John Webster
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John Webster (1590 - 1661)

Governor John Webster
Born in Cossington, Leicestershire, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 7 Nov 1609 in Cossington, Leicestershire, Englandmap
Descendants descendants
Died at age 70 in Hadley, Hampshire, Massachusettsmap
Profile last modified | Created 26 Apr 2010
This page has been accessed 16,102 times.
The Puritan Great Migration.
John Webster migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1621-1640). (See The Directory, by R. C. Anderson, p. 363)
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Contents

Biography

Christening

August 16, AUG 1590 at Cossington, Leicestershire, England. He was the son of Matthew and Elizabeth (Ashton) Webster[1]

Marriage

November 7, 1609 John Webster and Agnes Smith were married at Cossington, England.[2].[3]

Children

The History and Genealogy of the Gov. John Webster Family of CT state that John and Agnus had seven children[4]

  1. Matthew Webster, born 11 Feb 1608/1609, Cossington, Leicestershire, England,[5] died 16 Jul 1675, Farmington, Hartford, Connecticut
  2. Margaret Webster, born 21 Feb 1610/1611, Cossington, Leicestershire, England,[6] died 25 Jun 1659, Cossington, Leicestershire, England. It seems likely that Margaret is the "Mary" refered to in the family genealogy. This makes her the mother of Jonathan and Mary Hunt who went to Hartford to live with the Websters.[4]
  3. William Webster, born 26 Dec 1614, Cossington, Leicestershire, England,[7] died 27 Apr 1688, Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts
  4. Thomas Webster, born 24 Nov 1616, Cossington, Leicestershire, England,[8] died 20 Oct 1686, Northfield, Franklin, Massachusetts
  5. Robert Webster, born 17 Nov 1619, Cossington, Leicestershire, England,[9] died 31 May 1676, Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut
  6. Anne Webster, born 29 Jul 1621, Cossington, Leicestershire, England, died 9 Jun 1662, Northampton, Hampshire, Massachusetts. Anne married John Marsh about 1642 at Hartford.[4]
  7. Elizabeth Webster, born 16 Mar 1623/1624, Cossington, Leicestershire, England,[10] died 1688, Hadley, Hampshire, Massachusetts m William Markham
  8. Faith Webster, born 8 Apr 1627, Cossington, Leicestershire, England , died 16 Apr 1627, Cossington, Leicestershire, England[11][12] Although Faith appears in the Cossington records she is not mentioned in the family geneology, this omission may be forgiven since Faith died in infancy.

Disputed Children

  1. Mary Webster, born 30 Mar 1623, Essex, England, died 12 Apr 1687, Northamptonshire, England. Some sources show that she died as a newborn.[13] The Mary Webster mentioned in the family geneology died before 1659 and should have been born in Cossington.[4]

Emigration

The Webster Family left England in 1634. The deeds for his land in England show that he then owned in Cossington three houses and a cottage, various small closes, about one hundred acres of arable land, and considerable grazing rights. "So John Webster set out for the New World with a wife still vigorous, six stalwart children, some implements of husbandry, and with more than £1,000 in his possession.”[14][15] His wife Agnes and children Matthew, Robert, Ann, Elizabeth, and Mary (and perhaps Thomas and William) went to New England with him.[16][17]

Founder of Hartford and Hatfield

John Webster and his family settled in Watertown(?) (or Cambridge), Massachusetts and moved to Hartford in 1636, probably with Thomas Hooker's group. He was an original landholder of Hartford, and considered one of the founders of that city (see illustration of the Founders Monument at the top of the page.).[18]

Public Service by John Webster in Connecticut and Massachusetts [all detailed in the family genealogy[4]:

Founder of Hartford in 1636
Member of the committee that sat with the Court of Magistrates of the Colony of Connecticut in 1637 and 1638, this was the committee that declared war on the Pequot Indians 1637.
Assistant to the General Court of the Colony of Connecticut in 1639.
Assistant, General Court of the Colony of Connecticut, 1639-1655
Commissioner to the United Colonies of New England, 1654
Deputy Governor, Colony of Connecticut 1655
Governor, Colony of Connecticut, 1656
Chief Magistrate, Colony of Connecticut, 1657
Magistrate, Hadley, Massachusetts, 1660

Some of the duties associated with these offices included: traveling to towns in Connecticut as a judge, helping create criminal laws for the colony, settling land and boundary disputes, assisted the New England Congress supply Connecticut towns with soldiers and ammunition for an expedition against the Indians, and surveyed the highway from Hartford to Windsor.[4]

John Webster was one of the leading members of the First Congregational Church of Hartford, whose minister was the Rev. Thomas Hooker. Often in early Puritan New England, the minister was one of the most influential leaders. When Hooker died in 1647, a controversy arose as to who should become his successor. Rev. Samuel Stone, Hooker's assistant, was supported by a majority of the church members. Rev. Stone wanted to change aspects of church procedures. Many of the parishioners disagreed with Stone and wanted Michael Wigglesworth as Rev. Hooker's successor. A religious dispute arose, and the congregation split. Since church and state were not separate at the time, this became a political issue for Hartford, as well being a spiritual issue.[4]

At this point, the Hartford community was divided into two factions. The dissenting group, of which John Webster was a prominent member, wanted to leave the Hartford church and go to Massachusetts, but Rev. Stone would not release them from their church covenant. The principles disputed in Hartford were introduced in the General Assembly as the Half-Way Covenant in August 1657 and became points of conflict for Congregational Churches throughout New England for over a decade. The Half-Way Covenant was approved by a New England church synod in 1662 and passed the Connecticut legislature in May 1669.[19]

April 18, 1659, some of the dissenters and Rev. Stone's group signed an agreement for the former group to move to Massachusetts. The Hadley Company, as it was known, left Hartford with John Webster as one of its leaders. He was given the responsibility of laying out the roads for the company. He and his family went to Northampton, Massachusetts and then to Hadley, where he was made a magistrate in May 1660. He died there, of a fever, on April 5, 1661.[4] His wife Agnes died in Hadley in 1667.[20]

There is an inscription on his grave stone reading "To the memory of John Webster, Esq. one of the first settlers of Hartford in Connecticut, who was many years a Magistrate or Assistant, and afterwards Deputy Gov. and Governor of that Colony, and in 1659 with three sons, Robert, William and Thomas, associated with others in the purchase and settlement of Hadley where he died in 1661, this monument is erected in 1818 by his descendant, Noah Webster of Amherst. (see the illustrations on the right for his monuments.) [21]

Death and Burial

April 6, 1661 at Hadley, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, Old Hadley Cemetery, Hadley, Hampshire, Massachusetts[22]

Will

Dated 25 June 1659 names wife Agnes, sons Matthew, William, Thomas, and Robert, daughter Marsh and daughter Markham, two grandchildren Mary and Jonathan Hunt, and "Mary the wife of William Holten".[16][23] [4]

