The Pillsbury Family Book Online
1. WILLIAM PILLSBURY, the common ancestor of the Pillsbury family in this country, came from England to Boston with the great flood of emigration which set westward during the tyranny of Charles I., 1629-40, the exact date being a little uncertain. Circumstances,
however, would seem to point to its being late in 1640 or early in 1641.
There are various traditions as to the reasons which led to his seeking a home in the New World. He did not come with his Bible under his arm and his mouth full of phrases as to liberty of conscience, although he showed the true democratic spirit in after years, but he came
" As the flying come,
In silence and in fear."
The substance of the accounts is to the same effect, namely, that the young man felt obliged to flee his native land to escape the consequences of a misdemeanor, and on his arrival in Boston let himself as a servant to pay the expense of his passage. Something of romance attaches itself to the first few months of his residence in his new home, as his courtship of a comely serving maiden in his own or a neighboring family does not appear to have been conducted with the stern decorum required by the customs of the settlement, and they received admonition at the hands of the law, which was a fashion of those days. (See "Records of ye Governor and Company of ye Massa-
chusetts Bay in New England." Vol. i . , pp. 318 and 334. ) Whether their offence was serious or trivial, as we count things, is of little moment ; we must remember that this was about the time when it was said a Connecticut mother was punished for kissing her child on Sunday.
2 PtLLSBURY GENEALOGY.
William Pillsbury and Dorothy Crosbey were married somewhere between i June and 29 July 1641. It would seem that William continued to reside in Dorchester during the next ten years, as records of the births of three sons and a daughter have been found, and also the following in the Dorchester Records, under date of 13 July 1648, O. S.:
"The day above Capt. Atherton upon his Request had granted & gieun unto him a corner of land adioyneinge unto a p^ceU of land he
lately purchased of Tho Jones with all the prieulidges & advantages thereunto belongeinge (only) with this p'uiso that Henry Cunliffe and William Pilsbury maye fetch pott water which is to be understood that they are to make up the Fence after them from tyme to tyme soe that no damage come by their meanes."
Sometime in the year 1651 William and his family decided to change their home to one of the new towns which had been settled along the coast to the northward. In the previous year Edward Rawson had been appointed secretary to the governor and council in room of Increase Nowell, and had removed from Newbury, where he had been town clerk and holder of other offices and owner of several hundred acres of land, to Boston, to assume his new duties.
With him William bargained for a parcel of land in Newbury , containing forty acres, on which was a dwelling house, together with meadow land, rights of commonage, etc. The consideration was one hundred pounds, fifteen in hand and the rest in securities, which, family tradition says, consis1;^d of real estate in Dorchester.
This homestead in Newbury has remained in the family and descended from father to son through nearly two and a half centuries, and though sadly reduced in the number of acres, is still held and occupied by members of the ninth generation. The original deed, now in possession of the compiler, is as follows :
Know all men by these presents that I Edward Rawson late of Newbury in New England gent, for and in consideration of one hundred pounds paid by William Peelsbury of Dorchester, yeoman, in hand fifteen pounds and by securities bearing date with these presents in manner and form to be paid as in the same more largely appeareth. Have given granted bargained and sold and by these presents do give
grant bargain and sell unto the said William Peelsbury and his heirsall that my dwelling house as it is situated in Newbury with forty
acres of upland be it more or less to the same adjoyning with garden and fences to the same belonging as it is now encompassed about with the Common at one end and the highway at the other John Pemberton land and the land of Henry Sewall join. of one side and the land of William Kinsley on the other side with ten acres of meadow ground taking it in any one plat of said Rawson's meadow together with the bushes To be accounted part from the sides of the upland to the river with liberty for Comonage for ten cowes to be of the same Edward Rawson's liberty in the low comon and so proportional privileges if ever the common be stinted in all other the Towne Comons as in the Towne book it granted to the said Edward Rawson to have and to hold all the above-mentioned premises to him the said William Peelsbury and his heirs forever from the day of the date hereof and the said Edward Rawson doth hereby engage to warrant the sale of all
of the above mentioned against all men whatsoever claiming in by from or under him his heirs or assigns forever.
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and scale this thirteenth day of December, 1651.
EDWARD RAWSON. (Seal.)
Signed, sealed & delivered
in the presence of us
This Deede of Sale was acknowledged by Mr. Edward Rawson to be his act and deed to ye uses of Wni. Pillsbery whereunto Mrs. Rachel Rawson, ye wife of ye said Edward gave full Consent hereunto and Renounced all Right of Dowry hereunto this five of ye nth Mon 165 1 before Mr William Hibbins.
Essex Deeds, Volume 13, page 91.
To their new home the family journeyed at the earliest opportunity, and here six more children were born. For the next eighteen years they doubtless lived the toilsome, uneventful life of New England settlers, almost their only recreation being the Sunday church-going. Their place of worship being the First Church in Newbury, about two miles distant along the winding forest-bordered road, and in the famous dissensions which tore the parish in 1671, William Pillsbury and his eldest son. Job, played no inconspicuous part, as may be seen by the account published in Coffin's History of Newbury.
They were of the losing party, Mr. Woodman's, and were fined a noble each ; equivalent to six shillings and eight pence. â€¢
William Pillsbury was made a freeman, 29 April 1668. (See Records of Mass. Bay, vol. 4, part 2, page 583.)
22 April 1686, being bi disposing mind and memory and willing to set his house in order, William made his will. He died 19 June and was interred in the burying- place at Newbury, near the Upper Green.
"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,"
Judge Sewairs Diary. 20 June 1686.
