Monday, February 27, 2012

Ship Owner in Early Connecticut – John Plumb

B. 28 Jul 1594 in Great Yeldham, England
M. about 1616 in England
Wife: Dorothy (probably Wood)
D. 1 Jul 1648 in Branford, Connecticut
Emigrated: about 1634

John Plumb appears to have been a wealthy man in 17th century England, and he sold his estate to move to America. He was born July 28, 1594 in Spaynes Hall, Great Yeldham, England, which is in the northern part of Essex. His parents were Robert Plumb and Grace Crackbone and he was one of at least nine children. When he was about 22, he was said to have married Dorothy Wood, and between 1617 and 1635, they had nine children.

John and his family lived in Ridgewell Hall, a manor house that still survives today (although it was modified in the 18th and 19th centuries). He is listed on the Essex Visitation of 1634, but he sold his estate at about that time and it is said that he used the money to buy a ship that he sailed to America. He landed at Dorchester, and moved to the then remote town of Wethersfield, Connecticut, the second settlement in Connecticut after Windsor.

In his nine years living in Wethersfield, he held several offices. He was a magistrate in 1637, was named appraiser on February 9, 1637, a representative from 1641 to 1643, and a collector of customs in 1644. He has been noted as the first ship owner in Wethersfield.

John often made voyages up and down the Connecticut River trading with the Indians. It is likely that his vessel was used to carry Captain Mason and his men to Narragansett Bay during the Pequot War in 1637. The war defeated the main Indian tribe in the area and allowed for settlement of Connecticut to continue. John had a warehouse in Saybrook which was burned by the Pequots.

In 1644, John sold most of his Wethersfield property and moved to the new settlement of Branford, which was located on the coast of Connecticut. John was one of its earliest settlers; he was elected town clerk and held this office until his death.

John died on July 1, 1648 in Branford. His wife Dorothy survived him by at least 21 years.

Famous descendants of John Plumb include Franklin Delano Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan and Helen Hunt.

1. Robert Plumb – B. 30 Dec 1617, Ridgewell, England; D. 12 May 1655; M. Mary Baldwin, 9 Jan 1642

2. John Plumb – B. 27 May 1619, Ridgewell, England

3. William Plumb – B. 9 May 1621, Ridgewell, England

4. Ann Plumb – B. 16 Oct 1623, Ridgewell, England

5. Samuel Plumb – B. 4 Jan 1626, Ridgewell, England; D. 22 Jan 1713

6. Dorothea Plumb – B. 16 Jan 1627, Ridgewell, England

7. Elizabeth Plumb – B. 9 Oct 1629, Ridgewell, England

8. Deborah Plumb – B. 28 Jul 1633, Ridgewell, England

9. Dorcas Plumb – B. 12 Jan 1635, Wethersfield, Connecticut; D. 21 Apr 1725, Northampton, Massachusetts; M. John Lyman (1623-1690), 12 Jan 1654, Branford, Connecticut

American Biography: A New Cyclopedia, American Historical Company, 1919
Genealogical notes on the founding of New England: my ancestors part in the undertaking, Ernest Flagg, 1926
Families of Ancient Wethersfield, Connecticut, Henry R. Stiles, 1904
GeneaStar: Famous Family Tree and Genealogy [website]

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