Remembering Our Ancestors: William Andrews

William came with the company of Rev. Thomas Hooker to the colonies in 1624 and started the Andrews family of (what was to become) Hartford, CT.

1595 and London, England:  That should bring at least two things to mind, Shakespeare and the Black Death.  I guess some people think London was plagued by both – not I!

Regardless, our ancestors where there, in and around London during Shakespeare’s time, and surely they were bothered by the plague, among them our 12th and 13th great-grandfather William Andrews who was born in that year, 1595.  19 years later, however, we find our dear William quite far away from London, in the company of Thomas Hooker (as depicted in Frederic Edwin Church’s painting that you see featured, slightly cropped) in the colonies far west of England, and on their way to what would become Hartford, Connecticut.  William Andrews was one of the founders of that town.

founders monument
Founder’s Monument Ancient Cemetery Hartford, Ct

William married in the New World, as far as we know, and sources differ whether he was married once or twice.  It is pretty sure that he married Abigail Graves in 1632, the year our 11th and 12th great-grandfather John Andrews was born also.  Some sources say William also married Mary Savage (which would have been in the old world) and there is conflicting information because they, too, had a son called John, albeit born a good bit before ‘our’ John.  Chances are more than one William Andrews lived in London at the time, and possibly even made it to the colonies before 1700.

Our William and Abigail had eight children together, if we are correctly informed, firmly establishing the Andrews clan in the Hartford area where they stayed for many generations, until the early 19th century.  We have already portrayed several members of this branch of the family; they must have been an interesting and rather hardy bunch.  Eventually, the Andrews branch of our family tree joins the Christman branch with our (2nd) great-grandparents Dallas Christman and Alice Andrews.

William Andrews passed on at the age of 64, on 3 August 1659, this past week 361 years ago.  His wife Abigail lived on for 22 more years, and as far as we know, she married again, one Nathaniel Bearding.

Requiescat in Pace, Great-Grandpa Andrews.  We do not know where exactly they have laid you to rest, but it is believed than you lie in the Ancient Cemetery in Hartford where the above monument bears your name along with those of other founders.

founders bridge plaque
THE FOUNDERS BRIDGE: This plaque and a second one commemorate the men and women who traveled there in 1636 with the Rev. Thomas Hooker to found the City of Hartford.

Remembering Our Ancestors: Six Grandfathers and Grandmothers

Between 1700 and 1900, one date shows up six times in our direct family lines.

February 13th is a big day in our family: No less than six of our grandfathers and grandmothers were either born or baptized, or died on this day in history.

Elizabeth Williams, 8th and 9th great-grandmother in the Andrews-line.
She was born on 13 February 1703 in Colchester, CT and married Nathaniel Kellogg on 1 July 1725.  Elizabeth passed away on 1 April 1762 in East Windsor, CT and thus lived to be 59 years old.

Abraham Vanderpool Sr., 7th and 8th great-grandfather in the Denney-line.
He was baptized on 13 February 1709 in Albany, NY and married Rebecca Isaacs around 1744.  Abraham Sr. passed away in 1778 in Washington, TN when he was 69 years old.

Eliphalet Chidester, 6th and 7th great-grandfather in the Snyder-line.
He was born on 12 January 1749 in Morris, NJ and married Mary Pence in Virginia. Eliphalet died on 13 February 1821 in Bruceton Mills, WV at the age of 72.

IMG_2245 - Edited

Robert Andrews, 6th and 7th great-grandfather in the Andrews-line, obviously.
He was born 17 March 1759 in Coventry, CT, the son of Lt. Robert Andrews and Delight Kellogg, and married Eunice Needham on 18 April 1781 in Brimfield, MA.  Robert died on 13 February 1838, also in Brimfield, when he was 78 years old.

Catherine McFarland, 5th and 6th great-grandmother in the Fouts-line.
She was born on 13 February 1786 in Belmont, OH, the daughter of Irish immigrants, and married John Phillips on 12 September 1809.  Catherine died young, on 31 August 1824 at the age of 38, in Barnesville, OH.

