Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Challenge

To the readers of my blog:

This is the first time that I have ever used my blog to ask people for anything. I do not do this lightly, as I am aware that there are many good things that people can donate to. But this is for a cause that most if not all of you have ever heard of. And I have a personal connection to it that I will explain below. If you do not give in response to such appeals, I understand – you can just stop reading here. But if you want to learn something and perhaps would consider a donation, please keep reading.

About 2-1/2 years ago, my brother-in-law George (husband of my sister Dawn), went to the emergency room for a kidney stone. While he had that (and having had one myself, it is not pleasant), he also received an initial diagnosis of Peritoneal Carcinomatosis. Later tests would hone in on “Stage IV Pseudomyxoma Peritonei” (PMP for short). This is a rather rare disease with fewer than 10 people in a million being diagnosed annually. And like many rare diseases, funding for research for cures is very limited. There are also limited surgeons and oncologists who specialize and/or treat this disease.

After two rounds of surgery, George is no longer a candidate for further chemotherapy and is on a “watch and wait” mode to see how things progress. Dawn has recently retired in order to devote more time to be with George.

She has also decided to launch a fundraiser to benefit ACPMP, the organization which supports research and education of people with this type of cancer. Below is what she said in a recent email to me.

I have taken her up on her challenge and have made a substantial donation to her campaign. Since I am “folicly challenged” and have not much hair to create my own challenge, I am choosing instead to broadcast this via my blog.

So, if you have any interest, check out her website below, read her story, and consider how/if you want to be involved.


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I am hoping you will help in a number of ways.
1.  Donate to MY campaign
2.  Create a mini challenge of your own (If you've had long hair for a long time and will cut it really short and think people will pay to have you do so?  Or, for guys, if you have facial hair and will shave it off for a price?  That sort of thing.  Should be "hair related"
3.  PLEASE FORWARD THE LINK TO ALL YOUR CONTACTS.  To make it more effective, if you include a personal note in the email that tells them how you are connected and how this affects you, it will have more success.

I have a lofty goal to get $10K directly to myself!  But I know that if everyone in my contact list participates and forwards it along, then I can meet the goal!

If you don't do # 2, then the preference is to contribute to me directly!

I am giving this campaign 3 months.  On August 12 (tentative date right now), I hope to hold a fundraiser celebration with an "audience" to watch my hair go away.  I will conduct a silent fundraiser at the same time for additional funds for ACPMP as well as PMP Pals.  I need help getting places to donate gift certificates, gifts, prizes, etc.  I can provide donation forms and receipts.  

Here's my page: .  On here you will find the challenge, and the home page that tells the story of how I created the name.  You will also see the "home team" (LOL)!  It’s the cover photo of the Hair Today Gone Tomorrow page.

And away we go!  

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Connecticut Signers of the Declaration of Independence

Someone recently sent me a copy of the Declaration of Independence. As I was reading through it, at the very end was a list of all the men who signed it. These men were listed by the state that they represented. There are four of them who represented my home state, Connecticut.

Having recently done a blog on the governors of the Colony and then State of Connecticut and how so many of them are related to me, I wondered how many of these four men were related to me. Here is what I found out.

Samuel (1731-1796) was also the 18th governor of Connecticut [I missed him in the list of governors] and was succeeded by Oliver Wolcott (below). In addition to signing the Declaration of Independence, he signed the Articles of Confederation, was the President of the Continental Congress (1779-1781), President of the United States in Congress assembled in 1781, and the chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court (1784-1785). Samuel was married to Martha Devotion, who is my 3rd cousin, 7 times removed, as her great-grandfather, Samuel Lathrop was the brother of my great*8 grandfather, John Lathrop.

Roger (1721-1793) was the first mayor of New Haven, CT, and is the only person to have signed all four great state papers of the US – the Continental Association, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution. When Roger’s father passed away the family moved to New Milford, CT. It was there that his younger sister, Rebecca, married Joseph Hartwell, Jr. Rebecca and Joseph are the great*3 grandparents of my great-uncle, Joseph Hartwell, who married my grandmother’s sister (also in New Milford). So that makes Roger the great*4 uncle of my great-uncle.

William (1731-1811) was a storekeeper and a protestor several years before the Revolutionary War. He was a member of the Sons of Liberty. He was elected to the Continental Congress on July 11, 1776 but did not arrive at Congress until July 28, too late to vote for the Declaration of Independence, but in time to sign the formal copy. He was married to Mary Trumbull, daughter of Jonathan Trumbull [another governor of CT that I missed in my analysis]. Jonathan’s grandson, Jonathan, married Jane Lathrop who is related to the same John Lathrop above. Thus, William is the uncle of my 4th cousin, 5 times removed.

Oliver (1726-1797) was the youngest of fourteen children of Roger Wolcott. He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence as well as of the Articles of Confederation before it. During the Revolutionary War he served as a general. He served as the Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut from 1786 until 1796 and then as Governor of Connecticut from 1796 until his death in December of 1797. It was while serving as Lt. Governor where he presided over the Senate that he cast the tie-breaking vote to approve the separation of the town of Farmingbury from the towns of Southington [previously South Farmington] and Waterbury. In honor of this, the townspeople of Farmingbury renamed the town Wolcott. As I have documented previously, Oliver’s 1st cousin, 7 times removed, and his namesake, Oliver Elias Wolcott, married my 2nd cousin, three times removed, Lillie Waldron.

In 1777, the Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation, the first constitution of the United States. In addition to Samuel Huntington, Roger Sherman, and Oliver Wolcott, there were two other men from Connecticut who were signatories of the Articles of Confederation.

Titus (1736-1780) was a lawyer from Middletown, CT. He is related to me through my wife. Her great-uncle, Thomas DeMoulpied, is the 2nd cousin, 4 times removed of Titus through Thomas’ mother, Ann [Hosmer] DeMoulpied.

Andrew (1736-1797) was a lawyer from Litchfield, CT. He was also a Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court. My 5th cousin, 5 times removed, Henry F Talmadge, married Andrew’s granddaughter, Maria Adams.

Finally, in 1787 the Constitution was written and adopted. Roger Sherman was again one of the signatories from Connecticut, but this time joined by William Samuel Johnson.

