Benton #4012

Andrew Benton (1620-1683)

Born in England.  Arrived probably in Massachusetts in probably 1638 and later settled in Connecticut

Hannah Stocking (1630-1670)

Born in England.  Arrived in Massachusetts in 1633 and later settled in Connecticut.

Benton #4012

Andrew Benton was born 15 Oct 1620 in Epping, Essex, England, the son of John Benton (1595-1662) and Mary Southernwood (1595-1665).  They had at least five children[1].  Nothing is known of either Andrew’s youth in Epping or about his siblings’ subsequent lives.  Both parents died in Epping.  At least five generations of Andrew‘s ancestors resided in Epping: father John (1595-1662), grandfather Andrew (1565-1623), g-grandfather Edward (1539-1605), 2nd g-grandfather Humphry (1520-?) and 3rd g-grandfather John (1490-?).  In 1638, at age 18 years, Andrew Benton sailed for America.

It is believed that Andrew emigrated from Epping with his uncle Edward Benton (1600-1671) and Edward’s wife Alice Purden ( -1671) and their three sons: Daniel (1635-1672), Andrew (1636-1714) and Edward (1638-1698).  There is no record concerning the ship, port and date for their arrival, but genealogists can narrow down the date based on the birth dates of Edward’s children.  Since Edward’s son Edward was born in Epping in January 1638 and his daughter Hannah was born in Guilford, Connecticut in September 1640, it is reasonable to suppose that Edward brought his family across in the spring/summer of 1638.   The Benton genealogy written by John Hogan Benton[2]  in 1906 reports this supposition as fact, although other researchers have offered alternative scenarios at odds with this explanation[3].  It is probable that he arrived at or near Boston and perhaps resided there for a time.  One way or another, Andrew was in New England by 1639, when he appears in the records of Wethersfield, Connecticut.  From there he joined Rev. Peter Prudden’s party which founded Milford, New Haven, Connecticut.  Andrew had probably just arrived in Wethersfield in the summer of 1638 when, hearing one of Rev. Peter Prudden’s sermons about his groups’ plan to settle an area south of New Haven, he decided to join this venture.  Andrew would have then moved New Haven in the summer of 1639 and on to Milford (founded in 1639) in late summer or early fall of 1639.  It was in that or the following year that his uncle Edward Benton removed from Wethersfield to Guilford, New Haven, Connecticut, where a daughter was born to his uncle Edward in September 1640.

Milford_CT-1646_planMilford’s first town meeting, held 20 Nov 1639, granted civic rights to forty-four church members as “free planters.”  Nine or ten additional names were recorded immediately after the forty-four free planters on this original document.  Though not free planters, these men were allocated land and given the franchise.  This latter short list included 19-year-old Andrew Benton.  It is possible that Andrew and others were on this short list because they were still too young to formally join the church as individuals.  In the apportionment in November 1639 of the land at Milford bought from the Indians on 12 Feb 1639 of that year, Andrew Benton was allotted parcel No. 64.  It contained three acres, and was situated on the west side of Half Mile Brook (aka West End Brook), near the crossing of what is now Spring and Hill Streets, and to this were added several other parcels of ground.  The plan of the original town plot of Milford in 1646 shows Andrew‘s parcel No. 64 abutting the western side of the wooden palisade that was erected to protect the community from attacks by local Indians.  Andrew‘s immediate neighbors were Edward Riggs (No. 63, 3 acres) and Nathaniel Briscoe (No. 62, 3 acres) to the north and Deacon George Clark, Sr. (No. 65, 4+ acres) and George Hubbard[4] (No. 66, 4+ acres sold to John Stream).  George Clark, Sr. was a carpenter and his house was built as a fort of refuge for the dozen or so families living along the stream in the West End.

For the next ten years Andrew remained a bachelor, working his three acres of land as a yeoman planter/farmer on the west side of what was at some point called Spring Street.  In a further division of lands in 1646, Andrew Benton received ten acres more of land (Milford Land Records).  In 1647, Andrew exchanged parcel No. 64 for No. 62 which was of the same size and had been originally allocated to Nathaniel Briscoe.  It is at the southwest corner of the present Hill and Spring Streets.  The houses on Spring Street faced the east, and it is probable that Andrew built his first house on lot 62.  In 1648/49 he received more land, probably meadow, the record stating:

Ord. that Andrew Benton shall have a piece of land for his last quarter division in the place where he propounded beyond the beaver pond.

On 14 May 1649, it was ordered that:

Andrew Benton is granted liberty to lay down his seed division and to take it up in another place where he desireth…

Andrew married Hannah Stocking (1630-1672), daughter of George Stocking (1582-1683) and Anna [surname unknown].  The place and date of this marriage are not shown by any record, but is was probably at Hartford about 1649 after he had built a house in Milford on lot 62.  It is presumed that Hannah was born about 1630 in England.  Andrew and Hannah lived in Milford from 1649 to 1660.  It was here that seven of their eight children were born.  The original record of the First Church at Miford shows that Andrew Benton was admitted to Church membership on 5 Mar 1648, and that on 13 Oct 1650 the wife of Andrew Benton was admitted.

Andrew and Hannah moved with their six living children from Milford to Hartford in about 1660-61.  The precise timing of their move remains murky.  Andrew and Hannah were dismissed to the First Church of Hartford some time after 1658 – possibly just after their son Joseph was born in about 1660.  The record of the Church of Milford states he was dismissed to Hartford in March 1666, whither he had removed as early as 1662.  They were definitely in Hartford before 1663 when Andrew was fence viewer for that town.

The church records of Milford show that Andrew Benton, his wife and children were dismissed to the Hartford church in March 1666.  At that time the church in Hartford was the original or “First Church”, organized at Watertown 11 Oct 11 1633, and it was to that church that Andrew and his wife and children were dismissed.

The Benton homestead in Hartford, formerly owned by Nathaniel Greensmith, was acquired 22 May 1668.  Nathaniel Greensmith[5] and his wife, Rebecca had been hanged for witchcraft[6] on 25 Jan 1663 and his property confiscated by the state.  This homestead was at the junction of the roads leading to Wethersfield and Farmington, and on the west side of Wethersfield Lane, the present Wethersfield Avenue near the town line with Wethersfield. The History of Ancient Wethersfield states that in 1664 Andrew Benton was living on Wethersfield Lane around Wethersfield Cove, an area on the town line with Wethersfield.  Thus it is possible that Andrew was renting the Nathaniel Greensmith homestead within a year of his being hanged, and subsequently purchased it in 1668.  At the death of Andrew‘s widow Anne (Cole) in 1685, this homestead became the property of his son Joseph Benton, who sold it in June 1693.  Andrew owned several other parcels of land, one of which in the “Five Mile Lay Out,” in East Hartford, was distributed to his eight surviving children, 24 Mar 1689.

Andrew became actively engaged in Hartford’s community life.  He was a fence viewer in 1663 and 1664, a juror in 1664 and 1667, made a freeman on 11 May 1665.  The town records show that in August 1667 the Town did desire and empower John Cole, Andrew Benton and William Edwards to correct any disorder that they shall discover in the time of public worship, and at a town meeting held 23 Feb 1668, Robert Sanford and Andrew Benton chosen to be collectors for gathering of the minister’s rates this year ensuing.  On 12 Feb 1669, some members of the First Church organized the “Second Church” of Hartford, and Andrew Benton and Hannah Benton were among the original members of the Second Church who signed the covenant at the time of its organization (as did his father-in-law, George Stocking and future father-in-law John Cole).  In the records of the Second Church of Hartford, following the names of the original members there is a list of “members and children not in full communion”, and in this list is the name of Hannah Benton, doubtless the daughter of Andrew Benton, who was baptized in Milford on 23 Nov 1651.  She died before January 1678, when another daughter of Andrew Benton, by Anne Cole, his second wife, was born and named Hannah.

Those who organized the “Second Church” of Hartford opposed the methods of church government and management adopted by the minister, Mr. Stone.  They regarded Mr. Stone’s views and methods as opposed to the sound teachings of Thomas Hooker, pastor of the First Church from its organization in Watertown in 1633, to his death at Hartford in 1647.  The differences between these two parties in the First Church of Hartford continued during the entire period from about 1650 to 1669, and were known as the “Hartford Controversy.”  At issue in was whether the Congregationalism of Hooker, which recognized no authority except that of the members of each individual church (called the “visible saints”) should be superseded by a Congregationalism which recognized a power in the minister and in associations or synods outside of the churches to control the actions of individual churches.

Questions of baptism, of right to full communion by reason of church membership in other churches, of the powers of ruling elders and countless other subordinate matters, entered into the discussion, but at bottom it was simply a contest between those who sought to restore a Presbyterian order of regulation of individual churches, and those who stood for the fundamental doctrine that Congregationalism rests upon the absolute independence of a company of “visible saints,” or members of each particular church.  Andrew Benton stood steadily with the minority in the First Church for the old doctrine, which had been the defining principle of New England Congregationalism.

Hannah Stocking died in Hartford, probably in about 1670-72.  She was probably buried in Hartford, most likely in the First Church of Hartford’s old burying ground, but her headstone has not been located.

Andrew Benton married second, probably in 1673, Anne Cole (1656-1685), daughter of John Cole, when Andrew was 52 and Anne was 16 or 17.  Anne was the bewitched maid, aged six or seven, on whose testimony ten years earlier on 25 Jan 1663, Nathaniel Greensmith and his wife Rebecca were hanged for witchcraft.  Andrew and Anne Cole lived on the family homestead on Wethersfield Lane in Hartford for about ten years until Andrew died.  They had four children there between 1674 and 1680: Ebenezer (1674), Lydia (1676), Hannah (1678) and John (1680).

Andrew Benton died 31 Jul 1683 in Hartford at the age of 63 and was buried in the Old Burial Ground in downtown Hartford (Center Church Cemetery).  His gravestone is near the rear wall of the church, almost below the marker for Rev. Thomas Hooker on said wall.  The gravestone is simple and small, measuring perhaps 16 inches wide and 12 inches high, and reads simply:

Andrew Benton Aged 63 years He dyed July 31 Ano 1683

Andrew left no will, and on 4 Sep 1683 an inventory of his estate was valued at £345 17s 9d.  An average estate of that period was about £250.

Anne Cole survived Andrew by two years.  She died 19 Apr 1685, leaving an estate of pounds £60 12s 6d, to be divided among her three surviving children, of whom Ebenezer was given a double portion because of “impotency.”  Genealogies state that Anne was buried near her husband in the Center Church (aka First Church) cemetery, but a headstone has not been located.

The children of Andrew Benton and his first wife Hannah Stocking (all, except the last, born in Milford and the last born at Hartford, Connecticut) are listed as follows:

  1. John, born 9 Apr 1650 and died 24 May 1650
  2. Hannah, baptized 23 Nov 1651 and died about 1673/75, probably in Hartford after mention in her grandfather’s will and before her husband’s 2nd marriage.  In about 1670 in Hartford she married John Camp (Jr.)
  3. Andrew (Jr.), born 12 Aug 1653 and died 5 Feb 1704 in Hartford.  In about 1675/6 in Hartford he married Martha Spencer (1658-1703), daughter of Thomas Spencer.  They lived in Hartford where they raised 9 children.
  4. Mary, born 14 Apr 1655 and died 23 Dec 1752 in Hartford.  She is buried in the cemetery of Center Church in Hartford, and her grave says “at 90 yrs”.  She was actually 97 when she died.  On 23 Oct 1684 in Hartford she married Nathaniel Cole (1653-1708), son of John Cole and brother of Andrew’s second wife Anne.
  5. John, born 7 Oct 1656 and died about 1674-80 in Hartford (after the date of his grandfather George Stocking’s will and prior to 30 May 1680, when Andrew Benton and Anne Cole named another son John.
  6. Samuel Benton (see below)
  7. Joseph, born about 1660 and died 12 Aug 1753 in Kent, Connecitcut in 93 yr and buried in Good Hill Cemetery.  In about 1692 in Hartford he married (1st) Martha Peck (1658-1696), daughter of Deacon Paul Peck and on 10 Feb 1698 in Hartford he married (2nd) Sarah Waters (1667/8-1730), daughter of Bevil Waters.
  8. Dorothy, born probably in 1662 and died after 1720, probably in East Hartford.  Before1692 in Hartford she married Daniel Bidwell (1655-1719).

