Hatch 5.png

The Hatch and Brood of Time: Five

Phelps Families in the Atlantic World,


by Peter Haring Judd



The American Society of Genealogists gave The Hatch and Brood of Time The Donald Lines Jacobus Award in 2001, recognizing it as “the best work of genealogical scholarship published within three years leading up to the year of the award.” It is the highest award in genealogy.

“A beautifully crafted narrative that illuminates a fascinating period in American history. The stories of five families explore life in colonial Connecticut, the early Yankee migration to the Upper Connecticut River Valley, the settlement of New England planters in Nova Scotia before the Revolution, and the history of Stafford and its springs, iron works, and turnpike in Federalist Connecticut. Genealogical sections on the Phelps, Denison, Wheelock, and Haring families are included.”

From the Introduction

by Professor David Hackett Fischer of Brandeis University


For readers with an interest in history and genealogy, here is a book that brings the two disciplines together with high success: the approach is fresh and creative. Its narrative is graceful and fluent. And the best of it is to be found in the substance of the work. Peter Haring Judd has joined history and genealogy in a way that gets results. He uses genealogical materials to enlarge our understanding of American history. At the same time, he works with historical sources in a way that expands the process of research and writing in genealogy. Altogether, Peter Judd has made a highly significant contribution to both disciplines. More important, he has developed a method by which other combinations might be made.

Hatch 1.png
Hatch 2.png
Hatch 3.png
Hatch 4.png


"Nicely written and thoroughly researched, Judd’s book is fundamentally a family’s history, not family history. There are some curious turns, as one usually finds in studies emphasizing individual lives rather than an analysis of more general patterns. Judd follows multiple generations from a prominent New England clan. The focus of the first story, Alexander Phelps, married Theodora Wheelock, daughter of minister and Dartmouth founder Eleazer Wheelock. Benajah Phelps, nephew of Alexander, was a minister and a patriot during the Revolution. This Phelps moved to Nova Scotia in the 1760s with the aid of a land grant engineered by his uncle’s father-in-law (Wheelock), only to lose all during the ensuing war as a result of his political sympathies. His land was seized, and he had a great deal of trouble getting himself and his family out of Canada. Eventually they reunited in Connecticut, where Benajah never found much success. Such details add a textured understanding of the Revolution’s costs for individuals and families. They also show how careful genealogical work can tease out the consequences of the many and complicated connections among family members."

-Karin Wulf, William and Mary Quarterly




"Peter Judd’s thorough research, careful analysis, and clear writing draw the reader into a set of fascinating lives that comprise a compelling picture of the role of New Englanders in creating and expanding the American Republic."

-Alan Taylor, University of California, Davis




"Engagingly written and meticulously researched, The Hatch and Brood of Time is family history at its best, linking individuals in five generations of the Phelps family to the larger historical forces that shaped their lives. Readers will be simultaneously entertained and enlightened as they follow the fortunes (and misfortunes) of very real people responding to the challenges of, among other things, pioneer settlement, the American Revolution, and the Civil War. A testimony to the fact that truth is stranger than fiction, the Phelps family story reveals both the best and worst of what it meant to be “American” in the period between 1720 and 1880."

-Margaret Conrad, professor of history and research director, Planter Studies Center,

Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada




"The breadth of the research conducted by the author is exhaustive and the entire approach is highly scholarly. In addition he has researched and analyzed the geographical locations where people lived, local and national historical events, and even describes the tenets of the various religions of the ministers compared to competing religions popular at the time. By picturing these five makes these accounts to non-Phelps descendants whose ancestors lived in the same towns and places. Maps and photographs abound."

-Donna Valley Russell, Detroit Society for Genealogical Research Magazine




"Peter Judd has produced a family history that deserves a wide audience. His narrative focuses on five principal characters. Alexander Phelps came from a typical Connecticut farming community, attended Yale College, and had a career at law in New Hampshire. His nephew, Benajah Phelps, was a Congregational minister in the remote New England settlements of pre-– revolutionary Nova Scotia. Alexander’s son Davenport left New England after the revolution to try life in Ontario—not a wise move for one who had supported independence—and ended up a pioneer Episcopal missionary in Western New York state. Davenport’s brother, Eleazar Wheelock Phelps, made his way to New York City after the war of 1812 to begin a mercantile career that was abruptly ended by fever and a trip to Havana. And finally, Eleazar son, George Alexander Phelps, established himself as a merchant in New York City, trading in fruit from the Mediterranean, a business that will last into the twentieth century.

Phelps, George Alexander 1803-1880Each of these lives is recounted in its historical context, and the varied experiences introduce us to aspects of North American history that might have been glossed over in a broader study. Mr. Judd’s treatment of George Alexander and his family is typical of the rest of the book: besides the expected family history, he draws on both original sources and the work of other historians to tell us what it was like to live in New York City in the first half of the nineteenth century, and what it meant to be a New York merchant. All the people he describes represented the countries more educated and prosperous class, that status did not protect them from disease, financial panics, or political upheavals. They were in some ways exceptional individuals, but also representative of their time.This type of family history could not be written without a knowledge of the relevant genealogy, and the second part of The Hatch and Brood of Time contains documented genealogies of the Phelps, Wheelock, Haring, and Denison families. Mr. Judd has shown how the two disciplines can be effectively tied together, to the great benefit of both."

-Harry Macy, Jr.., F.A.S.G., Editor, The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record