French Family Association
The Official Website of the Surname French
Chart #9, Thomas French, ca. 1615
Charlestown, Suffolk Co., MA
Guilford, New Haven Co., CT
Stratfield and Fairfield, CT
This chart updated by Mara French on 11/18/09. Numbers in brackets [ ] refer to the bibliography at the end of this chart. An asterisk (*) shows continuation of that line. Send any corrections or additions to this chart to firstname.lastname@example.org. Revisions: 1990, 2009.
Chart #9 is primarily based on the work done by Harry Dana French before he died in 1960 . Of all the 10+ charts he organized from New England, this chart was probably researched the least and therefore probably has the most information to be found. This chart also does not connect thru DNA with any of the main charts, such as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 or especially 11 which is from the same area in CT. This work is only in draft form and needs more research and data to be added.
I’d like to thank Sally Dingsoyr of Potsdam, NY, for the years of research she provided on this family. After her ancestor, David French, purchased land in Potsdam in 1803, built a house in 1815, then a farm house in 1844, sold the farm house in 1885, only to have Sally Dingsoyr buy it back into the family 100 years later in 1985. Sally turned it back into a restaurant called the “1844 House” (see generation 6).
I’d also like to thank Mike French of Hawaii, who contacted me about his ancestors who lived where I used to live in San Jose, CA. His ancestor, Alden French, raised pears in the rich valley of Santa Clara County. This land was replaced years later by Silicon Valley, the computer headquarters of America, precisely where I worked at Cadence Design Systems from 1986-2003. Alden was b. in 1878 and had 5 children. His ancestors sold this land to Hewlett-Packard in the late 1950’s for $1 million. HP kept it in agriculture for 30 years to reduce property taxes, and then sold it at the beginning of the Silicon Valley boom (about 1980) for $330 million (see generation 9).
Thomas French resided in Charlestown, MA, in 1638, and removed to Guilford, CT ca. 1643, where he was a planter. He d. ca. 1675 . He most likely immigrated on the ship “Hector” which landed in Massachusetts Bay on 26 Jun 1637, and shortly thereafter departed for New Haven, CT.
There were two French families in Stratford, CT, during the 17th generation. It was just a coincidence that two completely different families came to the same area.
1. FFA Chart #11. Orcutt's treatise on the area is in error as proved by Ref. ’s great uncle. A Sgt Samuel French and his family lived in Stratford. They, I believe descendant from the Mayflower Frenches. Although I believe Sgt Samuel came down from MA through RI before coming into Stratford.
From Ancestors and Descendants of Samuel French, The Joiner of Stratford, CT, 2d edition, Joseph Mansfield French, Edward Brothers Printing (1940) -
Many of the errors found on pages 1204 and 1205 of the "History of Old Stratford," by Orcutt, may be corrected from information herein given. Whether Mr. Orcutt or Mr. Benjamin L. Swan, his collaborator, was responsible for the errors, theirs was a labor of love and much of value has been preserved. The first three generations given on page 1204, namely 1. Lieut. William French, who came in 1635 to Cambridge, Mass., in the good ship "Defence"’ 2. Francis French of Milford and Derby, Conn.; 3. Sergt. Samuel French of Stratford, Conn., were not closely related. No evidence has been found that Francis of Milford and Derby was a son of Lieut. William. Sergt. Samuel French of Stratford, Conn., was undoubtedly that Samuel son of Thomas and Deborah (Button) French of Guilford, Conn. born Aug.21, 1667 in Guilford. Orcutt gives nine of the eleven children of Samuel French, the joiner, as children of Samuel French, junior of Stratford and grandchildren of Sergt. Samuel French.
2. FFA Chart #9. This chart.
In May of 1639, a band of Puritans, led by the Reverend Henry Whitfield, left England to seek religious freedom in the New World. They set sail for Quinnipiac (now called New Haven) and arrived there later that Summer. (Thomas French was not one of these immigrants because he arrived first in Charleston, MA, and only later moved to Guilford, CT.)
After negotiating with the local Native Americans, who were represented by their squaw sachem (female chief) Shaumpishuh, the group purchased land halfway between New Haven and Saybrook. There they established the plantation of Menuncatuck, which would later be known as Guilford.
Like most 17th century New England towns, Guilford was organized around a common or green. The first houses were small huts with thatched roofs, wooden walls, and dirt floors. Guilford, unlike other villages, had no protective palisade fence surrounding the community; instead they build four large stone houses for the leaders of the plantation. These homes were strategically located and used for shelter during times of danger. Life in Guilford was extremely primitive and resembled a medieval village for several generations.
Later in the 17th century, Guilford became part of the New Haven Colony and then Connecticut Colony. Guilford's William Leete was one of the first governors of these colonies. By the 18th century, the town had become a thriving coastal community with agriculture and the sea supporting the economy.
