Cliff McCarthy, 2017
Last Updated, 4 June 2017
Henry Botsford was the son of Edward and Alice (Prior) Botsford of Chalgrave, Bedfordshire, England. He was baptized 15 June 1608 at Sundon, Bedfordshire, England. Henry Botsford was the first known Botsford to emigrate to America. He settled in Connecticut as one of the 44 heads of households that were the original planters of Milford, Connecticut in 1639.
It is not known how Henry Botsford came to join with Rev. Peter Prudden and his followers — whether Henry came with them aboard the Hector or the Martin in the spring of 1637, or if he joined with them later. We do know that many of the minister’s followers had lived in close proximity in England. We know that the name of Henry Botsford is found in Eggington, Bedfordshire, on the list of those who had not yet paid their contributions towards “Ship Money” in 1637 and again on 14 July 1638. “Ship Money” was a tax levied in 1636 by King Charles I to support the building of naval warships and it led to widespread discontent. We know that following this date, the next known record of Henry Botsford is his name on the list of free planters of Milford, CT. We do know that on the list of free planters of Milford, Henry Botsford was named as having come from Wethersfield, Connecticut. Henry Botsford obviously had left England very close to the time of the sailing of the Hector and the Martin in 1637, had lived before that date in close proximity to Mr. Prudden and many others who sailed with him and had joined with them again in the settlement of Milford even if he had possibly followed an alternate path from the rest to get there.
He had a wife Elizabeth (maiden name unknown). We do not know when or where he married Elizabeth, but it must have been prior to 4 October 1640, as she was admitted to the church in Milford on that date. He was not admitted to the church until 25 July 1644. Henry was undoubtedly an individualist, but he believed in conforming to the accepted standards. He did join the church after a few years because church membership was considered almost essential in the new settlement. Although he may have avoided payment of the detested ship’s money as “taxation without representation,” he seems to have been a strict observer of all the self-imposed laws and restrictions of the community. His sound judgment and integrity were quickly recognized by his neighbors as shown by the long list of offices which he filled. He was called upon to settle boundary disputes and similar problems. He was a keen student of human nature.
Henry Botsford was a freeplanter and had a lot consisting of 2 acres and 2 rods. This would be off present-day West Town Street, near the property of Laurelton Hall. He held many offices in the town and was also a corporal in the fight against the Dutch in 1654.
His will was drawn 1 February 1685/6 and inventory was taken on the 15th of April following. His will, carefully protecting the rights of his faithful wife, Elizabeth, and the claims of his children, is a remarkable document. He distributed his very considerable landed estate with great thoughtfulness and justice.
Elizabeth died 1692.
Children of Henry “Harry” & Elizabeth BOTSFORD
HENRY “HARRY” BOTSFORD was born Bef. June 1608 in Sundon, Bedfordshire, England, and died 15 April 1686 in Milford, New Haven Co., CT. He married ELIZABETH. She died 1692. The Children of HENRY BOTSFORD and ELIZABETH are:
i. ELNATHAN BOTSFORD, b. Abt. 1641; bap. 15 Aug. 1641, by Rev. Peter Prudden; m. HANNAH BALDWIN.
ii. ELIZABETH BOTSFORD, (twin) b. 21 May 1643; bap. 21 May 1643; m. DANIEL BALDWIN, 27 June 1667; b. 1644, Milford, CT.
iii. MARY BOTSFORD, (twin) b. 21 May 1643; d. Bef. 1688; m. ANDREW SANFORD, JR., 8 January 1667/68; b. Abt. 1643, Hartford, CT; d. 1705, Milford, CT.
iv. HANNAH BOTSFORD, b. Abt. 1645; bap. Dec. 1645; m. NATHANIEL BALDWIN, 12 March 1670/71; b. 1645, Milford, CT.
v. ESTHER BOTSFORD, b. Abt. 1647; bp. 11 July 1647; m. 27 June 1665 NATHANIEL WHEELER, of Newark, NJ.
vi. RUTH BOTSFORD, b. Abt. 1649; bp, 8 July 1649; m. JOHN BALDWIN and removed to Newark, NJ.
- Abbott, Susan Woodruff; Families of Early Milford, CT; Clearfield Co., Inc. and Genealogical Publishing Co.; Baltimore, MD, 1979.
- Atwater, Edward E., History of the Colony of New Haven, (Journal Publishing Co.:Meriden, CT, 1902; as republished by Heritage Books, Inc.:Bowie, MD, 1989).
- Botsford, Eli Herbert, Adventures in Ancestors, (Botsford Family Association, Inc.).
- Botsford Family Genealogy: Line of Joseph.
- “Origins of the Botsford Family,” from The American Genealogist, Volume 14, page 58, 1937.