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The Brockett Line

JOHN BROCKETT, born in England, 1609 and died in Wallingford, Connecticut, March 12, 1690. He came to this country in 1637, probably in the ship "Hector" with Rev. John Davenport and Gov. Theophilus Eaton. This ship reached Boston on June 26, 1737. The list of passengers of the vessel was never published and for reasons of caution its clearance never appeared in the records of any English port as far as can be learned.

In the spring of 1638, John Brockett accompanied Rev. John Davenport to Quinnipiac, where they purchased land of the Indians and laid the foundation of the town of NEW HAVEN. The records indicate that John Brockett was one of the leading men of this company and he is mentioned more often than any other except Theophilus Eaton. He had a fine reputation as a civil engineer and surveyor, and in June, 1639, laid out the TOWN SQUARE, which is still the center of the city of NEW HAVEN. He also did surveying for the Governor of New Jersey, laying out, at his request, the bounds of the present town of ELIZABETH; and while doing this work established himself in that town from December 1667 to 1670. The First General Assembly of New Jersey convened in Elizabethtown and was constituted May 26, 1668. The town chose John Ogden, Sr. and John Brockett to represent them in the HOUSE OF BURGESSES.

In June, 1654, John Brockett was appointed surgeon to attend the soldiers who were to cooperate with the fleet sent by Cromwell against the hostile intentions of the Dutch on the Hudson River. He also served on numerous committees with reference to the Indians and Colonial matters. He served as surgeon to the Connecticut troops during King Philip's War. He was Deputy to the General Court of Connecticut during the years, 1671, 1678, 1680-82 and1685.

In the autumn of 1669, John Brockett, with about one hundred others from New Haven, secured authority from the General Court to establish the village of WALLINGFORD. In the allotment, John Brockett received twelve acres, and his son, John, eight acres. John Brockett, Sr. became one of the leading men of the new village, held many public offices and, after its incorporation, represented the town in the General Assembly for many years.

An Indian deed, dated May 24, 1681, gave to John Brockett, John Moss, Abraham Doolittle and John Peckland two miles in breadth east and west, and the whole length of Wallingford bounds. On February 15, 1675, a church was organized for the town and this date was observed as a day of fasting. Thirteen settlers, including John Brockett, were designated to act in the matter.

John Brockett married but the name of his wife is not recorded. Facts in the records suggest that he returned to England for a year or more, during which time he probably married and that his wife did not arrive in America until 1644-45. In 1646, a seat was assigned in the Wallingford church to "Sister Brockett".


1. John born in 1642, baptized Jan. 31, 1643, died in Nov. 1720; married Elizabeth Doolittle. 2. Benjamin (twin), born February 23, 1645 died the same year. 3. Be Fruitful (twin), born February 23, 1645; died the same year. 4. Mary, born Sept. 25, 1646, died in 1694; married Oct. 23 1667, Ephraim Bennington. 5. Silence, born Jan. 4, 1648; married in Milford, Connecticut, Oct. 25 1667, Joseph Bradley. 6.* Benjamin of whom further. 7. Abigail, born March 10, 1650, died July 4, 1729; married, Jan 22, 1673, John Payne. 8. SAMUEL, born January 14, 1651; married Sarah Bradley. 9. Jabez, born in 1654, died the same year. 10. Jabez, born Oct. 24, 1656; married, Nov. 20, 1691, Dorothy Lyman.

* Benjamin Brockett, Son of John Brockett, was born in New Haven Conn., in Dec. 1648, and died between 1679 and 1681. He was a cordwainer and farmer. He owned considerable land, some of which he purchased from Simon Tuttle in 1677, and a tract in New Haven he received by deed from his father on September 27, 1680. Benjamin Brockett married, Mar. 24, 1669, Elizabeth Barnes who was born May 28, 1650 and was the daughter of Thomas Barnes, one of the signers of the New Haven Colony Covenant, and his wife, Mary, who died in April 1676. Elizabeth (Barnes) Brockett married (second) January 24, 1684, John Austin, and had four children.

Ref: "Biographical Record of Hartford Connecticut" Page 295

(Under heading "Deacon Asahel Brocket, son of Ransel Brocket & Mabel Truesdell.)

"SIR JOHN BROCKETT, of Brockett Hall, Hertfordshire, Eng. the owner of a large estate and an adherent of Charles I, was the progenitor of the Brockett family of New England, and was the seventh antecedent of the subject (Deacon Asahel).

John Brockett, son of Sir John, was born in England, in 1609, where he married, where his first born child was christened and whence he came soon afterward to America, where his death took place in 1689. His children numbered eight and were born in the following order: John, was christened in England (as alluded to above) Jan. 21 1643, and died in New England in Nov. 1720. Be fruitful and Benjamin, born Feb 23, 1645; Mary Sept. 25, 1646; Silence, Jan. 4, 1648; Abigail, March 10, 1650; SAMUEL, Jan. 14, 1651, and Jabez, Oct. 24, 1654.

(Note: See children listed in the Amer. Ill. reference above. Some are missing in this reference.)

SAMUEL BROCKETT, of the above named children was married May 23, 1682, to SARAH BRADLEY, and their six children were as follows: Samuel, born Feb. 15, 1683; Danield, born Sept. 30, 1684; John born Nov. 8, 1685; married Huldah Ells March 1, 1711; Joseph born Oct. 8, 1688; Josiah, July 25, 1691; Alice, April 12, 1693. The dates of death of the parents are unknown.

(Note: Check these references with information on family group sheets.)

Ref: "Patronymica Britannica". E.J. Brockett: "The Descendants of John Brockett," pp 25, 226.

BROCKETT, as a surname, appears to have its true derivation from the Anglo Saxon brochescheved, "the head of the brook," from residence thereby. Some of the Brocketts were with the Crusaders in the days of Richard the Lion Hearted, 1189-91. About the year 1300 Edward Broket was living in Yorkshire, and his descendants also made their home in that place. One of this line, Sir Thomas Broket, who was knighted by King Henry VI, built the Original Brocket Hall in Yorkshire, and died in 1435. This site of Brocket Hall, Yorkshire, an area of nearly two acres, lies east of the present village of appleton. No buildings remain, but the moat is clearly visible.

Tradition has linked the name of John Brockett, of Wallingford, Connecticut, with that of John Brockett, of Brocket Hall. While actual proof is not yet forthcoming, the probability of the connection seems strong. It is said that John of Wallingford was the eldest son of Sir John of Brocket Hall; that because of his puritanical ideas, his father, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth, disinherited him and that John gave up his claim to the title and estates of the Brocketts in England in order to join the Puritan band, which accompanied Rev. John Davenport to America.

In 1899 application was made to the parish clerk at Hertford, England to make search to establish these claims. In reply, he wrote: "I am told that the first son of Sir John was outlawed; is it not possible that this first son is the one who emigrated to America and settled there between 1630 and 1639?"

From another source comes the statement that Sir John Brocket disinherited his eldest son and had his name removed from all the family records.

Ref: AAA Tourbook for Connecticut - 1991 contains references to The Green (or Town Square) which John Brockett is credited with surveying in the reference from the Americana Illustrated cited at the beginning of these biographical notes.

Distinguished by the presence of Yale University, New Haven is, in many respects, a college city. It was laid out by the Puritans in 1638 in nine equal squares; the central square, or green, was reserved for the public. Today the green is lined by churches and offices; many historic buildings such as the Gowie-Normand House, are scattered throughout the city. THE GREEN, covering 16 acres in the center of the city, remains as plotted by the original settlers. Three churches on Temple Street were built about 1815 and are the only buildings remaining on the green. FIRST CHURCH OF CHRIST is the fourth meetinghouse on this general site. The first services were held outdoors in 1638. The spire, Tiffany window and wall tablets are of interest. The church covers part of the old burial ground; in the crypt are 137 historic gravestones, the oldest dating from 1687. Guides are available Tues.-Fri. 9-noon and 1-4, Sat. 9-noon. (Note, I am assuming this would be the site where my ancestors would have attended church. It is the center of the three churches on The Green.)


Today, the green, also known as "common", is a distinctive feature of many New England towns. Lined with whitwashed colonial-style structures, this well-manicured, grassy rectangle of public parkland usually contains a bandstand, gazebo or monument.

The green hasn't always been green, however. It wasn't until the early 19th century that New Englanders began restoring what a visitor described as "an uneven and barren sand waste, lying open to the public, traversed by vehicles in all directions."

Consistin of a few acres of common land, the green was a transplanted feature of the 17th-century English village, where common-field husbandry was practiced. With the help of their memories of the mother country--few professional urban planners were among the first settlers--and with the anonymous guide "The Ordering of Towns" in hand, New England colonists planned their towns to radiate outward from the meetinghouse and meetinghouse lot, which would later be called the green. Around these, not to exceed a distance of a half mile, according to some colonial ordinances, were homes; beyond were the common farms and pastures.

The green became the focal point of such outdoor community functions as assembles, military drills and public executions. More frequently, however, it served as a livestock assembly area. Children would bring the family cows, sheep and horses to the green and leave them in the care of the town herdsman, who would then lead them to more substantial pastureland.

Trampled by animals and neglected by the townspeople, who now sought profits instead of communal survival, the green didn't stay green for long. By 1654, few towns remained clustered around the meetinghouse lot, which meant the green was often a mudflat rutted by wagon wheels and strewn with rubbish; enterprising town officials would fence off the surviving patches of grass and rent them out as pasture, using the income to maintain the meetinghouse. Fianlly, the Revolutionary War didn't help matters, as at least one battle was fought over a green.

In the 1820's, a green green became fashionable again, so New Englanders began to fence it off and restore it. Soon, the town hall, country store, inn and stately homes were installed around the green, giving us the impression of a typical "colonial" New England town.

* * * * *

In October, 1990, I was privileged to visit The Green in New Haven, Connecticut with my grandson, Brent Watkins and his wife, Laura and baby daughter, Bailey. Brent was serving in the Navy and was assigned to a Sub Tender in Groton, Connecticut at the time. It was a rainy and windy day so Laura stayed in the car with the baby while Brent and I walked around The Green, took pictures and thought about the likelihood that we were treading where our great grandparents had once tread. A prominent plaque was of particular interest to me. We took pictures of it but I feel it would be appropriate to record the message here:


Settlement of Quinnipiac, afterward named New Haven, began on April 25, 1638 with the arrival of a large group from London by way of Boston, under the leadership of merchant Theophilus Eaton and the Reverend John Davenport. Later that year, the present downtown area was laid out and mapped in nine squares with a central common, now called the New Haven Green. This is the first example of a planned community in the United States. The town was invaded by the British in 1779 during the Revolutionary War, but escaped serious damage, despite extensive plundering. The City of New Haven was incorporated in 1784 and the first mayor was Roger Sherman, the only person who signed all four of the Nation's founding documents: the Articles of Association, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution of the United States.


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