William (1727-1819) was an early statesman, served in the US Senate, and was the third president of King’s College (now known as Columbia University). I have [at least] two connections to William. My 3rd cousin, 6 times removed, Jerusha Frisbie, married Ben Gaylord who is the brother of William’s aunt, Ruth [Gaylord] Johnson. And my 1st cousin, 6 times removed, John Alcott, married Lois Gaylord, the great-niece of Ruth [Gaylord] Johnson.

And as a bonus while doing this investigation, I have found that William’s father, Samuel Johnson (1696-1772) was one of the principals involved in the early days of the Collegiate School of Connecticut before it settled permanently in New Haven and was renamed as Yale College. You can read that story here (

While all the above is interesting, I guess that the moral of the story is that when one’s ancestors have been in Connecticut for ten generations you are pretty much connected to nearly everyone in the state’s history. At any rate, I get some pleasure in doing this type of exploration into my extended family tree.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Genealogy Story – Carrying on the Family Name and Business

In an earlier blog (, I wrote about my great*7 grandfather, James Pierpont. James was the pastor of the congregational church in New Haven. He had a total of 9 children (3 girls and 6 boys). From these he had 48 grandchildren and 219 great-grandchildren. I’d now like to explore what happened to this large family, concentrating on how many carried on the family name and/or business.

All three of James’ daughters married ministers, carrying on the family “business”. Between them, these three women had 29 children and 128 grandchildren. But, of course, none of them were to have the Pierpont last name, although that name shows up as a first/middle name in several instances.

Three of James’ sons had no children. One died at the age of 5 months and one was in training to be a minister but was unmarried when he died at the age of 23 in a drowning accident. The other received his theological training and went to the British Virgin Islands in the West Indies, perhaps as a missionary(?), where he died at the age of 29. One report of his death attaches the term “dwi”, died with issue, meaning that he may have had children, but this is unconfirmed. For purposes of this blog, I will simply count him as not passing along the family name.

That leaves only three of James’ children who would have been able to carry on the family name. But interestingly, these three were the only ones of his children who chose NOT to continue on the family “business” of going into the ministry, even though two of them did marry the daughters of other ministers.

James’ youngest son also died young at age 29 but not before having two children. One of them had no children, but the other, Hezekiah, had 10 children. However, five of them died young, two were unmarried, and two were daughters, so only one would have been able to carry on the family name. But Hezekiah had changed his name to the original French spelling, Pierrepont, so the Pierpont name was not the one that would have been carried on. You can read more about Hezekiah’s story here (

This leaves only two of James’ nine children to carry on the family name – James (his second born), and Joseph (his fifth born). James had 5 children and 32 grandchildren and Joseph had 12 children and 51 grandchildren. Let me explore them just a little bit more.

James (1699-1776) received his theological education at Yale, graduating in 1718, the year that the college was first called that. But he chose to become a business man instead. He had 5 sons and no daughters. His three oldest sons (Evelyn, Robert, and James) married three sisters (Rhoda, Lois, and Elizabeth Collins). The sisters’ were descended from the minister of Litchfield CT, Timothy Collins, and they were great*2 grandchildren of William Leete, a former governor of Connecticut (you can read about him here -

Joseph (1704-1748) was also educated at Yale, but he chose to become a farmer. He married the sister of his older sister’s husband, i.e. the daughter of a minister. This pattern of multiple marriages between two families seemed to be a fairly common thing in the Pierpont family. Two of his eight children died young. Four of his children married members of the Brockett family with Hannah and Mary marrying Abel and Richard Brockett and Giles and Hezekiah marrying Elizabeth and Mehitable Cooper who were cousins of Abel and Richard through their mother Mehitable [Brockett] Cooper. Also, Joseph’s sons Samuel and Benjamin married Elizabeth Frost and her niece Sarah Blakeslee who was the daughter of Elizabeth’s sister Mary [Frost] Blakeslee.

Between them, James and Joseph account for approximately 2800 of the over 4300 known descendants of their father, and all of his grandchildren who carried the Pierpont name. Joseph was the great*5 grandfather of my mother, Sylvia [Pierpont] Russell.

I’m “blown away” by the size of the families of this era. James had the following number of descendants at the children/grandchildren/great-grandchildren level (with the number of male children who lived long enough that they could marry and pass on the family name in parentheses): 9(2), 48(13), 219(34). By comparison my grandfather Russell had numbers: 2(1), 7(3), and 12(1), and my grandfather Pierpont had numbers: 5(2), 18(4), and 30(5).

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Governors of Connecticut

I’ve touched different areas of Connecticut history in a number of my blogs over the past few years and a few times mentioned relatives who served as the governor of Connecticut. So I thought that I’d try to pull these references together in one place, do some additional research, and see how many individuals who have held that office were my relatives. While it’s quite possible that there were other leaders in the various New England colonies who are related to me, the amount of work to uncover these relationship has been pretty daunting, so I have chosen to only list the ones that I have discovered so far.

In prior blogs I have noted how many connections there were between the early religious leaders in Connecticut (see and But it appears that this connectedness also includes many of the political leaders as well – the early Puritans of Connecticut seem to have been a pretty tight-knit group with a number of inter-family marriages. In particular, all three governors of the New Haven Colony (Eaton, Newman, Leete) appear in the below list of my relatives. In addition, many of the early governors of the Colony of Connecticut are also in the below list.

John (1594-1653) was one of the original settlers of the Colony of Connecticut at Hartford (named for his family home of Herefordshire, England). His granddaughter was the 2nd wife of my great*7 grandfather, James Pierpont. He served as the first governor of the colony beginning in 1639. Because the constitution at that time did not allow for consecutive terms, he was in and out of the office eight times until his death. Before moving to Connecticut he also served one term as the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony (1635-1636), being the only person to serve as governor in what became two different states.

Edward (1600-1657) was the individual who alternated with John Haynes as governor of the colony, first elected in 1640 and serving seven terms until 1656. His last term he was elected while back in England as an attempt to get him to return – which he did not, so the lieutenant governor, Thomas Welles, served in his stead. Edward was married to Anne Yale, the step-daughter of Theophilus Eaton (see below). His granddaughter, Mary Church, married a distant cousin of mine, Philip Russell, who is related to me on both of my parent’s sides of the family.

George (1590-1645) was the only person serving as governor of the Colony of Connecticut in between the continued alternation between John Haynes and Edward Hopkins. He served for just one year, 1642-1643. His grandson, also George, married Ruth Haynes, the daughter of John Haynes (see above).

