Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Allen line: Richard Miles, Immigrant 1598-1666

It's unusual to find so much information about an immigrant ancestor.  Usually I bewail the fact that I know almost nothing about the person and then work hard to stretch a post into a three paragraph biography.  With Richard Miles, it's the opposite.  I have enough information to make a rather long article, but other people have already done that.  So, here are the highlights that I'm choosing to share.

Richard Miles, variously styled yeoman, judge, and deacon in later life, was born in 1598 in Great Munden, Hertfordshire, England, the son of Richard and Alice Cherrye Miles (Myles).  I've not located siblings for him but it's possible that he had some who died young, for his father's will mentions only his wife Alice (who actually predeceased him by 5 weeks) and son Richard.  Richard Senior appears to have been a prosperous "yeoman", because he mentions a room in his "mansion" as being a "hall." 

Richard became a Puritan, as were some of his neighbors and friends.  He married Mary Chambers and they had five children together, three in England and two in Connecticut.  It appears that they emigrated to Connecticut in 1638, although some records indicate they were in Boston in 1637 and (probably due to weather) waited until 1638 to go to Milford.   He's listed as a founder of Milford, and a freeman, and owned land there until 1645, but he was in New Haven by 1643.  Perhaps this move had to do with the death of his first wife and his subsequent remarriage.  He marred Mary Katherine Elithorpe Constable, the widow of a pastor.  They must have met shortly after the death of Mary Chambers, if they didn't already know each other, or at least know of each other. 

The Constable children returned to England after their father's death, and Richard and Mary Katherine had two more children in Connecticut.  He served as magistrate, elder, and deacon, from 1656-1667, and also had various other positions such as surveyor of all roads and bridges, deputy for the plantation, and clerk of the artillery company.  He seems to have been an educated man, although I've not found a record claiming education in a particular school or college. 

Richard made his will December 26,1666 and died early in 1667.  He left a well and the inventory was valued at 288 pounds, 6 shillings and 10 pence.  I haven't found the inventory yet but I would love to see it.  Did he have books, and does it estimate how many books?  What tools or implements did he have?  The number of his animals might give us a sense of his prosperity, too. 

Still, this is a nice amount of information for a man who died 350 years ago.  He was respected by his townsmen and church members, and he did a lot to help establish and further the interests of his new home.  We can be proud of such an ancestor!

The line of descent is:

Richard Miles-Mary Katherine Elithorpe
Anna Miles-Samuel Street
Nicholas Street-Jerusha Morgan
Jerusha Street-Thomas Starr
John Starr-Mary Sharp
John Starr-Betsy Havens
John Havens Starr-Clarissa Falley
Harriet Starr-John Wilson Knott
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants