Jonathan GillettAbt 1604 - 1677 (~ 73 years)
Name Jonathan Gillett Born Abt 1604 Chaffcombe, Somerset, England Gender Male Died 23 Aug 1677 Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut, United States Person ID I1890 Petersen-de Lanskoy Last Modified 1 Sep 2015
Father William Gylette, b. Abt 1574, Chaffcombe, Somerset, England , d. Bef 2 Apr 1641, Chaffcombe, Somerset, England (Age ~ 67 years) Mother Habiathia Pye, b. Abt 1578, Chaffcombe, Somerset, England , d. 14 May 1681, Chaffcombe, Somerset, England (Age ~ 103 years) Married 18 Sep 1609 Donytt, Somerset, England Family ID F1015 Group Sheet | Family Chart
Family Mary Dolebere, c. 7 Jun 1607, Cadhayne, Colyton, Devonshire, England , d. 5 Jan 1685/1686, Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut, United States (Age ~ 78 years) Married 29 Mar 1634 Colyton, Devonshire, England Children 1. Jonathan Gillett, b. From Dec 1634 to Jan 1634/1635, Dorchester, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States , d. 27 Feb 1697/1698, Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut, United States (Age ~ 63 years) 2. Cornelius Gillett, b. Abt Jul 1636, Dorchester, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States , d. 26 Jun 1711, Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut, United States (Age ~ 74 years) 3. Mary Gillett, b. Abt 1637/1638, Dorchester, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States , d. 27 Aug 1719, Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut, United States (Age ~ 81 years) 4. Anna or Hannah Gillett, b. 29 Dec 1639, Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut, United States , d. 18 Nov 1711, Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut, United States (Age 71 years) 5. Joseph Gillett, c. 25 Jul 1641, Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut, United States , d. 18 Sep 1675, King Phillip's War at Bloody Brook near Deerfield, Hampshire (now Franklin), Massachusetts, United States (Age ~ 34 years) 6. Samuel Gillett, c. 22 Jan 1642/1643, Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut, United States , d. 19 May 1676, Indian Battle at Turner's Falls near Hatfield, Hampshire, Massachusetts, United States (Age ~ 33 years) + 7. John Gillett, b. 5 Oct 1644, Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut, United States , d. Nov 1682, Simsbury, Hartford, Connecticut, United States (Age 38 years) 8. Abigail Gillett, c. 28 Jun 1646, Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut, United States , d. 1 Mar 1648/1649, Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut, United States (Age ~ 2 years) 9. Jeremiah Gillett, b. 12 Feb 1647/1648, Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut, United States , d. 1 Mar 1692/1693, Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut, United States (Age 45 years) 10. Josiah Gillett, c. 14 Jul 1650, Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut, United States , d. 29 Oct 1736, Colchester, New London, Connecticut, United States (Age ~ 86 years) Last Modified 22 Oct 2015 Family ID F1014 Group Sheet | Family Chart
1. Appears that there was still a family estate in Windsor, Connecticut into the mid 1850's. Also known as Gylette, Gylett, Gillet, Gillette, Gylot, Gylet, Galet, Gelot, Gilet, and so on.
2. Ancestry.com's "The Great Migration Begins, Sketches, Preserved Puritan":
Origin: Chaffcombe, Somersetshire.
First Residence: Dorchester.
Removes: Windsor 1638.
Return Trips: To England in 1633 and return 1634.
Church Membership: Admission to Dorchester church prior to 6 May 1635 implied by freemanship.
Freeman: 6 May 1635 (as "Jonathan Jellett," second in a sequence of five Dorchester men) [MBCR 1:370].
Offices: Connecticut jury, December 1653, 7 June 1655, 26 August 1657, 3 March 1658/9, 15 May 1660, 6 December 1660, 5 September 1661, 9 October 1661, 13 May 1662, 20 January 1662[/3] [RPCC 119, 143, 181, 197, 211, 219, 238, 240, 246, 261]. Windsor constable, March 1655/6 [RPCC 161].
Estate: Allowed by town of Dorchester "to fence in half an acre of ground about his house leaving a sufficient highway," and granted four acres of marsh; also "Jonathan Gillet's house" mentioned, 17 April 1635 [DTR 11]; "Jellets" to have two acres of marsh, 27 June 1636 (no first name is given, so this grant may be to both Jonathan and Nathan) [DTR 17]. (In the grant of meadows beyond Neponset, Lot #32, marked only "J.," may have belonged to Jonathan Gillet, since it was immediately next to the lot of N[athan] Gillet [DTR 321].) In Thomas Treadwell's deed of land to Edward Breck, dated 20 June 1638, one of the abutters to a parcel of land was "Mr. Parker on the other side which was once Jonathan Gillete's" [DTR 35]. On 9 June 1662 Jonathan Gillett Sen. was granted two parcels of swampland totalling five or six acres by the court-appointed committee to dispose of land without the west bounds of Windsor [WiLR 1:41]. Other "Jonathan Gillett" land entries appear to pertain to Jonathan Jr. In his will, dated 8 August 1677 and proved 6 September 1677, "Jonathan Gillett sen. of Windsor ... being at present very ill and under distemper of body above ordinary" named "my wife ... sole executrix " and "my son Josiah Gillett to take care for the improvement of his mother's estate," she to have the use of "both my houselots, my one and that which was my brother Nathan Gillett's, which are both nine acres, also at the upper end of the first meadow, or that which is Timothy Phelpes," and "all that remains of that to me I set out three acres to my son John"; after "my decease ... my son Josias" to assist his mother, and after her death "he shall enjoy for his own ... my now dwelling house and all the appurtenances with it, with five acres of houselands & all other parcels of land, as are expressed to be his mother's for her use whilst she lives, only excepting the house & four acres of the houseland to it, which my son Jeremy shall possess for his own after my wife's decease" and "the six acres in the second meadow I set out to him, he is to possess for his own at the present"; "thirdly, my will is that if the Lord should take me and my wife both of us away by death within four years after the date hereof, my son Josiah shall pay some legacies, as to his brother Jonathan Gillett £4 and a gun, and to his brother Cornelius Gillett £4, & to my daughter, Peter Browne's wife, £2, and to my daughter, Samuel Fyllye's wife, £2, and to the two children which I have taken that were my son Joseph's, deceased, as the little son Jonathan £5, and the girl £5. My son Jonathan is to have the other twenty acres of woodland joining to the twenty acres expressed to my wife. He is to have his twenty acres next to Thomas Barber, ten acres of it I give him, the other ten he hath bought. Also, Jonathan and Cornelius my sons are to have my eleven acres without the west bounds of Windsor, betwixt them, after my decease. And my son John Gillett to have six acres of the other parcel without the bounds at present, and Jeremie to have the remainder of it" [Hartford PD Case #2202; Manwaring 1:200-01]. The inventory of "Jonathan Gillett Senior who died the 23 day of this August" was taken 31 August 1677 and totalled £273 10s., including real estate valued at £188: "his dwelling & barn house land five acres," £70; "his dwelling house that was his brother Nathan's & four acres of houseland," £40; "the first meadow, near four acres," £20; "the second meadow eight acres," £30; "twenty acres of woodland," £10; "six acres of upland," £12; and "without the west bounds of Windsor common land fifteen acres," £6 [Hartford PD Case #2202]. More than a generation later, on 25 August 1719, Jonathan Filley, Josiah Filly, John Filly, Thomas Gillett and Joseph Gillett petitioned the probate court that their "grandfather Jonathan Gillit late of Windsor" had left unadministered estate and they requested that someone be appointed to administer the property [Hartford PD Case #2202].
Birth: By about 1609 (based on presumed age at marriage), son of Rev. William Gillett.
Death: Windsor 23 August 1677 (from inventory).
