The Halletts of Hallett’s Cove, Newtown, Astoria, Long Island, New York

The story of the Halletts on Long Island begins with a desperate escape from Connecticut in the late 1640's – an escape of a man, a woman and their infant son that took place in the dark of night by ship across the Long Island Sound with little more than the clothes on their back. An escape that ultimately landed them in Hallett's Cove on Long Island in the days of Dutch control under Governor Peter Stuyvesant. It was an escape born of scandal and threats of prosecution, one made possible only with the help of John Winthrop, Jr., the son of John Winthrop, the first Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It is the story of an industrious and clever man and an amazing and intriguing woman with bloodlines to those very same Winthrops, a woman of strength and courage, a woman whose life has been the subject of a novel, a made for TV movie, and an historical biography. While much of her remarkable story of hardships, scandal and intrigue takes place in the 1630's and 1640's before she even sets foot on Long Island, there was so much more for this woman and her family yet to come.

This woman, Elizabeth Fones Winthrop Feake, having lost her first husband to tragic drowning and her second to mental illness, had two sons by her third husband, one William Halletta shrewd businessman who ultimately amassed over 2200 acres on Long Island, encompassing all of what is now modern day Astoria. William was a man who, despite his business success and political prowess, found himself at one point banished by the very same Dutch Governor, Peter Stuyvesant, who had arranged for their safe entry into New Netherlands only a few short years earlier. William's crime was entertaining a Baptist minister at his home, but ultimately he fought for and was resinstated by Dutch society. William and Elizabeth's early days were filled with even more hardships: As if being chased from Connecticut and banishment over religious intolerance wasn't enough, their original farmhouse at Hallett's Cove was burned to the ground by the Indians, forcing them to make an escape to Flushing. Along the way they and their children forged a life in a new world and became a part of early American history, as each participated in the remarkable: Her actions in Connecticut helped establish the rights of women to own property, and his banishment and reinstatement became instrumental in setting the stage for protests such as the Flushing Remonstrance – an event that would help establish the basic principles of freedom of religion in America.

This site follows the lives of one particular line of Hallett descendants, a line that spans 11 generations. It is a line that has lived on Long Island through the centuries and continues to live there to this day. And while the site focuses on this particular line, there are far more stories to be heard and told – because from these remarkable early american pioneers and their two sons, William, born in 1648 in Connecticut, and Samuel, born in 1650 on Long Island, the Hallett bloodlines have become a part of the fabric of America and have spread across the country. From Bill Gates to John Kerry to my own family and perhaps yours, people who can trace their bloodlines to the Halletts of Halletts Cove can be found from California to Nova Scotia, from Maine to Florida, from the Carolinas to Arizona and New Mexico. What is your Hallett family heritage? Write and let us know! Send your Hallett story to [email protected] !

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

1877 Description of “The Old Hallett Burying Grounds – Astoria” from The Newtown Register

This is the second in a series of posts on The Hallett Burial Grounds. For part 1, please click here.

It is no great revelation to say that Hallett's Cove in the year 1877 was a very different place than it is today, nearly a century and a half later. At that time, it was still relatively sparsely populated, but already larger properties in the area were being rapidly subdivided and sold as the population of the town, recently re-minted as Astoria, began it's rapid climb from it's agricultural roots to a dense, urban area. Also not surprisingly, the inhabitants of Astoria in the 1870's were already starting to look back at their own history, perhaps sensing the change themselves. This attached article is from what was apparently a series of pieces in the newspaper of record for it's time, The Newtown Register. The series looked at the old cemeteries in the area in what I'm sure was an attempt to give the readers of the day a look at what was, and who lived there in times gone by. I would like to believe the author, who goes uncredited, would be pleased that his or her work is still enjoyed and is of such value to us today.





The most venerable headstone of the Hallett Cemetery dates 1724, cut in the oldrude fashion on hard stone which seems in all the old cemeteries to defy time and to preserve their edges as sharp as the day they were split off the parent rocks.

This old stone bears S. H. 1724, and marks the last dwelling of Samuel Hallett, who was proprietor of the soil, both of the yard and the adjoining Methodist Church. The ground is covered with similar rude tablets, as follows:

John Hallett, 1788 ; L.H., 1759; S.H., aged 78 ; B. H., 1747 ; L. H., l760 ; E. H., 1776 ; I. H, 1781 ; S. H., 1763 ; L. H., 1798; S. H , 1760; S. H., 1752 ; I. H., 1760: M. H., 1747; E. H., 1791; A. H. 1802; J. White, 1826 ; D. D. B. R., 1777 ; May Trafford, 1803 ; N. S; 1777; I. R.,1809 ; J. J., 1810; Samuel Hallett, 1817Mary Hallett, 1842 ; I. H., 1806; J. H., 1802; James Hallett, 1852 ; Samuel Hallett, 1852 ; Rebecca Hallett, 1802 ; Stephen Hallett, 1822; Mary Hallett, 1804; James James Hallett, 1838 ; Stephen Hallett, 1841; Lydia Hallett, 1845; Rebecca Hallett 1853; Nat. Hicks, 1858. ; Eliza Hallett,1860; Charity Hallett, 1861.; David Greenoak, I856 ; Tiny Stratton, 1822; William Stratton, 1836 ; Mary Anne Hallett. 1829; Samuel Hallett, 1832; James Hallett, 1852; Abraham Ludlam, 18l0; John Ludlam, 1820; George Frankford, 1823.

An equal number of stones without name or date mark the now forgotten members of the same family.

This numerous, wealthy and active race, who gave name to Hallett's Cove afterwards changed for sound's sake into Astoria, is now represented in the neighborhood by the single name of Charles W. Hallett, President of the Common Council, which position tradition will hand down as accorded to him from personal merit alone, and not from political favor, present report making him a unit in that respect.

However, the original founder of the family was William Hallett of 1652, to whom a "brief" of 162 acres was granted in Astoria, on which he built a house to be burned by the Indians in a couple of years afterwards in testimony of their respect to the advice of old Stuyvesant who just at that time required their friendship. The old Governor who never was at rest save in a quarrel, then dismissed Hallett from the office of Sheriff, in Flushing, for giving a dinner to a Rhode Island divine, and added fine and imprisonment; but Mr. Hallett had ample time for revenge and died under the British in his 90th year, A. D. 1705. He was a prudent man, for in 1664 he had purchased the whole of Hell Gate Neck, Riker's and Berrien's Islands from the Indians for the sum of 58 fathom of wampum, 7 coats. 1 blanket, 4 kettles.

What may be the quotation price of wampum in Wall street the tourist is unable to say, but we must suppose the consideration paid to the Indians, Erramose ,Shawescont, and Mattano for the entire of Astoria and adjacent Islands to have been the selling price of real estate in those days. The last official act of Gov. Stuyvesant and simultaneous with the stopping up the windows on the New York side of his palace was a parting shot at Mr. Hallett in the form of a grant to the Rikers of the Island, which grant was afterwards affirmed by the British.

Berrien's Island was also taken from him, but sufficient remained to divide between his two sons Willam and Samuel and make them substantial men.


The article lists of course many Hallett ancestors (I have hyperlinked a few to their individual pages on this site) and gives an interesting version of William Hallett's claim to Berrien Island and Riker's Island, inferring that Peter Stuyvesant denied the claim out of spite over past grievances as much as anything else. Whether there is any truth to this really can't be said, all we know for certain is that the British, once they gained control of New Amsterdam, upheld William's claims on the mainland of Long Island in Hallett's Cove, Newtown, but denied his claims to Rikers Island and Berrien island.

