Saturday, August 1, 2020

The Hewlets of New London Connecticut

This post will cover collected research on the Hewlet family of Groton and Stonington, Connecticut.  This family name has also been written as Hewlett and Hewitt.


Nathaniel Hewitt (1721-1784) was born and raised in North Stonington Connecticut.  He and his family were members of the North Stonington Congregational Church.

According to official Mayflower Society research volumes (the Silver Books), Nathaniel was a 4th generation descendant of John Alden of the Mayflower.

Nathaniel and his wife, Rebecca Grant, had two sons of note (there may have been as many as 8 children):

1. Josiah Grant Hewitt (1742-1824), married Mercy Williams in 1763, and had at least one son, Josiah, Jr..

2. Nathaniel Hewitt Jr. (1746-1823) fought as a Private in the Army during the Revolutionary War, while in his 50s.  He was badly injured in the War, in his leg, thigh and breast, on Butt's Hill, during the Battle of Rhode Island, of 1788.  He received pension and moved to Vermont for the rest of his years.

For a while, I was under the impression that the Josiah above (of Stonington) is the same as the Josiah (of Groton) that was father to my ancestor, Stephen Hewlett/Hewitt (1771-1812), who was a Corporal in the War of 1812.  I learned from the Mayflower Society that they cannot be the same person, because they were having children at the same time in these two different towns.  Perhaps they were cousins?

Anyhow, according to the Providence Gazette, Josiah of Groton had 27 children by one wife.  Not sure how accurate that is!

Anyhow, Josiah's son, Stephen, my ancestor, was married to Mary Anna Daniels, of Groton, CT.


Stephen and Mary had five children:

1.  Phebe (1795-1875), married Henry Bunnell around 1835, and had at least two children, and lived in Groton.  She may have married an Amos Benham earlier, in 1828.

2.  Abby (1802-1876) married fisherman William Bogue, and had at least ten children, and also lived in Groton.

3.  Comfort (1803-1873) married a woman named Abigail Andrews, and had one daughter, Myra.  They settled in nearby New Britain, CT.

4.  Sarah ("Sally") (1805-1895), potentially first married someone named William Mott, and may have had one daughter, Francina.  She later married Harvey Hall of nearby Colchester, and settled in Lyme, CT.  They had at least seven children, including my Great Great Grandmother, Nancy Hall-Tooker.

5.  Edwin (1811-1890) married Francina Mott, who was 14 years his junior, and they had at least nine kids together.  Francina was the daughter of William Mott and, potentially, Edwin's own sister Sally, based on comparing various records.  But, Francina's death certificate does show William as her father, and the mother's maiden name is rather illegible (but doesn't appear to say Hewlett).  What is also interesting is that in 1825, there is a Groton marriage record between William Mott and Sarah "Hulet".  Francina was born in 1825.  So, it's very possible that Edwin had nine children with his own niece.  This kind of thing did happen occasionally back in the day.

Stephen died during the War of 1812, on board a man-of-war (type of battleship).  Mary remarried to Austin Goodale, and lived to be 104.  Mary's obituary appears below:



U.S. Federal Censuses

Barbour Collection, Connecticut

Find a Grave

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Charles & Thomas Leonard (18th Century Migrants to the Burrow)

Brothers Charles and Thomas Leonard were the first of my Leonard family to migrate to the Burrow Townland (then called the "Warren," due to the large number of rabbits on the land prior to human settlement), by 1788.  The lease for the Leonard lands, the farming of the lands, and the initial building of the Leonard houses (Century Cottage and Rose Cottage), was held by Charles, on land leased to them by the local Evans Family of Portrane Demesne (just south of the Burrow).  The original landowner was Eyre Evans (1682-1750), who had relocated from Cork.  Such land was granted to him by the Archbishop of Dublin around 1722, and was kept in the Evans family until 1946, when it finally was conveyed to Frank Leonard's widow Maggie.

According to various parish registers, Charles Leonard (born approximately 1765) appears to have been married three times, and had four children:

  • With first wife Elizabeth, Charles had two boys Thomas (1788-) and Richard (1792-).
  • With second wife, Eleanor Tallon, Charles had Mathew (1795-) and Mary (1797-).
  • June 1800 marriage record shows Charles marrying an Anne West.  No subsequent children.

See below 1804 map of the Burrow lots.  The land that on the right side of Burrow Road is labeled Charles Leonard (that's the house lot), as well as across the street (that's the farm lot).  These farmlots were called "Burrow Gardens".  These were narrow stretches of gardens which locals leased and grew vegetables for their own use. It was probably because of this that there were few deaths if any during the Great Famine of the mid-19th Century. You can see that Charles Leonard possessed over 3 acres in the area.

1804 Map of the Burrow of Portrane
(formerly known as the Warren)

Charles' brother, Thomas (1773-1865) (my 5th Great Grandfather), was, according to oral tradition, has married to a woman by the last name of Byrne.  Thomas had three children in the Burrow:

1.  Patrick Leonard, my ancestor (1795-1865), who took over the house lot and farming from his uncle Charles.

2.  Mary Leonard (1804-_____) married Thomas Finegan, and had six children in the Burrow.

3.  Thomas Leonard, Jr., who drowned (according to Patrick's great grandson, Thomas).

Thomas died of dysentery, a widower, at age 92, at home in the Portrane Cottages.


Ireland, Catholic Parish Registers

Ireland, Civil Registrations (Deaths)