Theophilus (1590-1658) was the co-founder of the New Haven Colony. He served as its governor from 1639 until his death in 1658. When his first wife died he married a widow, Anne Yale. One of her children from her first marriage was Anne Yale who married Edward Hopkins (above). Anne (the mother) was also the grandmother of Elihu Yale (1649-1721), and it was this connection to Elihu that would have been responsible for Elihu becoming a benefactor to the Collegiate School of Connecticut and thus for it being named Yale College in 1718. My relationship to Theophilus is pretty complicated as his step-great-granddaughter married my distant cousin, Philip Russell.

Thomas (1594-1659) is my great*10 grandfather. Born in England, he was one of the party of individuals who came to Hartford with Thomas Hooker and John Haynes. He served as governor of the Colony of Connecticut from 1655-56 and 1658-59. He is also the only person in Connecticut history to have held the positions of governor, deputy governor, treasurer, and secretary.

Francis (1605-1660) was the governor of the New Haven Colony from 1658-1660 when he died in office. His widow later married William Leete (see below) about 1675, so she had the distinction of being the wife of two different governors.

William is the great*8 grandfather of my aunt, Barbara Leete [Bishop] Pierpont. He was the Deputy Governor and Chief Magistrate of the colony when he helped prevent the capture of two former English judges who were being sought by King Charles II for signing the death warrant of his father, Charles I, several years earlier. When agents of the king came looking for them Leete cooperated enough to avoid being accused of obstruction of justice, but did not provide enough information for them to be captured. Leete later served as the Governor of the New Haven Colony from 1661-1665 and also served as the Governor of the Colony of Connecticut from 1676 to 1683, the only man to serve in both those positions.

Roger (1679-1767) was governor of the colony of Connecticut from 1750-1754. His great*7 nephew, Oliver Elias Wolcott, married my 2nd cousin, three times removed, Lillie Waldron. He is the father of Oliver Wolcott and grandfather of Oliver Wolcott, Jr. below.

Oliver (1726-1797) was the youngest of fourteen children of Roger Wolcott. He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence as well as of the Articles of Confederation before it. During the Revolutionary War he served as a general. He served as the Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut from 1786 until 1796 and then as Governor of Connecticut from 1796 until his death in December of 1797. It was while serving as Lt. Governor where he presided over the Senate that he cast the tie-breaking vote to approve the separation of the town of Farmingbury from the towns of Southington [previously South Farmington] and Waterbury. In honor of this, the townspeople of Farmingbury renamed the town Wolcott.

Oliver Jr (1760-1883) was a career politician. He was a graduate of Yale as well of the Litchfield Law School. He served as the 2nd U.S. Secretary of the Treasury from 1795-1800 (appointed by George Washington to succeed Alexander Hamilton) and later was the Governor of Connecticut from 1817-1827.

Henry (1779-1847) is my 2nd cousin, 6 times removed. His father was Pierpont Edwards and his great-grandfather was James Pierpont from New Haven. He graduated from Princeton and was educated at the Litchfield Law School. He served as a US Representative, a US Senator, in the Connecticut Senate, the Connecticut House of Representatives, then two terms as Governor of Connecticut (1833-1834 and 1835-1838).

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Wolcott History – Founding Members of the Congregational Church

On page 30ff of Orcutt’s History of the Town of Wolcott is a significant item. In June 1772 the members of the Ecclesiastical Society of Farmingbury had voted to have Mr. Jackson be called as a probationer for their newly forming congregation. He refused this position although he agreed to preach for several months. In January 1773, the congregation voted to “apply to some man to preach with on probation a few Sabbaths,” because they were all “at sea” concerning a minister. Finally, in August 1773, after hearing Mr. Alexander Gillet for a few Sundays, they “Voted to improve Mr. Gillet ten Sabbaths more, and on probation.” By the end of October, the agreed to call him, to schedule his ordination for the end of that year, and to have their first membership roll. On November 18th, there was a special ceremony for the signing of “The Covenant of Confederation”. The introduction in these records states:


Their Covenant of confederation, assented to at Farmingbury, November 18th, 1773.

We, who are members of several churches, desiring to be built up a spiritual house on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone, in order to offer spiritual gifts and sacrifices acceptable to God through Christ, and being united in the bonds of Christian love, and in the faith of the gospel of Christ, do this renewedly dedicate ourselves to God, acknowledging out great obligation to walk in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless, -- and in the presence or God, angels, and men, do enter into covenant obligation with each other, as members in particular of one distinct and entire church, for all the purposes of Christian edification; promising, by the grace of God, to treat each other with all the tenderness, faithfulness, and watchfulness, which become members of the same body of Christ, humbly depending on, and begging grace from God, that we may find so much favor in His sight as to be faithful to these our solemn obligations, through Jesus Christ our Lord. In confirmation of which we here subscribe our names. November, &ct

Following this long and complicated sentence are listed the names of the 41 members who joined the church on that day. In addition, in order to not penalize anyone who was not able to attend, the initial “membership roll” was held open until the end of January. An additional 4 members joined in December, and 7 more in January.

This list of individuals is significant, not only because these people are the founding members of the new church, but this is one of the earliest lists of the inhabitants of Farmingbury, albeit a partial one. From the earliest settlers just 40 or so years earlier, they represent 36 family units in the quickly growing community. I have reproduced this list of individuals below and put a + sign next to each family unit with whom I have a documented relationship.

+Aaron Harrison, Deacon, and Jerusha his wife
+Josiah Rogers, Deacon, and Sarah his wife
Isaac Hopkins, and Mary his wife
+Joseph Atkins, and Abigail his wife
+Thomas Upson
Joseph Sutliff
Amos Steward, and Ruth his wife
+David Norton
+John Alcox, and Mary his wife
+Samuel Upson
+Wait Hotchkiss, and Lydia his wife
Nathaniel Butler, and Rebecca his wife
Elizabeth Porter
+Daniel Alcox, and Elizabeth his wife
+Joseph Hotchkiss and Hannah his wife
+Judah Frisbie
Israel Clark, and Mahetable his wife
Daniel Lane and Jemima his wife
Stephen Miles
Stephen Barnes, and Sarah his wife
+Zadoc Bronson, and Eunice his wife
Lucy Peck, the wife of Justus Peck
+Rebecca, wife of Nathaniel Hitchcock
Esther Barrett
Joseph Benham, and Elizabeth his wife
Josiah Barnes
William Smith *1
+Anne, wife of James Bailey *1
+John Bronson *1
David Frost *1
+Samuel Bradley *2
Ephraim Pratt and his wife *2
+Elizabeth, wife of Ebenezer Wakelee *2
Sarah, wife of Isaac Clark *2
Martha, wife of Aaron Howe *2
Daniel Byington *2

*1 – admitted in December 1773
*2 – admitted in January 1774

Note that this list is not a census of the town. There were other families living there already such as the Hall and Beecher families. And there are a few individuals such as Elizabeth Wakelee who had joined the church without their husbands. Also, with the start of the Revolutionary War just a few years away, there will be other lists of individuals who enlisted in that war. Finally, the Wolcott Training Band (now the Mattatuck Drum Band) predates this list of church members by seven years as they started in 1767. But since the primary governance of the town was at that time through the Ecclesiastical Society and the Congregational Church, this is still a significant list of individuals.

