Tuesday, June 28, 2011


[Ancestral Link: Harold William Miller, son of Edward Emerson Miller, son of Anna Hull (Miller), daughter of William Hull, son of Anna Hyde (Hull), daughter of Uriah Hyde, son of Elizabeth Leffingwell (Hyde), daughter of Sarah Abell (Leffingwell), daughter of Bethia Gager (Abell), daughter of John Gager.]

History of the Town of LedyardBefore Ledyard
Named for Colonel William Ledyard, slain commander of Colonial forces in the Battle of Groton Heights in September 1781, the town was set off from Groton in 1836 by an act of the Connecticut Legislature. The western section, on the east bank of the Thames River, had been settled in the mid-seventeenth century by Thomas Bayley, John Gager, Robert Allyn and Robert Stoddard. The settlers were farmers, and the river their transportation. A ferry was instituted from the landing on Ralph Stoddard’s farm to Montville on west bank, and soon a community developed around the ferry slip. Ferry masters over the years included Stoddards, Hurlbutts, Allyfns and Ledyards, but it was Roger Gale, proprietor from 1759-1764, whose name remained with the village, the apostrophe most likely lost in the spelling simplification programs of the U.S. Post Office in the nineteenth century. The business district of Gales Ferry lay alongside the river, and a tree-lined residential lane led eastward to the Hurlbutt farm on what is now Route 12.
Transportation routes also influenced the establishment of a commercial center in the eastern section of Ledyard. There the Mohegan Trail, now part of Colonel Ledyard Highway and Spicer Hill Road, intersected a road from New London to Preston (now Church Hill Road and a southerly portion of Colonel Ledyard Highway). At this location, between 1730 and 1800 were constructed nine houses, two stores, a tannery, and several shops. Nearby were a schoolhouse and, unusually for colonial Connecticut, an Episcopal church. Residing in this area were Silas Dean (later Silas Deane), a member of the Continental Congress, and Samuel Seabury, Jr., the first Episcopal bishop in America. Seabury, son of a Congregational minister, converted to Anglicanism circa 1730, was educated at Yale and ordained in 1753. After the American Revolution it became impossible for the Episcopal Church, whose spiritual head was the King of England, to consecrate bishops in the United States, so Seabury, elected by his peers, traveled to Aberdeen, Scotland, to be consecrated by Scottish bishops who did not recognize the authority of the monarch.
Colonial Connecticut did not separate church and state, and so the perimeters of the Ecclesiastical Societies of the Congregational Church, the established religion, also served as municipal boundaries. In 1725, the North Parish was set off from Groton, because the inhabitants wished to worship closer to home. Construction of a meeting house began in 1727 at the geographic center of the parish, location of the present Congregational Church, but since the commercial settlement was growing at the crossroads about a mile to the north it was many years before the present Ledyard Center developed.
The community’s brief military history took place during the War of 1812. Commodore Stephen Decatur, a rising star in the United States Navy, sailed his small fleet into New London Harbor in 1813, to escape British warships. Failing to raise reinforcements there, he weighed anchor and sailed the ships up river to Allyn’s Point. What was then known as Allyn’s Mountain offered an unobstructed view all the way to New London, and he erected breastworks on the summit, armed with cannon from the ships. Local tradition has it that a chain was stretched across the river to prevent enemy ships from entering the anchorage, and that Decatur conducted a maritime school in the village during his winter in Gales Ferry. Unable to get out of the river, the fleet remained at anchor while the Commodore escaped over land to New York. Not until word reached the region in 1815 that the Treaty of Ghent had ended the war were the ships able to set sail.
The Town of Ledyard
"The Act to Incorporate the Town of Ledyard" was adopted by the Connecticut General Assembly and Senate on June 1, 1836. On the eleventh, "all legal voters residing within the limits of said town" met to elect officers. The creation of an east-west track from the ferry slip at Gales Ferry and the coming of town government gradually shifted the commercial center from "the crossroads" to the present Ledyard Center, although there were as yet no municipal buildings. Town meetings were held at the church and town records were held and business transacted in the Town Clerk’s home. By 1876, the village included a blacksmith, a printer, a cobbler, a carpenter, a cabinetmaker, a wheelwright and a tavern. A post office had opened in a local store immediately after the 1836 incorporation, and operated from several locations until it was discontinued in 1903. From then until the 1950s, mail to Ledyard Center was delivered from Norwich.
In 1844, the Norwich and Worcester Railroad extended southward to Allyn’s Point, site of the present Dow Chemical plant. Passenger steamers on the river met trains there, and a post office was established. Mail destined for Gales Ferry village, on the other hand, came via the New London Northern Railroad to Montville and was brought across on the ferry. Extension of the Norwich and Worcester to Groton in 1899 brought regular transportation to Gales Ferry, 15 trains a day, although the popularity of the automobile resulted in closure of the passenger station by 1927. Today the Providence and Worcester Railroad operates freight service on these tracks.
Gales Ferry has long been home to the oldest intercollegiate athletic event in the nation. In 1878, Harvard and Yale Universities brought their established four-mile rowing competition to the Thames, both crews boarding at local farms. The inaugural race drew 25,000 spectators, by 1925, when crowds reached 100,000, both teams had established permanent camps and boathouses. While interest has abated in recent years and spectator fleets diminished, each June the two crews return to the Thames for the annual event and "Boat Race Day" is celebrated in Gales Ferry.
Ledyard Through the 20th Century to Today
A small town hall was built adjacent to the Congregational Church in the 1930s. Town meetings were still held in the church or, later, one of the schools, until the present municipal building was constructed in 1956. It has since been enlarged several times.
Until the 1940s, Ledyard was a town of 12 school districts, each with its own school. Secondary students traveled to Norwich, Groton or New London. The first consolidated school, the present Ledyard Center School, opened in 1949 and the district schools, most of them one-room buildings, closed. Seven of them survive, as dwellings, businesses and preserved as museums. Three more elementary schools were built between 1955 and 1965, one of them replaced in 2001. A high school for the town’s students was built in 1963, graduating its first class four years later. A junior high school, now Ledyard Middle School, was opened in 1971, serving grades seven and eight.
Ledyard’s principal industry, a division of Dow Chemical Company, opened at Allyn’s Point in 1952. A manufacturer of polystyrene plastic, plastic foam and latex, the plant has been expanded over the years. Many of the raw materials are shipped in by water, while finished products leave by motor transport.
The town grew extensively in the 1960s, as farmland and hillsides were developed for housing and one of the first indoor shopping malls was opened in Gales Ferry. The Vality complex, on the site of the former Hurlbutt farm, offered complete household shopping, from food to clothing to hardware to toys, all under a single roof. Competition from larger shopping centers and malls in the region eventually resulted in the closing of the pioneer megastore, but the concept was only recently revived in the region by the world’s largest retail chain. Ledyard’s population grew rapidly in this period as the town became a bedroom community for employees of the General Dynamics Electric Boat Company, Pfizer Incorporated, and the Navy forces at Submarine Base New London. During the decade, the town’s population increased from 5,300 to nearly 15,000.
In 1992, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation opened the Foxwoods Resort Casino in the northeastern section of town. Hugely successful, the complex has become a tourist destination and an economic engine with considerable effect on both the Native American reservation and the surrounding community.
Long governed by the traditional New England town meeting, Ledyard adopted a charter in 1971 that provided for a Mayor-Council form of government. A revised charter in 2002 continues the basic form of governance, with the Mayor acting as chief executive officer, and town officials elected at large from the community. Volunteer fire companies were organized in Gales Ferry in 1942 and at Ledyard Center ten years later. Both departments now have a small cadre of career firefighters. During the 1960s, a volunteer emergency medical squad was formed, and continues to serve the community.
found on ancestry.com

