Friday, April 1, 2016

Holbrook line: Isaac Willey 1614-1685 Immigrant

I would not have wanted to carry the surname "Willey".  I'm guessing young children made fun of the name, rhyming it with Silly and tormenting him with their teasing.  I hope as he got older the teasing stopped.

Unfortunately we don't know for sure where the teasing would have taken place.  Isaac was born in or about 1614, in either Wiltshire or Yorkshire, England, depending on which sites you believe.  It appears that there no documentation has yet been found for his birth.

We know that he was in Boston by 1637, when he married Joanna Lutten, who was aged 19 and is described as a "serving woman."  The definition I found on Google would be that she was a servant or an attendant.  I wonder who she worked for, and how she got that position.  We don't have a formal occupation for Isaac, but we know he farmed later in life, so perhaps that is what he was doing about the time he was married.

By 1644 he was in Charlestown, Massachusetts Bay Colony, and the next year he was one of five original settlers on the Nameaug "plantation" that eventually became New London, Connecticut.  He was chosen a selectman in 1647, and possibly served other terms also.  He acquired land and by 1658 was shown as owning 3 cows, 6 calves, a litter of swine and a share in 2 or 3 sheep.

It doesn't appear that Isaac was a supporter of the Puritan church, although I hesitate to state that as fact. Joanna had joined the church, but there doesn't appear to be mention of Isaac having done the same.  New Haven was a very strict Puritan area, so it's hard to imagine that Isaac wasn't a church member.

In 1667, Joanna was brought before the court and charged with "not attending public worship, and bringing her children hither" and was fined five shillings.  We don't know what the reason was that she had missed several church services, but it is revealing that she was charged, and not Isaac.

Isaac may have had a temper, or he may have had some issues with the authorities.  In 1649, he was charged with resisting a constable and with letting an Indian go that was in "their" charge.  in 1671, he was charged over a land disupte for "attempts by violence to drive Mr. Griswold and Lt. Waller off their land, and resistance to authority, and assault."  I've been unable to determine the results of either of those charges.

Isaac is reported to have died in 1682 in Haddam, Middlesex, Connecticut.  Mary had died earlier and he had remarried to Hannah Brooks and it is possible that he had moved there when they married.

I'd love to know more about Isaac's origins and about his life in New England.  Why did he go to Nameaug Plantation, and did he realize that he would be living with people of such stern beliefs?  Was the promise of land enough to make him go?  And why did he come to New England in the first place?  How did he support himself? Was he involved in any of the Indian wars of the time?

This post is short and thin on information.  Isaac is another ancestor that needs more research.  In the meantime, we can honor him for being part of the formative period of New England and particularly New London.

The line of descent is:

Isaac Willey-Joanna Lutten
Mary Willey-Samuel Tubbs
Mercy Tubbs-John Crocker
Rachel Crocker-Kingland Comstock
Rachel Comstock-John Eames
John Eames-Eliabeth Longbottom
Hannah Eames-James Lamphire
Susan Lamphire-Joseph Eddy
Susan Eddy-Hiram Stanard
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Stanard
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook=Richard Allen
Their descendants