William Vassall, Pilgrim of the "Blessing"

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William Vassall, Esq.

Also Known As: "Vassal", "Vessel"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Ratcliffe, Stepney, London, Middlesex, England
Death: Died in St. Michael's Parish, Barbados, Lesser Antilles, West Indes
Place of Burial: Cathedral Church of St Michael & All Angels Bridgetown Saint Michael, Barbados
Immediate Family:

Son of John Vassall, ll, The Gallant Alderman of London and Anne Vassall
Husband of Anna Vassall
Father of Anna Vassall, (II); Judith White; Frances Adams (Vassell); Samuel Vassall, Twin; Mary Vassall, Twin and 5 others
Brother of Judith Perry; Samuel Vassall and John Vassall, III
Half brother of Anna (Ann) Jones; Rachel Andrews ; Elizabeth Church; Stephen Vassall; Thomas Vassall and 1 other

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About William Vassall, Pilgrim of the "Blessing"

William Vassall

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William Vassall, was baptized August 27, 1592, Stepney, Middlesex (London), England. He was a highly educated gentleman who was far ahead of his time and publicly supported freedom of religion. In March 1629 he was recorded in the Charter for the Massachusetts Bay Company as a patentee, along with his brother Samuel. The Charter founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony, bringing over 20,000 English immigrants to New England in the 1630s.[1][2][3]

Vassall family[edit]

William Vassall was a son of John Vassall and Anne Russell. John Vassall had been a Huguenot refugee from Normandy in the time of French religious purges in the 16th century.[4] He had been recognized by Queen Elizabeth I as achieving merit in the war with the Spanish Armada in 1588 by providing two ships which he commanded at his own expense, the Samuel and the Little Toby.[5][6] A 'Mayflower' (not the Pilgrim ship), of 250 tons out of London, owned by John Vassall and others, was outfitted in 1588 for the Queen, possibly also for Armada service.[7] The Vassal arms can be noted on the National Armada Memorial in Plymouth England.[8] In 1609, John Vassall was recorded as a shareholder on the Second Charter of The Virginia Company. Anne Russell was John Vassall’s second of three wives and with her had five children, William being the youngest.[9]

In New England and return to London[edit]

In England in March 1629, William Vassall was recorded in the Charter of the Massachusetts Bay Company as an Assistant to the Governor. He was a signatory to both the Massachusetts Bay Charter and the Cambridge Agreement in 1629.[10][11] The Cambridge Agreement was to move the entire government of Massachusetts from England to the New World.[12]

At an October 1629 meeting of the Company, William Vassall, with others, was appointed to travel out to New England. Per page 256 of The Mayflower Quarterly of September 2010, William Vassall sailed on the Lyon to New England in 1630 and returned on the Lyon to England about one month later. There is some confusion in the article as it states that Vassall traveled in company with Governor John Winthrop, who was just assuming his post. Other sources state that Winthrop did not travel on the Lyon but was on the Arbella, flagship of what became known as The Winthrop Fleet - eleven ships bringing over 700 persons.[13] This was the beginning of what came to be known as the historic event called The Great Migration - thousands of English settlers coming to New England in the early-mid-1630s.

Regarding William Vassall's first trip to New England, research indicates that if he did travel on the Lyon to New England, he may have arrived in February 1630 as per the Letter from Deputy Governor Thomas Dudley to Lady Bridget, Countess of Lincoln, March 1631:[13] in this letter the Lyon is noted several times, once for its arrival date from Bristol of February 5, 1630 and another for being in-port in Salem on July 7, 1630. Additionally, some sources state that his family came with him on this first trip, but this cannot be confirmed.

Return to Massachusetts[edit]

In mid-1635 William Vassall returned to New England on the ship “Blessing” out of London with his family - per the manifest: William, 42, wife Anna, 42 and children: Judith 16, Frances 12, John 10, Ann 6, Margaret 2, and Mary age 1. The family first settled in Roxbury and then Scituate, Massachusetts Colony.[14][15] They are recorded as owning 200 acres of upland and some acreage of meadow land and was licensed to operate a ferry on the North River.[2]

On November 28, 1636 William Vassall joined the church of Rev. John Lathrop. What followed were many years of rancorous events involving Vassall over his perception of Puritan religious intolerance in New England.[2]

In 1639 William Vassall was granted the liberty “to make an oyster bank in the North River, in some convenient place near his farm which was called the ‘West Newland’ and to appropriate it for his own use, forbidding all others to use same without his license.”[2]

William Vassall was an advocate of religious freedom for all in the New England church. He was very much against those whose religious opinions followed the strict Puritan line and agitated against the heavy-handed methods of the colonial government. He had strong convictions in the rights and religious freedoms of his fellow colonists and worked hard for religious tolerance which caused him no end of problems with the conservative colonial government.

In 1644-45 Vassall was involved in a controversy involving the church in Scituate about baptism, which caused half the congregation, with the minister, to relocate to Barnstable. Meanwhile, the part of the congregation that included William Vassall and his daughter Judith White, wife of Mayflower passenger Resolved White, remained at Scituate. The "Vassall group" left behind, called their church the "Second church" of Scituate, the first Church apparently the one that moved to Barnstable. The Vassall church also brought the pastor from the Duxbury church to Scituate to be their pastor, ordaining him in September 1645 in spite of the refusal of the Duxbury church to dismiss him.[16]

William Vassall was known for the Remonstrance of 1646, in which Robert Child and others petitioned the Bay Colony General Court for greater religious and political freedom and closer adherence to the laws of England. Vassall, as a resident of Plymouth, did not sign the Bay Remonstrance of 1646, but Gov. Winthrop, and most other persons, believed it was actually his creation. In order to counter Vassall's charges, the very conservative Edward Winslow went to London in 1646 on behalf of Governor Winthrop and other Bay Colony leaders.[17]

The conservative Winslow would be the liberal Vassall's nemesis for a number of years and they should have been friends, since they were in-laws - Vassall's daughter Judith was married to Resolved White, who was Edward Winslow's step-son. Both men died in the Caribbean in the 1650s - Vassall on Barbados and Winslow off the coast of Jamaica.

Though Vassall is known for his work on the famous 1646 Bay Colony Remonstrance, he was earlier involved in a 1645 incident whereby he petitioned to the Plymouth General Court asking for full religious toleration for well-behaving men - i.e. religious freedom. Many of the town deputies, plus assistants, including Myles Standish, William Collier, Thomas Prence and Edward Winslow were opposed. The petition could have passed, but a delaying action by William Bradford gave the conservative side time to maneuver against it which caused its defeat. In a letter to Gov. Winthrop, Winslow expressed his pleasure at the defeat.[18]

With the Bradford-engineered defeat of Vassall's 1645 petition, even though most of the deputies were for it, Winslow described what happened to Winthrop: “but our Governour and divers of us having expressed the sad consequences would follow, especially my selfe and mr. Prence, yet notwithstanding it was required according to order to be voted: But the Governour would not suffer it to come to vote as being that indeed would eate out the power of Godlines etc.”[19]

Winthrop stated in his History of New England, that Vassall was “a busy and factious spirit, and always opposite to the civil governments of this country and the way of our churches.” He describes Vassall’s several petitions to the Bay Colony and Plymouth courts, and to Parliament, as asking that “the distinctions which were maintained here, both in civil and church estate, might be taken away, and that we might be wholly governed by the laws of England.”[20]

Former Pilgrim leaders, William Bradford and Edward Winslow, both prior Plymouth governors, still had much power over religion in New England and were adamantly opposed to Vassall’s freedom of religion policy.

