John Bissell Sr.

John Bissell Sr.

Death 3 Oct 1677 (aged 85)
Windsor, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA
Burial Windsor, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA
Memorial ID 5091692 · View Source
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John Bissell, purportedly bapt. Oct. 30, 1591 in England. His gravestone indirectly says he was b. after Oct. 3, 1591. He d. testate at Windsor, Conn. Oct. 3, 1677 (g.s., Æ 86.) He was twice married, but the name of each wife remains unknown.

Stile's first version of his History of Ancient Windsor (1859) contains a poor outline of the structure of the Bissell family of Windsor, Conn. He gave John Bissell only one wife in that version. Savage, Hinman, Cutter and others also misrepresent the initial Bissell family structure.

Stiles' more familiar second version of his "Ancient Windsor," in two volumes (1891 and 1893), does not correct the errors made more than thirty years earlier in 1859. He continued to give the immigrant only one wife in Vol. II (1893 Genealogies). However, in Vol. I (1891 History) he added a reference contained in the 1662 deed to son Nathaniel of his housing at present East Windsor that proves the immigrant had two wives.

John Bissell, the immigrant, had six known children, all by his first unnamed wife who d. of record at Windsor, Conn. May 21, 1641. According to the Matthew Grant Records, the longtime town clerk of early Windsor, Grant was aware of only one child born to the immigrant at Windsor, and as only John's youngest son is recorded at Windsor prior to the death of his first wife, there were no children by his unnamed second wife.

Some writers give the first wife the name of Mary and still others claim she was Mary Drake. For a comprehensive discussion regarding the identify, or absence of proven identity, of John Bissell's first wife, see the link to her.

John Bissell's second wife d. of record at Windsor Mar. 29, 1665 ["the wife of John Biffell senor dyed"]. Per Stiles in 1891, in 1662 when John Bissell was in excess of 70 years old he gave to youngest son Nathaniel his housing at present-day East Windsor:

• "in part of his portion of his marriage," a part of his land and house "at Scantuck," on the E. side of the Conn. River with provision for the remainder at his father's death...Nathaniel doubtless resided on the river bank, below the Scantic, from the time of his marriage. This home was garrisoned at the time of King Philip's War. John Bissell, Senr, evidently died here, having made provision for his second wife, stipulating that Nathaniel should give "his now present mother-in-law [i.e., stepmother], if she is willing and choose to have the use [of] the parlor for her abode," it should be granted. (History of Ancient Windsor, 1891, Vol. I, p. 152.)

The aforementioned death of the immigrant's second wife has been consistently confused as the date of death of the wife of John Bissell, Jr. This caused Stiles to give John junior an unnamed second wife as the mother of his youngest children. John Bissell junior's wife, Israel Mason, outlived her husband. This error is more fully outlined in the Israel (Mason) Bissell memorial page.

The earliest in which the immigrant John Bissell appears at Windsor is in the record of youngest son Nathaniel's birth at Windsor, on Sept. 24, 1640. The earliest in which he appears in the Conn. Public Records is as a juryman in Sept. 1641. He was a juryman for numerous sessions of the Particular Court during the mid-1640s until he was elected a deputy to the Conn. Court from Windsor in Sept. 1648. He served as a deputy from Windsor almost continuously until 1656.

While some claim John held the title of Capt., he was relieved of the requirement for military training by the Conn. Court in April 1645, when he was about 53 years old. Unless one wishes to attach the title of Capt. to a public ferryman, there is no record of any military rank for the immigrant in the Windsor or Conn. records. Also, none of his sons reached the rank of Capt. during their lifetime.

On Jan. 5, 1641/2 Windsor was provided the right to operate a ferry across the Conn. River. However, not until Jan. 1648/9 was John Bissell, Sr. granted exclusive right to operate the Windsor ferry for the ensuing seven years (Conn. PR, Vol. I, p. 174-5). This right was extended annually beginning in May 1656 until eldest son John Bissell, Jr. was granted exclusive rights to operate the ferry in Mar. 1657/8 for the ensuing 10 years. This was followed in May 1677 by the immigrant's youngest son Nathaniel granted the right of operation for the ensuing 7 years.

Manwaring's abstract of John Bissell's estate, citing Hartford Probate District vol. 3:194 is:

• John Bissell of Windsor. Inventory of £520-16-03 taken Oct. 22, 1677 by Daniel Clarke, Benjamin Newbery and Return Strong. Will dated Sept. 25, 1673:
• I John Bissell of Windsor doe make this my last Will & Testament:
• I give to my daughter Mary, the wife of Jacob Drake, £10;
• to my daughter Joyce, wife of Samuel Pinney, £30.
• I give to my son John £50.
• The remainder of my estate after my just debts and funeral charges are paid, with 20 shillings apiece to each of my grandchildren naturally descending from my four sons and two daughters, I bequeath to my four sons John, Thomas, Samuel, and Nathaniel.
• The remainder of my estate to be equally divided.
• I appoint my sons John and Thomas Bissell to be executors.
• I desire Deacon John Moore and Daniel Clark to be supervisors......JOHN X BISSELL LS.
John Moore sen.,
Daniel Clarke.
• Court Record, Page 165--6 December, 1677: Will approved.

The children of John Bissell, Sr. and his unnamed first wife, the order uncertain, are:

• i. Mary Bissell, b. circa 1631 in England, d. testate Sept. 11, 1689 at Windsor, Conn.; m. Apr. 12, 1649 at Windsor, Sgt. Jacob Drake, s. of John Drake & Elizabeth Rogers, b. circa 1624 in England. He d. testate at Windsor, Conn. Aug. 6, 1689. They had no known children.

• ii. Lieut., also referred to as Cornet, John Bissell, Jr., b. circa 1633 in England, d. intestate before Oct. 15, 1688 at an undefined place in the Province of New York while in the King's service; m. June 17, 1658 at Windsor, Israel Mason of Saybrook, Conn., dau. of Maj. John Mason and his unnamed first wife, b. circa 1637-38 prob. at Windsor. She d. after Mar. 15, 1693/4. Nine children of the family.

• iii. Quartermaster Thomas Bissell, b. circa 1635 in England, d. testate at Windsor July 31, 1689; m. Oct. 11, 1655 at Windsor, Abigail Moore, dau. of Dea. John and Abigail Moore, b. after after Feb. 21, 1641 [Old Style] at Windsor. Twelve children of the family, three dying in infancy. The widow Abigail m. (2) on Dec 17, 1691 at Windsor, George Sanders, who d. Dec 5, 1697 at Windsor, and by whom were born no children. Abigail d. in Windsor Feb. 21, 1725 [Old Style], Æ 84 (g.s.)

• iv. Samuel Bissell, b. circa 1637 in England, d. testate at Windsor Dec. 3, 1700; m. 1) June 11, 1658 at Windsor, Abigail Holcomb, dau. of Thomas and Elizabeth Holcomb, bapt. Jan. 6, 1638/9 at Windsor, Conn. She d. at Windsor Aug. 17, 1688. Nine children of the family. Samuel m. 2) after Aug. 1688, Mary Buell, dau. of William Buell and Mary Post, and widow of Simon Mills, latter who d. intestate at Simsbury, Conn. July 6, 1683. There were no children by this marriage, Mary having ten children by her first husband. She d. testate at Windsor, Conn. June 24, 1718.

• v. Joyce Bissell, b. circa 1639 in England, d. after Sept. 8, 1689 when named on that date as living in her sister Mary's will; m. Nov. 17, 1665 at Windsor, Samuel Pinney, s. of Humphrey Pinney and Mary Hull, b. Mar. 30, 1635 at Dorchester, Mass. He d. after Dec. 13, 1689 when he was appointed one of four administrators of his sister-in-law Mary (Bissell) Drake's estate. Three children of the family. [Note: there are serious genealogical errors regarding the interpretation of the existing arched memorial in Ellington, Conn. for Samuel and wife Joyce; the duplicate memorials for Samuel are also fundamentally wrong.]

• vi. Nathaniel Bissell, b. Sept. 24 (bapt. Sept. 27), 1640 at Windsor, Conn, d. testate at Windsor Mar. 12, 1713/4; m. 1) Mindwell Moore, dau. of Dea. John and Abigail Moore, and sister of his brother Thomas Bissell's wife Abigail, b. July 10, 1643 at Windsor. She d. at Windsor Nov. 24, 1682. Nine children of the family. Nathaniel m. 2) July 4, 1683 at Windsor, Dorothy Fitch, who d. at Windsor June 28, 1691 and by whom he had two recorded children. He m. 3) on an unknown date after June 1691, Deliverance Haines, formerly the wife of 1) John Rockwell of Windsor and 2) John Warner of Middletown, Conn. She d. intestate June 12, 1718 at Middletown, Conn. There were no children by this marriage. Deliverance had seven children by her first two husbands.

Edited/revised 3/4/2019

Family Members



Heare Lyeth
The Body of Iohn
Bissell Deceased-
October the: 3: 1677
in the 86 Yeare of
his Age.

On the day that John died he was 85 years old, and Ætatis suæ (i.e., Æ, "Aged," in the XX year of his Age) 86, inferring that John was b. AFTER Oct. 3, 1591.

  • Maintained by: Don Blauvelt
  • Originally Created by: Grant
  • Added: 5 Nov 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 5091692
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John Bissell Sr. (30 Oct 1591–3 Oct 1677), Find a Grave Memorial no. 5091692, citing Palisado Cemetery, Windsor, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA ; Maintained by Don Blauvelt (contributor 46932939) .