Thursday, August 1, 2013

Holcombe Family (3) - Colonial Generations

Part 3 - Nathaniel Holcombe II

Thomas Holcombe, an early Puritan settler would arrive in New England sometime between 1630 and 1633. A few years later, he would be part of the party that founded the first colonial town in Connecticut. He would prosper and raise a large family on this early American frontier. His youngest son, Nathaniel would move further west as the towns along the Connecticut River filled-up and good farmland became harder to come by. Nathaniel would be a prominent figure in the area of Simsbury known as Salmon Brook. There he would establish himself and live to see his children and grandchildren spread out in the rugged foothills of an area that would eventually become the Town of Granby, Connecticut.

If you missed Part 2 of the story, go here . . .
If you missed Part 1 of the story, go here . . .

An excerpt from John Seller's map of New England. The Connecticut
River Valley in 1675. The river towns are visible but that is about all.
Everything west is still the wilderness but that is soon to change.

Nathaniel Holcombe II - 2nd Generation at Salmon Brook

The eldest son of Nathaniel Holcombe and Mary Bliss would also be named Nathaniel. He was born in 1673, probably at Springfield, Massachusetts. By 1680, his parents had begun to carve out and existence at Salmon Brook and young Nathaniel would grow up in this isolated settlement known as the "outland." Of the three Nathaniel's in this line of the family, this middle one seems to be the individual with the least amount of information available.

Still, there are a few instances where he is noted in colonial records and other writings. The frontier seemed to always be in a state of turbulence and uncertainty during this period. In addition to the risks of war with England's enemies, there was also economic uncertainty. In 1723, Nathaniel is said to have joined a force sent to the Housatonic Valley to search for enemy Indian forces (probably as part of Chief Grey Lock’s war of 1723-1727). Nathaniel would take his turn and serve as a representative from Simsbury to the General Court of Connecticut (the colonial assembly) from 1748 to 1753.
From Colonial Connecticut Public Records . . . At some time after 1725, William Thrall, was calling in his debtors. Nathaniel at one point owed Thrall £41 and Thrall had Nathaniel confined to the county jail, but Nathaniel "from thence breaking the gaol made his escape, and has since gone at large;" requiring Thrall to petition the legislature to order the sheriff to pursue Holcomb “with horse and foot, and to remand said prisoner back again to the gaol, there to remain until he satisfy said execution and be by law released."
Nathaniel Holcombe II is often noted as a Lieutenant in the local militia but colonial records indicate that he was elevated to Captain in 1716.  In 1695, Nathaniel would marry Martha Buell and they would raise 12 children in Salmon Brook.

The Family of Martha Buell

Martha Buell was the 3rd of nine children of Sergeant Peter Buell (b.1644, d.1728) and his first wife, Martha Cogan (Coggins) (b.1648, d.1686) both of Windsor, Connecticut. Peter was married three times and had children with two of his wives. Peter Buell and family were one of the first settlers of Simsbury arriving before 1670 after being awarded one of the first land grants at a place called Hog’s Meadow. He was part of a committee of three from Simsbury that granted privileges to the Indians to hunt venison and he served as an elected representative from the town to the General Assembly in 1687. Martha Buell was born at Simsbury. Peter Buell was the son of William Buell (b.1605, d.1681), possibly from Huntingdonshire, England and Mary Post (b.1607, d.1684). It has also been claimed but not proven, that William was the son of Sir Robert Bevill(e) of Devon. Based on newer research, it seems unlikely that William was the son of Robert. Another source noted that he was “a Welshman, joiner by trade, an early and respectable settler of Windsor.” William first settled at Dorchester, Massachusetts and was included in the first land division of Windsor.

The gravestone of Peter Buell, father of Martha Buell.
He is buried at Hop Meadow Cemetery in Simsbury.