Tradition speaks of William as a man of wealth, who owned considerable land and had money to let, which he kept concealed under the eaves of his thatched barn. In common with, many of his fellow citizens he was a slaveholder, as one of the items of the inventory mentions a man-servant. As slavery of whites had long been abolished in the colony, this servant was either an Indian or a
negro. Following is a copy of his will preserved at the Suffolk Registryof Probate, Boston :
In the name of God, Amen. I Wm. Pillsbury of Newbury New England being sensible of my own mortality & being of disposing mind & willing to set my House in order, I commit my soule to God & my body to the dust in hope of a Joyful Resurrection & as for my worldly Goods I dispose as followeth, â€” Item I give and bequeath to my Loving Wife Dorothy Pillsbury seven pounds per year per annum & the one half of my orchard & that end of my dwelling house next the street & six Sheep & a Cow & the Sheep & Cow to be Provided for & kept by my Exec'' as he doth his own Sheep and Cattell, also I appoint my Exec"" to Provide wood for my wife at his own charge sufncient for her supply & to cut it fit for the fire from time to time and at all times during her widdowhood & Also I give my wife two Swine & all my Household Goods During her Widdowhood ; but when my wife shall marry again then my three Daughters shall have all my household Goods, namely Deborah Experience and Thankful & also all above given to my wife & all the Priviledges bequeathed to her as above said shall continue & Remain no longer but During her widdowhood & if she marry again then I doe & will appoint my Exec'' to pay her three pounds a year annually Provided my Wife renounce her Thirds of all my Houseing and Lands.
Itemâ€” I give and bequeath to my Son Moses Pillsbury forty Shillings to be paid by My Exec"" In good Pay within one year after
my Decease I having given him a Portion in my Life time.
Item:” I give to my Son Abell Pilsbury that four acres of Land bought of Widdow Brown to be to him & his children after him.
Item"” I give to my Son Wm Pillsbury the four acres of Land which I have given him a Deed of and two acres of Land more adjoining to
that Land after my Decease, which land Lyeth near my Son*s House where he now liveth between Mr. Se wall's Land and my Son Moses's Land
Item:” I give to my Son Increase Pilsbury Ten Pounds to be Payd by my Exec' within one year after my Decease in Good Pay.
Item:” I give to my Daughter Deborah Ewens Twenty Pounds within two yeares after my Decease Item I give to my Daughter Experience
Pilsbury Twenty Pounds to be Paid her within three years after my decease
Item: ” I give to my Daughter Thankful Pilsbury Twenty Pounds to be paid unto her within four yeares after my Decease
Item: ” I give and oequeath to my Son Job Pilsbury and to his heires of his Body All my now Dwelling House & Barne & Orchard & all my Upland & Meadows & Pasture lands & Priviledges in any way thereunto belonging which is not formerly Disposed of by this my Will or other lawfull Conveyance & my stock of Cattell & Sheep & Swine & Horses & all Tackling for husbandry work & I Doe
hereby appoint my Son Job Pillsbury to be my Exec*" of this my will to pay all my honest Debts and to Pay & Perform all the legacys to my Wife & Children according to my Will & to receive all my Debts Due to me Always Provided that if my Son Job shall refuse to be the Exec' of this my Will that then my Will is & I Doe hereby Appoynt my Son Moses Pilsbury to be the Executor of this my Will he Paying to my Son Job Threescore Pounds & Performe in all Respects according to this my Will & on that Condition I give to my Son Moses Pilsbury all Houseing and Lauds & Stock & Utensils as above given to my Son Job Pilsbury & I Doe Desire my loving & Christian Friends George Littel & Lieut Tristram Coffin to be the Overseers of this my Will & I Doe hereby oblige my Exec' to carry my Wife to Meeting on the Lord's Day at all Convenient Times during her W^iddowhood & I Doe hereby renounce all former wills by me made & declare this to be my Last Will & Testament as Witness my Hand & Scale this twenty-second day of Apr" 1686.
W M PILSBURY, Sen (Seal)
Signed & Sealed & Published in the Presence of
Tristram Coffin, his
Before the Presid *.
Job Pillsbury the Exec' to this Will Presenting the same & affirming the other children of the Testat' to be satisfied &1Contented here-
with & Tristram Coffin & George Littell made oath that they were Pres't & saw the Test' Wm Pillsbury syne scale & Publish this Instrument as his Last Will & Testament & that when he so did he was of sound mind & memory to their best understanding.
Boston, 10 Sept. 1686
Jurat Coram Preside att'. Thos Dudley, Clerk.
Inventory of the Estate of William Pillsbiiry, S^ late of
New England, and taken the 7th of July, 1686.
There is no mention when the *' beloved wife '' Dorothy
died. Of their children one daughter and three sons were
bom in Dorchester, the others in Newbury.
i. DEBORAH, b. i6 April 1642 ; married ------- Ewens.
2. ii. JOB, b. 16 Oct. 1643; d. 10 Sept. 1716.
3. iii. MOSES, b. 1645 ; d. 1701.
4. iv. ABEL, b.- ; d. before 1697.
v. CALEB, b. 28 Jan. 1653 ; d. 4 July 1680.
5. vi. WILLIAM, b. 27 July 1656.
vii. EXPERIENCE, b. 10 April 1658; d. 4 Aug:. 1708
viii. INCREASE, b. 10 Oct. 1660; drowned off Cape Breton, Nova
Scotia in 1690, while with Sir Wm. Phipps' Expedition.
(See Coffin's History of Newbury, Mass.)
ix. THANKFUL, b. 22 April 1662.
X. JOSHUA, b. 20 June 1671 ; d. 20 June 1674.