I am Canadian – Hartford, Connecticut – the New England Connection

One of my paternal 9th great grandfathers was John White. This is a little history from his line of the woods.

From the Society of the Descendants of the Founders of Hartford, Connecticut

The Founders of Hartford

Elder John White came in the ship “Lion” which sailed from London, June 22, 1632; arrived at Boston, Sept. 16. Settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts; freeman, March 4, 1633 ; townsman there, Feb., 1635. He sold the greater part of his land in Cambridge before June, 1636, and prob. removed to Hartford with Hooker’s company.

Model of the Lyon
Model of the Lyon

(From the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Connecticut

Thomas Hooker

Representation of Hooker in Connecticut
Representation of Hooker in Connecticut

1586-1647, Puritan clergyman in the American colonies, chief founder of Hartford, Conn., born in Leicestershire, England. A clergyman, he was ordered to appear before the court of high commission for nonconformist preaching in England and fled (1630) to Holland. In 1633, Hooker immigrated to Massachusetts, where he was pastor at Newtown (now Cambridge). He had a dispute with John Cotton and apparently was discontented with the strict theological rule in Massachusetts. After a group of settlers had been sent ahead in 1635, he and many of his flock moved in 1636 to found Hartford, where he was pastor until his death. Hooker was one of the drafters of the Fundamental Orders (1639), under which Connecticut was long governed and which represent his political views. He also promoted a plan for the New England Confederation.)


He (John White) was one of the original proprietors of Hartford, and his home-lot in 1639 was on the east side of the highway now Governor St., and was about ten rods south of the Little River.

Map of settlements at Hartford - John White's plot is in the South Plantation area
Map of settlements at Hartford – John White’s plot is in the South Plantation area

He was chosen townsman, 1642, 1646, 1651, and 1656; he was also frequently a juror. His name is fifth on the list of signers of the agreement to remove to Hadley, Massachusetts, and he was one of the first townsmen chosen there, 1660, and again 1662, 1663, slid 1665 ; he and his wife returned to Hartford, were received to 2d Ch., Hartford, from Hadley, April 9,1671 ; ordained Ruling Elder, March, 1677. He d. Jan. 1683-4.

His wife’s name was Mary Leavitt, and she d. before him.-

Their children were:

i. Mary, m. Jan. 29, 1646, Jonathan Gilbert, of Hartford; d. in 1650.

ii. Nathaniel, b. about 1629 ; one of the original proprietors of Middletown ; deputy from 1661 to 1710, and held otherpublic offices; m. (l) Elizabeth-; d. Aug. 27, 1711, age 82; his 2d wife was Martha, widow of Hugh Mould, and dau. of John Colt, of New London.

iii. John, of Hartford and Hatfield; m. Sarah, dau. of Thomas Bunce, of Hartford ; d. in Hatfield, Sept. 15, 1665.

iv. Lieut. Daniel, b. 1634; settled in Hatfield; m. Nov. 1, 1661, Sarah, dau. of John Crow, of Hartford and Hadley; d. July 27, 1713.

v. Sarah, m. (l) Stephen Taylor, of Hatfield, who was buried Sept. 8, 1665 ; (2) Oct. 15, 1666, Barnabas Hinsdale, of Hatfield and Deerfield ; killed at Bloody Brook, Sept. 18, 1675 ; (3) Feb., 1679, Walter Hickson, of Hatfield. She d. Aug. 10, 1702.

vi. Ensign Jacob, b. in Hartford, Oct. 8,1645; settled in Hartford; freeman, 1668; surveyor of highways, 1670; townsman, 1682, 1687, 1691, 1696; m. before 1683, Elizabeth, dau. of Thomas Bunce, of Hartford; died in 1701.

“This holy man, having faithfully served the Lord in his place, and that also with good success through grace (He was a good man and God was with him), fell asleep in Christ, and went to receive his reward, Jan., 1683-4.”1


Colonial Days of Connecticut from Wikipedia

Dutch fur traders from New Amsterdam, now New York City, set up trade on the site as early as 1623, following Adriaen Block‘s exploration in 1614. The Dutch named their post Fort Goede Hoop or the ‘Hope House’ (Huys de Hoop) and helped expand the New Netherland colony, roughly analogous to the modern-day New York, New Jersey & Connecticut Tri-State Region, to the banks of the Connecticut River. Prior to the Dutch arrival, the Native Americans who inhabited the area had called it Suckiaug. By 1633, Jacob van Curler had added a block house and palisade to the post and New Amsterdam had sent a small garrison and pair of cannons. The fort was abandoned by 1654, but its neighborhood in Hartford is still known as Dutch Point.

The first English settlers arrived in 1635. Pastor Thomas Hooker and Governor John Haynes led 100 settlers with 130 head of cattle in a trek from Newtown (now Cambridge, Massachusetts) in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and started their settlement just north of the Dutch fort. The settlement was originally called Newtown, but was changed to Hartford in 1637 to honor the English town of Hertford the explorer also created the town of Windsor(created in 1633).These towns have been here for over 375 years.

The fledgling colony along the Connecticut River had issues with the authority by which it was to be governed because it was outside of the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s charter. Therefore, Thomas Hooker wrote the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, a document investing the authority to govern with the people, instead of with a higher power. Hooker stated May 31, 1638:

The foundation of authority is laid, firstly, in the free consent of the people.

Some historians believe Hooker’s concepts of self-rule were the forerunners of the United States Constitution. The Orders were ratified on January 14, 1639 and were transcribed into the Connecticut Colony records by future Governor Thomas Welles.


Colony of Connecticut
Colony of Connecticut

Stanstead, Quebec is an eastern township in Quebec where many people all over North America orginate. We call Stanstead the blackhole of genealogy. The records are scant mostly due to fire (1851 census records) and because most of the people who lived there were Protestants. Protestant churches were not well established so there were itinerant pastors who came through to do baptisms, burials and marriages and their records were kept at their parish very often somewhere in Vermont. It’s hit and miss to find any documentation for ancestors who sojourned through the eastern townships.

My father’s family moved out west from Stanstead, Quebec relatively late in the 1940s. My great great grandmother, Laura Jane Kenaston, married my great great grandfather William Wallace Austin and they lived in Vermont before moving into Minton, Stanstead, Quebec where Laura Jane’s parents were living. We can’t find many conclusive records for Laura’s father’s family but we do have very good records for her mother’s family. Her mother’s name was Ethelenday White. She was born in Tunbridge, Orange, Vermont to Simeon White and Eunice Cressy.

William Wallace Austin unfortunately has no paper trail, but DNA tests indicate he is descended most probably from Robert Austin of Rhode Island.

Here’s the trail from me to my 9th great grandfather, John White:

Me, – my father, Ivan Austin, born in Quebec – my grandfather, Percy Austin born in Quebec – my great grandfather, William Joseph Austin born in Quebec – my great great grandfather, William Wallace Austin probably born in Vermont + Laura Jane Kenaston born in Hatley, Stanstead, Quebec

My great, great grandmother, Laura Jane Kenaston- my 3rd great grandmother Ethelenday White born in Vermont, died in Quebec – my 4th great grandfather – Simeon White born in New Hampshire, died in Quebecmy 5th great grandfather, Henry White, born in Connecticut, died in Vermont -my 6th great grandfather, Thomas White – born and died in Connecticut – my 7th great grandfather, Jacob White- born and died in Connecticut – my 8th great grandfather, Nathaniel White- born in England, died in Connecticut- my 9th great grandfather, Elder John White – born in England, died in Connecticut

The bolded parts indicate when and where the movements of the family occurred. The fifth and sixth great grandfathers made moves first from Connecticut to Vermont, New Hampshire and then from those states into Quebec. Of course John White was born in England and died in Connecticut being the first generation to make the move from the old world to the new.

Conceptual Image of Elder John White, member of Rev Hooker's Comapny, and one of the founders of Braintree, Hadley, and Hartford.
Conceptual Image of Elder John White, member of Rev Hooker’s Comapny, and one of the founders of Braintree, Hadley, and Hartford.
State Street looking east in Hartford
State Street looking east in Hartford 1914
Old State House, Hartford - Charles Bulfinch (1763-1844), architect.
Old State House, Hartford – Charles Bulfinch (1763-1844), architect.






Sites, Seals and Symbols of Connecticut



13 thoughts on “I am Canadian – Hartford, Connecticut – the New England Connection

  1. Pierre Lagacé

    Looking at your family tree, there is no relationship between the two.
    They were Austin… Ostin dit Domingue.
    Ostin became Austin when they emigrated to Vermont.

    1. Thank you for looking into it. My William Wallace has no paper trail for his parents. It’s so irritating when there just aren’t any records to be found. Nobody asked any questions when people were still living. 😦

      1. Pierre Lagacé

        How did you make the links then without any documents?

        Just using presumption. Using Ancestry’s hints lead sometimes to errors.

      2. We made some educated probability guesses based on DNA, which led us down a completely different path than we had originally thought we were a part of. We have made some guesses based on others in the tree who had documentation. We pieced together a story which my aunt told me. They knew of an old maid who was my dad’s great aunt………etc. etc. and from there we started doing searches of census records, baptismal records etc. and we think we’ve come up with the closest matches that we can get. I don’t have a record that says who William Wallace’s parents are, but we’ve been able to piece together information based on ancillary people and records. Yes, ancestry’s hints are definitely not fool proof, but we’ve done the very best we could with what we had and put what we thought would be the best picture for research purposes. I’m repeating myself and blabbing. I hope you can understand partly what I’m trying to say anyway:-)

    1. Thank you for your gracious praise Sue. I’m really enjoying the exercise of looking at the tree and finding the history behind the names. It’s very overwhelming to see all the names when you get back to the 9th generations!

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