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Deacon George Gates, Sr
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Birth: 1634
Essex, England
Death: Nov. 12, 1724
East Haddam
Middlesex County
Connecticut, USA

George Gates was born about 1634 in England, came to New England as a youth and settled in Hartford, Connecticut under the care of Captain Nicholas Olmsted of Hartford, Connecticut. According to tradition he came to this country with an older brother, Thomas, who died at an early age, unmarried. George lived in Hartford for eleven years, from about 1652 to 1662, and was reared among the parishioners of Thomas Hooker, the prominent Puritan leader, and he was an active member of the church throughout his entire life.

George married, about 1660, Sarah Olmsted, daughter of Capt. Nicholas Olmsted and Sarah Loomis. Nicholas Olmsted was a leading man in the town of Hartford.

In the early town records of Hartford, CT the name of George Gates appears, in 1661, as chimney viewer, elected to this office at a town meeting in February of that year. Chimney-viewer is the ancient name for a fire-inspector or marshall charged with the responsibility for periodically inspecting chimneys to see that the established regulations as to construction and safety were observed. The laws of the town required that all chimneys should be cleaned and inspected at stated intervals and that a barrel of water and a ladder should be kept in a convenient place near each home.

A new settlement at Haddam was first considered in 1660 when the Connecticut General Assembly appointed a committee to survey the area and, if found suitable, to buy land there from the Indians. About two years later, on May 20, 1662, a deed from representatives of the Wangunk tribe was made, for a consideration of thirty coats, conveying lands lying along the Connecticut River, for a distance of about six miles and extending about six miles east and west from it. The soil in the middle Connecticut River Valley was much better than in most other parts of New England and settlers began occupying this land in 1662. Most of the twenty-eight original proprietors were from Hartford. The settlement was first called Thirty Mile Island, from the belief that this location was that distance from the sea, but the name Haddam, was adopted in 1668. At first, all of the settlers located in a series of adjacent lots on the west side of the Connecticut River. Each family had a home lot facing the river plus an additional lot to the west, on the other side of the common highway. George Gates's home lot contained four acres and his western lot, five acres.

George Gates was closely associated with the Haddam church from its inception. He was on the committee that authorized the establishment of a church, or "meeting house" as it was called, and he and Daniel Brainerd were chosen to go to New London to ask Mr. John James to be their minister. The first meeting house was only twenty-four by twenty-eight feet in size. For some time, the early residents of Haddam remained together on the west bank of the Connecticut River for their mutual defense against Indians. It was not until their numbers had increased that it was considered safe to divide their strength by occupying lands across the river. In 1671, it was voted that property on the east side of the river should be apportioned on the basis of twenty acres for every 100 of the estimated value of the inhabitants' estates. George Gates and another were chosen to appraise the estates. After the appraisals were made, the settlers drew lots to establish the order of selection for the new lands and George drew second choice. Between 1670 and 1685, several Haddam families, including George Gates and his family, moved east of the river and built homes in what was first called Creek Row and later, East Haddam. Other early residents of Creek Row were the Bates, Cone, Brainerd, Ackley, and Spencer families.

The East Haddam residents remained members of the Haddam church and crossed the river for church services each Sunday. In 1697 George Gates, his eldest son Joseph Gates, and Samuel Olmsted petitioned the Connecticut General Assembly for permission to establish an ecclesiastical society separate from that of Haddam. This was in protest against the settling of Rev. Jeremiah Hobart as pastor of the Haddam church. George Gates appeared in court to plead his case, but he was unsuccessful, and the two groups of settlers remained as one religious society until shortly after 1700 when those on the east side of the river were finally permitted to establish their own separate ecclesiastical society. The first meeting house in East Haddam, built in 1705 to accommodate the first few families, was only thirty-two square feet in size. In May 1734, Haddam was officially divided into two separate towns--Haddam and East Haddam--conforming to the separation of the religious societies. Until the separation of church and state in 1794, the churches served both as town meeting halls and as places of worship.

For many years after the settlement of East Haddam, the people carried their dead across the river to Haddam for burial. About 1700, icy winter conditions made the river impassable and the first burial was made near a cove on the east side of the river. This became the Cove Burial Ground, later known as Grave Yard Point, where many early members of the Gates family were buried.

George Gates was of great service to his community. Between 1668 and 1702, he attended at least fifty-two sessions of the Connecticut General Assembly as a representative for Haddam, from 1690 to 1698 was commissioner from that place, in 1698 was town clerk, and in 1701-4 was a Justice of the Peace for Hartford County. In 1688, he was appointed Ensign in command of the 9th Company of the militia. In 1689, he was appointed lieutenant of the Haddam train-band, and, in 1692, was commissioned captain, holding that position until October 14, 1697, when upon his own request, "in consideration of age and infirmities of body" he was "discharged of his Captainship." Throughout his life, George Gates was frequently asked to assist in probate matters and he was called "magistrate." The most prominent man of early Haddam, he and his descendants were town clerks for eighty-three years. He outlived all the other original Haddam settlers, dying November 12, 1724, at the age of ninety, with an estate of nearly 1500 pounds, a very large property at that time. Mrs. Sarah (Olmsted) Gates died, November 7, 1709, in East Haddam. She and her husband are buried in unmarked graves in Cove Burial Ground.

Children of George and Sarah (Olmsted) Gates born in Haddam, Middlesex, Connecticut are:

1. Joseph b 7 November 1662, d 18 Mar 1712
2. Capt Thomas b 21 January 1663/4, d 20 Apr 1734
3. John b 5 April 1668, d 4 Oct 1742
4. Sarah b 16 March 1669/70, d abt 1712
5. Mary b 16 March 1673/4, d 12 May 1742
6. George born 16 August 16, 1677. His father provided for his care in a deed to Samuel, from which it appears he was concerned that he could not take care of himself. He probably never married.
7. Deacon Daniel b 4 May 1680, d 24 Nov 1761
8. Samuel b 8 November 1681, d 31 Jul 1737
 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Thomas Gates (1593 - ____)
  Elizabeth Weedon Gates (1602 - ____)
 
 Spouse:
  Sarah Olmsted Gates (1641 - 1709)
 
 Children:
  Joseph Gates (1662 - 1712)*
  Thomas Gates (1663 - 1734)*
  John Gates (1668 - 1742)*
  Sarah Gates Fuller (1670 - 1712)*
  Mary Gates Cone (1673 - 1742)*
  George Gates (1677 - ____)*
  Daniel Gates (1680 - 1761)*
  Samuel Gates (1681 - 1737)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Old Cove Burying Ground
East Haddam
Middlesex County
Connecticut, USA
Plot: Unmarked Grave
 
Maintained by: Becky G
Originally Created by: Dave Rame
Record added: Feb 05, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 13237316
Deacon George Gates, Sr
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Anonymous
 
 
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In honor of my 9th great-grandfather...
- Cherie_in_OC
 Added: Sep. 18, 2015

- Diane Lynn P.
 Added: Jun. 27, 2015

- EmilyEm
 Added: Feb. 6, 2015
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