William Collier

William COLLIER (1585 – 1671) was Alex’s 11th Great Grandfather in two ways, through his granddaughters Mercy Freeman and Sarah Howes, making him  two of 4,096 in this generation of the Shaw line.

William Collier Coat of Arms

William Collier was born about 1585/1586 in Southwark, Surrey, England. His parents were Abraham COLLIER and [__?__].

“One of the last public services rendered by Mr. William Collier was a testimony given by him, 16 April 1668. . . It will be seen to be of great value from the fact that it is the only document so far as known in New England which gives any idea as to the time of his birth. It reads as follows: – ‘Mr William Collier aged 85 or thereabouts Testifieth . . .’ ” – Anna C. Kingsbury, A Historical Sketch of William Collier, (Self-published, 1925).

William was a London merchant. Records refer to his as a grocer and owner of a brew house in London. In his youth, he was apprenticed to William Russell for eight years and was entered and sworn in the Gorcers’ Company of London on 16 August 1609. He married Jane CLARKE 16 May 1611 at St. Olave, Southwark, Surrey, England. He was a member of Worshipful Company of Grocers  and the Company of Merchant Adventurers  and helped finance the Leiden Separatists in founding Plymouth Colony.  After the partnership between the Pilgrims and the Adventurers was terminated, he came to Plymouth himself, sailing with four daughters (Sarah, Rebecca, Mary and Elizabeth) on the ship Mary & Jane in 1633.

Once he arrived in the colony himself, he took a prominent role.  He served as magistrate and as Assistant Governor for 28 years.  He was a businessman, and assisted in settling the accounts of the Merchant Adventurers and other colony business.  He was the richest many in the colony.  He was admitted freeman in Plymouth 1 Jan 1633/4 and removed to Duxbury in 1639.William died after 29 May 1670 (in list of Duxbury freemen) and before 5 July 1671 (administration granted on estate).

Jane Clarke was born 20 Oct 1591 in London, Middlesex, England.  Her parents were NOT John CLARK and Elizabeth HOBSON.  I think some hobbiest filled in John and Elizabeth for lack of anything else.  Jane died after 28 Jun 1666 when she consented to a deed made by her husband in Plymouth Colony.

On 19 Nov 1645 Nathaniel Warren, son of Richard Warren married at Plymouth Sarah Walker. On 7 Jun 1653 “Mrs. Jane Collyare in behalf of her grandchild the wife of the said Nathaniel Warren” petitioned Plymouth Court in a land dispute. The petition suggests this grandchild was kin to her and not to her husband William Collier. John Insley Coddington has suggested that when William Collier married her, Jane Clark was a widow, and that by her Clark husband she had a daughter who married a Walker. Coddington further suggests that the Sara, daughter of William Walker, who was baptized at St. Olave’s, Southwark, on 10 Nov 1622 was the grandchild of Jane Collier who married Nathaniel Warren. If this solution proves to be correct, it would also explain the 1650 land transaction in which William Collier granted to “my kinsman William Clark”

Children of William and Jane

Name Born Married Departed
1. Mary COLLIER bapt.
18 FEB 1611/12
St Olave, an area of south-east London in the London Borough of Southwark.
Gov. Thomas PRENCE
1 Apr 1635 Plymouth, Plymouth County.
5 Nov 1688 Eastham, Barnstable, Mass.
2. Hannah Collier bapt.
14 SEP 1613
St Olave
31 Aug 1625 of Plague
St Olave
3. Rebecca Collier bapt.
10 JAN 1614/15
St Olave
Job Cole
15 Mar 1634 in Plymouth, Plymouth, Mass.
29 Dec 1698
Duxbury, Plymouth, Mass
4. Sarah Collier bapt.
30 APR 1616
St Olave
Love Brewster (wiki) (son of Elder William BREWSTER)
15 May 1634 in Plymouth, Mass
Richard Parke
1 Sep 1656 Duxbury, Plymouth, Mass
26 Apr 1691
Plymouth, Mass
5. John Collier bapt.
18 MAR 1617/18
St Olave
24 Aug 1618
St Olave
6. Elizabeth Collier bapt.
09 MAR 1618/19
St Olave
Constant Southworth
2 Nov 1637 Duxbury, Plymouth, Mass
7. John Collier bapt. 23 MAR 1619/20
St Olave
6 Aug 1625 of Plague
St Olave
8. Catheren Collier buried
13 Jan 1621/22
St Olave
9. James Collier bapt.
16 Mar 1622/23
St. Mary Magdalen, Bermondsey, Surrey
24 Aug 1624
St Olave
10. Martha Collier bapt.
28 Mar 1624
St. Mary Magdalen, Bermondsey, Surrey
30 May 1625 of Plague
St Olave
11. William Collier 1625 12 Aug 1625 of Plague
St Olave
12. Liddia Collier bapt.
8 Mar 1626/27
St Olave
12 Mar 1625/26 of Plague
St Olave

Death records in the St. Olave parish indicate there were other children, namely Catherine and William, and that the Plague of 1625 probably took the life of Martha, John, William, Hannah and Liddia who all died in 1625.

St Olave's Exterior

St. Olave’s  became redundant and was demolished in 1926.  It located at the foot of the steps leading down from London Bridge Station to Tooley Street where a millennium ago St. Olaf saved the city of London from its and his enemy, the Danes.  Olav Haraldsson, an early King of Norway, attempted to convert his people to Christianity and was martyred for his trouble in 1030. Before this, in 1014, he was a prince and an ‘ally’ (ie mercenary) of King Æthelræd II ‘the Unready’ fighting the Danes. They were occupying London Bridge. He is said to have tied his long-boats to the bridge supports and rowing away pulled it down.

The Nursery Rhyme London Bridge is Falling Down records the story. St. Olaf was converted to Christianity in England and took the faith home to his native Norway, where, after his death in battle against his old enemy, the Danes, he was adopted as the country’s Patron Saint. His bones rest in Trondheim Cathedral.

St Olave's Interior

John Hunt demonstrated that William “Collyer” was apprenticed to William Russell for eight years and was entered and sworn in the Grocers’ Company of London 16 Aug 1609. John Arnold, dyer, and William Hurdman, pewterer, were sureties for William Collyer for two years beginning 15 Aug 1612.

William was a Grocer and the owner of a brew house in London.  Since his parish church was on Tooley Street near London Bridge, maybe his brew house was too.  Here’s a listing of historical London public houses, Taverns, Inns, Beer Houses and Hotels in Southwark St Olave, Surrey,  London.

William became a partner in Southwark with “Mr. Monger” and was sworn a free brother of the Grocers’ Company 3 Mar 1627/28.

Grocers Coat of Arms

The Worshipful Company of Grocers is one of the 108 Livery Companies of the City of London. It is ranked second in the order of precedence of the Companies and, having been established in 1345, is one of the original Great Twelve City Livery Companies.

The Company was founded in the fourteenth century as the Guild of Pepperers, which dates from 1180. The Company was responsible for maintaining standards for the purity of spices and for the setting of certain weights and measures.    In 1428, two years after founding its first hall in Old Jewry, the Company was granted a Royal Charter by King Henry VI.  It is said that the Grocers’ Company used to be first in the order, until Queen Elizabeth I, as Honorary Master of the Mercer’s Company, found herself in procession, after her coronation, behind the Grocers’ camel which was emitting unfortunate smells. As a result, the Mercers’ Company were promoted.

Today, the Grocers’ Company exists as a charitable, constitutional and ceremonial institution which plays a significant role in the election of the Lord Mayor and the Sheriffs of the City of London.   The Company also maintains banquet and conference facilities at Grocers’ Hall in Prince’s Street, next to the Bank of England.

The Merchant Adventurers

William was also a member of the Merchant Adventurers. The Company of Merchant Adventurers of London brought together London’s leading overseas merchants in a regulated company, in the nature of a guild. Its members’ main business was the export of cloth, especially white (undyed) broadcloth. This enabled them to import a large range of foreign goods.

