Richard Towner

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ChartsAncestors of Wilford Ervie Billings
Richard Towner, whose ancestry is unknown (or not traced here), was born at Sussex, England, about 1650.1 He died at Branford, Connecticut, 22 August 1727.1

Richard married (1) Mary (…), before 1686;1,2 he married (2), as her 4th husband, Deborah Palmer, 6 March 1717. The ancestries of both women are unknown (or not traced here).1,3

He probably came from Sussex Co., England, but that is not certain. The family has been there for generations and not found elsewhere in that era.

There is a grant of land on 17 Feb 1686 on the record of the town meetings in Guilford, Conn. at page 105, however the grant was not put on the land records until 2 May 1712, when the town ordered it to be recorded as ten acres "formerly granted to Richard Towner, now living in Branford," The land is marked at the corners by stones graven with the letters "R.T." He lived in Guilford some three years and then moved to Branford where there is a record of him in 1689.

In the southeast part of Branford there is a swamp, and at the beach, a cave in the rocks, which have long been known as "Towner's Swamp" and "Towner's Cave." The grant made to him in Guilford apparently includes this swamp, and it is conjectured that for some reason he lived for a while in this cave, but he first settled on "Towner's Hill," and the following year built a house at a place three miles east known as "Short Rocks" and put down a well. Traces of the cellar wall of the house and of the well were still visible in 1910.

He had 9 children but the dates of their births and deaths are not all certain. The first three were likely born in England as records can be found to place the births of the others in Conn. The record of Baptisms is an indication that they were born in the order named: March, 1700, (Baptism), Richard, Sarah, John, Joseph, Benjamin, Samuel, and Hannah Towner.

His will was dated 6 May 1725, and probated in Guilford, Connecticut, 30 Sep 1727. In it, all the children were mentioned with portions given, except to Joseph: like Jacob of old, "and Joseph is not." Richard was a husbandman and also worked at ship carpentry, and evidently well off; his estate amounted to 140 pounds, which was three times the average for those days.1

Richard left a will dated 6 May 1725, and proved in the Guilford, Connecticut Probate District, 30 September 1727:
In the name of God Amen I, Richard Towner of Branford, being aged and weak of body but of sound mind and memory, thankes be given unto God for his calling unto mind the mortality of my body and knoing that it is appointed for all men to dye, Do make and ordain this my last will and Testament in manner and form following:

Touching such worldly Estate wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me in this life, I give, devise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form. I will that all my just debts and funerall expenses be first paid by my executor after named.

Then I give and bequeath to Deborah my beloved wife all my provision in the house and all my corne groing in the field at my decease. To my beloved sone Richard Towner, being allready advanced by settlement of all my lands in Branford.

I have given to my well beloved son John towner Silver mouney ten pounds all ready in full of his portion and Joseph is not.

I give and bequeath to my well beloved son Benjamin Towner all my land in Hadam which he hath not allready purchased, he paying the full sume of nine pounds curant mouney to me or my order whome I constitut make and ordane my sole Executor of this my last will and testament.

I have given to my well beloved son samuel Towner allready the sume of thirtey pounds sundarys in full of his portion.

I give to my well beloved daughter Sarah cook one cowe.

I have given to my well beloved daughter Marah Tylare one cowe allready.

I have given to my well beloved daughter Hanna Hitt one cowe allready.

I give to my well beloved daughter Thankful Towner one cowe, one bed, one grate iron pot, one iron sletet, one puter basin, one tin pan,one framel, one pare of fier tonges, one smouting iron, one small table.

I hereby utterly disallowe revoke and disavowe all and every other formere will and testament by me made ratifing and confirming the and no other to be my last Will and Testament in witnes whereof I have hearunto set my hand and seal this sixth day of Maye ano dom 1725

Signed sealed published pronounced & declared by the seal said Richard Towner as his last will & testament, mark in the prescence of his subscribers

Samuel Harrington
Samuel Kirkum
William Goodrich.

Family 1

Mary (…) d. bef. 1717
  • Sarah Towner1
  • Joseph Towner1 d. bef. 1725
  • Mary Towner1
  • Hannah Towner1 d. 1759
  • John Towner+1 b. abt. 1685, d. aft. 1741
  • Benjamin Towner1 b. abt. 1688, d. 9 Jan 1761
  • Samuel Towner1 b. 1692, d. abt. 1784
  • Richard Towner1 b. bef. 1700, d. 28 Feb 1753
  • Thankful Towner1 b. Dec 1701, d. 1758

Family 2

Deborah Palmer b. 5 Feb 1642/43, d. aft. 1727
This person was last edited on29 Dec 2017


  1. [S13] James W. Towner, A Genealogy of the Towner Family: the Descendants of Richard Towner, who came from Sussex County, Eng., to Guilford, Conn., before 1685 (Los Angeles, California: Times-Mirror Printing & Binding House, 1910), 9-14, further cited as Towner, Towner Family.
  2. [S1872] Clarence Almon Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700, 3 vols. (Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011), 1533, further cited as Torrey, New England Marriages (2011).
  3. [S1795] Jean Rumsey, "Two More Marriages for Deborah2 (Palmer) (Jones) Champion: Henry Crane of Killingworth and Richard Towner of Branford, Connecticut," The Genealogist 18 (Spring 2004): 97-98, further cited as Rumsey, "More Marriages for Deborah Champion."