Edward Winslow, in his letters to Massachusetts Governor John Winthrop, often expressed his feelings against democratic tendencies in both colonies, Plymouth and Bay Colony. In 1645, following the abortive Vassall attempt to obtain more civil and religious freedom, Winslow wrote (Gov.) Winthrop, “I utterly abhorred it,” and he added that if such a change came about, he would move from Plymouth to Massachusetts (Bay colony), “I trust that we shall finde (I speake for many of us that groane under these things) a resting place amongst you for the soules of our Feet”.[21]

Return to England[edit]

In 1646, after several years of religious controversy, he found that his religious beliefs were not compatible with those of others in his community. He returned to England to make his grievances known with a petition to parliament to expose his perception of the Massachusetts Puritan leaders’ political corruption, religious intolerance and abuse of power. He never returned to New England.[22][23][24] While in England, Vassall’s intention was to petition for the rights of non-Puritans in that very religious community - a petition which failed. This process ended his friendship with Edward Winslow, a Mayflower Pilgrim of 1620, and a diplomat representing Plymouth Colony’s interests in England, who was much against Vassall’s efforts. The two men had been friends, as Winslow was the step-father-in-law of Vassall’s daughter Judith, wife of Resolved White. During his time in England, Vassall was known to be friend of trans-Atlantic merchant Isaac Allerton, another Mayflower Pilgrim of 1620. Vassall was a member of the London merchant group Merchant-Adventurers, which had provided funding for the 1620 Mayflower voyage, and Allerton was an associate of this group. William Vassall had property in Rotherhithe on the Thames, across from where the Mayflower had boarded its passengers. Being a wealthy man, Vassall was known to businessmen throughout Europe. He was the owner of the ship "Lion" (Lyon) which he offered to Isaac Allerton, who put it to much use in his trans-Atlantic trading business. Both Vassall and Allerton were close associates of Matthew Craddock, who had been the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Company.[3][25]

In Barbados, West Indies[edit]

About 1648, after two years in England, Vassall sailed for Barbados in the West Indies where he settled at St. Michael’s Parish purchasing land and remained there for the rest of his life.[3][26]

Marriage and children[edit]

William Vassall married at Cold Norton, Essex, England in June 1613, Anna King (Kinge), born about 1593. She was a daughter of George Kinge and Joane Lorran of Woodham Mortimer, Essex.[26]

Children of William and Anna Vassall: Anna, born September 6, 1614 at Cold Norton, Essex - buried September 22, 1614. Judith, born about 1619. Buried April 3, 1670. Married November 5, 1640 to Mayflower passenger Resolved White, son of Pilgrim William White (Mayflower passenger). Eight children. Frances, born about 1623. Married Jul 16, 1637 at Scituate, Mass. to James Adams, son of John Adams. Samuel, (twin), born June 22, 1624 - buried November 16, 1624. Mary (twin), born June 22, 1624 - died before 1634. John, born about 1625. Married Anna Lewis, daughter of John Lewis, and English resident of Genoa, Italy. He became quite wealthy acquiring large tracts of land in Jamaica after the 1655-57 British capture of Jamaica from the Spanish. He died between August 10, 1684 and July 6, 1688 at Jamaica, West Indies. William, baptized February 2, 1627 at Little Baddow, Essex. No further record. Anna, baptized April 20, 1628 at Little Baddow, Essex. Married before 1655 Nicholas Ware. Margaret, born about 1633. Married April 25, 1656 at St. Michael’s Parish, Barbados, Joshua Hubbard (Hobart). She died prob. in Barbados, West Indies. Mary, born 1634 - died unmarried in 1657, prob. in Barbados, West Indies.[3][26]

Will of William Vassall[edit]

Barbadoes. William Vassall, now resident of this Island, Esq., 31 July 1655, proved 12 June 1657. Son in law Nicholas Ware and his wife Anna, my daughter. My two other daughters, Margaret and Mary Vassall. All now here with me. My estate in this Island, New England, or any other part or place in the world. To my daughters, Judith, wife of Resolved White, Frances, the wife of James Adams, Anna, the wife of Nicholas Ware, and Margaret and Mary Vassall, the other two thirds, to be equally divided among them, to each a fifth. My son John not being now in the island, my son in law Nicholas Ware to act and manage for him and he and his wife, child and family, to remain, abide and dwell on my plantation until my said executor’s arrival, or an order from him concerning same.

The Testator made his mark in the presence of Humphrey Davenport, Humphrey Kent and Lion Hill. The will was proved by John Vassall, sole executor.[27]

Death of William Vassall[edit]

William Vassall died in Barbados between July 1655 and June 1657 in the Parish of St. Michael. It is believed that Vassall’s wife Anna died, location unknown, before his will was written in 1655 as she is not named. His grave no longer exists and his wife's i unknown.[3][28][29]

In 1657 Resolved White and his wife Judith of Scituate in New Plymouth of this island (Barbados), Esq. sold to Nicholas Ware of St. Michael’s, merchant, his one fifth of two thirds of William Vassal’s plantation in St Michael’s.[30]

In May of 1657 Mary Vassall sold her share of William Vassal's plantation in St. Michael's to her brother-in-law Nicholas Ware.[30]

Vassal family and the Mayflower[edit]

There is information, largely unsourced, that states that John Vassall or the Vassall family was the builder of the ship Mayflower that came to Plymouth in 1620. There is no documented evidence of Vassall ownership of the Mayflower of 1620 Plymouth fame, but Marsden does note on page 675 'a Mayflower' of London of 250 tons, owned by John Vassall and others, fitted out by Londoners for the queen in 1588, and mentioned in documents until 1594.[31]

As a result of his Armada service, the Queen authorized him to bear arms and use an English family coat of arms in place of his French one, with his name and services commemorated on a memorial erected in 1888 in Portsmouth, England. In 1609 John Vassall was recorded as a shareholder on the Second Charter of The Virginia Company. Anne Russell was John Vassall’s second of three wives and with her had five children, William being the youngest.[32]

The GSMD (Mayflower Society) states that the building date and original owner of the ship Mayflower that came to Plymouth in 1620 is unknown. Additionally, the Society states that Mayflower was a common ship's name in the period and that the Mayflower captained by Christopher Jones from about 1609 has never been adequately researched prior to his time as ship's captain.

References[edit]

