Nathaniel Ely, Hartford Founder

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Compiled by Timothy Lester Jacobs, SDFH Genealogist

1. NATHANIEL1 ELY, HARTFORD FOUNDER was born abt. 1609 in England, and died 25 Dec 1675 in Springfield, MA. He married MARTHA ______ bef. 1634 in Cambridge, MA. She was born abt. 1612 in England, and died 23 Oct 1683 in Springfield, MA.

Nathaniel Eli emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay colony in 1634, first residing in Cambridge where he held three parcels of property. He was among the so-called “Adventurers Party” of twenty-five men who set out to explore the area that would become Hartford, led by John Steele in October 1635, prior to the departure from Cambridge of the Rev. Hooker’s party in May 1636, and was one of sixteen founders living in Hartford in 1635 prior to the arrival of Hooker’s party.

In the Hartford land inventory of February 1639/40, he held fourteen parcels: two acres on which was his dwelling house, with yards or gardens, located on the east side of the road from the Palisade to Centinel Hill next to the home lot of Edward Elmer; one rood, five perches in the Little Meadow; six acres, two roods called the Brickell; five acres in the Little Oxpasture; two acres, two roods in the Cow Pasture; three roods in the North Meadow; six acres, one rood and thirty perches of meadow and swamp in the North Meadow; one acre and eight perches on the east side of the Great River; another two acres on the east side of the Great River; two acres and fourteen perches in the Neck of Land; two roods in the Soldiers Field which he purchased; two acres and two roods he bought of William Butler and was the house lot of Stephen Hart; one acre and two roods in the West Field; and thirty-two acres, two roods and thirty perches in the Cow Pasture.

He was Hartford constable 6 February 1639/40, and was on the Connecticut petit jury 1643, 1645, 1648, and 1649. He removed to Norwalk in 1650, where he was Deputy to the Connecticut General Court in 1657. He removed to Springfield, Massachusetts in 1660, where he was on the Hampshire petit jury 1661, 1662, 1664, and 1668. He was Springfield selectman 1662, 1664, 1666, 1667, 1669, 1672, and 1674. He was Springfield constable 1665, but was dismissed on 16 August 1665, was measurer of lands 1666 1668, 1671, and sealer of weights and measures in 1674. He was on numerous committees in Springfield from 1661 to 1674.

He was a tavern keeper in Springfield starting 26 September 1665, and on that date was released by the town from training so long as he continued to keep the ordinary, which he did until his death.

He died intestate in Springfield 25 December 1675, his inventory taken 18 January 1675/6.

Recommended genealogy: “Records of the Descendants of Nathaniel Ely, The Emigrant, who settled first in Newtown, now Cambridge, Mass., was one of the First Settlers of Hartford, also of Norwalk, Conn., and a resident of Springfield, Mass.”, Heman Ely, Cleveland, 1885 (A substantially better than average genealogy for its era, it cites sources, and follows the female as well as male lines. However, the section on the English ancestry of Nathaniel Ely should be ignored.)

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