John Herrick and Susanna Life in Connecticut

John Herrick (1699-1745) and Susanna(h) (1715-1804)

A New Life for his Parents in Connecticut

John Herrick was born in 1699 in Preston, New London County, Connecticut. He was the son of John Herrick and Bethia Solart. John’s parents had lived in Beverly (near Salem, Massachusetts), in 1691 when the Salem Witch trails began. His parents left Salem and moved to Preston in about 1695, just four years before John was born in Preston. Although his parents returned to the Salem area before their deaths, John (Jr.) apparently had no interest in going there. It may be that, as he grew up, his parents told him what had happened in Salem to his aunt, Sarah Good (see story of his parents).

Marriage and a Small Family

John married Susanna (surname unknown), probably before 1732, probably in Preston, Connecticut. He was 33; it is believed she was 17. (The exact date of her birth is, however, unknown. On Ancestry.com, her birthdates are as early as 1689 to as late as 1715.)

It is believed that John and Susanna had at least two children:

Details of John and Susanna’s lives are sketchy. It appears that they lived for most of their lives in New London County, located in the southeast corner of Connecticut. The terrain of the county is mostly level, becoming more elevated only in its northern extreme. The highest point in the county is Gates Hill in the Town of Lebanon at approximately 660 feet (201 m) above sea level, and the lowest point is sea level. (Thanks to Wikipedia for the map.)

A sign leading into the town of Preston today says the following: “Incorporated in 1687, Preston was settled mainly by sons and grandsons of founders of surrounding towns on land purchased from the Mohegan Indians. It was probably named for Preston in Suffolk, the English home of Thomas Parke, one of the earliest settlers. Initially the town developed around the church in what has long been known as Preston City, where the Amos, Fobes, Tracy and Treat land grants came together. The town annexed in 1786 a portion of Norwich called Long Society which included Poquetanuck. In 1901 a part of Preston was annexed to Norwich. Preston formally included Griswold which separated in 1815.

Many Issues Between the Groups Living in the Area

The Algonquain-speaking Mohegan tribe originally occupied much of the upper Thames valley in Connecticut and later took other land in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Their economy was based on the farming of corn, hunting, and also fishing. Early in the 17th Century — when Europeans were beginning to settle in New England — the Mohegan and the Pequot tribes had been ruled jointly, but a rebellion led to independence for the Mohegan tribe and the few Pequot left joined with the Mohegans. At the end of King Philip’s War(1675-1676) against the English colonists, the Mohegan tribe was the only tribe of any size remaining in southern New England. Slowly, of course, European settlements began to displace the Mohegans, and their numbers shrank. Many of the Mohegan tribe left, joining other nearby Indian settlements.

John was killed — most likely by Mohegans — in Woodbury, Litchfield, Connecticut, in 1745; he was 46 years old. What John was doing in Litchfield County is uncertain; it is located in the northwest corner of the state (as opposed to the southeast corner for New London County), and this would certainly have been Mohegan territory in 1745. Since it is unknown what he did for a living, it’s possible he was traveling as a part of his work. Or he may have been there to fight the Indians. Whatever the reason, it was a considerable distance from his home in Preston. He left his wife, Susanna with an 11-year-old boy (John) and a 13-year-old boy (Eleazer) to finish raising.

Susanna Carries On Alone

The date of Susanna’s death is not certain, but it is believed to be 1804. If true, she would have been 89 years old. Clearly, she was able to raise her son(s) to adulthood, but she would have seen her son, Eleazer, fight in the French and Indian War. As well, she would have seen Eleazer marry and give her seven grandchildren. She probably lived in the same town with them, perhaps even in the same house. She may have helped out her son, Eleazer, when her daughter-in-law, Mary, died in childbirth in 1778. It is not known if she married again.

This page written and researched by Susan Overturf Ingraham, wife of Robert Philip Ingraham, a descendant of John Herrick and Susanna(h). This page last updated on January 8, 2012.

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