Nielsen Hayden genealogy

John Spencer

Male Abt 1636 - 1682  (~ 46 years)

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Generation: 1

  1. 1.  John Spencer was born Abt 1636 (son of Jared Spencer and Hannah); died 3 Aug 1682, Haddam, Middlesex, Connecticut.

    Other Events:

    • Alternate birth: Abt 1638
    • Alternate death: Aft 3 Aug 1682

    John married Rebecca Hayward Abt 1665. Rebecca (daughter of Robert Howard and Lydia Kilbourne) was born 17 Aug 1648, Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut; died Bef 1682. [Group Sheet]

    1. Grace Spencer was born Bef 24 Sep 1676, Haddam, Middlesex, Connecticut; died 12 May 1714, Colchester, New London, Connecticut.

Generation: 2

  1. 2.  Jared Spencer was born Bef 25 Apr 1614, Stotfold, Bedfordshire, England (son of Gerard Spencer and Alice Whitbread); died Aft 17 Sep 1683, Haddam, Middlesex, Connecticut.

    Other Events:

    • Baptised: 25 Apr 1614, Stotfold, Bedfordshire, England
    • Alternate death: Abt Jun 1685
    • Alternate death: Bef 29 Jun 1685


    Jacobus calls him Gerard. He is called Jared in The Great Migration, Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volume VI, R-S. He was a ferryman by trade.

    From Donald Lines Jacobus, "The Four Spencer Brothers -- Their Ancestors and Descendants," citation details below:

    "[M]arried first, Hannah _____, who died before her husband made his will in 1683 and perhaps much earlier; perhaps married second, after 1677, Rebecca (Porter) Clark, baptized at Felsted, co. Essex, England, 16 Sep 1630, died 9 Jan 1682/3 (recorded at Saybrook), daughter of John and Anne (White) Porter of Windsor, and widow of John Clark of Saybrook.

    "Gerard settled in Lynn, Mass., later came to Hartford and thence to Haddam, Conn. There are several good accounts of him and his family in print, but some of them omit the daughter Sarah, proved by an undated deed in Haddam Deeds [1:49] given by "Steuen Backas with my wief Sarah of Norwich" to Daniel Brainerd of Haddam of one acre 'that fell to us by portion of the estat of our fther Garrard Spencer.'

    "The second marriage is suggested for Gerard because there was, by elimination, no other adult Spencer in Connecticut of proper age to be the widow Clark's husband (and unencumbered with a wife known to be living) execpt his brother Thomas, who was an older man and resident at a greater distance from Saybrook. Nevertheless, she may have been a third wife of Sergt. Thomas Spencer. All that the records disclose is that she died under the name of Spencer, and the loss of the early New London probate records where her estate was settled may leave it forever a matter of conjecture who her Spencer husband was."

    Jared married Hannah. Hannah died Bef Sep 1683. [Group Sheet]

  2. 3.  Hannah died Bef Sep 1683.


    "Since the publication of Goodwin's Genealogical Notes in 1856, the early wife of Gerard who was mother of his children has always been named as Hannah. The present compiler follows these authorities, though confessing that he has not seen an original or quoted contemporary record so naming her. Still, such a record may exist." [Donald Lines Jacobus, "The Four Spencer Brothers -- Their Ancestors and Descendants," citation details below.]

    1. 1. John Spencer was born Abt 1636; died 3 Aug 1682, Haddam, Middlesex, Connecticut.

Generation: 3

  1. 4.  Gerard Spencer was born Bef 20 May 1576, Stotfold, Bedfordshire, England (son of Michael Spencer and Elizabeth); died Bef 1646.

    Other Events:

    • Baptised: 20 May 1576, Stotfold, Bedfordshire, England


    Also called Gerat.

    "It seems quite possible that Gerard and his family moved from Stotfold some years before the emigration of his sons to New England; perhaps to London, where his brother Richard had become a prosperous haberdasher." [Donald Lines Jacobus, "The Four Spencer Brothers -- Their Ancestors and Descendants," citation details below.]

    According to projections by the Mormon Pioneer Genealogy Library, Alice Whitbread and her husband Gerard Spencer were among the six couples living circa 1600 from whom the largest number of contemporary Americans are directly descended; in 1985 their posterity was estimated at about eighteen million.

