About John Beecher
Reference: "Saints, Sinners, and the Beechers" by Lyman Beecher Stowe, copyright 1934 (Bobbs-Merril) Pages 17-19: "1637/8 John Beecher arrived in Boston, from Kent, England in a company of 50 men and 200 women and children. The company was led by Rev. John Davenport and Theophilus Eaton. They came on the ship Hector and her sister ship (name not cited). Rather than settle among the arguing Pilgrim colony, they moved north to Quinnipiack, Long Island Sound (where New Haven, CT is now). John Beecher died during the first winter, before his wife Hannah and son Isaac arrived the following spring. She was allowed to remain on John's land and accorded the title "Goodwife" as she happened to be a midwife, an occupation sorely needed!
"John, Hannah and Issac were the first of the Beechers in America. They came to this country from Kent, England, in 1637, with the company led by the Reverend John Davenport and Theophilus Eaton who had been Ambassador to Denmark and Deputy-Governor of India. This company crossed the ocean on the ship "Hector". The ship after a two months voyage, dropped anchor in Boston harbor 26 June 1637, seventeen years after the "Mayflower" had landed the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock. The company consisted of fifty men and two hundred women and children. But they found they had come in the midst of a quarrel, about religion. Not wishing to buy into a quarrel, they decided to seek another area to settle in. They sent out a reconnoitering party under the leadership of Theophilus Eaton, which hit upon an old indian village of Quinnipiack on Long Island Sound, the site of the present city of New Haven. Here they built a rude hut and left an unfortunate group of seven men to hold the post for the winter, and prepare for the arrival of the remainder of the company in the spring."
"John Beecher was one of the seven. He failed to survive the rigors of his first New England winter because he and his companions had such inadequate protection. When Hannah Beecher and Issac arrived in the spring, she found her husband already buried in a unmarked grave. One hundred and twelve years later, in 1750, when David Beecher was a boy of twelve, workmen who were digging a celler for a house at the corner of George and Meadow streets in New Haven came upon human bones which were believed to be those of John Beecher."
"Since Hannah Beecher was the only midwife among them, she was given her husband's allotment of land upon which she and her son settled."
"These colonists had their social distinctions marked by dress, address and manners. Clergymen, college graduates, planters of good family and members of the General Court were gentlemen and were entitled to use the prefix Mr. before their names. Persons of reputable character who owned land, including laborers and tenant farmers of the better class, were called yeoman. A yeoman was addressed as goodman and his wife as goodwife or goody. John Beecher was not a gentleman, but a yeoman; his wife was not a lady, but a goodwife."