Gov. Robert Treat

Father of Newark, New Jersey
Commander in Chief / King Philip's War
Governor of Connecticut

Robert Treat's signature, seal and his home in Milford, Connecticut (from "Newark" by John T. Cunningham, published by the New Jersey Historical Society, Newark, NJ in 1966)

Name: Gov. Robert TREAT

Birth Date: 1623/1624

Birth Place: Pitminster, Somerset, England

Death Date: 12 Jul 1710

Death Place: Milford, New Haven, Connecticut

Burial Place: Old Burying Ground, Milford, Connecticut

Father: Richard TREAT (1584-1669)

Mother: Alice GAYLORD (1594-1670)

1st Spouse: Jane TAPP

1st Marriage Date: 25 Dec 1647

Children: Mary, Samuel, John, Robert, Sarah, Abigail, Hannah, Joseph

2nd Spouse: Elizabeth POWELL

2nd Marriage Date: 24 Oct 1705

From "Biographies of American & Colonial Governors" by Meckler

TREAT, Robert, Governor of Connecticut
1683-1687, 1689-1698

Born circa 1622 in Pitminster, Somerset, England, the second son of Richard and Alice (Gaylard) Treat (or Trott). A Congregationalist. Brother of Richard, James, Honor, Joanna, Sarah, Susanna and Catherine. Married circa 1647 to Jane Tapp, by whom he was the father of Samuel, John, Mary, Robert, Sarah, Hannah, Joseph and Abigail; after his first wife's death in 1703, remarried on October 24, 1705 to Elizabeth (Powell) Hollingsworth Bryan; no children by his second wife.

Immigrated with his parents to America, probably late in the 1630's; later became one of the early settlers of the town of Milford in New Haven Colony. Was serving as a Deputy in the New Haven General Court by 1653, representing Milford; also named Lieutenant and Chief Military Officer of Milford in 1654. Selected as a Magistrate of New Haven Colony in 1659, a position which he held until he declined to serve in May 1664. Following the formal merger of New Haven with Connecticut in 1665, acted briefly as a member of the Connecticut General Assembly, but soon moved to Newark in East Jersey; served as a Deputy in the East Jersey Assembly from 1667 to 1672; also held office as Magistrate and Recorder of Newark. Returned to Connecticut early in the 1670's, and became an Assistant of that colony in 1673. From 1675 to 1676 played a major military role during King Philip's War, serving as Commander-in-Chief of the Connecticut forces deployed against the Indians. Elected Deputy Governor of Connecticut in May 1676, a position he retained until he succeeded the deceased Governor William Leete in April 1683.

Except for the period between November 1687 and the spring of 1689, when Sir Edmund Andros governed the colony as part of the Dominion of New England, Treat served as chief executive of Connecticut from 1683 to 1698. A political moderate, Treat agreed to serve as a member of Andros' Council during the eighteen months of Dominion rule, but he also wished to avoid unnecessary encroachment by Crown officials. Consequently, after the demise of Andros, Treat advocated resumption of government under Connecticut's old charter, a charter which had never been legally invalidated. The impressive victory by Treat in the gubernatorial election of May 1689 was a major triumph over both the conservative Gershom Bulkeley, who claimed that the overthrow of Andros had been illegitimate, and the popular James Fitch, who attacked Treat's complicity with the Dominion government.

Following his tenure as chief executive, the aged Treat continued to serve as deputy governor until 1708. He died on July 12, 1710.

Bibliography: John Harvey Treat, the Treat Family (Salem, Mass., 1893); George W. Solley, "Major Robert Treat," Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Proceedings, V (1912), 62-78; George Hare Ford, "Robert Treat, Founder, Farmer, Soldier, Statesman, Governor," New Haven Colony Historical Society, Papers, VIII (April 1914), 163-80; Charles A Scully, Robert Treat, 1622-1710 (Philadelphia, 19599), DAB.

From the "History of Newark, NJ" by Joseph Atkinson (1878):

FOUNDER OF NEWARK

Robert TREAT is described as "the flower and pride of the whole company." In establishing and laying out the town he was among the most active and energetic. More than any other settler he is justly entitled to be remembered as THE FOUNDER OF NEWARK. To none more than to Treat is the Newark of today indebted for the natural beauty of its location, the order of its original plan, and the width and attractiveness of its leading thoroughfares, more especially Broad street. In evidence of the esteem in which he was held by his fellow settlers of Newark, the town records tell that when the town was parceled into lots, he was given first choice by universal consent, and besides, two extra acres or lots in recognition of his services in negotiating for the settlement.

