Thomas Willett1,2,3,4

M, b. before 29 August 1605
FatherReverand Andrew Willett b. 1562, d. 4 Dec 1621
MotherJacobina Goade b. c 1572, d. b 11 Jul 1637
     Thomas was born before 29 August 1605 in Barley, Herefordshire, England, at the rectory of St. Margaret of Antioch Church. On 29 August 1605, he was christened in Barley, Herefordshire, England, at St. Margaret of Antioch Church.5


  1. [S993] Cornelius Tyler, Autobiography of William Seymour Tyler and Relared Papers with the Genealogy of the Ancestors of Professor and Mrs. William S. Tyler, .Pager 309-310- Captain Thomas' Willett, "First Mayor of the City of New York." was baptised August 29, 1605, at Barley, Hertfordshire. He removed to Leyden and emigrated to Plymouth either in 1629 with part of John Robinson's church, or in 1632, was made freeman at Plymouth 1633, and lived there most of the time till 1660. He had charge of the trading houses of Plymouth Colony on the coast until 1635, when the French drove him away; soon became a shipowner and trader on his own account and established posts along the sea from the Kennebec to the Delaware, and as far inland as Albany, N. Y. He was held in the highest esteem in Plymouth Colony. In 1647 he became the successor of Miles Standish as Captain of its military company. He was assistant to the Governor annually 1651 to 1655. His relations with the Dutch were so friendly that in 1650 he was appointed by Peter Stuyvesant one of two commissioners to meet at Hartford commissioners from the New England Colonies, and settle disputes concerning boundaries and trade. In 1657 he served as arbitrator between Plymouth Colony and Rhode Island in regard to the ownership of Hog Island in N'arraganset Bay. In 1660 he settled Wannamoisett, the southern part of Rehoboth, Mass., and a year later headed the list of original proprietors of Attleboro, Mass., the history of which town contains a long account of his life. In 1664 Charles II sent a fleet under Col. Richard Nicholls to demand the surrender of the Dutch settlements on the Hudson, and at his request Capt. Willett met Nicholls at New Amsterdam, to aid him in presenting terms to Gen. Stuyvesant. On June 14, 1665, when the new city government was formally proclaimed, Willett was named as mayor. He was reappointed in 1666 and in 1668 was made a member of the counsel of Gov. Lovelace. In 1673 the Ditch recaptured New York, and Capt. Willett's real estate was confiscated; but he had previously returned to Plymouth. In 1667 the southwestern part of Rehoboth was set off as Swansea, and Capt. Willett was one of several appointed to regulate the admission of settlers. Capt. Willett was always able to gain the confidence and good will of the Indians and was generally employed by the colony in the purchase of lands from the native chiefs. He was the original purchaser of the Rehoboth North Purchase, Taunton North Purchase, and many other tracts of land in the vicinity. His grave is in an old burying ground at the head of Bullock's Cove in Seekonk, Mass., six miles below Providence. The head stone of the grave reads, "1674 Here lyes ye Body of ye woree Thomas Willett esq who died August ye 4th in ye 64th year of his age anno." On the footstone is: "who Was The First Mayor Of New York & Twice Did Sustain Yt Place." Capt. Willett married first July 8, 1636, (280) Mary, daughter of John Brown, who died before 1671, when he married again.
  2. [S996] Thomas Willett -
  3. [S1003] Daniel H. Carpenter, New York's First Mayor.
  4. [S1281] Gleanings, page 244 - I am indebted to J. Wingate Thornton, Esq., for the following particulars concerning the probable ancestry of one of the most noted of our early settlers, Thomas Willett. He came from Leyden about 1629 with Allerton, “as his fellow (in some sorte) and not merely as a servante,” says Bradford; was a freeman in Plymouth 1633; m. 6 July, 1636, Mary, dau. Of John Brown, and had a large family, as recorded by Savage. He was mayor of New York, but returned to Swanzey; m. for second w. Joanna (Boys), widow of Rev. Peter Prudden, and d. 4 Aug., 1674, “in ye 64th year of his age, “ as appears by his gravestone at Bullocks's Cove in Seekonk, as copied in Bliss's Attleboro', p. 279.
    This inscription represents his as born in 1611, but considering the great error made in the inscription on his wife's tombstone, we need not accept this as certain.
    Mr. Thorton wrote some time since to the rev. Mr. Gordon, rector of Marley, near Royston, co. Leicester (a place of which Rev. Andrew Willett was a rector in 1589), and received from him copies of the entries concerning the name on the records of that parish. This Andrew was son of Thomas Willett, canon of Ely, rector of Thurcaston, co. Leicester, and vicar of Barley, and was born at Ely in 1562. He held several livings, was chaplain to Henry, Prince of Wales, and published several treatisies. From the preface of his Synopsis Papismi published by his son-in-law, Dr. Peter Smith, it seems he had “eleven sons and seven daughters, whereof nine sons and four daughters remaine to this day” (1634). At f. 19 it is also said that one who was a “Separatist” of “affinite with Dr. Willett, and who was more than once at Amsterdam,” was a frequent and familiar inmate of Dr. Willett's family. It seems also that Dr. W. was for some time in custody for his opposition to the Spanish Match. If his sympathies were with the Separatist, we should not be surprised to find one of his sons joining the new colony at Plymouth; the only discrepancy being that Thomas, son of Andrew was four years older than the above inscription would make our settler; a fact which leaves this affliation still extremely probable. … [Note - There is additional information at the end of this article from the church records at Barley. - KLM].
  5. [S1002] Daniel H. Carpenter, Willet Record, St. Margaret's Church Records, Barley.