From the Fortress of Solitude
Our best wishes go to our family members on the Eastern Seaboard as they deal with the effects of Hurricane Irene. I was happy to hear the storm was downgraded to a Tropical Storm when it reached New York City.
Today in our digital family reunion we learn about our feisty 10th Great Grandmother, Elizabeth Deming, proof positive we descend from good puritan stock!
Great Grandmother Elizabeth was born about 1595 in Colchester, Essex, England. She died on July 28, 1683 in Wethersfield, Connecticut. She had seven children and was another of our first generation in America families.
Our 10th Great Grandfather, Nathaniel Foote was her first husband. She married Gov. Thomas Welles of the Connecticut Colony after Nathaniel died.
Elizabeth and Nathaniel Foote founded the village of Wethersfield in 1634 along with 9 other Puritan families hailing from Watertown, Massachusetts. The settlers were led by John Oldham and Nathaniel Foote. Wethersfield is the second-oldest town in Connecticut after Windsor. Along with Windsor and Hartford, Wethersfield is thought by some to be represented by one of the three grapevines on the Connecticut state flag signifying the state's three oldest settlements.
Let's begin with the Relationship Chart:
10th Great Grandparents. Nathaniel Foote and Elizabeth Deming
Elizabeth Deming Foote and John Crane
Sarah Rose Crane and Captain John Morris III
Daniel Morris and Mary Riggs
Daniel Morris and Hannah Armstrong
Isaac Morris and Rebecca M. Hathaway
Benjamin Morris and Mary Spinning
(?) Isaac Morris and Sarah
Nancy Morris and Whitty Victor
Effie Helen Victor and William Jonathan Williamson
Vennie, Ima, Inez, Lille, Josie, Emmett, Walt, Charles and Maurice
The following is an article on the Deming Family and Great Grandmother Elizabeth:
Very little is known of the Deming family before they left England. Since the first Puritans left England to secure a better place to practice their religion. It might be assumed that the Demings left England for similar reasons.
That they held strong religious convictions is evident in the records they left in Connecticut. Elizabeth was born in England in the last part of the 16th century. In January of the year 1616, a short time after he finished his apprenticeship training, she married Nathaniel Foote in Colchester, Essex, England.
After the birth of their sixth child Nathaniel decided to sell his grocery business in Colchester and immigrate to the New World. By some he is considered to be the first settler of Wethersfield.
Whether or not that is true we do not know. We do know he was one of ten men who settled along the bank of the Connecticut River and named their settlement, Wethersfield. They are know as the "Ten Adventurers"
Elizabeth was the sister of John Deeming, who was one of the first settlers of Wethersfield Conn. in the year of 1630. John Deeming was for many years one of the magistrates of the " Colony of the Connecticut " and one of the patentees named in it's charter.
Since Elizabeth Deming married Nathaniel Foote who spent his early life in Shalford, Colchester, England, it can be assumed that
(1.) John and Elizabeth lived in the same area of England.
(2) Elizabeth and Nathaniel were known to have been in the Colony of Massachusetts Bay and residing in Waterton when it is recorded Nathaniel took the oath of a freeman.
(3.) The Foote family must have joined with the Demings in feeling some dissatisfaction with the manner of life in Watertown and joined with others in making the 100 mile trek in 1635 through the forests of the New World until they arrived at Pyquag on the shores western shore of the beautiful Connecticut River.
Nathaniel Foote was one of those named in the charter of patentees of Wethersfield. The Foote family became one of the leading families of the little Connecticut Colony. He became a magistrate, a leading land owner, eventually owning more than 500 acres of land in Wethersfield, some of the great meadow, and his home on the south end of the green, next to the present Broad Street.
The family was saddened by Nathaniel's death at age 61. Elizabeth was so respected that she was allowed to be executor of his estate. Elizabeth was left a wealthy widow, but did not remain in that status for long. In 1646 she married Thomas Wells who was a widower with several children from his first marriage. Thomas Wells served as Governor of Connecticut Colony for two terms, 1655-1658. When he was not serving as governor he was a Deputy Governor. He died during his last years of being deputy governor, 14 January 1659/1660.
Elizabeth was again a widow, having two families instead of one. She was in control of a large estate from both husbands.
Elizabeth Welles was a tenacious and feisty old woman. She had not only survived a perilous voyage from England but while tending to six exuberant children and a husband, she had made a new life for herself and her family in a world they knew nothing about. This world was inhabited by Indians who were not always friendly with those pale face people. The rigors of life and managing a household did not daunt her.
Things went quite well through the intervening years since arriving on shores of the newly discovered continent, until she reached old age. In 1676 as she approached the age of 80 years, she ran into trouble with one of her step-grand children.
This was Robert Welles, a favorite of grandfather, Governor Thomas Welles when the governor was alive. Robert had arrived at the Governor's home, there to be taken care of and educated.
But now his grandfather was dead and Robert and his step-grandmother disagreed. Maybe she did not think him old enough to be married at age 24. Never-the-less it was 1676 when Elizabeth brought Robert Welles to court, because he "...hath dammyfield her Barne by Parting with the other part of the Barne that did adjoin to it."
Exactly what he did to her barn is not clear. The court's decision was clear. He was ordered to repair the barn and also to pay his step-grandmother rent for it. Elizabeth made sure the barn incident was not her last word.
Two years later, in 1678, she made sure all of the Welles were taken care of when she made her will. She left them nothing. She stated someone outside the family would be executor of her will. Everything she had she left to her own family. That is the family she and Nathaniel has raised and nurtured. The Welles family got nothing.
Elizabeth died in 1683, at the age of 88.