Sources

  1. "England, Leicestershire Parish Registers, 1533-1991," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QPW1-W7QV : 6 June 2018), John Webster, 16 Aug 1590; records extracted by findmypast, images digitized by FamilySearch; citing Baptism, Cossington, Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom, page 13, Citing the Record Office of Leicestershire, Leicester, and Rutland, Wigston, UK.
  2. Source: #S547 page: https://www.findmypast.com/transcript?id=GBPRS/LEICS/MAR/00336676/1 accessed 25 June, 2019 Certainty of Data: 3
  3. also available at: "England, Leicestershire Parish Registers, 1533-1991," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QP47-KXCZ : 6 June 2018), John Webster and Agnes Smith, 7 Nov 1609; records extracted by findmypast, images digitized by FamilySearch; citing Marriage, Cossington, Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom, page 53, citing the Record Office of Leicestershire, Leicester, and Rutland, Wigston, UK.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 Webster, William Holcomb. History and Genealogy of the Gov. John Webster Family of Connecticut (E.R. Andrews Printing Co., New York, 1915) Pages 1-31
  5. "England, Leicestershire Parish Registers, 1533-1991," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QPWB-WQ1Q : 6 June 2018), John in entry for Mathew Webster, 11 Feb 1609; records extracted by findmypast, images digitized by FamilySearch; citing Baptism, Cossington, Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom, page , Citing the Record Office of Leicestershire, Leicester, and Rutland, Wigston, UK.
  6. "England, Leicestershire Parish Registers, 1533-1991," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QPW1-37JP : 6 June 2018), John in entry for Margaret Webster, 21 Feb 1611; records extracted by findmypast, images digitized by FamilySearch; citing Baptism, Cossington, Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom, page 19, Citing the Record Office of Leicestershire, Leicester, and Rutland, Wigston, UK.
  7. "England, Leicestershire Parish Registers, 1533-1991," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QPWB-K3ZC : 6 June 2018), William Webster, 26 Sep 1614; records extracted by findmypast, images digitized by FamilySearch; citing Baptism, Cossington, Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom, page 19, Citing the Record Office of Leicestershire, Leicester, and Rutland, Wigston, UK.
  8. "England, Leicestershire Parish Registers, 1533-1991," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QPWB-9L5B : 6 June 2018), Thomas Webster, 24 Nov 1616; records extracted by findmypast, images digitized by FamilySearch; citing Baptism, Cossington, Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom, page 19, Citing the Record Office of Leicestershire, Leicester, and Rutland, Wigston, UK.
  9. "England, Leicestershire Parish Registers, 1533-1991," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QPW1-QCBM : 6 June 2018), Robert Webster, 7 Nov 1619; records extracted by findmypast, images digitized by FamilySearch; citing Baptism, Cossington, Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom, page , Citing the Record Office of Leicestershire, Leicester, and Rutland, Wigston, UK.
  10. "England, Leicestershire Parish Registers, 1533-1991," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QPWB-D6D4 : 6 June 2018), Elizabeth Webster, 16 May 1624; records extracted by findmypast, images digitized by FamilySearch; citing Baptism, Cossington, Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom, page , Citing the Record Office of Leicestershire, Leicester, and Rutland, Wigston, UK.
  11. "England, Leicestershire Parish Registers, 1533-1991," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QPWB-21VG : 6 June 2018), Faith Webster, 8 Apr 1627; records extracted by findmypast, images digitized by FamilySearch; citing Baptism, Cossington, Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom, page 20, Citing the Record Office of Leicestershire, Leicester, and Rutland, Wigston, UK.
  12. "England, Leicestershire Parish Registers, 1533-1991," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QP4Q-DK51 : 6 June 2018), Faith Webster, 16 Apr 1627; records extracted by findmypast, images digitized by FamilySearch; citing Burial, Cossington, Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom, page , citing the Record Office of Leicestershire, Leicester, and Rutland, Wigston, UK.
  13. see source Pane-Joyce Ancestry
  14. Skillington, page 200
  15. Connecticut State Library has 4 page pdf file to download http://ctstatelibrary.org/governors/
  16. 16.0 16.1 Banks, Charles Edward. "The English Ancestry of Governor John Webster of Connecticut." NYGBR 62:232-234. (1931)
  17. Anderson, Robert C. The Great Migration Directory: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1640: A Concise Compendium (New England Historic Genealogical Society, Great Migration Study Project, Boston, 2015) page 606
  18. Savage, James. A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England (Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1862)
  19. See Wikipedia article on Half-Way Covenant https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Half-Way_Covenant
  20. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Webster_(governor)
  21. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/15090482/john-webster : accessed 14 November 2021), memorial page for Governor John Webster (9 Aug 1590–5 Apr 1661), Find A Grave: Memorial #15090482, citing Old Hadley Cemetery, Hadley, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by the moo (contributor 46834101) .
  22. "Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1626-2001," database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q29L-LK93 : 10 November 2020), John Webster, 5 Apr 1661; citing Death, Hadley, Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay Colony, British Colonial America, Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth, Boston; FHL microfilm 004325917.
  23. Hampshire Co. MA Probate Records, Vol. 1, pages 20-21, Film No. 7705549, Image 29, https://familysearch.org
See Also:
  • Mrs. S. H. Skillington [Florence E.], "The Ancestry of Governor John Webster," in The American Genealogist (Oct 1948), pp. 197-214.
  • Encyclopedia of American Biography (New York: The American Historical Society, Inc., 1924), q.v. "Webster, Augustus Livingston", vol. XX, pp. 227-235.
  • Frederick Calvin Norton, The Governors of Connecticut (Hartford: Connecticut Magazine Co., 1905).
  • John W. Raimo, Biographical Dictionary of American Colonial and Revolutionary Governors 1607-1789 (Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1980)
  • Mary Kingsley Talcott, The Original Proprietors (Reprint, Society of the Descendants of the Founders of Hartford, Inc., 1986).
  • Wayne Hilton Webster, The Indomitable Spirits: A Webster Family Anthology (1995).
  • Lucius Barnes Barbour, Families of Early Hartford, Connecticut (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1977).
  • West, Edith Willoughby Goodman The Goodmans of Bolton, New York Their Ancestry and Descendants (Glen Falls: Published by the Goodmans, 1930); images of pp. 11-12 at InternetArchive.org. Secondary source without citations.




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