John Webster, 5th Gov. of Connecticut Colony

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John Webster

Also Known As: "Governor John /Webster", "Governor of Colony of Connecticut 1656-7", "Gov"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Cossington, Leicestershire, England
Death: Died in Hadley, Middlesex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
Cause of death: fever
Place of Burial: Old Hadley Cemetery, Hadley, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Matthew Webster; Matthew Webster; Elizabeth Webster and Elizabeth Webster
Husband of Agnes Webster; Agnes Webster and Agnes Webster
Father of Thomas Webster; William Webster; Matthew Webster; Robert Webster; Mary Webster and 11 others
Brother of Faith Webster; Annis Webster; Avis Webster; Faith Webster and Annis Webster
Half brother of John Webster, Sr. and Thomas Webster, II

Occupation: 5th Governor of Colonial Connecticut - Founding Father of Hartford, Governor / Founder, Governor of Connecticut, Fifth Governor of Connecticut (1656-57), 1st settler of Hartford/magistrate for many years/1655 Governor of Connecticut, Gov
Managed by: Roy Gilbert Halliday
Last Updated:

About John Webster, 5th Gov. of Connecticut Colony

Honorable John Webster was born 16 August 1590 in Cossington, Leicestershire, England and died 5 April 1661 in Hadley, Massachusetts of a fever. He was buried April 1661 in Hadley, Massachusetts in The Old Hadley Cemetery. John Webster was the fifth governor of the Connecticut Colony (1646).

Brief Biography

This Webster family settled at Watertown, Massachusetts in the early 1630s and moved to the present Hartford in 1636, probably with Rev. Thomas Hooker’s group; he was one of the original Hartford landowners. He was there a magistrate, Deputy Governor, Governor, and one of the Commissioners of the United Colonies. He was an influential member of the church in Hartford, took a deep interest in the controversy which agitated that and other churches, and was one of the leaders of the Hadley Company. When Hooker died, his congregation became split, first over who the successor would be, then over the liberalized baptism policy the new minister supported. Webster was part of the dissenting group that broke away and moved to Hadley, MA.

Links

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  • “Governor John Webster and wife, Agnes Smith Webster, came to Massachusetts Bay Colony in a year not certainly known, but understood to have been about 1630-33. He removed from Newtonwne, now Cambridge, Mass. to the present site of Hartford, Conn. in 1636 presumably with the Rev. Thomas Hooker and his historic party.”
  • source: Are We Related? A Kenney Family Genealogy, p. 14 by Frances Pollard Reed
  • John Webster was the Fourth Governor of Connecticut.
  • source: 'Are We Related? A Kenney Family Genealogy', p. 16 by Frances Pollard Reed

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John Webster: 18th Governor of the Colony of Connecticut

Life and Death

Here is a short read on Governor John Webster, taken from Wikipedia:

Webster was born in Cossington, Leicestershire, England, the son of Matthew Webster (1548–1623) and his wife, Elizabeth Ashton.[1] He traveled to the Massachusetts Bay Colony with his wife and five children in the early 1630s, settling in the area of Newtowne (now Cambridge, Massachusetts). He left in 1636, in all probability with Thomas Hooker and his adherents, to settle Hartford, Connecticut. His first public office was as a member of a committee that joined with the Court of Magistrates in determining the course of war with the Pequot Indians. He was chosen from 1639 to 1655 to be magistrate, and in 1655 he was chosen as Deputy Governor of the Colony of Connecticut. In 1656 he was elected governor, and he served as first magistrate from 1657 to 1659.


In addition to his service as Governor of the Connecticut Colony, John Webster was one of the nineteen men representing the towns of Hartford, Wethersfield, and Windsor in 1638-39 who participated in the drafting and adoption of the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, a document that is widely acknowledged as establishing one of the earliest forms of constitutional government.[2]


A split amongst the church members in Hartford grew when the current minister at the First Church in Hartford, Samuel Stone, declared that the requirement that stated only parents that had both taken communion should be allowed to have a child baptized would be removed, and non-communicants would be allowed to vote. John Webster, among others, were a part of a council that agreed that this was not acceptable. Reverend Stone chose to ignore this sentiment, and the issue was taken up with the General Court in Massachusetts. The Court ruled that although Reverend Stone had been too strict in ignoring the majority of his parishioners, he was right in liberalizing the baptism ritual. It was also found that those who disagreed with Stone could remove themselves to a location in Massachusetts to practice how they saw fit. This eventual location chosen was Hadley, Massachusetts, and in 1659, a new community was built there. Webster lived there for less than two years, for in 1661 he contracted a fever and died.

Will

Gov. Webster's Will (Retrieved from Ancestry.com)

In the Northampton, Mass., Probate Records, pages 20 and 21 is recorded the following instrument, attested as a true copy of the last Will and Testament of Mr. John Webster, late of Hadley, deceased.

" I John Webster late of Hartford in the jurisdiction of Connecticut being weak of body yett sound of mind and having my perfect understanding doe ordayne this to be my last will and testament in manner following--

"Imprimis. I comitt my soule into the hands of the Almighty and most mercifull hoping to be saved by the alone meritts of the Lord Jesus Christ being washed with his blood and clothed with his righteousness and sanctifyed by the Holy Ghost. Amen.

"My body also I bequeath to ye earth to be interred with comely bureall (if at this time I be taken out of this world) in some part of the New Plantation on ye east side of the river at Northampton. Moreover my worldly goods which the Lord hath blessed me with and left me as a father's portion, I bestow as followeth.

"To my Deare and beloved wife Agnes Webster I give one bed and comely furniture for ye same. As also my house and lands in Hartford all the profitts of the same during her natural life. And upon her decease all shall come into the hands and be at ye disposal of my executor.

"Item, to my son Matthew Webster I give the summ of ten pounds.

"Item, to my son William Webster I give ye summ of seventy pounds.

"Item, to my son Thomas Webster I give ye summ of fifty pounds.

"Item, to my daughter Marsh I give ye summ of twenty pounds.

"Item, to my daughter Markham I give ye summ of forty pounds.

"To my grandchild Jonathan Hunt I give the summ of forty shillings.

"To my grandchild Mary Hunt I give ye summ of ten pounds.

"To all my grandchildren else in N. England I give ten shillings a piece.

"To Mary the wife of William Holton of Northampton in part of recompence for her great love and paynes for me I give forty shillings.

"To my son Robert Webster I give all the remainder of my estate of one kind and another, whom also I doe appoynt and ordayn to be my sole and full executor of this my last will and testament.

"My will further is that the foresaid legacys should be paid within fifteen months after my decease soe farr as my personall estate (that is all my estate besides houses and lands) will reach and the rest within eighteen months after my wives decease.

"Which of the legacys shall be paid first or how much of them I leave to the discretion and faithfulness of my son Robert desiring yet if there appears any difference he would in it take and act by the advise of my loving friends Nathaneell Ward and Andrew Bacon who have beene acquainted with much of my mind herein. Only my just debts I would have first paid before ye legacys as also my funerall expenses.

"My lott at the New Plantation with ye accommodations thereunto belonging and I give to my sons William and Thomas upon condition of their inhabiting there as I myself was engaged to doe which is also my desire they should---

"and soe doing to have it equally divided between them.

"In witness hereof I have sett to my and this present 25 of June 1659.

JOHN WEBSTER in the presence of John Russell, Eleazar Mather

Gov. John Webster's widow, Mrs. Agnes Webster, died six years later, probably in Hartford, in the year 1667.

Links

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Webster_(governor)

Ancestry: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~genepool/websjohn.htm#will

Other interesting links:

Connecticut State Library: http://www.cslib.org/gov/websterj.htm

Find A Grave: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=15090482&ref=wvr

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(f/g) John Webster Birth: Aug. 16, 1590 Death: Apr. 5, 1661 Hadley Hampshire County Massachusetts, USA

