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JOHN MOSS AND FOUR GENERATIONS
1. JOHN1 Moss was with the earliest settlers of the New Haven Colony in Connecticut and signed with the Planters' Associates, 4, 4, 1639. He was a member of the First General Court in February 18, 1639, July, 1648, June, 1649, September, 1649, August, 1664. He was chosen corporal 6, 6, 1642. In 1646 came the entry on the town book: "John Moss being bidd to walk the rounds on a Lord's day, came to the meeting house and stayed there, so the service was neglected; he was fined 10 shillings." From a statement that John Moss of Boston was one of the debtors to the estate of James Hayward, in New Haven records, we might infer that he had some connection with the families of the name Morse (Moss) who were settling in that vicinity. At the age of sixty-seven years he was one of the incorporators of that part of New Haven which was set off as Wallingford, where, on May, 1678, he was chosen Commissioner and to marry people; he was re‰lected Commissioner from Wallingford eighteen times, serving as deputy also, and for Meriden as well. The only mention of his wife was at the "seating of the meeting house in New Haven when Goody Moss was assigned a seat." (*)John Moss died in Wallingford in 1707 and is said to have then been one hundred years old; this accords with his own statement of his age in 1670, when he signed as one of the incorporators of Wallingford as being sixty-seven years of age, which makes his birth to have been in 1603-4.
HE HAD CHILDREN,
2.I. JOHN,2 born (???), baptized in New Haven, January 11, 1639,
or when his father was about 36 years of age; John died
3.II. SAMUEL,2 born April 4, 1641,
4.III. ABIGAIL,2 born April 10, 1642, married, as his second wife, in
New Haven, July 2, 1663, Abraham (Abram) Doolittle;
(*) John Moss claimed John Charles as his brother-in-law.
A Collection of Family Records with Biographical Sketchs and other memoranda of various families and individuals bearing the name Dawson
2 Eldest son of Elihu (b. July 16, 1774) and Abigail Barber Morse, res. Litchfield,
Ct., Wolf Lake, Ind., and Panaka, Wis.; gr. son of Solomon (b. Feb. 18, 1749,
d. June 4, 1820) and Mary Spellman Morse, m. March 23, 1770, res. Wallingford,
Ct.; gt. gr. son of David (b. May 15, 1716, d. May 16, 1766) and Mindwell
Morse, m. Oct. 7, 1737, res. at Wallingford. The last named was son of Solomon,
(b. July 9, 1690, d. Oct. 10, 1752), and Ruth Peck (d. March 29, 1728) Morse or
Moss, m. June 28, 1714, res. Wallingford; gr. son of John (b. Oct. 12, 1650, d.
March 31, 1717) and Martha Lathrop (d. Sept. 21, 1719) Moss, m. Dec. 12,
1677, res. New Haven and Wallingford; gt. gr. son of John Moss, of New Haven,
b. in England abt. 1619, res. at New Haven 1639-70, Wallingford 1670-1708.
He was a member of the General Court, and a prominent, influential man. See
sketch of him and an account of his descendants:--Memorial of the Morses, p. 144,
The Ancestry of William Francis Joseph Boardman
The name of the wife of John Moss has not been determined. In 1648 he was attorney for his "brother-in-law," John Charles, a seafaring man who lived in Branford and Saybrook. Possibly her maiden name was Charles or they married sisters.
The English ancestry of John Moss is unproven, but there is a family tradition that he was connected with that of Charles Moss, Bishop of St. Davids in 1766 and Bishop of Bath and Wells in 1774, whose son, Charles, was Bishop of Oxford, in 1807. He was surely of a former generation. The name was an honorable one in England, and was borne by several other distinguished men. John Moss of New Haven and Wallingford was a "cousin" of John Beach of the latter town and so calls him in a deed in 1689. In 1648, while living in New Haven, he gave land to Richard Beach, and perhaps the same land called that year "Richard Beeches wives lot." The connection between these two families is unknown to us.
Memoranda Relating to the Ancestry and Family of Sophia Fidelia Hall
1. John Moss married (???)
2. Their son, John Moss, married Martha Lothrop.
3. Their son, Solomon Moss, married Ruth Peck.
4. Their son, David Moss, married Mindwell Doolittle.
5. Their daughter, Chloe Moss, married Ephraim Hall.
6. Their son, Comfort Hall, married Jemima Bacon.
7. Their son, Harley Hall, married Martha Cone Hall.
8. Their children were--1. Sophia, 2. Norman, 3. Betsey, 4. Rufus.
Another line from John Moss 1st. of New Haven.
1. John Moss married (???)
2. Their daughter, Mary Moss, married John Peck.
3. Their daughter, Mary Peck, married John Dowlittle.
4. Their son, Samuel Doolittle, married Mehitabel.
5. Their daughter, Mindwell Doolittle, married David Moss.
6. Their daughter, Chloe Moss, married Ephraim Hall.
7. Their son, Comfort Hall, married Jemima Bacon.
8. Their son, Harley Hall, married Martha Cone Hall.
9. Their children were--1. Sophia, 2. Norman, 3. Betsey, 4. Rufus.
JOHN MOSS 1st. OF NEW HAVEN.
"Mosse or Moss is, in England, an ancient and honored name. Its claim to a high antiquity is justified by its early occurrence in History. Right Rev. Charles Moss, D. D. was Bishop of Bath and Wells and had a son who was Bishop of Oxford and a daughter who married the under Secretary of State, and the name has not been rare among the clergy of the established church. Tradition assigns John Moss a place among the relatives of Bishop Moss. He was one of the original signers of the New Haven 'Foundamental agreement' and was an active member of that Colony. He was a Godly Puritan, fraternized by the holiest and wisest men in the community." He resided there thirty years, was enrolled among the "Principal men" of that place and when the Colony undertook the settlement of Wallingford, he, with Abraham Dowlittle and two others, was appointed by the town of New Haven, a committee with power "To manage all plantation affairs in ye said village," proving that he was honored and trusted; and the New Haven records show that he had long been trusted there; as the "Godly Puritans" did trust each other--with a vigilant supervision. Following are extracts from public records, "Feb. 18, 1639 John Moss was admitted member of the Generall Court. April 1640 Itt is ordered that John Moss" and others "shall pay each of them 1s fine for trees which they did fall disorderly. 1642 Bro. Moss is chosen Corporall. July 1, 1644 Att a Generall Court held at New Haven Gov. Theophilus Eaton, received the oath of fidelity and then he gave it to John Moss" and others. "1645 Mr. Browning and John Moss are desired to clear mistakes between them about the defective fences in the oyster shell field, which the viewers have given them warning of 3 times and yet they are not mended. 1646 John Mosse beinge bidd to walke the rownds on the Lord's day, came into the meeting house and stayed there--so that the service was neglected--fined 10s. 1648 John Moss was before the court as attorney for his brother in law, John Charles. 1648 John Moss deeded land--two pieces; and the same year he was chosen fence viewer, as he had been previously. July 4, 1648 John Moss and others were complained of for being absent from the court when their names were read. They made their excuse, that their cows were lost the Saboth day before, and they were faine to go looke them, having no other to do it, and John Moss further saith, that he had loades of goods aboard the lighter, which he apprehended to be in some danger, because the winde was high that morning, and thought it his duty to goe and looke after them. The court considering the case of them all extraordinary and could not be prevented before, past it without a fine for this time. 1664 John Moss was Deputy to the Generall Court for New Haven." In 1670 John Moss and his three associates on the committee appointed for the purpose, laid out a highway six rods wide, corresponding to the present main street of Wallingford with ranges of house lots on each side of the street, containing six acres to each lot. These house lots were distributed to the settlers. In the transfer of land from the committee to individual proprietors no money or consideration was required or paid. The houses were built near together for greater security. The committee having arranged all the preliminaries, surrendered their trust into the hands of the planters, who thereupon became a "Towne;" after which one of their first acts was to set off portions of land for meadow and for woodland to each planter at convenient distances from the village. In 1670 the Branford bounds were in dispute and John Moss was one of a committee to act on the matter. In 1672 he was one of those chosen to make the second distribution of land in Wallingford, and at that time his name had the prefix Mr. In relation to the first tax in that town it is recorded that John Moss and three others "ingage to provide 1500 good marchantable pipe staves and deliver them at the place called logmine wharfe, and it was voted that others pay their proportion in the like manner, in some other good pay." May 9, 1672 the General Court appointed John Moss commissioner for Wallingford and from that time on he was sometimes Deputy and was usually Commissioner, receiving an appointment to that office as late as 1697 when he was 93 years of age. In the words of the General Court record "Mr. John Moss is commissionated by the Court, to joyne people together in marriage, according to law, to administer oaths to persons upon necessary occasions and to grant warrants and take testimonies." The Wallingford town record shows that many people were married by him. In 1675 he was one of those appointed to lay out grants of land, was on the committee to lay the foundation of a church and was appointed by the State Council to sign the bills of soldiers, to be paid out of the public treasury. His home lot in Wallingford was near the south end of Main street, as at first laid out, and another lot was at some time assigned him, on the west side of the same street. He having failed to comply with the conditions of the last mentioned grant the land was taken from him and given to his son John Moss who built his house on it, and he and his wife Martha lived and died there; and there the 1st John Moss ended his long life. His gravestone still stands in the old burial place at Wallingford--a low brown slab, ornamented with an engraved heart on which is inscribed "Mr. John MoSs. Born 1604 Died 1707 A. E. 103."
MEMORIAL OF THE MORSES; CONTAINING THE HISTORY OF SEVEN PERSONS OF THE NAME
John of New Haven, and the four first generations of his race, signed their names Moss; and a highly respected part of his descendants have retained this spelling to the present day; while others have exchanged Moss for the more common name of Morse.
It appears then that the families here traced, have derived their cognomen from two distinct names in Europe.
