Hart Research Outline on Obadiah Seeley

Part 2
Frederick C. Hart Jr. information

Address: 1311 Great Hill Road, North Guilford, CT 06437-3649,
Phone: (203) 457-9383
What: Client Research Report
Date: 02/22/99
Report Number: SGS-2
Subject: Obadiah Seeley of Stamford, Connecticut
Objective: Conduct additional research to determine: (1) Records relating to a relationship between Obadiah Seeley and John Lawre(n)son, and (2) Records relating to a relationship between Obadiah Seeley and the family of John Miller.
Limitations: Estimated 8-12 hours, research and reporting, for these two items.
Other: Items (3) and (4) of this research will be covered in a later report.

General
This a progress report on the additional research requested in Mr. Waring’s letter of 28 January, 1999. Two of the four items are covered herein, and the two additional items remain to be investigated.

Summary of Results
It now appears definite that John Lawre(n)son, who settled his debts with Obadiah Seeley in Stamford in 1651, was previously from New Haven, and furthermore was a servant of Mr. Richard Malbon, one of the New Haven leaders. It further appears definite that Robert Seeley, at least, was in a position to know John Miller and his family well during the time they were both resident in Wethersfield, and perhaps earlier as well, since we do not yet know John Miller’s prior career. These circumstances tend to lead to a renewed speculation that Obadiah Seeley may have been a member of Robert Seeley’s family.

Records Searched
Town Records
New Haven Town and Colony Records as cited on the attachments.

Wethersfield Town Records as cited on the attachments.
Stamford Town Records as cited on the attachments.

Miscellaneous
Various secondary sources as cited on the attachments.

Findings and Analysis

  1. The New Haven records provided quite a bit of information on John Lawre(n)son, and his career seems to match and fit perfectly with the person who settled his debts with Obadiah Seeley in Stamford.
  2. However, the fact that Lawre(n)son was a servant of Richard Malbon in New Haven leads to an even greater speculation of a connection with Robert Seeley. Malbon and Seeley were the two foremost military leaders in New Haven for a substantial period of time, and would certainly have known each other and their families directly and in detail. Their homelots were only ¼ mile apart in New Haven. There is therefore strong circumstantial evidence that Lawre(n)son would have known both Obadiah Seeley and Robert Seeley. These Lawre(n)son events have been detailed and enclosed as a separate attachment.
  3. Turning to the career of John Miller in Wethersfield, I found additional suggestion of a relationship with Robert Seeley. The Seeley and Miller homelots in Wethersfield were in the same area of town, and approximately ½ mile apart from each other. Whether or not Obadiah Seeley was his son, there is no question in my mind that Robert Seeley and his family would have known John Miller and his family during their joint residency in Wethersfield. These Miller events have been detailed and enclosed as a separate attachment.
  4. Both of these sets of data suggest that the possibility of a connection between Robert Seeley and Obadiah Seeley should not be discarded lightly. As an attempt to summarize the circumstantial evidence, I have enclosed a third attachment that discusses these possibilities.

Suggestions for Additional or Future Research

  1. Two additional items remain to be investigated under this particular commission: those being (3) Investigation of the parish records of St. Martins, Warwickshire, to see if any other Stamford names appear, and (4) Investigation of the sequence of arrival of Stamford settlers to see if any others appear to be associated with Obadiah Seeley’s, or if any other clues to his prior residence present themselves.

Other Research Notes and Observations
I realize that my preliminary speculations regarding the implications of these findings will naturally rekindle the hopes of many persons who have been looking for the connection between Robert and Obadiah Seeley. It is important to add my caution to these speculations, and I consider them only preliminary at this time. I would like to get feedback and comments from knowledgeable members of the Society, and in time from other genealogists outside of the Society, before elevating these speculations to any higher level, such as publication. But the basis seems to be there to make the effort of continuing this process.

Table of Attachments

  • A. “Lawre(n)son – Seeley Events,” (4 sheets).
  • B. “Miller – Seeley Events,” (2 sheets).
  • C. Preliminary – Work in Progress – “Circumstantial Evidence in Connecticut Records Suggesting That Obadiah Seeley of Stamford May Have Been Related to Robert Seeley of Watertown, Wethersfield, New Haven, Etc.,” (3 sheets.)
  • D. Reconstructed map of Wethersfield homelots (from History of Ancient Wethersfield), with residences of Robert Seeley and John Miller highlighted.
  • E. Reconstructed map of New Haven homelots (from New Haven – An Illustrated History), with residences of Robert Seeley and Richard Malbon highlighted.

