Name: John Reynolds
Birth: BET 1590 AND 1612 in (Ipwich), England
Death: 31 AUG 1664 in Greenwich / Stamford, CT
Immigration: BET 1630 AND 1634 From England; immigrant ancestor
John Reynolds, the immigrant ancestor, was born in England around 1612. While his parentage is presently unknown, he may have been related to Robert Reynolds (1580?-1659) of Boston. John's homelot was very close to that ocupied by Robert's daughters Ruth and Mary.
He married SARAH ------ in England, possibly in Ipswich. She was born about 1614, in England; while several surnames have been advanced for her, including Chesterfield, the identities of her birthplace and parents are presently unproven. It is unclear exactly when John came to New England. Sarah Reynolds was a passenger on the Elizabeth which sailed from Ipswich on 30 April 1634, but there is no mention of John on the passanger manifest. While nothing in the ship's records names her as the wife of John Reynolds, significant circumstantial evidence establishes the connection. More importantly, Sarah's name appears between Robert Day and his wife and Robert Goodall and his wife. John's homelot in 1635 was located between the lots of these two men. It is probable that he came over before her to prepare the way, and that once he was settled he sent for her and she came over with friends. He may have come in the 1630 Winthrop-Saltonstall fleet. One possible problem with this assumption is that if he did come in 1630 and if his wife was born in 1614, that would mean they were married when she was only sixteen. While not entirely improbable, it would have been a bit unusual for her to marry at that age only to have her new husband sail off to New England leaving her alone for five years.
In any event, John was settled in Watertown, Massachusetts Bay Colony, by 1635; on 6 May of that year he was made a freeman. His name appears in the records there only twice more. On 14 November 1635, he was named to a committee charged with "devis[ing] to every man his propriety and Meadow & upland that is plowable, and the rest to be common." The second mention appears in a section of the records describing the town land grants:
" John Reinolds: An Homestall of Five acres and halfe by estimation bounded on the North with the highway, the South with Isaac Mixer, and the East with John Sherman -- granted to him."
The phrase "granted to him" would imply that he was the first non-Indian owner, and that he was thus in Watertown at or shortly after its founding. His homelot was a short diatance to the south of Strawberry Hill.
At its founding, Watertown contained only about sixty families. But over the next four years its population swelled with new immigrants to the point that the towns of Dorchester, Newton and Watertown began encroaching on each other. The original settlers began to complain "of straitness for want of land, especially meadow." Some of them consequently began to set their sights on the unsettled lands to the south in the Connecticut River valley. In the summer of 1634, a small group of Watertown men led by John Oldham went south and settled Wethersfield, hartford County, Connecticut. After hearing favorable reports about the new location, a larger group of about sixty families set off in October 1635 for Wethersfield followed by others. John set off to join them sometime between 14 November 1635, when his name last appears in the town records, and 25 July 1636, when it does not appear in the "Great Land Division."
His three and one half acre homelot there was on High Street, in the center of town, third from the meeting house between the lots of John Gibbs and Andrew Ward. On 11 February 1640/1, he received a houselot and several other pieces of land; they were eventually sold to John Hollister. In 1641, his ear mark for his livestock was recorded in the town records.
Internal dissensions soon arose among the members of the church, with the result that the town quickly split into two opposing factions. When it became apparent that the rift could not be mended, the more progressive party -- led by Rev. Richard Denton -- decided to strike out and form their own town under the jurisdiction of the neighboring New Haven Colony. On 1 July 1640, Nathaniel Turner had purchased from the Indians -- on behalf of New Haven -- a large 128 square mile tract of land in southwestern Connecticut which today includes the towns of Darien and Stamford. On 30 October 1640, Andrew Ward and Robert Coe purchased the tract -- called Rippowanis -- from the colony on behalf of themselves and about twenty other planters. Thirty men, John among them, volunteered as pioneers for the new settlement. These men subscribed 100 bushels of corn to be paid to New Haven as the purchase price. Each man received an amount of land in proportion to the amount of corn he pledged. John was eighth on the list of subcribers, pledging 3.2 bushels.
Of these thirty, twenty-eight removed to what became Stamford in the summer of 1641. On 19 October, they held their first town meeting, divided that land among the residents, and elected five men to form a provisional government; John received eleven acres. His homelot was located along the border with the neighboring town of Greenwich; he lived on the west side of South Street. At around the same time, the New Haven authorities decided that they were not satisfied with the 100 bushel payment. The new town members had to make an additional payment which was apportioned between them.
Sarah Chesterfield b: ABT 1614 in Ipwich, Suffolk, England
BET 1633 AND 1634
in Chesterfield, England or Stamford, CT
- Elizabeth Reynolds b: 1634 in Watertown, MA
- John Reynolds
- Jonathon Reynolds
- David Reynolds