William Vassall, The Immigrant

William Vassall, The Immigrant

Male 1592 - Bef 1657  (64 years)

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  • Name William Vassall 
    Suffix The Immigrant 
    Born 27 Sep 1592  Ratcliffe, Stepney, (London), Middlesex England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2
    Gender Male 
    Immigration 1630  Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Died Bef 12 Jun 1657  St. Michael's Parish (Bridgetown), Barbados, West Indies Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2
    Probate 12 Jun 1657  [2
    Will 31 Jul 1755  [2
    Person ID I51458  The Hennessee Family
    Last Modified 26 May 2018 

    Father Jean Vassall, II, Captain,   b. 1544, Caen, Calvados, Normandie, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Sep 1625, Stepney, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 81 years) 
    Mother Anna Russell,   b. ~1548, Cheneys, Buckinghamshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aft 1596, Stepney, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 48 years) 
    Married 4 Sep 1580  St Dunstan and All Saints, Middlesex, Englan Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 3
    Family ID F19196  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Anne King,   b. 0Dec 1594, Woodham Mortimer, Essexshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Bef 1655, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 60 years) 
    Married 9 Jun 1613  Cold Norton, Essex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2
    Children 
     1. Judith Vassall,   b. 1614
     2. Frances Vassall,   b. 1618
     3. John Vassall,   b. 1620
     4. William Vestal,   b. 1623, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1700, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 77 years)
     5. Ann Vassall,   b. 1624
     6. Margaret Vassall,   b. 1628
     7. Mary Vassall,   b. 1629
    Last Modified 14 Aug 2018 
    Family ID F19194  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 27 Sep 1592 - Ratcliffe, Stepney, (London), Middlesex England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 9 Jun 1613 - Cold Norton, Essex, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsImmigration - 1630 - Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - Bef 12 Jun 1657 - St. Michael's Parish (Bridgetown), Barbados, West Indies Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Photos
    William Vassall (1592 - bef. 1657)
    William Vassall (1592 - bef. 1657)

  • Notes 
    • William Vassall
      Born 27 Aug 1592 in Ratcliffe, Stepney, (London), Middlesex Englandmap
      ANCESTORS ancestors
      Son of Jean Vassall II and Anna (Russell) Vassall
      Brother of Andrew Vassell, John Vassell Jr, Judith Vassell, Judith (Vassall) Freeborne, John Vassall I, Samuel Vassall, John (Vassall) Vassell, John Vassall, Anna (Vassall) Jones [half], Rachel (Vassall) Andrews [half], Thomas Vassall [half], Stephen Vassall [half], Mary (Vassall) West [half] and Elizabeth (Vassall) Church [half]
      Husband of Anne (King) Vassall — married 9 Jun 1613 in Cold Norton, Essex, England
      DESCENDANTS descendants
      Father of Anna Vassall, Judith (Vassall) White, Frances (Vassall) Adams, William Vestal, Samuel Vassell, John Vassall, William Vassall, Anna (Vassall) Ware, Margaret (Vassall) Hubbard and Mary (Vassell) Vassall
      Died before 12 Jun 1657 in St. Michael's Parish (Bridgetown), Barbados, West Indies
      Profile managers: Puritan Great Migration Project WikiTree Find Relationship private message [send private message], Alton Rogers Find Relationship private message [send private message], Alyson X private message [send private message], and John Putnam private message [send private message]
      Vassall-6 created 19 Oct 2010 | Last modified 11 Apr 2018 | Last tracked change:
      24 May 2018
      00:06: Christine (Raffo) Zakary edited a message from Christine (Raffo) Zakary on the page for William Vassall. [Thank Christine for this]
      This page has been accessed 4,148 times.

      Categories: Puritan Great Migration | English Immigrants to Barbados.

      The Puritan Great Migration.
      William Vassall migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).
      Join: Puritan Great Migration Project
      Discuss: PGM

      Biography

      William Vassall, was baptized August 27, 1592, Stepney, Middlesex (London), England, the son of John Vassall and his wife Anne (Russell) Vassall.[1]

      Marriage

      On June 9, 1613 (or June 29, 1613[2]) at Cold Norton, Essex, England, he married Anna King, the daughter of George King of Cold Norton.

      Children

      Anna was born at Cold Norton on September 6, 1614; buried September 22, 1614.
      Judith was born about 1619; joined the Scituate church on July 16, 1637. She married Resolved White at Scituate on November 5, 1640. Resolved was the son of William White.
      Frances was born about 1623. On July 16, 1646 she married James Adams, son of John Adams.
      Samuel, a twin, was born June 22, 1624 and was buried November 16, 1624.
      Mary, a twin was born June 22, 1624.
      John was born about 1625. He married Anna Lewis.
      William was baptized on February 2, 1626 at Little Baddow, Essex.
      Anna was baptized April 20, 1628 at Little Baddow. By 1651 she was married to Nicholas Ware. Her father's will mentions at least two children of Anna.
      Margaret was born about 1633. On April 25 1656 she married Joshua Hobart, son of Rev. Peter Hobart and grandson of Edmund Hobart.
      Mary was born about 1634. She was unmarried in 1655.

