the first of June, or later in the summer of 1635.
William Beardsley took the oath Dec. 7, 1636, and was admitted
a freeman of Massachusetts 1638 ; hence he must have been a
landholder. (Winthrop's History of New England.) Where did
he then reside? I think it highly probable he was then living in
Watertown, eight miles west of Boston. It is known that several
of his ship associates resided at this place. Dr. Trumbull says :
"In 1635 the Watertown people gradually removed and prosecuted
their settlement at Wethersfield, Conn." A few had gone there
the 3'ear previous, and that 3'ear some of them located at Hart-
Of the early settlers of Stratford, five families were from Con-
cord, Mass. Two of these, the Wilcoxsons and Harrises, were
with William Beardsley on the good ship "Planter," and were
made freemen of Massachusetts at the same time.
It is reasonable to suppose that, when these colonists reached
the Connecticut River (the Indian name of this stream was
Quoncktacut, "River of Pines."— H3^de's Indian Wars, p. 37), at
Hartford and Wethersfield, the}' met William, when he joined
them and proceeded with them to found a new town where thej'
could better their financial condition.
Another reason for this conviction is, Mar}^ William's eldest
daughter, married Thomas Welles, in Hartford, Ma}', 1651, and
was a resident of Wethersfield for nine years. I think their ac-
THE BE A RDSL E Y-LEE FA MIL Y IN A M ERIC A . 19
quaintaiice began previous to 1G39, when her parents resided in
one ot the towns named; for Hugh Welles, his father, was a resi-
dent of that localitj'.
William Beardsle}' and seventeen others left Hartford and
Wethersfield (onl}^ six miles apart) in a body (probably by boat),
and settled on a piece of cleared land on Long- Island Sound,
October 3, 1639. This place the General Court in Hartford, Oct.
10, 1639. called "Pigiianockey In June,, 1640, the same court called it
"Citpheay" (the Indian name), and in lGi3 "Stratford,'' by which
name that locality has been known to this day.
It is claitned on very good authority that William Beardslej^
named the town of Stratford, Conn. This, I think, is indisput-
Hinman says : "William Beardsley was deput3^ of the Gen-
eral Court at Hartford for eight sessions between 1645 and 1661 "
This court was the same as our Legislature of the present
day, and held its sessions twice a year.
The Colonial Records say that William Beardsle}' was elected
to the court sessions in 1615, May, 1650, September, 1650, October
1651, May. 1652, October, 1653, February. 1656. and May, 1658.
He served eight terms in thirteen j^ears, showing that he was
a man of some worth and influence.
In the old colonial documents he is often spoken of as the
" Goodman Beardsley.''
He was one of the founders of the First Congregational
Church of Stratford, and was a leading- spirit in all public affairs
of those early times, as all the records clearly show.
In 1649 the Court made the following appointment by vote :
"Mr. Ludlow was desired to take care for preparing
the soulgers with provisions and all necessar3res for the
designe in the two (sea-side) Towns ; and Mr Hull and .
William Beardsley are chosen to assist therein "
Then again, at the October session, 1651 :
"Andrew Warde, George Hull and William Beardsle}^
are propounded for Assistants to join with the Magistrates
for the execution of justice in the Towns bj^ the sea-side.''
20 GENEALOGICAL HISTORY.
This meant Stratford and Fairfield. From all this it is evi-
dent that he filled an important place in the early history of New
He d. in 1661, at the early age of 56. His will is dated Septem-
ber 28, 1660, and probated July 6, 1661, and reads as follows :
"I, William Beardsley, of Stratford, being sick and
weak, but well in mind, do leave this mj^ last Will and
Testament. All m}^ daughters that are now married, I
give Ten pounds a peace.
"M"y Sonne, Samuell, I give that red cow which I have
now lent him.
"T onl}' reserve tour akers of that land at Piquanock
for m}' wife to improve, if Joseph fall in to help her, if she
please ; the rest is Samuel's. I also give him one of j'e
new white blanketts.
"If Joseph, my sone, please to be an assistant to \\\y
wife, for the car3'ing- on of her b3'snes whilst she lives, or
marries and leaves the sea, I give to him 3-e halfe of my
acomodations in Stratford; if not, 1 give him twent}'
pounds of my share of y^ bark, to add to his part.
