Stocking #8026

George Stocking (1582-1683)

Born in England.  Arrived at Boston, Massachusetts in 1633 and subsequently settled in Connecticut  and

Anna or Agnes ( – )

Born in in England. Arrived at Boston, Massachusetts in 1633 and subsequently settled in Connecticut.

Stocking #8026

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.

George Stocking is the only one of that name known to have emigrated to New England in the early colonial period.  In the records, his name is indifferently spelled Stocken, Stockin or Stocking (typical in 17th century England and colonial America).  He sailed from England in the ship Griffin with the party of Rev. Thomas Hooker[1] and landed in Boston in the year 1633 with his wife Anna or Agnes[2] [surname unknown] and their four children.  Her dates[3] of birth and death are not known.  He is believed to have been born in Suffolk, England about 1582.  They were religious dissenters or Puritans, opposed to the practices of the established Church of England at the time.  He settled first in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where in the year 1635 he built a house at the corner of the present Holyoke and Winthrop Streets.  On 6 May 1635, he was made a freeman of the colony.  In 1636 he joined the party of Rev. Thomas Hooker and with a hundred or so others of the party traveled on foot through the wilderness to the Connecticut River Valley, where he became one of the original founders of Hartford, Connecticut and a prominent proprietor of that town.  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”.  In the general distribution of land in Hartford in 1639, he received twenty acres.  He received other grants later on.

In Hartford, George took an active role in civic affairs: Selectman in 1647, surveyor of highways in 1654/1662 and chimney viewer in 1659.  He also served on juries through 1668.  He was excused from military duty in 1660 because of great age.

George Stocking died 25 May 1683 at the age of 101 years.  In his will dated 15 Jul 1673, he mentions …the six children of Andrew Benton[4], that is… Andrew Benton. Jr., John Benton, Samuel Benton, Joseph Benton, Mary Benton, and Dorothy Benton… to whom he gave the sum of £12 to be divided among them.  Most of his estate, valued at more than £257, was divided among his children, and his son Samuel[5] was appointed executor.

The children of George Stocking and Anna or Agnes are listed as follows:

  1. Samuel (frequently referred to as “Deacon”) (1620-1683).  On 27 May 1652 he married Bethia Hopkins[6], the granddaughter of Stephen Hopkins who was a signer of the Mayflower Compact and arrived at Plymouth, Massachusetts with the “Pilgrims” in 1620.  After Samuel’s death, Bethia married (2nd) James Steele.
  2. Sarah (1625-1693).  She married Samuel Olcott.
  3. Lydia (1627-1712).  She married John Richards.
  4. Hannah Stocking (1630-1670).  In about 1649, probably at Hartford, Connecticut, she married Andrew Benton, and their lineage continues under Andrew Benton (1620-1683).

[1] Additional information about Rev. Thomas Hooker, his congregation and the “Hooker Party” is located under the heading of William Kelsey (1600-1676).

[2] There is a persistent legend in the genealogical literature that Agnes (Shotwell) was George’s second wife, and she was the widow of John Webster, the Governor of Connecticut. Nowhere has this been corroborated, and it appears to be one of those pernicious errors that becomes engrained in the record through repetition.  John Webster died in 1661 and was married to Agnes Smith, who died in 1655. John Webster is my 11th g-grandfather, discussed under his own heading.

[3] The date of death of 25 May 1683 frequently cited for George’s wife could refer to a later wife of George, and my 10th g-grandmother, Anna (or Agnes) may have died several years earlier. This seems likely given their likely ages at the time of their marriage and George’s advanced age at the time he wrote his will in 1673.

[4] His son-in-law and my 9th g-grandfather; he married George’s daughter, Hannah.  This legacy did provide for Andrew’s additional children by his second wife, Anne Cole.  Two additional children of Andrew and Hannah died prior to the date of George’s will.

[5] Samuel may not have been able to fulfill this assignment, as he also died around the same time as George.

[6] The prevailing position of the genealogical literature for decades has been that Bethia Hopkins was not yet a teenager when she married Samuel Stocking.  However, according to an article in The American Genealogist by Robert Charles Anderson, this long held belief was due to a misdated deposition in a probate proceeding (TAG, Vol. 77, No. 1, January 2002), and she was likely born about 1630-32.


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