It is also curious that the article features a reference to Charles Wesley Hallett, Sr., and infers what James Riker noted in the Annals of Newtown would write some 20 years later, that the Halletts were "mostly removed" from Astoria, noting that the family was now represented in the town by him as "the single name". At first this struck me as somewhat surprising, but after thought, perhaps not, due to two factors: The country was growing and there was a natural migration occuring within our own borders, and the Revolutionary War clearly had a hand in redistributing some prominent family members from Hallett's Cove to Nova Scotia, a subject that I will cover in depth at some point in the future. For the time being, however, it left my particular branch here, and we would remain here due in large part to the Funeral business, begun in 1854 by the very same Charles Wesley Hallett from this article – another topic that I promise to cover in depth in the future.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

When and Where were William Hallett and Elizabeth Fones Winthrop Feake married?

Much has been made over time of the union of William Hallett (b.1616) and Elizabeth Fones Winthrop Feake (b.1610), the desperate circumstances under which they left Greenwich, and their subsequent years in Hallett's Cove. While it is well documemted that their union was at first challenged, there is no doubt that the marriage was at some point officially recognized. This begs the question: Regardless of when it was officially recognized, when and where were William and Elizabeth wed?

As I have done with other important content here on this site, I will once again turn to the terrific work of William C. (Bill) Hallett of Florida, who's Hallett ancestry splits from mine at generation 4. Bill has provided the following theories based on his research, and has graciously granted permission for me to share them here:

1.     1647 at New Amsterdam in the Church on the Fort by a Dutch Pastor.

A church was built by the Dutch in 1642, described as built of stone with oak shingles, a tower and a peaked roof with a weather cock.  It would have been an impressive building for the time.  Everardus Bogardus was the Dutch Reformed Church Minister during the entire administration of Governor Willem Kieft. The next, and last, Governor, Petrus Stuyvesant, brought Johannes Backerus with him from Curacao on May 11, 1647. 

Willem Kieft was known to be tolerant of other religions and welcomed many into New Netherlands, including the famous Non-conformist, Mrs. Anne Hutchinson, massacred by Indians in August 1643.  Petrus Stuyvesant was a strict Calvinist follower of the Dutch Reformed Church and was intolerant of other religious views, as William Hallett discovered when he was banished from Greenwich for adultery in 1648 and banished from Flushing in 1656 for allowing a Baptist Minister to conduct services.  Both banishments were later rescinded by the Dutch Council at New Amsterdam.

If William and Elizabeth were married in 1647 by a Dutch Pastor it would have been Everardus Bogardus.  The Dutch records indicate that Willem Kieft and Everardus Bogardus did not get along. He was known to follow his own mind in all matters.


“Dutch Manuscripts 1630-64”, by New York State Secretary’s Office.

“Documents Relative to the History of New York, the Early Colonial Settlements, Principally on Long Island”, edited by John Romeyn Brodhead.

The Church on the Fort, New Amsterdam

2.   1647 at New Amsterdam by the Dutch Governor, Willem Kieft.

While a reference to Elizabeth’s divorce prior to the administration of Petrus Stuyvesant, on May 11, 1647, is contained in the Dutch West India Company Council Minutes of March 9, 1648, no record of her marriage to William Hallett has been found to date.

Willem Kieft and Everardus Bogardus departed New Amsterdam together on August 16, 1647 and died together in the “Princess” shipwreck in Bristol Channel on their way home to the Netherlands.  We will never know what additional knowledge they may have had regarding William and Elizabeth Hallett.

By the way, why did Petrus Stuyvesant wait until March 9, 1648 to intervene in the affairs of William and Elizabeth Hallett?  Thomas Lyon, Elizabeth’s Son-in-law, can be found at the source of Dutch involvement.  He wrote letters to John Winthrop, Sr. and Jr. and authorities in the New Haven and Hartford Colonies. Without a doubt, he made sure the Dutch authorities were informed of his version of events.


“Dutch Manuscripts 1630-64”, by New York State Secretary’s Office.

“New Netherlands Project”, State of New York Library.  They are still translating Dutch documents from the colonial period in New Netherlands.

