William Ruscoe, Hartford Founder

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Compiled by Timothy Lester Jacobs, SDFH Genealogist

WILLIAM1 RUSCOE, HARTFORD FOUNDER was born abt. 1594 in England, and died bef. 15 Dec 1682 in Jamaica, Long Island, NY (will proved). He married (1) REBECCA ______bef. 1620 in England. She was born abt. 1595 in England, and died bet. 1635 - 1636 in Cambridge, MA. He married (2) HESTER _____ bet. 05 Oct 1635 - 24 Mar 1635/36 in Cambridge, MA. She was born abt. 1622 in England, and died aft. 05 Aug 1680 in prob Jamaica, Long Island, NY (in second husband’s will).

William Ruscoe removed from Billericay, Great Burstead, Essex, England in 1635 aboard the ship “Increase”, first residing in Cambridge, where there is little record of him, other than being appointed to make a pound on 23 April 1636. It is unknown precisely when he removed to Hartford, but he was there by 1639.

In the Hartford land inventory of February 1639/40 he held twelve parcels: five acres on which his dwelling house stood with other outhouses, yards and gardens located on the west side of the road from Seth Grant’s to Centinel Hill; two roods and twenty-five perches of meadow and swamp in the North Meadow; another five acres and thirty-five perches of meadow and swamp in the North Meadow; another eight acres of meadow and swamp in the North Meadow; and yet another nine acres and one rood of meadow and swamp in the North Meadow; three roods and six perches on the east side of the Great River; thirteen acres in the Cow Pasture; fifteen acres in the Middle Oxpasture; thirty-three perches in the Little Meadow; one acre and thirty perches in the Neck of Land; and four acres, one rood and thirty-six perches also in the Neck of Land.

George D. Seymour in the “New England Historical and Genealogical Register”, Vol. 71, article “The English Home and Ancestry of Richard Seamer or Semer of Hartford, Connecticut”, states that Mercy Ruscoe was the niece of Hartford founder William Ruscoe, particularly in light of the fact that William’s son John Ruscoe was one of the witnesses to Richard Seymour’s will, but even the considerable skills of Donald Lines Jacobus have been insufficient to establish the precise relationships.

William Ruscoe was surveyor of highways in 1640 and 1641, was on the Connecticut petit jury in 1641 and 1644, and was the Hartford jailer until he removed to Norwalk in 1654, after which he was succeeded by Hartford Founder Daniel Garrett.

In 1665 he removed from Norwalk to Jamaica, Long Island, where he was made overseer 12 March 1655/6. He made his will in Jamaica on 5 August 1680 and it was proved 13, 14 or 15 December 1682.

Genealogy: no real published genealogy of the Ruscoe family known (There is a book: “William Ruscoe, an Immigrants Story”, Luis Roscoe, Tucson, AZ, 2005, but this is a fictionalized account of William Ruscoe’s life, with an entirely inadequate genealogy included.)

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