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William Phelps in Windsor, Connecticut

First Generations In New England



The book The Phelps Family of America and Their English Ancestors by Phelps & Servin erroneously concluded based on nothing more than an approximate birth date for William that both he and George Phelps were from Tewkesbury, England. William and George Phelps are not brothers and are from Crewkene. For details, see Origins of William and George Phelps of Dorchester.

Family of William Phelps of Crewkerne

Numbers in brackets [W-NN] refer to the Phelps & Servin ancestral numbers. Links are to the actual text from the original book.

William [W 1] married (1) Mary ______, who the August 1626 record reports, "Marie the wife of William Phelps was buried the xiii th day of August" [13 August 1626]. She was the mother of four children, all baptized at Crewkerne:

  1. William [W19] bapt. 9 Sep 1618. [Old Style (O.S.) date], Crewkerne. The September 1618 vital record says: "William the son of William Phelps was baptized the ix th day of September [1618]"; m. 1) Isabel WILSON on 4 Jun 1645 Windsor, no issue; m. 2) Sarah PINNEY on 20 Dec 1676 Windsor, no issue; died 10 Feb 1681.

    He arrived in Massachusetts Bay 30th May, 1630, settled in Dorchester with his father, removing from there to the settling of Windsor, with Rev. Mr. Warham's church, in 1635, where he m. Isabel Wilson, 4th June, 1645, (another authority says 16th June, 1645--the first may be publication of marriage.) She was probably a passenger in the ship Mary and John, of 1630. Says the O. C. R. [Old Church Register], 15th July, 1674, "now since 29 years married and has had no children."

    Isabel Wilson was admitted to the church in Windsor, 11th March, 1654, and died July, 1674, without issue. William m. 2nd, 10th Dec., 1676, Sarah Pinney (the daughter of Humphrey Pinney and his wife, Mary Hull, who were passengers in the ship Mary and John of 1630) b. Windsor, 19th Nov., bapt. 3rd Dec., 1648, d. 2nd Nov., 1711.

    Mr. Phelps settled one-third of his property on her, before marriage. By her he had no issue.

    Lying was in those days deemed a peculiarly heinous offense. As early as 1611 the General Court stigmatized it as a " foule and gross sin," and "Mr. Webster [of Hartford] and Mr. Phelps [of Windsor] are desired to consult with the Elders of both Plantations, to prepare instructions against the next court for the punishment of the sin of lying, which begins to be practiced by many persons in this Commonwealth." Stiles p 201

    Mr. Phelps's residence in Windsor was a short distance east of his father's homestead, and on land purchased by his father from the Indians. He united with the church 17th Nov., 1639, and was made a freeman at Hartford 29th May, 1677.

    His nuncupative will [also known as an oral will or a verbal will, is instructions for distribution of personal property given by a person who is too sick to execute a written will], dated 7th Feb. 1681, gives all his land to his brother Timothy. He died 10th Feb., 1681.

    Mr. Phelps was a worthy man, though not as conspicuous a figure as compared with his father.

    Mr. Phelps's house was garrisoned in King Philip's War, 1675-1676, by details of Windsor men. He had one of his wife's nephews reside with him, and possibly adopted him, and gave him lands on the opposite side of the road from his own house.

    After the death of Mr. Phelps there was a controversy between Mrs. Phelps and adopted son, in connection with the land given her by Mr. Phelps before marriage.

    (Note: Humphrey Pinney had several children; of these, Sarah m. referred to above, Mary m. Abraham Phelps, son of George, Nathaniel m. Sarah Griswold, widow of Samuel Phelps.)

  2. Sarah [W20] (1632-1659) b. England about 1623, emigrated to New England with her father, arrving in Massachuetts Bay May 30th, 1630, in Dorchester, Massachusetts, and from there moved with her family in 1635-6 to Windsor, Ct.; m. William Wade (1658-1659) Windsor, Colony of Connecticut. No issue. Says Savage: "She died 10th July, 1650 [sic — compare to marrige date above], without issue, and we can hear no more of her."
  3. Samuel [W21] (1621-1669) (O.S.) Crewkerne. The August 1621 vital record says, "Samuell the son of William Phelps was baptized the v th day of Auguste". Emigrated emigrated to New England with his father in ship Mary and John, settling with his father in Dorchester, removing from there to settling of Windsor, Ct., in 1635-6, where he m. Sarah Griswold, 10th Nov., 1650. She was daughter of Edward Griswold, and b. Kenilworth, England, and came to New England with her father in 1639. After the death of Mr. Phelps, she m. 2nd Nathaniel Pinney, 21st July, 1670, and had
    1. Nathaniel Pinney (1671-___)
    2. Sarah Pinney (1673-1715)

    Mr. Phelps bought 1st Oct., 1657 Thomas Orton's house and land south of road separating it from his father's homestead, and brother William's; the house stood on the rear of the lot just opposite his father's house. This lot was of triangular shape, 4 rods [approximately 5.03 meters] on the rivulet, 60 rods on east and west road, 40 rods on Mill road, and 47 rods on the southeast line. The rear of this lot and house he sold to his brother Nathaniel, and removed to Poquonock, where he had received a grant of land, and where he also bought John Bartlett's place east of Stony Creek, and north of Thomas Holcomb's, and running east of the rivulet. Here he died 15th May, 1669. He witnessed a deed of land to his father by the Indians in 1666.

    January 8th, 1660, he paid rates for short slips, 7 shillings, highest amount assessed that year.

    Town Records, 24th May, 1669, "There was a day of training; by reason of the death of Samuel Phelps, voted that Benjamin Holcomb supply his place as Way Warden."

    (Note. Edward and Matthew Griswold, two brothers, the latter of whom was the ancestor of the two Govs. Griswold, resided in Kenilworth, England, where they had a third brother, Thomas. These two brothers came to New England in 1639, in a vessel sent out by Mr. William Whitney. Edward b. in England, 1607, settled in that part of Windsor, called Poquonock, m. 1st Margaret, and later settled in Killingworth, Ct., one of the first settlers, and a prominent man. His wife died Aug. 22nd, 1670. (A slab may be seen in the Clinton, Ct., burying ground, 7 in. by 21/2 ft., with inscription M. G. 1670.) Had eleven children all by 1st wife. He m. 2nd Sarah Bemis, daughter of James Bemis, of New London; of his children a daughter Sarah, m. Samuel Phelps, 2nd, m. Nathaniel Pinney. Another daughter, Mary, m. Timothy Phelps son of William the emigrant of 1630.) Children of Samuel Phelps:

    1. [W26] I. Samuel, b. Windsor, C., Sept. 5, 1652, d. Simsbury, Ct., Oct. 21, 1741, n1. June 21, 1678, Abigail Williams, b. Windsor, Ct., May 31, 1658, d. -, dau. of John Williams. He m. 2nd Widow Sarah (Eno) Holcomb, dau. of James Eno, and widow of Benjamin Holcomb, by whom she had 9 children. No issue.
    2. [W27] II. Sarah, b. Windsor, Ct., 16th Mar., 1653, m. Andrew Moore.
    3. [W28] III. Timothy, b. Windsor, Ct., 26th Oct., 1656, m. Sarah Gaylord, 2nd, Sarah Pratt.
    4. [W29] IV. Mary, b. Poquonock, Ct., 26th Oct., 1658, m. Daniel Adams.
    5. [W30] V. William, b. Poquonock, Ct., 3rd Nov. 166o, m. Hannah Hayden 4 Jan 1693.
    6. [W31] VI. John, b. Poquonock, Ct., 7th July, 1662, unm., d. 30th April, 1679.
    7. [W32] VII. Ephraim, b. Poquonock, Ct., 1st Nov., 1663, m. Mary Daggers 11 May 1691, d. 1697.
    8. [W33] IX. Abigail, b. Poquonock, Ct., 16th May, 1666, m. David Marshall.
    9. [W34] X. Josias, b. Poquonock, Ct., 16th Dec., 1667, m. Sarah Winchell 26 Apr 1690.
  4. Nathaniel [W22] (1624/25-1702) (O.S.) Crewkerne; the March 1624 record says "Nathaniell the son of William Phelps was baptized the vi th day of Marche" [1625 is the modern date]. Emigrated to New England with his father, settling in Dorchester, Mass., with his father, settling in Dorchester, Mass., with his father, removing to Windsor, Ct., in 1635-6, where he m. Elizabeth (__) Copley 17 Sep 1650 Windsor. Elizabeth was an English lady. He died in Windsor, aged 75 yrs.

    Says the Hon. James H. Phelps of Townshend, Vt., a descendant of this family: "A descendant of the family of Elizabeth Copley, in England was the celebrated artist, John Copley, father of Lord Lyndhurst, who on the 30th of April, 1827, became Lord Chancellor of England." Lord Lyndhurst appears to have no knowledge of this connection, as may be seen from his letter herewith attached. As this connection must be traced back over two hundred years, there is no reason to doubt the same.

    "There is no record of any choice of constable till 1660, when Nathaniel Phelps was elected. James Bridgman was chosen " Deputy Constable to continue so long as Nathaniel Phelps is constable," in 1658. Phelps was probably first elected constable in 1656 or 1657, and Bridgman was confirmed in that office by the General Court, in May, 1659. Robert Bartlett, however, was the first person who served in that capacity in Northampton."(Trumbull(3), p 26)

    Mr. Phelps resided on the Orton place opposite his father's homestead, which he purchased of his brother Samuel. Here he resided up to 1656-7, when he removed with part of his family to Northampton, Mass., one of its first settlers. Says Stiles(2): "He was a pious man of good intellect, and of a sound, discriminating judgment-was one of the first deacons of the N. Church. His homestead was occupied by him for 43 years, and by his descendants until 1835. " His homestead comprised the land which was over fifty years ago occupied by Miss Margaret Dwight's school, and which at a later date was the College Institute of J. J. Dudley, Esq., and which is now Shady Lawn. The old homestead stood a few rods north of that edifice. (Clark's Northampton Antiquity).

    Nathaniel Phelps was one of the original settlers of Northampton and on 18 March 1657/58 was one of signatories on a petition to the General Court requesting a settled minister, and help in reducing drunkenness. On 6 January 1658/9 he gave three acres of land for the use of the ministry and on 18 April 1661 signed the covenant of the church and was one of the first deacons. In 1663 he was listed as owner of Home Lot 4, Meadowland 29.Trumbull(3)

    On 27 March 1676 the "wife of Nathaniel Phelps" was among 23 persons presented at the court in Northampton for "wearing silk in a flaunting manner and for long hair and other extravagance contrary to honest and sober order, and demeanor not becoming a wilderness state, at least the profession for Christianity and religion." On 9 February 1679 Deacon Nathaniel, with sons Nathaniel and William, took the oath of allegiance before Worshipful Major Pynchon. On 11 February 1679/80 he was sworn in as tithing-man. On 11 May 1681 he was sworn in as freeman by the General Court in Boston. On the 21 May 1688 there was a town resolution "to Rectifie and Record that Highway that Goeth up to Mr. Stoddard's house: Between Deacon Phelps & goodman miller lots." In the town record he is listed as having donated five pounds of flax for the support of Harvard College.Trumbull(3)

    Although Mr. Phelps, removed to Northampton in 1656-7, we find him paying slip rent in Windsor 4th Jan., 1659.

    Feb. 8th, 1679, Dea. Nathaniel Phelps, with his sons Nathaniel Jr. and William, took the oath of allegiance before Worshipful Maj. Pynchon.

    May 11th, 1681, he was made a freeman by the General Court at Boston.

    He died in Northampton May 27th, 1702, aged 75 years, honored and respected. His will.

    Mrs. Phelps died in Northampton, Mass., 6th Dec., 1712, some ten years after her husband. Her will probated in Northampton, Vol. II, 1678-1716. Reference is made to her sons Nathaniel and William Phelps, who are to have the land her husband left her, to be divided equally between them. Her homestead also to be divided between them, Nathaniel to have the side he lives in, and William the other side. To Abigal 50 pounds; to the children of Matthew and Mary Closson 5 pound each; to her son-in-law, Matthew Closson, 1o shillings; to Thomas Copley 3 pounds; to Samuel and John Lankton 20 shillings each.

    Children of Nathaniel and Elizabeth Phelps:
    1. [W35] I. Mary, b. Windsor, Ct., 21st June, 1651, m. Matthew Closson.
    2. [W36] II. Nathaniel, b. Windsor, Ct., 2nd June, 1653, m. Grace Martin.
    3. [W37] III. Abigail, b. Windsor, Ct., 5th April, 1655, d. aged 101 yrs. 4 mos. 11 ds., m. John Alvord. No issue.
    4. [W38] IV. William, b. Northampton, Mass., 22nd June, 1657, m. Abigail Stebbins.
    5. [W39] V. Thomas, b. Northampton, Mass., loth May, 1661, d. unmarried.
    6. [W40 VI. Mercy, b. Northampton, Mass., 16th May, 1662, d. 15th July, 1662.
  5. infant, bur. Crewkerne, Jan 1623-24. O.S. (1623/4), The January 1623 record says "An infant of William Phelps was buried the viii th day of January". [(1624 is the modern date].

William married (2) reported in the Crewkerne records on November 1626 it reports, "William Phelps and Ann Dover were married the xiv the day of November 1626" [14 Nov 1626]. Ann was the mother of seven children. The first four were born in Crewkerne, the next three were born in the American British Colonies.

  1. Cornelius, bapt. 13 Oct 1627. O.S. at Crewkerne. The October 1627 record says "Cornelius son of William Phelps was bapt. the xiii th day of October". No further record, presumed to have died young. UPDATE: Found the burial record at Crewkerne: The January 1727 record states "Cornelius son of William Phelps was buried on ix th day of January 1627". (Old Style Date: because it occurred in Jan. it's necessary to write the double date 9 Jan 1627/28, not 1627.)
  2. Joseph (a twin) [W23] Bapt. 13 Nov 1628 O.S., Crewkerne. The November 1628 record says: "Joseph and Marie son and daughter of William Phelps were baptized the viii th day of November." m. 1) Hannah NEWTON on 20 Sep 1660 Windsor, m. 2) Mrs. Mary (unk maiden surname) Salmon on 9 Jan 1676; died in 1684 Simsbury, Hartford Co., CT.

    b England about 1629, emigrated with his father to New England, settling with his father in Dorchester, Mass., removing to the settling of Windsor, Ct., in 1635-6.
  3. He m. 1st, Hannah Newton 10th Sept., 1660. (Says another authority, 2nd, Sept., 1660; this may be the date of publication.) She d. in Simsbury, 1675.

    She was daughter of Roger Newton and sister of Joan Newton, who m. Benedict Alvord. He m. 2nd, Mary Salmon 9th Jan., 1676. She was widow of Thomas Salmon. She d. 16th Jan., 1682 (Northampton Rec.), by her he had no issue.

    Mr. Phelps' residence in Windsor was next to his brother William's, on the road running east and crossing the Poquonock road, and near the present Poquonock road.

    Says the history of Simsbury in 1666: "The Committee specified terms upon which those who took lands in Massaco (now Simsbury), should have them." The record of the 1st grant was made in 1667 ; of the thirty in all who had grants we find in Weatouge (a district), Joseph Phelps.

    In 1669, by order of the Assembly, in a record of the Freeman of each town, we find with others belonging to Massaco (now Simsbury), Joseph Phelps.

