Note: * m Abigail Wheelwright; CNW says this is an error and that he m Abigail Mitchell, a dau. of Matthew Mitchell; other books do not agree with this * graduate of the University of Cambridge, England 1632, episcopally ordained at Newark, England, preached in Yorkshire, England * settled in Boston, MA 1639, then Lynn, MA, * first minister of Southampton, LI, NY 1640 * after becoming "dissatisfied" with the church/government, he moved to Branford, CT 1644 * In 1664 Charles II granted "New Netherlands", (territory that included Branford,) to his brother, the Duke of York. Not wanting to be governed by England, Rev Pierson and his followers were so "displeased," they left Branford and settled in Newark, NJ * was a founding father of New Ark, NJ agreed to form a common township (2/Branford); October 30, 1966 * first minister of Newark, NJ * History of Long Island p 159 -161 * Connecticut Genealogy p 524 -525 * History of the Colony of New Haven, CT, by Edward E Atwater, p 603- 605 * The Pierson Family p 2 * Pioneer Settlers, with Genealogical Notices. (By Samuel H. Congar.): REV. ABRAHAM PIERSON, Pearson, or Person, was of Yorkshire; bred at Trinity College, Cambridge; grad. 1632; came to Boston 1640; joined the church 5th Sept.; was minister of' the church gathered in Lynn, Mass., in 1640 to go and settle at Southampton; from thence in 1647 went to Branford. At Lynn he had Abraham b. 1641; at Southampton, Thomas, John, and Abigail; at Branford, Grace b. 1650, Susanna 1652, Rebecca 1654, Theophilus 1659; he had also Isaac and Mary. He has been called the founder of Newark. He d. 9 Aug., 1678; his w. date 10 Aug. 1671, n. ch. Abraham, Thomas, Theophilus, and Isaak, dau. Davenport, and Mary, and wi. Abigail. He made his will in sickness, "being firmly perswaded of ye Everlasting Welfare of my Soul's Estate; and my bodye's resurection to Eternal Life by Jesus Christ my dear and Precious redeemer." His grave is not in the highway made through the "small tract allotted for a burial place." Abigail m. John Davenport, Jr. Susanna m., in 1672, Jonathan Ball of Stamford; was his sec. wi. Grace m. Samuel Kitchell, was sec. wi. Rebecca m. Joseph Johnson.
Name: Abraham Pierson Date: 10 Aug 1671 Location: Newark Calendar of New Jersey Wills, Vol. II 1730-1750. Part II Appendix will of. Wife, Abigail. Daughters--Devenporte, Mary and two others not named. Sons--Abraham, Thomas, Theophilus, Isaac. Executors-- Jasper Crane, Robert Treat, Lieut. Swaine, brother Tomkins, brother Lawrence, brother Serjant Ward. Witness--Thomas Pierson. Proved March 12, 1678. 1678-9, March 12. Inventory made by John Ward, Michel Tompkins and Thomas Pierson (�854.17.7). 1678-9, March 18. Administration granted Abigail Pierson, the widow.
The Colony of New Haven, Connecticut
Before the English settlers and their families ventured into the lands of New Jersey, many were involved in establishing the Colony of New Haven in Connecticut. The Colony was composed of settlements in New Haven, Milford, Branford, Guilford, Southold, and Stamford. Other Conneticut and Long Island, NY settlements joined to form The Conneticut Colony. Henry Lyon, Nathaniel Bonnell, Nathaniel Tuttle, Samuel Marsh, William Meeker were among the Elizabethtown Associates who came from the town of New Haven. The original signers of the New- Ark plantation agreement were members of the towns of Branford and Milford. These members included John Baldwin, Obadiah Bruen, Jasper Crane, Abraham Pierson, Samuel Swaine, Robert Treat, John Ward Sr., and John Ward, "The Turner."
In the 1600s "Quinnipiac" was inhabited by the Quinnipiac Indian Tribe and was "claimed" by the English as part of Cabot's "discovery." It was part of a large land grant given to the Connecticut Colony by the Earl of Warwick, who Charles I had conveyed the Title of Connecticut. Warwick, a member of the House of Lords and a Puritan, was sympathetic to the New England colonists. The Connecticut Colony already consisted of towns in Hartford, Wethersfield and Windsor. The first English immigrants to arrive at "Quinnipiac", the land bordering Long Island Sound and the Quinnipiac River, came directly from England with the purpose of establishing a Puritan settlement. They were lead by their spiritual guide, the Reverend John Davenport and the wealthy London merchant, Theophilus Eaton. Later, they were joined by colonists from settlements in the neighboring Connecticut and Massachusetts Bay Colonies, as well as young soldiers who fought in the Pequot War of 1636 -1638 and were awarded land. The Quinnipiac Indians were friendly to the English and did not protest when the English offered to buy their land. The settlers defined an agreement, signed 24 November, 1638, with the Quinnipiacs. The land was traded for twelve coats of English trading cloth, twelve "alchymy spoons," twelve hatchets, twelve hoes, two dozen knives, twelve porringers and four cases of French knives and spoons. In addition, the English promised to defend the local Indians from the neighboring Pequots and Mohawks. (These are the same Mashantucket Pequot Indians that own and operate Foxwood Resort Casinos in CT.)
