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William Spencer[1]

Male 1601 - Aft 1640  (38 years)

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  • Name William Spencer  [2
    Born 11 Oct 1601  Stotfold, Bedfordshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 4
    Gender Male 
    Died Aft 4 May 1640  Hartford, Hartford Co., CT Find all individuals with events at this location  [4, 5
    Person ID I105826  My Genealogy

    Father Gerard Spencer,   b. May 1576, Stotford, Bedfordshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1646  (Age ~ 69 years) 
    Mother Alice Whitbred,   b. 1578, Ion, Upper Gravenhurst, Bedford Co., En Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 20 Nov 1628, Stotfold, Bedford Co., En Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 50 years) 
    Married 10 Nov 1600  Upper Gravenhurst, Bedford Co., En Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    Family ID F46599  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Agnes Harris,   b. 6 Apr 1604, Barnstaple, Devon, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1680, Hartford, Hartford Co., CT Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 75 years) 
    Married Abt 1634  Cambridge, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
     1. Elizabeth Spencer,   b. Abt 1633,   d. Yes, date unknown
     2. Sarah Spencer,   b. 20 Apr 1636, Hartford, Hartford Co., CT Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 3 Nov 1691, Simsbury, Hartford Co., CT At Age 55 Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 55 years)
     3. Samuel Spencer,   b. Abt 1639,   d. Yes, date unknown
    Last Modified 24 Jan 2013 
    Family ID F46293  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Bedfordshire, England Query Forum Posted by Craig Spencer on Sat, 29 Jan 2000 at
      "Son William b 11 Oct 1601 in Stotford, Married Agnes (Heane) Pratt in 1633." Hope this is incorrect.