Martha Cogan was born in New Plymouth and was the Daughter of Thomas Cogan (b.1610?, d.1653) from Somersetshire, England and Joan Borridge (?) (b.1610?). Martha’s father, Thomas, was the son of Philobert Cogan (b.1563?) of Somersetshire and Anne Marshall (b.1576?) of Hampshire. Some sources have traced the Cogan family back another dozen generations, possibly to a Miles or Milo de Cogan (b.1135?, d.1182?) from Cogan, Glamogan, Wales. Miles was of Norman nobility and played a key role in the Norman Invasion of Ireland that began in about 1169. He was granted large tracks of land in Ireland after the conquest. Many with the name Cogan claim Irish ancestry but probably descended from Milo. Anne Marshall was the daughter of Thomas Marshall (II) (b.1545, d.1617) and Mary Cotton (b.1553) both from Hampshire, England. Thomas Marshall (II) was the son of Thomas Marshall (I) (b.1513) and Ellen (?) (b.1517) from Hampshire. Thomas Marshall (I) was the son of Nicholas Marshall (b.1500?) and Ann Doane (b.1550?) both from Lincolnshire, England. Mary Cotton was the daughter of Henry Cotton (b.1521) and Margaret (?) both from London. Ann Doane was the daughter of Thomas Doane (b.1472) from Lincolnshire.

The Children of Nathaniel Holcombe and Martha Buell
  • Son (Captain) Nathaniel Holcombe (III) (b.1696, d.1782) would be the third generation to settle and raise a family in Salmon Brook. His story is covered in detail in the next section.
  • Son (Lieutenant) David Holcombe (b.1696, d.1784) married Mehitabel Buttolph (b.1704, d.1767), the daughter of Sergeant David Buttolph and Mary Buck in 1722. This was one of five Holcombe/Buttolph marriages all within this immediate family. A shoemaker by trade, David Buttolph was born in Boston but his family eventually settled in Wethersfield, Connecticut. His father, Lieutenant John Buttolph was a glover by trade (as was his father) and a veteran of King Philip’s war. The Buttolph house in Wethersfield has been restored and is a museum (circa 1711). Some think David Holcombe was a twin to Nathaniel but is more likely that he was born a year later. A source indicated that David fought in the French and Indian War. David and Mehitabel had 12 children.
    • Notable descendants included the Reverend Rueben Holcombe (b.1751, d.1824), a graduate of Yale and a Pastor in Massachusetts but also well known for advancements he made in Agriculture and Horticulture on his large farm.
    • Also, James Huggins Holcombe (b.1806, d.1889), a lawyer who served as clerk of the Superior Court in Hartford, clerk of the State House of Representatives and clerk of the State Senate.
    • Also, Doctor William Frederick Holcombe (b.1827, d.1904), "one of the most distinguished physicians in New York and a noted specialist on diseases of the eye and ear."
    • Also, John Marshall Holcombe (b.1848, d.1926), the son of James Huggins Holcombe (listed above). A prominent citizen of Harford, he was an actuary, insurance executive and served as an Alderman (a seat also held by his son and grandson) and in other capacities for the City of Hartford.
    • Also, Tudor Frederic Holcombe (b.1886, d.1978), an innovative farmer recognized by the State of Connecticut for his agricultural advancements. He also served in the state legislator and financed a number of public buildings in Granby. His farm is now Holcombe Farm, a registered landmark owned by the Town of Granby. Still a working farm, it serves as a learning center and nature preserve.
  • Son Daniel Holcombe’s existence is unclear but some sources list him.
  • Son Benjamin Holcombe (b.1697, d.1700) only lived to the age of two.
  • Daughter Elizabeth Holcombe died at the age of one month in 1700.
  • Daughter Martha Holcombe (b.1701, d.1725) married Doctor Jonathan Buttolph (b.1697, d.1769), the son of Sergeant David Buttolph and Mary Buck (the second Holcombe/Buttolph marriage - see above) in 1723. Martha died during childbirth along with her second child, Benoni. Jonathan would marry twice more and have many more children.
    • Martha and Jonathan’s son, Captain Jonathan Buttolph commanded the 18th Connecticut Militia in the Revolutionary War and died soon after the battle of Long Island.
  • Daughter Elizabeth Holcomb’s existence is unclear but some sources list her.
  • Son Judah Holcombe (b.1706, d.1802) married Hannah Buttolph (b.1711, d.1765), daughter of Sergeant David Buttolph and Mary Buck (the third Holcomb/Buttolph marriage - see above) in 1730. Judah served as Justice of the Peace and Deputy of the Connecticut General Assembly. He served in the French and Indian War and though close to 70 at the time, also served in some limited capacity in the Revolutionary War (and is listed as a Patriot by the DAR). Judah and Hannah had 11 children. At his death, Judah had 196 surviving descendants including a great-great-grandchild. 
    • At least four of Judah’s sons served in the Revolutionary War. Silas was a Lieutenant in 2nd Battalion under Colonel Thaddeus Cook in 1776; Ozias and Benajah both served in Captain Samuel Hayes Company. Judah II was also known to have served. 
      Judah Holcombe's tombstone at Granby Center Cemetery.
      His somewhat famous inscription reads: "Death is
      debt to nature due, which I have paid and so must you."
      Judah Holcombe House / Tavern, built in 1740 and
      listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

