Hawley #8056

Joseph Hawley (1603-1690)

Born in England.  Arrived at Boston, Massachusetts between 1629-1635 and later settled in Connecticut and

Katharine Birdseye (1626-1692)

Born in England.  Arrived at New Haven, Connecticut about 1636.

Hawley #8056

I am also descended from Miriam Hawley (1620-1690), who is likely a sister of Joseph Hawley, and her husband Moses Wheeler (1598-1698), my 9th g-grandparents, discussed under their own heading.

Joseph Hawley was born in the year 1603 in Parwich, Derbyshire, England.

Joseph Hawley was born about 1603, probably in Parwich, Derbyshire, England, and he died 20 May 1690 at Stratford, Connecticut.  In about 1646, he married Katharine Birdseye (or Birdsey), who is thought to probably be his second wife[1], but the name of his first wife (or even if he ever had one) is not known to us.  Likewise, Katharine’s date of birth is not known, and she died 25 Jun 1692 at Stratford.  Katharine Birdseye is the daughter of  Joseph (Edward?) Birdseye (1597-1649) and Abigail Dayton (1601-1687), discussed under the heading of John Birdseye[2] (1571-1649).

Joseph Hawley was the first of that name known to have come to America, and according to tradition he arrived about 1629-30 at Boston, Massachusetts.  He settled for a time in or near Boston and settled in Stratford, Connecticut, probably about about 1650, with his young sons Samuel Hawley and Joseph (Jr.).  The Hawley family became very prominent and wealthy in the early history of the Colony of Connecticut.

Beginning in 1843, a descendant by the name of Silas Sill Hawley (of Saratoga, New York) began collecting information on the family, mostly through personal correspondence, over the course of almost half a century.  His material was published as The Hawley Record in 1890, 300 copies of which were printed by the Hutchinson Company of Buffalo, New York.  A database of Hawley genealogy, beginning with Joseph Hawley, has been developed using The Hawley Record as a foundation, and this database is maintained by The Hawley Society, Inc., which is actively updating the database for corrections to existing data and filling in gaps left by omissions.

The Hawley Record states that Joseph arrived in Boston, Massachusetts around 1629 or 1630 along with Thomas[3] and Robert, who spelled their last name Haule.  Thomas and Robert may have been brothers to Joseph or they could be sons from his first marriage.  Other sources indicate that Elizabeth Hawley, who later married Richard Booth, is a sister who also arrived at the same time[4], as well as possibly a second sister, Hannah, who married John Beard of Milford, Connecticut[5].  We don’t know with certainty[6].  It is also not known why Thomas and Robert spelled their name differently, although this discrepancy is not altogether surprising given spelling practices in 17th century England and colonial America.  The Curtiss Genealogy of 1903[7] states that Hawley sailed to America on the Planter in 1635 along with Stratford proprietors Adam Blakeman[8], William Wilcoxson[9] and William Beardsley[10], but this has never been proved.  Joseph and Katharine raised eight children in Stratford: Samuel Hawley, Joseph (Jr.), Elizabeth, Ebenezer, Hannah, Ephraim, John and Mary.  Joseph is known as the progenitor of the “Connecticut Line” of the Hawley family in America[11].

Stratford, Connecticut shoreline

Although Joseph Hawley was named one of the original proprietors of Stratford, listed second after Capt. William Curtiss in the town patent of 1683, the timing of his arrival is uncertain.  In the spring of 1639, a group of settlers[12] had come from Wethersfield and Hartford to a place at the mouth of the Housatonic River called “Pequonnock[13]” by the Indians.  There they established a plantation which was afterwards named Stratford.  Joseph was not recorded among the original settlement party.  However, by 1651, the number of inhabitants had increased to forty and Joseph‘s name is among them.

A rendering of Joseph Hawley in his role as Town Clerk (Stratford Historical Society)

A rendering of Joseph Hawley in his role as Town Clerk (Stratford Historical Society)

It is interesting to note that until he came there were no town records kept, and Joseph’s recordings begin in 1650, when he became the town’s first Clerk, an office he filled until 1666.  Therefore, it seems probably that Joseph’s arrival was around 1650 or shortly before that date, when Joseph from a Richard Mills in the area that later became known as “Lordship”.[14].

