Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Son Killed and Home Burned by Indians – William Holton

B. about 1610 in Holton St. Mary, England
M. before 1638
Wife: Mary (last name unknown)
D. 12 Aug 1691 in Northampton, Massachusetts
Emigrated: 1634 on the ship Francis

It is believed that William Holton was born at Holton St. Mary, a village near Ipswich, England in about 1610. His baptism is recorded on October 20, 1610 in Nayland church, "Willm sonne of Edward Holton." Nothing else is known of his early years.

William migrated to America on the ship Francis leaving Ipswich and arriving in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1634. He married a woman named Mary and they had seven or eight children born between about 1638 and 1653. Some researchers have said that Mary's last name was Winche, and was a 15 year-old girl who was also aboard the Francis; others have claimed William traveled back to England, stayed for three years, and married her there. None of this is verified information.

By 1639, William was living in Hartford, Connecticut, where he has been given credit as an original settler there — his name is inscribed on the Hartford Founders' Monument. In 1653, he was one of the settlers who petitioned to form the town of Northampton, Massachusetts, and he became the first deacon there in 1663. He was also a town magistrate appointed by the General Court in 1665 and a justice of the peace. It was said he was "for years the most trusted and respected man in the little community."

During King Philip's War, William suffered the loss of his 28 year-old son Thomas who was one of five casualties when Indians raided Northampton on March 14, 1676. William's house was burned by the Indians in the raid, and it was said to be "the only house destroyed within the palisades," which had been put up to protect the town from attack.

William died on August 12, 1691 in Northampton.

Famous descendants of William Holton include Nathan Hale, Glenn Close, Bess Truman and Princess Diana.

Sources:
History of Charlestown, New Hampshire, Henry Hamilton Saunderson, 1876
History of Northampton, Massachusetts, James Trumbull and Seth Pomeroy, 1898
The Ancestry of Diana, Princess of Wales: for Twelve Generations, Richard K. Evans, 2007
GeneaStar: Famous Family Tree and Genealogy [website]

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