Person:William Phelps (3)

William Phelps
b.Est 1593
  • HWilliam PhelpsEst 1593 - 1672
  • WMary UnknownEst 1595 - 1626
m. Abt 1617
  1. Unknown Phelps - 1623/24
  2. William Phelps1618 - 1681/82
  3. Samuel Phelps1621 - 1669
  4. Deacon Nathaniel Phelps1624/25 - 1702
  • HWilliam PhelpsEst 1593 - 1672
  • WAnne DoverEst 1606 - 1689
m. 14 Nov 1626
  1. Cornelius Phelps1627 - 1627/28
  2. Joseph Phelps1628 - Bef 1683/84
  3. Mary Phelps1628 - 1628
  4. Mary Phelps1629 -
  5. Sarah PhelpsEst 1632 - 1659
  6. Captain Timothy Phelps1639 - Bet 1716/17 & 1719
  7. Mary Phelps1644 - 1725/26
Facts and Events
Name[1] William Phelps
Gender Male
Birth[1][11] Est 1593
Marriage Abt 1617 Englandto Mary Unknown
Marriage 14 Nov 1626 Crewkerne, Somerset, Englandto Anne Dover
Immigration[2][3] 30 May 1630 Nantasket, MassachusettsAboard the Mary and John
Residence[1] From 31 May 1630 to 1635 Dorchester, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States
Immigration[2][12] 1635/36 Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut, United States
Death[4] 14 Jul 1672 Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut, United States
Burial[4] 15 Jul 1672 Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut, United States
Reference Number? Q8016850?
Religion[8] Puritan

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

William Phelps, (July 14, 1672) was a Puritan who emigrated from Crewkerne, England in 1630, one of the founders of both Dorchester, Boston Massachusetts and Windsor, Connecticut, and one of eight selected to lead the first democratic town government in the American colonies in 1637. He was foreman of the first grand jury in New England, served most of his life in early colonial government, and according to noted historian Henry Reed Stiles, Phelps "was one of the most prominent and highly respected men in the colony."


William is not from Tewksbury, despite profiles from the early 1900s to the contrary. His second marriage and children were found in the records at Crewkerne, and published in 1990.[13]

The origins of William Phelps before the baptism of his son William at Crewkerne on 9 Sep. 1618, and those of the emigrants, Richard and George Phelps have stimulated much interest. The closest that anyone has so far come to Crewkerne is a family named Phelps alias Comer of Broadwindsor (Dorset) some six miles to the south. Earlier Robin Bush established that William Phelps was a clothier at Crewkerne (vol. 25, p. 50-51) and he found some Phelps entries in the parish of Merriott which immediately adjoins Crewkerne to the north-east. There was a small-scale cloth industry recorded at Merriott between about 1575 and 1697 (Victoria History of Somerset, vol. iv, p. 57), which would make the place ideal for the origin of William. No one seems to have considered Merritt before because the parish registers dod not survive before 1646. There are, however, a few earlier Bishop's Transcripts and a series of manor court books of the late 16th and early 17th century (sadly incomplete)......Although these abstracts do not provide proof positive of the origins of the Phelps emigrants, the forenames of William and Richard both occur in the records............[14]

William Phelps came to Dorchester, MA, from Crewkerne, Somerset, on the "Mary & John" in 1630 with his second wife and five children. Robin Bush found the following material on Willliam Phelps in Engand, showing he had a business deal with Benjamin Bale, Sr. of Crewkerne..... The Crewkerne Grammar School accounts (DD/CSG 3/1) included a useful reference to William Phelps. In the accounts for the year ending 9 April 1627 an item was included that William Phelps, 'clothier', was to hold Chubbes tenement for nine years from All Saints last (1 Nov. 1626) for the rent of 8 pounds, paid quarterly, reserving all trees to the feoffees. Under the year ending 5 April 1630 was entered an agreement by which Thomas & Benjamin, sons of Mr. James Bale, were to take over the unexpired term which William Phelps held in Chubs tenement, confirming that it was around that time that he presumably left for New England.[15]

Since the Phelps Genealogy was published in 1899, it was widely accepted that William Phelps was baptized 19 Aug. 1599 at Tewkesbury, Goucestershire, son of William and Dorothy Phelps. It was also claimed he had a brother, George (b. @ 1605) who also came to New England. William Phelps came on the "Mary & John" in 1630, with people from the West Country (Somerset, Dorset, and Devon). Tewkesbury is not in this area, but the claim that this was his home was not questioned until October 1982 , when Myrtle Stevens Hyde had an article published in TAG, Vol. 58, 1982. She presented evidence that the William Phelps (bpt. 1599) was still in Tewksbury in 1637, when he was an overseer of the will of his uncle, Edward Phelps.

