Thomas Sherwood, the patriarch of the Fairfield Sherwoods, was apparently born in 1586 in Ipswich (Suffolk) England. If there was a connection with Sherwood (Nottingham) and Sherwood Forest, it must have been before his time.
In 1634 he sailed from Ipswich on the ship Francis. After some time in Wethersfield CT, he arrived in Fairfield in about 1648. He was a carpenter and a miller, and a community leader. His son Thomas Jr., who also arrived on the Francis, was the first miller at the gristmill at Mill River, Southport.
With his many children, Thomas stands atop an enormous family tree. Some of his descendants stayed here, some migrated west. Among the descendants, Daniel (1761) is especially significant because he was the first to settle on Sherwood Island. The land was a wedding present when he married Catherine Burr in 1787.
Here, mention is made only of Daniel’s descendents.
Generation 7. Daniel and Catherine had 11 children. Two died in childhood. The others were: Ebenezer Burr (1788), Catherine (1790), Eunice (1792), Daniel (1794), Abraham (1802), Silas Burr (1805), and in 1810 the legendary triplets Francis, Frederick and Franklin who became sea captains. All of them were probably born on the island.
Generation 8. There were too many Sherwoods in this generation for listing here. Among them, the children of Silas Burr Sherwood and Anne Coley Taylor were: Silas Burr Jr. (1830), Jessup (1832), Catherine (1835) and Moses (1839). Fannie Sherwood (1848), daughter of Franklin, married John H. Elwood, who farmed on Sherwood’s Island.
Generation 9. When the State began acquiring land for the park in the 1900s, the Sherwoods were no longer farming there, but the Elwood’s were. The upland acquired in 1923 was from the heirs of Moses, who had died about eight years before. Some other parcels were acquired from other Sherwood heirs.
From Thomas to Daniel/3
1. Thomas 1590
2. Thomas 1630
3. Samuel 1664
4. Daniel 1708
5. Daniel 1735
6. Daniel 1761
The Sherwoods farmed on the island through most of the 1800s. The farm yielded abundant crops, especially onions and potatoes shipped to New York. Oysters were harvested.
In 1790, the Sherwoods acquired the Mill Pond gristmill, which serviced local farmers. Its specialty was kiln-dried corn meal shipped to the West Indies. The mill burned down in 1895.