REPORT NUMBER SGS-2

LAWRE(N)SON – SEELEY EVENTS

Revised: October, 1999

  1. 4. 4th month (June) 1639. The first formal meeting of the planters at the new settlement of New Haven was held on this date. The names of Robert Seeley and Mr. Richard Malbon both appear among those planters signing the fundamental agreement.1 Seeley had arrived in the New World in 1630 with the Winthrop Fleet, and had come to New Haven by way of Watertown and Wethersfield.2
  2. 4. 11th month (January) 1642 (1642/43). The New Haven Court sentenced one Will Harding to be whipped, fined, and banished from town, for his conduct with “diverse young girls” and his enciting various servants to rowdy behavior. Mr. (Richard) Malbon was named as one of the planters “whose families and daughters he [Harding] had so much dishonored.”3
  3. 1. 1st month (March) 1643. The New Haven Court followed up on the above Harding case by finding John Laurence and Valentine, servants to Mr. Malbon, guilty of embezzling their masters goods, keeping disorderly night meetings with Will Harding, plotting with him (Harding) to carry off their masters’ daughter “to the farms in the night,” and concealing all these misdeeds, “all of which they confessed and was whipped.” Several other persons were disciplined for related offences, including Ruth Acie, another servant of Malbon’s, and Martha Malbon, his daughter.4
  4. 4 January 1643 (1643/44). The New Haven Court fined John Lawrenson 1 shilling for coming late to (military) training.5
  5. Last day (31) March 1645. The New Haven Court firmed up the military affairs of the town with a set of formal “Orders for the Artillery Company at New Haven.” The two primary officers named were Mr. (Richard) Malbon, Captain, and Lieutenant (Robert) Seeley.6 Both men were continually associated with the military affairs and other town responsibilities, and often served on the same committees.
  6. 4 May 1647. The New Haven Court heard a complaint that John Lawrenson came late to watch on two Lords Days and one night, but he was respited.7
  7. 1 June 1647. The New Haven Court fined John Lawrenson 2 shillings for coming late to watch one night and two Lords Days. The fine was levied in spite of the fact that Mr. Malbon spoke in his favor and offered explanations.8
  8. 5 October 1647. In connection with an investigation of charges against one Margaret Caldwell, John Lawrenson “told Mr. Malbon he was sorry he had spoken at all of it, seeing that them that said it did deny it.”9
  9. 1 February 1647 (1647/48). The New Haven Court considered at length the case of John Lawrencson and his wife, who were accused of illegally selling strong waters in small quantities. The Lawrensons claimed that they were selling the liquids for Mr. (William) Westerhouse (a Dutchman who had recently [October 1647] applied for citizenship in New Haven), and further that they did not know it was against the law. Others testified, however, that the situation was a regular nuisance. The Lawrensons were fined 20 shillings in this instance, “but if they go on in this way, it is not twice 20 s. that will excuse them.” Later in the same session, Mr. William Westerhouse, with the help of Mr. Evanc his interpreter, appeared and admitted employing the Lawrensons to sell drink for him, not knowing that it was an offence in New Haven, and offered to pay the fine for the Lawrensons. The Court appears to have refused Westerhouse’s payment because of other good work he had done for the town, and upheld the Lawrensons’ fine and warnings.10 There are no other references to John Lawrenson in New Haven records after this time.
  10. “about 1648” (probably summer). In later testimony before the New Haven Court (session of 7 May 1661), William Gibbard gave this date as “the time of Captain Malbones goeing for England.”11
  11. 3 December 1648. The town of Stamford cited John Leareson for selling wine without a license, and prohibited him from selling “aney moore wine and he promised to sell no moore by retealle [retail].12
  12. 24 September 1649. Richard Malbon was certainly in England (probably London although not stated) by this time. A letter of this date from Malbon, in his handwriting, to Mr. (Theophilus) Eaton of New Haven was produced before the New Haven Court, referring to “foure boys sent upon your account,” apparently servants from England to New Haven.13
  13. February 1649/50. The New Haven Court considered several cases of stealing, involving a James Clements who testified about situations “when he lived at Mr. Malbon’s.”14 An Indian servant of Mr. (Richard) Malbon named Captive was called before the same Court. Malbon was clearly not present in New Haven or he would have been able to testify for the conditions in his own house.
  14. 7 January 1650 (1650/51). The New Haven Court decided that regarding a 16 shillings fine to Thomas Langden for a problem with his fence, “the Estate of Mr. Malbon his Master must paye it.”15 This is further evidence that Richard Malbon had left New Haven to return to England before this time, leaving property in New Haven legally called an estate (even though he was still very much alive.)
  15. 4 February 1650 (1650/51). Additional proceedings at the New Haven Court make it clear that Malbon was now in England. For example, William Peck asked for 3 £ out of Malbon’s (New Haven) estate to reimburse him for that amount that he had given to Malbon “before he went hence to paye it in England for him, but he doth not heare that it has been paide…etc.”16
  16. 1 March 1650 (probably 1650/51). “James Leareson,” perhaps but not certainly the same as John Lawre(n)son, was named as an adjoining resident (property owner?) in Stamford.17 No other Stamford land records occur for this person by either name.
  17. 5 May 1651. Obadiah Seeley of Stamford recorded that John Lawreson had satisfied his debts “from the beginning of the world to this day.”18 There are no further references to John Lawre(n)son in Stamford records after this time.
  18. 11 March 1651/52. In the course of their arrangements for the attempt to get John Winthrop Jr. to move to their community, the New Haven Court decides to satisfy Winthrop’s request for “a house provided for him and payde for by the Towne,” by deciding to make Richard Malbon’s now-vacant house available, if it “can be had, they will pay for that.”19 The house was on the West Side of State Street, next to the minister’s the Rev. John Davenport, and must have been quite attractive to be used as part of these incentives to Winthrop. The house and all the rest of the Malbon property was sold to a Capt. John Betton in 1654/55,20 then title passed from Betton to the Town in July, 1657, and immediately from the Town to Winthrop.21 (Winthrop was actually living in this house in New Haven in July, 1657, even though the Connecticut Colony had preemptively elected him Governor on 21 May 1657.) The locations of the Malbon and Seeley homelots in New Haven have been determined from land records and placed on a reconstructed map, showing them to be only about ¼ mile apart from each other.22
  19. 9 March 1660(/61?). John Larison and James Larison both appear on a list of inhabitants of Middleborough (now Newtown) Long Island, New York.23 These two people now appear to be the two individuals seen briefly in Stamford records in 1650-51.
  20. 7 May 1661. Mr. (Richard) Malbon is referred to as “deceased” in a New Haven Court record.24
  21. 16 March 1662(/63?). John Lorison and Jams Lorison both appear on another listing of residents of Newtown, Long Island.25
  22. 4 December 1666. John Lorison and James Lorison both appear on a tax list for Newtown, Long Island.26
  23. 26 February 1667(/68?). Jo. Lorison and Ja. Lorison both appear on another tax list of Newtown. No additional records have yet been located for either of these persons on Long Island.27

