Nielsen Hayden genealogy

William Wormwood

Male - Aft 1651


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  • Name William Wormwood  [1
    Gender Male 
    Died Aft 1651  [2
    Person ID I26846  Ancestry of PNH, TNH, and others | Ancestor of LDN
    Last Modified 21 Feb 2020 

    Family Catherine,   d. Aft 1651 
    Children 
    +1. Margaret Wormwood
    Last Modified 21 Feb 2020 
    Family ID F16039  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • From Massachusetts and Maine Families in the Ancestry of Walter Goodwin Davis:

      William Wormwood, presumably a fisherman as he is usually associated with them, is first found as a witness to an agreement, made January 10, 1639, between John Lander, a "sealer" (a hunter of seals), and John Billings, fisherman, both of Piscataqua, by which the two men, who had been partners, divided their house, land, shallop and live stock. Wormwood, his wife Catherine and their children lived in a house on four acres of land at Kittery Point which had been given him, two acres each, by Lander and Billings, as Goodwife Thomas, who was Billings's widow, testified in March, 1647. Sometime before that year Wormwood had sold the place to Thomas Crockett who, in turn, sold it to Robert Mendum on September 21, 1644.

      When the first General Court of the Province of Maine, at which all of the adult males were supposed to appear, was held in Saco on June 25, 1640, William Wormwood was one of fifteen Piscataqua men absent. After the sale of the Kittery Point house the Wormwoods went to Star Island in the Isles of Shoals, from where the authorities ordered them back to the mainland in 1647 because of their "improper dealings" with sailors which, from later developments, would seem to mean too free a sale of strong drink. At the Shoals, also, they fell in with one William James, a fisherman, who came back to Kittery with them, and in October, 1647, Catherine Wormwood was arrested by John Sealey and Antipas Maverick and ordered to Boston to answer an unspecified charge, probably on suspicion of adultery with James. The charge could not have been proved as she was soon back in Maine where on June 27, 1648, the court ordered that "William James and William Wormwood are for to part household and for to build another house before one yeare be ended."

      This remedy did not cure the situation, however. In the court of October 16, 1650, William James and William Wormwood's wife were presented for living suspiciously together, and if James did not "separate" by the next court he was to pay 40s. or have corporal punishment. Wormwood, who, perhaps naturally, had become "a common swearer and a turbulent person," now sought to take his difficult wife back to the Shoals, and the court decreed "that if the Fishermen of the Iles of Sholes will entertaine Wormewood and his wife, they have liberty to sit downe ther provided that they shall not sell neither wine, beare nor Licker." If they went James went too, for a year later on October 14, 1651, the court is still harping on separation. "William James shall hence forward separate himself from Catterne Wormewood & must forthwith pay his Fourty shillings for his breach of the last Court order about his seperation."

      There are few other records. In the court of June, 1648, Wormwood sued Mr. Nicholas Browne for debt, asking damages of £10 and having a bull attached as security. Mr. John Sealey walked off with the bull while it was under attachment and was fined £5 for contempt. Wormwood sued Dr. John Reynolds in the New Hampshire court in 1650 for detaining three goats and a sow for three years, and, the doctor having departed the country, won a verdict against Alexander Jones who had been Reynolds' surety. Wormwood had to sue again to enforce the verdict in 1651. Catherine Wormwood testified against Edward Colcord in court at Strawberry Bank in 1650. "Goody Wormod" was listed among the doubtful debtors of Robert Button in January, 1651, the adjective probably quite justified.

  • Sources 
    1. [S660] Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire by Sybil Noyes, Charles Thornton Libby, and Walter Goodwin Davis. Portland, Maine: Southworth Press, 1928-1939.

    2. [S2204] Massachusetts and Maine Families in the Ancestry of Walter Goodwin Davis (1885-1966) by Walter Goodwin Davis. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1996.