Wife: Mary Wells (3)
Born: 1626 in Colchester, Essex, England
Died: 03 Jul 1700 in Hartford, Hartford, CT
From: Some of the Ancestors and Descendants of Samuel Converse Jr. VOL Ii; by major James Converse of Woburn, MA; Putnam, 1905
Jonathan Gilbert married his first wife, Mary White, 29 January 1645-6. She was the daughter of Elder John White and died about 1650.
Jonathan Gilbert died 10 December 1682, aged 64. Jonathan Gilbert had three brothers Thomas, Obadiah, and Josiah.
This account is from A Genealogical Memoir of the Gilbert Family in both Old and New England by J. Wingate Thornton, Esq., LL.B., MDCCCL.
The will of Jonathan Gilbert of Hartford was dated 10 September 1674. Inventory filed 12 February 1682 amounted to 2484-17-7, subject to considerable debts. In his will he bequeathes to wife Mary, during widowhood, until son Samuel is of age; to sons Ebenezer, Jonathan and Thomas; to son Nathaniel my farm at Meriden; to daughters Lydia Richardson, Sarah Belcher, Mary Holten, Hester Gilbert when eighteen or at marriage, and daughter Rachel when eighteen; to grandchild John Rosseter when twenty-four; to grandchildren Jonathan Richardson and Andrew Belcher. Brother John Gilbert, Capt. John Allyn, and Sergt. Caleb Stanley to advise wife whom he makes executrix.
Jonathan Gilbert was the marshal responsible for carrying out the execution of Nathaniel and Rebecca Greensmith. (Direct ancestor.)
From Wayne Olsen:
Listed in LDS Ancestral File, AFN: 2ND4-X2
One of Jonathan Gilbert and Mary Wells' great grandsons was Noah Webster Jr. (Oct 16 1758 to May 28 1843), the originator of Webster's Dictionary.
From "The Widow Frances (Albright) Wells, Wife of Thomas Coleman of Wethersfield and Hadley", by Douglas Richardson, in NEHGR, Jan 1992, pp.28-34:
Article cites that Mary was Jonathan Gilbert's second wife, and that he was the son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Bennett) Gilbert (different than previously seen genealogies which had Lydia (the convicted witch) as Jonathan's mother).... Article also states that he was baptized at Yardley, Worcestershire, 8 Jun 1617 (Yardley PRs, on FHL Microfilm1,520,013). Article also states that he was Marshall of the Colony of Connecticut for many years. 8 children. Johnathan and Mary were the grandparents of Jonathan Belcher, Governor of Massachusetts and later of New Hampshire, and ancestors of Noah Webster, noted American author and lexicographer. (See Homer W. Brainard, Harold S. Gilbert, and Clarence A.Torrey, "The Gilbert Family" (New Haven, 1953), 25-49.)
From "The Gilbert Family, Descendants of Thomas Gilbert, 1582-1659", by H. W. Brainerd, H. S. Gilbert, and C.A. Torrey; New Haven, 1953:
The earliest mention of Jonathan Gilbert in Hartford records is his marriage Jan 29, 1645/6. It is probable that he had been living for sometime, perhaps a year, in the town previous to that event. This would bring his arrival there very close to the date of is father's arrival at Windsor. After his marriage, Jonathan lived upon a lot near the corner of the present Sheldon and Governor Street in Hartford,... Gilbert lived upon the southern part of the original Hills lot in a small house,.. near the house of his father-in-law, Elder John White.
He may have operated a mill near the public square.
In 1651 Gilbert with 3 other men acquired 18 acres of woodland in the southern part of the town, west of "Rocky Hill" (the ridge upon which the buildings of Trinity College now stand). and in 1653 the town voted that there was "liberty granted to Jonathan Gilbert to set up a warehouse at the common landing place in the little meadow.." Very likely Gilbert stored here the corn he collected in 1654 for the Train band. He had charge of the military stores for some years. This achievement gave Gilbert a foothold at the center of the expanding trade and commerce of the town and colony upon the Great River. He profited thereby, although his was not the only warehouse near the river. He further strengthened himself in the locality by purchasing two islands, called Bird's Island and the Dutch Island...
In 1663 he bought of Anthony Wright two acres with a messuage or tenement standing thereon, situated between the market place on the north and Jeremy Adam's land on the south. This land is now in the heart of Hartford, between Central Row and the Travelers Insurance Company's buildings, even then an advantageous location. Here Gilbert had his residence and kept the inn until his death, and was succeeded after his decease by his widow Mary and son Samuel as innkeepers.