    The early settlers of Simsbury suffered greatly by the Indians. On 13th March, 1676, it was ordered by the General Court that the people of Simsbury remove to the neighboring settlements or plantations with their cattle and valuables, and soon after their buildings were burned by the Indians. This took place Saturday, 26th March, 1676.

    Says Phelps the Historian: "The ruin was complete. Nothing but desolation remained. During all the Indian wars before and since this event, no destruction of an English settlement in New England has taken place, in which the ruin was more extensive or more general than this conflagration."

    A neighboring mountain overlooking Simsbury was then called "Phelps Mountain," because Mr. Phelps owned lands on it, and where it is supposed King Philip [an Indian leader] was then encamped, overlooking and gloating in the destruction he had caused.

    Early in 1676, the danger being over, most of the settlers returned.

    May 4th, 1677, we find Joseph Phelps, with nine others, petitioning the General Assembly for assistance in taxing, on account of loss caused by the Indians, which was partially granted.

    May 7th, 1683, we find him with thirty-one others, in all thirty-two (probably the voters of Simsbury at that time), signing a paper, the substance of which was that they not agreeing on a spot for locating their Meeting House, there being two places selected. It was decided to cast lots, and Gov. John Talcott and Capt. John Allyn were chosen to do this. Their action is thus described in the History of Simsbury.

    "May 8th, 1683, the above written agreement of ye above sides is well approved by John Talcott, John Allyn."

    At a solemn meeting May 24th, 1683, "where as there is two papers putt in ye hatt, one east and ye other for ye west of the River, for ye decision of ye two places formerly mentioned. It is now agreed that ye first paper that is drawn shall be ye last. This voted, the lot that came forth was for ye west side of ye River."

    In a deposition taken at Hartford 22nd May, 1677, he is mentioned as being about 46-years old.

    Mr. Phelps was made a Freeman in 1664, and died in 1684, aged 55.

    Jospeh Phelps' children, all by 1st wife, Hannah Newton, were:

    1. [W41] I. Joseph, b. Windsor, Ct., 10th, Aug., 1667, bapt. 27th Aug., 1.667, m. 1st, Mary Collier ; 2nd, Sarah Case ; 3rd, Mary Case.
    2. [W42] II. Hannah, b. Windsor, Ct., 2nd Feb., 1668, d. young.
    3. [W43] III. Timothy, b. Simsbury, Ct., 18th May, 1671, m. Rachel Moore.
    4. [W44] IV. Sarah, b. Simsbury, Ct., May, 1672, m. John Hill.
    5. [W45] V. William, b. Simsbury, Ct., May, 1674, d. unm. Oct 8, 1689.

    May 7th, 1682, we find his name in a petition to retain the Rev. Samuel Snow.

  4. Mary (a twin). Bapt. 13 Nov 1628, died in infancy. O.S., Crewkerne. The November 1628 record says: "Joseph and Marie son and daughter of William Phelps were baptized the viii th day of November." Mary died about 16 days later. Buried on 29 Nov 1628 O.S., Crewkerne: The November 1628 record shows "...the xxix th day of November 1826. Marie, daughter of William Phelps was buried the same date." [The entry for the person listed above her name says xxix.]
  5. Mary (another) bapt. 6 Dec 1629 at Crewkerne. The December 1929 record says "Maria Da: [daughter] of William Phelps bapt vi th day of December." No further record, presumed to have died young. It is possible she may have died anywhere between Crewkerne and the time her family sailed away in March 1630. Or she may have died in Dorchester, MA, but no vital records in Dorchester exist on any Phelps members. (No lives were lost on the voyage to the colonies). Crewkerne Parish record, GMB Vol. 3:1446

All the children above were baptized at Crewkerne. There is no further record of Cornelius and the second Mary, both of whom are presumed to have died young.