      See "the Great Migration Begins", 1995, by Robert Charles Anderson (avail. from NEHGS).
      CHURCH MEMBERSHIP: Admission to a Massachusetts Bay church (probably Watertown) prior to 4 March 1632/3 implied by freemanship.
      FREEMAN: 4 March 1632/3 [ MBCR 1:367].
      EDUCATION: Cambridge town clerk, 1632-1635 [ CaTR vi (with facsimile of a page of records in his hand facing CaTR 9)]. Wrote a well-reasoned and well-spelled letter to Winthrop in 1638 [ WP 4:74-75].
      OFFICES: Deputy from Cambridge to the General Court, 9 May 1632, 4 March 1634/5, 3 March 1635/6, 8 September 1636, 18 April 1637 (as "Lieut. Spencer"), 17 May 1637, 26 September 1637, 12 March 1637/8 [ MBCR 1:95, 135, 164, 178, 191, 194, 204, 220].
      Observer to committee on bounds between Cambridge & Watertown, 4 March 1634/5 [ MBCR 1:139]. Committee on bounds between Boston & Charlestown, 28 March 1636 [ MBCR 1:162]. Committee to "set out bounds of the new plantation above Charles Ryver," 3 March 1635/6 [ MBCR 1:166]; report of above committee rendered on 13 April 1636 [ MBCR 1:173]. Committee on colony debts, 8 September 1636 [ MBCR 1:179, 184]. Committee on compensation of soldiers who made the expedition to Block Island, 9 March 1636/7 [ MBCR 1:188]. Committee to "view Shaushin, & to consider whether it be fit for a plantation," 1 August 1637 [ MBCR 1:200]. Committee on "plantation upon the river which runs to Concord," 20 November 1637 [ MBCR 1:210]. Committee on codification of laws, 12 March 1637/8 [ MBCR 1:222].
      Cambridge town clerk, 1632-1635 [ CaTR vi]. Committee to "survey the town lands and enter [mutilated] a book appointed for that purpose," 3 February 1634/5 [ CaTR 12]. On 27 October 1636 "Newe Towne presented a book of their records under the hands of Will[iam] Andrews, constable, John Beniamin, & Will[iam] Spencer" [ MBCR 1:182]. A Cambridge general meeting ordered that "William Spencer and Georg[e] Steele should measure all the meadow ground undivided belonging to the Newtowne" and allot "to every man his proportion," 20 August 1635 [ CaTR 12]. Cambridge selectman, 23 November 1635 [ CaTR 13].
      Lieutenant of the Cambridge train band, 9 March 1636/7 [ MBCR 1:190]. Charter member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company [ HAHAC 1:40; MBCR 1:250-51].
      Deputy for Hartford to Connecticut General Court, 11 April 1639, 8 August 1639, 10 September 1639, 16 January 1639/40, 9 April 1640 [ CCCR 1:27, 29, 34, 41, 46].
      Surveyor of "armor and other military provisions" for Hartford, 8 August 1639 [ CCCR 1:30].
      ESTATE: Granted three roods for a cowyard in Cambridge, 5 August 1633 [ CaTR 5]. Granted "the swamp on the other side the creek," 2 March 1633/4 [ CaTR 7]. Granted "that corner of ground by Joseph Myat's between the swamps," 1 December 1634 [ CaTR 10]. Received a proportion of 2½ in the undivided meadow, 20 August 1635 [ CaTR 13]. In the list of houses in Cambridge, William Spencer was credited with two in the Westend, 8 February 1635/6 [ CaTR 18].
      In the Cambridge land inventory on 1 May 1635 William Spencer held at least eleven parcels (entry partially mutilated): "one dwelling house with other outhouses and a garden and backside, about one rood"; "more in old field about five acres and a half"; "more on small lot hill about three acres"; "more in the neck about seven acres"; "more in Long Marsh about fifteen acres"; "more in Great Marsh about nine acres"; "more in the Great Marsh about two acres"; "more in the Great Marsh about two acres"; "[mutilated] west end one house with other [mutilated] houses garden backside and other [mutilated] about three acres"; "more by the pine swamp about six acres"; and "more in Cowyard Row about one rood" [ CaBOP 5-6].
      On 1 April 1636 William Spencer of New Towne acknowledged that he had sold to Nicholas Danforth his right in three and a half acres [ CaBOP 38]. In an undated record, Symon Crosby purchased from William Spencer one house with three acres of ground [ CaBOP 58].
      On 20 November 1637 "[t]hose that are to view the new plantation of Watertowne are to view the place which Mr. Spencer desireth, & if it be convenient, to certify the Court" [ MBCR 1:211]. On 2 May 1638 "Mr. Willi[am] Spencer is granted 300 acres of ground beyond Concord, by the Alewife Ryver" [ MBCR 1:228].
      In the Hartford land inventory in 1640 William Spencer held six parcels: two acres "on which his dwelling house now standeth with other outhouses, yards & gardens ... which he bought of John Halles"; sixty-three acres in the Middle Oxpasture "part whereof he bought of Edward Stebing & another part he bought of William Kelse & another part thereof he bought of Thomas Spenser"; four acres in the Pine Field "which he bought of John Halles" (annotated "sold [to] Jno. Moris"); ten acres in the Pine Field "part whereof he bought of Edward Stebing & another part of John Beddell"; eleven acres and two roods of meadow and swamp in the North Meadow; and ten acres of meadow and swamp on the east side of the Great River (annotated "mead sold [to] Calsey" and "swamp sold [to] Barding & Pantry") [ HaBOP 352-53].
      In his nuncupative will, dated 14 March and 4 May 1640 and 4 March 1640/1, William Spencer bequeathed that
      the estate that he hath in New England, and also that which may come to his wife hereafter, that is, any part of his wife's portion if any do come, that all the estate be divided as followeth: my wife one third part of all my estate ... to my son Samuel one third part ... to my two daughters Sarah and Elizabeth one third part ... the children to be brought up with the improvement of the whole estate that I leave both to my wife and children. Also my mind is my Cousin Matthew Allyn, my brother John Pratt and John Taylcoate, that these three parties or any two of them shall have the oversight of my estate, and in case that they shall see in their judgement the estate to be wasted, that they shall have power to take the children and their portions [blank] for their bringing up, and to pay the children their portions that remain at the several times above written. Also my mind is that my wife shall have no power to alienate or make sale of my house or any part of my land I leave without the consent of two of the parties that are to oversee my estate [ CCCR 1:449-50; Manwaring 1:36-37].
      The undated "inventory of the estate of the said Will[iam] Spenser" totalled £67 12s. 2d. in moveables; there were "several debts ... owing in the Bay, the which the most of them are denied, and those that are confessed are very doubtful whether much of it will be paid, being in the hands of some of his kindred that are poor." The supplement to this inventory also included "the house and houselot containing about 2 acres, with some outhouses; also several parcels of upland lots, to the value of [blank] 74 acres, as may appear by the records to that purpose, whereof, besides the right which he had in any other lands to be divided"; "also, eleven acres of meadow and swamp, lying in the North Meadow"; "also, one parcel lying on the east side of the Great River, containing ten acres"; "also, there is land yet remaining at Concord in the Bay, which while he lived he esteemed at £120" [ CCCR 1:450-51].
      It was agreed that if any of the children died before they came of age, "the survivor & survivors shall receive it at the time when it should have been paid to the deceased, if he or she had lived, and if they all die before the said time, then it shall be paid to Agnes Edwards or her lawful attorney of the said Agnes, the mother of the said children" [ Manwaring 1:37].
      The estate of William Spencer, deceased, was brought to court 24 June 1650 and, "with the information of the overseers in the presence of Thomas Spencer, brother to the said William, with the consent of the wife of William Edwards, they do judge that £30 is as much as the estate here will bear to be sequestered for the use of the children, which is to be paid to them according to the will of the said William Spencer ... provided also that whatsoever shall be paid here or in England of any estate due to the wife of the said William Spencer while she was the wife of William Spencer, or that shall come from Concord, two thirds thereof shall be and remain to the proper use of the children aforesaid" [ RPCC 85-86].

