John Higley (1649 - 1714) MP

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Nicknames: "Captain John /Higley/"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Frimley, Surrey, England, (Present UK)
Death: Died in Simsbury, Hartford County, Province of Connecticut, (Present USA)
Occupation: Buried at Hops Meadow, captain
Managed by: Erica
Last Updated:

About John Higley

John HIGLEY, born 22 Jul 1649, Frimley, England, married 1696, died 27 Aug 1714, Simsbury, CT. SOURCE NOTES: John Higley, the son of Jonathan Higley and Katherine Brewster, was born at Frimely Parrish, Surrey, England on January 3, 1647. He was the progenitor of almost all Higleys in America and a great deal of his tradition has come down to our time. John's father' Jonathan, died when John was young and he was left in the care of his mother. Soon after his father's death, she apprenticed John to a trade as was the common custom of the time. John was, by his mother's wishes to become a glove maker. However, John had different ideas. His master proved severe and overbearing and the weekly tasks overworked young John. One Saturday night, upon John's failure to perform a certain task to his master's satisfaction, John was promised a sound flogging the fol- lowing Monday (such floggings not being permitted on the Sabbath). John, being sensible as most of his descendants have been, decided that this was not for him, and he ran away. Being underage and impoverished, not to mention on the lamb, John's one choice was to indenture himself and take ship to the new world. At the time the colonies were desperate for workers of every kind and John found a ship whose captain arranged pas- sage for him with the understanding that he would be sold upon his arrival. Upon the ship's arrival she sailed up the Connecticut River to Windsor in the Colony of Connecticut. There, with his consent, John was sold to Mr. John Drake. He was admitted to the Drake family as one of its number and soon became a family favorite. In Lame John retired his indenturement and remained thereafter in the service of John Drake by choice. It was at about this time, he having come to manhood, the he and Hannah Drake, the el- dest of John Drake's daughters, plighted their troth. But in those days it was not a simple matter to get married. Though they certainly had the blessings of the Drake household, there was still the matter of John's own mother in England and the unsatisfied master glove maker. With the same Higley fortitude and perseverance that he passed to future generations of Higleys, John undertook the 51 day voyage back to England. Landing safely he proceeded to Frimely and soon stood once more upon his rnother's threshold. After a five year absence, the tall, strong man on her door step did not resemble her son, and Katherine Higley had no clue as to who it was who greeted her and handed her a letter. The letter contained his declaration of true and honest heart and she wept as she read it. Glancing at the stranger before her, she caught her breath as maternal in- stinct moved her. Advancing to his side she parted his hair and discovered a scar from a fall John had taken down some stairs when he was ten. "John, you rogue! Is that you?" she exclaimed and soundly cuffed his ear. Of course, after the happy reunion she gave John her blessing and, after making satisfactory arrangements with the glove maker, he was once more on a ship to America to claim his bride. After their marriage the young couple took up residence on the eastern shore of the Connecticut River and raised a large family. Their children were John, Jonathan, Elizabeth, Katherine, Brew- ster, Hannah, Joseph, Samuel and Mindwell. John prospered and became one of Connecticut's leading citizens. In 167l he was elected Constable for Windsor. It was also that year that he erected a warehouse and began his mercantile career that was to make him one of the wealthiest men in Connecticut, dealing pri- marily in sugar, molasses and rum between the colonies and Bermuda and Jamaica. By 1683 he held the additional office of Customs Officer and his fortune was growing rapidly. He decided to move the family to Simsbury Connecticut, about nine miles from Windsor, where he purchased 94 acres plus some additional adjacent land. Here he erected colonial home, much above the standard of the time, and moved burgeoning family. As John purchased more adjacent land over the years and extended his holdings for more than four miles along the river, the region began to be called Higley-town and was known as that for than 150 years. One of the most interesting stories concerning John Higley re- volves around the political affairs of the colony. For in 1685 King James II of England came to power and promptly required the colonies to surrender their charters in order to establish dominions under a Crown appointed governor-general. On 31 October 1687, Sir Edmund Andros arrived in Hartford, with a company of soldiers, while the General Assembly was in session. John Higley was present at the assembly. Andros demanded the assembly surren- der their charter. After heated debate that lasted until night- fall, the charter was brought into the chamber and laid upon the table in front of Adros. Suddenly the lights were extinguished, leaving the chamber in pitch dark, and the charter was spirited away. John Higley, as tradition goes, was given the charter by Captain John Wadsworth, the chief actor in the saving of the Charter, and sped away through the night to Higleytown. There the charter stayed for six weeks until it found its way to the famous Charter Oak in Hartford. We find John soon after given a commission as ensign in the Connecticut militia which was, at the time, the highest ranking officer in Simsbury. In 1689 he was elected to the General Assembly. John was devastated in 1694 by the death of his wife Hannah. She passed away on August 4 of that year at the age of 41. John did not resume his seat at the General Assembly again until 1698. These three years and the year 1703 were the only years he did not serve the assembly from 1687 until 1711. In 1696 John remarried Sarah Strong Bissel, who is our ancestor. She was a widow with two children of her own. In spite of hav- ing now a family of eleven children, Sarah and John had a large family of their own: Sarah, Nathaniel, Josiah (our ancestor), Abigail , Susanna and Isaac. And you wonder why there are so many Higleys? In 1698 John, who was by then a Lieutenant in the militia, was promoted by the General Assembly to the rank of Captain and given his own company. It is by the title "Captain" that John has come down to tradition. John continued to prosper and was engaged in numerous business and public pursuits up until the day he died, August 25, 1714 His estate showed his tremendous increase since the day he ran away from home to a strange new world to found a distinguished bloodline in America. source: abbreviation: The Higleys and their Ancestry, 1963. note: The Higleys and their Ancestry, 1963. 3. Sarah STRONG (629), born 14 Mar 1666, Taunton, MA, married 1696, died 27 May 1739, Windsor, CT. SOURCE NOTES: source: ab- breviation: English Origins of the "Mary & John" Passengers by note: English Origins of the "Mary & John" Passengers by Ann Na- talie Hansen, continued: 1985 source: abbreviation: History of the Descendents of Elder John Strong o note: History of the Descendents of Elder John Strong of Northampton, Mass.

   REFN: 5145
   JOHN HIGLEY-b. 7-22-1649, Frimley, Surrey, England; d. 8-25-1714,
   Simsbury, CT. An importer land holder, public office holder, and Captain
   of the train band (1698), his will was dated 5-6-1714, naming wife, sarah
   and all 15 of his surviving children. Son of JONATHON HIGLEY and
   KATHERINE BREWSTER, who were married 1-3-1648. Katherine was the
   daughter of REV. JOHN BREWSTER (d. 8-14-1656) and reportedly a relative
   of ELDER WILLIAM BREWSTER of the Mayflower fame. JOHN HIGLEY may have
   been a run away apprentice at the time he left England and evidence
   suggests that upon his arrival at Windsor, CT about 1666, he entered the
   service of JOHN DRAKE, JR. He married first 11-9-1671, Windsor, CT
   HANNAH DRAKE (b. 8-8-1653, Windsor, CT; d. 8-4-1694, Simsbury, CT),
   daughter of JOHN DRAKE, JR. and HANNAH MOORE. Though currently in
   question, in the past JOHN DRAKE, JR. has been connected with the DRAKE
   family in England, which included the noted SIR FRANCIS DRAKE (JOHN
   DRAKE, SR. being the great grandson of John, brother of Sir Frandis'
   father, Edmund), and SIR WALTER RALEIGH (he being the husband of JOAN
   DRAKE, sister of John and Edmund, and aunt of Sir Francis). JOHN HIGLEY
   obtained land at Windsor, CT from his father-in-law, and operated a
   business importing rum and other commodities from Barbados. He purchased
   additional Land in Windsor, and in 1684 moved to Simsbury, CT where he
   became active in public life, excepting that of the church. He married
   second about 1696 Simsbury, CT, SARAH STRONG, b. 3-14-1666 Windsor, CT;
   d. 5-27-1739, Windsor, CT. Daughter of RETURN STRONG and SARAH WARHAM,
   widow of JOSEPH BISSELL (d. 8-3-1689). Sarah and Joseph had two sons:
   Joseph (b. 3-21-1687) and Benoni (b. 12-7-1689; d.8-6-1761).

--------------------

Notes for John Higley:

