Andrews #8000

William Andrews (1595-1659)

Born in England.  Arrived in Massachusetts by 1634, later settling in Connecticut and

Abigail Graves (1610-1683)

Born in England.  Arrived in Massachusetts by 1634, later settling in Connecticut.

Andrews #8000

William Andrews was born in England about 1595.  The date of his arrival in America is not known with certainty, but he was at Cambridge (originally Newtown), Massachusetts by 1634.  “Andrews” was not an uncommon name in England in the 17th century or in the American colonies, just as it is not an uncommon American name today.  In colonial records, the names often appears as “Andrus”.  There were several William Andrews in the Colonies during the early days of the Puritans and it can be difficult to distinguish between them.  Many sources report that William Andrews of Cambridge, Massachusetts (and later Hartford, Connecticut) and his wife Mary [surname unknown[1]] are the immigrant ancestors of our Andrews line in America.  However, this conclusion (regarding Mary) has not been proven, and researchers have advanced other theories to harmonize the known facts.  Little is known as to William Andrews‘ early life or ancestry[2], and nothing whatever is known of his supposed wife Mary.  The following brief description is paraphrased from Pope’s Pioneers of Massachusetts[3], which states merely that “Godly parents brought him up till 17 years of age”, that he was apprenticed at Ipswich, England and came first to Charlestown, and that in his absence his wife removed to Cambridge, “which pleased him”.   He was made a freeman of Cambridge on 4 Mar 1634/5[4] and sold “house, all lands and rights” there on 25 Sep 1637.  Pope also reports that his wife Mary died 19 Jan 1639/40.  Pope’s book contains other statements that evidently apply to another William Andrews who came to Cambridge a few years after our William Andrews purportedly went to Hartford, and the writer of the book may have confused the two men.

There is an alternative explanation regarding the confusing issue of William Andrews and his wife or wives.  Under this theory, the immigrant ancestors of our Andrews line are William Andrews and his wife Abigail Graves, who was in fact not his second wife but his first and only wife.  She was born in England about 1610, and William and Abigail may have been married in England and traveled together to America.   “Mary” whose death was reported in Cambridge in 1640 is the husband of someone else.  An article by Donald Lines Jacobus in The American Genealogist, vol. 35, pp. 55-59 (R-100), is considered to be the definitive work on Abigail Graves and William Andrews.  In the article, Jacobus states: “It is certain that William was in Hartford before 1640 when he became schoolmaster, and in fact he had a child born there in 1638. Although many of the Hartford settlers came from Cambridge, I think he was a different man from the William Andrews of Cambridge whose wife Mary died there 19 Jan 1639/40.  One reason for this conclusion is that William’s wife Abigail is the proven mother of William’s three sons – proven by William’s will which called the children ‘our’ children, as well as by the fact that Abigail’s second husband gave them legacies, and finally by a deed of Abigail Barding which calls John, Thomas and Samuel Andrews her sons…”  William Andrews “certainly married Abigail, most probably a sister of George Grave (later called Graves), Sr. of Hartford, but possibly sister of Grave’s unknown first wife.”

Following the conclusions of Jacobus, I will make the assumption that Abigail Graves was the first and only wife of William Andrews, that they were married earlier than frequently cited (to account for the fact that William’s supposed first wife did not die until 1640), and that Abigail is the mother of all of William’s known children.  Under this scenario, it may be supposed that William and Abigail came together to Massachusetts from England at an unknown date prior to 1634, settled for a time in Cambridge and then moved together to Connecticut in 1636[5].  The “Mary Williams” whose death was recorded in Cambridge in 1640 is assumed to be the wife of a different “William Andrews” [6].

Home to Harvard Volleyball (M & W), Fencing (M & W) and Wrestling, the Malkin Athletic Center provides practice, competition, and office space for these sports.

Home to Harvard Volleyball (M & W), Fencing (M & W) and Wrestling, the Malkin Athletic Center provides practice, competition, and office space for these sports.

William’s home lot in Cambridge (originally called Newtown), Massachusetts was on the northeast corner of Dunster and Winthrop streets and occupied about one-fourth of the block, surrounded by Dunster, Winthrop, Mt. Auburn and Holyoke streets (today, this site is approximately one block north of the Malkin Athletic Center on the Harvard University campus).  For a time, he was active in the affairs of the town.  William was chosen one of the nine selectmen for the town for one year on 23 Nov 1635, at a general meeting of the town.  He was also, at the same meeting, chosen constable for the year following.  On 27 Oct 1636, according to the books of record of Massachusetts Bay Colony, Newtown presented a book of their records under the hand of William Andrews, constable, John Benjamin and William Spencer.  He attended meetings of selectmen during the years 1635-36 and which town business was transacted.  The meeting of 6 Jun 1636 was probably the last attended by the selectmen William Andrews, Thomas Hosmer, Andrew Warner and Clement Chaplin, as it is supposed that they all relocated to Connecticut about that time, and none of these were reelected the following November.  This exodus to Connecticut seemed to disorganize the government, as there were no more meetings of the council until 3 Oct 1636.

At the meeting on 6 Jun 1636, it was agreed with Mr. Andrews, that his man keep the calves for 13 shillings a week, “so long as we think good, only we are to provide him a man for the present, if he should require it of us.”  From this it would seem that William was contemplating leaving for Connecticut, but expected to retain at least a part of his land and a hired man in Cambridge.

Exactly when William Andrews went from Cambridge to Hartford is not known, but probably it was in the summer of 1636.  It may be that he traveled with the Hooker[7] company in early June of that year[8].

William’s wife, Abigail Graves, is mentioned in his will.  The date of their marriage is unknown[9].  Abigail is probably a sister of George Graves, who lived within a block of William’s home at Hartford.

The original brownstone monument erected in 1837 was replaced by this one in 1986. It stands in the Ancient Burying Ground, which is located to the rear of the First Congregational Church at the corner of Main and Gold Streets in Hartford. This cemetery is also known as Old Center Cemetery. It lists the original Founders of Hartford.

William Andrews was an original proprietor of Hartford, and as such his name appears on the “Founders Monument” in Hartford’s Ancient Burying Ground of the First Congregational Church of that city, presently known as “Center Church”.  William received thirty acres in the division of 1639-40[10].  His home-lot was south of the Little River, on land now included in the West Park.  He was the first schoolmaster (1643-1656) and served as town clerk (1651-1658).

On 16 Dec 1642, it was ordered that £30 a year shall be settled upon the school by the town forever, and at a meeting in April 1643, it was ordered that Mr. Andrews should teach the children for the ensuing school year for compensation of £16 “for his pains”.  Apparently William continued to teach until shortly before his death in 1659.  It is probable that the school was kept in William’s house or in the church or some other building, as on 11 Feb 1649, the townsmen agreed that £40 shall be paid to the townsmen to the end that a suitable building be built for such purpose, not to be devoted to any other use or employment. There seems to have been some trouble in regard to it as there was no house built during William’s lifetime.

William died in 1659, between the time he wrote his will (1 April) and the date of his probate (8 August), which valued his estate at £211.14.11.  In his will, he mentions his wife, Abigail, and he also names “brother George Graves” (probably his brother-in-law, i.e. brother of Abigail)[11].

The children of William Andrews and Abigail Graves (or possibly a first wife, Mary, in the case of those born prior to 1641, see above) are listed as follows:

  1. John Andrews, see below
  2. Abigail, born about 1634 and died about 1653, possibly in Fairfield, Connecticut.
  3. Elizabeth, born about 1636. She married Edward Grannis on 3 May 1655.
  4. Thomas, born 4 May 1638 anddied 1690/91.  He married Hannah Kirby.
  5. Esther, born September 1641 and died 6 Mar 1697/98.  She married Thomas Spencer by 1665.
  6. Samuel, born 20 Oct 1645.

After William’s death, Abigail married Nathaniel Barding (Bearding, Berden) of Hartford.

John Andrews was born in England about 1620 and died shortly before 2 Mar 1682, when his will was proven[12].  He married Mary [surname unknown], and about her ancestry and early life nothing is known[13].

John Andrews was a farmer near Farmington, Connecticut and was one of the earliest settlers of that area.  The settlement was established in 1640 by residents of Hartford, making Farmington the oldest inland settlement west of the Connecticut River and one of the oldest communities in the state.  Settlers found the area ideal because of its rich soil, location along the floodplain of the Farmington River and valley geography.  The town and river were given their present names in 1645, which is considered the incorporation year of the town.  The town’s boundaries were later enlarged several times, making it the largest in the Connecticut Colony[14].

John’s property was on the east side of the river about 2 miles north of the village of Farmington – the locality called Waterville in 1871.  His wife, Mary, united with the church there 2 Apr 1654 with her sons.  John Andrews, the father of the family, joined the Congregational Church of Farmington on 9 May 1658, and he was made a freeman in Hartford by the General Court on 20 May 1658.

John Andrews died about 1681, and his wife Mary died in May 1694.  The children of John Andrews and Mary Barnes are listed as follows[15]: Mary (1643) married (1st) Thomas Barnes and (2nd) Bronson; John (1645); Hannah (1647) married Obadiah Richards, Abraham (1648) married Sarah Porter; Daniel Andrews (1649); Joseph (1651) married Rebecca [surname unknown]; Rachel (1654) married Ezekiel Buck; Stephen (1656) probably died young and Benjamin (1659) married Mary Smith.

The of John Andrews and Mary Barnes is Daniel Andrews, born 27 May 1649 and died 16 Apr 1731, both in Farmington, Connecticut.  He married in about 1670, but his wife’s name is not known to us.

The name of Daniel Andrews occasionally appears on the town records of Farmington as engaged in public business.  In 1672 he was recognized as one of the 84 proprietors and received a division of the lands on his £44 taxable estate.  He was one of the “townsmen” in 1696 and later and was often employed in the settlement of estates.  In 1702 the General Assembly, having been informed that great differences have arisen in Farmington about the choice of town officers, confirmed the appointment of Mr. John Hooker, Samuel Gridley, John Wadsworth, Samuel Cowley and Daniel Andrews (Andross).  He was a large landholder, as appears from the land records at Farmington, where under date of 12 Jan 1674 are entered eleven parcels of land located in different parts of the town.

The son of Daniel Andrews and his unknown wife is John Andrews.  He was born 10 Jun 1680 in Farmington, Connecticut and died 16 Jun 1740 in Kensington, Connecticut.  On 26 Jun 1712 in Wethersfield, Connecticut he married Mary Goff.  She was born 15 Nov 1693 at Wethersfield, Connecticut and died 7 Sep 1769 in New Britain, Connecticut.  Not much is known of this family.

The son of John Andrews and and Mary Goff is Moses Andrews, born 12 May 1722 and died 17 May 1806, both in Wethersfield, Connecticut.  On 10 Nov 1748 he married Lydia Root, born 5 Oct 1725 at New Britain, Connecticut and died 6 Jul 1806 in Farmington, Connecticut.  Moses and Lydia had six sons who served in the Revolutionary Army in the War for Independence.

The son of Moses Andrews and Lydia Root is Moses Andrews, born 7 Apr 1755 in New Britain, Connecticut and died 20 Jul 1848 at Montague City, Massachusetts.  He served in the War for Independence[16], entering the army at Farmington, Connecticut in 1776 as a private in the 3rd company (Captain Heart’s) 2nd regiment, Colonel Wolcott, Connecticut State Troops.  He served under General Washington in 1776.  His term of enlistment was for three months.  In 1779 in Farmington, Connecticut Moses married Elizabeth Clark.

The daughter of Moses Andrews and Elizabeth Clark is Betsy Andrews, born about 1783 in Connecticut and died 15 Aug 1856 in Dublin, Ohio.  Before 1809 he married Garrett Handley, born about 1783, possibly in New Jersey and died 1 Jul 1863 in Dublin, Ohio.  Their son, David Handley, was born 24 Sep 1809 in Cayuga, New York and their lineage is continued under the heading of Jeremiah Handley (1750-1824).


[1] Some sources report her name as Mary Savage, but evidence to support this appears to be lacking.

[2] There is no known connection between our William and Samuel Andrews, in the Court of King James, Thomas and Richard Andrews, who assisted the Plymouth Colony from 1626-35 or Thomas Andrews, Lord Mayor of London, 1650.

[3] The Pioneers of Massachusetts, a Descriptive List Drawn from Records of the Colonies, Towns and Churches, and other Contemporaneous Documents, by Charles Henry Pope, Boston, 1900.