"I desire mj' loving wife, that if she please to ad to ye
portion of anj' of my daughters, that she would ad to j^em
"The rest of my effects 1 leave to be disposed unto m}'
wife and children, at the discretion of Mr. Blackman,
Philip Grove, John Brinsmoyd, John Burdse}' and Joseph
"As also y^ care, government and disposal of m}-
"It is \\\y will that Daniell, after the decease of mj'
wife, that he have ye other halfe of y& lots.
"I give to my sonne, John, tenn shillings.
"September 28, 1660. "William Beardsley."
"This is a true copy of ye will of William Beardsle3^
"Per me, Joseph Hawly."
The inventory of his estate was taken Jul)' 6, 1661, b)' Samuel
Sherman, John Hurd, Henry H.W^aklin, Townsman, and amount-
ed to £327 15s. 8d.
THE FAIMILY OF WILLIAM BEARDSLEY.
1. Marj-, b. UVM in Kng-land ; in. Thomas Welles, in Hartford,
May, 1().")1, who was the first cliild of Hugh Welles, late of Colches-
ter, Essex County, England (103.i). For nine j^ears thej^ lived in
Wethersfield, Hartford Count}, Conn., wdiere frv^ of her fourteen "jr*'^
children were b. He and his step-father, Thomas Coleman, were
among the first settlers ("engagers") of Hadlej*, >Iass., where were
b. to them ni-ne more children and where he d. Dec. 1-1, 1676. Of
this famiU" of children ten were sons. He left an estate vahied at
£732 12s. 6d. Debts, £9 10s. June 25, 1678, she m. Samuel Belden,
of Hatfield, Mass., where she d. 1690, aged 59. (Histor}^ of the
Wells Family pp. 638.)
+ 2. John.
-f 3. Joseph, p. 2.3. ""^
-\- 4. Samuel.
5. Sarali, b. 1610, in Cupheag', Conn. ; ni. Oliadiah Dickinson, of
Hatfield, Mass, June 8, 1()(J8. She became the mother of four chil-
dren — Sarah, Obadiah, Daniel, Flliphilet. Their house was l)urned,
Sept. 19, l(j77, l)y the Indians, his wife wounded, and he, with one
child, taken off as prisoners to Canada. Her injuries probablj-
resulted in her death, for after his return he married Mehitable'
and had two other children, b. '94, '98. (Savage, vii. p. 49.)
(j. Hannah, b. 1642, in Stratford, Conn.; m. Nathaniel Dickin-
son, of Hatfield, 1662, a brother of Oliadiah. She d. 1679. leaving
thi-ee sons and three daughters. Their names were: Nathaniel,
Hannah, John, Mary, Daniel, Rebecca.
-|- 7. Daniel.
8. From tlie readingof the "7e////" it seems that he must have
had other daughters.
(CaI'T.) J(JHX Beakdslkv- (William'), b. 1633. in England ; came
with his parents to New England when but two j^ears old. in tlie
22 GENEALOGICAL HISTORY.
ship "Planter," and with them to where Stratford, Conn., now is,
in 1639. He d. Nov. 19, 1718, aged 85, and his wife d. Dec. 3, 1718.
He was made Lieutenant in 1697. and Captain in Maj^, 1704, "of
the training band of soldiers."
He took the oath of a freeman June 4, 1712. He was at one
time a slave owner. His slaves were liberated bj- the following
"Be it known xinto all men \iy these presents that 1,
John Beardsley, in the connty of Fairfield, farmer, have
remised, released, acqtiitted, and by these presents do, for
me, my heirs or assigns, have freelj' and full}' given mj-
Negro man his time and freedom at inj- decease, and have
given him a dowr}^ of \ny estate if he doth stand in need
hereof, and have given him \\\y horse that was called my
wife's horse : as witness \\\y hand the 25th da}" of Decem-
(Signed) John Beardsle}^, his mark."
He for man}' 5'ears resided "at the south end of Stratford vil-
lage, btit in 1668 he had a house at Piquannock (now on Park
Avenue, a little north of Fairfield Avenue, in Bridgeport), where
he was among- the earliest settlers."