Orcutt notes just a few pages further on that the “parish” at that time contained some 75 families, most of whom had moved there during the prior twenty years. Many still resided in log houses and a haystack with a fence around it was the only “barn” that some of them possessed. Most of these families lived either in the western (Waterbury) side and some in the southeast (Farmington) side. Judah Frisbie was the first to live in the Woodtick area and he had only purchased land there in the fall of 1773. Pastor Gillet himself was an unmarried man of 24 at the time, having been licensed to preach only a few months earlier.

But from this humble beginning of having their own parish, pastor, and church, the newly formed town had a nucleus to build upon. The first petition to the General Assembly of the State of Connecticut to allow them to be separate town was presented in 1787. That failed as did subsequent petitions over the next several years until the town was finally incorporated in 1796.

Wolcott History – Biographies

One of the sections of Samuel Orcutt’s book on the History of the Town of Wolcott is a series of biographies of significant people in the town’s history. As this section is 143 pages, nearly a quarter of the book, it deserves coverage in my continuing blog about Wolcott history.  

However, as Orcutt was the pastor of the Congregational Church at the time, he also included biographies of many of the pastors who had preceded him. But many of these individuals had no particular connection to the town – they had been born elsewhere, came in for anywhere from a few months to several years, and ended their time in the town either through death, being dismissed, or moving to a pastorate elsewhere. Only a few of the ministers had any real connection to Farmingbury/Wolcott. Thus, I’d first like to give a list of all the men who served in this capacity in chronological order. Only those indicated with a “+B” will I cover in the biographical list which follows. (Note that this list is from pages 139-140 of Orcutt’s book.)


1773-1791, Alexander Gillet +B
1792-1810, Israel B Woodward -B
1811-1813, Lucas Hart -B
1814-1822, John Keys -B
1822-1827, Deacon Isaac Bronson +B
1827-1829, Erastus Scranton *S
1829-1830, Mr. Wheelock *S
1831-1832, Nathan Shaw -B *S
1833-1833, Seth Sackett *S
1834-1835, Wm. F Vail *S
1837-1840, James D Chapman -B
1841-1842, Zephaniah Swift *S
1842-1857, Aaron C Beach +B
1857-1857, Z B Burr *S
1857-1858, Joseph Smith *S
1859-1863, Stephen Rogers ++
1863-1869, Lent S Hough -B *S
1869-1872, Warren C Fiske -B *S
1872-1874, Samuel Orcutt *S

+B - also listed in biographies, related to others in the town, see below for connection
-B - also listed in biographies, but came from elsewhere and not related to any other Wolcott residents
*S - “stated supply”, means that they were assigned to the town by the denomination. Some of these men were only short-term, anything from a few months to a year. Others stayed longer. Not listed in the biographies
++ - Stephen Rogers is the only man in this list who was connected to others in town but for whom a biography is not given. I had done prior research on him and found that he was my 3rd cousin, 6 times removed. He, along with Amos Bronson Alcott and Dr. William A. Alcott (who are listed below), were recognized as individuals who gave significant contributions of books to the early Wolcott Library. (See


The biographies take from pages 231-373 of Orcutt’s book. Where there are multiple members of the same family listed, I am only listing my connection to the first individual mentioned from that family. The others are then shown in an indented fashion.

John Alcock (Alcott/Alcox) [great*6 grandfather]
Capt. John Alcox – son of John Alcock
Amos Bronson Alcott – grandson of Capt. John Alcock
Louisa May Alcott – daughter of Amos Bronson Alcott
May Alcott – daughter of Amos Bronson Alcott
Dr. William A. Alcott, great-grandson of John Alcock
Rev. William P. Alcott, son of Dr. William A Alcott
Joseph Atkins [father-in-law of 3rd cousin, 5 times removed]
            Deacon Joseph Atkins, son of Joseph Atkins [married to 3rd cousin, 5 times removed]
Rev. Aaron C. Beach [husband of 5th cousin, 5 times removed]
            Rev. John Wickliffe Beach, son of Rev. Aaron C. Beach,
Deacon Isaac Bronson [2nd cousin, 6 times removed]
Timothy Bradley [husband of 2nd cousin, 6 times removed]
Judah Frisbie [great*6 uncle]
Rev. Alexander Gillet [husband of 2nd cousin, 6 times removed]
            Timothy Phelps Gillet son of Rev. Alexander Gillet
Deacon Aaron Harrison [husband of 1st cousin, 5 times removed]
Lucas Curtiss Hotchkiss [2nd cousin, 5 times removed]
Capt. Heman Hall [2nd cousin, 7 times removed]
Ephraim Hall, grandson of Capt. Heman Hall
Dr. Ambrose Ives [husband of 3rd cousin, 5 times removed]
Simeon H. Norton [husband of 4th cousin, 4 times removed]
Dr. John Potter [husband of 2nd cousin, 4 times removed]
Seth Thomas [husband of 3rd cousin, 5 times removed]
Rev. Benoni Upson [2nd cousin, 6 times removed]

Rev. Henry E. L. Upson [4th cousin, 4 times removed]

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Genealogical Tapestry – History of Connecticut 1636-1800

I’ve written a number of blogs over the past two years that addressed pieces of the history of Connecticut – both relating to some of my ancestors and of the history of the town of Wolcott where I was born and raised. But I’d like to step back from all of these pieces and look at the overall picture of this early history.

As I did so, and looked at a few maps of Connecticut that show that time period (*1, *2), the larger picture has a shape that one might not expect. So I have titled this blog a genealogical tapestry, with the threads that hold the whole together being the stories of the individuals that shaped this history. Except as specifically noted, the individuals mentioned are various relatives of mine and their relationships to me appear at the end of the blog. I have also chosen to leave out references to any of my prior blogs (you can look them up if you desire). So the references are to various sources in Wikipedia and these are also collected at the end of the blog.

I’ve tried to make this as readable as possible and not get into too many of the individual details so that you may see the tapestry that is the history of Connecticut. Enjoy!

Colony of Connecticut – pre-1662

The Colony of Connecticut (*3) was founded in 1636 by a group of about 100 individuals who left the Massachusetts Bay Colony, led by John Haynes and Thomas Hooker. Haynes was the first governor and Hooker was the Puritan minister of the church. Hooker delivered a sermon in 1638 on the principals of government which heavily influenced those who later that year wrote the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut. In the early years of the colony governors were not allowed to serve consecutive terms. Thus, for 20 years, the governorship rotated between Haynes and others, most of whom were part of the original group of 100. One of the others was Thomas Welles, the only man in Connecticut’s history to hold all four top offices – governor, deputy governor, treasurer and secretary.

In 1659, John Winthrop the Younger (*4) [not a relative] began a 16-year term as the governor and was instrumental at both merging the other colonies in Connecticut into a single colony and obtaining the colony’s official charter in 1662. He was also the governor during the extended dispute with New York (see more information below)

New Haven Colony 1638-1662

The New Haven Colony (*5) was begun in 1638 by John Davenport, a Puritan minister, and Theophilus Eaton (*6) [not a relative]. They did not have an official charter from the British crown, but instead purchased land from the local Quinnipiac tribe who agreed to sell the land in return for protection from the neighboring Pequots. Davenport’s dreams initially failed and it wasn’t until after his death and under the leadership of James Pierpont that the colony began to thrive and Davenport’s dream of a college was realized with the College of Connecticut (later Yale University).

However, during the initial days of the colony, there were others who settled additional “plantations” who united with New Haven in what was called the “United Colonies of New England”. These included Milford and Guilford (1639), as well as Stamford and Long Island (1640) and Branford (1643). The claims on Long Island were ceded in 1664.

In 1641, the colony claimed the area that is now South Jersey and Philadelphia after buying the area from the Lenape tribe. Just a year later, fifty families came by ship to establish a trading post at what is today Philadelphia. The Dutch and Swedes in the area burned their buildings. The settlers could not get any support from its New England patrons and the Governor reluctantly testified that the “Delaware Colony” was “dissolved”.

William Leete (*7) was the Deputy Governor and Chief Magistrate of the colony in 1661 when he helped prevent the capture of two former English judges who were being sought by King Charles II for signing the death warrant of his father, Charles I, several years earlier. When agents of the king came looking for them Leete cooperated enough to avoid being accused of obstruction of justice, but did not provide enough information for them to be captured. Leete later served as the Governor of the New Haven Colony from 1661-1665 and also served as the Governor of the Colony of Connecticut from 1676 to 1683, the only man to serve in both those positions.

So, in addition to the New Haven Colony not having an official charter, it was this act of hiding those involved in this regicide that soured any chance of the colony from getting support in England. Thus, when the new charter for the Colony of Connecticut was granted in 1662, New Haven was forced to become part of it, although the actual merger did not happen until 1664.

Colony of Connecticut – post-1662

Beginning in 1670, the interior portion of the state, i.e. away from the cities which had access to either the ocean or the navigable rivers, began to be settled. Initially, this included such places as Wallingford (1670), Branford (1685), and Waterbury (1686). My hometown of Wolcott (then called Farmingbury) was first settled in 1731, although it did not become an official town until 1796. Some of the early settlers in Farmingbury were John Alcox from New Haven, Stephen Upson from Waterbury, Samuel Beecher from Cheshire, and John Frisbie from Branford.

James Pierpont came from the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1685 to assume the pastorate of the Congregational Church in New Haven. Under his guidance, the colony began to thrive. Between 1701 and 1776, the capital of the colony was shared between Hartford and New Haven.

Western Claims

I mentioned above a few of the areas beyond the bounds of what we now know as the State of Connecticut (such as Long Island, South Jersey and Philadelphia). In addition, the original charter of 1662 gave the Colony of Connecticut control from sea-to-sea – a 120-mile wide stretch beginning at the Delaware River and running all the way to the Pacific Ocean (including portions of what is now PA, OH, MI, IN, IL, IA, NE, WY, UT, NV and CA). However, since the British had no control beyond the Mississippi River, the claim to areas beyond it were never very practical. Most of this area was never settled until after the Revolutionary War and was ceded in 1786 as part of the post-Revolutionary War national resolution of outstanding claims (when the states gave up these claims to the US in return for the US taking on the debts of the states). However there were a few areas that remained in contention after that.

Westmoreland County, Connecticut (*8) was located in the present-day area of the Wyoming Valley of PA (Wilkes-Barre and Scranton). Connecticut sent settlers to the area as early as 1754 and Wilkes-Barre was founded by several families from Connecticut in 1769 (*9). But since this area had been granted not only to CT in 1662, but to PA in 1681, armed bands of Pennsylvanians (Pennamites) tried without success to expel them in 1769-1770, again in 1775, and for a third time in 1784 – this extended conflict was called the Pennamite Wars (*10). The controversy continued until 1799 with the Yankee settlers becoming Pennsylvanians with legal claims to their land. A few of my relatives moved to this area toward the end of this period, but I have no records on whether they were part of the conflict.

Connecticut Western Reserve (*11) – while most of the area west of Pennsylvania had been ceded by Connecticut in 1786, they retained a portion south of Lake Erie. The State of Connecticut (now no longer a colony) sold much of this land to developers and a number of people from CT moved here during this period in an effort to solidify those claims. It was not until 1800 that the state ceded its final claims to the United States. The name “Western Reserve” is still referred to in various names from the period such as Case Western Reserve University. The area was surveyed by Moses Cleaveland (*12) [not a relative] from Connecticut who also founded Cleveland OH (an interesting history note is that that the “a” was dropped from the city name by an early printer in order to conserve space on the map). During the period from 1796 to 1800, several other towns such as Youngstown, Warren, Hudson, and Ravenna were settled by individuals coming from Connecticut and lured by the availability of land.

