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Notes for Jonathan Gillet and Mary Dolbiar

1633 Jonathan Gillet was listed as a passenger on the ship Recovery, from Weymouth to New England. [1]

The Great Migration reports [2]:

Jonathan Gillett
Origin: Chaffcombe, Somersetshire
Migration: 1633
First Residence: Dorchester
Removes: Windsor 1638
Return Trips: To England in 1633 and return 1634

Church membership: Admission to Dorchester church prior to 6 May 1635 implied by freemanship.
Freeman: 6 May 1635 (as "Jonathan Jellett," second in a sequence of five Dorchester men) [MBCR 1:370].
Offices: Connecticut jury, December 1653, 7 June 1655, 26 August 1657, 3 March 1658/9, 15 May 1660, 6 December 1660, 5 September 1661, 9 October 1661, 13 May 1662, 20 January 1662[/3] [RPCC 119, 143, 181, 197, 211, 219, 238, 240, 246, 261]. Windsor constable, March 1655/6 [RPCC 161].

Estate: Allowed by town of Dorchester "to fence in half an acre of ground about his house leaving a sufficient highway," and granted four acres of marsh; also "Jonathan Gillet's house" mentioned, 17 April 1635 [DTR 11]; "Jellets" to have two acres of marsh, 27 June 1636 (no first name is given, so this grant may be to both Jonathan and Nathan) [DTR 17]. (In the grant of meadows beyond Neponset, Lot #32, marked only "J.," may have belonged to Jonathan Gillet, since it was immediately next to the lot of N[athan] Gillet [DTR 321].) In Thomas Treadwell's deed of land to Edward Breck, dated 20 June 1638, one of the abutters to a parcel of land was "Mr. Parker on the other side which was once Jonathan Gillete's" [DTR 35].

On 9 June 1662 Jonathan Gillett Sen. was granted two parcels of swampland totalling five or six acres by the court-appointed committee to dispose of land without the west bounds of Windsor [WiLR 1:41]. Other "Jonathan Gillett" land entries appear to pertain to Jonathan Jr.
In his will, dated 8 August 1677 and proved 6 September 1677, "Jonathan Gillett sen. of Windsor ... being at present very ill and under distemper of body above ordinary" named "my wife ... sole executrix " and "my son Josiah Gillett to take care for the improvement of his mother's estate," she to have the use of "both my houselots, my one and that which was my brother Nathan Gillett's, which are both nine acres, also at the upper end of the first meadow, or that which is Timothy Phelpes," and "all that remains of that to me I set out three acres to my son John"; after "my decease ... my son Josias" to assist his mother, and after her death "he shall enjoy for his own ... my now dwelling house and all the appurtenances with it, with five acres of houselands & all other parcels of land, as are expressed to be his mother's for her use whilst she lives, only excepting the house & four acres of the houseland to it, which my son Jeremy shall possess for his own after my wife's decease" and "the six acres in the second meadow I set out to him, he is to possess for his own at the present"; "thirdly, my will is that if the Lord should take me and my wife both of us away by death within four years after the date hereof, my son Josiah shall pay some legacies, as to his brother Jonathan Gillett £4 and a gun, and to his brother Cornelius Gillett £4, & to my daughter, Peter Browne's wife, £2, and to my daughter, Samuel Fyllye's wife, £2, and to the two children which I have taken that were my son Joseph's, deceased, as the little son Jonathan £5, and the girl £5. My son Jonathan is to have the other twenty acres of woodland joining to the twenty acres expressed to my wife. He is to have his twenty acres next to Thomas Barber, ten acres of it I give him, the other ten he hath bought. Also, Jonathan and Cornelius my sons are to have my eleven acres without the west bounds of Windsor, betwixt them, after my decease. And my son John Gillett to have six acres of the other parcel without the bounds at present, and Jeremie to have the remainder of it" [Hartford PD Case #2202; Manwaring 1:200-01].

The inventory of "Jonathan Gillett Senior who died the 23 day of this August" was taken 31 August 1677 and totalled £273 10s., including real estate valued at £188: "his dwelling & barn house land five acres," £70; "his dwelling house that was his brother Nathan's & four acres of houseland," £40; "the first meadow, near four acres," £20; "the second meadow eight acres," £30; "twenty acres of woodland," £10; "six acres of upland," £12; and "without the west bounds of Windsor common land fifteen acres," £6 [Hartford PD Case #2202].
More than a generation later, on 25 August 1719, Jonathan Filley, Josiah Filly, John Filly, Thomas Gillett and Joseph Gillett petitioned the probate court that their "grandfather Jonathan Gillit late of Windsor" had left unadministered estate and they requested that someone be appointed to administer the property [Hartford PD Case #2202].

