Governor George Wyllys, Hartford Founder

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Compiled by Timothy Lester Jacobs, SDFH Genealogist

GEORGE1 WYLLYS, ESQ., GOV., HARTFORD FOUNDER (RICHARDA) was born abt. 1590 in Fenny Compton, Warwickshire, England, and died 09 Mar 1644/45 in Hartford, CT. He married (1) BRIDGET YOUNG 02 Nov 1609 in Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, England, daughter of WILLIAM YOUNG and MARY BONNER. She was born abt. 1595 in Bishoptown, Warwickshire England, and died abt. 11 Mar 1629/30 in Fenny Compton, Warwickshire, England (burial). He married (2) MARY SMITH abt. 1630 in Warwickshire, England, daughter of FRANCIS SMITH and ALICE FERNELEY?. She was born in Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, England, and died aft. Mar 1644/45 in prob Hartford, CT (named in husband’s will).

George Wyllys was the wealthiest, and one of the most powerful and influential men in the early Connecticut Colony. Son and heir of Richard Wyllys, Lord of Fenny Compton, Warwickshire, England, he sent in 1636 his steward, Hartford Founder William Gibbons, with 20 men, servants and workers, to purchase and prepare his estate, erect a dwelling house and have everything in readiness for him and his family. This estate, at seven acres and three roods, was one of the largest in Hartford, and was the site of the famous Charter Oak. (When Sir Edmund Andros attempted to seize the Connecticut Colony in 1687, Capt. Joseph Wadsworth, son of William Wadsworth, Hartford Founder, hid the Charter for the Colony in this tree.)

George Wyllys left Fenny Compton for Hartford soon after 6 April 1638, when he conveyed his lands in Old Stratford, Wellcombe, and Bishopston to Richard Smarte. He left the manor in Fenny Compton to the care of his son George, who remained in England and became Lord of the Manor at Fenny Compton.

In the Hartford land inventory of February 1639/40 he held: the seven acre, three rood parcel with dwelling house, other outhouses, and yards, gardens or orchards mentioned above; one hundred-ten acres and two roods lying partly in the South Meadow, partly in the Swamp and partly in the Oxpasture; twenty five acres, one rood and twenty perches lying in Hockanum; another nine acres, two roods and thirty perches also in Hockanum; three acres and two roods of swamp by the Great River; another four acres of swamp by the Great River; five acres of meadow again in Hockanum; another twelve acres in the swamp in Hockanum; and five acres in the South Meadow. On 25 September 1668 he also acquired six hundred acres of upland on the east side of the Great River.

He was chosen magistrate in 1639, 1640, 1643 and 1644; was Deputy Governor in 1641; and became Governor of the Connecticut Colony in 1642. He was also Commissioner of the United Colonies.

His will was written 14 December 1644, with additions made on 22 February 1644/5 and 4 March 1644/5. He died in Hartford 9 March 1644/5.

Genealogy: no published genealogy known, probably due to the patriline ending with his sons George and Samuel.

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