Sunday, March 18, 2012

English Vicar Turned Puritan – Reverend William Worcester

B. about 1601 in (probably) Rugby, England
M. (1) 11 Feb 1627 in Olney, England
Wife: Sarah Brown
M. (2) 22 Jul 1650 in Salisbury, Massachusetts
Wife: Rebecca Hall
D. 28 Aug 1662 in Salisbury, Massachusetts
Emigrated: about 1637

William Worcester was once a minister in the Church of England, but one disagreement caused him to be demoted, and he ended up founding a family in America as a result.

William's origins are unknown, though some feel he was the son of Joseph Worcester of Rugby, England. He was born in about 1601 and attended St. John's College (Cambridge) in 1620. He was ordained deacon at Peterborough Cathedral on Dec. 21, 1622, and he was made Vicar of Olney, England (in Bucks County) on July 26, 1624. On February 11, 1627, William married Sarah Brown in Olney. They had either 8 or 10 children. 

In 1636, William took a stand against his superiors. He was ordered to read from "the King's book," telling the congregation that they were allowed to participate in sports and recreation after Sunday service was over. This was something William believed was wrong, and for refusing to read the passage, it was said that he was stripped of his office as Vicar of Olney.

Within two years, William migrated to America with his family and he was welcomed as a minister in the Puritan Massachusetts Bay colony. Sometime between 1638 and 1639, he became pastor of the first church in Salisbury. He continued in this position for the rest of his life. He was made a freeman in May 1640 and received land in the first division in Salisbury in 1640 and again in 1654. His name stood second on the list of land grants for the town and first on the list of "commoners and townsmen" in 1650.

William's wife Sarah died April 23, 1650 and he then married Rebecca Hall, a widow, on July 22 of that year. He died on August 28, 1662 at Salisbury.

Famous descendants of William Worcester include Bette Davis.

Sources:
The Worcester family; or the descendants of Rev. William Worcester, W.W. Kellogg, 1856
The Life and Labors of Rev. Samuel Worcester, D.D., Samuel Melancthon Worcester, 1852
A Wooster Family [website]
The Worcester Family [website] John P. Worcester, Aspen Colorado, 2004
GeneaStar: Famous Family Tree and Genealogy [website]

1 comment:

  1. My maiden name is Worcester. I am a 13th generation. My brother has a son that has two sons, therefore they are 15th generation

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