    Gerard married Alice Whitbread 10 Nov 1600, Upper Gravenhurst, Bedfordshire, England. Alice (daughter of John Whitbread and Eleanor) was born Abt 1578, Upper Gravenhurst, Bedfordshire, England. [Group Sheet]

  2. 5.  Alice Whitbread was born Abt 1578, Upper Gravenhurst, Bedfordshire, England (daughter of John Whitbread and Eleanor).


    Or Whitbred.

    Alice Whitbread (b. 1578) pings the gentry-detecting spider-sense of every genealogist with any experience dealing with the late Middle Ages. Many theories of Alice Whitbread's ancestry have been ventured. To us the most convincing is Don C. Stone's. If Stone's reasoning is correct, the connection through the Hervey family to the Great Medieval Cloud is trivially easy to establish.

    1. Michael Spencer was born Bef 5 May 1611, Stotfold, Bedfordshire, England; died Bef 29 Nov 1653, Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts.
    2. 2. Jared Spencer was born Bef 25 Apr 1614, Stotfold, Bedfordshire, England; died Aft 17 Sep 1683, Haddam, Middlesex, Connecticut.

Generation: 4

  1. 8.  Michael Spencer was born Abt 1530-1535, of Edworth, Bedfordshire, England (son of John Spencer and Anne Clark); died Aft 1599, Stotfold, Bedfordshire, England.


    Removed to Stotfold about 1572.

    Michael married Elizabeth Aft Feb 1562. Elizabeth died Bef 18 Nov 1599, Stotfold, Bedfordshire, England; was buried 18 Nov 1599, Stotfold, Bedfordshire, England. [Group Sheet]

  2. 9.  Elizabeth died Bef 18 Nov 1599, Stotfold, Bedfordshire, England; was buried 18 Nov 1599, Stotfold, Bedfordshire, England.
    1. 4. Gerard Spencer was born Bef 20 May 1576, Stotfold, Bedfordshire, England; died Bef 1646.

  3. 10.  John Whitbread was born Abt 1548, of Upper Gravenhurst, Bedfordshire, England (son of Thomas Whitbread); died Bef 28 Nov 1598, St. Giles, Upper Gravenhurst, Bedfordshire, England; was buried 28 Nov 1598, St. Giles, Upper Gravenhurst, Bedfordshire, England.


    Post to SGM on 7 Sep 2001, by Paul C. Reed:

    I should also like to propose a revision of the evidence which was set forth by Clarence Almon Torrey in his article on the Whitbread family (TAG 32).

    He had found no evidence of Thomas Whitbread, father of the John Whitbread who married Ellenor other than the reference in the 1639 conveyance. I just posted the reference to Thomas which appears in the Court of Augmentation Records in the 1540s. I would conclude (though Torrey was unable to) that this Thomas was son of Thomas Whitbread who he has as heading the main line of the Upper Gravenhurst Whitbread family.

    The will of Lawrence, son of Thomas, proved 1552, mentioned his brother John, father Thomas, and minor sons Henry and John, etc. Torrey had concluded that when John Whitbread made his will in 1563, the 'cousin Jhon Whitbreade' to whom he bequeathed the tithe called 'Elsto Tithe' was the younger son of his brother Lawrence. BUT John did not mention Lawrence's elder son Henry, and both of Lawrence's sons would have still been minors [and John son of Lawrence is otherwise unknown, not known to have married or left a probate or burial record].

    I think it more likely that John Whitbread (son of Thomas), was giving Elstow Tithe to John [probably his godson], only known son of Thomas Whitbread of Elstow, and thus Thomas of Elstow would be son of the first Thomas of Upper Gravenhurst.

    The first Thomas Whitbread, of Upper Gravenhurst, was alive in 1552, when mentioned in the will of his son Lawrence, but no probate record was found. Sir William Gasgoyne, knight, had made a feoffment of the manor of Schepoe with appurtenances in Great and Little Gravenhurst and Clopton to Thomas Whytebrede on 12 April 1538.

    John Whitbread, son of Thomas Whitbread of Elstow cannot have been entirely indigent. Remember that his widow Ellenor (Harvey?) had left a silver measure and a number of silver spoons to children and grandchildren, but far beyond this, her eldest son William and his eldest son Henry Whitbread, GENTLEMEN, received 2,200 pounds for the capitol house or manor house in the tenure of William and Henry, with four cottages in Upper Gravenhurst, paid by William Aleyn, Citizen and Grocer of London. William and Henry covenanted against either of them, or by John Whitbred, deceased, father of the said William, or by Thomas Whitbread, deceased, grandfather, dated 8 Oct. 1639.

