William Beamsley

William BEAMSLEY (1605 – 1658) was Alex’s  11th Great Grandfather, one of 4,096  in this generation of the Shaw line.

William Beamsley - Coat of Arms

Ensign William Beamsley was born about 1605 in England.  His origin is undetermined, but the name Beamsley is found only in Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England. His married Anne [__?__] in England. He arrived with his wife Anne as part of the Winthrop Fleet in 1630 and settled at Boston. After Anne died, he married Martha (Hallor) Bushnell about 1645.  William died before 28 Oct 1658 in Boston, Mass.

Anne [__?__] was born in 1609 and died before 1645.

Martha Hallor was born about 1606.  She was the widow of Edmond Bushnell when she married William.  By her first husband she had five children, of whom three survived to adulthood and were named in the will of their stepfather; on 12 Jun 1663.  In”answer to the petition of Martha Beamesly, of Boston, widow, humbly desiring the favor of this Court to grant her license to distill & retail strong waters, &c., the Court judgeth it meet to grant her request, she giving security to the secretary for the keeping due order, without offence or prejudice to the law & order of the County Court” ; she died before 16 Nov 1668 when the heirs of William Beamsley sold his houselot in Boston, land which had been given to her for life in her husband’s will.

Children of William and Ann:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Ann Beamsley 13 FEB 1632/33
Boston, Mass
Ezekiel Woodward
JAN 1649/50 Boston
BEF 1672 Ipswich, Essex, Mass
2. Grace BEAMSLEY Baptized
10 Sep 1635 in Boston
ca. 1657
26 Nov 1730 aged 95.
3. Mercy Beamsley 9 DEC 1637 Boston Michael Wilborne
17 OCT 1656 Boston by
Richard Bellingham, Deputy Governor
Andrew Peeters
6 Nov 1726
Andover, Mass
4. Samuel Beamsley 24 JAN 1641 Boston APR 1641
5. Habakuk Beamsley 24 JAN 1641 Boston APR 1641
6. Hannah Beamsley 13 DEC 1643 Boston Edward Bushnell
Abraham Perkins (Son of Quartermaster John PERKINS)
16 OCT 1661
16 OCT 1732 Ipswich, Essex, Mass

Children of William and Martha Hallor:

Name Born Married Departed
Abigail Beamsley 6 Feb 1646 probably died young.

Children of Edmond Bushnell and Martha Hallor

5 April 1635 – William Beamsley labourer” admitted to Boston church

25 May 1636 – Freeman (9th in a group of 20 Boston men)

8 Jan 1636/37 – Granted sixteen acres at Muddy River, (based on order of 14 Dec 1635)  In the Boston Book of Possessions, Beamsley held two lots: house and houselot, about half an acre; and sixteen acres at Muddy River.  On 6 July 1650 he purchased from William Phillips a lot in the Mill Field, and on 25 Jan 1655/56 he purchased an adjoining parcel from widow Mary Hawkins; on 25 Apr 1656 he sold the combined lot to Henry Shrimpton.

"River" is perhaps too grandiloquent a word for the Muddy River - a collection of brooks, ponds and culverts that runs 3.5 miles from near Jamaica Pond to the Charles River and which serves as the Boston/Brookline line

26 Jul 1641 – It is “agreed that our brother Beamsly is to be paid for 10 rods of causeway done by him on the further side of the bridge at Rumney Marsh, at 6s. per rod, together with a small parcel of work on the hither side of the said bridge, which cometh to 1s. 6d.; in all £3 1s. 6d.”

Rumney Marsh Reservation

13 Mar 1648 – Constable for Boston

27 Aug 1649 – It is “ordered that Wm. Beamsly shall remove away his oyster shells from off the town’s highway before his door by the 1 of the 11th month [i.e., by 1 Jan 1649/50], on the penalty of 20s. fine”.

11 Mar and 12 Apr 1650 – Committee to lay out highways

20 Feb 1650/51 Thomas Marshall of Boston, shoemaker, sold to William Beamsley of Boston a parcel of marsh, and on 2 May 1657 “Will[iam] Beamsly of Boston aforesaid yeoman” sold to Elias Maverick and David Kelly for £12 the same parcel of marsh

1 Mar 1650/51 – The Boston selectmen gave William Beamsley liberty “to wharf or pier before his property to low water mark, provided he go no broader there than his ground is at high water mark”.

