In 1665, Benjamin Bartlett of Windsor, Hartford County, Connecticut, son of immigrant John Bartlett, married Deborah Barnard.I have a theory about Deborah's origins, below.
Deborah Barnard (or Barnhard or Bernard) was born between about 1641 and 1647, place uncertain (but likely either England or New England (i.e., Massachusetts Bay Colony (which then included the future Maine and New Hampshire), Plymouth Plantation, one of the Connecticut colonies or Rhode Island), to parents uncertain.Social historians have offered estimates of how many thousands of people participated in the “Great Migration” of the 1630s, and how that migratory flow slowed to a trickle soon after 1640.Therefore, the “odds” are that Deborah was born in North America to parents who had migrated before 1640.She probably had siblings, as-yet unknown (there were not many “only” children back then).Was she related to either Bartholomew Barnard of Hartford, CT and/or Bartholomew Barnard of Boston, MA, as many internet trees suggest?
The Windsor, Connecticut town records state, “Benjamin Bartlet and Deborah Barnard both of Windsor were married June 8th 1665 by Master Allyn”.Afterwards, Deborah and Benjamin resided in Windsor, where their children were born (and recorded).Their children (in birth order) were Deborah, Benjamin, Isaiah, Isaiah and/or Barnard, Ephraim, Jehoiada, Benjamin, and John (presumably the first son named Benjamin had died before the birth of the later Benjamin, and if there were two children both named Isaiah, presumably the first had also died before the second was born).Deborah (Barnard) Bartlett died about February 21, 1719 in Windsor.
In the 1660s, many Puritans in New England did not turn to their congregational minister to perform a wedding ceremony, but instead looked to a civil official to solemnize or legalize the union.Deborah and Ben were married by a “Master Allyn”.At that time, the term “master” (or “mister”) was something of an honorific, recognizing someone’s status within the community.It is my belief, from circumstantial evidence, that this “Master Allyn” was John Allyn (b. ca. 1626, d. 1696), a magistrate (and town clerk) in Hartford, CT, just down the Connecticut River from Windsor.The Allyn family had connections to both Hartford and Windsor at that time.
The Windsor town record does not explicitly state WHERE the Barnard-Bartlett marriage took place, and so there is a rebuttable presumption that it was in Windsor, BUT it might have been in Hartford.A date-day calculator reveals that June 8, 1665 was a Monday.So was Magistrate John Allyn in Hartford on that date/day of the week, or had he come to Windsor for some reason?I don’t know if magistrates at that time made “house calls”, or if John Allyn might have been in Windsor on business, or visiting his younger brother, Thomas Allyn, who resided in Windsor.In any event, I think it is somewhat more likely that Master Allyn performed the ceremony in Hartford, which was his jurisdiction.
The Windsor town record explicitly states that Ben was “of Windsor”, and that is consistent with other facts about his family.The record also states that Deborah was “of Windsor”, but was that an accurate statement?
Assuming for the moment that the record is correct, and Deborah was “of Windsor” even before her marriage, then several scenarios are possible.First, she might have been living with her parents, in which case we would expect to see some record of a male Barnard in Windsor.The Windsor town records do not contain any other marriages, births or deaths of people with the surname “Barnard” (or any likely spelling alternatives) before 1700, and so there might be some doubt whether Deborah truly was “of Windsor”.Second, she might have been living with a widowed, but remarried mother and a step-father, whose surname was something other than Barnard.Third, she might have been living with an aunt and/or uncle, whose surname was other than Barnard (i.e., a married sister of Deborah’s father OR a married sister or brother of Deborah’s mother (whose maiden name is unknown)).Fourth, Deborah might have been living with a married sister and brother-in-law, surname unknown.Further research might disclose who such relatives might be.Alternatively, it is possible that Deborah was living in Windsor without any relatives nearby, perhaps as a servant to a Windsor family.This last scenario does not provide much hope for research that would disclose her parents and/or siblings.
IF, however, Deborah was NOT “of Windsor” until after she married Ben, then what other people surnamed Barnard were living in some reasonable geographic proximity to Windsor as of 1665, so that Deborah would have had occasion to meet (and be courted by) Ben Bartlett of Windsor?The most obvious places to look are the other towns along the Connecticut River (e.g., Springfield to the North (upriver, in Massachusetts) or Hartford or Wethersfield to the South (downriver)).
IF Deborah and Ben were indeed married by Master John Allyn in Hartford, then two scenarios are possible.First, both Deborah and Ben might have traveled from Windsor to Hartford for the purpose of being married and then returned to Windsor and had their marriage recorded.Second, Ben alone might have traveled to Hartford, collected Deborah from her residence there, and then gone to Magistrate Allyn to be married, and then taken his bride home to Windsor.This latter scenario is consistent with long-standing traditions whereby the groom “took” his intended bride from her family and married her in her home parish (from both the Roman Catholic tradition, before the Reformation in England, and from the English parish system thereafter).
IF Deborah had indeed been residing in Hartford prior to her marriage, were there any Barnards residing there?There was a Bartholomew Barnard, who had married Sarah Birchard (daughter of Thomas) in Hartford on October 24, 1647, and resided there until his death in 1698, leaving children (but no Deborah).Researchers of this Bartholomew Barnard reasonably estimate that he was born about 1627 (and so would have been about 20 at marriage and about 71 at death).This Bartholomew owned land (as of 1683) which was very close to land owned by John Allyn, both in Hartford (per the 1683 Will of William Lewis:“I give to Abigail one piece of Land at Har[t]ford, four acres within the meadow gate that leads to the neck, bounded on the highway west, Bartholomew Barnard South, Richard Goodman East, and John Allyn north.”).One researcher states that this Bartholomew Barnard lived (at time unspecified) at Sentinel Hill, reportedly somewhere near the north end of Main Street (which, on modern maps, joins Windsor Street, running North to Windsor).Windsor is only about 5 miles North of northern Hartford, an easy horseback ride (and even an easy walk in the 1660s).
There are many trees on the internet that subscribe to the theory that this Bartholomew Barnard of Hartford was the son of the older Bartholomew Barnard who died in Boston, MA (estimated in 1676).Similarly, there are many trees/theories that Deborah Barnard was a daughter of Bartholomew Barnard of Boston.Under these theories, Deborah would have been a younger sister of the Bartholomew of Hartford.It seems POSSIBLE (though unproven) that Deborah might have been visiting (or even residing with) Bartholomew Barnard of Hartford ca. 1664-65, and that it was there that she met Ben Bartlett of Windsor.
Ben and Deborah (Barnard) Bartlett did not name any son “Bartholomew”, but neither did Bartholomew of Hartford.Most of the Bartlett sons were named for Ben himself and his brothers, and finally, John for his father.Their only known daughter was Deborah, who was likely named for Deborah herself, and so there are no clear clues to the first names of Deborah’s parents or siblings.
Bartholomew of Boston
In Suffolk County, Massachusetts Deeds, Liber IV, 78, there is record of a 1656 deed from Bartholomew Barnard, carpenter of Boston, to a Thomas Dickerman, and dower interests were released by consent by Bartholomew’s wife, Alice.Similarly, in Suffolk County Deeds, Vol. 5, at pp. 539-541, there is a deed of 1668 by Bartholomew Barnard and Jane his wife to John Richards as agent for Robert Thompson, a London merchant.Thus, there is evidence from primary historical records that Bartholomew of Boston was married at least twice, with the earlier wife (as of 1656) being Alice.There is no evidence that Bartholomew had a different wife before Alice, but it is possible that he did.There is some disagreement about the date of his death, but it must have been after 1668 and one seemingly reasonable estimate is 1676.
Some believe that this Bartholomew of Boston had at least two sons, Matthew and Richard, and perhaps other children.At least one researcher states that Richard (who owned land adjacent to Bartholomew’s as of 1668) married Elizabeth Negus in Boston on March 2, 1659 and died there in 1706.They estimate his birth at ca. 1634.The wife of a Matthew Barnard of Boston was mentioned as a “cousin” (which could also mean niece or other relation at that time) in the Will of Nicholas Davis, of York (now in Maine) on April 27, 1667, thus permitting an estimate that Matthew was born before 1647.Researchers report he died on or about May 9, 1679 in Boston.Some researchers equate this Matthew with the Mathew Barnard, son of Bartholomew, baptized on September 7, 1628 at the church of St. Margaret's, in Westminster (now a suburb of London), Middlesex County, England.See the Latter Day Saints’ International Genealogical Index, Batch Number: P00160-1 (British Isles) at www.familysearch.org.Some researchers then cite three more baptismal records from St. Margaret’s, for Bartholomew and Ralph Barnett in March 1627, and Anne Barnett on November 1, 1630, all children of a Bartholomew Barnett, as records for children of Bartholomew Barnard, apparently claiming either a mis-transcription of the original handwritten record (i.e., misreading “Barnard” as “Barnett”) or clerical error in the 1600s.
Researchers note that Bartholomew Barnard of Boston had first settled near York (now in Maine) circa 1634, and that he sold his lands there to Robert Knight by a deed dated November 26, 1646 (Agamenticus (or York)).This would logically mark the date of Bartholomew’s move to Boston.
IF Deborah Barnard was a daughter of this Bartholomew of Boston, then she would likely have been born at Agamenticus (modern-day York County, Maine, on the York River), sometime between 1641 and 1646.Her mother MIGHT have been the Alice who was Bartholomew’s wife as of 1656.Some claim this Alice was an Alice Weedon, and there is a baptismal record for an Alice Weeden at St. Margaret’s, Westminster, in June 1605, daughter of Jeromie Weeden.IF this is indeed the Alice who was Bartholomew’s wife as of 1656, then she might have had children (i.e., a daughter Deborah) between 1641 and 1646 (when Alice Weeden would have been between 36 and 41).Alice died sometime between 1656 and 1668 (by which time Bartholomew had remarried, to a Jane).Perhaps it was Alice’s death, and the advent of a step-mother Jane that caused Deborah to go visit/live with her possible brother/relative, Bartholomew Barnard of Hartford????
This THEORY is far from proven, and needs more research.Based on the limited circumstantial evidence currently available, it is not unreasonable and merits more digging.
If anyone has information from primary (or even reliable secondary) sources that would shed light on the identity of Deborah (Barnard) Bartlett’s family, please share by posting here, or contact me directly at email@example.com.