The first European settlers began to live in Woodbridge in the mid-1600s
Among the first families to arrive were:
- Sperry – Richard Sperry begins to live on the land known then as Sperry’s Farm (now Woodbridge) working as a “gardener” (another term for farmer at the time) on land purchased prior to May 1648 by Stephen Goodyear, First Deputy Governor of the Colony of New Haven. (Richard married a woman named Dennis, who may or may not have been a daughter of Stephen Goodyear — there are no existing records to confirm her parents.) Richard and Dennis’s sons Nathaniel (father of Ensign Nathaniel Sperry) and Ebenezer are raising their own families and farming here in the 1680s.
- Peck – There were two branches of the Peck family which settled in Woodbridge, the descendants of Joseph Peck of Milford, and those of Henry Peck of New Haven. Benjamin Peck, son of Henry Peck of New Haven, arrives in Woodbridge soon after 1660. He marries Richard Sperry’s daughter Mary in 1670. Benjamin and Mary’s children include Ebenezer Peck and Esther Peck Bristol. The line from Milford begins with Joseph and continues through his son Joseph Jr. and his son Jeremiah. Jeremiah’s son Phineas has a son, Phineas Peck Jr., “who entered the service in the war of the revolution, and was taken prisoner and confined in the old sugar house in New York, where so many perished through the inhumanity of the British. Tradition says he was reduced to a mere skeleton, but was finally released and brought home by men on a hand litter from New York” according to the 1892 “History of New Haven” Chapter VI.
- Lines – Ralph Lines settles in what is now Woodbridge, in an area of the New Haven Colony then known as Chestnut Hill, prior to 1661. He and his wife Alice have a son, Samuel Lines who marries Mary Thompson. The children of Mary and Samuel Lines include: their son John Lines who marries Hannah Cooper on December 27th 1700; their daughter Mary Lines who marries Thomas Wilmot, a son of William Wilmot, on June 27th 1705; and their son Ebenezer Lines who marries Rebecca Sperry, a sister of Ensign Nathaniel Sperry and a granddaughter of Richard Sperry.
- Morris –
- Alling – Samuel Alling, a great-grandson of Roger Alling an early settler in New Haven
- Beecher – New Haven “Planter” Isaac Beecher married Richard’s Sperry’s sister Mary and the couple’s three sons, John, Isaac Jr. and Joseph, all had children who lived in Woodbridge. John Beecher married Elizabeth Roberts who was born in Milford about 1650. Their son Captain Ebenezer Beecher married Hannah Mix and had 10 children including Ebenezer Beecher Jr. who married Isaac Johnson’ daughter Lois. David Beecher, a great-great-grandson of Isaac Sr. and Mary, built his home at the corner of Beecher and Rimmon Road in 1751.
- Perkins –
- Bradley – William Bradley arrives in New Haven in the early 1650s; his grandson Samuel Bradley marries Richard Sperry’s granddaughter Ann.
- Baldwin – Barnabus Baldwin, grandson of Milford Planter Richard Baldwin, settle on the “Milfordside” of Woodbridge in 1660.
- Camp – Original Planters of Milford
- Clark – also Original Planters of Milford, Deacon George Clark is buried in the Northwest Cemetery in 1689. His great-grandson, Thomas Clark, married Sarah Newton and from this line Elias Treat Clark is born in 1819. A separate line of Clarks also comes from the New Haven Colony to Woodbridge in the early years of the settlement. John Clark, a son of Sergeant John Clark, marries Sarah Smith, a daughter of George Smith, on February 1st 1661 in New Haven. Their daughter Sarah Clark marries John Wilmot, a son of William Wilmot and Sarah Thomas. One of John Wilmot and Sarah Clark Wilmot’s daughters is Sarah Wilmot Sperry (wife of Ensign Nathaniel Sperry).
- Newton – grandsons of Milford’s After Planters
- Nettleton – grandsons of Milford’s After Planters
- Beach – Benajah Beach, a descendant of Milford After Planters
- Hine – grandson of Milford’s After Planters Thomas Hine and Elizabeth Lane Hine, Stephen Hine and his wife Sarah Bristol had two sons, Ambrose Hine and Alexander Hine. Ambrose and his wife Sarah Rapier Hine had a daughter, Martha Hine who married Israel Thomas in Woodbridge on June 24th 1746. Ambrose and Sarah’s son, Charles Hine, marries Lydia Sperry in Woodbridge on September 4th 1751, just four days before Lydia’s father Ensign Nathaniel Sperry dies and is buried in the East Side Burying Ground. A great-granddaughter of Charles and Lydia, Velina Hine, marries Lewis Hitchcock in Bethany on October 7th 1860 and the couple eventually inherit the Hine-Hitchcock house built by her father Edward Hine Jr. at 48 Center Road in Woodbridge.
A second wave of families settle in Woodbridge soon after
Most newcomers marry into existing Woodbridge families and the community continues to intertwine as the generations proceed. Among the new family names that become common in Woodbridge are:
- Bottsford – Elnathan Bottsford marries Hannah Baldwin, a granddaughter of Richard Baldwin Sr. (her father is Timothy Baldwin, Richard Jr’s brother). Elnathan and Hannah’s grandson, Timothy Botsford Jr, marries Lydia Smith, daughter of Timothy Smith and Elizabeth Wilkinson (and granddaughter of Benjamin Smith and Mary Baldwin).
- Dickerman – Abraham Dickerman’s daughter Sarah marries Richard Sperry’s son Nathaniel on October 2nd 1683 and the couple have 11 children, including Ensign Nathaniel Sperry and daughter Rebecca Sperry who marries Ebenezer Lines, a grandson of Ralph Lines.
- Downs –
- Johnson – Deacon Isaac Johnson and his family are among the first settlers of Woodbridge.
- Sanford – Thomas Andrew Sanford and his wife Sarah were among the early settlers of Milford in 1641/42. From their son Ephraim’s line a great-great-great-grandson, Abel Sanford, marries Deborah Sperry, daughter of Nathaniel Sperry II and Mary Dickerman (and granddaughter of Ensign Nathaniel Sperry). Also from Ephraim’s line, grandson Joseph Sanford, marries Mary Clark, daughter of Deacon Joseph Clark and Mary Platt (and great-granddaughter of Deacon George Clark). Another of Deacon Joseph Clark’s children, Joseph Jr., marries Mary Sanford. From another of Thomas Andrew Sanford’s sons, Samuel, a 3rd-great-grandson is Thomas Sanford of Woodbridge, who invented the friction match in 1833/34.
- Smith – Benjamin Smith (son of William Smith a Planter of Milford), marries Mary Baldwin, daughter of Timothy Baldwin (she is Hannah Baldwin Bottsford’s sister).
- Wilmot – William Wilmot’s daughter Elizabeth marries a grandson of Richard Sperry (his son John’s son Richard), while William’s son John Wilmot marries Sarah Clark and their daughter Sarah Wilmot marries Richard Sperry’s grandson Ensign Nathaniel Sperry.
- Wooding –