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William Healy's Geni Profile

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William Healy

Also Known As: "Hele", "Healey"
Birthdate: (70)
Birthplace: Cornwood, Ivybridge, Devon, England
Death: November 28, 1683 (70)
Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
Immediate Family:

Son of John William Hele and Anne Healy
Husband of Rebecca Healy; Mary Healy; Grace Healy; Phebe Rebecca Healy and Sarah March
Father of William Healy; Nathaniel Healy; Mary Watson; Grace Healy; Martha Healy and 4 others

Occupation: prisonkeeper until 1692 He was removed for gross misconduct "sentenced to 20 stripes" and became an inmate of the prison.He died instate., First in America; Prison Warden
Managed by: Andrew Jonathan Smith
Last Updated:

About William Healy

He was removed from his prison keeper job in 1682 for gross misconduct."sentenced to 20 stripes" and became an inmate in the prison. He died instate.


From The Beedle Douglas Healy Hildebrand family website:

From notes of Teresa Haldorson:

"Was born in 1613, evidently a descendant of Hugh Hele, progenitor of the Cornwood line of Hele's in Devon, (Herald's Visitations of 1620) as Banks' Topographical Dictionary of English Emigrants to New England, from 1620 to 1630, lists him as coming from Comwood. Hugh's son, John Hele, married Alide Fortescue of Comwood and had three sons. The eldest. Richard Hele, established his residence in Neary, but Richard's son John Hele is described in Vivian's Visitations of the County of Devon as "of Comwood" the last reported as of that place. This seems to be as close as we can get to the origin of William Hele who came to the Colonies. The Society of Genealogists in London have a transcsript of Comwood parish registers, but unfortunately the period covered is 1685-1834; the earlier registers having been destroyed by fire there. In adition to the loss of the earlier registers, the Society reports that Devonshire wills were destroyed by enemy action in World War II, 1939-1945.

American histories say William Hele came first to Lynn, Mass. about 1640 where he early joined the church; became a freeman in Marshfield in 1643, was of Roxbury in 1649, and finally was dismissed from the church in "Lin" to join that in Cambridge with his family. There he settled "upon the rocks" apparently the rocky ridge upon which Harvard Observatory now stands. A street in this area is still called Healey Street. He had five wives and his twelve children were born in Roxbury and Cambridge.

An esteem citizen, a church member, a landholder, and prison-keeper for ten years from 1672 to 1682, at the age of seventy years he was charged with a misdemeanor. Fabricated accusations prompted by jealousy or vindictiveness were not uncommon in the Colonies between 1656 and 1692. He died within a year, 11/28/1683, and his remains lie in "The Old Burying Grounds" in Cambridge. (Donna La Rue, a church/burying ground researcher and tour guide in the Harvard Square area has done some research into this matter and has not been able to find any evidence that William Healy was buried in the Old Cambridge Burying Ground. If he was, "Heal(e)y was either buried without a gravestone or in a family crypt with no other marker. (See June 26th entry on Donna's emails below.) Donna also indicated that the charges against Healy might well have been true.


  • Bowen's Genealogies ofWoodstock Families, Vol. VII, p. 18;
  • Ellis' History ofRoxbury; Encyclopedia of Mass. Vol. 5, p 172
  • New England Hist. Gen. Reg. Vol. 27, p 139;
  • Harris' Epitaphs of the Old Burying Grounds at Cambridge;
  • Paige's History of Cambridge;
  • Records of Cambridge—Grants by Selectmen, P. 238;
  • London Society of Genealogists from Herald's Visitations.
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William Healy's Timeline

August 18, 1613
Bottesford, Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, England
August 18, 1613
Bottesford, , Lincoln, England
Cornwood, Ivybridge, Devon, England
Age 22
Ship James
Age 38
Roxbury, Suffolk County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
July 11, 1652
Age 39
Roxbury, Suffolk County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
Age 45
Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony