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Samuel Munson: Puritan, Town Founder, Civic Leader

July 2, 2013

I have written of my ninth great-grandfather, Captain Thomas Munson. The captain and his wife, Joanna Mew, had three children: Elizabeth, Samuel, and Hannah. Our family descends directly from Samuel, who is the focus of today’s post. Part of Samuel’s task as an adult was to help found the town of Wallingford in the New Haven Colony. He lived there for 11 years, raising his family and contributing to the life of the fledgling community before returning to New Haven. He and his wife, Martha Bradley, had ten children. Martha Bradley has her own rich heritage which will be fodder for future posts.

The following brief biography of Samuel Munson comes from the Historical address of the first Munson family reunion held in the city of New Haven, Wednesday, August 17, 1887. This material was written by Rev. Myron Andrews Munson and published by Tuttle, Morehouse, & Taylor, New Haven, 1887.

pp 43-44:

The scope of this discourse includes a few glimpses of Thomas Munson’s posterity.

His only son Samuel was by trade a shoemaker, with which that of a tanner was probably combined. He also owned and cultivated farming lands. His military rank was that of Ensign. Early in 1670 he joined with John Mosse, John Brockitt, Nathaniel Merriman, and twenty-two other New Haveners, in the founding of Wallingford, ten miles north-north-easterly. He was nearly twenty-seven, the age at which his father settled in New Haven. His daughter and eldest son had been born before his removal; the next five sons were born during the eleven years of his residence in Wallingford, nothwithstanding which the elder three were born in New Haven, and only Joseph and Stephen in Wallingford; Caleb, and two youngers sons who have no posterity, were born after the return to New Haven in 1681. Ens. Samuel, if we may trust the records, was the first schoolmaster at Wallingford; he was for a time the public drummer; his residence during the early years was the place of public worship, for which some compensation was rendered. He was on the important committee to determine the rules for the allotment of the lands, which were at first all common. At the age of thirty he was elected one of the Townsmen, and he was chosen to the same office the following year and also the last two years he was in Wallingford [1673,1674,1680,1681]. One year he was chosen leather-sealer [1678], another treasurer [1680], two years auditor [1676? 1679], two years recorder of lands [1679, 1681], and five years assessor [1677-1681]. In 1681, at the age of thirty-eight, he was chosen recorder, assessor and townsman, indicating that had he remained in Wallingford he would have been employed very extensively in public service. The first year of Philips’s war [1675], he was commissioned Ensign of the Wallingford Trained Band; next month the colonial council appointed him and another ‘to sign bills;’ and in March following, he and another wrote a letter to the Council in respect to ‘garrison-houses, and watches and wardes.’ In 1679 ‘The Towne made Choyce of En Sam Munson & Eliasaph Preston to goe up to the Hon Gourner . . . to inquire ye Reason why they are deprived of Comission maiestraycy among them.’ After his return to New Haven, he was chosen fence-viewer, constable, and assessor; and during five years, probably ten, beginning with 1683, he and his brother-in-law, Josheph Tuttle, were elected searchers and sealers of leather. For one year, and apparently longer–not unlikely three years, our Ensign was Rector of the Hopkins Grammar School. He died before he was fifty, surviving his father less than eight years. (The Captain’s age was seventy-three.) We may well lament the premature decease of our second ancestor, whose promise and whose performance also had been so admirable. Let it be distinctly recognized, cousins, recognized with veneration, that Ensign Samuel was the common ancestor of all the descendants of Capt. Thomas who bear the Munson name.

  1. Elana Ryker Hulsey permalink

    Thank you for the information! Thomas is also my 9th great-grandfather, through Samuel. We must discuss where the branch veers off.

    • Hi Elana, Thank you for the contact. Our family tree descends in this order from Thomas Munson: Thomas, Samuel, Samuel, Jr. (1688 – 1741), William (in Munson family language, we are from Clan William), Samuel (1739 – 1827), Freeman (1786 – 1878), Amos (1808 – 1885), Henrietta Munson (1843 – 1882) married Moses Woodington. Their son, Furman, is my great grandfather, his daughter, Ethel, was my grandmother.

      It would be fun to read about your family’s lineage. I have certainly enjoyed getting to know this branch of the family tree. Thank you again for the contact!

      Carm Aderman

      • Elana permalink

        Interesting! My line appears to veer off this way – Samuel (1668), son Solomon (1689), son Samuel (1717), daughter Ruth (1746) married Benjamin Van Cleave (1741), daughter Martha (1766) married John Ryker (1764), son Gerardus (1791), son Jared (1830), son Harry (1877), and son William (1904) was my dad. Do you have any of those on your records?


        Sent from my iPhone


      • Hi Elana. I checked my records and only go as far as Solomon, Samuel’s older brother. Thank you for the additions to help me fill out the family tree a little better. Thank you for the contact–I appreciate getting to know more cousins!


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