||Moses Wheeler Sr. migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).|
Join: Puritan Great Migration Project
Many sources seem to agree little is known about Moses before he came to America. Sources refer to the early life of Moses in speculative terms alone, "it is said he came from Kent, England""he was born in England, probably in County of Kent""it is believed to have come from Kent County, England" or as will be seen below, "very likely in the county of Kent". The sources make clear much about the early life of Moses, including the names of the parents, is unknown. It appears only that he might have come from Kent County, England.
Most of what is known about Moses comes from the book Genealogical and Family History of the State of Connecticut; A record of the achievements of her people in the making of a commonwealth and the founding of a nation. According to this source:
Moses Wheeler, was born in England, very likely in the county of Kent, in 1598. The Wheeler family had lived here for over four hundred years. He sailed from London in 1638, and settled in the New Haven colony. He was among the first to receive an allotment in that colony. Here he married Miriam Hawley, sister of Joseph Hawley, one of the first settlers in the colony, and a very prominent man. He was expelled from the colony in 1648 because of a slight infringement of one of the Blue Laws, for which the colony was noted. According to tradition he had been away for several months, and returned on a Sunday. Forgetting the "Blue Laws" in his joy at his return, he kissed his wife and children, and was expelled by the authorities when they learned of it.
He then joined the little settlement of Stratford, and purchased here a home from the Indians on the shore, near what is now known as Sandy Hollow. He afterwards bought a large piece of land in the upper part of the town, extending from the river to some distance above the site of the present New York, New Haven & Hartford railroad. He was a ship carpenter, and kept a farm for himself. He was given permission by the general court to keep a ferry at Stratford, which he already had established. Seventeen years after its establishment, the town leased the ferry to him with thirty or forty acres of upland adjoining it, for twenty-one years, without tax or rate except sixpence per annum. The inhabitants were "to be ferried over for one half penny per person and two pence for horse or beast." The town agreed to pay for any improvements he had made if he should leave it at the expiration of his lease.
His son's will, proved January 23, 1724-25, shows that he received the ferry from his father Moses, and left it to his own son Elnathan, so it remained in the family at least over one hundred years. He disposed of most of his land to his sons ten years before his death. He owned much land, and was one of the most prominent men of the town. He was a strong, powerful man, of whom the Indians are said to have stood in mortal terror. He returned to England in 1665, at the time of the "Great Plague," and so did not remain long, but returned again to Stratford. He died January 15, 1698, the first white man of one hundred years who had lived in New England. He is buried in the old Congregational church at Stratford. A rough stone, cut from the rocks at his homestead, marks his grave, with the inscription: "Moses Wheeler, Aged 100, Dyed Jan. 15th. 1698." His will was proved February 19, 1698, and after disposing of his real and personal property generally, he says: "I give to my daughter Miriam two pewter dishes, to my son Moses, his wife, ye pewter platter, and to my daughter Mary, a bras kitle houlding ten to twelve gallons, the Abridgement of the Marter Booke, and Mr. Brooks His Devices of Satan, and to Elizabeth ye wife of my son Samuel, ye great kitle, and to Mr. Israel Chauncey twenty shillings in silver."
Next the source discusses, Jane, who some sources wrongly claim is a sister of Moses. (see note on the profile of Jane Blakeman):
Jane, a sister of Moses Wheeler, also came over to America with him, and married Rev. Adam Blakeman, the first clergyman of the Church in England in Stratford. She was two years younger than her brother, having been born in 1600. She died in 1674. She married (second) Jacob Walker, son of Robert Walker, and brother of Rev. Zachariah Walker, pastor of the Congregational church in Stratford. The Rev. Adam Blakeman was rector of the church from 1639 to 1665. One of his sons married Elizabeth, daughter of Moses Wheeler. Children: 1. Elizabeth, married (first) Samuel Blakeman, and (second) Jacob Walker; she was grandmother of General David Wooster. 2. Miriam, married James Blakeman, and was the mother ancestor of all those named Blakeman or Blackman in the towns of Huntington, Monroe and Newtown. 3. Samuel, left no children. 4. Moses, ancestor of many people, mentioned below. 5. Mary, married (first) Samuel Fairchild, and (second) Benjamin Beach. 6. Joanna, died in 1694, unmarried.
Finally, the authors discuss the children of Moses.
(II) Moses (2), son of Moses (1) Wheeler, was born at Stratford, July 5, 1651. He inherited the ferry from his father, together with the homestead. He removed the stone house which his father built, and replaced it with a wooden house, which was standing until May 12, 1891, when it was burned down. He was a farmer, as well as ferryman. He died January 30, 1724, and is buried beside his father, with a similar headstone, evidently from the same place. The inscription says: "Here Lays The Body of Mr. Moses Wheeler Who Departed This Life Jan. The 30th. 1724, in The 74th. Year of His Age." He was one of the wealthy men of Stratford, as his estate is inventoried at one thousand four hundred and sixty-three pounds five shillings six pence. He bequeathed to his wife five pounds above their marriage agreement; to his son James forty pounds; also to his sons Nathan and Robert and his daughter, and to his grandchildren. His son Elnathan was made his executor, and he left to him all his lands, with the ferry, and all movable goods and personal estate. He married Sarah, daughter of Caleb Nicholls, October 20, 1674. Children: Moses, mentioned below; Caleb; Sarah; Nathan or Elnathan; Samuel; James; Robert; Elizabeth.
Sergeant Francis Nicholls, grandfather of Sarah (Nicholls) Wheeler, came from England in 1635, and was in Stratford in 1639 among the first settlers. He was closely related to Colonel Sir Richard Nichols, the first English governor of New York, who established the first Episcopal church in New York, and who, under the command of James, Duke of York, commanded the fleet that took New Netherlands from the Dutch in 1664 and named the place New York. Francis Nicholls was a military man in England, and was a member of the famous regiment of Horse Guards in London, but the title of sergeant was conferred on him at Stratford. He was a member and communicant of the Church of England, and the ancestor of a pious, wealthy, distinguished family of Stratford. His son, Caleb, married Anna, daughter of Andrew Ward, of Fairfield, and died in 1690. He was the father of Sarah, who married Moses Wheeler.
(III) Moses (3), son of Moses (2) Wheeler, was born July 8, 1675. He married (first) Ruth Bouton, in December, 1698. He married (second) Mercy Lattin, widow of Thomas Lattin and daughter of Henry Wakelyn. Children, by first wife: Elnathan, mentioned below; Nathaniel, drowned at the ferry.
(IV) Deacon Elnathan, son of Moses (3) Wheeler, was born January 31, 1703, died March 14, 1761. He married, December 8, 1726, Martha, daughter of David and Martha (Blagge) De Forest. His estate was inventoried at one thousand six hundred and nineteen pounds eleven shillings one pence, and included "one negro man, Will., 30 pounds, twelve Knee Buckles, a part of a set of china dishes, 4 Bibles and a number of books." The De Forest family first appears in Avesne, France, where from 1559 a Spanish garrison was kept for many years so that any one of Protestant faith was cruelly persecuted. Here the De Forest and other families embraced the foreign doctrine, and successive persecutions compelled the removal of their family to Le Couteau, to Ledau, and to Leyden. In 1606 in Leyden four brothers were living, Jean, Jesse, Michel, and Girard De Forest, and a sister Jeanne. Jesse, the ancestor of the Stratford Wheelers, married at Leyden, Marie du Cloux. Soon after the Plymouth Pilgrims removed from Leyden, he and others left Holland, and planned to settle in Virginia. This plan was not carried out, and in 1623 he joined an expedition for the conquest of Brazil, where he died in 1624, very likely at San Salvador. His son Isaac sailed with a brother for New Netherland, October 1, 1636, in the yacht "Rensselaerwick." He married at New Netherland, June 9, 1641, Sarah, daughter of Philip and Susanna (du Chiney) du Trieux, who were Walloons of the earliest migration. David, son of Isaac, married, 1696, Martha, daughter of Samuel Blagge, of New York, who was the son of Captain Benjamin Blagge. David came with his wife to Stratford, where they "covenanted with the Church," August 7, 1697. He was a glazier by trade, and died April 20, 1721. Martha, daughter of David and Martha (Blagge) De Forest, was born April 13, 1700, married Deacon Elnathan Wheeler, and their children were: Ruth, Martha, Sarah, Nathaniel, Elizabeth, Mary, Elnathan, mentioned below, Eunice.
(V) Elnathan (2), son of Deacon Elnathan (1) Wheeler, was born May 20, 1740. He married, January 26, 1765, Charity, daughter of Stephen Frost, son of Joseph Frost, of Charlestown, Massachusetts. She was born in 1740. Her sister Esther married Solomon Plant, father of David Plant, lieutenant-governor of the state of Connecticut from 1823 to 1827, and a member of congress from 1827 to 1829, one of the most influential men of his day in political circles. Elnathan Wheeler lived on the Wheeler homestead which he in-inherited from his father. He also was a farmer as his ancestors had been. The occupancy of the ferry had passed out of the family by this time, and in 1813, when the first bridge was built over the Housatonic river, between Stratford and Milford, the custom of a ferry was abolished. He was a firm, upright man, very much respected by his associates He owned much land, for he gave much to his sons. His eldest son Elnathan was given a large farm at Harvey's Farm, a short distance north of his own home. Elisha was given a farm adjoining his father's on the north. To Reuben he gave a farm in Putney, in the northern part of town. At his death, February 14, 1809, he left the Wheeler homestead to his youngest son Stephen. His wife survived him several years, and after his death lived at the homestead with her son Stephen. She died March 6, 1816. Children: Elnathan, born March 5, 1766, died November 1, 1805; Charity, July 8, 1769, died 1797, unmarried; Elisha, July 26, 1772, mentioned below; Reuben, July 1, 1775; Ruth, May 15, 1780; Stephen, March 1, 1782.
(VI) Elisha, son of Elnathan (2) Wheeler, was born July 26, 1772, died May 5, 1853. He married Dorothy, born in 1776, died January 12, 1847, daughter of Ezra Birdseye, of Oronoque, and granddaughter of Rev. Nathan Birdseye, who preached a sermon in the Congregational church in Stratford on his one hundredth birthday. His tombstone bears the inscription: "Sacred to the Memory of the Rev. Nathan Birdseye, A. M. He was Born August 19th. 1714. Graduated at Yale College in 1736, Ordained at West Haven, 1742. Dismissed and Recommended by the Consociation 1758 and Departed This Life January 28th. 1818. Aged 103 Years, 5 Months and 9 Days. The Memory of the Just is Blessed." Children: 1. George, born at Stratford in 1800, died July 16, 1835; married Betsey C. Booth, of Stratford, October 23, 1829; children: Lucy Birdseye, September 4, 1830, Mary Curtiss, December 26, 1831, died July 29, 1835, George Birdseye, June 6, 1835, married and removed to Kansas City. 2. Ralph, born 1807; married (first) Elizabeth Gall, of Hudson, New York; child, Elisha, deceased; married (second) Mary -, children: Phebe, married, and William, who went west and settled. 3. Ezra, mentioned below.
(VII) Ezra, son of Elisha Wheeler, was born in Stratford, November 9, 1809, died in New York City, December 18, 1885. When quite young he went to New York City, where he engaged in business in which he was very successful. He amassed a fortune and retired some years prior to his death. He married (first) Caroline Darrow, of New York City. He married (second) Celia Vischer, of Albany, New York. He married (third) Emily Curtiss. Children by first wife: 1. Sarah Ellen, married Dr. Walter de Forest Fay, of New York City, now deceased; she resides in Stratford. 2. Caroline, resides in New York City. Children of second wife; 3. John Vischer, deceased, was a resident of New York. 4. Celia Vischer, deceased. Children of third wife: 5. Emily Curtiss, born 1852, died August 28, 1872. 6. Arthur de Forest, mentioned below. 7. Laura, makes her home with Arthur de Forest Wheeler. 8. Walter, resides in Stratford. 9. Edward, died in infancy.
(VIII) Arthur de Forest, son of Ezra Wheeler, was born in New York City, January 3, 1855. He was educated there in the public schools, and was engaged in business with his father until his retirement, since which time he has made his home in Stratford, and is a well-known and highly esteemed citizen. He is a member of Christ Episcopal Church, in which he has served as vestryman for a number of years. He married, September 17, 1884, Carrie May Dunbar, born at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 10, 1857, daughter of George Curtis and Jane (Shelton) Dunbar. Her father was born in Abington and died in Hartford. Children: Dorothy Birdseye, born July 6, 1885; Emily Dunbar, March 3, 1891.
Have you taken a DNA test? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.
Moses is 16 degrees from Johnny Cash, 15 degrees from Patsy Cline, 21 degrees from Gordon Kirkpatrick, 31 degrees from Ruby Hunter, 23 degrees from Reg Lindsay, 17 degrees from Don Messer, 19 degrees from Charley Pride, 16 degrees from Hank Williams, 18 degrees from Tammy Richie and 16 degrees from Laura DeSpain on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.