William Brooks, of Scituate

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William Brooks

Birthdate: (65)
Birthplace: Perhaps, Essex, England
Death: between July 7, 1680 and 1682 (61-71)
Scituate, Plymouth , Massachusetts
Immediate Family:

Son of Henry Brooks and Susannah Bradford
Husband of Mary Brooks; 1st wife of William Brooks and Susanna Brooks
Father of Mercy Brooks; Hannah Brooks; Nathaniel Brooks; Deborah Stetson; Sarah Brooks and 5 others

Managed by: Jonathan Carreira
Last Updated:

About William Brooks, of Scituate

From http://www.tributaries.us/p256.htm#i2554

William/1p Brooks was born in England about 1615, perhaps in Essex.1,2 William Brooke, 20, and Gilbert Brooke, 14, were enrolled at London, 17 Jun 1635, for passage to New England on the Blessing, John Leicester, master, as servants in the party of William/1 Vassall, a wealthy merchant of Stepney, Middlesex and son of a London alderman. They arrived at Boston in August, and thence went with Vassall to Scituate, in Plymouth Colony.3,4,5,6 Vassall left for England in 1646, and thence for Barbados, 1648, where he died in 1655. The name of William Brooks, Marshfield, was included on a 1643 list of men able to bear arms in Plymouth Colony.2,7

According to Savage and Deane, he married (1), by 1644, the widow Susanna Dunham, but no such person is found in Plymouth colony records. Torrey alludes to an unidentified 1st wife while naming William's 2d wife. The Great Migration team says he married "(1) By 1644 — —; she died after 1659 and by 1665." This unidentified 1st wife was the mother of William's 8 children.8,9,10,2

William married (2), by 1665, Susanna Hanford, daughter of Jeffrey Hanford and Eglin Hatherly, and widow of John Whiston, with whom she had had 6 children.17,18

     7 July 1680, William Brooks testified in Plymouth Court in a case involving Zachariah Damon and his mother.2      William's truly noteworthy involvement with the judicial system, however, occurred five years earlier, when he was a juror in the trial of several Indians accused of the murder of John Sassamon, a Christianized Indian and one-time "counselor" to Metacom, sachem of the Pokaneket band of Wampanoags (known to the English as "King Philip"). Sassamon had informed the English about growing sentiment among the Wampanoags for war against the English, and his life became forfeit when this fact became known to the Wampanoags. The Indians accused of his murder pleaded not guilty, after which "itt was judged very expedient by the Court, that, together with this English jury aboue named, some of the most indifferentest, grauest and sage Indians should be admitted to be with the said jury, and to healp to consult and aduice with, of, and concerning the premises." The racially mixed jury returned a unanimous verdict of guilty, and the prisoners were executed by hanging.

     "At this time there was a superstitious belief, that if one person had killed another, the body of the one killed would immediately begin to bleed if approached by the perpetrator of the murder. In the case of the murdered Sassamon this test was tried, and, says Dr. Increase Mather, 'when Tobias, the suspected murderer, came near the dead body, it fell a bleeding on fresh, as if it had been newly slain; albeit, it was buried a considerable time before that.'"

The murder of Sassamon, which occurred during the winter of 1674-75, and the subsequent execution of the Indians adjudged guilty of it, helped to precipitate the disastrous conflict known as King Philip's War which broke out the following spring.21

Despite his advanced age of about 60 years, William Brooks subsequently took the field against the Indians with Capt. Mosely's independent company, being paid £2-5-0 on 21 Sep 1675 for service during June and July. William Brooks was also paid £2-3-0 on 27 Aug 1675 for service under Prentice in the Mt. Hope campaign. Of the latter service Bodge notes, "Several are credited as 'guards,' and may have been in service as scouts and guides."22


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William Brooks, of Scituate's Timeline

Essex, England
Age 20
Age 20
Age 30
Scituate, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
March 1646
Age 31
Probably Scituate, Plymouth Colony
Age 37
Marshfield, Plymouth, MA
March 18, 1654
Age 39
Scituate, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
Age 42
Scituate, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
October 16, 1659
Age 44
Scituate, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA