Nielsen Hayden genealogy

Thomas Cornell

Male Bef 1593 - 1655  (> 61 years)


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  • Name Thomas Cornell 
    Born Bef 11 Mar 1593  Saffron Walden, Essex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Male 
    Baptised 11 Mar 1593  Saffron Walden, Essex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Baptised 24 Mar 1595  [2
    Died 1655  Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Siblings 1 sibling 
    Person ID I59  Ancestry of PNH, TNH, and others
    Last Modified 13 Aug 2021 

    Father William Cornell 
    Family ID F117  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Rebecca,   d. 8 Feb 1673, Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married 1620  [3
    Last Modified 6 Apr 2016 
    Family ID F12  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • He was a constable in Saffron Walden prior to his emigration. At Boston by 1638, where he was a supporter of Anne Marbury Hutchinson, he was in Portsmouth by 4 Feb 1641.

      From Wikipedia:

      Cornell became friends with Roger Williams and co-founded the village of Westchester north of New Amsterdam (later New York City) in 1643. He returned to Rhode Island in 1644 and obtained a land grant for 100 acres in Portsmouth, RI on Aquidneck Island that became the Cornell homestead. His neighbor was Edward Hutchison, a son of Anne Hutchison from the Antinomian Controversy.

      In 1646, Cornell was granted a patent on an area of about four square miles that later became part of the Bronx. It was bounded by Westchester Creek, Bronx River, village of Westchester and East River and was called Cornell's Neck. The area is now known as Clason Point.

      Thomas' son Thomas Cornell (Jr.) was accused, tried, convicted and hanged for the alleged murder of his mother [...] in Portsmouth in 1673. He was convicted using circumstantial evidence as well as spectral evidence, where witnesses recounted dreams involving ghosts pointing to his alleged guilt. American jurisprudence was later modernized to exclude the use of apparitions and dreams as evidence in trials. This case and its history has been chronicled in the book Killed Strangely: The Death of Rebecca Cornell by Elaine Forman Crane.

      Thomas Cornell is an ancestor to a number of prominent and notorious Americans, including Ezra Cornell, founder of Cornell University, Bill Gates, Presidents Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon, Senator Bob Graham, Daniel Webster, Secretary of State John Kerry, Amelia Earhardt and axe murderer Lizzie Borden by way of Thomas Cornell (Jr.)'s daughter, Innocent, born after his death to his second wife Sarah Earle Cornell.

      Thomas Cornell (Jr.), fourth-great-grandson, donated the original endowment for Cornell University, which is named after that descendant of Thomas. That man was Ezra Cornell (1807-1874), son of Elijah b. 1771, son of Elijah b. 1730, son of Stephen who m. Ruth Pierce, son of Stephen b. 1656, son of Thomas-the-executed and his first wife, Elizabeth Fiscock.

  • Sources 
    1. [S1225] G. Andrews Moriarty, "Additions and Corrections to Austin's Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island." The American Genealogist 19:129, 1942; 20:181, 1943; 20:223, 1943; 35:107, 1959; 39:1, 1963.

    2. [S5881] Ancestral Lines, Fourth Edition: 232 Families in England, Wales, the Netherlands, Germany, New England, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania by Carl Boyer III. Santa Clarita, California, 2015.

    3. [S160] Wikipedia.