Tuesday, August 23, 2011


[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 Hannah Carter (Benedict), daughter of John Carter, son of Hannah St. John (Carter), daughter of Matthias St. John, son of Matthias St. John, son of Matthias St. John.]

[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

East Norwalk Cemetery
23 July 2005, Norwalk, Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA

No tombstone remains

Brother to Oliver St. John, painted by Nason 1630's
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.

Perhaps Mattias wore similar clothing to this portrait, which, while of the Cavalier type, was of a man who had to do with executing one of Charles I's supporters, Thomas Wentworth. We are related to both St. John's and Wentworth's. Later governors of New Hampshire were Wentworth's, and they got together with their English relations. Some left during the Revolution as Tories, some stayed behind.

Ladd's were related to the Wentworth's through Mayflower's Mary Wentworth Brewster. When the Tories left Portsmouth, New Hampshire, after the Revolution, the Chippendale chairs owned by Governor Wentworth were taken by the Ladd's and today they reside at Ladd Moffatt house (Whipple House in those days). Some have disputed that Mary Brewster, wife to Plymouth Elder William Brewster, was really a Wentworth, though this was early on popularly believed. With or without her, there is still Wentworth ancestry in these New England enclaves. The English Civil War produced lots of refugees from both sides, so in America they reconnected over the generations. Even (as in the case of the Bean and Sinclair families, supporters of Charles II, who had been sent as POW/indentured servants, soon married their bosses' daughters, in an age where every able-bodied person was valued).

PlainJaneFosteradded this on 10 Aug 2009

Found the portrait through the online British National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery. They will print up a custom copy to your specifications, for a small fee, and promptly send it by Fedex. Very user friendly, it makes ancestral portraits a snap

found on ancestry.com

Sensions - to St. John - French Protestants

The "Sensions",("Sentions") originally were French "Huguenots"..(French Protestants, driven from France in the 1550's, '1560's, and 1570's to England, in fear for their lives. Those who remained in England must have changed the spelling of their name to "St. John", as "Sension" would be pronounced in French. Some Huguenots migrated to the "New World" in the early 1600's, under English rule. "Genealogy of Matthias (St. John) Sention", published by Eron St. John and Marshall B. St. John in 1890... Rockford, Illinois...states that "Matthias (St. John)Sention", accompanied by one brother and one sister, came to this country, and were of the first settlers of Norwalk, Connecticut."The "St. John Genealogy" indicates that the brother was "Nicolas Sension", and that he had no children. It also indicates the sister might be "Elizabeth St. John", daughter of Sir Oliver and Sarah (Bulkey) St. John. She was born 1605, Cayshoe, Bedfordshire, England...married Samuel Whiting in England August 6, 1629.


"Matthias St. John, Sension or Sention, the first of this name whom we can trace in America, was born in England, came to Dorchester, Massachusetts, in 1631-2, and was made a freeman there on September 3rd, 1634. He received a grant of 20 acres in Dorchester January 14, 1635.."at the bounds betwixt Roxbury and Dorchester". We find the record, on January 16, 1636: "It is ordered that Mathias Sension and Thomas Sampford shall keepe the cowe this yeere to begin the 17th day of Aprill and to continue the keeping of them till the 15th of November to have for their pay in keeping 5 shills the head for as many as are brought in; the sayd five shillp' head to be payd 1/3 in hand, 1/3 at halfe the tyme the other at the end of the tyme."

On March 18, 1637, Matthias owned three acres, two goads, and three rods in the neck at Dorchester, and two acres, one goad and four rods in the Cow pasture. In 1638 he had sold his house as, on April 23, 1638, it was ordered "that Mr.Withington shall have adjoining to his house that was Mr. Sensions the swampaboue", etc. And on October 31, 1639, it was ordered that there should be laidout "3 akers for Mr. Withington which was Mathias Sensions". As last as 1674 this property was referred to as that which was Mr. Sensions (Dorchester Town Records, iv. 14, 22, 31, 33, 41)