His will was dated Jan. 1, 1714-15, and proved Nov. 25, 1718, and
the inventory of his estate was dated Dec. 3, 1718. In his will he
says : "I, John Beardslej', Sen., give m}' propert}- to sundr}' kins-
men and kinswomen : to mj' kinswoman, Deborah Fairchild, wife
of Alexander Fairchild ;" and he had given her, in 1704, five
acres of land, south of Golden Hill. (Histor}' of Stratford, 1130) —
Land South of Indian's land, also the hassakej' meadow Ij'ing- be-
low^ and above the spring' next the highwaj'. Leaving wife, Han-
nah Beardslej', buildings in Stratfield" (now Bridgeport).
His estate west of Piqtiannock River he divided thus : One-
third to his wife's heirs, one-third to John, "son to m}- brother
Daniel, and one-third to John Fairchild, son to Alexander Fair-
It is thought bj' some that "Deborali" was the dau. of his
uncle, Thomas Beardsle}', of Fairfield, who d. in 1656, leaving sev-
THE FAMILY OF WILLIAM BEARDSLEY. 2:^
er:il cliildren, and that she was brought up by Capt. Jolin, lier
uncle (.see Appendix), and hence the reason for giving her and
lier son so much of his estate. In the town records of Stratford
(Book 2 p. 44) may be found. "Sarah, dau. b. May 9. 1678." If she
was the dau. of John slie i)robahly d. y., for he left no bving eliil-
Note — In all these documents the name is spelled as here
given, Beardsley, and not once with "ee." That form of spelling
comes in in after generations.
Joseph Beardsley- (William'), b. Nov. — , 1()34, in England,
and l)rought, when six months old, to New England. When a boy
about five years old the familj- settled in Cupheag, 1639; after-
wards, in 164H, named, and known as Stratford, Conn.
Here, on the banks of "the Housatonic River, about one and
one-half miles from Long Island Soiind, in Fairfield Cotxnty, Con-
necticut, which was fourteen miles from New Haven and fiftj^-
eight miles from New York City," he grew to man's estate, and
became ver}' fond of the water.
This his much esteemed and honored father did not like ; for
when he made his will, September 28, 1660, he left him qtxite a
property on the condition that he "married and left the sea."
This he did not fail do do. An old record shows that he re-
sided at Brookhaven, Long Island, Aug. 1, 16(jl.
In KK),") he m. Abigail Dayton, of Long Island. He took the
oath of a freeman June -1, 16(38.
He joined the Congregational Clmrch in Sti'atford in 1693,
where he d. May 29, 1712, aged 78.
The inventory of his estate amounted to £782 7s. 6d. From the
distribution it seems that he owned "land in the old field, great
neck. Walnut tree hill, and at traj) fall hill."
His sons Joseph and John were appointed administrators b}-
24 GENEALOGICAL HISTORY.
+ 1. Joseph.
-f 2. John.
3. Hannah, b. 1670; m. Thomas Harvey.
4. Elizabeth, b. 1672 ; m. Kdninnd Prilford, Nov. 18,
1713, ■ .'.')["t\tr...<,-tr
+ !5. Thomas.
+ 6. Kphraim.
+ 7. Jonathan.
+ 8. Josiah. /
Samuel Beardsley^ (William'), b. 1638. He was the first
American b. Beardsley. He d. at Stratfield (now Bridgeport),
Conn., Dec. 24, 1706. Age 68. Married Abigail , 1663.
He joined the Congregational Church in Stratford in 1678,
from which he was dismissed in 1695 and became one of the nine
Charter Members of the First Congregational Church of Stratfield
(now Bridgeport), Conn., which was organized June 13, 1695. Jtil}^
10, 1695, Abigail Beardsley joined this church, with six others, b3^
He is mentioned in his father's will as "My sonne, Samuell,
I give that red cow which I have now lent him."
