Oh, my goodness. The "Life of Riley" is giving me an old-fashioned headache. I've been trying to figure out which Riley's have proof or at least some semblance of plausibility and which are wrong, or at least, not so plausible.
The only "facts" that I've located have to do with John's marriage, the birth of three of his sons, and his date of death.. All else is conjecture, or the result of the mixing of several John Riley's. It's an interesting family to look at because several people claim that the family originally came from Dublin, Ireland, and then place them in England for at least one generation and maybe two, before John emigrated to New England.
So John was born in 1624 or 1625, at Longford, Ireland or possibly Elland, Yorkshire, England.or maybe somewhere else. His parents are given as Joseph Riley and Mary Wright, who were married June 23, 1624 in Elland. It's hard to reconcile this with a birthdate for John of May 12, 1624 in Longford, Ireland, so all I am willing to say is that there is a possibility that John had Irish ancestry. Joseph and Mary may have come to the New World, perhaps sometime between 1628 and 1630, but I haven't found documents that confirm this idea yet. Supposedly they had three children in Ireland and two in Wethersfield, but that doesn't seem likely because the dates of birth as given are before the settlement of Wethersfield began.
We do know that John married Grace Buck, probably the daughter of William and Margaret Good Buck, before 1646, according to Torrey's Marriages. Three children are listed in the Wethersfield vital records for them: Joseph, John, and Jonathan. Also listed in his will were Mary, Grace, Jacob and Isaac. John the father is listed several times in Hartford Court records as being a juror.
From John's will (written as "John Ryly") and inventory, we can see that he died sometime before September 8, 1674. He was not a poor Irishman, if Irish he ever was. His inventory includes furniture in the parlor, beds, carpet, "guns, swords, and other ammunition", farm implements, carpenter tools, horses, oxen, cows, swine, sheep, and bees (indicating an orchard) as well as several parcels of land. His estate totaled 688 pounds, 4 shillings, but of that he owed 66 pounds in debts to three men. So it was not a huge estate, but definitely up the ladder from "poor." His wife, not mentioned by name, was the sole executor, which indicates he put a great deal of trust in her.
I would certainly like to find out more about John Riley. What connection, if any, did he have to Ireland? Was he a member of the (Puritan) church? Who were his parents? Was he well respected in Wethersfield? As of now, the clearest picture I have of him comes through his will and inventory, and I'd like to know so much more!
The line of descent is:
John Riley-Grace Buck
Mary Riley-Joseph Ely
Mary Ely-Thomas Stebbins
Ruth Stebbins-Samuel Hitchcock
Margaret Hitchcock-Richard Falley
Samuel Falley-Ruth Root
Clarissa Falley-John Havens Starr
Harriet Starr-John Wilson Knott
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook