Jarvis Mudge, Hartford Founder

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Compiled by Timothy Lester Jacobs, SDFH Genealogist

JARVIS1 MUDGE, HARTFORD FOUNDER was born abt 1608 in England, and died bef. 17 Mar 1651/52 in New London, CT (probate). He married (1) MARY STEELE abt. 1640 in prob Hartford, CT, daughter of GEORGE STEELE and MARGERY SORRELL. She was baptized 07 May 1620 in Fairstead, Essex, England, and died bet. 1647 - 1649 in prob Wethersfield, CT. He married (2) REBECCA ______ bef. Dec 1649 in Wethersfield, CT. She died 25 Jan 1662/63 in Hartford, CT (executed for witchcraft).

The ancestry, origin, and when Jarvis Mudge arrived in the American colonies is unknown, but he was in New England by 4 December 1638 when an attachment was granted for his appearance at court in Boston. His name is not among those listed as founders of Hartford in “The Original Proprietors” section of the “Memorial History of Hartford County” (1886) by Mary K. Talcott, nor does he have a listing of holdings in the Hartford land inventory of February 1639/40, however, as noted elsewhere, this listing was done years after 1639/40.

That he was indeed among the Founders of Hartford is shown in “Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society”, Vol. VI, “Hartford Town Votes, Volume I, 1635-1716”, page 46, on which is recorded “Martch 24 [1639/40] ye towne being asembled it was left to mr hopkins mr haynes mr wiles and mr welles with the townesmen to speak with ieruise [i. e. Jarvis] mudge and John latymer and to Determine whether the shall haue the sequestried grownd or not and wher the shall inhabit yf the doe they axept of it”. On page 47, continuing notes of the same town meeting state: “allso it is agreed bie the comitye that ther shall be Sequestered to the use of Jeruise Mudge six acres of yt grownd if the towne shall admit him an inhabitant”.

In his article “Jarvis1 Mudge and John1 Henryson Families of Connecticut” (TAG 81), Gale Ion Harris states: “Jarvis’s actual residence is difficult to ascertain at any particular time during most of the 1640s. Despite the above entry in the town records, he seems not to have owned property in Hartford, nor is there any indication that he owned land in Wethersfield, the next town south. He was, however, active as a litigant throughout that period in the Particular Court at Hartford in cases suggesting that he was engaged locally in trade. In nine actions for debt or damages between October 1646 and December 1648, the adverse parties in some cases were men otherwise known to have been residing in Wethersfield. After April 1649, the cases involved men residing or trading in New London”.

Jarvis Mudge had removed to New London probably about 1649, where he had purchased a house and six acre-lot from Edward Higbee on 7 September 1649.

After the death of his first wife, Mary Steele, sometime between 1647 and 1649, he married second, by December 1649, Rebecca ______, the widow of Abraham Elsen of Wethersfield. After Jarvis died on 15 March 1653 in New London, John Nott of Wethersfield was fined at a Particular Court held in Hartford on 2 June 1653 “for his miscariedg with the widdow Mudg”. Sometime between 1655 and 1660 she married Nathaniel Greensmith, who had been in court in Hartford as early as 28 March 1650 for stealing wheat, and had also been convicted of lying. Of Rebecca Greensmith, Rev. John Whiting wrote to increase Mather that she was “a lewd, ignorant and considerably aged woman”. She and her husband Nathaniel Greensmith were accused by Ann Cole of Hartford of witchcraft, for which she was indicted on 15 November 1662 and confessed, leading to her husband’s indictment on 30 December 1662. They were both convicted and were executed 25 January 1662/3 at Hartford.

There is no record of a will or probate for Jarvis Mudge.

Genealogy: “Memorials: Being a Genealogical, Biographical and Historical Account of the Name of Mudge in America, From 1638 to 1868”, Alfred Mudge, Boston, 1868 (This genealogy is fairly good for genealogies of its era, but has numerous dates wrong, as established by vital record checks.)

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