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(<-- 27. Cornet Richard(4) Seymour) (Back to Start) (29. Lieut. Bevil(4) Seymour -->)

28. Thomas Seymour

28. THOMAS4 SEYMOUR, ESQ. (Thomas3, John2, Richard1), born at Hartford, Conn., 29 July 1705, died there 18 Mar. 1767. He married at Hartford, 5 Mar. 1730, HEPHZIBAH4 MERRILL, born at Hartford 14 Apr. 1712, died there 28 Sept. 1788, daughter of Dea. Daniel3 (John2, Nathaniel1) and Susanna (Pratt).

Thomas Seymour was graduated at Yale College in 1724, and became an eminent lawyer and a leading man in his native town. He held many positions of trust, and represented Hartford as deputy to the Connecticut General Assembly in 1746, 1747, 1749, 1750, and 1751. He was elected Lieutenant of the Second Company or Trainband of Hartford 7 May 1744, and Captain of the same 4 May 1752, holding the latter office for several years.

In Oct. 1756 the Assembly appointed him “Agent and Attorney” to prosecute actions against paymasters in the expedition against Crown Point who had not fulfilled their obligations under bond. In March 1764, “This Assembly do appoint Mr. Thomas Seymour of Hartford to be Agent and Attorney for the Governor and Company of this Colony, to appear before any court or courts in judicature, committees or other boards of audience, and there on behalf of the said Governor and Company to defend in all actions that are or may be commenced against the said Governor and Company.” In brief, he was appointed King's Attorney, a position which since the War of the Revolution has been called State's Attorney. An account of Captain Seymour, too brief to do justice to his career, appears in Dexter's “Yale Biographies,” vol. 1, pp. 307-308.

His epitaph in the old Centre Burying Ground reads: “In his public duties he was upright and impartial. In private life he was respected and beloved.” In his will, dated 27 Nov. 1765 and proved 26 Mar. 1767, he names his wife Hepsibah, his eldest son Jared, his two grandsons, sons of said Jared, viz., George and Frederick, his two other sons, David and Thomas, his son-in-law John Potwin and daughter Eunice his wife, his daughters, Hepsibah Ledyard and Ruth Stanley, his three youngest daughters, viz., Hannah, Carolina, and Jane, and his grandsons John, George, and David Potwin. The estate was valued at £2599. 13s. 00.

About 1750 he built a substantial house which he occupied, and which was occupied after his death by his son, the First Mayor; by the First Mayor's son, Capt. Thomas Y.; and by Thomas y.'s brother Major Henry, Indeed, this house seems to have been the family home. It is still standing, but, unfortunately, has been so altered in its exterior aspect that it does not seem worth while to illustrate it. Dr. Love, Who was much interested in the subject of old houses, says of it:

“In 1748 Thomas Seymour, Esq., bought from Samuel Howard two tracts of land here. He erected a barn in 1749 and made an elaborate estimate of the expense of a new house, 'in order,' he wrote in his Memorandum Book, 'to first Count ye Cost,' according to the Scripture warning. His estimate was £2946., Upon which he afterwards commented thus: 'N. B. I did not Count half the Cost.' His house was of the best materials and superior workmanship, as the inspection of it proves, for it is still standing [1914] at the west end of Linden Place. After his death in 1767, it was the home of his widow Hepzibah (Merrill) Seymour and her children. Her rights in the cellar buttery Where the 'Arch' is and in the 'Space way,' near the 'fore Door,' Whence the stairs ascend, as well as the deeds, easily identify the house. It passed in 1793, by deed of gift from her son, Mayor Thomas Seymour, to his son, Major Thomas Y. Seymour, who was living there in 1801, when the land for Linden Place was conveyed to the City of Hartford, the north and south lines running from the east corners of this house. It was later the homestead of Sylvester We!ls, and from the estate of Ralph WelIs passed, in 1839, to Hon. Gideon Welles. Here President Lincoln's Secretary of the Navy lived before his residence in Washing; ton. As the town gave Thomas Seymour, Esq., liberty in 1749 to move the school- house not more than twenty rods from the river, and a driveway to his house was early constructed, the school-house doubtless stood opposite the entrance to Linden Place, and was removed to suit Squire Seymour's convenience.”

(Excerpt from “The Colonial History of Hartford,” by Rev. William DeLoss Love, Ph.D., pub. Hartford, 1914, pp. 267-68.)

In Jared Sparks's Life of John Ledyard the Traveller, he states that on Ledyard's return from his voyage with Captain Cook, he wrote the Journal of that voyage at Hartford, at which time he was a guest of Mayor Thomas Seymour. Hence, this notable work was written in the house above described.

