Governor Thomas Welles, Hartford Founder

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Compiled by Timothy Lester Jacobs, SDFH Genealogist

THOMAS1 WELLES, GOV., HARTFORD FOUNDER (ROBERTA) was born abt. 1590 in Tidmington, Worcestershire, England, and died 14 Jan 1659/60 in Wethersfield, CT. He married (1) ALICE TOMES aft. 05 Jul 1615 in England, daughter of JOHN TOMES and ELLEN GUNNE. She was born abt. 1590 in Long Marston, Gloucestershire, England, and died bef. 1646 in Hartford, CT. He married (2) ELIZABETH DEMING, WIDOW OF NATHANIEL FOOTE abt. 1646 in Hartford, CT. She was born abt. 1595 in England, and died 28 Jul 1683 in Wethersfield, CT.

Thomas Welles emigrated to the American colonies from Burmington, Worcester, England in 1635, first residing in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he held one house in the town 8 February 1635/6.

He removed to Hartford in 1636 where he held in the land inventory of February 1639/40: seven acres and two roods on which his dwelling house stood with other outhouses, yards or gardens including two acres for the house lot, two acres and two roods of upland, and three acres of meadow; one parcel of ninety acres; twelve acres lying in Hockanum; and three acres and fourteen perches in the swamp by the Great River.

He was one of the most important and influential men in Connecticut. On his arrival in Hartford he was immediately made a magistrate of the colony at the General Court, serving in that position 1637 to 1653. He was Treasurer of the Colony 1639, 1648, 1649, and 1650; and Secretary 1641, 1643, 1644, 1645, and 1647. He lived in Hartford until 1646, when he removed to Wethersfield.

He served as Moderator in February 1654, following the death of Governor John Haynes, Deputy Governor Hopkins then being in England. He was elected Deputy Governor 1654, 1656, 1657, and 1659, and was Governor of Connecticut in 1655 and 1658. He was a Commissioner of the United colonies 1649, 1654, and 1659 he was on the war committee for Wethersfield in 1653.

A son, Joseph is added as a possibility to the roster of his children on the basis of testimony given 2 March 1649/50 by Nicholas Hunt in Warwick, England that “he hath heard that Thomas Wells had one son more, born since he went over thither” (NEHGR, Vol. 80), coupled with the claim of such in “History of the Welles Family in England; with their Derivation in this Country from Gov. Thomas Welles, of Connecticut”, Albert Welles & Henry W. Sargent, Boston, 1874.

Gov. Thomas Welles died in Wethersfield 14 January 1659/60, his inventory being taken 30 January of that same year.

Recommended genealogy: “The Descendants of Governor Thomas Welles of Connecticut, 1590 – 1658, and his wife Alice Tomes”, Donna H. Siemiatkoski, Gateway Press, Baltimore, 1990 (This genealogy easily displaces “History and Genealogy of the Gov. John Webster Family of Connecticut”, William H. & Melville R. Webster, Rochester, NY, 1915, a very thick tome that has comprehensive biographies, but is difficult to follow in terms of the layout of genealogy, and the data in which has been comprehensively corrected by Jacobus and Siemiatkoski.

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