OUR UPSON FAMILY
THOMAS UPSON (mar. Elizabeth Fuller)
HANNAH UPSON (mar. Samuel Hickox)
Little is known of the first generation of the Upson family, though much research of the early records of Massachusetts and Connecticut has been performed by family historians. Because his eldest daughter married a Welshman, there is a tradition in one branch of the family that Thomas Upson was a Welshman. It is more probable that he came from England because he was closely associated with men from that country, added to which, the frequent occurrence of the name Upson in England show that this name was a common one there centuries ago.
The name of THOMAS UPSON’s first wife and his children’s birth records have never been discovered. Savage’s Genealogical Dictionary states that some of his children were certainly born in England. He left his wife and daughter, Mary, in England, when he sailed to America in 1638 with his son, Thomas Upson, Jr. They landed at Saybrook, Connecticut.
From Saybrook, the family made its way to Hartford, Connecticut, at the time when the Rev. Thomas Hooker preached his famous sermon which resulted in the adoption of the Fundamental Orders.
Click on the links to read my stories about:
Thomas did not make the historic journey with the Rev. Thomas Hooker from Newtown, Massachusetts to Hartford. So when the Hartford citizens erected the first monument to the original settlers, Thomas's name wasn't on it.
Three hundred years later, the city of Hartford voted to honor as Founders all “the men who received land by the courtesy of the town.” Thomas was one of 163 listed in the Book of Distribution of Land, having settled in Hartford before February 1640.
When the original monument deteriorated beyond repair, a replacement was rebuilt and Thomas Upson's name was added. The monument sits in Hartford’s Ancient Burying Ground. His name is the 21st on the left side.
Founders' Monument, Hartford, Connecticut
All Thomas Upson descendants are eligible to be members of the Society of the Descendants of the Founders of Hartford.
Land was one of the most important necessities of the early settlers. Thomas’s name appears in “ye Towne Book of Hartford” on the 3rd of January 1639, as one of those “who received land by courtesy of the town with liberty to fetch wood and keep swine and cows by proportion on the Common.” His home-lot in 1639 was on the west side of the present Albany Avenue.
Hartford Land Distribution (pg. 41), shows that in February of 1639, Thomas Upson owned “several parcells of land in Hartford upon ye river of Connecticut, including:
- one parcell lyinge on the west field containing by estimacon two roods (more or less) wherof two roods was given for a house lott abbuttinge upon the Cow Pasture on the north and on Thomas Barns his land on the east and on the highway leading from the Cow Pasture to Mr. Allen’s land on West.
- One parcell lyinge on the East side of the Great River containing by estimacon four acres more or less abbuttinge upon the great river on the west and on the land now common on the East and on Nicholas Guerny's land on the south and on John Purchase land on the North.
- One parcell lying on the Cow Pasture containing by estimacon four acres, two rodds and 16 inches more or less abbuttinge on the little River on the West and on a highway on the East and on William Killfear’s land on the South and on the widow bettses land on the North.”
His home stood on the Main Highway on the property later owned by the Porter School. The Farmington, Connecticut, land records also disclose that he owned a tract of land on the Main Highway north of the present Porter Road, near where the Farmington Bank now stands. It’s unknown if this piece of land is one of the three mentioned above from the book of land distribution. There are numerous land records that mention Thomas Upson as being bordering neighbors.
In Particular Court Records of Connecticut (vol. 22), “Hartford, August 1, 1639, Fined for unseasonable and immoderate drinking at the Pinnace, Thomas Upson, 20 shillings.” The President of Yale College, Noah Porter, wrote in the mid-19th century: “In these early days intemperance was a prevailing vice, social drinking was universal and even countenanced by the ministry.”
TUNXIS, LATER FARMINGTON
In 1640, Hartford land records show a conveyance of land by the Tunxis Indians to the English which included what became many great New England towns, including Farmington. At the time, the village was called Tunxis. Immediately Thomas sold his Hartford lands to William Disbrow and William Goodwin and removed from his property to Tunxis, and he became an original Proprietor of the town, later called Farmington.
For some time the new settlers continued to attend the First Church of Christ in Hartford.
