Town founders, places I haven't been, ancestors who were "bridesmaids" to history.... This post conflates (and at one point refutes) these motifs seen perhaps too often in this blog. It takes place primarily in Connecticut ("place I haven't been"--check!), but begins in England (check!).
From The History of Guilford, Connecticut, from its first settlement in 1639 by Ralph Dunning Smith:
William Seward came originally from Bristol, England, and settled first in New Haven, and, while residing there he was married to Miss Grace Norton of Guilford, April 2, 1651. He soon removed to Guilford and took the oath of fidelity there May 4, 1654. He appears to have been a tanner, a man of considerable property and eminence in the town. For a long time he was captain of the guard in Guilford….
He was also a paternal tenth great-grandfather of mine, and although an early inhabitant of Guilford, was not one of the founders of that town ("bridesmaid"--check!), although his father-in-law, Thomas Norton (15 Sep 1609 - 16 May 1648), and sons' grandfather-in-law, Francis Bushnell (1580 - 13 Oct 1646), were. The apostrophe is correct: three of the Seward sons married three of the Bushnell daughters. (For completists: one brother never married, another was killed by a horse).
The Seward son that concerns me is Caleb Seward, a ninth great-grandfather. Born in Guilford, it was there he married Lydia Bushnell (Nov 1661 - 24 Aug 1753) when he was twenty-four, in a service officiated by Mr Andrew Leete, who was not a minister, but rather son of another of Guilford's founders, William Leete, Governor of the Colony of New Haven (1661- 1665) and later, Governor of the Colony of Connecticut from 1676 until his death in 1683.
Perhaps tired of being surrounded by nothing but town founders and their descendants, at age thirty-six Caleb headed off to an area near the Coginchaug River known as "The Great Swamp," that was used as a hunting ground for the native Mattabesset people. He built a log house, brought his wife and six children, and thereby founded the town of Durham.
The early inhabitants of Durham were enterprising and energetic. In the year 1698, when Caleb Seward of Guilford, the first pioneer of the unbroken wilderness, moved into his loghouse in the south part of Cogenchaug [sic], he might have climbed to the mountain top on the southern border, and have looked northwardly, as Moses looked from Pisgah upon Canaan, upon hills rising into mountain ranges on the east and on the west part of the landscape, and between them upon that long swamp, Coginchaug, and the small stream working its sluggish way though it; but he would have seen very little like a land of promise…. Think of that unbroken pathless wilderness, the abode of the wolf and the panther on the hills, a possession of the “bittern and the pools of water” in the swamps, guarded by rattlesnakes and copperhead.
They must have been men of enterprise and energy, men of bold hearts and strong hands, who could undertake the task of planting their institutions, domestic and religious, social and civil on this forbidding ground. But they performed their tasks nobly and well.
A few pages on, we learn more about Caleb Seward:
...Caleb Seward has the claim, as the first inhabitant of Durham.... After he removed to Durham, he had Ephraim, Aug. 6th, 1700, the first white born child of Durham, and Ebenezer the second white child born June 7th, 1703. He was the first Town Clerk; was a man in whom confidence was universally reposed. He was a representative of the Town fifteen sessions of the Legislature.
First inhabitant, first Town Clerk.... "Bridesmaid" no more!
|"Here lieth Mr Caleb Seeward|
Who died Aug ye 2d, 1728
in ye 63 year of his Age,
Being ye First Inhabitant of Durham"
(Note both his surname and age at death are incorrect.)
1 Noadiah Seward (22 Aug 1697 - 1744) married Hannah Smith (22 Sep 1703 - 23 Apr 1769), daughter of Simon Smith (1658 - 15 Apr 1746) and Elizabeth Alice Wells (1672 - 8 Jul 1742)), on 19 October 1721, in Durham, Connecticut.
2 Lydia Seward (17 Jan 1722 - 6 Dec 1811) married Stephen Hickock (17 Jul 1714 - 1768), son of Stephen Hickox (12 Apr 1684 - 19 Apr 1726) and Ruth Gaylord (1686 - 1727), in 1742, in Granville, Massachusetts.
3 Stephen Hickock (30 Jun 1749 - 9 Sep 1836) married Rebecca Robinson (8 May 1748 - 8 Oct 1807), daughter of John Robinson (bef 1732 - ?) and Rebecca LKU (?), about 1770.
4 Hannah Hickock (abt 1785 - 24 Aug 1809) married Williams Davenport (12 Nov 1782 - 4 Dec 1830), son of Eliphalet Davenport (14 Oct 1750 - 17 Dec 1835) and Elizabeth Williams (31 Mar 1757 - 5 Jun 1841), on 20 Dec 1803 in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
5 Stephen Addison Davenport (20 Nov 1806 - Nov 1850) married Alma Holmes Doty (9 Oct 1814 - 10 Aug 1879), daughter of Stephen S Doty (24 Jun 1791 - 21 Oct 1870) and Polly Holmes (1788 - aft 1860), in August 1835 in Madison, New York.
6 Henrietta Davenport (Jan 1836 - May 1904) married Charles Swarts (12 Feb 1835 - 8 Jun 1909), son of John Swarts and Mary McDonald, in Wisconsin, in 1859.
7 Ella Swarts (1862 - Apr 1899) was born and lived her entire life in Minnesota. She married Charles A Burnett (Feb 1856 - 17 Jan 1930), son of Nathaniel S Burnett and Rachel Elizabeth Squire, in Scott County, Minnesota, September 1879.
8 Alfred Nathaniel Burnett (19 Aug 1883 - 31 Jul 1959) married Jennie Arleta Eaton (14 Mar 1891 - 15 Apr 1979), daughter of Dor Henry Eaton and Anna B A Miller, in Minnesota, in 1909.
9 Leroy Stanley Burnett (31 Aug 1910 - 11 May 1980) married Hazel Lucille Erickson (6 Sep 1910 - 6 May 2002), daughter of Erick Albert Erickson and Johanna Maria Svard, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on 21 June 1933.
10 [Living] Burnett married Beverly Alane Brown (8 Aug 1934 - 7 Mar 2010), daughter of Dana Earl Brown and Myrna Margaret Severin, in Long Beach, California, on 4 March 1961.
11 Your humble blogger.