Henry H. (Henry Higgins) Hurlbut.

The Hurlbut genealogy; or, Record of the descendants of Thomas Hurlbut, of Saybrook and Wethersfield, Conn., who came to America as early as the year 1637. With notices of others not identified as his descendants online

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Online LibraryHenry H. (Henry Higgins) HurlbutThe Hurlbut genealogy; or, Record of the descendants of Thomas Hurlbut, of Saybrook and Wethersfield, Conn., who came to America as early as the year 1637. With notices of others not identified as his descendants → online text (page 1 of 39)
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Record of the Descendants






Compiler of


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It was not altogether intentional, this becoming the historian
of the family here essayed to be shown genealogically. To
explain let me say ; incidentally making inquiry for some one
to look at sundry records of Middlesex county. Conn., for the
purpose of learning the names of certain of my own line of pro-
genitors, I was referred to the late Hon. Edwin Stearns of Mid-
dletown, Conn. This gentleman
having a taste for such
an extensive acquaintance and an ample library to consult, and
with leisure also, offered to collect, for a mere nominal compen-
sation, all the facts relating to our family, readily attainable
in that neighborhood, from public or private records, from
living witnesses and printed books. It is scarcely necessary
to say that I requested him to proceed, and the result was
(excepting some errors and inaccuracies) a fair beginning for
a genealogical history of the descendants of our paternal
emigrant ancestor, comprising several hundred names. Having
thus formed for me the gi-oundwork or foundation upon which
I might build, should the materials be tolerably well gathered,
a somewhat colossal superstructure, I very naturally, as gen-
ealogists at least will understand, fell into the desire of know-
ing something more of the matter.

It is perhaps unfortunate, that some other of the family (in
place of leaving it for the present compiler) had not at an
earlier period, say a half century before, caught the mania for
doing this genealogy. One with the proper zeal and plenty of
pocket money to pay expense of travel, might have saved
from the mists of oblivion, not a few now lost branches, and


regarding particularly the earlier generations, a more com.
plete record.

But if the compiler of this volume at length voluntaril)^
assumed the self-sacrificing office, he can perhaps have little
cause for complaint, if in the twenty-five years past, he has
appropriated much time and labor to the work, including
thousands of letters written, and withal not a few dollars ex-
pended, for which he must of necessity, be in great part a

Upon the whole, I think that the families herein displayed
may very reasonably feel themselves obliged to me for the
service ; yet at the risk of losing half the credit for the phil-
anthropy of the thing, I will be frank enough to say, that
had not the research been a pleasurable pursuit, there would
be no occasion for a vote of thanks to the undersigned, by the
present generation, nor by the many which will no doubt
succeed it.

It is proper here to mention the fact that the name of oui-
family has gained, or suffered various mutations in form since
the settlement of our early ancestor at Wethersfield, Ct., some
250 years ago. The fancies, I believe, of some have occasion,
ally wrought changes for which the excuse does not ajjpear-

It was necessary for the compiler to adopt in this volume,
some common form of the name, and whether he has judged
properly and hit upon the true, original orthography or not is
yet perhaps undetermined. We have no knowledge of the
antecedents of our ancestor Thomas across the Atlantic.
None, I dare say, will change the mode of spelling the name
from anything said in this book, nor is it perhaps desirable, on
account of identity in years to come.

In the progress of my investigations, I met members of a
family distinct from ours, whose emigrant ancestor William
Hulbert (of Roxbury and Northampton, Mass.) though cotem-


porary with our own progenitor, was not of kin as far as
known. As many individuals of both lines, however, use the
same mode of spelling the name, it was important to collect
the facts regarding the said William's family, and place the
record by itself for reference, to avoid confusion. The de-
scendants of William Hulbert are far less numerous than
those of Thomas. It is is probable that the record of the
family of Vt^'illiam Hulbert which I have gathered will be

The vignette which appears on our title-page is borrowed
from the compiler's book-mark ; its use is to be shared between
them ; it is perhaps not inappropriate, symbolizing as it does
an incident in our ancestor's experience at Saybrook.