3.     1647 at Greenwich by William Hallett, Magistrate.

The Dutch administration of Willem Kieft appointed officials in all their plantations to take care of routine government affairs, as they did William Hallett after the death of Daniel Patrick in 1643.  Marriage, power of attorney, small claims and even criminal cases not involving capital punishment were included in their powers.

Not only could they have been married by “Common Law”, William Hallett could have made it official in 1647.  Greenwich was under Dutch Law in 1647.


“Dutch Manuscripts 1630-64”, by New York State Secretary’s Office.

 “History of Stamford, Connecticut”, by Elijah Baldwin Huntington.  This book contains a discussion about the lack of a church at Greenwich and unauthorized marriages.

“Hendrik van Loon private translation of Dutch document related to the marriage of Elizabeth Hallett”.  This source is listed by Anya Seton, but apparently does not indicate she was married in New Amsterdam in 1647, for Anya Seton has her divorced by Willem Kieft and married by common law at Greenwich.  Common law marriage was recognized in England until passage of the Marriage Act in 1753, requiring the presence of an Anglican Priest.  Even then, the marriage act did not apply to Protestants, Quakers or English in the colonies.  English Colonial Authorities, however, followed strict Puritan religious practice at the time and did not recognize any authority other than theirs.

4.     1648 at New London by John Winthrop, Jr.

Noted Historian and Genealogist, Donald Lines Jacobus offers a thorough analysis based on his research and information provided by John Ross Delafield.  He concludes that John Winthrop, Jr. married Elizabeth and William Hallett at New London before they returned to Greenwich in 1649.


“That Winthrop Woman Again!”, Donald Lines Jacobus Paper, New Haven Museum.

“John Winthrop, Jr. Papers”, Massachusetts Historical Society.  Contains letters written by Elizabeth (Fones, Winthrop, Feake) Hallett who signed her letter to John Winthrop, Jr. as Elizabeth Hallett in January 1649.  Letter from daughter Martha indicates that Elizabeth was living in New London by March 1648.  Letter from Thomas Lyon to John Winthrop in August 1647 indicates that William and Elizabeth are living together in Greenwich.  Letter from Thomas Lyon to John Winthrop in April 1648 indicates Elizabeth claims to be married and with child.

5.     1649 at New Amsterdam in the Church on the Fort by Reverend Johannes Backerus or by Governor Petrus Stuyvesant.

Due to the intervention of John Winthrop, Jr. and support of Greenwich Settlers, William and Elizabeth Hallett returned to their property at Greenwich in 1649, while it was still under Dutch control.  Perhaps they wished to cover all bases with an “official” marriage in New Netherlands.  Perhaps John Winthrop, Jr. convinced Governor Petrus Stuyvesant to make their marriage “official”.  We have no documentation, but the circumstances show that William and Elizabeth were accepted back into Dutch society in 1649 and into English society by 1664, when, ironically enough, William was a delegate to the General Court of Connecticut and appointed Justice of the Peace for Flushing by them.

General References:

The Compendium of American Genealogy lists William Hallett as married to Elizabeth (Fones) Feake, the divorced wife of Robert Feake, in 1647.

“Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society”, May 1890 Meeting.

 “Delafield, the Family History”, BG John Ross Delafield (1875-1964) Harvard Law, Family Historian and descendant of John Delafield and Ann Hallett, daughter of Joseph (1731-1799).

 “Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York”, edited by John Romeyn Brodhead.

“Narratives of New Netherland”, edited by Dr. J. Franklin Jameson.

“Greenwich Old & New”, by Lydia Holland and Margaret Leaf.

“History of New London”, by Frances Manwaring Caulkins.

“The Island at the Center of the World”, by Russell Shorto.

“The Winthrop Woman”, by Anya Seton.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Who were William Hallett (b.1795) and his wife, Wilhelmina Sophia Fredericks (b.1794, Germany)?

