Marsh #1796

English St George flag animationSamuel Marsh (1626-1683)

Born in England.  Arrived in Massachusetts by 1641 and later settled in Connecticut and New Jersey and

English St George flag animationComfort (Mann?) (1633-1685)

Probably born in England.  Settled in New Jersey.

Marsh #1796

The Marsh family is English in origins.  Several different Marsh families came to America very early in the 1600s.  The first Marsh to come to America seems to be one John Marsh who arrived at Salem, Massachusetts in 1633, and there were many others who arrived from various parts of England during the next few years.

In the 1630s and 40s, two separate Marsh families came from Braintree, Essex County, England to Boston.  How the two families are related is not certain, but they may have been cousins.  One was that of John Marsh who came to Boston in 1635 and then went to Hartford, Connecticut, where he is considered one of the founders of that city.  The second was that of Samuel Marsh and his (probable) brother Jonathan who were in Boston by 1641.  The brothers were in New Haven, Connecticut by 1643.  Jonathan later went to Rhode Island and Samuel to New Jersey.  My line is descended from this Samuel Marsh.

Center Church on the Green, also known as First Church of Christ (Congregational), Temple Street, New Haven, Connecticut. The church was established in 1639. The current church, designed in Georgian style by architect Ithiel Town, was built in 1812.

Center Church on the Green, also known as First Church of Christ (Congregational), Temple Street, New Haven, Connecticut. The church was established in 1639. The current church, designed in Georgian style by architect Ithiel Town, was built in 1812.

Samuel was a pioneer in the early New Haven Colony, which covered much of the southern Connecticut shoreline, and his family settled in the general area of Milford, Connecticut.  They went from there to the New Jersey coastal areas around Newark and Elizabeth.  From there they spread westward like so many of my ancestors seeking new lands and homes for their families.

Samuel Marsh was born in Essex County, England about the year 1620 (sources are not in agreement, with dates of 1620-1626).  Some sources indicate that his father may have been John Marsh born in 1589 and his mother may have been Grace Baldwin, but there is no proof.  This couple could be the parents of the John Marsh who settled earlier in Boston, or they may not be related to any of these families.  Some sources state he was in Boston by 1641, others state he came directly to the colony in New Haven in the summer of 1645.  Although he was not listed as an original planter, he was carried on the records as a resident of New Haven in 1646.

Samuel was found in the Militia records on 7 Apr 1647.  It seems he was fined two shillings six pence for missing training three times to seek cowes.  Later, Samuel took the oath of Fidelity in New Haven on 2 May 1647 and was then made a Freeman of the colony.

In about 1647, Samuel Marsh married Comfort Mann (family surname is not known with certainty).  They appear as members of the First Church of Christ in New Haven on List Number 2 dated 11 Feb 1655/56.  It seems that possibly there was a whole family that came from England.  Samuel‘s brother Jonathan was there until about 1650 when he moved to nearby Milford, Connecticut and then to Norwalk, Connecticut by 1657.  There was also a sister, Hannah, who married Lancelot Fuller in New Haven.

Samuel and Comfort raised seven children while living in New Haven.  In 1665, the family moved to Elizabethtown, New Jersey (about the time that England took possession of New Jersey from the Dutch).  Samuel took the oath of allegiance to King Charles II on 16 Feb 1665 and was one of the original Eighty Associates who bought the Elizabeth-town Grant, East Jersey of some five hundred thousand acres, which covered all of present-day Union County, New Jersey.  Their son, Samuel Marsh (Jr.), was also one of the original Eighty Associates[1].

Governor Philip Carteret arriving at Elizabethtown in July 1665 to take charge of the new colony on behalf of the Lords Proprietor. Greeted no doubt warily by the settlers, including John Ogden and perhaps others of our ancestors. They got along reasonably well for a time. But contrast of attire reflected a conflict in outlook. Disputes over titles and taxes soon initiated more than a century of discord between freeholders and absentee Proprietors. (New Jersey Historical Society)

Governor Philip Carteret arriving at Elizabethtown in July 1665 to take charge of the new colony on behalf of the Lords Proprietor. Greeted no doubt warily by the settlers, including John Ogden and perhaps others of our ancestors. They got along reasonably well for a time. But contrast of attire reflected a conflict in outlook. Disputes over titles and taxes soon initiated more than a century of discord between freeholders and absentee Proprietors. (New Jersey Historical Society)

In 1671, Samuel was in a major conflict with New Jersey Governor Carteret over land rights, but he seems to have survived without any penalties.  Samuel wrote his will on 10 Jun 1683 and mentioned his wife and children John, Joseph, Elizabeth and Samuel.  He stated he was living at Wawanday.  He died in September 1683, and the Will was probated on 24 Feb 1685.  His widow, Comfort, was the executrix.