Austin Calvin Andrews, 3rd and 4th great-grandfather in the Andrews-line, evidently.
He was born on 13 February 1839 in Ellington, CT, and married Susan C. Alderman on 5 May 1866 in Ohio.  Austin died on 28 September 1900 in Athens, OH, being then 61 years of age.

IMG_2253 - Edited (2)


Remembering Our Ancestors: Elisha Andrews

Remembering Elisha Andrews and his wife Ruth Loveland takes us back to colonial America.

This past Wednesday 270 years ago, our 8th (and 9th) great-grandfather Elisha Andrews passed on in his home village in Glastonbury, Hartford Co., CT.  To the day half a year later, his wife Ruth (née Loveland) followed him.  On his Find-A-Grave memorial, the following is quoted (see also the featured image):

Elisha Andrews, eldest son of Stephen, of Glastonbury, and his wife, Sarah Gillett; record of his birth on the Hartford town books.  He lived in East Glastonbury, and succeeded his father as clerk of the school society; he was both mechanic and farmer, as was common in our early history. He married the 9th February, 1726, Ruth (Loveland).  He was the first of four of the name in as many generations, being great-grand-father of Capt. Elisha, of South Manchester, now, 1867, living at the age of 78.  Rev. A. B. Chapin. D. D., in his History of Glastonbury, says, Elisha Andrews, as clerk from 1743 to 1749, had few peculiarities of spelling, and wrote a respectable hand.  He died the 29th January, 1750, aged 43 years, 7 months. 19 days.  He seems to have been a school-teacher, in 1747.

Quoted from:
Genealogical history of John and Mary Andrews, who settled in Farmington, Conn., 1640: embracing their descendants to 1872; with an introduction of miscellaneous names of Andrews, with their progenitors as far as known; to which is added a list of some of the authors, clergymen, physicians and soldiers of the name.
by Andrews, Alfred, 1797-1876

Said birth took place on 10 Jun 1706, 13 years after Glastonbury was founded; he was the first of four children born to Stephen and Sarah.

Elisha and Ruth in turn had five children, their 4th child and last son Robert being our direct ancestor.  Both Elisha and Ruth died before they reached the age of 50:  He passed on at age 43, and she one day before her 48th birthday, only 6 days after their second son Benjamin had died at the age of 22.  The exact place of their burial is not known, but we assume they all were laid to rest in or around East Glastonbury.  Makes one wonder if smallpox were rampant in Glastonbury at the time since both parents and a son died within 6 months from one other.  After all, smallpox was a leading cause of death in 18th century Europe, and the widespread use of variolation in the North American colonies reduced the impact only during the latter part of the 18th century and mainly among the wealthy classes, too late and possibly not accessible for Elisha, Ruth and their son Benjamin.

Anyway, here we are in pre-revolutionary Connecticut, in a place where the now oldest continually operating ferry in the United States is located, the Rocky Hill – Glastonbury ferry, dating back to 1655.  Today, the trip across the Connecticut River takes approximately 4 minutes, but we assume it took longer back in the day:  Originally the ferry was a raft that was poled across the Connecticut River.  Later, it was powered by a horse on a treadmill before the ferry was upgraded to a steamship in 1876.

The Rocky Hill to Glastonbury (Connecticut) Ferry in 2007

There is another little historical curiosity concerning our ancestors and Glastonbury, CT:  Our Elisha and his father were succeeded in their teacher-position by a certain Noah Webster, who was born in West Hartford in 1758, eight years after Elisha’s death, and who taught in Glastonbury for “a short time” around 1779, approximately 30 years after Elisha.  The name Noah Webster is nowadays firmly associated with “dictionary”, especially with the modern Merriam-Webster dictionary that was first published in 1828 as “An American Dictionary of the English Language”.  Webster has been called the “Father of American Scholarship and Education”, and his “Blue-backed Speller” books taught five generations of American children how to spell and read.