The Fundamental Agreement, or the Original Constitution of the colony of New Haven was signed the following spring on June 4, 1639. The Agreement opens with: "The 4th day of the 4th month, called June, 1639, all the free planters assembled together in a general meeting, to consult about settling civil government, according to GOD, and the nomination of persons that might be found, by consent of all, fittest, in all respects for the foundation work of a church, which was intended to be gathered in Quinipiack. After solemn invocation of the name GOD, in prayer for the presence and help of his spirit and grace, in those weighty businesses, they were reminded of the business whereabouts the met, for the establishment of such civil order as might be most pleasing unto GOD, and choosing the fittest men for the foundation work of a church to be gathered. For the better enabling them to discern the mind of GOD, and to agree accordingly concerning the establishment of civil order, Mr. John Davenport propounded divers queries to them publicly, praying them to consider seriously in the presence and fear of GOD, the weight of the business they met about, and not to be rash or slight in giving their votes to things they understood not; but to digest fully and thoroughly what should be propounded to them, and without respect to men, and they should be satisfied and persuaded in their own minds, to give their answers in such sort as they would be willing should stand upon record for posterity." In goes on to state in Query III: " Those who have desired to be received as free planters, and are settled in the plantation, with a purpose resolution and desire, that they may be admitted into church fellowship, according to Christ, as soon as GOD shall fit them in." The constitution of the Colony of New Haven required that all Free Planters must also be Church members or would become Church members, if they desired to follow the Plantation Covenant. All the magistrates and officers of the Plantation were to be limited to members of the Church. Church leaders of this time period had considerable "God given" authority and played an important role in all decisions. This constitution differed from the Connecticut Colony's "Fundamental Orders of 1639," voted on January 14, 1639. The Connecticut constitution also included many references to God and the Church, however in its first proclamation, the constitution defined those who may vote as "all that are admitted Freemen and have taken the Oath of Fidelity, and do cohabit within this Jurisdiction having been admitted Inhabitants by the major part of the Town wherein they live or the major part of such as shall be then present." Elected officials were to rule according to the Laws established and according to the Rule of the Word of God, but the Freemen who choose the officials did not need to be a member of the Church.
Around the same time, the followers of Reverend Davenport were establishing New Haven, a group of families headed by Reverend Peter Prudden decided to break off from the New Haven Colony and form another colony in nearby Wepawaug, later named Milford, CT. Milford also bordered Long Island Sound and the Wepawaug and Housatonic Rivers. On February 12, 1639, the land was purchased from the Paugusset Indians for six coats, ten blankets, one kettle, twelve hatchets, twelve hoes, two dozen knives, and a twelve small mirrors. The Milford constitution was based on the same religious principals as the New Haven constitution.
Another town included in the Colony of New Haven was Branford or the area known as Totokett. It was established in 1644 by men from Wethersfield of the Connecticut Colony, New Haven, and followers of the Reverend Abraham Pierson from Southampton, LI. On December 11, 1638, Totokett was bought from the Indians for eleven coats of Trucking cloth, and one coat of English cloth made after the English manner and the reservation of sufficient land for a home for the tribe, which consisted of ten men and their families. It wasn't until 1644 that settlers established the town. Preferring a theocratic constitution, Branford joined the New Haven Colony.
Over the years the Colony of New Haven grew to include the towns of New Haven, Guilford, Branford, Milford, Stamford, and Southhold, LI. This settlement was independent of the larger Connecticut Colony which also included influential towns of Long Island like Southampton. As the English established settlements, the Connecticut Colony and Colony of New Haven incorporated them. On December 13, 1640, English settlers from Lynn, Massachusetts purchased from the Indians, "Aagwam," or Southampton, Long Island. Among the settlers were John Gosmer, JOHN WOODRUFF, Henry Pierson, his brother, the Reverend Abraham Pierson and John Ogden. In 1644, the town elected to be received into the jurisdiction of the Connecticut Colony. The settlers felt it was beneficial to form an alliance with Connecticut against the Dutch, who controled New Amsterdam, (New York mainland,) and the Indians. John Gosmer, the stepfather of John Woodruff, was one of three Magistrates representing Southampton in the House of Magistrates in Hartford from 1644 -1658. John Ogden, the father of Sarah Ogden, was at Southampton in 1647 -1664, where he was made a freeman in 1650, and was also elected as a magistrate. He represented the town in the General Court in 1659, and in the Upper House in 1664. It is interesting that Southampton chose to join with the Connecticut Colony and not the Colony of New Haven. The Reverend Abraham Pierson had desired to unite with the Colony of New Haven. He promptly left and removed to the new town of Branford.