    However, we should point out that Torrey has an incompete entry for the children of William Whitbread whom he places as father of George and Ralph Whitbread. That William he shows as son of John, son of Thomas. An entirely new analysis of these Whitbreads and how Torrey sorted them out may be needed.

    John married Eleanor Abt 1565-1570. Eleanor was born Abt 1540-1550; died Bef 23 Aug 1626, Woburn, Bedfordshire, England; was buried 23 Aug 1626, Woburn, Bedfordshire, England. [Group Sheet]

  4. 11.  Eleanor was born Abt 1540-1550; died Bef 23 Aug 1626, Woburn, Bedfordshire, England; was buried 23 Aug 1626, Woburn, Bedfordshire, England.

    Other Events:

    • Alternate death: Bef 20 Nov 1628, Upper Gravenhurst, Bedfordshire, England
    • Alternate death: 1629


    Below, Don Stone's theory of the Whitbread/Hervey ancestry.

    Post to SGM on 27 Nov 2011, by Don Stone [italics indicate quoted material]:

    On 11/25/2011 11:34 AM, W David Samuelsen wrote:

    (Will of Thomas Hill)

    Item I give to my sister Whitbread xls to my nephew Willm her sonne xli out of the debt he oweth and to his brother Henry xli out of the debt he oweth mee and to his brother John xli out of the debt he oweth mee Item I give to my neece Spencer xls& all those implemts of household w[hi]ch I bought of her, and to her sonne Garrett xxs and to her daughter xls And to my neece Poulter xls And to my godson Willm Whitbread xls and to my goddaughter Chapman xls Item I give to my neece Sara Millward all my plate that is to saie vj silver spoones a silver poringes a faire standing salt with a Dover silver tankerd and a goblet of silver condiconally that she payes to my neice Hanscombes children iiijli and to my neece Raworthes v daughters xxs a peice when they come to the age of xviij yeares

    The above item shows Eleanor, wife of John Spencer to be Eleanor Whitbred since it refers to her sons William, Henry, John and Gerard Spencer and one known daughter -- Elizabeth Spencer who was wife of Mr Tomlins.

    The above excerpt from Thomas Hill's 1627 will could show Eleanor, wife of John Whitbread, to be Eleanor Hill, since it refers to "my sister Whitbread" and her sons William, Henry, and John and her daughter [Alice], wife of [Gerard] Spencer, as well as the latter couple's son Garrett [Gerard Spencer] and one known daughter -- Elizabeth Spencer who was wife of Mr Tomlins.

    What does Thomas Hill mean by "my sister Whitbread"? It could be full sister. It could be half sister, if (as pointed out by Will Johnson) John Hill's widow Alice remarried after his 1546 death and was mother of Eleanor by this second marriage. (Paul Reed estimates that Eleanor was born in the range 1540-1550.) It seems unlikely that "sister" meant sister-in-law; Thomas Hill, apparently having no children of his own, appears in his will to be distributing funds and items to a large number of blood relatives. (See further comments on this below.)

    The other major factor is brought up here:

    However, other sources says Eleanor is Eleanor Radcliffe, daughter of Edward Radcliffe. In Spencer article in TAG referred to Sir Edmund Radcliffe's (Vol 32 [not 30], page 134-135, TAG) mention a connection: 1 Aug 1611, Sir Edward Radcliffe of Elstow, Knt for 32 pounds, conveyed to John Radwell of Kempston, ploughwright, a messuage or tenement in Elstowe, giving a covenant of assurance against Dame Isabel Radcliffe,late of Elstowe, deceased, his mother. And on the same date, John Whitbread of Elstow, husbandman, for 20 pounds, gave to John Radwell assurance of quiet enjoyment of the same premises against "Elner Whitbread of Eluestowe," his mother (Publications of the Bedfordshire Historical Record Society, 4:22-23)

    Could it be Thomas Hill's mother is a Radcliffe, rather than Eleanor Radlcliffe, since Thomas Hill will specified Eleanor's maiden name being Hill, not Radcliffe?

    Some background on the Radcliffe connection:

    Paul Reed said on GEN-MEDIEVAL/soc.genealogy.medieval on 19 Jun 1998:

    For what it's worth, I have not seen proof of a valid connection from the Spencer brothers (Gerard et al.) with the older Spencer family. I have found a possible connection through the Whitebread family to the notable Bedforshire Harvey family, however, and will eventually publish the evidence which leads to that possible connection.

