||William (Meeker) Meaker was involved in the Connecticut Witch Trials.|
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Family tradition holds that William Meeker was born in Leamington, Warwickshire, England, but there is no documentation to substantiate this, nor any records of Meakers in Warwickshire. Leroy J. Meeker states that William mentioned his birthplace in his will. However, the transcriptions of the will available in various online sources do not include this information. The abstract of the will in New Jersey Colonial Records doesn't mention it either. It could be that this information was transmitted orally, and was distorted in the transmission. 1841 U.K. census data recorded Meakers across southwest England, with the highest concentration of Meakers found in Somerset. A review of parish records available on Ancestry.co.uk showed hundreds of Meakers living in Somerset during the period 1580-1630. One of the parishes where Meakers were found is called Limington. Could this be William Meaker's place of origin? 
Jacobus says William was probably the brother of Robert Meeker.  Family tradition claims their father was Albert Meaker, but there is no credible documentation for either parent. A Meeker surname group at Family Tree DNA hopes to eventually identify ancestors in England via Y-DNA testing.  Thus far, testing of 40+ male descendants has revealed that William and Robert were not full brothers, though they were related.
While some secondary sources claimed he arrived in Massachusetts Bay about 1635 aboard the Abigail, there is no evidence of this. See Research Notes, below.
The first documented evidence of William Meaker's presence in New England is contained in an entry in New Haven Colony Records made in 1643. He was listed among those taking the Oath of Fidelity on 1 July 1644, but he was not mentioned in the earlier lists of freemen who founded New Haven in 1638, nor is it reasonable to expect that he would be, since he was a minor at the time. 
In about 1646, William married Sarah Jane Preston (1626-1666), the daughter of William Preston (1591-1647), who brought his family from England aboard the "Truelove" in 1635. They lived first in Dorchester, moving to New Haven Colony in 1640. Preston was originally from Yorkshire but married Elizabeth Sale, from Chesham in Buckinghamshire, where his daughter Sarah was born.   
About the Spring of 1665, William moved with his family and others from New Haven (possibly neighbors he brought over from England), to Elizabethtown, New Jersey. He and his eldest son, Joseph, were among the original Elizabethtown Associates, who purchased land from the Native Americans with a patent issued by Governor Nicols. He had a house-lot containing six acres bounded by his son Joseph and another 13 acres upland that was bounded by his son Benjamin. He had a total of 152 acres.  When Philip Carteret was appointed governor of New Jersey by the Duke of York in 1670, they did not at first recognize the Elizabethtown grant, believing the Associates were encroaching on their New Jersey purchase rights. This led to revolt by the Associates and eventually the flight of Governor Carteret. 
William led the "Meeker Riot" of 1671 when several townsmen attacked the property of a new settler, on grounds that the Governor had granted him land without town approval. Meeker was fined for the "riot" but the fine was not enforced due to strong public opinion in his favor, and lack of a police force. The court was "powerless in the presence of an outraged and indignent people".
William was chosen as constable of the town 13 October 1671  and became an active adherent of Captain James Carteret who had replaced his absent cousin as Governor. Later, for this offense, William's estate was confiscated, but the people of Elizabethtown and Newark were grateful for William's "fidelity to their interests" and they presented him with a tract of land at Lyons Farm  
He died in 1690. His will was signed 9 December 1890 and proven 14 January 1690/1 in Elizabethtown, New Jersey.   Abstract of the will mentions wife Hannah, sons Joseph, Benjamin and John, and eleven (unnamed) grandchildren. 
According to Leroy Meeker, nothing is known of Sarah and Mary other than the records of their births.
William was accused of witchcraft in 1657 and acquitted.  One of his neighbors, Thomas Mullener, was the neighborhood troublemaker. His many battles with neighbors are documented in court records. Mullener thought that his pigs were bewitched. At the time, one way to test this was to cut a piece from the tale and ear of one of the pigs and throw them in the fire to show who was the guilty party. After he had done this, he charged William with the bewitching. William retaliated with a defamation suit, but Mullener had become involved in other controversies and was advised to quit New Haven.
These concerns have been addressed. But they are recurring issues with William so I'll leave the comments...
The facts listed for William’s origins and arrival are for the most part not supported by the cited sources, or others that I know of.
Significantly, he is not (nor is any Meeker) mentioned in Anderson’s Great Migration series.  That is virtually conclusive that origins and arrival cannot be substantiated prior to 1640. His first recorded appearance in New England is in 1644.
Leroy Meeker (p 4) is cited for birthplace, and he states that William stated in his will that he was born in Leamington. So there is a basis for that. (I haven’t found the complete will in online sources, but an abstract may be found on Ancestry.com).
Cited for c. 1635 arrival on the Abigail are Sellgren and Thayer.
Sellgren’s profile on “NJ Founders” in turn cites Biography and Genealogy of Newark and Leroy Meeker. A check of each of these reveals that the Biography (2:117) says Meeker “came from England to the Massachusetts Bay about 1635" while L. Meeker says “It isn’t known” when William arrived but he appeared in Massachusetts Bay “some say as early as 1630/35.” No reference to primary sources – and no mention of the Abigail.
Thayer says nothing of Meeker’s origins.
No references are given for William's parentage. The entry for Alfred lists a website that refers to another that contains William’s pedigree but without sources. The entry for Rosie contains a dead link.
“Family Data Collection” (which is highly derivative and unreliable) has Albert Meeker as father of William Mecar but no source. 
I believe that William's parentage and arrival should be counted as unknown.
-- J. Miller
Regarding the murkiness of William's origins, I thought it would be useful to list the various assertions --none of which are credibly documented-- that I've seen:
1. From George Emil Meeker, Jr. “Meeker Genealogy,” dated 4 Feb 2000: a. William “Goodman” Meeker “came from England aboard the "Abigail" about 1630 to Mass. Bay, and thence removed to New Haven colony by the first of july, 1644; removed to Newark, NJ, then known as Elizabethtown Point, New Jersey in 1644.”
b. Thomas Meeker (possibly) b c 1620, “came on the "Christian" in 1635. to Windsor, CT. Then to Fairfield, CT. in 1659.” [Source: Early German Families in America".]
c. Robert Meeker, b c1625, “Sailed from Plymouth, England in and arrived in Massachusetts in 1630. Removed to Quinnipiack (New Haven), Conn. before by the first of July, 1654; removed to Fairfield by 1668.”
2. From Leroy J. Meeker, "The Meeker Family of Early New Jersey As Revealed in the Correspondence of Charles H. Meeker, Jr." Charleston, Capitol Printing Co., 1973
“William (1) Meeker (or Meaker) (c1620/5-1790/1 [sic]) in his will stated that he was born at Leamington, Warwickshire, England, a place not far from the physical center of England. It isn't known at what time he and his brother, Robert, came to America; but they did appear in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, some say as early as 1630/35. Both were in New Haven, Connecticut by the first of July, 1644, as they took the oath of fidelity there at that time.”
3. From John V. Meeker, "A Genealogy and History of the Meeker family in America," Nov 1909, handwritten document transcribed by Laroy K Meeker for The Ezra Meeker Historical Society.
“There are two seemingly conflicting accounts of the first appearance of the family in the American Colonies, but I am convinced that the difference is not so real as seems at first though. As I have sifted it out the family consisting of an elderly man and three grown sons by the name of Meeker arrived in Salem from Essex, England in 1630, that in 1637 the family removed to Boston, that in 1638 they removed to and settled in Hartford. Here the father died about the year 1660, two of the brothers removed to and settled in New Jersey at or near Elizabeth.”
4. From "The Passaic Valley, New Jersey In Three Centuries," John Whitehead, ed., New York: The New Jersey Genealogical Company, 1901. Vols 1-2
“William Meeker was born near Birmingham, Warwickshire, England. He took the oath of Fidelity at New Haven, Conn., and settled in Elizabethtown, N.J. in 1665.” (No source cited but appears to come from Dr. Charles H. Meeker, Rahway N.J., cited as the “family representative” in New Jersey.)
5. From "Biographical and genealogical history of the city of Newark and Essex County, New Jersey." New York: Lewis Publishing Co., 1898. Vol. 2, P117
William “came from England about 1635 to the Massachusetts Bay, and thence removed to the New Haven colony, of which he was one of the founders [sic]. While residing there he married Sarah Preston, a native of Yorkshire, England .. In the spring of 1665, with his family and others of the New Haven colony (whom tradition says he brought in his own sloop), he landed on the site that became known as Elizabethtown Point, New Jersey, and was enrolled with his eldest son, Joseph, with the original "Associates."
- L Carle
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