Ann had three additional children born in America:

  1. Sarah [W20] Was b. c1632 (probably born in Dorchester, MA); m. William WADE on 9 Jun 1658 Windsor; died 1659, Windsor. No issue. (There were no Dorcester vital records on any of the Phelps family before they moved to Windsor, CT).
  2. Timothy [W24]. b. Sep 1, 1639 Windsor; m. Mary GRISWOLD 19 May 1661 Windsor; died bef 28 Dec 1719 Windsor.

    b. Windsor, Ct., 1st. Sept. 1639, m. Mary Griswold, 19 March, 1661, daughter of Edward Griswold of Killingworth, Ct., she b. Windsor, Ct., bpt. 13 Oct., 1644. She died some years before her husband.

    Mr. Phelps resided in Windsor, Ct., on the old homestead, on land purchased by his father from the Indians. He was propounded Oct., 1663, and made a freeman 2d May, 1664. May, 1690, "Thos. Allen chosen and allowed Capt. of Trained Band in Windsor, and Timothy Phelps, Lieut., and are to be commissioned accordingly." 

    May, 1696, "The soldiers at Windsor have chosen Timothy Phelps as their Capt, The Court approveth their said 'choice and does order the said officers shall receive their commis­sions. Sgt. Timothy Phelps that went up to the Great Falls in Oct. last, ordered by the Gov. and Council, 6 Feb., 1706-7, upon public service, shall be allowed 8 shillings apiece more than allowed them by Capt. Matthew Allen."

    He was appointed a Lieut. by the General Court, receiving his commission in 1709, and served under Col. William Whiting, in Capt. Matthew Allyn's Co., in 1607, in the Queen Anne War. He died in 1719. His will, dated 2nd May, 1717, mentions all his children, (except Mary who died young,) and grandson Samuel Filer, son of his daughter Abigail.

    11th June, 1667, "to the Poor of other Colonies, Timothy Phelps 3s. 6d." (Stiles(2) History.)

    Capt. Matthew Allyn led a company from Windsor, in the unfortunate campaign against Quebec. From letters to his wife from the camp on Woods Creek near Albany, that "Himself, Tim. Phelps, Obadiah Owen, Mat. Taylor and Bartlett are sick. Taylor the worst."

    In a deposition taken in Hartford, Ct., Mar. 1682-3, he is mentioned as son of William, about forty-two years old. Hartford Probate Records. Vol. 9, p. 338.

    Last Will and Testament of Mr. Timothy Phelps of Windsor, in the County of Hartford and Colony of Connecticut in New England.
    1. Timothy (1663-1768) m. Martha Crow
    2. Joseph (1666-1716) m. Sarah Hosford
    3. William (1668-1733) m. Abigail Mudge
    4. Cornelius (1671-1741) m. Sarah Mansfield
    5. Mary (1673-1690)
    6. Samuel (1675-1741) m. Abigail Eno
    7. Nathaniel (1677-1746) m. (1) Hannah Bissell (2) Abigail Filley
    8. Sarah (1679-1736)
    9. Abigail (1682-1709) m. Samuel Fyler
    10. Hannah (1684-1727) m. Thomas Phelps (grandson of George Phelps)
    11. Ann (1686-1767) m. David Porter
    12. Martha (1688-1718) m. Samuel Holcomb
  3. Mary [W25] Barber, b. 6 Mar 1644 Windsor; m. to Thomas BARBER on 17 Dec 1663 Windsor; d. 13 Feb 1724 Simsbury, Hartford Co., CT

"After a residence of forty‑two years in New England, thirty‑six of which were spent in Windsor, he died there July 14th, and was buried July 15th, 1672, in his 73rd year, honored and respected by all. His wife died there November 27th, 1675.

The following is the last Will and Testament of Mr. William Phelps, or properly speaking, his Settlement Deed.

^(1) From The Phelps Family of America and Their English Ancestors, (Save $200 by ordering through us.) By Oliver S. Phelps and Andrew T. Servin. (Get a free, updated index here.) Original spelling and punctuation preserved. pp 77-79

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

^(3) Trumbull, James Russell, 1825-1899; Pomeroy, Seth, 1706-1777 History of Northampton, Massachusetts, From its Settlement in 1654