The children of Samuel Marsh and Comfort Mann are listed as follows:

1.Mary, born in 1648 and unmarried.

2.Samuel (Jr.), born 12 Feb 1649.  He married Mary Trimmins in 1675, and later they moved to Philadelphia, where he died in about 1684.

3.Comfort, born 22 Aug 1652.  She married Joseph Meeker on 5 May 1678 and died in December 1690.

4.Hannah, born 22 Jul 1655.

5.Elizabeth, born 27 Dec 1657.

This monument marks the graves of Abraham Clark, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and his wife Sarah Hatfield. (Presbyterian Cemetery, Rahway, New Jersey)

This monument marks the graves of Abraham Clark, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and his wife Sarah Hatfield. (Presbyterian Cemetery, Rahway, New Jersey)

6.John, born at New Haven Connecticut on 2 May 1661.  In 1683, he married Elizabeth Clark (born 1665), the daughter of Richard and Elizabeth (Moore) Clark. Richard Clark was born in England in about 1640 and came to New England about 1655.  He soon moved to eastern Long Island, and there he married and became a ship builder.  In 1678, he and Elizabeth and their five children moved to Rahway, New Jersey.  He continued to be a ship builder there until his death in 1697.  Richard Clark was the g-grandfather of Abraham Clark[2], who signed the Declaration of Independence[3].

7.Joseph Marsh, born 1 Apr 1663.  He married Sarah Hinds in 1697 and remained in New Jersey.  Joseph died at Trembly Point, New Jersey in December 1723.  Their children were: Sarah Marsh, who married Benjamin Watkins (see below), Samuel, who married Mary Shotwell; Joseph, who married Susanna; James; Charles, who married Hester Culler; Paluna; Sussanah and Ellis, who married Mary Davenport.

Sarah Marsh was born in 1698 in Rahway, New Jersey and died in Elizabeth, New Jersey [date unknown].  Her husband, Benjamin Watkins, was born 28 Sep 1704 in Stratford, Connecticut.  He was the son of Joseph Watkins and Johanna Blackman.  Benjamin died in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

The lineage of Sarah Marsh and Benjamin Watkins through their son, Joseph Watkins (1732-1800) is continued under the heading of Thomas Watkins (1629-1689) and Elizabeth Baker (1632-1689).



[1] Elizabethtown Associates, the first group of people to be granted permission by the English government to settle in New Jersey. On 30 Sep 1664, Governor Richard Nicolls consented to a petition from six residents of Jamaica, Long Island, to purchase and settle 400,000 acres of land west of the Arthur Kill in New Jersey. By deed of 28 Oct 1664, confirmed by patent from Nicolls on 1 December of that year, the associates purchased from the Indians a broad tract extending from the mouth of the Raritan River northward along the Arthur Kill and Newark Bay to the mouth of the Passaic River, and inland some thirty-four miles. The associates, limiting their number to eighty, admitted Governor Philip Carteret when he purchased the rights of a prior associate, and together they founded Elizabethtown (now Elizabeth). The original settlers were Puritans from New England and Long Island, but after 1682, immigrants from Scotland arrived. Elizabethtown was the capital of the province until it was divided in 1676, and then the capital of East Jersey until 1686. The first general assembly for New Jersey met in Elizabethtown in May 1668. In the early 1700s, when the proprietors attempted to collect rents, the associates refused to pay, invoking their Indian titles and the Nicolls’s patent. On 8 Feb 1740, King George II granted a charter for the Free Borough and Town of Elizabeth. Much more information can be found in History of Elizabeth, New Jersey; including the Early History of Union County by Rev. Edwin F. Hatfield (New York: Carlton & Lanahan) 1868 and The Province of New Jersey: 1664-1738 by Edwin Platt Tanner, 1908.

[2] Samuel Marsh (1626-1683) is the father-in-law of Abraham Clark’s great aunt, Elizabeth Clark.

[3] For more about Abraham Clark, refer to his article under “Notable Kin”.

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