There are only two ultimate sources for all that we know, or that we can know, concerning Sergt. Edward Hinman of Stratford. One, the most reliable and the surest, is the public record. In the case of Sergt. Edward this means, first, the town record of Stratford, Conn., and second the land records of the same town. So far these records have not been systematically searched, so that our knowledge of what is in them comes to us through secondary sources: Royal Hinman, Donald Jacobus, Samuel Orcutt, Benjamin Trumbull. While these men are certainly trustworthy their evidence is second-hand and cannot substitute for the first-hand evidence of the records. For the time being, however, we must be content with it, as it is all that we have.
Our second source of knowledge of Sergt. Edward is Hinman family tradition as recorded by Royal Hinman in his Genealogy of the Puritans. Such family tradition is extremely useful in giving clues about the ancestor, but it can hardly be considered, in itself, as real evidence. Moreover, evan if entirely accurate at the beginning, it can easily be deformed by the passage of time and repetition from generation to generation. As we have the Hinman family tradition concerning Edward Hinman it dates from 1852, two hundred years after his lifetime. It may be completely accurate, or it may be partly accurate, or it may be completely inaccurate. Until it is confirmed or infirmed by the public record there is no way of knowing.
What do we learn from these two sources concerning the origins and arrival in America of our Edward Hinman? From the town record we learn nothing, since the first 10 years of the Stratford record were destroyed by fire. Instead the first reference to our man is in 1653 when his daughter Sarah was christened in Stratford. He was therefore living there then. According to Royal Hinman "About 1651-2, Sergeant Edward had a house-lot in Stratford" (p. 808), but his own reference is to the town record of 1668, so he is making an inference. Donald Jacobus, an extremely distinguished genealogist who worked extensively in the extant records of Fairfield County where Stratford is located, deduced that he was in Stratford by 1652. Where was he before? Where did he come from2 These records seem to be silent.
Family tradition doesn't know either. Royal Hinman begins by saying that Sergeant Edward was "the first of the name in this country, yet the exact time he came to New England is not discovered, or the ship in which he arrived. The name is not found in Massachusetts, as most of the settlers were. The first found of the name in this country was at Stratford, in Connecticut, between 1650 and 1652." (p. 807)
On my last trip to London, 3-13 April 1976, I found a record which gives us exactly what Royal Hinman couldn't find: the name in Massachusetts, the exact time of arrival in New England, and the ship in which he came. Edward Hinman arrived in Boston, Massachusetts, in July 1650, aboard the William and George of London. The evidence for this statement is a part of the public record not of Stratford but of Boston: the notarial records of William Aspinwall from 1644 to 1651, which were published in Boston, 1903.
A photocopy of these records follows. The story is quite easy to follow. The only point to be noted in advance is the dating. Aspinwall follows the republican calendar of the Commonwealth, which uses numbers for the months instead of names. Since the year began at that time in March, it was that month that was one, April two, and so on. July is thus 5, and December 10.
12 (5) 1650 Uppon the 12th day of July Anno Dni 1650. I Wm Asp: Notary & Tabelli public &c at the request of Capt. Barnaby Stanfast Commander of the Wm & George of London, Doe ptest against yeomen Symon Bowyer, Thomas Hunt, Edmund Newton, Edmund Chapman, Wm Johnson, Nathaniel Robertson, Charles say, Richard Webber, John Potter, John Bennet, & Edward Hinman for absenting from his shipp, for lying ashore, for neglecting the duty of your places and damages which he & his principals & owners Mr Michael Davison, Mr Henry Day, Mr Richard Nettmaker Mr Thomas &c shall or may suffer thereby, & by your psentations of him one count after another whereby his voyage is hindered and like to be overthrown for all and so on and so on. Capt. Stanfast asks that the men be held liable for any of his losses. [This language is very hard to scan in and translate, so I will hereafter summarize each entry in American English so that you can get the story.]
15 Jul 1650. On this day the 13 seamen appeared before the Notary and protested "against Capt. Barn. Stanfast and against any voyage pretended or intended by him in the William & George except the Port of London, and also against that port except the ship be sufficiently manned and victualled and under another Commander and all this by reason of their bad usage and his breach of Covenant." The Notary duly entered the protest in his books.
15 Jul 1650. On the same day filed his answer with Notary Aspinwall. He said he is determined to victual his ship before he leaves port, and she would be sufficiently manned if the 13 men hadn't abandoned the ship. He says he intends to go to London but has to stop somewhere first, and that if they can get another Commander, he won't hinder them. He promised to set them ashore in London, but wants the men to deposit 3,000 pounds security. This answer was read aloud to the men by Aspinwall.
20 Jul 1650. Simon Boyer appears before the Notary and said he was representing the other twelve men and this is their answer. We don't have the power to appoint another Commander. And whether he goes to London or not, we don't care. We want to be paid and stay here. And as for depositing 3,000 pounds, the ship is already engaged for our wages, and we have no need to hire a ship, since we're not going anywhere, and so we won't give security.
22 Jul 1650. Capt. Stanfast and the 13 men appeared before the Notary, and Stanfast asked the Notary to publish his reply to the men: First, that the ship shall go for London directly "as wind and wether will permit." Second, if they will nominate another commander, he will invest the new commander with power. He again asked the men to go aboard and get to work, and they refused.
23 Jul 1650. By this time the Court had ordered the Captain to pay the men what he owed them. Aspinwall "attested a Copie of severall Executions in number eleven, granted, 2 to Symon Boyer, 1 to Thomas Yong, 1 to Rich: Webber, 1 to Charles Say, 1 to Edmund Newton, 1 to Edward Henman, 1 to Thomas Hunt, 1 to Nathaniel Robinson, 1 to John Potter, 1 to John Bennet, also the marshalls Deput his attest of the satisfaction of the same, the executions against Capt. Barnabie Stanfast."
