Isaac Willey I

Isaac WILEY I (1614 – 1685) was Alex’s 11th Great Grandfather; one of 4,096 in this generation.

Issac Willey Coat of Arms

Isaac Willey was born in 1614 in Wiltshire, England.  His parents were Alan WILLEY and Alice MASON. He married  Joanna LUTTEN about 1636, possibly in Boston.  He was in Boston, Mass., as early as 1640, and removed to Charlestown, Mass., before 1644.  After Joanna died, he married Hannah Brooks, widow of Edward Lester on 23 Apr 1672 in New London.   Isaac died in 1685, Haddam, Middlesex, CT.

Joanna Lutten (Luttin) was born about 1618 in Camden Town, now London, England. Her parents were William LUTTIN and Jane WADDEL. She was a serving woman in Boston when she married Isaac.  Joanna died about 1670, New London, CT.

Hannah Brooks was born 1628 in Concord, Middlesex, Mass. Her parents were Henry Brooks and [__?__]. She first married 13 Dec 1647 in Concord, Mass. to Thomas Fox (24 Oct 1619 in England – d. 14 Apr 1658 in Concord, Mass.) and had six children with Thomas. She next married 1661 in New London, CT. to Andrew Lester (b. 1618 in England – d. 7 Jun 1669 in New London, CT) and had two more children. Finally, she married 24 Apr 1672 in Concord, Middlesex, Mass to Isaac Willey. Hannah died in 1692.

Children of Isaac and Joanna :

Name Born Married Departed
1. Joanna Willey 1638 Robert Hempstead
Andrew Lester
New London
2. Isaac Willey Jr. Baptized 2 Aug 1640 Frances BURCHAM
(Our ancestor from her later marriage to Clement MINER)
8 Jun 1660
Aug 1662
New London
3. Hannah Willey Baptized 6 Mar 1641/42 Thomas Hungerford
New London
Peter Blatchford
New London
ca. 1663
Samuel Spencer
About 1681
4. Sarah Willey 19 Jun 1644
Charlestown, Mass
John Terrell (Tyrrel)
New London
7 Mar 1711/12
5. Mary Willey ca. 1646 Samuel Tubbs after 1725
6. John WILLEY ca. 1648 Miriam MOORE
18 Mar 1669/70
New London, CT.
2 May 1688
Haddam CT
7. Abraham Willey 1650 Elizabeth Mortimer 1692

Isaac Willey was of Boston, Mass., as early as 1640, and removed to Charlestown, Mass., before 1644.   All that is known about him there are the records of his children given by Savage and in the Boston Record of births, etc.  He had wife Joanna, who died in New London, Connecticut., where he married after 1670 Anna, widow of Edward Lester.  She died in 1692.  In 1645 he went with John Winthrop, Jr., to New London. What is known about him there is given in Miss Caulkins’s History of New London.  Her notice is as follows:

” Willey’e houselot was on Mill brook, at the base of Post Hill. He was an agriculturist, and soon removed to a farm at the head of Nahantic River, which was confirmed to ‘ old Goodman Willie ‘ in 1664. It is probable that both he and his wife Joanna had passed the bounds of middle age, and that all their children were born before they came to the banks of the, Pequot.  Isaac Willey, Jr., was a married man at the time of his death in 1682. John Willey was one who wrought on the mill-dam in 1657 ; Abraham had married and settled in Haddam before his father’s decease. No other sons are known. Hannah, wife of Peter Blatchford, is the only daughter expressly named as such, but inferential testimony leads us to enroll among the members of this family Joanna, wife of Robert Hempstead, and afterward of Andrew Lester ; Mary, wife of Samuel Tubbs ; and Sarah, wife of John Terrall.

” Isaac Willey married second, after 1670, Anna, relict of Andrew Lester, who survived him. The Willey farm was sold to Abel Moore and Chr. Christophers. John Willey married in 1670 Miriam, daughter of Miles Moore. He lived beyond the head of Nahantic, and when the bounds between New London and Lyme were determined, his farm was split by the line, leaving twenty acres, on which stood his house, in New London.  “Abraham Willey, , married Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Mortimer, of New London.”

1645- Isaac  went with John Winthrop, Jr., to New London. What is known about him there is given in Miss Caulkins’s History of New London.

1645 – Isaac Willey and John Stebbins mowed the meadows of the Upper Mamacook.

25 Feb 1647 – John  was chosen, with John Winthrop, Robert Herapsteed, Samuel Lothroup and Thomas MINER , ” to act in all Toune affaires; ” and at the meeting he was granted ” to have a planting lot at the other side of the cove, near Mr. deane winthrops lot.” The house lots originally numbered 38, but the number was reduced to 36. The first grantee was John Winthrop, Esq., and Isaac Willey was the fifth after him, ” his homestead lying north west of Mr. Winthrop’s on the upper part of what are now Williams street and Main street.”  [Today, Williams Street is in downtown New London, but Main Street does not exist.]

