Susan Forbes Hanson – Hannah Goodwin Pitkin (1637 – 1723/24)
This simple brownstone marker for Hannah Goodwin Pitkin belies her statue and social prominence in the Connecticut Colony. The neighboring marble marker erected by family members in the later 1800’s proudly designates her “The Ancestral Mother of All by the Name in America”
She was the eldest daughter of Ozias Goodwin, a member of the Hooker Party that traveled from Cambridge of the Massachusetts Colony in the early 1630s and thus an original proprietor of the Hartford Settlement and soon-to-be Connecticut Colony.
Said to be an accomplished young woman, in 1661 she married William Pitkin I, a man of some inherited wealth, who had emigrated from England in 1659. He was the well educated son of the Headmaster of the still existing Berkhamsted School in Hartfordshire and he trained as a lawyer. In the Hartford Settlement he became first a teacher and then the first King’s Attorney for the new Colony. Designated a Proprietor of the Settlement also allowed for him being granted huge tracts of land both in East Hartford and what later became Manchester.
William was soon joined by his sister, Martha, also well educated and with inherited wealth and a sought after beauty who married Simon Wolcott of Windsor.
Thus, Hannah, the daughter of a Goodwin, was married to a Pitkin, and was the sister-in-law to a Wolcott, all three in the first generation of dynastic families of the Connecticut Colony – all part of fewer than a dozen families that were to run the colony for a century with more power then was even had by their king in faraway England.
William and Hannah had 8 children, 6 sons and 2 daughters. One son, Ozias, named after his grandfather had 13 surviving children and died in 1747. Their son William II married Elizabeth Stanley, the 2nd generation of another dynastic family of the colony.
Hannah was the grandmother of William III, the last colonial governor.
Martha was the mother of a Governor Roger Wolcott and the grandmother of Oliver and great grandmother Oliver Jr., two more state governors. In all she was the ancestral mother of 7 governors of this and other states.
As peers, Hannah (widowed at the age of 57) on the east side of the Great River and Martha on the west side were without doubt grandames of great social prominence and influence in the Colony. A sign of this is the number of documented bequests for a gift to Hannah of such as a gold ring or lace scarf if she honored a funeral with her presence. Throughout her long life of 87 years, one can not imagine a family member going against her wishes, or a local resident risking her disapproval.