Marriage: Colyton, Devonshire, 29 March 1634 Mary Dolbiar, bp. Colyton, Devonshire, 7 June 1607 [TAG 15:208-17]. She died Windsor 5 January 1685[/6] [CTVR 56; TAG 15:210].
i Jonathan, b. about December 1634 [TAG 15:210]; m. (1) Windsor 23 April 1661 Mary Kelsey [Grant 39], daughter of William Kelsey [TAG 68:209, 210, 215]; m. (2) Windsor 14 December 1676 Miriam Dibble [Grant 39], daughter of Thomas Dibble.
ii Cornelius, b. say 1636; m. by 1659 Priscilla Kelsey, daughter of William Kelsey [TAG 68:214; Grant 39].
iii Mary, b. say 1638; m. Windsor 15 July 1658 Peter Brown [Grant 33-34; TAG 33:215]. (Because of the tight chronology between the date of marriage of the parents and the known birthdate of the fourth Child, Coddington suggests that Cornelius and Mary may have been twins [TAG 15:211].
iv Anna, b. Windsor 29 December 1639 [Grant 39]; m. Windsor 29 October 1663 Samuel Filley [Grant 37].
v Joseph, bp. Windsor 25 July 1641 [Grant 39]; m. Windsor 24 November 1664 Elizabeth Hawkes [WiVR].
vi Samuel, bp. Windsor 22 January 1642/3 [Grant 39]; no further record.
vii John, b. Windsor 5 October 1644 [Grant 39]; m. Windsor 8 July 1669 "Marcy Barber" [CTVR 12; Grant 40]. John Gillett d. in 1682 [Manwaring 1:307] and his widow m. (2) Windsor 14 June 1683 George Norton [CTVR 52], son of George Norton. She was the daughter of Thomas Barber [Manwaring 1:94], and had been taken in by Walter Filer after her father's death [RPCC 262, 264].
viii Abigail, bp. Windsor 28 June 1646 [Grant 39]; d. Windsor 1648 [Grant 81].
ix Jeremiah, b. Windsor 12 February 1647/8 [Grant 39]; m. Windsor 15 October 1685 Deborah Bartlett [WiVR Barbour 117], daughter of Benjamin Bartlett.
x Josiah, bp. Windsor 14 July 1650 [Grant 39]; m. Windsor 30 June 1676 Joanna Taintor [Grant 42, 76].
Associations: He was brother of Nathan Gillett of Dorchester and Windsor. Ever since the publication of the will of Rev. William Gillett, Rector of Chaffcombe, Somersetshire [NYGBR 41:282-83], Jonathan and Nathan Gillett of Dorchester and Windsor have been considered his sons, although there have been some nagging doubts. In 1979 George E. McCracken published additional information which makes the identification solid [TAG 55:170-73]. McCracken suggested that Jonathan, Nathan and some of their siblings were born before 1610, when William Gillett was instituted at Chaffcombe; but we only have scattered Bishops' Transcripts for some of the years after 1610, and there is a ten-year gap when several Gillett children could have been born. Jonathan was probably older than Elias, who was baptized on 11 February 1611/2 and so could well have been born at an earlier residence for the family. Nathan, however, need not have been born until 1613, and he could have been born at Chaffcombe, next after Elias, during a period when neither the parish register nor the Bishops' Transcripts survive for that parish.
Comments: Jonathan Gillett and his brother Nathan are frequently included in passenger lists of the Mary & John. While this is not impossible, it is also not a necessary conclusion. They were both from the West Country, and both settled first in Dorchester, but were they first here in 1630? The first record of Nathan is his admission to freemanship in 1634, which implies arrival by 1633, and nothing more. From the statement of Jonathan's son Benjamin in their copy of the "Breeches Bible" that "My father Gille[tt] came into new-inglan the second time in June in the year 1634...," we know that Jonathan arrived for the second time in 1634, and he does appear on the 1634 passenger list of the Recovery [TAG 15:210; NGSQ 71:171, 77:250]. But he could have come for the first time in 1633, turned around immediately to return to England to marry early in 1634 and board ship in time to sail back to New England. There was a ship from the West Country in 1633 that could have brought the Gillett brothers to New England, and as a result we would not be justified in placing them on the Mary & John. Any evidence which might overturn this conclusion would almost certainly have to come from England. Jonathan Gillett had left Dorchester by 20 June 1638 [DTR]. Anna, born December 1639, was the first of his children to be born in Windsor. Since the chronology for the births of his children is tight, the previous Child, Mary, was probably born late in 1637 or early in 1638, and in Dorchester, so the date for the move from Dorchester to Windsor would be in the first half of 1638. In his 17 August 1677 accounting of "what children has been born in Windsor from our beginning hither," Matthew Grant said that "Jonathan Gellet senior" had seven [Grant], which accords with the actual list of children given by Grant elsewhere.
Bibliographic Note: George E. McCracken surveyed the literature on the Gillett family in 1979, providing some brief commentary on the relative reliability of the many publications [TAG 55:170-1]."
DTR: Fourth Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston. 1880. Dorchester Town Records (Boston 1883).
TAG: The American Genealogist, Volume 9 to present (1932+).
Grant: "Matthew Grant Record, 1639-1681" in Some Early Records and Documents of and Relating to the Town of Windsor, Connecticut, 1639-1703 (Hartford 1930).
WiVR: Windsor Vital Records, typescript, Connecticut State Library (1918-29).
WiVR Barbour: Windsor Vital Records, Barbour Collection, Connecticut State Library, Hartford, Connecticut.
NGSQ: National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Volume 1 through present (1912+).
NYGBR: The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Volume through present (1869+).
CTVR: Births Marriages and Deaths Returned from Hartford, Windsor and Fairfield and Entered in the Early Land Records of the Colony of Connecticut..., Edwin Stanley Welles, ed. (Hartford 1898).
Manwaring: A Digest of the Early Connecticut Probate Records, Volume One, Hartford Probate District, 1635-1700, Charles William Manwaring, comp. (Hartford 1904).
RPCC: Records of the Particular Court of Connecticut, 1639-1663, Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society, Volume 22 (Hartford 1928; rpt. Bowie, Maryland, 1987).
WiLR: Windsor, Connecticut, Deeds (microfilm of original at Connecticut State Library, Hartford, Connecticut).
Hartford PD: Hartford Probate District, original files, Connecticut State Archives (and on microfilm).
MBCR: Records of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, 1628-1686, Nathaniel B. Shurtleff, ed., 5 volumes in 6 (Boston 1853-1854)."
3. Quoted from "Some of the Descendants of Jonathan Gillett" referenced in "SOURCES_MISC" below, pp. 15-16:
"Jonathan Gillet the progenitor of this branch of the family belonged with his brother Nathan to the company of about one hundred and forty Puritans, which was formed in the counties of Devonshire, Dorsetshire, and Somersetshire, England, sailed with Revs...John Warham and John Maverick as pastors, in the 'Mary and John', March 20, 1630, and arrived in Nantasket, May 30th, following, settlement being made at Dorchester [Mass.]. He was made a freeman there, May 6, 1635W. There was 'graunted to Jonathan Gillett: to fence inhalfe an acre of ground about his house leaving a sufficent highway.' Further... the foresayed p'tyes do' p'mise to fetch all the Cowes from Jonathan Gilletts to Mr. Woolcotts'... 'graunted also to jonathan Gillet 4 acres' ('over against fox poynt') 'the bounds being from Jonathan Gilets pale &' and one (lot) the other side, which was once Jonathan Gillets'
With the Dorchester Church and Rev. Mr. Wareham, he and Nathan removed about 1636 to Windsor, Conn.; where he 'had a lot granted to him seventeen rods wide,; near Mr. Warehams, and across the Poquonnoc road from Alexander Alvord of the same company... He and his wife Mary Dolbiar (Dolbere) whom he married Mar. 29, 1634 at Colyton in Devonshire, England, are included in Matthew Grants Church list, made 37 years after the settlement, of 21 'members who were so in Dorchester and came up with Mr. Warham, and are still with us'.
They were also privileged having paid six shillings, to sit in the long seats in the church. He gave 4 s.6 d. to fund in aid of sufferers by the Indian War at Simsbury and Springfield, and was one of the committee of distribution." He died Aug. 23, 1677; his wife was bapt. at Colyton June 7, 1607, dau. of Rawkey (or Rockeye) and Mary (Mitchell) Dolbere; d. Jan. 5, 1685."
Also quoted is the story of the "Bear Bible" which was the Gillett family bible and was printed in Amsterdam in 1599 and known as the Geneva edition which was very popular among Puritans. The cover is a rough, home-made, leather binding. There are deep scratches in the front edges of the leaves, which according to family tradition, were made by a bear's claws as the Bible lay on a window sill holding up a window sash. Much info is recorded and can be seen in copies of the referenced source noted herein and with copy on file with this individual.
