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An Historical Sketch
John H. Perry
For his Associates in the Fairfield Historical Society at the
Observance of the Two Hundred and Seventy Fifth
Anniversary of the Founding of the Town
Published by the Fairfield Historical Society
Press of the Bridgeport Standard
0£C 22 1314
John H. Perry
A quarter of a milleniiim and almost exactly a quarter
of a century ago in September 1639 the history of Fairfield
began just across Eliot street from the present home of the
Society which finds a worthy occupation in perpetuating it. The
early life of the plantation was directed by and centered about
Roger Ludlowe whose signature distinguishes our seal and
whose story I am asked to tell on this occasion.
He came of an English family early domiciled in Shrop-
shire and from thence moving into Wiltshire where his ances-
tors are found in the first rank of gentlemen entitled as
Knights of the Shire to stand as candidates to represent their
county in Parliament, an honor which they seldom failed
to acquire. The arms of the family were : Argent a chevron
between three martins' heads erased sable. Crest : A demi mar-
tin rampant sable. IMotto : Omne solum forti patria (To a
brave man every land is home).
Our Roger was the second son of Thomas Ludlowe of
Dinton, Wiltshire, gentleman, and Jane Pyle, sister of Sir Gab-
riel Pyle, Knight, and was baptized if not born on March 7th,
1590. He accordingly founded Fairfield in his forty-ninth
year. He was cousin to Lieut.-General Edmund Ludlowe who
was a member of the Court at the trial of King Charles, and
was called by Macaulay "the most illustrious survivor of a
mighty race of men, the judges of a King, the founders of
His eldest brother, Gabriel, was called to the Bar in Eng-
land in 1620 and became a Bencher in 1637. His youngest
brother, George, emigrated to New England and thence to
Yorktown, in Virginia, where he acquired a large estate and
became lieutenant of the eonnty Avith the rank of Colonel and
a member of tlie Council. He owned one-sixteenth of the
Roger matriculated at Oxford from Baliol College on
June 16th, 1610, but did not graduate, and became a student
in the Inner Temple in November, 1612. The succeeding
eighteen years preceding his departure were devoted to the
study and practice of the law, and in them he acquired a pro-
fessional equipment such as was possessed b}- no other im-
migrant of his time.
With such lineage and training he necessarily found a
congenial place among those "who were called by duty as
v.-ell as choice to the field of adventure and preferment then
opening in New England." To this service he gave his fortune
and his highly trained endeavors.
In JMarch, 1628, a royal grant of certain estates across the
sea was obtained by John Endecott and others who were
known as "The Dorchester Company."
Some months later the original patentees with twenty
new associates procured from King Charles the famous Chart-
er of the "Governor and Company of Massachusetts Bay in
New England. ' ' In this Company Ludlowe was chosen an as-
sistant by the stockholders in London on October 20th, 1629,
"that his counsel and judgement might aid in preserving or-
der and founding the social structure upon the surest basis."
In the Dorchester and Bay Companies he was associated
with the leading minds of his day, makers of the English as
well as the New England Commonwealth. To be chosen as an
assistant by such men, a position equivalent to that of a man-
aging director in the Company's affairs, was honor indeed.
To serve also as Deputy Governor in both Colonies, Governor
de facto in Connecticut, Magistrate, Commissioner, Legislator,
Jurist, Judge, Maker of Treaties, Deviser of Constitutions,'
'''ompiler of I-aws, and Champion of Democracy became his
inevitable task in the land of his adoption.
On the 20th of March. 1630, Ludlowe set sail from Ply-
moutli in the ship Mary and John, a ship of four hundred
tons which he then or thereafter owned, with John Mason,
Underhill, Patrick, Southcote, and Smith, the minister Maver-
ick and his colleague Wareham, and, what Cotton Mather cal-
led, "an honorable Company" of lesser notables. In May of
that year, a month in advance of Andrew Warde, he landed
on Nantasket Point, and finally settled at Mattapan which
subsequently became Dorchester.
He is said in some biographies to have married Mary
Endecott, the sister of Governor Endecott already mentioned,
but it is more probable that he married Mary Cogan, the
daughter of Philobert Cogan of Chard, in Somerset, who was
the sister of Endecott 's wife. (N. E. Hist, and Gen. Reg., Vol.
43, P. 310.) This marriage had apparently taken place be-
fore he sailed.
