[Ancestral Link: Lura Minnie Parker (Stagge), daughter of Minnie May Elmer (Parker), daughter of Mark Alfred Elmer, son of Hannah Polina Child (Elmer), daughter of Alfred Bosworth Child, son of Hannah Benedict (Child), daughter of John Benedict, son of Daniel Benedict, son of John Benedict, son of Anna St. John (Benedict), daughter of Mark St. John, son of Matthias St. John.]
First Settlers of Norwalk Connecticut
This is a portrait of Oliver St. John, our multi-great uncle. He is the (full) brother of our direct ancestor, Matthias St. John, who emigrated to America during the events around the English Civil War. Both are the sons of noble Oliver St. John.
Our ancestors were on both sides of the Puritan vs. Stuart supporters. Some of them lost high-ranking relatives to the executioner's blade; some were members of Scottish clans who were taken as indentured servants and who missed by a hair being sent into slavery in Barbados. Some, like Christopher Foster, were apparently related to the judiciary, who during the Restoration of the Stuarts, got even using their judicial powers. Some arrived in America and immediately sought the support of the Dutch in New York. America was a refuge for all sorts of people who would rather brave a wilderness and the Indians, than endure prosecution by their fellow Englishmen.
Matthias was born in England, he came to America in 1631 with his wife and one son, Matthias. They settled at Dorchester, Massachusetts. He owned about three acres of land on the Dorchester Heights just outside of Boston where, George Washington placed his canon years later, to drive the British out of Boston. It was here that the colonists under General Washington set up his canon and fired upon the British. Matthias owned a share in the Boston Common that they all used for farming and pasture. His work was to herd the cows through the summer and in this way earned enough to pay his passage on the ship that brought him and his family to America. In 1634 he was made a free man. In 1635 he received a grant of 20 acres on the border between Roxbury and Dorchester. Apparently the activity of all the Colonists was clearing the land and farming. Matthias moved with the Rev. Joseph Hooker and others to Windsor, Connecticut. This was an undertaking of about 110 miles through virgin and hostile Indian country. This was only 20 years after the landing of the first Pilgrims, he owned cattle and sheep as his brand was registered, and he had activities in Windsor, Hatford, and Wetherfield a distance of some 30 miles to be traveled by wagon or horseback. In 1654 he moved to Norwalk, Connecticut, another 125 miles. He died in Norwalk in November 1669 leaving and estate of 300L. which was a considerable sum in those days. He and his descendants had a large part in building up the many cities along the Connecticut River in the early history of that state.
The checkered parentage of Mathias St. John/Sension is extremely complicated. On GenForum, the debate over whether Mathias is the son of Sir Oliver St. John goes on, politely, but interminably. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography omits any mention of a Mathias as one of the 4 children fathered by Sir Oliver and Sarah Bulckley or of the 2 fathered with his second wife. Also, although The St John Genealogy; descendants of Matthias St. John, of Dorchester, Massachusetts, 1634, of Windsor, Connecticut, 1640, of Wethersfield, Connecticut, 1643-1645, and Norwalk, Connecticut, 1650; New York, The Grafton Press, 1907 acknowledges that Elizbeth, daughter of Oliver was also in Massachusetts (and is buried in the same cemetery as Mathias), the author could find no record of such a connection.
found on ancestry.com
19 October 1669, Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
bounty hath given me and blessed me withall: I doe by these presents will and bequeath: my Just Debts to be faythfully discharged: my body decently Interred— It. I will and bequeath unto my yongest sonn James Sention my now dwelling house and houses belonging to
the same with the orchyard yards homelot with alsoe the half part of all my upland and meadowe belonging to my acomodations in Norwocke excepting that upper parcell of meadowe lying upon Sagatuck River ; my sonn James paying faythfully and carefully the sum of five pounds yearly unto my beloved wife his mother and that in such current pay as may best sute for her supply my sonn James to enter upon his said houses and lands in or upon the last of March next ensuing.
during her life and at her decease I will and bequeath then the same unto my sonn James he paying the sum of Ten pounds unto my overseers.
It. I will and bequeath unto my sonn James the half of my household goods and alsoe two working oxen two cowes one horse Twelve sheep: And to be set out and apointed unto him between the date hearof and the last of next of March: My son James continuing and faythfully attending the threshing of the corn and wintering the cattell, the said goods and cattell to be set out by my overseers.
should be taken by my overseers and vallued: and alsoe that parcell of meadowe bequeathed to Samuell Sention and Epraim ; to be vallued and then all divided into five parts my sonn Mathias to have two parts ; and my sonn Marke one part; and my sonn Samuell Sention andEpraim the other two parts—they acounting the meadowe in part of the same—
I will and bequeath unto my Dearly beloved brother and sister Hoit Twenty shillings a peece as a token of my love and they to lay it out and they to lay it out in what they please and keep as a remembrance:
found on ancestry.com