23 Feb and 26 Apr 1652 Fenceviewer

10 Mar 1656 – Water bailey

28 Apr 1656 “Wm. Beamsley is fined 10s. for receiving an inhabitant without license”

9 Mar 1657 – Highway Surveyor

1657 – Admitted to the Artillery Company and attained the rank of ensign.

1 Dec 1657 – “William Beamsly of Boston … yeoman and Martha his wife” sold to Henry Kemble of Boston, blacksmith, for a valuable consideration a parcel of land twenty-two feet wide at the west end, twenty-one and a half feet wide at the east end, and ninety-six feet on the north and south sides, bounding William Wenborne on the north and William Beamsley on the south.

25 Jan 1657/8 the selectmen stated that “Elizabeth Blesdale hath liberty to reside in the town, and Wm. Beamsley is bound in a bond of twenty pounds to save the town from any charge that may arise by her during her said residence …”

14 Sep 1658 – William Beamsley confirmed a grant he had made to “my daughter Anne Woodward, now the wife of Ezekiell Woodward, of a certain house and orchard, as it is now fenced wherein they have lived, seven years, or thereabouts …”

14 Sep 1658  – Will,  Proved 28 Oct 1658. He made “my wife full executrix and administratrix of all my houses, lands, orchards, goods and chattels whatsoever that she shall enjoy and possess the same unto her own proper use as long as she shall live provided she shall let Mercy have that chamber wherein she now lies for her own, and that there shall be with all conveniency made therein a chimney & she to enjoy it during her widowhood and I desire that my wife may take the charge and care of her and see that she wants neither meat, drink nor clothing during the time of her widowhood, and further my will is that after my wife’s decease my whole estate shall be then prized and set to sale, the whole estate that is then left to be equally distributed amongst all my children, namely Ann, w. of Ezekiel Woodward; Grace, w. of Samuel GRAVES of Ipswich; Mercy, who m. Michael Wilborne, and next Andre Peters, of Ipswich; Hannah, w. of Bushnell, who after m., Abraham Perkins; Eliz. w. of Edward Page; Mary, w. of ROBISON, who after m. Thomas DENNIS; and for Edward BUSHNELL, perhaps son of his widow. by her former husband. The ch. made sale of the est. in Nov 1668, when perhaps his wid. was dec.

15 Oct 1658 – Inventory taken of “the estate of the late Ensign William Beamsly (who departed this life the 29th of September last)  totalled £251 14s. 1d., of which £164 was real estate: house and land at Boston, £140; and land at Muddy River, £24; on 28 October 1658 “Martha Beamesly deposed this to be a true inventory of Wm. Beamesly her late husband’s estate”.

16 Nov 1668 – “Ann Woodward with Ezekiell Woodward her present husband, Grace Graves with Samuell GRAVES her present husband, Mercy Wilborne alias Peterson with Andrew Peterson her present husband, Hannah Beamsley alias Perkins with Abraham Perkins her present husband, Elizabeth Page with Edward Page her present husband, Mary Roberson alias Dennis with Thomas Dennis her present husband, [and] Edward Bushnell all formerly of Boston” sold to Key Alsop of Boston, merchant, for £200 “a certain houses or houses [sic] with an orchard, yards and gardens” in Boston, and also additional ground to the east of this lot.

EDUCATION: Signed his will and several deeds. Inventory included books valued at £1 8s. William Beamsley’s second wife, Martha, made her mark to several of his deeds.


1. Ann Beamsley

Ann’s husband Ezekiel Woodward was born May 1624 in Puddington, Bedfordshire, England.  In 1633, he immigrated with his parents Nathaniel Woodward (1580 – 1685) and Margaret Lawrence (1590 – 1661).   After Ann died, he married 20 Dec 1672 at Age: 48 in Wenham, Essex, Mass to Mrs. Elizabeth Soldart.  Ezekiel died 29 Jan 1699 in Wenham, Essex, Mass.

Elizabeth [Knight or Jerningham?] was born 1619 in Somerleyton, Suffolk, England   She married abt 1650 to John Solart (c.1622 Wherstead, Suffolk, England – 24 May 1672 in Wenham, Mass.)  Elizabeth died 3 Dec 1678 in Wenham, Essex, Mass.

Children of Elizabeth and John

i. Alice Woodward 1649 – 1685; m. 1670 to William Yarrington

ii. Sarah Solart b. 14 Jul 1653; d. 19 Jul 1692 in Salem, Essex, Mass.; m1. Daniel Poole; m2. 1690 Age: 37 Salem, Essex, Mass to William Good

Sarah Good (wiki) was the first person accused of witchcraft in 1692.

