Settler of Hartford, Connecticut and His Descendants
George Graves was one of the
original proprietors, of Hartford, Conn., where he settled about
1636,, on the south side of Elm St. about opposite
the Daniel's Mill. A sketch map showing the south-side
plantation portion of Hartford in 1636 (map shown on next page)
shows Deacon George Graves' house lot situated on the Little
River between the lots of Governor Edward Hopkins and Stephen
Post. He was a weaver, in
comfortable circumstances, and was appointed to inspect linen
and woolen goods for the Colony at Hartford 3 June 1644,.
He was chosen "Townsman", as the Selectmen were then called, in
and 1668,. He was
Deputy to the General Court (Assembly) in 1657 and 1658,,
and fence viewer in 1666.
He was married first in England,,
and his two eldest children were born there and brought to
America by their father. He secondly married widow Sarah Ventres,,
mother-in-law of his son George,.
He was against the "withdrawers"
from the First Church of Hartford in 1658, but afterwards on
Feb. 22, 1670, when the Second Church was organized, he was one
of the founders and the first Deacon of the new Church,.
The Second Church was organized, as a result of baptismal and
synodical controversy, by a group of 31 members of the First
Church, under the leadership of the then senior minister, Rev.
Whiting. George's wife, Sarah, was also an original member of
the new Church.
Of his second wife it was said
(in the Hartford
Courant, Feb. 15, 1896) in a sketch of the three prominent
women who united with the Church at that time, viz. Sarah
Ensign, Sarah Graves, and Margaret Nash, "that she was a sincere
Christian Woman who loved her church and whose simple service
was a delight and joy, and the legacy of her influence and
character helped to mould the belief for the next generation."
The inventory of the estate of
George Graves indicated a value of 278 pounds, 13s, 2d,.
His will dated at Hartford 17 Sept. 1673, specified
that his lands should "pay their rates according to their
proportion, to the maintenance of the ministree at the new
meeting house". He mentions his wife Sarah, sons George and
John, son-in-law Jonathan Deming, daughter Mary Dow, and
granddaughter Priscilla Markham.
Painting of Deacon John Grave
House at Tuxis Farm
His will follows:
I, George Grave of Hartford, upon
the River of Conecticutt, weaver, doe in this my Last Will &
Testament give unto Sarah my wife all my houseing & Barne,
orchards, Home Lott, Meadow Land, Swamp Land & upland, &
whatever is in my house, for her to make use of during the time
of her Life, and after her decease to be disposed of as
followeth: I doe also hereby give unto my sonn John Grave one
parcell of meadow Land Lying in the south meadow between Mr.
Richards Land & Mr. Whitings Land, which peice of Land is by
estimation allmost Three Acres. I doe also hereby give unto my
son John Grave one parcell of Swamp Land Lying by the Land
called the forty Acres, in the south meadow, Between Mr.
Goodwins Land and Tho: Catlins Land, which parcell of Land is by
estimation Two Acres & a halfe, both which parcells of Land are
for him to injoy forever after the death of my wife. I doe also
hereby give unto my sonn-in-law Jonathan Deming my Two Cowes,
for him to injoy after my decease. I dow also give unto my
daughter Mary Dow the sume of Tenn pounds, to be paid to her
forty shillings in every yeare until the Ten pounds be
discharged, next after my decease. I doe also hereby give unto
my daughter Mary Dowe my great Brass pott & pott hooks, & also
one feather Bed & Feather Bowlster, & one green Blankett, & one
Pillow & two pillow beirs, for her to injoy after my wive's
decease. I doe allso hereby give unto my granddaughter Priscilla
Markham my least brass pott & pott hooks, & my Iron Kettle, &
two of my best platters, a bigger & a lesser. I doe allso hereby
give unto priscilla Marcum one Flock bed & one Bowlster, for her
to Injoy after the death of my wife. I dow allso hereby give
unto my sonn George Grave my house, Barne & Home Lott, orchards
& all other of my Lands both meadow, Swamp & upland, Except what
is before given away, to him during the time of his life & to
his heirs forever, for him to possess after the death of my
wife. I doe allso hereby give unto my sonn George Grave (my
debts & the Legacies being payd) my Cattell, my household stuffe
& what ever els is mine or due to me from any one, for him to
possess & injoy forever, after the death of my wife. My will
also is that all my Land shall pay their rates, according to
their proportion, to the Maintenance of the Ministree at the new
meeting house. My will and desire is that my sonn George Grave
should take my Estate into his hands & custodie, & the care of
my wife, his mother-in-law, & see that shee bee Comfortably
provided for during the time of her life, she now not being in a
fitt capacittie to help her selfe in this way. Also, if more
than ordinary charges should arise by reason of any Long
sickness that should attend her, that then the whole estate
should share in the Charge that ariseth. Allso my will is that
all the Lining that shall remayn after my wifes decease, which
is not given before, shall be equally divided between my son
George's wife & my daughter Dowe. I doe also hereby make my two
sons George Grave & John Grave my Executors of this my last will
& Testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand.
Witness: John Richards George
Court Record, page 134, 25 Nov.
1673, Will proven.
The planning for the movement of
some of the people of Newtown (later Cambridge), MA, to found
Hartford began prior to May 15, 1634. On this date the General
Court gave them permission "to seeke out some convenient place,"
promising to confirm it to them, provided the place chosen was
not prejudiced to any plantation already settled.
According to Winthrop's journal,
under the date of Oct. 15, 1635: "About sixty men, women and
little children, went by land toward Connecticut with their
cows, horses, and swine, and, after a tedious and difficult
journey, arrived safe there." This apparently referred to the
first group of settlers in Hartford (previously called Suckiaug
by the Indians). Nearly half of this pioneer company from
Newtown were recent arrivals from England. They arrived at their
destination toward the end of October, their journey taking
about two weeks. Thirteen men of this group returned to Newtown
in November, having stayed in Hartford long enough to claim
house lots and help the new settlers get established.
A sketch showing the north-side
plantation house lots of these first settlers is on the next
page. The road from Little River to the north meadow was the
precursor of present day Front Street. The road from the
Palisado to Centinel Hill is now Main Street.
The first group of settlers, led
by Thomas Hooker (picture
on page 18), left Newtown on Tuesday, May 31, 1636. Many were
from Newtown, but others came from other Massachusetts towns, or
soon after their arrival from England. The location of his house
lot indicates that George Grave arrived in 1636, but it is not
known where he came from or exactly when in 1636.
The settlers in 1636 did not make
their way through an unmarked, trackless wilderness with only
their compass to guide them, as has been stated by some writers.
They followed a beaten path, already trodden that season by
several other companies with cattle. The path led from Newtown
on the north bank of the Charles River, through Watertown,
Waltham, Weston, Wayland and Framingham, passing north of
Cochituate Pond. Then it turned southward through the present
borders of South Framingham, Ashland, Hopkinton and Westborough
to Grafton. Then it crossed the Blackstone River, and went
through the present town of Milbury, through Charlton to
Sturbridge. From there it went through Fiskdale and Agawam, to
Springfield. The route was then down the Connecticut River,
crossing the river at the ferry at Windsor, finally arriving in
At least many of the 1636
settlers were granted lands in the south-side plantation, as
shown on the map on page 12.
The original "writeing" in which
Sequassen and his tribe conveyed the Suckiaug lands to Samuel
Stone and William Goodwin in 1636 specified "all the land from
Wethersfield bounds on the south to Windsor bounds on the north,
and the whole bredth from Connecticutt river on the east six
large miles into the wilderness on the west." The grant was
later renewed and enlarged.