William Bucknam, His Two Wives, Family & 1679 Will

William Bucknam, my 10X great grandfather, was the immigrant ancestor in this branch of my family tree. By trade, William was a joiner, or carpenter, and apparently arrived in Massachusetts sometime in the 1630s.

The names of his wives are somewhat open to discussion. It is certain that William Bucknam’s first wife was a daughter of widow Prudence Wilkinson, who settled in Massachusetts in 1630. William then would have married Miss Wilkinson on this side of the pond, probably no later than 1638, as his son, John, was born about 1639.

Others have stated that Miss Wilkinson was named Sarah, but I have seen no proof of that. Nor have I seen any documentation as to the given name of Prudence Wilkinson.

The reason that John’s mother is known to be a Wilkinson is that Prudence took it upon herself to care for infant John after her daughter died, to the extent that, in June 1641, William Bucknam went to court to request that his son be returned to his home.

The rancor between William and his mother-in-law lasted past both their deaths. Prudence Wilkinson left a bequest to John Bucknam instead of William in the right of his deceased wife. William, in turn, left John a smaller bequest than that given to his other children, citing the bequest given by his maternal grandmother, which William felt should have gone to him.

William Bucknam next married Sarah – at least she was his second wife if no other undocumented wives happened in the interim. I need to clarify this Sarah because she has been given the surname of Knower. That is because William, in his will, named his “brother George Knore.”

Because Sarah survived her husband and William called George Knower his brother, it has been deduced (probably correctly) that his second wife was Sarah Knower. They married about 1640, based on the July 1641 birth date of their eldest child, Joses.

Before outlining the children and their spouses, one other detail needs to be addressed. There was a Rev. Jose Glover, a Puritan who left England for New England, but who died during the voyage. He left a (second) wife and five children and was a prosperous man, thanks to the dowry brought to his first marriage.

I have seen mention online, again with no documentation, that William and Sarah (Knower) Bucknam named their first son after the deceased minister because Sarah has been one of his servants.

I can’t state whether or not Joses Bucknam was named for the deceased minister, but the Knowers were already in New England by 1631, so Sarah probably wasn’t among the extended entourage of family members and servants of Rev. Jose Glover.

Next, William Bucknam’s year of birth isn’t known. Many, again unsourced, give a date of 1602, which is possible, but then if Miss Wilkinson was his first wife, William married a bit later than the typical age (for the time) of about 25.

Last, there is a William Boeckram (Bucknam?) who married Elizabeth Neal in Leyden, Netherlands on 17 December 1611. Some have written that William Bucknam of Malden was their son. I have no evidence supporting or rejecting that claim. However, I do have to say that if William was their son and was born about 1612 and not in 1602, he would hit the typical age of marriage (25) right on the mark, marrying about 1637.

Children:

1. John, born c1639, probably Massachusetts; died 14 June 1705, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts, if his death record description as “the son of William” refers to immigrant William Bucknam.

2. Joses, born 3 July 1641, Charlestown, Suffolk, Massachusetts; died 24 August 1694, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts; married (1) Hannah Knower, c1665 (2) Judith Worth, 1 May 1673, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts.
3. Elizabeth, born c1644, probably Charlestown, Suffolk, Massachusetts; died 18 July 1726, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts, surviving her husband by just two days; married Benjamin Whittemore, c1666. Her age at death was 82 and Benjamin’s as 86 years of age.
4. Samuel, born maybe 1646; died 13 September 1658, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts.
4. Mercy, born February 1647/48, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts; married Benjamin Webb, 7 December 1669, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts; no further record.
5. Sarah, born July 1650, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts; married Samuel Shattuck, 24 July 1676, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts. No further information, but one Samuel Shattuck, aged 17 and the son of Samuel and Sarah, died on 14 December 1695 in Salem.
6. William, born August 1652, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts; died 16/17 September 1693, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts; married Hannah Waite, 11 October 1676, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts.
7. Mehitable, born August 1654, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts; died 17 September 1734, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts; married Samuel Waite, before 1679. She is identified as aged 80, the widow of Samuel.
8. Edward, born September 1657, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts; no further record.
9. Samuel, born January 1659/60, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts; died 8 October 1747, Tewksbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts; married Martha Barnard, c1685.

