This page offers a menu and nutshell descriptions of the figures who appear as major players or deponents in the Grosvenor-Sessions court case. Ages are given for the year 1742, when Amasa and Sarah’s courtship went awry, abortion was induced, and Sarah died. Maiden names of married women appear in parentheses. Persons indicted or charged with a crime at some point in the 1745-1747 period are denoted with an asterisk (*). Biographical information was compiled by Cornelia Dayton from the vital records (births, marriages, and deaths) of Pomfret and surrounding towns, probated estate papers, land records, and published town histories and genealogies.
Captain Leicester Grosvenor:
One of two surviving sons of John Grosvenor, who had been one of the six original large landowners
in this corner of Windham County, Connecticut. Leicester was chosen as one of the first selectmen when Pomfret became a town
in 1714, and he was elected to that office for one-year terms 19 times. He also rose to the elected rank of Captain in the local militia and held numerous other local offices of responsibility.
Cornelia Dayton believes that Leicester's homestead was upon the hill that rises beyond the tiny Pomfret village center (with the meetinghouse),
at a distance of a "vigorous walk from the church," as the town's historian puts it.
Rebecca (Waldo) Grosvenor:
Capt. Grosvenor's second wife,
age 48, (step-mother of Sarah and Zerviah).
Capt. Grosvenor's daughter, age 21 (born June 24, 1721).
Capt. Grosvenor's daughter. Born
June 1, 1723.
Mrs. Anne Grosvenor:
Age 54. Widow of Sergt. Ebenezer
Grosvenor, who was a younger brother of Leicester. Anne died in June 1743.
Age 31, son of Ebenezer and Anne,
nephew of Leicester. John lived near the Leicester Grosvenor family in Pomfret.
Hannah (Dresser) Grosvenor:
John Grosvenor's wife, age c.30. Their children in 1742 were 8 and under.
Age 28, nephew of Leicester and first cousin of John.
Lucy (Cheney) Grosvenor:
Ebenezer's wife. She was not
called as a witness.
Age 33, wife of Josiah Wheeler;
she is a daughter of Leicester Grosvenor and a full sister to
Sarah and Zerviah.
Age 38, a nephew of Leicester
Grosvenor and a first cousin of John, Ebenezer, Sarah, and Zerviah Grosvenor; in 1742 he is married with children under age 14.
Elizabeth (Pepper) Grosvenor:
Age c. 44, widow of Thomas Grosvenor,
who was a younger brother of Leicester.
Lieut. Nathaniel Sessions:
Age 60. Nathaniel Sessions ran
a licensed tavern out of his house at a junction of major roads about one mile from the Pomfret meetinghouse and village center. He was frequently chosen for town committees and offices such as constable, and many town meetings were held at his tavern. He had been chosen lieutenant in the local trainband in 1729, at age 48.
Nathaniel's wife--did not
Age 26, Nathaniel's third
son (born 13 August 1715).
Sarah Grosvenor's lover and
the instigator of Hallowell's scheme to induce an abortion of
her illegitimate child. He married a Massachusetts widow in October
1744--two years after Sarah's death and one year before the first
criminal prosecution in the case. In his 40s, Sessions served
as a militia captain in the Seven Years War. He and his wife
had at least ten children born to them. Amasa died in Pomfret
in 1799 at the age of 84. His gravestone is only 25 feet away
from the marker for Sarah Grosvenor. His stone, now half sunk
into the ground, proclaims that he was a "Gentleman of Abilitie,"
who always "acquitted himself with honesty in Public Business."
One of his nephews remembered him as "remarkably capable,"
and one of his grandsons recalled that "in his prime he
was a very strong man; in his advanced age...he was very corpulent."
Perhaps his physical presence, not just his persuasive powers,
proved intimidating to Sarah Grosvenor.
Age 28, brother to Amasa.
Next in age among the Sessions sons.
Silence (Thayer) Sessions:
Wife of Alexander Sessions.
Sarah (Dana) Sessions:
Age c.20, wife of Simeon,
a younger brother of Amasa.
Town and church records document
that this John Hallowell lived in Killingly, Conn. (near Pomfret)
from at least 1727-1740.
In Killingly, Hallowell had 2 children by an early wife,
Marcy, and 5 children (including sons named Calvin and Luther)
by a second wife, Mehitabel; all 7 children were baptised by
the Rev. Mr. John Fisk in the First Congregational Church of
Putnam in and after 1729
John himself "renewed the covenant" in July 1729,
at about the time of his second marriage.
It is not clear where John and his family were living in
In July 1727, "Dr. John Hallowell of Killingly"
was arrested with 3 male confederates on suspicion of counterfeiting
(composing copper plates to manufacture false bills in imitation
of Connecticut's paper money). Although witnesses before a local
court testified to the team's suspicious activities in a woodland
shelter, the charges against Hallowell were dropped at the Sept.
1727 Windham Superior Court when the original informer failed
In November 1745, when the first charges were brought against
Hallowell, Amasa Sessions, Zerviah Grosvenor, and Hannah Grosvenor,
Hallowell was not immediately examined because he was in jail
for debt in Providence, Rhode Island (where he then apparently
resided, separately from his wife and children).
Page Created: May 18, 2007
Last Modified: December 30, 2008