Thomas Birchard, Hartford Founder

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Compiled by Timothy Lester Jacobs, SDFH Genealogist

THOMAS1 BIRCHARD, HARTFORD FOUNDER (WILLIAMA BYRCHARDE) was baptized 12 Oct 1595 in Fairsted, Essex, England, and died bef. 16 Sep 1684 in Norwich, CT (probate). He married (1) MARY ROBINSON 23 Oct 1620 in Fairsted, Essex, England. She was born 18 Mar 1595/96 in Fairsted, Essex, England, and died 24 Mar 1654/55 in Roxbury, MA. He married (2) CATHERINE ______, WIDOW ANDERSON bef. 21 Jul 1659 in Martha’s Vineyard, MA. She died aft. 06 Jun 1667 in Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, MA. He married (3) DEBORAH ______ bef. 1680 in Martha’s Vineyard, MA. She died 10 May 1680 in Charlestown, MA.

Thomas Birchard, born in 1595 in Fairsted, Essex, England, set sail for the Massachusetts Bay Colony from London, England aboard the ship “True Love”, departing on 19 September 1635 with his wife Mary and his seven surviving children. He was made freeman in Massachusetts on 17 May 1637, but removed to Hartford before February 1639. In the Hartford land inventory of February 1639/40 he held: five acres on which his dwelling house stood with other outhouses, yards, or gardens located on the west side of the road from Seth Grant’s to Centinel Hill; five acres, one rood, and eleven perches in the North Meadow; nine acres in the Cow Pasture; and eight acres in the Little Oxpasture.

He served on a jury on 11 April 1639, and was in Hartford at least until 7 September 1645, when he served as one of the appraisers of an estate, and probably as late as October 1647, when his daughter Sarah married Bartholomew Barnard.

He had removed to Saybrook by at least 1651, as he attended the General Court at Hartford on May 15 of that year as Deputy from Saybrook. However, he soon left Saybrook, moving to Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard where he had property before 17 December 1652. He was elected town clerk of Edgartown 8 June 1653. He still owned land in Hartford up to 1657, and land in Saybrook as late as 1683. On 30 December 1661 he was enrolled in the train band of Edgartown at age 66.

Soon after 02 May 1682 he removed to Norwich, Connecticut, where he sold some land located in Saybrook on 20 March 1682/3. On May 9, 1683 he sold a small piece of land on Martha’s Vineyard, and died sometime between that date and September 1684, at which time the disposition of his will was in dispute.

Genealogy: “The Quiet Puritans: The Birchards of New England”, Volume 1, Edna M. Laughter, self published, 2004 (While the information presented on the first three American generations reflects that of the sources above, and proceeds to multiple further generations, source citation is sparse.)

Another genealogy, “The Birchard-Burchard Genealogy, with History and Records of the Kindred in North America, Descendants of Thomas Birchard (1635) Norwich, Connecticut”, Elizabeth F. Birchard, Philadelphia, 1927, is not recommended.

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