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Settling the River Towns

Settlement of Hartford and adjoining areas. Deteriorating relations with the native Indians beginning 1637, culminating in "King Philip's War" 1675-1677.

Settling the River Towns

Before proceeding to a profile of Francis, it should be noted that these years were the settlement and fledgling years for Hartford and adjoining areas. These were the years at the very beginning of deteriorating relations with the native Indians, which beginning in 1637 culminated in "King Philip's War", 1675-77. A brief review here of the settlement of the river towns is appropriate.

New Amsterdam

According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, "The first settlement was made by Dutch from New Amsterdam, who built a fort in 1633 at the mouth of Park river, a narrow and muddy branch of the Connecticut, which they held until 1654. In 1635, 60 English settlers came from New Towne (now Cambridge), Massachusetts. In 1636 the First Church of Christ (Centre Congregational), which was organized in New Towne (1632), moved to Hartford with most of its congregation under the leadership of Thomas Hooker and Samuel Stone."1 Francis and John may well have been among Hooker's company, as was possibly Bartholomew.


Between the time of the building of the fort, "Good Hope", by the Dutch in 1633 at Hartford and the settlement there by the Hooker group in 1636, the two towns of Windsor and Wethersfield were established just north and south of Hartford, respectively. In 1633 Capt. Holmes sailed up the Connecticut River with a commission from the Governor of Plymouth to challenge the Dutch, if necessary, and to establish a fort just north of Hartford:

Holmes, the Pilgrim captain, sailed up the river and passed safely the Dutch fort. The threats of its builders were as smoke without ball, though from behind its slender earthwork the garrison threatened and blustered...[Sailing to what is now Windsor, he] bought land of the sachems he carried with him, landed with a picked garrison, put up the ready-made frame-house prepared at Plymouth, sent the vessel home, and had his house well surrounded with a palisade before the Dutch could take any definite action...

But there was still to follow another exhibition of Dutch bluster. Seventy men, girt about with all the panoply of war and with colors flying, appeared before the sturdy little trading house at the mouth of the Farmington [river]. They marched up, but, fearing to shed blood, consented to a parley and withdrew..."2

Wethersfield apparently was settled in the autumn of the next year, 1634. "There has long been a tradition that a few Watertown [Mass.] people came in 1634 to Connecticut and passed a hard winter in hastily erected log huts at Pyquag, the Indian name of Wethersfield..."3

Native American Relations

Relations of the early settlers of the river towns with the Indians rapidly deteriorated.4

In April 1637 Indians waylaid some of the people of Wethersfield, killed six men and three women, and captured two girls (later redeemed and returned by the Dutch). On 1 May, the General Court at Hartford, serving the river towns, voted "an offensive war against the Pequods".

Other groups of Indians became involved, and hostilities continued to 1654, only to be renewed again 1675-77 in what is known as "King Philip's War", Philip being Metacomet (Metacom or Pometacom), the not so friendly son of Massasoit, the friendly sachem associated with the Pilgrims at Plymouth.

It was during these times of hostility with the Indians that Francis and his family lived first in Hartford and then, after 1659, in Hadley, Mass., and subsequently in nearby river towns along the Connecticut River.

Two of Francis' sons—John and Joseph—both met untimely deaths in conflicts with the Indians, John in 1675 at the Battle of Bloody Brook, and Joseph in 1695 at the Massacre at Indian Bridge. John died without issue, but Joseph had already sired a multitude of children, including Joseph, Jr., the progenitor of most of the Barnards of Ancient Windsor.

Francis Barnard

A death date of 3 Feb. 1698 at 81 years for Francis suggests that he was born in 1616. David Evans5 identifies his birthplace as Stratford-on-Avon, England, and his place of death as Hadley, MA, consistent with his generally accepted birth in England and death at Hadley or nearby Hatfield.

Francis' marriage to Hannah Marvin/Meruell on 15 Aug. 1644,6 recorded in Hartford Vital Records, is one of the few (if only) lines of contemporary evidence that Francis resided in Hartford at this time.

That Francis had six children—Joseph, Hannah, John, Sarah, Samuel, and Thomas—and that he married Frances Foote, widow of John Dickinson and daughter of Nathaniel Foote, on 21 Aug. 1677 at Hadley or Deerfield after the death of Hannah ca. 1675 appear generally accepted.

Evans7 lists an early wife, Mary Watson (died ca. 1642), and names her the mother of Joseph ("1641"-1695); however Joseph's death at age 45 years, inscribed on his tombstone (see hereafter), implies a birth year for Joseph as 1650, when he would most probably have been born to Hannah, as were the other five children. (The date of Joseph's birth, however, does not rule out this possible early marriage.) Other Internet websites repeat without any evidence the early marriage to a Mary Watson.

A petition of Francis was heard "Att a Generall Court for Elections, held at Boston, 16th May, 1683" which received the following disposition: "In answer to the petition of Francis Barnard, humbly desiring this Courts favor to order him tenn pounds mony out of what is due to him from the country, as in his peticon, &c, it is ordered, that the Treasurer pay to the petitioner tenn pounds in or as money, & charge the same to the account of Hadley, provided the selectmen of sajd toune doe signify, vnder their hands, to the Treasurer, that there is so much due to the peticoner."8

Sylvester Judd, 1905, History of Hadley, makes numerous references to Francis Barnard and his children, and to Francis' kinsman John Barnard.9


In a few years following the death of the Rev. Thomas Hooker, which happened 7 July 1647, contention arose in the Hartford church, with the Rev. Samuel Stone and a majority of the church on one side, and a strong minority on the other. Some of the history and reasons for this discord are related in Judd.10

The "withdrawers" petitioned to the General Court of Massachusetts in May 1658 for land, received a favorable response, and in October the town of Northampton voted to provide land.

An Agreement or Engagment of those who intended to remove from Connecticut to Massachusetts is dated at Hartford 18 April 1659 and was signed by 59 individuals (and one not fully engaged), including Francis Barnard and his kinsman John Barnard. A copy of that Agreement is produced by Judd11. The boundaries of a new town, Hadley, were laid out and an unknown number of the "engagers" "came up to inhabit at the said plantation" in 1659.

Village Plan

The plan of the village of Hadley12 shows the street and highways, the 47 houselots (with figures denoting the number of acres in each lot), and the names of the proprietors in 1663. "M" in the street is the place where stood the first meeting-house, built after 1663.

The actual acreage received by each proprietor, however, varied according to sums the individual proprietors had put in "to take up lands by". The names of the proprietors, the sums put in, the home-lot number and acreage are given in Judd:13

"John Barnard, who died in Hadley in 1664, had a malt-house in Hadley, and another in Wethersfield, and was called 'malster.'... Francis Barnard had a malt-house."14

The plan of the village of Hadley
Text not available
History of Hadley Including the Early History of Hatfield, South Hadley, Amherst and Granby, Massachusetts By Sylvester Judd, Lucius Manlius Boltwood, George Sheldon

Petition of Hadley against the impost or customs, 1669

"On the 7th of November, 1668, the General Court of Massachusetts ordered that duties should be imposed on goods and merchandise, and on horses, cattle and grain imported into this colony, after the first of March next. Petitions against this act were sent from some towns on the sea-board, and from Springfield, Northampton and Hadley on Connecticut River. These three towns apprehended that Connecticut would retaliate, and impose a tax on their produce sent down the river. The duty was reduced in 1669, and suspended as to Connecticut and Plymouth in 1670. The Hadley petition is [reproduced, with signatures, in Judd, 1905, p. 75-77]. It appears to be in the hand-writing of William Goodwin." Both Francis Barnard and John Barnard were among the 92 that signed the petition.

Text not available
From page 76 of
History of Hadley Including the Early History of Hatfield, South Hadley, Amherst and Granby, Massachusetts By Sylvester Judd, Lucius Manlius Boltwood, George Sheldon

Selling Liquor to Indians

In 1670 Dr. John Westcarr, first husband of Francis' daughter Hannah, was tried for selling liquor to Indians, an infraction of the General Court in May 1657 which forbid all persons to sell or give to any Indian rum, strong water, wine, strong beer, brandy, cider, perry, or any other strong liquors, under the penalty of 40 shillings for every pint so sold or given. Westcarr was adjudged guilty and fined 40 pounds; he appealed to the Court of Assistants at Boston, "was bound in 80₤, and Francis Barnard and John Coleman in 40₤ each, as sureties."15

Great Riot

"Great Riot in Hadley, chiefly of young men, Feb. 15, 1676.—At March court, 1676, nine men were charged with being actors in a riotous assembly in Hadley, on the 15th of February, where there was a public affronting of authority, in the stopping and hindering of the execution of a sentence which was ordered by authority. The record does not tell what the sentence was, nor against whom it was directed. It was in the time of Philip's war, when there were many soldiers in Hadley.

"Edward Grannis was a leader in the riotous assembly, and said the sentence should not be executed. He was adjudged to be whipped 12 stripes, well laid on. Jonathan Gilbert, Jr. and Joseph Selding were bound in a bond of 10 pounds each for good behavior. Thomas Dickinson was fined 3₤. Nehemiah Dickinson, William Rooker, Thomas Croft and Jonathan Marsh were fined 5₤ each. Samuel Barnard was present in the riotous assembly with his club, though his father, Francis Barnard, commanded him not to be there, and he was accused of plotting with some of the garrison soldiers to go to Narraganset. The court adjudged him to be whipped 12 stripes, but he made a humble acknowledgment, and his father pleaded for him, and his sentence was changed to a fine of 5₤."16

Hadley Expands Eastward

At the October 1672 session of the General Court, the people of Hadley asked for an enlargement of their township, the limits of which the Court had earlier defined in October 1663. The Rev. John Russell wrote the petition, and 38 persons, including Francis Barnard, signed it. In response, the General Court, 7 May 1673, expanded the town's boundary eastward.17

Bridge and School

Among the 79 names of persons taxed at Hadley in 1681 for building Fort River Bridge were Francis Barnard, Joseph Barnard, and Goodwife Barnard for one lot, and Samuel Barnard for a separate lot.18 "Goodwife Barnard" was Frances (Foote) Dickinson, married to Francis Barnard in 1677.

The list of 82 individuals taxed for Hadley town debts of 1686, the rate being made in the early part of 1687, included Samuel Barnard and Francis Barnard for their separate lots.19

Monies and realty bequeathed and dedicated for the purposes of education in Hadley were mismanaged during the 1670s and first part of the 1680s. There was also competition of these resources between promoters of a Grammar School and an "English School." On 23 August 1686 Francis Barnard, Samuel Barnard and three others were voted by the town "to make demand of the school committee of all the produce, increase & rents of lands & estates abovesaid, and accruing thereto, which are at present in their hands undisposed."20


In a list of changes in the owners and occupiers of homelots in Hadley from 1663 to 1687 are listed the following:

"Samuel Barnard had of his father, Francis B., the lot that had been John Barnard's."21 This John Barnard apparently was the "kinsman" of Francis and one of the original proprietors of Hadley, not Francis' son who was killed by the Indians in 1675.

Townsmen and Selectmen

Each year, Hadley was served by townsmen, called selectmen after 1673. These numbered five annually until 1738, after which time the number varied. Francis Barnard served as a townsmen or selectmen in 1669, 1673, 1676, 1683, 1686, and 1688.22


  1. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1967, v. 11, p. 135.
  2. Andrews, Charles McLean, 1889, The River Towns of Connecticut; A Study of Wethersfield, Hartford, and Windsor: Baltimore, Publication Agency of the John Hopkins University.
  3. Andrews, 1889, op. cit., p. 13.
  4. George Madison Bodge, 1906, Soldiers in King Philip's War; Being a Critical Account of That War with a Concise History of the Indian Wars of New England From 1620-1677 (reprinted 1967 by Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore).
  5. Evans, David: Barnard Family research by David Evans, New Canaan, CT, 1975, and posted on the Internet at http://www.bearhaven.com/family/franklin/d0003 (use family 1076 for Francis).
  6. Hartford, Connecticut, Hartford Vital Records, FFS: 26 and D: 21; Barbour Collection on microfilm; housed at Connecticut Historical Society; records that Francis Barnard married Hanna Merrell on 15 Aug. 1644; "Meruell" is pencilled in over "Merrell"
  7. Evans, David: Barnard Family research by David Evans, New Canaan, CT, 1975.
  8. Shurtleff, Nathaniel B., ed., 1854, Records of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, v. 5, 1674-1686, p. 411, Boston, Press of William White (reproduced 1968 by AMS Press Inc., New York, NY).
  9. Sylvester Judd, Lucius Manlius Boltwood, George Sheldon, History of Hadley: Including the Early History of Hatfield, South Hadley, Amherst and Granby, Massachusetts (H. R. Huntting & Company, 1905). Available on Google Books at http://books.google.com/books?id=JwV5AAAAMAAJ
  10. Judd, History of Hadley, chapter 1.
  11. Judd, History of Hadley, 11-12.
  12. Judd, History of Hadley, 24.
  13. Judd, History of Hadley, 26.
  14. Judd, History of Hadley, 66.
  15. Judd, History of Hadley, 64.
  16. Judd, History of Hadley, 90.
  17. Judd, History of Hadley, 185.
  18. Judd, History of Hadley, 203.
  19. Judd, History of Hadley, 204.
  20. Judd, History of Hadley, 51.
  21. Judd, History of Hadley, 205.
  22. Judd, History of Hadley, 446, 447.

ID  17 
Albums  Francis Barnard Descendants 

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