William Lewis, Hartford Founder

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Compiled by Timothy Lester Jacobs, SDFH Genealogist

WILLIAM1 LEWIS, HARTFORD FOUNDER was born 03 Jan 1594/95 in Hadleigh, Essex, England, and died 02 Aug 1683 in Farmington, CT. He married FELIX ______ bef. 1620 in England. She was born in England, and died 17 Apr 1671 in Hadley, MA.

The origin of William Lewis is unknown. He emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony aboard the ship “Lyon” in 1632, and first resided at Cambridge where he was made freeman 6 November 1632. In the Cambridge land inventory of 20 August 1635 he held nine parcels of land.

He was among the so-called “Adventurers Party” of twenty-five who set out to explore the area that would become Hartford, led by Founder John Steele in October 1635, prior to the departure from Cambridge of the Rev. Hooker’s party in May 1636.

In the Hartford land inventory of February 1639/40 he held: two acres with dwelling house, other outhouses and gardens, located on the road from the Palisade to Centinel Hill; three roods and seventeen perches in the Little Meadow; three acres and twenty-four perches on the east side of the Great River; two acres, three roods and ten perches of meadow and swamp in the North Meadow; another twenty-six acres, three roods and twenty-two perches of meadow and swamp in the North Meadow; four acres and two roods in the Cow Pasture; six acres, one rood and fifteen perches in the Neck of Land; and an additional four parcels purchased starting in 1651.

He was chosen in January 140 to order the affairs of the town, was on the Connecticut petit Jury in 1641; was Hartford selectman in 1641 and 1651; and was Constable in 1654 and 1655.

In 1659 he was one of the fifty-nine signers of the agreement to remove from Hartford and establish Hadley, Massachusetts as a result of the dispute regarding the ministry of the Rev. Samuel Stone, and removed to Hadley in that year. He was Deputy for Hadley to the Massachusetts General Court in 1662, 1663 and 1664. He was on the Hampshire petit jury in 1661.

He removed to Farmington about 1667, but soon returned to Hadley. After the death of his wife in 1671, he returned permanently to Farmington before 17 May 1675, when the Connecticut Court granted him two hundred acres of land for a farm.

His will was admitted to probate 30 August 1683, and the inventory on his estate was taken December 1683.

Genealogy: “Lewis, with Collateral Lines”, Harriet S. (Lewis) Barnes, Philadelphia, 1910 (It must be noted that in this genealogy the compiler claims a specific date of birth for William Lewis in Wales, which is not accepted by Robert Charles Anderson in the “Great Migration” article on him). Furthermore, this genealogy only follows the line of William, Jr. past the second generation.)

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