Through five industrious years he labored acceptably for
Massachusetts and so earned the right to be called chief
which the Bible awards to those who serve. The servant of
all he thereby became the greatest of all.
He was conceded to be and characterized as "the princi-
pal lay citizen of Dorchester." He was one of its three stock-
holders in the Bay Company. He selected the site for its
plantation and was a land owner, land commissioner, land
viewer, and surveyor there. He was appointed a justice of the
peace with Winthrop and Saltonstall soon after his arrival;
negotiated the first treaty with the Pequots and another with
the Narragansetts and Mohegans; served as Administrator of
estates ; drafted orders and laws to meet emergencies and was
Colonel ex officio. When the subversion of the Colonial gov-
ernment through the instrumentality of Laud was threat-
ened by the King in 1634 and the Colonists resolved to defend
themselves by force if necessary, he was made "overseer of
the work at Castle Island," (now Fort Independence,) one of
the most important defences on the coast, and finally was
chosen a member of a military commission of most extraordin-
ary authority with Winthrop, Dudley, Haynes, Endecott, Bel-
lingham, Pynchon and Bradstreet as his associates. To reverse
the familiar motto, Ex omnibus disce unum.
IJut altliough he stood thus high iu the councils and con-
fidence of his contemporaries, matters in tlie Bay Colony -were
shaping to an end which must inevitably cost it his allegiance
in common with that of Hooker, Ilaynes, Stone and our own
At a meeting of the General Court of the Colony in iMay,
1631, it was
"Ordered and decreed that for the time to come no
man shall be admitted to the freedom of this body
politic but such as are members of some of the
churches within the limits of the same."
"Thus these men w^ho had expatriated themselves for the
sake of civil and religious liberty undertook to build a
state on the basis of a church convenant with ecclesiastical
domination in spiritual and temporal affairs alike."
The ultimate outcome of this was foreordained. First
ca]ne friction, then heat, then sparks, then flame, then the sep-
arating and dissipating consequences which folloAV conflagra-
tion. Four years was the period of this inevitable progression,
during all of which Ludlowe served his associates in the labors
more abundant which have been above enumerated.
On May 14th. 1634. he had been elected Deputy Gov-
ernor and in due course should have been Governor in 1635,
but Avas defeated by John Haynes who is contemporaneously
described as "of large estate and larger affections and dear
to the people by his benevolent virtues and disinterested con-
duct," although Ludlowe himself referred to him as his "evil
While this was justly a great disappointment, it was
doubtless only a minor one among the reasons which prompted
him to join those who soon after — to use their own language —
"followed the strong bent of their spirits to remove."
"The controlling factor in the whole situation lay in the
fact that men of masterful purposes, of broad views of human
rights, of faith in democratic principles, could not long brook
the church membership test of suffrage, the exclusiveness and
the arrogance of ministerial interference and dictation in pub-
lic and private affairs."
Thus Massachusetts lost the services of one of her ablest
men, and Connecticut, acquiring him as a pioneer, to this day
enjoys the works of his hand in her unique constitution, her
unexcelled jurisprudence and her political and religious liber-
The valley of the Long River was not an unknown land to
the men of this new emigration. Its spell had long before been
cast upon Dutch and English adventures, and the Sagamore
Wahquinnacut, an ambassador from Sassacus, who came first
to Ludlowe and dined with Governor Winthrop, had urged
the colonists to come to his country and given glowing des-
criptions of its attractiveness.
Small parties from the three Bay towns, Dorchester, New-
town and Watertown, came to Connecticut in the summer of
1635 (as Brewster informs us in his contemporaneous letter)
to choose locations for their families. Ludlowe came with
those from Dorchester, and Mathew Grant, the surveyor, in
his first distribution set out a large lot to him at what was
again called Dorchester, for they brought the names of their
Massachusetts homes with them; but Dorchester soon became
Windsor, named from the royal city; Newtown Hartford, the
English birthplace of ]\Ir. Stone, and Watertown Wethersfield,
John Talcott's foreign home.
The lot so set out to him contained 122 acres and was sit-
uated on the "island road" at the "two bridges" between Mr.
Samuel Allen and Mr. Henry Wolcott. On this lot he built
a "stone house" which was "drowned very deep" in the flood
This house is believed to have stood near where the new
Loomis Institute road now turns off from the old highway to-
ward the railroad.