Will of William Bucknam, 1694
Middlesex County Court, Probate File 3406
Source: American Ancestors

IN THE NAME OF GOD, through his Assistance; And According to his Will; As I Trust; I William Bucknam of Maldon in the Countie of Midlsex; Considering my Age, And decays of natural strength, And not knowing how Soone or Sudden, my Change may Come, And now through Mercie, sound in Mind and Memory; doe Make and Ordayn this my last Will And Testament, in Manner As hereafter is Expressed. First I comit my Soule to God that gave it through the Alone righteousnes of Jesus Christ, my Onely Savioure. My Body, to the Earth, from whence it was taken, to be decently buried by my Executrix hereafter Named; And After my funeral Charges, and just debts satisfied, my Will;

And Mind is; that All my Estate, both real and personal whatsoever, be disposed And Setled in Maner Following; (which before I proceed to the distribucon of, Least I shold be supposed by Any, to be unnatural or injurious unto my Son John as being my firstborne, I hereby declare, the true grounds and just Reasons for the Several gifts and legacies, disposed unto my wife and Children, as hereafter Stated, And why no more is Setled or otherwise Stated, on my Son, John, though my first-born.

First because the Estate, wherby I purchased All my lands: (And for that Allso by the improvement thereof through the blessing of God on my labours, I have built my housing and brought up my Children hitherunto, And have in my measure been helpfull, in Church, Town and Country Affayres.) Came unto mee by my wife Sara, that is now, And from her Kinred, who in A special Maner, intended it, for the benefit of her Children.

2dly. by means of much weaknes of his mother my first wife, And Expenses for him in his infancie, I was much run in debt, to sundry persons; the which were allso payed out of this woomans porcon.

3dly this my Son John, was After by his Grandmother taken from mee before he Came to Abilitie, to doe Any thing for mee, And on her desire bound As Apprentice to her till he should be 21 years and, So that I had no Service or help of his; to the raysing of my Estate.

4thly he Allso with my Consent, Enjoyeth A right of his Mother, to about twentie pounds value; These things thus premised)

I give and bequeth, unto my beloved wife Sara Bucknam, my dwellinghouse and outhouses, with the foure Acres of Land on which the housing standeth, Allso the twentie Acre Lott; somtime mr Francis Willoughbes. the five Acre Lott by the old housplatt, And All my Meadow ground, to have And Injoy of her own use, till Six Months After my decease:

And At the End of the Six Months Aforesayd, my Will is: that my wife resigne of yeild up one half part of the Sayd twentie Acre Lott:, half the Sayd five Acre Lott; and half the Meadow ground, unto my Sone Jose her Eldest Son, to be thenceforth Enjoyed And Improved by him or his Assignes to his own use and benefit: My foresayd house, housing; the foure Acres of Land it standeth on And the other half part of the foresayd divided land and Meadow, I give and bequeath unto my Sayd wife, during her natural (life?) After her decease, My Will and Mind is, that All my foresayd, housing, lands And Meadow grounds, with their Appurtenances, shall be; And remayn; to my Sayd Son Jose, And the Heirs Male of his body lawfully begotten;

And for want of Such Issue, to my Son William; his Heirs And Assignes for ever he paying to the Children of my Son Jose if Any shall be; ten pounds A peece, within twelve months After their Fathers decease And to his widow if then living the Sum of fourtie pounds: All my Land partable betwixt my brother George Knore and myself, purchased of Capt. Edward Jonson and others, Conteyning fiftiefive Acres in the whole; I give unto my Son William, his Heirs And Assignes For Ever, to be, by him injoyed at his Age of twentie one years Compleate; To my Son John Bucknam I give five pounds, to be payd in twelve Months next After my decease.

To my other Children: Namely Edward, Samuel, Mercie; Sara And Mehetabel I Give ten pounds A peece, to be payd them respectively; the Sons at twentie one years; the Daughters at Eighteeen years of Age Compleate; Allso I give my Son Samuel, being A weakly Child, toward his Educacon ten pounds.

To my daughter Elizabeth, (to whom I have given a porcon in Marriage.) I give, ten Shillings to buie her A Bible.

The Lands first As Above disposed to my Son Jose; Namely on half part of the twentie Acre Lott, half the five Acre Lott, And half the Meadow, at the End of Six Months After my decease I Give unto him my Sayd Son Jose, his Heirs And Assignes For Ever. And in Case my Son William, shall die before he come to the possession of the Land, or houses bequeathed him, my Will And Mind is that my Son Edward shall Succeed him therin As Heire therunto.

And if Any of my Children Namely Edward; Samuel, Mercie; Sara; or Mehetabel shall die before their receipt, or respective times of the Legacies Given them, My Will is, that Such Legacie be Apporconed Equally Among the Survivours of them. And my Will is; that my Son John be payd at my house in Catle and Corne of either of them at price Currant by my Executrix; And the Legacies to Edward; Samuel, Mercie; Sara And Mehetabel my Will is, that they be payd One half by my wife, And the other half by my Son Jose.

All the rest of my Estate, not formerly hereby disposed of; I Give to my Beloved wife Sara Bucknam, to whom and whose Christian Care; under God, I Comit the Educacon of my Children, And I doe Make and Constitute her, the Sole Executrix of this my last Will and Testament;

And for the better performance therof, I Make my beloved friends mr Joseph Hills and Capt. John Wayte my Overseers; And if Any Difference of Difficultie, shall Arise, about the true understanding of this my will or anything therin Conteined, I wholly Submit the Same to be determined by my Sayd overseers or the Survivour of them, for whose Care and payne therin, due recompence shall be Made, by my Executrix.

IN WITNES of All the premises And perticulers Aforemenconed, I the Sayd William Bucknam; have hearunto Set my hand And Seale the Third day of the fourth Month Called June, One thousand Six hundred Sixtie Seaven.

Signed Sealed Declared in the presence of us: Tho. Danforth, John Wayte, William Bucknam. [seal]


Codicil, 5 February 1678

I William Bucknam within name being sound in my understanding and memory doo upon moving make this alteration and addition to my last will and Testament on the other side whereon therin I did give my daughter Mehitabal ten pounds and my daughter Elizabeth ten shillings I doo make void and null both those gifts: — instead therof my wish is and I hereby give unto my sd daughter Mehetabal all my household goods except one flock bed. And to my daughter Elizabeth I doo give ten pounds. And unto my Sonne Edward‘s portion therin given my will is and I doo hereby give to him ten pounds more. And my will is that my Sonne Jose shall pay my sonnes Edward and Samuel and my daughters those portions — within a year after my decease and their other half within a year after my wife’s decease. And in case my wife dye before me then my sonne Jose to pay the one half of sd legacys within a year after my decease and the other half within two years after my decease and sayd legacies to be paid in good merchantable corne and meat cattle. only my daughter Mehetable’s portion to be pd her after myne and my wife’s decease.

In witness whereof I have hereunto sett my hand and seale this fifthe day of February one thousand six hundred Seaventy eight.

William (X) Bucknam

In presence of John Wayte, Jos Sprague.

3 thoughts on “William Bucknam, His Two Wives, Family & 1679 Will”

  1. I am doing research on who built a house south of boston in 1660
    The bricks were said to be brought from holland. My research showed thomas mayhew came from chelsea england to medford mass as the mason to build a brick hoise. Oddly the brick house was not built till 1678? One of our possible builders of 1660s had connections to trader from medford with big brick house. So we thought some possible connection. Looking at your lineage and shows goes to ppssibly leyden holland could your william bucknam lesrned his brick trade from holland innovation?

    1. My familyhistory tells me my 11th great grandfather, William Bucknam built the first brick home in America. He built it for Captain Craddock of the Abigail in around 1632. It still stands at Tufts University.

  2. William Bucknam was my 11th great grandfather on my fraternal grandmother’s side, Abigail Frances Bucknam Bebb, daughter of George Washington Bucknam.

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