Sarah Wilcockson Meigs 1648-1691
21 Sarah2 Wilcockson (William1, probably WilliamA, possibly ThomasB) was born at Stratford, Fairfax Co., Conn. 1648-16491 and died at East Guilford (now Madison), New Haven Co., Conn. on 24 November 1691.2 She was buried in the Old Hammonassett Cemetery in Madison.3 Sarah married at Killingworth (now Clinton), Middlesex Co., Conn. on 7 March 1665/6 Deacon John Meigs,4 son of John and Tamazin (Fry) Meigs of Killingworth, who was born at Weymouth, Norfolk Co., Mass. on 29 [sic] February 16415 and died at East Guilford on 9 November 1713.6 He was buried originally on Guilford Green and later was reinterred at Alderbrook Cemetery in Madison.7 John Meigs married second after 24 November 16918 Lydia (____), the widow of Isaac Crittenden/Cruttenden of Guilford.9 She died in December 1729.10
Sarah was the third daughter of William and Margaret Wilcockson and their eighth child. In most Wilcox genealogies, Sarah’s birth has been attributed to 1646, but two records have been found that indicate that the year of her birth is more likely February 1648 to February 1649. First, in his medical journal John Winthrop Jr. noted that Sarah Wilcoxon, daughter of William Hayden’s wife, was twelve years old in February 1660/1.11 Second, Sarah’s gravestone in the Hammonassett Cemetery in Madison, Connecticut says that she died on 24 November 1691 at “about age 42.”12 Her age in the medical journal and on the gravestone thus both indicate that Sarah was likely born about 1648 or 1649. Most Wilcox-Wilcockson genealogies place Sarah before her brother Obadiah in the birth order of William and Margaret’s children, and they suggest that Obadiah’s birth was in 1649. In light of this evidence that puts Sarah’s birth about 1649, it would appear that Obadiah’s birth probably occurred before Sarah’s, in say 1646-1647. See Obadiah’s profile for further discussion of this point.
Sarah was born in Stratford and moved with her mother to Windsor, Hartford Co., Conn. about 1657, when Sarah was about eight. At her new home in Windsor, Sarah gained another sister. Mary Hayden became the Wilcockson children’s stepsister when Sarah’s mother Margaret and Mary’s father William Hayden married. Having been born in 1648, Mary was about Sarah’s age. About four years later, when Winthrop saw Sarah in February 1660/1, he noted that she was the daughter of William Hayden’s wife and that she had pain in her head and was ill.
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In 1644 when Sarah was about fifteen, she moved with her mother and stepfather to Killingworth, where she met John Meigs Jr. Their marriage on 7 March 1665/6 was the first on record in Killingworth.13 At the time John was twenty-five while Sarah was only sixteen or seventeen years old, which was considered underage in New England. Sarah would have needed a parent’s consent to get married at that age. However, the will of Sarah’s father William Wilcockson had noted that if the Wilcockson children found suitable matches for marriage before they came of age, then their mother and the overseers of the estate could sanction a marriage for the underage children.14 The children could then receive their share of their father’s estate before their eighteenth birthdays for the daughters and before their twenty-first birthdays for the sons. Sarah would have received a cow and other assets from her father’s estate upon her marriage to John Meigs.