The wives of William Phelps have also been a mystery. Up until 1987 it was believed William Phelps had two wives, (1) Elizabeth _____ (History of Ancient Windsor, p. 563), and (2) Mary Dover, a.1638. In 1987, Joan Peel of Dartmouth, Devon, England found the marriage of an ANN DOVER to a William Phelps, 1626 in Crewkerne and this was printed in Vol. 7, p. 100 of this series. This suggested that William Phelps had three wives.

There is a marriage record of a William Phelps and an Ann Law in 1618 (no day or month) in Broadwindsor, Dorset (5 m. S of Crewkerne). If this took place in January this would be 8 months before the first known child was baptized on 8 Sept. 1618. However, another TAG article appeared in July 1990, p. 161-166, by Myrtle Stevens Hyde. She found additional Phelps entries in the Crewkerne records including the burial of a Mary, 'wife of William Phelps" on 13 Aug. 1626. She concluded this was his first wife. He married Ann Dover three months and one day later. Finally, when Hyde could not find a death for Ann (Dover) Phelps, nor a marriage record for William Phelps and Mary Dover, she concluded that the latter never existed. She surmised that the names of the first two wives, Mary and Ann somehow became Mary Dover."[16]

Life in New England

William arrived in Dorchester aboard the Mary and John in 1630 and was admitted as a freeman on 18 May 1631. He moved from Dorchester to Windsor in the winter of 1635, and was second on the list of men who came from Dorchester church to Windsor with Mr. Warham. He appears in town records in various positions in both Dorchester and Windsor from the early 1630s until the late 1650s:

  • Deputy for Dorchester to Massachusetts Bay General Court, 9 May 1632, 6 May 1635 [ MBCR 1:95, 145].
  • Committee on boundary between Boston and Roxbury, 4 March 1633/4 [ MBCR 1:113].
  • Committee to survey Mount Wollaston, 14 May 1634 [ MBCR 1:119, 139].
  • Committee on boundary between Wessaguscus and Barecove, 8 July 1635 [ MBCR 1:149, 161].
  • Jury on death of Austin Bratcher, 9 November 1630 [ MBCR 1:81].
  • Dorchester constable, 27 September 1631 [ MBCR 1:91].
  • Dorchester selectman, 8 October 1633, 28 October 1634, November 1635 (six months) [ DTR 3, 7, 13].
  • Committee to set the rate, 3 November 1633 [ DTR 4].
  • Lot layer, 3 November 1633 [ DTR 4]. Fence~viewer in East Field, 10 February 1634/5 [ DTR 10].
  • Appointed by Massachusetts Bay one of the commissioners for the new towns on the Connecticut River, 3 March 1635/6 [ MBCR 1:170-71].
  • Assistant, April 1636, September 1636, March 1637, May 1637, November 1637, March 1638, April 1638 - April 1642, May 1658 - May 1662 [ CT Civil List 43].
  • Deputy for Windsor to Connecticut General Court, April 1645, September 1645, April 1646, October 1646, May 1647, September 1647, May 1648, September 1648, May 1649, September 1649, September 1650, May 1651, September 1651, May 1652, September 1652, May 1653, October 1653, May 1654, September 1654, May 1655, February 1657, May 1657, October 1657 [ CT Civil List 43].
  • Committee to organize expedition against Pequots, 26 August 1639 [ CCCR 1:32].
  • War Committee (Windsor), May 1653, October 1654 [ CT Civil List 43]. [17]

William lived in Windsor, three-quarters of a mile northwest of Broad Street on the road to Poquonock.[18] "He purchased land from Sehat, an Indian sachem, of Windsor, for four overcoats and he sold some of his land at 12 pence per acre. Not being able to prove title and payment, he paid a second time, the legal tender being wampum."[19]