…continued

  1. Charles J. Hoadley, Records of the Colony and Plantation of New Haven From 1638 to 1649 (Hartford: Case, Tiffany and Company, 1857), 17, hereafter NH Colony Rec’s. The settlement at New Haven had actually begun the previous year (April, 1638) and Malbon almost certainly came at that time. Seeley’s exact time of arrival in New Haven is speculative, but certainly before this date in 1639.
  2. Madeline M. Mills and Katherine M. Olsen, Descendants of Robert Seeley (1602-1667) & Obadiah Seeley (1514-1657) Generations One through Five (1997), 2.
  3. NH Colony Rec’s, 81.
  4. NH Colony Rec’s, 84. Martha Malbon apparently suffered a public whipping for her behavior, which was noticed as far away as Boston by none other than Gov. John Winthrop himself in his Journal as “a piece of justice executed at New Haven, which, being the first in that kind, is not unworthy to be recorded.” (John Winthrop, The History of New England From 1630 to 1649, James Savage, ed. [Boston: Phelps and Farnham, 1825; repr. Salem, NH: Ayer Company, Publishers, Inc., 1992], 2:95. In this and succeeding references, I have underlined the exact spelling of the name Lawre(n)son given in each individual record.
  5. NH Colony Rec’s, 122.
  6. NH Colony Rec’s, 158.
  7. NH Colony Rec’s, 310.
  8. NH Colony Rec’s, 317.
  9. NH Colony Rec’s, 328.
  10. NH Colony Rec’s, 363-64, 366.
  11. Franklin Bowditch Dexter, Ancient Town Records Volume 1, New Haven Town Records 1649-1662 (New Haven: The New Haven Colony Historical Society, 1917), 481, hereafter NH Town Rec’s 1.
  12. Stamford Town Records, 1:13, transcription copy, 18, Connecticut Ancestry Society microfilm used, hereafter Stamford TR’s.
  13. NH Town Rec’s, 1:481-82.
  14. NH Town Rec’s, 1:6-8.
  15. NH Town Rec’s, 1:56.
  16. NH Town Rec’s, 1:59.
  17. Stamford TR’s, 1:33, transcription copy, 39.
  18. Stamford TR’s, 1:11, transcription copy, 16.
  19. NH Town Rec’s 1:112-13.
  20. NH Town Rec’s, 1:232.
  21. NH Town Rec’s, 1:318-19.
  22. Floyd Shumway and Richard Hegel, New Haven – An Illustrated History (New Haven Colony Historical Society, 1981), 17.
  23. Amos Canfield, “Town Records of Newtown, Long Island,” The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, 63[Oct. 1932]: 363, hereafter NYG&B Record.
  24. NH Town Rec’s, 1:481.
  25. NYG&B Record, 63: 363.
  26. NYG&B Record, 63: 365.
  27. NYG&B Record, 63: 361.

