Comfort Starr

Comfort Starr (6 July 1589 – 2 January 1659) was a 17th-century English physician who emigrated to the Thirteen Colonies. He was one of the five founders of Harvard College.

Comfort Starr
Starr's headstone in Boston
Born(1589-07-06)6 July 1589
Died2 January 1659(1659-01-02) (aged 69)
Resting placeKing's Chapel Burying Ground
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Elizabeth Watts
(m. 1613; died 1658)

Early lifeEdit

Starr was born in Cranbrook, Kent,[1] on 6 July 1589.[2] He was one of the seventeen children of Thomas Starr.[3]


In 1635, aged 45, left the Kingdom of England aboard the Hercules, which launched from Sandwich, Kent. He settled in Cambridge, Colony of Massachusetts Bay,[4] where he was a founder of Harvard College the following year.[2][5] He came with three of his children and three servants; his wife followed with the other children.[1] One of his daughters did not emigrate until after her father's death.[6]

His sister, Suretrust, also emigrated, and lived in Charlestown, Colony of Massachusetts Bay, with her husband Faithful Rouse.[7]

Personal lifeEdit

Prior to his family's emigration, Starr was a warden at St Mary's Parish Church in Ashford, Kent, where he also had a surgery.[3][7]

Starr married Elizabeth Watts on 4 October 1614. They had nine children: Thomas (1615–1658), Judith (1617–1622), Mary (1620), Elizabeth (1621–1704), Comfort (1624–1711), John (1626–1704), Samuel (1628–1633), Hannah (1632–1662) and Lydia (1634–1653).[8] Mary married John Maynard in 1640.[9] Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president of the United States, was a descendant of John.[10]

After arriving in the Massachusetts Bay, in 1635 he purchased the homestead of William Peyntree in Duxbury.[6] The family moved to Boston just over a decade later.[6]

Their grandson, Comfort Starr (1666–1743), built the Comfort Starr House in Guilford, Connecticut Colony, in 1695.[11]


Starr died on 2 January 1659, aged 69, just over six months after the death of his wife.[10] They are buried in King's Chapel Burying Ground in Boston.[2] A memorial plaque to Starr was installed in St Dunstan's Church in Cranbrook, Kent, where he was baptised.[8][12]


  1. ^ a b Ancestry of Lawrence Williams, Cornelia Bartow Williams (1915), p. 273
  2. ^ a b c Anderson, Robert Charles (2009). "The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England 1634–1635, Volume VI, R–S". Archived from the original on 5 March 2022.
  3. ^ a b Comfort Starr – Family Search[unreliable source?]
  4. ^ Starr, Burgis Pratt (1879). A history of the Starr family of New England, from the ancestor, Dr. Comfort Starr of Ashford, County of Kent, England, who emigrated to Boston, Mass., in 1635 ; ... Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center. Hartford, Conn. : Case, Lockwood & Brainard.
  5. ^ Memoirs of the Harvard Dead in the War Against Germany, Volume 2, Mark Antony De Wolfe Howe, 1921, p. 268
  6. ^ a b c Ancestry of Lawrence Williams, Cornelia Bartow Williams (1915), p. 274
  7. ^ a b New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of Commonwealths and the Founding of a Nation, Volume 3 (1913), p. 1099
  8. ^ a b Ancestry of Lawrence Williams, Cornelia Bartow Williams (1915), p. 275
  9. ^ John Maynard of Sudbury, Mass. and Some of His Descendants (1914)
  10. ^ a b Some Colonial Families: Avery, Brewster, Mills, Morgan, Smith, Starr, Stewart, Tracey (1926), p. 61
  11. ^ "Using Tree Rings to Date Historic Guilford Buildings". Guilford, CT Patch. 19 October 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  12. ^ Cranbrook Church, St Dunstan, Kent Dr Comfort Starr – johnevigar, flickr[unreliable source?]