Thomas Gridley, Hartford Founder‹ Back to The Founders
Compiled by Timothy Lester Jacobs, SDFH Genealogist
THOMAS1 GRIDLEY, HARTFORD FOUNDER was born abt. 1612 in England, and died bef. 12 Jun 1655 in Hartford, CT (inventory). He married MARY SEYMOUR 29 Sep 1644 in Hartford, CT. She was born abt. 1623 in England, and died bef. 06 Nov 1689 in Farmington, CT (not in 2nd husband’s probate).
The origin of Thomas Gridley and when he came to the American colonies is unknown. He was in Windsor, Connecticut in 1637, as he served in the Pequot War of that year from Windsor. However, he was in Hartford by February 1639/40 as an inhabitant “who were Granted lotts to have onely at the Towne’s Courtesie wth liberty to fetch wood & keepe Swine or Cowes was By proportion on the Common”, at which time in the land inventory he held: three acres for a house lot located on the south side of the road from George Steele’s to the South Meadow; two acres of upland in the forty acres; and two acres on the east side of the Great River. He also later acquired six other parcels of land. After his death his heirs received a grant of fifty acres for his service in the Pequot War on 12 October 1671.
He was a blacksmith and a mechanic, and apparently alternated residence between Hartford and Windsor before his marriage. While in Windsor he was ordered by the Particular Court on 5 September 1639 “to be equipped for strong suspicions of drunkenness”, for refusing to watch, and for striking one of Mr. Stiles’ servant men. This incident perhaps spurred him to remove to Hartford permanently, as there is no mention of him in Windsor thereafter. There is mention of him being in Northampton, Massachusetts where he attended a meeting of the proprietors of the town held in Springfield 3 October 1653.
He was a highway surveyor in Hartford in 1648, but this was apparently his only public service.
He was married in Hartford on 29 September 1644 to Mary Seymour, who was related in some undetermined manner to Hartford founder Richard Seymour. After his death she married Deacon John Langdon of Farmington, apparently very soon after the death, as John Langdon was admitted the administrator to Thomas Gridley’s estate and to care for and educate Gridley’s children.
The inventory of Thomas Gridley’s estate was taken 12 June 1655.
Genealogy: “The Ancestors and Descendants of Eben Channing Gridley (1846 - 1923) and Alice Mary Smith (1856- 1935) of Candor, New York and Amboy, Illinois”, Marion Gridley Hitchcock, 1998. (This genealogy concentrates only on the descendants of Thomas Gridley’s son Thomas. For the descendants of his other two children, other sources must be used.)