John Steel 1610?-1665

From– Cutter, William Richard, Genealogical and Family History of Central New York: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Building of a Nation, Volume III , 1912, p. 1499-1503.

Plymouth Landing

Plymouth Landing

[John Steel 1610?-1665, Early Massachusetts Colonies]
John Steel, founder of the American branch of the family here dealt with, appears to have been a native of England, probably of the county of Essex, and of some town near London, “from whence,” says he with others, “we had our transportation.” Of his immediate connections there, as of the place of his nativity, we have no reliable information. John Steel appears to have been educated for the duties of the magistracy, and his apparent rank in life seems to have been well calculated for advancement in that calling. His name appears first in connection with Dorchester, one of the earliest settlements of the colony of Massachusetts, in the year 1630, ten years only after the arrival of the Pilgrim company in the “Mayflower.” Next he is found to have been one of the proprietors of Cambridge (first called Newtown) in 1632. Two others, George and Henry Steel, were also proprietors at the same time. Mr John Steel, having been made freeman or elector by the court, in 1634, was elected a representative from Cambridge in 1635, Cambridge being designed to be the capital of the colony, as it was soon after the seat of the university.

Thomas Hooker

Rev. Mr. Hooker

[The Need for a New Settlement]
During this period the numerous arrivals at Cambridge and the want of pasture lands in the vicinity induced a portion of the people, including a number of the chief men, with the Rev. Mr. Hooker, their pastor, to seek another location. Another inducement for their removal was the dislike of some regulations which were thought to circumscribe the rights of freemen. The proposed enterprise met with strong opposition but at length its advocates obtained the consent of the majority, and Mr John Steel, in the autumn of 1635, led the pioneer band through the wilderness to a new location on the Connecticut river. As leader and magistrate he appears to have conducted the expedition safely and wisely.

Hartford Colony

Hartford Colony

[The Founding of Hartford, and the Connecticut Colony]
On the margin of the river and near the head of the navigable waters they laid the foundations of a new town, afterwards called Hartford, and of a new colony (Connecticut), the third of the colonies of New England. During a period of twenty-three years John Steel, elected to the principal colony court, was present at eighty-eight at least of its sessions, and engaged in its legislation and judicial decisions, and was for four years its secretary or recorder. For nearly twenty years he was also secretary of the town of Hartford, and for a time recorder of the town of Farmington. During these years he was likewise called upon to act on various principal committees or agencies, civil, military and ecclesiastical, for determining the contested claims and boundaries of the colony, for the peaceful acquisition of additional territory and for raising troops for special expeditions among the hostile Indians. His closing years were passed at Farmington where he was a member of the church. His residence at Hartford was on the main street, just north of the present Atheneum. His will bears date January 30, 1663-64. He died November 25, 1665.

He married first Rachel ———, probably in England. She died 1653. He married (second) Mercy, widow of Richard Seamer, or Seymour, November 23, 1656. His children were: 1. John, married Mercy Warner in 1645; died before his father, 1653-54; after his decease his widow married Thomas Hill; she was the daughter of Andrew Warner, who came from Cambridge to Hartford in 1635-36. 2. Lydia, married, March 31, 1657, James, son of Thomas and Mary Bird; he died 1708; his father, Thomas Bird, settled in Hartford in 1645. 3. Mary, born March 31, 1657; married, William, son of Thomas Judd; she died October 2, 1718. 4. Hannah, died 1655, probably unmarried. 5. Sarah, born 1638; married, 1658, at Farmington, Lieutenant Thomas Judd; removed to Waterbury, Connecticut, in 1677; died May 22, 1695; he was born 1638, died January 10, 1702;

“he was a son of Thomas Judd, one of the earliest settlers of Hartford, who afterwards removed to Farmington where his two sons, William and Thomas, married two daughters of John Steel. His name appears frequently on the records of Connecticut.”

6. Samuel, of whom below.

[Samuel Steel 1627-1685]
Samuel, son of John Steel, was born 1627. He married Mary, daughter of Hon. James Boosey; he died August 15, 1685; she was born September 10, 1635, died at Farmington.

“He was deputy to the general assembly, 1668-69 and from 1672 to 1677. He was appointed lieutenant of Farmington train band in 1674. The general court, held May 9, 1672, granted him two hundred acres of land for a farm.” “Hon. James Boosey, the father of Mrs. Steel, was a very prominent man in Wethersfield.”

Children of Samuel Steel: 1. James, of whom below. 2. Mary, born December 5, 1652. 3. Rachel, baptized October 30, 1654; married Jonathan Smith; lived at Wethersfield. 4. Sarah, baptized December 29, 1656, died unmarried. 5. Samuel, born March 11, 1658-59, died young. 6. John, baptized December 10, 1661, unmarried. 7. Hannah, born 1668; married —– Hart. 8. Ebenezer, born August 13, 1671; married, February 15, 1705, Sarah Hart; he died October 6, 1722; she died February 26, 1751; resided at Farmington.

“He inherited his father’s large estate in Farmington and was a prominent man in the Litchfield land survey. In his will he forbade his widow to marry Gersham Lewis, a dissipated physician, and she turned David Steel, his nephew, out of the house, though he was an heir to his property.”

More Info:

Hartford, CN Steeles (

  1. Robert Steele, b. c1480, Fairstead, Essex Co., England, m. Anne – Ted Steele [eesteele AT] S-20
  2. Richard Steele, b. c1525, Fairstead, Essex Co., England, m.
  3. Richard Steele, b. 21 Apr 1549, Fairstead, Essex Co., England, m. Elizabeth
  4. John Steele, b. 12 Dec 1591, Fairstead, Essex Co., England, m. Rachel Talcott
  5. John Steele, Jr., b. c1624, Fairstead, Essex Co., England, m. Mercy Warner
  6. Samuel Steele, b. 15 March 1651/52, Farmington, Hartford Co., CT, m. Mercy Bradford
  7. Thomas Steele, b. 9 Sept 1681, Hartford, Hartford Co., CT, m. Susannah Webster
  8. William Steele, b. 10 Dec 1713, West Hartford, Hartford Co., CT, m. Lydia Seymour
  9. Isaac Steele, b. 14 Oct 1752, New Hartford, Litchfield Co., CT, m. Dorothy Pitkin
  10. Roderick Steele, b. 27 July 1778,Litchfield Co., CT, m. Rhoda Merrill
  11. Edwin Steele, b. 3 June 1808 Ontario Co., NY, m. Charlotte Barber
  12. William Wilson Steele, b. 22 May 1835 NY, m. Mary Annis
  13. William Eugene Steele, b. 23 June 1874 IA
  14. Donald Eugene Steele, b. 26 Aug 1904 IA
  1. [Samuel Steele, b. 15 March 1651/52, Farmington, Hartford Co., CT, m. Mercy Bradford]
  2. Eliphalet Steele b 23 Jun 1700 Hartford, CT m Catharine Marshfield – eleetsrelyt [tylerspaska AT]
  3. Elijah Steele b 20 Apr 1735 Hartford, CT m Esther Millard
  4. Matthew Millard Steele b 10 Dec 1761 m Lydia Pratt
  5. Eliphalet Steele b 11 Feb 1800 m Mary Clark
  6. George Eliphalet Steele b 16 Jul 1826 m Syrina Briggs
  7. Samel Clark Steele b 22 Oct 1870 m Mary Ellen Tiffany
  8. Oliver Tiffany Steele b 27 May 1895 m Zella Merle Steele

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3 Responses to John Steel 1610?-1665

  1. T page says:

    Hi Jay, I am researching my Steele side of the family. I am matched through DNA to Robert Steele and the Steele family that settled Hartford, CT but we can’t seem to find where my Steele’s fit in. I am beginning to wonder if they might have been a second family? I am related to William Steele born around 1804 in Lancaster, PA brother to Ralph B. Steele born 1800 Hartford, CT and George Steele born 1812 Hartford, CT. William and George traveled to Milledgeville, GA where each carved out a career (William politician and George a printer), Ralph moved to New Haven, CT where he died in 1859. Let me know if you have any clues. Thanks, Theresa

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