John Webster served as the Governor of the Colony of Connecticut in 1656. He was born on August 16, 1590 in Cossington, Leicestershire, England to Matthew Webster and Elizabeth Ashton. He married Agnes Smith November 7, 1609 in Cossington. They had five children prior to immigrating to New England in the early 1630's and two more after their arrival. They first settled in Watertown, Massachusetts and moved to Hartford, Connecticut in 1636, as one of the original landowners in Hartford. He held significant public offices including: Assistant to the General Court of the Colony of Connecticut from 1639 to 1655; Commissioner to the United Colonies of New England, 1654; Deputy Governor, Colony of Connecticut, 1655; Governor, Colony of Connecticut, 1656; Chief Magistrate, Colony of Connecticut, 1657; and Magistrate, Hadley, Massachusetts, 1660. He was one of the leading members of the First Congregational Church of Hartford. A religious dispute arose and John Webster was among the dissenting group. This ultimately led to a group leaving Hartford in 1659 for Massachusetts with John Webster as one of the leaders. He first settled in Northampton and later moved to Hadley, where he became a magistrate. He died of a fever on April 5, 1661. His wife, Agnes, returned to Hartford where she died in 1667.

Grandchildren by daughter Margaret who married Thomas Hunt. Following the deaths of their parents, Jonathan and Mary were sent to Massachusetts to live with their maternal grandparents, John and Agnes (Smith) Webster.

Jonathan Hunt Mary Hunt


Family links:

Parents:
 Matthew Webster (1564 - 1592)
 Elizabeth Ashton Webster (1566 - ____) 
Spouse:
 Agnes Smith Webster (____ - 1667)
Children:
 William Webster (1614 - 1688)*
 Thomas Webster (1616 - 1686)*
 Robert Webster (1619 - 1676)*
 Anne Webster Marsh (1621 - 1662)

Burial: Old Hadley Cemetery Hadley Hampshire County Massachusetts, USA Created by: the moo Record added: Jul 30, 2006 Find A Grave Memorial# 15090482 -tcd

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-------------------- Birth: Aug. 9, 1590 Leicestershire, England Death: Apr. 5, 1661 Hadley Hampshire County Massachusetts, USA

John Webster served as the Governor of the Colony of Connecticut in 1656. He was born on August 16, 1590 in Cossington, Leicestershire, England to Matthew Webster and Elizabeth Ashton. He married Agnes Smith November 7, 1609 in Cossington. They had five children prior to immigrating to New England in the early 1630's and two more after their arrival. They first settled in Watertown, Massachusetts and moved to Hartford, Connecticut in 1636, as one of the original landowners in Hartford. He held significant public offices including: Assistant to the General Court of the Colony of Connecticut from 1639 to 1655; Commissioner to the United Colonies of New England, 1654; Deputy Governor, Colony of Connecticut, 1655; Governor, Colony of Connecticut, 1656; Chief Magistrate, Colony of Connecticut, 1657; and Magistrate, Hadley, Massachusetts, 1660. He was one of the leading members of the First Congregational Church of Hartford. A religious dispute arose and John Webster was among the dissenting group. This ultimately led to a group leaving Hartford in 1659 for Massachusetts with John Webster as one of the leaders. He first settled in Northampton and later moved to Hadley, where he became a magistrate. He died of a fever on April 5, 1661. His wife, Agnes, returned to Hartford where she died in 1667.

Grandchildren by daughter Margaret who married Thomas Hunt. Following the deaths of their parents, Jonathan and Mary were sent to Massachusetts to live with their maternal grandparents, John and Agnes (Smith) Webster.

Jonathan Hunt Mary Hunt


Family links:

Parents:
 Matthew Webster (1564 - 1592)
 Elizabeth Ashton Webster (1566 - ____)

Spouse:
 Agnes Smith Webster (____ - 1667)*

Children:
 William Webster (1614 - 1688)*
 Thomas Webster (1616 - 1686)*
 Robert Webster (1619 - 1676)*
 Anne Webster Marsh (1621 - 1662)*
  • Calculated relationship

Burial: Old Hadley Cemetery Hadley Hampshire County Massachusetts, USA


-------------------- The following summary of John Webster’s life was drawn largely from a summary prepared by the History and Genealogy Unit, Connecticut State Library, April 1999:

John Webster was born on August 16, 1590 in Cossington, Leicestershire, England to Matthew and Elizabeth (Ashton) Webster. His was a family of some substance. On November 7, 1609, he and Agnes Smith were married at Cossington. They had five children by the time they immigrated to New England, and had two more after they arrived.

