The Wiswall Family
The Wiswall Family descends from Saxon stock in the area of Lancashire, England.
Twin brothers, John and Thomas were the only Wiswall heads of family to come to America. John came first on July 24, 1633, early in the second wave of emigration from England. He settled in Dorchester, MA.
Thomas, our ancestor, remained behind with his young wife Elizabeth who was pregnant. After the birth of their first child Enoch, Thomas and his young family sailed with the Rev. Richard Mather and company to New England on the "James". The ship embarked at Dorchester on August 26, 1635.
For a short time, Thomas and his wife Elizabeth, the former Elizabeth Berbage, lived with John. The brothers worked together to establish homesteads. John returned to England where he married Margaret, and soon he brought his new bride to Dorchester.
John and Margaret had eleven children, including three sons. Benjamin died shortly after he was married, leaving no children. Son John had two sons, but there is no record of either having married. Son Henry died as an infant. No son left children to carry on the name. All Wiswalls in America descend from Thomas and his wife.
Thomas and Elizabeth Berbage Wiswall
On January 12, 1637, he was granted two acres near Fox Point, on which they built a home. By March 28, 1637 he owned five acres of land. Thomas subscribed to the School Fund in 1641. He served as a fenceviewer, and was chosen as a Selectman on September 24,1644 along with six other citizens until November 1, 1645. He also served in the capacity of surveyor and tax rater. He purchased more land in Dorchester on March 17, 1645, October 20, 1646 and on October 7, 1650. On February 25, 1652, Thomas was made a freeman. Sometime in 1653, he moved to Cambridge, MA, but retained his membership in the Dorchester Church until 1664. Thomas was fined five shillings for failure to appear for jury duty. He appealed the fine, and on April 1, 1656, the Court at Cambridge reversed it's decision. He served on the Grand Jury in Cambridge in 1656 and in 1663. On November 10, 1656, he was appointed Surveyor of Highways at Cambridge. This area later became the City of Newton, of which he was one of the founders. Up until then, the Indians had called in "Nonametown". In 1656, along with John Jackson, he signed a petition which was sent to the General Court on behalf of the inhabitants of Cambridge village requesting a release from support of the ministry at Cambridge. He removed to Cambridge village in 1654.
Thomas and Elizabeth made the following conveyance in May of 1657:
"This writing witnesseth that I, Thomas Wiswall, of Cambridge, do promise in case of my son Enoch's marriage, that I will give him my aforesaid son Enoch, all my lands and houses in Dorchester, both unto him and his heirs forever, viz: the house that formerly belonged to Mr. Maverick, and the land properly pertaining thereunto: the land once belonging to Richard Williams, yea, all my land in Dorchester, more or less whether already enclosed or not and all my marsh thereunto belonging justly tome, the above said Thomas Wiswall. In witness hereunto, subscribe my hand."
Elizabeth † her mark Wiswall
This deed was recorded on April 16, 1658.
Elizabeth and Thomas raised a large family. Elizabeth died between 1664-1669
Thomas then married the widow Isabella Munston Farmer, widow of John Farmer of Ansley,Warwickshire, England.
On October 6, 1663, he donated land for a training field for the town militia, and was released from all "oridinary training",paying instead five shillings, one penny, to the military company. He was 62 at this time. Thomas and Elizabeth were released [dismissed] from the Dorchester Church on June 5, 1664 to help form a new church under Pastor John Elliot, the "Apostle to the Indians," at "Nonametown", now know or East Cambridge Village. He was appointed Ruling Elder of the new church. On February 8, 1668, Thomas and John Jackson were appointed by the Selectmen to catechize the youth at the new church.
He was ordained the first ruling Elder of the Church of Newton on July 20, 1664.
He died in Newton on December 6, 1683. Thomas' estate included at the time of his death, 207 acres of meadow and upland, 6 wooded acres, a small orchard, house and barn. His personal estate was valued at £340, part of which included four Holy Bibles.
Isabella died in on May 21, 1686 in Billerica, MA.
Thomas is buried in the East Parish Burying Ground in Newton Center, MA although the actual grave is impossible to identify. This is the only cemetery that was in existence in that area at the time and his name appears on the "Settlers Monument" located in that cemetery.
Children of Elder Thomas and Elizabeth:
Enoch born 1633 in England
Esther born 1636 in Dorchester, MA
Ichabod born 1637 in Dorchester, MA
Captain Noah born 1638 in Dorchester, MA
Mary born 1640 in Dorchester, MA
Ebenezer, born 1641 in Dorchester, MA, died young
Sarah born March 19, 1643 in Dorchester, MA
Ebenezer born 1646 in Dorchester, MA
Elizabeth born April 12, 1649 in Dorchester, MA
Thomas born 1650, baptized June 9, 1659 in Dorchester, MA
. He was early made a freeman, was a proprietor of Dorchester and, with his wife Elizabeth, was a member of the church about 1636. He was a selectman of Dorchester in 1644, ‘45, and ‘52. On 5 June 1664 he was dismissed from the Dorchester church for the beginning of a new church at Cambridge Village (now Newton) and was chosen as ruling elder there. On 25 September 1657, he deeded his houses and lands in Dorchester to his son Enoch, who was about to marry. Thomas Wiswell married first, it is said, Elizabeth Burbage of Great Packington, Warwickshire. She was the mother of all his children and died between 1665 and 1669. Secondly, he married Isabell (Muston) Farmer, sister of the Reverend Thomas Muston of Wykin and afterwards of Brinldow in England. She was the widow of John Farmer of Anseley, Warwickshire. Thomas Wiswell was excused from military training on 6 October 1663, but had to pay 5 shillings per year to the military company. He was 62. He died on 6 December 1683, aged 82, and she died on 21 May 1686 at her son’s home in Billerica.
This is an Inventory of the Estate of Elder Thomas Wiswall of Cambr village who decead. 6 December 1683 Apprized by us the subscribers.
His wearing cloaths both linnen & woollen 006 07 00
In the lower Lodging Room
A featherbed, a feather bolster, 2 feather pillows a straw bed 005 00 00
& Rug, a blankett & bedstead with curtains altogether
4 pr of old sheets, 4 pillowbeers 001 15 00
2 Table cloaths, 11 napkins, 4 Towells 001 00 00
a Table, a form, 6 joynd stools, a little Table 001 05 00
A great chair, 2 small chairs, 6 cushions 000 08 00
A chest, 2 Thinks, a warming pan 000 15 00
A small cupboard, 4 bibles, 4 Psalm books, 6 other small 001 08 00
2 old brushes a little looking glass 000 02 00
2 old hogsheads, a tub, 2 trays, 2 milk bowls 2 small bear
barrells 000 08 00
An old bridle & saddle, a pannell 000 10 00
A churns, 2 sacks, a grid Iron 000 05 00
A dwelling house & barn with a small orchard to It & about
two hundred & seven acres of upland & meadow wX of yr is 220 00 00
about six acres of ye land yE is broak up
Abt a yeer & half service in a man servant 008 00 00
A pcceii of stone fence abt ye aforesd land 007 00 00
The Irons to the pump 000 05 00
Apprised the 14. Decemb 1683 by us
Decemb' 18. 83
Sworne in Court of Noah Wiswall & Ebenezar Wiswall Adams
Jonathan Remmington Clericus
Ref.: Wiswall Genealogy; V.R.; Pope’s Pioneers of Massachusetts; Savage; N.E.H.G.S. - 126:298 He was married to Elizabeth BERBAGE in 1632 in , , , England
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