John Case was born on 25 Jul 1616 Aylesham in the Dover District in England, that’s tomorrow 404 years ago. We don’t know much about his childhood, but the Case family, father, mother and four sons, left Gravesend, England, bound for Boston on the ship Dorset, of the Winthrop fleet, in 1635, when John was 19 years old. The father William (properly John William Richard) died en route in September of that year, but the rest of the family settled largely in what today is the area of Hartford, CT.
John married Sarah Spencer, whose family had been living in the colonies since the 1630s as well, around 1655, and in 1656 their first daughter Elisabeth was born. Nine more children were to follow. In the early years of their marriage, John, Sarah and their children lived in the settlement of Massacoe which had 13 permanent residents in 1669. People appeared to be have been hesitant to settle there in the first years. John was appointed to the position of constable of the ‘plantation’, this being the first recorded civil office held by residents of the area. John also appears to have been instrumental in the process of turning the settlement into a town of Connecticut, which happened on 12 May 1670 when the plantation was ordered to be called “Simmsbury“. The boundaries at that time were Farmington on the south side and Windsor on the east side, with the extent of Simsbury running 10 miles north of Farmington and 10 miles west of Windsor.
One can surely say the family were American pioneers, and it appears that for most of his life, John played an active role in the community life of his plantation / village / town.
Following Sarah’s death on 3 November 1691, John married Elizabeth Moore, the widow of Nathaniel Loomis, but they had no children together, Elizabeth already having had 14 children by her first husband.
John in turn died on 21 February 1704 in Simsbury and it is believed that he was buried next to Sarah in an unmarked grave on Simsbury Cemetery.
Requiescat in Pace, Great-Grandpa John. It’s hard to imagine what life must have been like for your family, setting out into the New World and losing the father before you even got there, and then going on to build a community where there had been uninhabitable wilderness before. On your shoulders we stand, and we hope to live in such a way that you do not have to be ashamed of us.