John Pierce, Hartford Founder

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Compiled by Timothy Lester Jacobs, SDFH Genealogist

JOHN1 PIERCE, HARTFORD FOUNDER was born in England, and died 1661 in Unknown.

The date and place of birth of John Pierce, where and when he emigrated to the American colonies, and exactly when he arrived in Hartford is unknown. He was in Hartford by 1637, as he served in the Pequot War of that year. He was an inhabitant of Hartford “onley at the Townes courtesie”. The parcel of land of two roods originally sequestered for him, located on the east side of the road from Centinel Hill to the Cow Pasture was allotted to Robert Wade before February 1639/40. In the Hartford land inventory of February 1639/40, John Pierce held: two roods for a house lot located on the west side of the road from George Steele’s to the Great Swamp; two acres of upland in the Forty Acres; and one rood and six perches on the east side of the Great River. He had removed from Hartford by 06 December 1642, when it was agreed by the town that William Clarke be granted John Pierce’s properties.

It is estimated that he was born before 1619, as he was a land owner, and it was customary for landowners to be at least 21 years of age. But he must not have been born substantially earlier than 1619, as he was one of four men who was accused of “wanton dalliances, lacivious Carige & fowle Mydemenors at sundry times with Mary Brunson” (an unmarried teen-aged girl) in the winter of 1639. He, John Olmstead (aged about 22), and Jonathan Rudd (aged about 16) were “corrected”, but the fourth man, Nicholas Olmstead, who was aged 27, was fined and had to stand upon the pillory at Hartford. That John Pierce, John Olmstead, and Jonathan Rudd were only “corrected”, whereas the older Nicholas Olmstead was more formally punished, seems to indicate that the relative youth of the first three was taken into consideration.

It is stated by Hosea Starr Ballou in his New England Historical and Genealogical Register article on Dr. Thomas Starr Vol. 89 that John Pierce died in 1661. It is unknown to where he removed by 1642, but there were two men found in searches of New England records named John Pierce who died in 1661: John Pierce of Woburn, Massachusetts and John Pierce of Dorchester, Massachusetts. However, the wife of John Pierce of Watertown died in 1667 aged 79, making him clearly an older man, and John Pierce of Dorchester was estimated to have been born about 1606 by Robert Charles Anderson in the Great Migration article on him and this man never left Dorchester..

Thus, where John Pierce of Hartford went, whether or not he was married or had any children remains unknown.

Genealogy: none known

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