Who was the first wife of Captain William Crispin III?

+3 votes

There is a debate as to who the first wife of Captain Crispin was, either Rebecca Bradshaw or Ann Jasper.  There appear to be sources for both wives.  It is possible that he was married to both?  The timeline seems cramped to support two early marriages (he was later married to Jane Chudleigh).

I don't think that this answer will be solved today or even this year but I wanted a central place for us to discuss it so that the profile comments do not become compressed and pushed off of the profile page.

Currently, Rebecca and Jane are listed as William's wives.

Each of the profiles are hyperlinked above.  There is also a free-space page that outlines additional evidence here:

Wives of Captain Crispin

If you have any sources or evidence, information or theories, please post them here with our thanks.  Hopefully, in time, we can get an understanding of the true and correct history of events.

WikiTree profile: William Crispin
in Genealogy Help by SJ Baty G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)

Hey there, first time poster so please forgive me if I make an policy or etiquette faux pas. :)

I'm kinda wondering myself if we're dealing with two different William Crispins, because the one I've been researching makes no mention of a Rebecca Bradshaw anywhere but Ann Jasper is mentioned as often as the Crispins themselves. They even make mention of the proud benefits of having "Jasper blood" in the family.

I posted links to 4 sources on Crispin-43 so I won't repeat, but the very first page of one of the sources (written by Silas Crispins's grandson) starts out...

"Of Captain William Crispin's boyhood, education and parentage, we have no records, but his marriage, which occurred about 1650, to Miss Anne Jasper, daughter of John Jasper, and sister of Margaret Jasper (wife of Vice-Admiral Sir William Penn and mother of William Penn, the Quaker, who was founder of the Province of Pennsylvania), is confirmed by his great-grandson, William Crispin, in an article which we publish elsewhere in this book, written in 1792, ..."

Wm Crispin was strongly believed to be the firstly-appointed Surveyor-General of Pennsylvania, but after crossing the ocean aboard the Amity he was blown off course to Barbados. He died there. The Amity then returned to England with news of his death and when returning to America it carried Silas (his son) and Thomas Holme, the replacement Surveyor-General.

"It was while in transit to America that Silas, son of Captain William and Anne (Jasper) Crispin, courted and within a year married Esther, daughter of Thomas Holme, the Surveyor-General of Pennsylvania."

That is DEFINITELY one of the theories explaining this tangle.  Can you give that William's WikiTree ID?

Crispin-43 seems to be the most likely culprit for matching my evidence except for a) the wives, b) I have 1610 as a birth year and c) I find no evidence of parents or that he was a "III".

I'll try to gather all of these and more sources and split them into their differences to see if I can validate the possibility of two separate people being confused for one another or if there's just a lot of mis-information regarding the "one" William Crispin of this time period.

(Geez, I ran into this with the Drakes and the Dungans, too. lol.)

Thank you.  That would be very helpful

Could you let us all know before making any changes, so we can all have input first?


The suffix III was just my addition, in no way an official one, because I have 5 William Crispins in my family! and was going nuts trying to keep them separate:  "I" being Crispin-263, "II" being Crispin-117, "III" being Crispin-43, "IV" being Crispin 1653, and I haven't entered his son "V" into WikiTree.  (This family LOVED naming their boys William!  [Chuckle]  Perhaps their cousins did this too -- supporting one theory about who married Ann Jasper.)
No, I won't change anything. I'll wait and see how things work around here before I do anything that drastic. :)

From what I've been finding, I see no evidence that we're confusing multiple William Crispins (not sure if that's good news or bad news). All data seems to point that these are all one man known as William Crispin (technically "III") who held the titles of master, purser, Captain, Colonel, and acting Rear Admiral of the Parliamentary Navy, Chief Justice, Surveyor-General and several others (baptized in Kingston-on-Hull, County York, England 3 Oct 1627 - died 1682 on the "Amity" off the coast of Barbados)

His father was William Crispin II (1602-1645) who was first historically mentioned in a Calendar state of papers as being "at a lading port as the 'Adventurer' William Crispin". At first I thought this was a title/adjective but I found that he commanded the merchant ship "Adventure" as of 1634 so it may have been referring to his ship name. This William was later master of the "Fellowship" under then-Captain William Penn. Young William III, evidence suggests, joined the Parliamentary Navy and served on the "Fellowship" as well with his father as of 1642 and was taken under Penn's wing when his father died under his command in 1645.

William II's father was of course, William (1573-1636), and William's father was John (1550-1591).

It seems clear by nearly every source that he married his last wife in 1665 and her name was Jane Chudleigh (Chidley). They had 7 children: James, Joseph, Benjamin, Jane, Eleanor, Elizabeth and Amy whose births are unknown but were all "minors" on 8 Aug 1687 when William Penn granted them lands in their father's honor.

What is confusing is whether Jane was preceded by two wives or only one (and WHICH one), Anne Jasper and/or Rebecca Bradshaw.

If Anne, she's reported to be the sister of Margaret Jasper, Sir Admiral William Penn's wife, making him his cousin by marriage.

If Rebecca, she's reported to be the daughter of Rachel Penn, Sir Admiral William Penn's sister, making him his uncle by marriage.

There were also 5 children to one or both of these unions: William, Silas, Rebecca, Ralph and Rachel. I can find just as many sources saying Anne as I can Rebecca. He supposedly married Anne in 1650 and Rebecca 28 Sep 1652. The first child, William ("IV") was baptized 24 Jun 1653 so he could be either. Silas's birthdate was said to be 1655 but I found that to not be possible given evidence of naval logs showing William III at sea until at least Jul 1656. So Silas couldn't have been born until 1657, which also messes up: Rebecca c.1656, Ralph c.1657, Rachel c.1658. Wife Jane's death is given as 1660-1665 (1660 fits the timeline better), and Anne's death is never given.

Soooooo ... here's where I think I'm at.

1) I need to prove or disprove that Margaret Jasper had a sister named Anne. ... and/or ...

2) I need to prove or disprove that Admiral Sir William Penn had a sister named Rachel

... surprisingly I haven't found either yet from a trustworthy source. Then we'll see if all the kids fall into place after that.
It would be a huge help if you could make a very simple chart of what you have written here showing only the items currently entered into WikiTree that you challenge on the left, and your proposed/possible change on the right (or underneath, or some such)?


I have a working copy of the marriages and children of William that I'd like to post here as a "talking" chart that I think would help our conversations a lot.  It's in MS Word.  Does anyone know how to post such a document here?

In his Will William referred to "my nephews James & John Bradshaw and William & James Markham".  (Rachel’s and Anne’s sons.)

Ann Jasper, daughter of John Baptist jasper and Margaret, is listed in WikiTree (Jasper-38) as having married William PENN!   

And Jasper-38 [born 1603] was a generation older than Rebecca [born 1631] and William [born 1627].

I'm really tired now so had better quit before I make any more errors, but if this is correct we may have found where the original error was made linking her as William CRISPIN's wife (in lieu of Rebecca Penn Bradshaw).

I'm hoping someone fresher than me can pick up this string and follow it out.  If so, I thank you so VERY much.


Now I see that I have the Wikitree IDs for Ann all mixed up -- perhaps from merges?  Help!  [I'm off to bed before I make an even bigger mess of this.  Sorry]

4 Answers

+1 vote
Best answer

1) "Born 3 Oct 1627 in Yorkshire, England"

..... Maybe nitpicking, but he was baptized on this date. There's no evidence of his exact date of birth. Other evidence suggests 1627 for certain, but it could have been moments, days, weeks or months prior to being baptized. Also, his birthplace was more specifically "Kingston-on-Hull, East Yorkshire, County York, England"

2) "Husband of Jane (Chudleigh) Crispin — married [date unknown] (to 8 Apr 1645) in Diocese of Cork and Ross, Ireland"

..... By all evidence, he married Jane in 1665, not 1645. Also, another nitpick: the diocese would be a source, not a location and technically I believe it was "Diocese of Cork, Cloyne and Ross" from 1660-1683. Location would likely be Cork as it was the closest to Kinsale by far, but I don't know specifics as the current Cathedral of St Mary and St Anne wasn't built until 1808.

3) "Father of William Crispin IVSilas Bradshaw Crispin Sr.Thomas (Crispin) Buford and Rebecca (Crispin) Blackfan"

..... While wife/mother is still up for debate, the children seem corroborated by all sources: William, Silas, Rebecca, Ralph and Rachel by his first wife/wives, and James, Joseph, Benjamin, Jane, Eleanore, Elizabeth and Amy by his 2nd/3rd wife Jane Chudleigh. Whether the first five children are from Anne Jasper or Rebecca Bradshaw or even both is still unknown as any evidence of the children is after the purported marriages of both Anne and Rebecca and before Jane. I will offer however that the first mention of any of William III's kids is William IV's baptism, exactly 9 months after his marriage to Rebecca.

4) "Died about 1681 in Aboard the ship Friendship anchored outside Barbados, West Indies"

..... All evidence points to his death aboard the "Amity" in 1682 while off the coast or Barbados, West Indies.

5) "...he is spoken of as Master of the Adventure"

..... This is his father, William II. Crispin-43 was only 7 or 8 at the time.

6) "there is some question as to whether all three Commissioners were aboard John and Sarah "

..... William was aboard the Amity which sailed sometimes after the others, was blown off course to Barbados where he died. His son Silas was aboard the "John and Sarah" and was not with him upon his death. This is evidenced by reports of several documents showing Silas's name and signature on 3 jury lists, a witness list and as a witness to a land deed, all in the new world at the time of William's death.


I wish I could pin down more but I can't at this time. Looking at both of the uploaded documents on Crispin-43 's page - I have my suspicions as to their accuracy as they're both obviously modern documents, probably from the 1950s and they're the ONLY documents besides here-say genealogy books which all mention Anne OR Rebecca as authoritatively certain. The marriage register for Rebecca however looks quite authentic.

In my humble opinion, Rebecca and Jane were most certainly real and were his wives. Anne, may have been a wife as well, but I can't be sure. She may have also been an assumption proliferated by here-say based on a confused telling of the relation between William III marrying Sir Admiral William Penn's wife Margaret Jasper's sister Anne (did she even have a sister named Anne?) versus marrying Sir Admiral William Penn's sister Rachel Penn's daughter Rebecca ... and she also has another daughter named Ann ... and Penn had a sister named Ann as well) ... lol, Wow. Still digging for some kind of actual document.

by Stephen Roenneburg G2G Crew (530 points)
selected by SJ Baty
Thanks.  FIRST PRIORITY -- definitely need reliable sources for all this mess.  :-)

Just wish we could see the ACTUAL christening records for the children rather than 2nd hand reports of them.  Perhaps they show parents.?
Thanks SO MUCH for your willingness to dig for reliable verification.
+3 votes

Haven’t found an Ann, maybe married to earlier William or different family?

First name(s) William

Last name Crispin

Year 1665

Diocese Cork and Ross

Spouse's first name(s) Jane

Spouse's last name Chidley

Record set Ireland Diocesan And Prerogative Marriage Licence Bonds Indexes 1623-1866

Category Life Events (BDMs)

Subcategory Parish Marriages

Collections from Ireland


copyright Findmypast


First name(s) William

Last name Crispin

Name note -

Marriage year 1652

Marriage date 28 Sep 1652

Marriage place Stepney

Spouse's first name(s) Rebecca

Spouse's last name Bradshaw

County London

Country England

Record set England Marriages 1538-1973

Category Life Events (BDMs)

Subcategory Parish Marriages

Collections from England, Great Britain

Index (c) IRI. Used by permission of FamilySearch Intl


by Marion Poole G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
Happy Monday Marion!

There is a recent profile comment on Captain Crispin's profile that has a source.
This was the wife he married after Rebecca's death.
+2 votes
It IS very confusing.  

The following all came from experienced genealogists, from which I glean these possibilities:

The Crispins, Jaspers and Pens were all cousins, so they'd have known and likely interacted often with each other.

1.  There were several William Crispins at that time, all living in or near London, all around the same age/generation, all involved in seafaring in one way or another (merchants had to have their own ships for transporting goods, and a naval officer who was significant in the blockade of the Dutch harbor.  [England won that war, but it [and therefore our ancestor] was NOT the good guy!])  
    Some families get stuck on a name for their boys [just to frustrate their future descendants/genealogists! (wink)], so perhaps these Williams were all cousins?

2.  The "Visitation of the County Palatine of Lancaster" (posted on Rebecca's profile) was an official census ordered by the King, so I give it higher priority in accuracy than the Boyds of London census which I've seen labeled as "unofficial".  But Boyd's seems very thorough....

3.  The children's names: Boyds of London lists the same children present in the Ann Jasper household that we ascribe to Rachel.  
   However two of those children's names echo the Bradshaw family:  Silas Bradshaw Crispin, and Ralph (a variation of Raphe, I've also seen Randall as a variation) Crispin -- Rebecca's father's name).  
   However since they were all related, the parents could have been paying homage to the children's "Great Uncle Raphe" and "Aunt Rebecca" rather than to their mother and grandfather.)

4.  There's no doubt about the Jane Chudley marriage following Rebecca's death, but perhaps Ann Jasper was William's first wife and Rebecca the second?  (I believe we have sourced/documented the marriage of all three women/couples (??) and the marriage dates would be plausible.

" 'Tis a puzzlement."  (Grin)
by Carol Lillevang G2G4 (4.3k points)
edited by Carol Lillevang
+1 vote

Thank you for posting this. I have been working on the Chudleigh family of Kinsale and was able to connect Thomas Chudleigh as the brother of Jane Chudleigh using references that you have listed. I am still working on this family and will look out for anything that might connect Rebecca Bradshaw or Ann Jasper.

by Simone Cody G2G3 (3.7k points)

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