Samuel Benton was born 15 Aug 1658 in Milford, Connecticut and died 10 Apr 1746 in Hartford.  He moved in 1661/2 with his parents from Milford to Hartford, Connecticut.  In Nov 1679 in Hartford he married Sarah Chatterton, born 19 Jul 1661 in New Haven, Connecticut.  She was living at the time of Samuel’s death, and her date of death is not known.  They had nine children, all born in Hartford: Samuel (1680), Sarah (1685), Hannah Benton (1688), Abigail (1691), Caleb (1693/4), Daniel (1696), Jacob (1698), Moses (1702) and Lydia (1705).

Samuel Benton was one of the original proprietors of Harwinton, Connecticut.  When James II. appointed Andros to be president and captain-general over New England, the Connecticut Colony, fearing that ungranted lands (that is, lands not granted to any particular plantation or town) would be seized by the Crown, granted to the Plantations of Hartford and Windsor a large tract of land called “Western Lands.”  Afterwards the Colony assumed to treat these lands as its own, without regard to the grant to Hartford and Windsor, and this brought about a conflict between the Hartford and Windsor claimants, who sought to treat the lands as theirs under the Colonial grant of the officers of the Colonial government. This resulted in a riot and jail-breaking at Hartford.  Finally the matter was settled by a division of the lands, the western half to the Colony, and the eastern half to Hartford and Windsor.

On 12 May 1729, the Colonial authorities gave a patent of the eastern half, or division as it was called, to Hartford and Windsor.  These towns divided this share equally between them, and three townships were made from Hartford’s share and three from Windsor’s share, leaving a remainder owned jointly by Hartford and Windsor, sufficient for another township, of which each town owned one-half.  This remainder was divided into eastern and western portions, the eastern portion being given to Hartford and the western to Windsor proprietors.  The two portions were then incorporated, in May 1732, and May 1733, as the town of Harwinton, the name being, as it is said, constructed from the first syllables of Hartford and Windsor, with the addition of “ton,” meaning town. Hartford appears to have granted its portion to proprietors according to their tax valuation, and Samuel Benton was one of these proprietors.

Samuel Benton‘s house, in which he lived, stood on the east side of the road leading to Farmington, now Washington Street.  In the distribution of his father’s estate in 1683, he had four acres of land on the east side of this road, and bounded on the north by Mr. Richards’ land, on the east by Mr. Wyllys’ and Mr. Wells’, and on the south by land of his brother Joseph, containing four acres, which Joseph had received from his father’s estate.  On 30 Mar 1701, Samuel bought of Joseph his four-acre lot.  Nathaniel Cole had a four-acre lot next that of Joseph Benton, and this Samuel bought on 28 Apr 1709.  On 19 Feb 1720, he acquired the four acres belonging to Ebenezer, thus giving him sixteen acres in his home lot, the title to which remained in him until his death, when he gave it to his son Moses by will.  Most of this land is now in the grounds of the institution known formerly as the “Retreat for the Insane”, founded in 1822.  It was later known as the “Institute for Living”.   The “Institute for Living” was one of the first mental health centers in the United States, and the first hospital of any kind in Connecticut.

The daughter of Samuel Benton and Sarah Chatterton is Hannah Benton.  She was born 14 Mar 1688 at Hartford, Connecticut and died there 19 Mar 1777.  On 20 Oct 1715 she married Joseph Root, who was born 17 Mar 1693 at Farmington, Connecticut and died there 15 Oct 1747.  The daughter of Joseph Root and Hannah Benton is Lydia Root, born 5 Oct 1725 at New Britain, Connecticut and died 6 Jul 1806 in Farmington, Connecticut.  On 10 Nov 1748 she married Moses Andrews, who was born 12 May 1722 and died 17 May 1806, both in Wethersfield, Connecticut.  Moses and Lydia had six sons who served in the Revolutionary Army in the War for Independence, including our ancestor, Moses Andrews (Jr.).  Their lineage is continued under the heading of William Andrews (1595-1659).



[1] The correct number of children is not known as there occurs a gap in the between Elizabeth and John’s births: Andrew (1620-1683), Thomas (1622), Marie (1625), Elizabeth (1628) and John (1638).