21 Dec 1650. Be it known by these presents that I Barnabie Stanfast Commander and master of the ship Wm and George of London of the burden of an hundred and eighty tons or thereabouts now riding at anchor in the harbor of Boston being deserted of my men, for and in consideration of six hundred forty and two pounds fourteen shillings, whereof I do acknowledge myself fully satisfied, have bargained and sold the said ship until Major General Edward Gibbons together with all her masts, sails, sailyards, anchors, cables, ropes, cords, guns, gunpowder, shot, artillery, tackle, munitions, furniture, and apparel, boat, skiffs, and appurtenances according to an inventory made of the same and delivered unto the said Edward Gibbons under my hand, to have and to hold the said ship and , etc., etc., This jerk who demanded 3,000 pounds security from the 13 crewmen, sold the ship for 642 pounds!
His full name and title is William Aspinwall, Notary and Tabellion public by authority of the General Court of Massachusetts admitted and sworn.
What has been done is that a public protest against the 11 men is now a matter of record.
The Account of England is the system of calling the months by numbers and not by names; thus 5th month here rather then July.
Here the men enter a counterprotest against the captain, and assert that responsibility for any loss or damage is his rather than theirs. They also lay down conditions for agreeing to reboard the ship. Two days after the men's counterprotest the Capt. gives his answers to their conditions, and they are notified to the men by the notary.
Five days after having received the Captain's answers the men reply through their spokesman. Since the Captain will not go to London directly they demand their wages and to be cleared. The Notary informs the Captain of this answer.
The Captain and the men meet in the presence of the notary. The Captain accepts the men's conditions, and names their spokesman master of the ship. He accepts, but the others refuse to go aboard.
These executions are executions of the judgment of the Court mentioned in the previous extract, and therefore orders to the Captain to pay the men what he owes them.
This last extract shows that the men definitely refused to reboard the ship, and so the Capt. was obliged to sell it 7 September 1650, and the act of sale was recorded by the notary 21 December 1650.
First of all, the date, July 1650, is perfect. As I have shown above, Edward Hinman was in Stratford by about 1652. So he obviously must have arrived in America before that date. But if he had arrived a long time before that date there should be a trace of him somewhere, and there is not. A date around 1650 is therefore the most logical and is in fact what everyone has always supposed. Second, the spelling of the last name, Henman, far from being an argument against the identity is rather a proof in its favor. In fact, there is solid evidence that the Stratford Hinmans were also known as the Henmans. In Research Report No. 1, evidence was adduced of this spelling in connection with Hannah Henman, Edward Hinman's daughter-in-law, and her son John (p. 2 and footnote 1, p. lO). Orcutt, quoting directly from the Stratford records, mentions a payment in 1671 to "Mr. Henman.” This can only be Edward himself. Finally, the most telling proof of all, in Edward Hinman's own will of 1681, his son Titus is twice referred to as Titus Henman, and he himself is called Edward Henman by the men who make the inventory of his estate in Stratford.
While this evidence is, of course, purely circumstantial, I think it is sufficiently strong to warrant making major efforts to trace our progenitor in its light. For although it answers the question when and where Edward Hinman came to America, it leaves unanswered the question whence he came, and opens new questions about what he did in Boston, and how he got to Stratford from there. What should be, therefore, our principal lines of research now?
In the first place, there is work to be done in the Boston records. Since there was a court judgment it may be possible to find a trace of it. And it may well contain some useful information--if not the origin of our subject, perhaps his age, or perhaps another spelling of the name. Furthermore, if Edward lived in Boston for any length of time, he may have joined a church, or a military company.
Next, of course, there is the ship, the William and George. Research can be done in London to see if any records remain: ship lists, pay lists, anything of that order.
Finally, the spelling Henman would indicate that we should concentrate on that variant of the name in our researches in the English records. My own researches of last weel; have shown the name to be found in London, Rutland and Northhamptonshire, Warwick and Kent.
There is a final point to be considered, the bearing of this new information on the family traditions concerning the antecendents of Edward Hinman. Royal Hinman tells us two things about Edward Hinman before he came to Stratford. First, that "Sergeant Edward Hinman had belonged and constituted one of the body-guard of King Charles I., as sergeant-at-arms, and escaped in the days of Oliver Cromwell, the Protector, to save his life from the halter." (p. 807). That Edward Henman arrived in Boston in July 1650 fits in perfectly with this story as far as timing goes. It is, of course, somewhat surprising to find him a sailor, but if he were desperate to leave England it would certainly be an ideal means. Neither is he called Sergeant, but then he would hardly use a military title aboard a ship. So this romantic story of our ancestor's past is preserved.
The second fact that Royal Hinman advances is that "From the Dutch records at Albany it appears that Sergeant Edward had some connection with Captain John Underhill, in offering their military services to Governor Stuyvesant to fight the Indians." (p. 807) This Captain Underhill was, in 1650 and until 1653, Dutch governor of Flushing in Long Island, and it is quite possible that Edward could have gone to Long Island from Boston, and from Long Island come to Connecticut, just across the sound. There is the further fact that two of Edward's children, Patience and Edward, married into the Burroughs family of Long Island. The original connection was perhaps made 1650-1652. In any case, it would be worth while digging into the Long Island records to see.
Aspinwall Notarial Records From 1644 to 1651, Boston, 1903.
Records of the Governor and Company of Massachusetts Bay, Vol. III.