I have so many Connecticut ancestors, I don’t know where to start! The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about colonial Connecticut is that I have at least two family members who served as governor for the Colony of Connecticut.
First is my 11th great-grandfather, John Webster, who served as governor from 1656 to 1657. He was also the deputy governor from 1655 to 1656. Before and after these roles, he served as a magistrate from 1639 to 1655 and from 1657 to 1659.
Robert Treat, my 10th great-granduncle, served as governor from 1683 to 1698. He served in other capacities as well, including deputy governor from 1676 to 1683 and again from 1699 to 1709. The interesting thing about Robert’s term as governor was that in late 1687, the government of the colony seized to exist and was not reinstated until 9 May 1689. It’s also interesting to note that Robert’s grandson, Robert Treat Paine, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence (I’ve written about that here).
Not only are John Webster and Robert Treat related to me, they are related to one another by marriage. John’s son, Robert, married Susannah Treat, who is Robert Treat’s sister.
While I know these two men were governors of the Colony of Connecticut, I really haven’t done much research on either of them. They are both covered extensively in their respective genealogies, History and Genealogy of the Gov. John Webster Family of Connecticut With Numerous Portraits and Illustrations (Webster and Webster, 1915) and The Treat Family: A Genealogy of Trott, Tratt, and Treat, for Fifteen Generations, and Four Hundred and Fifty Years in England and America (Treat, 1893). And I have seen other references to each as governor in other sources. So I thought I would compile a list of the sources I was already familiar with and see if I could find some others and share the ones available online in this post.
Before I get into the sources, I thought I’d share something really neat that I found today, while I was poking around. I found this in The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, Prior to the Union With New Haven Colony, May, 1665 (Trumbull, 1850), which is part of a collection of transcriptions of early public records of the colony and state of Connecticut. I believe these signatures were obtained on 11 April 1639, when these gentlemen were elected to their respective positions. It’s pretty neat to see the signature of my 11th great-grandfather!
Now for some resources.
The Connecticut State Library has a few pages dedicated to Connecticut governors, as well as biographies for each governor.
- Roster of Governors of Connecticut – List of governors from 1639 to present, with links to biographies, portraits, and guides to archival records.
- Governors of Connecticut: Resources and Publications – "This Connecticut State Library Pathfinder leads to online and print resources about Connecticut's Governors, past and present."
- John Webster – A biography of Governor John Webster, who served from 1656 to 1657.
- Robert Treat – A biography of Governor Robert Treat, who served from 1683-1698.
There are a set of books that are transcriptions of the public records of the colony and state of Connecticut. They are digitized and available online. The one’s below cover the period of time when each served as Governor (or other capacities). It’s pretty neat to go through and see just what these men were involved with during their service to the colony.
- The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut Prior to the Union With New Haven Colony May 1665
- The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut 1665-1678
- The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut May 1678 to June 1689
- The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut August 1689 to May 1706
Information from Wikipedia:
- The Governors of Connecticut (book)
- Robert Treat: Founder, Farmer, Soldier, Statesman, Governor – Paper read before the New Haven Colony Historical Society by General George Hare Ford in 1911.
- History and Genealogy of the Gov. John Webster Family of Connecticut With Numerous Portraits and Illustrations (book)
- The Treat Family: A Genealogy of Trott, Tratt, and Treat, for Fifteen Generations, and Four Hundred and Fifty Years in England and America (book)
- Genealogical and Family History of the State of Connecticut (book)