In the next few years Gilbert had acquired various parcels of land, woodland, and meadow in different parts of the town. ....In less than 20 years he had secured a firm position in the town and colony, at the very center of its commercial, social, and political life. His second marriage to Mary Wells had without doubt helped him. From all that can be learned of her, it would appear that she was a keen and practical woman with an eye to business. In this she was like her husband. The two were well mated and worked together for common ends and had common ambitions. From this period also begins Gilbert's participation in public affairs. He is no longer Goodman Gilbert, but is called Jonathan Gilbert. Mr... in the records, a sure indication of advancing official and social status.
Was chosen to be Marshall for the colony after Thomas Stanton moved to Stonington in 1646,..and served probably until 1675. The Marshall carries out the orders and decrees of the Colony government in both civil and criminal cases,.. thus is a constable or high sheriff,.. and may also have been called upon to execute the orders of the lower or Particular Court as well. Duties include carrying out executions . (His mother (?) was executed in 1654-5... the author is not sure Jonathan held the officethen).
In the militia, he rose through the ranks and in 1668 was appointed Cornett of the Troope of Horse.. This made him commander of the Hartford troop. IT was a valued distinction, and the title attached itself to him for the remainder of is life, for the title of Cornet appears upon his gravestone in the old Center Cemetery at Hartford.
The warehouse erected by Gilbert near the landing place in Hartford speedily became a bonded warehouse for imports into the Colony and Gilbert was in fact, if not in name, collector of the port.
Gilbert did not always comply with the law. May 4, 1663. "This Court doth determine that Jonathan Gilbert's Butt of Wine, seized for the country, be according to the law established, forfeited to the Countrey."
Two records show that Gilbert must have been on good terms with the Indians and able to speak their tongue.
His service to the Colony demanded and received material reward. Gilbert's land holdings at Hartford were important, but not extensive. He was not one of the proprietors. In company with his brothers he had leased the Hollister farm at Nayaug (South Glastonbury) for some ten years, probably surrendering the lease at the death of his father in 1659. In Aug 1661, the Court granted to him a farm of 300 acres upland and 50 acres meadowland. The farm and inn which the court allows was near the present city of Meriden, between Hartford and New Haven. He had previously noted that an inn was needed there since the journey took more than a day and the two colonies had united, requiring business travel and the General Court met alternately at the two places.
He was chosen Deputy from Hartford in 1677, 1678 and 1681.
He evidently had a major displeasure over the conduct of his oldest son Jonathan, and he bequeathed his Meriden farm to his next son Nathaniel. The will was contested by Jonathan Jr. on the grounds of the small legacy left to him and the influence of his stepmother against him. It was probably the first will contested in the Colony. Jonathan Jr. lost his case, for his stepmother employed the only attorney at law in the Colony, and Jonathan Jr pleaded his case personally. He then appealed to the General Assembly but lost there.
There is ample proof that the second Mrs. Mary Gilbert was an able business woman and manager of property and of her husband's inn, which after his death she managed alone for many years. That she also managed her husband and took advantage of his displeasure toward his eldest son to further her own interests and those of her children is very evident. Jonathan Gilbert Sr virtually admitted this when he said that he couldnot alter his will at once, but must wait for a convenient time, in order to keep peace in his family. The peace he wished to secure was no doubt that which Mrs. Gilbert knew how to destroy, and some of her children were old enough to assist her therein.
The hard and selfish temper of Mrs. Gilbert is shown by the record of another law suit in the old state papers. Mrs. Gilbert's nephew, Jonathan Welles, called "The Boy Hero of the Falls Fight," (Dec 1675) was seriously wounded at that time and when he was well enough, was sent down to Hartford or Wethersfield by Major Pynchon until he should fully recover. In 1683 Mrs. Gilbert sued Jonathan Welles and attached his property for amount due to Jonathan Gilbert's estate for lodging and diet. The young man had probably spent some time at Gilbert's inn at Hartford. In his defence the young man said that he was sent to Wethersfield by command of his superior officer, Major Pynchon, and never asked board of his aunt or uncle. The court decided against Mrs. Gilbert and she appealed. The ever-present William Pitkin again argued before the Court in her behalf. The papers in this case contain the only proof extant that she was a Welles. Her gravestone still stands in the old cemetery at Hartford. She should have been eager to aid her brother's son in return for his service in defending the upper valley of the Connecticut from savage foes and been proud of him as of her own blood and kindred.
Revised: November 26, 2016