His name occurs as one of sixteen who had cattle marks before 1650.

May 1649 – At a General Court ” certain individuals at Pequot,” viz., Robert Bedell, Gary Latham and Isaac Willey, charged with resisting a constable and letting go an Indian committed to their charge, were summoned to appear at Hartford and answer for their conduct.

About 1652 – Two necks of land, one of them called ” a pyne neck,” with a broad cove between them, east of Pequot River, were granted to him, and sold by him to Amos Richardson. The Nahantic farm is described as ” rounding the head of the river.”

20 Sep 1657 – Referring to rate bills of that date Miss Caulkins says: ” After enumerating house and houselot, meadow, marsh and upland, the planter had from two to four cows; half a dozen calves, yearlings and two years old; a litter of swine and two or three sheep, or perhaps a share in two or three sheep. This was all the ratable property of even some of the oldest settlers, as Willey.”

1669 – His name is 15th in the list of 21 freemen.. [Conn. Colon. Rec., ii, p. 523.]

29 Nov. 1669 – The town appointed Wm. Hough, John Stebbins, Clement MINOR and Isaac Willey ” to lay out the King’s highway between New London and the head of Niantick river.”

12 Mar 1672 – He appears to have been a participant in the affray in Aug. 1671, arising out of the disputed lands between New London and Lyme, now East Lyme, as he was among those arraigned at Hartford, ” for attempts by violence to drive Mr. Mathew Griswold and Lieut. Wm. Waller off their lands, and resistance to authority and assault.” [Conn. Colonial Rec., ii, p. 558.]

Many sites state that [our ancestor] Francis GRISWOLD immigrated with his brother Matthew, but I’m thinking Matthew belonged to a different family.    It looks like Francis lived in Cambridge, Mass and brothers Matthew and Edward Griswold immigrated to Connecticut, and are associated with Saybrook, Norwich and  Killingworth, Connecticut, called then “Kenilworth,” in honor of the Griswold’s native place in England.

9 Jul 1663 – He took probate of the will of his son-in-law, Thomas Hungerford, at Hartford, [Goodwin, p. 201.]

1667 – Goodwife Willey was presented before the court ” for not attending public worship and bringing her children thither,” and fined 5 shillings. [Miss Caulkins, p. 250.]

Genealogical and family history of western New York: a record of …, Volume 2 edited by William Richard Cutter

Isaac Willey, immigrant ancestor, was in Boston, Massachusetts, as early as 1640.

Before 1644 he removed to Charlestown, Massachusetts, where the records of his children are found, in addition to those records in the Boston record of births. In 1645 he went with John Winthrop Jr. to New London, Connecticut, where he died about 1685. His house lot was on Mill brook, at the foot of Post hill. He was a farmer, and in a short time moved to a farm at the head of Nahantic river, which in 1664 was confirmed to “old Goodman Willie.” Their children were doubtless all born before they moved here. In 1645 he and John Stebbins mowed the meadows of the Upper Mamacook. He was chosen at a meeting, February 25, 1647. with John Winthrop, Robert Hempsteed, Samuel Lothroup and Thomas Minor, “to act in all Toune affairs,” and at the same time he was granted a planting lot near the cove. He was one of sixteen who had cattle marks before 1650. In May, 1649, he was before the general court with two others, charged with resisting a constable and letting go an Indian committed to their charge, and they were summoned to appear at Hartford to answer for their conduct. About 1652 he received two grants of land east of Pequot river, and he sold them to Amos Richardson. In 1669 his name was on a list of twenty-one freemen. On November 29, 1669, he was on a committee for laying out the King’s highway between New London and the head of the Niantic river. On March 12, 1671-72, he was among those arraigned at Hartford “for attempts by violence to drive Mr. Mathew Griswold and Lieut. Wm. Waller off their lands, and resistance to authority and assault.” This shows that he was among those who participated in the affray in August, 1671, because of disputed lands between New London and Lyme. In 1667 Goodwife Willey was brought before court and fined five shillings “for not attending public worship and bringing her children thither.”

He married (first) Joanna , who died in New London. He married (second) after 1670, Anna, widow of Edward Lester, and she died in 1692. Children, by first wife: Joanna, birth not recorded; (Savage doubts her existence; Miss Caulkins says she was second wife of Robert Hempstead, who died at New London in June, 1655, after which she married Andrew Lester); Isaac, baptized on his mother’s right at Boston, August 2, 1640; Hannah, baptized in Boston, March 6, 1641-42; Sarah, born at Charlestown, June 19, 1644; Mary, born about 1646;John, mentioned below; Abraham, at New London, perhaps about 1650.