John’s parents, John Meigs Sr. and Tamazin Fry, met in Weymouth, Dorset, England and were married there in 1632.15 John Sr. and Tamazin came to America with John Sr.’s father, Vincent, and John Sr.’s two brothers, Vincent Jr. and Mark, probably in 1634. They settled in Weymouth, Massachusetts, where John Jr. was born in 1641. Tamazin’s brother William Frye also lived in Weymouth, Mass.16 John Sr. and his father Vincent left Massachusetts in 1644, going first to New Haven in New Haven Colony, and then ten years later to Guilford, where John bought land in the area called Hammonassett (later called East Guilford and now Madison) in March 1654.17 While John Sr., a shoemaker, lived in Hammonasett/Guilford, he gained notoriety for several reasons: one for his being very unpopular and another for his warning the executioners England’s king, called the regicides, that they were being pursued.18
The story of the regicides is quite interesting. In 1649, while the Meigs lived in New Haven, Charles I, king of England at the time, was beheaded by the Puritans and Parliamentarians in England who had overthrown the monarchy as a result of the English civil wars of the 1640s. After the monarchy was restored in 1660 with the coronation of Charles I’s son Charles II, two of Charles I’s executioners, with last names Whalley and Goffe, had to flee England, and they went to the safe haven of Puritan New England. The regicide fugitives were harbored by New Haven Colony in March 1661. Whalley and Goffe appeared publicly there, but had to go into hiding when two royalists came after them. The pursuing royalists went to Guilford, where New Haven colonial governor William Leete lived, with arrest orders from the king. Having heard that the regicides were in New Haven, the pursuers asked Governor Leete for some horses to go to New Haven. Leete delayed their departure for a few days, and here is where John Meigs Sr. comes into the story. The day the royalists were to finally set off to New Haven to find Whalley and Goffe, John Meigs Sr. was seen on a galloping horse, long before daybreak, on his way to New Haven—apparently in a great hurry to get there. The royalists didn’t get away from Guilford until after the sun had risen, and so John beat them to New Haven and was able to warn Whalley and Goffe that the royalist pursuers were on their way.
In 1664, three years after the regicides incident, John Sr. moved across the Hammonassett River and was one of the original proprietors of Hammonassett plantation (later Killingworth and now Clinton). This brings us back to where Sarah Wilcockson and John Meigs Jr. met, and to their marriage in 1665/6.
Prior to his marriage to Sarah, John Jr. was one of five men from Killingworth whose names were presented to the court for freeman status, and in May 1665 the court “saw cause to defer the administering” of the oath to these men.19 By October 1669 John had been admitted as a freeman and was one of the seventeen men from Killingworth who were listed as freemen by the General Court.20
Sarah and John Jr. lived in Killingworth for about six years after their marriage, and they had two children while they were there, with the births being listed in the town records.21 John and Sarah both joined the Congregational Church of Kenilworth/Killingworth and are named among the earliest church members in the church manual.22 John Jr. was listed twelfth among the men, right after his brother-in-law Joseph Wilcockson, and Sarah Meigs was listed tenth among the women. Like all of Sarah’s siblings, Sarah and John Jr. received ₤12 from her brother Timothy in October 1668 when Timothy bought their father’s home lot in Stratford.23 John Jr. signed the agreement with his name and Sarah signed with her “S” mark.
In July 1669 John Meigs Sr. and Jr., both of Killingworth, sold a home lot at the east end of Guilford to Nathan Bradley, who was then living in the house.24 John Sr. died about three years later in January 1671/2, and he left to his son John Jr. the farm house and barn that belonged to him at “Hammonassett,” then known as the east end of Guilford Plantation.25 Either John Sr. owned two houses in East Guilford or the deal with Bradley in 1669 didn’t go through. After his father’s death, John Jr. and Sarah moved back across the Hammonassett River to East Guilford, where the Meigs had lived before coming to Killingworth They apparently moved into the house there that John Jr. had inherited from his father. Here in East Guilford John and Sarah’s third child, Janna, was born in December 1672.26 The rest of their children were also born in East Guilford.
Among the items John Sr. left his son were all his writing books and manuscripts, including Roll’s History of the World, Shaw’s Disconcery [dictionary?], and a Book of Martors [Martyrs]. John Meigs Jr.’s brother-in-law, Joseph Willcockson, witnessed the will.
John Jr. was active in the town affairs soon after their move to Guilford. In November 1673 John was chosen to be a surveyor of highways for the town.27 In 1681 and 1686 he was chosen to be a “lister,” or tax assessor, for the east end of Guilford.28 In November 1685 the town records indicate that the planters of Guilford desired twelve men to be patentees on behalf of all the planters, which meant that the men were representing the town regarding a matter with their patent, and John Meigs was chosen one of the twelve.29
Sarah died on 24 November 1691 after twenty-six years of marriage, leaving six children. The youngest appears to be a second daughter named Sarah, born after the elder daughter named Sarah had died in 1688.30 The next youngest was Mindwell, who was nine years old, and the oldest, John, was twenty-one. It’s possible that Sarah died as a result of childbirth and the child was named for her mother Sarah and her elder deceased sister Sarah.
