John Bronson, Hartford Founder

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Compiled by Timothy Lester Jacobs, SDFH Genealogist

JOHN1 BRONSON, HARTFORD FOUNDER (ROGERA BROWNSON) was baptized 21 Sep 1602 in Lamarsh, Essex, England, and died 28 Nov 1680 in Farmington, CT (probate). He married FRANCES HILLS 19 Nov 1626 in Halstead, Essex, England. She was born in England, and died aft. 02 Dec 1680 in prob Farmington, CT (husband's probate).

John Bronson (Brunson, Brownson) emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1635, probably aboard the ship “Defence” with his brother Richard and sister Mary (who would later marry Hartford founder Nicholas Disborough, but there is no record of him in Massachusetts. This family must have removed to the new settlement at Hartford in May to June 1636. He served in the Pequot War in 1637, and was a resident of Hartford “by courtesie of the Towne” in 1639.

In the Hartford land inventory of 1639/40 he held: two acres on which his dwelling house stood with yards or gardens located on the west side of the road to the Neck of Land; four acres in the Soldiers Field; one acre in the Neck of Land; another four acres in the Neck of Land; and eight acres on the east side of the Great River.

He had removed to Farmington by at least 7 March 1649/50 when he served on the Grand Jury: and was Grand Jurymen again 15 May 1650; served as Deputy from Farmington to the Connecticut General Court four times, in May 1651, October 1655, May 1656, and October 1656. He was sworn Constable of Farmington for a year beginning 4 March 1651/2. He was on the list a freeman of Farmington in 1659, and served on the petit jury 7 March 1660/1. On 4 December 1662 he was freed from training, watching, and warding (due to his age).

The inventory for his estate was taken 28 November 1680.

Genealogy: There are several genealogies dealing with John Bronson, none of which can be recommended due to numerous confusions between the children of John and his brother Richard, and the maintenance of a myth that the three Bronsons of Hartford were children of a Richard Bronson. The only definitive work on the Bronsons is that of John I. Coddington in “The American Genealogist”, Vol. 38, article “The Brownson, Bronson, or Brunson Family of Earl's Colne, Essex, England, - Connecticut, and South Carolina”, John I. Coddington. This extraordinary work, which was intended to be continued, ceased after 1963’s Volume 39. In 1987 he had deposited his papers at the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston. Additionally, supplementation to the John Bronson line is to be found in the Ackley-Bosworth genealogy. It is to be noted that both of these latter genealogies were presented under the purview of Donald Lines Jacobus, thus may be considered reliable.

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