[4] The following were also made freemen at the same time: made Freeman in Boston, the county seat, together with Thomas Scott, Thomas and Timothy Stanley (my 10th g-grandfather, discussed under his own heading), Samuel Greenhill and William Pantry.

[5] This explanation makes sense, as the couple credited with being Abigal’s parents are thought to have been born and died in England.

[6] Charles Henry Pope confirms a second “William Andrews” in Cambriidge at the same time who was a “mariner”. Perhaps this is our mystery husband.

[7] In 1633 a company came from England with Rev. Dr. Thomas Hooker, a noted clergyman, to Newtown (now Cambridge), Massachusetts. This party was perhaps the most important addition to the new colony, since the landing of the Pilgrims twelve years earlier, in 1620. Details regarding Rev. Thomas Hooker and his followers are discussed under the heading of William Kelsey (1600-1676), my 9th g-grandfather, who was also part of this company.

[8] Some sources report that he apparently went without his wife, and it is necessary to assume this if one also assumes that the Mary whose death was reported in Cambridge in January 1940 is in fact William’s wife.

[9] Again, if one assumes that the Mary whose death was reported in Cambridge in January 1940 is in fact William’s wife, it is necessary to posit a marriage date for William and Abigail of 1640 at the earliest.

[10] William Andrews’ home lot in Hartford was the northeast corner lot on what was then called the road from the mill to the south meadow and the highway on the bank of the river at the crossing of the road from the mill to the country. These roads are now called respectively Elm Street and Trinity Street. This lot, however, was in what is now the West Park and was on the south bank of the little river, just at the west end of the island. The house was located in the southwest corner of the lot, just at the street corner.

[11] The will states: I doe make Abigail, my wife, Executrix, and I doe Intreat my friend Edward Stebbinge and my Brother George Grave to assist and to see this my Will performed.

[12] He left a prosperous estate of £321 19s.

[13] Some sources report Mary’s surname as “Barnes”. There would be no connection between this woman and another “Mary Barnes”, wife of a Thomas Barnes, early settler of Hartford.  Thomas’ wife was tried on an accusation of witchcraft, convicted and executed about 1662.  Adding further confusion is that this Thomas Barnes married for his second wife Mary Andrews (who became Mary Barnes), the daughter of our Mary Barnes and John Andrews. The story of the last “witches” in Connecticut is told in Thomas Barnes of Hartford, Connecticut + 1,766 Descendants, 1615-1994 by Frederic Wayne Barnes and Edna Cleo (Bauer) Barnes published 1994. In about 1662 a young girl named Ann Cole began naming certain townspeople as witches.  Ann, who had suffered from epileptic or similar seizures for years, would cry out during these seizures that witches were tormenting her.  She named three people as her primary tormenters: Nathaniel Greensmith, his wife Rebecca, and Mary Barnes. In early January 1662/3 a trial was held to hear the various testimonies of the plaintiff and the defendants.   Rebecca Greenfield quickly confessed to being a witch and, with many ludicrous tales, implicated her husband Nathaniel.   Evidently, Mary defended herself and denied being a witch. On 25 Jan 1662/3 both of the Greensmiths and Mary Barnes were found guilty.  They were hanged that very day.  No chance for an appeal was given.  “Justice” was swift in those days.  The so-called witches had the distinction of being the last 3 persons executed in Connecticut for this crime. Thomas and Mary Barnes were the parents of 3 children: Sarah, Benjamin and Joseph. Not every family can claim the dubious honor of having an ancestor executed as a witch but the many descendants of Mary Barnes, first wife of Thomas Barnes of Hartford, Connecticut can make this claim.

[14] Farmington has been called the mother of towns because its vast area was divided to produce nine other central Connecticut communities.

[15] As presented in Genealogical History of John and Mary Andrews, who settled in Farmington, Connecticut, 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 Alfred Andrews (A. H. Andrews & Co., Chicago, Illnois) 1872.

[16]  Record of Service of Connecticut Men in the I. War of Revolution. II – War of 1812. III. Mexican War (Hartford, Connecticut: complied by authority of the Gereral Assembly, 1889) p. 383.



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