John Webster and his family settled in Watertown, Massachusetts in the early 1630s and moved to Hartford in 1636, probably with Thomas Hooker's group, which left Newtown, Massachusetts in April 1636. He was one of the original landholders of Hartford, was a member of the committee that sat with the Court of Magistrates of the Colony of Connecticut in 1637 and 1638, and became an Assistant to the General Court of the Colony of Connecticut in 1639. As an Assistant, he was one of a small group of men who were second in power only to the Governor, Deputy Governor, and General Court of Magistrates. He traveled to towns in Connecticut as a judge, helped create criminal laws for the colony, settled land and boundary disputes, helped the New England Congress supply Connecticut towns with soldiers and ammunition for an expedition against the Indians, and surveyed the highway from Hartford to Windsor. John Webster was one of the nineteen men representing the towns of Hartford, Wethersfield, and Windsor in 1638-39 who participated in the drafting and adoption of the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, a document that is widely acknowledged as establishing one of the earliest forms of constitutional government. He was also a Commissioner to the United Colonies of New England in 1654.

The Colony of Connecticut elected him as Deputy Governor in 1655, with Thomas Welles as Governor. The next year, 1656, John Webster was elected as Governor. Elections were annual, and prior to 1659 it was believed that no person should serve a term of more than one year. In 1657 John Winthrop was elected as governor, with Thomas Welles as Deputy Governor and John Webster as Chief Magistrate.

John Webster was one of the leading members of the First Congregational Church of Hartford, whose minister, the Rev. Thomas Hooker, was the dynamic leader of the first settlers that came to Hartford. When Hooker died in 1647, a controversy arose as to who should become his successor. The Rev. Samuel Stone, Hooker's assistant, was supported by a majority of the church members. However, Rev. Stone wanted to change some aspects of church procedures, including liberalizing the eligibility requirements for infant baptism and admission to communion, while limiting the autonomy of each congregation. A significant number of the parishioners disagreed with Stone and wanted Michael Wigglesworth as Rev. Hooker's successor. A religious dispute arose, and the congregation became split. Church and state were not separate at that time, so this became a political as well as a spiritual crisis for Hartford.

The dissenting group, of which John Webster was a prominent member, wanted to withdraw from the Hartford church and move to Massachusetts, but Rev. Stone and his followers would not release them from their church covenant. The dissenters attempted to get other Congregational Churches in nearby towns to accept them, but none would. The principles disputed in Hartford were introduced in the General Assembly as the Half-Way Covenant in August 1657 and became points of conflict for Congregational Churches throughout New England for over a decade. A key provision allowed Congregational churches to baptize children of parents who had themselves been baptized but who had never professed conversion and had consequently never been fully admitted to the Church. The Half-Way Covenant was approved by a New England church synod in 1662 and finally passed by the Connecticut legislature in May 1669. On February 12, 1669/70 some members of the First Church of Hartford left to form the Second Church.

Meanwhile, on April 18, 1659, through the arbitration of some Massachusetts Congregational Church leaders, many of the initial dissenters and Rev. Stone's faction signed an agreement for the former group to move to Massachusetts. The Hadley Company, as it was known, left Hartford shortly after that, with John Webster as one of its leaders. He was given the responsibility of laying out the roads for the company. He and his family went first to Northhampton, Massachusetts, and later to Hadley, where he was made a magistrate in May 1660. He died there, of a fever, on April 5, 1661 and is buried in Hadley. His wife Agnes died in Hartford in 1667.

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John Webster, 5th Gov. of Connecticut Colony's Timeline

1585
August 29, 1585
Cassington, Leicester, England
1590
August 16, 1590
Cossington, Leicestershire, England
August 16, 1590
., Cossington, Leicestershire, England
August 16, 1590
., Cossington, Leicestershire, England
August 16, 1590
Cossington, Leicester, England, England
August 16, 1590
., Cossington, Leicestershire, England
August 16, 1590
., Cossington, Leicestershire, England
August 16, 1590
., Cossington, Leicestershire, England
1590
Cossington, Leicestershire, England
1609
February 11, 1609
Age 19
Cossington, Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom