Goffe #4004

Philip Goffe (1627-1674)

Probably born in England.  Arrived in Connecticut by 1648 and

Rebecca Witchfield? (1627-1682)

Probably born in England.  Arrived in Connecticut by 1648.

Goffe #4004

Philip Goffe was born about 1627, presumably in England. Comparatively little is known of him, especially of his early life and origins.  He died before 2 Jun 1674 in Wethersfield, Connecticut, where an inventory of his estate was recoded (total value, £297 16s 9p).  His children, living at the date of his death are: Jacob (25 years), Rebecca (23), Philip (21), Moses (18) and Aaron (16).

There were others of the name “Goffe” who were early settlers of New England, notably:

  • Edward Goffe (1593-1658), a man of prominence in Cambridge, Massachusetts who arrived in the colony before about 1635.
  • William Goffe, son-in-law of Edward Whalley (c1607-c1675) who was an English military leader during the English Civil War and was one of the “regicides” who signed the death warrant of King Charles I of England.  William Goffe and Edward Walley later escaped to North America, landed at Boston on 27 Jul 1660.  They settled briefly in Cambridge, Massachusetts before they were forced to flee again for the relative safety of New Haven, Connecticut.
  • Thomas Goffe[1], owner of the Mayflower of 1621 and one of the “Merchant-Adventurers” who financed the Pilgrims’ enterprise in the New World. Thomas is thought to have later perished at sea on his own voyage to America in the late 1620s.

There is no proven familial connection among any of these Goffes or between them and our ancestor, Philip Goffe of Wethersfield, Connecticut, although such a connection cannot, or course, be ruled out.

The first known record of Philip Goffe was in 1649 in Wethersfield, where he was employed as Town Crier.  He was also the owner of a timber yard there and is said to have built the first house in Rocky Hill[2], Connecticut in 1656, where he was granted his homestead in 1655.  A creek that runs through Rocky Hill and empties into the Connecticut River (Goff’s Creek) is named for him (reference: Genealogical Notes on the Founding of New England: My Ancestors Part in that Undertaking by Ernest Flagg[3], Hartford, Connecticut, originally published 1926).  He was listed in the town census for Wethersfield in 1669 as Philip “Gofe”.

The oldest house is Rocky Hill is the Philip Goffe House on Old Main Street. It was built in 1655, when Rocky Hill was part of Wethersfield. Philip Goffe was Wethersfield’s first town crier.

The oldest house is Rocky Hill is the Philip Goffe House on Old Main Street. It was built in 1655, when Rocky Hill was part of Wethersfield. Philip Goffe was Wethersfield’s first town crier.

On 4 Apr 1648 in Wethersfield, Connecticut, Philip married Rebecca [surname unknown].  They had the following children:

  1. Jacob Goffe (see below)
  2. Rebecca, born about 1651 in Wethersfield, Connecticut.
  3. Phillip, born about 1653.
  4. Moses, born about 1656.
  5. Aaron, born about 1658.

The son of Philip Goffe and Rebecca is Jacob Goffe, born 16 Aug 1649 and died 21 Oct 1697 both in Wethersfield, Connecticut.  Jacob held the minor office of Fence Viewer[4] in that town, and he appears to have been a well-to-do farmer based on his possessions at the time of his death (inventory taken 12 Nov 1697).  He owned upward of 100 acres of land and had a house, horse, mare, colt, steers, calves, sheep, bees and books, etc. valued at £136 3s 6p.  On 5 Dec 1679 in Hartford, Connecticut he married Margery Ingersoll, daughter of John Ingersoll and Dorothy LordMargery was born in 1656 and died in 1697.  She married  (2nd) Jonathan Buck after Jacob‘s death, and they had no children.

The children of Jacob Goffe and Margery Ingersoll are listed as follows: Jacob (1680-1680), Moses (1681-1712), Mabel, Mary Goffe (see below) and Eunice.

Mary Goffe was born on 15 Nov 1693 in Wethersfield, Connecticut and died 7 Sep 1769 in Farmington, Connecticut.  She was buried in New Britain, Connecticut.  On 26 Jun 1712 in Wethersfield, Connecticut she married John Andrews[5].  He was born 10 Jun 1680 in Farmington, Connecticut and died 16 Jun 1740 in Kensington, Connecticut.  On 16 Oct 1705, John signed a petition (along with his brother Daniel) to the Assembly for the incorporation of the “Great Swamp Society” (an ecclesiastical society).  This was granted, and in 1712, the Great Swamp Society was born.  The first meeting-house was built at Christian Lane and Deming Road.  That site (in the town of New Britain, Connecticut) is now marked by a granite monument on the northeast corner of the intersection.

The lineage of Mary Goffe and John Andrews is continued under the heading of William Andrews (1595-1659).

[1] Some researchers have cited a birth record for a Philip Goffe born 2 Nov 1617 in Saint Savior Parish, Dartmouth, Devonshire, England. He is the son of a Thomas Goffe. This record is a parish register transcript from the Parish Church of Dartmouth. However, there is no way to determine from the facts at hand whether or not this is the same Philip as our ancestor the same Thomas, “Merchant-Adventurer”. It is entirely possible that Phillip is the son of Thomas Goffe and that this Thomas Goffe was one of the Merchant Adventurers who helped finance the Mayflower and other ships to the Colonies.

[2] Rocky Hill was part of Wethersfield, the neighboring town to the north, until it was independently incorporated in 1849.

[3] Ernest Flagg was a descendant of no less than 172 different New Englanders, most of whom settled in this country between 1635 and 1640. All 172 lines, which were concentrated primarily in eastern Massachusetts, the Connecticut Valley, Rhode Island and South Carolina, are set forth in this meticulously researched work.

[4] New England farmers clearing their land during the 17th century were confronted with boulders and stones left by retreating glaciers. They cleared their fields of the boulders with horses and built stone walls along the edges of their fields, frequently at the property boundary. Many of these walls still exist. A Fence Viewer is a town or city official who administers fence laws by inspecting new fences and settling disputes arising from trespass by livestock that have escaped enclosure.  A Fence Viewer is needed on those occasions when walls were eroded, moved, or modified illegally (a serious offense). Upon request of any citizen, the Fence Viewer views fences to see that they are in good repair and, in case of disputes between neighbors, works to resolve their differences. The office of Fence Viewer still exists in some paces and is one of the oldest appointments in New England. It is also found in parts of the Midwest settled by New England pioneers.

[5] His name appears as “Andrus” in some records of the time.


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