1.Jump up ^ Charter of Massachusetts Bay Colony 2.^ Jump up to: a b c d AGG Harry P. Folger 3rd Assistant Editor, The Mayflower Quarterly, Sept. 2010, p. 256 3.^ Jump up to: a b c d e Eugene Aubrey Stratton. Plymouth Colony Its History & People 1620-1691 (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), p. 365 4.Jump up ^ William Vassal: A Biography 5.Jump up ^ Dorothy Carpenter, William Vassall and dissent in early Massachusetts: Another Look at the Founding of Massachusetts with special emphasis on a forgotten dissenter, William Vassall (2004) p. 14 6.Jump up ^ Dictionary of National Biography, pp 155-156. 7.Jump up ^ R. G. Marsden, "The Mayflower", English Historical Review (19 October 1904), p. 675. 8.Jump up ^ Plymouth Armada Memorial 9.Jump up ^ AGG Harry P. Folger, The Mayflower Quarterly (Sept. 2010), pp. 255-256 10.Jump up ^ Charter of Massachusetts Bay Company 11.Jump up ^ William Vassal: A Biographical Sketch William Vassall: A Biographical Sketch 12.Jump up ^ The Cambridge Agreement 13.^ Jump up to: a b Winthrope Society 14.Jump up ^ NEHGR 17:56; Deane, Scituate, p. 366; Pope 15.Jump up ^ Manifest of the Blessing 1635 16.Jump up ^ Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony Its History & People 1620-1691 (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), p. 79-80 17.Jump up ^ Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony Its History & People 1620-1691 (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), pp. 80, 87 18.Jump up ^ Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony Its History & People 1620-1691 (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), p. 81 19.Jump up ^ Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony Its History & People 1620-1691 (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), p. 155 20.Jump up ^ Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony Its History & People 1620-1691 (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), pp. 86, 87 21.Jump up ^ Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony Its History & People 1620-1691 (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), p. 137 22.Jump up ^ AGG Harry P. Folger, The Mayflower Quarterly (Sept. 2010), pp. 256-257 23.Jump up ^ AGG Harry P. Folger, The Mayflower Quarterly (Sept. 2010), p. 365 24.Jump up ^ Memorial William Vassall 25.Jump up ^ David Lindsay, PhD., Mayflower Bastard: A Stranger amongst the Pilgrims (New York: St. Martins Press, 2002), pp. 85, 88, 227-15 26.^ Jump up to: a b c AGG Harry P. Folger 3rd Assistant Editor. The Mayflower Quarterly (Sept. 2010), p. 257 27.Jump up ^ The New England Historical and Genealogical Register (Boston 1857) Vol. LI (51) p.286 ) 28.Jump up ^ AGG Harry P. Folger 3rd Assistant Editor. The Mayflower Quarterly (Sept. 2010), pp. 256-257 29.Jump up ^ Memorial of the Vassals 30.^ Jump up to: a b Ruth Wilder Sherman, CG, FASG and Robert Moody Sherman, CG, FASG, Re-edited by Robert S. Wakefield, FASG. Mayflower Families who landed at Plymought, Mass., Dec. 1620 3rd Ed. William White (Pub General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 2006), vol. 13, p. 6 31.Jump up ^ R. G. Marsden, "The Mayflower", English Historical Review (19 October 1904) pp. 669-680. 32.Jump up ^ AGG Harry P. Folger, The Mayflower Quarterly (Sept. 2010), pp. 255-256

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William Vassall (1592-1656), merchant-adventurer-planter, was a "first immigrant" from England to Massachusetts. A highly educated gentleman who was far ahead of his time, Vassall publicly supported true freedom of religion in British North America for all Christians regardless of denomination, as was well as religious freedom for those of the Jewish and Islamic faiths. He was born on 27 August 1592 in Ratcliffe, Stepney, County Middlesex, England (just east of London), and died 13 July 1656 in St. Michael's Parish, Barbados.

<n.b. conflicting birth place information: also see Devon. Have gone with Stepney as it's the place of baptism and marriage.>

His parents were John Vassall (1544-1625) and Anna Russell Vassall (1556-1593) of Stepney, England. John Vassall was a London alderman who served under Queen Elizabeth I and who equipped and commanded two ships in the fight against the Spanish Armada.

Married Anna King/Kinge on 9 June 1613.

In 1630 he sailed to Massachusetts as a leader of the "Winthrop Fleet," but returned to England. With his family he emigrated in 1635 on the "Blessing."

William Vassall and Anna Kinge's children include:

i. Anna Vassall (Died soon) (6 Sep 1614-22 Sep 1614)

ii. Judith Vassall (ca 1619-Apr 1670) married Resolved White

iii. Frances Vassall (ca 1623-ca 1670)

iv. Samuel Vassall (Died soon) (22 Jun 1624-16 Nov 1624)

v. Mary Vassall (Died soon) (22 Jun 1624-ca 1633)

vi. Capt. John Vassall (ca 1625-1688)

vii. William Vassall (ca 1626/7-)

viii. Ann Vassall (ca 1628-)

ix. Margaret Vassall (ca 1633-)

x. Mary Vassall (ca 1633-)

His direct descendants today are found in both North America (where he retained large tracts of land in Massachusetts) and in Great Britain.

History of William Vassall:

http://www.mollyandjames.net/geneology/PDF/Vassal_W.pdf

More information:

New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 17 page 56, entitled "The Vassalls of New England," by Edward Doubleday Harris.

Eleven vessels brought 700 passengers in 'the Great Emigration' on "The Winthrop Fleet" in 1630.

http://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/winthrop.htm

"William Vassall and Dissent in Early Massachusetts: Another look at the founding of Massachusetts with Special Emphasis on a Forgotten Dissenter, William Vassall" by Dorothy Carpenter, 2001. Free ebook:

http://home.gwi.net/~sscarpen/vassall/

"William Vassal: A Biographical Sketch"

http://www.millsgen.com/gen/hist/vassall_preface.html

The town of Vassalboro in Kennebec County, Maine was named in his honour.

http://www.vassalboro.com/

--------------------

William Vassal, the other son of John the Alderman was the settler in New England and Barbados. He came to Massachusetts in the Winthrop fleet of 1630, but soon returned to England. In 1635, he came back to Massachusetts bringing his family with him and settled in Roxbury, Mass., whence he soon remove to Scituate in Plymouth Colony (part of Massachusetts since 1692) where he was the leading citizen. Of pronounced Presbyterian views he soon became embroiled over religious and political matters with the Congregational rulers and in 1646 he went to England to petition for redress against the government, intending to return soon. He never came back, but in 1648 he settled in St. Michael's Barbados, where he was a prominent merchant and planter. All his daughters except Anne and Mary married in New England (White).

From "Genealogies of Barbados Families" Brandow

--------------------

William, like his father, had a considerable fortune. He owned estates in England, Plymouth and Barbadoes. He was one of the original patentees of New England lands. He was one of Craddock's assistants at the time Craddock was made acting Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Company of London.

In 1628, William was the first of the Vassalls to come to New England, landing in Salem.

He and his brother Samuel were grantees of land with a number of others on 3/4/1629 : "Copy of grant by Sir Henry Rosewell, Sir John Young, Thomas Southcott, John Humfrey, John Endicott, and Symon Whetcombe to Samuel and William Vassall among others lands in New England between the Merrimack and Charles Rivers called Massachusetts - exemplification of grant received in registry for the use of Mr. Stephen Winthrop and Mr. Joseph Weld and signed by Edward Winslow (The Complete Book of Emigrants ).

Also from the above source, the following : "1630 - The principal undertakers for the plantation of Massachusetts Bay who have gone over with their wives and children are : John Winthrop the Governor and three of his sons; Sir Richard Saltonstall and five children; Isaac Johnson, Lady Arbella his wife and Mr. Charles Fines, sister and brother to the Earl of Lincoln; Mr. Dudley, his wife and 6 children; Coddington and wife and two daughters; Vassall and wife; and Mr. Revell.

The Winthrop Society's website gives an "Index of Some Passengers to New England, 1633-1635"

(http://members.aol.com/winthropq/shipndx6.htm). Vassall and his family came over in "The Blessing," landing in Salem (having left England from Yarmouth) in 1635:

WILLIAM VASSALL of Prittlewell, Essex, England bound for Charlestown age 42

Mrs. Anne Vassall age 42

Judith Vassall age 16

Francis Vassall age 12

John Vassall age 10

Anne Vassall age 6

Margaret Vassall age 2

Mary Vassall age 1

He returned to England soon after, making a return voyage to the New World in 1630 aboard the "Arbella" along with John Winthrop (who later became Governor of Massachusetts). Once again, he returned to England on the ship "Lyon" along with his brother, having been chosen by the colonists to represent them to Craddock's company in their petitions of complaint against Endicott's government.

He returned in June, 1635, sailing from London on the ship "Blessing" with his wife, Anne (Kinge) Vassall and 6 children as well as his brother-in-law Thomas Kinge. He left them in Roxbury while he built "Belle House" on his plantation called "West Newland" which would be their home in Scituate. By all accounts, it was a beautiful house overlooking the river, marshes and ocean.

To give an idea of his "liberal" beliefs as they were called at the time, I relate the following story :

In Scituate on 3 September 1639 Christopher Winter was sentenced to be whipped at the post at the governor's discretion for committing uncleaness with Jane Cooper, whom he later married. For her part, Jane was sentenced to be whipped at a cart's tail, for Jane was apparently a woman with a past. In 1638, Winter had been fined ten shillings for engaging to marry Jane Cooper "contrary to order & custome of this govment." He was also excommunicated from Mr. Lothrop's church "for marrying of one Mrs Cooper, a woman of scandalous carriage, beeing vaine, light, proud, much given to scoffing." He had been warned not to marry her and part of his crime was to have broken his promise that he would not do so. Interestingly, William Vassall and Timothy Hatherly, known for their liberal sentiments, and "Goodman Raylings" (probably Thomas Rawlings, but possibly Henry Rowley), disagreed with the decision to excommunicate.

William and his son John, along with his son-in-law, Resolved White, appeared in the List of Those Able to Bear Arms in New Plymouth [NEHGR Vol. 4, 1850].

William returned to England in 1646 on the ship "Supply" with a petition for the redress of wrongs in the government. At this time, he had fallen out of favor with many of the local leaders due to differences in religious beliefs. His was a tolerant, accepting attitude towards the beliefs and ways of others which clashed with the Puritan beliefs of the day.

The next time he returned to the New World, it was in 1648, where he went directly to his estates in Barbadoes. He died in 1657 at age 65 in the Parish of St. Michael, never having returned to his estate in Massachusetts.

His will is dated at Barbadoes, 7/13/1655. He left his son John one third of all of his estates and left the other 2/3 in 5 parts to his daughters - Judith, Frances, Ann, Margaret and Mary. His son was executor of the estate.

In his absence in Massachusetts, Nicholas Ware was acting executor who appointed Capt. Joshua Hubbard of Hingham his attorney for the sale of the Scituate estate ("by virtue of two writings, one signed by Resolved White and James Adams dated 2/18/1656 and the other by Margaret and Mary Vassall, dated 3/3/1655-6.

The estate, comprised of about 120 acres including houses and barns, was conveyed by Joshua Hubbard to John Cushed and Mathyas Brig for £120. The deed was signed by Joshua Hubbard, Resolved White and Judith, his wife, and James Adams, dated 7/18/1657 [The Vassalls of New England, by Harris, pp. 4-5].

Strangely, the Complete Book of Emigrants has a note on William's will - 6/1657 : Probate of will of William Vassall Esq. of Ireland who died at Barbados and who had lands in New England." Ireland??

William Vassall,Sr. :

Church Membership:About 1635 " Mrs. Anna Vassail the wife of Mr. William Wassaile [ was admitted to Roxbury church]. Her husband brought 5 children to this land, Judith,Francis,John,Margaret,and Mary.{RChR 80}. Mr. Vassel joined Scituate church on November 28,1636{NEHGR 9:280}.

Freeman: Took the oath of allegiance to the king on Feb.1,1638/9 {PCR 1:110, 8:182}

Offices: Assistant, Mass. Bay Company, 23 March 1628, 11 May 1629, 13 May 1629, 20 Oct.1629. Committee to consider division of lands, 5 March 1628. Committee to resolve orders, 21 May 1629. Arbiter, 19 September 1629. Present at a court of Assistants on the Arbella, 23 March 1629. Deputy, 27 September 1642. Council of war, 27 September 1642 in Scituate section of 1643 Plymouth colony list of men able to bear arms.

On 15 December, 1629, "Capt. Waller and Mr. Vassall were content to give the first 50 lbs. to the plantation, so as their other 50 lbs. might go on wholly to this new stock."

Rev. John Lothrop listed "Mr. Vassall's" first among the houses built in Scituate in 1636.

On 2 April 1638, Mr. Vassell was granted two hundred acres of upland, "a competency of medow lands" to be laid out, and permission to keep a ferry over the north, where the indian ferry was".

On 3 December 1638 one hundred and fifty acres of lands were granted to Mr. Vassall "provided he take the oath of fidelity."

On 3 December 1639, Mr. William Vassall was granted liberty to make an oyster bank in the north river, 60 rods in length, and cross the said river, in some convenient place near his farm there, called the West Newland, and to appropriate it to his own use, forbidding all others to use the same without his license."

William Vassall contemplated removal to Salem, for on 15 July 1640, a meeting of that town noted that "Mr. William Vassall desireth a farm where the town thinketh meet"...but, there was no evidence that such a grant was made or that William Vassall actually moved.

In his will, dated 31 July 1655 and proved 12 July 1657, William Vassall Esq. of Barbados, mentioned his son John, executor; daughters Judith White, wife of Resolved, Francis Addams, wife of James Addams, Anna Ware, wife of Nicholas and their children, and Margaret Vassall and Mary Vassall "here with me"; son in law Nicholas Ware was to be executor until son John arrived in Barbados.

He returned to England with his family in the "Lyon" in 1630. He returned to America on the "Blessing",around July 1635, at the age of 42 with his wife, age 42, and settled at Roxbury. His wife joined the church in 1638.

They moved to Scituate and was admitted to the church around 11/28/1636. They took the oath of allegiance to the Plymouth colony on 2/1/1638. He moved to Marshfield, about 1643, where he was again a town officer.

William was not in sympathy with the attitude of Mass. Bay and Plymouth governments towards persons who differed from the received opinions in politics and religion and used his influences for greater charity toward the Quakers,etc. The elders expressed their disapproval towards his utterences.

The church of Plymouth sent him a message by way of John Cook, which is recorded in the book of the second Church, Scituate, dated April 14,1645; hoping he would desist from proceedings intended, and questioned if they would commune with him if he continued. He went to England in 1646 with a petition to Parliment for the liberty of English subjects.

--------------------

ID: I184214

Name: William Vassall

Sex: M

Birth: 27 AUG 1592 in Stepney, London, Middlesex (Mayflower)

Birth: 27 AUG 1592 in Ratcliffe Stepeny, Essex, England

Death: 13 JUL 1655 in Scituate, MA

Death: 13 JUL 1655 in Barbados

Note: Ref; Signers of the Mayflower Compact, Adams, John & Bassett, William, Page 103.

Father: John Vassall

Mother: Anna Russell

Marriage 1 Anna King b: 1 DEC 1594 in Of, Woodham, Essex (Mayflower)

Married: 29 JUN 1613 in Cold Norton, Essex. Eng.

Children

Judith Vassall b: 1619 in England

Marriage 2 Ann King b: 1 DEC 1594 in Woodham, Mortimer, Essex, England

Married: 29 JUN 1613 in Cold Norton, Essex, England

Children

Anna Vassall b: 6 SEP 1614 in Cold Norton, Essex, England

Frances Vassall b: 1623 in Stepheny, Middlesex, England

William Vassall , Jr. b: 1623

Mary Vassall b: 22 JUN 1624 in Cold Norton, County Essex, England

John Vassall b: ABT 1625 in Of Stepheny, Middlesex, England

Ann Vassall b: 20 APR 1629 in Ratcliffe, Essex, England

Margaret Vassall b: ABT 1633 in Of Ratcliffe, Essex, England

Judith Vassall b: 1619 in England

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Died soon after arrival in Plymouth

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This Family is Descended in the 11th Century from the House of Du Vassall. They were of the Barons de Guerden, in Quarci Perigord, FRANCE.

