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Geographical Facts About Early Dorchester (Windsor), Connecticut

Windsor, Connecticut's first community, was launched in 1633 when settlers sailed from Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts to establish themselves at the confluence of the Farmington and Connecticut rivers. The Indians called this place Matianuck. (1)

The Reverend John Warham and 60 members of his congregation, a church organized in England in 1630, including William Phelps, arrived two years later. They renamed the settlement Dorchester. A final name change to Windsor was decreed in 1637 by the colony's General Court. From Stiles history and others, it was written, "At a Court held May 1st, 1637, 'It is ordered that yt the plantacon called Dorchester shall bee called Windsor.' "

Book Available from -- all proceeds help defray the cost of this website Families of Ancient Windsor, Connecticut Consisting of Volume II of the History and Genealogies of Ancient Windsor, Connecticut; Including East Windsor, South Windsor, Bloomfield, Windsor Locks, and Ellington, 1635-1891. By Henry R. Stiles.

William Phelps arrived on the ship Mary and John in 1630. George Phelps, since proven not to be William's brother, apparently arrived on board the Recovery in 1635. A great deal of research has been done on early Windsor, Connecticut.

Click for larger image [50kb]

Map of Ancient Windsor, Connecticut. The highlighted areas indicate the homes of William and George Phelps. Click for larger image. [50kb]

In 1638, it being admitted that this Connecticut colony was out of the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts colony, the people of Windsor, Wethersfield, and Hartford, met in Hartford, Jan 2nd, 1639, and adopted a constitution for the Connecticut colony, what became the first local government in America. This document recognized no authority save God, superior to that delegated by the people. This was an affront to the King.

This document was drawn up by Mr. Roger Ludlow presiding magistrate, with the assistance of the magistrates, of whom Mr. William Phelps was one...

Mr. William Phelps held the office of magistrate from 1639-1643, and 1656-1662; from 1645-1649 inclusive. He was a deputy also in 1651.

At a court held 1642, the first of government on record relating to Simsbury, whose Indian name was "Massaco," was an order passed by the Court of which Mr. William Phelps was a member, and in these words:

"It is ordered that the governor, and Mr Haynes shall have liberty to dispose of that part of land on the river called Massacoe, to such inhabitants of Windsor, as they shall see cause."(1)

(1) From The Phelps Family of America and Their English Ancestors, (Save $201 by ordering through us.) Two volumes. By Judge Oliver Seymour Phelps and Andrew T. Servin. (Eagle Publishing Company of Pittsfield, Mass., 1899) Original spelling and punctuation preserved.

(2) Henry R. Stiles, A.M., M.D., History of Ancient Windsor, 2 Vols. (Picton Press, Camden, Maine). 1891, 1892.

(3)The Eno and Enos Family in America, Descendants of James Eno of Windsor. Connecticut. By Douglas C. Richardson. 1973.