Newell #4024

Both of my parents are descendants of Thomas Newell.  Thomas Newell #4024 (discussed below) is the same as Thomas Newell #5530 (paternal line).

Thomas Newell (1620-1689)

Born in England.  Probably arrived in Massachusetts prior to 1632 and later settled in Connecticut and

Rebeckah Olmstead (Olmsted) (1624-1698)

Born in England.  Arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1632 and later settled in Connecticut.

Newell #4024

I am descended from Thomas Newell and Rebeckah Olmstead on both my father’s side and my mother’s side[1].   This means that through this line, my parents are each other’s 9th cousin 1x removed, and I am a 10th cousin of my father and a 9th cousin 2x removed of my mother. Thomas Newell #4024 (discussed below) is the same as Thomas Newell #5530 (paternal line).

One source of information on this immigrant ancestor and his descendants is: Thomas Newell, Who Settled in Farmington, Connecticut, 1632, And His Descendants: A Genealogical Table edited by Mary A. Newell Hall (Southington, Connecticut: Cochrane Brothers, Book & Job Printers) 1878.

I am descended from Thomas Newell and Rebeckah Olmstead (Olmsted) in the maternal lineage (discussed here), through their son Samuel Newell, and in the paternal lineage through their daughter Mary Newell, my 9th paternal g-grandmother, discussed under the heading of Thomas Bascom (1606-1682).  These lines do not merge until my parents marry in 1961.

Thomas Newell was the first of the name to settle in Farmington, Connecticut, whither he came from Hartford, in its early settlement and (it is said) from Hertfordshire, England.  The timing and circumstances of his migration to America are unknown.  He married Rebeckah Olmstead, a sister of John (later known as Dr. John) and Richard Olmsted, and niece of James Olmstead and his wife Joyce Cornish with whom she arrived in Boston on 16 Sep 1632 on the Lyon after a twelve week voyage from Braintree, England, along with cousins, Nehemiah and Nicholas Olmsted (see Ward[2]).  She probably lived with her uncle James until about 1640, when she and Thomas Newell were married in Hartford.

Statue of Thomas Hooker (1586-1647), known as “the Father of Connecticut”, Hartford

The James Olmsted family settled first at Mount Wallaston, now Quincy, near Boston, Massachusetts, but in the course of the year, by order of the Court, they removed to Newtown (now Cambridge).  While in Cambridge, James Hooker attended the ministry of Rev. Thomas Hooker, and in the summer of 1636, he and his family joined what has come to be known as the “Hooker Party[3]”, which became dissatisfied by the form of government of the colony of Massachusetts and endeavored to move as a community to the Connecticut Valley.  James, John and Richard Olmsted are recognized as “Founders of Hartford”, and their names appear on the “Founders Monument” in the Ancient Burying Ground of Hartford, Connecticut (an honor not afforded to women, as they did not receive of the land distribution[4] in their own names).

There is almost no record of Thomas Newell in the colonies prior to the birth of his first child with Rebeckah in 1643 in Farmington, Connecticut.  Although he is said to have come to Farmington from Hartford, he is not considered a “Founder” of that city, i.e. not an original proprietor listed in the Book of Distribution of Land of 1639 of Hartford.   There is a deed dated 1645 which indicates that Thomas was living in Farmington prior to the deed.  Porter[5] classes him with the earliest settlers, but there is no record of his arrival.  After 1645, there are several records involving land purchases, minor court proceedings and church notices.  Since the first volume of Farmington Town Meetings Record was destroyed, we do not know how involved Thomas was in town life.  In the church records of Farmington, Thomas was enrolled a member 7 Feb 1653, and Rebeckah was enrolled on 12 Jul 1653.  In 1669 his name appears on the list of freemen, and in 1672 on the list of the eighty-four proprietors.  In 1673 he was one of the preliminary committee who went to view Mattatuck (now Waterbury), as a place for a new settlement (see Bronson[6]).  The same year he was one of the petitioners for liberty to plant a new settlement at that place.  Subsequently he signed the articles, taking the place of Samuel Gridley, but declined joining the new settlement.  In 1680, Thomas and his wife were listed third on the list of members of the church, a high ranking that was a mark of distinction.   Thomas died 13 Sep 1689, leaving a significant estate (inventory of £449 17s 6p plus an additional £265 distributed prior to his death, a large sum at the time).  His widow Rebeckah Olmsted died 24 Feb 1698.

The children of Thomas Newell and Rebeckah Olmstead are listed as follows: (1) Rebeckah (1643-1711) married Joseph Woodford, (1636-1701), son of Thomas Woodford and Mary Blott[7]; (2) Mary Newell (1645-1676) married Thomas Bascomb (1642-1689) of Northampton, Massachusetts, son of Thomas Bascomb and Avie Jessie[8]; (3) John (1647) was one of the first settlers of Waterbury (see History of Waterbury by Bronson, cited above) and is numbered among the original subscribers in 1674.  Bronson, in his history, says: “If he did anything worthy to be remembered, history has taken no note of it.”  In 1694 he returned to Farmington, having disposed of his property in Waterbury.  He died in 1696 without a family, his brothers Thomas and Samuel administering his estate; (4) Thomas (1650-1733) married Elizabeth Wrotham; (5) Hester (1652-1739) married John Stanley[9] of Waterbury (one of the original proprietors); (6) Sarah (1654/55-1757) married Arthur Smith (Jr.)[10]; (7) Martha (1658- ), twin with Hannah; (8) Hannah (1658-1757), twin with Martha, married Thomas North (1649-1712); (8) Samuel Newell (1660-1753) married Mary Hart (1666-1752); and (9) Joseph (1664-1689).

