The Last Will and Testament of Thomas Willet, 1st Mayor of New York City, 1674

The English renamed the colony New York, after the king’s brother James, Duke of York and on June 12, 1665 appointed Thomas Willett the first of the mayors of New York. The city grew northward, remaining the largest and most important city in the colony of New York.

Captain Thomas Willet (1605 – 1675), is my 1st cousin 14x removed. He is one of the many connections I have in my tree to the early colonists of America. An area of my tree I have a lot of interest in. Thomas Willet was the son of Reverend Andrew Willet and Jacobina Goad, the family were Dutch/German origin.

The descendants of Thomas Willett are numerous. The ‘Dorothy Q.’ of the poem of Oliver Wendell Holmes was Thomas Willett’s great-granddaughter, and the great-grandmother of Holmes.

O Damsel Dorothy! Dorothy Q.!

Strange is the gift that I owe to you;

Such a gift as never a king

Save to daughter or son might bring,—

All my tenure of heart and hand,

All my title to house and land;

Mother and sister and child and wife

And joy and sorrow and death and life!

(lines 33–40) – by Oliver Wendell Holmes

 

Captain Thomas Willet

of Swansey

1st and 3rd Mayor of New York City

Merchant

Plymouth Colony trader

Commissioner of New Netherland

Magistrate of Plymouth Colony,

Captain of the Plymouth Colony militia

(1605 – 1675)

Thomas Willett of Swansey … being going on in the sixty-fourth year of my age,” having named “my loving sons James, Hezekiah, Andrew and Samuell” as joint executors and having appointed as overseers “my wellbeloved son-in-law Mr. John Saffin and my loving friend Mr. Robert Holmes and my dear brother-in-law Mr. James Browne and my dear son-in-law Mr. Samuell Hooker and the Reverend Mr. John Myles,” bequeathed to “my four sons my said executors, namely James Willett, Hezekiah Willett, Andrew Willett and Samuell Willett all my now dwelling house, warehouse, outhouses, barns and all other edifices, gardens, orchards and pasture fields whatsoever, thereunto belonging … to be equally divided amongst them” (land described in detail, with an attempt at entail); to “my said four sons … all my study or library of books” to be divided equally; to “my said four sons … all my estate of commonage, either in the township of Rehoboth or Swansey except what I shall give unto my grandson Samuell Hooker”; to “my grandson Samauell Hooker … eighty
acres of upland …, together with fifty pounds estate of commonage” in Rehoboth; to “my grandchildren hereafter mentioned all my lands … in the Narragansett Country”; to “my grandson Thomas Saffin a double portion of all my said lands in the Narragansett Country”; to “my son Hooker’s six sons aleady born and to all and every such son, as shall be born to him by his wife my daughter Mary … and to my son Saffin’s four sons not already mentioned …and to all and every such son as shall be born to him by his wife my daughter Martha … and to all such sons as shall be borne by my daughter Ester,” a share in the Narragansett Country; to “my eldest son James Willett fifty pounds … in land remote from my dwelling house”; to “my dear daughter Ester Willett fifty pounds … in land remote from my said dwelling house”; to “my said four sons James, Hezekiah, Andrew and Samuell” all other lands not disposed of; to “my three sons Hezekiah, Andrew and Samuell fifty pounds apiece in money, towards theirmaintenance in schools and other ways and means for attainment of learning”; to “my grandson Samuell Hooker” £25; to “my granddaughter Sarah Elliott” £50; to “my old servant John Padducke” £10; to my overseers forty shillings apiece; to the church of Plymouth ten pounds and to the church of Swansea ten pounds and to the church at Rehoboth five pounds; to “the Reverend Mr. John Myles ten pounds”; residue equally to “my said four sons … James Willett, Hezekiah Willett, Andrew Willett and Samuell Willett … and also to my three beloved daughters namely Mary Hooker, Martha Saffin and Ester Willett”

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