and year aforesaid thought fit, agreed and established them

(*It is a reasonable conjecture that the third ship brought the company which settled Southold on Long Island. As the first vessel is known to have brought about half of the Guilford families, the second would probably be sufficient for the transportation of the remainder. The third vessel sufficiently accounts for the presence at New Haven of the Southold Company, a problem which, so far as the writer is aware, no one has attempted, to solve.)

Page 164

according to the ensuing draft, as followeth, viz., - first we do acknowledge, ratify, confirm and allow the agreement made in Mr. Newman's barn at Quillipeack, now called New Haven, that the whole lands called Menunkatuck should be purchased for us and our heirs, but the deed- writings thereabouts to be made and drawn (from the Indians) in the name of these six planters in our steads, viz., Henry Whitfield, Robert Kitchel, William Leete, William Chittenden, John Bishop and John Caffinge; notwithstanding all and every planter shall pay his proportionable part or share towards all the charges and expenses for purchasing, selling, securing or carrying on the necessary public affairs of this plantation according to such rule and manner of rating as shall be from time to time agreed on in this plantation."(*)

According to this agreement made in Mr. Newman's barn, a purchase was made from Shaumpishuh, the sachem squaw of Menunkatuck, which is defined in the following deed:- "Articles of agreement made and agreed on the 29th of September, 1639, between Henry Whitfield, Robert Kitchel, William Chittenden, Wm. Leete, John Bishop and Jno. Caffinch, English planters of Menunkatuck, and the sachem squaw of Menunkatuck together with the Indian inhabitants of Menunkatuck as followeth:

"First, that the sachem squaw is the sole owner, possessor and inheritor of all the lands lying between Ruttawoo and Ajicomick river.

"Secondly, that the said sachem squaw with the consent of the Indians there inhabiting (who are all, together with herself, to remove from thence) doth sell unto the foresaid English planters all the lands lying within the aforesaid limits of Ruttawoo and Ajicomick river.

"Thirdly, that the said sachem squaw having received twelve

(* This was a meeting of the newly arrived Guilford planters, and should not be confounded with the earlier meeting of New Haven planters on the fourth day of June.)

Page 165

coats, twelve fathom of wampum, twelve glasses, twelve pairs of shoes, twelve hatchets, twelve pairs of stockings, twelve hoes, four kettles, twelve knives, twelve hats, twelve porringers, twelve spoons, two English coats, professeth herself to be fully paid and satisfied."

(SACHEM SQUAW, her mark. "JOHN HIGGINSON witness \ Henry Whitfield in the ROBT. NEWMAN}

Additional territory was afterward purchased of other Indians; but the aforesaid deed covers all the land within the present limits of Guilford.

At the time when the deed was written, the purchasers must have been already resident on the land purchased, as they are described as "English planters of Menunkatuck." Probably those who arrived in the first ship had visited the place, andhprepared the way by negotiating with the Indians, so that, soon after the others came to land, all went together to their new home. If this be true, the deed was signed at Menunkatuck, though there is no proof of this in the writing itself. The presenpe of John Higginson, one of the witnesses, is worthy of notice. This young gentleman, naw in the twenty-fourth year of his age, may have stopped at the new settlement merely for needful refreshment as he journeyed from Saybrook Fort, where he was chaplain, to visit his mother at Quinnipiac. But, if this was his first introduction to the planters of Menunkatuck, we may conclude from his subsequent history that he soon repeated his visit; for within two years he married a daughter of Mr. Whitfield, and fixed his residence at Guilford. Trumbul says of the founders of this plantation:-

Page 166

"As they were from Kent and Surrey, they took much pains to find a tract of land resembling that from which they had removed. They therefore finally pitched upon Guilford, which, toward the sea, where they made the principal settlement, was low, moist, rich land, liberal indeed to the husbandman, especially the great plain south of the town. This had been already cleared and enriched by the natives. The vast quantities of shells and manure, which in a course of ages they had brought upon it from the sea, had contributed much to the natural richness of the soil. There were also nearly adjoining to this several necks, or points of land, near the sea, clear, rich, and fertile, prepared for immediate improvement."

No list of planters is extant bearing an earlier date than 1650. About that time a catalogue of the freemen was recorded, to which were appended the names of planters not yet admitted to the right of suffrage. Two or three names of each of these classes appear to have been added as late as 1652. The freemen of the plantation were:- Henry Whitfield, Jno. Higginson, George Hubbard, Mr. Samuel Desborough, Mr. Robert Kitchel, Mr. Wm. Chittenden, Mr. Wm. Leete, Thomas Jordan, John Hoadley, John Scranton, George Bartlett, Jasper Stillwell, Alexander Chalker, John Stone, Thomas Jones, William Hall, Thomas Betts, John Parmelin, sen., Henry Kingsnorth, Thomas Cook, Richard Bristow, John Parmelin, Jr., John Fowler, Wm. Dudley, Richard Gutridge, Abraham Cruttenden, sen., Edward Benton, John Evarts. The planters who had not been admitted as freemen were:-

Page l67

John Johnson, John Sheader, Samuel Blachley, Thomas French, Stephen Bishop, Thomas Stevens, William Boreman, Edward Seward, George Highland, Abraham Cruttenden, Jr., John Bishop, sen., Thomas Chatfield, Francis Bushnell, Henry Dowd, Richard Hughes, George Chatfield, William Stone, John Stevens, Benjamin Wright, John Linsley.

The planters of both these classes were at that time forty-eight in number; of whom four, namely, John Higginson, George Hubbard, John Fowler, and Thomas Betts, had not been of the company of original planters. Higginson came from Saybrook, where he had been chaplain for four years; and the three others removed from Milford. But the plantation had lost as many or more by removals from it as it had gained by removals to it from other places; and at least seven proprietors are known to have died before 1650. We have seen how Thomas Nash, who came in the same ship with Whitfield, was detached from the company. John Caffinge, or Caffinch, one of the six trustees for purchasing and holding land, and the only one of them who did not come in the same ship with Whitfield, became a planter at New Haven within two or three years after the deeds were signed in which he is named as grantee. Thomas Relf and Thomas Dunk had also removed. In the list of the dead were Thomas Norton, Thomas Mills, John Mepham, John Jordan, William Somers, William Plane, and Francis Austin.

The catalogue of planters in 1650 doubtless contains some names of young men, who, coming with their

Page 168

parents in 1639, had since become proprietors. If these amounted to seven, the number of planters in 1639 was the same as in 1650. Comparing Guilford with other plantations in New England during these eleven years, we must conclude that if it had neither gained nor lost in population, it had been comparatively prosperous. England, which had sent so many Puritans to America, was now governed by Puritans, and emigration had consequently ceased. Many plantations were losing from year to year more families by the removal of those who were "going home" and by deaths than they gained by marriages. The people of Guilford, depending entirely on agriculture for subsistence, and having abundance of fertile land, though they suffered in the general depression, were not so much impoverished as the merchants of New Haven.

From the commencement of the plantation till the gathering of a church in 1643, the undivided lands were held in trust by the six planters in whose name the deed was originally taken. Four of the six were early designated as a provisional committee in whom all civil power was vested. At a meeting of the planters held Feb. 2, 1642, it was "agreed that the civil power for administration of justice and preservation of peace shall remain in the hands of Robert Kitchel, William Chittenden, John Bishop, and William Leete, formerly chosen for that work, until some, may be chosen out of the church that shall be gathered here." Mr. Whitfield was doubtless excused from acting in this provisional magistracy on account of his pastoral relation, and Mr. Caffinch had removed to New Haven. When the church had been formed, civil government was

Page 169

instituted by the members of it; and the record of its institution is preceded by the following minute concerning the provisional committee of four: viz., - "Into their hands we did put full power and authority to act, order, and despatch all matters respecting the public weal and civil government of the plantation till a church was gathered among us, which the Lord in mercy having now done according to the desire of our hearts; the said four men at the public meeting having resigned up their trust as most safe and suitable for securing of those main ends for which we came hither," &c.

What the main ends thus alluded to were, may be learned from the following extract:- "The main ends which we propounded to ourselves in our coming hither were that we may settle and uphold the ordinances of God in an explicit Congregational church way with most purity, peace, and liberty, for the benefit both of ourselves and our posterities after us."

Their ideal church, for the realization of which they had been willing to make so great sacrifices, was instituted June 19, 1643, after the example of New Haven and Milford, by choosing seven men who might admit other approved persons. The seven who were chosen were Henry Whitfield, John Higginson, Samuel Desborough, William Leete, Jacob Sheafe, John Mepham, and John Hoadley.

The settlement of their ecclesiastical and civil polity may have been hastened by events taking place beyond the precincts of Guilford. Commissioners from the four colonies of Massachusetts, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven had agreed, on Articles of Confederation; and these articles had been signed at Boston on the nineteenth day of May, just one month

Page 170

before the church of Guilford was instituted. This confederation of colonies was formed for mutual assistance and defence, and was deemed especially necessary in view of the distracted condition of England, which forbade them to expect help from the mother country in any quarrel that might arise with the colonies of Holland or Sweden, or against any combination of savages to extirpate the white people.

Such a confederation of the four New England colonies made it necessary that the plantations about New Haven, if they would reap the expected advantages of the confederation, should be combined into one colonial government. The plantations at Stamford and at Southold on Long Island were already united with the plantation at New Haven in one jurisdiction. Guilford accordingly qualified itself to be admitted, by organizing its plantation government after the pattern set by New Haven, and proposed by that plantation as a condition of union with it in one colonial government.

The planters of Guilford who were not church-members were not inferior in magnanimous self-abnegation to those of New Haven, who for the public weal and in allegiance to principle had relinquished the right of suffrage. So far as is known, none objected to the fundamental agreement thus expressed: "We do now therefore, all and every of us, agree, order and conclude that only such planters as are also members of the church here shall be and be called freemen, and that such freemen only shall have power to elect magistrates, deputies, and other officers of public interest or authority in matters of importance concerning either

Page 171

the civil affairs or government here, from amongst themselves and not elsewhere; and to take an account of all such officers for the honest and faithful discharge of their several places respectively."

It will be observed that by this agreement civil power is restricted to members of the church in Guilford; while at New Haven church-membership in general was the required qualification, and members of "other approved churches" were admitted freemen, as well as members of the church in New Haven. But this divergence from the New Haven rule was probably owing to the fact that all church-members at Guilford entered at once into the new ecclesiastical organization.

Southold on Long Island was settled by a company emigrating from Norfolkshire, England, under the guidance of Rev. John Youngs. As they sailed direct for New Haven, it may be inferred that their leader was in communication with Mr. Davenport, and had heard from him since his arrival at Quinnipiac. There is no documentary testimony in regard to the time of their arrival. The common opinion is, that they came over in 1640; and this opinion seems to be founded on the testimony of Trumbull, that Mr. Youngs gathered his church anew on the 21st of October, 1640. But, if they arrived in New Haven in the summer of 1640, we should hardly expect, in view of what the planters at New Haven, Milford, and Guilford did, that they would be prepared for the formal organization of a church the same year, that they had been some time on the ground when the church was instituted, appears from the record "that one man sold his house only

Page 172

four days afterward." If Mr. Youngs conferred with Mr. Davenport in the spring of 1637, and waited to hear that the latter had found "accommodations" suffciently ample for Himself and for his friends, he needed not to wait longer than 1639. Moreover, tradition says that Mr. Youngs' company staid some time at New Haven. For these reasons it is not improbable that they landed at New Haven in 1639, and that they came in the vessel mentioned in Mr. Davenport's letter to Lady Vere, "as expected daily." Be this as it may, they not only shaped their institutions according to the pattern set by the planters of New Haven, but placed themselves from the first under the same jurisdiction. Milford and Guilford, though using the mould fashioned by Davenport and Eaton, had established each a jurisdiction entirely independent. But Southold, or Yennicot (as it was for a time called), was a part of the jurisdiction of New Haven.(*) Hubbard says, "This came to pass by reason of the purchase of the land by some of New Haven, who disposed of it to the inhabitants upon condition of their union." Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that, Mr. Youngs' company having been persuaded to unite their plantation with that at New Haven under one jurisdiction, the magistrates assisted them in their negotiations, and took the deed in their own name as officers of the jurisdiction. That the conveyance was made to the jurisdiction, and not to the plantation of Southold, is evident from the petition of the freemen of Southold at a general court held at New Haven for the jurisdiction, the 30th of May,

(* History of Southold, by Rev. Epher Whitaker, in New Haven Colony Historical Society Coll, Vol. II.)

Page 173

1649, "that the purchase of their plantation might be made over to them." But, though Yennicot was nominally a part' of the jurisdiction of New Haven, it does not appear that it was represented in any court at New Haven, or that any legislative action was taken in regard to it at New Haven for several years. Stamford appears on the record earlier than Southold, as a plantation combined with that at New Haven. The freemen of Southold were for the time being, left to manage their own affairs, and no sufficiently cogent reason urged them to send deputies to the court at New Haven. "Among the early settlers," says Rev. Epher Whitaker, "were Rev. John Youngs, William Wells, Esq., Barnabas Horton, Peter Hallock, John Tuthill, Richard Terry, Thomas Mapes, Matthias Corwin, Robert Akerlyi John Corey, John Conklyne, John Budd, Thomas Moore, Richard Benjamin, Philemon Dickerson, Barnabas Wines, James Reeve, William Furrier, Jdhn Tucker, Jeremiah Vail, Henry Case, John Swazey, Charles Glover, Robert Smyth, Richard Skidmore, John Elton, Thomas Benedict, John Booth, Richard Brown, Ralph Goldsmith, Simon Grover, Thomas Cooper, Caleb Curtis, Thomas Dimon, James Haines, John Herbert, Peter Paine, and Samuel King." But some of these did not come from England with Mr. Youngs' company, and did not become planters at Southold when it was first settled. Lieut. John Budd removed from New Haven, and probably others from other plantations. Trumbull mentions Mr. Youngs, Mr. William Wells, Mr. Barnabas Horton, Thomas Mapes, John Tuthill, and Matthias Corwin as "some of the principal men."

