Park Family History

Mystic Conn.                  Sir Robert Parke, as he has been sometimes called, was a personal friend of John Winthrop, to whom he addressed the following letter relative to their journey to the American colonies in February 1629-30. The copy below preserves the old orthography.


      "To the Right Worshipfull Maigr. John Winthrop Esquier in Gratton in Suffolke give this with speede I pray you.
      "To the Right Worshfull, Sir:-- I vnderstand by some of my frendes that you are suddenly to goe into New England. If it be not to laite for me, to provide my selfe with cattell and shiping, I doe porpose to goe with you, and all my company, if please God to permit vs life and health. I have sente to my sonne and to Mathewe Harrison, to by for me six coues, and three mayers, and a horse; soe, I beseech you, giue them directions to take the beste coures for me that you shall thinke fit for to be done, hoping you will do the beste that you can to fordere my jurny. Furder, I woulde desire you to giue me directiones what househould I shall take with me, and for howe longe we shalbe vittle vs, and what day we shall set forwardes from London; but as for our selfes, we wilbe at Stratford the laste weke in February; and thus with my loue and serius remembred, in haiste, I reste, com'iting you vnto the Almightie,
      "Your assured frend to commande,
                                                  RO: PARKE.
      " From Easterkeale in Lincolnshire, this xxvijth day of February, 1629."

From p. 25, "Genealogy of the Parke Families of Connecticut" by Frank Sylvester Parks, 1906.

Photos of the above plaque can be seen on the Google maps page for Whitehall Cemetery, Mystic CT.
The following is from pp. 27-28 of the above 1906 book:
"There is upon record a curious order of the General Court of Massachusetts, dated May 30, 1644, in favor of Robert Parke, to the effect: "That he may proceed in marriage with Alice Thompson without further publishment." He died at Mystic, February 4, 1664-5, aged 84 years. The diary of Thomas Minor, under date of Feb 1664, has the following: "The 4th of ffebruarie mr perke departed this life and was buried the 7th day being Tuseday in the yeare 1664." His grave is in the White Hall graveyard, at White Hall, Mystic, Conn. His house was east of the present road and southeast of the burial ground, and stood just south of a small knoll, somewhat rocky."

The first of the name who came to America was Robert1 Parke. He came with Winthrop, in the ship "Arbella," in 1630, landing at Salem or Boston. He probably lived at Roxbury for a while and then moved to Connecticut and became quite a prominent man, holding a number of high offices in the Colony. His three sons, William2, Thomas2 and Samuel2 also came; William and Thomas probably about 1630 and Samuel somewhat later. William settled in Roxbury and was very prominent in local and Colony affairs; had a number of children but none of his sons grew to manhood. Thomas and Samuel settled in southeastern Connecticut. The majority of their descendants resided there for nearly one hundred and fifty years, and then many of them emigrated to western Massachusetts, Vermont and New York; and from those states have spread all over the Country. Dr. Roswell Park, the eminent surgeon of Buffalo, is one of Robert1 Parke's descendants; as are many others prominent in affairs in New York and elsewhere.
From pp. 18-19, "Genealogy of the Parke Families of Massachusetts" by Frank Sylvester Parks, 1909.



1. ROBERT PARK, the first of the name who appeared in this country, came from Preston, Lancashire, England; sailed from Cowes, Isle of Wight, in the ship Arabella, March 29, 1630, and landed at Salem, Mass., June 12, and at Boston June 17, 1630, with seventy-six passengers all told. He settled with his son, Thomas, in Wethersfield, Conn., in 1640, and was Deputy to the General Court in 1641-2. He removed to Pequot, now New London, in 1649, where he resided six years, and his new barn which stood on the corner of Hempstead and Granite streets, was used as the first house of worship in the new town, and the call to service was by the beat of drum. He finally settled at Mystic in Stonington, as he was one of the men appointed by the General Court of Massachusetts to an official position, in the organization of the town of Southertown in 1658. He died, and his will was probated in March, 1665, and son, Dea. William Park of Roxbury, Mass., was his executor. He served in the early Colonial wars. He m. 1st, Martha, daughter of Capt. Robert Chapen, in Edmundsbury, England; m. 2d, Mrs. Alice Thompson; they were doubtless m. in Roxbury, and soon after removed to Wethersfield, Conn. We cannot say which marriage took place first, whether it was that of Robert Park with the mother, or his son Thomas, with the daughter Dorothy. His wife d. before 1660.

2 WILLIAM, b. in England in 1604, m. Martha Holgrave.
3 SAMUEL, b. in England, m. Hannah .
4 THOMAS, b. in England, m. Dorothy Thompson.
5 ANN, b. , m. Edward Payson, Aug. 10, 1640; she d. Sept. 10, 1641; he m. 2d, Mary, daughter of Bennet Elliot of Nazing, Eng., and sister of the Apostle Elliot.

Dea. William Park of Roxbury, Mass., (No. 2) m. Martha daughter of John Holgrave of Salem, Mass., in 1636. He was one of the wealthiest citizens of Roxbury, and for more than thirty years a member of the General Court. He d. May 11, 1685; she d. Aug. 25, 1708.

6 THEODA, b. May 2, 1637, m. Samuel Williams (No. 5), Robert Williams family.
7 HANNAH, b. Nov. 28, 1639, d. young.
8 MARTHA, b. March 2, 1641, m. Isaac Williams (No. 6), Robert Williams family.
9 SARAH, b. Dec. 2, 1643, d. young.
10 JOHN, bapt. July 6, 1645, d. young.
11 DEBORAH, bapt. Jan. 16, 1647, d. young.
12 JOHN, bapt. May 13, 1649, d. young.
13 DEBORAH, bapt. March 26, 1657, d. young.
14 Two unbaptized children, buried June 1, 1658.
15 WILLIAM, bapt. Oct. 8, 1654, d. young.
16 HANNAH, bapt. Sept. 28, 1658.

Samuel Park (No. 3) m. Hannah

17 ROBERT, b. .
18 WILLIAM, b.

Thomas Park (No. 4) owned lands in Stonington (which he purchased of his brother-in-law, Rev. Richard Blinman), situated on the east bank of Mystic river, between the old Post road on the north, the White Hall land on the south and the stone house farm on the east. He disposed of his land and removed to Preston, Conn., in 1680; was the first deacon of Rev. Mr. Treat's church, organized in that town in 1698; m. Dorothy Thompson (No. 5), that family. He served in the early Colonial wars, and d. July 30, 1709.

19 MARTHA, b. in 1646, m. Isaac Wheeler (No. 2), that family.
20 THOMAS, b. in 1648, m. Mary, daughter of Robert Allyn. Jan. 4, 1672.
21 ROBERT, b. in 1651, m. Rachael, daughter of Thomas Leffingwell, Nov. 24, 1681.
22 NATHANIEL, b. , m. Sarah Geer.
23 WILLIAM, b. , m. Hannah Frink Dec. 3, 1684 (No. 3), that family.
24 JOHN, b. , m. Mary. He d. in 1716; she m. 2d, Rev. Salman Treat Nov. 6, 1716.
25 DOROTHY, b. March 6, 1652, m. April, 1670, Lieut. Joseph Morgan (No. 5), that family.
26 ALICE, b. , m. Greenfield Larabee March 16, 1673.

Whitehall Mansion
The name "Whitehall" had been applied to the farm the house was later built on as early as the late 17th century, when it was owned by Thomas Parks [sic]. As [p. 9 of] the booklet Whitehall and its Restoration explains it,
Research tells us that Thomas Park's forebears in England owned a home in Gestingthorpe, England, called Whight House. When Thomas acquired Reverend Blinman's acerage he may have applied the name to the property and, transformed to Whitehall, it prevailed over the years, finally becoming applied to the house rather than the land.

from: ICRC
to: Robert Park
date: May 11, 2020, 4:40 PM
subject: Re: Quaquataug Hill

Hello again from ICRC,

The Whitehall grave yard is located on Hendel Dr. (off Rt 27 just north of I 95). You can see it on google earth behind Cash True Value Hdwre if you zoom in Immediately South East of there, most of the land is relatively flat and has been altered by the highway and businesses. The closest rocky knoll would be where the Holiday Inn Express is on Coogan Blvd. However, there is NO record of an early house in that area - so this seems inaccurate. North East seems probable because that is the location I pinpointed for you last time up on Q hill which is where the stone house is.

I will send you some images / info from my cell phone [here] that give information on the Post Road(s) and the Thomas Park[e] house - In this case the Post Rd in that period is now North Stonington Rd and Thomas Park[e] house would have been north of Rt 184 New London Tpke and just south of the Mystic River which is just a brook there. On google earth you will see a dirt road that goes into a field. If you zoom in you can see a foundation which was for a barn - the house would have been very close to that, perhaps on the other side of the dirt road and there would not have been any foundation for it.

Indian and Colonial Research Center
39 Main Street
Old Mystic, CT 06372

RWP note: The image linked to is p. 18 from A History of Old Mystic 1600-1999 by Kathleen Greenhalgh (1999). Errors on the page include Thomas Parke's name and the location where the house was rebuilt. On May 22, 2020, the buyer/rebuilder Brian Cooper of Early New England Restorations informed me that the house was rebuilt on Shelter Island, which is at the eastern end of Long Island, N.Y. He said when he bought the house it was the oldest house in Connecticut. The ICRC sent the following clippings about the house and the photos of the rebuilt house on May 29.
Click on an image below for original large image

Click to see satellite view of rebuilt house and surroundings on Google Maps

On June 11, 2020, the Indian and Colonial Research Center sent the following
article about the house from the Feb. 1982 issue of Historical Footnotes.