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Sunday, November 15, 2015

About the Mead Family. Some Facts Obtained by Spencer P. Mead (1899)

Source: Greenwich Graphic. October 28, 1899, Page 1.

Researches Seem to Show that William Mead is the Ancestor of the Fairfield County and Horseneck Meads. 

Perhaps there is a large number of the Mead family, who are at a loss to understand why it is, that in the new "History of Fairfield County," Conn., just published, the author states that John came from England (some authorities say William) in 1642, (some authorities say 1635) and was the progenitor of the family in Fairfield County.  

Every member of the family, no doubt, is thoroughly familiar with the tradition in regard to the alleged John, therefore the writer will give the history of William.

In 1635 there arrived in Massachusetts many ships with passengers from England, and among those arrivals is found the name of Gabriel Mead (called Goodman Mead,) who was born in 1587, and died March 12, 1666, aged 79 years. He was probably married twice, his second wife being Johanna, the daughter of James Bates. He was born in 1528, died 1655, and sailed England in the ship "Elizabeth," Captain Stagg, April 1635, and it is supposed his son-in-law, Goodman Mead, was in the same vessel. Richard Bates (son) lived at Lydd, in County Kent, England, from whence the family is supposed to have come.

Gabriel Mead left him surviving his widow, Johanna, and the following children: Israel, born 1637, David, Lydia, Experience, Sarah, and Patience. 

Recent researches seem to show that William Mead, the ancestor of all Fairfield County, and the Horseneck Meads, was a brother of Gabriel Mead, and that they both came from England on the ship "Elizabeth," April, 1635; furthermore, the 'Coats of Arms' of the two are identical. 

Gabriel Mead remained in Massachusetts and is the ancestor of the Massachusetts Mead family. William, however, followed the tide of emigration, which at that time was toward the 
Connecticut Valley. The first English settlement of Connecticut was made at Windsor in October, 1633, and another at Wethersfield soon after, where William probably first settled.  Andrew Ward and Robert Coe, representatives of about twenty-two families of Wethersfield, on the 4th day of November, 1640, purchased from the New Haven Colony a large tract of land lying in Stamford, which in the spring of 1641, was settled by the Wethersfield families, and among the first forty-two land proprietors of Stamford, we find the name of William Mead. The following is a copy from the Stamford town records:

Dec. 7, 1641, William Mayd (Mead) received from the Town of Stamford, a homelot and five acres of land. This William was the ancestor of the Mead family of all Fairfield County Meads. We have record of three children, but there probably were four, a son who died in 1658. They were as follows: 

Joseph, born in 1630, married December 4, 1654, Mary Brown of Stamford, died May 3, 1690. He was the ancestor of the Ridgefield and North Fairfield County Meads, and had Zachariah, Joseph, Daniel, Elisha, Richard, and Mary. 

Martha, b. about 1632, who married John Richardson of Stamford. 

John, born about 1634, who married Hannah Potter, of Stamford, probably in 1657, died February 5, 1699. He was the ancestor of the Greenwich Meads, and had John, Joseph, Hannah, Ebenezer, Jonathan, David, Benjamin, Nathaniel, Samuel, Abigail, and Mary. 

Tradition in the family had declared that Joseph died young, or if he lived, went south, and became the progenitor of the Virginia "Meade Family." Researches, however, prove the facts to be different. The Virginia Meade family are in no wise connected with the Connecticut Meads, but are descended from Andrew Meade, born in County Kerry, Ireland, in the latter part of the seventeenth century. He came to this country about 1728 and settled in Nansemond County, Virginia, where he died in 1745. Colonel Richard Kidder Meade, Revolutionary soldier, served on General Washington's staff; Rt. Rev. William Meade, D.D., late Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Virginia, and Richard Meade (2), of Petersburg, Va., Member of Congress, 1847 to 1853, are of this line. 

The following record of some of the proceedings of the Court of Magistrates held at New Haven, further shows that both William  and Joseph, were early settlers here;

1654, October 18. Joseph Mead, of Stamford, testifies on behalf of his sister Martha, the wife of John Richardson.

1656, May 26. John Mead, of Stamford, enters an action of ye case against Richard Law, of Stamford. 

1656, May 26. Richard Law, of Stamford, complained of John Mead, of Stamford. 

1656, May 26. Jno. Waterbury complained of John Mead. 

1657, March 25. Joseph Mead, of Stamford, again a witness. 

1657, March 27. A Petition from John Mead was presented desiring the Court to remitt the fine of ten 
pounds laide upon him last year. 

Also a  Petition from William Mead, on behalf of John Richardson (his son-in-law), that a fine of ten pounds 
laide upon him be abated. 

The two sons, Joseph and John, migrated to Hempstead, L. I., and following records further substantiate the statement that Joseph did not die young or go south. 

1658. Joseph Mead, 3 milch cows, taxes 41 proportion. 

1658. John Mead, 2 milch cows, taxes 19 1/2 proportion. 

1659, February 3. The Town of Hempstead paid Joseph Mead nine shillings for a voyage from Stamford to Fairfield to see about procuring a minister, with letters from Hempstead to the Rev. Mr. Wakeman. 

From the last entry taken from the Records of the Town of Hempstead, it will be seen that Joseph returned to Stamford; moreover we find in the court records of the New Haven Colony that in: 

1659, May 25. Joseph Mead, of Stamford, was a witness. 

1660, Oct. 15. Joseph Mead, of Stamford, a witness, and from Testimony given by him in Court, it appears 
that he was born in 1630. 

1660, October 17. Joseph Mead, of Stamford, appeared as Attorney for Abraham Frost. 

1662. Joseph Mead, Richard Hardey, who was the father-in-law of John Mead (2), and others, declared to be freemen of the Colony of Connecticut by the Assembly, and Mr. Gould was authorized "to guie them ye oath of freedom, at ye next Court in Fairfield." 

Joseph, however, finally located permanently in Horseneck soon after his brother John bought land there in 1660. He was representative from Greenwich in the Colonial  Assembly, 1669, 1671 and in the year 1672, we find among the list (Greenwich Town Records) of the first twenty-seven proprietors of Horseneck (Greenwich) the name of Joseph Mead. He died in Greenwich on the 3rd day of May, 1690, 60 years of age, as appears from "Petition of ye widow and children of Joseph Mead, of Greenwich, who died without will May 3, 1690. Said petition is made by ye advise of our louving Unckle, John Mead, Sr." 

Of William, the ancestor of all the Fairfield County Meads, very little concerning him, except that already mentioned, can be found. His wife died in Stamford, September 16, 1657. No record of his death has, as yet, been found.

Mr. Mead is a member of the New York bar, Sons of the Revolution, and Society of Colonial Wars. 

This is Spencer P. Mead's gravestone in Putnam Cemetery in Greenwich. 

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