Just here the undoubted facts compel the painful admis-
sion that Ludlowe and his company established themselves in
Windsor by a ruthless belligerency Avhich calmly swept aside
the lawful claims of prior occupants.
He returned to the Bay for the foHowing winter, and in
^Mareh. 1636, the General Court of Massachusetts empowered
a commission of eight to govern those who thus "had resolved
to transplant themselves and their estates unto the river of
Connecticut." "Roger Ludlowe, Esq.," was named first on
this commission and Andrew Warde last. To it were accorded
in combination the usual powers of Legislature Court and Ex-
ecutive. Its enabling act is a familiar document in American
Thus was Roger Ludlowe selected by those who knew him
best to be the virtual head of this first experiment in true
democracy and his loss of the Massachusetts Governorship
might well be thenceforth forgotten.
He forthAvith moved to Windsor, and the first entry in the
Colonial records of Connecticut is that of a "Corte holden att
Newton (Hartford) 26 April, 1636," over which he with
four of his associates on the Commission presided.
During the ensuing year he held several "Cortes" the
records of which have been preserved, at once instituted jury
trials, and doubtless labored constantly and effectively in the
arduous task of guiding the three river towns on that untried
way whicli Avas to ultimately become Connecticut.
Although the Charter of the Commission expired by its
terms in IMarch, 1637, a rencAval was never sought or granted.
The river toAvns had always intended and now learned to
stand alone. Ludlowe appears to have continued by common
consent to act as chief executive. On the first day of May,
1637, he presided over what the record describes as a "Gener-
all Corte at Harteford" — the initial occurrence by the way of
that title for the tribunal — and there "an offensuive warr agt.
the Pequoitt" Avas declared, an act sometimes described as
the first display of sovereignty in New England.
"A pink, a pinnace and a shallop" thereupon took doAvn
the river more than one-half the fighting men of the three
"plantaeons" and, before the issue is knoAA'u. LudloAve, Aveigh-
ed doAvn with the responsibility for the administration of the
almost defenceless settlements, on May 17th writes in part as
follows to his friend Pynehon in like stress at Springfield :
"For my part my spirit is ready to sink within me when
upon alarms which are daily I think of your condition. * *
* * But I must confess both you and ourselves do stand
merely by the power of our God, therefore he must and ought
to have all tbe praise of it. * * * * Our plantations are
so gleaned by that small fleet we sent out that those that re-
main are not able to supply our watches ; * * * * and
what we plant is before our doors, little anywhere else."
On the 26th of the following month he was ordered by the
"Genrall Corte" in conjunction with "Mr. Haine" "to parle
with the bay" about Pequoitt matters, and in July he accom-
panied the force which on July loth under the command of
his friend and fellow ship-mate in the Mary and John, Cap-
tain Mason, exterminated that tribe in the great swamp fight
in Southport. Thus active in war as well as in peace, and al-
ways observant, his zealous attention to the task committed to
his charge brought him to Fairfield, and coming he saw that
which made its "taking up" so worth while as to be speedily
For the time being, however, he returned with the victor-
ious troops to the river towns, although "fair Uncowa with its
hills and streams, rich intervales and forest lands" had cap-
tured his imagination.
Just here he diversifies the sameness of his constant civil
service with the only ecclesiastical labor which I find credited
to him and, with Mr. Pynehon as his fellow delegate, accom-
panies Mr. Hooker and Mr. Stone to a colonial Synod where
in twenty-two days they helped to condemn eighty-two dis-
tinct teachings of the Antinomians, and, for some reason not
clearly evident, took with them a scalp from those of which
the Pequot heads had been so recently bereft.
Before these days his name had always headed the list
of the magistrates who held the various courts upon the river,
but his successful competitor for the governorship of Massa-
chusetts had now moved to Connecticut, and, whether on
account of his greater wealth and far greater diplomacy, or
for some other reason, soon took precedence here, and from Nov-
ember 1-lth, 1637 Mr. Ilaynes' name appears first and Lud-
lowe's second. In this sequence he appears in the roll call
of each General Court until the birthday of Connecticut as a
Commonwealth on January 14th, 1639 for an "orderly and
decent government established according to God with duties
and powers and restrictions put into writing and published
dates for Connecticut and for the civilized world from that
"It Avas very quietly done, this momentous act, this
first written Constitution known to history that created a
government. Its adoption was the beginning of American
democracy and that is the same as to say of all properly safe-
guarded popular government the wide Avorld over."
