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Windsor, Warwick, and Witches (and Matthew Grant, too!) Friday, September 26, 2008

Posted by lynne in history, updates.

Today, September 26, 2008, is being observed by the Town of Windsor as the official date of its 375th birthday, marking the anniversary of Lt. William Holmes’ arrival and establishment of a trading post near the junction of the Connecticut and Farmington Rivers.

In conjunction with Windsor’s anniversary, the State Library has created online presentations of two records significant to Windsor’s early history, the “Warwick Patent” and Matthew Grant’s “Diary” or Notebook.

The “Warwick Patent” was used to justify the establishment of a colony and the erection of a fort at Saybrook, a claim to lands in Matianuck (later Windsor, Connecticut) by a party led by Francis Stiles, and the establishment of John Winthrop, Jr. as the “governor of the river Connecticut.” The “Patent” was subsequently invoked to help legitimize Connecticut’s legal status.

Matthew Grant was Windsor Connecticut’s first surveyor, second town clerk, and ancestor of President Ulysses S. Grant. His “Diary” includes two sermons by Thomas Hooker, one a Thanksgiving sermon preached October 4, 1638 and the other preached at Windsor June 20, 1647, shortly before Hooker’s death; transcriptions of other sermons and religious writings; the Windsor church covenant of 1647; Grant’s Rules for Measuring Land; and his family record. Entries on the inside cover of the Notebook record the death by hanging of Alse Young, 1647; of John Newbery, 1647; and of the Carringtons, 1651. According to John M. Taylor’s The Witchcraft Delusion in Colonial Connecticut, pp. 145-147, Alse Young and John and Joane Carrington were executed for the alleged crime of witchcraft.

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