The son of Thomas Newell and Rebeckah Olmstead is Samuel Newell, born 5 Dec 1660 and died 15 Feb 1753.  On 20 Dec 1683 he married Mary Hart, born 5 Dec 1666 and died 5 Apr 1752.  Both were admitted to the church in Farmington, Connecticut in 1687.  He held the military rank of Ensign.  Their children are listed as follows: (1) Samuel (1686) married Sarah Norton; (2) Thomas (1690) married Mary Lee; (3) John Newell (1692-1777) married Elizabeth Hawley (1699-1779); (4) Mary (1697); married John Steele; (5) Daniel (1700-1731) married Ruth McLean; (6) Nathaniel (1703-1753) married Esther Hart[11]; (7) Sarah (1707-1796) married Hezekiah Gridley.

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

The daughter of John Newell and Elizabeth Hawley is Elizabeth Newell, born 29 Jan 1721 and died 2 Feb 1791.  On 2 Sep 1742 in Farmington, Connecticut she married John Clark, born 1 Sep 1712 in Farmington and died 10 Jun 1782 in New Britain, Connecticut.  This family was one of the three set off, or rather excepted, in the incorporation of the parish at New Britain, and they attended church in Farmington.  Mrs. Clark (Elizabeth) was partially deaf, and the story is told that she was accustomed to stand in the pulpit in order to hear during services.  Their lineage is continued under the heading of John Clark (1637-1712).

[1]   Thomas Newell and Rebeckah Olmsted (Olmstead) are also my 10th g-grandparents in the paternal lineage through their daughter, Mary, discussed under the heading of Thomas Bascom (1606-1682).

[2] George Kemp Ward. Genealogy of the Olmsted family in America: Embracing the Descendants of James and Richard Olmsted and Covering a Period of Nearly Three Centuries: 1632-1912 (A.T. De La Mare Printing & Publishing Co.) 1912.

[3] For additional background on Rev. Thomas Hooker and the “Hooker Party”, refer to the discussion under the heading of William Kelsey (1600-1676).

[4] In the land distribution of June 1639, James Olmsted received 70 acres. That he was a man highly considered in the community in which he lived is evident from the prominence that his name occupies in the old list of the Original and early members (1633-1639) of the First Church of Hartford, in which list his name comes 12th and in such illustrious company as follows: Gov. John Haynes, Gov. George Wyllys, Gov. Edward Hopkins, Gov. Thomas Wells, Gove. John Webster, Rev. Thomas Hooker, Rev. Samuel Stone, Elder William Goodwin, Major William Whiting, Hon. Matthew Allyn, Hon. John Talcott, James Olmsted.

[5] Noah Porter, Jr. Historical Discourse, in commemoration of the original settlement, or Farmington in 1640 (Hartford, Connecticut: L. Skinner, printer) 1841.

[6] Henry Bronson. The history of Waterbury, Connecticut: the original township embracing present Watertown and Plymouth, and parts of Oxford, Wolcott, Middlebury, Prospect and Naugatuck, 1858.

[7] My 10th g-grandparents (paternal), discussed under their own heading.

[8] My 10th g-grandparents (paternal), discussed under the heading of Thomas Bascom (1606-1682).

[9] John Stanley is the son of John Stanley, the brother of Timothy Stanley, my 10th g-grandfather.

[10] Arthur Smith (Jr.) is the son of Arthur Smith (1588-1655), my 10th g-grandfather.

[11] Nathaniel and Esther are 2nd cousins 1x removed. Nathaniel is the great grandson and Ester is the 2nd great granddaughter of Stephen Hart (1603-1683), my 10th g-grandfather, discussed under his own heading.



  • Diane E. Ferguson

    I am also descended from Thomas Newell and Rebeckah Olmsted. We are having a Newell cousin reunion at the end of July and I was asked to write a brief history of the Newell family. It has been an interesting project. My grandfather on my mother’s side is Raymond E. Newell. If you haven’t found Laura Emeline Pixley Mabie Newel in your research, you may find her as interesting as I have. Laura was the daughter of Edward Alexander Pixley and Laura Ann Osborne. Laura was born February 5, 1854, in New Marlborough, Massachusetts, she died October 13, 1916. Some of the Newells came to Kansas to settle the Kansas Territory. An interesting lot.

  • Good morning! Great reading. Weirdly enough my name is Samuel Newell, from the Hertfordshire Newells and I moved to the states about 6 years ago. Congratulations on finding such awesome family history.

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