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Michael Williams (Williamson)

Birthplace: Sharnbrook, Bedfordshire, England
Death: circa July 28, 1644
Hempstead, Nassau, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Husband of Ann Pearsall
Father of Richard Williams; Daughter Williams; Thomas Pearsall; Henry Williams; Elizabeth Williams and 4 others

Occupation: Locksmith
Managed by: Aaron Jacob Slotnick
Last Updated:

About Moyles Williams

'"Moyles Williams" was one of the original proprietors of Hempstead ["The Fifty Original Proprietors of Hempstead," The Nassau County Historical Society Journal 29 (1969):32].

From the Great Migration Project:


  • ORIGIN: In his will of 15 December 1623, “Lawrence Williamson of Sharnebrooke in the County of Bedford, blacksmith,” included a bequest to “Lawrence Williamson, Michaell Williamson, Paull Williamson, John Williamson and Thomas Williamson my sons,” demonstrating that Michael and Paul were still alive in their late teens. Note that Lawrence Williamson called himself a blacksmith, while Michael claimed the related profession of locksmith.
  • MIGRATION: 1635 on the Defense on 2 April 1635, "Michell Will[ia]mson," aged 30, servant to George Giddings, was enrolled at London as a passenger for New England on the Defense[Hotten 46].
  • REMOVES:Newport by 1638, Hempstead by 1644.
  • OCCUPATION:Locksmith[Lechford 302].
  • FREEMAN: "Michel Williamson" was included in the list of "Inhabitants admitted at the town of Nieu-Port since the 20th of the 3d, 1638 [i.e., 20 May 1638]," and , on 16 March 1640/1, "Michall Williamson" was listed on the Court Roll of Freemen for Newport[RICR 1:92, 111].
  • ESTATE: In a 1635 grant of Ipswich land to George Giddings, Paul [sic] Williamson was named as an abutter (the forename almost certainly incorrect either in the original or in the published version), and in another grant of the same year, to John Tuttle, Michael Williamson was named as an abutter[ITR DETAIL].

In the summary of grants at Hempstead to "Moyles Williamson," there were five parcels of land: to "Thomas Williams," 100 acres; to "James Pine," forty-seven acres and twenty-eight rods, and another three acres; to "Joseph Smith," twenty-two acres; and to "the family of Pearsalls at Herrick's and their assigns one hundred and seventy-two acres"[HempTR 8:324].

Henry Pearsall left a will, dated 24 July 1667 and proved in March 1668, and this document was accompanied by a release in which "John Williams, Joseph Williams and Timothy Halstead ... acquit & discharge forever our late father-in-law Henry Pearsall ... from all dues or demands of houses or lands of inheritance or any other lands known by any other title soever, and all other goods & chattels whatsoever that formerly were our own father's Michael Williams deceased"[NYGBR 119:83, citing "New York Wills 1:51"].


  1. By about 1637 Ann Pankhurst.


  • i Daughter WILLIAMSON, b. say 1637; m. by about 1657 Timothy Halstead[NYGBR 120:147].
  • ii JOHN WILLIAMSON, b. say 1639; m. about 1663 Miriam _____[NYGBR 119:133-38, and the sources cited there].
  • iii JOSEPH WILLIAMSON, b. say 1641; m. (probably) Phebe Wood[NYGBR 119:138-42, and the sources cited there].

ASSOCIATION:Servant of George Giddings [Hotten 46].

COMMENTS: On 2 October 1639, "Michael Williamson & Anne his wife make a letter of deputation & procuratorship to Anthony Stapley of Patcham in Sussex, Esq., to receive of Elizabeth Geere of Lewis [Lewes] in Sussex, widow, executrix of the last will & testament of Dennis Geere late of Saugost deceased 50lb. legacy given by him to the said Anne by the name of Anne Panckhurst"[Lechford 206].Lechford also prepared "a letter to Mrs. Geere. And a release conditional to Mr. Stapley"[Lechford 206].On 1 September 1640, "Michael Williamson of Rode Island in New England, locksmith, and Anne his wife otherwise called Anne Panckhurst releases the [said] Elizabeth Geere &c."[Lechford 302].

BIBLIOGRAPHIC NOTE: In 1988 Matthew Wood published a detailed and complete study of this immigrant and his children, and we have relied heavily on his account[NYGBR 119:80-84, 133-42].


"The name "Moyles Williams" appears on a list of the oringinal proprietors of Hempstead derived from the old "Mouse Eaten Book" of town records, which is now lost. The history of Moyles and his immediate family is exceedingly obscure, due to the fact he and his sons died in med-life. There is only one other record from Long Island which refers to Moyles. In 1667 the heirs of "Michael Williams" quit-claimed their interest in the estate of Henry Pearsall who had married their widowed mother Ann. Fortunately these notices can be enriched by reference back to New England. Moyles and Ann Williams of Hempstead are clearly identical to Michael and Ann (Pankhurst) Williamson of Ipswich, Massachusetts and Newport, Rhode Island. This fact has not been brought out in previous work on the subject."


MOYLES MILES according to moyles was not married to ann valentine but ann pankhurst


From the Great Migration project - "Anna Panckhurst" (1619-before 1675)


  • (1) By about 1637 MICHAEL WILLIAMSON {1635, Ipswich}.
  • (2) By about 1648 Henry Pearsall [TAG 18:165-71].


With first husband

  • i Daughter WILLIAMSON, b. say 1637.
  • ii JOHN WILLIAMSON, b. say 1639.
  • iii JOSEPH WILLIAMSON, b. say 1641.


@R1400726690@ U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 Yates Publishing Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004.Original data - This unique collection of records was extracted from a variety of sources including family group sheets and electronic databases. Originally, the information was derive Source number: 724.001; Source type: Pedigree chart; Number of Pages: 5 1,7836::936119


@R1400726690@ U.S., New England Marriages Prior to 1700 Operations Inc 1,3824::73700


@R1400726690@ Ancestry Family Trees Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Original data: Family Tree files submitted by Ancestry members. Ancestry Family Tree


The line of Moyles Williams, one of the "Fifty Original Proprietors of Hempstead", seems as important as any other settled early in that town, but it has unfortunately been sadly neglected. This paper should set straight the outlines of the family, but it also brings forth a possible parentage for Miriam Williams (later wife of Elias Durland Sr.) which has important implications for students of the Gildersleeve, Wood and Durland families of Hempstead. 1. Moyles Williams was one of the "Fifty Original Proprietors of Hempstead," when the Town was established on Long Island in 1644. He died very soon after (c. 1645 is the usual statement), and his widow Ann married second, Henry Pearsall, another of the "Original Proprietors". That Moyles was previously of Rhode Island is indicated by a deed of 1715. As one of the "Original Proprietors", Moyles Williams was entitled to the standard 344 acre "Proprietary Right". It is unlikely that any of this was actually laid-out during Moyles' shrt tenure, but it's subsequent history can be traced for nearly a hundred years. The Hempstead Land Survey 9f 1726-42 shows that one half (172 acres) passed over to Henry Pearsall, while the remaining half descended to Moyles' heirs---all or most of it to his son John. This included a 100 acre lot which belonged to John, and after various arrangements of inheritance and purchase passed on to his son Thomas. The full 344 acre Proprietary Right was divided according to the Land Survey like this: 1. To Thomas Williams, 100 acres of land north of Herricks. 2. To James Pine, 50 acres. 3. To James Smith, 22 acres. 4. To the Pearsall family of Herricks, 172 acres west of Herricks. The will of Henry Pearsall of Hempstead is dated July 24, 1667, and proved Mar. 1668. Henry makes various specifications, including the bequeath of a pair of oxen and some land to Joseph Williams. Attached to the will is this release: This may certify to whom these presents doth concerns That wee John Williams, Joseph Williams and Timothy Halstead doth by these presents for us our heyres Executors or Administrators. Acquit & discharge forever our late father in law Henry Pearsall him, his heyres, Executors Administrators or Assigns, from all dues or demands of Houses, or Lands of Inheritance or any other Lands known by any other title soever, And all other Good & Chattles whatsoever, that formerly were our owne ffathers (sic) Michael Williams deceased.

This quit-claim clearly identifies all of the children and hiers of Moyles and Ann Williams---Halstead was a son-in-law. The assertion by older genealogists that Dorcas, wife of Richard Gildersleeve Jr., was another daughter is contrary to the facts. Otherwise she or her husband would have been named in the quit-claim. It does not appear that Robert Williams, another of the "Original Proprietors" or the latter John Williams, cordwainer, of Oyster Bay and Madnan's Neck, Hempstead (d. 1705), or any other early Williams was related to this line.

Children: i. John, b. say c. 1640, d. 1680/1. ii. daughter, md. Timothy Halstead of Hempstead. iii. Joseph, b. say c. 1642, d. 1690/1, first appears in the Hempstead Town Records on Mar. 7, 1664, when he and John were granted land near Herricks. He continues to appear frequently in the records until his death in 1690/1. He became a freeman of Hempstead in 1679 and served as an Overseer in 1682. He was apparently childless, and his lands were inherited by his brother's sons. On Mar. 24, 1667/8, Joseph purchased a house and home lot in Hempstead from widow Mary Willisse. On Mar. 8, 1674, widow Lattin, with the consent of her son, Thomas Ireland, sold to Joseph Williams, 9 acres on Hungary Harbor Island. On June 20, 1679, Joseph Williams and others were made freemen of Hempstead, and given the opportunity to take up 50 acres each by lottery. On Apr. 2, 1681, Joseph Williams was elected "ffor two years Overseer". On May 25, 1682, he paid L 1 10 s. to a fund for a minister. He received an ear-mark on July 5, 1682, "a hole in the ear of and a latch one the fore sid of the nere eare". An inventory of the lands of William Thickstone of Hempstead, Oct. 20, 1687, includes a 20 acre parsel at near Rockaway, bounded east by Joseph Williams and west by a creek. This piece later passed to John Williams Jr. On May 28, 1689, Thomas Ellison Sr. sold 14 acres to Samuel Denton which lay north of the Great Plains, bounded west by Samuel Emorie, east by Joseph Williams, north and south by Common Land. This land later passed to his nephews, Joseph and Samuel Williams. On June 11, 1690, he purchased of Samuel Smith of Jamaica, 6 acres of fresh meadow. But he must have died before July 11, 1691, when a list of "Properiators and free holders of ye towne of hempsted" was made, which does not include his name. 2. John Williams first appears on Mar. 17, 1664/5, when the town of Hempstead granted. To John willum and Josef willumes Twenty ecor of land... provided that it preddich no former grant and that they doent preddich the feld with thair Cattell

On Jan. 12, 1665/6, Thomas Statham of Hempstead sold to John Williams of the same, the land purchased by him from Abraham Smith on Jan. 5, 1665/6, consisting of the "dwelling house & farm and home Lott. 4 ox paster gates in the west oxpaster and 4. acars of meadow at fosters meadow... & 15. acars of meadow at Neare Rockaway... with all my Right at Rockaway of Common meadow and half my Right at Rockaway of Common meadow and half my Right of Pastregs and half my Laid out lote at Rockaway of upland." Two oxpasture gates exempted. Signed THOMAS STATHAM. This homelot is mentioned in 1668 as adjoining the "parsonage hous bevle". On May 3, 1665, Robert Marvin "Sold and deLivered in the present of John Willumes," a black horse, "To timothy hoLsted of Hampsted." Likewise, John also witnessed Halstead sell Marven a horse. On May 27, 1665, Robert Williams sold to Henry Pearsall, land including "ninteene acres more or les of medow Lieing on mr. rainers Neck". Pearsall conveyed this tract to John Williams by Apr. 14, 1668, when a deed notes that the 19 acre lot of Robert Williams on "Rainers necke at ye south sea," now belongs to John Williams. This was evidently part of the arrangement devised between Henry Pearsall and his step-children, for which they signed the quit- claim in 1668. As we have pointed out earlier, John also received the 100 acre lot near Herricks. Both of these parcels were conveyed by John Williams Jr. to his brothers, Richard and Thomas, as part of their inheritance in 1692. At a town meeting held on Apr. 1, 1680, John Williams was chosen by election to be Overseer. This is the last mention of John alive. His death may have occurred before Apr. 2, 1681, when the town elected his brother Joseph, "ffor two years Overseer". After his death, John's widow Miriam married Elias Durland of Hempstead. We would date these events as 1680/1 and 1681/2 respective- ly. The marriage is shown by the following record:

At acort of constable and overseers held in Hemsted the :2: of aogus in the year 1682 Elias durland plaintive Enters an action against the Estate of John marshall an action of depet The testimony of miriam durland consarning a debt that was due to her first husband John williams from John marshall...

The will of Elias Durland of Hempstead, dated Oct. 30, 1691, bequeaths a life estate to his wife Mariam, with the remainder going to his sons Elias and John. Witnesses were Nathaniel Pearsall, John Williams and Jeremiah Wood. Proved May 20, 1692. In the 1698 Hempstead census, the widow Miriam appears with this family: meriam Dorland John Dorland Samuell Williams Thomas Williams An Williams Her household apparently consisted of children of both marriages. In his will of 1736, Thomas Williams calls John Durland "my brother". The eldest son of John and Miriam Williams was the John Williams who witnessed the will of Elias Durland. On Jan. 30, 1692, he conveyed to Richard and Thomas Williams of Hempstead, tthe 100 acre lot near Herricks and the 19 acre meadow on Raynor's Neck. Richard died without issue, his share reverted back to the eldest brother, John, but was purchased from the latter's son by Thomas Williams and Joseph Mott in 1715. By his will dated May 24, proved Sept. 23, 1698, John mentions his wife Mary, sons John and Mills, and appoints as overseers, "my brother Samuel Williams and my cousin Thos. Gildersleeve and my brother-in-law Benjamin Thurston. On Aug. 16, 1698, his family appears without him in the Hempstead census: mary williams John Williams miell Williams Elias Durland Grace Jecocks

On July 18,1696, John Williams of Hempstead conveyed a 6 acre parcel to Benjamin Thurston of Jamaica. Witnesses, Eaphreiam Vallinteen and Joseph Williams. Signed JOHN WILLIAMS his X mark, MARY WILLIAMS her X mark. Since the Thurston family record demonstrates that John's wife Mary could not have been a sister of Benjamin, it seems certain (as the deed would indicate) that the latter's wife, Sarah, was a sister and co-heir of John Williams. Details of the deed of 1692 mentioned above are contained within the body of a later deed which provides a store-house of information on this family, and evidence of another daughter:

Mar. 1, 1714/5. Indenture between John Williams of Elizabeth Town, Essex Co., New Jersey, son and heir of John Williams, late of Hempstead, on the one part, and Joseph Mott and Thomas Williams of Hempstead, on the other. In consideration of L100 lawful money of New York, paid in hand by Joseph Mott and Thomas Williams, John Williams releases to them one half part of the one hundred acres of land near Herricks, "w'c sd hundred acars... was formerly granted by John Williams of hempstead desceased unto Richard Williams & ye sd Thomas Williams by a deed & indentor of bargin & sail bearing date ye 30 day of January 1892/3"; together with the equal half part of a meadow on Raynor's Neck, "granted by ye sd John Williams of hempstead deseased unto Richard Williams deceased & ye sd Thomas Williams". Also "all my right title intrust Clame & demand whatsoever of all rights of Land whatsoever in ye Colleney of Rod Island w'c foals to me by hair ship or any other ways or means." All claim to homelots, hollows on the Plains, Propriety Right, Patent Rights, etc. that my deceased father John Williams possessed. All this except a fifty acre lot of land in the occupation of Obadiah Valentine, by virtue of a lease, and one house and lot "on ye wst side swampe", and a lot of meadow at "mericook". Witness THO KEBLE JOHN WILLIAMS Seal BENJ SEAMAN MIRIAM CORNWELL her X mark