Remembering Our Ancestors: Jane Playse

Let me take you back to the Elizabethan time.

Our 15th (and 16th) great-grandmother Jane Andrews (née Playse) was a contemporary of Shakespeare, and even lived in London, England, at the latest since 1595.

But she had not been a city dweller all her life, much like The Bard.  Jane Playse was born in 1528 in the East Midlands, more precisely in Northampton, in the shire that bears the same name, some 60 miles north-west of London, and about 45 miles east of Stratford-upon-Avon.  There she appears to have grown up, and by the time she was 21, in 1549, she married our 15th (and 16th) great-grandfather William Andrews in Charwelton, a village about halfway between Northampton and Stratford.  There, at least two sons were born to them, William Jr. and Robert, both in 1550.  Since the bubonic plague was ravaging the area off and on during those years (and for many more decades to come until the Great Plague of London of 1665-66 marked the last great epidemic almost 100 years later), we do not know how many more children they might have had and lost, but we do know that Robert lived long enough to become the father of our 14th (and 15th) great-grandfather John Andrews.  John’s own son William, in turn, immigrated to the colonies in 1624 and started the Andrews family of (what was to become) Hartford, CT, and John followed him when he was already 83 and most all his remaining relatives had either died in England or immigrated already.

But back to Jane and William.  How long they stayed in the area of Charwelton we are not sure, but the year 1596 finds them in London, where William died, his burial being recorded in the church books of St. Giles Cripplegate.  This church lies about a 15 minute walk from St. Helen’s, Bishopsgate where Shakespeare resided during the same year.  Presumably, Jane and Andrew lived somewhere in the vicinity as well.  St. Giles is also the church where, 15 years later, Jane’s burial is documented.  According to the records, she was buried 24 January 1611, that’s today 409 years ago.

I still remember just how exciting it was to realize that Jane and William lived in Shakespeare’s London, and at least Jane had the (theoretical) possibility to go and see a play in the original Globe Theater which was build in Southwark, on the other, as yet barely developed and quite disreputable side of the river, in 1599.  Maybe Jane would never have dreamed of going to the playhouse!  But maybe she did!  We cannot be sure either way.

Jane’s son Robert did not live in London either for the most part, but married and settled in Coventry in Warwickshire, just north-west of his hometown.  Chances are that Jane and William moved to London only after their son had left their home to raise his own family.  Interestingly enough, however, Robert, too, died in London, at the St. Bartholomew-the-Great hospital, and his burial is recorded in the books of St. Martin, Ludgate.  All these places, St. Giles, St. Bartholomew and St. Martin are less than a mile away from each other.

It does make you wonder if people came to London from the countryside to die and be buried there, or if spending a part of your life in the countryside and a part in the big city, like we know Shakespeare did, was quite common back in the day, at least for a certain social class.

In any case, history comes alive when direct ancestors were part of it and no mistake.  Rest in Peace, Great-Grandma Jane Andrews.  We envy you.  A little.

The_Swan performance
A 1596 sketch of a performance in progress at The Swan, a theater much like The Globe that was built in 1599.


Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

~ William Shakespeare

Featured: John Norden’s map of London in 1593, cropped

Remembering Our Ancestors: Thomas Andrews V

This week 523 years ago, our 18th (and 19th) great-grandfather in the Andrews line passed away.

The Andrews go way back in our family tree, with the oldest known ancestor Thomas Andrews born in 1163 in Winwick in the Daventry district of Northamptonshire in England, and today’s ancestor is a namesake of this earliest known Andrews.

When Thomas Andrews V and his twin brother Edward were born in 1437, the family still resided in the Daventry district, now in the village of Charwelton.  Their father’s name was Richard, and their mother was Catherine Burbeck, of whom we know precious little.  Richard and Catherine had nine children altogether, and the twins had only one older brother.  How many of the children grew up to be adults we do not know, but when Thomas was 13 and his youngest sister 5, his father died.  His mother passed on when her youngest child was, or would have been 18.

