FROM THE BOOK "SIZER GENEALOGY"
BY LILLIAN HUBBARD HOLCH
All that has been learned about the early life of our first ancestor
was recorded in the “Minutes of William Sizer the First”, a
journal or diary written by him partly from memory. Much of the
information was given William by those who knew his father and
had to been to the ancestral home in Terceira.
A search of the Parochial Records on Terceira Island proved
futile. In fact the records bearing on the pertinent dates have
been removed to the depository of such old archives and objects
from various parts of Portugal and its adjacent isles, known as
the Archivo da Torre do Tombo, at Lisbon. This is a sort of
museum maintained by the government of Portugal. This search
was made by a native resident of Terceira, through the courtesy
of the American Consular Service.
Many families fled France at the Edict of Nantes, taking refuge
in the Azores. The family may have been Huguenots, and many
have been accepted as such on much less evidence than in this
The minutes written by William Sizer, the First, he willed to his
youngest son Virgil Sizer, who in turn left it to his youngest son,
Albert Virgil Sizer, who though twice married, died without issue,
his widow retaining possession of the record. Mrs. Elizabeth
(Sizer) Webster, a cousin of Albert Virgil, was permitted to make
a copy of this record. By this means the record has been
preserved and is the only known record of the name DeZocieur,
and that it was changed to Sizer. The original record probably
was destroyed in the burning of the widows home, as it has not
Minutes of the Life of William Sizer the First.
“I was the 11th child and 8th son of Anthony Sizer and
Sarah Tryon. I was born in 1746, November 13, old style or new
style, November 23, in Middletown, Connecticut, in a place
called South Farms, about four miles from the metropolis of the
“My father died, September 21, 1753, when I was in my 7th
year. My mother left a widow, had but a small income to support
a number of children. My sister Mary was married to Jonah
Fletcher before my father died. My brother Abel married Sarah
Mitchell in July before my father died.
“There was at this time the following children living that
composed my mothers family: Daniel, Lemuel, Sarah, Anthony,
Jemima, Samuel, and myself. Daniel and Lemuel married in the
course of abouttwo years.
“The design of my keeping up the genealogy of the family
for my posterity, and the different branches of my father’s family,
or rather my brother’s families, is, that hereafter those of the
name may know from whence they sprung; also that they need
not say when they hear mention made of one of the name that
they never saw, ‘it is a remote relation, etc.’ But they may be
assured they all sprung from one person, or one family, as there
was never anyof the name in America before my father; and it
will appear perhaps, that there never was any in the world of the
name except my father, when it is considered that my father’s
name was changed after his arrival in America, viz.: Middletown,
Conn. Where he lived and died, as you will find in the account of
him in the proceeding genealogy and historical sketch.
“Anthony Sizer was undoubtedly of French parentage,
although born in another kingdom. This will appear not only by
noticing his complexion, but particularly in his original name, as
many Frenchmen bear the same name he originally did,
(Antonio De Sosieur).
“Anthony Sizer (Antonio De Sosieur) was born in 1707 on
the island of Terceira, one of the Azores, in the Kingdom of
Portugal, in North Latitude 38 °, 55’and West Longitude, from
London 26 °, 44’. Being by occupation a seaman, he had desire
to see North America and shipped on board a vessel bound to
Boston Mass., commanded by one Capt. Henshaw, of Boston,
where he arrived about the first of May, 1726. He was then
nineteen years of age. From thence he sailed into Connecticut
River to Middletown. He soon became aquatinted with Sarah
Tryon (my mother) the daughter of Able Tryon, a respectable
and wealthy farmer living in Middletown, one mile south of the
town plate, on the main street, called South Farms Hill, who lived
to a very advanced age.
“I shall here give my father’s original name, and state the
reason of it being altered.
“His original name was Antonio De Socieur or De
Zocieur, which way it was speltI cannot at present ascertain, or
either is right. Men skilled in the French language say it is a
French name but differ in the spelling of it. On his arrival in this
country he could speak but broken English. Whether his name
was altered before or after his marriage I cannot say. As before
observed, he soon became acquainted with my mother, and
married her on the 10th of May, 1727, about one year after his
arrival in New England.
“The reason of his altering his name was this. Several
people advised him to “English his name,” or in other words, to
have his name put into English and go by it. My father seeing no
inconvenience in making the alteration, and willing, in an
English Colony, to bear an English name, and also to gratify his
acquaintances, went to Deacon William Rockwell, then the town
clerk of Middletown, and left it with the clerk to “English” his
original name and made a record of it. William Rockwell then
called it Sizer, instead of De Socieur, and so recorded it, from
which time my father called his name Sizer, and all his posterity
have gone by the same name.
“My father was a man about five feet ten inches in height,
very stout built, had a very fair complexion, black curled hair,
and black eyes; was naturally mild in his temper and very
sociable, but when insulted and provoked of great spirit and
resolution. He embraced the religion of the land in which he
dwelt; had good government in his family, was of exemplary life
and conversation, and true to his trust.
“This character I had given me by those that were well
acquainted with him and who were near of his age, and have
informed since his death and since I have arrived to years of
manhood. For the amusement or satisfaction of the members of
the familyI will give a brief sketch of the history of my father’s
life after he arrived in America.
“It will have been noticed that he was married when
about twenty years of age. He took a very great liking to the
country. After he was married he made several voyages to sea,
but after a number of years he had a fit of sickness that finally led
into his knee and became a very bad fever-sore. The doctor said
he must die if he did not have his leg taken off, but his fortitude
was such he said he would loose his leg only with his life. He
finally recovered, but ever after his knee was stiff. This disabled
him from following the seas. He then became a farmer, and
cultivated the earth and although lame, was able to do all kinds
of farming business equal to the strongest men.
“He occasionally rigged vessels fit for the seas, when
other business would permit.
“By his industry and economy he obtained a small estate.
He never visited his native country; he saw it once when on a
voyage, but having heard that his father and the greatest part of
his family were dead, he did not feel a disposition to make a
voyage to visit his native soil thinking it would be to him more an
affliction than satisfaction.
“To me his determination seems strange, as I have been
informed by a person, since my fathers death, who said he had
often been in my grandfathers house at Terceira, had drank wine
in it; etc., and that my grandfather was possessed of a very large
property. “My father, Anthony Sizer, died Sept. 21, 1753, aged 46.
“My mother Sarah Sizer, after living several years a widow,
married John Clark of Middletown, Upper Houses (now
Cromwell, 1872). She died March 18, 1774, aged about 68 or 70
“I shall now insert the Genealogy of my father’s family as
I took it off the records of Middletown.” (End)