William Kelsey, Hartford Founder‹ Back to The Founders
Compiled by Timothy Lester Jacobs, SDFH Genealogist
WILLIAM1 KELSEY, HARTFORD FOUNDER was born abt. 1609 in England, and died Bef. 21 Dec 1676 in Killingworth, CT. He married HESTER? _______ bef. 1634 in prob Cambridge, MA. She was born abt. 1613 in England, and died aft. Dec 1666 in Hartford, CT.
William Kelsey migrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1633, residing first in Cambridge, and removing to Hartford in 1635. 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. His daughter Hester is said to be the first birth in Hartford.
In the land inventory of February 1639/40 he was listed as owning twenty-one parcels: one acre with dwelling house, outhouses, yards, and gardens located on the road from Centinel Hill to the North Meadow; three acres lying partly in the Neck of Land; one rood in the Little Meadow; two roods and eighteen perches in the North Meadow; five acres three roots and thirty-eight perches of meadow and swamp in the North Meadow; one acre eight perches on the east side of the Great River; five acres in the Cow Pasture; nine acres, three roots in the Middle Oxpasture; five acres of meadow on the east side of the Great River; one acre, two roods and fourteen perches in the neck of land; three roots and thirty-seven perches also in the Neck of Land; seven acres and twenty-four perches in the Cow Pasture; three acres, one rood and thirty-one perches in the Neck of Land; sixty perches in the Neck of Land; three acres, two roods and twenty perches also in the Neck of Land; similarly, one acre thirty-three perches in the Neck of Land; three more acres in the Neck of Land; an additional one acre in the Neck of Land; five acres on the east side of the Great River; thirty perches of swamp on the east side of the Great River; and two roods bought of William Williams.
On 24 March 1657/8 he was freed from watching, warning, and training. By 1668 he had removed to Killingworth, where he was listed as a freeman in 1669, and was Deputy to the Connecticut General Court from Killingworth 11 May 1671.
Recommended genealogy: “A Genealogy of the Descendants of William Kelsey”, Vol.1, Edward A. Claypool & Azalea Clizbee, 1928; also Vol 2, 1929; Vol. 3, 1947; Vol. 4, 1973; Supplement to Vol. 4, 1977; Vol. 5, 1983; Vol 6, 1994; & Vol. 7, 1995. (This set of genealogies, extending down to the 15th generation, is an ongoing project of the Kelsey Kindred, an association of descendants of William Kelsey. Is impressive in its scope, though it might be noted that Vol. 1 assigns a child Bethia to William Kelsey who never existed, and excludes another child, Esther. These problems were amply addressed, along with adjustments to birthdates, by Gale Ion Harris’s article, in “The American Genealogist” (Volume 68).