Sept. 21, 1663, he bought land of Kdward Higbee. "He also re-
ceived land from his father in Piquannock, in what is now the
northern portion of the citj' of Bridgeport, north of North Avenue-
He became the owner of considerable land, for, after giving- to
his children much, in his life-time, the inventor}' of his estate
amoimted to £714. (History of Stratfield, p. 1131.) In 1704 he di- .
vided his propertj', to take effect after his decease. Samuel and
Richard Hubbell were the dividers. Thej' report the distribution
to the Probate Court as follows : "To his sons Daniel, John, Ben-
jamin, Nathan, and to his daughters. Mary (wife of Jonathon
Wakeley), Hannah (wife of John Parruch), and Sarah^(dau. of his
deceased son Samttel), each of the above received £73 16s. 5d.
His widow, Abigail, received £167 14s. 7d.
THE FAMILY OF WILLIAM BEARDSLEY. 25
Jolin Bardsley and Jonathon Wakeley were tlie ai:)pointed
adiiiiiiistratdrs of Saimiel's estate.
1. Abio-ail, 1). 1664; in. May 28, 1684, Thomas Trowbridge, of
New Haven, and had three children. (Savage, Vol. xviii. p. 333.)
+ 2. Samuel.
+ 3. William.
+ 4. Daniel.
4- 7). John. ^'j\ ,
+ 6. Kph rai m. f "^ '< • ^ ^-^.'^ • '
+ 7. Benjamin.
8. Mary, b. 1680, m. Jonathan Wakely.
9. Hannah, b. 1682, m. John Parruch.
10. Deborah, b. 1684.
H- 11. Nathan.
12. Sarah. 1). 1688.
Daniel Beardsley-^ (William'), b. 1644, d. Oct. 7, 1730, Age 86.
HifA gravestone still remains. Married Ruth (dan. of Obadiah)
Wheeler 1680, who d. 1739. Age 71. She joined the Congregational
Chtirch in 1694. A farmer.
In Ma}', 1708, Daniel Beardslej', Sen., was granted certain lands
on the west side of Stratford, or Potatnck River, with others.
(Colonial Records, Vol. v. p. 56.)
Dec. 29, 1668, his mother, with whom he then resided, gave him
her home in Stratford village, to be his after her decease. He
died, however, nine j-ears before she, on Jan. 6, 1724-5. He gave
the old homestead, "a dwelling, barn, and lot in Stratford" village,
and "a piece of latid in Fairfield, in Beardsley's Neck," to liis son
+ 1. David.
-|- 3. Daniel.
-|- 4. Zachariah.
o. Ruth, b. Oct. 13, 1688.
+ 6. Nathan.
-|- 7. Samuel.
+ 8. Obadiah.
+ 9. John.
10. Mary, b. 1698.
4- 11. William.
-f- 12. Benjamin.
14. Rebecca, b. — ; m. Kphraim Judson, Stratford,
The Author's Denver Home.
THE OLi:)EN TIME.
It ir* cinite clifticult for us, in the rush of this age, to conceive
of the habits and customs of our forefathers, seventj^-five and two
l\undred j'ears ago. The following- statements, bj- Dr. George
Bushnell, of Hartford, will g-ive some idea of some of these :
"The seats of the school-house were made of slabs from
the saw-mill (the aiithor well remembers when he was
favored (?) with seats of similar stjle in the State of New
York), supported bj- slant legs driven into and a proper
distance through augur holes, and planed smooth on the
top bj' the rather tardy process of friction."
"The meeting- house probably stood on some hill, mid-
wa}- between three or four vallej^s, whither the tribes go
up to worship, and where the snow-drifts are deepest. Go
literall}' from strength to strength."
"There is no furnace or stove, save the foot-stoves that
are tilled from the tires of the neighboring- houses, and
brought in partly as a rather formal compliment to the
delicac}- of the tender sex, and sometimes because thej-
were really wanted." (I can well remember when the above
custom prevailed in other parts, though I was quite small.
>I. L. Beardsle3^, of Los Angeles, California, ha-\ one of
those convenient meeting-house stoves. Call and he will
be glad to show it to 30U.)
"The dress of the assembl}- was mostly- homespun, in-
dicating- onl}- slight distinctions of qtialit}' in the worship-
ers. Thej' are seated according to age and their tax lists.