The deed brings to light several interesting possibilities, especially the question of rights in Rhode Island descending to John by "hair ship". He was, after all, the eldest scion of the Moyles Williams family. Potentially, this information could open the door to important evidence on the early history of the Williams family. However, that is not the subject of this genealogy

we have set out to establish the names of John Williams' children, and in this vein the point of interest is the witness named Miriam Cornwell. She was a daughter of Joseph and Miriam (
) Mott of Hempstead. On Feb. 8, 1712, she married Richard Cornell in the Parish Church of Jamaica, L.I. Given the names and connections, it would appear that her mother, Miriam, was a daughter (probably the eldest) of John and Miriam Williams. John Williams younger son, Miles, also removed to Elizabeth, N.J. His will dated Oct. 17, 1747, approved May 4, 1785, mentions his "kinsman", Benjamin Williams. The latter was the eldest son of Benjamin Williams of Elizabeth, whose will of 1731 mentions his brother Joseph, also of Elizabeth. Records from Hempstead show that Joseph held land in common with Samuel, and convincing joins them to this family. On May 27, 1696, John Williams of Hempstead, "in Consideration of other meado and full satisfaction reseved:, conveyed in equal halves, to Joseph and Benjamin Williams of Hempstead, an 18 acre salt and fresh meadow, originally laid out to Thomas Langdon, deceased, lying on the west side of the Mill River, bounded west by William Thickstone, east by Mott, north by woods, south by the cove. Signed JOHN WILLIAMS his X mark. This land is mentioned in 1687 as belonging to Joseph Williams. On May 2, 1701, Joseph Williams exchanged his half for the parsel next to it, owned by William Thickstone. It is described as north of the "home Lott which Samuel Williams bought of ye [said] Joseph Williams. The other half was sold by Benjamin, on Aug. 23, 1704, to Samuel Denton, for L40, "together with a right of upland within Joseph williams his fense." Signed BENIEMAN WILLIAMS, JOSEPH WILLIAMS. By separate deeds dated Jan. 5, 1696/7, Samuel and Joseph Williams conveyed a 10 acre lot, of which each held half, lying north of the Great Plains, at "new feild", bounded east by James Denton, west by Samuel Denton, south by Common land, and north by a highway. This land is mentioned in 1689 as belonging to Joseph Williams. In all, we find that John and Miriam Williams had about nine children: John, Miriam, Samuel, Richard, Thomas, Sarah, Joseph, Benjamin and Ann. Now that we have a clear picture of this family, we are in a better position to examine the ancestry of Miriam Williams-Durland. In his will dated June 3, 1684, proved Mar. 15, 1686/7, Jeremiah Wood Sr. of Hempstead mentions his children, Jeremiah, Joseph, Jonas, Elizabeth (deceased), Mary and Phebe, and his grandson, William Thirston and Joseph Williams. The former, who received some livestock was certainly William Thickstone (Theckstone, Thixston, etc.) Jr. of Hempstead. The later, who received a lot at the north side of Hempstead Palin and "all the hollows... without the division", would seem almost certainly to have been the son of John and Mariam. There was no other Joseph Williams in the Hempstead area, and the fact that he received lands there makes it less likely that he was from any distance away. Chronologically, it would be possible that Miriam (born 1640-45) was a daughter of Jeremiah (born 1620), but there are some difficulties with this explanation. Either Miriam is not mentioned in the will, or she is identical with the daughter Mary. But why the name change? Why was Mary's inheritance arranged as if she were deceased? And why is Joseph singled out among the seven sons of Miriam Williams-Durland? We cannot explain these discrepancies. By deed of 1674, Richard Gildersleeve Sr. "freely" granted a 3 acre meadow to Jeremaih Wood Jr., adding that "this above wrighten gift and grant is to tacke place and be of full force unto ye sd Jeremiah Wood at ye Deses of ye above Richard Gildersleeve and not before. This indenture looks very strongly like an inheritance arrangement, and William (Willard?) Gildersleeve, in 'Gildersleeve Pioneers', p.55, cites it as proof that Elizabeth, wife of Jeremiah Wood Sr. was a daughter of Richard Gildersleeve. This would fit with John Williams' statement that Thomas Gildersleeve, grandson of Richard, was his cousin. Again strengthening the Wood tie. On the otherhand, if we are not totally comfortable with the proposed parentage of Miriam which makes her a Wood, then there is also the possibility that she was a daughter of Richard Gildersleeve. Her children, Richard, Thomas, Samuel and Ann, have names found in that family but not in the Woods. This would not explain who the Joseph Williams mentioned in Jeremiah's will was.

