Major General Robert Sedgwick (baptized May 6, 1613 - 1656) was the earliest Sedgwick to arrive in the United States and the grandfather of Samuel Sedgwick, one of the early settlers of West Hartford, and great-great-grandfather of Theodore Sedgwick, a Delegate to the Continental Congress and the 5th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Life and Death Edit
Robert Sedgwick was born in 1613 in Woburn, Bedfordshire, England to William Sedgwick (1579 - Jul. 25, 1632), a warden of St. Mary's Church, and Elizabeth Howe, the fourth of ten children. He was baptized at St. Mary's Church on May 6, 1613. It is possible that he traveled aboard the ship Truelove from London to New England on September 19, 1635, as a "Sedgwick, Jo" appeared in the passenger list, and most have assumed him to be Robert. He may have made the trip for any number of reasons, including military or government orders or a personal exploitation before he moved his bride-to-be to New England. After returning to England, he married Joanna Blake (b. 1617) on January 6, 1636. Shortly after their marriage, the couple left for the New World, as Robert Sedgwick was listed as an Inhabitant of Charlestown, Massachusetts, about five months later on June 6, 1636.
Robert was "trained in the military," and on March 9, 1637, he was made a freeman and appointed Captain for Charlestown. He was active in the construction of the early defenses of Boston, where he later lived. He was one of the founders, Captain and later General of The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts. He was commissioned by Oliver Cromwell from England to organize a force against the Dutch in New York during the Anglo-Dutch War, but before they could leave, word came that a settlement had been made with the Dutch. Since he had an expeditionary force organized, General Robert Sedgwick turned them against the French in the Penobscot area of what is now Maine. The French Commander chose not to fight. Sedgwick, Maine, in that area, was named for Robert about 150 years later through the efforts of his great-great-grandson, Theodore Sedgwick. The move against the French was considered very controversial at the time, as there was no war with the French, and no justification for the action.
However, Cromwell called Robert Sedgwick to England and sent him to Jamaica as one of the Generals in an occupational force. Jamaica had recently been taken from the Spanish. Later, Major General Sedgwick was appointed Governor of Jamaica, but almost immediately afterward, on May 24, 1656, he died of a "fever." The new responsibility imposed upon him aggravated his illness and brought him to his grave.
Sedgwick left a widow, Joanna Blake, and five children:
- Samuel Sedgwick (1639-c. 1675)
- Hannah Sedgwick (1640-1655)
- William Sedgwick (1643-1674)
- Robert Sedgwick (c. 1651-c. 1683)
- Infant child