Page 174

When Trumbull speaks of Mr. Youngs as gathering his church anew, he seems to intimate that some of his company had been under his pastoral care in England. Youngs had probably been the pastor of a Separate or Congregational church in Hingham, Norfolkshire, and, like John Lothrop, had brought his church with him. Though Trumbull says nothing of gathering the church upon a foundation-work of seven men chosen for that purpose, there can be no doubt, considering the close union between New Haven and Southold, that the church was gathered in that way, or that the seven thus chosen were the foundation and beginning of the general court, as well as of the church.

Stamford was purchased of the Indians by Capt. Turner, as agent for the people of New Haven, July _, 1640. New Haven doubtless purchased the territory for the sake of securing it for planters who would establish institutions like her own. On the fourth day of November in the same year, the General Court of New Haven sold the territory to Andrew Ward and Robert Coe, the representatives of about twenty-two families wishing to leave Wethersfield, and establish a new plantation after the pattern set by New Haven, and under its jurisdiction. The terms of the sale were:-

"First, that they shall repay unto the said town of New Haven all the charges which they have "disbursed about it, which, conies to 33, as appears by a note or schedule hereunto annexed. Secondly, that they reserve a fifth part of the said plantation to be disposed of at the appointment of this court to such desirable persons as may be expected, or as God shall send hither, provided, that, if within one whole year such persons do not come to fill up those lots so reserved, that then it shall be free for the said

Page 175

people to nominate and present to this court some persons of their own choice who may fill up some of those lots so reserved if this court should approve of them. Thirdly, that they join in all points with this plantation in the form of government here settled." Trumbull says that the whole number for whom the purchase was made, obliged themselves to remove with their families the next year before the last of November, and that the settlement commenced in the spring of 1641. He mentions as the principal planters, Rev. Richard Denton, Mr. Matthew Mitchel, Mr. Thurston Raynor, Mr. Andrew Ward, Mr. Robert Coe, and Mr. Richard Gildersleeve. He might have added the name of Francis Bell, who, with Andrew Ward, was present at a general court of election held at New Haven the 27th of October, 1641, where they were admitted members of the court, and deceived the charge of freemen. Their presence as members of the court is the first intimation in the records that that assembly had become a court for the plantations combined in the jurisdiction of New Haven. At the same court "Thurston Raynor (was) chosen constable for Rippowams, to order such business as may fall in that town, according to God, for the ensuing year; but is not to be established in his office till he have received his charge from this court, and signified his acceptance thereof to this court."

On the 6th of April, 1642, Matthew Mitchell and John Whitmore of Rippowams were admitted members of the court, and accepted the charge of freemen. On the same day "the plantation of Rippowams is named Stamford." The record styles Mitchell and Whitmore "deputies for Stamford," as if they had been appointed by the freemen of that plantation to attend as their

Page 176

deputies. Doubtless Andrew Ward and Francis Bell had received a similar appointment in the preceding autumn.

At the same court John Tuthill of Southold was appointed "constable to order the affairs of that plantation, the time being, till some further course be taken by this court for the settling a magistracy there according to God."

The court, having thus assumed to legislate for other plantations than New Haven, " ordered that every first Wednesday in April, and every Wednesday in the last whole week in October, shall be a general court held at New Haven for the plantations in combination with this town."

This may be regarded as the first formal institution of colonial government at New Haven. The General Court, so far as appears from the records, had confined its legislation to the affairs of the New Haven plantation till October, 1641. At its next semi-annual meeting, it declares itself to be, in all its regular semiannual meetings, a colonial legislature, having jurisdiction over the combined plantations of New Haven, Southold, and Stamford. In the next chapter we have to relate how Guilford and Milford, which, though organized after the pattern of New Haven, were entirely independent, became united with the three plantations mentioned above as already combined in one jurisdiction, and how the colony which included these five plantations united with other colonies in a confederation which they called "THE UNITED COLONIES OF NEW ENGLAND."