I have received from a number of our family, copies and a
description of a coat of arms, taken from some English volume
of Heraldry, supposed by my correspondents, or suggested by
them, that we had some proper claim and interest in the
ornament. As far as I can see we have no right to the coat
spoken of. The subject is further referred to, and a drawing
of the arms given in the Introduction. 'J'he fact is with very
few exceptions, the early emigrants to New England, the
founders of a great share of our American lines, were plebians;
that large and respectable class of common people, who wilh
their descendants, subdued, settled, and christianized New
England and much of America. As a matter to be proud of
we need scarcely attempt to look after a lineage more noble
than we have at home, beginning when our ancestors first
placed foot upon American soil. It is true that it would be
gratifying to our curiosity at least, could we be furnished with
a series of photographic pictures, and a faithful desciiption of
our ancestoi's in the old world, running back to the days before
the use of spinning-wheel and loom, when our fore-father^
wer^ clad in skins.


I am writing in the belief that our progenitors over the sea
were raerely^ honest burghers or plodders of the soil, bearing
no taint of disreputable act, which had won high place or title,
or castles, or manors achieved by cruelty and ciirae. I would
by no means be led to be uncharitable, but I have little respect
for that horde of filibusters, whose services were rewarded with
the avails of robbery, by that prince of plunder, William of

It was deemed expedient, for the better order of the volume,
to place the families of female branches in the Appendix.

Much care has beeen taken to copy accurately the items
procured, and when statements were found to conflict, the
most reasonable were chosen, though in this, as in other con-
clusions, I cannot expect entire immunity from error.

Loose and unreliable tradition, in place of written family
record, has imposed much labor in verifying some reports and
rejecting others ; yet I have succeeded in finding living
representatives, descendants of the six sons of our emigrant
ancestor, Thomas, of Wethersfield.

Quite a number of pages or records of families, supposed to
be our kinsman (the descendrints of Thomas Hurlbut), which
as yet ai'o not fully identified, wanting a missing link of one
name perhaps, are placed in the Appendix for future reference
and search by parties interested.

I would make my sincere thanks to the numerous persons
who have furnished me with information ; yet not a few of
those that have extended to me such favors, have passed be-
yond the acceptance of this acknowledgment, and their forms
rest in the stillness of the grave. I must not omit to say that
from the class of correspondents known as genealogists, I
have received mai'ked and painstaking favors ; particularly
are those kindnesses noticeable^ coming from tbose not of the


family. I need not recite their names, but will just speak of

as prominent for his numerous items, the scores upon scores of
letters iilled with facts, sought and ransacked for, among old
documents, public and private, in crannies and cupboards, or in
the memories of the aged; very useful to me was the knowledge
he secured and so kindly gave.

I finish here all that seems to be demanded of me in this
compilation ; whatever I may have left undone, must devolve
upon others.

Henry H. Hurlbut.
39 WiNTHROP Place,

Chicago, III., June 5th, 1888.


The home of the parents of our emigi'ant ancestor, (whose
Christian name was Thomas) whether in England, Scotland,
or Wales, has "not been revealed to us ; yet it is reasonably-
supposed that it was somewhere upon that Island. Neither
do we know the form in which those parents spelled their sur-
name, nor indeed in what mode Thomas himself wrote the
patronymic, after his arrival on this side of the Atlantic, It
cannot be proven by early records, and if there were such rec-
ords, the scribes of that day were often rather careless in their
orthography, or at least were quaint and peculiar. It would
seem that the atmosphere of the new world gave freedom to
their pens, and not un frequently originality to their autographs.
This however is my suggestion merely, and I will now speak
of some reports received in my correspondence during some
years past. There is, of course, often to be met, the old story
of the " three brothers " that came over, but the number for
my enlightenment has occasionally been varied from two to
four, though one old lady assured. me according to her under-
standing of the matter, there were " seven brothers Hurlbuts
who landed at Plymouth," One gentleman in Ohio wrote me
that he had the tradition from his father that our emigrant
progL-nitor was Welsh. Another, living in New York, had
understood that the family was from Wales, and the name
formerly was Hulburdt. Another very old gentleman says,
that his uncle told him that the Burlburts came from Scotland
or Northumberland, England.

It was the suggestion of one intelligent individual ihat our
name is an abbreviation of what was fermerly Haliburton.

One (iorrespondent wrote me, " I may say a word about our
" misspelt surname, having counted some twenty errors from
*' Holabird to Hurlburt. The origin of the name ought to cor-
" rect this. From a work by Bardsley, published in London in
" 1878, entitled ' Our English Surnames,' which you may have
" seen, it appears that ours belongs to the class of nicknames
"like Shakespeare. Wearenamed after an old instrument of
"war, ciUed a Whirlbat. I think this can be found in
" VVebst<'r's Dictionary ; it was an instrument held or hurled
"by the hand. * * * * There is no chance for

" a second r, nor for omitting the r in the first syllable. *
" * * * I think we came of a fighter, one who

"never gave up when in the right, without a fight."