4. Henry R. Stiles, "The History and Genealogies of Ancient Windsor, Connecticut," 1892, v. 2, p. 289:
"Jonathan Gillett, with his brother Nathan came to Dorchester, Mass., with Rev. Warham, and (both) to Windsor with the first emigration (see p. 157, vol. 1). Both he and his wife were members of the orig. D. and W. ch. (O.C.R.); D.W.P. thinks that he probably d. 27 Feb 1697-8; O.C.R. says: 'Jonathan, Sen.,' d. 23 Aug 1677, and in its list of persons taken into Windsor ch. 'and are now living' (the date of this Rec. is 21 Dec 1677) is mentioned 'Wid. Gillett.' The Rec. in Gillett-Holcomb Bible, referred to below (see also Note p. 290), says 'Father Gillett dyed in 1667.' There is still extant, in the possession of a Windsor family, a copy of the Geneva edition of the Bible, of 1599, commonly known as the 'Breeches Bible,' because the fig leaf garment made by our first parents in the Garden of Eden, and which in the King James's Version is called apron, is herein given as breeches. This Bible was brought to New England by this Jonathan Gillett, Sen'r, and afterwards passed into the hands of the present Holcomb family, prob. through Lois, who was the daughter of Jonathan Holcomb by his second wife, Wid. Mary Gillet, whom he married 28 Jun 1721. Lois Holcomb, b. 5 Jul 1748, was married July 1772 to Noah (father of Perly, father of Dea. Anson) Cooley of North Granby, Conn. In the family, this Gillett-Holcomb Bible was familiarly known as the 'Bear Bible,' because it was once, in the olden days, placed in a window to keep the sash raised, when a bear endeavoring to effect an entrance, clawed it, leaving the marks of his claws so deep upon the edges of its leaves, that they are still very plainly to be seen. In this Bible occurs the following manuscript record: 'My father Gille(tt) came into new-inglan the secon(d) time in June in the yeare 1634 and Jonathan his sonne was born about half a yeare aftur he cam to land.' A jar now in possession of Mr. Norman F. Stoughton of So. Windsor, was, it is said, 'brought over' by the first Jonathan Gillett. It is white with blue lines, 6 inches in height and 7 inches in diameter. Children:
a. Cornelius, came to Windsor with his father.
b. Jonathan, Jr., b. in New Eng., 1634/5.
c. Mary, b. in New. Eng. Born in Windsor (O.C.R.)
d. Anna (Hannah, O.C.R.) b. 29 Dec 1639, specifically mentioned in O.C.R. as 'his first born in Windsor.'
e. Joseph, bp. 25 Jul 1641.
f. Samuel, bp. 22 Jan 1642.
g. John, b. 5 Oct 1641.
h. Abigail, bp. 28 Jun 1646; d. 1649. - O.C.R.
i. Jeremiah, b. 12, bp. (O.C.R.) 20 Feb 1647.
j. Josiah, bp. 14 Jul 1650."
5. Manuscript from the Windsor CT. Historical Society Library of Jay Mack Holbrook entitled "Conn. Colonists - Windsor 1635-1703" has the following listings for Gillets. I am not sure what the references refer to, but they appear to be a compilation of mentioned names in original sources. I have rearranged the entries to be chronological rather than alphabetical as presented by the book compiler:
Gillett, Jonathan 604; land owner, 1639; STI891:157.
Gillet, Anna; birth 29 Dec 1639; CHS930:39; father: Gillet, Jonathan Sr.
Gillet, Joseph; baptism 25 Jul 1641; CHS930:39; father: Gillet, Jonathan Sr.
Gillet, Joseph; baptism 25 Jul 1641; WIN638:14; father: Gillet, Jonathan.
Gillet, Samuel; baptism 22 Jan 1642; WIN638:14; father: Gillet, Jonathan.
Gillet, Samuell; baptism 22 Jan 1643; CHS930:39; father: Gillet, Jonathan Sr.
Gillet, John; birth 5 Oct 1644; WIN638:16; spelling: Gillet, Jonathan.
Gillet, John; birth 5 Oct 1644; CHS930:39; spelling: Gillet, Jonathan Sr.
Gillet, Abigail; baptism 28 Jun 1646; WIN638:14; Father: Gillet, Jonathan.
Gillet, Abigail; baptism 28 Jun 1646; CHS930:39; Father: Gillet, Jonathan Sr.
Gillet, Abigayl; death 1648; CHS930:81.
Gillett, Jonathan 604; church member 1662; CHS930:11; spelling: Gillet, Jona.
Gillet, Jonathan; church member Apr 1662; CHS930:95.
Gillett, Jonathan 604; freeman 1669; TRU852:519; spelling: Gillet, Jonath. Sr.
Gillett, Jonathan 604; household size = 4; 7 Mar 1670; WYL924:194; spelling; Gillett: Jonathan Sr.
Gillett, Jonathan 604; estate in pounds = 84; 1674; GRA674:16; spelling: Gillet, Jothn Sr.
Gillet, Jonathan Sr.; estate in pounds = 103; 1675; GRA675:19.
Gillet, Jonathan Sr.; estate in pounds = 92; 1675; GRA676:28.
Gillett, Jonathan 604; donation in pence = 54; 1676; CHS930:87; spelling: Gillet, Jonathan Sr.
Gillet, Jonathan Sr.; children born = 7; 1677; CHS930:91.
Gillett, Jonathan 604; will dated 8 Aug 1677; MAN904:200.
Gillet, Jonathan Sr.; death 23 Aug 1677; CHS930:86.
Gillet, Jonathan Sr.; death 23 Aug 1677; WEL898:29.
Gillett, Jonathan 604; death 23 Aug 1677; MAN904:200.
Gillett, Jonathan 604; estate in pounds = 274; 31 Aug 1677; MAN904:200.
Gillet, Widow; estate in pounds = 27; 1677; GRA677:3.
Gillett, Jonathan 604; church member, 1678; CHS930:10; spelling: Gillet, Jonathan Sr.
Gillett, Jonathan 604; church member, 1678; CHS930:7; spelling: Gillet, Jonathan.
6. One page manuscript from the files of the Windsor, CT Historical Society entitled "Jonathan Gillett 1604-1677," 1992, Jay Mack Holbrook, arranged by age, event, date, and supporting document:
0: Birth in England; abt 1604.
26: Passenger on Mary and John to Dorchester, MA; 1630; KUH943:5.
30: Marriage: Mary Dolbere; Colyton, Devon, Eng.; 29 Mar 1634; KUH943:35.
31: Returned to New England with his wife; Jun 1634; KUH943:35.
32: Migrated to Windsor with John Warham group; 1636; KUH943:35.
35: Land owner in Windsor; 1639; STI891:157.
51: Juror service at Hartford 1655-1662; 1655; CHS928:143.
52: Sworn as Constable for Windsor; 1656; CHS928:161.
52: Plaintiff against "Jeams Inose" about "the death of a mare to the damage of 7 pounds." The jury ruled in favor of Gillett. Enno to pay 15 pounds and cost of court; 5 Jun 1656; CHS928:161.
56: Meetinghouse seat rate = 72 pence; 1660; STI891:178.
58: Church member: Jona Gillett; 1662: CHS930:11.
58: Church member: Jonathan Gillet; Apr 1662; CHS930:95.
65: Freeman: Jonathan Gillet Sr; 1669; TRU852:519.
66: Household size: 4, Jonathan Gillet Sr; 7 Mar 1670; WYL924:194.
70: Taxable estate in pounds = 84; 1674; GRA674:16.
71: Taxable estate in pounds = 103; 1675; GRA675:19.
71: Tax List: family and horse; John Gillet Sr; 1675; STI891:88.
72: Contribution to poor = 54 pence; Jonathan Sr; 1676; GRA676:28.
72: Taxable estate in pounds = 92; 1676; GRA676:28.
73: children born in Windsor = 7; 1677; CHS930:91.
73: Will: "son Josiah...care for...Mother's Estate for her Use and Benefit..."; 8 Aug 1677; MAN904:200.
73: Death in Windsor; Jonathan Gillet Sr.; 23 Aug 1677; CHS930:86; WEL898:29.
73: Estate value at death in pounds = 274; 31 Aug 1677; MAN904:200."
7. From the family files at the Windsor, Connecticut, Historical Society is the following typescript:
"An Early Bee Hunter's Adventures. A true story by Francis McGee Thompson.
