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The First Risley in America

The following is from "The Risley Family Genealogy" (Volume 1) by Roy D Goold. Available from the R.F.A..

(C) 1981 R.F.A.

RICHARD RISLEY is believed to have descended from the Lancastershire, England, Risleys...In lineage he was a Norman. In religion he was a Puritan. Born in England, probably Oxon, County Lancastershire, prior to 1615, he emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Boston, sailing from Downs in the ship "Griffin" July 15th 1633, in company with Rev. Thomas Hooker, Rev. William Stone, Rev. John Cotton and the Hon. John Haynes. The ship "Griffin" brought from England many of Hooker's church in Braintree, numbering more than a hundred persons. The ship landed in Boston Harbor September 4th 1633. Hooker and his associate located in Newtown, (now Cambridge) Mass., where a church had been previously erected to accommodate the new comers. Hooker was ordained pastor of the new church and William Stone as teacher on October 25, 1633. The little colony thus planted was surrounded by troublesome conditions which seriously affected the entire population of Massachusetts Bay and Salem Colonies, it being a struggle between the church and civil magistrates and the people which resulted in the election of John Haynes as Governor, in 1634. Rev Hooker and his parishioners seemed not to have taken part in the struggle; his followers obtained permission of the General Court to remove to the Connecticut Valley in the winter of 1636.

On May 31st 1636, the entire company turned their backs on the Massachusetts Bay Colony, leaving behind nothing to be desired and betook themselves through a trackless wilderness on foot to the locality now occupied by the city of Hartford, reaching their destination in about a month. A treaty was consummated with the Indians for a tract of land, embracing the present city of Hartford and the adjoining towns of East Manchester and East and West Hartford.

Richard Risley, with the Hooker Company, was one of the original founders of the Commonwealth of Connecticut...On January 14, 1638, Richard participated in the adoption of the "Fundamental Order," the first written Constitution known to history...

Richard Risley was married about 1640 to Mary, who was probably born in England, we are unable to determine her maiden name. Richard died at Hockanum in October of 1648 of Typhoid fever, leaving his wife and three children...

Richard and Mary Risley had three children:


Samuel, baptized November 1, 1645, Hartford,

Richard, Jr., baptized August 2, 1648; m. Rebecca Adams.



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