Hyde/Hide William ( ?? -1681) – Norwich, CT

William Hyde or Hide was born in England, most likely between 1600-1615. His first documented appearance was in 1636, as one of the founders and original proprietors of Hartford, CT.


It is probable that William came from Essex, England, approximately 40 miles northeast of London. William was a follower of Rev Thomas Hooker, a controversial and charismatic leader whose political views tended to run afoul of the establishment. Beginning in 1631, several groups of Congregationalists (Puritans), calling themselves the Braintree Company, left the Braintree and Chelmsford areas of Essex to settle in Mount Wollaston, aka the notorious “Merrymount”, now known as Quincy, MA. More than a few of the colonists are listed as coming from Devonshire, England, several of whom sold their properties and moved to London in preparation for the trip to America. The Braintree colonists were relocated sometime around 1633 to Newtowne, MA by order of the General Court, ostensibly because of a gap in the defenses of the new colony. On Sept 4, 1633, their pastor, Rev Thomas Hooker and his assistant, Rev Samuel Stone arrived in Boston on the ship Griffin. Hooker had been a pastor and teacher at Chelmsford between 1626-29 before being forced to retire to nearby Little Baddow, then fleeing to Rotterdam in 1631. Almost from the moment he arrived at Newtowne (later Cambridge, MA), Hooker was at odds with the local governing body.


In 1636, Hooker and his followers traveled nearly 100 miles through wilderness to Suckiag, which they renamed Hartford, CT. William Hyde was one of the first landholders there, in 1639 his home lot was on the south side of the road “from George Steele’s to the South Meadow” (old Buckingham St.) and he was chosen surveyor of the highways in 1641. He is honored, along with Hooker and his other followers, on several monuments.


Hooker’s death in 1647 created a leadership vacuum in Hartford, with his successor, Rev Samuel Stone, at odds with others over control of the colony.  It is not known precisely when William removed to Saybrook, CT, but it can be said that many left Hartford around this time. Later, in 1659 or ’60 William became one of the original proprietors of Norwich, CT. He was a man of considerable importance among the settlers, frequently elected as a representative or selectman. He died 6 January 1681 at Norwich Village (New London), CT.


He is sometimes said to have married Hester Trott in England, but there is no evidence to date of his wife’s first or maiden names. He and his as-yet unnamed wife had the following children: Esther or Hester and Samuel.


Esther or Hester Hyde, most likely born in England approx 1627-29, married to John Post in Saybrook, CT 31 March 1652 [Town and Misc Records of Saybrook, CT]. He was baptised in Otham, Kent, England 13 September 1629, parents Stephen Post and Elinor Panton [NEHGR 160:33]. I have an old typewritten copy of the Saybrook Records, which shows a curious insertion after the main index. Between Vol 1 pages 16 and 20 there’s an entry for “Vol Q, pg QU” which states “John Post was married the last of March…1652. Margrit was born the 25th of Feb…1652. Elizabeth was born the 22 of Feb…1654. John Post was born 12 of April…1657. Jasan Post was born the 6 of Nov…1659.” Jasan, a male or female name from the Greek “to heal, healer”, may or may not have been a misreading of “Sarah”, most likely the reading is correct. It was not at all unusual at the time for a girl to be named Jasan and for her to have preferred being called Sarah.


Reuben Hyde Walworth wrote the seminal genealogy book, “Hyde Genealogy…from William Hyde of Norwich” the full text of which can be found in our books section (link below). In it, he mentions that the first four children were born in Saybrooke, then in 1660 the couple moved to Norwich, where their remaining children were born. He chooses to list the children as follows:

13. John, b. 12 April, 1657, at Saybrook, m. Sarah Reynolds.
14. Samuel, b. 8 March, 1668, at Norwich, m. Ruth Lathrop.
15. Margaret, b. 21 Feb., 1653, at Saybrook, m.. Caleb Abel.
16. Elizabeth, b. 22 Feb., 1655, at Saybrook. I have not been able to trace her further. 8he probably died unmarried.
17. Sarah, b. 6 Nov., 1659, at Saybrook, m. Capt. John Hough.
18. Mary, b. , 1662, at Norwich, m. Nathaniel Rudd.
19. Abigail, b. 6 Nov., 1664, at Norwich, d. in April, 1676.
20. Hannah, b. Oct., 1671, at Norwich. She probably died unm. 21. Lydia, b. 11 March, 1674, at Norwich. She m., 1, Abel Moore of New London, and 2, Joseph Harris of New London, and probably died s. p.


Samuel Hyde b. 1637 at Hartford, CT, died 1677 at Norwich; married June 1659 Jane Lee, daughter of Thomas and Phoebe (Brown) Lee. Their children, all born in Norwich, were Elizabeth b. Aug 1660, married Lt Richard Lord; Phebe b. Jan 1662 married Matthew Griswold; Samuel b. May 1665 married Elizabeth Calkins; John b. Dec 1667 married Experience Abel; William b. Jan 1669/70 married Anne Bushnell; Thomas b. July 1672 married Mary Backus; and Sara b. 1675, died the same year; and Jabez b May 1677 married Elizabeth Bushnell. After Samuel died, John Birchard/Burchard (b. Jan 1627/8 Terling, Essex, numerous spellings of the surname) became the guardian of his children, marrying Jane Hyde by 1680 [Great Migration Vol 1, p 296].