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Family Tree Maker "Descendants of John Vestall" (website http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/a/t/k/Lyle-L-Atkinson/GENE8-0003.html) lists William Vestall (Vasall) born 1593 as the father of "Major" William Vestall born 1623. The elder William is a historical figure. The father-son link is tenuous at best and very little seems to be known about the younger William. I am not allowed to delete the elder from our tree, but I am dubious that this relationship is valid, in spite of its listing on the Vestall family website. -------------------- William Vassall

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William Vassall, was baptized August 27, 1592, Stepney, Middlesex (London), England. He was a highly educated gentleman who was far ahead of his time and publicly supported freedom of religion. In March 1629 he was recorded in the Charter for the Massachusetts Bay Company as a patentee, along with his brother Samuel. The Charter founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony, bringing over 20,000 English immigrants to New England in the 1630s.[1][2][3]

Contents [show]

Vassall family[edit]

William Vassall was a son of John Vassall and Anne Russell. John Vassall had been a Huguenot refugee from Normandy in the time of French religious purges in the 16th century.[4] He had been recognized by Queen Elizabeth I as achieving merit in the war with the Spanish Armada in 1588 by providing two ships which he commanded at his own expense, the Samuel and the Little Toby.[5][6] A 'Mayflower' (not the Pilgrim ship), of 250 tons out of London, owned by John Vassall and others, was outfitted in 1588 for the Queen, possibly also for Armada service.[7] The Vassal arms can be noted on the National Armada Memorial in Plymouth England.[8] In 1609, John Vassall was recorded as a shareholder on the Second Charter of The Virginia Company. Anne Russell was John Vassall’s second of three wives and with her had five children, William being the youngest.[9]

In New England and return to London[edit]

In England in March 1629, William Vassall was recorded in the Charter of the Massachusetts Bay Company as an Assistant to the Governor. He was a signatory to both the Massachusetts Bay Charter and the Cambridge Agreement in 1629.[10][11] The Cambridge Agreement was to move the entire government of Massachusetts from England to the New World.[12]

At an October 1629 meeting of the Company, William Vassall, with others, was appointed to travel out to New England. Per page 256 of The Mayflower Quarterly of September 2010, William Vassall sailed on the Lyon to New England in 1630 and returned on the Lyon to England about one month later. There is some confusion in the article as it states that Vassall traveled in company with Governor John Winthrop, who was just assuming his post. Other sources state that Winthrop did not travel on the Lyon but was on the Arbella, flagship of what became known as The Winthrop Fleet - eleven ships bringing over 700 persons.[13] This was the beginning of what came to be known as the historic event called The Great Migration - thousands of English settlers coming to New England in the early-mid-1630s.

Regarding William Vassall's first trip to New England, research indicates that if he did travel on the Lyon to New England, he may have arrived in February 1630 as per the Letter from Deputy Governor Thomas Dudley to Lady Bridget, Countess of Lincoln, March 1631:[13] in this letter the Lyon is noted several times, once for its arrival date from Bristol of February 5, 1630 and another for being in-port in Salem on July 7, 1630. Additionally, some sources state that his family came with him on this first trip, but this cannot be confirmed.

Return to Massachusetts[edit]

In mid-1635 William Vassall returned to New England on the ship “Blessing” out of London with his family - per the manifest: William, 42, wife Anna, 42 and children: Judith 16, Frances 12, John 10, Ann 6, Margaret 2, and Mary age 1. The family first settled in Roxbury and then Scituate, Massachusetts Colony.[14][15] They are recorded as owning 200 acres of upland and some acreage of meadow land and was licensed to operate a ferry on the North River.[2]

On November 28, 1636 William Vassall joined the church of Rev. John Lathrop. What followed were many years of rancorous events involving Vassall over his perception of Puritan religious intolerance in New England.[2]

In 1639 William Vassall was granted the liberty “to make an oyster bank in the North River, in some convenient place near his farm which was called the ‘West Newland’ and to appropriate it for his own use, forbidding all others to use same without his license.”[2]

William Vassall was an advocate of religious freedom for all in the New England church. He was very much against those whose religious opinions followed the strict Puritan line and agitated against the heavy-handed methods of the colonial government. He had strong convictions in the rights and religious freedoms of his fellow colonists and worked hard for religious tolerance which caused him no end of problems with the conservative colonial government.

In 1644-45 Vassall was involved in a controversy involving the church in Scituate about baptism, which caused half the congregation, with the minister, to relocate to Barnstable. Meanwhile, the part of the congregation that included William Vassall and his daughter Judith White, wife of Mayflower passenger Resolved White, remained at Scituate. The "Vassall group" left behind, called their church the "Second church" of Scituate, the first Church apparently the one that moved to Barnstable. The Vassall church also brought the pastor from the Duxbury church to Scituate to be their pastor, ordaining him in September 1645 in spite of the refusal of the Duxbury church to dismiss him.[16]

William Vassall was known for the Remonstrance of 1646, in which Robert Child and others petitioned the Bay Colony General Court for greater religious and political freedom and closer adherence to the laws of England. Vassall, as a resident of Plymouth, did not sign the Bay Remonstrance of 1646, but Gov. Winthrop, and most other persons, believed it was actually his creation. In order to counter Vassall's charges, the very conservative Edward Winslow went to London in 1646 on behalf of Governor Winthrop and other Bay Colony leaders.[17]

The conservative Winslow would be the liberal Vassall's nemesis for a number of years and they should have been friends, since they were in-laws - Vassall's daughter Judith was married to Resolved White, who was Edward Winslow's step-son. Both men died in the Caribbean in the 1650s - Vassall on Barbados and Winslow off the coast of Jamaica.

Though Vassall is known for his work on the famous 1646 Bay Colony Remonstrance, he was earlier involved in a 1645 incident whereby he petitioned to the Plymouth General Court asking for full religious toleration for well-behaving men - i.e. religious freedom. Many of the town deputies, plus assistants, including Myles Standish, William Collier, Thomas Prence and Edward Winslow were opposed. The petition could have passed, but a delaying action by William Bradford gave the conservative side time to maneuver against it which caused its defeat. In a letter to Gov. Winthrop, Winslow expressed his pleasure at the defeat.[18]

With the Bradford-engineered defeat of Vassall's 1645 petition, even though most of the deputies were for it, Winslow described what happened to Winthrop: “but our Governour and divers of us having expressed the sad consequences would follow, especially my selfe and mr. Prence, yet notwithstanding it was required according to order to be voted: But the Governour would not suffer it to come to vote as being that indeed would eate out the power of Godlines etc.”[19]

Winthrop stated in his History of New England, that Vassall was “a busy and factious spirit, and always opposite to the civil governments of this country and the way of our churches.” He describes Vassall’s several petitions to the Bay Colony and Plymouth courts, and to Parliament, as asking that “the distinctions which were maintained here, both in civil and church estate, might be taken away, and that we might be wholly governed by the laws of England.”[20]

Former Pilgrim leaders, William Bradford and Edward Winslow, both prior Plymouth governors, still had much power over religion in New England and were adamantly opposed to Vassall’s freedom of religion policy.

