Josiah Elsworth

Where Josiah Elsworth came from, who he was, prior to his appearance in Windsor, Connecticut in 1654 is a great mystery. I have not been able to find any reliable sources stating who his parents were, or that a John and/or Lydia were in any way related to Josiah. Anything beyond Josiah’s first appearance on the Windsor County records in 1654 on 19 March, when he purchased a parcel of land, seems to be thus far unsubstantiated.


The basic people and dates in question, as well as a primer on the Josiah Elsworth family can be found in Mary and German Ellsworth’s book Ellsworth Families of Connecticut pages 1-6 or page 1 of their book Our Ellsworth Ancestors. While German Ellsworth did a tremendous amount of great research, what he did was done many years before modern genealogical resources were made available, and he had to rely on secondary sources at least in some respect. Access to his research notes, if they are available, might be helpful in further evaluating his research. It is hard to say how much, if any, of his research into the early Elsworth line is based on original source material, as he does not list any sources. As some of his remarks and conclusions seem to be drawn from known earlier secondary sources, I am somewhat skeptical about any data purporting to deal with the Elsworth family (other than Josiah’s general birth date) prior to the immigration to America.


These are the basic facts, as undisputable as records hundred’s of years old can be:

    Josiah married Elizabeth Holcombe on 1654 on 16 November (Grant, Matthew. Some Early Records and Documents of and Relating to the Town of Windsor, Connecticut, 1639-1703. p. 35). Several months prior to his marriage, on 19 March 1954, he bought a parcel of land from Alexander Alford, and was thus present in Windsor at that time.


    Josiah died in 1689 in Windsor CT at age 60. This would place Josiah being born around 1629.


    As you can see from his headstone (here or here), and will he was a sergeant. I have not been able to find any record of his military service in documents dealing with King Phillip’s war or other militia records. As there was no standing military in the colony at the time, this would most likely have referred to service in the local militia. I have not exhaustively researched this line of inquiry yet. It is entirely possible his militia service could have been confined to the Elsworth fort located on his property. While it would be very interesting and illuminating to discover the source of Josiah’s military service, it is unlikely, given the nature of the records of the day, that this information would shed any light on Josiah’s pre-colonial origins or parentage. Following his appearance in 1654 in Windsor, Josiah is frequently documented in the public record throughout the remainder of his life. It is what happened prior to 19 March 1654 that is the great question, my brick wall.


Please contact me if you have any questions regarding this research, or if you have additional information which would be helpful breaking through my brick wall.