- Written by Joseph B. Barnes, Esq.
Milford’s First teacher and doctor
Jasper Gunn was born ca. 1606 and was baptized on the 9th of August 1607, at Great Burstead, England. He was of Scottish descent. He was the fifth of six children, the only son of Henry and wife Sarah Gunne.
Jasper Gunn arrived in Boston, Massachusetts on October 8, 1635 having sailed aboard the ship "Defense" from London on July 14, 1635 when just 29 years old. He came with his wife Christian Mary, nee Baldwin, though the ship records indicate an "Anne Gunn, age 25." Several Gunn genealogists have speculated that the ship clerk just heard Ann when she said Christian. This seems likely as no further mention of this "Anne" Gunn occurs in colonial records. They settled in Roxbury, Massachusetts and on 25 May 1636 he was made a freeman of that town. They had their first child, Samuel, there in 1635 so she must have been expecting during the voyage over. Two more children followed: Jobamah Gunn, born 1637 and Daniel Gunn, 1639, both born in Roxbury. Also in 1639, (reputedly the same year he arrived in Milford) he was allotted 5 1/2 acres at Roxbury indicating the esteem his fellow residents had for him at the time. He soon left Massachusetts nonetheless.
In 1638 Peter Prudden arrived from England with the Hertfordshire party in the Boston area. The Reverends Prudden and Davenport traveled to many colonial communities sermonizing and seeking followers for their dream of creating a new Jerusalem in the new world. Gunn apparently found the charismatic Prudden inspiring enough to give up his home and join the party in Milford. There being no record of him in New Haven until 1661, he may have come to Milford directly or via Hartford, it is unknown which. In any event, when he and his wife Mary were admitted to the church in Milford 25 Apr 1641 it was noted that they "having been dismissed by the church at Hertford." On the same page of the Milford church records are recorded the baptisms of their children, Mehetable ('Mable') and Abel on 2 May 1641 and 19 Jun 1643, both in Milford. Gunn does not appear in the list of "after-planters" (1646-1660) but does appear on the 1646 list of "Original" (1639) planters (This does not guarantee his presence in 1639 though as, for instance, John Smith's, who arrived ca. 1643, appears on both lists).
Jasper Gunn was given Lot #24 (1646 map) from the initial property purchased from the Indians (now the area around One New Haven Avenue and S.B.C. down to the Simon Lake Submarine site). In 1643 Jasper Gunn was appointed with others as judges on a court to divide the land and admit inhabitants ("After-Planters) into the Milford "plantation." He received additional parcels in The town in 1646, 1649, 1659, 1660.
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