Page 177


IN narrating the settlement of Stamford, we showed that its freemen were received as members of the General Court at New Haven. The court by so receiving them became a court for the jurisdiction. Six months afterward, when Stamford again made its appearance, the court formally declared that in its regular April and October meetings it was "a General Court held at New Haven for the plantations in combination with this town." Its records, however, were made in the same book and by the same secretary as before, and are intermingled with those of the New Haven plantation courts, both general and particular. The general courts for the jurisdiction are not distinguished from the general courts previously held in April and October by any different title, till the secretary styles it on the 26th of October, 1643, "a General Court of Election held at New Haven for this jurisdiction;" and on the following day, "a General Court held at New HaVen for the jurisdiction."

Thereafter, as long as its proceedings were recorded in the same book, this colonial assembly is distinguished by this title from an assembly of the freemen resident at New Haven, which was sometimes but not always contra

Page 178

distinguished as "a General Court held at New Haven for the plantation." The record-book of the New Haven plantation records only two courts for the jurisdiction later than April, 1644, - one a court of magistrates held June 14, 1646, and the other a court of election held Oct. 27 in the same year. Plainly some other book was ordinarily used; and probably some other secretary had been appointed in place of Fugill, who acted as secretary for the jurisdiction till April, 1644. Unfortunately the first record-book belonging to the jurisdiction has been lost; and there is consequently, with the exception mentioned, a hiatus in the records of the jurisdiction extending from April, 1644, to May, 1653. The history of the colony during this period of nine years must be gleaned from the records of the towns and of the United Colonies. After May, 1653, the'records are complete, and furnish more copious information. At a general court held at New Haven on the 5th of April, 1643, the transaction of business, both for the jurisdiction and for the town, shows that the court itself, as well as its secretary, had not quite learned to discriminate between the local and the colonial government. Besides calling Goodman Osborne to account for spoiling divers hides in the tanning, and ordering "that sister Preston shall sweep and dress the meeting-house every week, and have one shilling a week for her pains," the court appointed Thurston Raynor "magistrate to execute that office at Stamford until the next general court of election at New Haven, which will be in October next," and "ordered that those four men already employed in the town's occasions there, namely, Capt. John Under-

Page 179

hill, Mr. Mitchell, Andrew Ward, and Robert Coe, shall assist as the deputies at New Haven in counsel and advice for the more comely carrying on of public affairs."

Thus Stamford, like New Haven, had its magistrate and its four deputies. The meaning of the specification that the deputies should assist the magistrate in counsel and advice will be seen by referring to the order appointing "the deputies at New Haven "six months before, which reads thus: "Mr. Malbon, Mr. Gregson, Mr. Gilbert, and Mr. Wakeman are chosen deputies for this ensuing year to assist in the courts by way of advice, but not to have any power by way of sentence." There is no evidence that a magistracy had been at this time set up at Southold. The freemen there held general courts in which the affairs of the plantation were ordered; and these assemblies were convened by persons commissioned to do so, and to act for the freemen in the intervals between the courts as the selectmen of a town now are. Besides these plantation officers, there was a constable at Southold appointed by the jurisdiction to be its representative and functionary till a magistracy should be settled.

Such was the condition of the colonial government when it entered into confederation with the colonies of Massachusetts, Plymouth, and Connecticut, in 1643. A confederation of colonies had been proposed, and artcles of union had been drawn, before any government had been established at Quinnipiac. Gov. Haynes and Rev. Mr. Hooker of Connecticut had spent nearly a month in Massachusetts in 1639, endeavoring to

Page 180

carry the project into effect. Various obstacles had retarded the desired union. Massachusetts, being much more populous and powerful than the other colonies, was not favorable to union on equal terms. The other colonies were still more averse to terms which implied inferiority. Besides, there were questions at issue between Massachusetts and Connecticut in regard to the Pequot country, Massachusetts claiming a part of it for the assistance she rendered in the Pequot war; and in. regard to the boundary between the two colonies, Connecticut claiming the towns of Springfield and Westfield. The union was finally consummated, notwithstanding the difficulties in the way. Their Dutch neighbors were troublesome to the planters of Connecticut and New Haven, and the Indians in various places throughout New England were hostile. The triumph of the Puritan party in the mother-country had brought to an end the large accessions of strength from that source, which till recently the colonies had annually received. Each of the parties needed, or might at any moment need, help from the others.

At a general court, the 6th of April, 1643, "it was ordered that Mr. Eaton and Mr. Gregson, as commissioners from this jurisdiction of New Haven, shall go with other commissioners for other plantations into the Bay of Massachusetts, to treat about a general combination for all the plantations in New England, and to conclude and determine the same, as in their wisdom they shall see cause, for the exalting of Christ's "ends, and advancing the public good in all the plantations." These commissioners met similar appointees from

Page l81

Connecticut, Plymouth, and Massachusetts at Boston; and, on the 19th of May, articles of union were completed and signed by the representatives of Connecticut, New Haven, and Massachusetts. The commissioners of Plymouth approved the articles, but were not authorized to sign them. But, being afterward empowered to do so, they signed them in the following September. These articles declare in substance:-

I. That the four colonies agree to be and to be called, THE UNITED COLONIES OF NEW ENGLAND.

II. That they enter into a league of amity for offence and defence, mutual advice and succor.

III. That each colony shall have peculiar jurisdiction and government within its own limits; that without consent of all, no two members shall be united in one, and no new members shall be received. '

IV. That the expense of wars shall be borne in proportion to the number of male inhabitants between sixteen and sixty years of age.

V. That its confederates shall aid any colony invaded by an enemy in the proportion, of one hundred men for Massachusetts, and forty-five for each of the other colonies.

VI. That each of the four colonies shall choose two commissioners, " being all in church fellowship with us, who shall bring full power from their several general courts respectively, to hear, examine, weigh, and determine all affairs of war and peace, leagues, aids, charges, and number of men for war, division of spoils, or whatsoever is gotten by conquest, receiving of more confederates or plantations into combination with any of these confederates, and all things of like nature which are the proper concomitants or consequents of such a confederation for amity, offence, and defence, not intermeddling with the government of any of the jurisdictions, which by the third article is preserved entirely to themselves;" and that, if these eight do not agree, then any six agreeing shall have power to determine the business in question.

Page 182

VII. That the eight commissioners at each meeting may choose a president by the concurrence of all or of six.

VIII. That the commissioners shall frame and establish such orders as may preserve friendship between the members of the union, and prevent occasions of war with others. Under this head are specified, the free and speedy passage of justice in each jurisdiction to all the confederates equally as to their own; not receiving those that remove from one plantation to another without due certificates; how all the jurisdictions may carry it toward the Indians; and the surrender of fugitive servants and fugitive criminals.

IX. That no colony may engage in war without the consent of all, unless upon some exigency.

X. That in extraordinary occasions, four commissioners, if more are not present, may direct a war which cannot be delayed, sending for due proportion of men out of each jurisdiction; but that the expense of a war thus begun may not be levied till at least six commissioners have approved of their action.

XI. That if any colony shall break any article of the confederation, or injure one of the other colonies, such breach or injury shall be considered and ordered by the commissioners of the three other confederates.

XII. That this confederation and the several articles and agreements thereof were freely allowed and confirmed by Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Haven, and, if Plymouth consents, the whole treaty, as it stands, is and shall continue firm and stable without alteration; but, if Plymouth consents not, then the other three confederates confirm the confederation and all its articles, except that new consideration may be taken of the sixth article which determines the number of commissioners for meeting and determining the affairs of this confederation.

When the colony of New Haven entered into this confederation, it consisted only of the plantations of New Haven, Southold, and Stamford; but Guilford, establishing a plantation government in the following month, was ready to become incorporated into the

Page 183

colony as soon thereafter as the consent of the confederated colonies could be obtained. Such consent was obtained in the following September, at the first meeting of the commissioners held under the articles. At the same meeting, "upon a motion made by the commissioners for New Haven jurisdiction, it was granted and ordered that the town of Milford may be received into combination and as a member of the jurisdiction of New Haven, if New Haven and Milford agree upon the terms and conditions among themselves."

The obstacle which had delayed the entrance of Milford into the combination will be sufficiently displayed by the record of the action taken at New Haven for its admission. We transcribe, therefore, without abridgment, the proceedings at a general court held at New Haven, the 23d of October, 1643:-

"Whereas this plantation at first with general and full consent laid their foundations that none but members of approved churches should be accounted free burgesses, nor should any else have any vote in any election, or power or trust in ordering of civil affairs, in which way we have constantly proceeded hitherto in our whole court with much comfortable fruit through God's blessing; and whereas Stamford, Guilford, and Yennicock have, upon the same foundations and engagements, entered into combination with us: this court was now informed that of late there have been some meetings and treaties between some of Milford and Mr. Eaton, about a combination, by which it appeareth that Milford hath formerly taken in as free burgesses, six planters who are not in church-fellowship, which hath bred some difficulty in the passages of this treaty, but at present it stands thus: the deputies for Milford have offered, in the name both of the church and the town, First, that the present six free burgesses who are not church-members shall not at any time hereafter be chosen, either deputies or into any public trust for the combination; Secondly, that they shall

Page 184

neither personally, nor by proxy, vote at any time in the election of magistrates; and, Thirdly, that none shall be admitted freemen or free burgesses hereafter at Milford, but church-members according to the practice at New Haven. Thus far they granted, but in two particulars they and their said six freemen desire liberty: First, that the said six freemen, being already admitted by them, may continue to act in all proper particular town business wherein the combination is not interested; and, Secondly, that they may vote in the election of deputies to be sent to the general courts for the combination or jurisdiction, which deputies so to be chosen and sent shall always be church-members."

"The premises being seriously considered by the whole court, the brethren did express themselves as one man, clearly and fully, that in the foundations laid for civil government they have attended their light, and should have failed in their duty, had they done otherwise, and professed themselves careful and resolved not to shake the said groundworks by any change for any respect, and ordered that this their understanding of this their way and resolution to maintain it should be entered with their vote in this business, as a lasting record. But not foreseeing any danger in yielding to Milford with the forementioned cautions, it was by general consent and vote, ordered that the consociation proceed in all things according to the premises."

The action taken above was the action of the town (as a plantation about that time began to be called) of New Haven; but it seems to have determined the question respecting the admission of Milford. Three days afterward a general court of election for the jurisdiction was held at New Haven, at which two magistrates were chosen for Milford; and on the next day after the election a general court for the jurisdiction was held, at which the two magistrates for Milford were present, as were also two deputies appointed by that town. At this general court a constitution for the colonial government was adopted, the provisions of which were as follows:-

Page 185

1. "It was agreed and concluded as a fundamental order, not to be disputed or questioned hereafter, that none shall be admitted to be free burgesses in any of the plantations within this jurisdiction for the future, but such planters as are members of some or other of the approved churches in New England; nor shall any but such free burgesses have any vote in any election (the six present freemen at Milford enjoying the liberty with the cautions agreed); nor shall any power or trust in the ordering of any civil affairs be at any time put into the hands of any other than such church-members, though, as free planters, all have rights to their inheritance and to commerce, according to such grants, orders, and laws as shall be made concerning the same."

2. "All such free burgesses shall have power in each town or plantation within this jurisdiction to choose fit and able men from amongst themselves, being church-members as before, to be the ordinary judges to hear and determine all inferior causes, whether civil or criminal, provided that no civil cause to be tried in any of Plantation Courts in value exceed twenty pounds sterling, and that the punishment in such criminals, according to the mind of God revealed in his word, touching such offences, do not excee'd stocking and whipping, or if the fine be pecuniary, that it exceed not five pounds. In which Court the magistrate or magistrates, if any be chosen by the free burgesses of the jurisdiction for that plantation, shall sit and assist with due respect to their place, and sentence shall pass according to the vote of the major part of each such court; only, if the parties or any of them be not satisfied with the justice of such sentences or executions, appeals or complaints may be made from and against these courts to the court of magistrates for the whole jurisdiction."

3. "All such free burgesses through the whoje jurisdiction, shall have vote in the election of all magistrates, whether governor, deputy governor, or other magistrates, with a treasurer, a secretary, and a marshal, &c., for the jurisdiction. And for the ease of those free burgesses, especially in the more remote plantations, they may by proxy vote in these elections, though absent, their votes being sealed up in the presence of the free burgesses themselves, that their several liberties may be preserved, and their votes directed according to their own particular light; and these

Page 186

free burgesses may, at every election, choose so many magistrates'1 for each plantation, as the weight of affairs may require, and as they find fit men for that trust. But it is provided and agreed, that no plantation shall at any election be left destitute of a magistrate if they desire one to be chosen out of those in church fellowship with them." 4. "All the magistrates for the whole jurisdiction shall meet twice a year at New Haven, namely, the Monday immediately before the sitting of the two fixed general courts hereafter mentioned, to keep a court called the Court of Magistrates, for the trial of weighty and capital cases, whether civil or criminal, above those limited to the ordinary judges in the particular plantations, and to receive and try all appeals brought unto them from the aforesaid Plantation Courts, and to call all the inhabitants, whether free burgesses, free planters, or others, to account for the breach of any laws established, and for other misdemeanors, and to censure them according to the quality of the offence, in which meetings of magistrates, less than four shall not be accounted a court, nor shall they carry on any business as a court; but it is expected and required that all the magistrates in this jurisdiction do constantly attend the public service at the times before mentioned, and if any of them be absent at one of the clock in the afternoon on Monday aforesaid, when the court shall sit, or if any of them depart the town without leave, while the court sits, he or they shall pay for any such default, twenty shillings fine, unless some providence of God occasion the same, which the Court of Magistrates shall judge of from time to time, and all sentences in this court shall pass by the vote of the major part of magistrates therein; but from this Court of Magistrates appeals and complaints may be made and brought to the General Court as the last and highest for this jurisdiction; but in all appeals or complaints from or to what courts soever, due costs and damages shall be paid by him or them that make appeal or complaint without just cause."