2. John HIGLEY (628), born 22 Jul 1649, Frimley, England, married 1696, died 27 Aug 1714, Simsbury, CT. SOURCE NOTES: John Higley, the son of Jonathan Higley and Katherine Brewster, was born at Frimely Parrish, Surrey, England on January 3, 1647. He was the progenitor of almost all Higleys in America and a great deal of his tradition has come down to our time. John's father' Jonathan, died when John was young and he was left in the care of his mother. Soon after his father's death, she apprenticed John to a trade as was the common custom of the time. John was, by his mother's wishes to become a glove maker. However, John had different ideas. His master proved severe and overbearing and the weekly tasks overworked young John. One Saturday night, upon John's failure to perform a certain task to his master's satisfaction, John was promised a sound flogging the fol- lowing Monday (such floggings not being permitted on the Sabbath). John, being sensible as most of his descendants have been, decided that this was not for him, and he ran away. Being underage and impoverished, not to mention on the lamb, John's one choice was to indenture himself and take ship to the new world. At the time the colonies were desperate for workers of every kind and John found a ship whose captain arranged pas- sage for him with the understanding that he would be sold upon his arrival. Upon the ship's arrival she sailed up the Connecticut River to Windsor in the Colony of Connecticut. There, with his consent, John was sold to Mr. John Drake. He was admitted to the Drake family as one of its number and soon became a family favorite. In Lame John retired his indenturement and remained thereafter in the service of John Drake by choice. It was at about this time, he having come to manhood, the he and Hannah Drake, the el- dest of John Drake's daughters, plighted their troth. But in those days it was not a simple matter to get married. Though they certainly had the blessings of the Drake household, there was still the matter of John's own mother in England and the unsatisfied master glove maker. With the same Higley fortitude and perseverance that he passed to future generations of Higleys, John undertook the 51 day voyage back to England. Landing safely he proceeded to Frimely and soon stood once more upon his rnother's threshold. After a five year absence, the tall, strong man on her door step did not resemble her son, and Katherine Higley had no clue as to who it was who greeted her and handed her a letter. The letter contained his declaration of true and honest heart and she wept as she read it. Glancing at the stranger before her, she caught her breath as maternal in- stinct moved her. Advancing to his side she parted his hair and discovered a scar from a fall John had taken down some stairs when he was ten. "John, you rogue! Is that you?" she exclaimed and soundly cuffed his ear. Of course, after the happy reunion she gave John her blessing and, after making satisfactory arrangements with the glove maker, he was once more on a ship to America to claim his bride. After their marriage the young couple took up residence on the eastern shore of the Connecticut River and raised a large family. Their children were John, Jonathan, Elizabeth, Katherine, Brew- ster, Hannah, Joseph, Samuel and Mindwell. John prospered and became one of Connecticut's leading citizens. In 167l he was elected Constable for Windsor. It was also that year that he erected a warehouse and began his mercantile career that was to make him one of the wealthiest men in Connecticut, dealing pri- marily in sugar, molasses and rum between the colonies and Bermuda and Jamaica. By 1683 he held the additional office of Customs Officer and his fortune was growing rapidly. He decided to move the family to Simsbury Connecticut, about nine miles from Windsor, where he purchased 94 acres plus some additional adjacent land. Here he erected colonial home, much above the standard of the time, and moved burgeoning family. As John purchased more adjacent land over the years and extended his holdings for more than four miles along the river, the region began to be called Higley-town and was known as that for than 150 years. One of the most interesting stories concerning John Higley re- volves around the political affairs of the colony. For in 1685 King James II of England came to power and promptly required the colonies to surrender their charters in order to establish dominions under a Crown appointed governor-general. On 31 October 1687, Sir Edmund Andros arrived in Hartford, with a company of soldiers, while the General Assembly was in session. John Higley was present at the assembly. Andros demanded the assembly surren- der their charter. After heated debate that lasted until night- fall, the charter was brought into the chamber and laid upon the table in front of Adros. Suddenly the lights were extinguished, leaving the chamber in pitch dark, and the charter was spirited away. John Higley, as tradition goes, was given the charter by Captain John Wadsworth, the chief actor in the saving of the Charter, and sped away through the night to Higleytown. There the charter stayed for six weeks until it found its way to the famous Charter Oak in Hartford. We find John soon after given a commission as ensign in the Connecticut militia which was, at the time, the highest ranking officer in Simsbury. In 1689 he was elected to the General Assembly. John was devastated in 1694 by the death of his wife Hannah. She passed away on August 4 of that year at the age of 41. John did not resume his seat at the General Assembly again until 1698. These three years and the year 1703 were the only years he did not serve the assembly from 1687 until 1711. In 1696 John remarried Sarah Strong Bissel, who is our ancestor. She was a widow with two children of her own. In spite of hav- ing now a family of eleven children, Sarah and John had a large family of their own: Sarah, Nathaniel, Josiah (our ancestor), Abigail , Susanna and Isaac. And you wonder why there are so many Higleys? In 1698 John, who was by then a Lieutenant in the militia, was promoted by the General Assembly to the rank of Captain and given his own company. It is by the title "Captain" that John has come down to tradition. John continued to prosper and was engaged in numerous business and public pursuits up until the day he died, August 25, 1714 His estate showed his tremendous increase since the day he ran away from home to a strange new world to found a distinguished bloodline in America. source: abbreviation: The Higleys and their Ancestry, 1963. note: The Higleys and their Ancestry, 1963. 3. Sarah STRONG (629), born 14 Mar 1666, Taunton, MA, married 1696, died 27 May 1739, Windsor, CT. SOURCE NOTES: source: ab- breviation: English Origins of the "Mary & John" Passengers by note: English Origins of the "Mary & John" Passengers by Ann Na- talie Hansen, continued: 1985 source: abbreviation: History of the Descendents of Elder John Strong o note: History of the Descendents of Elder John Strong of Northampton, Mass.

From http://www.sml.simplenet.com/ancestries/higley.htm#JHigley

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Capt. John Higley's Timeline

1649
July 22, 1649
Frimley, Surrey, England, (Present UK)
August 12, 1649
Frimley, Surrey, England, (Present UK)
1666
1666
Age 16
Served under John Drake
1671
November 9, 1671
Age 22
Windsor, Hartford County, Connecticut Colony, (Present USA)
1673
August 16, 1673
Age 24
Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut, United States
1675
February 16, 1675
Age 25
Simsbury, Hartford, Connecticut, USA
1677
March 13, 1677
Age 27
Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut, United States
1679
January 10, 1679
Age 29
Windsor, Simsbury, Hartford, Connecticut
August 7, 1679
Age 30
Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut, United States
1679
Age 29
Simsbury, Hartford, Conn