Sarah’s father John Solart was a well off innkeeper, but his  estate was tied up in litigation that left Good virtually nothing. Her first marriage was to a poor indentured servant named Daniel Poole who died in debt in 1686. Her second marriage to William Good was doomed from the outset because the couple had to pay for the debts of first husband Poole. The Goods were homeless, renting rooms in other people’s houses, and they had two young children. William worked as a laborer around Salem Village in exchange for food and lodging, but it became increasingly difficult for the family to find a place to stay as Sarah’s reputation for and being socially unpleasant spread throughout the town. The family was regarded as a nuisance to the town, and by 1692 they were virtually beggars.

She was accused  because of economical and political biases from the families of the accusers. Sarah, who was homeless, was described by the people of Salem as being filthy, bad-tempered, and strangely detached from the rest of the village. She was often associated with the death of residents’ livestock and would wander door to door, asking for charity. If the resident refused, Good would walk away muttering under her breath. Although she maintained at the trial that she was only saying the Ten Commandments, those who turned her away would later claim she was chanting curses in revenge. Also, when asked to say the Commandments at her trial, she could not recite a single one.

Sarah was accused of witchcraft on February 25, 1692, when Abigail Williams and Betty Parris, related to the Reverend Parris, claimed to be bewitched under her hand. The young girls appeared to have been bitten, pinched, and otherwise abused. They would have fits in which their bodies would appear to involuntarily convulse, their eyes rolling into the back of their heads and their mouths hanging open. When Reverend Samuel Parris asked “Who torments you?” the girls eventually shouted out the names of three townspeople: Tituba, Sarah Osborne, and Sarah Good.

On March 1, 1692, Good was tried for witchcraft. When she was brought in, the accusers immediately began to rock back and forth and moan, seemingly in response to Good’s presence. Later on in the trial, one of the accusers fell into a fit. When it had stopped, she claimed Good had attacked her with a knife; she even produced a portion of it, stating the weapon had been broken during the alleged assault. However, upon hearing this statement, a young townsman stood and told the court the piece had broken off his own knife the day before, and that the girl had witnessed it. He then revealed the other half, proving his story. After hearing this, the judge simply scolded the girl for exaggerating what he believed to be the truth.

Sarah Good

Others who testified in Good’s trial claimed to have seen her flying through the sky on a stick, presumably to get to her “witch meetings.” Even her husband testified against her, stating he had seen the Devil’s mark on her body, right below her shoulder. He also told the court he had reason to believe she was either presently a witch, or would soon become one. Dorcas Good, Sarah’s four year old daughter, was later forced to testify against her, claiming that she was a witch and she had seen her mother consorting with the devil. Sarah was pregnant at the time of her arrest and gave birth to Mercy Good in her cell in Ipswich Jail. Mercy died shortly after birth most likely due to malnutrition, lack of medical care, and unsanitary conditions.

Although both Good and Sarah Osborne denied the allegations against them, Tituba admitted to being the “Devil’s servant.” She stated that a tall man dressed all in black came to them, demanding they sign their names in a great book. Although initially refusing, Tituba said, she eventually wrote her name, after Good and Osborne forced her to. There were 6 other names in the book as well but Tituba said, they were not visible to her. She also said that Good had ordered her cat to attack Elizabeth Hubbard, causing the scratches and bite marks on the girl’s body. She spoke of seeing Good with black and yellow birds surrounding her, and that Good had also sent these animals to harm the girls. When the girls began to have another fit, Tituba claimed she could see a yellow bird in Good’s right hand. The young accusers agreed.

Sarah Good - Crucible

When Good was allowed the chance to defend herself in front of the 12 jurors in the Salem Village meeting house, she argued her innocence, proclaiming Tituba and Osborne as the real witches. In the end, however, Sarah Good was convicted of witchcraft and sentenced to death. Later, Dorcas Good was also accused of witchcraft. Mary Walcott and Ann Putnam Jr. claimed she was deranged, and repeatedly bit them as if she were an animal. Dorcas, who was incorrectly called “Dorothy Good” while on trial, received a brief hearing in which the accusers repeatedly complained of bites on their arms. She was then convicted and sent to jail, becoming at age five the youngest person to be jailed during the Salem Witch Trials. Two days later, she was visited by Salem officials. She claimed she owned a snake—given to her by her mother—that talked to her and sucked blood from her finger. The officials took this to mean it was her “familiar,” which is defined as a witch’s spiritual servant. Dorothy was released from jail several months later, and evidently suffered from psychological issues for the remainder of her life.

On July 19, 1692, Sarah Good was hanged along with four other women convicted of witchcraft. While the other four quietly awaited execution, Good firmly proclaimed her innocence. Reverend Nicholas Noyes was persistent, but unsuccessful, in his attempts to force Good to confess.

Epilogue – While the other women quietly awaited their fate, Sarah Good remained defiant to the end. When Reverend Noyes urged her to confess and repent on the scaffold, she replied, “You are a liar. I am no more witch than you are a wizard. If you take my life away, God will give you blood to drink.” That assured everyone she was a witch.  Twenty-five years later Rev. Noyes died of a hemmorrhage in the fact-in fact drinking his own blood; many in Salem remembered Sarah Good.

Children of Ezekiel and Elizabeth:

iii. Abiah Woodward b. 1670 in Beverly, Essex, Mass.; d. 1720 in Connecticut

iv. Mehetabel Woodward b. 17 Nov 1677 in Beverly, Essex, Mass.; d. 13 Jun 1739 in Preston City, New London, CT

Ezekiel was a soldier in King Philips War and lived in Ispwish and Wenhaw Massachusetts.

Residence 1660, Massachusetts. He held the rank of sergeant in Samuel Appleton’s company from Ipswitch when it was mustered on Dedham Plain on Dec 9, 1675. That he shortly after participated in the Great Swamp Fight and Hungry March is seen in his being a soldier of grantee for Narragansett Township No. 1. (now Buxton, Maine)

“Ezekiel Woodward was born about 1624, since in 1672 he deposed that he was about fifty-eight years old. He acquired land in Boston in 1651. In November, 1668, he deposed at Salem that he had known [our ancestor] Thomas WELLS, then a defendant, for seventeen or eighteen years. [See Thomas WELLS‘ page for details about this case.]  His life until about 1660 was spent in Boston where he had married about 1650 as his first wife Anne Beamsley, the mother of all of his children.

On September 14, 1658, the day William Beamsley made his will he also signed a confirmatory deed to Ezekiel and his wife Anne of a portion of the Beamsley home lot on which the young couple had lived about seven years…

” Ezekiel, whose trade was carpentry, is not recorded as having taken part in public affairs during the ten years he lived in Boston nor as having church membership nor freemanship but five of their nine children were born during the period so Anne must have been a busy woman and Ezekiel must have been active in his carpentry to have cared for them all… “Henceforth our relationships to the Woodward family appear only in Essex County.

Ezekiel, as of Ipswich, in March, 1661, paid £60 to Ralph Dix for a tract of two and one-half acres and a house “by the smaller falls” and near the Great Bridge which was built in 1672. He lived in this property, which was bounded on the northeast and southwest by the Mill River, for about ten years, but in October, 1672, after the death of his wife, Anne and about the time of his own removal to Wenham, Ezekiel sold a part of the Ipswich tract to Shoreborn Wilson and sold the house and remainder of the lot in 1679…

“In April, 1667, Ezekiel was taken sharply to task “for his great offense in affronting the constables in the execution of their office.” The court ruled that he should be fined or make public acknowledgement of his fault on the next lecture day, and he is recorded as having chosen the latter. The conditions concerning the punishment of four young men who had torn up a bridge and were sentenced each to sit an hour in the stocks and then be returned to jail until a three pound fine was paid for each of them. While they were in the stocks the citizenry including Ezekiel evidently crowded around, and the two constables ordered them to “keep further off” and presumably punished Ezekiel, for he is quoted as saying to them that “it was the King’s ground, that he had a right to stand there as well as they, and if they thrust him again he would sett them further off.” Another witness claimed that Ezekiel said to one of the constables “what will you? breed a mutanye and if you had stroak me, I would a laid you over the head!””

Children of Ann and Ezekiel

i. Prudence Woodward b. 4 Apr 1660 in Boston, Suffolk, Mass. d. Dec 1732 in Ipswich, Essex, Mass.; m. Benjamin Marshall, son of [our ancestor] Edmond MARSHALL

2. Grace BEAMSLEY (See Samuel GRAVES II‘s page)

3. Mercy Beamsley

Mercy’s first husband, Michael Wilboume was born 1637 in England. Michael died in 1658 in Andover, Essex, Mass.