The first settlement made by the English upon the 'Long' river of the Indians, the 'Fresh' river of the Dutch, now called the Connecticut, was made by William Holmes of Plymouth, who sailed into the mouth in October, 1633, and unloaded from his vessel at a point just below the mouth of Windsor river, the already prepared frame of his house. When he returned to Plymouth he took with him some of the sachems of that region, whom the Pequots had driven out. The Dutch from Manhattan had traded on the 'Long' river with the natives since 1614 and intending to forestall the English, they had early in 1633 erected a small fort where Hartford now stands, which they named 'Good Hope.' The Dutch trained the two small guns in their fort on Holmes' ship and ordered him to stop, but he told them he had commission from the Governor of Plymouth to go up the river, 'and if they did shoote, they must obey their order and proceede.' So he proceeded to his destination. Within two years, churches at Dorchester, Watertown and New Town, with their pastors, had moved bodily to the Connecticut, and settled at Windsor, Wethersfield and Hartford. Among the earliest from Dorchester to Windsor, was Jonathan Gillet, or as more frequently spelled in early times, 'Gillit.' He subsequently removed to Simsbury, and raised a family of ten children.
His third son, Joseph, (bapt. 25 Jul 1641) was one of the early settlers of Deerfield, later the frontier town of the Connecticut valley, and was killed by King Philip's Indians at the massacre of Lothrop and his men at Bloody Brook, 18 Sep 1675. Samuel, younger brother of Joseph, was slain on the retreat of Capt. William Turner after the fight at Turner Falls, 19 May 1676. The next year the widow of Samuel married Stephen Jennings of Hatfield, and that same year she with two of her children, were taken prisoners to Canada. While a prisoner she became the mother of a babe whom she named Captivity Jennings. These prisoners were rescued in 1678. Joseph Gillet was the father of seven children, and his son, John, born 10 Jun 1671 was the hero of this story. [Story continues in notes of Joseph Gillet.]"
8. The book "The 'Mary and John," chapter "The Passengers," p. 37:
"Jonathan and Nathan Gillett were the sons of Rev. William Gillett, Rector of Chaffcombe, co. Somerset, who died in 1641. Jonathan Gillett came to America with his brother in 1630, but returned to England to marry March 29, 1634, at Colyton, co. Devon, Mary Dolbere, who was b. 7 Jun 1607, and d. 5 Jan 1685, dau. of Rawkey and Mary (Mitchell) Dolbere. Mary Dolbere is thought to have been a relative of Rev. Warham. (Jacobus, Donald Lines: 'The American Genealogist,' v. XV, p. 209. New Haven, Conn., 1938-39.)
In a bible belonging to the Gillett family is the following: 'My Grandfather Gille(tt) came into new englan the secon time in June in the yeare 1634 and Jonathan his sonne was born about half a years aftur he cam to land.'
Jonathan Gillett was made a freeman in 1635, moved to Windsor in 1636, and died there 23 Aug 1677. Children:
a. Jonathan, 1634-5 Sep 1708; m. 22 Apr 1662, Mary, 1634-18 Apr 1676, dau. of William Kelsey; m. (2) 1676 Miriam Dibble, d. 1687. Children: Mary, Jonathan, William, Thomas, and Samuel.
b. Cornelius, b. 1635; m. Priscilla Kelsey.
c. Mary (twin), m. Peter Brown.
d. Anna, b. 29 Dec 1639; m. 1663, Samuel Filley, 1643-1711.
e. Joseph, b. 25 Jul 1641; killed in King Philip's War; m. 1664, Elizabeth, 1647-1725, dau. of John Hawkes. Children: Joseph, 1664; Elizabeth, 1666; Mary, 1667; Jonathan, 1669-1692; John, 1671; Nathaniel, 1673; Hannah, 1675.
f. Samuel, b. 22 Jan 1642.
g. John, b. 4 Oct 1644; m. 1669, Mary, dau. Thomas Barber.
h. Abigail, 1646-1649.
i. Jeremiah, 20 Feb 1647-1 Mar 1692; m. 1685, Deborah Bartlett. Deborah m. (2) Samuel Adams.
j. Josiah, bapt. 15 Jul 1650; m. 1676, Joanna Taintor."
9. 20 Mar 2008 http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~bart/Gillet.htm:
"Jonathan Gillett born 29 Dec. 1605) in Chaffcombe, Somerset, England, married Mary Dolbiar/Dolbere 29 Mar. 1634 in St. Andrew's Church, Colyton, Devonshire (Fig. 2), died 23 Aug. 1677 in Windsor, CT, probably buried in Old Burying Ground. Mary was baptized 17 June 1607 in Colyton, died 5 Jan. 1685/6 in Windsor, buried 14 May 1686 in Windsor. She was a daughter of Rawkey & Mary (Michell) Dolbere. The register of St. Andrew's Church at Colyton, Devonshire, reads "29 March 1634 Jonathan Gillet, sonne of Rev. William Gillet, and Mary Dolbere of Colyton, County Devonshire, England."
From the notation by Jonathan's son Benjamin in the "Bear Bible" (see below) we know that "My father Gille(tt) came into new-inglan the second time in June in the year 1634." One theory is that Jonathan was a passenger on the 400-ton "Mary & John" which departed Plymouth 20 Mar. 1630, Capt. Thomas Squibb, master. The 140 passengers were from the counties Dorset, Somerset and Devon. One of the two clergymen with this group was Rev. John Warham who had been a vicar in Crewkerne, Somerset. On 30 May the "Mary & John" landed at Nantasket Bay and the group initially settled at Dorchester. Jonathan Gillet's name appears in the list of all grantees of Dorchester lands whose names were in the Town Records prior to Jan. 1636. Five years later a great majority of them removed to Windsor, CT, under the leadership of Warham. Note that our Jonathan followed this exact route, settling near Mr. Warham in Windsor. But first Jonathan returned to England and married Mary Dolbiar 29 Mar. 1634 in Colyton, Devonshire. They promptly boarded the "Recovery of London," which departed 31 Mar. 1634 from Weymouth, Dorset, for New England. On board were 26 passengers. Most, if not all, were from Dorset, Somerset and Devon.
Both Jonathan and his wife were members of the original Dorchester and Windsor churches.
Jonathan brought with him a copy of the 1599 Geneva edition of the Bible. In the family it was known as the "Bear Bible" because it had been clawed by a bear when it lay on a window-sill holding up a window sash. In this bible is written "My father Gille[tt] came into new-inglan the secon[d] time in June in the yeare 1634 and Jonathan his sonne was born about half a yeare aftur he cam to land."
On 17 Apr. 1635 Jonathan was allowed by the town of Dorchester "to fence in half an acre of ground about his house leaving a sufficient highway.
On 6 May 1635 Jonathan was made a freeman of Massachusetts Bay Colony. He left Dorchester before 20 June 1638.
In Windsor Jonathan was granted in 1639 a lot 17 rods wide. It contained over 4 acres and was near Mr. Warham's. His brother Nathan's lot was on the west side and paralleled Jonathan's.
Jonathan served on numerous Connecticut juries from Dec. 1653 to 20 Jan. 1662/3. He was a constable in Windsor in 1655/6.
Jona Gillet (6 Apr. 1662), Jonath. Gillett's wife and Cornelus Gillet (16 June 1665) were admitted to the Windsor Church per Matthew Grant's church record "(A list of those members of the church that) were so in Dorchester, and came up here with Mr. Warham and still are of us."
On 9 June 1662 Jonathan Gillett Sen. was granted 2 parcels of swampland totaling 5 or 6 acres by the court-appointed committee to dispose of land without the west bounds of Windsor.
On 28 Apr. 1665, Nassahegan, sachem of Poquonock, sold to Jonathan Gillet, Sen., of Windsor a piece of land, swamp or marsh, containing 12 acres called by the Indians Matacomacok. This was situated without the west bounds of Windsor, southerly of the swamp belonging to John Moore & Edward Griswold.
On 11 Oct. 1669 "Jonathan Gillet, Senr." was listed as a freeman of Windsor.
In 1671 Jonathan was granted 40 acres in Simsbury, CT, for his 1637 service in the Pequot War.
In 1675 both Jon. Gillet and Jon. Gillet, Jr., were taxed in Windsor in the "Family and horse" category.
Voluntary contributors for the poor 11 June 1676 included:
- Jonathan Gillet, Senr. 4/6
- Nathan Gillet 2/6
- Cornelius Gillet 2/6.
On 10 July 1676 Jonath: Gillet, Senr, Deacon Jno Moore, John Loomys & Jacob Drake of Windsor were credited by the Connecticut "Council" for distributing supplies to "our brethren in distress in our neighboring Colonyes" and requested them to distribute the remainder to Springfield and those upper towns according to their good discretion.
Jonathan wrote his will 8 Aug. 1677. It was proved 6 Sept. 1677. In it Jonathan wrote "my will is that if the Lord should take me and my wife both of us away by death within four years after the date hereof, my son Josiah shall pay some legacie, as to his brother Jonathan Gillett £4 and a gun, and to his brother Cornelius Gillett £4, & to my daughter, Peter Browne's wife £2, and to my daughter Samuel Fylle's wife, £2, and to the two children which I have taken that were my son Joseph's, deceased, as the little son Johnathan £5, and the girl £5. Since Jonathan's wife, Mary, did not die until 1685 this part of his will did not take effect. Widow Mary was named sole executrix of Jonathan's will. She inherited "both of my houselots, my one and that which was my brother Nathan Gillett's, which are both nine acres, also at the upper end of the first meadow, or that which is Timothy Phelpes Jonathan's inventory taken 31 Aug. 1677 totaled £273/10/00, including real estate valued at £188.
The children of Jonathan & Mary were:
i. Jonathan Gillett, Jr., born in Dorchester Dec. 1634 - Jan. 1634/5, married (1) Mary (Anna?) Kelsey 23 Apr. 1661 in Windsor, married (2) Miriam Dibble 14 Dec. 1676 also in Windsor, died 27 Feb. 1697/8. Mary was born ca. 1634, died 18 Apr. 1676 in Windsor. She was a daughter of William Kelsey of Hartford. Miriam was born 19 Feb. 1644/5 in Windsor, baptized there 7 Dec. 1645, died after May 1703. She was a daughter of Thomas Dibble. On 21 May 1657 "Jonath: Gillet Junir" was among 65 Windsor men "made free before the Court." On 6 Apr. 1662 he was admitted to the Windsor Church. On 11 Oct. 1669 Jonathan Gillet, Jr., was listed as a freeman of Windsor. Jonathan inherited from his father 20 acres of woodland joining on to the 20 acres expressed to his mother. He also inherited 10 acres next to Thomas Barber. It adjoined 10 acres he already owned. Jonathan also co-inherited with his brother Cornelius from their father 11 acres without the west bounds of Windsor. On 24 Dec. 1679 Jonathan Gillett was one of four who took the inventory of the estate of James Egleston of Windsor who had died 1 Dec. 1679. On 4 Mar. 1679/80 Jonathan and Cornelius (see below) were appointed to assist Mr. John Loomis, administrator to the above widow. Jonathan wrote his will 25 Aug. 1694. It was proven 5 Apr. 1698. Witnesses were Henry Wolcott, Sr., and Nathaniel Gillet. The inventory totaled £360/13/00. Jonathan had 10 children.
ii. Cornelius Gillett born ca. July 1636 in Dorchester, married Priscilla Kelsey 16 Jan. 1658, died 26 June 1711 in Windsor. He was named for his uncle Cornelius Dolbiar. Priscilla was born ca. 1632, died 7 Jan. 1722/3. In 1658 Cornelius Gillett bought from Josiah Ellsworth lot of length 60 rods & width 18 rods. This lot had been granted to Alexander Alford (Alvord) in 1645. On 20 May 1658 "Cornel: Gillet" was among 70 Windsor men "made free before the court." Cornelius was admitted to the Windsor Church 16 Jan. 1665. On 11 Oct. 1669 "Cornelius Gillet" was listed as a freeman of Windsor. Priscilla was admitted in Feb. 1671. She was a sister of Miriam Kelsey (see paragraph above). On 2 July 1687 Priscilla Gillett witnessed with her "X" the will of Mary Randolph of Hartford. Cornelius co-inherited with his brother Jonathan from their father 11 acres without the west bounds of Windsor. On 23 Mar. 1691 Cornelius Gillett and two others took inventory of the estate of Peter Browne, Sr., of Windsor. It amounted to £408-15-06. Cornelius wrote his will 2 June 1711 in Windsor. It was proved 3 Sept. 1711. The inventory of £44-07-06 was taken 27 July 1711. Cornelius & Priscilla had 9 children.
iii. Mary Gillett born late 1637/early 1638 in Dorchester, married Peter Brown/Browne 15 July 1658 in Windsor, died 27 Aug. 1719 in Windsor. Peter was born ca. 1632, died 9 Mar. 1691/2 in Windsor (a son of Peter Brown of the Mayflower?). His estate amounted to £480. Peter and Mary had 12 children. For a continuation of this line see Jacobus, Donald L. & Herschel S. Murphy, "Peter Brown of Windsor, CT" (TAG, 1957), 33:214 - 222.
iv. Anna (Hannah) Gillett born 29 Dec. 1639 in Windsor, married Samuel FILLEY 29 Oct. 1663 in Windsor, died 18 Nov. 1711 in Windsor. Samuel was born 24 Sept. 1643 in Windsor and died there 4 Jan. 1711 - 1712. He was a son of William & Margaret Filley of Windsor. In Dec. 1665 Anna was admitted a member of the Windsor Church. In 1669 Samuel & Anna removed to Massaco (now Simsbury), CT, but subsequently removed back to Windsor. Samuel's estate was valued at £327 plus. They had 10 children.
v. Joseph Gillett [see his file for extensive notes].
vi. Samuel Gillett baptized in Windsor 22 Jan. 1642/3, married Hannah Dickinson 23 Sept. 1668 in Hadley (Hatfield?), MA, killed 19 May 1676 at Turner's Falls. Samuel & Hannah settled on the frontier at Hatfield, MA. Hannah was born 6 Dec. 1648 in Wethersfield, died after 1687. She was a daughter of Sgt. John & Frances Dickinson. She married (2) Stephen Jennings in Hatfield 15 May 1677 and they removed to Brookfield, MA. Samuel and Hannah had 4 children. Samuel was with Capt. Turner at the Falls Fight at Peskeompsinson in which 37 English were lost including Samuel and Capt. Turner.
Hannah had been remarried only a few months when on 19 Sept. 1677 she and her 5-year old daughter Mary and her 4-year old son Samuel were captured during an Indian attack on Hatfield. Hannah was pregnant at the time. When the authorities refused to pursue the Indians in fear of ambush, her husband and Benjamin Wait set out together to recover the captives who were headed for Canada. After a journey that lasted all winter they reached Canada in January and negotiated a ransom with the French. There Hannah had a daughter she named Captivity Jennings on 22 Jan. 1678. Hannah returned to home with her children in June 1678. On 22 July 1710 Stephen Jennings while engaged in making hay was ambushed and killed by Indians at Brookfield. Captivity Jennings married Abigah Bartlett. He too was killed by Indians Oct. 1708. Samuel Gillett, son of Samuel and Hannah, was born ca. 1673, married Hannah HASTINGS 9 Jan. 1697/8.
vii. John Gillett born 5 Oct. 1644 in Windsor, married Mercy/Mary Barber 8 July 1669 in Windsor, died shortly before 5 Dec. 1682 in Simsbury (Windsor?). Mercy was baptized 12 Oct. 1651 in Windsor, died 29 Mar. (31 Dec.?) 1725 in Suffield, CT. She was a daughter of Thomas & Jane (Joan?) Barber. She married (2) Capt. George Norton 14 (20?) June 1683 in Windsor. John inherited from his father 6 acres of land without the west bounds of Windsor. The inventory of the estate of John Gillett of Windsor was taken 5 Dec. 1682 by John Loomis, Sen. It was valued at £140-14-06. Legatees were widow Mercy Gillett, John age 9, Thomas age 6, Samuel age 5, Benjamin age 2 and Mercy born 30 Jan. last. Widow Mercy Gillett was appointed administratrix with Jonathan Gillett, Peter Browne, John Barber and Samuel Barber to be overseers.. Mrs. Thelma Sykes Owen of Lanesboro, MA, was a descendant of John & Mercy.
John and Mercy had 7 children all born in Windsor, one of whom, Samuel Gillett, was born 16 Feb. 1677/8, married Rebecca Bancroft 22 Jan. 1701/2 in Suffield, CT, died in 1739 in Granville, MA, buried in Suffield. Rebecca was born 23 Feb. 1680 in Springfield, MA. She was a daughter of Thomas & Margaret (Wright) Bancroft of the Springfield, MA, region with residence at the "lower wharf" now Enfield, CT. Samuel & Rebecca Gillett's eldest son John Gillett born 16 Jan. 1704/5 in Suffield, Hampshire Co., MA (now CT), but now of Nowarck in Providence of East Jersey in America, Dish Turner, conveyed to Nathll Copley of Windsor, Hartford Co., Conn., Shipwrite, land in Suffield & Bedford, Hampshire Co. that came to me from my father Samuel Gillet formerly of Suffield but late of Bedford (now Granville) deceased (Springfield, MA, Deed Book H:229). So here we have a second cousin of my Elijah Gillet also living in Newark, NJ in 1734/5! Note that their early home towns of Suffield and Enfield are only about 5 miles apart and that the ages of John and Elijah are only about 1½ years different.
Another son of John & Mercy was Thomas Gillet, the great-great-grandfather of William Hooker Gillette, who had Gillette Castle built on the Connecticut River near Hadlyme 1914-1919.
viii. Abigail Gillett baptized 28 June 1646 in Windsor, died 1 Mar.1648/9 in Windsor.
ix. Jeremiah Gillett born 12 Feb. 1647/8 in Windsor, baptized 20 Feb. 1647/8, married Deborah Bartlett 15 Oct. 1685 in Windsor, died 1 Mar. 1692/3 in Windsor. Deborah was born 3 Apr. 1666 in Windsor, died there 29 Sept. 1753. She was a daughter of Benjamin & Deborah (Barnard) Bartlett. Deborah married (2) Samuel Adams of Windsor 23 Apr. 1694. Jeremiah inherited from his father the remainder of his father's land without the west bounds of Windsor which had not been willed to Jonathan, Cornelius and John. In 1680 Jeremiah had the place in Windsor previously occupied by his uncle Nathan Gillett who had removed to Simsbury in 1670. Jeremiah's will was dated 17 Dec. 1692 but was not proved. Jeremiah and Deborah had 11 children all born in Windsor.
x. Josiah Gillett born in Windsor, baptized there 14 July 1650, married Joanna/Hannah Taintor 30 June 1676 by Mr. John Allyn in Windsor, died 29 Oct. 1736 in Colchester, CT. Joanna was born 29 Apr. 1657 in Branford, died 23 Jan. 1735/6 in Colchester, CT, a daughter of Michael & Elizabeth (Rose) Taintor of Branford, CT. In his father's will Josiah was instructed "to take care for the improvement of his mother's estate" and after her death "he shall enjoy for his own…my now dwelling house and all the appurtenances with it, with five acres of houselands & all other parcels of land, as are expressed to be his mother's for her use whilst she lives, only excepting the house & four acres of the household land to it, which my son Jeremy shall possess for his own after my wife's decease" and "the six acres in the second meadow I set out to him, he is to possess for his own at the present." About 1702 Josiah and his large family moved to Colchester where he became a prominent man in all affairs. Josiah & Hannah had 11 children, all born in Windsor. Frank Hastings, 3011 Manchester Road, Shaker Heights, OH 44122, is a descendant of Josiah & Joanna through their daughter who married in 1720 John Clark.
" Spear, Burton W., "Search for the Passengers of the Mary & John, 1630" (1989), 12:98.
 Janet Johnson (www.my-ged.com/db/page/johnson/980).
 Kuhns, Maude P., "The Mary & John: A Story of the Founding of Dorchester, MA" (1971), 35.
 Latham, Esther Gillett, "Our Family Tree: Gillet-Gillett-Gillette, Descendants of Jonathan, Nathan & Jeremiah Gillett" (1953).
 Hanson, Ann N., "The English Origins of the Mary & John Passengers" (1985), 5 & 47-48.
 Banks, Charles E., "The Winthrop Fleet of 1630" (1930/1980), 100-103.
 Coldham, Peter W., "Genealogical Gleanings in England Passengers & Ships to America, 1618-1668" (NGSQ, 1983), 71:171; Plummer, John, "Identifying George P___ ? ___ of the Recovery 1633" (NGSQ, 1989), 77:251-253.
 Aldridge, Bertha B., "Gillette Families Including some of the Descendants of the Immigrants Jonathan & Nathaniel Gillet" (1955), 13-14.
 John Plummer, "Identifying George P-?- of the Recovery, 1633 ," NGSQ 1989, 77:251.
 Thomas, Wilma Gillet, "The Joseph Gillet/Gillett/Gillette Family of CT, Ohio & Kansas" (1970), 9; Stiles, Henry R., "The History & Genealogies of Ancient Windsor, CT, 1635-1891" (1891), 1:157.
 Stiles, Henry R., "The History & Genealogies of Ancient Windsor, CT, 1635-1891" (1891), 1:872-3.
 Stiles, Henry R., "The History & Genealogies of Ancient Windsor, CT, 1635-1891" (1891), 1:88.
 Ibid., 1:229.
 Priest, Alice L., "The Brothers Jonathan & Nathan Gillett & Some of their Descendants" (NEH&GR, 1946), 100:274.
 Manwaring, Charles W., "A Digest of Early CT Probate Records, 1677-1687," 22-24 & 34.
 Stiles, Henry R., "History & Genealogies of Ancient Windsor, CT, 1635-1891" (1891), 1:149.
 Manwaring, Charles W., "A Digest of Early CT Probate Records, 1667-1687," 57.
 Manwaring, Charles W., "A Digest of Early CT Probate Records, 1687-1695," 127-8.
 Sheldon, George, "A History of Deerfield, Massachusetts" (1895), 2:173.
 Williams, John, "The Redeemed Captive Returning to Zion" (1795/1966), 110.
 Spear, Burton W., "Search for the Passengers of the Mary & John, 1630," 5:59.
 Stiles, Henry R., "The History of Ancient Wethersfield, CT" (1904), 328.
 Manwaring, Charles W., "A Digest of Early CT Probate Records, 1677-1687," 121.
 Priest, Alice L., "The Brothers Jonathan & Nathan Gillett & Some of their Descendants" (NEH&GR, 1947-1948), 101:46 & 285-286 & 102:237.
 Mrs. William C. Clark, "William Hooker Gillette, Actor and Playwright," TAG (1968), 45:225-228.
 Jones, Nathan H., "The Ancestors of my Daughters" (1914), 120.
 Gillette, Salmon C. & Rev. Henry C. Alvord, "Descendants of Jonathan Gillet of Dorchester, MA, & Windsor, CT" (NEH&GR, 1893), 47:168-169."
10. Article in the "Hartford Courant" newspaper of Hartford Connecticut, dated 29 Aug 1990, from copy found in the Windsor, CT, Historical Society Library where the original Bear Bible can be seen:
"1599 Bible returns to Windsor after absence of centuries. By Mike Swift, Courant Staff Writer. Windsor - The Bible's homemade leather cover is both wrinkled and shiny, warped and worn by four centuries.
Several grooves are cut into the sides of the yellowing pages. Legend has it that one day centuries ago, a bear clawed the grooves into the Bible.
For several hundred years, the Bible of Jonathan Gillett, a member of the first group of English settlers who arrived in the 1630s in what was to become Windsor, was in the possession of people living in other Connecticut towns.
Now the 1599 Geneva Version Bible has come back to Windsor, permanently.
The Windsor Historical Society has accepted the donation of the historical Bible from a descendant of Jonathan Gillett.
The 'Bear Bible,' so-called because of the scratch marks, will have a prominent place in the society's permanent exhibit on Windsor history. Next week the society will officially open a new wing that members hope will greatly expand the society's role in the community.
'To have it show up at a time like this,' said Robert T. Silliman, director of the historical society, smiling. 'We're awfully glad to have it.'
The Bible 'is one of those rare things that there's no way you could ever duplicate it. It belonged to one of the original founders,' Silliman said.
The Bear Bible was passed down through the Gillett family to the Holcomb family in Windsor until the 1730s. But sometime later, say historical accounts, a Holcomb who owned the Bible married into the Cooley family of Grandby, and the ancient book went to another town.
In 1915, the Bible was bought by Raymond Beardslee, a Gillett descendant. Beardslee gave it to his nephew, Lyman Gillette Potter, when Potter was ordained a minister in 1947.
In 1983, as Windsor was celebrating its 350th birthday, Potter brought the book into the historical society from his home in Simsbury, Silliman said.
As the society got ready to open its new wing this year, Silliman wrote to Potter, who had retired to New York state, and asked him whether he would donate the Bible to the historical society.
Potter agreed, donating the book in memory of the descendants of Jonathan Gillett.
The new $900,000 wing will nearly double the historical society's space and will provide climate control to keep the fragile historical clothing and manuscripts from decaying, Silliman said. It is to be officially opened in a ceremony Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. The following day, from 1 to 4 p.m., there will be an open house at the complex, including the 1640 Walter Fyler house.
The wing was built with and is endowed by a $2 million gift from the late Marguerite E. Mills, who died in 1985, Silliman said.
Alexander Hooker, president of the historical society, hopes the extra exhibits that will fill the new space will give residents, school children and others more reason to visit the Palisado Avenue society.
'We really feel we have a mission; it [the society] is not our private clubhouse. It's a resource for the people of Windsor and for visitors from wherever,' Hooker said.
People from all over the country trying to trace their family's earliest roots often visit the society, Silliman said. Because Windsor is such an old town, it has the roots of family trees that spread across America over the centuries, he said.
The society has the addresses of about 30 Gillett descendants scattered around the country, and Silliman plans to contact them to let them know the Bear Bible is on permanent display.
[Photo of Bible accompanies article.]"
11. Article in the "Hartford Courant" newspaper of Hartford Connecticut, dated 29 Aug 1990, from copy found in the Windsor, CT, Historical Society Library where the original Bear Bible can be seen:
"...The odyssey of a particular object as it traveled hand-to-hand from the past to the present creates a connection. An acquisition at The Windsor Historical Society creates a local connection that stirs the mind. The group recently received a 1599 Geneva Version Bible from a descendant of Jonathan Gillett, who was among the first English settlers who came to Windsor in the 1630s.
'To think that this belonged to one of the Puritans who joined this group,' said Robert T. Silliman, director of the society. 'How many of such things have actually survived. We can definitely say it was here in Windsor in the 1630s.'
The Gillett family is well chronicled in town histories but artifacts of its earliest members are scarce, Silliman said. He is unaware of any other such pieces from the founding days of the town in the society's collection.
The Bible likely came over from England on the ship named Mary and John. It is also known as a 'Breeches' Bible. The Puritans preferred that Adam be dressed in breeches or pants rather than the scantier fig leaf cited in other Bibles.
Certainly the Bible is worse for wear. The title page is missing, pages used for recording family births and deaths are nearly illegible and grooves cut into the pages are said to be the claw marks of a bear. The bear clawed the Bible, according to legend, when it was used to prop open a window - clearly it was not always a treasured volume.
But the Bible will be treasured in Windsor where it arrived in time to be the centerpiece exhibit in a new wing of the society's building. It will be displayed in a case to keep people from the natural impulse to touch it. Silliman hopes the Bible's donation to the society will encourage a town resident to enhance the display by loaning the group a Bible box brought over on the Mayflower.
While donation of the book to the society increases the book's chance of survival as a memorial to the Gillett family, it makes it a museum-piece and sadly ends its shaping by the chain of Gilletts and for a few years another owner. The Bible was donated to the society by Lyman Gillette Potter, a retired minister, who has had it since 1947.
No more will anyone make entries in its pages or even practice writing the alphabet as one owner did. Such personal touches, like entries in a diary, bring personality to the early settlers.
The Bible is being retired for its own safety, Silliman said. 'It's risky to have it in your closet at the house,' he said. At the historic society it will be encased in a climate controlled room with many precautions taken for its safety.
It makes me want to take my favorite beer mug down to the stream and toss it in to the future."
[Kerry's note: I have colored photographs of the Bible and its genealogical writings on file.]
12. One page copied at the Windsor, CT Historical Society without title except for a page header entitled "Early Windsor Families," page 551 (may be Stiles book):
"Jonathan Gillett (1639), from Dorchester, had a lot granted to him seventeen rods wide. He had two sons and one daughter born before coming here, and five sons and two daughters born here, 1639-1650. Of his sons, Cornelius married, and had two sons and five daughters born, 1659-1678. He bought of Josiah Ellsworth the A. Alford place, which remained in the family until the death of the late Lieutenant Cornelis Gillett, about 1866. Jonathan married Mary Kelsey, 1661; had two sons and one daughter. Then he married Miriam, daughter of Thomas Dibble, 1676, and had two sons. He bought that part of the Hydes lot lying east of the Mill road, and probably built there. Joseph married Elizabeth, daughter of John Hawkes; had four sons and three daughters born, 1664-1674. He bought the Hawkes place, and remained there until about 1673, when he removed to Deerfield, Mass. John married Mary, daughter of Thomas Barber, 1669, and had four sons. He bought Joseph Phelp's place, west of William Phelps, Jr., and probably lived there. Jeremiah, in 1680, had his uncle Nathan Gillett's place, who had removed to Simsbury in 1670. Josiah had the homestead."
13. Family tree entitled "Gillett, Dolbiar, Mychell, Sampson," Mar 1992, donated by John R. and Joyce Snell, 587 Cranbrook Rd., #33, London, Ontario, Canada N6K2Y4. Copy in the Windsor, CT, Historical Society:
"1630: Emigrated to Boston, Mass. on the 'Mary and John' with his brothers Nathan, Jeremiah, sister Mary, and Rev. Warham.
1633: Returned to England to marry Mary Dolbiar in 1634.
1634: Second emigration on the 'Recovery of London."
[Short list continues, but not as detailed as other timelines I have already noted above. Also, it is uncertain if Mary ever emigrated or not.]
14. The book "The Winthrop Fleet of 1630," by Banks, p. 102:
"The 'Mary and John' made a good passage and arrived at Nantasket May 30 without casualty. These 140 passengers are generally known as the Dorchester Company, from the place chosen for their settlement, and as they remained a distinct body of colonists, and there are contemporary records to identify most of them, it has been possible to compile a tentative list of those who came on this pioneer ship. Five years later a great majority of them removed to Windsor, Connecticut, under the leadership of Warham.
The following list shows the names of heads of family and the number in each family sailing in this ship. It gives the county of origin and the place of settlement after arrival, with other notes of identification. The list shows that fifteen came from Somerset, fifteen from Dorset, six from Devon and three are of undetermined origin. The total number thus listed makes 134 out of 140 who came over.
[List includes:] Jonathan Gillett (1). Somerset. Freeman 6 May 1635 (Massachusetts Colonial Records I, 367). Removed to Windsor (Stiles, History of Windsor, CT)."
[No listing of any other Gilletts.]
15. "The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography":
A. Entry for Lewis Singer Gillette, pg. 62: "...a descendant of Jonathan Gillette, who came to this country from England or Scotland in the ship 'Mary and John', in 1630, and settled in Dorchester, Mass. The family is descended from French Huguenots who fled from France about 1580. From Jonathan Gillette, who moved to Windsor, Conn., in 1635, the line of descent is traced through his son Jonathan..."
B. Entry for Clarence Preston Gillette, pg. 407: "The Gillette family in the United States is descended from two brothers, Nathan and Jonathan Gillet, of Devonshire, England, sons of Huguenot parents who fled from their home near Burge, France, to Scotland, in 1572. The sons sailed for America in 1630 in the ship 'Mary and John' with a company of 140 emigrants, and settled at Dorchester, Mass. They removed, to Windsor, Conn., in 1636, where their descendants remained for several generations."
16. FHL book 929.273 B233w, "Descendants of Thomas Barber of Windsor, Connecticut, 1614-1909," John Barber White, pp. 15-19, mentions Jonathan's home in the following quote about Thomas Barber [also one of my other ancestors living in Windsor, CT, at the same time:
"The following is a copy of a portion of the London Passenger Register for the ship 'Christian' in which the Saltonstall party sailed for America: '16 Marcij 1634, Theis vnderwritten names are to be transported to New England inbarqued in ye 'Christian' de Lo (from London); Joh. White Mr. bound thither, the men having taken ye oath of Allegiance & Supremacie.
1 ffrancis Stiles 35
2 Tho: Bassett 37
3 Tho: Stiles 20
4 Tho: Barber 21
The ancient Jewish year which opened with the 25th of March continued long to have a legal position in Christian countries. In England, it was not until 1752 that the 1st of January became the initial day of the legal year, as it had long been of the popular year. The 'Christian,' therefore, sailed on the 16th of March 1635 instead of March 1634, as the London Custom House Record states. According to the Windsor records, in 1635 Thomas Barber was granted 'a lot ten rods west of Humphrey Hyde's Mill Road, 8 acres and 22 rods wide, bounded south by Mill Brook, extending as stated 2 rods wide, to accommodate Barber and Alvord, and also a way for Mr. Wareham, Minister to go to his lot north of Barber's and Alvord's and ended in the Poquonock Road.' ... Thomas Barber's residence, it is stated, was located 'upon an ancient road which running about southwesterly from the rivulet (near where the present road from Palisade Green comes in) intersected the Poquonock road above the old mill.' On the north side of this road were the residences of Thos. Barber, Humphrey Hyde, and Alex Alvord, and on the south side that of Jonathan Gillett.