GOVERNOR OF CONNECTICUT

He remained in Newark after its settlement only some six years, returning to Connecticut in 1672. In Connecticut he became more than ever a man of mark. Besides taking a commanding military position in early colonial Indian warfare, Treat served the Colony for thirty-two years as Deputy Governor and Governor. It is traditionally related that at the "Battle of Bloody Brook," between the Indians and the Colonists, Major Treat commanded the latter, and behaved heroically. It is said that in the action: "He that commanded our forces then and now us, (the Colonial Legislature), made no less than seventeen fair shots at the enemy, and was thereby as oft a mark for them." As Governor (of Connecticut) he was elected annually from 1683 until 1698. He died July 12, 1710, full of years and honors. He was in his 85th year. Trumball, Connecticut historian, justly says of this remarkable man: "Few men have sustained a fairer character or rendered the public more important services. He was an excellent military officer; a man of singular courage and resolution, tempered with caution and prudence. His administration of government was with wisdom, firmness and integrity. He was esteemed, courageous, wise and pious. He was exceedingly beloved and venerated by the people in general, and especially by his neighbors at Milford where he resided."

SHE'D RATHER BE TREATED THAN TROTTED!

He was twice married, his first wife being Jane Tapp, a daughter of one of the "seven pillars" of the Milford church. Like brave men generally, Treat appears to have been exceedingly timid and backward in the presence of the fair sex. That is to say, he was extremely backward in coming to the main point - a proposal of marriage. There is good authority for saying that once, while familiarly dancing his future wife on his knee, as was permissible by their disparity of age and long intimacy, the damsel brought her lover to a prompt decision by the suggestive expostulation: "Robert, be still that I had rather be Treatted than trotted."

MISCELLANEOUS

Gov. Treat left Newark a rich legacy in the persons of several estimable children. His son John, who married Sarah Tichenor, was a Justice of the Peace under Cornbury; represented Essex County in the Assembly when it was necessary that members should along with other requirements, own 1,000 acres of land or L500 in personal estate; was in 1712, Presiding

Judge of the local court; and in 1731, held the military title of Major, like his distinguished father. The Governor's daughter Mary became the wife of Deacon Azariah Crane, who left his "silver bole" to be used by "the church in Newark forever," and who appears to have outlived all the original settlers. Governor Treat's "home-lott" was occupied by his daughter's descendants until the beginning of the present century (1800). On a portion of it now stands a noble monument not only to Robert Treat but to all the original settlers - the First Presbyterian Church of Newark. Though the name of Treat is extinct in Newark, and almost entirely so in the State of New Jersey, the Governor's descendants are numerous and representative of the best citizenship and the highest reputation. In New England and the West the Treats number not a few distinguished men in public as well as in private life.

TIMELINE OF GOV. ROBERT TREAT

(compiled by JTR from sources shown below)

Abt 1621 - born in Pitminster, Somerset, England ®154

Late 1630s - immigrated with his parents to America ®171

One of the early settlers of the town of Milford in New Haven Colony ®171

c. 1647 - married to Jane Tapp and they had children: Samuel, John, Mary, Robert, Sarah, Hannah, Joseph and Abigail ®171

1649 - married to Jane Tapp ®154

1653 - was serving as a Deputy in the New Haven General Court, representing Milford ®171

1654 - Lieutenant and Chief Military Officer of Milford ®171

Commander in Chief of the Connecticut troops in King Philip's War ®69 ®154

1659 to May 1664 - Magistrate of New Haven Colony ®171

1665 - following the formal merger of New Haven with Connecticut in 1665, acted briefly as a member of the Connecticut General Assembly, but soon moved to Newark in East Jersey ®171

1667 to 1672 - was Deputy in the Assembly of East Jersey ®69 also Magistrate and Recorder of Newark ®171

Early 1670s - returned to Connecticut ®171

1673 - served as Assistant of Connecticut Colony ®171

1676 - he was made Deputy Governor of the Province of Connecticut ®154

1682 - Robert Treat Sr. of Milford, CT deeded to his son-in-law Azariah Crane and daughter Mary Crane of Newark, for a homelot of 8 acres at Newark (bounded) S. (by) Abraham Pearson, E., N. and W. roads; 6 acres of upland and meadow in the Cove, S.E. Samuel Swaine, S.W. a road, N.W. Josiah Ward, N.E. John Treat; 6 acres at Beife Point, N. the river, S. upland, W. Richard Lawrence, E. John Treat."

Robert's son John Treat, whose property abuts two of these tracts, remained in Newark. ®154

1683-1698/1701 - Governor of Connecticut (except the period between Nov. 1687 and spring 1689) ®69 ®154 ®171

1702-1708 - served as deputy governor ®171

1703 - death of wife, Jane (Tapp) Treat

24 Oct 1705 - married Elizabeth (Powell) Hollingsworth Bryan ®171

12 Jul 1710 - died in Connecticut and was buried in the Old Burying Ground at Milford ®154

Reference Note 69
Three Centuries of New Haven, 1638-1938
by Rollin G. Osterweis, Yale Univ Press 1953

Reference Note 154
Jasper Crane Genealogy -- Co-Founder of Newark, NJ in 1666
Margaret Angevine Riggin, Bloomfield, New Jersey
20 Nov 1971 (Revised 4 Sep 1975)
Copy presented to the Historical Society of West Caldwell
on permanent loan from the West Caldwell Public Library Oct 1979
Color
Reference Note 171
Biographies of American & Colonial Governors
by Meckler

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