Deacon Francis Bushnell

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Francis Bushnell

Birthplace: Horsham, West Sussex, England
Death: Died in Old Saybrook, New London County, Connecticut Colony
Immediate Family:

Son of Frances Bushnell II and Ferris Quenell Bushnell
Husband of Elizabeth Mary Bushnell
Father of Elizabeth Johnson; Sarah Ingham; John Bushnell; Martha Smith; Hannah Hosmer and 3 others
Brother of Frances Maynard Hosmer; Edmund (Edward) Bushnell, Sr.; William Bushnell; Ruth Mitchelson; Stephen Bushnell and 10 others
Half brother of Edmund (Edward) Bushnell, Sr.

Occupation: Carpenter, Miller, church deacon
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Deacon Francis Bushnell

  • 3. Francis, bapt. Horsham, co. Sussex, Eng. 8 Jan. 1608/9, d. Saybrook, Conn. 4 Dec. 1681 (R-12-18),

m. Horsham, 27 June 1631, Mary Grombridge (or Groombridge or Grumbridge), bapt. Horsham, 7 Jan. 1605/6, d. after 1648/9, perhaps dau. of Thomas and Anne (Ive) Grombridge (R-1).

Birth sequence of their children is assumed except the first and second, who were born in Horsham; he m. 2nd before 1660, Grace (Wells) Norton, widow of Thomas Norton, of Guilford, Conn. (R-21);

Francis Bushnell and his wife Mary both ae. 26, and dau. Elizabeth, ae. 1 yr. (Hotten lists of Emigrants errs in the age of his wife and calls the dau. Martha) embarked in the Planter bound for New England in Apr. 1635 (R-14). He was a carpenter, and probably settled first at Salem, Mass. where on 8 Feb. 1637 he was granted a tract of land of 24 acres at Muddy River (R-27). There must have been six in his family, for these lots at Muddy River, were granted according to the number of heads in the family ("those that face the river between the foot of the hill and the river, four acres upon a head and those that are further off, to have five acres upon a head."). We can account for four heads: himself, his wife, dau. Elizabeth, and perhaps Martha. For the other two we assume that his brothers William and Richard had come with him, and were living under his roof at that time. He was received as an inhabitant of Salem, 15 Apr. 1639 (R-27), but it is evident that he at least (the family legend is that the three brothers came together), removed to Guilford, Conn. before their father's death in 1646, as in the prob. of his father's will, his father is referred to as "Francis Bushnell ye elder" and in the inv. of the est. of his sister Rebecca Lord, presented by John Lord, her husband, to the Court 11 Feb. 1647 their father is again referred to as "Francis Bushnell ye elder."

After the death of Thomas Horton, the town miller, the Guilford Court, on 22 May 1648, proposed that Francis take charge of the mill, and this he agreed to do provided that he receive the same toll as the former miller and that he be exempt from training (military), but to this the Court would not agree, however, it is probable that he did continue the operation of the mill for awhile. In Nov. 1648 a suit was filed by Thomas Jones against Goodwife Bushnell, for damage done to his corn by her hogs (R-28), and this must have been about the time he was contemplating removal to Saybrook, for in 1648/9 he had 200 acres of land in the Oyster River quarter there, although according to Steiner he did not go there a until 1659/60. It is not known when his wife died, but it is evident she was living at this date.

The first list of the names of the planters of Guilford was as late as 1650 in which his name appears, and it was in this same year that he signed the Guilford Covenant. On 29 May 1653 he, with two others, appraised a pair of cart wheels for the settlement of a debt owed by William Waller.

In 1658 Goodman Bushnell was called upon to inspect the New Haven mill and dam, and to advise as to desirable changes and repairs (R-28) and at a meeting of the General Court held at New Haven 28 Feb. 1658 It was declared that "ye committee have taken ye advise of Goodman Bushnell as to repairs and improvements of the dam and facilities (R-29)". Whether he was then of Guilford or Saybrook has not been determined, but he was certainly of Saybrook in 1660 when his step-dau. Mary Norton, "of Saybrook" (p 61, Windsor Mss. Town Clerks Office, Windsor, Conn.) m. on 7 Apr. or that year, Samuel Rockwell (R-30), also land was conveyed to him there by William Hide on 7 Oct. 1660, while on 17 Oct. 1661, he, with two others, inv. the est. of Greenfield Larrabe, and in the corn mill agreement, dated 28 Oct. 1662 (vide), the opening sentence states, "Whereas there hath been for several years an agreement and covenant -- between, the. Town of Saybrook -- and Francis Bushnell -- etc."

It would seem that prior to 1660 his first wife had died and he had later m. as his 2nd wife Grace (Wells) Norton, wid. of Thomas Norton of Guilford, who had been a ch. warden in Ockley, co. Sussex, Eng. when he m. Grace Wells in 1625, and who came to America in 1639 (Atwaters Hist. of the Colony of New Haven 1902, p. 634), for in John Winthrop's Medical Journal (R-21) under date of 13 Nov. 1666, it is recorded, "Rockwell, Samuel. His wife of Winsor, the other side of the great river. She is Francis Bushnell's dau. of Saybrooke." and on p. 912, under date of 12 Feb. 1669, "Bushnell, Grace, wife of Francis of Saybrooke."

On 4 July 1665, the Mohigan Indians through their Sachem, confirmed the former grant for the plantation of Saybrook, and granted further lands, the whole being 8 miles in breadth and 12 miles in length, to the said inhabitants "according as my loving friends Robert Chapman, William Post, Francis Bushnell, Robert Lay, William Bushnell, and Abram Post shall so cause to dispose of them," (R-20)

While there may be further details of his life in the Guilford and Saybrook records, which would be of interest, we only know that in 1666 he with Thomas Dunk inv. the estate of Thomas Carmichael, and that on 21 Apr. 1668, he, with William Chapman and Mr. Westoll, measured the stone pits.

After his removal from Guilford he deeded his home there to his son-in-law William Johnson, and after his death in 1681, his farm in Saybrook went to his son-in-law Samuel Jones. For years he was a Deacon in the Saybrook church and under the will of Uncas, an Indian Chief, dated 29 Apr. 1684, he was devised 3000, acres of land. The statements that he came to America from Thatcham (R-31), co. Berks, Eng. and settled in Norwalk (R-9-31), are erroneous, and it is unfortunate that these and other misstatement of fact by other writers on Bushnell history have, been so widely copied. (R-28)

Children, 8, (R-1-12): 18. i. Mary, bapt. 20 Apr. 1632 19. ii. Elizabeth, bapt. 2 Feb. 1633/4 20. iii. Martha, b. Salem (?), Mass. abt. 1637 21. iv. Sarah, b. Salem, Mass. (?), abt. 1639 22*. v. John, b. Guilford, (?), Conn. abt. 1641, 23. vi. Mary, b. Guilford (?), Conn. abt. 1643 24. vii. Hannah, b. Guilford (?) Conn. abt. 1645 25. viii. Samuel, bapt. abt. 1647

-- (abridged) from the Bushnell Family Genealogy compiled by George Eleazer Bushnell, revised and maintained by Irving E. Bushnell Jr. at

He is known as Deacon Francis Bushnell of Saybrook.

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Deacon Francis Bushnell's Timeline

January 8, 1609
Horsham, West Sussex, England
January 8, 1609
Horsham, Sussex, England
January 8, 1609
January 8, 1609
Horsham, Sussex, England
January 8, 1609
Horsham, Sussex, England
Horsham, West Sussex, England
Age 23
February 2, 1634
Age 25
Horsham, West Sussex, England
Age 27
Guilford, New Haven Co., Connecticut