Hartford’s 1st Church as it was in the day of Thomas Upson
The “Ould Town Book,” in which the records of early Farmington Town Meetings were kept, was passed from hand to hand as clerks were elected. It finally fell to pieces, so no record of the first forty years exists today. The few items in Savage’s Genealogical Dictionary of New England, Colonial Records, and the Land Records of Farmington, and the inventory and distribution of his estate are all we have with which to frame the life of Thomas Upson.
In a court dated August 21, 1646, Elizabeth Fuller was sentenced to be severely corrected for an offense against morality. This was probably due to her first child, Hannah, being born illegitimately. This is not mentioned by the Upson Genealogy.
We know that Thomas Upson married, as his second wife, ELIZABETH FULLER early in 1647 by the following record:
“Thomas Upsunn was maryed to Elisibeth Fuller Jenneuary the twenty and three, one thousand six hundred forty and six.”
The marriage date was actually in 1647, due to the earlier form of calendar dating.
In a list of members of the First Church at Hartford, the date of the death of Thomas Upson is entered as 1665 instead of 1655. But he did die in Farmington on 19 July 1655, his age not given. The fever and smallpox epidemic that swept through New England in 1655 took so many. His daughter Elizabeth died the day after he did.
The value of Thomas Upson’s estate was £108. 8 [see below].
The widow, Elizabeth Upson remarried, Edmund Scott of Farmington, possibly in 1690/91. After a few years, the Scotts moved to Waterbury where they all remained until 1732, when the sons of Stephen, Thomas and John, “crossed the muntain” and settled in Southington.
CHILDREN BY HIS FIRST WIFE
- Mary, “eldest daughter”, was married in 1667 to John Welton of Wales while crossing the Atlantic. Upon reaching this country, they were in Saybrook, and in 1672, removed to Farmington, where John was one of the Proprietors of that town. He was one of the 25 Farmington men who sent a petition to the General Court of Hartford on 9 October 1673, asking that Mattatuck (Waterbury) be made a plantation. A document, dated 31 May 1680, reads that John Welton (and his brother-in-law Samuel Hickox, were the first townsmen or selectmen of the new settlement of Waterbury. They had twelve children. Mary died at Waterbury on 18 October 1716; and John on 18 June 1726.
- Thomas Upson, “eldest son”, removed to Saybrook. The town records show that he died unmarried at Saybrook, when, on 9 December 1672, he was “killed by an ox-cart going over his head, nigh to the house of Edward Shipton.”
CHILDREN BY ELIZABETH (FULLER) UPSON
- HANNAH UPSON was born at Farmington, Connecticut, date unknown. She married in 1668, Samuel Hickox, the son of William Hickox, of Mattatuck (Waterbury).
- Elizabeth Upson, died in 1655, the day after the death of her father, i.e., July 20th, same fever.
- Stephen Upson was born about 1650 at Farmington. He married at Farmington, on 29 Dec 1682, Mary Lee, the daughter of John and Mary (Hart) Lee. She was born 14 Aug 1664 at Farmington; and died 15 Feb 1715/16 at Waterbury. Stephen was five when his father died. His older brother died in 1672 when he was 22, and he inherited his estate. Stephen became the only lineal descendant to carry on the Upson name.
Sept: 6th: 1655
Tho: Upsuns of ffarmington
The Invitory of thomas Upsuns Goodes and Chattells of fermington now deceased & dyed inteasstate.
|Description||£ - s. - d.|
|His house, Orchard & other Land||20 - 00 - 00|
|Two Cowes||09 - 00 - 00|
|Two Hifers||04 - 00 - 00|
|one yock of oxen||16 - 00 - 00|
|Two Mares||30 - 00 - 00|
|Two Callves||01 - 15 - 00|
|for Swine||06 - 00 - 00|
|for bedding & linen||03 - 10 - 00|
|for Thre keettells & one pott||02 - 00 - 00|
|for pewter & Tinn||00 - 16 - 00|
|a frying pan||00 - 05 - 00|
|a wheell||00 - 05 - 00|
|for plow Iron Chaynes & Sithes||02 - 13 - 00|
|for one payer of wheels||01 - 00 - 00|
|for Bees||03 - 00 - 00|
|one muskett||00 - 16 - 00|
|For Corne||06 - 00 - 00|
|Sum is —||£ 108-08-00
|Debts due from the estate||068-16-16|
|Debts wh appeare since 3: 12: 8||039-11-06|
The court 17 Jany: (55) orders ye widow to administer the Estate and they doe at the request of ye widow desire Tho: Judd & Steph: Harte Senior to bee Assistant to the widdow in ye (settling?) The Estate for the good of shee & her children & payment of the Debts.