Late in life, William Hyde married again, 4 June 1667, Mrs. Joanna/Johanna (—-) Abell/Abel, widow of Robert Abell of Rehoboth, Connecticut. She and William had no children. She had eight children from her previous marriage to Robert. Note that Robert’s father George Abell attended Oxford, Bracenose College; also note mother Frances Cotton’s descent: “Abell-Cotton-Mainwaring: Maternal Ancestry of Robert Abell of Weymouth and Rehoboth, Mass.,” TG 5 (1984):158-71. Joanna had an unusual will – unusual for a woman at that time – that clearly designated her property and lands and provided exclusively for the children of her first marriage upon her death, which occurred after 1682. There was a legal dispute over land which broke out among the heirs of William’s children around the same time, but it appears that Joanna’s legal arrangements were in place before this occurred.

Hyde Genealogy of the Descendants, in the female as well as in the male lines from William Hyde, of Norwich by Reuben H. Walworth, J. Munsell Company, Albany, NY, 1864, 1446 pages, two volumes available on-line: http://archive.org/details/hydegenealogyord01walw and http://archive.org/details/hydegenealogyord02walw


If you are a descendant of William and have further information to share, please contact us.


  • Some time ago a hope was expressed on this site that someone might visit the Connecticut State Library to search their files. I am planning a trip there for later this summer which at this moment is tentative but intended. I note from the library’s web site they have a file explicitly for “Hyde.” If anyone is aware of other resources in the area that might be productive, would appreciate hearing about them.

    • Bill, you’re probably looking at the same link that I am, here https://ctstatelibrary.org/RG074_054.html What I would recommend is calling them in advance and letting them know when you’re planning to come and the files that you would like to look through. Ask if you can bring a smartphone or digital camera, as this can save you a small fortune on copying fees. From what I can tell, most of the information is going to be about William, but some might be about Humphrey. William and Humphrey are not related, although Humphrey is related by DNA to Jonathan and Samuel of MA (Humphrey’s exact relationship to the two brothers remains uncertain). Some of William’s information is potentially in the Abel file. I’m myself trying to arrange a similar trip to the Rockefeller library in Williamsburg, VA, to complete writeups of the Robert Hyde and Richard Hyde lines of VA. Fortunately the library is about 15 minutes away from Busch Gardens, so the non-genealogists in the family won’t have to suffer too much 😉

  • This is a beautiful site! Do you have a source for the will of Johanna Hyde and/or sources for the legal battles that followed?

    Thank you in advance!

  • The primary source is the court records. There’s also an outline in “Private Controversies, 1642-1717” in the Connecticut Archives. At least one book on women’s legal rights in colonial New England mentions the case and focuses on Joanna Hide (whom I believe was already deceased before the dispute arose), unfortunately the title is escaping me. At the time our bio of William was written, I was still doing paper notes – insert hysterical laughing face – and these have to be physically searched. I can piece together some of the references because of a land-lot purchase on 26 May 1668, the North Purchase: Lot 5 purchased by “Goody Hide”, aka Goodwife/Mrs of William; Lot 6 was the Children’s Land (presumably the minor children of Robert Abell as neither of William Hide’s children were minors at the time), and Lot 8 to Joanna’s son, Preserved Abell. This purchase could not have been made without William’s consent, but the thing is, the legal framework was already in place, so William’s consent was not required. Keep in mind that Joanna’s land purchases after the death of her first husband are entirely separate from the contested land of William’s along the Yantic (not Niantic river). What changed were the heirs. Recall that Joanna’s son Caleb Abel married Margaret Post, granddaughter of Joanna’s second husband. Walworth’s “Hyde Genealogy” has this to say, “What renders it almost certain that three of the seven daughters of Hester Hyde and John Post must have died previously to 18 of Jan., 1686, and probably unmarried, is that by deed of that date, upon the Windham records, it appears that William Hyde willed to the daughters of his only daughter, Hester Post, certain lands in Windham. That a controversy arose between the eldest son of her brother and the devisees, in relation to the validity of this will; and that a compromise took place between him and the three sons-in-law of Hester Hyde and John Post; Caleb Abel, John Hough, and Nathaniel Rudd. And by their deed the latter three conveyed, to the said oldest son of Samuel Hyde the first, one-half of the lands in dispute, in compromise of his claim. And no mention is made of any other granddaughters of the testator, as being in existence, to make any claim to the lands under the will devising the same to the daughters of the testator’s daughter, Hester.”

  • Very interesting reading!! I descend from William Hyde’s son, Samuel Hyde (1636-1689), then his son William Hyde (1669-1759, etc., etc. My “latest” Hyde name in my ancestor line is Elizabeth “Betsy” Hyde (1772-1873), who married Samuel Hewitt. Family migrated all the way from Conn., to Oregon! Thanks for the articles,
    Cindy Blais

  • Hi,

    I am a descendant of William Hyde I believe. My great grandfather was Louis Kepler Hyde Jr. (related to the Hydes of Titusville, NJ and Plainfield, NJ)

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