Obadiah Bruen

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Obadiah Bruen, son of John Bruen, Esq. and Anne Foxe, was born probably shortly before his baptism at Bruen-Stapleford, Tarwin, Cheshire, England, 25 December 1606.1,2,3 He died at Newark, Essex Co., New Jersey, about 1681.4

Obadiah married Sarah Seeley, daughter of William Seeley, at St. Martin's, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England, 7 May 1633.5,2,4,6

There is ample evidence that Obadiah Bruen, son of John Bruen, is the same man as the New England settler. He begain his career at Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England were he was a member of the draper's guild:
30th day of September, in the 9th year of the reign of King Charles of England . . . Obadiah Bruen of the Vill of Salop draper, son of Joyn Bruen of Stapleford in the county palatine of Chester is admitted a free burgess of the Vill of Salop aforesaid . . . with full assent and consent to have enjoy and use all liberties and privileges of the same Vill, who says upon his oath that he has no issue before this session lawfully begotten and thereupon he is sworn in the manner of a burgess and pays for fine V li together with the due and accustomed fee . . ..7

At some early point, Obadiah Bruen purchased the interest of Richard Percival of Shrewsbury, a fellow draper, in a plantation at what is now Portsmouth, New Hampshire, which Obadiah sold in 1642, indicating his residence at Gloucester and Cape Ann. Later, in 1655, the drapers voted Obadiah ten pounds, but noted he was in New England.8

By 1640, he had arrived in New England at the end of the Great Migration. Obadiah Bruen is first of record at Green Harbor (now Marshfield) on a list of freemen of Plymouth, 2 March 1640/1.9 When an immigrant first appears by May of a given year, we assume they arrived the previous year as ships usually did not sail from England to New England during winter months.10

By May, 1642, he was town clerk at Gloucester and remained there, and in that position (and also chosen seven times as deputy to the General Court) until about 1650, when he migrated to New London, Connecticut.9

While at New London, he was chosen a townsman for fifteen years in succession, and except for the first year (1651) was always first townsman and moderator. He was consistently on committees for granting lands, building meeting-houses, and arbitrating differences. He was clerk or recorder of the town during his entire residence there, and in 1661, was chosen as the first clerk of the County Court. In the charter of Connecticut, granted by Charles II, Obadiah was one of the patentees of the colony and the only one from New London.9

By 1667, he became disenchanted with the state of affairs in Connecticut, and joined with others from towns of the old New Haven colony to purchase and settle a new township on the Passaic River in New Jersey that would become Newark. He signed the deed of purchase from the Indians, 11 July 1667. He seems to have retired from public life and did not hold any offices at Newark.9

He was living as late as 8 April 1681 when his son-in-law, Thomas Post of Norwich, made the final arrangements to sell some land at New London "that may doe Father Buren a pleasure."11


Sarah Seeley b. bef. 22 Oct 1609, d. aft. 1697
  • Mary Bruen4 b. 12 Jun 1634
  • Sarah Bruen4 b. 1 May 1636
  • Rebecca Bruen4 b. say 1638, d. 15 Apr 1721
  • Hannah Bruen4 b. 9 Jan 1644
  • John Bruen+4 b. 2 Jun 1645, d. 1695
This person was last edited on5 Aug 2019


  1. [S98] Donald Lines Jacobus, "Ancestry of Obadiah and Mary Bruen," The American Genealogist 26 (Jan 1950): 12-25, further cited as Jacobus, "Obadiah and Mary Bruen."
  2. [S1947] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families (Five vols., Salt Lake City, Utah: s.p., 2013), 1:586 (Bruen 18), further cited as Richardson, Royal Ancestry.
  3. [S520] Frederick Lewis Weis, Walter Lee Sheppard Jr., William R. Beall and Kaleen E. Beall, Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America before 1700… ., 8th ed. (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2004), 33-41, further cited as Weis, Sheppard, Beall, and Beall, Ancestral Roots, 8th ed.
  4. [S27] C. H. Cory, Lineal Ancestors of Susan (Kitchell) Mulford, Mother of Mrs Susan (Mulford) Cory, Vol IV, Pt 1 ([New Jersey]: s.p., 1937), 120-142, further cited as Cory, Ancestry of Susan Kitchell.
  5. [S1948] J. Hill and W. B. Bickley, Transcript of the First Register Book of the Parish Church of Saint Martin, Birmingham, 1554-1653 (Walsall, England: Steam Printing Works, 1889), 114, further cited as Hill and Bickley, Transcripts of St. Martin's.
  6. [S1872] Clarence Almon Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700, 3 vols. (Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011), 229, further cited as Torrey, New England Marriages (2011).
  7. [S98] Jacobus, "Obadiah and Mary Bruen," 16.
  8. [S51] C. H. Cory, Lineal Ancestors of Susan (Kitchell) Mulford, Mother of Mrs Susan (Mulford) Cory, Vol IV, Pt 2 ([United States]: [C.H. Cory], 1937), 120, further cited as Cory, Ancestors of Susan Mulford.
  9. [S2048] Frances Manwaring Caulkins, History of New London, Connecticut: From the First Survey of the Coast in 1612 to 1852 (Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Tiffany, & Co., 1852), 155, further cited as Caulkins, History of New London.
  10. [S2036] Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Directory: Immigrants to New England, 1620–1640, A Concise Compendium (Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2015), xiv, further cited as Anderson, Great Migration Directory.
  11. [S27] Cory, Ancestry of Susan Kitchell, 140.