Part of the intrique of geneaology, at least for me, is borne from the never-ending series of questions that open up as a result of even the most cursory research. Seemingly every answer uncovered yields another question, and often several. 

Among the questions and subsequent answers that have been eluding me is determining who William Hallett (b.1795) and his wife, Wilhelmina Sophia Fredericks (b.1794) were, where and how they lived, and what caused each of them to die so young?

To set the stage, this particular William Hallett b.1795 was the 6th born of Samuel Hallett (b.1761) and Phebe Hallett (b.1763). Samuel and Phebe were 5th generation descendants of William (b.1616) and Elizabeth Fones-Winthrop-Feake-Hallett (b.1610), Phebe from the line of William, Jr. (b.1648) and Samuel from the line of Samuel, Sr. (b.1650).

Looking the other direction and working backwards from me, William (b.1795) and Wilhelmina were the grandparents of my great grandfather, Charles Wesley Hallett, Jr. (b. 1858). Logically, Charles Jr.'s father was of course the son of William and Wilhelmina, Charles Wesley Hallett, Sr. (b. 1831), pictured below.

Charles Wesley Hallett, Sr. (b.1831)

Seems like I have this pretty well nailed down, so you may be asking, why the intrique? From historical accounts, all I have been able to determine is that William, the father of the above captioned Charles Sr., died in April of 1833, a little more than 3 months prior to the second birthday of this, his youngest son. As if a loss of his father was not difficult enough, Wilhlemina, Charles' mother, had actually passed away some 8 months prior, when Charles had turned all of one! 

While Charles did have 5 older siblings, he was, by published accounts, apparently well cared for by his grandparents from his mother's side. It is known that only his oldest sister Maria and brother Samuel survived to what would have been Charles's adulthood. Yet with all the information that is known, I have been unable to locate any records of the life and death of this remarkable child's parents.

As a child, I recall hearing stories of a Hallett ancestor who had met his German wife on a ferry that ran from Hallett's Point to Manhattan. Could this be William and Wilhelmina? Any Hallett historians with insight into the lives of these late 18th and early19th century Halletts, please let me (and all of us) know! Email me: [email protected]

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Missy Wolfe’s “Insubordinate Spirit” published!

For anyone interested in the history of New Netherlands and the earliest days of Long Island and Connecticut, Missy Wolfe's Insubordinate Spirit – A True Story of Life and Love in Earliest America 1610 – 1665 is a must read!

Through exhaustive research, Ms. Wolfe tells the incredibly compelling story of the life and time Elizabeth Fones Winthrop Feake Hallett. Painting a picture with Elizabeth's own words and many other historical documents, Ms. Wolfe brings Elizabeth to life, along with William Hallett Sr., her cousin John Winthrop, Jr., Tobias Feake, John Underhill, Peter Stuyvesant, Daniel Patrick and other important historical figures in earliest America.

As if life in the mostly wilderness New World wasn't enough of a challenge, Elizabeth's story takes place with the backdrop of the struggles between th Dutch and English for land boundaries, and the difficult, dangerous, and sometimes brutal conflicts with the native Munsees  – all coming together to create a setting that only a woman of remarkable strength could survive. And through all of this, we see Elizabeth not only survive, but overcome it all and thrive in spite of all of the challenges and her own very personal deep and painful losses.

The book is available now on – click the link above or the image below!

Disclaimer: Neither I nor has any financial interest in this publication – we're just excited about the publication, and deeply grateful to Ms. Wolfe for her work!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

When and on what ship did William Hallett, Sr. (b.1616) arrive in America?

I've spent a considerable amount of time searching ships manifests and historical records trying to determine exactly when and on what ship William Hallett, Sr. (b.1616) made his way to the colonies, with no success. The most common "fact" often cited on the internet is from Anya Seton's historical novel, The Winthrop Woman, which would have it that a 15 year old William arrived on the The Lyon, but even cursory research yields no clear evidence of support to this.

So how did young William get here? Turns out I'm not the only Hallett descendant who has pondered and researched this question. William C.  (Bill) Hallett of Florida, who's Hallett ancestry splits from mine at generation 4, has done some incredible research on this topic! Bill has graciously granted permission for me to share it here:


When, where and how did William Hallett arrive in the “New World”?, by Bill Hallett

Four Theories

1. 1630 on the “Mary and John”

One Hallett cousin from Long Island, currently living in Bridport, Dorset County, England believes William Hallett sailed with followers of the Reverend John White of Dorchester, the county town of Dorset County, England.  This vessel was filled with 140 people from Dorset, Devon and Somerset Counties.  They sailed the same year as John Winthrop’s fleet, but sailed separately from Weymouth and Plymouth, England and settled on land they named Dorchester in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  Many of these people founded a new town, that they also named Dorchester, on the Connecticut River in 1635.  This town later became Windsor, Connecticut. 

The passenger list has never been found.  The Mary & John Clearing House put together reconstructed lists of probable and possible passengers based on earlier lists compiled by Charles Banks and others, followed by extensive research.  They later expanded their research to include all West Country immigrants to New England.  William Hallett is included as a Planter from Dorsetshire, based on his land at Hell Gate.  He is not included on any of the reconstructed passenger lists.  Mary Kay Cresswell probably confused the information she got from the Bridport Local History Centre concerning the research compiled by the Mary & John Clearing House and assumed all the people listed from the West Country sailed on the Mary & John.


“Dorset Pilgrims” by Frank Thistlewaite

“Bridport News” July 21, 2006

2. 1631 on the “Lyon”

Anya Seton in her Historical Novel “The Winthrop Woman” says he travelled on the “Lyon”, departing from the London area and arriving at Boston in 1631, with Elizabeth (Fones) Winthrop.  Elizabeth married Robert Feake and settled at Watertown in 1632.  William Hallett is not on the passenger list.

Anya Seton also has William Hallett returning to England to support his supposed childhood friend, George Digby, during the English Civil War.  The English Civil War occurred in three phases.  Phase I was January 1642 – May 1646, Phase II from 1648 – 1649 and Phase III from 1649 – 1651.  We can document the presence of William Hallett in Greenwich as early as 1643, when he was appointed Military Commander by the Dutch after the death of Captain Daniel Patrick.  George Digby graduated from Oxford in 1636 and continued his study and travels through at least 1639, before joining the House of Commons in 1640 from Dorset.  He became a Royalist supporter in the House of Lords in 1641 and later served in several official capacities.  It does not appear on the surface that George Digby, 2nd Earl of Bristol, was in need of any support from William Hallett.  We have no source documents to prove or disprove any connection with the Digby Family of Sherborne Castle.


“The Winthrop Woman” by Anya Seton

“Ye Historie of Ye Town of Greenwich” by Spencer Percival Mead

“Greenwich Old & New” by Lydia Holland and Margaret Leaf

“Elizabeth Winthrop – All the Days of Her Life” History companion by Miram Renwick Buckland and John Alexander Buckland

3. 1635 on the “Marygould”

Andrew Hallett travelled to the “New World” from Weymouth to Dorchester aboard the “Marygould” in 1635 as a servant to Richard Wade.  As Andrew was a probable cousin of William, there is a possibility that William travelled with him under another name or was unaccounted for.  The passenger list for this voyage is well documented, however, and he is not on it.  The clerk at Weymouth seems to have done his job properly, although Andrew Hallett and some others did not pay the ship subsidy tax.  Andrew returned to England in 1642, presumably to bring the remainder of his family back to the “New World” in 1643.  This Hallett Family put down roots on Cape Cod, where their descendants may still be found.  The information surrounding Andrew’s second voyage is not available.


