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Birth date of George Bartlett

By Gary Bartlett 31 may 2019

I’m a direct Bartlett surname descendent of Deacon George Bartlett of Guilford, CT who has researched my Bartlett line for over 30 years, and must take issue with the assertion that he was born in 1630, for these reasons:

1) The earliest known record of George on this side of the Atlantic is in the first court record from "Guilford Plantation", dated 14 August 1645, wherein he is listed as a witness in the court proceedings, from Genealogies of Connecticut Families, from the New England Historical & Genealogical Register, selected and introduced by Gary Boyd Roberts, Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1983, p 102. Many internet sites give a birth year for George of 1630 – without any proof, I might add - but for George to have been a witness in the Guilford court in 1645, he must first have already attained the age of majority – 21 years under English Common Law. This means that the latest possible birth year for George would be 1624 or before.

2) One would presume George Bartlett to have been one of the Guilford founders, owing to the central location of his homelot. His name was tenth in the Guilford "Book of Terriers" (i.e. a survey of landed property). The site was situated on the southwest corner of Guilford Green. It is logical to assume that during the first decade or so of the settlement, all those individuals having homelots in the center of the village were members of the original 1639 group, with the community expanding outward from the geographic core as later settlers arrived or children of the original settlers grew to adulthood. Frankly, if George Bartlett were not part of the original 1639 Guilford group – for instance, if he came to Guilford directly from England or from elsewhere in New England at a later date as some researchers suggest – it is impossible to believe that he would have been assigned a homelot with frontage on Guilford Green, as that land would already have been taken by the first settlers, and would not have been available to late arrivals.

3) Puritan immigration into New England virtually stopped after 1640 due to the English Civil War, so it is doubtful that George Bartlett arrived after that. According to the History of the Colony of New Haven to its Absorption into Connecticut by Edward E. Atwater, The Journal Publishing Co., Meriden, Connecticut, 1902, pg 626, George Bartlett was among the Guilford settlers who arrived in New Haven aboard the second ship in July of 1639, but the original source for this assertion is unknown.

4) If the supposition is correct that George Bartlett was part of the 1639 group and he was allotted his homelot in the first division of land at Guilford Plantation, which would appear to be the case, it argues for an even earlier birth year for George than 1624. Once again, for George Bartlett to own land, he would have been required to attain the age of majority of 21 years. The records of the first allotments of land are no longer existent, and may have been destroyed in a house fire, per the History of Guilford & Madison, Connecticut, by Bernard Christian Steiner, reissued by The Guilford Free Library, Guilford, CT, 1975, p 31. The Whitfield Congregation arrived first in New Haven, where they remained temporarily until the land for what became Guilford village could be purchased from the local Native Americans. The final land transaction was finalized in 02 February of 1641-2, per HGM p 33. Assuming that George Bartlett was at least 21 years old by that time, it pushes his birth year back to – maybe – 1620.

Collectively, this data would appear to suggest that George Bartlett of Guilford, CT was likely born in England around 1620 and was among the Whitfield Congregation of English Puritans who made passage to New Haven in the summer of 1639. If you have any real proof – in the form of original source documentation - to show otherwise, I’d be very interested to know what it is.

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