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Richard BUSHNELL - Bio


The marriage of Richard Bushnell and Mary Marvin, Oct. 11, 1648, is recorded at Hartford. Mary Marvin was a daughter of Matthew Marvin, afterward of Norwalk. Richard Bushnell's name also appears in 1656, among the owners of home-lots in Norwalk, but he is not afterward found in the list of early settlers, and it is supposed that he became a resident of Saybrook, and there died about the year 1658. His relict appears in 1660, at Norwich, as the wife of Thomas Adgate. 'Her children were brought with her to the new settlement, and their births are found registered with those of the Adgate family.

" The names and ages of the children of Richard Bushnell deceased, who stand in relation unto the second wife of Thomas Adgate us their mother, are as followeth :

Joseph Bushnell was borne in May, Anno Dom 1651,

Richard " " " " Sept. " " 1652.

Mary " " " " Jan'y. " " 1654.

Marcie " " " "March " " 1657.

Mary Bushnell, the only daughter of this group that appears to have lived to maturity, married in September, 1672, Thomas Leffingwell, Jr. Joseph, the oldest son, married Mary Leffingwell of the same family, Nov. 28, 1673. This couple had a family of eleven children — seven daughters and four sons ; but only two of the latter, Jonathan and Nathan, became heads of families.

Mr. Joseph Bushnell lived to his 96th year, and his wife to her Md. The life of their daughter, Mrs. Mary Leffingwell, wan also extended beyond the age of 90.

Richard Bushnell married in 1672, Elizabeth Adgate, tho daughter of his step-father by his first wife. He had two sons, Caleb and Benajah, and two daughters, Anne and Elizabeth, who married the brothers William and John Hyde, sons of Samuel the proprietor.

In the earlier part of the eighteenth century, Richard Bushnell was one of the most noted and active men in Norwich. After arriving at man's estate, we find him taking a prominent part in almost every enterprise that was set on foot in the place.

He performed successively, if not contemporaneously, the duties of townsman, constable, school-master, poet, deacon, sergeant, lieutenant and captain, town-agent, town-deputy, court-clerk, and justice of the peace.

As a military man, it is probable that he had seen some actual service in scouting against the Indians, and was useful in exercising the train bands. The first Mondays of May and September were days of general militia muster, or training-days, as they were usually called. These in Norwich, as elsewhere, were always days of festivity. No one was so poor as not to regale his family with training-cake and beer at those times. In 1708 a new start was taken in improving the appearance and exercise of the trainers. " Drums, holbarts, and a pair of colours," were purchased for them.

As a clerk, Mr. Bushnell exhibited an improvement upon the old forms of writing and spelling ; and as a justice, he decided numerous cases of debt and trespass, both for Norwich and the neighboring towns.

Caleb Bushnell, the son of Richard, born May 26, 1679, was nearly as conspicuous in the affairs of the town as his father. He was a physician, captain of the train-band, often employed in civil affairs, and a prosperous trader. He was also one of the first occupants and improvers at the Landing, no one of his compeers going before him in activity and enterprise.

He left an estate of about £4000. The stone record gives his age and death :

"Here lyeth what was mortal of that worthy gentleman, Capt. Caleb Bushnell, son to Capt. Richard Bushnell Esq. who died Feb. 18, 1724, aged 46 years, 8 months and 23 days."

Richard Bushnell's will was written after the death of his son Caleb. In that instrument he states it to have always been his intention not to bequeath a double portion to his oldest son, (as was the custom of the country,) but to give his children equal portions of his property. To his son Benajah he leaves those relics or heir-looms which would probably have fallen to Caleb, had he survived, viz, his double-barreled gun, silver- hilted sword and belts, ivory-headed cane, and silver whistle.

History of Norwich, Connecticut: From Its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866 Author Frances Manwaring Caulkins Publisher By H.P. Haven, 1874


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