Family:William Kelsey and Unknown (4)

b. Bef 1609
b. Cal 1613
d. Aft 21 Dec 1666
m. bef 1634
Facts and Events
Marriage[1][2] Bef 1634

From the Kelsey Kindred Web Site

William Kelsey, the first of the Kelsey name in America, was born in 1600, Chelmsford, Essex County, England. He was the son of George Kelsey Jr. and Elizabeth Hammond and had 2 brothers: John and Henry. [This comes from the 1928 Kelsey genealogy. As McCracken points out, this descent is not proven]

William Kelsey was one of the original "Braintree Company" followers of the Reverend Thomas Hooker, who came to America and they were the first settlers of "New Towne" (now Cambridge) Massachusetts in 1632. Reverend Hooker joined them the following year. [According to TGMB, no record of William Kelsey in New England before 1633]

In June, 1636, Mr. Hooker and Mr. Stone, with more than 50 families of the "first church" (Mr. Hooker's) removed to Connecticut where, in the valley of the same name, they established another "New Towne" which was changed to "Hartford" on February 21, 1637. Among these were William Kelsey.

Coming to "Hartford" with the Hooker Company, William Kelsey was one of the "original proprietors" and, as such, his name appears on the "Founders Monument" in the "ancient burying ground" of the First Congregational Church of that city, presently known as "Center Church". His name is also found on the "Adventurers Boulder" located at City Hall, Hartford, CT.

In March 1663, William Kelsey and 26 others migrated to the "Hammonossit Plantation" and founded the Town of "Kenilworth", later changed to "Killingworth". In 1738, the town was separated into North and South parts. The South part called "Clinton" and the North, "Killingworth".

William Kelsey had 9 children: (his wife or wives have not been verified). Mark, Bethia (recent data questions this daughter's name; and, it is thought that it may be either Hester or Esther), Priscilla, Mary, John, Abigail, Stephen, Daniel, and William Jr. [TGMB gives him eight: Mark, Hester, John, Priscilla, Mary, Abigail, Stephen and Daniel]

Mark Kelsey lived in Windsor and Wethersfield. He first married Rebecca Hoskins, second Mrs. Abigail Atwood. Rebecca was the daughter of John Hoskins and his wife, Ann Filer. John Hoskins came to New England on the "Mary & John" in 1630. Mark and Rebecca had 8 or more children. [John Hoskins came in 1630, apparently no evidence that he was on the Mary & John]

Priscilla Kelsey lived and died in Windsor, CT. She married Cornelius Gillette. They had 9 children.

Mary Kelsey lived and died in Windsor, CT. She married Jonathan Gillette (brother of Cornelius Gillette). They had 10 children.

John Kelsey removed to Killingworth with his father, William Kelsey, at the age of 27. He married Hannah Disborough 2 years later in Hartford, CT. They had 9 children. John and his father are noted as two of the first settlers of Kenilworth.

Abigail Kelsey also accompanied her father, William Kelsey, to Killingworth at the age of 18. She married Lieutenant John Hull. They had 4 children.

Stephen Kelsey lived and died in Hartford, CT. He married Hannah Ingersoll. They had 10 children.

Daniel Kelsey also removed to Killingworth with his father, William Kelsey, at the age of 13. He later married first Mary Stevens. They had 5 children. He married second, Jane Chalker. They had 5 children.

William Kelsey Jr. was born 3/23/1654. It is supposed that he died young before the family removed to Killingworth, CT. [McCracken says there is no contemporary record of this child]

  1. William Kelsey, in Anderson, Robert Charles. The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633. (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995)

    (William Kelsey married) by 1634 ----- -----, who was "born about 1613 and living at Hartford in December 1666" [TAG 68:213-14]. (Several false leads regarding the identity of the wife of William Kelsey have been carefully examined and discarded by George E. McCracken and Gale Ion Harris [TAG 37:38-42, 68:211-14]. Based on onomastic evidence Harris suggests that her given name was Hester.)

  2. Harris, Gale Ion. The Family of William1 Kelsey of Hartford, Connecticut: With Notes of Hester2 Kelsey, Wife of James2 Eggleston, James1 Eno, and John1 Williams of Windsor, Connecticut. American Genealogist (D.L. Jacobus). (Oct 1993)

    The authors of the Kelsey Genealogy discuss the question of William Kelsey's wife, noting that they found no mention of her in records available to them. They dismiss old statements that her name was "Bethia" with a comment: "[T]here is no more reason to suppose that Bethia was her name, than that it was Mary or Priscilla or Abigail - the names of the other daughters." They also dismiss as "mere speculation" suggestions that she was a sister of John Hopkins of Cambridge and Hartford, yet propagate the fiction by choosing to "call her Bethia" (Kelsey Gen, 35-36). In 1961, George E. McCracken gave an account of the origins of the mythical Bethiah Hopkins and, furthermore, showed that there was no Kelsey daughter named Bethiah whom the compilers of the Kelsey Genealogy had married off to David Phillips ("The Wife of William Kelsey," TAG 37[1961]:38-42]).