Search billions of records on



b.c.1582 Gainsborough, Lincolnshire
m. ?MARGERY JACKSON/AGNES SHARPE (d. 28 Dec. 1677 Charlestown, MA)
bur. 15 July 1660 Gainsborough

Purusing the internet and other sources I've seen all sorts of information stating that William was one of three brothers who came to New England, however, I have not seen any proof that these folks were connected. I've also read all sorts of statements that the brothers were the children of John of Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, however, I haven't seen any data to back this up either. All we know is that three men named Sawyer came to Massachusetts and settled in three different towns. Now if we could only find the baptismal records for these three immigrants...


  • I. Edward- b.c. 1607, m. Mary Peasely, d. 9 Mar. 1671/2 Rowley
  • 2II. WILLIAM- b.c.1613, m.1. c.1638 Sarah Thomas, 2. c.1644 RUTH BITFIELD (d. 3 Nov. 1699 Newbury), will 30 May 1693-1 Mar. 1702/3 Newbury
  • III. Thomas- b.c. 1615, m. Mary Prescott, d. 12 Sept. 1706 Lancaster, MA

    2II. WILLIAM (?JOHN 1)-

    b.c.1613 ?Lincolnshire
    m.1. c.1638 Sarah Thomas
    2. c.1644 RUTH BITFIELD (d. 3 Nov. 1699 Newbury), d. of Willam Bitfield and Elizabeth
    will 30 May 1693-1 Mar. 1702/3 Newbury

    William was in Salem in 1640 and was a proprietor there in 1642. He lived in that part of Salem that became Wenham and in 1644 he moved to Newbury and lived near the Meeting House next to the Merrimac River in the part of town called the West Parish.

    On 14 May 1654 he signed a petition to the General Court on behalf of "our loving friend, Lieutenant Robert Pike, of Salisbury":

    "The humble petition of the inhabitant of Newbury, to the honored General Court now assembled at Boston showeth:

    That whereas our loving friend, Lieutenant Robert Pike, of Salisbury, hath by occasion, as it is witnessed against him, let fall some words for which the honored Court hath been pleased [to censure him] we having had experience that he hath been a peaceable man and a useful instrument... do therefore humbly desire this honored Court that the said sentence may be [revoked] and that the said Lieutenant Pike be... restored to his former liberty... Saml Moody... John Bartlett... Richard Bartlett... Sam Poor... Wm Sawyer... Anthony Morse... Tristram Coffin... Nich. Batt..." (4)

    Petitions were also received from Hampton, Salisbury, Haverhill and Andover on Lt. Pike's behalf. His sentence was not revoked until Oct. 1657.

    On 21 May 1663 he joined in the petition to the General Court against a fine imposed on Dr. Henry Greenland of Newbury who had practiced as a physician without a "License under the hand of a magistrate". Dr. Greenland's major error was not that he was practicing without a license, but, that he was a Quaker. He was elected fence viewer on 7 Mar. 1663: "In the middle of the Towne Anthony Mors, Senr, Tristram Coffin, John Webster; at the farther end William Pilsbury, Will : Sawyer, Lionell Worth" also on 2 Apr. 1666 "William Sawyer... for the further end of the new town to the frog pond" and on 3 Apr. 1671 "William Sawyer... from John Bartletts barne to the farther end of the new Towne", 19 Mary 1672/3.(2) On 5 Mar. 1676/7 he was chosen the Surveyor of Highways.

    "Wm Sayer" age 65, took the oath of allegiance to King Charles II in 1678. The General Court ordered 2 Oct. 1678 that as it hath pleased his Majesty, by letter dated 27 Apr. 1678 to notify the authorities of the colony of Massachusetts Bay "to give forth orders that the oath of Allegiance as it is by law established wthin the Kingdome of England, be ministered and taken by all his subjects within this colony who are of years to take an oath". Anyone refusing to take the oath was liable to a fine or imprisonment.(5)

    On 24 Mar. 1679/0 he was elected Tithing Man and again on 22 Mar. 1685/6. In 1677 the General Court ordered that one tithing man should be appointed for every ten families to apprehend all Sabbath breakers: "those who absent themselve from the public worhip of God on the Lord's day", disorderly children and servants, night walkers, and tipplers, and, in the absence of a constable, take them before a magistrate or commit them to prison. The tithing men were required to carry a black staff, two feet long, tipped at one end with brass about three inches wide, as a badge of authority. They were sworn to the faithful discharge of their duties before a Justice of the Peace. Tithing men were elected in Newbury up until 1854.(3) In 1681 he, his wife, and their daughter Ruth and her husband joint the Baptist church in Boston and the following year he was one of the founders of the Baptist church in Newbury which soon closed.

    In the assessor's list of Aug. 1688 William had "2 houses, 12 acres of plow land, 12 acres of meadow, 1 horse, 4 oxen, 4 cows, 2 two yr olds, 2 one yr olds, 9 sheep & 3 hogs."(6)

    "William Sawyer Senr of Newbury... in Consideration o ye Intire afection which I beare To my Loving & Dutiful Son Stephen Sawyer Confirme unto him by Said Son all thay my Tract of land where I now Dwell lying in ye Towneship of Newbury Containing about nineteen Acres be it more or less bounded by ye Countrey Road Easterly by ye Land of job Pilsbury Southerly by ye Land of John Atkinson & Mose Pilsbury westerly and by ye land comonly known by ye name of Sawyers lane Northerly... together with my now dwelling house & Out houses & barnes Orchards and Gardens thereupon... also five acres of Salt Marsh... & 2 1/2 acres more of salt Marsh by Capt. Thomas Noyes" also about 1 1/2 acres of the tract of ten acres "at Jericho Marshes, also my free hold free Comonage or Common rightr in ye Township of Newbury, also my Rate Lott in ye upper woods... meaning in this my Gift & Grant that my Said Son Stephen Sawyer Shall not come unto the Actual possession of any of ye above Demissed premises or any part thereof until Imediately after my Death & ye Death of my Dear & Loving Wife Ruth", who were to retain possession "During Our Natural lives or either of us" provided that my son Stephen "faithfully & truly pay to my Four Daughters Twenty pounds in good payment within five years after my Death and ye Death of my Wife". Dated 19 May 1693 and signed by William & Ruth Sawyer. (1)

    Sawyer's Lane mentioned in the deed extended along the northern boundary of his land and the Sawyer's Hill burying ground has many graves of the early Sawyers and Poores and other families from the West Parish. The burying ground was about an acre of land enclosed by a stone wall and was set off when the west parish church was built in 1689.

    Issue- all children born in Newbury, MA

  • I. John- b. 24 Aug. 1645, m. 18 Feb. 1674/5 Newbury, Sarah Poore, d. 30 May 1689 Newbury
  • II. Samuel- b. 22 Nov. 1646, m. 13 Mar. 1670/1 Newbury, Mary Emery, d. 11 Feb. 1717/18 Newbury
  • 3III. RUTH- b. 16 Sept. 1648, m. 27 Aug. 1667 Newbury, BENJAMIN MORSE, d.after 1707
  • IV. Mary- b. 7 Feb. 1648/49, d. 24 June 1659 Newbury, MA
  • V. Sarah- b. 20 Nov. 1651, m. 15 Jan. 1668/9 Newbury, Joshua Brown, d. 2 Aug. 1732 Newbury, MA.
  • VI. Hannah- b. 23 Feb.1652/53, d. Jan 1658/59 Newbury, MA
  • VII. William- b. 1 Feb. 1654/55, m. 2 Nov. 1677 Wells, ME, Sarah Littlefield, d. 7 June 1718 Wells, ME.
  • VIII. Francis- b. 24 Mar. 1657/58, d. 7 Feb. 1658/59 Newbury, MA.
  • IX. Mary- b. 29 July 1660, m. 13 June 1683 Newbury, John Emery, d. 3 Nov. 1699 Newbury, MA.
  • X. Stephen- b. 25 Apr. 1663, m. 10 Mar. 1686/7 Newbury, Ann Titcomb, d. 8 June 1753 Newbury, MA
  • XI. Hannah- b. 11 Jan. 1663/64, d. 28 Aug. 1683 Newbury, MA
  • XII. Frances- b. 3 Nov. 1670, m. 19 May 1693 Ipswich, Thomas Treadwell, d. Oct 1744 Ipswich, MA.
  • XIII. Bitfield- b. 1672; d. 1769


    (1) Essex County Deeds- Vol. X, pp. 25-6
    (2) Newbury Town Records- quoted by Currier- pp. 114-5
    (3) History of Newbury, Massachusetts- John J. Currier, Damrell & Upham, Boston, 1902- pp. 118-9
    (4) Mass. Archives- Vol. X, fol. 299
    (5) Salem Quarterly Court- book XXX, fol. 56; also recorded in the Registry of Deeds [Ipswich series]- book IV, fol. 254
    (6) NEHGR- Apr., 1878, pp. 156-64, quoted by Currier- p.203ff

    A Genealogy of Some of the Descendants of William Sawyer of Newbury, Massachusetts- Nathaniel Sawyier & Joseph Walker, William E. Moore, Manchester, NH, 1889
    Sawyer Families of New England: 1636-1900- Eleanor Sawyer, Penobscot Press, Camden, 1995
    Descendants of Edward Small of New England- Lora Underhill, Houghton Mifflin, NY, 1934- Vol. I, pp. 327-31
    Family of William Sawyer of Newbury- William Appleton, NEHGR- Vol. XXVIII (1874)
    Some Descendants of William Sawyer of Newbury, Massachusetts- William Appleton, David Clapp & Son, Boston, 1891