The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut are one of the
epoch-marking documents of history, and yet no account exists
of the method or surrounding circumstances of their adoption.
They stand upon the records of the State without introduc-
tion or background or comment save the single concluding
"14th January 1638-9 the 11 orders above said are
They were plainly deemed to be self explanatory and self
sufficient. They are the Melchizadek among the Magna
Chartas of the World.
Some historians find in the "General Court" of those days
the then equivalent of the present General Assembly, and in
as much as the 7th article of this instrument defines one of the
duties of that Court to be "to agitate the afajTes of the Com-
monwealth," the claim seems to be well founded. Our only
concern with them today is to note the fact that, ever since
their monumental character came to be recognized and writ-
ten of, Roger Ludlowe is conceded to have been the artificer
of their form. While he doubtless was also influential in deter-
mining the principles involved he certainly clothed those
principles in the language used.
On April 11th, 1639, at the first "Court of Election"
created by and held under this new constitution he was elected
Deputy Governor — JMr. Haynes being Governor — and on August
8th was appointed with the Governor and Mr. Wells "to goe
to the River's mouth to consult with Mr. Fenwick about a
treaty of combination" with some of the other New England
colonies which may have been the initial step in the federa-
tion hereafter referred to.
On the 15th of the same month he reports to the General
Court the result of this endeavor, but at the next Court held
on September 5th, 1639, his name — for the first time since he
came to Connecticut — does not appear in the list of magis-
trates present, nor does it appear in the record of the Court
held five days later, and he is then fined five shillings "for
He appears again among the magistrates holding a Parti-
cular Court on October 3rd, and at a General Court held a
week later the record states that "Mr. Deputy informed the
Court that he had understood since his returne offence hath
beene taken att some of his proceedings in his late journey to
Pequonnocke and the parts thereabouts" whereupon he pro-
ceeds to explain his conduct, and the margin of the old record
is inscribed "Mr. Ludlowe his apology for taking up Uncoa."
Thus by grace of an unprecedented absence, a side note
and an apology we are enabled to accord to the month of Sep-
tember, 1639, the distinction of having seen the birth of Fair-
Ludlowe explains that ' ' att his coming to the Pequonnocke
he found cause to alter his former thoughts of * * winter-
ing there," and finding that undesirable persons were plan-
ning to "take up a Plantacon beyond * * * he adventured
to drive his cattle thither * * and to sett out himself and
some others house lotts to build on there * * and sub-
mitts * * whether he hath transgressed the Commission
The Court "unanimously conceaved that his proceedings
could not be warranted by the Commission" and, apparently
that he might be judged by his peers, appointed the then Gov-
ernor Haynes and the future Governor Wells to visit the place
and adjust the matter.
At a General Court held the following January "the im-
portunity of * * Wethersfield * * concerning Uncoa"
was answered by a report from this Committee that they
had "thought fitt * * to confirme" Mr. Ludlowe's acts.
"We thus, and in no other way, learn that Ludlowe started on
his journey with friends and cattle to settle at Pequonnoeke
under some kind of Commission, the nature of which is not dis-
closed, except that it did not cover the settling of Uncoa, and
that Uncoa appearing to our discerning, intrepid and always
headstrong adventurer too good to lose was nevertheless
It should be explained that the district then called Pe-
quonnock extended from the Pequonnock River westerly
toward, if not to. Ash Creek.
Before finally leaving the General Court of October 10th,
1639, however, we should note that indexed land records were
thereby ordered and town clerks appointed for the first time
in New England, and provision made for the orderly settling
of testate and intestate estates, all of which is convincingly
credited to Mr. Ludlowe.
He is also appointed Chairman of a Committee to "gather
up" the "remarkable passages of God's providence" from
the beginning of the Colony and report them for record.
An affidavit of John Green found in Vol. A of our re-
cords at page 447 shows that some, if not all, of those who
came with him to Uncoa were John Green, Edward Jessup,
Thomas Newton, Thomas Staples and Edmund Strickland.
The "house lott" so as aforesaid "sett out" to him was on
the northwest side of Eliot Street, a short distance east of Mr.
Betts' store, and near by were the lots of his above named
companions. He left his "cattle" here, but evidently did not
then build a house for himself, since he was soon back in Hart-
ford as the above quoted record of October 3d shows.
