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Francis Nichols of Stratford, Connecticut: 4th Update: John Nichols

Francis Nichols of Stratford, Connecticut: 4th Update: John Nichols
By Linus Joseph Dewald Jr., Editor
Fall 2009 and Revised 9 Jul 2009


In our earlier 2nd and 3rd Updates on Francis Nichols we described recent recent research appearing to indicate that Francis Nichols of Stratford, CT, was bap. 25 May 1575 in Sedgeberrow, Worcester, England, and that one of Francis' sons, John Nichols, bap. 16 May 1601 had a daughter, Hester Nichols, who m. John Prentice, a grandson of the immigrant, Valentine Prentice.

Recent DNA test results, however, establish that John Nichols not a son of Francis Nichols. Those test results can be found at http://www.brian-hamman.com/ResultsForNicholsSurnameProject.htm . Briefly summarized, the DNA tests show that:

  1. Francis Nichols' sons, Isaac Nichols and Caleb Nichols, belong to Haplogroup G while
  2. John Nichols, bap 16 May 1601, (Hester Nichols' father) belongs to a completely different Haplogroup R1b (23, 14, 10 R1b Motif).

The DNA test, discussed above, appears to link John Nichols to Enoch Nichols, b. 1762, Wilton, Fairfield Co., CT. An Ancestor Chart for Enoch Nichols can be found at Ancestry.com which traces his roots back to John Nichols (perhaps b. c. 1635-1645) and his wife, Mercy Holbridge who in 1669 were living in Compo, Westport, Fairfield Co., CT.

With the foregoing in mind, we set out below the presently known information we have received from Charlottee Nichols Vardy in her email of 6 Jul 2009 about John Nichols (father of Hester Nichols, who m. John Prentice, a grandson of the immigrant, Valentine Prentice) omitting language from old sources purporting to say he is the son of Francis Nichols.


1. John Nichols was b. at an unknown date and place, probably in England. John Nichols' researcher, Barbara Nichols, direct line descendant of John, provides the following information:

    ". . .we learn, "John Nichols s/o Francis, my ancestor it is believed to have been in Watertown by 1634 where he received a grant of "Plowlands at Beaverbrook Planes" of four acres 28 Feb 1636 Land divided and lotted out one acre per person, which included four members in his household. (Watertown Rec First and Second Book Proceedings w/Land Grants & Proprietors Book 1898, 8) John is listed as a Proprietor in Watertown 1636-7 in Henry Bonds "Genealogies of Early Settlers of Watertown" p 376) This is the last record of John in Watertown. No births of children listed in any reference. . .

    "He went from Watertown to Wethersfield in 1637-8 and removed to Stratford in 1639. He removed after a very short stay west to Uncoway, now Fairfield where he was granted land in the First Township in 1639 (Wm W Roberts, Pioneers & Patriots Pequanock 1933) John received 2 1/2 acres on the south east side of Frost Square lying between Richard Westcotts and Daniel Frosts home lots. I have a map of the Town in 1639 showing Johns home lot. . . He is cited a "Puritan" in R R Hinman's Catalogue of Names of First Puritan Settlers of Colony of CT, 1968 p 57).

    "This research shows John in Watertown before 1636 with four in his household and in Wethersfield about 1637-8 and Fairfield late in 1639. I do not believe he had a son Thomas. There was a Thomas Nichols who came to Watertown about the same time John did and founded the MA line of Nichols. It is very possible Thomas was of his line and not Johns. Believe me I did a lot of research to find the birth dates of Johns daughters but found nothing. All I can say there is the first two were born in England before 1636 and Hannah after 1636. I have the death dates of Hester and Elizabeth and have been in touch with descendants of both. and will send them next time. I have no further information on Hannah. She may have died young. . .

    "John bought of . . . Isaac Nichols [son of Francis Nichols] of Stratford homelot & five parcels of land in Fairfield, recorded Jan 13,1643. (Judd Manuscript Ct V8:192). He died intestate in 1655 at Fairfield, Ct. His widow Grace gave up her interest in the homestead to her son John Nichols. (Donald L Jacobus, Hist & Genealogy Old Fairfield V1, Pt4-6). A distribution of John "Nichols" estate was made by his [his Administrators] Isaac Nichols [son of Francis Nichols] & Andrew Ward, Jun 9,1655 in which six children were named, viz: Hester, Elix, Hannah, Isaac, Sarah and John. In this distribution Samuel is not named. (Fairfield Probate 1656 1:56).

    John left minor children to be cared for. His [Administrator] Isaac raised his son Isaac and possibly Sarah while [Isaac's] sister Jane Washburn's family cared for young John. . . "

On the return of the inventory of John's Will, dated June 19, 1655, the children Isaac, Sarah & John are named, expecting another which was Samuel, probably named by his widow, Grace.

On June 4, 1659 when the Deed was given to son, Isaac, Grace required him to pay her children; Sarah, John & Samuel a particular sum. Savage believed, then, that Esther, Elizabeth,& Hannah. who were the three oldest children, were probably issue by a previous wife. Jacobus concurred.

He m. 1st. Unknown before 1635 in England. She was b. c. 1618 in London, London, England, and may have d. in Watertown, MA. Children of John Nichols by first unknown wife were:

  1. Esther Nichols.
  2. Elizabeth Nichols.
  3. Hannah Nichols

John m. 2nd Grace c. 1649 in Fairfield Co., CT. She was b. 1625 in England. . Children by John's 2nd wife, Grace, were :

  1. Isaac Nichols.
  2. Sarah Nichols.
  3. John Nichols.
  4. Samuel Nichols.


While DNA tests exclude Francis Nichols' son, Isaac Nichols, as a brother to John Nichols, it is of interest to note that John (1) bought land from Isaac Nichols, (2) named Isaac Nichols as an Administrator of John's estate, and (3) that Isaac and Isaac' sister, Sarah, cared for some of John's children after his death. Those matters seem to indicate some non-kinship social or business relationship.

Correspondence:   If you have any information about the folks mentioned in this article, please send your information to us at the Prentice Newsletter. Be sure to give the full title and date of this article in the Subject line of the email.

Caution: If you don't use the above email link, your email to us may be deleted as spam by our email filter.

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