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Henry Smith (abt. 1599 - aft. 1648)

Rev. Henry Smith
Born about in Englandmap
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married before 1636 in Englandmap
Descendants descendants
Died after after about age 49 in Wethersfield, Hartford, Connecticutmap
Profile last modified | Created 13 Sep 2010
This page has been accessed 7,385 times.
The Puritan Great Migration.
Henry Smith migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1621-1640).
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Space:Henry Smith (1599 - 1648) Rev. Henry Smith in Wethersfield, Expanded

Parents Unknown

Over the years several sets of persons have been named as parents of Rev. Henry Smith of Wethersfield. None have been proven. Perhaps: Erasmus/Erastus and Margaret or Robert[1] or Ambrose Smith-10337 and Margaret Cecil-79. Erastus Smith was located in Co. Leicester, England, as was Leonard Chester, of Blaby and Wethersfield. He and Henry may have known each other in England.


Early genealogists estimated Henry's birth at 1588. Based on the belief that he matriculated at Cambridge in 1618, newer estimates are 1599/1600.

Samuel's letter

The information that we have about Mr. Henry Smith is from a letter written by his son Samuel in 1698/99. The letter in it's entirety tells of early colonial times in Wethersfield and is well worth reading, below is the information specific to Henry's statistics.

" ' Hadley, Massachusetts Colony, Jan. ye Firste, 1698/99 " ' My Dear & Dutiful Son : . . . I was of so tender an Age at the death of my beloved Father that I am possessed of but little of the Information for which you seek. My Revered Father was an ordained Minister of ye Gospelle, educate at Cambridge in England & came to yis Land by reason of ye Great Persecution by which ye infamous Archibishop Laud and ye Black Tom Tyrante, (as Mr. Russell was always wont to call ye Earl of Strafforde,) did cause ye reign of his Majestie Charles ye First to loose favour in ye sight of ye people of England. My Father & Mother came over in 1636/37, firste to Watertown which is neare Boston, & after a yeare or two to Weathersfield on ye great River, where he became ye firste settled Pastor."


"Alumini Canatabrigienes has 32 listings for Henry Smiths. The most likely candidate is: SMITH, Henry, Matriculated sizar Magdelene [college] Easter 1618. BA.1621-22, MA.1625. Ordained Deacon June 1623 [at Peterborough Cathedral]. Probably identical to the man of this name who emigrated to New England." [2]


Here also the early and later genealogists disagree. It was claimed that the tenor of Henry's will indicated that he had two wives. Reading, however, does not indicate two wives. The wife, we know, was Dorothy _____. Dorothy remarried after Henry's death to John Russell and the family moved to Hadley, Massachusetts. She died in 1694.

Migration. Watertown vs Charlestown.

"My Father & Mother came over in 1636/37, "firste to Watertown which is neare Boston, & after a yeare or two to Weathersfield" [3]

Donald Lines Jacobus tells us that it was not[4] "the wife of Rev. Henry Smith who came to New England in April, 1635, as Dorothy Smith, aged 45, with a daughter Mary, aged 15."[5] One supposes because this Dorothy was considerably older than a Henry b. c 1600.

Jacobus also points out that he was not the Henry Smith who was appointed by Massachusetts Bay in March 1636 to govern the settlements on the Connecticut River.

Jacobus also says: "Nor does it seem possible that the Henry Smith with wife Dorothy who joined the church in Charlestown, Mass., in 1637, was the Rev. Henry." 5th mo (July) 10th day 1637[6] There were a lot of Henry Smiths early in New England. Anderson lists five, but only one that I know of had a wife Dorothy. Anderson includes this reference in Henry of Wethersfield's entry in the Great Migration Directory.[7]

Anderson has concluded that this is the Henry who left Weymouth, England, bound for New England, in April 1637. "Henry Smith, wife, 4 children, 4 menservants, 4 women [servants]"[8] This would seem to be one child off but perhaps Dorothy was not yet born, or the count was wrong. Given a two month voyage, July 1637 is good timing for joining a church.[6]

If Samuel's remembrance of his mother's statements were off on the point of staying in Watertown a while, and instead his family moved from the Charlestown/Watertown area (only seven miles apart) shortly, there would be time to make the journey and arrive in Wethersfield before Nov 1637.