17. Excerpts from the book "The Filleys: 350 Years of American Entrepreneurial Spirit," by Donald G. Southerton, 2005:
"...by March of 1663, Windsor inhabitants... expanded west to unclaimed Massacoe, later named Simsbury. Although this section was never part of Windsor's town limits, the settlers had always considered it as belonging to the plantation. In 1647, the colony's General Court officially endorsed their claim: 'The Court thinks fit that Massacoe be purchased (possibly from the American Indians) by the county, and that there be a committee chosen to dispose of it to such inhabitants of Windsor.' A town committee of Windsor settlers interested in moving to Simsbury was formed to lay out lots in the new territory. The settlers met on Oct. 5, 1668, at the home of a local leader, John Moore, in Windsor. The committee agreed that by the first of May 1669, the settlers would have to fence in their respective properties. Furthermore, they agreed that failure to do so would result in a fine of 5 pounds.
25 people agreed to take land in quantities from 40 to 80 acres. The committee specified that those who took up the land were to make improvements by plowing, fencing, and constructing buildings. They also had to live on the land for two years. The costs to individual settlers for the Massacoe land grants are not known, but it was thought by local historians that the land fee probably consisted of only the expense incurred by the committee. These costs were kept minimal, usually just the administrative and land survey expenses. Any grantee not complying with the terms forfeited his land, usually to other inhabitants. Samuel Filley moved to Massacoe, along with his father-in-law, John Gillett, and his brother Nathan Gillett.
Readily available land provided a powerful motivation for the Windsor settlers. Furthermore, a three year tax abatement encouraged settlement in this area. The land, having already been 'conveniently' cleared by an earlier American Indian Tribe, required little labor to prepare it for cultivation.
Windsor records show that in 1669 Samuel was a freeman living in Massacoe, but there is no record of him having a land title. Perhaps he did not stay the two years required to finalize the land grant. It was a hard place to live with the settlement located near two rivers, and no roads, no bridges, and no market for its produce. It also lacked protection on two sides, making it vulnerable to an American Indian attack. Sometime in the 1670s, these economic and personal safety issues led many, including Samuel and his family, to return to their Windsor homes. Soon after this, the General Court in Hartford renamed Massacoe, as Simsbury."
18. "The New England Historical and Genealogical Register," v. 162, April 2008, p. 113, article: "Various English Wills Relating to New England Colonists: Gillett, Swaine, Cheney, and Tutty-Knight-Whitman," by Leslie Mahler:
"New Evidence in the English Ancestry of Jonathan Gillett and Nathan Gillett of Windsor, Connecticut.
The critical clue to the English ancestry of brothers Jonathan and Nathan Gillett of Windsor, Connecticut, was published a century ago by James H. Lea and John R. Hutchinson. They presented an abstract of the will of William Gillett, parson of Chaffcombe, Somerset, dated 1641, proved 16 April 1641, (1) which mentions 'land which my son Nathan made over to me by letter of Attorney,' as well as son Jeremiah and daughter Abiah (these two names were used by the Gillett family in Windsor). The will includes a statement regarding 'all my children in England,' implying that some children were overseas. A later article by George McCracken located a few more items relating to the Gillett family in England from bishops transcripts. (2) Work coordinated by Burton Spear in the 1990s located a marriage license dated 18 September 1609 for William Gillett, clerk and curate of Kingstone, Somerset, and 'Habiathia' Pye of Donyatt, Somerset. (3)
The will of Rev. William Tyes, dated 1 April 1623, proved 28 June 1623, (4) proves that Jonathan Gillett was a son of Rev. William Gillett (emphasis added):
'William Tyes by the p(ro)vidence of god pastor of the Church of Donniate w(i)thin the dioces of Bathe and Wells... give unto the Church of Donniate to be imployed in necessary uses about the same at the discretion of my executor within one yeare nexte after my decease ffortye shillings Item I give to the poore of the same p(ar)ishe whose names are menco(n)ed at the later end of this my last will and testament tenn pound Item I give to the poore people of the p(ar)ishe of Bromham in Wiltes where I was born ffoure pound Item I give to the poore of p(ar)ishe of Ilmi(n)ster ffortye shillings Item I give to the poore of Sainte James p(ar)ishe in Taunton but especiallye to them of Cannon Streate fforty shillings All w(hi)ch sev(er)all sumes I will to be distributed by my executor within one yeare nexte after my decease Item I give unto my wife Julian Tyes twenty pound and alsoe those two bonds by vertue where of there is ten pound yearely during her life five pound from my brother James Tyes in respecte of the Tenement that he enioyeth in Wiltes(hire) whereof I stand above fforty pound of the fyne and five pound from my kinsman Elias Tyes Clarke in Consideracon of a Tenem(en)t that I bought for him in Ileminster and payed the whole fyne Also I give unto my saied wife my househouldstuffe Item I give unto my brother John Tyes my best gowne and Cassoke and ten pound in money Item I give to his eldest sonn John in gold twenty two shillings Item I give my brother James Tyes his daughter Neiomey five pound Item I give unto my Cosin Elias Tyes twenty pound Item I give unto my Cozen Bancks her children tenn pound w(hi)che I will that John Tyes and Elias Tyes her brethren to be ymployed by them for their sister benefitt untill they shall come to the age of xxitie years Item whereas I have an estate for fowerscore and Nyneteene years determynable uppon the death of three lives as well in closes of meadow and pasture ground called Barrells scituate lyinge and beinge w(i)thin the p(ar)ishe of Rowd in the County of Wilte(shire) as alsoe the yearlye rents of these three sev(er)all Cottages or Tenements nowe in tennures or occupacons of Walter Clements John Barley als Okesey and Andrew Chandeler as by the Originall Lease therof made more plainely appeareth All w(hi)ch before recited p(re)mises and ev(er)ye of p(ar)te and p(ar)cell thereof I doe hereby give devise and bequeath unto Jonathan Gillet the sonne of Will(ia)m Gillett Clarke p(ar)son of Chafecombe in the Countie of Soms(e)t for and during all the tearme of the said ffowerscore and Nyneteen years that shalbe to come and unexpired after my decease upon Condicon the Mrs Elianor Willes widowe now resident and abidinge at my house in Donniate aforesaid shall have r(e)ceave take and gather to her p(ro)per use as well the rents p(ro)fitts and Commodities of the said two closes of meadowe and pasture as alsoe the yearly rents of the said three severall Cottages of Tenem(en)ts for the tearme and time of eighteene yeares to Commence & begin ymediately after my said decease yf she the said Elianor shall soe long live and noe longer otherwise Item I give to the said Elianor Willes a quarter of good wheate to be paid an delive(red) unto her w(i)thin one quart of a yeare after my decease Item I give to my cosen Margaret Hawkins her children ten pound to be imployed as before for her sisters children Item I give to Jonathan Gillett twenty pound and to the rest of my daughter in lawe Abia her children twenty pound to be devided equallye amonge them Item I give to my Cosen Richard Hancocke and James Hancocke their children to be equally devided amonge them (interlined tenn pound) Item I give to Susan Dell my wives kinswoman ffive pound Item I give to the children of Andrew Dell Sarah Dwellye and of Ann Gollape beinge of my wives kindred tenn pound equallye to be devided amonge them Item I give unto Rose Pullen my wives sister her children seaven pound to be equallie devided amonge them.'
The rest of his good and chattels unbequeathed were given to son-in-law William Gillett, who was named executor, with the legacies to be paid in one year. Cousins John and Elias Tyes were made overseers. William Tyes was rector of Donyatt since at least 1606, when he was listed in glebe terrier for that parish. (5) There is no record of him as a student of Cambridge or Oxford."
(1) Taunton Wills, 1641, File 13, originally published in 'The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record,' 41 (1910):282-83, reprinted in 'English Origins of American Colonists,' from ‘The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record,' (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1991), 59-60. The Somerset wills were destroyed in World War II. There are good accounts of the Gillett brothers in Robert Charles Anderson, 'The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to the New England, 1620-1633,' 3 volumes. (Boston: NEHGS, 1995), 2:766-770 (Jonathan Gillett), 770-72 (Nathan Gillett).
(2) George E. McCracken, 'New Gillett Information from England,' 'The American Genealogist' 55 (1979): 170-73.
(3) Somerset Record Office, D/DOI 18 (bondsman was Roger Gillett of Chillington), cited in Burton Spear, ed., 'Search for the Passengers of the Mary & John 1630,' 27 vols. (Toledo, Ohio: Mary & John Clearing House, 1985-99), 25:35-36 (this reference was pointed out by David Morehouse of Hopkins, Minnesota).
(4) Prerogative Court of Canterbu