Root #8016

Thomas Root (1605-1694)

Born in England.  Arrived (probably) in Massachusetts before 1637 and later settled in Hartford, Connecticut and Northampton, Massachusetts and

Unknown Spouse


Root #8016

Much of the information presented here was obtained from the following sources: (1) History of Northampton, Massachusetts, from its settlement in 1654 by James Russel Trumbull (Northampton, Massachusetts: Press of Gazette Printing Co.) 1898 and (2) Root Genealogical Records. 1600-1870: Comprising the General History of the Root and Roots families in America by James Pierce Root (New York: R. C. Root, Anthony & Co.) 1870.

Most of those of the name “Root” in this country are descended from one of three men who emigrated from England to the New England colonies in the 1630s.  Two of these men, Thomas Root and John Root (1608-1684), are thought to be brothers, the sons of John Root (1576-1683)  and Ann Russell (1574-1683) of Badby, Northamptonshire, England.  They founded what has become known as the “Hartford line” and the “Farmington line” of the Root family in America.  Another Thomas, whose surname is most frequently spelled “Rootes”, arrived in Salem, Massachusetts as early as 1636 and lived there until his death.  He is the founder of what has become known as the “Salem line”, and his connection to the other two (if any) is not known.

The historical records do not provide us with a motive for Thomas’ migration to America, although both brothers identified with the Puritans.  Their date of arrival or the name of the ship that brought them is not recorded.  John’s wife, Mary Kilbourne, however, is known to have arrived in Salem, Massachusetts on the Increase in 1635, and John and Mary were married in Connecticut in 1640.  Thomas was at Hartford, Connecticut as early as 1639 after serving as a soldier in the Pequot War in 1637, making it likely that both brothers arrived (probably together at the Massachusetts Bay Colony) in the mid 1630s.

The original brownstone monument erected in 1837 was replaced by this one in 1986. It stands in the Ancient Burying Ground, which is located to the rear of the First Congregational Church at the corner of Main and Gold Streets in Hartford. This cemetery is also known as Old Center Cemetery. It lists the original Founders of Hartford.

Thomas Root was among the first settlers of Hartford, Connecticut, where he lived many years, and where his children were born (although on account of the incompleteness of the ancient records of Hartford, as they have come down to this generation, the birth of only one son, John, is recorded).  The name of Thomas Root is mentioned in the list of proprietors of undivided lands in 1639, and he is recognized as one of the “Founders of Hartford”.  As such, his name appears on the “Founders Monument” in Hartford’s Ancient Burying Ground of the First Congregational Church of that city, presently known as “Center Church”.  After a residence of about fifteen years in Hartford Thomas removed with his six sons and one daughter and settled in Northampton, Massachusetts on 9 May 1654, as one of the original seven planters of what was then called Nonotuck.

Here are some of the facts known of Thomas Root from the colonial records:

  • The records identify him as both farmer and weaver of cloth.
  • In Hartford, his home lot being on the east side of “the road to the Cow Pasture” (what is now North Main Street) about one mile west of the State House.
  • Along with John Holloway, he was elected as a chimney viewer in Hartford in 1648.
  • His home at Northampton was on the east side of Pleasant Street below Pearl Street.   Later, he lived on King Street across from the Roman Catholic Church now stands.
  • He was one of fifteen to take the Oath of Fidelity.
  • On May 18, 1658, he signed a petition to obtain the First Minister of the Church.
  • From court records of the first court held in Northampton, 28 Sep 1658:  he filed a complaint against Robert Bartlett claiming that Bartlett struck his wife with a long stick.  Bartlett acknowledged the complaint and the two settled the issue between themselves.
  • He was chosen a selectman 10 Jan 1659.  As a selectman, he signed a petition for abatement of taxes 17 Nov 1659. This was not a popular petition among the settlers.  After he was elected Selectman, there was a request that he be considered a constable.  The court ignored the request because they felt the constable should be elected rather than appointed.
  • On 17 Aug 1659, he was one of the petitioners to ask the government for forgiveness of taxes.
  • He took the freemen’s oath, 26 Mar 1661: the oath of fidellity to this Comen Wealth in ye psence of the Corte.  Later in 1661, he was on a list of settlers showing his land to be lot 2 and 51 Meadowland.
  • He was one of the eight founders of the church that was gathered at Northampton on 18 Apr 1661.  He signed the church covenant there, and the Rev. Eleazar Mather was ordained as pastor and teacher of the flock.  Thomas Root was among the “Eight Pillars” of the church thus organized.  It is believed by some that he was a deacon of the church.  He later served as part of a committee formed 29 Aug 1670 to “settle” the new (second) minister, Rev. Mr. Solomon Stoddard.
  • In 1672 and 1673 he contributed a half bushel and a half peck of wheat to Harvard College.

