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Thomas Dewey The Settler

Dewey crestThomas Dewey was the first Dewey to arrive in New England. All Dewey's in the colonial lines descend from him. There is much speculation about when he arrived and where he came from but this site will not deal with speculations. The first evidence or proof of him in this country is the will of John Russell that he witnessed in September of 1633. In 1633 he was in Dorchester, Connecticut. He became a freeman on 14 May, 1634. He helped settle Windsor, Connecticut in 1639 where he died. On this page you can read about his children, friends and documents that show evidence of his life.

The earliest proof of Thomas Dewey on colony soil dates back to August 4, 1633. His signature appears on the will of John Russell a merchant at Dorchester. This will was also witnessed and signed by John Warham, Thomas Moore and John Moore. In 1636 Thomas Dewey's name appears in a list of grantees of land in Dorchester. The names on this list are the first settlers of Dorchester. Included in this list are the names of Roger Clapp, Joseph Clarke, Mr. Pincheon, Phillip Randall and "Mr. Newberry".

A year later on December 1, 1634 additional land grant records exist stating:

"It is ordered that Rodger Clapp, John Hulls, Geo. Phillips, William Hubbard, Stephen French John Haydon, shall have 8 acres apiece in Roxbury bounds, betwixt the two market trees, to begin at end which they shall agree off; to go 40 Rod from the bounds of the fresh marshes are to be expected from these lots. Mr. Hawthorne to have 12 acres, Nicholas Upsall to --, Thomas Duee to have 8 acres with them, Richard Callecott to have 14 acres. Mr. Richards, Richard Callecott, Thom. Holcomb, Thom. Duee are tto cast their lotts together to those above named."

Freeman

In the early days of the colonies, men who were granted freeman status allowed them certain rights including the right to receive grants of land and to vote. A court proceeding took place to grant freemanship and each person granted this status had to take an oath. On May 14, 1634 Thomas Dewey took the oath of a Freeman. Below is a quotation of his oath.

"I, Thomas Dewey, being by God's Providence and inhabitant and Freeman within the jurisdiction of this commonwealth, do fully acknowledge myself to be subject to the Government thereof; and therefore fo here swear by the great and dreadful name of the everliving God, that I will be true and faithful to the same, and will accordingly yield assistance and support thereunto, with my person and estate, as in equity I am bound; and will also truly endeavor to maintain and preserve all the liberties and privileges thereof, submitting myself to the wholesome lawes and orders made and established by the same, and further, that I will not plot or practice any evil against it, or consent to any that shall so do, but will truly discover and reveal the same to lawful authority now here established for the speedy preventing thereof. Moreover, I do solemnly bind myself in the sight of God, that when I shall be called to give my voice touching any such matter of this State in which Freemen are to deal I will give my vote and suffrage as I shall judge my own conscience may best conduct and tend to the public weal of the body without respect to persons or favor of any man. So help me God in the Lord Jesus Christ."

Windsor, Connecticut

On August 12, 1635, Thomas Dewey sold all his land in Dorchester to Thomas Holcombe and "Richard Joanes" and took up residence in Windsor. On February 28, 1640 substantial land grants were registered to Thomas Dewey in Windsor. He is listed among the group of original settlers in Windsor. He served in Windsor as a deputy and cornet.

The Family of Thomas Dewey

Thomas Dewey married Frances Clark in Windsor On the 22nd of March in 1638 or 1639. She brought with her a daughter, Mary Clark. Frances's maiden name is unknown. Documents list Frances's first husband as Joseph Clark of Windsor. She had 2 children with him prior to his death, Mary and a son Joseph. Frances and Thomas Dewey had the following children:

Thomas Dewey died in Windsor, Connecticut on 27 April 1648. The location of his grave is unknown. After his death his widow Frances married George Phelps with whom she had more children and moved to Westfield, Massachusetts. She died in Westfield 27 September 1690.

The Last Will and Testament of Thomas

Below is the last will and testament of Thomas Dewey:

Granted 8 acre lot in Dorchester, 1 December 1634. Granted 2 acres of mowing ground, 5 July 1635. Granted 4 acres, Lot 64, in Meadow beyond Naponset. On 12 August 1635 "Thomas Duee" sold to Richard Jones five parcels in Dorchester: "4 acres of ground with my house and all thereto belonging, also 8 acres of ground of my great lot, also ten acres of meadow on the side Naponset, and 4 acres of meadow on the other side, and 2 acres of meadow in the fresh marsh". In the Windsor land inventory Thomas Dewey held on 28 February 1640 five parcels which he had received by grant: seven acre homelot; four acres and a quarter in Great Meadow; a planting lot over the Great River, eighteen rods wide; thirteen acres and a half in the Northwest Field; and a parcel of sixteen acres (the last two parcels annotated in the margin "sold to Thomas Stouton"). The same inventory (including additions after 28 February 1640) showed that Thomas Dewey had purchased several pieces of land: from Eltweed Pomeroy, a parcel of meadow; from William Hosford, an acre and eighteen rods in Norwest Field, and six rods in the Great Meadow; from Thomas Stayres, three acres and a quarter, and a parcel in Norwest Field; from John Mason, a lot over the Great River (in exchange for five acres in the Great Meadow); of Nicholas Denslow, half an acre in Norwest Field; and of Michael Try, three-quarters of an acre in the Great Meadow. The inventory of the estate of Thomas Dewey, taken 19 May 1648, totalled 213, of which 118 was real estate: "one house and barn with the homelot, in quantity about one acre & quarter," 40; seven acres of meadow adjoining the houselot, 20; four acres and a quarter in the Great Meadow, 13; three acres and a quarter in the Great Meadow, 10; five acres, eight rods and a half in the Great Meadow, 15; and "two parcels of upland about 29 acres. The distribution of the estate was made on 17 October 1648: to the relict, 60; to "his eldest son by name Thomas Dewy," 30; and to the other five children 20 apiece. The children were listed as follows: "Six children, 4 boys, 2 girls: one girl Mary Clark 12 years old; one son Thomas Dewye 8 years [old]; Josiah Dewey 7 years old; Annah Dewey 5 years old; Isreall Dewey 3 years old; Jydidiah Dewey 3 quarters of a year old."

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