Reverend Samuel Stone, Hartford Founder

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Compiled by Timothy Lester Jacobs, SDFH Genealogist

SAMUEL2 STONE, REV., HARTFORD FOUNDER (JOHN1) was baptized 30 Jul 1602 in Hertford, Hertfordshire, England, and died 20 Jul 1663 in Hartford, CT. He married (1) ______ ______ bef. 1634. She died bef. 02 Nov 1640 in Hartford, CT. He married (2) ELIZABETH ALLEN bef. 25 Jul 1641 in Boston, MA. She was born in England, and died bef. 04 Jan 1681/82 in Hartford, CT (inventory).

Samuel Stone matriculated at Cambridge, (England) from Emmanuel College, Easter 1620; B. A. 1623–4; M. A. 1627. Beginning in 1628 he was a minister at Sistedt, Essex, England, but by the middle of 1630 he had been replaced. After that he was a lecturer at Towcester, Northamptonshire when he was chosen to accompany Rev. Thomas Hooker to New England.

He emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony aboard the ship “Griffin” with Thomas Hooker in 1633. He settled in Cambridge (then called Newtown) where he served as a teacher, a position that he held in Hartford later as well. He held five parcels of land in Cambridge, but then removed to Hartford in Hooker’s party May 1636. He participated in the Pequot War of 1637.

In the Hartford land inventory of February 1639/40 he held eight parcels: two acres with a dwelling house, yards, and gardens, along the bank of the Connecticut River west of the property of Thomas Hooker and, ironically, just east of that of William Goodwin; eight acres in the South Meadow; eleven acres also in the South Meadow; ten acres in the swamp by the Great River; twelve acres at the end of the Old Oxpasture; two acres, three roods and twenty perches in the Little Meadow; one acre, one rood and six perches also in the Little Meadow; and one acre and two roods again in the Little Meadow.

After the death of the Rev. Thomas Hooker, a serious controversy arose over who would succeed Hooker as minister in Hartford. Samuel Stone wanted and expected this position, but a sizable faction led by William Goodwin wanted another minister. The matter could not be amicably resolved, and on 18 April 1659 at Founder Nathaniel Ward’s house, Goodwin and about thirty-three men signed an agreement to remove up river to found the town of Hadley, Massachusetts. Twenty-two and their families moved upriver to form Hadley, along with an undetermined amount from Wethersfield. Eleven of the signers either did not go or returned soon either before or after Samuel Stone’s death in 1663. Those who remained were under almost constant attack by Indians, but seemed to prefer that situation rather than be in the vicinity of Samuel Stone.

Stone, then, in 1647, after the death of Rev. Hooker, became Hartford’s second minister of the first Church of Christ in Hartford, a position he held for fourteen years until his death in 1663. However, in 1660, Rev. John Whiting, son of Founder William Whiting, was appointed as a “Colleague” of Stone, and became the next minister of the First Church. But then, in 1664 Rev. Joseph Haynes, son of Founder John Haynes, was appointed as “Colleague” to Whiting. This appointment of co-ministers points to serious dissensions within the church, which ultimately caused Rev. John Whiting and thirty-one parishioners to form the Second Church of Christ in Hartford on 22 February 1670/1.

Samuel Stone’s undated will was approved 3 March 1663/4.

Note: there were two unnamed sons of Samuel Stone, baptized in 1649 and 1652. I am making a tentative assignment of the son baptized in 1649 to Samuel, Jr., as he sold land in Hartford in 1673, and it seems more likely that a 24-year-old would be selling land than a 21-year-old.

Genealogy: no published genealogy known to exist, probably due to there being no male child of Samuel Stone who survived to adulthood.

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