He was granted a lot in (Windsor) 1635, 100 ft. wide, next to Bray Rossiter, west of the Rivulet. This land was flooded in 1638-9, and he moved to higher ground, above the First Meadow, the most northerly lot on the west side of the Rivulet. He had purchased ths land from a sachem in 1635. This land later passed to his son, Timothy. He had a "plantation lot" east of the Connecticut River, 560 ft. wide, south of George Hull and north of Thomas Holcomb. In 1635 he was one of the eight men, including Roger Ludlow, chosen by the Court of Massachusetts, to govern the new Connecticut colony for the first year. In 1641, the General Court appointed he and Mr. Webster of Hartford, to recommend how "lyers" were to be punished. After this, the court punished "lyers" with fines or "body correction." He was a Magistrate, 1639-1643 and 1656-1662. He died at age 73 and was survived by his second wife and children, William, Jr. (age 52) of Windsor, husband of Sarah Pinney, Nathaniel (age 45) of Northampton, Mass., husband of widow, Elizabeth Copley, Joseph (age 43) of Simsbury, husband of Hannah Newton, Timothy (age 33) of Windsor, husband of Mary Griswold and Mary (age 28) wife of Thomas Barber, Jr. of Simsbury.[20]

Text References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 # 1 William Phelps, in Phelps, Oliver Seymour, and Andrew T. Servin. The Phelps Family of America and Their English Ancestors: With Copies of Wills, Deeds, Letters, and Other Interesting Papers, Coats of Arms and Valuable Records. (Pittsfield, Mass.: Eagle Publishing Company, 1899)
    p 72-88 .

    page damaged

  2. 2.0 2.1 William Phelps, in Anderson, Robert Charles. The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633. (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995).

    ORIGIN: Crewkerne, Somersetshire MIGRATION: 1630 on Mary & John FIRST RESIDENCE: Dorchester REMOVES: Windsor 1635
    BIRTH: By about 1593 based on estimated date of marriage.
    DEATH: Windsor 14 July 1672 ("Old Mr. William Phelps died" [ CTVR 27]).
    MARRIAGE: (1) By 1618 Mary _____, who was buried at Crewkerne 13 August 1626.
    (2) Crewkerne 14 November 1626 Anne Dover. "Mistress Phelps" was the first on the list of women members of the church at Dorchester who came with Mr. Warham to Windsor [ Grant 9]. She died Windsor 30 August 1689 ("Mrs. An Phelps died" [ CTVR 57]).

  3. # 22 Nathaniel Phelps & # 19 William Phelps, in Phelps, Oliver Seymour, and Andrew T. Servin. The Phelps Family of America and Their English Ancestors: With Copies of Wills, Deeds, Letters, and Other Interesting Papers, Coats of Arms and Valuable Records. (Pittsfield, Mass.: Eagle Publishing Company, 1899)
    p. 89-91; 87-88.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Windsor Town Records.

    "Old Mr William Phelps dyed July 14th 72 and was buryed the 15th day"

  5.   Spear, Burton W. Search for the passengers of the Mary & John, 1630. (Toledo, Ohio: B.W. Spear, c1985-).
  6.   Savage, James. A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England: Showing Three Generations of Those Who Came Before May, 1692, on the Basis of Farmer's Register. (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co, 1860-1862)

    "WILLIAM, Dorchester, came, prob. in the Mary and John, 1630, from Plymouth, and was of Porlock, Co. Somerset, on Bristol channel, few ms. from the edge of Devon, and perhaps br. of George, req. to be adm. freem. 19 Oct. of that yr. and was sw. 18 May foll. brot. w. whose name is not found, and ch. William, Samuel, Nathaniel, Joseph, and Sarah, yet one or two of these may have been b. at D. was rep. at the first gen. ct. of Mass. 1634, and Selectman 1634 and 5, went next yr. with Warham to Windsor, there by sec. w. Mary Dover, m. 1638,[1] had Timothy, b. 1 Sept. 1639; and Mary, 2 Mar. 1644. He was of the earliest Assist. 1636-42, a rep. 1645-57, Assist. again, 1658 to 1662, but not under the new chart. and d. 14 July 1672. Sarah m. 1658, William Wade; and Mary m. Dec. 1665, Thomas Barber."

  7.   William Phelps (colonist), in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.
  8. Hinman, Royal Ralph (1785-1868). A Catalogue of the Names of the First Puritan Settlers of the Colony of Connecticut
    page 62.

    'Phelps, William, Esq., Windsor, came with Mr. Warham's church to Windsor, in 1635.'