Akers, Alexandro, Alvord, Anderson, Aumell, Babel, Bannon, Barns, Beach, Beardslee, Beaumont, Bennet, Bicknell, Bissell, Bix, Blake, Blatchley, Booth, Bradford, Bradley, Brinsmade, Brinsmaid, Brown, Bryant, Burton, Button, Butts, Canter, Carkner, Childs, Clark, Collin, Collins, Commins, Cook, Covey, Crane, Crow, DeGraff, Deming, Doolittle, Dudley, Dunham, Eames, Edgerton, Edwards, Ellis, Ethridge, Evereth, Everts, Fanny, Fearl, Field, Fogg, Ford, Fowler, Fox, Frank, Garlough, Gillette, Graves, Greig, Griswold, Hall, Hammett, Hand, Harris, Hart, Hastings, Haven, Hayward, Heath, Hervage, Hill, Hischier, Holberton, Howard, Howick, Hoyt, Hubbell, Hughes, Isbell, Jefferson, Johnson, Johnston, Jones, Joy, Karlovsky, Kimberly, King, Koolbeck, Lazetera, Leary, Lee, Leet, Levy, Lewis, Longfellow, Lyon, Mallet, Martin, McDonough, McDougall, McKoun, McMichael, Meigs, Merrill, Middlebrook, Moore, Moser, Munger, Munsey, Nablo, Naugle, Nettleton, Nyback, Onion, Parks, Parmelee, Peck, Penfield, Perry, Pevey, Pierson, Pomeroy, Pool, Porter, Post, Potter, Pratt, Randall, Redfield, Reed, Reeder, Richardson, Ridl, Robbins, Rust, Schwab, Seger, Sheather, Sherman, Sherwood, Simonds, Sprague, Spring, Stevens, Stiles, Stimpson, Sturges, Swain, Tanzer, Taylor, Thompson, Tibbetts, Townsend, Tupper, Turner, Van Dusen, Waters, Welch, Wheeler, Whitten, Wickins, Wilcox, Williamson, Witters, Worcester, Worden, Wyard, Wylie, Zadorozny.
Massachusetts: Alford, Charlestown, West Stockbridge.
New York: Albany, Amsterdam, Bloomfield, Canandaigua, East Bloomfield, Ellicottville, Henrietta, Hopkinton, Madrid Springs, McDonough, Portage, Potsdam, Sullivan, Victor.
Connecticut: Bridgeport, East Guilford, Guilford, North Bristol, Stratford, Trumbull, Weston.
Vermont: Brattleboro, Dummerston, Jericho.
Michigan: Chase, Greenville, Long Lake, Laneview, Stanton, Traverse City.
Kansas: Clyde. Utah: Coalville
This year we celebrate Guilford’s 350th Birthday (1639-1689). The festivities began with a Twelfth Night Renaissance Dinner on Jan. 7th and 8th and conclude with fireworks on Sep. 30 and Oct. 1. Some special events are the Yale’s Whiffenpoofs Concert, the Crystal Ball, and the Historial Concert. Of particular interest to Chart #9 genealogists is A Walk Through Guilford’s History and 350th Birthday Party on Sep. 23, with a historical pageant and re-enactment of historic events and eras in Guilford’s history.
You may be interested in a copy of the 350th Celebration Program Book. It includes a brief history of Guilford’s beginnings and some photographs of early days there. The brief history begins with “In 1639 a group of English Puritans, who were dissatisfied with the affairs of church and state in their homeland, immigrated to Guilford with a vision and a plan. All shared one trait: their willingness to leave the familiar for the unfamiliar. They came from various parts of England, including the areas of Surrey and Kent. Three different ships transported them that summer of 1639 to the infant colony of Quinnipiac, now New Haven. The names of those on one of the ships is known, for they signed an agreement to stay together. The names of those on the other two ships are from records of land division, marriage, birth, and death. Home lots were portioned out by the amount of the individual’s investment in the Plantation.” On page 8 of the celebration program, Thomas French is listed as number 17 of 49 original planters of Guilford. Send just $3 for this 72 page booklet to Program Book, Guilford’s 350th Committee, Selectmen’s Office, Town Hall, Guilford, CT
Guilford is the seventh oldest town in Connecticut, founded in 1639 (The year Thomas French arrived) by an oppressed but optimistic band of English Puritans. Henry Whitfield, a minister in Ockley, near London, was the moving spirit behind their emigration. About forty of his friends and sympathizers formed a joint stock company to sail across the Atlantic. They were mostly young and energetic men, farmers, well-educated, and all of them persons of high standing in their community. In a deed of sale dated September 29, 1939, the Whitfield Company purchased the lands between Stony Creek and East River from the Squaw Shaumpishuh, Sachem of the local Menunkatuck Indian tribe.