By the time that Robert Lane was born about 1639 in Derbyshire, England, the colonization of New England was under way.
The Winthrop Fleet had left nine years before, and thriving communities were being established in Massachusetts and Connecticut.
We don’t know much about Robert’s early life. It is possible his parents were named Daniel and Hannah, but it’s
not certain. We don’t know when Robert decided to emigrate to America. Did his parents come too? There is no evidence
they did. So it seems, that Robert as a young man, perhaps in his late teens made the journey across the ocean.
We do know that in 1660, a town lot in Stratford, CT was allotted to him. On the map of Stratford, it is lot 62. His future
father in law’s lot was number 61, so it appears that Robert married the girl next door. That girl was Sarah Pickett,
who was baptized in Salem, MA in 1648.
One of Robert’s first jobs in Stratford appears to be that of ‘cow-keeper’, along with Samuel Fayrechild.
Perhaps they were not the most successful of cow-keepers because in 1662 they were asked to pay their townsmen 20s for their
‘unfaithfulness in keeping the heard’. That same year he was appointed fence viewer, and the next year he was
It was the duty of the Sexton to ring the bell before a funeral so that people would know to gather. The procession walked
in pairs with family members preceding the townspeople. If the deceased was a woman, the women led the procession of family
and of townspeople. The opposite was true if the deceased was a man. No person was allowed to walk abreast or ahead of the
deceased, except for the bearers.
In 1665 Robert and Sarah married. The first of their ten children, Sarah Pickett Lane was born the following year.
In October of 1668, Governor John Winthrop gave a list of the "freemen of Stratford as they are reputed among us". Robert
Lane was on this list. His second daughter, Hannah, was also born that year.
More children followed. Daniel was born in 1671, Robert in 1673, John in 1674, Elizabeth, 1677, Margaret, 1679, Rebecca,
1682, Jonathan, 1685 and finally Mary in 1688. Unfortunately, Daniel died in 1674 when he was only 3 years old and Robert
died before he was a year old.
Robert seems to have been highly respected by his townsmen, for he was selected to represent them at the General Court
at Hartford. In 1686 he was selected as Deputy to that court.
In 1695 Robert removed to Killingworth. He bought the house lot and properties of John Allyn, one of the original settlers
of Killingworth. From 1699 to 1715 he served in the colonial assembly.
He moved to Killingworth in 1695. In 1696, he petitioned the court on behalf of some of his neighbors for a sluice and
bridge to be built over the Hammock River. From 1699 to 1715 he served in the colonial assembly. In 1701, he was appointed
to a committee to audit the work and expenses of the building of the meeting house. He was active in affairs of church and
town until his death on April 2, 1718. His wife, Sarah died a few years later in March 1725.
The circumstances of his life at Stratford indicate that he was of the yeoman class. But it is interesting to note that
his name is never found in records with the respectful prefix of "Mr."