In 1660, the Colony of New Haven sent a letter to the Colony of Connecticut expressing its wishes to establish boundaries between the two territories. The Connecticut Colony responded with the statement that the land claimed by the Colony of New Haven was originally part of the patent the Connecticut Colony held from Earl of Warwick awarded in 1631. The Massachusetts Bay Colony had received a royal charter granting it land and the right to govern. The Colony of Connecticut decided to now apply to Charles II, for such a charter. The new charter, they hoped, would include the same boundaries of the territory granted to Connecticut in the patent of 1631. On April 23, 1662, the Connecticut Colony, led by Governor Winthrop, was awarded jurisdiction of the Connecticut Colony and the New Haven Colony in the "Connecticut Colony Charter of 1662." The Connecticut Colony was given "unqualified power" to govern themselves. It was allowed to "elect all its own officers, to enact its own laws, to administer justice without appeals to England, to inflict punishments, to confer pardons, and, in a word to exercise every power, deliberative and active." Southold, Stamford, and Guilford were in favor with the union, however, New Haven, Branford and Milford desired their own autonomy. The leaders believed the separation of church and state would be detrimental to both their religious beliefs and the law of their communities. Those representing the Colony of New Haven opposing the union in the dispute were William Lette, the governor of New Haven, John Davenport, its pastor, Jasper Crane of New Haven and Branford, the Rev. Abraham Pierson of Branford, Robert Treat of Milford, and others.
Why did the monarchs of England give the New England Colonies the power to govern themselves without interference? The English had their own troubles at home and did not pay a great deal of attention to colonial government in its own territories. England was more concerned with what territories the Dutch and French held and the wars with these countries in Europe. They were also more interested in the prosperous colonies of Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas which contributed additional revenue to the English Lords holding property. Leadership of England had changed hands again. Charles II, the son and succesor of Charles I, had recently come out of his exile in France in 1660. General Oliver Cromwell, who had served as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England Scotland and Ireland since having Charles I beheaded for treason in 1649, died in 1658. His son Richard Cromwell attempted to continue leading the country, but he did not prove to be as charismatic and powerful as his father. The royalists were succesful is bringing back Charles II.
The English Colonies in the 1600s were awarded Royal Charters by Charles II. The amount of involvement of direct English participation determined the degree of English rule. The colonies in Virgina with their money making tobacco had greater English involvement than the colonies of New England. In 1660, Charles II passed a Navigation act which was designed to control the trade in and out of the colonies. The intent was to exclude the Dutch from trade, especially in New England, and to channel all tobacco and sugar to England. The New England colonies ignored the Navigation Act and continued to govern its Colonies without consulting the English monarchy. In late 1662, Charles II awarded his brother, James I, Duke of York, all territory belonging to the Dutch, east of the Connecticut River. Since Dutch land bordered the Colony of New Haven, the land was vital to the security issues of the English monarchy. Charles II and James I, the next King, began steps to gain greater control of North America.
Since the Colony of New Haven was refusing to acknowledge the Connecticut Charter, it would be made subject to the rule of the Duke of York, who was "a royalist, a Romanist, and a Stuart." New Haven was forced to concede to the Connecticut Colony when two English Royal war ships representing the Duke landed at its port. The colony placed itself under the umbrella of the Connecticut Colony in order not to be governed by the Duke.
It was when the colonies of New Haven decided to follow a more separationist government by joining the Connecticut Colony in 1664, that the Reverend Abraham Pierson and his followers left Branford to form a Plantation in Newark, NJ. Members of Milford joined Branford to establish a settlement in New Jersey. Captain Robert Treat of Milford led the negotiations with the Dutch who controlled the area and the local Indians. In 1666, men from Branford and Milford bought what is now Essex County for 50 double hands of powder, 100 bars of lead, 20 axes, 20 coats, 10 guns, 20 pistols, 10 kettles, 10 swords, 4 blankets, 4 barrels of beer, 10 pairs of breeches, 50 knives, 20 horses, 1,850 fathoms of wampum, 6 ankers of liquor, and 3 troopers' coats. (notice the price of land went up) Robert Treat remained in Newark until 1672 when he returned to Milford, CT where he later became Governor of Connecticut. Branford, which had been settled for over 25 years was now without a church and without most of its inhabitants.
Information from The History of the Colony of New Haven by Edward E Atwater, published in Meridan, CT in 1902 and from The History of Milford, CT compiled and written by the Federal Writer's project in 1939. The Constitutions of the Connecticut Colony and the Colony of New Haven can be found at www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon. Information on John Gosmer and John Ogden was found in CNW, Woodruff Chronicles I, p 34 and 135 and in the History of Long Island by Benjamin Thompson on p 147 and 155.
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