Happy Baptism Anniversary Samuel Camfield




Samuel Camfield (1645-1690)


Samuel Camfield was born about Oct 1645 in New Haven, New Haven, Connecticut, as the first child of Matthew Camfield and Sarah Treat. He had eight siblings, namely: Sarah, Ebenezer, Matthew, Hannah, Rachel, Jonathan, Ruth, and Mary. Samuel Camfield was baptized on 19 Oct 1645 in New Haven, New Haven, Connecticut. The surname, Camfield, has also been written Canfield, Campfield, or Campphield. The book, A History of Thomas Canfield and of Matthew Camfield with a Genealogy of their Descendants in New Jerseylists thirty different spellings for the name in America.

We don’t know the exact date of Samuel’s birth, but given that he was baptized on 19 Oct 1645, his birth was likely shortly before that date. For early Americans, it was more important to record the baptism than the birth, so it is not uncommon to not know an exact date of birth. Since we don’t know Samuel Camfield’s exact birthday, we will celebrate his life on the anniversary of his baptism.

Samuel was born in New Haven, but went with his father to Norwalk, Connecticut in 1652 and to Newark, New Jersey in 1666. He was awarded a home lot in Newark in 1666, but doesn’t seemed to have stayed long in New Jersey. By 19 Feb 1668, he was in Norwalk again, this time signing an agreement, and later that year being assigned a home lot.


When he was 23, he married Elizabeth Merwin, daughter of Miles Merwin and Elizabeth, in 1669.

The identity of Samuel Camfield’s wife has been debated by historians. Many, including A History of Thomas Canfield and of Matthew Camfield with a Genealogy of their Descendants in New Jersey, say that he married Sarah Willoughby, the daughter of Lieutenant Governor Francis and Sarah Taylor Willoughby. Others say that his wife was Elizabeth Merwin. An article in Genealogies of Connecticut Families: From the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, argues that the “Camfield husband of Sarah Willoughby” is Nathaniel and the “Wife of Samuel Camfield” is Elizabeth Merwin. This family historian has decided that Elizabeth Merwin is the more likely wife, though further study is warranted.


Samuel Camfield and Elizabeth Merwin had the following children:

  1. Ebenezer Camfield was born on 14 Feb 1670 in Norwalk, Fairfield, Connecticut. He married Mary Henery on 24 Mar 1693. He died in Norwalk, Fairfield, Connecticut.
  2. Abigail Camfield was born in Apr 1672 in Norwalk, Fairfield, Connecticut. She married Jonathan Rockwell about 1703 in Norwalk, Fairfield, Connecticut. She died on 08 Jul 1734 in Ridgefield, Fairfield, Connecticut.
  3. Matthew Camfield was born about 1675 in Norwalk, Fairfield, Connecticut.
  4. Samuel Camfield was born on 10 May 1679 in Norwalk, Fairfield, Connecticut. He married Abigail Austin on 01 Aug 1709 in Norwalk, Fairfield, Connecticut. He married Abigail Dean on 09 May 1711 in Norwalk, Fairfield, Connecticut. He died in Sep 1712 in Norwalk, Fairfield, Connecticut.
  5. Jedediah Camfield was born in Aug 1681 in Norwalk, Fairfield, Connecticut, USA. He married Lydia Kellum about 1719. He died about 1761 in Bedford, Westchester, New York.

Newark and Norwalk

A History of Thomas Canfield and of Matthew Camfield with a Genealogy of their Descendants in New Jersey says:

A deed is on record in Newark, dated 6 June 1673, from Samuel Camfield of Norwalk, Conn., to the overseers of the estate of his father, for his brothers Ebenezer and Matthew ‘Canfield’ of “Neworke.” This deed is interesting as proof that he was in Newark at the time. The fact that he was not made a Freeman of Norwalk until 14 Oct. 1669, when he was twenty-four years of age, is evidence that he had been out of the colony of Connecticut.

Samuel did own land at Norwalk. For example, he “drew” lot number four in the December 1668 Norwalk town business of making a fence for a winter wheat field.


Samuel Camfield died in Oct 1690 in Norwalk, Fairfield, Connecticut. He was only about 45-years old at the time of his death. His oldest son was 20-years old then and his youngest only nine-years old.

It took about 16 years for the estate to be settled. His probate file gives us a small glimpse into his life.

Only four of his five children were listed as heirs. The other son, Matthew, must have died before Samuel’s death.

Samuel Camfield estate, list of children.

In Nov 1690, an inventory was taken of Samuel Camfield’s estate. At this time, women did not own anything, so even the blankets were considered to have been owned by Samuel and became part of the estate. The inventory included some land, household items, tools, and livestock. You can see that handwriting and spelling were quite different then. The entire estate was worth about £209.

Samuel Camfield estate, inventory.

In December 1702, the widow, Elizabeth Camfield; sons Ebenezer and Samuel; and Jonathan Rockwell, the husband of daughter Abigail, all gave their consent to the plan for settling the estate. Through his guardian, the youngest son, Jedediah, did the same.

Finally, in 1706, the estate was finally settled. Samuel had owned real estate and other property that was distributed to his widow and children. These papers from 311-years ago are difficult to read. The widow got, among other things, a cow and a horse. His sons got property, with Ebenezer, the oldest, getting the bulk of the estate. His daughter, who had married and was then Abigail Rockwell, got money rather than property. It is interesting to note that the family members signed the settlement document. In those days, it was more common for people to just make an “x.” It is impressive that they were able to write their own names.

Samuel Camfield estate, settlement.

Where is he in the tree?

Relationship chart, Floyd Boyce Phillips to Samuel Camfield.
Pedigree chart, Samuel Camfield.

Selected Sources:

Ancestry.com, Connecticut, Wills and Probate Records, 1609-1999 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015), Ancestry.com, Probate Files Collection, Early to 1880; Author: Connecticut State Library (Hartford, Connecticut); Probate Place: Hartford, Connecticut. Record for Samuel Camfield.

Edwin Hall, The Ancient Historical Records of Norwalk, Connecticut: With a Plan of the Ancient Settlement, and of the town in 1847 (New York: Baker & Scribner, 1847), pp. 54-5, 61, 79, Archive.org (https://archive.org/details/ancienthistoric00hallgoog : accessed 11 Oct 2017).

Frederick A. Canfield, A History of Thomas Canfield and of Matthew Camfield with a Genealogy of their Descendants in New Jersey (New Haven, Connecticut: The Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor Press, 1897), Google Books (https://books.google.com/books?id=EoY_AAAAYAAJ : accessed 11 Oct 2017)

Genealogies of Connecticut Families: From the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 1 Adams – Gates (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1983), p. 273, Google Books (https://books.google.com/books?id=k6fDl9gE45IC : accessed 11 Oct 2017).

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