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Tom Wetherell

Replies: 24

Re: Rev. William Wetherell

Posted: 1118726021000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1160449304000

this is part of what I have on Rev. William Wetherell.....
contact me at for further information, I have some on his wife and a pretty good breakdown on his children and where they intermarried.

Descendants of William Wetherell

Generation No. 1

1. William1 Wetherell was born Abt. 1600 in England, and died April 9, 1684 in Scituate, Plymouth Colony. He married Mary Fisher March 26, 1627 in St. Mildred's, Canterbury, Kent, England, daughter of Thomas Fisher and Joan Lake. She was born April 17, 1604 in Boughton, Monchelsea, Kent, England, and died in Scituate, Plymouth Colony.

Notes for William Wetherell:
There is an extensive biography of this man in the book THE HISTORY AND GENEALOGY OF THE WITHERELL/ WETHERELL/ WITHERILL FAMILY OF NEW ENGLAND, by Witherell & Witherell, Gateway Press, Baltimore, 1976. They do a great deal of speculation from the facts that they have gathered about possible relationships to other Wetherells and the Martyr, John Rogers.
Witherell & Witherell trace the New England families to four people, John of Cambridge, his sister Sarah Fosdick, William Wetherell of Taunton, and the Reverend William Wetherell of Scituate. They then postulate a relationship between them. They feel Rev William, John & Sarah are siblings, and that William of Taunton is the nephew of the above three. I agree that the two Williams, if they were not related, knew of each another, since Plymouth Colony was not that large and both were active men in their respective communities.
One of the sources of this postulation can be found in New England Families Genealogical & Memorial, Series 1, page 2907...
WITHERELL, the surname Witherell or Wetherell belongs to an old and highly respectable English family. In America the Witherells are descended from three pioneers, Rev. William Witherell, mentioned below, his nephews William and John Witherell of Sudbury, Massachusetts. John was in Sudbury as early as 1639, removed to Watertown, and was admitted a freeman, May 13, 1642; His wife Grace deposed in 1654 that she was aged about sixty years, she died December 16, 1670; he died January 23, 1672 aged about seventy-eight years, mentioning no sons in his will.
William Witherell, believed to be a nephew of Rev. William Witherell has numerous descendants. he came in 1643 as a cabin boy for William Dunn, captain of a vessel, and was one of the original grantees of the town of Taunton, MA. Dunn returned to England leaving the boy in charge of his property with the understanding that if he did not return it should escheat to Witherell. Witherell lived in what is now Norton, MA, after 1669, when he sold his home in Taunton. He was a Sergeant in the swamp fight in King Phillip's war and received a would from which he never entirely recovered.
The census of 1790 shows that most of the family remained to that time in Massachusetts. There were no Witherells reported in Rhode Island or New York. David of Berlin, Henry and Jonathan of Chatham, Connecticut, were the heads of three families found in CT, In MA Abijah, Alice, Asa, Ebenezer, Henry, David, James, Simon, Solomon, William and Lydia were heads of families in Norton. Daniel and Abijah in Dighton, Benjamin and Benjamin Jr. in Mansfield, Abel, a revolutionary soldier, in Wrentham, Nathaniel in Taunton, Joshua and Joshua Jr of Dudley, Charles in Pepperell and William of Wellfleet. Evidently the Norton family was most prolific.

