Miles Merwin Biography

Miles Merwin was born in 1623 in Southeast England, in Berkshire County. In the mid-1980s The Association engaged an English genealogist to search for Miles' baptismal record. Because Miles and others had settled in Connecticut, naming their town Windsor, the genealogist began searching records in the area of Windsor, England, familiar as the location of Windsor Castle. He found a record that “Myles, sonne of Gualter Murwin, of Cluar Parish,” had been baptized February 1, 1623. The genealogist concluded that in today’s spelling, this was Miles, son of Walter of Clewer Parish. His conclusion was buttressed by the inscription of Miles tombstone in Milford, that said he died at age 74 on April 23, 1697.

In the early 1990s further research confirmed Miles birth and baptism. It also discovered that Miles’ father, Walter, had twice served as mayor of Windsor Borough. In addition, the family line was traced back three generations beyond Miles’ father, to our earliest known ancestor, John Merwin, baptized in 1490.
The young Miles, possibly traveling with his uncle, landed in Dorchester, Massachusetts, about 1640. Dorchester, now part of Boston, was a popular port for Puritan immigrants sailing from England. A few years later Miles left Dorchester and moved to Windsor, Connecticut, presumably named by its settlers for Windsor, England. There he bought land and married Elizabeth Powell, who bore him the first of his 12 children, by two wives.

Around 1645 Miles was offered incentive to move 50 miles south to the coastal Connecticut town of Milford, which was seeking settlers. By the early 1650s Miles had sold his property in Windsor and was operating a tannery in Milford, for which he was granted additional land. Through these grants and additional land he purchased, Miles eventually accumulated 171 acres, which was known as The Merwin Farm. Ten generations of Merwins lived there until it was sold in 1986. He was part owner of ships engaged in coastal trade with Boston and also sea going trade with the West Indies. Miles had seven children with his first wife, Elizabeth, who died in Milford, then five more with his second wife Sarah. She too died, and Miles married another Sarah, as his third and last wife.

When Miles died in 1697 he was survived by his third wife, plus 10 of his 12 children. He is buried in Milford Cemetery, his grave marked by a replica tombstone of the original. The replica was installed by the Miles Merwin Association in 1959. Miles’ name also is inscribed on a stone in Milford’s Memorial Bridge, near the Town Green. The stone is one of 54 such memorial stones, honoring Milford’s early settlers. The bridge was erected in 1889, in celebration of the town’s 250th anniversary.