Andover, Connecticut

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Captain Thomas Munson

Tenth Great-Grandfather
Immigrant Ancestor

1. Captain Thomas Munson

+ Joanna (Mew?)
2. Samuel Munson
+ Martha Bradley
3. Samuel Munson
+ Martha Farnes
4. William Munson
+ Rebecca Curtis
5. William Munson
+ Sarah Griggs
6. David Munson
+ Mary Ann Ballard
7. Stephen Munson
+ Nancy Nash
8. John Nash Munson
+ Mary Jane Warner
9. George W. Munson
+ Eleanor A. Parsons
10. Joseph Willard Munson
+ Ida E. Hotchkiss
11. George Willard Munson
+ Ruth E. Koerner
12. Edward (Ned) Deck Munson
+ Debra Florence Dahlquist
13. Scott Edward Munson

The First Munson to arrive in the New World was Thomas Munson who first appears in Hartford, CT as a militia member in the Pequot Wars of 1637. He was born in 1612 in Rattlesden, Suffolk, England, the seventh child of John and Elizabeth (Sparke) Munson. He is the ancestor of all Munsons who live in America today.

The Munson Crest

"Truth Conquers All"

His arrival is not recorded but was probably a few years before 1637. He may have lived in Newtowne (Cambridge) for a while with the other settlers of Hartford, but there is no record of him there or as an original founder of Hartford in 1636. He was a carpenter, and he probably built a house in Hartford on the land he received in recognition for his service in the Pequot Wars. His two-and-a-half acres were on the spot where today I-84 crosses High Street. So, remember that the next time you pass through Hartford on I-84!

He sold this land in 1639 and moved to Quinnipiac (New Haven). Why he did this after such a short stay in Hartford is unknown. It could be that he met soldiers from New Haven who spoke of its beauty and promise or it could be that his skills as a carpenter were more valuable in the wealthier New Haven Colony. Either way, he is one of only two people who left the Hartford Colony to settle in New Haven. He arrived not long after the Fundamental Agreement of the New Haven Colony was established. His is the sixth signature to be added to the Fundamental Agreement after the original sixty-three men established it as law.

The first meetinghouse in New Haven of which Thomas Munson was continually called upon to evaluate for repairs.

Thomas Munson was a man of importance in the new Colony. His judgement was called upon by the general court for a variety of committees in his early life in New Haven. He served as one of four Lieutenants in the town, maintaining and training the militia for watches and protection as necessary.

In 1655, Thomas Munson was one of the leaders of a group within New Haven who wished to start a new settlement on the Delaware Bay. New Haven was becoming crowded and many felt it was necessary to start fresh somewhere else. For a variety of reasons, this new settlement never happened. Imagine how history would be changed if half the people who lived in New Haven at the time, had migrated to the Delaware Bay. There was even some discussion that the group would move to Jamaica! Instead, Thomas Munson Purchased property in the center of town which he would own until his death and which would be passed down for several generations. That property is is traversed today by Temple Street and is located between Walnut and Grove Street. It is part of Yale University.

Thomas Munson continued to live in and serve the town of New Haven for the remainder of his life. In 1656 he was chosen one of seven town selectmen. In 1662 he was chosen to be a Deputy for the town court. In 1663 he served as a deputy on the General Court as a substitute for Lieutenant Nash. He served in these posts off and on throughout his life. He was a member of the General Court in New Haven when it became a part of the Connecticut Colony in 1664 and served as one of the first deputies from New Haven in the General Assembly in Hartford. He also served as foreman of the jury for the first jury trial to take place in New Haven.

In addition to his service in the government offices of the New Haven and Connecticut, Thomas Munson served the in the militia throughout his life. Known early as Lieutenant Munson, then as Ensign Munson and later as Captain Munson. He was continually involved in the watch and protection of New Haven, including leading battalions in King Phillips War, a major Native American uprising which took place in New England during the mid 1670s. He held the position of Ensign, reluctantly, for many years - at first turning it down and later requesting to be removed from it. The ensign carried the flag - and I can only imagine that it would be much harder than it sounds. He never felt that he did it well but since nobody else was willing to do it at all, he was stuck with the job!

Thomas Munson was married to Joanna - possibly Joanna Mew. They were married before 1642 when their first child Elizabeth, was born. In 1643, their only son and my ninth great-grandfather, Samuel was born. Their youngest child, Hannah, was born in 1648. Elizabeth married Timothy Cooper and later Richard Higenbothom. Samuel married Martha Bradley in New Haven before settling in Wallingford. Hannah married Joseph Tuttle.

This is the memorial for Thomas and Joanna Munson in the Grove Street Cemetery. The original stone for Thomas is set in the new memorial.

Joanna died in 1678 and Thomas Died in 1685. They were both buried on the New Haven Green. Their tombstones were later moved to the Grove Street Cemetery where the above memorial was erected.

Thomas Munson was one of the great early leaders of New Haven and you can read more about his accomplishments, ancestry and descendants in the book: The Munson Record.

You can also find out more on the website of the Thomas Munson Foundation.

1 comment:

  1. I just realized the link on Google Books for the Munson record above is for volume 2. Our family and the detailed information on Captain Thomas Munson is in volume 1 which is not available on Google Books. It is however available to download at Just search for The Munson Record and choose volume 1. You can read it online or download it as a PDF. Scott :)