Further research in the area of religious beliefs, by myself, reveals that the Reverend William Wetherell was a Puritan in England adhering to beliefs not supported by the Church of England and Archbishop Laud, who had been appointed by Charles I. William Wetherell had been educated at Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, attaining a BA (1626) and a MA (1627) and was listed as from York. He was licensed as a Cure of Souls, and teacher (March 2, 1625) at Boughton, Monchelsea, county Kent, England, but not given a church, so he used his education to teach school at Maidstone, County Kent. In 1633/34 Wetherell was cited by Archbishop Laud with a cease order to stop teaching the catechisms of William Perkins (a well known Puritan theologian who catechisms were used by the early Pilgrim Church of Plymouth) and following the order of the Sabbatarian Thomas Wilson, who was too Presbyterian in polity. Wetherell was told to adhere to the official church religious creed. If he were to persist in continuing his present path he would have found himself in the Star Chamber as happened to Charles Chauncey who was to be his rival in Scituate. (English Provencial Society from the Reformation to the Revolution: Religion, Politics and Society in Kent 1500-1640. Peter Clark, Harvester Press, London, pages 199 & 372.)
Shortly after being cited, we find Wetherell, his wife, three sons, and a servant, Anne Richards, aboard the ship Hercules, Captain John Witherly, bound for the new world with several other men from Kent, from the same community, possibly even of the same church. He arrived in March 1635 having been licensed to leave from Maidstone, although the ship was of Sandwich.
He settled briefly first at Charlestown and established the first grammar school there, and was considered part of the Oligarchy (gentry class) then moved to Newtowne (Cambridge) before moving on to Duxbury in Plymouth Colony where the churches expressed beliefs closer to those he had embraced in England. He was there by 1638 when he became a proprietor in 1640.
He next moved to Scituate. They had been struggling within their church and had looked for a new minister upon the departure of Rev Lothrup. Some Church members voted to invite Charles Chauncy who was at the center of a controversy at Plymouth to fill that position, but several disagreed with that decision and proceeded to form a 2nd Church of Scituate, then they invited William Wetherell to be their minister. This created a animosity between the two churches that was to continue until Chancey accepted a position in Boston to act as head of the new Harvard University. He remained in that position until his death. The problem between the two churches continued in 1671/2 when a Josiah Palmer was fined for speaking "opprobriously" of William's church.
Wetherell was ordained the Pastor of the 2nd Church September 2, 1645 after writing numerous letters defending his position to many of the other ministers and churches of New England. He was to hold this position the rest of his life, some of these letters are extant in the records of the second Church of Scituate.
Several other "men of Kent" had also settled in the area and so we find him located in the new land, with a group of others of similar beliefs, from a similar area of England. Some of the "men of Kent" may well have been acquainted with him in England as this was a common pattern of immigration to the new world during these early times, and several had came on the same ship.
In March 1635 he sold a house and 12 acres on the south side of the river to John Benjamin, and about 1638 he sold a house and four acres on the southwesterly side of Garden street to Thomas Parish (both of these sites were in Cambridge). "

Mr. John Stretton on 26 Dec 1638 was admitted a freeman of Charlestown & given permission to purchase Witherell's house" The Great Migration begins, page 1784

He was on the list of freeman in 1658 as Mr. William Wetherell of Scituate, and was also received and admitted as freeman @ ye general Court of June 1669 with Samuel and Theophilous, his sons.

His death is recorded in church records supposedly by Samuel Deane "Abigail the Daughter of Isreal Hobird March 16th baptized by our late pastor M. William Wetherell (added in Modern hand) "he died Apr 9, 1684 S.D." NEHGR 57:320 "Records of Second Church of Scituate" this was his granddaughter he was baptizing.
d. recorded Scituate VR page 467 M. William "our late pastor" CR2

THE ENGLAND FAMILIES GENEALOGICAL AND MEMORIAL: Vol IV, page 1841-1846 discuss the Wetherell/Witherell family in New England and again promote the possibility that John Wetherell of Cambridge, William Wetherell, Minister of Scituate, & William Wetherell cabin Boy of Taunton, were related. They assume that John & William of Taunton, were nephews of William of Scituate... They suppose that they were interrelated, but offer no proof nor any record of where they found their information.. they use the census of 1790 to show the distribution of persons around New England, stating that many of the heads of households in 1790 were descendants of William of Taunton. There is also a fairly accurate bio of William of Scituate and his family...

This comment found in ELLENWOOD-WHARTON & 20 ALLIED FAMILIES, Williard W. Ellenwood, call # CS71.E466 page 452 "Edward Shove ....... He was descended from Rev. George Shove of Taunton, Mass., pastor of the church from Nov 19, 1665-1687; also descended from Rev William Witherell of Scituate, Mass., pastor of the Second Church from Sept. 1645 - April 1684, the friend and pastor of Governor. Josiah Winslow of the Plymouth Colony." same quote is found in Soule, Sowle, & Soulis, page 155.

From The Genealogical Advertiser, Quarterly Magazine of Family History, edited by Lucy Hall Greenlaw, Genealogical Publishing Co., INC. Baltimore 1974 reprint, page 21 Vol 1, 1901,
Rev. William Witherell, M.A.
communicated by Virginia Hall, of Cambridge
In a list of "emigrants in the Hercules of Sandwich bound for the Plantation called New England in America," is the following record
"Will. Witherell, of Maidstone, schoolmaster, Mary, his wife, three children, and one servant. Certificates from Sam. Marshal mayor of Maidstone, Tho. Swinnuck, Edw. Duke and Rob Barrel, cl. 14 Mar 1634." Drake's Founders of new England page 82
With this clue the marriage licence of William Witherell was found in Canterbury Marriage Licences, Second Series, page 1087.
"Witherill, William, M.A. of Maidstone, ba., about 25, and Mary Fisher, of Boughton, Monchelsea, maiden, about 22, who is now under govt., of her mother, Joan Martin, alias Fisher, now wife of John Martin, s.p. yeom., who consents. At S. Mildred's Cant. March 26, 1627."
Upon having his attention called to these records, Dr. C. B. Witherle, of Castine, Maine, wrote to the Bursar of Corpus Christi College (formerly Bennet College), Cambridge, and received the following reply:
Corpus Christi College
Cambridge, 22 Jan'ry, 1898

Dear Sir:
William Witherell, 1619.
In reply to yours of the 10th int. I append a copy of the admission of Wm. Wetherell as a sizar in 1619. I am sorry that our records only give the name, the County, and the name of the student's Tutor. As a B.A. i find the name spelt Witherell & as an M.A. Wetherell. I cannot tell you from what town in Yorkshire he came.
Yours sincerely,
R. Townley Caldwell, ---Bursar.