The older and heaver tax payers in front near the pulpit,
surmounted b}' its sounding board, a wooden canop\ ;
the jounger generally farther back, enclosed in pews, sit-
ting back to back, impounded, all for deep thought and
spiritual digestion ; only the Deacons sitting."
In the seatings of the Presb3terian meeting-house in New
Milford, Conn., in 1812, Klisha Beardsle}' was given the loitrtk rank,
tax list, $111, and Asher Beardslj- equal honor, tax list $128; hav-
28 GENEALOGICAL HISTORY.
ing' pews close under the pulpit, b}' themselves, where thej' could
receive "the more perpendicular dropping-s of the word."
It will surprise man}' to ktiow that churcli pews were owned
and deeded like other propertj-, even as late as l!S2.i, as the follow-
uig- partial copj' of a deed of that date will confirm :
"Know all men b}' these presents that I, Horace M.
Shepard of Newton in the count}' of Fairfield and state of
Connecticut, for the consideration of one dollar received
do b}' the presents remise, release and forever quit claim
unto * * * two-thirds of one certain pew in the Presby-
terian meeting" house,, so called, situate on the south side
of said house, being the fourth pew from the west end of
said house, formerl}- occupied and owned b}^ iny father,
Timothj' Shepherd, P3sq., deceased."
Strange as all this ma}' appear,
"These are they who bore the cross.
Nobly for their Master stood ;
Sufferers in his righteous cause,
Followers of the dying' God.
Out of great distress they came,
\\ ashed their robes by faith beh)w,
In the ))lood of yonder Lamb,
Blood that washes white as snow."
Longfellow quaintl} writes of the olden time :
"Kach man cquipt, on Sunda} morn,
With Fsalm-l)()ok, shot and powder-horn."
Tlius they went to church ready for worship or battle. A
watchman stood without during" the ser\ice to g"i^'e the alarm in
case of an Indian attack.
"There is a time, we know not when,
A place, ^ve know not where.
Which marks tlie destinies of men
For glory or despair."
William Cothren, of Woodl)ur\-, Conn., pictures tlie customs
of the olden time as follows :
"John Miner, Jr., being seriously inclined, b\- tlie state
of liis aifections, unto tlu- l)iooming antl couu'In damsel,
THE OLDEN TL\TE. 29
Siirali Judson, iiiouiiU-cl liis horse, with a deer-skiti for a
saddU' and rode over in front of the house of the fair
Sa rail's fatlier. Without disnionntino' sent for lier to come
out to him, and on lier complyint;- with his recjuest, he in-
formed her ])hiinly, tliat the Lord luid sent him to marry
her. At this startling- announcement the sensible maid,
neither faintiTio- in the present fashionable niode, nt)r ask-
ing- him to consult her mamma, replied with a hearty gootl
will : 'Here ?s ihe Jiaiiih}iaui of the Lord His ivili be done.'
What else could the maiden do? For John was a good
man, and she l)elieved both in him and his message.
Tliere was nothing more to do than to get on horseback
the next Sabbath evening, and sitting- on a piHion, behind
her messenger from the Lord, ride to the parsonage, and
l)e duly joined in the lionds of holj- wedlock."
"Our lives are all)ums, written through
With good or ill, with false or true ;
And as the blessed angels turn
The pages of oiir years ;
Ciod grant they read the good with smiles
And blot the bad with tears."
THE FOUNDING OF STRATFORD.
Since our ancestors figured so extensivelj' in and about Strut.
ford, it will not be out of place to make a few historical inser-
"Stratford was settled under the auspices of the Con-
necticut Colon}^, which had, on January 14th, 1638, adopted
a constitution, which has become the pattern of 'the Con-
stitution of our States, and of the Republic itself, as thej'
exist. to-daj^' In that great work some of the pioneers of
this town took part, and share in its credit, for some of
them lived in Hartford and Whethersfield, before they
came to Stratford in 1039.
"It was about 19 years after the landing of the Pilgrims
at Pljanouth. For some 3'ears the English and the Dutch
had been contending for Connecticut. In 1(533 the famous
Holmes sailed up the Connecticut river, b}' the Dutch
fort, landing at Windsor, where he biiilt his house and
"In 1(33.1 Hartford, Wind-^or and Wethersfield were
founded b}* emigrants from the Massachusetts settle-
ments, and strange enough, the}' came here that the}'
might enjo}' a larger freedom in civil affairs than the}'
were allowed there.