He sat in six Courts between October 3d, 1639, and
March 5th, 1640, both inclusive, but was absent on April 2d,
and thereafter continuously until the General Court for the
election of magistrates in April, 1612, when he was elected
Deputy Governor again. This interval in his attendance at the
court on the river probably indicates the time when he was
busy at Uncoa building his house, providing for and protecting
his interests and ordering the affairs of the new plantation.
In February, however, while still in Windsor, he was "in-
treated to consider some orders" about intestate estates and
corporal punishment and land tenures, for during his entire
sojourn in Connecticut toll was taken of his legal knowledge
During his absence from the General Court and the place
of its sessions, he was by no means forgotten, for in April,
1640, he was chosen a magistrate and appointed with Mr.
Haj'nes and Mr. Wells "to settle, the bounds between Paquon-
ocke and Uncowaye" and to "tender the oath of Fidelity to
the Inhabitants of the said Townes." In June of that year
he was ordered to "set out the bounds betwixt the Planta-
tions of Cuphege (now Stratford) and Uncowaye" and to
join with Mr. Hopkins of Cuphege in administering justice
there, and in April, 1641, was again elected a magistrate.
The first twelve pages of the first volume of our town
records are missing, and the entries there begin with the year,
1649, which is probably old style for 1650, so that any informa-
tion about his actions here which may have been contained
in the lost pages will never be available. It was undoubtedly
brief at the best, and probably related simply to his grants
of land. What most, if not all, of these were we know suffi-
ciently well from the record of the sales made by him just
before he left, and hereafter referred to. We do know that
the town was started by Ludlowe both geographically and
civilly in orderly and well considered fashion and that its
fashion and its founder soon attracted here the best blood
in both the Connecticut and New Haven Colonies. The same
intelligent concern for the welfare of his Colony which led
him at the outset to exceed his commission westward beyond
Pequounock soon made apparent the desirability of acquiring
territory farther westward still, and on February 26th, 1641
"the Indians of Norwalke" are pursuaded by largess of wam-
pum, tobacco, looking glasses, and jews harps,— the coin cur-
rent of that aboriginal realm, — to convey to "Mst. Roger
Ludlowe of faierfield" the territory extending from the middle
of the Norwalk river to the middle of the Soakatuck river
and from the sea a day's walk into the country.*
"What his dealings with the Indians of Fairfield had been
we do not know. No deeds from them to him have ever come
to light, or from them to the inhabitants prior to his departure.
The three deeds which cover the present town and more are
dated 1656, 1661 and 1670, but contain no reference to him
or any suggestion that the previous relations between the abor-
iginal grantors and the inhabitants had been otherwise than
The deed from the Norwalk Indians is witnessed by Thom-
as Ludlowe and one Adam. Adam was evidently the Indian
servant given to him by Massachusetts. Thomas is said by
the Norwalk historian Selleck to have been his son. His broth-
er Gabriel had a son Thomas but I find no evidence that Roger
liad such a child.
This Norwalk property Ludlowe agreed on June 19, 1650,
to surrender to Nathaniel Eli and others in consideration that
they would "sett upon the plantinge of Norwalk with all con-
venient speed," pay him fifteen pounds with interest and give
to "his sonnes" one of the "first lots laied out" of the value
of £200. There is nothing, however, to indicate that any lot
was ever so set apart.
On April 13, 1654 — one month before he parts with all
his property in Fairfield — he executes a formal transfer of
the Norwalk land to Eli and his associates, and acknowledges
♦This deed .shows that Fairfield had before this date begun in
local usage to supplant Uncowa or Uncowaye as the name of the new
town, although the records of the State do not seem to use it until 1645.
A conspicuously handsome monument of bronze and gran-
ite in south eastern Norwalk now characterizes Ludlowe as
the "founder" of that town.
Emboldened by your civic pride and guarded by your
friendship, I venture to claim that Ludlowe founded only one
town and that that town was Fairfield.
As public affairs were administered in the Bay Colony in
1635 and 1636 when "the Dorchester Church" (for so were the
settlers there contemporaneously described) with its minister
moved to Windsor, no lay member of the pilgrimage, however
learned, could successfully claim to have founded the place
where it next "set downe," while the above transcription of
what really happened between the Saugatuck and Norwalk
rivers ought to make the monument blush for its metallic
After his election as Deputy Governor in 1642 he sat once
in the General Court before the next Court of Election at
which, not being eligible under the custom for consecutive re-
appointment as deputy, he was chosen a magistrate, appointed
moderator of the particular court, and -directed to hold two
local courts for Stratford and Uncoway during the year.
