James Steele

(30 November 1622 - circa 1697)

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Relationship9th great-grandfather of The 3 Tracys
Family Group:Ohlheiser
Trees14 Generations of Our Ancestors
Our Ohlheiser Family Pedigree
FatherGeorge Steele1 (c. 1583 - btwn 24 May 1663 - 21 Dec 1664)
MotherMargery Sorrell ( - bfr 24 May 1663)

Birth - Marriage - Death

ChildJames Steele was baptized on 30 November 1622, in Fairstead, Essex, England.
GroomHe married Bethia/Bethya Bishop, daughter of John Bishop Sr. and Anna, on 18 October 1651 in Guildford, New Haven Co., Connecticut Colony, New England. Her name is more probably Ann Bishop. It is said that her name is often confused with that of James' second wife, Bethia (Hopkins) Stocking.2,3,4,5
WidowerHe became a widower when his wife Bethia/Bethya (Anna) died in 1675.4,6
Second MarriageBefore 1685, in Middletown, Hartford Co., Connecticut Colony, New England, James Steele married second Bethia Hopkins. The Widow of Samuel Stocking.4,7,8
DeceasedHe died circa 1697 in Hartford, Hartford Co., Connecticut.

Children with Bethia/Bethya Bishop:


James Steele was named executor and an heir in the will of George Steele dated 24 May 1663 in Hartford, Connecticut Colony, New England, After a few specific bequests to grandchildren and James' sister, and their uncle - George's brother John - James was to inherit the residue of the estate.
     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.9,10,11

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; mentioned in father's will.
  2. [S428] Donald Lines Jacobus, The American Genealogist (New Haven, Connecticut: n.pub., 2009), vol. 36, pg 188 gives name as Ann Bishop.
  3. [S150] Lorraine Cook, Compiler, The Barbour Collection of Connecticut Town Vital Records (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1994-2002), Guilford Vital Records 1639-1850 pg. 24; vol. A, pg. 122.
  4. [S645] Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration, Detailed Entry for George Steele.
  5. [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; gives bride's name as Anna Bishop.
  6. [S910] Loren P. Waldo, Early History of Tolland, pg. 31; gives year.
  7. [S646] Clarence A. Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700 (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1985) Digitized by americanancestors.org - subscription database. After 1683.
  8. [S910] Loren P. Waldo, Early History of Tolland, pg. 31;.
  9. [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.
  10. [S428] Donald Lines Jacobus, The American Genealogist, vol. 81 (2006, January ) pg. 18-26; Jarvis Mudge and John Henryson Families of Connecticut.
  11. [S645] Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration, vol. 3; ppg. 1754-56; George Steele.
  12. [S655] Daniel Steele Durrie, Steele Family. A Genealogy of John And George Steel. Settlers of Hartford, Conn. 1635-6. And Their Descendants. (Albany, New York: J. Munsell, 1862), pg. 10.
Last Edited8 Dec 2017

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