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James Wakelee

Birthdate: (96)
Birthplace: Fairsted, Basildon, Essex, UK
Death: circa 1690 (92-100)
Providence, Providence Co, Rhode Island
Immediate Family:

Son of Andrew Wakley
Husband of Alice Boosey
Father of Henry Wakley; Richard Wakelee and Rebecca Sanford

Managed by: Gene Daniell
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About James Wakelee

1. James1 Wakelee (1026) was born between 1600 and 1610. He married Ali ce on 5 October 1652.1,2 He died in 1690 in Providence, Providence Count y, RI.3

The relationship of James to Henry and Richard Wakelee is not exact ly determined, but it is a reasonable guess that they were his so ns by an earlier marriage. Jacobus also hypothesizes there may have be en an intermediate wife by whom he fathered the Rebecca "Wiekle" who marri ed Ezekiel Sanford.4 James lived in Hartford, Hartford County, CT, in Febr uary 1639/40 where he had lands recorded. For several years thereafter, h is name frequently appears in lawsuits, and he sometimes acted as attorn ey for others.4,5,3,6 James Wakelee courted Alice Boosey, the wealthy wid ow of James Boosey. She promised to marry him, but the family opposed t he marriage and tried to promote a different match. In 1650 Wakelee broug ht suit against Alice for "the breach of Covenants," but did not appe ar in court to press the charge; the court ruled that her conduct was at l east disorderly. After a carefully worked out marriage contract, the coup le married on 5 October 1652.7,6 After his marriage to Alice, James remov ed to Wethersfield, CT. He was Constable of Wethersfield March 1656/165 7, and served on several juries 1655-1662.4,5,6 The Court Record for 1st T hursday in March 1652-3 shows that "James Wakelee proved at this Cour te by Samll Steele that the wife of the said James hath in the time of h er widdowhood given a bond to Joseph Boosy of £100 forfeiture if shee ev er married to James Wakelee."8,7 On 24 July 1655 in his nuncupative wil l, James Boosey of Westchester NY instructed his wife Esther: "to pay o ut of the Estate 2 Oxen to James Wakeling of Wethersfield, being his fr ee Gift to the sd. Wakeling; they are to bee the same Oxen that was boug ht of James Wakeling by Joseph Boosey upon Consideration that the sd. Jam es Wakeling must acquit all Account between them."9 On 26 October 1655 Jam es Wakelee gave Nathaniel Willette "acquittance from demands of Bill or Bi lls of all debt & damage from the beginning of the world to this day." 10 In 1662, James appears to have been living in Hartford again, whe re he had a house lot on the north side of the road from George Steele 's to the South Meadow. Nine Hartford residents were charged with witchcr aft. Those implicated were a group of acquaintances, some of whom had a h istory of misdemeanors or immorality. They were Nathaniel and Rebecca Gre ensmith; Elizabeth, wife of Richard Seager; Andrew Sanford and Mary his wi fe; William Ayres and his wife; Judith Varlett and James Wakelee. The Col onial History of Hartford records: "One night they had a merry-making, und er a tree on the green near Rebecca Greensmith's house. James Wakelee, Go odwife Ayres and Goody Seager were present. They all danced and had a bot tle of sack. Other nocturnal gatherings were held. Suspicions were awake ned in the neighborhood.... The crisis came in the spring of 1662, with t he accusations of a young daughter of John Kelley, uttered in the deliri um of sickness. The child died. Immediately, the neighborhood was busy w ith reports that she had been bewitched unto death. Shortly after this, t hree women of Hartford were subject to strange fits. When a special d ay of prayer was held for them, the noise and motion of their afflictio ns was so terrible that a woman in the congregation fainted from frigh t. One of those afflicted was Ann Cole, the daughter of John Cole. In h er fits she began to cry out that she was being tormented by witches a nd to name those responsible. Ann claimed not to remember what she spo ke during the seizures. Some of what she said was unintelligible, b ut in what could be understood