Capt. Joseph Wadsworth, Sr.

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Joseph Wadsworth, Sr.

Birthdate: (88)
Birthplace: Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut Colony
Death: March 2, 1739 (88)
Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut Colony
Immediate Family:

Son of William Wadsworth, II and Elizabeth Wadsworth
Husband of Elizabeth Wadsworth and Mary Wadsworth
Father of Joseph Wadsworth, Jr.; Jonathan Wadsworth; Ichabod Wadsworth and Hannah Cook
Brother of Elizabeth Terry; Samuel Wadsworth; William Wadsworth; Rebeca Wadsworth; Sarah Ashley and 1 other
Half brother of Sarah Wilcox; William Wadsworth, III; John Wadsworth, of Farmington; Mary Stoughton and Lydia Wadsworth

Managed by: Cecilie Nygård
Last Updated:

About Capt. Joseph Wadsworth, Sr.

Joseph Wadsworth

  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 1647/1650 in Hartford, Connecticut
  • Death: 1729 in Hartford, Connecticut
  • Father: William Wadsworth b: 1600 in Long Beckley, Norfolk, England
  • Mother: Elizabeth Stone b: 21 OCT

notable for

  • Samuel Colt (inventor of the Colt Revolver) is a descendant.
  • Freeman, 1676
  • King Philip's War veteran
  • Captain of the Hartford Train Band
  • The man who hid the Colonial Charter in the "Charter Oak," 1687
    • Joseph is remembered in history as the man who, when the British came to seize Connecticut's Royal Charter in 1687, hid the precious document in the Charter Oak, thereby securing the rights of the colonists. The Charter Oak subsequently was named as Connecticut's official State Tree and stood for another 150 years before it was toppled in 1856. It now appears on Connecticut's state quarter.
  • Mary Talcott calls Joseph, "a man of prominence, and some turbulence of character."



  1. about 1682 to Elizabeth Talcott (1656-1710) in Hartford, Connecticut. She was the daughter of Lt. Col. John (Immigrant) Talcott b: 18 DEC 1630 in Braintree, Essex, England & Helena Wakeman
  2. between April 1712 and May 6, 1722 to Mary Blackleach (1656-Aft 1629), widow of John Olcutt. She was the daughter of John Blackleach & Elizabeth Harbert.

Children all by first wife, all born in Hartford:

  1. Elizabeth. Married Jonathan Marsh.
  2. Hannah. Married Aaron Cook.
  3. Joseph b: 1682.
  4. Jonathan b: 20 FEB 1686/87. Married Hepzibah Marsh. Married Abigail Camp.
  5. Ichabod b: 1688. Married Sarah Smith.


Manwaring, III, p. 121 - Will Capt. Joseph Wadsworth dated 6 July 1723

"I, Joseph Wadsworth, do make this my last will and testament. And having given a jointure in full satisfaction to my wife Mary, I proceed to bequeath my estate to my children. And I give to my son Joseph the upper Neck lott of land where his dwelling house stands, with all the buildings, orchards, priviledges and appurtenances, to him and his heirs forever. Also I give to my son Joseph my upper lott in the long meadow, and the 5-acre lott that I bought of Capt. Nathan Gold, and the 4 acres of land at Brother Talcott's upper lott, which I have by agreement with Brother Talcott: and also give to my son Joseph all my land in Coventry. This I give to him besides what he hath formerly had or improved of my estate. I give to my son Jonathan and his heirs forever a woodlott butting east on the road to Windsor, with all the buildings thereon, with all the priviledges and appurtenances thereunto belonging. Also I give him my Neck lott of land lying over against the aforesd. woodlott, butting west on the road leading to Windsor, that was bought of Thomas Thomlinson. Also I do give him the lott of land which the half-way tree stands on, in the long meadow. I do give to my son Ichabod the lower houselott, so called, that butteth west on a hightway and north of Joseph Barnard's land, with the mansion house, bar, and all the priviledges and appurtenances thereunto belonging. Also my 4 acres in the south meadow and 6 acres in the Soldier's Field, bounding south of Richard Goodman's land. Also my 3 acres at the lower end of thelong meadow, and the acre lott nigh the lower end of sd. meadow. Also my woodlott of 60 acres lying on the west side of Mill River, night the road leading to Simsbury. And on the west side of Mill River, nigh the road leading to Simsbury. And I order Ichabod to pay to Jonathan 40 shillings yearly so long as my wife continues my widow. And my will is that if I dye before my present wife, that my sons aforenamed do allow to her the improvement of all such lands as by joynture I have given her to use, according to the true intent of sd. instrument, without any leet or hindrance whatsoever. I do give to my three grandchildrn, children of my daughter Elizabeth Marsh, viz., Jonathan Marsh, Joseph Marsh and Elizabeth Marsh, L10, to be paid to them as they come to lawful age, each of them L3-06-08, to be paid them by my three sons, Joseph, Jonathan and Ichabod, in equal parts. This I give to them besides what I gave to their mother and what she hath had of my estate formerly. I do give unto my daughter Hannah Cook L10 besides what she hath formerly had. I appint my son Joseph Wadsworth my executor." Pvd 2 Mar. 1730/1