[2] John Hogan Benton. David Benton, Jr. and Sarah Bingham, their Ancestors and Descendants; and other Ancestral Lines (Boston: Press of David Clapp & Son) 1906.

[3] In the absence of facts, speculations multiply: One genealogy states that Andrew arrived 12 Jul 1630 at Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, on the ship Arabella along with the company of Sir Richard Saltonstall (1586-1658) under John Winthrop. Another possibility is that Edward and Andrew came over with Rev. John Davenport’s congregation in 1637. John Davenport (1597-1670) was an English puritan clergyman and co-founder of the American colony of New Haven, Connecticut.

[4] George Hubbard (1600-1683) is our 9th g-grandfather, discussed under his own heading.

[5] Andrew was a creditor in Hartford of Nathaniel Greensmith, and the following entry was made in the records of the Court 4 Feb 1664: To make a finall Issue of the payment of Nat. Greensmiths debts, the court allows out of Andrew Bentons Bill the Sum of fifteen pound & they viz : the Marshall, ensigne, & peck are to sattisfy themselves for their paines there abouts out of this estate.

Woodcut - a witch hanging

Woodcut – a witch hanging

[6] Ironically, Andrew’s second wife, Ann Cole, whom he married in 1673, was the “bewitched maid” aged six or seven at the time, upon whose account ten years earlier Nathaniel Greensmith and his wife Rebecca were hanged. Contrary to common assumption, New England’s first “witch” execution wasn’t at Salem. Alice Young was hanged in 1647 at Hartford, and over the next 50 years, at least fifty suspected witches would be indicted in Connecticut and before 1663 about ten were convicted and executed. During 1662-3, ten were tried as witches and four were convicted and executed. Others were forced to flee the colony. Since its very first Legal Code, Connecticut listed witchcraft as a capital offense. Betraying a deep and true fear of witches, items two and five below, from the original Connecticut Blue Laws, relate to witchcraft, and stipulate the death penalty: (2) If any man or woman bee a Witch that is hath or consulteth with a familiar spirritt they shall bee put to death Exodus 22 18 Levit 20 27 Deut 18 10 11; (5) If any person shall slay another through guile either by poisonings or other such Devellish practice hee shall bee put to death Exo 21 14. For more on witchcraft in New England, refer to works by John M. Taylor, author of The Witchcraft Delusion in Colonial Connecticut 1647-1697, Connecticut historian Woodward, Walter W.  “New England’s Other Witch-hunt: The Hartford Witch-hunt of the 1660s and Changing Patterns in Witchcraft Prosecution,”  Magazine of History 17, no. 4 (July 2003): 16-19 [CSL call number E 175.8 .M34], John Putman Demos, author of Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England and Hoadly, Charles J.  “A Case of Witchcraft in Hartford,”  Connecticut Magazine 5, no. 10 (October, 1899): 557-61 [CSL call number F 91 .C625].

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3 comments

  • Bill Benton-Evans

    Hi, What an interesting project
    I am an ancestor of the Edward Benton(1600- 1680) who emigrated on ‘only the second ship to sail direct to New Haven’ in 1639. His name does appear on a passenger list, but no mention of Andrew. Interseting.. He settled in Guildford. I am pretty sure he was indeed the uncle of your emigrant Andrew (1620-1683).
    I also have just come across some data from the Benton family’s history in Epping where they lived in Shingle Hall as tenants and later owners mid 16th Century to late 18th century. See ‘British History online and google ‘ A history of the county of Essex vol 5 and look for ‘manors’ on pages 114-127.
    Have fun.
    Bill Benton-Evans

  • Much of the above history of Andrew Benton, born 1630 in Essex County, Great Britain is also contained in the book titled Samuel Slade Benton; his ancestors and descendants. 1901 There is an Internet Archive where you can read the entire book. I also have a copy. Much of the Hylbom history regarding the Benton family is very interesting and runs pretty much with what is written in the book I mention here. Andrew is my first direct ancestor to live in the colonies and my g-grandfather, Henry Graham Benton is listed as being born in 1878 on the last page of that book. This book also has information you will want, including a copy of Andrew’s will. Have fun with this new information source. Stephen Ross Benton (b1952) I live at 502 Portland Ave. Beloit, Wisconsin 53511

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