Obadiah Bruen

Dates of Birth and Death

1606 - bef. 1690

Obadiah Bruen was the fourth child of John Bruen and his beautiful wife, Anne Fox. Obadiah was born in Bruen-Stapleford, Cheshire, England, and was baptized on 25 December 1606 in St. Andrews Church, Tarvin, Cheshire, England. Bruen’s ancestry can be traced to Charlemagne.

On 7 March 1632, Obadiah married Sarah Seeley in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England. The couple immigrated about 1640 with their children (three additional children were born in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts). He was a Freeman in Gloucester in 1642 and made a selectman and representative from 1647 to 1651.

Obadiah moved to Pequot (now New London), Connecticut where in 1653 he was the town recorder. In 1660 and again 1663-1666 he was appointed Deputy Judge. In 1660 he was empowered by the General Court to administer oaths. His name is frequently mentioned in public records and he filled many positions of public trust. Obadiah was one of nineteen men to petition King Charles II for the Charter of Connecticut and one of the grantees to that instrument on 20 April 1662. The General Court appointed him one of the commissioners to settle the differences between the settlers and the Niantic Indians.

Obadiah became very dissatisfied with the state of affairs in Connecticut and with others signed the “Fundamental Agreements” and moved to Newark, New Jersey with their families in 1666-67. At this point in his life he was approaching “old age” and the move was difficult for him make, not to mention leaving all he had accomplished to start anew in a new wilderness.

Obadiah came with the Milford group, which included John Baldwin Jr ,. who had married his daughter Hannah ; altogether, 63 men are listed as the first settlers of Newark, New Jersey. While the Hackensack Indians made the agreement to sell the lands to the settlers in May 1666, the bill of sale was not signed until 11 July 1667. On that day the prepared document, which confirmed and enlarged on the May 1666 agreement, was read to the assembled tribal elders, explained to them by a Dutch interpreter, was signed first (their marks) by Wapamuk and others, for the Indians and then by Obadiah Bruen, Michael Tomkins, Samuel Kitchell, John Brown and Robert Denison, in that order, for the town, and "with the consent and advice of Philip Carteret, Governor of the Province of New Jersey." The lengthy bill of sale described the lands and defined the boundaries which included most of the present day Essex County and part of Union County and stated the Indian hunting and fishing rights, the settler's rights, etc. The bill of sale provided that the Indians would receive, in consideration for the sale of the lands: fifty double-hands of powder, one hundred bars of lead, twenty axes, ten guns, twenty pistols, twenty coats, ten kettles, ten swords, four blankets, four barrels of beer, ten pairs of breeches, fifty knives, twenty hoes, 850 fathom of wampum, two "Ankers" of liquor and three trooper’s coats.

In a town meeting, 20 June 1667, highways were agreed upon, land was divided by lot beginning at Obadiah’s home lot at the river spot; he was also required to maintain the second gate next to the great river. In the division of lands Obadiah drew lot no. 21, which became his home lot, located on Market Street. He is considered one of the five most important men in the new Newark settlement. The families were very close knit and their children married among themselves.

Biography Author

not provided


Richardson, Douglas. Plantagenet Ancestry

Ricord, Frederick W. Biographical and Genealogical History of the City of Newark and Essex County, New Jersey

Weis, Frederick Lewis. Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America before 1700

Willis, C.E. and F.C. A History of the Willis Family