      DEATH: Hartford after 4 May 1640 [ Manwaring 1:36-37] and probably before 22 May 1640 [ Aspinwall 141].
      MARRIAGE: By about 1633 Agnes Harris, baptized Barnstaple, Devonshire, 6 April 1604, daughter of Bartholomew and Elizabeth (Collamore) Harris. She married (2) Hartford 11 December 1645 William Edwards [ TAG 63:33-45].

      COMMENTS: William Spencer appeared on a list of early inhabitants of Cambridge, apparently dated 1632 [ CaTR 2].
      On 29 November 1638 William Spencer wrote from Hartford to John Winthrop asking why Winthrop had made suggestions regarding arguments to support the union between the Bay and "the plantations here," and yet when men came to treat with him regarding it, many using the very arguments suggested by Winthrop at Spencer's prompting, all were met with "a prejudice in the spirits of some men" and forced to go away unsatisfied [ WP 4:74-75].
      On 4 July 1648 Aspinwall certified "copies of five letters unto Edmund Angier - 3 letters from John Talcot & John Pratt, one dated 22 May 1640, another August 10th 1640, & another 15th June 1641, a fourth from Anne Spenser dated 2 May 1642 and the fifth from W[illia]m Edw[ards] no date. Also unto a copy of a writing under W[illia]m Spencer's name dated 3 July 1639. Also to a letter [of] attorney from Ed[mund] Angier to Joseph Mayet dated 5 July 1648" [ Aspinwall 141]. From the chronology and the persons involved, it would seem that these letters pertained to the estate of William Spencer in England.
      BIBLIOGRAPHIC NOTE: In 1988 Douglas Richardson ably demonstrated the identity of Agnes Harris, wife of William Spencer [ TAG 63:33-45].
      Additional material is in Spencers of the Great Migration, 1997, by Jack Taif Spencer and Edith Woolley Spencer.

  • Sources 
    1. [S1484] jontoddgibsoncase, Jon Todd Gibson Case.

    2. [S1808] Ancestral Roots of Certain Colonists who Came to America Before 1700, F.L.Weis, (1988).

    3. [S279] The Yankee Generations, A History of the Case Family in America, Charles C. Case, (University Press of America, 1981), ISBN 0-8191-1947-4., 67 (Reliability: 3).

    4. [S283] WWW.Genforum.Genealogy.Com, Various, Spencer Forum by Terri 10/9/1998. (Reliability: 3).

    5. [S286], Spencer #690 by Norris Taylor , 11/11/1998 (Reliability: 3).

    6. [S323] World Family Tree Volume 10, Tree #4140, Broderbund Software, (