Friday, May 26, 2017

Holbrook line: RIchard Seymour 1604-1655 Immigrant

First,the fanciful but probably not true, or at least not proven:  Some believe that Richard Seymour was a descendant of the Seymours of Wolf Hall, recently a series on PBS television.  Those Seymours were powerful people involved with even more powerful people, and they are fascinating.  Our Richard may or may not be descended from them, but his own life is fascinating in its own way.  Of course, I say that about all my ancestors!

Richard Seymour was baptized on January 27, 1604/05, the first child of Robert and Elizabeth Waller Seymour, at Sawbridgeworth, county Herts, England.  This is right on the border with Essex county, and likely there were friends and relatives of the Seymours who lived just a few miles down the road but were from Essex and not Hertfordshire. 

The next thing we know about Richard is that he married Mercy Ruscoe, daughter of Roger and Sarah Ruscoe of Sawbridgeworth, and the marriage occurred there on April 15,1631.  Richard and Mercy had three children born at Sawbridgworth, from 1632 to 1636.  Although I've not located immigration or transportation records, it seems likely that the Seymours (also spelled Seamer and Semer, among other variations) left England in 1638 and went to Hartford Connecticut, where many of the young town would have been old acquaintances from England.  Many Hartford settlers had their origins in Essex County, and if these people had been worshipping together as Puritans, they would surely have known and loved their new/old neighbors.

Richard was not a first settler at Hartford, as his lot number was number 70, but he did receive a land allotment in 1639 so he and his family, which consisted of four sons (two daughters had apparently died in England), settled down in their new home, early in the town's history.  His house was near the Ely home, and he also owned land toward West Hartford.  He was elected chimney viewer in 1647, which was somewhat analogous to that of fire inspector today.  The homes during this time period were built (except our pioneers used wood rather than the stone used in England) like those homes they'd left behind in England, meaning the roofs were thatched and prone to catching fire.  It was Richard's job to make sure the families were taking safety precautions and to watch for fires that might start on the roof, especially around the chimney. 

The land Richard had was "by the courtesy of the town", which meant in effect that he only had a life lease to the property, and could not pass it on to his sons.  Possibly due to this fact, Richard joined a group of settlers who planned to settle a new area, Norwalk, also in what is now Connecticut.  He signed an agreement for the settling and planting of Norwalk in 1650 and was settled there by 1652.  Here his home was directly opposite the meeting house and Parade Ground, on the highway leading from Stamford to Fairfield. He is considered an original founder of Norwalk.  He was elected townsman, or selectman, in 1655 but four months later wrote his will, when he was "very week and sike". 

Richard Seymour's estate was inventoried October 10, 1655 and was valued at 255 pounds, 9 shillings, which is not bad for a man 50 years old.  Most of the inventory is illegible but one can make out "books" valued at one pound.  this would indicate probably several volumes, but maybe not more than 20.  It would be intriguing to know what they were.  Were they all religious books, or did he have some practical books also?  His widow, Mercy, married Thomas Steele, one of the leaders of the Connecticut Colony.  He died in 1665 and she outlived him, but records of her death have not been located. 

So whether or not there is a connection to the Seymours of Wolf Hall, we certainly have a line to one of the early settlers of our country, and that is a good thing, too.  

The line of descent is:

Richard Seymour-Mercy Ruscoe
Richard Seymour-Hannah Woodruff
Hannah Seymour-Joseph Pomeroy
Medad Pomeroy-Hannah Trumbull
Medad Pomeroy-Eunice Southwell
Eunice Pomeroy-Libbeus Stanard
Libbeus Stanard-Euzebia or Luceba Fay
Hiram Stanard-Susan Eddy
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants