Location: England- Massachusetts
Surnames/tags: Willoughby Willoughby-310
Francis Willoughby was the first of the Willoughby ancestors to settle in America. He appears to have owned properties in England, and had substantial real estate in Massachusetts. Francis, son of Col. William Willoughby (a member or the popular and well known but close knit "Willoughby family"of northern England (Lincolnshire). His wife Elizabeth Wouller, was born in 1615 in London, England. (The Willoughby's of Grimsthorp castle are a well known and documented family since at least the year ,1300ad). He was christened October 13, 1615 at St. Margaret Pattens, London. l have no information about his early years. He married his first wife, Mary Taylor, on November 26, 1635, at St. Dunstan, Stepney, London. Their only child, Jonathan, was born about September 1636 in Wapping(wall). At the time of these two events, he is registered as a "shipwright" (one who builds and repairs ships.) In 1638, he came from Portsmouth, Hampshire County, England, to Charlestown in the Massachusetts Bay Colony with his wife and son. They joined the church (Puritan) on "October 10th of the next year" (1639?). Mary died about this time. On August 22, 1638, Francis was admitted as a freeman to the town of Charlestown, and this became his home in America. In order to become a "freeman", it is necessary to have money, be a church member, and own property. The following are the town records of his property at this time: 11 ••• one parcel of ground with a house upon it situated to the south ofthe Mill Hill, facing north upon Elbow or crooked Lane (afterwards Bow Street), with the Charles River to the south, another lane on the east, and the gardefi plots of Tho. Brigden and Ab. Pratton the wast. Beyond these latter was the land of Ed Johnson, the western boundary of which was Hayles Lane. He had also commons for one milk cow, bought of Peter Garland, two lots of arable land, of two and four acres, along the south side of Mystick River, five acres of woodland in Mystick Field, and some twenty acres of land in Waterfield. The next year he bought of Sarah, widow of Tho. Ewer, a house and garden-plot, in the Middle Tow, with the Market Place (or Square) to the south and west, Dock Lane (or Water Land) to the southeast and land of Increase Nowell to northeast. In 1640 some "remote land" as it was styled, was set off from Charlestown and known as Charlestown Village, to be incorporated in 1642 under the name of Woburn. Some 3000 acres of this tract, called the "Land of Nod", afterward part of Wilmington, had been granted at an early period to different individuals. Francis Willoughby, having 300 acres, which he subsequently increased by purchase of 1150 acres, which had been granted to Capt. Naler and Capt. John Allen." Francis married his second wife, Elizabeth Sarah Taylor, about 1640. It is thought he returned to England about this time, and over the next ten years lived in both England and New England, tending to his business affairs in both countries. He and Sarah had five children between 1641 and 1652, some born in England, and some in Charlestown, according to records. There are records of several immigrations by Francis between the two countries. In England he is noted as being a member of Parliament and Commissioner of the Royal Navy. In Charlestown, he became an influential citizen. The government of the Massachusetts Bay Colony (and the other colonies - Plymouth, Salem, Rhode Island, New Haven) was composed of a Governor, Deputy Governor, and 18 Magistrates or Assistants. These offices were elected annually by the freemen of the colony. Francis was a magistrate in 1642, 1646, and 1648, serving under Governor John Winthrop. He also served as a selectman, and was deeply involved in the politics of the Colony. I found this record for May 10, 1648. "Dr.Child preferred a petition to the committee against us, and put in Mr. Thomas Fowle his name among others; but he, hearing of it, protested against it, (for God had brought him very low, both in his estate and in his reputation, since he joined in the first (petition). After this the Doctor, meeting with Mr. Willoughby upon the exchange, (this Mr~ Willoughby dwelt at Charlestown, but his father was a colonel of the city,) and falling in talk about New England, the Doctor railed against the people, saying they were a company of rogues and knaves; Mr. Willoughby answered, that ·he who spoke so, etc. , was a knave, whereupon the Doctor· gave him a box on the ear. Mr. Willoughby was ready to have closed with him, etc. , but being upon the exchange, he was stayed, but presently arrested him. And when the Doctor saw the danger he was in, he employed some friends to make his peace, who ordered him to give five pounds to the poor of New England, (for Mr. Willoughby would have nothing of him,) and to give it under his hand, never to speak evil of New England men after, nor to occasion any trouble to the country, or to any of the people, all which he gladly perfonned, and besides God had so blasted his estate, as he was quite broken, etc."
(Francis and his father, William, had been active members of the Government which deposed and beheaded Charles I (in 1649), and his own powerful influence both in England and in this country was always in favor of liberty to the people.) The Willoughby's have been close to the majority of British rulers for more than a thousand years.From 1650 to 1654, Francis served again as a Magistrate under Governors Dudley and Endecott. About 1654 his wife Sarah died. About 1659 he married Margaret Locke. Francis "bound himself to pay 400 pounds to Thomas Bragne, his brother-in-law, and William Webb of London, in trust as a provision for his third wife, Margaret (Locke) Willoughby." They had three children, born between 1660 and 1664. Francis seems to be settled on a more permanent basis in Charlestown during these years. I found a will of the Estate of Edward Hopkins which names his "honored and loving friend" Francis a beneficiary of 20 pounds. (Dated March 17, 1657). Being the first of his family to emigrate to the new colonies of Massachusetts from London ,Francis Willoughby became the patriarch of the Willoughby's of New England.today a deeply entrenched family in American historical significance. Many noticable American families are connected to the Willoughby's today largely based on Martha's Vineyard ma,
A 17th century 17-page book, "The Dayly Observation of an Impassioned Puritan", a shorthand diary, is attributed to Deputy Governor Willoughby. May 1665 - the annual election - "Mr. Bellingham, the inflexible supporter of their civil and political rights, was chosen to succeed Mr. Endecott as Governor, and Mr. Willoughby, the resolute champion of democratic liberty, took his place in the office of Deputy Governor." He served in this office until 1670. By 1672, the Colonies in Massachusetts were enjoying the blessings of a peaceable government and trade and corrnnerce were as extensive as could be reasonably desired. Vessels from many nations were seen in her harbors and wealth was fast flowing into the coffers of her merchants; industry and contentment prevailed everywhere. "In the midst of this plenty, the chiefs of the colonies were gathered to the grave •••• the tolerant Willoughby, beloved as a magistrate; the upright Bellingham, a foe to bribes but rich in charity ••• and others of the patriarchs and men of esteem, were among those who departed, lamenting not so much that their career was thus ended, as that they were born too soon to see New England in its most flourishing state." Francis died April 3, 1671, and is buried in Charlestown, Massachusetts. Note: Charlestown became part of Boston, and Middlesex became Suffolk County, but I haven't been able to find the date.--
Source: The Willoughby Generations from circa 1150 England to present day (2006) in Holderness, New Hampshire, Constance A. Ketchum, 35 Ridgewood Circle, Kennebunk, ME 04043, September 25, 2006