Some early families of Milford & Woodbridge

Some early families of Milford & Woodbridge
The Milfordside of Woodbridge as shown on a map published in 1939

As the community of Milford, Connecticut celebrates another anniversary of its founding in 1639, let's take a look at some of the family connections – and see what the land records can tell us about the section of present-day Woodbridge that was once part of the Milford Colony.

'Map of Milford at its Greatest Extent, 1703-1784' on page 56 of the 1939 publication 'History of Milford Connecticut, 1639-1939' compiled and written by the Federal Writer's Project of the Works Projects Administration.

We can see from the map included in by the Milford Tercentenary Committee in its 1939 WPA publication 'History of Milford Connecticut, 1639 - 1939' that the section that forms the 'Milfordside' of present-day Woodbidge is labeled "3. Northrup's Farms." So let's look first for this Northrup family. The list of Free Planters (on page 7 of the book) does not include any Northrups, but immediately after the Milford colony is established another nine families join the community as so-called After Planters, and Joseph Northrup is among this group:

ibid, page 7

According to the Northrup Genealogy, Joseph Northrup (1619-1669) was:

An immigrant from England, and perhaps from Yorkshire. He was one of "Eaton and Davenport's Company, of good character and fortune," who came from England in 1637 in the ships Hector and Martin. They landed in Boston July 26, 1637, and settled at New Haven in Apr., 1638. They were mostly from Yorkshire, Hertfordshire, and Kent. Members of this company', and of Sir Richard Saltonstall's Company, removed to and settled Milford, Conn.

Two of Thomas and his wife Mary's sons go on to have family members who settle on the land that becomes Woodbridge; William Northrup (1666-1736) and Samuel Northrup (1651-1712).

William married Mary Peck (born 1670), a daughter of another Milford Founder, Joseph Peck (1610-1701). They had a son by the name of Thomas Northrup (1701-1767) who married Abigail Terrill (born 1699) and resided in Newtown, Connecticut where their son Job Northrup (1731-1813) was born and married Violet Peck (1735-1813), thereafter settling in Woodbridge. Their descendent, William Bella Northrup (1781-1867) built a home at 193 Seymour Road in Woodbridge about the year 1840 where he maintained a sawmill and conducted a lumber business.

William Bella Northrup's home at 193 Seymour Road

Turning to the book Historic Woodbridge: An Historic and Architectural Resource Survey, the Second Edition of which can be purchased from the Woodbridge Town Clerk, the introductory section describes the expansion of Milford in its early days after its founding in 1639:

By 1643 additional land was purchased from the Paugassets to the east and west of the original settlement. As more land was needed, a series of purchases was made to the north, all the way up in to what became Bethany. Northrup’s Farms, the Milford Side of Woodbridge, was one of these tracts. Richard Baldwin, a key figure in Milford’s colonial development, figured prominently in some of the transactions. Probably acting as agent for the Milford proprietors rather than on his own account, about 1660 he negotiated with the Paugassets for some large parcels in Milford Side, which included Hogg’s Meadow. The subsequent apportionment of these some 600 acres to his sons and their descendants suggests that he was well rewarded for his role and accounts for the high proportion of Baldwins in the southwestern part of town. Among others long associated with the history of Woodbridge were descendants of the Camp family and two branches of the Clark family, also original planters of Milford. Grandsons of some of the ‘after planters,” the Newtons, Nettletons, Beaches, and Hines, also moved north to make their contributions to the development of the town.