Monday, November 9, 2020

William Pillsbury and his wife Dorothy Crosby of Dorchester and Newbury

 














English Origins

William Pillsbury, name spelled variously, is possibly from Leek, Staffordshire. Two genealogies published in the late 19th/ early 20th centuries on the family offered two wills, one for a Thomas Pillsbury of Leek who died in 1622 and a William of Heaton whose will was probated in 1640. Both of these men had sons named William that were born about 1605. Heaton and Leek are only 5 miles apart and it's possible that the two were related. One nod in William's favor is that he was a husbandman and Thomas a blacksmith. As William the immigrant was also a husbandman seems to fit more closely. 

That being said, neither Mary Lovering Holman, noted genealogist of the Pillsbury Family, nor Robert Charles Anderson, confirm any ancestry for William. There is nothing, other than the rarity of the name, to tie William to either man. 

William's possible mother, is dependent on the father. If William Pilsbury of Heaton was the father then  his mother was Agnes (Stodderd) Pilsbury. If Thomas Pilsburie of Leek was the father his mother was Elizabeth (Unknown) Pilsburie. If the father of this profile is neither William Pilsberie of Heaton nor Thomas Pilsburie of Leek, then his mother is unknown.

William's age is based on a 1676 deposition in which he said he was about 71 years old. 


Coming to America


William's name is first found in the records of New England when he and Dorothy Crosby appeared before the Quarterly Court in Boston on 1 June 1641. Both were bound for their good behavior. He was
'enjoined to work with Goodman Wisswell two days of the week and Goodman one day in the week for five years. Their bond was set at £10.00.

They next appeared in court on 29 July 1641, this time a married couple. He was censured to be whipped for defiling his masters house as was she. Clearly, both William and Dorothy were indentured servants, in separate houses, and have gotten themselves into a romantic relationship. Their marriage was not recorded, so where exactly they were living is unknown. Their daughter, Dorothy, was born in Dorchester, so it is possible that that is where they resided at the time. 

Children

Deborah, b. April 16, 1642 in Dorchester, m. _______ Ewens

Job, b. October 16, 1643 in Dorchester, m. April 5, 1677 Katherine Gavett in Newbury d. September 10, 1716 in Newbury

Moses, b. about 1645, m. March 1668 Susanna Worth, d. before November 3, 1701 (probate of will)

Abel, b. 1652 in Newbury, m. about 1675 Mary _______, d. before 1697

Caleb, b. January 28, 1653/4 in Newbury, never married, d. July 4, 1680 in Newbury

William, b. July 27, 1656 in Newbury, m. December 13, 1677 Mary Kenny, d. October 28, 1734 in Salisbury. 

Experience, b. April 10, 1658 in Newbury, d. August 4, 1708 in Newbury

Increase, b. October 10, 1660 in Newbury, d. 1690 (drowned off Cape Breton, N.S. in Sir William Phips' expedition)

Thankful, b. April 22, 1662 in Newbury, living and unmarried in 1686


Life in Massachusetts

It is not know for who or for how long William was indentured, but he seems to have been a free man when next he is mentioned in the Dorchester town records in 1648. In 1651 William purchased the home lot of Edward Rawson of Newbury. From 1653 onward, William's name appears in the Newbury records where he bought and sold land. He was a yeoman/husbandman or planter. In otherwords, he was a farmer.

William became a freeman of the Massachusetts Colony in 1668.

William Pillsbury of Newbury wrote his will on 22 April 1686. He named in his will, wife Dorothy, children: Job, Moses, Abel, William, Increase, married daughter Deborah Ewens, Experience and Thankful. William died on 19 June 1686 and buried the next day. His death was noted by diarist Samuel Sewall. 

Sabbath-day Morn. Goodman Pilsbury was buried just after the ringing of the second Bell. Grave dugg over night. Mr. Richardson Preached from I Cor. 3, 21.22, going something out of 's Order by reason of the occasion, and singling out those Words Or Death.

The inventory of William's estate was taken on July 7, 1686 by his son Job and was appraised at over £317, including £190 in land, £45 in livestock, and £12 for a man servant.

His will was probated on September 10, 1686.

Dorothy Crosby was born about 1622 in England. Nothing is known about her ancestry. Her death, after that of her husband, was not recorded. 

My ancestor is their son William who married Mary Kinne, daughter of Henry and Ann Kinne.

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