Note for: Mary Speary, 2 JUN 1836 - ABT. 1 AUG 1878 Index
As Polly is a nickname for Mary, this Mary may be named after Miles half
sister Polly Rice.
Note for: Charlotte Speary, 19 MAR 1832 - Index
Probably named for Miles' half sister Charlotte Rice.
Note for: Richard Sperry, ABT. 16 FEB 1605/06 - 1698 Index
Richard Sperry arrived on 6-26-1637 in Boston at the Massachusetts Bay
Colony, on the ship Hector. His group of colonists was headed by
Reverend John Davenport & Theophilus Eaton ( who later became the English
Colonial Governor). Many of the people who's families that would later
marry in to the Sperry family also arrived on Hector - including Samuel
Hotchkiss & Henry Peck. They & the other members of Rev. Davenport's
Puritan congregation left Mass. in 1638 & founded New Haven Colony.
Several published accounts show Richard coming to America as an agent of
or being sent by the Earl of Warwick. It is certain that he was
gardener/farmer for Deputy Governor Stephen Goodyear who was an agent of
the Earl of Warwick. This was probably Sir Robert Rich - 2nd earl of
Warwick who had strong connections to the Puritans & who in 1631 was
granted the patent for colonizing in Connecticut.
An Early land record dated 1-4-1643 shows he was granted a large tract of
land, the tenure of ownership on which, according to a paper on the
Sperry family by Rodney Homer in 1969, was upwards of 250 years. Another
record dated the same day shows him being fined in New Haven Colony "for
having a defect in his gun cock".
He was granted "Free colony fellowship" as a " freeman" on July 1, 1644.
Some interpret this to mean he had been an indentured servant to pay his
passage to this country (a common practice in those days). However, this
may be a reference to church membership. Free planter, free burgess,
etc. were designations within the church which controlled not only voting
privileges but also civil privileges & the division of land. The
government of New Haven Colony was theocratic - under strict control of
the church. There was no separation of church and "state". The church
WAS the "state". If you were not accepted as a member & were merely an
inhabitant of New Haven Colony you were considered "ungodly" & had no
Woodbridge was formed from New Haven & Milford colonies. Woodbridge is
now a part of New Haven City. According to "The History of Woodbridge",
in 1648 Richard Sperry was the first settler in Woodridge & built the
first home on the west side of Amity Road.
In 1661, two of the judges/Regicides who had signed the execution order
for King Charles I had escaped England & found their way to the top of
West Rock where they hid from the search party sent by King Charles II to
arrest them & bring them to "justice". These men were Colonel Edward
Whalley - cousin to Oliver Cromwell - and his son-in-law, Colonel William
Goeffe. At the time of their arrival in Woodbridge there were only two
houses in the New Haven area west of West Rock, that of Richard Sperry in
the valley and that of Ralph Lines on Chestnut Hill. They were fed each
day by Richard Sperry or his son who climbed from their valley and left
food on a stump near the jumble of great rocks (Judge's Cave), where the
men had taken shelter.
Two books give the account that his son, Richard Jr., did most of the
transporting of food, as nobody would think it suspicious for a small
child to be wondering through the woods every day instead of doing
productive farm work. Both accounts state the child was told the food
was for farm workers working in the woods.
The stories also say that Richard Sperry hid the Judge's belongings on
his property after they were transported there - one small bundle at a
time - from Reverend Davenport's home. Richard's home was constantly
under watch & was searched by the "red coats" twice. Had he been caught
hiding the judge's he would have been subject to the same charge of
treason that they faced. Punishment was hanging, beheading AND being
drawn & quartered (literally cutting the decapitated corpse in to 4
pieces). Talk about over kill
Under Charles I the Puritans has been subject to false arrest, illegal
taxes & much suffering. Their main reason for coming here was for a safe
"new haven" in which to practice their religion. It is understandable
that Richard Sperry would go to such lengths to protect those who had
voted for Charles I's death. And why others in this Puritan settlement
would help keep it a secret - even though huge rewards were offered for
the surrender of the Judge's.
New Haven Colony never received it's charter from Charles II & in 1662 it
was placed under the jurisdiction of Connecticut Colony - most likely as
"punishment" for harboring of the Judge's.
In 1896 a plaque was placed at Judges Cave which reads:
"Here May fifteenth 1661 and for some weeks thereafter Edward Whalley and
his son-in-law William Goffe, members of Parliament, signers of the death
warrant of King Charles First, found shelter and concealment from those
officers of the Crown after the Restoration.
"Opposition to tyrants is obedience to God." "
Sperry falls in Connecticut is the site of what was once called "Sperry's
Pool" where the waterfalls gave power to Richard's saw mill, grist mill,
and fulling mill. It is said that cloth was produced here for uniforms
during the Revolutionary War. Of course, the Crown had made that illegal
Sperry Park, on the road of that name, was given in 1907 by the heirs of
Enoch & Mary Atlanta Sperry - descendants of Richard, on the site of
their home, and in their memory. It overlooks the gorge where those mill
wheels turned hundreds of years ago.