Beebe Move to New London Ct, 1649
I had questioned why a family who owned land in Great Addington since 1610, whose family had lived on manorial lands from 1535, would suddenly decide to sell out in 1650 and move to a dangerous frontier in the colonies. My research showed England was a mess. The country had just suffered a civil war, Charles I had been beheaded and Cromwell was in charge, and more war was on the way. I found that Clarence Beebe had the same question and he wrote. “In about 1642, there were approximately 20,000 Parliamentarian Troops under the command of the Earl of Essex who were garrisoned in this area. The famous Battle of Naseby took place less than 20 miles from here.
In 1649 Charles the First was beheaded. We can only surmise that, because of the unrest and turmoil in the country, John Beebe and his family decided to leave and seek the more tranquil areas of the colonies. Therefore, like others in this area, they joined the great emigration."
Further information from Clifford Beebe "Based on research done at Delapre Abbey, it appears that there were five generations preceding John Beebe who live in a nearby village called Great Abbington. Thanks to information Mrs. Diane Wilson, who lives in Broughton and who extracted church records for the periods of 1620 - 1640, there are a number of entries relating to John Beebe and his family in these 20 years. The entries include the baptisms of sons Thomas and Samuel in 1633 as well as the appointment of John Beebe as churchwarden in 1628. The fact that John Beebe emigrated to Connecticut rather than Virginia would indicate that he had broken away from the Church of England." Spelling tended to be very free in past times and the name Beebe has several variations (Beeby, Beebis, Beeboe, Beebee, Beebie and Baybye all in the same records) and as there are no entries after 1640 and no burials at all, it seems likely that the family left the village.
It is hard to keep the generations separate due to the naming customs of the day. Our first record is Thomas Beebe (1535) who lived in Great Addington and is listed as a manorial tenant. He had three children, Alexander, John Sr and Mary. Alexander (1555) is listed as a Shoemaker, married Elizabeth Hull and died in 1623 in Great Addington. He purchased land in Great Addington in 1610, which passed through the family until at least 1672. Alexander also had a son named John (1590/91). This John was listed as a Shoemaker and married Alice Stratton. He died 1 August 1638. John was a yeoman, which in English society is generally meant to be a free landowner of a rank lower than gentry. A descendant tells that in the Great Addington in 1638 at harvest time, which was an extreme hot time, many people then at work in the fields at Addington fell sick and some died, which very likely happened to Alexander’s John.
Thomas’ second son, John Sr (1560) also purchased land in Great Addington in 1614 and died in 1622. His second son was named John Jr (abt 1600). This is our John who immigrated to America. He married Rebecca Ladd. The church records show “Beebis... the sonn of John Beebis and Rebeccha, wife baptized November 4th 1628. (This was John III). Rebecka Beebee the daughter of John Beebee and of Rebecka his wife was baptized August 11 1630. Thomas & Samuel twins the sonnes of John Beebie and Reb, his wyfe were baptized the three... twentieth day of June 1633. Nathaneel the sonne of John Beeby and Rebekkah his wyfe was baptized the three and twenty day of January 1638. Mary the daughter of John Beeby and Rebekah his wyfe was baptized the eighteenth day of March 1638. Hannah the daughter of John Beeby and Rebekah his wyfe was baptized the three and twentye day of June 1640.” We are using the baptismal dates for birth dates, as the actual birth date is unknown.
Apparently the family decided to leave England in 1649 as John Beebe sent his oldest son John and third son Samuel to the colonies in 1649. By this time his wife Rebecca and daughter Hannah had died. He left England in April or May 1650 accompanied by his five remaining children. John Jr died on his way to America, his will was written and signed on shipboard on the day he died, thus leaving his second son Thomas in charge of the family until they arrived in America. In the will, John appointed his “loving friends Mr. William Lewis and John Cole to be overseers of his will and that all my children be advised and counseled by my said overseers for their future disposal.” They arrived in the latter days of May 1650 and it is probable that the ship reached a port in the neighborhood of Cape Ann, MA.
Meanwhile, John Beebe III and his brother Samuel had arrived and were living in Gloucester, Essex, MA. Apparently the family was able to reunite shortly after the other children arrived in MA because John III moved to New London CT in late 1650 or early 1651. It is recorded that the Rev. Mr. Blinman administered to the spiritual interests of this Colony and that he, with a party including the Beebe family moved to New London CT by March 1651. The Connecticut Colony was established in January 1638. They were called the Pequot Plantations from 1620 to 1638. From 1638 to 1646 they were called Pequot Plantations, Connecticut Colony. After 1646 it was called the New London Settlement. The settlement of New London commenced with the marking out of the town plot and a few rude habitations constructed for temporary use in the year 1645. The government of the town was organized in 1648 & from that date a regular set of records was kept. In 1633 the area that became the New London settlement included Groton, Ledyard, Stonington, Mountville, Waterford and East Lyme. There were four plantations that were settled by people from Massachusetts Wethersfield, Windsor, Hartford and Saybrook.
