Wednesday, February 22, 2012

William Osgood (1609-1700) of England and Salisbury, Massachusetts

St. Mary's Marlborough, Christopher was married here
William Osgood was yet another Salisbury ancestor, it seems we are related to most of the town. William was one of three Osgood's who immigrated from England and lived in Massachusetts at about the same time. It is possible if not probable that John, Christopher and William Osgood are related but no one has found any concrete proof of their exact relationship. 

other osgoods
Christopher Osgood was the first of the Osgood men to arrive, he sailed on the "Mary and John" in 1634 with his second wife Margery Fowler. He settled in Ipswich and died there in 1650. Margery remarried my ancestor Thomas Rowell. Christopher was originally from Newton Tony, Wiltshire, England, home to many Osgoods.[1]

John Osgood is believed by many to have been born in Wherwell, Hampshire, England in 1595.  He is also said to be the son or Robert Osgood of Cottingworth, who wrote his will in 1630. Robert named his children but does not name a son John. So the relationship between John Osgood and the family at Cottingworth has not been proven. [2]

John left for New England prior to his wife and children. They crossed on the ship "The Confidence" arriving in 1638. John settled first in Newbury and then in Andover. He died in 1651. There was also a William Osgood listed as a passenger, but his age is given as a child under 11, so if this is our William why the age difference.[3] John Osgood Jr. married Mary Clement, she was accused of and admitted to witchcraft during the 1692 Salem trials. Her sister was an ancestor. [4]

So back to William. We don't know when or where he was born, or who his parents were.

In 1669 he was deposed in court and gave his age as sixty, hence is birth year is estimated as 1609. [5] It is also not known when William arrived but, he was in Massachusetts by 1640, when he built a barn for John Spencer in Newbury. William was a carpenter by trade. He had settled in the new town of Salisbury here he received land in 1641 on the condition that he build a sawmill on the PowowRiver. This he did along with partners Anthony Colby, William Barnes and Philip Challis, all Salisbury men. The sawmill was such a rarity that in 1651 John Pressy testified that traveled just to see the mill. [6]

salisbury and amesbury
William received multiple land grants in Salisbury. In addition to the 1641 grant, he received land in 1642 and 1654. He was taxed in Salisbury in 1650 and 1652 to pay the town minister. By 1660 he had moved across the Powow River and lived in the newly formed town of Amesbury. In 1677 he was back in Salisbury and in 1680 his name is recorded for both towns. [7]

All men in Puritan New England were required to perform their civic duties. William took the oath of fidelity in 1650, thereafter he began appearing on the Jury of Trials at the Quarterly Courts of Essex. He served on the Gran Jury, served as constable, as a Salisbury commissioner, served on committees, inventoried the estates of his neighbors when they died, took on guardians in need, and hired a schoolteacher for the town children. [8]

william and his naughty daughters in court
William was in court as defendant and plaintiff as well. In 1654 he paid bound for a John Ash who was charged with making "filthy lascivious carriages diverse times with a wench."
In the next breath he was in court with his daughter Elizabeth who was pregnant and unmarried, suing the young man, Barnabas Lambson, she named as the father. The court ordered her whipped thirty stripes. Barnabas apparently did a runner and his estate was confiscated to help pay for the child. Elizabeth was ordered to the Ipswich jail. In 1668 William had Thomas Sargent in court for abusing his daughter Sarah, who like her older sister was unwed and pregnant. [9]

William sued and was sued. Trespass was a common complaint, in time when boundaries were oak trees and rock piles, it was difficult to say where one mans land started and another ended. William was also in court for matters relating to the sawmill. 

marriage and family
There is no record of William's marriage. Hs wife's name was Elizabeth. In his old age he apparently sang a ditty that went, "my wife was Betty Cleer, and I loved her before I ever see her." Based on this unsourced anecdotal evidence she has been given the surname Cleer, but I don't think that is good genealogy. [10]

William and Elizabeth  must have been married by 1640 though, because their eldest child had given birth in 1654. Say the girl got pregnant in 1653 and was 13 years old, ick, she had to have been born no later than 1640. Altogether William and Elizabeth had seven children, including a set of twins. 

1.  Elizabeth b. abt. 1640, m.  1657 Robert Quimby, d. before 1790
2. Joanna b. 1642-1646 m. 1658 Robert Jones
3. John b. Oct 8 1648 m. Mary Stevens, d. before 1685
4. William b. Oct 8 1648 m. Abigail Ambrose, d. 29 March 1729
5. Mary bp. 3 March 1649/50 m. Thomas Currier 
6. Joseph b. March 15, 1651 d. 1664
7. Sarah b. Feb 7 1652, married twice, second husband was John Colby.

trouble with indians

The "Indian" troubles were a reoccurring problem for the early colonist. King Philip's War was the first large-scale battle with the American Natives, but there was a constant danger from small scale or even random attacks from local Indian tribes.  In 1677, during King Philip's War, Amesbury was the scene of an Indian attack.  The leader of the attack was a man named Symon, he supposedly lived with the Osgood family at some point. Symon and his cohorts attacked the home of Robert and Elizabeth Osgood Quimby. Elizabeth recognized and some other Indians.  Robert was killed and Elizabeth was clubbed over the head and "left for dead", at the hands of Symon. Elizabeth did not have good luck with men.[11]


Elizabeth Osgood's death went unrecorded, she was certainly dead when William wrote his will in 1700. He split his estate, not equally, between his surviving children and grandchildren. His son William Jr. seemed to have gotten the largest portion.


[1] Jane Fletcher Fiske, "New Light On The English Background Of The Osgoods of Essex County, Massachusetts," The American Genealogist, 83 (2008-2009) 51-58, digital image, American Ancestors ( : accessed 30 January 2016).

[2] Jane Fletcher Fiske, "New Light", 150.

[3] Ira Osgood, A Genealogy of the Descendants of John, Christopher and William Osgood, (Salem: Salem Press, 1894), 313, digital image, Archive (https;// : accessed 31 January 2015).

[4] David Webster Hoyt, The Families of Salisbury and Amesbury, Massachusetts: With Some Related Families of Newbury, Haverhill, Ipswich, and Hampton, and of York County, Maine.Baltimore: Genealogical Pub., 1982), 269

[5] David Webster Hoyt, The Families of Salisbury and Amesbury, 269.

[6] George Francis Dow, Records and Files of the Quarterly Court of Essex, Vol. 1, (Salem: Essex Institute, 1911), 347, digital image, Archive ( : accessed 31 January 2016).

[7] David Webster Hoyt, The Families of Salisbury and Amesbury, 269.

[8] George Francis Dow, Records and Files of the Quarterly Court of Essex, Vol. 1-9, (Salem: Essex Institute, 1911), digital image, Archive ( : accessed 31 January 2016).

[9] George Francis Dow, Records and Files, Vol 1-9.

[10] Ira Osgood, Descendants, 311.

[11] Merrill, Joseph. History of Amesbury including the First Seventeen Years of Salisbury, to the Separation in 1654, and Merrimac, from Its Incorporation in 1876. Haverhill: F.P. Stiles, 1880. Print.

[12] Ira Osgood, Descendants.

Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury, Hoyt
History of Amesbury, Daniel Merrill
Great Migration, Robert Charles Anderson
Fifty Great Migration Colonists, Threlfall

No comments:

Roles of Men, Women and Children in 17th Century Puritan Massachusetts

In 17 th century pur itan Massachusetts , the roles of men , women and children were very clearly defined . Men were the ...