  9.   William Phelps, in Anderson, Robert Charles. The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633. (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995)
  10.   Hyde, Myrtle Stevens. The English Origin of William Phelps: Comments. American Genealogist (D.L. Jacobus). (1982)

    This article provides evidence that the William Phelps who was baptized in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire 19 Aug 1599, presented in the book The Phelps Family of America, and their English Ancestors (1899) by Oliver Seymour Phelps and Andrew T. Servin as identical with the immigrant William Phelps, was unlikely to be the immigrant. Three reasons are provided:
    - William the immigrant was likely born earlier than 1599, based on the birth of his eldest son.
    - A William Phelps (likely the William baptized Aug 1599) had a son Richard christened in Tewkesbury 26 Dec. 1619. The immigrant did not have a known son Richard.
    - The mother of the William Phelps baptized Aug 1599 named her brother-in-law Edward Phelps in her will. He in turn, in his 1636 will (when he was of Tewkesbury), 'appointed as an overseer, William Phelps, almost undoubtedly his nephew, and certainly not the William living in far away New England.'

  11. based on estimated date of marriage
  12. Appointed by Massachusetts Bay one of the commissioners for the new towns on the Connecticut River, 3 March 1635/6
  13. TAG 65:161-66
  14. Speer, Search for the Passengers on the Mary & John 1630, Vol. 26, p. 54
  15. Speer, Vol. 25, p. 50-51
  16. Speer, Vol. 19 p. 123-124
  17. Anderson, Great Migration Begins. MBCR = Records of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England. DTR = Fourth Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston. 1880. Dorchester Town Records
  18. Speer, vol. 7, p. 63
  19. Descendants of William Phelps and George Phelps of Crewkerne, England, [1]
  20. Speer, vol. 2, p. 71
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at William Phelps (colonist). The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

Founders of Windsor, CT
Windsor was the first permanent English settlement in Connecticut. Local indians granted Plymouth settlers land at the confluence of the Farmington River and the west side of the Connecticut River, and Plymouth settlers (including Jonathan Brewster, son of William) built a trading post in 1633. But the bulk of the settlement came in 1635, when 60 or more people led by Reverend Warham arrived, having trekked overland from Dorchester, Massachusetts. Most had arrived in the New World five years earlier on the ship "Mary and John" from Plymouth, England. The settlement was first called Dorchester, and was renamed Windsor in 1637.

See: Stiles History of Ancient Windsor - Thistlewaite's Dorset Pilgrims - Wikipedia entry

Loomis homestead, oldest in CT.
Settlers at Windsor by the end of 1640, per the Descendants of the Founders of Ancient Windsor: Abbot - Alford - S. Allen - M. Allyn - Barber - Bartlett - M. (Barrett) (Huntington) Stoughton - Bascomb - Bassett - Benett - Birge - Bissell - Branker - Brewster - Buckland - Buell - Carter - Chappel - D. Clarke - J. Clarke - Cooke - Cooper - Denslow - Dewey - Dibble - Dumbleton - Drake - Dyer - Eels - Eggleston - Filley - Ford - Foulkes - Fyler - Gaylord - Francis Gibbs - William Gilbert - Jere. Gillett - Jon. Gillett - N. Gillett - Grant - Gridley - E. Griswold - M. Griswold - Gunn - Hannum - Hawkes - Hawkins - Hayden - Haynes - Hill - Hillier - Holcombe - Holmes - Holt - Hosford - Hoskins - Hoyte - Hubbard - Huit - Hulbert - Hull - Hurd - Hydes - Loomis - Ludlow - Lush - Marshfield - A. Marshall - T. Marshall - Mason - M. (Merwin) (Tinker) Collins - M. Merwin - Mills - Moore - Newberry - Newell - Oldage - Orton - Osborn - Palmer - Parsons - Parkman - Pattison - Phelps - Phelps - Phillips - Pinney - Pomeroy - Pond - Porter - Preston - Rainend - Randall - Rawlins - Reeves - J. Rockwell - W. Rockwell - B. Rossiter - St. Nicholas - Saltonstall - Samos - M. Sension (St. John) – R. Sension - Sexton - Staires - Starke - F. StilesH. Stiles - J. StilesT. Stiles - Stoughton - Stuckey - Talcott - E. Taylor - J. Taylor - Terry - Thornton - Thrall - Tilley - Tilton - Try - F. (Clark) (Dewey) (Phelps) - Vore - Warham - Weller - Whitehead - A. Williams - J. Williams - R. Williams - Wilton - Winchell - Witchfield - Wolcott - Young
Current Location: Hartford County, Connecticut   Parent Towns: Dorchester, Massachusetts   Daughter Towns: Windsor Locks; South Windsor; East Windsor; Ellington; Bloomfield