  • Son Jacob Holcombe died in infancy in 1707.
  • Daughter Mary Holcombe (bap.1709, d.1810) married David Buttolph (b.1709, d.1783), the son of Sergeant David Buttolph and Mary Buck (the fourth Holcombe/Buttolph marriage - see above) in 1731. Mary and David were known to be living in Wintonbury, Connecticut in 1741 and later settled in northeast, Dutchess County, New York where they lived out their lives. Mary and David had five children.
    • At least one of Mary and David’s sons served in the Revolutionary War. Son Roger served in Captain Silas Goodroch’s Company from Berkshire County, Connecticut and was noted to be at Bunker Hill.
  • Daughter Sarah Holcombe (b.1713, d.1780) married Timothy Case (b.1707, d.1754), the son of Captain Richard Case and Amy Reed in 1730. Richard’s father (John) sailed from Gravesend, England in 1635 on the ship Dorset and landed at Newport, Rhode Island, but settled first in Windsor, then Newton, Long Island and finally, in Simsbury sometime after 1740. Timothy’s cousin married a son of Nathaniel Holcombe I (see previous). Sarah and Timothy moved on to Massachusetts. They had eight children.
    • At least one of Sarah and Timothy’s sons, Philip in known to have served in the Revolutionary War.
  • Son (Lieutenant) Peter Holcombe (b.1715, d.1800) married Margaret Case (b.1713, d.1750), the daughter of Captain Richard Case and Amy Reed (the second Holcombe/Case marriage - see above) in 1740.  They had six children before Margaret died. Peter then married Tryphena Case in 1751 (relation to Margaret Case unknown). Peter and Tryphena had 12 children. It is unclear if Peter served in the French and Indian War but it seems likely that he did and although 60 by the time of the Revolution, Peter “went out for a short term in 1778, enlisting in the Connecticut militia for duty on the Hudson, serving in Captain Burr’s Company, Colonel Increase Moseley’s Regiment of the Connecticut Line.”
    • Peter and Margaret’s son Jacob was killed in the French and Indian War; another son, Noadiah served in the Revolutionary War with the 9th Massachusetts Regiment.
    • In addition, at least four of Peter and Tryphena’s sons also served in the Revolutionary War. Asahel was a volunteer from Simsbury at the Lexington Alarm and later served with Sheldon's Light Dragoons where he rose to the rank of Captain. Peter II served seven years in the Connecticut line with the army of General George Washington. He fought in the battles of Monmouth, Brandywine and Trenton and spent the winter at Valley Forge in Captain Burr's Company, Colonel Increase Moseley's Regiment (probably with his father). During the course of the war, he was promoted from the ranks to a Lieutenant Colonel. Ebenezer served in Captain William Judd's company, Colonel Samuel Wyllys's Connecticut regiment in 1778-79. Jacob also served as noted on his tombstone at Granby Center Cemetery.
  • Daughter Catherine Holcombe’s existence is unclear but some sources list her.
During his long life, Nathaniel would witness great changes in the back-country of Connecticut. He would see Salmon Brook go from an isolated frontier into an established community and like his father before him, Nathaniel would live a long life. Martha, would die in 1760 and he would follow in 1766, in his nineties.

Nathaniel Holcombe III would be the next generation in this line to live in Salmon Brook / Granby. You can read about him in Part 4 of the report here . . .

For additional information: One of the best on-line sources about the Holcombe family can be found at Holcombe Family Genealogy. For a great source of information about Salmon Brook and with some information about the three Nathaniel Holcombes that resided there, read: "The Brittle Thread of Life" by Mark Williams (2009).

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