Biographical summary

Joseph Wadsworth was the third child of William and Elizabeth (Stone) Wadsworth. Joseph was born in 1647 at Harford, Connecticut. Even though his father was 52 years old when Joseph was born, Joseph and his father had 28 years together before William died. Certainly, during the time spent with his father weeding the family crops, putting improvements on the family lands, and the myriad of other duties performed together Joseph took the opportunity to learn from his father the merits of worshiping God, living honestly, and the need to serve in the community.

Joseph married Elizabeth Talcott at Hartford, Connecticut. Elizabeth was the daughter of John and Dorothy Talcott who had traveled with William Wadsworth from Braintree, England, to Massachusetts, on the ship Lyon in 1632.9 Six children were born to Joseph and Elizabeth. Jonathan's father (who was also named Jonathan) was born in 1686/7 at Hartford, Connecticut.10

He died in the year 1729, being about eighty years of age, sound in mind, morals and estate. His second wife, three sons and two daughters survived him, and quite a number of his direct descendants are now living in Hartford. He made his will in 1723, appointing his son Joseph executor. A jointure was made for his widow, Mary. He gave Joseph, Jr., his Upper Neck land, where he (Joseph, Jr.) then lived, the upper lot in Long Meadow, four acres of land which joined his brother Talcott's, and his lands in Coventry. To Jonathan, he gave lands on the Windsor road, buildings, &c. To Ichabod, he gave land in Soldiers' Field, lower house-lot, with house and barn, four acres South Meadow, and sixty acres west of Windsor road. He gave his three grand-children, the children of his daughter Elizabeth, viz: Jonathan, Joseph and Elizabeth Marsh, .£10 cach; and to his daughter Hannah, (wife of John Cook,) an estate of over £900 sterling. His will and inventory may be found in Nos. 11 and 12 of the Probate Records of Hartford.

From The Life and Legacy of Jonathan Wadsworth (1729 - 1777) by Erick Wadsworth

Joseph Wadsworth of Charter Oak Fame (1647 - 1729)

An important event took place on October 31, 1687 that is still taught in the schools of Connecticut today.

Taking the charter and the resulting backlash may have been the first act of civil disobedience against the Crown by the Colonies.

From Unexpected Super Hero!

"My 8th ggf saved the colony of Connecticut!  Single-handedly!  Well, sort of.  Here's the story...

"Joseph Wadsworth was born March 17, 1650, in Hartford, Connecticut.  (I know, a Yankee.  But we had to start somewhere, right?  Stay with me...)  He was the son of William Wadsworth (1594-1675) and Elizabeth Stone (1621-1682). 

In 1662, King Charles II of England granted a charter to those who lived in the Connecticut Colony.  It basically assured the citizens the right to self government, including a governor, deputy governor, twelve assistants and other officials elected as needed by the colony "freeman".  They were to meet twice a year.  The charter also guaranteed the full rights and privileges of the British citizenry to all those born is said colony.  Full rights and self-government.  Sounds great, doesn't it?  It was.  Until a new king came into power.

James II, grandson of King James I (of KJV Bible fame), didn't think so.  He appointed Sir Edmond Andrus as governor of ALL of New England, and instructed him to pull Connecticut's charter.  Happy to oblige, Andrus marched into Hartford on October 31, 1687, with his plastic pumpkin-shaped basket on his arm, planning to snatch the charter from Connecticut as if he were taking candy from a baby, thus making him the first Trick or Treater in U.S. history.  OK - so I made that up.  Some of it.  He did arrive on October 31st, and he did mean business, but, boy, did he have another thing coming.

