Captain Richard Olmsted, Hartford Founder

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Compiled by Timothy Lester Jacobs, SDFH Genealogist

RICHARD1 OLMSTEAD, CAPT., HARTFORD FOUNDER (RICHARDA, JAMESB) was baptized 20 Feb 1611/12 in Great Leighs, Essex, England, and died bef. 23 Feb 1686/87 in Norwalk, CT (inventory). He married (1) _________ _______. He married (2) MAGDALEN _______ bef. 1671 in Norwalk, CT. She was born abt. 1612 in England, and died bef. 05 Sep 1684 in Norwalk, CT (not named in husband’s will).

It is uncertain when Richard Olmstead emigrated to New England: it is alleged in “The Original Proprietors” and in the “Genealogy of the Olmstead Family in America” that he came aboard the “Lyon” with his uncle, Hartford founder James Olmstead, but Robert Charles Anderson disputes this in the “Great Migration” article on James Olmstead. There appear to be no records of Richard Olmstead in Massachusetts or elsewhere prior to his being in Hartford by 1637, when he served in the Pequot War of that year. He was a son of Richard Olmstead of Fairstead, Essex England, and was a brother of James Olmstead of Hartford. Richard Olmstead of Hartford and Norwalk was also a brother of Harford Founder Dr. John Olmstead and Rebecca Olmstead who married Thomas Newell of Farmington, Connecticut.

In the Hartford land inventory of February 1639/40 he held: one acre and one rood on which his dwelling house stood, located on the west side of the road from the Palisade to Centinel Hill; two acres in the Neck of Land; two acres in the West Field; two roods in the Soldiers Field; four acres on the east side of the Great River; two acres he received in exchange for part of his house lot on the road leading from the Little River to the North Meadow; and fourteen acres and four perches in the Cow Pasture.

In a Hartford town meeting 11 January 1640 “Itt is further ordered yt ye buring place is appended To be part of Richard Vmsteads lott & for satisfation To Richard Vmstead for ye sayed Burying place & ye fencing abowght it he is To have a persell of ground Lying at ye north midow gatte conntaing abowght a acker & a halfe of grownd & ye sayed Richard Vmstead is To Remove mr Alings fence & sett itt p ye high waie angainst ye sayed ground & To inclosse ye end of ye sayed psell of grownd & to safguard ye Long Meadow ye sayed Richard Vmstead is To have peartt of John skinners Loott on wch ye sayed John Skinners howse stand & ye sayed John skinner is To Remove his dwelling howse & John skinner is To have for ye same 3 acers of vpland. & for ye exchange of ground is To have thre acres more wch 6 acres is To be Layed out in his devission in ye Cowe pasture or ox pasture: Richard Vmsteade it T grunsell his howes yt stand vpon ye bring place & then ye Towne is to Remove it To ye lotte ye sayed Richard Vmstead receivs of John skinner.” He later removed to a new dwelling house with outhouses, yards and gardens which he obtained of Richard Lord, containing two roods and twenty perches on the north side of the road along the Little River leading to the Mill. He also later acquired an additional six pieces of land.

Richard Olmstead was constable in Hartford in 1646 and fence viewer in 1649, but he removed to the new town of Norwalk in 1650 or 1651. He served numerous public offices in Norwalk including being Deputy to the General Court at Hartford, selectman of Norwalk, Commissioner of Norwalk, and in 1673 he was appointed Muster Master for Fairfield County. He served in King Philip’s War from June 1675 to 1676. He made his will on 5 September 1684, and his inventory was taken 23 Feb 1686/7.

Genealogy: “Genealogy of the Olmstead Family in America”, Henry K. Olmstead & George K. Ward, New York, 1912

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