Not a few communications addressed to me, have shown the
great confidence of the writers in some story they had heard,
relating to an "immense foi'tune " awaiting for the family, only
needing to be proved up," and I have been questioned if that
was not the purpose of ray research, and wanting to know re-
garding the prospect of getting our fingers on tlie coin.

I have in the Preface noticed the fact that a deep interest
had been exhibited with some of our relatives, in reference to
a Coat of Ar^yis, and I have now lying before me by the fa-
vors of various of our cousins, six small drawings in differ-
ent manner of finish, of the Arms, of which a copy of one is
sriven below.


" Grranted to Justice George Hurlbert, March, 1639. Quar-
terly Argent and Sable in the sinister chief and dexter base,
each a lion rampant, or over all a bend gules, charged with
the amulets of the third."

The description I copy as it was sent me ; whether cor-
rect or not, is more than I can determine. Drawings of the
arras were made many years ago, for persons in America, de-
scendants of our ancestor Thomas, who have honestly, yet un-
wittingly, had the faith to believe themselves among the true
heirs of the decoration. Those drawings, which were as I
have learned, on parchment or large sized paper, I have no
doubt, still, or at least some of them, hang upon the walls of
the dwellings of representatives of the mistaken claimants. I
am constrained to believe that there is a fascination pertaining
to the pretty bauble. Yet, how the progeny of Thomas Hurl-
but of Wethersfield, who came to America certainly as early
as 1636, can lay claim to coat-armor granted to Justice George
Hulbert of England in 1639, in no manner proven, nor claimed
to be a relative, I am not able to perceive. Frequent stories
have been told, that this, that, and some other gentleman had
visited England, and verified the statements of our relationship
to certain English families, but unluckily for credence, no
names or other particulars of affinity have at any time ap-

It will be proper here to say that while one polite gentle-
man of our large family, sent me an impression of his Seal,
beai'ing the arms as above, with some additions of his own, in-
cluding a scriptural motto, another equally polite, forwarded
a photograph of an heir loom in his family of which he was
the possessor, being a silver goblet with said arms thereon en-
graved. The existence of the aforesaid AeiWoom, did not how-
ever precede the time of our Revolution.

At the risk of being tedious, I will add a paragraph or two,
copied from letters of relatives and correspondents, and close
this notice of the Arms. An old. gentleman, (since passed
away) wrote as follows : " My grandfather in some way pro-
cured from England a parchment with a hereditary title on it
in print, of or for some ancestor or something or somebody
(you see I do not know what) but I can just remember it. On
it was printed the name Salbert. What became of it I don't
know. It was in a fine frame, and hung up in the front room y
we had no parlors in those days."


Another member of the family, a descendant of the same
"grandfather" prefaces his reference to the Arms, by the re-
mark that it may be " rather a hazardous thing to follow back
the line of one's ancestry, for the reason that we might find
some one or more of them had reached a point of elevation, that
would'nt add much to the family pride."

Of the parchment, he says : " I haven't seen it for some
years ; about all I can recollect of it is a lion and unicorn
rampant. Whether descriptive of the celebrated battle in
which the Lion beat the IJnicorn all about the town, I can't
say ; nor do I know whether any of my progenitors lost or
won anything on the issue of the fight"

The computation of time by the Christian era was first in-
troduced by the Abbot Dionysius, but the precise year when
this was done has been at variance among hist'»rians. Dr.
Blair placed it in the year 516, Prideaux in 527, and Beda
(whom Dr. Holmes thinks gives it correctly) says the year 567.
In the year 1752, the hitherto Old Style of the Julian Calendar,
by which the year began 25th March, was abolislied in Eng-
land by Act of Parliament, and by which the first day of Jan-
uary was made the commencement of the year. On the day
following the 2d of September, 1752, it was to be called the
14th, being eleven days added, or the time pushed so far ahead.
Hence the N"ew Style took the place of the Old, and upon
many of the New England records of births, etc , which had
occurred previous to the passage of that Act, happening be-
tween January 1st and March 25th, an additional year was
placed to distinguish the time according to the new regulation.
I have made ray entries, agreeable to the information and fig-
ures procured ; in the early part of the record herein given,
occasionally will appear the additional year referred to, in
manner for example, say March, 4, 171|.

The plan of this Genealogy will be readily understood with-
out much explanation. Thomas Hnrlbut is given as Number
1, and every descendant of the name of Iluribut, whose name
was received in time to be marshalled in the regular line, has a
number. When further notice of any individual is continued,
it is indicated by \\\q plus mark +

The number of generations in America, preceding each head
of a family, are represented by the line of paternal progenitors
beginning with the emigrant Thomas. The female descend-
ants with families are generally transferred to the Appendix.


Their descendants are numbered if they were received in time
for such figures.

The various Indexes provided will no doubt be sufficient ;
they are as follows :

Descendants of Thomas of the name Hurlbut.

Names of wives of ditto, before marriage.

Names of husbands other than Hurlbut.

Names of persons not identified as the progeny of Thomas

The following are various abbreviations used in this volume :

b. born ; hel. believed ; ch. child or children ; cA'A. church ;
d. died ; dau. daughter ; /. father ; fam. family ; gent, gentle-
man ; grad. graduate or graduated ; h. husband ; m.. married
or marriage ; ruem. member ; tno. month ; per. perhaps ; prob.
probably ; rec. records ; rem. removed ; rev. revolution ; res.
residence, residing or resided ; sup. supposed ; unm, unmar-
ried ; w. wife ; wid. widow.


1 Thomas HurlTbut came across the Atlantic, it is sup-
posed, in the year 1635, for he was a soldier under Lion Gar-
diner, who built and had command of the fort at Saybrook,
Conn. Lion Gardiner, it is said, was an Englishman, and
by profession an engineer, and had been in Holland in the
service of the Prince of Orange, but was engaged by the pro-
prietors of the Connecticut Patent, issued by Charles II. to Lord
Say aiM. Seal, Lprd Brooke and others, granting a large tract
of territory on the banks of the Connecticut river, to erect a
fortification at its mouth. Gardiner, said Judge Savage, em-
barked at London in the JBachUoi\ of only 25 tons, 11 August,
1635, with his wife and female servant, and eleven male pas-
sengers, and after a long and tempestuous voyage, arrived at
Boston 28 of following November. It is believed, however,
that Gov. Wiiithrop told that Gardiner sailed in a Norsey
barque (a fishing vessel of the coast of Norway), 10 July,
1635. It is supposed that Thomas Hurlbut was one of the 11
passengers above referred to ; but who his parents were, or
when or where he was born, we have not been able to learn.
We may yet pretty confidently believe that his birth occurred
as early as the year 1610, and I am more inclined to believe
that he was a native of Scotland than I am able, perhaps, to
show satisfactory evidence for such belief. Mr. Hurlbut while
at Saybrook, in an encounter with the Pequot Indians in 1637,
was wounded by an arrow. This appears in a letter of Lion
Gardiner, written in June, 1660, some 23 years after the skir-
mish with the Indians, addressed to Robert Chapman and
Thomas Hurlbut, detailing incidents regarding the Pequot war,
as far as came within his personal knowledge. Capt. Gardiner,
in the communication named, says that Mr. Robert Chapman,
Thomas Hurlbut and Major Mason urged him to do it, " and


having rumaged and found some old papers then written, it
was a great help to my memory." The document laid in
manuscript until 1833 (173 years) when it was printed in "Vol.
3, 3d Ser. of Mass. Historical Soc. Colls. The following is an
extract :

" In the 22d of February,! went out with ten Men and three
Dogs, Half a Mile from the House t^Fort), to burn the Weeds,
Leaves and Reeds upon the Neck of Land, because we had
felled twenty timber trees, which we were to roll to the Water-
side to bring home, every Man carrying a Length of Match
with Brimstone- matches with him to kindle the Fire withal.
But when we came to the small of the Neck, the Weeds burn-
ing, I having before this set two Sentinels on the small of the
Neck, I called to the Men that were burning the Reeds to come
away, but they would not until they had burnt up the rest of
their Matches. Presently there starts up four Lidians out of
the fiery Reeds, but they ran away, I calling to the rest of our
Men to come away out of the Marsh. Then Robert Chapman
and Thomas Hurlbut, being Sentinels, called to me, saying
there came a Number of Indians out of the other side of the
Marsh. Then I went to stop them, that they should not get
the Woodland ; but Thomas Hurlbut cried out to me that some
of the Men did not follow me, for Thomas Rumble and Arthur
Branch threw down their two Guns and ran away ; then the
Indians shot two of them that were in the Reeds, and sought
to get between us and Home, but durst not come before us,
but kept us in a Half moon, we retreating and exchanging
many a Shot, so that Thomas Hurlbut was shot almost through
the Thigh, John Spencer in the back into his Kidneys, myself
into the Thigh, two more shot dead. But in our' Retreat, I
kept Hurlbut and Spencer still before us, we defending our-
selves with our naked Swords, or else they had taken us all
alive, so that the two sore wounded Men, by our slow Retreat,


got home with their Guns, when our two sound Men ran away
and left their Guns behind them."

Gardiner does not mention his estimate of the number of the
assailants, but Underwood, in his History, says there were " a
hundi-ed or more."

Mr. Hurlbut was by trade a blacJcs')nith, and after the war
with the Pequots, he located and established himself in business-
at Wethersfield, Ct., and was one of the early settlers of that
place, as well as first blacksmith. A single extract from the
Colonial Records would seem to indicate that he was a good
workman and charged a good price for his work : " March 2,
1642. Thomas Hallibut was fined 40 shillings for encouraging
Others in taking excessive rates for work and ware." But this
fine appears to have been " respited " Feb. 5, 1643, upon Peter
Bassaker's tryal to make " nayles " with less loss and cheaper

He seems to have been a man of good standing in the place ;
he was Clerk of the "Train Band" in 1640, Deputy to the Gen-
eral Court, Grand Juror and also Constable in 1644. It appears
on the records that he received various tracts of land in the
several divisions of the Town, which were recorded together in
1647. In 1660 the Town of Wethersfield granted Thomas
Hurlbut Lot 39, one of the " four score acre lots " (in Naubuc,
east side of the rivcr^, which he afterward sold to Thomas
Hollister. For his services in the Indian wars, the Assembly
voted him a grant of 120 acres of land Oct. 12, 1671. It is
supposed that Mr. Hurlbut died soon after the last named date,
as no evidence appears that the land was set off to him during
his life. In that early day of the Colony, land was plenty and
cheap, and no attempt appears to have been made to avail
himself of the bounty, nor even by his &ons ; it was not until
1694, on the petition of John Hurlbut, Jr., of Middletown, a
grandson of the settler and soldier, that it was set off.


It is told, and the tradition is not an unreasonable one to
credit, that the house in Wethersfield, Ct., where Miss Har-
riet Mitchell resides in 1888, stands upon the site of the dwelling
of the first Hurlbut who lived in the settlement. (Miss M. is
said to be of the 6th generation from her ancestor Thomas
Hurlbut.) That house of the early settler, as tradition gires,
had peculiar attractions for the Indians, whether with the pur-
pose to inspect the architecture of the edifice, or else to get a
view of the proprietor of the mansion, for he had been an
Indian fighter formerly, I cannot say ; but often, when in the
village, they were to be seen looking curiously in at the win-

The Christian name of the wife of Mr. Hurlbut was Sarah,
but nothing further is known ; no date of birth, marriage, nor
death. The dates of birth of five of their six sons are miss-
ing ; whether there were any daughters or not, is not known.
During the contention that existed in the Church of Wethers-
field, the early records of both of the Town and Church, it
is understood, disappeared.

2. Thomas, Jr. +

3. John, b. 8 Mar. 1642. +

4. Samuel. +
ro. Joseph, -j-

6. Stephen. +

7. Cornelius. -}-

2 Thomas Hurlbut, Jr.- (Thomas^ was probably born
in Wethersfield, Ct., but the date not ascertained. He
learned the blacksmith's trade of his father and succeeded hira

in the business. He married (l) Lydia , married (2)

Elizabeth . The town of Wethersfield 11 March, 1662,

voted him a piece of land to set a shop npou. By the inven-
tory of the estate of Thomas Hurlbut, Jr., of Wethersfield

Online LibraryHenry H. (Henry Higgins) HurlbutThe Hurlbut genealogy; or, Record of the descendants of Thomas Hurlbut, of Saybrook and Wethersfield, Conn., who came to America as early as the year 1637. With notices of others not identified as his descendants → online text (page 1 of 39)