Jeremy Adams, Hartford Founder

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Compiled by Timothy Lester Jacobs, SDFH Genealogist

JEREMY1 ADAMS, HARTFORD FOUNDER was born abt. 1611 in England, and died 11 Aug 1683 in Hartford, CT (probate). He married (1) REBECCA TAYLOR, HARTFORD FOUNDER bef. 1637 in Hartford, CT. She was born abt. 1600 in England, and died bef. 04 Aug 1683 in Hartford, CT (not named in 3rd husband’s will). He married (2) REBECCA FLETCHER bet. 1682 - 1683 in Hartford, CT, daughter of JOHN FLETCHER. She was baptized 29 Apr 1632 in Pontefract, York, England, and died 25 Jun 1715 in Middletown, CT.

The ancestry and origin of Jeremy Adams is unknown, but he was at Cambridge Massachusetts by 1633 and was made freeman there 6 May 1635. He removed to Hartford in 1636, where he was an original proprietor.

He was constable in 1639 and upon his marriage to Rebecca, widow of Hartford Founder Samuel Greenhill (and previously the widow of Walter Baseden), he came into possession of the house and lands of Greenhill, until the two Greenhill children came of age. Thus, in the Hartford land inventory of February 1639/40 he held: two acres on which his dwelling house stood located on the south side on the road from the mill to the South Meadow; ten acres in the South Meadow, land which had been sequestered for Jonathan Ince; six acres in the Great Swamp; three roods and eight perches in the swamp by the Great River; two roods and twenty perches in the Little Meadow; and acres lying in Hockanum (later East Hartford).

He was licensed for exclusive right to retail liquors, May 1660, and to keep an ordinary (tavern and inn), March 1661/2. He bought the lot of Hartford founder John Morrice, and mortgaged it to the colony 26 January 1660, but the mortgage was foreclosed on 14 January 1680/1. His grandson Zachary Sandford redeemed Jeremy Adams’ property in 1685, and kept the inn in the same place for many years.

This inn was where General and Particular Courts were held for many years, and was the scene from which one of Hartford’s most famous incidents occurred. On 31 October 1687, Sir Edmund Andros, the Governor of New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and Maryland, with profoundly Anglican views and who was attempting to seize control of all the current American colonies, arrived in Hartford demanding that Connecticut’s Charter be turned over to him. The Charter was brought into the room that served as the Court, but in a moment, the lights were extinguished, and it is said that Captain Joseph Wadsworth, son of founder William Wadsworth, carried off the Charter, secreting it in a great hollow oak tree on the property on Samuel Wyllys, son of founder George Wyllys.

This, then, was the famous Charter Oak, which continued to stand for many years, and scions of that tree are said to still exist in t the Hartford area. Andros was thus frustrated in his attempt to seize Connecticut.

The inn was held by Zachary Sanford for twenty-five years, and was turned over to Sandford’s son-in-law Jonathan Bunce, then in 1732 Samuel Flagg who had married Bunce’s daughter Sarah acquired the inn, naming it the “Black Horse Tavern”. In 1740 Flagg razed the original structure and erected a new one, but was denied renewal of the inn’s license in 1756.

Jeremy Adams was appointed customs master May 1663, was freed from watching and warning at the age of 60, 2 March 1664/5 and was selectman in 1671.

He mentioned in his will his grandson Zachary Sandford, children of son John Adams, and children of son-in-law Nathaniel Willett.

The will of Jeremy Adams was dated 4 August 1683 and was proved 6 September 1683.

Genealogy: “Jeremy Adams of Cambridge, Mass. and Hartford, Conn. and His Descendants”, Arthur Adams, Boston, 1955

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