5. "Besides the Plantation Courts, and Courts of Magistrates, there shall be a General Court for the jurisdiction, which shall consist of the governor, deputy-governor, and all the magistrates within the jurisdiction, and two deputies for every plantation in the jurisdiction, which deputies shall from time to time be chosen against

Page 187

the approach of any such general court by the aforesaid free burgesses, and sent with due certificate to assist in the same, all which, both governor and deputy-governor, magistrates, and deputies, shall have their vote in the said court. This general court shall always sit at New Haven (unless upon weighty occasions the general court see cause for a time to sit elsewhere), and shall assemble twice every year; namely, the first Wednesday in April and the last Wednesday in October, in the latter of which courts the governor, the deputy-governor, and all the magistrates for the whole jurisdiction, with a treasurer, a secretary, and a marshal, shall yearly be chosen by all the free burgesses before mentioned, besides which two fixed courts, the governor, or in his absence the deputy- governor, shall have power to summon a general court at any other time, as the urgent and extraordinary occasions of the jurisdiction may require; and at all general courts, whether ordinary or extraordinary, the governor and deputy-governor, and all the rest of the magistrates for the jurisdiction, with the deputies for the several plantations, shall sit together till the affairs of the jurisdiction be despatched or may safely be respited; and if any of the said magistrates or deputies shall either be absent at the first sitting of the said general court (unless some providence of God hinder, which the said court shall judge of), or depart, or absent themselves disorderly before the court be finished, he or they shall each of them pay twenty shillings fine, with due consideration of further aggravations, if there shall be cause; which general court shall, with all care and diligence, provide for the maintenance of the purity of religion, and shall suppress the contrary, according to their best light from the word of God and all wholesome and sound advice which shall be given by the elders and churches in the jurisdiction, so far as may concern their civil power to deal therein."

"Secondly, they shall have power to make and repeal laws, and, while they are in force, to require execution of them in all the several plantations."

"Thirdly, to impose an oath upon all the magistrates for the faithful discharge of the trust committed to them, according to their best abilities, and to call them to account for the breach of any laws established, or for other misdemeanors, and to censure them as the quality of the offence shall require."

Page 188

"Fourthly, to impose an oath of fidelity and due subjection to the laws upon all the free burgesses, free planters, and other inhabitants within the whole jurisdiction."

"Fifthly, to settle and levy rates and contributions upon all the several plantations, for the public service of the plantation."

"Sixthly, to hear and determine all causes, whether civil or criminal, which by appeal or complaint shall be orderly brought unto them from any of the other courts, or from any of the other plantations. In all which, with whatsoever else shall fall within their cognizance or judicature, they shall proceed according to the Scriptures, which is the rule of all righteous laws and sentences; and nothing shall pass as an act of the general court, but by the consent of the major part of magistrates and the greater part of deputies."

The adoption of this constitution seems to have put an end to that confusion ef ideas which had sometimes allowed the administration of both plantation and colonial affairs in the same court. The written constitution may have helped the New Haven men to discriminate; and the presence in the court of members from Guilford and Milford, hitherto independent plantations, necessarily tended strongly in the same direction. The colonial constitution remained substantially the same from this time till the colony was absorbed into Connecticut, more than twenty years afterward. The union of these plantations in a colonial government, and the confederation of the colony with the other colonies of New England, were auxiliary to security and peace.

History of the Colony of New Haven - End of Chapters 9-10

Introduction    Chapt. 1-2    Chapt. 3-5    Chapt. 6-8   
Chapt. 9-10    Chapt. 11-12    Chapt. 13-14    Chapt. 15-16   
Chapt. 17    Chapt. 18-19    Chapt. 20-21    Appendix 1-7

USGenWeb City of Derby CT Home Page & Search

Search billions of records on