Thursday Thirteen: 13 Generations of the Isbell Family

Each year as Thanksgiving approaches, my thoughts turn to my mother's Yankee family--the Isbells--which counts itself among the earliest of Dissenters, adventurers, and malcontents to arrive in New England in 1620. Thanksgiving brings to mind the fabled harvest festival of these folks who survived with the help of the locals.

Though we had known we had a longtime Connecticut story, we didn't know how far back the story went until 1980, when my grandmother received from her paternal Aunt Mary Isbell Derosier a genealogy of the Isbell family in North America. Two years later, Gram gave to me this work of a woman named Edna Warren Mason shortly before her own death.

While it was Gram's, though, she had traced the line of our family back to the 17th century luxury liners that brought many English people to a very strange place. Looking at the names, dates, and lives of my progenitors telescopes time for me: at the same time 11 generations make up a very long stretch of time full of hundreds of people, 11 generations are no time at all.

Here are 13 details from our story, many of which come directly from the book:

1. The first Isbell arrived in New England in 1635-36 and settled in Salem, Massachusetts. He was a proprietor and land-owner named Robert.

2. Robert was a friend of the Rev. John Blynman of Gloucester, Massachusetts, with whom he helped establish Pequot Plantation (New London) in Connecticut.

3. Robert's son Eleazer was one of the settlers of Killingworth, Connecticut.

4. Eleazer served in the French and Indian War in 1757 as a private in Capt. Andrew Ward's 14th Company of Colonel Phineas Lyman's Regiment. Sons Robert and Eleazer also served in that war.

5. Eleazer had a son named Eliab who was a fifer in Captain Smith's Company in the War of the Revolution. Eliab, who was born in 1759, lived in Woodbury, Connecticut.

6. Eliab's wife, Deborah Stevens, was a descendant of Governor William Bradford, who came on the Mayflower in 1620. (more)


  1. Wow...that is so cool:) Happy TT and thanks for stopping by. Your posts always make my day.

  2. Anonymous10:30 PM

    What a great list to share with your family next week.. I'm sure this took some time to search!

  3. Anonymous11:53 PM

    What a neat list! :)
    Looks like you've done a lot of research on this one. It would be fun to find out information like this on my family.

    Happy TT.

  4. Anonymous1:19 AM

    Very interesting. Thanks for stopping by. In enjoyed your comment. Blessings!

  5. That was so cool. what a great list.

    Thanks for visiting my TT

  6. That is a great list. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family.

  7. How very awesome to have all of that information. I just happened to click on your comment on AFF's blog. I have been researching my Kimmel family history and have found it to be very thoroughly researched for me. They were from Germany, Lutheran's and Protestants who came to America in 1750. They were Dunkards and started a Church of the Bretheran in Brotherton, PA. They were in several wars, helping General Washington fight the French. I posted on Veteran's Day about Admiral Kimmel. He was my grandpa's fourth cousin.

  8. Wow, I'm impressed. What an amazing family you have.

  9. Wow, what an interesting list...good for you for knowing all that!

  10. This is just so good, the history of your own family there before you. I can well imagine the looking at the names and dates and being transported back in time.. This boo is a true gem, I will be back to follow the link to read some more..

  11. Anonymous11:09 AM

    this is a photo of your family? he looks like quite a character !

  12. Anonymous9:52 PM

    Excellent bits of family history...I wish I knew more about side of the family...


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