George Steele

(circa 1583 - between 24 May 1663 and 21 December 1664)

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Relationship10th great-grandfather of The 3 Tracys
Family Group:Ohlheiser
Trees14 Generations of Our Ancestors (#1)
14 Generations of Our Ancestors (#2)
Our Ohlheiser Family Pedigree
FatherRichard Steele

Birth - Marriage - Death

ChildGeorge Steele was born circa 1583, in Fairstead, Essex, England. Based on date of Marriage.1
GroomHe married Margery Sorrell on 12 October 1608 in Fairstead, Essex, England.1
DeceasedHe died between 24 May 1663 and 21 December 1664 in Hartford, Connecticut Colony, New England; betyween the dates of his will and the inventory of his estate"a very old man."1,2

Children with Margery Sorrell:

Immigrant Ancestor

Circa 1633, George Steele arrived in Massachusetts Bay Colony, New England, where he first appears in the colonial records: at a Town and Selectman's Meeting 7 January 1633.3,4

Founder or First Settler

On 7 January 1633, George Steele was among the founders/first settlers of Newe Towne (Cambridge), Massachusetts Bay Colony, New England. George was allotted the responsibility of constructing, as his portion, six rods of the town's common pale (his brother John was to build 14 rods as he was granted considerably more land); he took the oath of Freeman of the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, at the General Court, on 14 May 1634.3,5


Military ServiceIn May 1637, while living Hartford, Connecticut Colony, New England,George Steele was named among the forty-two Hartford soldiers who served under Captain Mason during the Pequotwar. (This would mean that he and Thomas Tracy Sr., from Wethersfield, may have served together during that war.)2


George Steele prepared a will dated 24 May 1663 in Hartford, Connecticut Colony, New England.
     George's estate was inventoried with a value of £131-06-10. on 21 December 1664, and his will was proven on the 2nd of March 1665.
     I George Steele of Hartford, uppon the river Concticot, being very aged & under many infirmaties, but haveing the perfect use of my memory and understanding, doe make this my Last will: Imprimis. I give unto my Brother John Steele 50s. Item, I give unto my Daughter Elizabeth Wates my old Mill, my bed with all the furniture belonging to it, Also my vice, my warming pan, frying pan and fier pan, my fier fforks and spitt, my skales and fen and twenty pound of leaden weights, my pek hamer and spincers. Also, I give unto my grandchild Martha Hanison my best chamber pott. Also, I give unto Moses and Micah Mudge ten shillings apeece. Also, I give unto my grandchildren, James and Mary Steele, chests to each one. All other estate not here bequeathed I give unto my son James Steele, whom I make sole Executor, and intreat Thomas Bull and James Ensign to see my will truly performed.
Witness: Thomas Bull, James Ensign.               GEORGE STEELE
          Court Record, Page 29---2 March, 1664-5: Will Proven.

     The inclusion of Moses and Micah Mudge in his will without a relationship shown has given rise to the speculation that they were somehow related to George, perhaps also grandchildren since their names are included between the names of others identified as his grandchildren. Obviously the boys were the children of a Mudge; in fact, they were known to be the children of Jarvis Mudge.
     By reasoning of Moses’ and Micah’s birth dates as incorrectly stated in, Mudge Memorials (published by the family genealogist Alfred Mudge in 1868) – their births were said to be Moses in 1652 and Micah in 1650 - it was assumed that they must have been the children of Jarvis and his wife Rebecca, the widow of Abraham Elsen, as Jarvis and Rebecca were married by December of 1649. A reasonable conclusion therefore suggested that perhaps Rebecca, whose maiden name was not/is not known, was the daughter of George Steele.
     Jarvis died early in 1652 and once again widowed, Rebecca next married Nathaniel Greensmith. During the 1660s witchcraft frenzy in Connecticut, Rebecca and Nathaniel were accused and then convicted (on their own confessions) of being witches... and were hanged in January of 1663.
     It was posited that while George included her sons in his will prepared a few months after Rebecca's execution, he purposely omitted specifying the boys' relationship because of the stigma imposed by the times on relatives of "witches." This speculation has since been proven incorrect.
     Research subsequent to that done by Alfred Mudge in the mid 1860s has produced evidence that proves the grandchild Martha Hanison also referred to in George Steele’s will was Martha (Mudge) Henryson, the daughter of George Steele’s son-in-law, Jarvis Mudge... and so the sister of Moses and Micah Mudge... who consequently were also grandchildren of George Steele.
     By reasoning of more accurately determined birthdates - Moses born c. 1640 and Micah born c. 1645 - the boys must have been the children of Jarvis and an earlier wife, a daughter of George Steele. This wife’s given name has not been found in any records researched to date. The will does not directly identify which of George's daughters Jarvis married, but it would have to have been one other than Elizabeth (Steele) Watts. George had only two daughters other than Elizabeth living in 1665, Margery and Mary.
     Some sources have said that before marrying Rebecca, the Widow Elson, Jarvis may have married a Mary Steele in Hartford, perhaps as early as 1640, but a record of such a marriage has not been found. A birth date of 1615 or 1620 as noted elsewhere in this genealogy, would mean Jarvis would have been at least 29 years old in 1649 when he married Rebecca and that is an unlikely age for a first marriage. But a birth year of 1615-1620, would allow for a marriage previous to the one to Rebecca (say in 1640 when he may have been 20 to 25 years old). Mary Steele was born in 1620 (Margery Steele was born in 1612.) Her age and the fact that Jarvis is also known to have had a daughter named Mary (but not one named Margery) makes Mary Steele the most reasonable candidate of the two daughters to be Jarvis’ first wife, and the mother of Moses, Martha, Micah, and Mary Mudge, thereby clarifying their connection to George Steele.6,7,8

Sources - Citations

  1. [S645] Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633. Volumes I-III (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995), Detailed Entry for George Steele.
  2. [S910] Loren P. Waldo, The Early History of Tolland : An Address, Delivered Before the Tolland County Historical Society, at Tolland, Conn., on the 22nd Day of August and 27th Day of September 1861 (Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Lockwood & company, 1861), pg. 31.
  3. [S653] Edward J. Brandon - City Clerk, Compiler, The Records of the Town of Cambridge (Formerly Newtowne) Massachusetts 1630 - 1703 (Cambridge, Massachusetts: University Press - John Wilson and Son, 1901). The Records of the Town Meetings, and of the Selectmen, Comprising All of the First Volume of Records; Printed by order of the City Council under the direction of the City Clerk., pg. 4.
  4. [S645] Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration, Entry for George Steele.
  5. [S654] Nathaniel B. Shurtleff M.D., Editor, Records of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England. Vol. I. 1628-1641 (Boston: Printed by Order of the Legislature, 1853), pg. 369 - 1634 14 May.
  6. [S651] Charles William Manwaring, Compiler, A Digest of the Early Connecticut Probate Records. Hartford District, 1635 to 1750, Three vols. (Hartford, Connecticut: The Author, 1906), vol. I, pg. 239; Steele, George, Hartford; Will & Probate details.
  7. [S428] Donald Lines Jacobus, The American Genealogist (New Haven, Connecticut:, 2009), vol. 81 (2006, January ) pg. 18-26; Jarvis Mudge and John Henryson Families of Connecticut.
  8. [S645] Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration, vol. 3; ppg. 1754-56; George Steele.
  9. [S645] Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration, Detailed Entry for George Steele; mentioned in father's will.
Last Edited8 Dec 2017

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