The following information regarding Lordship is taken from a source linked to the website of the Town of Stratford, http://www.lordshiphistory.com/

LordshipSign1“Lordship, the land at the southern tip of Stratford, jutting into the heart of Long Island Sound.  The first inhabitants of Lordship were the Paugussetts who had a large village at Fresh (Frash) Pond, but had encampments at Stratford Point and at Indian Well.  Indian Well was a fresh water pond where the old trolley line crossed Duck Neck Creek just north of the rotary near the firehouse.  When the first settlers arrived in 1639, they found that Indians were using this area to plant corn, so there was little clearing necessary.  Originally Lordship, called Great Neck, was a Common Field worked and owned by settlers who returned home to the safety of the palisade fort at night.  Richard Mills was the first to build a farmhouse in Great Neck in the western end near present day Second Avenue.  He sold his estate to Joseph Hawley in 1650 and moved.  It is in connection with his name that the term Lordship is first found, as applied to a meadow on what is still known as the Lordship farm.  It is said in deeds of land – 1650 to 1660 several times, Mills Lordship and the Lordship Meadow.  Richard Beach came to Stratford with a family and in 1662, he purchased one of five acres on west point of the Neck, butted south upon the meadow called Mills Lordship.  In colonial days, Lordship was a desolate and feared place.  There were a few farms and very little trees on the windswept landscape.  Breezy Point (north end of Stratford Road) was thought to be haunted and was avoided at night.  According to legend, witches and their servants would build bonfires there to lure ships onto the rocks along the beach.”

Lordship in 1918 - A 360 degree view

Lordship in 1918 – A 360 degree view

Joseph Hawley‘s handwriting as Town Clerk has been termed peculiar and of a sort used at that time on state documents in London; thus it is possible he was educated or trained there, and may have had a government position prior to his emigration to America.  He was first elected as Deputy on 20 May 1658, by the General Court of the Colony of Connecticut at Hartford under then Governor Thomas Welles[15].  He also served as treasurer, justice of the peace and was elected “ordinary”, or tavern keeper, on 29 Dec 1675.  He represented Stratford as a deputy, or representative, in the legislature of the Connecticut Colony every year from 1658-1687.  His name also appears in the deed that transferred a large amount of land from the Indians on 22 Apr 1662, comprising the present-day town of Derby, Connecticut.

Ship building in Connecticut - Joseph Hawley became one of the first shipbuilders in Derby and Stratford. Records indicate that Hawley sold interests in his ship, the "John and Esther" in 1678. The ship was used in nearby Fairfield harbor at the time. This sale may be one of the earliest documented sales of a commercial ship built in Connecticut.

Ship building in Connecticut – Joseph Hawley became one of the first shipbuilders in Derby and Stratford. Records indicate that Hawley sold interests in his ship, the “John and Esther” in 1678. The ship was used in nearby Fairfield harbor at the time. This sale may be one of the earliest documented sales of a commercial ship built in Connecticut.

Joseph Hawley’s Lot #37 in Stratford, Connecticut

According to the records of Stratford, Joseph Hawley became one of the first shipbuilders in Derby and Stratford.  The records indicate that Hawley sold a one-eighth interest in his ship, the John & Esther, to John Rogers of New London, Connecticut on 27 Oct 1678 for £58 1s 2p.  In 1680, he sold another one-eight interest in the ship to John Prentice.  Joseph Hawley also became a large landowner.  It is believed by some that Hawley owned nearly 5,000 acres of land in his lifetime.  Joseph died on 20 May 1690 and is buried in Stratford. His will (dated 17 Sep 1689) was probated in Fairfield County Probate Court in 1690, and the executors of his estate were his sons: Samuel Hawley, Ephraim and John.  His will provides one of the only clues we have of Joseph’s English origins.  The will says:

I give to my Sonn, Samuel Hawley, all my land and buildings in Parwidge, in Darbyshire, in Olde England… 

thus establishing the likely place in England from which he came, though this is far from certain.  Parwich (as it is spelled today) is near the market town of Ashbourne, Derbyshire, England.