she claimed that a band of witches liv ed in Hartford and were tormenting her and several others. "They planne d, she said, to afflict her body, spoil her good name and prevent her marr iage." She named Elizabeth Seager, Rebecca Greensmith, and, by implicatio n, Judith Varlett. On 30 December 1662 a Particular Court indicted Nathan iel and Rebecca Greensmith; Rebecca confessed in open court that she w as a witch and was jailed pending trial. Nathaniel was freed to return ho me until the trial. When the trial was held 8 January 1663, Rebecca to ld a colorful story of meetings with strange creatures. She asserted a ba nd of witches in Hartford met for revels in the wood at night and on the g reen by her home where they would dance and drink sack. Some would co me in the form of crows or cats or other creatures. She named the other w itches as Elizabeth Seager, Mary Sanford, Goody Ayres, James Wakelee, Pet er Grant's wife, Judith Varlett and Katherine Palmer of Wethersfield. Nat haniel and Rebecca Greensmith and Mary Barnes were convicted, and on 25 Ja nuary were hanged at Hartford. Elizabeth Seager and Judith Varlett were f reed. When faced with the witchcraft accusation, Wakelee immediately fl ed and his estate was sequestered on 6 January 1663.11,3 In May 1663 Hen ry Wakelee had a power of attorney from James, and the General Court relea sed Henry, at his own request, from attending to the estate of James.12 ,6 On 8 July 1663 the Court Record shows: "Ensign Samuel Steele & Alice Wa kelee gave an Account of the Dispose & Improvement of the Estate of Jam es Wakelee that was sequestered by order of the Court. James Wakelee bei ng present again, and this Court was well satisfied and do discharge the s d. Alice and Ensign Steele of the Trust committed to them, and hereby ta ke off the Sequestration that this Court laid upon the Estate."13 James co ntinued to be under suspicion, however. On 5 July 1665, Jeremiah Adams a nd Thomas Catlin helped James post a £150 bond for his appearance in cou rt on renewed charges. This time Wakelee fled to Rhode Island, and carri ed on a long correspondence, first trying to recover the forfeited bond mo ney, and then in an attempt to divorce wife Alice.3 In May 1666 the Gener al Court, at the request of Alice Wakelee, remitted a third of the bo nd of £150 which James had forfeited when he fled to Rhode Island. A ye ar later, his housing and land were ordered sold. In 1668 a petition by t he town of Stonington mentions among the "illegal" acts of Rhode Islande rs the taking in of "new comers," one of whom was James Wakelee.6 On 5 Oct ober 1676 Wakelee petitioned the court to either compel Alice to come to h im in Rhode Island or to grant him a divorce. Alice cited the terms of t he marriage contract, which promised she would not have to move from Wethe rsfield, and filed a court divorce petition. On 7 October 1680 the cou rt denied both petitions and promised James he could return to Wethersfie ld and not be called to account unless new complaints of the same natu re as before were made. James continued the correspondence, but did not c ome.3,1 In 1681 James, still in Providence, petitioned vainly for the remi ssion of his forfeiture.4,6 In 1690 he was still living in Providence.5,4

Children of James1 Wakelee (1026) and an unknown spouse were as follo ws:

2. i.Henry2 Wakelee (1026i), born before 1620; married Sarah Burt ( 1029).

3. ii.Richard Wakelee (1026ii), born before 1634; married Rebecca.

4. iii.Rebecca Wicklee (513), married Ezekiel Sanford (512).

Alice married (1) James Boosey before 1630 in England.1,14 She di ed on 30 August 1683 in Wethersfield, Hartford County, CT; there was proba te action on Alice's estate in 1683 and much litigation about the lands.15 ,7

There were no children of James1 Wakelee (1026) and Alice.

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James Wakelee's Timeline

Basildon, Essex, UK
Age 26
Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England
Age 40
Stratford, CT, USA
Age 50
Stratford, (Present Fairfield County), Connecticut Colony, (Present USA)
Age 96
Providence, Providence Co, Rhode Island