John Baldwin of Norwich - John Baldwin, of Norwich

Started by <private> Baldwin on Saturday, July 27, 2013


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<private> Baldwin
7/27/2013 at 5:33 AM

John Baldwin, of Norwich: (per CC Baldwin)

John Baldwinm by a tradition of quite unuual value, came to the New World with some family in Milford related to him. The family with which be came was very likely that of Sylvester Baldwin, who died on board ship "Martin", on June 21, 1638, and whose son Richard settled in Milford. Mrs. Baldwin had lands in New Haven, with five in her family, and he seems to be needed to make the number. He may have been the John who testified to the nuncupative will of Sylvester. In all probability, the John on board the Martin was either John Senior, of Milford OR John, of Norwich. (John, son of Sylvester, was incompetent by interest, and too young; only three years old, to testify to a noncupupative will).

The Hon. John D. Baldwin, of Worester, a descendant of John, son of Sylvester, stated in the New England Hiistorical and Genealogical Register, for April 1873, that the Family Bible originally belonging tp Deacon Theophilus Baldwin son of John, of Stonington, went to his son John, whose wife lived to be 104 years old, and lived in the family of the father of John D. Baldwin until 1817. She had the old Bible, which, after her death the next year, went to the eldest uncle of John D., wrote down several matters from the Bible. What he wrote is fairly proved otherwise, and his aunt was no doubt correct in saying that the old Bible said that an orphan cousin of John, of Stonington, came to America in the family of Sylvester Baldwin, remained in the family until he wa married, and settled in Norwich. The word was a "cousin," which however at that time did not necessarily mean first cousin, but second cousin, or some other form of relationship not very distant. It often, in early times, meant nephew.

George W. Baldwin, Esq., of Boston, has been chiefly instrumental in a very extensive search made in England for Baldwin genealogy, the result of which appears herein. Mr. Chester has sought very perseveringly for John, of Norwich. He finds, among the English Johns, one who answers well the description of John, of Norwich, and who seems extremely likely to have been him. He will be found in the preceding account of Richard, of Bucks county, as John4, John3, Henry2, Richard1. The father, John3, died after June 9, 1634 and before Oct. 14, 1634. The son disappears in England. He was not own cousin to John, of Stonington, but own cousin to Sylvester, father of John, of Stonington. Sylvester, the father, was executor of the will of Richaard, of Dundridge, under which John was a legatee. He was young in 1622, as his elder brother Richard had only then completed his apprenticeship, and engaged in business some time after. (A further discussion of this appears in the account of the English Baldwins).

He was early in Guilford, Conn. While he lived in Guilford, he married Hannah Birchard, of that town, April 12, 1653. Savage says that he was probably a daughter of Thomas.He removed, in 1660 to Norwich, COnn., and was one of the original proprietors of that town. The births of his three older children appear in Guilford. The others are not entered in Norwich. He was, in 1678, Constable, then an office of trust and honor.

Children were: John (b Dec. 5, 1654), Hannah (b Oct. 6, 1656), Sarah (b Nov. 25, 1658), Thomas (b 1662) and Ebenezer (d., no issue).

Of his death, there is no account.

<private> Baldwin
7/27/2013 at 5:37 AM

The spelling errors above are MINE, not CC Baldwin's.

7/27/2013 at 1:17 PM

Same as the other one.

<private> Baldwin
7/28/2013 at 11:25 AM

A noncuputative will is an ORAL and UNWRITTEN declaration of the dying; to be valid it must have 2 or more witnesses to the declaration and can only deal with the distribution of personal other searching it is stated that a 'witness' must be at least 18 years old to be considered a 'valid' witness.

Therefore, if John (of Norwich) were a 'witness' to the noncuputive will of Sylvester Baldwin (who died on the Martin on 6/21/1638) he would have had to have been born no earlier than 1620 be of sufficient age.

Also, it is my understanding that, as most probably a younger brother in a family, he would have had no right of inheritance in any family property; so would have no reason to remain in England...and, with relatives (the Sylvester Baldwin family) leaving for the Colonies...he may well have taken passage with that family.

If he did not have sufficient fare to buy his passage, he would also have been indentured for a time (see reference to his time in Guilford, Conn)...

This is as far as I have explored....and some (obviously) is based on the practices of the day...and is speculative.

7/28/2013 at 1:05 PM

I like this line of thinking and it would be worth it to summarize and mark as speculative on the About Me. In addition to the great material above.

<private> Baldwin
7/28/2013 at 2:04 PM

I have questions about a couple of things: 1). At that time, what WAS the age considered to be viewed as a witness....I was forced to use modern day age limits.? and 2.) He seems to have been needed to 'make the number' appears that in order to obtain passage a family HAD to consist of a minimum number of people...IF we count Sylvester Baldwin, then it would mean that Sylvester, wife, and 3 children were aboard.....and that John (a relative of some sort) was 'needed' to make the minimum requirement for transport...

(I would assume that they would all be housed in the same 'cabin'....that there were a limited number of cabins...and that the owners of the Ship would pay the 'captain' a percentage of the fares obtained for the voyage...the more people transported, the greater the pay-out for the owners and the captain....that there might be a requirement that the people in a cabin be related?)....

So, my conclusion would be that he was NOT an immediate family member but was related in some way....a cousin? a nephew of an uncle of Slyvester's?

Do we have any information anywhre that gives the COST of transport?

It is my understanding that merchants etc. in the Colonies would 'front' (or pay for) people to emigrate, agree to work for them for a period of time in payment for their passage...before being allowed to go whereever they wished...this could well be the case and the reason John stayed in Guilford, Conn...before removing to Norwich. As such, he would have limited 'rights' (he would not be 'freehold').

<private> Baldwin
7/29/2013 at 8:32 AM
<private> Baldwin
7/29/2013 at 10:36 AM

The History of Guilford, Connecticut.

pg. 20 John Baldwin came from Milford in 1651, and took the oath of fidelity, Febrary 5, 1651.

pg. 24 John Baldwin, left 1661 for Norwich

<private> Baldwin
7/29/2013 at 1:17 PM

SO...IF this is the same John Baldwin...he came over with the Sylvester Baldwin family...was in Milford at first, came to Guilford in 1651...then went to Norwich in 1661....where he was lsted as one of the early settlers...

If he is also 'The Mercer' (dealer in textiles, fabrics, and fine cloth) then he was most likely an apprentice.

If he also the one that signed a bond with his mother when she administered the estate of his father's estate in 1637, I believe the same rules that pertain to being a witness to a noncuputative will would have applied, and he would, therefore, have had to be aged 18 at that time. (or whatever age was deemed of legal age to do such a thing). It is stated already that his brother Richard, was named executor....which gives the distinct impression that he was a younger son of his father and, as such, would not have been the one to him a good reason to travel with relatives (Sylvester and family) to the Colonies.

<private> Baldwin
7/30/2013 at 4:04 AM The son Benjamin (~1650), of Robert Abell, married Hannah Baldwin, dau. of John and Hannah (Birchard) Baldwin of Guilford, and Experience (~1653) married John Baldwin, son of John and Hannah (Birchard) Baldwin of Guilford.

<private> Baldwin
7/30/2013 at 4:07 AM

Another thought, perhaps it was the 'lands in New Haven that Mrs. Baldwin had" that John was required for in order to 'make the number' of persons required to take possession of the land?

7/30/2013 at 8:25 AM

Private User and Private User may have an interest.

<private> Baldwin
7/30/2013 at 11:24 AM
Private User
7/31/2013 at 2:21 AM
<private> Baldwin
7/31/2013 at 4:22 AM

So...most likely a 'cousin' of John, of Stonington......and born probably no later than 1632.

Other than records in England, I doubt we shall get much closer to an answer.....any suggestions?

7/31/2013 at 12:12 PM

Dan Cornett was interested too.

<private> Baldwin
7/31/2013 at 1:51 PM

The Google book: "Genealogies of Connecticut Families" says the same thing as CC Baldwin does in ref. to the Bible .....and also that it appears that John, of Norwich, who came over with Sylvester Baldwin family, is most likely a relative of John, of Stonington, Ct.

And also agrees with the data from History of Guilford.(see above).

<private> Baldwin
7/31/2013 at 1:52 PM

So if we agree that he was a relative of John, of Stonington....we still need to return to England to try to find out WHICH relative?

7/31/2013 at 3:03 PM

My experience with figuring out which Baldwins are related to which in England doesn't make me optimistic. There are some wills and they have been studied and commented on already 100+ years ago and the connections that were supported have been made.

<private> Baldwin
7/31/2013 at 4:51 PM

You could very well be right...

Are we agreed that he was a relative of John of Stonington?

7/31/2013 at 11:21 PM

Yes. I am agreed.

<private> Baldwin
8/3/2013 at 4:06 AM

Can't access the source that Peter added....

However, I have a silly question.

John (later to be known as John, of Norwich.....I will call him John (N)....emigrated with the Sylvester Baldwin family....Sylvester being the father of a John (later to be known as John, of Stonington......I will call him John (S).

After they arrived in the Colonies....Mrs. Sylvester Baldwin and children, along with John (N) remained in Milford......SO there were 2 John's under the same roof....

I believe that John (N) was most likely ~11 years old when they emigrated; John (S) was aged ~3.......making John (N) born ~1625...

If Mrs. Baldwin wanted to gain the attention of either of the John' did she do it? Did they go by "Big John" and " Little John"? (much as my father and brother did when I was growing up).....

I ask because it may only muddle things further, but could they, in that time frame, be known as John (the Senior) and John (the Junior)?


John (N) remained with the family until he met and married Hannah Birchard, of Guilford; in 1653, at which time he removed to Guilford and remained there, according to the History of Guilford, until he left for Norwich in 1661.

He evidently stayed in touch with his pseudo brother John (S) (of the Sylvester Baldwin family) and they were not far distanced from Norwich; being only ~9 miles from Stonington.


<private> Baldwin
8/3/2013 at 3:07 PM

I CAN pull up the ref. that Peter sent....

I broached the question of misinterpretation of John Sr and John Jr. because it is my belief that a Jr. MUST have a Sr. so John (S, son of Sylvester) was never a Junior.....unless to denote that he was the younger of 2 John' the household.

When HE married and had a son John...John (S) would become John Sr...with his son being John Jr. (until his father's death, of course, when the Jr. advances to be Sr.).

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