The Norwich Founders MonumentThe Norwich Founders Monument The Norwich Founder’s Monument was erected on the site of the Ancient Norwich Burying Ground – also known as the “Post and Gager” Cemetery. Although none of the original gravestones remain, it is probable that most of the early Norwich settlers – Richard Edgerton included – were buried at this location. The Ancient Norwich Burial Ground was the first cemetery in the town of Norwich. The first death in the new settlement was that of Mary Post, wife of Thomas Post, in the year 1661. Thomas Post was one of the original proprietors, and his home-lot lay adjacent to Richard Edgerton on Town Street. Mary Post was buried on a plot of land at the rear corner of the Post home-lot. The Norwich proprietors later voted to purchase the surrounding area as a burial place. A memorandum on the Norwich town records notes that: “The Towne hath purchased a burying place of Thomas Post – in the home lot of said Post – towards the rear of his lot.” The Founder’s monument lists the names of thirty-eight of the first settlers of Norwich, including all thirty five of the original proprietors. Namely:
Side 1: Major John Mason, Rev. James Fitch, John Pease, John Tracy, John Baldwin, Jonathan Royce, John Post, Thomas Bingham, Thomas Waterman, Robert Allen.
Side 2: Ensign Wm Backus, Francis Griswold, Nehemiah Smith, Thomas Howard, John Calkins, Hugh Calkins, Richard Egerton, Thomas Post, John Gager.
Side 3: Thomas Leffingwell, Richard Wallis, Thomas Adgate, John Olmstead, Stephen Backus, Thomas Bliss, John Reynolds, Josiah Reed, Christopher Huntington.
Side 4: Thomas Tracy, Samuel Hyde, William Hyde, Morgan Bowers, Robert Wade, John Birchard, Simon Huntington, Stephen Gifford, John Bradford.
The original township of Norwich has changed considerably since its original layout in 1659. The Old Burying Ground on Town Street is now situated on a hilltop adjacent to the Connecticut Turnpike, although isolated and out of view. The burying ground fell into disuse long ago, but was kept in the ownership of the Norwich proprietors and is now maintained as a public park by the Town of Norwich. The Ancient Burying Ground is now relatively wooded, as can be seen by the accompanying photographs taken in July 2001 by Mr. Brian G. Edgerton. The cemetery is enclosed by a stone fence with a metal gate at the entrance. A large stone bench built on the site bears the following inscription: “Near this spot lie buried the first settlers of Norwich. This stone dedicated to their memory August 11, 1940, by the Society of the Founders of Norwich, Connecticut and the John Mason Monument Association”.
found on ancestry.com

Founding fathers of Norwich, Connecticut1660, Norwich, Connecticut

Norwich was settled in 1660. Most of these original proprietors of Norwich came from Saybrook, and East Saybrook (now Lyme). The 35 original proprietors of that town were:

Reverend James Fitch, the first minister
Major John Mason, afterwards Lieut. Gov. of Connecticut
Lieut. Thomas Leflingwell
Lieut. Thomas Tracy and
his eldest son John Tracy
Deacon Thomas Adgate
Christopher Huntington and
his brother, Deacon Simon Huntington
Ensign Thomas Waterman
William Hyde and
his son Samuel Hyde, and
his son-in-law John Post who married Hester Hyde
Thomas Post
Lieut. William Backus and
his brother Stephen Backus
Deacon Hugh Calkins (from New London, Connecticut, and
his son John Calkins (from New London, Connecticut) and
his son-in-law Jonathan Royce (from New London, Connecticut)
John Reynolds
Thomas Bl iss
Francis Griswold
John Birchard
Robert Wade
Mor gan Bowers
John Gager (from New London, Connecticut)Thomas Howard
Dr. John Olmstead
Nehemiah Smith (from New London, Connecticut)
Richard Edgerton
John Elderkin
John Bradford (from Marshfield, Massachusetts)
Thom as Bingham
Robert Allen (from New London, Connecticut)
John Baldwin
John Pease (from New London, Connecticut)
Thomas Smith (from Marshfield, Massachusetts)
found on ancestry.com

Ancestors of Princess Diana SpenserAncestors of Princess Diana Line #1.
1. Dorothy Thompson born 1624 married Thomas Parke born 1615
2. Dorothy Parke born 1652 married Lt Joseph Morgan born 1646
3. Margaret Morgan born 1686 married Ebenezer Hibbard born 1682
4. Keziah Hibbard born 1722 married Caleb Bishop born 1716 = same as #4 in Line #2
5. Lucy Bishop born 1747 married Benajah Strong born 1740
6. Dr. Joseph Strong born 1770 married Rebecca Young born 1779
7. Eleanor Strong born 1802 married John Wood born 1790 -- married in Chillicothe, Ross County, Ohio
8. Ellen Wood born 1820 married Franklin H Work born 1820
9. Frances Eleanor Work born 1847 New York married James Boothby Burke Roche born 1851 England
10. Edmund Maurice Burke Roche born 1885 married Ruth Sylvia Gill born 1908
11. Frances Ruth Burke Roche born 1936 married Edward John Spencer born 1924
12. Lady Diana Frances Spenser born 1961 married Prince Charles
Line #2
1. John Gager born 1623 married Elizabeth Gore born 1625
2. Sarah Gager born 1651 married Caleb Fobes born 1649
3. Sarah Fobes born 1684 married Samuel Bishop
4. Caleb Bishop born 1716 married Keziah Hibbard -- same as #4 in Line #1
Ancestors of Joyce Slaton shared with Princess Diana = making her my 9th cousin, 1st removed
Line #1
1. Dorothy Thompson born 1624 married Thomas Parke born 1615
2. Robert Parke born 1651 married 2nd wife Mary Rose born 1655
3. Hezekiah Parke born 1695 married Margery Dyke born 1694
4. Paul Parke born 1719 married Sarah Smith born ? died 1772
5. Margery Parke born 1742 married Ephraim Brewster born 1731
6. Margery Brewster born 1775 married Benjamin Stiles Jr.
7. Sarah Stiles born 1805 married George Long born 1802 Hamilton County, Ohio
8. Harper Long born 1831 married Mary Ellen Smith born 1842 =
great great grandparents of Joyce Slaton, owner of this family tree
Line #2
1. John Gager born 1647 married Elizabeth Gore born 1625
2. Hannah Gager born 1652 married Daniel Brewster born 1666
3. Ephraim Brewster born 1731 married Margery Parke born 1742
= same as #5 in Line #1

Send me a message for any further information.

JoyceSlaton32 added this on 15 June 2010
found on ancestry.com


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