Everyone knew why Andrus was there, including Joseph Wadsworth, who was a captain in the train-band (local militia).  Andrus met with colony officials at Moses Butler's tavern.  It was night and the room was lit with candles.  Andrus demanded the charter amidst pleas from officials, including Governor Treat.  At some point in the argument and confusion, the candles were extinguished.  When they were relit, the charter, which had been placed on a table, was missing!  Joseph had grabbed the charter in the chaos and fled the building.  He went directly to the home of Samuel Wyllys, a colony magistrate, and hid the charter in the hollow of a large oak tree.

Some believe that the charter used that night was just a copy, because the colonists didn't dare lose the original to Andrus.  Regardless, Andrus asserted his power, even without the charter, but his government was overthrown a couple of years later in Boston.

The charter oak even made it to the back of the Connecticut quarter in 1999.  


wife confusion


From the foregoing it will be seen that Elizabeth, daughter of Bartholomew Barnard, evidently became the wife of Thomas Wadsworth before December 6, 1677, and was still his wife in April 1698; that Joseph Wadsworth was married in 1682 or earlier, that in May 1691 he was a brother-in-law of Joseph Talcott, and that his wife Elizabeth, evidently Talcott's sister and the mother of his children, died in October 1710. Thus, for at least sixteen years from 1682 to 1698, both Thomas Wadsworth and Joseph Wadsworth were living in Hartford, each of them with a wife Elizabeth. The wife of the former being the daughter of Bartholomew Barnard, and the wife of the latter being the daughter of Lt. Col. John Talcott.

There is no evidence that Joseph Wadsworth was married more than twice, first, before 1683, to Elizabeth Talcott, who was the mother of his children, and who died October 26, 1710; and secondly, between April 1712 and May 6, 1722, to Widow Mary Olcott. --- Frank Farnsworth Stark ®136

therefore, incorrect parents for wife

From Wadsworth, or the Charter Oak

1Bartholomew Barnard lived on Sentinel Hill. Joseph Wadsworth married his daughter Elizabeth, who was the mother of his children, Joseph, Jonathan, who died in infancy, Ichabod, Elizabeth, Hannah and Jonathan. After her death, which occurred October 26, 1710, Joseph Wadsworth married Elizabeth Talcott, and upon her death he made his third venture by marrying Thomas Welles' widow Mary, whose maiden name was Blackleach. She survived him.

From page 87 of Two Hundred and Fifty Years of the Wadsworth Family in America: Containing ...

Capt. Joseph was son of Hon. William, Sen., and was born in 1650. He married for his first wife Elizabeth, daughter of Bartholomew Barnard, of Hartford. For his second wife he married Mary, the widow of John Olcott. She was also the widow of Thomas Welles, a grandson of Gov. Welles. Her maiden name was Mary Blackleach. daughter of John Blackleach, Jr. His first wife died Oct. 26, 1710. His second wife, Mary, survived him. His children were all by his first wife.


Capt. Joseph it was who, on the night of the 31st of October, 1687, seized and secreted the charter of Connecticut, when Sir Edmund Andros came to Hartford in order to wrest it by force from the freemen of this colony. "The important affair," says Trumbull, "was debated and kept in suspense until evening, when the charter was brought and laid upon the table, where the Assembly were sitting. Bv this time great numbers of people were assembled, and were sufficiently bold to enterprise whatever might be necessary or expedient. The lights were instantly extinguished, and one Capt. Wadsworth. of Hartford, in the most silent and secret manner, carried offi the charter and secreted it in a large hollow tree fronting the house of the Hon. Samuel Wyllys, then one of the magistrates of the colony. The people appeared peaceable and orderlv. The candles were officiously relighted, but the Patent was gone; and no discovery could be made of it or of the person who conveved it awav."* His brother, Hon. John, was sitting at the council board when Capt. Joseph took the charter.

The charter oak tree stood in the southeast part of the city, on land owned at that time by Governor Wvllys. The tree stood until the year 1856, when on August 12th of that year it fell with a tremendous crash. It was supposed to have been standing four hundred years.

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Capt. Joseph Wadsworth, Sr.'s Timeline

March 17, 1650
Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut Colony
Age 31
Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut Colony
February 20, 1686
Age 35
Hartford, Hartford, Conn
Age 37
Hartford, Connecticut, United States
August 24, 1690
Age 40
Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut, United States
March 2, 1739
Age 88
Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut Colony