Our great-grandfather to-be  went on to marry Joan Clarell in 1467 in the south-west Northamptonshire village of Edgcote where Joan had been born in 1446, and the two had eight children together.  The family lived in Charwelton where Thomas’ family had been living all along.  Thomas, it appears, was a merchant.

In 1496 at the age of 59, and six years after his wife, Thomas passed on on the 11th day of December.  A brass plate covers their grave in the Holy Trinity Churchyard in Charwelton (see below), and there is also a depiction of their children (see featured image).

Rest in Peace, Great-Grandpa Andrews.  This week, we remember you and your family.

Thomas and Margery Andrews




Remembering Our Ancestors: Molly Moulton

“Molly was none of your heart-broken, sick-brained women – bless her prolificness – read the list of her jewels (children).”

Today, we remember our 8th (and 9th) great-grandmother Mary “Molly” Moulton Needham, whose 315th birthday we would have celebrated last Sunday.  The above statement about Molly being a rather robust person was taken from the book “Family Record” by Absalom Gardner, written around 1860, the better part of a century after her departure.

Mary “Molly” Moutlon was born on 29 September 1702 in Salem, MA.  Her great-great-grandfather Robert Moulton was a shipwright, had come to Massachusetts Bay in 1629 from Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, England, and had settled in Salem.  Since then the family had been living there, and when Molly, as they called her, was 19 years old, she married Anthony Needham IV, grandson of Ann Potter, whose parents had died a very unfortunate death on the day before Christmas Eve of 1641 in County Tyrone, Ireland when little Ann was just nine.  Anthony (IV) Needham’s grandfather Antony (II) had immigrated in 1653, so both Molly and Anthony came from families that had been established in the New World for a good long time.  Their marriage took place on 10 June 1722 in Salem.

By 1723, the family had moved from Salem to Brimfield, Massachusetts, where Anthony had been the first white settler in the town.  The family had numerous land grants in Brimfield, and Anthony lead the pioneer work of clearing the wilderness and building up a prosperous community.  All Molly’s and Anthony’s children were born in Brimfield; the two actually had 10 children that lived to adulthood, six sons and four daughters.

By the time Molly was 60, in June of 1763, her husband died at the age of 66.  She followed him 27 years later in 1790, and they lie buried side by side in Wales Cemetery #1 in Wales, Hampden County, MA.

Rest in Peace, Molly and Anthony.

Mary and Anthony Needham
Mary “Molly” Moulton Needham and Anthony Needham’s grave markers. Hers is on the left, his on the left.

Remembering Our Ancestors: Lt. Robert Andrews

He probably did not fire the shot that was heard around the world, but Great-Grandpa Lt. Robert Andrews took part in the Battle at Lexington on 19 April 1775.

Our 7th and 8th great-grandfather Robert Andrews was born on 19 June 1735 in East Glastonbury, Connecticut, to Elisha Andrews and his wife Ruth, who was of the Loveland family.  As far as we know, he had three brothers and one sister.  The Andrews family had been living in the New World since 1637, arriving in Massachusetts and going on to co-found Hartford, CT.

Robert became a lieutenant in the military.  He married Delight Kellogg on 4 March 1756 in Colchester, CT, and the two of them had seven children, at least four of whom lived to adulthood.

As the dates given suggest already, Robert fought in the Revolutionary War, to be precise, he took part in the Battle of Lexington, MA as a lieutenant on April 19, 1775, when he was 39 years old.  Robert survived the battle and the Revolutionary War, and lived on to see the first decades of American Independence and the new century.

Lt. Robert Andrews died this day 208 years ago, on 16 August 1811 in Pittsford, Vermont, at the age of 76.  He was laid to rest there, too.  Rest in Peace, Great-Grandpa Robert.  History becomes personal for us because of you.

The Lexington Minuteman statue by Henry Hudson Kitson. It stands at the town green of Lexington, MA.

Remembering Our Ancestors: Albert Frank Andrews

91 years ago, our great-grandfather Frank passed away.

Last Tuesday 91 years ago, our 2nd (and 3rd) great-grandfather Frank Andrews passed away.

Albert Frank Andrews
Albert Frank Andrews 1871–1928

The Andrews side of our family has been in the New World for a good long time: The first Andrews came to the colonies in the early 17th century, the family being among the founders of Hartford, CT in 1636.

When Albert Frank Andrews, whom everyone called Frank, was born on 28 August 1871 in Trimble Co., Ohio, his father Austin was 32 and his mother Susan was 24.  Frank was the 5th of 12 children, and the fourth son.

Frank married Elizabeth Tracy, generally called Lizzy, in 1895.  We know little of her, not even where she was buried, but we do know that she was born in England, that her parents were saloon keepers, and that she was not at all fond of having her picture taken, much to the dismay of her genealogically inclined progeny.

Frank and Lizzy had three children during their marriage, two sons and a daughter, the latter being our great-grandmother Alice Andrews, wife of Dallas Christman.  They took over the Tracy saloon in Glouster, OH, but we do not know how long it stayed open.  As far as we know, the next generation of Andrews did not continue the saloon, but the building looked like this:

former Tracy Saloon in Glouster OH - Edited
The former Tracy Saloon in Glouster, OH

Frank Sr. died on 28 May 1928 in Glouster, Ohio at the age of 56, and was buried there in Maplewood Cemetery.

Rest in Peace, Great-Grandpa Frank.

Remembering Our Ancestors: Cornelius and Priscilla Gillett

Born on the same day and died within 24 days of each other in their late 70s: Methinks Cornelius and Priscilla liked each other a lot.

Cornelius and Priscilla Gillett are our 10th (and 11th) great-grandparents in the Andrews-line of the family tree, and early settlers of what was to become Massachussets and Connecticut.  Both were children of English immigrants who came from Somerset, Devon and Essex respectively, with only one unknown parent (Priscilla’s mother) in the mix; they were the first generation of children born in the New World.

Cornelius Gillett was born on January 10, 1634, in Massachusetts, to Jonathan Gillett and Mary Dolbere.  His parents were Puritans and of the company of one hundred and forty Puritans from the counties of Devon, Dorset and Somerset, England, that sailed to the New World with Rev. John Warham and Rev. John Maverick, as pastors, in the ship “Mary and John,” March 20, 1630, and locating at Dorchester, Massachusetts.  They came with Mr. Warham with other Dorchester men to form the settlement at what is now Windsor, Connecticut, about 1636.   Cornelius was born shortly after his parents’ arrival in Massachusetts.

Priscilla Gillett was born as Priscilla Kelsey also on January 10, but one year earlier than Cornelius, in 1633, also in Massachusetts, and her family moved on to Hartford, CT, too.  Her father was also a Puritan immigrant, William Kelsey, who came to Massachusetts with the Rev. Thomas Hooker, just like our 12th great-grandfathers William Andrews.  Small wonder the two families would intermarry eventually!  William Kelsey seems to deserve a post all for himself, but I have to do some more research first.


Cornelius and Priscilla married on January 16, 1658, in Hartford, and seem to have spent their life in Windsor, Hartford, CT.  They had nine children together, and it was one of their daughters, Sara Gillett, who married Stephen Andrews, great-grandson of the above mentioned William, on 29 Mar, 1705.

But back to Cornelius and Priscilla.  Not only were they both born on January 10th, which was yesterday, but they also died in the same year.  Priscilla went first, on June 2, 1711.  Cornelius left 24 days later, on June 26, 1711.

Rest in Peace, Cornelius and Priscilla.

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