Connecticut-New York Border Dispute (*13)in addition to the western lands, the border between Connecticut and New York was subject to a great many disputes. In 1664, King Charles II sent royal commissioners to “end unneighbourly and unbrotherly contentions” about the borders. As part of the agreement, the main land was divided with a north-northwest line at the mouth of the Mamaroneck River. This new line kept Westchester for NY, but cut through the Hudson River around West Point, making Albany a part of Connecticut. Although this was realized as a mistake the following year, the correction of this required a signed agreement from both sides, including the Duke of York in England, and neither approval was ever given. Additional attempts at settling the dispute were made in 1683 and 1700, but those also were never totally resolved due to a variety of circumstances. New York had a counter claim that their border extended east to the Connecticut River. It was not until 1731 that the final resolution was made, not only resolving the border that had run through the Hudson, but creating the notch in the border which still appears to this day.

Several of my relatives were impact by this shifting border. First, my wife’s Dutch relatives lived in this area. Dirk Dirksz (Dirksz being the Dutch patronymic) was born there in 1663 when the area was still under Dutch control. When the British took control, they required the local residents to begin using the English surname convention, so he was then called Dirk Dirksz Van der Karre. Thus his name change actually appears to have been while he was a young child in what was then claimed by Connecticut. Also, one my Russell ancestors, Robert Russell, moved to this area toward the end of this period, although it is uncertain if it was before or after the final treaty.


Genealogical Connections

Alcott (Alcox), John – my great*6 grandfather
Beecher, Samuel – my great*7 grandfather
Davenport, John – his granddaughter was the 1st wife of my great*7 grandfather, James Pierpont
Frisbie, John – my great*6 grandfather
Haynes, John – his granddaughter was the 2nd wife of my great*7 grandfather, James Pierpont
Hooker, Thomas – my great*9 grandfather, the grandfather of Mary [Hooker] Pierpont
Lette, William – the great*8 grandfather of my aunt, Barbara Leete [Bishop] Pierpont
Pierpont, James – my great*7 grandfather
Russell, Robert – my great*6 grandfather
Upson, Stephen – my great*7 grandfather
Van der Karre, Dirk Dirksz – my wife’s great*7 grandfather
Welles, Thomas – my great*10 grandfather

Friday, April 7, 2017

Genealogy Story – Princeton

I have mentioned in several prior blogs the institutions of Harvard and Yale and the role my ancestors, especially the Pierpont family, played in their early years. For reference, those blogs were:

To recap, both of these institutions were founded as institutions for the training of pastors, although their religious roots were later abandoned and their purposes expanded.

There was also one other interesting parallel. In 1636 Harvard was originally called “New College” or “the college at New Towne” before Newtowne was renamed as Cambridge in 1638 and the institution was renamed as Harvard in 1639 after an early benefactor. Similarly, the city where Yale was founded in 1701 was named New Haven and the institution was called the Collegiate School of Connecticut before it was renamed as Yale in 1718 after another early benefactor.

This blog is not about either of these institutions, but the third of the religious-rooted universities in America. In the blog on New England Religious Roots, I noted that “Some members of the New Haven Colony, seeking to establish a new theocracy elsewhere, went on to establish Newark, New Jersey.” And in continuing this pursuit, the name of the place where this took place was another “New” place (Newtowne, New Haven, New Jersey), and the original name of the institution was another somewhat generic name, The College of New Jersey.

The College of New Jersey was founded in 1746 (Harvard was the first in 1636, Yale in 1701 after a gap of 65 years, and another gap of 45 years until this institution). It was located in Elizabeth(Elizabethtown) for one year, then Newark for nine years before moving to Princeton in 1756. It was not renamed as Princeton for 150 years until 1896 when it attained university status. (Note that there were other institutions established in North America by then, but they were not institutions established primarily for religious training like these three. For a full list, see where Harvard, Yale and Princeton are first, third, and seventh.)

The religious practices of the early colonists had evolved over the years. Where the founders of Harvard had been definitely Puritan, by the time Yale was founded the founding pastors were all of Congregational churches. And by 1746, the founders of Princeton were what was known as “New Light Presbyterians.” The primary founders were pastors Jonathan Dickinson, Aaron Burr, Sr., and Jonathan Edwards.

All three of these men had been educated at Yale. But in the early 1740s there was a controversy over unorthodox piety fostered by the Great Awakening which led to internal differences in the Presbyterian and Congregational churches. The rift affected the faculty and student body at Yale that was at the time an incubator for both Presbyterian and Congregational clergy. The above men, all being on the pro-Awakening side founded the College of New Jersey (see

Dickenson (1688-1747), originally an ordained minister of the Congregational church in Elizabethtown but who had persuaded his congregation to join the Presbytery of Philadelphia, was elected the first president (see Classes of the initial student body of 8-10 members began in his parsonage, but he died suddenly only five months later.

Burr (1716-1757), who was also teaching at the college, then became the second president and the school moved to his home in Newark. During his time at Yale (he had been born in Connecticut as had Dickenson), he was personally acquainted with Jonathan Edwards and his wife Sarah [Pierpont]. Although he was unmarried when assuming the presidency of Princeton, just a few years later, in 1752, he married Esther Edwards, the daughter of Jonathan and Sarah. Meanwhile the student body had increased from 8-10 to 40-50 and the first commencement had been held. In 1756 he moved the school to its permanent home in Princeton and supervised the construction of Nassau Hall, the largest building in colonial New Jersey when it was completed. In 1755 he was relieved of his pastor duties to concentrate full-time on his work at Princeton. Only a year later he died prematurely with his death attributed to overwork. His widow died just seven months later, orphaning his two children (I have given information on them in the blog on James Pierpont Descendants above).

Following Burr’s death, the college called Burr’s father-in-law, Jonathan Edwards, to take over the presidency, despite Edwards being in declining health. He served as president for only six weeks, before passing away himself.

The next two presidents also had short terms of service, Samuel Davies served for only two years before dying at the age of 37 from pneumonia and Samuel Finley serving only five years before also dying in office.

I find the parallels between these institutions and their locations very intriguing. The Massachusetts Bay Colony was founded by Puritans in 1630 by individuals fleeing England due to repressive religious policies there. Shortly thereafter, they began what became Harvard to train Puritan pastors. The New Haven Colony was founded in 1638 by John Davenport and others who wanted to establish a “better theological community” with the government more closely linked to the church than the one in Massachusetts. Davenport also wanted to establish his own school, but it was not until 1701, under James Pierpont, that his dream was realized. And Newark was founded in 1666 by a group of Connecticut Puritans from the New Haven Colony who wanted to avoid losing political power to others not of their own church.

