||Henry Smith migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).|
Join: Puritan Great Migration Project
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 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.
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." 
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.
"My Father & Mother came over in 1636/37, "firste to Watertown which is neare Boston, & after a yeare or two to Weathersfield"
Donald Lines Jacobus tells us that it was not "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." 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 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.
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]" 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.
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.
Life in Wethersfield was not always easy for Henry. He says in his will, "I have well proved the difficultyes of this Country." 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. There was also a major problem with the ruling elder Mr. Clement Chaplin. Henry was eventually cleared of the charges put forth by Chaplin 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,"
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 He had 240 acres on the east side of the river. In 1647, his salary was raised from £70 to £80 
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.
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.
Have you taken a DNA test for genealogy? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.
On 27 Sep 2018 at 17:58 GMT Anne B wrote:
On 24 Sep 2018 at 13:17 GMT Anne B wrote:
On 6 Mar 2018 at 13:30 GMT Jillaine Smith wrote:
On 6 Mar 2018 at 02:15 GMT Chris Hoult wrote:
On 16 Jul 2015 at 00:56 GMT Kitty (Cooper) Smith wrote:
On 14 Jul 2015 at 02:02 GMT Kitty (Cooper) Smith wrote:
On 14 Jul 2015 at 02:01 GMT Kitty (Cooper) Smith wrote:
On 14 Jul 2015 at 01:59 GMT Kitty (Cooper) Smith wrote:
On 14 Jul 2015 at 01:50 GMT Kitty (Cooper) Smith wrote:
Henry is 9 degrees from William Brewster, 14 degrees from Skye Driggs and 15 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.