Birth: By about 1609 (based on presumed age at marriage), son of Rev. William Gillett.
Death: Windsor 23 August 1677 (from inventory).
Marriage: Colyton, Devonshire, 29 March 1634 Mary Dolbiar, bp. Colyton, Devonshire, 7 June 1607 [TAG 15:208-17]. She died Windsor 5 January 1685[/6] [CTVR 56; TAG 15:210].

i Jonathan, born about December 1634 [TAG 15:210]; m. (1) Windsor 23 April 1661 Mary Kelsey [Grant 39], daughter of William Kelsey [TAG 68:209, 210, 215]; m. (2) Windsor 14 December 1676 Miriam Dibble [Grant 39], daughter of Thomas Dibble.
ii Cornelius, born say 1636; m. by 1659 Priscilla Kelsey, daughter of William Kelsey [TAG 68:214; Grant 39].
iii Mary, born say 1638; m. Windsor 15 July 1658 Peter Brown [Grant 33-34; TAG 33:215]. (Because of the tight chronology between the date of marriage of the parents and the known birthdate of the fourth child, Coddington suggests that Cornelius and Mary may have been twins [TAG 15:211].)
iv Anna, born Windsor 29 December 1639 [Grant 39]; m. Windsor 29 October 1663 Samuel Filley [Grant 37].
v Joseph, bp. Windsor 25 July 1641 [Grant 39]; m. Windsor 24 November 1664 Elizabeth Hawkes [WiVR ].
vi Samuel, bp. Windsor 22 January 1642/3 [Grant 39]; no further record.
vii John, born Windsor 5 October 1644 [Grant 39]; m. Windsor 8 July 1669 "Marcy Barber" [CTVR 12; Grant 40]. John Gillett d. in 1682 [Manwaring 1:307] and his widow m. (2) Windsor 14 June 1683 George Norton [CTVR 52], son of George Norton . She was the daughter of Thomas Barber [Manwaring 1:94], and had been taken in by Walter Filer after her father's death [RPCC 262, 264].
viii Abigail, bp. Windsor 28 June 1646 [Grant 39]; d. Windsor 1648 [Grant 81].
ix Jeremiah, born Windsor 12 February 1647/8 [Grant 39]; m. Windsor 15 October 1685 Deborah Bartlett [WiVR Barbour 117], daughter of Benjamin Bartlett.
x Josiah, bp. Windsor 14 July 1650 [Grant 39]; m. Windsor 30 June 1676 Joanna Taintor [Grant 42, 76].

Associations: He was brother of Nathan Gillett of Dorchester and Windsor.

Ever since the publication of the will of Rev. William Gillett, Rector of Chaffcombe, Somersetshire [NYGBR 41:282-83], Jonathan and Nathan Gillett of Dorchester and Windsor have been considered his sons, although there have been some nagging doubts. In 1979 George E. McCracken published additional information which makes the identification solid [TAG 55:170-73]. McCracken suggested that Jonathan, Nathan and some of their siblings were born before 1610, when William Gillett was instituted at Chaffcombe; but we only have scattered Bishops' Transcripts for some of the years after 1610, and there is a ten-year gap when several Gillett children could have been born. Jonathan was probably older than Elias, who was baptized on 11 February 1611/2 and so could well have been born at an earlier residence for the family. Nathan, however, need not have been born until 1613, and he could have been born at Chaffcombe, next after Elias, during a period when neither the parish register nor the Bishops' Transcripts survive for that parish.

Comments: Jonathan Gillett and his brother Nathan are frequently included in passenger lists of the Mary & John. While this is not impossible, it is also not a necessary conclusion. They were both from the West Country, and both settled first in Dorchester, but were they first here in 1630? The first record of Nathan is his admission to freemanship in 1634, which implies arrival by 1633, and nothing more. From the statement of Jonathan's son Benjamin in their copy of the "Breeches Bible" that "My father Gille[tt] came into new-inglan the second time in June in the year 1634...," we know that Jonathan arrived for the second time in 1634, and he does appear on the 1634 passenger list of the Recovery [TAG 15:210; NGSQ 77:250]. But he could have come for the first time in 1633, turned around immediately to return to England to marry early in 1634 and board ship in time to sail back to New England. There was a ship from the West Country in 1633 that could have brought the Gillett brothers to New England, and as a result we would not be justified in placing them on the Mary & John. Any evidence which might overturn this conclusion would almost certainly have to come from England.

Jonathan Gillett had left Dorchester by 20 June 1638 [DTR 35]. Anna, born December 1639, was the first of his children to be born in Windsor. Since the chronology for the births of his children is tight, the previous child, Mary, was probably born late in 1637 or early in 1638, and in Dorchester, so the date for the move from Dorchester to Windsor would be in the first half of 1638.

In his 17 August 1677 accounting of "what children has been born in Windsor from our beginning hither," Matthew Grant said that "Jonathan Gellet senior" had seven [Grant 90], which accords with the actual list of children given by Grant elsewhere.

Bibliographic Note: George E. McCracken surveyed the literature on the Gillett family in 1979, providing some brief commentary on the relative reliability of the many publications [TAG 55:170-71].


[1] Peter Wilson Coldham, "Genealogical Gleanings in England Passengers and Ships to America, 1618-1668," National Genealogical Society Quarterly 71 (1983), 163-192, at 171.

[2] Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633 (Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995), 766, [AmericanAncestors].