“Passengers to America” Lists from NEHGR Edited by Michael Tepper

4. 1637 or 1639 with Osmond Douch or his family

Probably the best evidence we have concerning the date of arrival of young William Hallett in the Massachusetts Bay Colony is connected with the Osmond Douch family of Bridport.  Osmond travelled to the New World from Weymouth in 1637/38, leaving his family and property in the trust of John Bishop and Richard Hallet, Carpenter of Bridport, William’s father.  Osmond wrote Richard in 1639 to sell his property and send his family to him in Massachusetts Bay.  Osmond Douch is later recorded as a Mariner of Gloucester.  William Hallett could have travelled with Osmond Douch in 1637/38 or escorted the Douch family from Bridport to the “New World” in 1639/40. (Lechford’s Notebook, pg. 109-110)  These voyages are undocumented.

Weymouth was the port town for Dorchester, the county town of Dorset, 15 miles East of Bridport.  Fishing boats from Weymouth and other West Country ports had fished the waters off New England and the Canadian Maritimes for 100 years before the first settlements were attempted in the New World.

Four ships departed for the New World from Weymouth in 1635.  The Hopewell and Unity are recorded, as well as the Marygould that Andrew Hallett sailed on.  One ship is unknown.

Two unknown ships departed for the New World from Weymouth in 1637, one of them carrying Osmond Douch, and perhaps, William Hallett?

Many ships and passengers went undocumented to the “New World” and many documents were probably lost at the time or later.  Some documents were found at later dates and added to the archives.  We will probably never know, with certainty, when and which vessel William Hallett sailed on. 

Some historians indicate that William knew the Feake Family in Watertown before 1640.  The first mention of William is his appointment to Captain of Greenwich by the Dutch after the death of Captain Daniel Patrick in 1643. It makes sense that he was in Greenwich well before his selection to represent the Greenwich Settlers on behalf of the Dutch West India Company.  It also makes sense that he knew the Feake Family in Watertown before becoming so closely associated with them in Greenwich.  All the documented early English settlers of Connecticut came from the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  About 20,000 English settlers arrived in the New World from 1620 – 1640.  Migration from England slowed considerably during the English Civil War 1642 – 1651. 

References:  Above plus:

“The Winthrop Papers” Massachusetts Historical Society

“Lechford’s Notebook” by Thomas Lechford, Esq.

“History of Stamford, Connecticut” by Elijah Baldwin Huntington

“The Great Migration” series by Robert Charles Anderson


This is the first time I have cited Bill's work on this site, but I can promise you it will be far from the last – he has compiled a wonderful series of articles on our ancestors, and over time I will excerpt them and share them here. I am deeply grateful for Bill's willingness to share his years of work and research!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Where was the original Hallett Family grave yard at Halletts Cove?

As is well documented, many of the Halletts of Newtown were removed in April of 1905 from the original burial ground in Hallett's Cove and reinterred a few miles away at Mount Olivet Cemetary in Maspeth, Queens. Thanks to the efforts of Christina Wilkinson of the Newtown Historical Society and Council Member Peter Vallone of Astoria, the original bronze plaque that marks the plots in Mount Olivet was recently replaced. I am deeply grateful for their efforts!

The Newtown Historical Society issued this press release regarding the Halletts and the replacement of the plaque:

Photo, left to right: Council Member Peter Vallone, Jr., NHS President Christina Wilkinson and Dr. William C. Hallett display Hallett Family memorial plaque now in Mount Olivet Cemetery.

The Newtown Historical Society is proud to announce the replacement of an historic plaque dedicated to Astoria’s founding family, the Halletts, at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Maspeth. 

The Hallett family, led by patriarch William Hallett, emigrated from England and settled in Greenwich, Connecticut in 1648, but moved in 1652 to 160 acres in the Hallett’s Cove area of Astoria. In 1664, William Hallett expanded his holding to 2,200 acres, which included all of modern-day Astoria.  Several generations of Halletts lived on the property and as was customary at the time, family members that died were buried near their home.  The Hallett cemetery was located between Astoria Blvd and Main Avenue.  Over time, the family’s land was divided into parcels and sold.