In November, 16'43, the Colony "deseired" him to review
"the Souldears of the towns uppon the sea coast." If Frank-
lin was "many sided" surely Roger Ludlowe was as truly so.
He was reelected Magistrate in 1644 and 45 but apparently
was still busy in the new plantation, and attended court only
once. His labors had by this time produced a degree of pros-
perity in Fairfield which caused it in 1645 to be for the first
time included in the rate levy of the Colony.
He was again elected magistrate in ]646 and "deseired
to take some paj^nes in drawing forth a body of laws for the
government of this Commonwealth," and it was ordered that
two particular courts be held immediately preceding the
two general courts "that both the assistance of Mr. Ludlowe
may be had and such actions as fall out betwixt any uppon the
River and the Townes by the sea side be more comfortably
The "body of lawos" above referred to was finally com-
pleted by Ludlowe and adopted by the General Court in May,
1650. x\o record or evidence exists to show that he was ever
compensated therefor beyond the statement that "it is the mynd
of the Court that he be considered for his paynes." To this
day it is known as " Ludlowe 's Code." It is not a revision or
compilation but "a systematic and comprehensive body of
laws prefaced by a Bill of Rights in which are contained sev-
eral of the leading provisions of Magna Charta."
It is a marvelous production for a wilderness inhabitant
and in form and substance most of its articles are today
embodied in the general legislation of the State.
He was elected a magistrate in 1647 and Deputy Governor
in 1648, then again first magistrate in 1649, 50, 51, 52 and 53,
but at the Court of Election on May 18th, 1654, his name
does not appear and therewith, except for the Staples trial,
he passes out of Connecticut history.
After his last election as Deputy Governor he participated
in the General Court at Hartford only five times, except when
it sat as a Court of Election, for other lawyers well enough
equipped for the purpose had come to the front, but he was
regularly elected a member of it and in all matters of moment
to the colony at large was generally accorded a prominent
position. lie is sent on commissions to the New Haven Col-
ony, and in 1649 is "desired" to prepare the "Souldgers"
for the Indian War.
In 1643 Connecticut joined with Massachusetts, Plymouth
and New Haven— Saybrook also having some place — to form
a federation known as The United Colonies of New England
to better meet the ever present peril from the Dutch and
Indians. To the meetings of this Federation Ludlowe was
sent as Commissioner from Connecticut for the years 1648,
51, 52 and 53, and when the peril from the Dutch was believed
to have become imminent and the federated colonies seemed
to act tardily or not to act at all, Fairfield in the fall of 1653
declared war all by herself and appointed Ludlowe Command-
er in Chief of her forces which he proceeded at once to enlist
The shafts of criticism forthwith filled the air and strnck
and rankled, but no bullets of the real enemy drew blood. Cer-
tain actions of the colonial anthorities at this time and in this
connection he declared to be "a reflection on his patriotism."
Soon thereafter Thomas Staples sued him for slandering
Mrs. Staples in a talk with Rev. John Davenport of New Haven
about witchcraft, at the trial of which suit on May 29th, 1654,
judgement was rendered for fifteen pounds damages — clearly
against the evidence — and again for ten pounds in a second
suit tried in October. His attorney Avas Ensign Alexander
Bryan of Milford. The record of the first suit states that Lud-
lowe himself Avas not present and describes him as "late of
His first home, a tract of two acres on what is now Eliot
Street, he conveyed on January 4th, 1654, to Daniel Finch,
bounding it northwest with the common, southwest with land
of Walter Lancaster, southeast with the highway, and north-
east with land of William Heydon, and just a month later the
town set out to him a "homelot" of five acres on the north-
Avest side of the present main street at the Benson corners,
bounded on three sides by highways, and now oAvned by Mrs.
Auchincloss and Miss Jennings.
The removal of his former Eliot street neighbor AndrcAV
Warde in December 1653 to tlie second homelot west of tliis
^lain street corner may have influenced this purchase, but if
LudloAve ever lived there it Avas for the briefest time.
On May 10th, 1654, he conveyed to his above mentioned
friend and Attorney Alexander Bryan (or Briant) this new
homelot together with many acres of other land situated in
Avidely separated parts of the town, including forty-seven and
one-half acres at the end of Kennedy's or Sasco Point.
Bryant conveyed the homelot on the next day to Nathan
Gold, a man of commanding character, who after LudloAve's
departure largely took his place in Fairfield.
Gold had come here from INIilford in the New Haven
Colony in 1649, and Andrew Warde of the same colony came
at about the same time. jMv own first lineal ancestor in the
town, Richard Perry, ])robably the one time Secretary of
that name in the New Haven Colony, had also recently moved
in and was then living on the opposite side of Main Street.
For reasons which can only be conjectured, Roger Lud-
lo^\e left Fairfield and Connecticut between I\Iay 10th, and
29th, 1651, never to return. It is supposed that an accumula-
tion of slights, disappointments, undeserved criticisms, petty
jealousies and failure to recognize his priceless services, cul-
minating in his failure to attain the Governorship, the Dutch
War episode, and the Staples law suit determined his depart-
ure, although Mr. John "SI. Taylor, his latest biographer, con-
ceives it to be quite possible that an invitation from Oliver
Cromwell, to whom he was well known, to return and enter
the service of the English Commonwealth may have been a
super-added and controlling cause, for it is known that at this
time such invitations were coming to this country. He w^as
too efficient a man to be round-cornered, too energetic to be
companionable, too direct to be diplomatic, too self-reliant
and out-spoken to be popular. Always fortiter in re he was
apparently seldom suaviter in mode. He was a Avilderness
subduer and a foundation builder, not a social favorite. The
Massachusetts records disclose that while an important ques-
tion of government Avas under discussion there he "grew into
a passion and continued stiff in his opinions," and on two
occasions men were fined for piling epithets upon him which
were possibly deserved but decidedly unpleasant for the per-
son described to listen to. When in 1635 he failed of promotion
to the Governorship, he stormed about in a way which made
no friends, and even the sainted wife of John Davenport felt
justified in describing him under oath as "free in his speech."
Among the contentious of those days he was described as "the
cheffe man." Be it said to his credit however, that among his
other contentions he was the first man in New England to
"hotly condemn" a political caucus. Too indispensable to
have been out of important public office a single year of the
twenty-four which he spent in New England and yet never
quite attaining the highest, almost, but not quite the leading
figure of his time, he chartered a vessel ' ' to transport himself
and his family to Vergenia" there to visit his brother before
returning to his native land. When the Colony of New Haven
in April 1654 confiscated the ship so chartered, he complained
bitterly and departing soon afterward as above stated, sailed, I
judge, direct to Ireland, for I can find no evidence of his going
to Virginia, while the deposition of a Mr. Webster (State Arch-
ives private controversies Vol. II. doc.4) made in 1660 speaks of
an event as having happened ' ' about the time Mr. Ludlowe went
for old England."*
Landing in Ireland he crossed over and was at Holyhead
in September, 165-1 where his cousin, Edmund Ludlow, Lieut.
General of Cromwell's forces in Ireland, tells us in his memoirs
that he met him and took him back to Dublin. There he
was soon nominated by Cromwell, and on December 18th, 1654,
appointed by the Lord Deputy and Council, to be a member
of a Commission composed of men of the greatest distinction
to settle claims relative to the forfeited lands in Ireland, and
for other purposes. The record is as follows :
"It is ordered that Roger Ludlowe, Esq.. be appointed
Commn. for the administration of justice at Dublin and like-
wise for the adjudication of claymes and to that end it is or-
dered that he be inserted in the Respective Commission for
that Purpose; and it is further ordered that he be added to
the Commission for the administration of justice in the County
of Corke, and inserted in the commssion for the Peace of the
said County, to the end he may act in the administration of
justice there until he shall be otherwise disposed of as there
may be occasion for the most advantage of the Common-
He sat in this Commission during its life and on Septem-
ber 22, 1758. w^as paid "in full for his good services."
♦After arriving at this conclusion I find it supported in a note
by the late State Librarian Charles J. Hoadley in Vol. 41 New Eng.
Hist, and Gen. Reg. P. 65.
