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  Both banishments were later rescinded by the Dutch Council at New Amsterdam.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.

About Will Hallett

Will Hallett is an 11th generation descendant of William Hallett (b.1616) and Elizabeth Fones Winthrop Feake Hallett. He currently makes his home in Nassau County on Long Island's North Shore, within view of the Connecticut coastal area from where Elizabeth and William departed for New Amsterdam in 1648, and a short drive from the place they settled on Long Island, a place that bore their name for over two centuries, Hallett's Cove, Newtown, Long Island, NY - now known as Astoria.
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