Thomas Newell was born 1611 in Hertfordshire, England and died 13 September 1689 Farmington, Hartford County, Connecticut of unspecified causes. He married Rebecca Olmstead (1624-1698) 1641 in Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut.
No record of Thomas Newell has been found prior to birth of his first child in 1643. It is believed that he came from England to Massachusetts prior to 1632 and the later settled in Connecticut, where he married Rebecca Olmstead (1624-1698) in about 1640-41.
Rebecca was part of the famous Olmstead family that helped to found Hartford and she was probably living with her uncle James Olmstead (1580-1640) until their marriage.
There is almost no record of Thomas Newell in the colonies prior to the birth of his first child with Rebeckah in 1643 in Farmington, Connecticut. Although he is said to have come to Farmington from Hartford, he is not considered a “Founder” of that city, i.e. not an original proprietor listed in the Book of Distribution of Land of 1639 of Hartford.
There is a deed dated 1645 which indicates that Thomas was living in Farmington prior to the deed. Porter classes him with the earliest settlers, but there is no record of his arrival. After 1645, there are several records involving land purchases, minor court proceedings and church notices. Since the first volume of Farmington Town Meetings Record was destroyed, we do not know how involved Thomas was in town life. In the church records of Farmington, Thomas was enrolled a member 7 Feb 1653, and Rebeckah was enrolled on 12 Jul 1653. In 1669 his name appears on the list of freemen, and in 1672 on the list of the eighty-four proprietors.
In 1673 he was one of the preliminary committee who went to view Mattatuck (now Waterbury), as a place for a new settlement (see Bronson). The same year he was one of the petitioners for liberty to plant a new settlement at that place. Subsequently he signed the articles, taking the place of Samuel Gridley, but declined joining the new settlement. In 1680, Thomas and his wife were listed third on the list of members of the church, a high ranking that was a mark of distinction. Thomas died 13 Sep 1689, leaving a significant estate (inventory of £449 17s 6p plus an additional £265 distributed prior to his death, a large sum at the time). His widow Rebeckah Olmsted died 24 Feb 1698.
Marriage & Family
The children of Thomas Newell and Rebeckah Olmstead are listed as follows:
- Rebecca Newell (1643-1711) - married Joseph Woodford, (1636-1701), son of Thomas Woodford and Mary Blott;
- Mary Newell (1645-1676) married Thomas Bascomb (1642-1689) of Northampton, Massachusetts, son of Thomas Bascomb and Avie Jessie;
- John Newell (1647) was one of the first settlers of Waterbury (see History of Waterbury by Bronson, cited above) and is numbered among the original subscribers in 1674. Bronson, in his history, says: “If he did anything worthy to be remembered, history has taken no note of it.” In 1694 he returned to Farmington, having disposed of his property in Waterbury. He died in 1696 without a family, his brothers Thomas and Samuel administering his estate;
- Thomas Newell (1650-1733) married Elizabeth Wrotham;
- Hester (1652-1739) married John Stanley of Waterbury (one of the original proprietors);
- Sarah (1654/55-1757) married Arthur Smith (Jr.);
- Martha (1658- ), twin with Hannah;
- Hannah (1658-1757), twin with Martha, married Thomas North (1649-1712);
- Samuel Newell (1660-1753) married Mary Hart (1666-1752);
- Joseph (1664-1689).
- Newell Family Record -
- George Kemp Ward. Genealogy of the Olmsted family in America: Embracing the Descendants of James and Richard Olmsted and Covering a Period of Nearly Three Centuries: 1632-1912 (A.T. De La Mare Printing & Publishing Co.) 1912.