"If Kngland was sifted to obtain the choice grain that
planted Massachusetts, Massachusetts was again siftetl to
obtain the choice grain that planted the Connecticut Col-
ony, in point of civil liberties. The relation of these planta-
tions in respect to government was not long in doubt ; for
they soon set up a court, so-called, for themselves, and as-
sttmed all the powers of sovereignty ; not only the ordin-
ary atifairs, but also the extraordinary powers of making
war and peace, and contracting alliances with the Indian
tribes, they boldly exercised.
"At the court held in l(i3(i 'their circumstances were
such that it was judged necessary for every man to be a
soldier,' and in May, 1()37. with matchless self-reliance,
nerve and grit, if not andacit\, tlie court declared war
THE FOUNDING OF STRATFORD. 31
ag'ainst the powerful Peqiiots, and raised an arinj' of 90
men, wliich took the field under command of Captain
John Mason, against the enemj-, and after a great victory
over the Peqnots in their strong;liolds east of the Thames,
a remnant of the enemj- fled to the west, and secreted
themselves in the great swamp now 'in the limits of Fair-
field county, where they were conquered and destroyed as
a tribe b}' the colonists. 'Roger Ludlow and some of the
principal gentlemen of the river settlements' accompan-
ied the ami}'. Thej' were probabh^ the first Englishmen
who had seen this beautiful territor3^ It was in June,
and they were charmed with the situation, and spread
most favorable reports of its features and prospects.
"The gentlemen who settled New Haven arrived in
Boston in the Fall of 1637, and stimulated hy these reports,
they sailed from Boston, and earl}^ in 1638 founded New
Haven, which with Milford and a few other towns, had a
colon}' of their own until 1662. The liberal ideas of
Hooker, Ludlow, and others, who founded the Connecti-
cut colony, were not pleasing to the New Haven col-
ony, which agreed with Massachusetts in allowing- onl^^
church members to vote. The Connecticut principle was
stated b}' the gifted Hooker in liis great sermon of March
31, 1638 : 'That the choice of public magistrates belongs
unto the people by God's own allowance,' who have the
power 'also, to set the botinds and limitations of the power
and place unto which they call them.'
"Let us rejoice that in the same j^ear, 1639, from the
same bodj- of freemen, who had the genius and the will to
frame that instrument, came our fathers into this goodlj'
land of Cupheag, and established for themselves, and
their successors, a township, where, assuredl}', all these
j^ears, those great principles of civil government have
"Indeed it seems to be clear that they did not wait to
bu}' the lands from the Indians. The Paugussett Indians
living hereabouts were treated as allies of the Pequots,
and conquered with them 'to maintain their right which
God b}' conquest had given to them.'
"The quieting- of the title of the Indians was legallj'
secured b}' a decision of the court in 16.i9, and morallj'
secured b}' deeds from the Indians in 1671.
32 GENEALOGICAL HISTORY.
"Rev. Hixgh Peters wrote in 166(): 'In seven j^ears
among thousands there dwelling- I never saw any driink,
nor heard any oath, nor any begging, nor Sabbath
"Sechford wrote : 'Profane swearing, drunkennes and
beggars are but rare in the compass of this patent,
through the circiiinspection of the magistrates, and the
Providence of God hitherto, the poor then living \^y their
labors and great wages, proportionablj' better than the
rich, b}^ their flocks, which without exceeding great care
quicklj^ waste.' And Cotton Mather called this 'Utopia.'"
For nearly two hundred years mail was brotight to Stratford
b)- the coach.
"As soon as the mail was received at the post office
the bag was opened and its contents emptied tipon the
tloor behind the counter. The letters for Stratford were
then separated from those destined for points further east,
which latter were thrown again into the bag with other
mail matter from Stratford, the bag secured and given to
the stage driver. Postage in those days amounted to
something. Twenty-five cents was charged on a single
letter froin New Orleans or Savannah. Letters were sel-
dom prepaid, and an entry in a book was made on the ar-
rival of each mail of the address on each letter and tlie