Facts and Events
"Winchell, Robert, Windsor--a juror in 1644. In '37 was appointed with Mr. Ludlow and William Phelps as agents for the purchase of corn, &c. He came early to Windsor. His children were, Phebe born in 1639, Mary in 1641--David, Joseph, Martha, Benjamin.--Robert died in 1657. Nathaniel, son of Robert, married Sarah Porter, and had Nathaniel, Thomas and Sarah, born 1674, and Joseph 1677. Jonathan Winchell married Abigail Brunson, and had a son Jonathan, 1663. David married Elizabeth Filly, 1669, and had Joseph and two daughters. Nathaniel Winchell, 1664--probably the same who was at Westfield in 1686."
1 Robert Winchell. Robert Winchell was probably born in England. … He was at Dorchester, Mass., at least as early as 1634, but removed to Windsor, Conn., about 1635. He died at Windsor, 21 Jan., 1668, and his wife died there, 10 July, 1655. …
In the History of the First Baptist Church in Boston from 1665 to 1818, by Rev. James N. Winchell, Boston, 1819, is an extract from Dorchester Town Records, Jan. 4th, 1635: 'It is ordered that the p'tyes here under written shall have lotts at the bounds betwixt Roxbury and Dorchester, at the great hill betwixt the said bounds, and above the marsh as fol. not to inclose medowe.'
In a list of twenty persons receiving from 16 to 30 acres is the name of Robert Winchill (from publication of Dorchester Town Records, by N. E. Hist. Geneal. Soc., vol. XXI, pp. 41 and 335).
As Robert probably migrated to Windsor in 1635 he probably made no permanent settlement on this land, and with his wife and two boys he may have lived at Dorchester. Opposed to this is the consideration that had he lived there his oldest two children would have been born there, of which there is no known record.
Robert Wincall (Winchell?) was made a freeman at the General Court of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, 6 May, 1635.
It is surprising to find that Robert Winchell (with William Smarley) bought land in Isle of Wight Co., Virginia, from Anthony Jones, March 25th, 1639. There is, however, no evidence that he went to Virginia, and it may be surmised that Smarley acted for both purchasers. No Winchells are known to have been Virginia till about 200 years later.
Robert Wynchell was on the Jury in Conn., 1 Aug., 1644, and 30 June, 1646. (Rec. Gen. Court, Conn.)
From the Town Records of Old Windsor, it appears that certain lands were assigned to Robert on the first division of the public domain among the original immigrants. The following is a copy of some the original records entered by Matthew Grant, 'Dec. 25th, 1640':
'Robert Winchel hath granted from the plantation an home lot, with the additions to it, nine acres, more or less, the breadth twelve rod, the length from the meadow bounds to George Phillips his land, bounded by Joshua Carter, north, and Joseph Clarke, south.'
'Also, and the meadow adjoining, five acres and a half, more or less, in breadth nine rods, the length from the upland down to the Great River, [the Connecticut] bounded by Thomas Dibble, north, Joseph Clark, south.'
'Toward Pine meadow fourteen acres and quarter, in breadth fourteen rods and quarter, the length from the great river back to the east one hundred and sixty rod.'
'Robert Winchel hath exchanged with Thomas Dibble the lying of his meadow, and now stands bounded north by Samuel Gaylord, south by Anthony Hawkins.'
'Thomas Dewey, legal attorney to Nicholas Canope and his wife Eady, formerly Eady Filley.'
'Robert Winchel hath purchased of Thomas Dewey the house and land on which it stands, which was formerly belonging to Eady Filley, being in quantity three quarters of an acre, more or less, as it lies bounded by the land of Samuel Gaylord, north, of William Hannum, south, Thomas Buckland, his meadow, east, and the highway, west.
'Also, in the great meadow, two acres, more or less, being in length from the home lots down to the Great River.
"Also hath purchased the half of Thomas Buckland's meadow, five acres and a half, more or less, in breadth ten rod, in length from the home lots to the great river. Bounded north by Peter Tilton, south by a highway."
'Also by exchange with William Hannum, his home lot, three quarters of an acre, more or less, in breadth five rod and six foot, in length from the highway down to the meadow bounds, bounded by the land of said Robert which he purchased of Eady Filley, north, and the land of Joshua Carter, dec'd, south.'
The 'home lot' of Robert was located toward the north end of Windsor Main Street, north of the Farmington River, on the south east corner of Main Street and the Bissell's Ferry Road which leads to the ferry over the Connecticut River. (Styles' Hist. of Ancient Windsor.) A neat wooden framed dwelling occupied the site of ancient homestead, owned by Mr. Cushing in 1867.
Under date of 'Feb. 29th, 1659,' Matthew Grant records another transaction in real estate by which Robert acquired 3½ acres. He made still another acquisition of 8 acres, 25 Oct., 1660. On the 30 Nov., 1663, Robert entered into an agreement to maintain a fence between his land and that of Joseph Clarke.
The whole amount of land acquired by Robert was at least 48 or 50 acres. He seems to have borrowed money of one Abigail Alcott, of Hartford, to the amount of 'forty-two pounds, three shillings and one penny.' 'For the payment of the said sum,' says the record of the mortgage, 'I am to have three years time, beginning on the second day of April, 1667, and end the second of April, 1670, which said three years I am to pay yearly rent after eight pounds pr. 100 in wheat and peas, at the price current; and for her more certain security' he mortgaged two parcels of land. But he died in 1668.
Jan. 18th, 1660, Robert was enumerated among householders of Windsor, and was rated 6s for a seat in the church for himself and wife.
Robert's will is dated 1668, and bequeaths his estate to his three sons, Nathanael, Jonathan and David, and his daughter Mary. The inventory should an estate valued at nearly £ 62, or $310, no small sum for early colonial days. His will was not written, but the following certificate, dated 20 Jan., 1668, was probated three days later.
'We, the undersigned do witness that, being with Robert Winchell that night in which he died, desired us to take notice that if he lived not till the next morning, and so could not have it written, that this was his will: That before anything was meddled with all his debts should be paid, and that his two sons Jonathan and David should have the lands on the northwest of the Highway, this being all the lands he had left, only Jonathan should have the north side and David the south side. Sister Randall says: 'What shall your daughter have?' He answered: 'I have done for her already. And as for my eldest son, he is in my debt; I acquit him that; yet let them have something.' And said also: 'I desire that you two and Brother Phelps would be my overseers.' To this we set our hands.