William Fowler I

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William Fowler, Sr.

Also Known As: "Magistrate Fowler"
Birthdate: (64)
Birthplace: probably Aylesbury, County Bucks, England
Death: January 25, 1660 (60-68)
Milford, New Haven, Connecticut
Place of Burial: Milford, New Haven County, Connecticut, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of John Fowler; Frances Fowler and Lady of Burntwood Frances Webb
Husband of Sarah Fowler; Margrett Fowler and Sarah Neeld Fowler
Father of William Fowler II; Mary Fowler; Deacon John Fowler; Sarah Fowler; Joseph Fowler and 1 other
Brother of Ann Fowler; Richard Fowler; Isabel Fowler; Alice Fowler; Joseph Fowler and 3 others

Occupation: Planter
Managed by: Geoffrey David Trowbridge
Last Updated:

About William Fowler I

Book about William and his family in Milford, CT: http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=wu.89066141250

From: "Genealogical and family history of the county of Jefferson, New York; a record of the achievements of her people and the phenomenal growth of her agricultural and mechanical industries"

FOWLER. This is one of the oldest New England names, and has had many worthy representatives in America, who were active in the struggle for American independence, and in various ways have contributed to the welfare, prosperity and happy condition of the country now the abode of their posterity.

William Fowler, a native of England, was a member of Rev. John Davenport's company, which came to Boston in 1637. He was imprisoned with other Puritans, in the efifort to suppress the spread of their religious belief, or heresy, as it was then called, in England. He arrived at New Haven, Connecticut, April 16, 1638, and participated in the famous meeting in Mr. Newman's barn, June 4, 1639. In April of that year he settled at Milford, same colony, of which place he was one of the first trustees and was a magistrate.

Page discussing William Fowler's Mill and other activities: http://history.rays-place.com/ct/early-milford-ct.htm


  1. Families of Early Milford, Connecticut by Susan Emma Woodruff Abbott, page 280 (Google Books). Gives date of birth and age at death (88) and date of death. Also says "probably from Aylesbury ..."


He immigrated in 1621 to to Virginia from England. 14 on the ship "Abigail". He and Margarett settled in , Nansemond, Virginia where his occupation was as a planter.

WILLIAM FOWLER was born about 1572, of Dalbury-With-Lees, Derbyshire, England, to William Fowler (1550-1626) and Ann Heawood (1551-1617.) William Fowler married Sarah Neeld, in England, before 1620.

William Fowler is mentioned as a prisoner in Bridewell with other Puritans in the year 1592. The list of prisoners is immediately preceded by a petition addressed to the Lord Treasurer by many of the “poor Christians imprisoned by the Bishops in sundry prisons in and about London.” About this time a congregation of Puritans were discovered at Islington, and 56 were sent to prison.

William Fowler came to New England in the company of Rev. John Davenport, Gov. Eaton and others, and arrived at Boston the 26th of June, 1637. William Fowler came over in a ship that sailed from London. There were those of the name in Islington, which was then and now is a part of London in fact. He was an old man when he settled in Milford, having died 68 years after, and if he was, say, twenty at imprisonment, this would make him 88. Therefore there is nothing improbable in the supposition that the prisoner was the William Fowler who came to New Haven. If so, he was probably from Islington or New London.

William Fowler was at the famous meeting in Mr. Newman’s Barn, 4 June 1639, when the peculiar constitution and policy of Mr. Davenport, which afterward characterized the New Haven Colony, was agreed upon. Mr. Fowler subscribed to that agreement.

In the spring of 1639 the settlement of Milford had been arranged and Mr. Fowler is the first named of the trustees, and the only one bearing the honorable prefix “Mr.” of the New Haven Company, was the founder of Milford, Connecticut, and ancestor of all the Fowlers of Milford, New Haven, Guilford, and Windsor. He settled in Milford; was chosen Judge/Magistrate in 1639. He had had a classical education and was a man of prominence and influence in his native land, and was therefore well qualified for the honor and responsibility conferred upon him as judge in the new world. He was a planter, and builder of a mill, first magistrate of New Haven, Judge, and freeplanter. He was a Lieutenant and Assistant of the Colony.

He was the founder of the Church of Christ of Milford in 1639.

His name is on a memorial stone on the Bridge over the Wepawaug River. Here is the memorial given for William Fowler at the 250th anniversary celebration of Milford:

“Mr. Fowler held the three important positions of Trustee, Pillar of the Church, and Judge, at the combination of Milford and Guilford with New Haven, in 1643, and the establishment of the jurisdiction of “the New Haven Colony,” Mr. Fowler was selected as the Chief Magistrate of Milford, which he held for several years, and was succeeded at his death by Mr. Benjamin Fenn. He was evidently a man of much practical knowledge, energetic and persevering. He early discovered the advantages and facilities furnished by the river or stream running through the town, and at once determined to secure them to the community. Since that period nine generations of the Fowlers have successfully conducted its operations, and recently the eighth William Fowler has complete the fifth mill in succession on the precise spot, confirming the wisdom of his honored ancestor whose keen eye discerned the advantages and facilities presented, when single handed in a country scarcely a year old. He accepted the situation and at once proceeded to control the water power in its natural condition, to block out a location, to build the dam, quarry out the millstones and obtain the iron and other necessary materials with the limited means of transportation the wilderness afforded, and all this was to be done in the midst of arduous duties thrust upon him, filling various offices, and a leading citizen in the numerous projected improvements in progress.”

The stone presented to the committee by the present energetic proprietor and bearing the inscription, tradition says, has lain dormant about the premises for centuries, and which on examination by geologists and antiquarians, has been pronounced as doubtless the original millstone quarried and hewn out by Mr. Fowler and used temporarily, until a better substitute could be obtained.

It is now acknowledge to be the oldest business establishment of its kind in the country; and the present proprietor’s grandson is the 10th William Fowler in a direct line. On the buttress is cut “Law, Order, Morality, Liberty, Charity,” to typify the principles that buttress our institutions. The gift, a special contribution of Charles H. Trowbridge, Esq.

Among the monumental remains of Islington, England, are found those of his family, bearing this inscription after some names and dates: “Divers of this family lie here interred; the ancestors of Sir Thomas Fowler, Knight and Baronet, living 1630.”

William Fowler died 25 January 1660, Milford, New Haven, Connecticut, age 88. His will was executed in 1661. He left two sons, William and John.

SARAH NEELD was born about 1600, in Dalbury, England. She married William Fowler in England, before 1620.

Sarah immigrated with her husband, William Fowler, to New Haven with the Davenport Company in 1637 and left the following year to settle Milford. They were Puritans. Their children were all born in England.

Sarah Neeld died after 1638, in Milford, New Haven, Connecticut, at about age 38.

Children of William Fowler and Sarah Neeld:

1. William Fowler, b. 2 June 1622, in Dalbury-With-Lees, Derbyshire, England; d. 1683, buried in Milford Cemetery, New Haven, Connecticut.

2. Mary or Sarah Fowler, b. 1624; d. 1657.

3. Ambrose Fowler, born 1626, in Derbyshire, England, to William Fowler (1572-1660) and Sarah Neeld (1600-1638.) He immigrated with his parents in 1637. He married Jane Alvord, 26 May 1646. Ambrose Fowler died 18 October 1704, in Westfield, Massachusetts, at about age 78.

4. John Fowler, b. 16 Sep 1626, in Dalbury-With-Lees, Derbyshire, England; d. 13 Sep 1676.

5. Joseph Fowler, d. 19 May 1667.

(Source: Fowler, Christine Cecilia, “The History of the Fowlers,” Miller-Mac Printing Company, Inc., Batavia, New York, 1950.)

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William Fowler I's Timeline

probably Aylesbury, County Bucks, England
December 1, 1604
Age 8
Leighton Buzzard, Eng
June 2, 1622
Age 26
Dalbury, Derbyshire, England
June 2, 1622
Age 26
Ely, Cambridgeshire, England, United Kingdom
Age 27
Dalbury Lees, Derbyshire, England
Age 28
Dalbury, Lees, Derby, England
Age 30
Dalbury, Lees, Derby, England
Age 30
Derby, Derbyshire, England
March 30, 1638
Age 42
New Haven, Connecticut, United States