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John Stoddard, Sr
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Birth: unknown
Death: Dec., 1664
Hartford County
Connecticut, USA

The origins of John Stoddard of Wethersfield, Conn. are unknown and there is no statement of his age at death. He was at Wetherfield prior to 1643. The first record of him concerns his appointment as a juror on Mar. 2, 1642-3. To have been a juror means he was then an approved resident of the town and probably a freeman of Wethersfield, if not also of the Connecticut Colony. Unfortunately, the earliest land records at Wethersfield begin in 1640. On June 18, 1645 the first land was recorded to John at Wethersfield, being his purchase of the Richard Wescott homestead [Stiles' Ancient Wethersfield].

In the interim, by mid-1643 John m. Mary Foote (eldest child b. Mar. 1643/4), dau. of the immigrant Nathaniel Foote of Wethersfield, grocer. [Savage errs stating they married in 1642 by mistating the birth of the first child, dau. Mary, as being on May 12, 1643 when it was Mar. 12, 1643/4].

Leonard Chester built the first grist mill at Wethersfield in 1637 and d. at Wethersfield on Dec. 11, 1648. In September of 1648 two men were under contract to purchase Chester's mill, but it subsequently came under the ownership of John Stoddard. In October 1660, the town of Wethersfield voted to purchase from John, "his mill, with the land and the appurtenances thereto," for 27. The town purchased the mill but then released it back to John in 1661. In January 1662, John conveyed the mill, with twenty acres of land, to John Chester, son of Leonard who had built the mill in 1637. Whether this signifies that John Stoddard was a miller, or that he was only acting as a real estate investor, is unknown.

In 1662, John Stoddard purchased the property at Pennywise of the former Wethersfield resident, Lieut. Thomas Tracy, who since 1659 had relocated to Norwich, Conn. Pennywise Island consisted of 9 acres in the Connecticut River off the northeast corner of the town of Wethersfield, the mainland to the west of the island also referred to as Pennywise. The northern boundary of Pennywise was the fenced boundary line between the towns of Hartford & Wethersfield. By 1650 the mainland area of Pennywise had been divided into 14 homesteads of an average of 3-4 acres each. Over the course of time Pennywise Island eroded and what remained joined to Wethersfield's mainland. Unfortunately, the land Stoddard purchased from Tracy in 1662 has for nearly the past 300 years been at the bottom of the Connecticut River.

Another memorialist of John Stoddard infers that Pennywise in Wethersfield is one and the same as Hartford's South Meadow, providing an image of a memorial to the latter place at what was the approximate location of the South Meadow's "South Gate." Hartford's South Meadow was strictly reserved for the grazing of cattle and the raising of feed crops, and only by its proprietary owners, all of whom were land owners of the Town of Hartford. The present memorialist would cite one of many records available on this point.

At the Dec. 1684 meeting of the Town of Hartford: "the Towne, considering that there is a parcell of land in the sowth meadow that is parcelled out & let to Seuerall persons yearly which brings no aduantage to the Towne, The Towne therefore by a vnanimous vote this day ordered that the sayd land shall be measured by the Towne measurer's & when the exact quantity of it is known it shall by Ens. Nath(aniel) Standly & mr (Cyprian) Niccols be equally diuided, & it shall be setled & is hereby setled the one halfe upon the first church in Hartford & the other halfe upon the second church now in Hartford to be to them & their successor foreuer to help towards the maintenance of the Ministry in the respectiue churches. when the land is layd out by ens: Standly, & mr Niccolls, major Tallcot is to haue the choyse In behalfe of the first church & then it is to be recorded to the sd churches & their successor foreuer." [Hartford Town Votes, Vol. 1:212.]

The only connection between the South Meadow in the Town of Hartford and Pennywise in the Town of Wethersfield is that in ancient times they abutted each other at the mutual town line.

John Stoddard died intestate in December 1664; his estate inventory taken on Dec. 20, 1664 totalled 407-08-00. Six children are named in the inventory: Mary age 21 years, John 19, Josiah [sic Joshua] 16, Mercy 12, Elizabeth 8, and Nathaniel 4 years of age. Administration of the estate was granted to the widow Mary Stoddard on March 2, 1664/5. [Manwaring: Hart. Prob. Dist., Vol. 1:241-2, citing Probate Vol. III:40.]

John Stoddard and Mary Foote had the following children at Wethersfield:

i. Mary Stoddard, b. Mar. 12, 1643/4, d. Aug. 23, 1683, 40; m. Dec. 10, 1663 at Wethersfield as his first wife, Dea. Joseph Wright, s. of Thomas Wright, Esq. & Mary Cranbrook, b. Mar. 5, 1639/40. Seven children of the family. See also Mercy Stoddard below.

ii. John Stoddard, Jr., b. Apr. 12, 1646, d. Dec. 4, 1703, 58; m. May 26, 1674 at Wethersfield, Elizabeth Curtis, dau. of Thomas & Elizabeth Curtis, b. circa 1651 at Wethersfield and d. on Dec. 3, 1709. Eight children of the family.

iii. Caleb Wright, twin, b. Sept. 12, 1648; d. before his father as he is not named as living in the Dec. 20, 1664 inventory of his father's estate. [Stiles in Ancient Wethersfield errantly switchs Caleb with his twin brother Joshua below as being the husband of Bethiah Smith].

iv. Joshua Stoddard, twin of Caleb, d. before Sept. 7, 1725, the date his will written in 1703 was probated. His estate was ordered to be distributed to his siblings on Mar. 1, 1725/6. He m. of record on Aug. 15, 1680 at Wethersfield, Bethiah Smith, dau. of Richard. Bethia d. at Wethersfield betw. Apr 19 and 28, 1725, leaving a verbal will requesting her estate be distributed to her siblings or their heirs. Joshua & Bethia apparently had no children. See further below in Joshua's sister Elizabeth.

v. Mercy Stoddard, b. Nov. 1652, d. Jan. 2, 1714/5, 63; m. Mar. 10, 1684/5 at Wethersfield, her widowed brother-in-law, Dea. Joseph Wright, formerly the husband of Mercy's sister Mary. He d. at Wethersfield on Dec. 17, 1714, 75. Two children of the family.

vi. Elizabeth Stoddard, b. July 1656. In her brother Joshua's 1726 estate distribution is the following: "Order to dist. to brothers and sisters, vizt., to the heirs of John Stoddard decd., to the heirs of Nathaniel Stoddard decd., to the heirs of Elizabeth Wright decd., to the heirs of Mary Wright decd." Excluding Elizabeth for the moment, by 1726 all of Joshua's known siblings were dead, but the distribution does not include to the heirs of Mercy (Stoddard) Wright, also then deceased, whose two children were alive and well in 1726. The abstract of Joshua Stoddard's estate clearly says the heirs of "Elizabeth Wright" and others writing on the Stoddard family cite "Nathaniel Goodwin says Elizabeth m. --- Wright." There is no member of the Wethersfield Wright family of a comparable age to Elizabeth that cannot be accounted for, or that had a wife named Elizabeth whose maiden name is unknown, or in which persons with the surname Wright appear in the records without known parents. The memorialist believes the name Elizabeth in Joshua Stoddard's estate record is a mistake, and should have been written as "to the heirs of Mercy Wright, decd." Elizabeth was alive in Dec. 1664 at 8 years of age but when she died is unknown; it is unlikely that she died married with children.

vii. Nathaniel Stoddard, b. Mar. 1660/1, d. Feb. 9, 1714/5 at Wethersfield, 54 (g.s.); m. 1) at an unknown date and place, Mary Marshall, who d. Jan. 17, 1692/3; m. 2) Dec. 7, 1693 at Wethersfield, Eunice Standish, dau. of Thomas Standish & Susanna Smith (Richard), who d. Aug. 5, 1716. One child by first wife Mary, three by second wife Eunice.
Family links: 
  Mary Foote Tracy (1623 - 1685)*
  Mary Stoddard Wright (1644 - 1683)*
  John Stoddard (1646 - 1703)*
  Joshua Stoddard (1648 - 1726)*
  Mercy Stoddard Wright (1652 - 1715)*
  Nathaniel Stoddard (1661 - 1715)*
*Calculated relationship
At the time of John's death the Wethersfield Village Cemetery was the only cemetery at Wethersfield. If he had a gravestone by 1899 it no longer existed.
Wethersfield Village Cemetery
Hartford County
Connecticut, USA
Created by: Don Blauvelt
Record added: Feb 19, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 48358736
John Stoddard, Sr
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- Linda Morice
 Added: Apr. 9, 2013

- Carrie Portlance
 Added: Nov. 22, 2012
 Added: Jun. 7, 2012
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