Upon Joseph‘s death, the Parwich properties in Derbyshire passed to his son, Samuel (1647-1734).  It is known that Samuel sold these holdings, but the date and purchaser are unknown.  Since Samuel died in 1734, the sale of these properties could have taken place at any time between 1690-1734.  A flow of payments stemming from the transaction continued for some time.  Samuel‘s son, Samuel (Jr.) (1674-1754), signed a quit-claim to these properties, transferring all remaining claims to his brother Nathaniel, in exchange for fifteen acres of meadow land in Connecticut.  Nathaniel continued to receive payments from England related to his claims on the lands and buildings in Parwich which had belonged to his grandfather, and which his father had sold.We know neither the name of Joseph‘s father, nor whether the father ever came to America.  Research has identified a few possible candidates:

  • Samuel Haule, of Charlestown, Massachusetts.  An inventory dated in 1637 had been found, as cited in The Hawley Record, and it appeared to Elias Hawley that this might be the father of Joseph and his siblings.
  • Judge Samuel Hawley, possibly identical with Samuel Haule, above.  Colonial and Revolutionary Lineages of America (New York: American Historical Company, Inc., 1941) cites Joseph Hawley as the son of Judge Samuel Hawley, and having been born in Parwidge, Derbyshire, in about 1603[16].
  • James Hawley, of Brentford House, Middlesex, England (1558-1622).  Three sons and two daughters by his second marriage reportedly came to Boston about 1630 (names unknown; source: notes in family records).  Elias S. Hawley, The Hawley Record, lists James Hawley of Brentford as the son of Jeremy Hawley (died 1593) and grandson of John Hawley of Auler, Somerset, England.  It is reported in The Hawley Record that James, son by his first wife, served as Treasurer of Maryland, and there is also a tradition that a younger son went to Virginia.
  • William Hawley, of Derbyshire, son of Sir William and great grandson of Robert de Hawley, had many grandchildren and “…it is possible that this William Hawley was ancestor of the large and prolific yeoman family who owned land in the various parishes (notably Youlgrave and Elton) around Parwich in Derby.”[17]

From the above it would appear that several clues suggest avenues for further research: land transfer documents which might record either Joseph Hawley’s acquisition of lands and buildings in Parwidge or, following its inheritance in 1690, by his son Samuel, its eventual sale between that date and Samuel‘s death in 1734; wills which may be relevant; any documents which might reflect the payments related to these properties which continued to be made to Samuel (Jr.) and to Nathaniel Hawley — finally in the unusual form of brass or copper kettles.  Furthermore, records pertaining to Youlgrave and Elton may also turn up references to Hawley-owned property there, as suggested by Dr. Swan’s comment cited above.  Finally, materials which may have been assembled by others on the history of some of the English families noted above may enable identification of a connection.

There are several questions involving this line that need to be resolved through further research:

  • We do not know who was the leader of the migrating Hawley group.   Was it Joseph‘s father who led the family to the new world?  In a book by Charles Henry Pope, Pioneers of Massachusetts (1981), there is mention of a Samuel Hawley, who settled in Charlestown, and who died in 1637 leaving a house and land at Mystic, Connecticut and land in England which he had inherited from his wife.  Was this Joseph‘s father?  Where was this land located in England?  Is this why Joseph named his eldest son Samuel, in keeping with the English tradition naming the eldest son for the paternal grandparent?
  • Where did Joseph come from in England.  It seems from Parwich, Derbyshire, where he owned a homestead, which he left in his will to his oldest son.  However, he was educated and had a recording style similar to that of a governmental functionary in London when he took over as Town Clerk in Stratford.  Perhaps he hailed from Parwich but lived and worked for a time in London before migrating to New England.  In his will, Joseph described himself as a yeoman.  This speaks to his social class more than to his occupation, as a yeoman was a freeholder who owned his own land and was considered one step down from the gentry.
  • Some refer to Samuel, his probable father, as Judge Samuel.  If Samuel had been a judge in England, could he have trained his son or even used his services in recording the business of his court?  Others propose that a John Hawley and Frances Kilbourne were Joseph’s parents with a Joseph Hawley as his grandfather.
  • What did Joseph do during his first two decades in the American Colonies?  We are not certain of everything but he did stop in Wethersfield (established 1625-6) at least long enough to marry in 1646 to twenty year old Katharine Birdseye and to father his first child, Samuel, the next year. Based on his age at the time (43), this might have been a second marriage but there is no known record of a prior marriage or children.

