The now and then postings of the discoveries and contributions of the Miller and Bechtold families .

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

John Webster, Governor of Connecticut

Our 9G Grandfather Governor John Webster 1590 - 1661

from a long line of Websters, (Matthew, John, John, John, William, John: Born 1430 in Syston, Devonshire, England.)

Birth: Aug. 16, 1590
Death: Apr. 5, 1661
Hampshire County
Massachusetts, USA

John Webster served as the Governor of the Colony of Connecticut in 1656. He was born on August 16, 1590 in Cossington, Leicestershire, England to Matthew Webster and Elizabeth Ashton. He married Agnes Smith November 7, 1609 in Cossington. They had five children prior to immigrating to New England in the early 1630's and two more after their arrival. They first settled in Watertown, Massachusetts and moved to Hartford, Connecticut in 1636, as one of the original landowners in Hartford. He held significant public offices including: Assistant to the General Court of the Colony of Connecticut from 1639 to 1655; Commissioner to the United Colonies of New England, 1654; Deputy Governor, Colony of Connecticut, 1655; Governor, Colony of Connecticut, 1656; Chief Magistrate, Colony of Connecticut, 1657; and Magistrate, Hadley, Massachusetts, 1660. He was one of the leading members of the First Congregational Church of Hartford. A religious dispute arose and John Webster was among the dissenting group. This ultimately led to a group leaving Hartford in 1859 for Massachusetts with John Webster as one of the leaders. He first settled in Northampton and later moved to Hadley, where he became a magistrate. He died of a fever on April 5, 1661. His wife, Agnes, returned to Hartford where she died in 1667.

Family links:
  Anne Webster Marsh (1621 - 1662)*  This is our Direct Ancestor also

  Agnes Smith Webster (1585 - 1655)* This is his wife, our 9G Grandmother

*Point here for explanation
Old Hadley Cemetery 
Hampshire County
Massachusetts, USA

John Webster (governor)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Webster

In office
1656 – 1657
Preceded byThomas Welles (1656)
Succeeded byJohn Winthrop, Jr. (1657)

BornAugust 9, 1590
Cossington, Leicestershire,England
DiedApril 5, 1661 (aged 70)
Hadley, Massachusetts
Spouse(s)Agnes Smith
John Webster (August 9, 1590 – April 5, 1661) was governor of the Colony of Connecticut in 1656.
Webster was born in Cossington, Leicestershire, England, the son of Matthew Webster (1548–1623) and his wife, Elizabeth Ashton. He entered the Massachusetts Bay Colony with his wife and five children in the early 1630s, settling in the area of Newtowne (now Cambridge, Massachusetts). He left for Suckiaug, Connecticut (now Hartford) in 1636, in all probability with Thomas Hooker and his adherents. His first public office was as a member of a committee that joined with the Court of Magistrates in determining the course of war with the Pequot Indians. According to the records at the time, he was chosen from 1639 to 1655 to be magistrate, in 1655 he was chosen as Deputy Governor of the Colony of Connecticut, governor of the Colony of Connecticut in 1656, and first magistrate from 1657 to 1659.
A split amongst the church members in Hartford grew when the current reverend at the First Church in Hartford, Samuel Stone, declared that the requirement that stated only parents that had both taken communion should be allowed to have a child baptized would be removed, and non-communicants would be allowed to vote. John Webster, among others, were a part of a council that agreed that this was not acceptable. Reverend Stone chose to ignore this sentiment, and the issue was taken up with the General Court in Massachusetts. The Court ruled that although Reverend Stone had been too strict in ignoring the majority of his parishioners, he was right in liberalizing the baptism ritual. It was also found that those who disagreed with the reverend could remove themselves to a location in Massachusetts to practice how they saw fit. This eventual location chosen was Hadley, Massachusetts, and in 1659, a new community was built there. John Webster only enjoyed it for less than two years, for in the year 1661 he contracted a fever and died.


Webster married Agnes Smith (born 29 August 1585 in Cossington, Leicestershire, England) on 7 November 1609 at Cossington. She died in Hadley, Massachusetts in 1667. They had nine children (five of whom were born in England, and four in the Colony):
  • Matthew (born about 11 February 1608/1609), married Sarah Waterbury and Mary Reeve
  • Margaret (born about 21 February 1609/1610 married William Bolton and Thomas Hunt
  • William (born 26 December 1614) married Mary Reeve
  • Thomas (born 24 November 1616) married Abigail Alexander
  • Robert (born 17 November 1619) married Susanna Treat
  • Anne (born 29 July 1621) married John Marsh [Our line goes on from here]*******
  • Elizabeth (born 16 March 1622/1623) married William Markham
  • Mary (born 30 March 1623) married Jonathan Hunt
  • Faith (born 8 April 1627, died 10 days later).
His descendants are numerous, and include lexicographer Noah Webster.


John Webster (born about 1434 in Syston, Lincolnshire England) is the first person that is known to be the direct ancestor of the Webster family in America.
William (1460 - 1538) is his only known child.

William Webster, son of John Webster, became a freeman of Leicester in 1502/3. He was a butcher and this enabled him to sell his meat in Leicester without paying a heavy toll. It also laid upon him responsibilities, notably those of fair trading and of contributing a reasonable amount of the borough expenses. His eldest son, John, took up his freedom in 1509/10. He paid the Lay Subsidy in Syston in 1524 and his name appears on the Musters there in 1540.
William Webster's spouse is unknown.
John (1485 - before 1558) is William Webster's only known child.

John Webster, son of William Webster, became tenant, under the priory of Ulverscroft, County of Leicester, of a farm in Cossington in 1535, and in 1544 went to court over it. His opponents, Thomas and William Chamberlain (probably his friends - they later were witnesses to the will of Emett Webster, John's widow), joined him in a collusive suit to secure his title. In 1554 John bought the house and farm. His name appears twice in the churchwardens' accounts: in 1545 he paid rent for a piece of land and in 1549 he held the office of churchwarden.
John married Emett Welle (circa 1486 - 20 Mar 1557/8) and they had five children. After his death, sometime before 1558, Emett married John Smith and had one other son (John Smith).
Children of John and Emett (Welle) Webster;
  • William; 1509
  • John II; 1510
  • Agnes; 1516
  • Ellen; 1514
  • Alice; 1512

John Webster II, second son of John Webster, appears in the Cossington churchwardens' accounts and is shown paying his mother's legacy, collecting a levy and doing business for the village at Stamford. Stamford is about thirty miles from Cossington and, with a laden wagon on the roads of that time, took three days. Also, Isabell, the "goodwyfe Webster," was responsible for the church's washing.
In 1572 John Webster was taxed 6s/8d for the lay subsidy; his brother William, at Thrussington, paid twice as much, which suggests that he had received an eldest son's portion from John I. William Webster became a freeman of Leicester, possibly for the second time, in 1576, and he was still living in 1585.
John married Isabell Kythin (born about 1513) and in 1535 they had a son, John III.
John II died 24 June 1575.

John Webster III was prosperous businessman; the accounts show that he ranked extra land and that the parish taxed him quite highly. He became an important man in the village and his name appears next after the squire and the parson in the articles of agreement made in 1585.
John III married Isabel Rynzza (born about 1539) about 1558. Isabel died in childbed within a year and he remarried to Alice Olven in 1560.
John III died 11 October 1594.
Children of John III and Alice (Olven) Webster;
  • Eme; 8 Aug 1560 - Aug 1560 (Died as Infant)
  • Eleanor
  • Elizabeth
  • Matthew; circa 1564
  • John
  • Margaret
  • Humphrey
  • Emett; 1573 - 1574/5 (Died as Infant)

Matthew Webster, son of John Webster III, married Elizabeth Ashton (born about 1566) in 1587. His father gave one third of his farm to the couple, with the remainder to come to them and their children after his death. Matthew and his father were probably partners before the marriage, for in 1586 they both paid 1s/4d for the tax called "the fifteene."
Matthew Webster died 13 September 1592. His will appears to have been made hurriedly and was witnessed by his father-in-law (John Ashton), the squire and the parson. John III, Matthew's father, died two years later.
Children of Mathew and Elizabeth (Ashton) Webster;
  • John; 9 Aug 1590
  • Faith
  • Annis

The first Webster family migration to America

(1st generation in America)
John Webster, son of Matthew and Elizabeth (Ashton) Webster, was born 9 August 1590 in Cossington, Leicestershire, England. He grew up a farmer and worked several different properties inherited from his father. On 7 November 1609 he married Agnes Smith (born 29 August 1585) and she brought additional lands inherited from her father to the marriage. She was the only child of Robert and Agnes Julocke (Wraske) Smith and was 5 years older than her husband. John Webster (a Congregationalist) was an active member of All Saints Church in Cossington where he held the office of Churchwarden in 1618 and 1630.
John sold all of their holdings in Cossington (three houses one cottage, various small closes, about one hundred acres of arable land, and considerable grazing rights) for £1200 and, on 11 June 1634, sailed to America. The cost of passage for the entire family was £200 and the remaining £1000 made them one of the wealthiest of the migrating families.
The family entered the Massachusetts Bay Colony and settled in the area of Newtowne (now Cambridge), Massachusetts. They left for Suckiaug (now Hartford), Connecticut in 1636 in all probability with his friend Thomas Hooker and his adherents.
John's first public office was as a member of a committee that joined with the Court of Magistrates in determining the course of war with the Pequot Indians. He was a magistrate from 1639 to 1655, Deputy Governor of Connecticut in 1655, Governor of Connecticut in 1656, and first magistrate from 1657 to 1659.
Samuel Stone, leader of the the First Church in Hartford, caused a split among the church members when he declared that the requirement that stated only parents that had both taken communion should be allowed to have a child baptized would be removed, and non-communicants would be allowed to vote. John Webster was a member of a council that found this ruling unacceptable, but Reverend Stone chose to ignore this sentiment, and the issue was taken up with the General Court in Massachusetts. The court ruled that although Reverend Stone had been too strict in ignoring the majority of his parishioners, he was right in liberalizing the baptism ritual and that those who disagreed with the ruling could remove themselves to another location to worship in the way that they saw fit.
In 1659, in response to the court's ruling, John Webster helped build the new community of Hadley, Massachusetts. Two years later, on 5 April 1661, he died from a fever and was buried in Hadley. Agnes (Smith) Webster died in 1667.
Children of Governor John and Agnes (Smith) Webster;
  • Elizabeth;
    m. William Markham, 1658
  • Matthew; before 1616 - July 16, 1675
  • William; about 1617 - 1688;
    m. Mary Reeve, 1671
  • Robert; 17 Nov 1619 - 31 May 1676
  • Mary; b. about 1620 - before 1659
  • Anne; 29 Jul 1621 - 09 Jun 1662
  • Thomas; about 1643 - about Oct 1686

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