Thomas (mark) Newell
John (mark) Coles
Page 114 (Vol. 3) 7th September 1671
Edmund Scott who had married the widow, moved this Court for a distribution of the Estate:
To Thomas, eldest son
To Mary, eldest daughter
The rest of the Estate to be and belong to Edmund Scott and his heirs in right of his now wife, the widow of said Upson.
Page 140 (Vol. 3)
Stephen Upson, a minor, son of Thomas Upson, made choice of Samuel Wyllys to be his guardian. [Wyllys was the brother of one of my mother’s ancestors.]
This writing witnesseth
That I, Stephen Upson acquit and discharge my fatherinlaw [stepfather] Edmund Scott from all dues, demands and debts that were due me from my said father on account of a legacy due me on Brother Thomas Upson’s account as being part of my Father Upson’s Estate.
Steven (mark) Upson
20th September 1680
John Welton, in right of his wife, acquits his Father Scott on account of Father Upson’s estate. 1st April 1681.
Samuel Hicocks also discharged his Father Scott on account of Father Upson’s Estate. 21st June 1681.
The original inventory, including a Court Order, of the estate of Thomas Upson of Farmington is in file No. 5553, Hartford Probate District, in the State Library, Hartford, Connecticut.
HANNAH UPSON was born at Farmington, Connecticut, at an unknown date. She married in 1668, SAMUEL HICKOX. He was born in 1643 at Farmington, the son of William Hickox.
Hickok, Charles N. The Hickok Genealogy (Rutland, VT: The Tuttle Publishing Co., Inc., 1938) p. 10.
The Upson Family Association of America. The Upson Family in America (New Haven, CT: Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor, 1940).
See the Brooke Family website page featuring Lt. John Bronson to fill in blanks. One such blank is that these folks state that John Bronson’s widow, Hannah Upson Richards Bronson, remarried Ebenezer Richardson. They don’t provide documentation for the third marriage.
Cutter, William. Genealogical & Family History of the State of Connecticut (1911).
Hurlburt, Mabel S. Farmington Town Clerks and Their Times.
Bronson, Henry. History of Waterbury, Connecticut (1858).
Connecticut Colonial Records, Vol. 1, pp. 218, 278, 281, 283.
Hinman, Royal R. Catalogue of Names of the Early Puritan Settlers ... Connecticut. Hartford (1852).
See the Records of the Particular Court of Connecticut, 1639-1663. Collection of the Connecticut Historical Society.
Manwaring, Charles William. Digest of Early Connecticut Probates, Hartford District.
Savage, James. A genealogical dictionary of the first settlers of New England: showing three generations of those who came before May, 1692, on the basis of Farmer’s Register. 4 vols. Baltimore MD: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1981. At Family History Library, Salt lake City, Utah: Call # 974 D2s 1981.
Shepard, James. Connecticut Soldiers in the Pequot War (1913) pg. 12.
Photograph: Connecticut Historical Society Ref. # 1953.5.96 N1828 (470x329H). Northwest View of Farmington from Round Hill, by John Warner Barber (1798-1885). Sketch for Barber’s Historical Collections of Connecticut (1836). “Seen from across the Farmington River, includes the figure of the artist sketching,” according to the Web site of the Connecticut Historical Society.
INTERESTING WEB LINKS
Historic Sites at Hartford, Connecticut, on the website of The Society of the Descendants of the Founders of Hartford, Connecticut. Click here for their Home Page.
Mintz, S. (2007). Digital History, Home page. Great resource of authored material on American history.
Farmington Historical Society.
P.O. Box 1645, Farmington, CT 06034.
Waterbury, Connecticut Home Page
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