Edward Winslow, in his letters to Massachusetts Governor John Winthrop, often expressed his feelings against democratic tendencies in both colonies, Plymouth and Bay Colony. In 1645, following the abortive Vassall attempt to obtain more civil and religious freedom, Winslow wrote (Gov.) Winthrop, “I utterly abhorred it,” and he added that if such a change came about, he would move from Plymouth to Massachusetts (Bay colony), “I trust that we shall finde (I speake for many of us that groane under these things) a resting place amongst you for the soules of our Feet”.[21]

Return to England[edit]

In 1646, after several years of religious controversy, he found that his religious beliefs were not compatible with those of others in his community. He returned to England to make his grievances known with a petition to parliament to expose his perception of the Massachusetts Puritan leaders’ political corruption, religious intolerance and abuse of power. He never returned to New England.[22][23][24] While in England, Vassall’s intention was to petition for the rights of non-Puritans in that very religious community - a petition which failed. This process ended his friendship with Edward Winslow, a Mayflower Pilgrim of 1620, and a diplomat representing Plymouth Colony’s interests in England, who was much against Vassall’s efforts. The two men had been friends, as Winslow was the step-father-in-law of Vassall’s daughter Judith, wife of Resolved White. During his time in England, Vassall was known to be friend of trans-Atlantic merchant Isaac Allerton, another Mayflower Pilgrim of 1620. Vassall was a member of the London merchant group Merchant-Adventurers, which had provided funding for the 1620 Mayflower voyage, and Allerton was an associate of this group. William Vassall had property in Rotherhithe on the Thames, across from where the Mayflower had boarded its passengers. Being a wealthy man, Vassall was known to businessmen throughout Europe. He was the owner of the ship "Lion" (Lyon) which he offered to Isaac Allerton, who put it to much use in his trans-Atlantic trading business. Both Vassall and Allerton were close associates of Matthew Craddock, who had been the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Company.[3][25]

In Barbados, West Indies[edit]

About 1648, after two years in England, Vassall sailed for Barbados in the West Indies where he settled at St. Michael’s Parish purchasing land and remained there for the rest of his life.[3][26]

Marriage and children[edit]

William Vassall married at Cold Norton, Essex, England in June 1613, Anna King (Kinge), born about 1593. She was a daughter of George Kinge and Joane Lorran of Woodham Mortimer, Essex.[26]

Children of William and Anna Vassall: Anna, born September 6, 1614 at Cold Norton, Essex - buried September 22, 1614. Judith, born about 1619. Buried April 3, 1670. Married November 5, 1640 to Mayflower passenger Resolved White, son of Pilgrim William White (Mayflower passenger). Eight children. Frances, born about 1623. Married Jul 16, 1637 at Scituate, Mass. to James Adams, son of John Adams. Samuel, (twin), born June 22, 1624 - buried November 16, 1624. Mary (twin), born June 22, 1624 - died before 1634. John, born about 1625. Married Anna Lewis, daughter of John Lewis, and English resident of Genoa, Italy. He became quite wealthy acquiring large tracts of land in Jamaica after the 1655-57 British capture of Jamaica from the Spanish. He died between August 10, 1684 and July 6, 1688 at Jamaica, West Indies. William, baptized February 2, 1627 at Little Baddow, Essex. No further record. Anna, baptized April 20, 1628 at Little Baddow, Essex. Married before 1655 Nicholas Ware. Margaret, born about 1633. Married April 25, 1656 at St. Michael’s Parish, Barbados, Joshua Hubbard (Hobart). She died prob. in Barbados, West Indies. Mary, born 1634 - died unmarried in 1657, prob. in Barbados, West Indies.[3][26]

Will of William Vassall[edit]

Barbadoes. William Vassall, now resident of this Island, Esq., 31 July 1655, proved 12 June 1657. Son in law Nicholas Ware and his wife Anna, my daughter. My two other daughters, Margaret and Mary Vassall. All now here with me. My estate in this Island, New England, or any other part or place in the world. To my daughters, Judith, wife of Resolved White, Frances, the wife of James Adams, Anna, the wife of Nicholas Ware, and Margaret and Mary Vassall, the other two thirds, to be equally divided among them, to each a fifth. My son John not being now in the island, my son in law Nicholas Ware to act and manage for him and he and his wife, child and family, to remain, abide and dwell on my plantation until my said executor’s arrival, or an order from him concerning same.

The Testator made his mark in the presence of Humphrey Davenport, Humphrey Kent and Lion Hill. The will was proved by John Vassall, sole executor.[27]

Death of William Vassall[edit]

William Vassall died in Barbados between July 1655 and June 1657 in the Parish of St. Michael. It is believed that Vassall’s wife Anna died, location unknown, before his will was written in 1655 as she is not named. His grave no longer exists and his wife's i unknown.[3][28][29]

In 1657 Resolved White and his wife Judith of Scituate in New Plymouth of this island (Barbados), Esq. sold to Nicholas Ware of St. Michael’s, merchant, his one fifth of two thirds of William Vassal’s plantation in St Michael’s.[30]

In May of 1657 Mary Vassall sold her share of William Vassal's plantation in St. Michael's to her brother-in-law Nicholas Ware.[30]

Vassal family and the Mayflower[edit]

There is information, largely unsourced, that states that John Vassall or the Vassall family was the builder of the ship Mayflower that came to Plymouth in 1620. There is no documented evidence of Vassall ownership of the Mayflower of 1620 Plymouth fame, but Marsden does note on page 675 'a Mayflower' of London of 250 tons, owned by John Vassall and others, fitted out by Londoners for the queen in 1588, and mentioned in documents until 1594.[31]

As a result of his Armada service, the Queen authorized him to bear arms and use an English family coat of arms in place of his French one, with his name and services commemorated on a memorial erected in 1888 in Portsmouth, England. In 1609 John Vassall was recorded as a shareholder on the Second Charter of The Virginia Company. Anne Russell was John Vassall’s second of three wives and with her had five children, William being the youngest.[32]

The GSMD (Mayflower Society) states that the building date and original owner of the ship Mayflower that came to Plymouth in 1620 is unknown. Additionally, the Society states that Mayflower was a common ship's name in the period and that the Mayflower captained by Christopher Jones from about 1609 has never been adequately researched prior to his time as ship's captain.

References[edit]

1.Jump up ^ Charter of Massachusetts Bay Colony 2.^ Jump up to: a b c d AGG Harry P. Folger 3rd Assistant Editor, The Mayflower Quarterly, Sept. 2010, p. 256 3.^ Jump up to: a b c d e Eugene Aubrey Stratton. Plymouth Colony Its History & People 1620-1691 (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), p. 365 4.Jump up ^ William Vassal: A Biography 5.Jump up ^ Dorothy Carpenter, William Vassall and dissent in early Massachusetts: Another Look at the Founding of Massachusetts with special emphasis on a forgotten dissenter, William Vassall (2004) p. 14 6.Jump up ^ Dictionary of National Biography, pp 155-156. 7.Jump up ^ R. G. Marsden, "The Mayflower", English Historical Review (19 October 1904), p. 675. 8.Jump up ^ Plymouth Armada Memorial 9.Jump up ^ AGG Harry P. Folger, The Mayflower Quarterly (Sept. 2010), pp. 255-256 10.Jump up ^ Charter of Massachusetts Bay Company 11.Jump up ^ William Vassal: A Biographical Sketch William Vassall: A Biographical Sketch 12.Jump up ^ The Cambridge Agreement 13.^ Jump up to: a b Winthrope Society 14.Jump up ^ NEHGR 17:56; Deane, Scituate, p. 366; Pope 15.Jump up ^ Manifest of the Blessing 1635 16.Jump up ^ Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony Its History & People 1620-1691 (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), p. 79-80 17.Jump up ^ Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony Its History & People 1620-1691 (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), pp. 80, 87 18.Jump up ^ Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony Its History & People 1620-1691 (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), p. 81 19.Jump up ^ Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony Its History & People 1620-1691 (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), p. 155 20.Jump up ^ Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony Its History & People 1620-1691 (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), pp. 86, 87 21.Jump up ^ Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony Its History & People 1620-1691 (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), p. 137 22.Jump up ^ AGG Harry P. Folger, The Mayflower Quarterly (Sept. 2010), pp. 256-257 23.Jump up ^ AGG Harry P. Folger, The Mayflower Quarterly (Sept. 2010), p. 365 24.Jump up ^ Memorial William Vassall 25.Jump up ^ David Lindsay, PhD., Mayflower Bastard: A Stranger amongst the Pilgrims (New York: St. Martins Press, 2002), pp. 85, 88, 227-15 26.^ Jump up to: a b c AGG Harry P. Folger 3rd Assistant Editor. The Mayflower Quarterly (Sept. 2010), p. 257 27.Jump up ^ The New England Historical and Genealogical Register (Boston 1857) Vol. LI (51) p.286 ) 28.Jump up ^ AGG Harry P. Folger 3rd Assistant Editor. The Mayflower Quarterly (Sept. 2010), pp. 256-257 29.Jump up ^ Memorial of the Vassals 30.^ Jump up to: a b Ruth Wilder Sherman, CG, FASG and Robert Moody Sherman, CG, FASG, Re-edited by Robert S. Wakefield, FASG. Mayflower Families who landed at Plymought, Mass., Dec. 1620 3rd Ed. William White (Pub General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 2006), vol. 13, p. 6 31.Jump up ^ R. G. Marsden, "The Mayflower", English Historical Review (19 October 1904) pp. 669-680. 32.Jump up ^ AGG Harry P. Folger, The Mayflower Quarterly (Sept. 2010), pp. 255-256

William Vassall (1592-1656), merchant-adventurer-planter, was a "first immigrant" from England to Massachusetts. A highly educated gentleman who was far ahead of his time, Vassall publicly supported true freedom of religion in British North America for all Christians regardless of denomination, as was well as religious freedom for those of the Jewish and Islamic faiths. He was born on 27 August 1592 in Ratcliffe, Stepney, County Middlesex, England (just east of London), and died 13 July 1656 in St. Michael's Parish, Barbados.

<n.b. conflicting birth place information: also see Devon. Have gone with Stepney as it's the place of baptism and marriage.>

His parents were John Vassall (1544-1625) and Anna Russell Vassall (1556-1593) of Stepney, England. John Vassall was a London alderman who served under Queen Elizabeth I and who equipped and commanded two ships in the fight against the Spanish Armada.

Married Anna King/Kinge on 9 June 1613.

In 1630 he sailed to Massachusetts as a leader of the "Winthrop Fleet," but returned to England. With his family he emigrated in 1635 on the "Blessing."

William Vassall and Anna Kinge's children include:

i. Anna Vassall (Died soon) (6 Sep 1614-22 Sep 1614)

ii. Judith Vassall (ca 1619-Apr 1670) married Resolved White

iii. Frances Vassall (ca 1623-ca 1670)

iv. Samuel Vassall (Died soon) (22 Jun 1624-16 Nov 1624)

v. Mary Vassall (Died soon) (22 Jun 1624-ca 1633)

vi. Capt. John Vassall (ca 1625-1688)

vii. William Vassall (ca 1626/7-)

viii. Ann Vassall (ca 1628-)

ix. Margaret Vassall (ca 1633-)

x. Mary Vassall (ca 1633-)

His direct descendants today are found in both North America (where he retained large tracts of land in Massachusetts) and in Great Britain.

History of William Vassall:

http://www.mollyandjames.net/geneology/PDF/Vassal_W.pdf

More information:

New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 17 page 56, entitled "The Vassalls of New England," by Edward Doubleday Harris.

Eleven vessels brought 700 passengers in 'the Great Emigration' on "The Winthrop Fleet" in 1630.

http://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/winthrop.htm

"William Vassall and Dissent in Early Massachusetts: Another look at the founding of Massachusetts with Special Emphasis on a Forgotten Dissenter, William Vassall" by Dorothy Carpenter, 2001. Free ebook:

http://home.gwi.net/~sscarpen/vassall/

"William Vassal: A Biographical Sketch"

http://www.millsgen.com/gen/hist/vassall_preface.html

The town of Vassalboro in Kennebec County, Maine was named in his honour.

http://www.vassalboro.com/

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William Vassal, the other son of John the Alderman was the settler in New England and Barbados. He came to Massachusetts in the Winthrop fleet of 1630, but soon returned to England. In 1635, he came back to Massachusetts bringing his family with him and settled in Roxbury, Mass., whence he soon remove to Scituate in Plymouth Colony (part of Massachusetts since 1692) where he was the leading citizen. Of pronounced Presbyterian views he soon became embroiled over religious and political matters with the Congregational rulers and in 1646 he went to England to petition for redress against the government, intending to return soon. He never came back, but in 1648 he settled in St. Michael's Barbados, where he was a prominent merchant and planter. All his daughters except Anne and Mary married in New England (White).

From "Genealogies of Barbados Families" Brandow

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William, like his father, had a considerable fortune. He owned estates in England, Plymouth and Barbadoes. He was one of the original patentees of New England lands. He was one of Craddock's assistants at the time Craddock was made acting Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Company of London.

In 1628, William was the first of the Vassalls to come to New England, landing in Salem.

He and his brother Samuel were grantees of land with a number of others on 3/4/1629 : "Copy of grant by Sir Henry Rosewell, Sir John Young, Thomas Southcott, John Humfrey, John Endicott, and Symon Whetcombe to Samuel and William Vassall among others lands in New England between the Merrimack and Charles Rivers called Massachusetts - exemplification of grant received in registry for the use of Mr. Stephen Winthrop and Mr. Joseph Weld and signed by Edward Winslow (The Complete Book of Emigrants ).

Also from the above source, the following : "1630 - The principal undertakers for the plantation of Massachusetts Bay who have gone over with their wives and children are : John Winthrop the Governor and three of his sons; Sir Richard Saltonstall and five children; Isaac Johnson, Lady Arbella his wife and Mr. Charles Fines, sister and brother to the Earl of Lincoln; Mr. Dudley, his wife and 6 children; Coddington and wife and two daughters; Vassall and wife; and Mr. Revell.

The Winthrop Society's website gives an "Index of Some Passengers to New England, 1633-1635"

(http://members.aol.com/winthropq/shipndx6.htm). Vassall and his family came over in "The Blessing," landing in Salem (having left England from Yarmouth) in 1635:

WILLIAM VASSALL of Prittlewell, Essex, England bound for Charlestown age 42

Mrs. Anne Vassall age 42

Judith Vassall age 16

Francis Vassall age 12

John Vassall age 10

Anne Vassall age 6

Margaret Vassall age 2

Mary Vassall age 1

He returned to England soon after, making a return voyage to the New World in 1630 aboard the "Arbella" along with John Winthrop (who later became Governor of Massachusetts). Once again, he returned to England on the ship "Lyon" along with his brother, having been chosen by the colonists to represent them to Craddock's company in their petitions of complaint against Endicott's government.

He returned in June, 1635, sailing from London on the ship "Blessing" with his wife, Anne (Kinge) Vassall and 6 children as well as his brother-in-law Thomas Kinge. He left them in Roxbury while he built "Belle House" on his plantation called "West Newland" which would be their home in Scituate. By all accounts, it was a beautiful house overlooking the river, marshes and ocean.

To give an idea of his "liberal" beliefs as they were called at the time, I relate the following story :

In Scituate on 3 September 1639 Christopher Winter was sentenced to be whipped at the post at the governor's discretion for committing uncleaness with Jane Cooper, whom he later married. For her part, Jane was sentenced to be whipped at a cart's tail, for Jane was apparently a woman with a past. In 1638, Winter had been fined ten shillings for engaging to marry Jane Cooper "contrary to order & custome of this govment." He was also excommunicated from Mr. Lothrop's church "for marrying of one Mrs Cooper, a woman of scandalous carriage, beeing vaine, light, proud, much given to scoffing." He had been warned not to marry her and part of his crime was to have broken his promise that he would not do so. Interestingly, William Vassall and Timothy Hatherly, known for their liberal sentiments, and "Goodman Raylings" (probably Thomas Rawlings, but possibly Henry Rowley), disagreed with the decision to excommunicate.

William and his son John, along with his son-in-law, Resolved White, appeared in the List of Those Able to Bear Arms in New Plymouth [NEHGR Vol. 4, 1850].

William returned to England in 1646 on the ship "Supply" with a petition for the redress of wrongs in the government. At this time, he had fallen out of favor with many of the local leaders due to differences in religious beliefs. His was a tolerant, accepting attitude towards the beliefs and ways of others which clashed with the Puritan beliefs of the day.

The next time he returned to the New World, it was in 1648, where he went directly to his estates in Barbadoes. He died in 1657 at age 65 in the Parish of St. Michael, never having returned to his estate in Massachusetts.

His will is dated at Barbadoes, 7/13/1655. He left his son John one third of all of his estates and left the other 2/3 in 5 parts to his daughters - Judith, Frances, Ann, Margaret and Mary. His son was executor of the estate.

In his absence in Massachusetts, Nicholas Ware was acting executor who appointed Capt. Joshua Hubbard of Hingham his attorney for the sale of the Scituate estate ("by virtue of two writings, one signed by Resolved White and James Adams dated 2/18/1656 and the other by Margaret and Mary Vassall, dated 3/3/1655-6.

The estate, comprised of about 120 acres including houses and barns, was conveyed by Joshua Hubbard to John Cushed and Mathyas Brig for £120. The deed was signed by Joshua Hubbard, Resolved White and Judith, his wife, and James Adams, dated 7/18/1657 [The Vassalls of New England, by Harris, pp. 4-5].

Strangely, the Complete Book of Emigrants has a note on William's will - 6/1657 : Probate of will of William Vassall Esq. of Ireland who died at Barbados and who had lands in New England." Ireland??

William Vassall,Sr. :

Church Membership:About 1635 " Mrs. Anna Vassail the wife of Mr. William Wassaile [ was admitted to Roxbury church]. Her husband brought 5 children to this land, Judith,Francis,John,Margaret,and Mary.{RChR 80}. Mr. Vassel joined Scituate church on November 28,1636{NEHGR 9:280}.

Freeman: Took the oath of allegiance to the king on Feb.1,1638/9 {PCR 1:110, 8:182}

Offices: Assistant, Mass. Bay Company, 23 March 1628, 11 May 1629, 13 May 1629, 20 Oct.1629. Committee to consider division of lands, 5 March 1628. Committee to resolve orders, 21 May 1629. Arbiter, 19 September 1629. Present at a court of Assistants on the Arbella, 23 March 1629. Deputy, 27 September 1642. Council of war, 27 September 1642 in Scituate section of 1643 Plymouth colony list of men able to bear arms.

On 15 December, 1629, "Capt. Waller and Mr. Vassall were content to give the first 50 lbs. to the plantation, so as their other 50 lbs. might go on wholly to this new stock."

Rev. John Lothrop listed "Mr. Vassall's" first among the houses built in Scituate in 1636.

On 2 April 1638, Mr. Vassell was granted two hundred acres of upland, "a competency of medow lands" to be laid out, and permission to keep a ferry over the north, where the indian ferry was".

On 3 December 1638 one hundred and fifty acres of lands were granted to Mr. Vassall "provided he take the oath of fidelity."

On 3 December 1639, Mr. William Vassall was granted liberty to make an oyster bank in the north river, 60 rods in length, and cross the said river, in some convenient place near his farm there, called the West Newland, and to appropriate it to his own use, forbidding all others to use the same without his license."

William Vassall contemplated removal to Salem, for on 15 July 1640, a meeting of that town noted that "Mr. William Vassall desireth a farm where the town thinketh meet"...but, there was no evidence that such a grant was made or that William Vassall actually moved.

In his will, dated 31 July 1655 and proved 12 July 1657, William Vassall Esq. of Barbados, mentioned his son John, executor; daughters Judith White, wife of Resolved, Francis Addams, wife of James Addams, Anna Ware, wife of Nicholas and their children, and Margaret Vassall and Mary Vassall "here with me"; son in law Nicholas Ware was to be executor until son John arrived in Barbados.

He returned to England with his family in the "Lyon" in 1630. He returned to America on the "Blessing",around July 1635, at the age of 42 with his wife, age 42, and settled at Roxbury. His wife joined the church in 1638.

They moved to Scituate and was admitted to the church around 11/28/1636. They took the oath of allegiance to the Plymouth colony on 2/1/1638. He moved to Marshfield, about 1643, where he was again a town officer.

William was not in sympathy with the attitude of Mass. Bay and Plymouth governments towards persons who differed from the received opinions in politics and religion and used his influences for greater charity toward the Quakers,etc. The elders expressed their disapproval towards his utterences.

The church of Plymouth sent him a message by way of John Cook, which is recorded in the book of the second Church, Scituate, dated April 14,1645; hoping he would desist from proceedings intended, and questioned if they would commune with him if he continued. He went to England in 1646 with a petition to Parliment for the liberty of English subjects.

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ID: I184214

Name: William Vassall

Sex: M

Birth: 27 AUG 1592 in Stepney, London, Middlesex (Mayflower)

Birth: 27 AUG 1592 in Ratcliffe Stepeny, Essex, England

Death: 13 JUL 1655 in Scituate, MA

Death: 13 JUL 1655 in Barbados

Note: Ref; Signers of the Mayflower Compact, Adams, John & Bassett, William, Page 103.

Father: John Vassall

Mother: Anna Russell

Marriage 1 Anna King b: 1 DEC 1594 in Of, Woodham, Essex (Mayflower)

Married: 29 JUN 1613 in Cold Norton, Essex. Eng.

Children

Judith Vassall b: 1619 in England

Marriage 2 Ann King b: 1 DEC 1594 in Woodham, Mortimer, Essex, England

Married: 29 JUN 1613 in Cold Norton, Essex, England

Children

Anna Vassall b: 6 SEP 1614 in Cold Norton, Essex, England

Frances Vassall b: 1623 in Stepheny, Middlesex, England

William Vassall , Jr. b: 1623

Mary Vassall b: 22 JUN 1624 in Cold Norton, County Essex, England

John Vassall b: ABT 1625 in Of Stepheny, Middlesex, England

Ann Vassall b: 20 APR 1629 in Ratcliffe, Essex, England

Margaret Vassall b: ABT 1633 in Of Ratcliffe, Essex, England

Judith Vassall b: 1619 in England

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Died soon after arrival in Plymouth

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This Family is Descended in the 11th Century from the House of Du Vassall. They were of the Barons de Guerden, in Quarci Perigord, FRANCE.

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Family Tree Maker "Descendants of John Vestall" (website http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/a/t/k/Lyle-L-Atkinson/GENE8-0003.html) lists William Vestall (Vasall) born 1593 as the father of "Major" William Vestall born 1623. The elder William is a historical figure. The father-son link is tenuous at best and very little seems to be known about the younger William. I am not allowed to delete the elder from our tree, but I am dubious that this relationship is valid, in spite of its listing on the Vestall family website.

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William Vassall, Pilgrim of the "Blessing"'s Timeline

1592
August 27, 1592
London, Middlesex, England
August 27, 1592
Stepney, Ratcliffe, England
August 27, 1592
Stepney, London, Middlesex, ENG
1613
June 29, 1613
Age 20
Cold Norton, Essex, England
1614
September 6, 1614
Age 22
Cold Norton, Essex, England
1619
1619
Age 26
Stephney, Middlesex, England
1623
1623
Age 30
Stephney, Middlesex, England
1624
June 22, 1624
Age 31
Cold Norton, Essex, England
June 22, 1624
Age 31
Cold Norton, Essex, England
1625
1625
Age 32
Stepney, Middlesex, England, Great Britain