Saturday, February 4, 2012

William Sargent of Salisbury, Massachusetts

When looking at my ancestors who were early to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the name of my blog, The Family Connection, begins to really ring true.  With limited numbers of marriageable men and women, the very real need to be married and the distance between some settlements it is easy to see how so many close family connections were made.  Siblings from one family married siblings in another, step children, step parents, half siblings abounded.  One of my great grandmothers married three of my great grandfathers, not all at once of course, but with the death rate rather higher than it is now, many people had more than one spouse over the course of their lives.


William Sargent was one of the three husbands of Joanne Pinder. (see Henry Pinder)  She married first Valentine Rowell, second William and thirdly Richard Currier. She outlived them all.  William was  a widower when he married Joanna, his first wife was Elizabeth Perkins, but this is starting in the middle of the story, so back to the beginning.
William Sargent was born in England around 1611, the exact date and place is unknown.  Many site have his place of birth as Bath, probably based on the book by Richard William Cutter.  
 William Sargent, the immigrant ancestor, was born in England, about 1600. The latest investigation points to the probability that he was theWilliam Sargent who was baptized in the Abbey Church, Bath, England, June 28, 1606, son of Richard and Katherine (Stevens) Sargent. There is a tradition that William was born in 1602. As the father-inlaw of Sargent, Quartermaster John Perkins, came from Bath, it is probable that this record belongs to the immigrant, William Sargent, of Salisbury, Massachusetts. 
The problem with the above text from Cutter's book, is that John Perkins, his father in law, was not from Bath, he was from Hillmorton, Warwickshire, England. In the end, there is no proof of William's English birthplace.
William is known in the records as a seaman, but he was not the average sailor.  He was able to sign his name and he was addressed as "Mister", which was a mark of respect in those days.He was made a Freeman on 22 May 1639, so he must have been a good Puritan as a man had to be a member in good standing with his local church in order to qualify for Freemenship.(is that a word?)
William arrived in the colony in 1632, and settled in Ipswich, then known as Aggawam, where in 1634 he was given 12 acres of land. Sometime afterwards he removed to Newbury, and in 1638 he along with a group of petitioners were given the right to begin a new plantation called Hampton.  Just when you think he's going to settle in one place he ups and moves again, this time in 1640, to the new settlement of Salisbury. Although the distances between moves was not much, each time he moved, it was to a new settlement.  This meant starting completely over, building a house and clearing land for planting, i'm sure the wife was thrilled. 
Speaking of the wife, William married sometime prior to 1636 Elizabeth Perkins, daughter of John Perkins of Ipswich.  Her sister Mary Perkins married Thomas Bradbury. Elizabeth and her sister would be next door neighbors in Salisbury.(see the Salisbury plat map) Elizabeth did not live to see her sister tried for Witchcraft in 1692. 
William and Elizabeth's first child was born in 1636.  They lost two children, both daughters at a very young age. Of the five children that lived to adulthood, three are my ancestors. The children were:

Mary b. 1636, married Phillip Watson-Challis
Elizabeth b. and d. in 1641
Thomas b. 11 June 1643, m. 2 Mar 1667/8 Rachael Barnes (found not guilty of fathering Sarah Osgoods' child 1668)
William b. 2 Jan 1645/5 m. 23 Sept. 1668 Mary Colby, dau of Anthony Colby (ordered to be whipped or fined for fornication, 12 April 1670)
Elizabeth b. 22 Nov. 1648 m. by 1668 Samuel Colby (brother of Mary) 
Lydia b. 1650 died between 1660-1662
Sarah b. 29 Feb 1651/2 m. Orlando Bagley 1681

William, like many others at that time, bought and sold land for the rest of his life.  He made the move from Salisbury to Amesbury at some point as well. He probably served on the Grand Jury, the Petit Jury and was the Clerk for the Train Band for Salisbury (the militia). There was a second William Sargent who lived in Gloucester and he might have been the William who served on the juries or possible they both did. 
In 1669, either William or his son William was sued for slander by neighbor George Martin. The two families obviously did not get along.  George claimed that on 13 April William Sargent called his wife, Susanna, a witch.  George also sued William's son Thomas for saying that his son George was a bastard and that  Richard Martin was Goodwife Martin's "Imp".  It may sound silly to us today but, Susanna North Martin was hanged on 19 July 1692 for witchcraft. George Martin is my 9th great grandfather, Susanna his second wife, was stepmother to my 8th great grandmother Hannah. 
It is not known when Elizabeth Perkins Sargent died, William married Joanna Pinder Rowell on 18 September 1670. His children were grown, Joanna youngest was 15. William helped Joanna settle the estate of her husband Valentine Rowell. they sued Christoper Osgood, son of Valentine's widow, Margery Fowler Osgood Rowell.  William lived another five years, dying in the Spring of 1675, leaving Joanna a widow for the second time. She married Richard Currier 26 Oct 1676. Joanna died in 1690.

Sources:
The Great Migration Begins, Robert Charles Anderson