REPORT NUMBER SGS-2A

MILLER – SEELEY EVENTS

February, 1999, corrections added January 2004

1634-1636
The year of 1634 is generally accepted as the year of the settlement at Wethersfield. Two of the earliest residents who had arrived in Wethersfield by or during 1636, most likely accompanied by their families, were Robert Seeley from Watertown (MA), and John Miller, whose previous place of residence is not yet determined.1 The places of residence of the Seeley and Miller families in Wethersfield are known from land records, and have been located on a reconstructed map, approximately ½ mile away from each other.2

1638
Robert Seeley was placed in command of the fort at Saybrook, and sold his home in Wethersfield to Matthew Mitchell.3

4 June 1639
Robert Seeley had moved from Wethersfield and/or Saybrook to New Haven by this time, since he was a signer of New Haven’s Fundamental Agreement on this date.4

Spring, 1641
John Miller was among the first group of settlers from Wethersfield to migrate to Stamford.5

1642
John Miller died at Stamford, leaving a widow Mary, and three small children (John, b. abt. 1635; Jonathan, b. abt. 1640; and Joseph, b. abt. 1642).6

Before 1649
Obadiah Seeley is known to have been in Stamford before 1649, and probably married the widow Seeley Miller before that time (their eldest children appear to have been born on or before 1650.) Since there is no record of purchase or town grant of land for him, he was apparently a resident on the widow Seeley’s Miller’s property, and had probably become her husband by then, although no marriage record has been discovered.

15 April 1695
At a Wethersfield Town Meeting, a committee was chosen to lay out 40 acres of land for Capt. Chester, next to his existing long lot North, “which forty acres of land was bought of Capt. Sele’s [Robert Seeley’s name was then added by the transcriber, probably Sherman W. Adams] heirs by Capt. Chester & sold to Sergt Joshua Robins & to be laid out to said Robins.”7

1 Henry R. Stiles
The History of Ancient Wethersfield Connecticut, 2 volumes (New York: The Grafton Press, 1904, repr. New England History Press and the Wethersfield Historical Society, 1990), 1:26, 286, hereafter Ancient Wethersfield. James Savage, A Genealogical Dictionary of The First Settlers of New England, 4 volumes (Boston, 1860-1862, repr. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1990), 3:210, 4:49. Stiles lists Robert Seeley among the first settlers in 1634, but Savage clearly states he “rem. to Wethersfield” in 1636.

2 Ancient Wethersfield
map between pp. 1:44-45.

3 Ancient Wethersfield
1:142, 295.

4 Charles J. Hoadley
Records of the Colony and Plantation of New Haven From 1638 to 1649 (Hartford: Case, Tiffany and Company, 1857), 1:17.

5 Ancient Wethersfield
1:142-3.

6 Fairfield Probate Records
2:13. The dates of birth for the children have been estimated by others, and not yet verified.

7 Wethersfield
Town Votes and Miscellaneous Records, volume 1, transcription copy at the Town Hall, 198. This item is included here with the Miller items simply because it is a Wethersfield event, not because of any Miller connection. This record is often mis-quoted in the literature, starting with Sherman W. Adams himself in his Ancient Wethersfield, 1:296, where he says incorrectly that “Sgt. Joshua Robbins bought the right from Seeley’s heirs and had the land (40 acres) laid out next South of Capt. John Chester’s mill lands. The difference is only important in that it shows (unfortunately) that the sale by Seeley’s heirs was to Chester and not to Robbins, and was apparently not recorded, since it is not found in the Wethersfield Land Record Index. Therefore it is lost to our knowledge (1) when this earlier transaction took place, and (2) exactly who were the Seeley heirs who took part as grantors. This single transaction would probably have clarified forever the issue of whether Obadiah Seeley was Robert’s son, if it had only been recorded at the time.

