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William WITTER [2265]
(1584/1587-1659)

 

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Spouses/Children:
Hannah CHURCHMAN [2266]

William WITTER [2265] 1 2 3

  • Born: 17 Dec 1584-1587, Broomehall, , Sussex, England
  • Marriage: Hannah CHURCHMAN [2266] on 16 Apr 1639 in Sussex, , , England
  • Died: 1659, Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States at age 75
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bullet  Noted events in his life were:

Emigration: settled near Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts, America, 1629, , , , America. 2

Court: Witness, 28 Feb 1643. 5 On 28 February 1642/3, Robert Driver was a witness in the case of William Witter, who questioned infant baptism. We may assume that his testimony was not too adversarial, since Witter called him to witness his will of 5 August 1659


Will, 1659. 6 "(Essex Ct. Files VI : 142-3) 1659. 5 0/6 The will of William Witter . . . I give to my wife Annis halfe my lands, housing and chattels: but in case she chang her name, I bequeath to her but the thirds: and to my sonn Josia I give the other halfe of my lands, housing and chattels: but in case my wife mary, then I bequeath a double portion to my sonn Josia and his mother my wife shall haue but the thirds, as aforesaid, provided that my sonn shall not sell this his inheritance; but in case hee die wthout issue: then . . . this inhertanc shall bee instead upon Robert Burdin and my dafter Hanna, for their posterities. I will . . . . my wife Annis bee my sole exor.
Robert DriverWilliam Witter.
William Harker.
1659 the 15. 0/9."
"The invintorie of the estate of William Witter was taken by Robert Driver, William Harker, Francis Ingols his mark.
Anis Witter sworn to ye truth of ye Inventory in Court at Salem. 23:4:61"

Will: page 15, 5 Aug 1659, Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. 7 In it he bequeathed to his wife, Annis, half of his estate, and to his son, Josiah, the other half. Of his daughter, he says: "Hannah shall hav a yew and a lamb this time twlf mounth." He died two years after making his will in 1659

Robert Driver witnessed the will of William Witter of Lynn by signing his name on 5 August 1659

Surname, 1929. 7 William Witter, the first American ancestor of the Witter family of the United States and Canada, was born in England about the year 1584, as he was seventy-five when he died in 1659. His surname is one of the earliest found in New England and appears in various forms in the old records of this country and of England, -- as Witter, Whitter, Witton, and Whitton. One branch of the Whitter or Witter, family was of Broomehall, in Sussex, England, in the reign of Edward IV. A descendant of this family was Thomas Whitter of Exeter, Devonshire, who was an officer in Cromwell's army. This affiliation with he Parliamentary Party, and hence with the Puritan movement, which contributed largely to the settlement of New England, may indicate a probable connection between the Devonshire family and the Witters of Early Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, of which William Witter was the first American Ancestor.

Biography, 1929. 7 William was living in Massachusetts as early as 1639, at which date he was probably of Swampscott, near Lynn. At a later period he was a resident of Swampscott, although his name is mention in some of the records of Lynn. The record of this arrival in New England is preserved in an old manuscript, written by his descendant, Samuel Witter, of the sixth generation, entitled: "The Genaligy of the Witters from their first arival fromm England to America, drawn from the Original, March the 20th AD 1773 by Samuel Witter", and the first entry is as follows:

"William Witter in his voiage from old England to America with his wife his son Josiah & daughter Hannah, arrived at Lynn in the Massachusetts Bay, where Josiah married Elisabeth Wheeler and Hannah married Thomas Barden. Said William Witter died at Lynn, his Widows Name was Hannah. She came with her Son Josiah to Stonington and Lived to a Great Age."

Biography, 1929. 3 First Generation - WILLIAM WITTER, the first American ancestor of the Witter family of the United States and Canada, was born in England about the year 1584, as he was seventy-five when he died in 1659. His surname is one of the earlies found in New England and appears in various forms in the old records of this country and of England, -- as Witter, Whitter, Witton, and Whitton. One branch of the Whitter or Witter, family was of Broomehall, in Sussex, England, in the reign of Edward IV. A descendant of this family was Thomas Whitter of Exeter, Devonshire, who was an officer in Cormwell's army. This affiliation with the Parliamentary Party, and hence with the Puritan movement, which contributed largely to the settlement of New England, may indicate a probable connection between the Devonshire family and the Witters of early Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, of which William Witter, as above stated, was the first American ancestor.
He was living in Massachusetts as early as 1639, at which date he was probably of Swampscott, near Lynn. At a later period he was a resident of Swampscott, although he is mentioned in some of the records as of Lynn. The record of his arrival in New England is preserved in an old manuscript, written by his descendant, Samuel Witter, of the sixth generation, entitled: "The Genaligy of the Witters from their first arrival from England to America, drawn from the Original, March the 20th, AD 1773 by Samuel Witter," and the first entry is as follows:
"William Witter in his voyage from old England to America with his wife and his son Josiah & daughter Hannah, arrived at Lynn in the Massachusetts Bay, where Josiah married Elisabeth Wheeler and Hannah married Thomas Bardan. Said William died at Lynn, his Widows Name was Hannah. She came with her Son Josiah to Stonington and Lived to a Great Age."
William Witter's wife also appears with the Christian name, Annis, probably a form of Anna or Hannah. Her maiden name is said to have been Churchman, and it has been thought that she was a daughter of Hugh Churchman, an early settler of Lynn, Massachusetts. A well-known authority on early New England genealogy states that Hugh Churchman of Lynn, 1640, died in 1644, that his will was probated July 9, of that year, and that Ann Churchman, perhaps his daughter, married John Rogers on April 16, 1639, at Weymouth. In Hugh Churchman's will he mentions Josias, son of William Witter, leaving the latter his homestead in Lynn, which, on William Witter's death, is to pass to Josias Witter. (Josias was often used interchangeably with Josiah in old records.) It may be that the wife of William Witter was a sister of Hugh Churchman instead of his daughter.
Hugh Churchman's will, from the Essex Court files, is here given in abstract in the quaint ol orthography of the original document: "I Hugh Churchman of Len do make this my last will . . . first my howse and Lot in Len . . and all other appurtenances there unto belonging to wilyam Wenter (sic.) tel his son Josias shae atayn the age of twenty one years and then to his son Josias and his Ayeres for ever; with this condicon that . . he shale paye to his sister hannah winter (sic) ten pounds within one hole year. . . And if Josiah and Hannah shall both dy before they shale atayen the age of twenty one yeres that then William Winter or his now wife or the longer liver of them to have it. . . . " He makes William Witter his Executor.
William Witter's homestead at Swampscott was on "the spot where Joseph Blaney's house now stands," - or where it was standing in 1844, about two miles from Lynn. The land on which stood was purchased by William Witter from an Indian, according to the following deposition made by hime, and recorded in the files of the Salem Court, under the dates April 15 and 27, 1657:
"Blacke will, or duke William, so called, came to my house (which was two or three miles from Nahant), when Thomas Dexter had bought Nahant for a suit of clothes; the sad Blacke will Asked me what I would give him for the Land my house stood vppon, it being his land, and his ffather's wigwam stood their abouts . . . ." and he adds that he "Bought Nahant and Sagomer Hill and Swamscoate of Black William for two pestle stones."
At the time of the controversy between the Massachusetts Bay Colony authorities and the leaders of the Baptist movement, William Witter was one of those who adherence to the Baptist tenets brought him into disagreement with the former. He was haled to Court more than once because of his opposition to infant baptism. He also gave offense because of his entertainment of the Baptist leaders, Obadiah Holmes, John Crandall and John Clarke, the first-named being an ancestor of Abraham Lincoln. In the narrative of their journey to Rhode Island, because of the persecution of the Massachusetts government, John Clarke wrote: "It came to pass that we three . . . came into the Mathatusetts Bay about the 16 day of the 5th Moneth 51; and upon the 19th of the same, . . . we came into a Town . . . called Lin, where we lodged at a Blind-man's house, neer two miles out of the Town, by name William Witter . . . . " From this we see that William Witter, in his old age, had become blind.
William Witter's will was dated August 6, 1657. In it he bequeathed to his wife, Annis, half of his estate, and to his son, Josiah, the other half. Of his daughter, he says: "Hannan shall have a yew and lamb this time twelf mounth." He died two years after making his will, in 1659."

Source noted by Cary Schabert, 17 Jul 2000. WILLIAM WITTER. Occupation: farmer. William was the first known of his family appearing in Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts court in April 1657 stating as a farmer in Swampscot he was having problems with an Indian named Duke William. Duke William claimed William's house had been erected on the land where his wigwam had been. The case was settled amicably with a compromise satisfactory to both parties.(Larry Chesebro) Feb 28 1643. He was presented at the Court at Salem, for his conduct regarding infant baptism, he regarding it as a sinful rite. Aug 5 1659. Will. Ex., wife Annis. Witnesses, Robert Driver and Wm. Hacker. He mentions his son Josiah and daughter Hannah Burdett, wife of Robert Burdett. (His son, Josiah, went to Stonington, CT.) Inventory, 132 pounds, 11 s. 6 May 1659 Lynn, Essex County, MA wherein he gave one-half his estate to his wife and son Josiah. He only bequeathed an ewe and a lamb to Hannah, in one year after his death. Other sources say Will August 6, 1657, est. to wife Annis, to son Josiah m. April 16, 1639, Sussex, England. (Larry Chesebro) Title: History of Stonington, Connecticut, 1649 - 1900 Author: Richard Anson Wheeler Publication: New London, CT, Press of The Day Publishing Company, 1900 Media: WITTER GENEALOGY Georgia Cooper Washburn 1929, Pg. 13-15 Book Page: page 686 m. April 16, 1639, Sussex, England. (Larry Chesebro); Larry Bentley. Winget: Lists birth as December 17, 1587, Burial Lynn, MA Ancestral File BMFT-8S


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William married Hannah CHURCHMAN [2266] [MRIN: 758], daughter of Hugh CHURCHMAN [26256] and Unknown, on 16 Apr 1639 in Sussex, , , England. (Hannah CHURCHMAN [2266] was born in 1595-1616 in , , , England.)


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Sources


1 Waldo Lincoln A.B., Genealogy of The Waldo Family - A Record of the Descendants of Cornelius Waldo of Ipswich, Mass from 1647 to 1900 NEHGS(www.newenglandancestors.org), page 240-243. Repository: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 99 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116, USA, http://www.newenglandancestors.org, Call Number: CS71.W165 1902; Genealogy of the Waldo Family: A Record of the Descendants of Cornelius Waldo of Ipswich, Mass. from 1647 to 1900 (Online database: NewEnglandAncestors.org, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2004), (Worcester, Mass. , Press of C. Hamilton. Genealogy of the Waldo family : a record of the descendants of Cornelius Waldo, of Ipswich, Mass., from 1647 to 1900, 1902).

2 Published by the Society, editor, The Bi-Centennial Celebration, First Congregational Church of Preston, Connecticut 1698-1898; Statistics of the Church taken from The Church Records online book, Ancestry(www.ancestry.com : downloaded 23 Mar 2010), pages 85 & 86.

3 Conpiled by Georgia Cooper Washburn and Edited by Mabel Tacher Rosemary Washburn, editors, Witter Genealogy, Descendants of William Witter of Swampscott Massachusetts, 1639-1659 Online book, Ancestry(www.ancestry.com), 13-15.

4 Waldo Lincoln A.B., Genealogy of The Waldo Family - A Record of the Descendants of Cornelius Waldo of Ipswich, Mass from 1647 to 1900 NEHGS(www.newenglandancestors.org), page 240-243. Repository: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 99 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116, USA, http://www.newenglandancestors.org, Call Number: CS71.W165 1902.

5 Ancestry - Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-33, Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts, 1636-1686, 9 volumes (Salem 1911-1975). Repository: Ancestry.com, 360 W 4800 N, Provo, UT 84604, USA, http://www.ancestry.com.

6 John William Linzee, Jr. A. B., S. B., The History of Peter Parker & Sarah Ruggles of Roxbury, Massachusetts & their Ancestros and Descendants digital book, Ancestry(www.ancestry.com : downloaded 8 Apr 2010), 371 & 372.

7 Witter Genealogy, Compiled by Georgia Cooper Washburn, Witter Genealogy - Descendants of William Witter of Swampscott, Massachusetts, 1639-1659 (175 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York, The National Historical Company, 1929), Book, First Generation. Repository: P. Kristine Hurd, 3002 Pacific Avenue, Hoquiam, WA 98550, USA, http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~mcmanigle/Index.html.

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