Thereupon he was appointed on a new Commission order-
ed by the Lord Protector and associated again with men of
He also was made Master in Chancery for Ireland, a lucra-
tive position of authority and great responsibility. The last
known reference to his public labors is found in the Receiver
General's accounts and is as follows:
"Dec. 16, 1659. To Mr Jonathan Ludlow (probably his
oldest son) by Warrt. dated ye 12th of Dec'r, 1659, the sum of
twenty pounds for ye use of Roger Ludlow for his care and
pains taken in several publi(iue services in this nacon, and is in
ful satisfac'con of all past services done by him for ye Com-
The last known reference to the man himself is the follow-
ing entry in the records of Saint Michan's Parish Church in
"1664, June 3. Burial, Mary Ludlowe, wife to Roger Lud-
From this it is apparent that the husband was then living
and resident in Dublin.
No authority yet seen records his death or points to his
If the Constitution which he devised was the Melchizadeck
of Democracy, he himself appears to have been its Moses, and
to have been punished, as was that first great laM^giver, for
infirmities of temper.
He apparently took with him to Ireland his wife Mary
Cogan and such of his six children, Jonathan, Joseph, Roger,
Anne, ]\Iary and Sarah, as were then born. One of these was
born in "Windsor. The birthplaces of the others we do not
know. Sarah married Nathaniel Brewster, a nephew of Elder
Brewster of Plymouth, and returning to this country died and
is buried at Setauket, Long Island. Captain Caleb Brewster
of Black Rock, of Revolutionary fame, was one of her des-
cendants, and his grandson, Caleb Brewster Ilackley. was the
last of the Ludlowe line living in or near Fairfield unless what
the late Mr. Henry ]\Iills thought prol)able ultimately proves
to be true, that the wife and children of the President of this
Societ}^ enjoy that enviable distinction.
It is not without regret that I have thus made my contri-
bution to your evening's entertainment as dry and uninspir-
ing as the index of a book of deeds. I was anxious but unable
to do otherwise. The early records and contemporary litera-
ture of the town have been searched in vain for a human pic-
ture of our founder.
We are trusted with the knoM'ledge that his pastor had
one eye and great fervor, but of what parts was Roger Lud-
Our curiosity is piqued by the long silences where during
the fifteen years of his guardianship of our infancy some in-
formation might so easily have been given about his local in-
terests, his community relations, his appearance, his family,
and his social life.
That, when his fellow citizens were identified by their
first names and habitually referred to without prefix or title, he
was sufficiently described in Town and Colony and Federa-
tion as ]\Ir. Ludlowe, and his constant public services duly
noted, excites our pride but does not contribute to the intima-
cy we would like to feel.
He was the Colony's wise leader and capable executive,
but he v/as our ancestors' friend and neighbor, and we resent
the fact that we lack his picture and w^ere so flippantly dep-
rived of his declining years and continuing posterity. We
are glad however that while he stayed we gave him of offices
and land and confidence the best Ave had.
The makers of Connecticut history adorn her Capitol at
Hartford, and among them is necessarily the subject of our
Brooks' splendid statue placed in the western niche on the
north front in 1909 portrays him in cloak, doublet and short
clothes, with a law book in his hand, strikingly intellectual
and palpably combative as he looks out from the building
where center the activities of that which he taught how to be
a State. The hair is long as was Cromwell's, whose example
in that respect he is said to have followed, while the features
are copied from an existing portrait of a relative.
Next to him stands John Mason, his fellow immigrant,
quondam neighbor and life-long friend, and beyond Mason
are Governors Eaton, Winthrop and Haynes.
Thus in memorial effigy as in active life he is one of and
level with the choicest spirits of his time.
Connecticut's recognition of "the father of Connecticut
Jurisprudence," as he was earl}' called by Judge Thomas Day,
though late is generous, for the Supreme Court room in the
new State Library derives distinction from Herter's notable
portrayal of the enactment of the Fundamental Orders in which
Koger Ludlowe seated at the table dominates the group.
Except for three lines upon the boulder on our Green, the
town which owes its existence to his discernment, and its early
prominence to his repute, has paid no lasting tribute to his
Tho preceding sketch was rendered possible by, and its author
is greatly indebted to, Pres. John M. Taylor of Hartford the modern
biographer of Ludlowe, and in a lesser but very considerable degree to
The History of Fairfield by Mrs. Schenck, to the Article on Ludlowe
by William A. Beers (late of Fairfield) in The Magazine of American
History Vol. Vin, to Rev. Doctor Hart of Middletown, to Mr. Godard,
the State Librarian and his assistants, and to many other kind friends
and helpers whose united contributions have given to it such value as
it has.— J. H. P.
Pi) l« 1
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