      William is an ancestor of many Mayflower Descendants, through his son-in-law, "Mayflower" passenger Resolved White who had married his daughter Judith (both named in Vassall's will), that

      White's half-brother Governor Josiah Winslow of Plymouth Colony (son of Edward Winslow and Susanna - widow of William White - Winslow) eased persecution of the Quaker community of Plymouth. [citation needed]

      Occupation and Life Story

      William Vassall was a merchant, a highly educated man as shown by his signature as a witness in legal cases, one 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.[3][4][5]

      He migrated in 1630 and first resided in Boston. He and his family made a return trip to England in the fall of 1630 on the Lyon, and back to New England in 1635 on the Blessing. In the passenger list were his children:

      Judith age 16;
      Frances age 12;
      John age 10;
      Ann age 6;
      Margaret age 2 and
      Mary age 1.

      His wife, Anna Vassall, was admitted to the Roxbury church in 1635. The family had settled in Scituate by 1635 and his was one of the first houses built in Scituate in 1636. He joined the Scituate church on November 28, 1636 and became a freeman on February 1, 1638/9. On April 2, 1638 he was granted two hundred acres of upland and received permission to keep a ferry where the old Indian ferry had been. On December 3, 1638 he was granted one hundred and fifty acres of land. He was granted liberty to make an oyster band on the North River on December 3, 1639.

      At Scituate he was Deputy on September 27, 1642; Council of War and he is on the list of men able to bear arms in 1643 Situate section of Plymouth Colony. He took a prominent role standing for religious freedoms and was the "first excepter" supporting the bill for Liberty of Conscience "Proposing...that all members of the Church of England and the Church of Scotland be admitted to communion in the New England church, they forced an unwelcome examination of the legality of the colonial government." He became known for this 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. 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.[citation needed]

      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 on the Supply 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. The Puritans of Massachusetts, on the other hand, considered him "a man of a busy and factious spirit, and always opposite to the civil governments of this country and the way of our churches..." Governor Winthrop called "Mr. Vassall, a man never at rest, but when he was in the fire of contention." His petition met with no sympathy in England.

      He never returned to New England.[citation needed]

      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.[citation needed]

      His will was written 31 July 1655, proved 12 June 1657. In it he mentioned his son John Vassall, executor; daughters Judith White, Frances Addams, and Anna Ware. He also mentions Margarett Vassall and Mary Vassall "here with me." His son-in-law Nicholas Ware was to be executor until son John arrived in Barbados.

      Sources

      ? Unless otherwise cited, information on this profile comes from Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, Volumes I-III, 3 vols., 1995).p. 1871; link for subscribers
      ? England: Marriages, 1538-1973. Online database. AmericanAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014. (Original index: England Marriages, 1538-1973. FamilySearch, 2014. link for subscribers
      ? University of Groningen in the Netherlands, Charter of the Massachusetts Bay Company on "American History: From Revolution to Reconstruction and Beyond," (website)
      ? AGG Harry P. Folger 3rd Assistant Editor, The Mayflower Quarterly, Sept. 2010 p. 256
      ? Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony Its History & People 1620-1691, (Pub Ancestry Publishing 1986), p. 365
      See also:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Vassall and 32 sources
      Find A Grave: Memorial #34886642
      The VASSALL Family of Ratcliffe, Stepney, Middlesex, England, Cockseyhurst, Eastwood, Essex, England and Roxbury, Suffolk, MA, Scituate, Plymouth, MA and Barbadoes (Website; accessed 5 Oct 2017)
      Edward Doubleday Harris, "The Vassalls of New England," in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, vol 17 (1863): p 56; link for subscribers
      John Farmer, A Genealogical Register of the First Settlers of New England, Carter, Andrews, & co. (Lancaster, Mass. 1829), p. 297.see at hathitrust

      end of this biography [2]
    • William Vassall (baptized August 27, 1592, Stepney, Middlesex (London), England, died 1656) was an English settler in North America. He was from the educated gentry, and a supporter of 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.[1][2][3]

      Vassall family
      William Vassall was a son of John Vassall and Anne Russell. William Vassall's paternal grandfather John Vassall had been sent to England by his father, who was also named John, to escape persecution in France, as the Vassall family were Huguenots from Normandy in the time of French religious purges in the 16th century.[4] William Vassall's father 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 William Vassall's father John Vassall and others, was outfitted in 1588 for the Queen, possibly also for Armada service.[7] The Vassall 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
      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
      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] He is 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

      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

      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

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

      Vassall family and the Mayflower
      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.

      end of this biography [4]

  • Sources 
    1. [S12900] "William Vestal (1623 - 1700", Biography, Pedigree & Registry, abstracted by David A. Hennessee, https://www.wikitree.co.

    2. [S12901] "William Vassall (1592 - bef. 1657)". Biography, Pedigree & Registry, https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Vassall-6, abstracte.

    3. [S12903] "Jean Vassall II (1544 - 1625)", Biography, Pedigree & Registry, https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Vassall-4, abstracted by.

    4. [S12902] "William Vassall", Biography & Registry, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Vassall, abstracted by David A. Hennessee.