Joseph Hawley was active in the Church.  He and two others were named by the Rev. Adam Blakeman in 1665, to administer Blakeman‘s will.  After a new meeting house was built in the summer of 1680 he was chosen as one of three persons to seat church goers. The criteria used in determining the seating were: 1) The person’s office in the community (if any), 2) their age, with persons over age 60 being given preference, and 3) contributions made toward the meeting house. Power, age, and money counted!

Joseph also served on committees to adjust boundaries between the towns of Stratford and Milford and Stratford and Fairfield.  In 1687 he was chosen to be on the committee to draft a patent for the town, to guarantee land titles in the township.  This patent was signed by Governor Robert Treat and is preserved in the Stratford Town Clerk’s office.  Joseph was chosen as deputy for the town to the general court or assembly in Hartford serving for on session in 1658, 1661, 1667, for both sessions in 1668-71, 1673-4; for one in 1675, 1677-8, both in 1681-2; one in 1683; both in 1684; one in 1685 and both in 1687.  Joseph served as Commissioner for Stratford, appointed by the Assembly, a position similar to Justice of the Peace, successively from May 1682 until his death.

Joseph and Katherine (Birdseye) Hawley are both buried in the Old Congregational Church Burying Grounds in Stratford, Connecticut.

Joseph made his will 17 September 1689 and died on 20 May 1690. Katharine died 25 June 1692. They had eight children of whom at least three predeceased Joseph and four predeceased Katharine.

The children of Joseph Hawley and Katharine Birdseye are listed as follows:

  1. Samuel Hawley (1647-1734) married Mary Thompson
  2. Joseph (Jr.) (1650-1691)
  3. Elizabeth (1651-1676) married John Chapman
  4. Ebenezer (1654-1681) married Hester Ward
  5. Hannah (1657-1726) married Josiah Nichols
  6. Ephraim (1659-1690) married Sarah Welles
  7. Capt. John (1661-1729) married Deborah Pierson
  8. Mary (1663-1731) married John Coe

The son of Joseph Hawley and Katharine Birdseye is Samuel Hawley, who was born about 1647 an died 24 Aug 1734 in Stratford, Connecticut.  He came to Stratford about 1650 with his parents, and he lived in that town his entire life, except for a brief stay in Derby, Connecticut.  He was a farmer and a tanner, but dealt largely in real estate, as the town records of Stratford show, and in 1699, he was one of the largest owners of undivided lands (or commonage).  He continued to accumulate land until the close of his life.  By the time he made his will, he had previously given most of it to his children, who apparently were made quite independent.  He was also one of the original 36 proprietors of the township of Newtown, Connecticut.  Samuel is buried in the Old Congregational Burying Ground in Stratford, and the inscription on his grave reads as follows:

Here lyes buried ye body of Mr SAMUEL HAWLEY who departed this life August 24 AD 1734 in the 87th year of his age

Samuel Hawley grave marker

On 20 Mar 1673, Samuel married (1st) Mary Thompson, the daughter of Thomas Thompson and Ann Welles and the granddaughter of Gov. Thomas Welles and Alice Tomes (discussed under their own headings).  Following Mary’s death in 1691, he married (2nd) Patience Nichols, widow of Lt. John Hubbell, of a place called Old Mill, which is now part of Bridgeport, Connecticut.  Patience was the mother of Samuel‘s six youngest children.

Samuel Hawley was a prominent citizen, a member of the church and officer of the town.   The year his father died, 1690, he was elected as a Representative of the town to the Colonial Assembly.  He was subsequently elected to this same office, seven times[18].

The son of Samuel Hawley and Mary Thompson is Joseph Hawley, born 6 Jun 1675 in Stratford, Connecticut and died 20 Nov 1752 in Farmington, Connecticut.  On 7 Jun 1697 he married Elizabeth Wilcoxson, born 6 Nov 1673 in Stratford, Connecticut and died 10 Sep 1762 in Farmington, Connecticut.

The daughter of Joseph Hawley and Elizabeth Wilcoxson is Elizabeth Hawkey, born 1699 in Farmington and died 4 Aug 1779 in the same place. On 25 Sep 1719 he married John Newell, born 17 Jan 1692 in Farmington, Connecticut and died 21 Feb 1777.

The daughter of Elizabeth Hawley and John Newell is Elizabeth Newell.  Their lineage is continued under the heading of John Clark (1637-1712).