As explained by Vincent Seyfried in his book, 300 Years of Long Island City: 1630-1930, “All the 50 bodies in the burial plot, 35 of them Halletts dating from 1724 to 1861, were transferred to Mount Olivet Cemetery in April 1905 and the stones were re-cut and re-erected over the new graves.”

The original historical plaque that recorded this event had been weathered to the point where some of the writing on it was no longer readable. 

“We don’t want barriers such as illegible writing to prevent Queens residents from understanding their history, so our board decided that replacing the plaque was the right thing to do,” explained Newtown Historical Society President Christina Wilkinson.  “We thank Council Member Peter Vallone, Jr. for his assistance in making this happen.”

Council Member Peter F. Vallone, Jr. was instrumental in locating and obtaining permission from the descendants of William Hallett.

So where was the original Hallett grave yard? The answer, as hinted at above, is that it was on a piece of land bordered by Astoria Blvd and Main Avenue, but you can more clearly see it and identify the actual location here in this 1840 map of Hallett's Cove, on file at the Queens Public Library:

Much thanks go to the wonderful historian Missy Wolfe for forwarding me a link for this map!

The grave yard is located inside the triangle formed Main Street on the north, Welling St to the south, and Greenoak on the east, and bordered by the "Land of Rapelye & Trafford".

On the original map, the words "Grave Yard" are clearly visible in the northwest section, near the tip of the triangle where it intersects with Second Street. Want to find it today? Second Street is now known as 12th Street, Main St is now Main Ave (which then becomes Astoria Blvd W of 12th Street), and the bend of Greenoak and Welling St is now Welling Court.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Map of Halletts Cove in Old Astoria, 1873

I've long sought an early map of Halletts Cove and Halletts Point from the days before it was known as Astoria, but the earliest I've found is this map, from F.W. Beers "Atlas of Long Island", 1873:

(Click the image for a larger version.)

I'm fortunate enough to have an original of the above map, which is actually quite large. The version pictured above is courtesy of Long Island Geneology (visit and support their site!), and can be found here:   – the version there may be somehwat more readable. The original in my possession is spectacularly crisp, and clearly shows the estates of famous old Newtown families, including the Halletts, the Rikers, the Halseys and others.

Comparing this image to the one below of modern day Astoria, and you'll quickly be able to identify some of the old and new road names – assuming your eyesight is miraculous. When time allows, I'll update this post with more information on old and new road names. One day, with luck, I'll be able to superimpose the original land grants and show the extent of the entire property of William Hallett, Sr. (b.1616).

My larger point of posting this is to put out a general inquiry: Has anyone come across earlier maps of Halletts Cove and Halletts Point? If so, post about it below, or email me! [email protected]

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Origins of the Hallett Family Coat of Arms

The origins of the Hallett Coat of Arms has always seemed somewhat mysterious to me, but apparently was not unknown to noted 19th century historian, James Riker – he included it in his definitive history of Queens County, The Annals of Newtown – excerpted below:

The Crest and Coat of Arms has been described in various places as follows:

Crest: A silver demi-lion rampant emerging from a ducal coronet, holding a bezant.

Coat of Arms: A gold shield with a black chief engrailed, and overall, a red bend on which there are three bezants.

This description matches the emblem , pictured below, which has been handed down to me by more recent generations (dating back at least to my grandfather Howard L. Hallett, Sr. and his brother, my great uncle Charles Wesley Hallett, III:

While the description does justice to the "modern" iteration pictured above, I've found to date no reference of where Riker  (or anyone else) obtained the motto "Comme Je Trouve" – which apparently is a french idiom that loosely translates to "Take me as you find me." I personally have come to like the motto, and have further interpreted it to mean, "Accept me for who I am." Now of course this is a personal interpretation, others may choose to interpret the idiom as they wish!

Regardless of the interpretation, I'm curious if any other Hallett historians can shed light on the Crest and the Coat of Arms, and the origins of the Motto. Do you have info? Email me at [email protected], or simply comment below!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment