Thomas Willett

1 Thomas Willett m Mary Brown ,2 Andrew Willett m Ann Coddington, 3 Thomas Willett m Eades, Mary, 4 John Willett m Hill, Sarah ,5 Thomas Willett m Lambert, Anna , 6 John WILLET m Lovisa HATCH, 7 John WILLETm Betsey Randall TUBBS ,8 Isaac WILLET Barker, Cordelia  , 9 Watson H. WILLETT m Mary Ellen NEAL, 10 John Edgar Willett. m Gertrude Hopkins, 11 Gertrude Mary Willett m Richard Bradford Holmes 

 1st Thomas Willett b abt 1611. Capt Thomas Willett of Plymouth to America in the "Lion" in 1632. He was the son of a clergyman of the Church of England, Rev. Andrew Willet, D.D. and was born in England in 1610, one of 18 children.  He emigrated to Holland as a young man as did Samuel Hooker's father.  Thomas Willet was made a freeman in 1633 and later succeeded Miles Standish as Captain of the colony troops. Thomas Willet was the first Mayor of New York, appointed in 1665 and served a second term in 1667. Father  was Rev Andrew Willett


Captain Willet married Mary Brown 6 Jul 1636, daughter of John Brown of Plymouth, who had also emigrated from England by way of Holland.  Mary died on January 8, 1699.

See page 38 of

Thomas Willett (Sr.) of Yormouth, Norfolk County, England, was one of the Leydon Congregation of Separatists who had escaped from England and settled in Holland, to find freedom to worship as they pleased. From this group came the “Saints”, who journeyed to the New World in the “Mayflower” in 1620, the first of several ships of that name, and established the colony of Plymouth. These early settlers hoped to prosper and eventually to bring the rest of the Leydon congregation to Plymouth. Many did make the voyage, including Thomas Willett Jr., but there is no record of Thomas Sr. nor any others of the Willett family doing so.

Thomas Willett, the emigrant, was born ca 1610 in Leydon, Holland, and sailed from London in the second “Mayflower” in 1629 with other Puritans, bound for the Massachusetts Bay Colony, which had been founded at Salem in the previous September. The ship put in at Salem on May 15, 1629, and the passengers bound for Plymouth were taken there by boat. Thomas Willett was listed as one of the “Saints” on board, that is, one of the Leydon congregation. He was described as “an honest yonge man”. (Willison: Saints and Strangers, p.451) These were the original Pilgrims, although the Pilgrims had no name for themselves as a group; for generations they were known to their descendants merely as the Forefathers.

In 1630, Thomas Willett was sent by the Pilgrim leaders to their new trading post on the Penobscot River, on the coast of Maine. Governor Bradford thought that Thomas was discreet and trustworthy, and sent him to keep the manager of the post “within bounds”. However, apparently Thomas was not able to do this, as the manager was dismissed the next year and sent back to England “for trading powder and shote with ye Indeans” and other misdemeanors. (Ibid, pp 289-291). Thomas Willett was then given command of the trading post, but in 1632, while he was in Plymouth on business, a small French ship put into the harbor of the trading post on the Penobscot River, and feeling that the post was an encroachment on their territory, and hearing that the man in charge was away, they robbed it of “everything at hand - blankets, rugs, coats, biscuit and beaver worth five hundred pounds. They even compelled the servants to carry the loot on board and stow it down, before they leisurely sailed away”

In 1633, Thomas Willett became a freeman, but in 1635 the post on the Penobscot was again attacked by the French, and Thomas and his men were forced to give it up and return to Plymouth in a small boat, with only a few provisions. He was then made agent in charge of the trading post on the Kennebee River, which had been established by the Plymouth Colony several years before. This port was located on the present site of Augusta, Maine, and was a profitable enterprise for the Pilgrims.

On July 6, 1636 Thomas Willett married Mary, daughter of John Browne and his wife Dorothy. (Ibid. p.452; also Charles Henry Pope: Pioneers of Massachusetts, Baltimore 1969, p.73) Thomas and Mary Willett lived in Plymouth and in 1638, lands were confirmed to him. Thomas was a merchant, with many and varied business ventures, and he traded as far as the Dutch settlements in New Amsterdam. He was also active in civic affairs, and on March 7, 1647/8, was made captain of the military company of Plymouth, succeeding Myles Standish. Thomas was in new Amsterdam in 1650, acting as agent for Peter Stuyvesant, the last Dutch Governor of fNew Netherland. Thomas was in Plymouth again in 1651, when he was elected to the responsible office of assistand Governor of Plymouth Colony, and he held this position until 1665, when he was needed for another task.

At this time, England and Holland were having troubles which extended to the New World. England claimed the entire region of New Netherland, on the basis of John Cabot's explorations. Charles II granted the area to his brother James, Duke of York, and in 1664, four ships of the Royal Navy were sent to America to dispossess the Dutch along the Hudson. Capt. Willett was assigned to accompany the expedition as agent for Plymouth, and to give advice, which his acquaintance with the Dutch from early childhood qualified him to do. It has been suggested that this role was a betrayal of confidence, since he had been "hospitable entertained there", and "honored as on of Governor Peter Stuyvesant's trusted agents". The Dutch were overawed by the English show of force, and New Amsterdam was captured without resistance. Thomas mad a good impression on the English commissioners, and at their request he resigned his office as assistant Governor of Plymouth, in order to help them, and after the English government was established, Capt. Thomas Willett was proclaimed on June 12, 1665, as the first English mayor of New York City. This evidently pleased the Dutch, as it is said that "his conversation was very acceptable to them", and that "such was the confidence of the Dutch in Willett, that they selected him as a referee to settle their controverted boundary wiith New Haven". (Baylies: A Memoir of Plymouth Colony pp.7, 60)

Thomas Willett served as mayor for two years, and in 1667 returned to his home in Swansea, Mass., west of Plymouth. Here he had been active in negotiating with the Indians for their lands, and "soon acquired som influence among them." He was also a Commissioner of the Confederated Colonies. (Ibid, pp.7,8)

Thomas Willett died at Swansea and was buried at the head of Bullock’s Cove, in what is now East Providence, RI. His tombstone gives the date of his death as August 4, 1674 “in the 64th year of his age”. His will dated April 26, 1671 and probated on August 12, 1674, left bequests to his four sons, two daughters, a brother-in-law and the church of Rehoboth. His wife Mary died on January 8, 1699.

2nd Andrew Willett, was born on 5 Oct 1655. He died 3 Mar 1694 . He is reference number Buck378. Parents: Thomas Willett Capt. and Mary Brown.

Andrew married Susanna Holbrook.3 Mar 1694 in Boston
Ann Coddington b: 26 Jul 1663

3rd Thomas Willett b: 13 May 1696. Boston

M: 9 Apr 1708 to Eades, Mary,born 4 Mar 1684 in Charlestown. Mary’s parents were John Eades & Mary Tufts. Mary Tufts parents were Peter Tufts & Mary Pierce. Death: 1725.

4th John Willett b 7 Sep 1716 Boston.

            M 23 Nov 1738 in Boston to Hill, Sarah . B 29 Sep 1720.

5th Thomas Willett  b 1742 in Abington. D 20 Oct 1792, age 50

M 11 May 1769 Thomas Willett of Boston and Anna (or Hannah) Lambert m Lambert, Anna of Abington.

Children : Thomas (1770), Sarah Hill (1772), John (1775), Isaac (1799), Anna (1781)


6th John WILLET B 9 Nov 1775 Abington.

            M 17 Sep 1799 in Abington to  Lovisa HATCH.

            Children : Betsey (1800), John (1802), Isaac (1804), Charles (1809), Louisa b.d 1812.


7th John WILLET b 2 Feb 2 1802

Betsey Randall TUBBS 29 June 1823 daughter of Betsy Randell Tubbs b 22 Sep 1800 Pembroke.

Children : John (1824), Louisa (1826), Isaac (1827), Emeline Holbrooke 1833, Henry 1835, 1837, 1839)


7th Isaac WILLET  b 28 Sep 1827 in HansonFather:

Mother: Barker, Cordelia

             m Cordelia Barker 16 Jan 1851 at Hanover. B 3 Aug 1830 in Scituate. D 18 Dec 1876 at Hanson.

Children : Frederick, Carrie, Watson Howe, Henry, Ira, Frank, Charles, Clayton, John.


8th Watson H. WILLETT B 1855. D 1923 in Halifax Cemetery. Lived in Halifax and Brockton.  Ran grocery Store in Plymton Ma.

M 1 Mary Ellen NEAL. B 1856. D 1952 in Halifax. Parents Joseph & Margaret Card).


Children Arthur (1877-1944), Lena (1883-1937), Elmer (1881-1936), Edith (1894-1960), John (1890-1983)


9th John Edgar Willett. B 23 Sep 1890. d Sept 1983 in Bennington Vt.

M Gertrude (Hopkins) Willett 23 Dec 1920. Gertrude b 23 Sep 1889. Died July 1972.


10th - Gertrude Willett born in Everett Ma 18 Oct 1921

Gertrude married Richard Bradford Holmes Oct 25 1948. Richard was born 16 Dec 1916 in Whitman Ma. He died 14 Dec 2007 in Yarmouth Ma.

11th - Robert Bradford Holmes was born 22 Dec 1954 in Weymouth Ma.

            Robert married Stephanie Marie Gattelaro on 13 Sep 1980 in Rochester NY.