Northampton, Massachusetts

James Trumbull (citation above) summarizes the record of Thomas Root’s life in Northampton as follows: “He was among the first settlers to arrive here, and was one of the signers of the original petition.  A quiet, substantial farmer, though a weaver by trade, he never arrived at the position of leader.  He was several times elected a selectman, and was one of the officers in the town when careful men were in demand.  His home lot was on the easterly side of Pleasant Street, below what is now known as Pearl Street.  He died in 1694, at the advanced age of 84 years.  He had six sons and one daughter, all born before he removed to Northampton.”

Thomas Root died at Northampton on 17 Jul 1694, naming his children in his will, and mentioning that he lived with his son Jonathan at the old homestead.  The name of Thomas Root‘s wife is not known to us[1].

The following children are listed in his will:

  1. Joseph Root , see below.
  2. Thomas  (~1644- )
  3. Hezekiah  (~1645-1690)
  4. John (1646-1677)
  5. Jonathan (~1648-1741)
  6. Sarah (~1660-1718)
  7. Jacob (1661-1731)

Joseph Root as born about 1640 in Hartford, Connecticut and died 19 Apr 1711 at Northampton, Massachusetts.  On 30 Dec 1660 he married Hannah Haynes.  She was born about 1638 at Springfield, Massachusetts and died 28 Jan 1691 at Northampton.  After Hannah’s death, Joseph married (2nd) Mary Holton.

The children of Joseph Root and Hannah Haynes are listed as follows: Hannah (1662-1729), Joseph (1664-1690), Thomas[2]   (1667-1758), John Root (see below), Sarah (1671- ), Hope (1675-1750) and Hezekiah (1677-1766).

John Root was born 11 Sep 1669 in Northampton, Massachusetts abd died about 1709-10.  About 1690 he married Mary Woodruff.   She was born about 1167 in Farmington, Connecticut and died there also in October 1709.  There children are: John (1690-1767), Joseph Root (see below), Samuel[3] (1696-1748), Mary (1698- ), Thankful (1702-1739) and Hezekiah (1705- ).

Joseph Root was born 17 Mar 1693 at Farmington, Connecticut and died there 15 Oct 1747.  On 20 Oct 1715 he married Hannah Benton.  She was born 14 Mar 1688 at Hartford, Connecticut and died there 19 Mar 1777.  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] Some researchers have suggested that his wife’s name may be Sarah Clark or Elizabeth (Gale?), but I know of no evidence to support these references. In the case of Sarah Clark, it seems that her husband has been mistaken for John’s son, Thomas.

[2] He married Sarah Clark (1671-1711), the daughter of my 8th g-grandparents, John Clark of Farmington, Connecticut (1637-1712) and Rebecca Marvin (1639-1712).

[3] A humerous story regarding Samuel is recounted in James Pierce Root’s book (cited above), which provides an insight into the times in which they lived. The story: “Mr. Leavenworth had the reputation of being what is called a plain preacher, not having always the fear of his people before his eyes. He doubtless thought that it did good to stir them up sometimes roughly. He had among his hearers, a person of some standing, who had the infirmity of sleeping (and probaly snoring) in meeting. Thinking perhaps to cure the man’s weakness, he on one occasion stopped suddenly in his discourse, and addressing himself to the sleeper, said: ‘Wake up! wake up!’ The response quickly followed: ‘I am not asleep any more than you, Parson Leavenworth; so please mind your own business.’ Of course a great commotion followed. Some were indignant, others amused. Two days after (on 10 Jun 1760), the delinquent, Samuel Root, was arraingned on a grand jury complaint, before Thomas Clark, for ‘profaning the sabbath or Lord’s day, by rude talking in time of public worship, to the disturbance of both minister and congregation, contrary to law.’ The culprit confessed that he did talk, etc., and pleaded in justification ‘that he had told Mr. Leavenworth that if ever he spoke to him in particular in time of worship to wake up, he would tell him that it was none of his buisness.’ The court looked upon the plea as insufficient, and ordered the guilty party to pay a fine of five shillings and cost of court, taxed at £0 4s 2d and stand committed till he comply, etc.”


One comment

  • Virginia Helm

    Can you tell me if John Root Thomas dob march 1840 (son of Elizabeth Root) is of this line. They were both born in Philadelphia.

Your comments are welcome. Keep in mind, however, all comments are moderated, and please no off-topic links.