[1] In his will dated 17 Sep 1689, Joseph refers to my now wife Katharine Hawley, implying perhaps another earlier wife.  This would be consistent with the fact that Joseph and Katharine were married when he was already about 43 years of age.  One source reports that Joseph first married Katherine Booth (date unknown, but before 1629) in England.  There are no records which indicate that Joseph and Katherine Booth had any children.  Records also also indicate that Joseph remarried in 1646.  Numerous family tree records state that Katherine Booth Hawley died in Fairfield County, Connecticut in 1692, at the age of 87 years.  If they are correct, and she did not die before 1646, it is quite possible that the marriage was dissolved due to her inability to produce children.

[2] We are descended from three of the children of John Birdsey (1571-1649) and his wife Mabel [surname unknown], my 12th g-grandparents.

[3] This may be the Thomas Hauley from of Roxbury Massachusetts who was killed by Indians at Sudbury on 21 April 1676. In 1675 the peace of New England was disturbed by King Philip’s war. King Philip, so called by the colonists, was actually Chief Metacoment of the Wampanoag Indians of Massachusetts. The chief thought the colonists murdered his brother and sought to drive them from New England. Thomas was in a party of eighteen men under the command of Capt. Samuel Wadsworth who were attacked about three miles from Sudbury. Four colonists were killed, including Thomas Hawley. His descendants either adopted the “Hawley” spelling or perhaps used it all along with the name previously misspelled by a scribe in the colony.

[4] Elizabeth was married in 1641 to Richard Booth, who later came and settled in Stratford at the same time as Joseph.

[5] Hannah married twice, in 1655 to John Ufford, whom she divorced shortly thereafter, and then to Capt. John Beard on 25 Mar 1657. They lived at Milford (est. 1639) on the Long Island Sound, a bit west of the Housatonic River from Stratford, where Joseph ultimately settled.

[6] A third possible sister, Miriam Hawley, claimed kinship to Joseph, although Elias Hawley in The Hawley Record, does not support the claim. Miriam married Moses Wheeler and originally lived in the New Haven plantation but left after Moses was cited for a violation of that community’s strict laws regarding the Sabbath. It seems that he returned home on the Sabbath after an out-of-town absence and greeted his wife and children with kisses. Apparently, he was (or felt) compelled to leave the community. They settled in Stratford where his sister was wife to the settlement’s minister Adam Blakeman, my 9th g-grandfather (discussed under his own heading).

[7] Frederic Haines Curtiss. A genealogy of the Curtiss family: being a record of the descendants of widow Elizabeth Curtiss, who settled in Stratford, Conn., 1639-1640 (Rockwell and Churchill Press) 1903.

[8] My 9th g-grandfather, discussed under his own heading

[9] My 10th g-grandfather, discussed under his own heading

[10] My 10th g-grandfather, discussed under his own heading

[11] Joseph Hawley and his two sisters stayed in Connecticut, and the records for the Hawleys who stayed in the Stratford region are pretty well kept. The brother Thomas stayed in  Massachusetts and Robert apparently settled in Rhode Island, according to The Hawley Record.  Robert’s line of descendants may have eventually called themselves “Holley” or “Holly” or other similar variations.

[12] The group was comprised of perhaps 16 families, according to legend, or approximately 35 families, as suggested by later research.

[13] Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the Pequonnock Indians of the Paugussett nation lived on the banks of the river. One village on the west bank of the Pequonnock consisted of about five or six hundred inhabitants in approximately 150 lodgings. The first English settlement on the west bank of the mouth of the Pequonnock was made in about 1665 and was called Pequonnock. This village was renamed Newfield sometime before 1777, and during the American Revolution, Newfield was a center of privateering. In 1800, Newfield village was chartered as the borough of Bridgeport, forming the nucleus for the city of Bridgeport.

[14] It was in 1650 that Joseph purchased home lot #37 in Stratford from a Richard Mills.

[15] My 10th g-grandfather, discussed under his own heading

[16]This citation may be based on The Hawley Record, rather than independent sources.

[17] Source: Conrad Swan correspondence with Elias S. Hawley cites pedigrees in 1564 Visitation of Lincolnshire and mentions that Robert was “Lord of numerous manors in Lincoln and of Thurbeston, Co. Derby.”

[18] His father had  been elected to this office thirty times. Following Samuel’s death, his younger brother, John, was elected to this office nineteen times, so that during 66 years, some member of the Hawley family had been elected to the Assembly 57 times from Stratford.



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