Edward Lay, Hartford Founder

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Compiled by Timothy Lester Jacobs, SDFH Genealogist

EDWARD1 LAY, HARTFORD FOUNDER was born abt. 1608, and died bet. 20 Sep - 11 Nov 1682 in Portsmouth, RI d. s. p. He married MARTHA ______ bef. 31 Oct 1654 in poss Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, MA. She died bef. 09 Jul 1705 in Portsmouth, RI.

The origin the and date of emigration to the American colonies of Edward Lay is unknown. He is first noted in 1637 as being a soldier in the Pequot War of that year from Saybrook, and is considered one of the founders of that town, with his brothers Robert and John. Edward Lay removed to Hartford by 1640 where he was a founder “onley at the Towne’s courtesie”, having property listed in the land inventory of February 1639/40: two roods for a house lot located on the north side of the road from George Steele’s to the Great Swamp; three acres of upland lying in the Forty Acres; and two acres of swamp on the east side of the Great River.

Although considered a Founder of Hartford, there is doubt that he lived there until 1640, as on 18 February 1640 the town ordered that his lot, which he had forfeited by not building on it, ordered should be returned to him. He nonetheless removed again to Saybrook in 1648, living on the east side of the Connecticut River in that part which would become the town of Lyme.

He had removed to Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard prior to 8 May 1653, when he had been there long enough to be one of the proprietors and participate in the division of the Planting Field. Sometime before this he had been ordered to appear in court in Connecticut for “his abusive carriage and expression before several of Seabrooke”, which summons he had ignored as shown by a Court record of 12 August 1657, in which the court decided that he should be free from the forfeiture of bond and contempt in consideration of a fine which was paid by Robert Codham.

In 1661 or 1662 he removed to Portsmouth, Rhode Island, and sold his property on Martha’s Vineyard on 18 October 1662. In Portsmouth he was on the Grand Jury in 1663; was Constable 1665; and was Deputy to the Rhode Island General Court in 1667 and 1677. He was licensed to keep the public house in 1675.

He had no children. His will was dated 20 September 1682 and was proved 11 November 1682.

Genealogy: not applicable, as Edward Lay left no descendants

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