Moss is a very ancient name. Its claim to a high antiquity is justified by the great extent of its range and its early occurrence in History. If any of this name are referred to in Dooms Book, none but his official title is given, which is not improbable: for as early as 1177, at the conclusion of a treaty in the Foedera, between Henry II. and William of Sicily, a Dignitary is introduced, adding "Ego Justus Mazz, Episcopus," and giving his testimony and sanction. Now when it is considered that Henry inherited Normandy, and was only great grandson to the Conqueror; that the fendal system in his reign held the Saxons in vassalage; that the monarch would have been jealous of a foreigner, and that a more efficient instrument of papal policy and ambition might have been found among the king's own countrymen than among foreigners, to sanction or negative his treaties, it is inferred that Bishop Mazz was a Norman. Difference of orthography is not conclusive against the identity of Mazz and Moss; for on our records, if not mistaken, I have found the former spelling substituted for the latter; and the name of Mazz seems not to have been perpetuated unless in the form of Moss. But as this personage was a Bishop, and lower or Sir names had not yet been introduced, the only inference to be drawn is one favorable to the Norman origin and great antiquity of the name.
Camden, who wrote his remains about 250 years ago, has classed "Mosse" with local names. But from what locality on the north side of the channel it was derived, he does not inform us; while he maintains that there was no ancient town, village or hamlet in Normandy which did not give name to some family in England.
If Moss(*) was a local name and originated in Normandy, it was not improbably derived from the Latin, Mos, (fashion) with another s added, after the northern custom, to express the plural and denote a place of fashions: or the Normans might have brought the name from Moss, a seaport of Norway, 60 miles S. of Christiana, as the Norwegians seem to have afterwards done to Moss, a seaport in the north of Ireland, and as the Saxons had previous brought the name of Angle from Denmark to Angland. Moss had doubtless been the natal place of many a Norman. Its situation was admirably secure and central as a rendezvous of the sea kings; and there they might have gathered before their descent upon France and final settlement in Normandy. Here, although they through commerce and intermarriages with their neighbours, soon exchanged their language for the French, yet they retained their Scandinavian words long after the Conquest, and very probably the name of Moss. The towns of Moston, Moss-Fen, and Mossdale in England seem to have taken the names of original proprietors: And who but Norman proprietors or their heirs were ancient enough to have given them their names?
But however derived, the name of Moss has a vast range. It occurs among the Jews, the Celtie Irish, and with circumstantial differences among the Saxon nations upon the Continent. In England it has long been a common and bonored name. "Rt. Rev. Charles Moss, D. D., was Bishop of Bath and Wells in the last century, and had a son who was Bishop of Oxford, and a daughter who married the under secretary of state under Lord Grenville. Bartholomew Moss, M. D., was the founder of the lying-in Hospital at Dublin. John Moss, Esq., Banker of Otterspool, is father-in-law to Walker Ferrand, Esq., of Harden Grauge who was lately M. P. for Tralee," and the name has not been rare among the clergy of the establishment.
Memorial of the Morses
John Moss's1 Kare.
17 John Moss1 settled his own estate, 1704, and d. 1707, aged 103, (see Dana's
Cent. Serm.) "John Moss, agd. 21, [pr. 31,] imbarqed Jan. 6, 1635,
for Virginia, in the Thomas, John Richd. Lambard, master, and being examined
by the minister de Gravesend, concerning his conformitie to the
orders and discipline of the Chh. of Eng., took the oath of allegiance."
Of the time and place of John Moss' birth, and the date of his arrival in New England, we have no certain information. If he had attained his majority when admitted a member of the General Court, 1639-40, he was born as early as 1619, which would have made him 89 years old in 1708, when he, as is alledged, removed from Wallingford. But as his removal at that age is improbable, and as none of his children or grandchildren are known to have attained so great an age, he was not probably born earlier than 1622. That he came unattended by relatives is improbable. Francis "Moss" and Christopher Moss of Boston were not improbably his brothers; and John Moss, who
married into the high family of Robert Kaine of Boston, and owned a house in Shoe Lane, London, might have been of the same race. Hopkins, Eaton, and Davenport, arrived in Boston, June, 1637; too intent on planting at New Haven to listen to proposals from the General Court to settle in Mass. John Moss probably came in that company; and a careful perusal of all the wills of the first planters of New Haven, may enable my correspondents to detect his relatives, and the place in England from whence he came. He was no common youth. Without regard to the tradition which makes him to have been a relative of the father of Bp. Moss, senr., he must either have been of high family, or extraordinary precocity. He doubtless arrived at New Haven, 1638. The first record of him was dated Feb. 18, 1639-40, when he signed a social compact as one of the proprietors and planters, and was admitted a member of the General Court. At this time he was probably a minor.(*) "Upon the formation of the government he took an oath, July 1, 1644, to support the same." He resided in New Haven thirty years. Perceiving that the time had arrived for the enlargement of her settlements, he was one of the foremost to undertake the settlement of Wallingford, as appears from the following record of the action of New Haven, originating the plantation at that place.