    Paul then supplied the details in September 2001:

    Mainly on the Whitbreads:

    And an important final summary and analysis of the 1 Aug 1611 documents involving Sir Edward Radcliffe and John Whitbread:

    In this latter summary (7 Sep 2001), Paul gives the details of the 1 Aug 1611 sale to John Radwell (as above) and then says:

    "Edw: Radcliffe" then signed a "Covenant of assurance against Dame Isabel Radcliffe late of Eluestowe deceased his mother." As Isabel (Hervey) Radcliffe was already deceased, the covenant was to guard against claims from her heirs.

    THEN, that same day, Sir Edward Radcliffe entered a bond for 60 pounds to secure the deed poll just made to John Radwill.

    THEN, that same day, John Whitbread of Eluestowe, husbandman, also entered a bond for the sum of 20 pounds to John Radwell, "assuring him quiet enjoyment of above premises as agains[t] Elner Whitbread of Eluestowe, widow, his mother."

    The main point being that the two individuals who had interest in the sold property apparently in their own right were Dame Isabel and Ellenor. As Dame Isabel was daughter and heir of Edmund Hervey, the connection to Ellenor would appear to be through the Hervey family.

    The only other possible speculation might be that since John Whitbread's bond was only one-third of the amound entered by Sir Edward Radcliffe, he was only assuring against dower claims his widowed mother might make.

    A day earlier Paul had written:

    Court of Augmentations Accounts, late in the reign of Henry VIII [after 1542] list Edmund Hervey as having the farm of the site of the late Priory of Elstow.

    Among those listed among "Rents of Assize" in Elstow, which had belonged to the Monastery of Elstow, are ***THOMAS WHYTEBRED***, who had 4 messuages and 20 acres of land and meadow, and ***THOMAS HERVEY***, who held 1 messuage and 15 acres of land in Elstow. Gerard Harvey also held one messuage and lands in Elstow (Gerard would seem to be the Gerard who was illegitimate son (but eventually adopted) of Sir George Hervey; Gerard succeeded his father to large holdings in several counties and was MP for Bedford).

    It is tempting to wish that Ellenor was daughter of this Thomas Hervey, and that he was a son of [John Hervey and nephew of] Edmund Hervey. The chronology would seem to allow it. But definite proof is yet to be found.

    Thomas Hervey, son of John Hervey of Ickworth, was not mentioned in his father's will in 1556, but he may have predeceased him, having already received a share or been provided for so that he could set himself up at Elstow where his uncle Edmund held the manor. We know a Thomas Hervey held land in Elstow, and the closest candidate would be this son of John. If he died unexpectedly, leaving a daughter Ellenor, it would explain what rights Ellenor brought in her own right to land in Elstow.

    Paul wrote this before the 1627 will of Thomas Hill was widely known. Let's now look again at the phrase "sister Whitbread" in this will.

    If Eleanor Whitbread was a half-sister of Thomas Hill (because Thomas's mother Alice, widow of John Hill, married Thomas Hervey in 1547 or later and then became the mother of Eleanor Hervey, who married John Whitbread), then we would have a scenario that can accommodate both the 1611 sale and bonds (discussed above by Paul) and the 1627 Thomas Hill will.

    The alternative that Eleanor Whitbread was a full sister of Thomas Hill seems less likely. In this case, the best way to make sense of the 1611 sale and bonds is to have Alice, wife of John Hill, as a Hervey daughter, but this doesn't seem to work as well for the 1611 data.

    Further on the question of whether Thomas Hill's 1627 reference to "sister Whitbread" could mean sister-in-law, both possibilities for sister-in-law seem impossible or unlikely:

    1. Eleanor Whitbread was Thomas's Hill's brother's wife, but then her last name would be Hill, not Whitbread.

    2. Eleanor Whitbread was the sister of Thomas Hill's wife (possibly Judith Childe, daughter of Thomas Childe of Roxton, Bedfordshire), but then it is hard to see why Eleanor's son needed to have a bond assuring against her in the 1611 Elstow land transaction.

    Note that Alice, daughter of John and Eleanor Whitbread, would have been named after her maternal grandmother Alice in any of the plausible scenarios.

    1. 5. Alice Whitbread was born Abt 1578, Upper Gravenhurst, Bedfordshire, England.