William Pitkin, First Atttorney General of Connecticut

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William Pitkin, II

Birthdate: (59)
Birthplace: Berkhamstead, St. Peter's Parish, Hertfordshire, England
Death: December 16, 1694 (55-63)
East Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut Colony
Place of Burial: East Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Rev. William J. Pitkin, Jr. and Elizabeth Pitkin
Husband of Hannah Pitkin and Jane Pitkin
Father of Capt. Rodger Pitkin; Hannah H Cowles; John Pitkin; George Pitkin; Nathaniel Pitkin, Sr. and 6 others
Brother of Roger Pitkin; Martha Wolcott and Jane Pitkin

Occupation: Lawyer, teacher, Attorney General And Treasure Of CT.
Managed by: Erich Pitkin Schlaikjer
Last Updated:

About William Pitkin, First Atttorney General of Connecticut

William Pitkin and Hannah Pitkin were the grandparents of William Pitkin III who was the last Colonial Governor of Connecticut.

From the online database of Gordon McCrea Fisher:


684. William (1) PITKIN was born in 1635 in Marylebone, near London, England. He died on 15 Dec 1694 in Hartford, CT. 7th ggf of Gordon Fisher

See note under daughter-in-law Hannah STANLEY; also note under son-in-law Timothy COWLES


  • Hartford 1660,
  • freem. 1662,
  • was s. of Roger wh. was of London 1666, tho. fam. tradit. brings him from the city of Norwich,
  • had prob. been bred a lawyer in Eng.
  • here first taught a sch. was soon made Atty. for the Col. rep. 1675,
  • treasr. 1676,
  • m. Hannah, only d. of Ozias Goodwin,
  • had
    • 1. Roger, b. 1662;
    • 2. William, 1664;
    • 3. John;
    • 4. Nathaniel;
    • 5. George, 1675;
    • 6. Ozias, 1679;
    • 7. Hannah; and
    • 8. Eliz. 1677 .....
  • was an Asst. sev. yrs. .....
  • He brot. from Eng. or she follow. him, as tradit. says, sis. Martha wh. m. 17 Oct. 1661, Simon Wolcott, was mo. of the first Gov. W. who, in the funer. sermon upon him, is said to have never gone to any sch., but to have been solely educat. by her at home, and aft. m. Daniel Clark."

---James Savage, *A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England*, Boston (Little, Brown Co.) 1860-2, vol. 3, p. 441


"PITKIN, WILLIAM: (C[onn.]) experience as a schoolteacher and lawyer in England; Dep. from Hartford and Greenwich, 1675-7; Treasurer, 1676; Agent to N.Y., 1676; Commissioner on revival of the Confederacy [of New England colonies]; d. Dec., 1694, age 58."

---Harry M. Ward, *The United Colonies of New England---1643-90*, NY etc (Vantage Press) 1961, Appendix D, p. 407


"Pitkin, William, was early in the colony. He was a lawyer by profession, and often appeared in defence of criminals. He was the first attorney general appointed for the colony in 1662---and the first that induced the court to suffer a change of pleadings upon a change of jurisdiction, on an appeal to a higher court.

He for a time was Treasurer of the colony.

William Pitkin, Governor from 1766 to 1770---Deputy Governor from 1754 to 1766 [sic; looks like something's missing or misplaced---see below]. He was often deputy and a magistrate.

Either the first William must have had a son William, who was sent by Connecticut, in 1693, to Governor Fletcher of New York, respecting the militia of the colony, or he was aged when he performed the service.

It has been a respectable family from Mr. Pitkin the first to the present period [c. 1846]. As he was the first and only person of the name who came early into Connecticutm he undoubtedly was the ancestor of William who was Governor and Deputy Governor of Connecticut for 15 years; also of Rev. Timothy, minister at Farmington, and Timothy, LL. D., formerly member of Congress.

The first William settled at Hartford. He taught school at Hartford from October to April, 1662, for #5 [pounds]---probably was poor when he began life."

---R. R. Hinman, *Catalogue of the Names of the First Puritan Settlers of the Colony of Connecticut*; Hartford (E. Gleason) 1846, No. 1, p. 65


"MR. WILLIAM PITKIN, 1659, son of Roger, of London; East Hartford; liberty granted him to keep school in Hartford, March, 1660; freeman, Oct., 1662; m. Hannah, dau. of Ozias Goodwin, of Hartford; he was bred a lawyer; Attorney for the Colony; deputy, 1675; treasurer, 1676, 1677; Assistant several years; d. Dec. 15, 1694, ae. 58; had 8 ch."