1. Joanna Willey

Wife of Robert Hempstead, mother of Mary, the first child born in the new town of Pequot, later New London.

Many have given her the maiden name of Willey; actually there is no foundation in the historical record for this claim, and THE DIARY OF JOSHUA HEMPSTEAD offers no encouragement for such conjecture. The 1999 version correctly lists her as “Joane” in the introduction.

It’s also noteworthy that Joshua (1678-1758) the Diarist never refers to a Willey as “Uncle, Aunt or Cousin;” or in any other relational capacity.

Joanna’s first husband Robert Hempstead was born 1613 in Steeple Bumstead, Essex, England. His parents were William Hempstead and [__?__]. Robert died Jun 1654 in New London, New London, CT.

from the “Diary of Joshua Hempstead” – “Robert Hempstead was one of the 36 grantees of original house lots in New London. is more probable that Robert Hempstead was from Hempstead, Long Island, rather than with Winthrop’s men”

Frances Manwaring Caulkins says of Robert Hempstead (in her HISTORY OF NEW LONDON): “The name of Robert Hempstead has not been traced in New England previous to its appearance on our records. It is probable that when he came to Pequot with Winthrop in 1645, he had recently arrived in the country and was a young, unmarried man…”

“That Robert (and wife Joane) are buried in the Ancient Burial Place there is little doubt. Pursuing our investigations we might make a long list of the fathers of the town whose graves have not been found, but whom we suppose to have been gathered into this congregation of the dead…-Where were interred, if not here, Robert Hempstead…?”

Joanna’s second husband Andrew Lester was born 1618 in England. After Joanna died, he married 1661 in New London, New London, CT to Hannah Brooks and had two more children. Andrew died 7 Jun 1669 in New London, New London, CT. After Andrew died, Hannah married 24 Apr 1672 in Concord, Middlesex, Mass to Joanna’s father Isaac WILLEY. Hannah died in 1692.

2. Isaac Willey Jr.

Issac’s wife Frances BURCHAM  was born c. 1644 in Lynn MA.  Her parents were Edward BURCHAM of Lynn, Mass and Katherine MASON.   She first married 8 Jun 1660 in Boston, Suffolk, Mass to Isaac Willey Jr. We are descendants from Frances’ second marriage.  Isaac died soon after the marriage and she married second 26 Nov 1662  to Clement MINER   Frances died on 6 Dec 1672 shortly after the birth of Ann.

3. Hannah Willey

Hannah’s first husband Thomas Hungerford was born 1602 in Farley Hungerford, Somerset, England. His parents were cousins Anthony Hungerford and Lucy Hungerford, daughter of Sir Walter Hungerford. He was married once before Hannah, but his first wife’s name is not known. Thomas died in Mar 1663 in New London, New London, CT.

Hannah’s second husband Peter Blatchford was born 1640 in New London, New London, CT. Peter died 1 Sep 1671 in New London, New London, CT.

Hannah’s third husband Samuel Spencer was born 1650 in Lynn, Essex, Mass. His parents were Gerard Spencer and Hannah Hills. After Hannah died, he married  in 1689 to  Merriam MOORE, the widow of his brother-in-law, John WILLEY.  Samuel died 7 Aug 1705 in East Haddam, Middlesex, CT.

HUNGERFORD: is an ancient English surname, derived originally from the name of a locality. Sir Thomas Hungerford, the first of the name of any historical prominence, is said to have begun life in the humble situation of register of Wyvie, Bishop of Salsbury; first speaker (1377) of the House of Commons; Farley Castle, the home of Sir Thomas (the first Sir Thomas) was at Blark Bounton, County Oxford, and his monument there shows that he died in 1398; the Farley estate remained in the Hungerford family until 1711, when the last of the direct male line died.; the name is extinct in England, but branches of the family survive in Ireland, it is said, as well as in America;

Thomas Hangerford, died 1663.
Estate, £100. Children, three — “Thomas, aged about fifteen; Sarah, nine; Hannah, four years old, this first of May, 1663.” The relict of Thomas Hungerford, married Samuel Spencer, of East Haddam ;one of the daughters married Lewis Hughes, of Lyme.