REPORT NUMBER SGS-2B

CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE IN CONNECTICUT RECORDS SUGGESTING THAT OBADIAH SEELEY OF STAMFORD MAY HAVE BEEN RELATED TO ROBERT SEELEY OF WATERTOWN, WETHERSFIELD, NEW HAVEN, ETC.

Preliminary – February, 1999

The records of Stamford and New Haven prove at least one connection between Obadiah Seeley of Stamford and certain residents of New Haven. Since Robert Seeley was himself a prominent New Haven resident, this has renewed the speculation that Obadiah and Robert were related, as was formerly considered at least possible by many writers, but recently considered unlikely. In addition, the prior residence of Robert Seeley (and his family) in Wethersfield in close proximity to the family of John Miller during the period from 1636 or earlier, to at least 1638 is evidence that Robert Seeley would have known John Miller and his family directly during this time. Since John Miller’s residence prior to Wethersfield is not known, it is possible that this relationship could have existed even earlier than 1636. In light of this earlier relationship, the marriage of Obadiah Seeley with John Miller’s widow in Stamford is seen to be another possible connection between these two Seeley individuals. The following circumstantial events are proposed for consideration:

> Robert Seeley and John Miller and their families both arrived in Wethersfield, CT about the same time (by 1636) and lived in the same section of town, about 1/2 mile from each other.

> Robert Seeley was a parishoner of St. Stephen Coleman Street Church in London, and therefore known to the Rev. John Davenport prior to their emigration from England. It is logical that he was either encouraged or inclined to take part in the New Haven settlement because of this association with Davenport and the other parishioners of St. Stephen’s, and he moved to New Haven in 1638-39, presumably with his family. Another prominent leader of New Haven was Mr. Richard Malbon, who arrived directly with the Davenport party. The homelots of Richard Malbon and Robert Seeley were only about ¼ mile away from each other in New Haven.

> John Miller, presumably with his young family, participated in the migration from Wethersfield to Stamford led by the Rev. Richard Denton in 1641-42.

> John Miller died shortly after arriving in Stamford, sometime in 1642, leaving a widow, Mary, and three young sons with ages of about 1, 3, and 7 years. This event would certainly have been recognized in New Haven, which had brokered the entire Stamford settlement as a part of the New Haven Colony, and had an interest in its success.

> Obadiah Seeley’s arrival in Stamford is not recorded, nor is his marriage to the widow Seeley (which could of course have taken place in another town, including at New Haven.) He was certainly there before 1649, and was apparently living on the widow Seeley’s property, probably as her husband, by the beginning of that year (February 1648/49).

> Mr. Richard Malbon returned permanently to England from New Haven during 1648. One of his former servants, John Lawre(n)son, had often been in trouble with the New Haven authorities, and apparently moved from New Haven to Stamford about the time Mr. Malbon returned to England.

> John Lawre(n)son, now at Stamford, settled a long-standing debt with Obadiah Seeley at that place on 5 May 1651. The settlement referred to his debt “from the beginning of the world to this day,” suggesting that Seeley had loaned to him some time previously. Although there is no direct evidence that Lawre(n)son and Obadiah Seeley were residents together in New Haven, it is certain that Lawre(n)son would have been at least acquainted with Robert Seeley in that place.

> Furthermore, Richard Malbon and Robert Seeley were the two foremost military leaders of New Haven (at least after the loss of Capt. Nathaniel Turner on the “Phantom Ship” in the Winter of 1645/46,) and their families and households were undoubtedly closely associated with each other.

Summary and Speculation

* In summary, Obadiah Seeley of Stamford knew and had made at least one loan to John Lawre(n)son of New Haven and Stamford, regardless of when or where the loan took place.

* Obadiah Seeley could have been unmarried and living in the household of Robert Seeley in New Haven prior to his marriage and move to Stamford, which would explain the lack of any records left in his own name in New Haven (or Wethersfield.)

* If Obadiah Seeley had been in the household of Robert Seeley during the latter’s residence in Wethersfield, then he would certainly have known the John Miller family directly in that place (and possibly at earlier locations as well), and most certainly would have been aware of Miller’s death in 1642 (as would most of the New Haven leadership).

* Assuming an age of at least 21 years in 1648 for Obadiah Seeley, his birth year could be estimated at no later than about 1627. Robert Seeley’s marriage to Mary (Heath) Mason on 15 December 1626 is well documented, and it may be stipulated that Obadiah was not her son (since her children by previous marriages are all accounted for, and since it is unlikely that Obadiah was a child of this marriage union.) However, since Robert Seeley was born in 1602, there seems to be no reason not to consider that Obadiah Seeley may have been his son by a still earlier marriage, to an unknown first wife, who may have died before 1626.

REPORT NUMBER SGS-2C