Richard Butler was born circa 1600 in Braintree, Essex, England to Stephen Butler (1575-1633) and died 6 August 1684 Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut of unspecified causes. He married Elizabeth Bigelow (1614-1647) 1634 in Essex, England.


Migration to America

Said to have sailed to America on the ship Hector in 1632 with his brother William, leaving two sisters in Essex. One sister, Jane, married a "West" and the other married a "Winter". Richard's brother William died in Hartford in 1648, the two sisters are mentioned in his will. Richard's parents are believed to have been Stephen (born about 1580 in Braintree) and Mary; and Stephen's father, John (born about 1550), by some accounts Stephen died in Hartford CT.

Deacon Richard Butler came to this country in 1633 from Braintree Co. Essex, England. (Old family papers say he came from Kelvedon). Became a freeman in Cambridge, MA, May 14, 1634.

First Founder of Hartford CT

Hartford Founder's Monument at Old Church Graveyard

Richard Butler and his brother(?) William Butler are listed on Hartford's Founders Monument and several of his children are married to other co-founders.

He is listed as one of the first settlers on the Hartford Founders Monument. In 1633, the purtian preacher, Thomas Hooker (1586-1647) revolted against the authority of the English Church, and was forced to sail to America on the ship Griffin with many of his followers.

Finding that place to crowded they moved to the Connecticut River Valley, settling down north of the Dutch Territory in 1636. Here in 1638 they wrote the first constitution in America to create the new Colony of Connecticut (for which they retain their nickname as the Constitution State. Their central city is Hartford CT.

Hartford Activities

He and his brother William came to Hartford with Rev. Thomas Hooker (The Braintree Group) in 1636. One account says that he came to Hartford mourning the death of a wife and infant. He was one of the original proprietors and his name is on the monument in the Cemetary of the First Church. He received 16 acres in the first division. He was Deacon of the First Church, Grand Juror, Selectman, Deputy to the General Court, Clerk to the General Court. (Col. Rec. I, 313-315, 346)

Deacon Richard's home in Hartford was on the south side of the Little River, on the corner where the road from George Steele's intersected the road from the mills to the country. He also owned a homelot and other lands in Wethersfield. (See his Will below)

Will & Probate

Probate records show death in Hartford, CT. Center Church records indicate burial in "Old Burying Ground" on Gold St., near Center Church, Hartford. The inventory of his estate amounted to a value of 684-15-00 Pounds.

April 2, 1677

Know all men whom it may concerne that I Richard Butler of Hartford upon the Connecticut river being of bodily health and of sound and perfect memory doe make and ordayne this my last will and testiment in forme and manner as followeth

Imprimis --

I doe give to my sonne Thomas Butler my uper lot in the longe meddow.

I doe give to my sonne Samuel all my meadow land in Wethersfield meadow

I doe give to Nathaniel my sonne my meddow lot neare the long meddow gate

I doe give to Joseph Butler my sonne all my land in the south meddow.

I doe give to my sonne Daniel Butler my now dwelling house with all apurtenances of buildings and grounds about it and also I do give to my sonne Daniel my lot commonly caled ten-acres. I do give my 3 daughters Mary Wright, Elizabeth Olmstead and Hanah Greene twentie shillings apece (to be payed out of my moveable estate by my present wife Elizabeth whom I appoint my executrix to this my last will.

Also it is my will that none of these children aforesaid doe possess or enjoy any of these lands or aught else mentioned, but with the consent of death or change of the mother's condition. That is by marrying againe. But if my wife Elizabeth Butler should change her condition and marry agtaine then my will is that all aforesaid sonnes and daughters dp possess every one his legacy and wife only the thirds and for the rest of the chattels and hoursehold goods I give them all to my wife provided as aforesayd she continues in widowhood but if she marry againe then to take the thirds of all as of the house and lands so chattels and household stuff and the rest equally to be divided amonge my children afore mentioned and there may be divers willes extant that I have written with my own hand yet this my last and shall stand Written with my owne hand. Richard Butler

April 2, 1677 ---- (I also appoint my two sonnes Thomas and Samual Butler to be my overseers of this my last will ---) (my will also is that my daughter Mary Wright shal have one feather bed after her mother's decease)

Witnesses Samual Wright Samual Butler Sworn in Court & accepted with 5 above written interlinings. J. Talcott. C.C. Copied from Ancient Wethersfield, II 171-172 by Eva L. Butler.

Marriage & Family

Elizabeth Bigelow Butler's date of death appears to be some doubt. As shown above, she is listed as dying in 1691, but being buried in the 1650's (This might be a reference to a first wife). However Elizabeth is mentioned in Deacon Richard's will of 1672. Elizabeth's father was Randall Bigelow (born 1578 in Wrentham, Suffolk, England. He died 17 May 1626 in Wrentham, and was buried 17 May 1626. His wife was Jane (born 1582) in Wrentham, She died 1 May 1626 in Wrentham and was buried 17 May 1626.

2nd Marriage: Elizabeth Bigelow

John Bigelow (1617-1703) seems to have arrived in Watertown, MA about 1632-1636 (age 15-19). He probably came with an older relative, Elizabeth Bigelow (1614-1647), second wife of Deacon Richard Butler (1600-1684) who after a short stay in Massachusetts, followed the Rev Thomas Hooker to Connecticut. It is assumed that Elizabeth was an older sister or first cousin. No ship's-records exist showing the date of their arrival. It is probable that John Biglow and/or Mary Warren (his wife) came over on one of the ships of the Winthrop Fleet. It is also probable that they would have had to do so by budgeting solely based upon their own personal budget.

  1. Thomas Butler (1637-1688)
  2. Samuel Butler (1639-1692)
  3. Nathaniel Butler (1641-1698)
  4. Mary Butler (1643-1689)
  5. Daniel Butler (1644-1692)
  6. Joseph Butler (1646-1732)
  7. Elizabeth Butler (1646-1729)


Offspring of Richard Butler and Elizabeth Bigelow (1614-1647)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Thomas Butler (1637-1688)
Samuel Butler (1639-1692) 1639 Weathersfield, Hartford County, Connecticut 31 August 1692 Westhersfield, Hartford County, Connecticut Elizabeth Olmstead (1642-1681)
Nathaniel Butler (1641-1698)
Mary Butler (1643-1689)
Daniel Butler (1644-1692)
Joseph Butler (1646-1732)
Elizabeth Butler (1646-1729) 1646 Wethersfield, Hartford County, Connecticut 28 April 1729 Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut Joseph Olmstead (1654-1726)


Offspring of Stephen Butler (1575-1633) and unknown parent
Name Birth Death Joined with
Gilbert Butler (1573-1652)
Mary Butler (1575-)
William Butler (1577-1673)
George Butler (1587-1628)
Gervis Butler (1590-1636)
Richard Butler (1600-1684) 1600 Braintree, Essex, England 6 August 1684 Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut Elizabeth Bigelow (1614-1647)



Footnotes (including sources)