Mercy’s second husband Andrew Peeters was born 1634 in Ipswich, Essex, Mass. His parents were William Peters and Elizabeth Treffery Andrew died 14 Dec 1713 in Andover, Essex, Mass.

Andrew Peters Headstone -- Old North Parish Burying Ground, North Andover, Essex, Mass.


Michael was a carpenter. There is no record of his death, but Mercy appears to have been a widow in September, 1658, when her father’s will was made. It will be seen that Mercy and Mary are used interchangeably; probably the old pronunciation, and consequent spelling “Marcy, ” are responsible for this error. Her second husband  Andrew Peeters. No record of birth (bom probably in England, in 1634-35), died in Andover, Mass., 14 Dec 1713, in the seventy-ninth year of his age.

Mercy Beamsley was one day standing at her window to watch the people wading through the trails, which then served as streets, when her attention was attracted by “a young Holland” picking his way through the mud. Andrew Peeters had just arrived, and looking up he saw her watching. He then and there resolved to marry her, it is said. This version calls Andrew a Dutchman. It is certain that he was an Englishman though he probably lived, and possibly was born in Holland. He appears in this country as a young man with sufficient worldly possessions and a good education, especially for those days, — witness his will written by himself and in which the spelling is quite remarkable and the writing that of a man thoroughly used to the pen.

Andrew was a distiller. During his residence in Andover Andrew appears to have been certainly
once, perhaps twice, burned out by the Indians. “1692 Mr Andrew Peeters (now an inhabitant in Andover), being lately burnt out by ye Indians. ” This may have occurred in 1689, or it may have been more recent, but certainly his son Samuel was too young to be his partner at that time, and he says in his will: “whereas I was Burnt out bij ye heathen Enemij hee ye said Samuell Peeters
hath been mij Copartner Euer Since.” This second burning may have been the one referred to in 1698.

Children of Mercy and Peter

i.  John Peters   b. 28 Feb 1660, killed by the indians, in Andover, 14 Aug 1689, m. 25 May 1680, Mary Edwards, b. 16 Oct 1661 d. 11 Jan 1733, dau. of John Edwards.

ii. Elizabeth Peters  b. 26 Aug 1662 d.31 Oct 1703 , m. 25 Nov 1678 John Sady and 20 Oct 1712 Walter Wright

iii. Andrew Peters  b. pro. 1664, killed by indians, in Andover, 14 Aug 1689, m. 8 Feb 1685, Elizabeth Farnham, b. 19 Feb 1661, dau. of Thomas Farnham and Elizabeth Sibbons.

iv. Mary Peters   b.12 Jun 1668,d.21 Jul 1753, m. 22 may 1686, Thomas Chandler, b. 9 Oct 1664, d. 20 Jan 1737, son of Capt. Thomas chandler and Hannah Brewer.

v. Mercy Peters  b. 27 Jan 1670, d.25 Dec 1690, m. 22 May 1686 m. John Allen, b. 16 Mar 1662 d. 26 Nov 1690, son of Andrew Allen and Faith Ingalls.

vi William Peters  b. 7 Feb 1672, killed by indians, in Andover, 13 Aug 1696, is said to have married in 1694, Margaret Russe.

vii. Samuel Peters b. prob. in 1674-75m d, 2 May 1736 m. Phoebe Frie, b. 28 May 1680 d. 14 May 1757, dau. of Ensign Samuel Frie and Mary Aslebe, of Andover.

5.  Habakuk Beamsley

Habakuk means “embrace.”  The Book of Habakkuk is the eighth book of the 12 minor prophets of the Old Testament .  It is attributed to the prophet Habakkuk, and was probably composed in the late 7th century BC.  The 12 minor prophets are: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. Micah is the one that’s trendy right now, which one would you pick for your baby name?.

6. Hannah Beamsley

Hannah’s first husband Edward Bushnell was born 1643 in Boston, Suffolk, Mass.  He was Hannah’s step-brother.  His parents were Edmond Bushnell and Martha Hallor. Martha married Hannah’s father when Hannah was only two years old.. Edward died 16 Oct 1661 in Boston, Suffolk, Mass.

Hannah’s second second Abraham Perkins was born 1640 in Ipswich, Essex, Mass. His parents were Quartermaster John PERKINS and Elizabeth EVELETH. Abraham died 27 Apr 1722 in Ipswich, Essex, Mass (Son of )





Edmond Frank Peters. Peters of New England: a genealogy, and family history;

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13 Responses to William Beamsley

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