Besides the Pierpont family involvement (James, educated at Harvard, founder of Yale, married granddaughter of Davenport, father-in-law of Jonathan Edwards and grandfather-in-law of Aaron Burr, Sr.), there was one other family connected with all three institutions. Abraham Pierson was a congregational minister in Boston, later founded a church in Branford CT in the New Haven Colony where his son later became one of the founders of Yale and its first president (and where his daughter married the son of John Davenport), then moved to NJ in 1666 and founded Newark to once again pursue his vision of theocracy. The history of Newark (,_New_Jersey) notes that Newark was under total control of the Puritan Church for over 70 years until an Episcopalian church was built in 1746, the same year that the College of New Jersey was founded.

I hope that this blog – which at least for now will complete my series on the early institutions of the period – helps you see history in a new light.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Gender Pay Equality

I saw a short video clip this afternoon about this topic where Senator Elizabeth Warren was railing to her colleagues that the average pay gap between men and women in this country was such that women only made $.79 for every $1.00 that men made. Those reporting on this story then revealed that in her own office, the women on her staff only made $.71 for every $1.00 that the men on her staff make, so her own staff is even worse off than the national average – making her a hypocrite.

I won’t pretend that I agree with much of what Senator Warren says or what her political leanings are. But I think we need to be really careful when we throw around figures and statements such as the above. There is an old adage, “figures don’t lie, but liars figure.” This has been attributed to Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens). And I think that when discussing average salaries we leave out of our discussion many of the factors that go into determining both “averages” and the determination of an individual’s salary. In this particular case, I think that not only is Senator Warren leaving out these items, but so are the people who are pointing the finger at her.

Let me discuss the topic of “averages” first. Hypothetically, let’s say that Senator Warren has only four people on her staff. Three of them are lawyers-in-training (legislative assistants), and one is an “administrative assistant” (what in the old days we might have called a secretary, but now they do many other things). And let’s presume that she pays all her legislative assistants the same salary regardless of gender ($100K) and that the job of administrative assistant has a salary of $50K. Two of her legislative assistants are men and one is a woman, and the administrative assistant is a woman. In this rather simplified case, the “average salary” paid to the men in her office is $100K and the “average salary” paid to the women in her office is $75K. So one could then claim that she is only paying the women in her office $.75 for every dollar that she pays the men in her office! Statistically, that is true (i.e. figures don’t lie), but it ignores the different types of positions in the office and the fact that she is, in fact, paying “equal pay for equal work”. But that’s the way that averages work. And the claim by others that she is “being hypocritical” is a bit phony.

Secondly, let’s look at the “equal work” portion of this topic. Someone’s salary is based on a whole host of factors beyond their job title. A few of them are: education requirements (college degrees, etc.); amount of experience; willingness to go “above and beyond” when needed; and there are many others. One cannot simply look at two people having the same job title and require that they be paid the same without knowing all the other factors. If person A has been doing the job for 10 years and is really skilled in how they are doing the job, then they should qualify for more pay than person B who has just started and may often need help at the finer aspects of the position. Similarly, if person C is willing to work late or to travel when needed and person D always clocks out at 5pm every day and declines requests for travel, then it’s reasonable to pay person C more than person D as compensation for all the extra hours. And it’s often these types of “intangibles” that are at play that make the “equal pay for equal work” such a difficult thing to determine. If there is one person who values their life outside of work, e.g. their family and community, higher than their employer’s demands, then whether we like it or not they may be less valued by their employer than someone who puts their job over everything else.

Although I’m a man, I know that this was a conscious choice that I made early in my career. I saw many of my managers and compatriots taking home a large briefcase at the end of every day, knowing that they would be working several more hours that evening. But I decided that I would leave my work “at work” and spend my time at home with my family. I did this knowing that it might “count against me”. I was willing to work as hard as anyone else while I was working, but I prioritized my home life higher. I also chose to remain in the same community where my children had a consistent school system, we could attend the same church every week, make good friends, etc. I saw others who were willing to take job transfers to an office elsewhere in the country or even in another country and who would later return in a higher-level job than I had. But I deliberately chose my path. I also saw some of these same compatriots have marriages that failed or have health issues due to stress. I still think I chose wisely. And I applaud others, including many women, who make this same choice – to value their families and children, etc. over their “career”, even if it means that at the end of the day their monetary compensation may be less (as mine was). It’s not that I was poorly paid, indeed I was well compensated, but I knew that there were others who “passed me by” at least financially.

I worked for most of my working life for a large Fortune 500 company that had a pretty “formulaic” salary schedule. (I’m going to give a few details here – they may no longer be true and I’m only giving an overview, so I might not have every figure correct, but I want to give a general idea only.) Each salary grade was about “50% wide”, i.e. if the minimum salary in that grade was X then the maximum in that grade was 1.5X. Also, there was about a 10% variation from one grade to the next, i.e. if the minimum salary in one grade was X, then the minimum salary in the next higher grade was 1.1X. Finally, when annual raises were given, the raise applied to any individual depended on where in the range a person’s salary was, so, for example, if the average raise was 3%, then the people in the bottom third of the range might get 4% (to take them close to the middle), the people in the middle third would get the average 3%, and the people in the upper third of the range would only get 2% (so they wouldn’t be constantly bumping up against the upper limit of that range). Thus, for annual raises, it didn’t matter what your gender was, everyone had the same formula applied to them.

However, there was more involved than just annual raises. There were two ways that you could give “pay for performance” that was beyond this formula. One was that one could be recognized for outstanding work and get a “bonus” in addition to the annual raise. But this was not included in your base salary and so didn’t move you up in the range. The other was that you could get promoted, i.e. by meeting the job requirements of the next higher grade level you could be moved from one salary grade to the next. That also might mean that even if your pay remained the same that you might have moved from the upper third of grade X to the middle third of grade X+1 where you would then be eligible for a higher percentage of annual raise. To the best of my knowledge both bonuses and promotions were also awarded pretty equally to men and women. However, anyone like myself (and like many women) who chose to prioritize their non-work lives differently, might not be recognized as often for a bonus or promotion – which, over time, might have resulted in a certain amount of disparity if one looked at “averages”.

