The Journey of Deacon George Clark

 Puritans did not like the laws of the King's Church of England and as businessmen they resented the high taxes. Virtually unsettled, America offered the opportunity to establish a theocracy whereby their religious beliefs could be enjoyed without oppression. Also, with its seemingly limitless natural resources, America provided the opportunities to trade and to prosper with little constraint. The land near the Quinnipiac River would be cleared, the ground tilled and a new home established where the settlers could have their own church, make their own laws and build a busy commercial town.

Reminiscences of Dr. Dale Duncan Clark from

www.ezraclark.org

  There is some indication that Carpenter George Clark was actively interested in the Cromwell Revolution http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Cromwell before he left England. This is evident by the fact that when these Stuart Kings were restored to power a man hunt was begun for those who had taken a primary part in the execution of King Charles I. The judges, who pronounced the death sentence on King Charles I, now known as the regicides, escaped and came to America, landing in Boston Harbor in the 1660s. They looked up the puritan activists who had left England ahead of them and here they found comfort and protection. People who secreted them were, of course, guilty of treason and the regicides became a danger to their friends who had given them seclusion. When it becomes dangerous for them to remain in the Boston area they fled to New Haven with the king's men in hot pursuit.
Regicides Whaley and Goffe fled to Milford where they had personal friends. According to a book written by the president of Yale University, the regicides were secreted for part of their time in Milford by Carpenter George Clark. This gives credence to the fact that George Clark was a political activist on the side of the puritans when he was back in Hertfordshire England. This area was a hotbed of revolution against the king and many of the members of Peter Prudden's congregation had come from that area.

   In my readings, I can surmise a pattern that Peter Prudden would go to London and meet with John Davenport. Being Puritans, they came up with the plan to go to America.  Peter Prudden went back to Hertfordshire and said that he was leaving for America, thus becoming the Hertfordshire Group.  I believe George Clark and wife Sarah were members of that group even though they were not on the ships records.  This could be because George paid to be taken off the passenger list, because they were being chased or the list was not complete. He was most likely on the Hector, because of the company that he kept.

THE VOYAGE OF THE HECTOR.

   This group chartered the "Hector" from London. Samuel Hutchinson, Richard Hutchin-son, and Arthur Hollingsworth, who were perhaps the owners of the Hector. William Femes, was master of the ship.  Before the Hector sailed, the company which chartered her had so increased that it became necessary to hire another vessel to accompany her on the voyage; but the name of the vessel has not been preserved to us. Aboard this ship were merchants of wealth and standing from back home in England. They were accompanied by Reverend John Davenport and are supposed to have been mostly members of his church in Coleman Street, London. Also among them was Edmund Tapp of Bennington, Hertfordshire, James Prudden, William Fowler, Thomas and Hannah Buckingham, Thomas Welsh, Richard Platt, Henry Stonehill and William East.

Two months was perhaps the average time consumed in sailing from London to Boston in the vessels of that day.  John Winthrop recorded the arrival of the group from London and landed at Boston on the 26th of June. 

  In August of 1637, Eaton and several others traveled south to view the area around the Long Island Sound. Many from the Bay Colony chose to leave for Quinnipiac (now New Haven, CT), where they bought land from the Indians. In the spring of 1638 the town of New Haven was accordingly founded. Please check out this web site: http://www.rootsweb.com/~genepool/nhmap.htm  Some of the members were Peter Pruden of the Hertfordshire Group, Deacon George Clark and wife Sarah, Eaton, Davenport: Richard Hull, William Tuttle and William Wilkes of Boston, Anne Higginson and her family, Jarvis Boykin, John Chapman, John Charles, Timothy Ford, Thomas James, Benjamin Ling, John Mosse and Richard Perry of Charlestown; John Benham, Benjamin Fenn, Thomas Jeffrey, Thomas Kimberly, William Preston, Thomas Sandford, Thomas Trowbridge and Zachariah Whitman of Dorchester; John Astwood of Stanstead Abbey, Hertfordshire and Roxbury; Thomas Baker, John Burwell, Jasper Gunn, John Hall, John Peacock, William Potter, Edward Riggs, Thomas Uffot and Joanna and Jacob Sheaffe of Roxbury; Mark Pierce of Newtown; and Nathaniel Turner of Lynn.

   The next year a swarm from this new town settled in Milford.

Milford was settled in 1639 by a group of English Puritans, followers of the Rev. Peter Prudden.  They are often referred to, in the history of the New Haven Colony, as the "Hertfordshire Group."

ASTWOOD, J.- BAILEY, T.- BAKER, Thomas- BALDWIN, John- BALDWIN, Joseph- BALDWIN, Nathaniel- BALDWIN, R.- BALDWIN, Tim- BEARD, Martha- BENTON, A.- BIRDSEYE, J.- BOLT, Frances-BOTSFORD, H.- BRISCOR, N- BROUKES, W.-BROWN, J.- BRYAN, Alexander- BUCKINGHAM, Thomas- BURWELL, J.- CAMP, N.- CAMPFIELD (CANFIELD), T.- CLARK, Jr, George Farmer- CLARK, Sr., George Deacon- COLEY, S.- DENISON, R.- EAST, William- FENN, Benjamin- FLETCHER, John- FORD, T.- FOWLER, J.-FOWLER, William- FREEMAN, John- GUNN, J.- HARVEY, Edward- HATLEY, Ph.- HINE, Thomas- HUBBARD, G.- LAND, John- LAWRENCE, T.- LAWRENCE, Thomas- LYON, Henry- PEACOCKE, John- PLATT, R.- PLUM, R.- PRIME, J.- PRUDDEN, James- PRUDDEN, Peter (Rev.)- REED, T.- RIGGS, E.- ROBERTS, W.- ROGERS, J.- SANDFORD, Thomas- SHERMAN, John- SLOUGH, W.-SMITH, J.- SMITH, J.- STONHILL, Henry- STREAM, John- TAPP, Edmund- TAPPING, Thomas-TIBBATS, T.- TOMPKINS, M.- TYRREL, A.- WELCH, T.-  WHEELER, T.-  WHITMAN, Zachariah-

Rev. Peter Prudden built their dreams after a long journey into the unknown and achieved their goals.  I am sure that Deacon George Clark helped build this church since he was one of the town carpenters. In his will he had a lot of carpentry tools for that time and was also known as Carpenter Clark before he was a Deacon. Please check it out at: http://www.firstchurchofmilford.org/website/publish/home/homeList.php.

Deacon George Clark was my ninth great grandfather.  He risked it all to the unknown and started from scratch in the woods of Milford CT. USA with his wife Sarah and new born son along with a lot of great friends. When he died in June 10, 1690, he had left a homestead filled with furniture, 6 acres of wheat, 7 acres of corn, 5 acres of Indian corn, 3 acres of oats, 3 acres of peas, 3 bee hives, horses, a Mare and a colt, a 2 year old horse, oxen, 1 bull, five cows and 28 swine. I won’t even get into all the carpentry tools he had because there are so many.  Not bad for starting from scratch.  He was very proud of his three sons, Thomas, George and Samuel, who all grew up in politics and became representatives of Milford at different times like their father. He was also proud of his daughter Sarah, who married Jonathan Law, first Governor of CT. His life is very inspiring to me and I am proud to be related to him.
 

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