Early Settlers of Windsor Connecticut

      The Stiles family was first found in Bedfordshire, a county northeast of London. They are found an active family in the township of Milbrook, Ampthill. Thomas and Marie were the matriarch of the family. It appears Thomas and Marie Stiles both died in the year of 1614. Three of theirs sons were carpenters and moved to London to practice their trade. They were Henry and Francis leaving three brothers, Thomas, John, Thomas, Christopher, and one sister Joane in Milbrook, Bedfordshire.

      In London, Francis Stiles, who seems to have been of a more active and enterprising sprit than the others, in some way fell in with, or attracted the attention of Sir Richard Saltonstall, one of a company of English noblemen, who, having become thoroughly dissatisfied with the conduct of affairs under the then reigning monarch, King Charles I, had determined to seek a new home across the sea and had obtained a patent for a broad extent of territory in America, whereon to found a new commonwealth. This patent, which had been granted, by the Earl of Warwick, in 1631, under Charles I., to the Viscount Say and Seal, Lord Brook, Lord Rich, Charles Fiennes, Sir Nathaniel Rich, Sir Richard Saltonstall, Richard Knightly, John Pym, John Hampden, John Humphrey and Henry Pelham, may be described, in round terms, as embracing the greater portion of the present State of Connecticut, and extending Westward to the Pacific Ocean.

      Sir Richard Saltonstall Halifax, England 4 April 1586 - October 16 led a group of English settlers up the Charles River to settle in what is now Watertown, Massachusetts in 1630. He was a nephew of the Lord Mayor of London Richard Saltonstall (1517–1600), and was admitted pensioner at Clare College, Cambridge in 1603. Before leaving England for North America, he served as a Justice of the Peace for the West Riding of Yorkshire and was Lord of the Manor of Ledsham. He was one of the grantees of the Massachusetts Company and left England on 26 August 1629 aboard the Arbella. He was named First Assistant to Governor John Winthrop. Saltonstall arrived in Massachusetts with his wife, Elizabeth, and his children, Richard, Jr., Samuel, Robert, Henry, Grace, Rosamund, John, and Anne. The illness of one of his daughters caused him to return to England in 1631, along with his wife, daughters, and two of his sons. He maintained an interest in the colonies and was one of the patentees of the Connecticut Colony. In 1644, he was appointed ambassador to Holland, where his portrait was painted by Rembrandt.

      The leaders of this enterprise were of choicest of England’s sons; men of means, enterprise and broad views, both as to matters political and religious. Their planning and preparations, their selection of settlers, agents and officers, showed that they fully comprehended what was needed in the laying of the foundations a commonwealth. But this is a matter of general history. We have simply to follow the fortunes of our own. It was a stirring time among the English race. In twelve years from 1629 to 1642, four thousand men, with about three thousand families, implying fifteen to twenty thousand souls, for the sake of free exercise of pure religion, fled out of England from the tyranny and persecution of King Charles First, and Archbishop Laud, and settled in New England.”

      In all this stir of emigration, Francis Stiles found his opportunity, in some way, to the notice of Sir Richard Saltonstall and the other gentlemen who were associated with him in their contemplated settlement on the Connecticut River, and he was selected as steward, or manager, to precede them thither, and to prepare the necessary houses, grounds, etc., against their arrival. President Stiles*, says “Governer Woolcott, of Windsor, in 1764, told me he was in the Eighty-seventh year of his age, and the he was well acquainted with many of the original settlers of Windsor. He told me that Francis was Steward to Sir Richard Saltonstall, and by him employed in building a Park at the upper end of Windsor. And I found the tradition that Francis was an active man, a carpenter and a man of great business, and had to keep and maintain men to build a Park for Gentlemen in England; but, failing, became so involved the he removed to Stratford, where he left three sons.”

      In his own good fortune, Francis Styles forgot not that of his family. His elder brother, Henry, then established in London and John, and Thomas, who was “in worke” at Milbrooke, and the sister Joane, where all included in his plans for a new home. The other brother, Christopher, seems, for some reason, to have preferred to remain behind. Of him we have no further record, save that, in 1651, he (mentioned as “hee in England”), was one who was allowed a portion in the distribution of his brother Henry’s estate in Windsor.

      By February the 15th, 1634-35 ?, the preparations of the Saltonstall party, under Francis Stiles, where evidently very nearly completed, and they were awaiting orders to sail; for, at this juncture. Henry Stiles wrote up from London to his younger brother, Thomas, then of Milbrook, asking him to procure a copy of the records of the family births from the Parish Registers; which Thomas procured and sent to him, adding at the same time several little items of family business, and requesting to be informed, as soon as possible, when he should himself go up to London to meet them, as he had a job of work and was anxious to continue in it as long as possible. Whether, as is probable, Henry Stiles sent for this parochial certificate of the family births for purposes of registration required of all those who were allowed to leave the Kingdom, (for those where troublous times), or from a thoughtful and very natural wish in one who was, (in age, at least), the head of the family, to preserve the authentic record of their births and origin, we know not. But thankful we are, in this day and generation, that the record was thankful we are, in this day and generation, that the record was secured, which forms so indubitable a starting point for our family genealogy.

      Fortunately, also, documentary evidence connects with this letter, and enables us to identify every member of Saltonstall party, and to trace their course from the shores of England to those of the Connecticut River.

      At the Augmentation Office (so called), in Rolls Court, Westminster Hall, London, is a small folio manuscript volume, in a vellum wrapper or cover. This volume contains the names of persons permitted to embark at the port of London, after Christmas, 1634, to some period in the following year, kept generally in regular succession. On the cover is the following:

“The Register of the names of all ye Passenger(s> wch Passed from Ye Port of London for an whole yeare ending at Xmas 1635” Among the first entries is the following: 16 Marcij 1634. Theis vnder-written names are to be transported to New England imbarqued in ye Christian de Lo: Joh White Mr bound thither, the Men have taken ye oath (of) Allegeance & Supremacie. –Mildred Bredstreet

ffrancis Stiles35
Tho: Bassett37
Tho: Styles20
Tho: Barber22
Jo: Dyer28
Jo: Harris28
James Horwood30
Jo: Reeves19
Tho: ffoulfoot22
James Busket28
Tho: Coop(er)18
Edward Preston13
Jo: Gribb30
George Chappell20
Robert Robinson45
Edward Patteson33
ffrancis Marshall30
Rice Hevlei22
Tho: Halford20
Tho: Hankseworth23
Jo: Stiles35
Henrie Stiles40
Jane Worden30
Henry Stiles3
Jo: Stiles 9mo.
Rachell Stiles28

      As appears from the above, the party consisted of twenty-two adult males, three adult females and two children, (two of the women and both the children belonging to the Stiles family), and was under the charge and direction of Mr. Francis Stiles, to whom, (or to his elder brother, Henry, also a master carpenter and a freeman of London), nearly all the males were apprenticed, some before and some after their coming to America.

      Their vessel, the ship Christian, of London, John White, master, sailing from London, March 16, 1635, arrived at Boston on the 16th of June, as we learn from Governor Winthrop’s Journal, in which, under date of “Sixteenth day of the Fourth Month” i.e., June, he says: “A Bark of fourty tun arrived, set fourth with twenty servants by Sir Richard Soltonstall to go plant at Connecticutt:” Remaining there about ten days, they then set sail for Saltonstall’s plantations, near what is now known as Windsor, Conn., on the Connecticut River, which they reached about July 1st, 1635. The only actual white settlers at that time in that place, where the occupants of the Plymouth trading house, under Capt. John Holmes. A party of men, however, had come overland, only a few days before, from the Massachusetts Bay Colony, “prospecting;” but, at the time of Stiles’s arrival, were exploring further up the river, near the present Longmeadow, in quest of a suitable location. Acting under Saltonstall's instructions, Stiles landed his party and stores on the west bank of the river, near what is now known as the “Chief Justice Ellsworth place;” and lost no time getting to work. Hardly had he commenced, however, before the Masschusetts men, who had found no place above quite so much to their liking as the neighborhood of the Plymouth traders, returned; and their jealousy was immediately excited by the presence of Mr. Stiles as the agent of a rival corporation; and, under a claim that they were within the jurisdiction of Massachusetts, they proceeded to put a stop to his settlement and improvements. The dispute was long, and (if we may believe Saltonstall’s letter, which he sent to Gov. Winthrop, the next year), an angry one; and we know that Mr. Francis Stiles was not of temper which would easily brook any interference with his patron’s rights, or his own. Eventually, however, thwarted by superior numbers, (for the emigration from Dorchester, in the Massachusetts Colony, had already set in), he had to content himself with landing his stores, sending his vessel back to England, and awaiting orders from Sir Richard as to the course he should pursue.

      We know not as much as we should desire, concerning the final issue of this matter; but the little we do know discreditable to those who directed the councils of the Massachusetts Colony. Saltonstall was put much loss, not only by the thwarting of his plans for a settlement on the river, which he and his co-patentees had done so much to secure and defend the use of the English; but, by loss of the provisions and stores, “amounting to above £500.” Which were consumed while this was going on; and, also, by the loss of the pinnace, (sent at his private cost “of almost £1,000”), which was cast away, upon her return voyage, by reason, as Saltonstall says” of their detaining her so longe before she coulde unlade”

      The matter was eventually compromised, however; and the Stiles family with many of their compagus de royage, became merged in the Windsor settlement, which had been effected by the party which came, overland, from Dorchester, in the Massachusetts Bay, in October of the same year. Their individuality as members of a separate emigration, however, was not altogether lost sight of in the little community for some time; as we find them incidentally mentioned in Court and other records as “the servants,” i.e., of Sir Richard Saltonstall.

      In the first laying out and allotment of lands among the settlers of Windsor, the Stiles brothers, as was natural, seem to have been located near to one another; Francis Stiles upon the “Chief Justice Ellsworth place,” (which, indeed, seems to have been the first landing place of the Saltonstall party, under his charge), and Thomas, Henry and John Stiles, (in the order as named), to the south of him, along the road which ran along the upland, their lands extending from this road straight east to the river, and including both upland and meadow. It is probable, while the question of Sir Richard Saltonstall's rights as a proprietor where still in abeyance, and awaiting the result of discussion between him and the Masschusetts Bay people, that “his servants,” (as Francis Stiles” party were called). Were allowed to locate where they had first landed: and that as it gradually became evident that there was little chance of the satisfactory adjustment being arrived at, he sold to Francis Stiles party were called). Were allowed to locate where they had first landed; and that, as it gradually became evident there was little chance of a satisfactory adjustment being arrived at, he sold to Francis Stiles a portion of the property: and that this sale, or transfer, was virtually “winked at” by the authorities in the apportionment of lands and home-lots at Windsor—the Stiles party becoming in course of time assimilated with and incorporated in the community formed by the emigration from Dorchester.

Colonial Dutch Fluyt Ships (Mayflower and Christian)

Ref: History of Old Windsorby Henry R. Stiles
The Stiles Family in America by Rev. Ezra Stiles Pres: Yale College

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