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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Kelsey Roots in Killingworth Connecticut

The Kelsey roots run deep in Killingworth, Connecticut. So deep, as a matter of fact, that William Kelsey, along with his son, John, were there at the very beginning.
So who was William and John Kelsey?
Well, Hannah Kelsey's parents were Jonah Kelsey and Martha Nettleton. Jonah's parents were Isaac Kelsey and Jane Crane. Isaac's parents were John Kelsey and Phebe Crane (yes, Jane and Phebe were from the same Crane family. Phebe was Jane's Aunt). John Kelsey was the son of John Kelsey and Hannah Disborough, and John was the son of William Kelsey. 
So, William and John were my 10th and 9th great-grandfathers, respectively.
The area in Connecticut that was later to become Kenilworth was originally known as the Hammonassett Plantation. In order to incorporate, the settlement had to have, at least, 30 families reside on their lot of land (acquired by drawing "lots", most likely from a hat) for a period of 4 years that began after a 2 year period, giving settlement families time to relocate. Each lot consisted of 3 parcels of land - one to build a house, one for a salt marsh to grow salt hay for their horses, and a wood lot for heating, building, and cooking.
In 1669, there were only 21 families who lived in the settlement of Kenliworth for this 4 year period. It would take until 1685 for the requirements to be met that granted them incorporation. Over time, the town would become Killingworth.
By 1734, the town had grown out from the original settlement location. Families in the northern section of town found it difficult to travel the five miles for Church attendance (an integral part of their lives) and town meetings. Talk began by the families in the north to create a new "society", and in 1838, Killingworth did just that. The Northern society retained the name of Killingworth, while those families in the southern section of the town became Clinton, and the Congregational Church became the 1st Congregational Church, while the newly formed Killingworth built the 2nd Congregational Church.
Needless to say, the original settlement site lies along present day Main Street in Clinton.
Killingworth is noted for being the birthplace of Yale University. In 1694, Abraham Pierson, then Pastor of the Congregational Church, was selected as one of ten trustees to form a new college. The Collegiate School operated out of Rev. Pierson's home (site located in present-day Clinton). Upon Pierson's death, the school was moved to New Haven, and later, changed its name to Yale.
If you're wondering, the Kelsey family were part of the families in the northern section of the town. 
Of the original 21 settlers, these surnames will come up in future blog posts - Kelsey, Crane, Meigs, Stevens, Hull, and Nettleton, as I am a direct descendent of them.
Killingworth was not the only town that William was an original settler. William was my Kelsey immigrant ancestor, having been born about 1600 in Chelmsford, Essex, England. 
William, the son of George Kelsey and Elizabeth Hammond, arrived in America as part of the Braintree Company followers of Rev. Thomas Hooker. He, along with the other followers, became the first settlers of Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1632.
In 1636, when Rev. Hooker removed to Connecticut, along with about 50 families of his followers (including William), they became the first settlers of Hartford. William's name can be found on the Founders Monument at Center Church in Hartford.
After moving to Killingworth in 1663, William remained there until his death in 1680.