Sarah’s short, one and one-half foot high, black gravestone can still be seen in the Old Hammonassett Cemetery in what is now Madison. It reads:
HERE LIETH ye
BODY OF MRS
WIFE OF DEACON
NOV ye 24th
ABOUT 42 YEARS.31
She is buried a few graves away from her son Deacon John Meigs who died in 1717/18. The gravestone refers to Sarah as the wife of “deacon” John Meigs. Since John did not become deacon until 1696 (five years after Sarah’s death), the gravestone cannot have been erectedbefore that. After Sarah’s death, John married Lydia (____), the widow of Isaac Crittenden.
Four years after Sarah’s death, in October 1695, John Meigs Jr., his brother-in-law Obadiah Wilcockson, and several others from East Guilford, which at the time was called Hammonassett in the court records, petitioned the General Court to pay taxes to support the minister in Kenilworth/Killingworth rather than in Guilford.32 They felt that since they lived five miles closer to the meetinghouse in Kenilworth/Killingworth, they should pay taxes to support the minister there, rather than in Guilford, which was farther away from their homes. The Court agreed, on the condition that the men pay Guilford any back church taxes not paid up to this point. The court also told the petitioners that this agreement would stand until the people of Hammonassett could afford to support a church of their own.
A year later, however, in 1696 John Jr. was elected deacon of the First Church (Congregational) of Guilford and served in that capacity until his death.33 Apparently John chose to continue attending the church in Guilford rather than in Killingworth. It was eight years before the inhabitants of East Guilford organized a church of their own—the church at East Guilford was formally organized in 1703. Even after the organization of the East Guilford church, John remained deacon of the First Church of Guilford.
John died twenty-two years after Sarah, on 9 November 1713. According to Henry B. Meigs, he was buried on Guilford Green and then reinterred at Alderbrook Cemetery in Madison about 1817 when the graves at the Green were removed to two different cemeteries. John’s gravestone is at Alderbrook Cemetery and reads:
DECON [sic] JOHN MEIGS
WHO DECESED [sic]
NOVEMBER THE 9
1713 AND IN/
THE 73 YEAR
OF HIS AGE.34
John Jr.’s will was copied verbatim by Henry B. Meigs in his book The Record of the Descendants of Vincent Meigs.35 According to the will, John and his second wife Lydia had a marriage contract in which Lydia would receive the use of John’s “little house” in Guilford and the use of his pasture near Thomas Griswold’s land upon John’s death. To his eldest son John III, John Jr. gave his house, orchards, and homestead containing eight acres in East Guilford as well an eight-acre horse pasture, some marsh land, his swamp lot of twenty acres, and several other parcels of land. Since John Jr. differentiated between his “little” house and his house, apparently he had two houses—possibly the little house had been his father’s.
John also bequeathed a number of parcels of land to his son Janna and to the heirs of his son Ebenezer (Ebenezer’s wife Mercy, his sons Ebenezer Jr., Reuben, and Joseph, and his daughters Thankful and Mercy). The heirs received the use and profit of the lands that John Jr. gave to his grandchildren until the widow Mercy remarried or the grandchildren came of age.
Since John’s eldest daughter Sarah (Meigs) Bartlett had already died, Sarah’s son Daniel Bartlett Jr. was devised some land in his grandfather John Jr.’s will as well. Daniel was to receive the land after the death or remarriage of his grandfather John’s widow Lydia. John then mentioned that his daughters Hannah Foster, Mindwell Cruttenden, and Sarah Meigs were to receive money and/or John’s personal property. Each of the daughters had already received items from their father—likely moveable (personal) estate.
Children of John and Sarah2 (Wilcockson) Meigs, with information from various secondary sources and some primary documents researched by author:
- SARAH3 MEIGS, b. Killingworth 14 February 1666/7;36 d. Guilford 8 April 1688;37 m. Guilford 11 January 1685/6 DANIEL BARTLETT of Guilford, in a ceremony performed by Andrew Leete.38
- Deacon JOHN3 MEIGS (III), b. Killingworth 11 November 1670;39 d. East Guilford (now Madison) 19 February 1717/8;40 and was bur. Old Hammonassett Cemetery, Madison, a few graves down the row from his mother Sarah.41 He m. Guilford 20 July 1694 REBECCA HAND, in a ceremony performed by Henry Crane.42 Like his father, John was a deacon of the Second Church and Society of Guilford, from 1707 to his death, and lived in East Guilford. At the time of his death, two sons and two daughters as well as his wife Rebecca were living.43
- Captain JANNA3 MEIGS, b. East Guilford 21 December 1672;44 d. East Guilford 5 June 1739;45 and bur. Old Hammonassett Cemetery, Madison. He m. 18 May 1696 HANNAH WILLARD of Wethersfield.46 Janna was deputy governor of Connecticut, a member of the Connecticut legislature, and a justice of the peace for New Haven from 1722-1733. He was also captain of the Guilford trainband and served as captain for a company of militia in Queen Anne’s War.
- EBENEZER3 MEIGS, b. East Guilford 19 September 1675;47 d. before 30 May 1712 when his father wrote his will;48 m. by Mr. Barker 5 October 1700 MERCY WEEKES of Falmouth, Barnstable Co., Mass.49 They lived in Falmouth and Rochester, Mass.
- HANNAH3 MEIGS, b. East Guilford 25 February 1677/8;50 m. before 30 May 1712 JEREMIAH FOSTER of Southampton, Suffolk Co. (Long Island), N.Y.51
- HESTER3 MEIGS, b. East Guilford 10 November 1680;52 d. by 30 May 1712 as she was not mentioned in her father’s will.53
- MINDWELL3 MEIGS, b. East Guilford 1682;54 d. 30 March 1762;55 m. Guilford 8 October 1702 SAMUEL CHITTENDEN/CRUTTENDEN of Guilford.56
- SARAH MEIGS, b. between 8 April 1688 when John Jr. and Sarah’s first daughter Sarah died57 and 24 Nov 1691 when the mother Sarah died;58 living 30 May 1712 when she was mentioned in her father’s will.59 Alvan Talcott and Jacquelyn L. Ricker say Sarah was b. 1691, d. 4 May 1775, and m. Caleb Stone.60 The Guilford records indicate that Sarah, wife of Caleb Stone, d. Guilford 4 May 1775 in her 85th year.61 That would put Sarah Stone’s birth year ca. 1690. It is unclear how Talcott and Ricker determined that Caleb Stone’s wife Sarah was Sarah Meigs. Caleb Stone was b. Guilford November 1685,62 which would put him in the same generation as the younger Sarah Meigs and in the same location.
1 John Winthrop Jr. Medical Records 1657-1669, 161, Winthrop Family Papers 1537-1990, vol. 20a-b, microfilm #38, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, Mass. Also Gravestone of Sarah Meigs 1691, Old Hammonasett Cemetery, Madison, Conn. Winthrop noted that Sarah was 12 years old in February 1660/1. Her gravestone in the Old Hammonasett Cemetery in Madison, Conn. says she was “about 42” when she died in November 1691. Both records point to 1648 or 1649 as being the year of Sarah’s birth.
2 Gravestone of Sarah Meigs 1691, Old Hammonasett Cemetery, Madison.
3 Gravestone of Sarah Meigs 1691, Old Hammonasett Cemetery, Madison.
4 Killingworth Land Records, 1:66, Killingworth Town Clerk’s office. The record says 1665, which would be 1665/6.
5 Alvan Talcott, compiler, and Jacquelyn L. Ricker, editor, Families of Early Guilford, Connecticut 2 vols. (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1984), 2:809. Also Vital Records of Weymouth, Massachusetts to the Year 1850, vol. I – Births (Boston: New England Historic and Genealogical Society, 1910), 187. The records say 29 February even though the system of leap year was not in effect.
6 Manual of the First Congregational Church, Guilford, Conn., January 1, 1875 (New Haven: Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor, 1875), 8. Also Guilford Vital Records: Index, vols. 1-2, 1645-1879, 1:19, microfilm #1421, Connecticut State Library.
7 Henry B. Meigs, The Record of the Descendants of Vincent Meigs who came from Dorsetshire, England to America about 1635 (Baltimore: John S. Bridges & Co., 1901), 12. Meigs says that the graves at Guilford Green were removed to newer cemeteries about 1817 and the gravestone of John Meigs is now at Alderbrook Cemetery.
8 Gravestone of Sarah Meigs 1691, Hammonasett Cemetery, Madison. John had to have married Lydia after the death of his first wife Sarah.
9 George E. McCracken, “The Connecticut Willcocksons,” The American Genealogist, 59 (January 1983): 39. I found no source.
10 McCracken, “The Connecticut Willcocksons,” 39. I found no source.
11 Winthrop Medical Records, 498.
12 Gravestone of Sarah Meigs 1691, Old Hammonasett Cemetery, Madison. The inscription reads: HERE LIETH ye/BODY OF MRS/SARAH MEIGS/ WIFE OF DEACON/JOHN MEIGS/WHO DECEASED/NOV ye 24th/1691 AGED/ABOUT 42 YEARS.
13 Killingworth Land Records, 1:66.
14Estate of William Wilcockson 1652, Fairfield Probate Records 1648-1664, 1:86, Record Group 4, Connecticut State Library.
15 George Norbury MacKenzie, Colonial Families of the United States of America in Which Is Given the History, Genealogy and Armorial Bearings of Colonial Families who Settled in the American Colonies from the Time of the Settlement of Jamestown, 13th May, 1607, to the Battle of Lexington, 19th April, 1775 (Baltimore: The Seaforth Press, 1911), 2:511.
16 George Walter Chamberlin, History of Weymouth, Massachusetts in Four Volumes, vol. 3 Genealogies of Weymouth Families (Weymouth, Mass.: Weymouth Historical Society, 1923), 244.
17 Bernard Christian Steiner, A History of the Plantation of Menunkatuck and of the Original Town of Guilford, Conn. (Baltimore: Bernard Christian Steiner, 1897), 129.
18 Steiner, A History of the Plantation of Menunkatuck, 109-111.
19 J. Hammond Trumbull, The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, From 1665 to 1678: With the Journal of the Council of War, 1675 to 1678; Transcribed and Published, in Accordance with a Resolution of the General Assembly, with Notes and an Appendix, vol. 2 (Hartford, Conn: F.A. Brown, 1851), 14-15.
20 Trumbull, The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, From 1665 to 1678, 525.
21 Killingworth Land Records, 1:337.
22 The Articles of Faith and Covenant of the Clinton Congregational Church (New Haven: Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor, 1875), 19.
23 Stratford Land Records, 255a and b, Stratford Town Clerk’s office.
24 Guilford Deeds, vol. 1-2 1648-1747, 1:14, microfilm #1409, Connecticut State Library.
25 Will of John Meggs Sr., Killingworth Town Meetings, 2:62, dated 28 August 1671, Killingworth Town Clerk’s office.
26 Barbour Collection Connecticut Vital Records: Guilford 1639-1850, 171, cites Guilford Land Records A:75.
27 Guilford Deeds and Vital Records, vol. A, B, & C 1645-1715, B:30b, microfilm #1408, Connecticut State Library.
28 Guilford Deeds and Vital Records, B:80 and 99.
29 Guilford Deeds and Vital Records,, B:95b.
30 Barbour Collection Connecticut Vital Records: Guilford 1639-1850, 172, cites Guilford Land Records A:81. This record notes she was the wife of Daniel Bartlett.
31 Gravestone of Sarah Meigs 1691.
32 Charles J. Hoadly, The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut from Aug. 1689 to May 1706, vol. 4 (Hartford: Case, Lockwood, & Brainard, 1868), 151.
33 Manual of the First Congregational Church, Guilford, Conn., January 1, 1875 (New Haven: Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor, 1875), 8. Also Steiner, A History of the Plantation of Menunkatuck, 292.
34Meigs, The Record of the Descendants of Vincent Meigs, 12.
35 Meigs, The Record of the Descendants of Vincent Meigs, 180.
36 Killingworth Land Records, 1:70
37 Barbour Collection Connecticut Vital Records: Guilford 1639-1850, 172, cites Guilford Land Records A:81. This record notes she was the wife of Daniel Bartlett.
38 Barbour Collection Connecticut Vital Records: Guilford 1639-1850, 172, cites Guilford Land Records A:80.
39 Killingworth Land Records, 1:70
40 Gravestone of John Meigs 1717/8, Old Hammonassett Cemetery, Madison, Conn. Photographed by author in June 2001.
41 Gravestone of John Meigs 1717/8, Old Hammonassett Cemetery, Madison.
42 Barbour Collection Connecticut Vital Records: Guilford 1639-1850, 171, cites Guilford Land Records A:98.
43 Estate of John Meigs 1718 East Guilford, New Haven Probate Packets 1683-1880 Maslen-Merrick, packet no. 6886, microfilm, Connecticut State Library.
44 Barbour Collection Connecticut Vital Records: Guilford 1639-1850, 171, cites Guilford Land Records A:75.
45 Barbour Collection Connecticut Vital Records: Guilford 1639-1850, 171, cites Guilford Land Records 2:148.
46 George Norbury MacKenzie, Colonial Families of the United States of America in Which Is Given the History, Genealogy and Armorial Bearings of Colonial Families who Settled in the American Colonies from the Time of the Settlement of Jamestown, 13th May, 1607, to the Battle of Lexington, 19th April, 1775 (Baltimore: The Seaforth Press, 1911), 2:512. The rest of the information about Janna and Hannah is from this source. I found no sources.
47 Barbour Collection Connecticut Vital Records: Guilford 1639-1850, 170, cites Guilford Land Records A:78.
48 Meigs, The Record of the Descendants of Vincent Meigs, 180. John’s will was written on this date and his son Ebenezer is not named. Instead, Ebenezer’s wife and sons and daughters are named by their grandfather.
49 Clarence Almon Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700 3 vols. (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011), 2:1024.
50 Barbour Collection Connecticut Vital Records: Guilford 1639-1850, 171, cites Guilford Land Records A:84.
51 Meigs, The Record of the Descendants of Vincent Meigs, 13 and 180. Meigs notes that Hannah married Jeremiah Foster of Long Island and Hannah’s father’s will calls her Hannah Foster.
52 Barbour Collection Connecticut Vital Records: Guilford 1639-1850, 171, cites Guilford Land Records A:86.
53 Meigs, The Record of the Descendants of Vincent Meigs, 180.
54 James Savage, A Genealogical Dictionary of First Settlers of New England, Showing Three Generations of Those Who Came Before May, 1692 on the Basis of Farmer’s Register, 4 vols. (1860-62, reprint Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1965), 3:194. Also Talcott and Ricker, Families of Early Guilford, 2:809. All information about Mindwell is from Talcott unless otherwise noted.
55Talcott and Ricker, Families of Early Guilford, 2:809.
56 Unknown source. Marriage noted in Families of Early Guildford, 2:809.
57 Barbour Collection Connecticut Vital Records: Guilford 1639-1850, 172, cites Guilford Land Records A:81.
58 Gravestone of Sarah Meigs 1691.
59 Meigs, The Record of the Descendants of Vincent Meigs, 180.
60 Talcott and Ricker, Families of Early Guilford, 2:809. All information about Sarah is from this source unless otherwise noted.
61 Barbour Collection Connecticut Vital Records, slip for Sarah Stone, cites Guilford Land Records 2:163, Connecticut State library.
62 Barbour Collection Connecticut Vital Records, slip for Caleb Stone, cites Guilford Land Records A:95.