C.B. Witherle, Esq., M.D.
Castine, Maine, U.S.A.

Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
Extract from the Register of Admissions.

Bulielmus Wetherell Ebor---
1619 ( Acensis. Admissus sizator ) Julii 30
Tutore. Mr. Domelawe
Cambridge true Copy
22 January, 1898 R. Townley Caldwell, Bursar.

all above quote;

In 1642 he was on a committee in Duxbury, to raise forces to protect against the Indians, page 90, History of the Town of Duxbury, Massachusetts with Genealogical Registers, Justin Winsor, Clearfield co.,
in 1638, he bought a house in Duxbury from Edward Hall who had just built it in 1637, page 263, History of the Town of Duxbury, Massachusetts, Justin Winsor, Clearfield Co.

William's family listed page 346, History of Duxbury, Massachusetts, Justin Winsor,

Maine & Mass Families, Vol 3, page 235, "On June 23, 1665, William Witherell acknowledged that he had sold to John Rogers, Sr. now deceased ten acres of upland lying on the North-west side of Nemassekeetpit, brook. (Duxbury Records pp 11,12) This also found in The Descendants of Joseph Neal, page 44.

Discussion of division of Scituate's church under Chauncey and Rev William, page 32 & 33, The Otis Family Genealogy

Learnard Family, Feb. 12, 1627-8, it was referred to Mr. Greene and to William Learnerd to settle Mr. Witherell's wages for the year past. William Witherell was the schoolmaster, Page 7.

page 397, Vol I, Memorial of Boston, "The schools were early an object of solicitude. As early as June 3, 1636, "Mr. William Witherell was agreed with to keep a school for a twelvemonth to begin the 8th of the month and to have 40 pounds for this year."

page 257, Memorial of Boston, "Five years after the settlement of Charlestown, it would appear from the employment of Mr. William Witherell, (see Vol 1, page 397, Oldmixon, in his history calls Charlestown the mother of Boston. -- ed.) that a public school -- and judging ....

William in Camb. ab. 1634, said to have taught school in Chs. 1635, in Cambridge, 1636-7, Mar. 1635 sold house and 12 acres land S. side River, to John Benjamin, 1638, sold house and 4 acres land S.W. side Garden street, to Thomas Parish, rem. to Duxbury, 1638, to Scituate where he was ord. pastor 2nd ch. 2 Sep 1645, d. 9 Ap. 1684 a. ab. 84, Further acct. of family, see His. Scituate, Deane; Hist. New London, Caulkins. History of Cambridge, Paige, page 701 reprint page 843

Reverend Wetherell's records were mentioned in MD1:192

mentioned in deed, at Scituate, dated Feb 13, 1678 between Anthony Dodson & Isreal Hobart, as found in MD 34:88

mentioned in deed, at Marshfield, dated 23 Oct 1633 between John Rogers & city of Marshfield, as found in MD 34:84

mentioned in deed, at Scituate, between George Russell & Thomas Palmer, dated 6 Sep 1687, he is deceased, as found in MD 33:20

Thomas Parishe, Bought of Mr. William Witherell one house with fowre Acres of land to yt, John Bridge South, Abraham Morill west, Gilbert Crackbone East Cowcommon north, page 62, Record of Cambridge

Know all men by these presents that I William Wetherell ?? the Newtowne haue sold & geuen posession vnto John Benjamin of th?? same towne one house & twelue accars of land lying one the south sid?? of Charles Riuer within the limits of the Newtowne The highway to th?? wakman one the north Thomas Dudly Esqr noreast & haue received i?? fful for the same the some of Eight pownds of curant money the seuenthteth day of the first month called Mar 1635, page 36, Records of Cambridge.

He is listed as Colonial Clergy, in Descendants of Colonial Clergy, page 671 & 672.
Wetherell, Rev. William (Witherell) A.M. b. Yorkshire, England 1600; Corpus Christi Coll., Camb., A.B. 1622/3; A.M. 1626; came to N.E. 1635, schoolmaster at Charlestown, MA 1635-1638; removed to Duxbury, MA, 1638; ord. Norwell (2nd or South Chr. is Scituate) 2 Sep 1645, as the first minister; sett. Norwell 1644-1684; d. Norwell, MA 9 Apr 1684, a. 84.

a reasonably close history of William can be found in New England Families, page 1842 this is the source of one of the mistakes about the descendants.