--- Miss Mary K Talcott, "Later Settlers", in *The Memorial History of Hartford County, Connecticut, 1633-1884*, ed J Hammond Trumbull, vol. 1, 1886, p. 275


"To the list of distinguished citizens which our town [East Hartford CT] may claim by virtue of their residence upon its soil the Pitkin family has given an unusual number of names. (P) William Pitkin, progenitor of all of the name of Pitkin in this country, was born in Marylebone, near London, England, in 1635. He came to Hartford in 1659, and a year later began school teaching, --- being thereto encouraged by votes and grants of money by the town. He was appointed attorney for the colony in 1664. He bought land on the east side of the river in 1661, and was one of the most prominent planters. He filled many public offices with ability, and was conspicuous and influential in the affairs of the colony. He was a member of the General Court from 1675 to 1690, except for a short period. His wife was Hannah, daughter of Ozias Goodwin. His sister Martha married Simon Wolcott, and was ancestress of seven governors."

--- Joseph O. Goodwin, "East Hartford," in *The Memorial History of Hartford County, Connecticut, 1633-1848*, ed. J. Hammond Trumbull, vol. 2, 1886, p. 101


From A. P. Pitkin, *Pitkin Family of America. A Genealogy of the Descendants of William Pitkin, the Progenitor of the Family in this Country, From his Arrival from England in 1659 to 1886, with Additional Historical and Biographical Notes of the Family, Etc.

Also, Additional Notes of the Descendants of Martha Pitkin, who married Simon Wolcott.*, Hartford CT, 1887:

p. xxvi: "Mr. William Pitkin [Footnote: Mr., an honored title of those days, conferred upon few. Eleven persons only, we believe, were thus distinguished, among the early settlers of the Hartford Colony during the first twenty-five years of its settlement.], the progenitor of the family in America, came from London, England, in 1659, where he left a sister Martha and a brother Roger. (P) It is not known if they had parents living; presumably not, from the sister, Martha, having followed him to America several months later, to return with him to England, "not supposing," as she expressed it, "that he intended to remain in the wilderness." But the visit resulted quite differently. (See Martha Pitkin Wolcott.)"

p 1: "WILLIAM PITKIN, the progenitor of the family in America, who came from England in 1659, was possessed of great ability and tenacity of purpose. Endowed with a discerning mind, coupled with an excellent English education, coming into the Colony after its early settlement, he soon gained the full confidence of the Connecticut colonists.

He was admitted a freeman, October 9, 1662, and was appointed the same year by the General Assembly, Prosecutor for the Colony.

His marked ability gave him, in 1664, the appointment of Attorney-General, by the King.

From 1675 to 1690, a period of fifteen years, he annually represented Hartford in the Colonial Assembly.

In 1676 he was chosen Treasurer of the Colony. He was often appointed Commissioner by the Colony to the United Colonies. In 1676 he was appointed with Major Talcott to negotiate peace with the Narragansett and other Indian tribes.

In 1690 he was elected a member of the Colonial Council, and so remained till his death. .....

Aside from his profession, he was also one of the principal planters of the town, having purchased a large tract of land on the east side of the river, on which his sons all settled. ..... He owned one-third interest in a saw-mill and a grist-mill at "Pitkin Falls," so called from the number of dams and mills erected there, by the Pitkin family. He was also appointed with Mr. John Crow, to lay out the first Main and other streets on the east side of the river."

p. 2: "WILLIAM and HANNAH (GOODWIN). (P) Although a member of the Church of England, he asked for the rights of baptism for his children in the Puritan Church of the Colony, and they were so baptized. The church records attest that they all "owned their covenant" with and became members of the "First Church of Christ in Hartford." He left a large manuscript volume of religious writings, still extant, which show him to have been a man of piety and of no mean knowledge in theology also. (P)

His character, as manifested throughout his life, and as revealed in the volume of his remarkable religious compositions, show that the part he took in the Church controversy ... was one in which he was sincere and moved by honorable convictions (see "History First Church of Hartford," Dr. G. L. Walker; also Stiles' "Ancient Windsor," p. 167).

"After having filled various and important offices, distinguished for his virtues and ability, he died in 1694" (see Barber's Connecticut," p. 75). He lies buried in the burial ground adjoining the "First church of Hartford," Main street. (P)

WILLIAM PITKIN, the progenitor. m. HANNAH GOODWIN (only daughter of the Hon. Ozias and (Mary Woodward) Goodwin, the progenitor of the Goodwin family in Connecticut. Mr. Goodwin was b. in Eng. in 1596, and came to America with the Rev. Thomas Hooker. His wife was the dau. of Robert Woodward of Braintree, in the County of Essex, Old England.) (P)

  • He was b. in England, 1635.
  • m. 1661.
  • d. Dec. 16, 1694. She was b. in England, 1637. m. 1661. d. Feb 12, 1724.
  • [Children}:
  • 1. ROGER, b. 1662, d. Nov. 24, 1748, m. Hannah Stanley.
  • 2. WILLIAM, b. 1664, d. Apr. 5, 1723, m. Elizabeth Stanley.
  • 3. HANNAH, b. abt. 1666, d. ---, m. Timothy Cowles.
  • 4. JOHN, b. abt. 1668, d. 1706, unmarried.
  • 5. NATHANIEL, b. abt 1670, d. Feb. 20, 1733, m. Hester Hosmer.
  • 6. GEORGE, b. Sept., 1675, d. Dec. 23, 1702, unmarried.
  • 7. ELIZABETH, b. Oct., 1677, d. ---, m. John Marsh.
  • 8. OZIAS, b. Sept., 1679, d. Jan. 29, 1747, m. Elizabeth Green."


"WILLIAM PITKIN, the progenitor of the Pitkin family in our town, was one of the nmost prominent of our early settlers. A man of education, intelligence, and sagacity, he was of use not only to our beighborhood, but to the colony at large.

He is said to have settled here in 1659. In 1660 liberty was given him to teach school in Hartford, and a house was hired, and eight pounds were voted to him by the town to encourage him in the work. Each scholar, walso was to send a load of wood within a month after "Michimas," or pay three shillings for procuring wood.

Mr. Pitkin was made a freemn in 1662, and appointed attorney for the court to prosecute certain persons. In 1664 he was made attorney to implead any delinquents in the colony.

With Bartholomew Barnard he bought out Jacob Mygatt's interest in the Podunk lands in 1666, about which a dispute arose with Thomas Burnham, Mygatt's partner, in which the ourt decided in his favor. Pitkin also, in company with William Goodwin, bought out the shares of William Parker and Nathaniel Marvin, 126 acres, in the original distribution of lands here. In 1667 he petitioned with Thomas Well[e]s that the people this side might be freed from fencing their meadows.

He was one of the deputies to the General Court from Hartford in 1675; was treasurer of the Colony in 1676, and also in 1677. In April, 1676, he was appointed with Mr. Samuel Willys "to go to New York and to present the governor with ..... a letter from the Council, a copy whereof is on file; and also, sundry instructions were given them to desireGov'r Andross to engage the Mohawks against our Indian enemies, and to grant them leave to go up to Albany to speak with the Mohawks, &c,m as per the instructions on file will appear." This errand brought no satisfactory result, because Governor Andross in a rather unneighborly communication did not recognize the agents as sufficiently "authorized or empowered to treat or conclude, by sain COuncil's letter or otherwise that appears. (P)

Mr. William Pitkin came to live upon this side of the great river between the years 1659 and 1666. He built his house on the meadow hill, a few rods north of the present New York & New England Railroad. In 1683 he was chosen hayward of the east side meadow, with power to appoint a substitute."

--- Joseph O. Goodwin, *East Hartford: Its History and Traditions*, Hartford CT (Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co) 1879, p 54-55. Also from the same, p. 225-226: "THE PITKIN FAMILY. (P)


Seldom it is the fortune of any family to have numbered so many individuals raised to places of distinction in the affairs of a State, by their own abilities, as in the case of the Pitkin family of East Hartford. No other family in our commonwealth stood so constantly and for so long a time in the front of current events, unless it were the Wolcott family of Windsor (now South Windsor), which was also remarkable for the number of its prominent men.

From 1659 to 1840 and later, the Pitkins were conspicuously represented in our church, town, and State governments, as well as in our military affairs and inter-colonial relations. From memoranda made by Gen. S. L. Pitkin we gather the following facts. (P)

The pioneer of this family in this country was William Pitkin, already mentioned among the earlier settlers of our town.

  • He was born in 1635 in Marylebone, without the walls of London, England.
  • He came to Hartford in 1659.
  • He was by profession a lawyer, and was appointed King's attorney for the colony in 1664.
  • He was a representative in the assembly from 1675 to 1690, excepting during Sir Edmund Andros' brief authority;
  • in 1676 was treasurer of the colony, and
  • from 1690 until his death was a member of the council, and was otherwise prominent in the affairs of the colonies.
  • He was sent with Samuel Willys to New York with a letter to Gov. Andros, asking him "to engage the Mowhawkes against our Indian enemies," etc.
  • He died in 1694.

His wife was Hannah Goodwin, daughter of Ozias Goodwin, the ancestor of the Goodwin family. His sister Martha married Simon, youngest son of Henry Wolcott, and was mother of the first Governor Wolcott, and ancestor of Oliver Wolcott, of Oliver Wolcott, Jr., and of Roger Griswold, who were also governors of Connecticut. [Footnote: William Pitkin left a brother, Roger, in England, an officer in the royal army.

His sister, Martha, in 1660 or 1661 (she then being about 21 years of age), crossed the Atlantic in the hope of inducing her brother William to return from his wilderness life. She found him feeding his swine. She said, "I left one brother in England serving his king, and find another in America serving his swine."

She met with a flattering reception in the colony, and was thought "too valuable to be parted with." It was a question what young man was good enough for her. Simon Wolcott, to their surprise, and perhaps her own, for her mind was still to return to England, succeeded in obtaining her hand. One account has it that so many young men wished to marry her that the matter was decided by lot, which fell on young Wolcott.

She is said to be the ancestor of seven governors of this and other States.]"


"The Hon. *William Pitkin*, the ancestor of the Pitkin family of this town [East Hartford CT]

  • emigrated from the county of Middlesex, Eng. and settled here in 1659.
  • He was by profession a lawyer, and also one of the principal planters of the town. In 1664, he received the appointment of King's Attorney for the colony.
  • He died in 1694, after having filled various and important offices, distinguished for his virtues and abilities.

He had a sister who emigrated soon after him to this country, who it is said possessed uncommon vigor of mind and many fine accomplishments. She married Simon the youngest son of Henry Wolcott, was mother of the first Governor Wolcott, and grandmother of Oliver Wolcott and Roger Griswold, Governors of Connecticut; also great grandmother of the late Hon. Oliver Wolcott, late of Litchfield."

--- John Warner Barber, *Connecticut Historical Collections*, New Haven and Hartford, 1836, p 75

William PITKIN died in Jan 1644 in Berkhamsted, England. He was buried on 6 Jan 1644 in St. Peters, Berkhamsted. He was born in England. The Pitkin family may have sprung from the village of Ivinghoe in Buckinghamshire, and/or from the village of Bedford in Bedfordshire. The family tradition is that the name is derived from an older name, Peterkin, which appears in both England and Scotland. The first record of a Pitkin in Berkhamsted is from the register of burials, where on August 21, 1586 is found the record of the burial of Alise Pitkyn. We don't know her connection with the first known William Pitkin, but she could easily have been his grandmother, aunt, mother, or infant sister.

William Pitkin was chosen Minister's Churchwarden in Berkhamsted in 1610, and the following year was elected Sidesman. Probably about 1612, he was made agent to the lord of Berkhamsted Manor, a part of the Duchy of Cornwall consisting of some 4220 acres of land. In this capacity, he was responsible for laying out and enclosing two royal reservations (land which was removed from use of the commoners for the exclusive benefit of the royal family), a responsibility which undoubtedly made him unpopular with the local farmers.

In 1613, William owned 25 and one-half acres, by 1622 this had increased to 39 acres, and by 1632 he was the second largest landholder in the Parish with 196 acres.

In 1614, 1633, and 1644 he was overseer of the poor. In 1622, and in 1627 he again served as Churchwarden. In 1625 he became Bailiff (Mayor) and Justice of the Peace of the Borough. When Berkhamsted was granted a new charter in July, 1618, William was one of the first Capital Burgesses, and he became Chief Burgess and member of Parliament in 1628.

In 1626, William was one of four men bound in exchequer to King Charles I as administrators of a trust of 100 pounds to supply firewood to the poor of Berkhamsted.

By the time of his death in 1645, William had accumulated a considerable estate. To his children, John and Martha he left 300 pounds each; to Joan and Jane, 200 pounds each; to Elizabeth, 20 pounds. To his grandchildren, Roger and Martha he left 150 pounds each, and to William, 6 tenements in London. The balance of the estate went to his son Francis, who was the executor.

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William Pitkin, First Atttorney General of Connecticut's Timeline

November 1, 1609
Berkhamstead, Herts., England
November 10, 1616
Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire, England
September 26, 1626
Berkhampstead, Hertfordshire, England
Berkhamstead, St. Peter's Parish, Hertfordshire, England
Age 1
Age 1
St. Peter, Berkhamstead, Herts., England
November 24, 1662
Age 27
Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut, American Colonies
Age 32
Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut, present United States
Age 33
Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut, American Colonies