|Death: ||Dec., 1664|
The origins of the Wethersfield, Conn. immigrant John Stoddard are unknown, including where and when he was born and the identity of his parents. There is no document that states his age while a resident of Wethersfield and no record states his age at death.
[Note: Sgt. John Stoddard's genealogical sketch in Stiles' Ancient Wethersfield (2:684-5), hereafter "Stiles", was badly edited for publication and includes material errors.]
John Stoddard was at Wethersfield prior to 1643. The first record of him concerns appointment as a juror Mar. 2, 1642-3 at the Conn. Colony Particular Court [Conn. Pub. Rec., 1:81 as John "Stedder."] To have been a juror means he was then an approved resident of the town and probably a freeman of the town, if not also of the Connecticut Colony. Unfortunately, the earliest land records at Wethersfield begin in 1640. On June 18, 1645 the first parcel of land at Wethersfield recorded to John was his purchase of the Richard Wescott homestead [Stiles].
By mid-1643 John Stoddard m. Mary Foote (eldest child b. Mar. 12, 1643/4), dau. of the immigrant Nathaniel Foote of Wethersfield, grocer. [Savage errs stating they married in 1642 by misstating the birth of the first child, dau. Mary, as May 12, 1643 when the correct date was Mar. 12, 1643/4, as verified by John's estate inventory].
Leonard Chester built the first grist mill at Wethersfield in 1637 and d. at Wethersfield Dec. 11, 1648. In September 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 then leased 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 was a miller is unknown.
In 1662, John Stoddard purchased the Pennywise property of former Wethersfield resident, Lieut. Thomas Tracy, who in 1659 relocated to Norwich, Conn. (Lieut. Tracy would become the 3rd husband of Sgt. John Stoddard's widow Mary.) Pennywise Island consisted of 9 acres in the Connecticut River off the northeast corner of Wethersfield, the mainland west of the island was also referred to as Pennywise. The northern boundary of Pennywise was the fenced boundary line between the town of Hartford and Wethersfield. By 1650 Pennywise Island had been divided into 14 homesteads each of 3-4 acres in size. Over the course of time Pennywise Island eroded and its remnant became adjoined to the town'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 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 raising of feed crops by Hartford's proprietary owners. The present writer cites one of many records available on this point, with modernized spelling.
• At the Dec. 1684 meeting of the Town of Hartford: "the Town, considering that there is a parcel of land in the south meadow that is parceled out & let to Several persons yearly which brings no advantage to the Town, The Town therefore by a unanimous vote this day ordered that the said land shall be measured by the Town measurers & when the exact quantity of it is known it shall by Ens. Nathaniel Standly [Stanley] & Mr Niccols [Cyprian Nichols, the present writer's ancestor] be equally divided, & it shall be settled & is hereby settled the one half upon the first church in Hartford & the other half upon the second church now in Hartford to be to them & their successor forever to help towards the maintenance of the Ministry in the respective churches. When the land is laid out by Ens. Standly, & Mr Niccols, Major Talcott is to have the choice in behalf of the first church & then it is to be recorded to the said churches & their successor forever." [Hartford Town Votes, 1:212.]
The only connection between Hartford's ancient South Meadow and Pennywise in the Town of Wethersfield is that they abutted each other at their mutual town line. However, the South Meadow Gate was located at the northwest entrance to said meadow, south of present-day downtown Hartford, not at the Hartford-Wethersfield town line. The gate was literally out the back door of the homestead of Cyprian Nichols, who owned the 3rd house south of Little River (aka, the Hog and now the underground Park River through the middle of original downtown Hartford), said river the historic dividing line between the north and south sides of Hartford.
John Stoddard died intestate in December 1664; his estate inventory, taken Dec. 20, 1664, totaled £407-08-00. Six children are named in the inventory as abstracted by Manwaring. However, Manwaring did not provide the full written entry in the original inventory on file. The original written entries provide the basis of when the youngest three children were born, who do not have a birth record in the printed Wethersfield records. Manwaring also misread the name of Joshua as Josiah in the inventory.[*1] Administration was granted to the widow Mary Stoddard Mar. 2, 1664/5. [Manwaring: Hart. Prob. Dist., 1:241-2, citing Probate Vol. III:40.]
John Stoddard and Mary Foote had the following children at Wethersfield. Only the eldest four have recorded birth dates in the printed Wethersfield records:
• i. Mary Stoddard, b. Mar. 12, 1643/4, d. Aug. 23, 1683, Æ 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 marriage. See also v. Mercy Stoddard below.
• ii. John Stoddard, Jr., b. Apr. 12, 1646, d. Dec. 4, 1703, Æ 58; m. May 26, 1674 at Wethersfield, Elizabeth Curtis, dau. of Thomas & Elizabeth Curtis, b. circa 1651 at Wethersfield. She purportedly d. Dec. 3, 1709 at Wethersfield, NOT in 1761 at Wallingford, Conn. [Stiles]. Eight children of the family.
• iii. Caleb Wright, twin, b. Sept. 12, 1648; d. before Dec. 20, 1664, the date of his father's estate inventory and may not have even reached the age of 16. He is not included in the names of his father's living children on the latter date. Stiles errantly switched Caleb with twin brother Joshua below as the husband of Bethiah Smith. Stiles also claimed that Caleb drew land at Wethersfield in a 1694 allotment [2:685]. However, at 1:303 Stiles correctly names twin brother Joshua Stoddard as the person who was allotted land in 1694.
• iv. Joshua Stoddard, twin of Caleb, b. Sept. 12, 1648 and d. before Sept. 7, 1725, the date his September 1703 [not 1723 per Stiles] written will was probated. Because of the irregularity of how Joshua's will was handled between 1703 and 1725, the will was not approved by the probate court. Instead, because wife Bethiah was now dead, Joshua's estate was ordered to be distributed to his sibling's heirs Mar. 1, 1725/6. He m. of record Aug. 15, 1680 at Wethersfield, Bethiah Smith, dau. of Richard Smith of Wethersfield. 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 and Bethia had no known children.
• v. Mercy Stoddard, b. Nov. 1652, d. Jan. 2, 1714/5, Æ 63; m. Mar. 10, 1684/5 at Wethersfield, her widowed brother-in-law, Dea. Joseph Wright, formerly husband of Mercy's sister Mary. He d. at Wethersfield Dec. 17, 1714, Æ 75. Two children of the marriage, sons Benjamin and Nathaniel.
• vi. Elizabeth Stoddard, b. July 1656. In her brother Joshua's 1726 handwritten inventory record on file, not Manwaring's abstract, the distribution includes, in abbreviated form:
"To the heirs of John Stodard one of the brothers of ye said Joshua Stodard decd...we set...two parcels of land; to the heirs of Nathaniel Stodard, one of the brothers of said Joshua Stodard decd...we set...two parcels of land; to the heirs of Elizabeth Wright, sister to Joshua Stodard Decd...we set...one parcel of land; to the heirs of Mary Wright another sister to Joshua Stodard decd...we set...three parcels of land." Excluding "Elizabeth Wright" for the moment, by 1726 all of Joshua Stoddard's siblings were dead, but the distribution does not include the heirs of Mercy (Stoddard) Wright, also deceased, the 2nd wife of Dea. Joseph Wright, whose two sons Benjamin and Nathaniel were alive and well in 1726. Others writing on the Stoddard family cite "Nathaniel Goodwin says Elizabeth m. --- Wright." However, there is no male member of the Wright family of Wethersfield of comparable age who had a wife named Elizabeth, either as a first or subsequent marriage, whose family origin is not otherwise known. The present writer believes the name Elizabeth in Joshua Stoddard's distribution record is a mistake for Mercy, and should have been written "to the heirs of Mercy Wright..." Elizabeth was alive in Dec. 1664 at 8 years of age, but when she died is unknown and no marriage record can be found for her.
• vii. Nathaniel Stoddard, b. Mar. 1660/1, d. Feb. 9, 1714/5 at Wethersfield, Æ 54 (g.s.); m. 1) on an unrecorded date probably at Hartford, Conn., Mary Marshall, b. of record May 10, 1670 at Hartford, dau. of Thomas of Hartford, d. Jan. 17, 1692/3; m. 2) Dec. 7, 1693 at Wethersfield, Eunice Standish, dau. of Thomas Standish & Susanna Smith (dau. of Richard), who d. Aug. 5, 1716. One child by first wife Mary, three by second wife Eunice.
[*1] At bottom left of the original handwritten estate inventory on file, dated "20th of December 1664."
Impr: The children
• The eldest, Mary Stoddard one and twenty yeares the [next] march 1664 ano 60 [and] 5 [i.e., was to be 21 in Mar. 1664/5, verifying her true date of birth as Mar. 12, 1643/4, not simply Mar. 12, 1643 per the printed vital records]
• John the eldest sun 19 yeares the aprill next 1665
• Jofua [Manwaring misread as Josiah] the next, 16 yeares Septtember lafte 1664
• Marcy the next, 12 years lafte nouember 1664 [i.e., b. Nov. 1656]
• Elesabeth the next, 8 yeares lafte July 1664 [i.e., b. July 1658]
• Nathanill the next, 4 yeares ould the march ye 1664:60 [and] 5 [i.e., b. Mar. 1660/1]
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)*
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
Created by: Don Blauvelt
Record added: Feb 19, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 48358736