One source of the idea that William was a descendant of the Martyr John Rogers of Smithfield is listed in Genealogical Dictionary, page 569, Vol II, whereby the author quotes Deane, the Author of History of Scituate, 1849, as saying since John Rogers came to New England with Rev. William that they were related, both descendants of the Maryter, and also conjecture, that William's mother was a descendant of the martyr.
The family of William is listed in Genealogical Dictionary, Vol 4, page 492., but there also William of Taunton is listed as a possible nephew of Rev. William.

sale of house & twelve acres of land to john Benjamin in on south side of Charles river for 8 pounds, 17 Mar 1635/6, , in Great Migration begins.

John Benjamin appears in the West End with a rating of two, and also on the south side of the river is a lot which had been held by William Wetherell, but annotated as "sold to Mr. Benjamin & by him to Edm Angier" [ CaTR 18, 19, 51]; on 17 March 1635[/6] William Wetherell sold for £8 to John Benjamin a house and twelve acres of land on the south side of Charles River [ CaBOP 35];

he was listed as a recipient in a will of Thomas Bird, dated 1663, Pioneers to Massachusetts, page 51.

he was listed as a recipient in a will of James Cushman, Apr 25, 1648, page 127 Pioneers of Massachusetts.

a brief bio of William is found in Pioneers of Massachusetts, page 488, along with accounts of his church on page 434 & 435.

A description of part of William's church is found in Plymouth Roots, page 33.

In NEHGR 4:257 "List of those able bear Arms in New Plymouth" "Scituate, 1643"

"Abstracts of the Earliest Wills" NEGHR 4:283 Will of James Cushman, als. Coachman.("Seteat"), April 25, 1648, proved May 24, 1648, ..... to Wm Witherell, of Seteat; .....Witnessed by Wm. Witherell MD 9:81, "Plymouth Colony Wills" (the above will is mentioned again in "Dr. Thomas Starr, Surgeon in the Pequot War, NEHGR 94:174)
Will of Thomas Lapham (Scituate), June 15, 1644, Witnessed by William Wetherell and Joseph Tilden, NEHGR 4:319, also MD 10:198 "Plymouth Colony Wills & Inventories", Will of William Hatch Sen., (Scituate), witnessed by "Guilielmo Wetherell, ... NEHGR 4:320, Will of Thomas Bird, (Scituate), Overseers, Wm. Witherell, July 8, 1664, "Abstracts of the Earliest Wills", NEHGR 6:186 "Abstracts of the Earliest Wills," NEHGR 7:176, Goom. Witherell was a debtor "The Will & Inventory of William Hatch, SR, of Scituate," Witness Mr. William Wetherell, MD 10:38 also MD 10:40 signed as Guillielmo Wetherell
He received money in the will of Thomas Bird, & was overseer of the estate, "& I doe appoint my trusty and welbeloved frinds, Mr. Willam Witherell & James Torrey.... "Plymouth Colony Wills & Inventories", MDD 16:123-4

"Original Proprietors of Sudbury, Mass", NEHGR 13:261, Goodman Witherill, either William or John of Cambridge is who this refers to.

"Emigrants in the Hercules of Sandwich", NEHGR 15:28, ... Will. Witherell, of Maidstone, schoolmaster, Mary, his wife, three children, and one servant. Certificates from Sam. Marshal, mayor of Maidstone, Tho. Swinnuck, Edw. Duke and rob. Barrel, cl 14 Mar. 1635....

"The Vassalls of New England", NEHGR 17:57, "William Vassall, b. about 1599 ... in 1644-5 he was prominently concerned in the division of the church at Scituate and the settlement of Mr. Witherell over the disaffected portion, against the advice and protestations of the churches at Plymouth and Marshfield. The separation of the churches arose partially from the views held by its pastor, the Rev. Charles Chauncey, upon the ordinance of baptism, with whom Mr. Vassall had early disputed on doctrinal points...."

A plot of his land in Charlestown can be seen in "The Ancient Line Feilde of Charlestown", NEGHR 48:56 and also 58 & 59 in a discussion of early settlers in Charlestown. Stephen Fosdick also owned land in the same area.

Hope this helps, would like to more about the graveyard, I thought the burial place was lost according to records of the Norton church...... I have a copy of norton's baptismal records on microfilm in his handwriting....

for now

tom wetherell
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Jennifer Raymond 1118598619000 
TomWetherell9... 1118641915000 
Jennifer Raymond 1118683911000 
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