We know for certain that Mr. Henry Smith "of this towne" was in Wethersfield 22 Nov 1637, when Leonard Chester named him overseer of his will on that date.[9][10]

Life in Wethersfield was not always easy for Henry. He says in his will, "I have well proved the difficultyes of this Country."[11] There were other ministers in Wethersfield at the beginning and the records show that this caused some dissension, causing one group to go to Stamford with their minister. It is very likely that Rev. Henry Smith was the first "settled" minister.[12] There was also a major problem with the ruling elder Mr. Clement Chaplin. Henry was eventually cleared of the charges put forth by Chaplin[13] and Clement was fined £10, by the court, "for divulging and setting his hand to a writing cauled a declaration, tending to the defamation of Mr. Smith,"[14]

The Rev. Henry's houselot was five acres on the E. side of High St. bordered south by the burying ground and the lane leading into it[15] He had 240 acres on the east side of the river. In 1647, his salary was raised from £70 to £80 [16][17]

Death, Will & Probate

I Henry Smith, of Wethersfield, being at present in health of body and soundness of minde, considering my mortality, and knoweing it to be my duty to provide for my family and settle my estate, that I may leave no occasion of trouble to my children when I am gone, and that I may be free my self from distractions of this kind, if it shall please God to visit mee with sickness before I dye: I doe therefore leave this testimony vppon Record as my last Will and Testament. Then, for my outward estate, wch, because it is little and I have well proved the difficultyes of this Country, how hard a thinge it will be for a woman to manage the affaires of so great a family as the Father of Mercyes hathe blessed me withall, and have had allso experience of the prudence and faithfullness of my deare wife, who shall, in parting with me, parte with a great parte of her livelihood, I give to my wife full power to dispose of all my estate in howses, Lands, Cattell and Goods whatsoever, within dores and without, only providing if she marry again, or otherwise be able comfortably to spare it from her owne necessary maintenance, that she give to my sonne Samuell that part of my howselott which was intended for my sonne Peregrine, lyinge next to the burying place, and the land I have beyond the great River eastward, and also to him and my 2nd sonne Noah, 5 acres apeece of meadow, with upland proportionable thereunto; and to the rest of my children unmarried, 20 pounds apeece at the age of 21 yeares, or at the time of her death wch shall come the soonest; and for my two daughters that bee married, my desire is that they have 20 shillings apeece, and every one of their children 5 shillings apeece, either in books or such other thing as my wife shall best please to parte withall. And I desire the Church, whose servant I now am, to take an ouersight of my family, that they may be brought vp in the true feare of God, and to see that this my will bee faithfully prformed. In witnesse hereof, I haue subscribed my name, the 8th May, 1648. Henry Smith.[11]




  1. Philippa, b. [say 1622]; d. by 1687; m. by 1640 Deacon John Birdsey (d. Stratford 4 Apr 1690). John and Phillippa Birdsey were admitted to the Milford church 23 Aug 1640, and dismissed to the Stratford Church 19 Mar 1649. He m. (2) Alice, widow of Henry Tomlinson.
  2. Mary b. [say 1624]; m. by or before 1643 Samuel Hale
  3. Peregrine b. {say 1627-9]; d. before 8 May 1648
  4. Rebecca b. abt 1631; m. (1) Samuel Smith, s/o Lt Samuel and Elizabeth (___) Smith; divorced; m. (2) in 1669 Nathaniel Bowman
  5. Dorothy b. [say 1633-5]; d. Farmington, Connecticut in 1706 ; m. John Blackman; m. (2) Francis Hall; m. (3) Mak St. John; m. (4) Dea. Isaac Moore
  6. Samuel b. 27 Jan 1638/9; d. Hadley, Massachusetts 10 Set 1703 in 65th yr; m. Mary Ensign
  7. Joanna b. 25 Dec 1641; d. Hadley 28 Dec 1664 ae 23; m. 4 Feb 1664 Philip Russell
  8. Noah b. 25 Feb 1643/4; d. young after 8 May 1648
  9. Elizabeth b. 25 Aug 1648; d. young.


Immigrant ancestor of yDNA group NE07 Rev. HENRY Smith-2065 (c1600 ENG - 1648 Wethersfield CT) m poss. 2x Dorothy Unknown-7644 . See SmithConnections Northeastern DNA Project.[18]