The family was not indigent for John III was granted land in Poquiogh (Pequot?) and Fog Plain in the spring of 1651 and several parcels of land later. He was listed as among the grantees and planters of New London in 1651. Thomas Beebe was granted land in New London in the spring of 1651. Samuel Beebe was granted land in December 1651 as well as several times afterwards. Nathaniel, who was only 15 when they arrived, had an estate of 250 pounds in 1657.
Rebecca Beebe married John Rusco on January 2, 1651 and lived in Norwalk until her death in 1702. He was one of the 14 original proprietary of Norwalk, CT. They took care of Mary Beebe, who was 14 years old at that time. There is no further record of Mary except that she was unmarried and was living in New London, CT on August 30 1662.
The youngest child, James Beebe, who was 9 years old when they came to America, was apprenticed to Thomas Stanley of Hadley MA, where he remained for more than 25 years.
John III married Abigail Yorke in 1660. He had listed his occupation as farmer soldier. In a deed dated 1660 he was referred to as a “leather dresser.” By this I am assuming that he was either part of the regular army or militia. In 1675 he was appointed Ensign by the general court. It is very likely John had been in the service of John Winthrop, the founder of the colony. When the King Philip’s War broke out in Massachusetts in June 1676 he went on several expeditions against the Indians to Rhode Island, Taunton and beyond Westfield MA on the way to Albany. At that time John was a sergeant. On one of these expeditions, the company ascended the Connecticut River to Northampton, where they joined Major Talcot with supplies that the army urgently needed. In 1690 He was commissioned a lieutenant. John died on April 14, 1708 in New London. We know that he had one son named Benjamin for he deeded 31 acres of land to him in 1707.
Thomas Beebe married Millicent Addis sometime before1658 He was made a freeman of the colony in 1666. Thomas listed his occupation as shipmaster and was the owner of a bark named the Speedwell, which had been built for him in 1662. He was appointed a juryman for 1673 and again in 1677. He was appointed sergeant of the Trailband at New London along with his brother Samuel. In 1675, when the Indians were attacking and burning several villages in and around New London, he was one of the seven men appointed to set up fortifications against them. He served in the King Philip’s war with the rank of sergeant. Thomas and Millicent had children for it is recorded that he raised his children along with the two sons of Millicent from a previous marriage. Thomas died in 1699.
Nathaniel Beebe apparently never married. He was made a freeman in New London in 1669. Later he moved to the settlement of Norwalk CT and by 1670 he was a resident of Stonington. He was a soldier and participated in various campaigns in the King Phillip’s war, and later in the French and Indian Wars. His land was eventually absorbed in the large estates of his neighbor the Denison’s who took care of him for the rest of his life. Nathan died on December 17, 1724 at the age of 93.
James Beebe was a resident of Stratford CT in 1679, then moved to Norwalk and finally to Danbury. James and seven other families made the first permanent settlement of Danbury in 1685. He was appointed to several offices, being a commissioner in 1691, a lieutenant in 1696, a Justice of the Peace for many years, and a deputy to the General Assembly in 1710. He was a captain of the Trailband in 1716. James married Mary Boltwood in 1667 and later married Sarah Benedict in 1679. He died on April 22, 1728 in Danbury, Fairfield Ct.
I had not heard of King Philip’s War prior to reading the Beebe history. King Philip’s War was a major New England war, touched off by the continuing expansion of colonists into Indian lands and by the execution of three Indians for killing one of the Plymouth colony’s Indian informants. The Wampanoag sachem, Metacom (given the name Philip by the English at his own request), along with allies from the Nipmuc and Narragansett tribes, attacked 52 of the 90 towns in New England in what was to be the Indians’ last full-scale attempt to reclaim their ancestral territories. Many English towns, including Groton, were so completely destroyed that they were abandoned and not reoccupied for several years. Although Philip’s forces made many initial gains, the war turned against them and finally came to an end on 12 August 1676 in Rhode Island when Philip was killed by the brother of an Indian he had executed for disloyalty
New England developed steadily throughout the colonial era. The people were chiefly of the stanch yeomanry, the great middle class, of England. Many of them were men of fortune and standing in their native land. The people of Massachusetts were slow in reaching out from the seaboard; not till about 1725 did they begin to colonize the Berkshire Hills. The Connecticut Valley was more productive than other part of New England, and the people of Connecticut were more purely agricultural in their pursuits than were those of any other portion, except New Hampshire. The chief industry of Rhode Island was trade, while Massachusetts was divided, agriculture and commerce holding about equal sway. Six hundred vessels plied between Boston and foreign ports, while the number of coasting vessels was still greater.