Hartford, March 23, 1767

Last Wednesday, to the universal Surprise and Grief of the Town, after a short Illness departed this Life, THOMAS SEYMOUR, ESQ. He was for many Years, one of the most eminent Practitioners in Law, in this Government. His Conduct was a Proof, that Integrity may be maintained in any Station, however exposed to Temptation. His public Character was unblemished; and in Private Life he was most amiable. The inconsolable Grief of his bereaved Widow and Children proclaim him a most affectionate Husband and the tenderest of Fathers. And the universal Gloom which overspreads the Countenances of his Acquaintance, evidence him One of the most obliging and faithful Friends. He was indeed a rich Blessing, in every Part of Social Life. - But what diffused the greatest Glory round his Character, was his sincere and unaffected Piety; in Consequence of which, he was, while he lived, a Father to the Poor; a sincere Friend to every true Christian; and highly honored the zealous Promoters of the Redeemer's Cause; a constant Attendant on divine Worship, both in Public and Private; and walked in all the Commandments and Ordinances of the LORD Blameless. And when he came to take his Leave of Time, did it with Composure and Chearfully submitted to the Will of Heaven.

Sic nobis contingat vivere sic que mori. His Remains were honorably interred Yesterday, attended by a vast Concourse of People.

"Pensive, o'ercome the Muse hung down her head,
And heard the fatal News, the Friend is dead!
He's dead-O vast, unutterable woe!
Gone, gone forever, from these Seats below:
Ah I fainting, pale, ebbs out his quiv'ring breath,
Seymour the Great and Good descends to Death.
But in gay Bowers, that crown th' Eternal Hills,
His spotless Soul in deathless Pleasure dwells.
He visits now no more this dull Abode,
But talks with Angels and beholds his God.
Now cease the flowing Tears, the fun'ral Strains,
Let joyful Sounds revive the vocal Plains,
What tho' the Body in the Tomb be laid,
Ghostly and Breathless in the awful Shade?
Mean Time the heav'nly Muse embalms his Name,
And gives him up, consign'd to endless Fame;
The faithful Lines, his Absence still bemoan,
And this Inscription grace his mould'ring Stone.
Beneath this Stone, confin'd reduc'd to Dust,
Lies what was once religious, wise and just,
Steady and warm in Liberty's Defence,
True to his Country, loyal to his Prince;
In Friendship faithful, gen'rous to desert,
A head enlighten'd and a glowing Heart:"

Parker's “History of the Second Church,” which he served as a Deacon, says of him: “He was great-grandson of Richard, who was among the early settlers of Hartford; grandson of John, who died in 1712; and son of Capt. Thomas, who died in 1740, 'a man much esteemed in public affairs.' He graduated at Yale in 1724, married Hepzibah, daughter of Dea. Daniel Merrils, in 1730, was King's attorney in Hartford County, and was one of the strong men of the colony. He died, March 18, 1767, and the Second Church lost not only a faithful Deacon, but a stout support. He had eleven children, among whom were Caroline and Hannah, whose names are inscribed in the earliest extant book of Society Records as the donors thereof, and Thomas, whose name continually appears on the Society Records of the ensuing years, who was also a Deacon of the Church, and who lived to a great age.”

Children, born at Hartford:
82. i. JARED5, b. 13 Jan. 1731.
ii. EUNICE, b. 6 May 1732; d. at Hartford 27 Feb. 1768; m. there, 18 Jan. 1751, JOHN2 POTWINE of East Hartford, Conn., b. in Boston, Mass., 7 May 1728, d. 20 Aug. 1785, s. of John2 (Dr. John1) and Mary (Jackson). After the death of his wife Eunice he removed to East Windsor, Conn., and m. (2) 18 Jan. 1770, Rachel Thompson of East Windsor, b. in 1731, d. 10 Aug. 1817.
Children:
1. Eunice, b. 15 Oct. 1751; m. 24 Dec. 1772, Robert Watson.
2. John, b. 19 May 1755; d. at Roxbury, Mass., 22 Aug. 1775.
3. Elizabeth, b. 22 July 1756; d. 7 Sept. 1756.
4. George, b. 28 Dec. 1759; had long service in the Revolutionary War; m. 9 July 1783, Abigail Stoughton.
5. David, b. 21 Jan. 1764; d. 29 Sept. 1775.
iii. DAVID, b. 13 Oct. 1733; d. at Hartford 21 Dec. 1770; m. 20 Oct. 1757, MARY5 HARRIS, bapt. at New London, Conn., 10 Sept. 1732, d. at Hartford of smallpox, 9 Nov. 1757, aged 25, dau. of Peter4 (Peter3, Gabriel2, Walter1) and Mary (Truman) of New London. He was a noted sea captain, and was appointed Commissary of the 3d Regt., Mar. 1759. In his will, made on the day of his death and proved 17 Jan. 1771, he names his mother Hepsibah Seymour, widow of his “honored father” Thomas Seymour, Esq., deceased, his four sisters Hepsibah Ledyard, Ruth wife of William Stanley, Hannah wife of Elisha Painter, and Caroline Seymour, the three sons of his late sister Eunice Potwin, deceased, viz., John, George, and David Potwin, his three nephews, sons of Jared Seymour, viz. George, Frederick, and David, and his brother Jared Seymour. His will also reads: “I give unto my Naturel Daughter which I had by Lois Belding Widow to Joseph Belding late of Weathers field Decd, and which I now Name by the name of Molley Seymour, and that She may be hereafter So Called,” £100, to be paid to her on the day of her marriage or at the age of twenty-one. He bequeathed his negro boy, “Plimouth,' to his mother, Hepsibah Seymour, during her widowhood, then to his sister, Hepsibah Ledyard, during her life, and then he is to receive twenty acres of common land and be made free.
83. iv. THOMAS, b. 17 Mar. 1735.
v. GEORGE, b. 23 Sept. 1736; d. 12 Nov. 1738.
vi. HEPHZIBAH, b. 27 May 1738; d. at Hartford 4 Sept. 1791, aged 54; m. (1) DR. NATHANIEL LEDYARD., bapt. at Groton, Conn., 21 Dec. 1740. d. at Hartford 1 June 1766,1) in his 26th year. s. of John and Deborah (Youngs) and brother of Mary Ledyard who m. Hepsibah's brother, Thomas Seymour; m. (2) after Dec. 1770, CAPT. JOHN SKINNER of Hartford, who d. in Mar. 1794, aged 68. By her first husband Hephzibah had one child, bur. at Hartford 22 Oct. 1766.
vii. RUTH, b. 7 Feb. 1740; d. at Hartford, being bur. 22 Jan. 1782, aged 42; m. WILLIAM4 STANLEY, bapt. at Hartford 8 Sept. 1724, d. there 31 Dec. 1786, in his 63d year, s. of Nathaniel3 (Nathaniel2, Thomas1) and Anna (Whiting). He left his large property to the South Church in Hartford, which, “as a Testimony of Gratitude,” erected a table stone monument to his memory in the old Centre Burying Ground. Children: 1. A child, bur. 7 Nov. 1767. 2. A child, bur. 17 July 1778, aged 5 years.
viii. HANNAH, b. 25 Mar. 1742; d. s.p, at Hartford 9 May 1807, aged 65; m. at Hartford, 7 Mar. 1770, ELISHA5 PAINTER of New Haven, Conn., b. there 29 July 1736, d. 1791, s. of Shubael4 (Thomas3, Shubael2, Thomas1) and Elizabeth (Dunbar).
ix. GEORGE, b. 9 Nov. 1743; not named in his father's will.
x. CAROLINE, b. 28 Aug. 1745; d. unm. at Windsor, Conn., 12 May 1827, aged 81. She was insane for many years.
xi. DAUGHTER, b. and d. 20 Sept. 1746.
xii. JANE, b. 20 June 1750; d. unm. at West Haven, Conn., 29 June 1770. Administration upon her estate was granted 25 Jan. 1771, to Elisha Painter of New Haven, Conn., who gave bonds with Jared Seymour of Hartford, William Stanley, Caroline Seymour, and Hepsibah Ledyard consenting. The inventory included a legacy of £150, given her by the will of her father, Thomas Seymour, Esq., deceased.

JOHN POTWINE, husband of Eunice Seymour (28, ii), daughter of Thomas Seymour, Esq., was son of John Potwine (1698-1792) of Boston, a notable silversmith of his day, who removed to Connecticut and was working in Hartford in 1737. The author considers it more than likely that he made the silver seal ring, illustrated in this volume, with which Thomas executed his will in 1765, and which his son the First Mayor also used in executing his will in 1807. See “Early Silver of Connecticut and Its Makers,” by George Munson Curtis, 1913, pp. 49-50 and 1O8. - G. D. S.


(<-- 27. Cornet Richard(4) Seymour) (Back to Start) (29. Lieut. Bevil(4) Seymour -->)

1)
Dr. Ledyard's death was the result of injuries received 18 May 1766, during the celebration of the repeal of the Stamp Act, from an explosion of powder, which blew up the schoolhouse and buried a number of people in the ruins.
book/028.thomas.txt · Last modified: 2014/11/01 13:47 (external edit)