  1. Preston, Mary Isabella, Bassett-Preston Ancestors: A History of the Ancestors in America of Marion Bassett Luitweiler, Howard Murray Bassett, Preston Rogers Bassett, Isabel Bassett Wasson, and Helen Bassett Hauser, Children of Edward M. and Annie (Preston) (New Haven: Tuttle Morehouse & Taylor, 1930) p 257
  2. Venn, John & J.A. Alumni Cantabrigienes, Biographical list of students & graduates of the University of Cambridge [ENG] from Earliest times - to 1900 (1927) Part 1 'Earliest times to 1751' Vol IV S-Z p.99]
  3. Page 9 The Genealogy of the Crane Family
  4. 4.0 4.1 Jacobus, Donald Lines and Edgar Francis Waterman. Hale, House and Related Families Mainly of the Connecticut River Valley. (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1978.) pp 730+
  5. Hotten, John Camden (editor). The Original Lists of Persons of Quality: Emigrants, Religious Exiles, Political Rebels, Serving Men Sold for a Term of Years, Apprentices, Children Stolen, Maidens Pressed, and Others, who Went from Great Britain to the American Plantations, 1600-1700. (London: John Camden Hotten, 1874.) p. 68
  6. 6.0 6.1 Records of the First Church in Charlestown, 1632-1789]] (David Clapp and Son, Boston, 1880) p. 9
  7. Anderson, Robert Charles. Great Migration Directory (The). Immigrants to New Englnad, 1620-1640. A Concise Compendium. (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2015.) p. 309
  8. Coldham, Peter Wilson. "Genealogical Gleanings in England." National Gen. Society Quarterly 71:176 (1983)
  9. Author: Connecticut. Probate Court (Hartford District); Probate Place: Hartford, Connecticut. Notes: Probate Records, Vol 2-3, 1649-1677. Leonard Chester (clerks copy) Accessed at Ancestry ($)
  10. Manwaring, Charles William. A Digest of the Early Connecticut Probate Records.Volume 1. Hartford District 1635-1700. Hartford, Conn., R.S. Peck & Co., Printers, 1904.) pp 104. 105
  11. 11.0 11.1 The public records of the Colony of Connecticut pages 502-504
  12. Stiles, Henry Reed. and Sherman W. Adams. The History of Ancient Wethersfield Connecticut... Vol I – History, Part 1. (New York: The Grafton Press., 1903.)
  13. Stiles: History of Wethersfield p. 150
  14. Stiles: History of Wethersfield p. 151
  15. .Stiles: History of Wethersfield 297
  16. Stiles: History of Wethersfield p. 219
  17. Stiles: History of Wethersfield. Additional references pp 150-156, 136, 177, 182, 219, 240, 275, 295, 297, 300, 316, 358
  18. SmithConnections Northeastern DNA Project, haplogroup Rb1 NE07 Rev. Henry Smith.

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Comments: 11

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Smith-45148 and Smith-2065 appear to represent the same person because: Profile is cleansed and ready for merge. Bad and incomplete edits and linkages removed
posted by Brad Stauf
Barb at the moment the data on this profile indicates he is Smith-2065, which is who he was intended to be when he was created. I think you're the one who tried to make him the Unknown Smith spouse of Frances. Once the children who don't belong get disconnected. Henry needs to either merge into Smith-2065 or return as Unknown Smith m. to Frances. Objections to removing these children who do not belong. And do yo have a preference for who the profile ends up as?
posted on Smith-45148 (merged) by Anne B
I'm going to work on this profile.
posted by Anne B
Re: Smith-2065 and Smith-45148 unmerged match. These Henry's have the same death, but the children are wrong on -45148. I will try sorting this out.
posted by Anne B
Smith-59998 and Smith-2065 appear to represent the same person because: was somehow set as rejected match; when I removed that, it removed the earlier proposed merge. Please approve.
posted by Jillaine Smith
Smith-59998 and Smith-2065 appear to represent the same person because: This do seem the same person I can see little harm in merging them as the later profile is not linked to any other profiles
posted by Chris Hoult
I am disconnecting Margaret Cecil-1 as the mother of Rev. Henry Smith for lack of documentation. Please supply documentation before reconnecting this Henry Smith with undocumented parents. Thank you!
posted by Kitty (Cooper) Smith
Smith-38035 and Smith-2065 appear to represent the same person because: I created a duplicate in error. Please merge Smith-38035 into Smith-2065. Thank you!
posted by Kitty (Cooper) Smith
Smith-75344 and Smith-2065 appear to represent the same person because: they have the same birth and death year. Please merge Smith-75344 into Smith-2065, as they appear to be two profiles for the same person. Thank you!
posted by Kitty (Cooper) Smith
Smith-45384 and Smith-2065 appear to represent the same person because: They are duplicate records for this early colonist, Rev. Henry Smith. Please merge Smith-45384 into Smith-2065. Thank you!
posted by Kitty (Cooper) Smith
I am disconnecting Ambrose Smith-10337 and Margaret Cecil-79 as parents of Rev. Henry for lack of documentation. I don't believe there has been any such documentation located. If there is documentation of his parents. please post it here with a notation of the source and page number. Thank you!
posted by Kitty (Cooper) Smith

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