John Clarke, Hartford Founder‹ Back to The Founders
Compiled by Timothy Lester Jacobs, SDFH Genealogist
JOHN1 CLARKE, HARTFORD FOUNDER was born abt. 1608 in England, and died 05 Feb 1673/74 in Milford, CT. He married (1) poss ELIZABETH ____. She was born in England, and died bef. Apr 1662 in poss Saybrook, CT. He married (2) MARY WARD aft. Apr 1662 in poss Milford, CT, daughter of RICHARD WARD and JOYCE _____. She died 22 Jan 1678/79 in Farmington, CT.
John Clark emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay colony aboard the ship “Lyon”, arriving in Boston 16 September 1632. He may have been the brother of William Clark and Nicholas Clark, also of Hartford. Robert Charles Anderson makes this statement in the Great Migration article on Nicholas Clark: “Various secondary sources suggest that Nicholas Clark was brother of John Clark of Cambridge, Hartford and points beyond, and of William Clark of Hartford. Nicholas Clark did come to New England on the same ship with John Clark, and held land in Cambridge near John Clark. On 4 September 1643 Nicholas and William Clark were codefendants in a suit brought by Matthew Allyn. No evidence other than this is seen for these possible relationships.”
However, it must be noted that in the article on John Clark in the Great Migration Begins, Anderson does not specify John Clark’s passage on the “Lyon”, and he does not attribute any children to John Clark. This is because Anderson does not feel that he can connect the John Clark of Hartford to the John Clark of Saybrook. On the other hand, Donald Lines Jacobus in “Hale, House” says that John Clark of Hartford and John Clark of Saybrook and Milford are one and the same. One of the most convincing arguments that Jacobus’s observation is valid is in the will of John Clark in Milford, in which Clark names his son John of Saybrook and his daughters Elizabeth Pratt and Sarah Huntington and grandchild Sarah Huntington. These daughters marrying into the Pratt and Huntington families of Hartford clearly establishes the connection of John Clark of Saybrook and Milford with the John Clark of Hartford.
John Clark first resided in Cambridge where he was made freeman 6 May 1635, and where he was Hogreeve, 5 December 1636, which establishes that he was not in the Rev. Hooker’s original party, but left soon after, as Anderson places his remove to Hartford in 1636. Since he served in the Pequot War, he was certainly in Hartford by 1637.
In the Hartford land inventory of February 1639/40 he held twelve parcels: four acres with a dwelling house, yards and gardens located on the west side of the road from Seth Grant’s to Centinel Hill; one rood and twenty perches in the Little Meadow; one rood in the Soldiers Field; one acre and eight perches in the east side of the Great River; two roods and twenty-five perches in the North Meadow; five acres, three roods and thirty-nine perches of meadow and swamp in the North Meadow; three acres of swamp on the east side of the Great River; fourteen acres in the Little Oxpasture; six acres in the Cow Pasture; two acres, two roods and twelve perches in the Neck of Land; two more acres on the east side of the Great River; and an additional eleven acres, three roods and twelve perches in the Cow Pasture.
He removed to Saybrook by 1647, and served as Deputy for Saybrook to the Connecticut General Court in 1649, 1651 to 1657, 1659, and 1661 to 1663. He was a member of the war committee for Saybrook, May 1653 and October 1654. He was selectman in Saybrook and 1656. He was named as Patentee of the Royal Charter of Connecticut in 1662, and was appointed Commissioner for Saybrook in 1664. He removed to Norwich for a short time around 1664, as he was admitted to the church in Milford in 1665, recorded as being dismissed from the church in Norwich.
While in Milford he served as Deputy to the Connecticut General court in 1666 to 1668. He was appointed Commissioner for Milford 1665 to 1674, though he could not have served in 1674 as he died in Milford on 5 February 1673/4.
He made his will on 17 February 1672 and it was probated at New Haven 12 February 1673/4.
Genealogy: “Twelve Generations of Descendants of John Alden and of John Clarke of Hartford, Connecticut”, Robert N. Wallace, Joliet, IL, 1940 (for further generations of descendants of John Clark, however, Wallace only presents male descendants and does not cite sources.)