Matthias St. John moved to Windsor, Connecticut in 1640, as in that year he had granted to him, at Windsor, a lot in the Palisades containing ten rods. This was occupied in 1890 by Mrs. Anson Loomis. It was bounded, South by the Burying Ground and the road leading to it, at the South West corner of the Palisades Green: East by the Palisades. A record of the lot was made in the "Book of Figures" (the records were so kept before the Court established a Town Clerk to keep the records). This lot with house, was sold to Walter Gaylord, the son of Deacon Gaylord. Sension also owned one of the home lots in Backer Row, 27 rods South of North Sandy Hill Road. 1-1/2 rods wide; afterwards found in the possession of Nicholas Sension. He also had 24 rods on land in East Windsor, east three miles, bounded North by Joshua Carter and South by John Stiles.(See St. John Genealogy by Orline St. John Alexander,1907 for further...)

found on ancestry.com

Matthias 1604
1665, Connecticut
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.

found on ancestry.com

Who's your Daddy?
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.

Nevertheless, I have given Mathias that parentage here on the strength of Ancestry's Millennium File databases and on the following attestation:

"Immigrant Ancestors, a List of 2500 Immigrants to America before 1750, Edited by Frederick Adams Virkus, Extracted from Volume VII Compendium of American Genealogy"

"ST. JOHN (Sention, Sension), Matthias (1603-99: son of Sir Oliver, of London, England, married Sarah Buckley, born Cayshoe, Bedfordshire, England); to Dorchester, Massachusetts, 1631/32 settled at Norwalk, 1634, Windsor, Connecticut, 1640, Hartford, 1650; freeman. 1699: married Elizabeth -"

I'm sure that this doesn't settle the issue, but it's about as much as I can do right now.
found on ancestry.com

Matthias St. John Will
19 October 1669, Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA

The Will of Matthias St. John, Sr., from the Fairfield Probate Records, vol. 1665-75, p. 47, is as follows:

The Last will and testament of Mathias Sension Senr. of Norwocke made this 19th of October 1669: Revoking all former will:

I being at this present in perfect understanding and memorie but weak in body expecting my change suddenly in hope of a Joyfull Resurection at the Last day: thorowe the vertu of the resurection of my alone Saveour and blessed Redemer: The estate the lord of his
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.

It. I will and bequeath unto my beloved wife: as the five pounds yearly to be payd by my sonn James unto my sayd wife during her natural life: soe alsoe I will and bequeath unto my sayd wife the other half part of my accomodations of Upland and meadowe
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.

It. I will and bequeath unto my marther selle one cowe and one ewe to be delivered and payd her between the date hearof and the last of March next—

It. I will and bequeath unto my sonn Samuel Sention and Epraim Lockwood that parcell of meadowe upon Sagatock Rivercalled the upper parcell they to enter upon the same Imediatly after my Decease.

It. I will and bequeath unto my beloved wife the other half part of my household goods the sayd part to be set as may best sute my wife and that by my overseers : Alsoe I will and bequeath untomy sayd wife all the rest of my estate unbequeathed during her life shee to have the comfort and benefit of the same, and the said estate to be ordered by my overseers unto that end—and my mind and will is that after the Decease of my wife what estate is left and is in being
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—

It. My will and mind is that yf my sonn James Sention should decease this life before he comes to posses the houses homelot and the half of the acomodations and the goods and stock of cattellbequeathed that then the same I give and bequeath unto the rest of my children—only my sonn Mathias to have a dubble part to the rest:
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:

It. I doe desire constitute ordayn and appoint my beloved brother Hoit and my sonn Mathias and my sonn Marke Sention overseers of this my will and Testament desiring them to have andcontinue a speciall care of my wife and to this my will and testament I have set to my hand the day and year above written in the presence of Thomas ffitch Sen1-.his Mathias Sention:— Ralph R. Keler
found on ancestry.com

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this information. I am a St.John descended from Matthias-Matthias-Ebenezer-Daniel-Nehemiah-Aaron. I, too, have reached the conclusion that our line must be through Oliver. There appears to be no better established avenue. Matthias' connection with Sarah, an established descendant of Oliver, appears to substantiate this as well. If I am not mistaken, Samuel's tomb bore the coat of arms that we know belonged to Oliver's line.
    Best regards,
    Charlotte St.John Wilkerson