On the road leading from New London to the Nahantick bar, (Rope Ferry) nearly in the parallel of Bruen’s Neck, is a large single rock of granite, that in former times was popularly known as Hungerford’s Fort. It is also mentioned on the proprietary records in describing the pathway to Bruen’s Neck, as “the great rock called Hungerfort’s Fort.” We must refer to tradition for the origin of the name. It is said that a young daughter of the Hungerford family (Hannah?) being alone on this road, on her way to school, found herself watched and pursued by a hungry wolf. He made his approaches cautiously, and she had time to secure some weapon of defense, and to retreat to this rock before ho actually made his attack. And here she succeeded in beating him off, though he made several leaps up the rock, and his fearful bark almost bewildered her senses, till assistance came. We can not account for the name and the tradition, without allowing that some strange incident occurred in connection with the rock, and that a wolf and a member of the Hungerford family were involved in it ; but the above account may not be a correct version of the story.

Thomas Hungerford, 2d, had a grant of land in 1673, “four miles f1om town,” and his name occurs, as an inhabitant, for ten or twelve years, though he was afterward of Lyme. The heroine of the rock is more likely to have been a member of his family, than of that of his father, whose residence was in the town plot, on the bank.

4. Sarah Willey

Sarah’s husband John Terrell (Tyrrel) was born Aug 1644 in Milford, New Haven, CT. His parents were Roger Terrell and Abigail Ufford. John died 27 Feb 1712 in Milford, New Haven, CT.

John was a taxpayer as early as 1664 and was one of the grantees of New London, Connecticut. John married Sarah, daughter of Isaac Wiley, and died February 27, 1712, the death of his wife occurring March 7 of that same year. No children are mentioned in her will, but it is thought that he had children by a first wife, for the chruch records mention two children, William and Mary, baptized May 7, 1761.

5. Mary Willey

Mary’s husband Samuel Tubbs was born 1638 in Duxbury, Plymouth, Mass. His parents were William Tubbs and Mercy Sprague. Samuel died in 1696 in New London, New London, CT.

Samuel was a member of the Connecticut volunteers in King Philip’s War and in 1696 was granted land in Voluntown, CT for his service. (See Great Swamp Fight – Aftermath for details)

6. John WILLEY (See his page)

7. Abraham Willey

Abraham’s wife Elizabeth Mortimer was born 1655 in New London, New London, CT. Her parents were Thomas Mortimer and Elizabeth [__?_]. Elizabeth died in 1692 in Haddam, Middlesex, CT.


Isaac Willey of New London Connecticut and His Descendants – Google Books

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11 Responses to Isaac Willey I

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  9. By what evidence from original records can the parents or specific origins of Isaac Willey be identified?

  10. Perry Streeter says:

    === Evidence-Based Content from The Great Migration Series ===

    — The origins of Isaac Willey are unknown.
    — Isaac Willey was not a son of Allen & Alice (Mason) Willey.

    Robert Charles Anderson (Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists), The Great Migration Directory: Immigrants to New England, 1620–1640 (Boston: New England Historical and Genealogical Society, 2015), 374:

    Willey, Allen: Saleby, Lincolnshire; 1634; Boston…
    Willey, Isaac: Unknown [origins]; 1640; Boston, Charlestown, New London…

    With respect to “Alan Willey,” below are verbatim excerpts from Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration, Immigrants to New England, 1634–35 (2011), pages 427-428:

    ORIGIN: Saleby, Lincolnshire.


    BIRTH: By about 1603…
    MARRIAGE: Saleby, Lincolnshire, 15 May 1628 Alice MASON…

    ASSOCIATIONS: No connection has been found with Isaac Willey who appeared in Boston by 1640.

    <== end of verbatim excerpts from The Great Migration

  11. Perry Streeter says:

    === Joanna (—?—) Willey & Joan (—?—) (Hempstead) Lester were not related ===

    Isaac-1 Willey married first Joanna [—?—] about 1639 before their first known child, Isaac, was baptized in Boston on 2 June 1640. Joanna died before 1670 and Isaac Willey married second, about 1670, Ann/Anna/Hannah (Brooks) (Fox) Lester, the widow of Andrew-1 Lester (also known in error as Edward Lester). Andrew Lester had died 7 June 1669; he was previously married to Barbara [—?—] and Joan (—?—) Hempstead (also known as Joanna), the widow of Robert Hempstead. Given the sequence of events and the chronology of all the individuals involved:

    — Joan (—?—) (Hempstead) Lester could not have been the widow of Isaac Willey.
    — Joan (—?—) (Hempstead) Lester was born too early to have been a daughter of Isaac and Joanna (—?—) Willey.
    — Joanna (—?—) Willey and Joan (—?—) (Hempstead) Lester were not related.

    Martin E. Hollick, “Mary-2 Lester, Wife of Thomas-1 Clark(e) of Hartford, Connecticut,” The American Genealogist (Volume 83[2008]:68).

    Miriam Brightman Eddy, “Thomas, Henry and Hannah Brooks of Concord [Massachusetts],” The American Genealogist (Volume 54 [1978]: 234+).

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