Children: i. John, b. say c 1662, d. May-June 1698; md. c. 1683, Mary

. The will of John Williams of Hempstead is dated May 24, 1698. To wife Mary half the moveables, and use of other half till children were of age. To oldest son John the house and homelot. Residue to son Mills. Wife Mary sole exx. Overseers: my brother Samuel Williams, cousin Thos. Gildersleeve, and brother- in-law Benjamin Thurston. Witnesses, Nathaniel Pearsall, John Searing and Timothy Halstead. Inv. dated June 10, 1698. Probated Sept. 23, 1698. 1. John, b. c. 1685, removed to Elizabeth, N.J. and was living in 1731. 2. Miles, b. c. 1687, d. Oct 27, 1747, ae. 60. The will of Miles Williams of Elizabeth Town, yeoman, is dated Oct. 17, 1747, and mentions wife Phebe, children Samuel, John, Joshua, Ann and unnamed daughter. "Nephew John, son of son Samuel Williams. Executor, Benjamin Williams, his kinsman, with son John. Proved May 4, 1749. ii. Miriam, md. Joseph Mott, d. 1735/6, son of the elder Adam Mott of Hempstead. iii. Samuel, recorded his ear-mark, "a Latch on y uper side ye neere Eare and ye under side ye nere Eare", Mar. 26, 1692. He was appointed Vestryman of Hempstead Parish in 1708 and 1709, and chosen Fence Viewer in 1717 and 1781. Children: 1. Mary, b. Mar. 26, 1703. 2. Miriam, b. Dec. 17, 1705. iv. Richard, received an ear-mark, "A Latch marck one the under side of the left ear and a nick one the same, "Dec. 4, 1695. He died without issue before the Hempstead census of 1698. v. Thomas, d. May 12, 1736; md. (1)
; md. (2) 1717, Mary (Willets) Scudder, d. Feb. 25, 1750. They were Quakers and attended Westbury Monthly Meeting. vi. Joseph, d. 1737; of Elizabeth, N.J. Will, dated Feb. 21, 1737, mentions wife Mary, children Mary (wife of John Denman), Phebe (wife of William Woodruff), Joseph and Daniel. Grand-daughter, Remember Winans. Proved Jan. 30, 1738. vii. Benjamin, d. 1731; of Elizabeh. Will, dated Feb. 26, 1730/1, mentions children Benjamin, Ebenezer, Jonathan, Thomas, Sarah (wife of Richard Miller, Jr.), Margaret and Ann. Wife, Mindwell. Proved, Mar. 20, 1730/1. Inv. includes bonds from John, Miles and Samuel Williams. viii. Sarah, md. c. 1695, Benjamin Thurston of Jamaica, son of Joseph and Anna Thurston, of Hempstead. iX. Ann, unmd. in 1698.

__________________________________ Possibilities formulated by an unknown source:


On 24 May, 1698 John Williams of Hempstead, son of John and Miriam, grandson of Moyles and Ann Williams of that place, made his will. He named his wife Mary (Mills), his children John and Moyles, but no other heirs in the line of descent. This will is of interest in the present connection as the executors were his wife, his brother-in-law Samuel, his cousin, Thomas Gildersleeve (undoubtedly the son of Richard and Dorcas Gildersleeve) and his brother-in-law Benjamin Thurston. The witnesses were Nathaniel Pearsall (uncle), John Searing and Timothy Halstead (uncles).

Gildersleeve was a cousin of this John Williams. This would not demand that either John Williams married a Gildersleeve, or that his sister was wife of Richard Gildersleeve and hence mother of Thomas Gildersleeve or---which is quite possible---that John Williams and Richard Gildersleeve married sisters. Another possibility, admittedly remote, is that John Williams and Richard Gildersleeve were step or half brothers.

Because of the foregoing possible alternatives, we hesitated to state as unqualifiedly as has been given in some records, that Dorcas, wife of Richard Gildersleeve, was a daughter of Moyles and Ann Williams. It is a plausible suggestion, but the alleged connection needs to be buttressed by more evidence than appears to be available at the present time. Show Less

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Moyles Williams's Timeline

May 22, 1603
December 2, 1604
Sharnbrook, Bedfordshire, England
Age 27
Long Island City, Queens, New York, United States
Age 32
Essex, Massachusetts
Age 32
Age 33
Age 34
Newport, Newport, Rhode Island, Colonial America
Age 36
Age 36