I’d like to end by telling a true story. There was an individual, a woman, who had started at the company as an “administrative assistant”. She had only an associate’s degree. But she wanted to better herself and was also going to school in the evenings working on a BS in Computer Science (since she was in the IT department that made sense). When she finished her degree she asked if she could move from her administrative assistant position to one of the more technical positions in the department for which she was now qualified by virtue of her degree. The company agreed, and moved her to an entry-level technical position in the same workgroup. At that point I became her supervisor. But the company initially just moved her from the non-exempt labor grades (which were numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.) to the exempt labor grades (which were numbered 101, 102, 103, etc.) and placed her in grade 101 – an increase in overall salary, but not a large increase. However, the typical initial grade placement for new college graduates in the IT field was a 104 (and thus about a 30% higher salary given the 10% differential between grade levels). This was something that both she and I noticed and neither one of us felt that it was “fair.” Why should she accept a so much lower salary for the “same work” when she had been at the company for several years already and knew “the business” better than other recent college graduates that we were hiring.

I “went to bat” for her with upper management (and the HR department). After some initial period of stonewalling, I finally got someone to listen when I informed them that if she simply quit her job and reapplied for the same position that she had quit from that her initial salary would be the starting salary for that type of position (and ignoring her experience with the company) and that we would be offering a position of labor grade 104. That statement of the situation was pretty hard to dispute and so, albeit with some reluctance, the company agreed to advance her from grade 101 to 104 and with the associated pay increase. Needless to say, she was pleased!

I believe in equal pay for equal work. I have had the pleasure over my working life of working alongside of individuals of both sexes. And I have had the opportunity of having managers of both sexes as well. I have enjoyed my interactions with them. Nonetheless, I remain skeptical of many of the impassioned arguments that ignore all the factors that go into determining any one person’s salary as well as the specious arguments when one calculates “averages”. So, while I agree in principle with equal pay for equal work, I reject arguments that leave out all the things I’ve described above - including both Senator Warren’s vitriolic speeches as well as the claims of hypocrisy that have been leveled against her.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Genealogy Story – James Pierpont Descendants

I’ve previously written about my great*7 grandfather, James Pierpont, and his family (see But there I only recounted his influence through his marriage and children. I’d like to extend that here by showing how his influence extended for several more generations and how it impacted the United States of America in the early days of the republic.

In particular, I’d like to look at just one of his children, Sarah, who married Rev. Jonathan Edwards. I won’t repeat his story here, you can read more here if you are interested ( As I noted here (, there were a number of connections between the early clergy in the colonies that helped set and solidify their influence. But as these were the early days leading up to and through the founding of the United States, there were other ways that this influence was felt. Here are just a few of the names in the larger Pierpont genealogy that you might recognize.

Aaron Burr

Sarah and Jonathan’s third child, Esther Edwards (1732-1758) married the Rev. Aaron Burr. He was the pastor of the church in Newark NJ, and at the time of their marriage was serving as the 2nd president of Princeton College (it was then called the College of New Jersey and was located in Newark, but it later moved to Princeton and was subsequently renamed). While Esther died at the age of only 26, she and her husband had two children. One of them was also named Aaron Burr after his father. Aaron (1756-1836) was educated at Princeton, but rather than the ministry went into politics. He served in the NY legislature, then was attorney general of NY, a US senator from NY, and finally as the Vice-president of the US under Thomas Jefferson. It was while serving as VP that he was involved in the infamous duel with Alexander Hamilton whom he killed. While Burr was never convicted of any crime for this, it effectively ended his political career. For more details, see

Tapping Reeve

While Aaron Burr was the more famous of the two children of Sarah and Aaron, his older sister, Sarah Burr (1754-?) should not be left out. She married a man by the name of Tapping Reeve (1744-1823). He had been hired to privately tutor the orphaned children of Esther and Aaron Burr, Sr. before he moved to Hartford, CT, where he studied law. After developing a relationship with Sarah, he married her and they moved to Litchfield, CT where he established a legal practice. He built a home across the street from Oliver Wolcott, the governor of CT (see for my connection to him). His brother-in-law, Aaron Burr, also moved to Litchfield to study law under him. As the number of men apprenticing under him increased, Tapping developed a formal school called the Litchfield Law School, the first such institution in America. He later was elected as a judge, first in Connecticut’s superior court, then on the state supreme court, and finally as chief justice of that body. For more details, see

The Litchfield Law School had considerable influence on American politics. Although it only operated for sixty years, its graduates included two vice-presidents, three US Supreme Court justices, six US cabinet members, 97 members of the US House of Representatives, and 28 members of the US Senate. See for details.

Pierpont Edwards

The youngest son of Sarah and Jonathan was named Pierpont Edwards (1750-1826). He graduated from Princeton in 1768 and entered the legal field. He served as a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives, then as a delegate to the Continental Congress, then later as a US federal judge. It was said that his personal morality resembled that of his nephew, Aaron Burr. He was the founder of the Toleration party in Connecticut. He was also a freemason, and was the first grand master of the Grand Lodge of Connecticut which was founded in 1789. One of the most prestigious awards of that organization is the Pierpont Edwards Medal. Also of interest is that he was a 1/20th owner of the Western Reserve of Connecticut (the part of Connecticut that extended through the northern tier of Ohio and which was claimed by Connecticut). This comes into our story again below. For more details, see

Henry Waggaman Edwards

Henry (1779-1847) was one of Pierpont Edwards’ children. He graduated from Princeton and was educated at the Litchfield Law School. He served as a US Representative, a US Senator, in the Connecticut Senate, the Connecticut House of Representatives, then two terms as Governor of Connecticut. See for details.

John Stark Edwards

John (1777-1813) was another of Pierpont Edwards’ children. Like his brother Henry, John graduated from Princeton and attended the Litchfield Law School. He left Connecticut to take charge as the sales agent of his father’s lands in the Western Reserve, becoming one of the first lawyers in that part of the country. He married the granddaughter of Timothy Dwight, who was himself a grandson of Jonathan Edwards. In 1812 he was elected to the US Congress as a representative of Ohio, and as the first man in that body from the former Western Reserve. See for details.

Eli Whitney

One of the other children of Pierpont Edwards was Henrietta Edwards (1786-1870). She married Eli Whitney (1765-1825), the inventor of the cotton gin. This had significant influence on the economy of the US. See for details.


There are other lawyers, judges, and congressmen among the descendants of Jonathan Edwards, but I think this gives some idea of the extent to which the greater Pierpont family had on the early days of the United States.