John Bidwell, Hartford Founder

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Compiled by Timothy Lester Jacobs, SDFH Genealogist

JOHN1 BIDWELL, HARTFORD FOUNDER was born abt. 1610 in England, and died bef. 04 Jun 1687 in Hartford, CT (inventory). He married SARAH WILCOX abt. 1640 in Hartford, CT, daughter of JOHN WILCOX and MARY ______. She was born abt. 1618 in England, and died abt. 15 Jan 1689/90 in Hartford, CT.

John Bidwell was a resident of Hartford “by the courtesie of the Towne” in 1640, his land entered at the land inventory of February 1639/40. This inventory is difficult to interpret, as it does not record an original home lot, and consists mostly of lands purchased of others at unknown dates, viz: two acres on which his dwelling house stood with other outhouses, yards, and gardens which he bought of Thomas Bunce, located on the south side of the Little River and across the road heading north from the intersection of the road from John Sables to John Barnard’s; two roods for a tan yard located on the Little River on the south and the road leading from the Town to the Mill (however, maps representing Hartford in 1640 show his tan yard on an island in the Little River consisting of approximately one and a half acres); two roods that he purchased of Seth Grant, being part of Grant’s house lot; four acres on the east side of the Great River; three acres of Upland which he bought of Thomas Bunce; two acres on the east side of the Great River, bought of William Hyde; another two acres on the east side of the Great River; and six other parcels that were clearly purchased later.

He was chosen as chimney viewer in 1655 and 1661, and was freed from watching, warding, and training on 9 November 1670. He and his wife Sarah were original members of the second, or South Church, 12 February 1670.

His will was dated 10 February 1680, he added a codicil on 22 August 1683, his inventory was taken 4 June 1687, and his will was proven 1 September 1687.

Genealogy: “Bidwell Family History, 1587 – 1982”, Joan J. Bidwell, Gateway Press, Baltimore, 1983 (This genealogy was compiled “for and in the interest of the Bidwell Family Association, Inc.”. Though it does quote from probate and land records, it is short on the citation of primary sources.)

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