||Stephen Hart migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).|
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Robert Charles Anderson in the Great Migration Begins Vol 2 p 872 says there is not enough evidence to identify parents. Ernest Flagg found a baptism record, 25 Jan 1603, (at St. Nicholas, Ipswich, Suffolk) but nothing else and even he didn't claim to identify the parents (Ernest Flag, Genealogical notes on the Founding of New England p 258). The most definitive work on his family was done by Buell Burdett Bassett, Bassett Genealogy p 384-91 and he makes no claims to who his parents may be.
Banks suggested Braintree, Essex, and Hartley Whitney, Hampshire as places of origin. Savage suggested that he might be brother of John Hart of Marblehead and Boston or Edmund Hart of Westfield. There is no evidence for any of these suggestions.
Stephen Hart was born about 1603, based on the estimated date of his first marriage. There is no proof of his birth or parentage.
It is believed that Stephen arrived in Cambridge, Massachusett about 1632/3 with the group, known as the "Braintree Company," led by the Reverand Thomas Hooker. Land records (see below) and his subsequent move to Hartford with Hooker, makes this a plausible scenario. Stephen was instrumental in the planting of a church in Farmington, Connecticut.
Stephen Hart and His Descendants by Alfred Andrew with Updated by Richard Hart.: Deacon Stephen Hart, Historical Issues #1 by David Hart. This website contains an analysis of ship sailings to try and determine exactly when and on what ship Stephen Hart immigrated.
Stephen Hart's first wife, _____ _____ was unnamed in any New England records. She died at Farmington by 1678.
Stephen's second wife was Margaret ______. They were married after the 1678 death of her second husband. She was the widow of Arthur Smith and Joseph Nash. Margaret survived Deacon Hart, and was admitted to the church in Farmington, March 17th, 1690/1. She died at Farmington between 18 Feb 1691/2 (date of will) and 1 Mar 1693/4 (probate of will) Margaret, left her property to her sons, John and Arthur Smith, and daughter, Elizabeth Thompson. She had grandchildren — Elizabeth, John, and Ann Thompson.
Some totally fictitious?/unsourced wives have been added to his Find a Grave Memorials, which do not have even accurate burial locations.
Deacon Stephen Hart died in Farmington, March 1682/3, between the 16th (date of his will) and the 31st (date of his inventory.) Ages are sometimes attached to his death, but these are calculated on his estimated birth and were not listed in any contemporary record.
In 1632 a company of Essex people had come out with the Rev. Thomas Hooker, afterwards the renowned pastor of the church at Hartford. Winthrop refers to them as "the Braintree company." They first went across the Neponset, where they began a settlement; and then, by order of the General Court, they moved over to Cambridge. When, therefore, eight years later, the place to which they first went was incorporated as a town, a name was given to it, probably at Winthrop's suggestion, connected with that "Braintree company which had begun to sit down at Mount Wollaston.
If Stephen was at Mount Wollaston/Braintree he left no records there to prove it.
He was admitted as a freeman of the Massachusetts Bay Colony on 14 May 1634, along with Thomas Hooker, Samuel Stone, and other Hartford founders.
It should be mentioned that in the time of Stephen Hart's residence the place that was later called Cambridge was called Newe Towne or Newetowne. The early town records (Cambridge), inform us that Stephen was responsible for 8 rods of common fencing. Among the 42 men listed, 577 rods of fence were assigned. 70 rods was the longest assignment and 2 rods was the shortest. This record is dated 7 Jan 1632, but it is believed to have been made up later. He also had several grants of land: 5 Aug 1633 ½ acre cowyardes, 2 Feb 1633/4 2 acres in the planting ground in the neck, 20 Aug 1635 a proportion of two in the Fresh Pond meadow (proportions were between 0 and 6), 8 Feb 1635/6 another 2-acre division.
7 October 1635, Steven Hearte and his wife sold to Joseph and George Cooke their house and yards and several parcels of land and meadow and everything belonging.
Winthrop noted in his journal, 15 Oct 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." There is ample reason to believe that Stephen Hart and his family, left Newtowne with this earlier group in advance of the main body that left with Rev. Thomas Hooker in 1636.
There is a family tradition that the town was named for the low stage of Connecticut River, which he discovered and used to cross--Hart's Ford. However the official version is that it was named after the birthplace of Rev. Samuel Stone, Hertford, England.
Stephen owned a lot in the soldier's field, which he sold to William Wadsworth. This ground was given to men who had served in the expedition against the Pequot Indians in 1637.
In February 1639, he had several parcels of land: one parcel containing his dwelling house, outhouses, yard, & gardens, about 2 acres (#30 on the map); one parcel on which his dwelling house once stood, about 2 acres (#16 on the map); and various parcels of meadow, swamp, pasture, and neck, all of which are minutely described in the record
Tradition says that Stephen and others while "on a hunting excursion on Talcott Mountain, they discovered the Farmington River Valley, then inhabited by the Tunxis, a powerful tribe of Indians. The meadows were probably then cleared, and waving with grass and Indian corn. Such lands were then much needed and coveted by the settlers..." On 16 Jan 1639 the General Court of Connecticut sent a group of men to "view those parts of Unxus Sepus wch may be suitable for those purposes and make report of their doings... This was for the purpose of some "inlargement of accommodacon." 15 June 1640, the Particular court "is to conclude the conditions for the planting of Tunxis."
Stephen and his first wife, whose name was not mentioned were members of the First Church of Farmington, officially organized Nov. 1652. He was admitted 13 Oct 1652, she 1 month later. Mr. Hart had been deacon of Rev. Thomas Hooker's church at Cambridge, Massachusetts, and at Hartford, Connecticut, Stephen Hart was one of the seven pillars of the Farmington church, and was chosen their first deacon.
Stephen Hart appears to have taken the lead in the settlement among the Indians in Farmington, and purchased a large tract on the border of the present town of Avon, and known to this day by the name of Hart's Farm.
He held the following positions of the Colony: Deputy to Connecticut General Court for Farmington 1647-1655, 1660; War committee from Farmington May 1653; Juryperson 24 May 1647, 20 Feb 1650/1, 7 Dec 1654, 3 March 1658/9, 5 Sep 1661, 9 October 1661 Town records for the period were burned.
His house-lot, which was four or five times as large as any other, was on the west side of Main Street, in the village, opposite the meeting-house, and contained fifteen acres, extending, from Mill Lane to the stone store south. This large house-lot was granted to Deacon Stephen Hart as an inducement to erect and continue a mill on the premises, to be perpetuated and kept in motion. The mill was erected originally by the Bronsons, to whom, as a consideration, was granted, viz: a tract of eighty acres, on the Pequabuk River, now known as the "Eighty Acre." The south part of this house-lot he gave to his son John, and the north part to his son Thomas.
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