In June 1619, after declining the opportunity to settle south of Cape Cod in New Netherland, because of their desire to avoid the Dutch influence, the Leiden Congregation obtained a land patent from the London Virginia Company, allowing them to settle at the mouth of the Hudson River. They then sought financing through the Merchant Adventurers, a group of businessmen who principally viewed the colony as a means of making a profit. Upon arriving in America, the Pilgrims began working to repay their debts.

We know that the merchant adventurers invested between £1200 and £1600 before the Mayflower sailed. We also know that the Pilgrims were dangerously short of supplies. Shares were issued, each worth £10. The merchant adventurers bought their shares. The adult colonists – who were, after all, putting life and livelihood on the line – were each given one share and given the option to purchase more shares.

Using the financing secured from the Merchant Adventurers, the Colonists bought provisions and obtained passage on two ships, the Mayflower and the Speedwell. Though they had intended to leave early in 1620, difficulties in dealing with the Merchant Adventurers, including several changes in plans for the voyage and in financing, resulted in a delay of several months.

In 1621, the second ship, the Fortune, arrived in time for the first Thanksgiving. It carried a letter from the Merchant Adventurers chastising the colony for failure to return goods with the Mayflower that had been promised in return for their support. The Fortune began its return to England laden with £500 worth of goods (£83,000 as of 2010), more than enough to keep the colonists on schedule for repayment of their debt, however the Fortune was captured by the French before she could deliver her cargo to England, creating an even larger deficit for the colony.

The first letter known to have borne the name of William Collier was one written from London, Apr. 7, 1624. by James Shirley, Thomas Brewer, William Collier, Joseph Pocock, Thomas Fletcher, John Ling, William Thomas, Robert Reayne, and reads as follows: —

“To our beloved and right well esteemed friend Mr William Bradford Governour these, but inscribed thus: To our beloved friends Mr. William Bradford, Mr. Isaac Allerton, Mr. Edward Winslow, and the rest whom they think fit to acquaint therewith.

Two things (beloved friends) we have endeavoured to effect, touching Plymouth plantation, first, that the planters there might live comfortably and contentedly. 2d that some returns might be made hither for the satisfying and encouragement of the adventurers, but to neither of these two can we yet attain At a word, though we be detected of folly, ignorance, want of judgment, yet let no man charge us with dishonesty, looseness or unconscionableness; but though we lose our labours or adventures, or charges, yea our lives; yet let us not lose one jot of our innocence, integrity, holiness, fear and comfort with God.

And, thus ceasing for this time to trouble you further; praying God to bless and prosper you, and sanctify all your crosses and losses, that they may turn to your great profit and comfort in the end, with hearty salutations to you all, we lovingly take leave of you, from London, Apr. 7, 1624.

Your assured lovers and friends

In 1625 a letter was written by some of the Adventurers, William Collier among them, stating that “joint-account” had been closed, that £1400 remained due on it, and that goods to meet this should
be shipped to them as trade permitted. They had consigned to Edward Winslow and Isaac Allerton a stock of cloth, hose, shoes, leather, etc., and four black heifers which were to be sold on the account of these Adventurers at seventy per cent profit. The line of dry goods was poor in quality and did not sell well. The names of three of the black heifers, which sold very readily, were Raghorn, the Smooth-horned Heifer and the Blind Heifer. One of the Adventurers, James Shirley, sent as a gift a red heifer to be kept for the benefit of the poor of the colony.

Arber, in his Story of the Pilgrim Fathers, states that these Adventurers who were about seventy in number were from different walks in life, “not a Corporation; but knit together by a voluntary combination, in a Society, without constraint or penalty; aiming to do good, and to plant Religion.

William Collier appears on the 1626 list of adventurers in Bradford’s Letter Book . Bradford records that Mr. Allerton [Isaac ALLERTON] “in the first two or three years of his employment, he had cleared up £400 and put it into a brew-house of Mr. Collier’s in London, at first under Mr. Sherley’s name…”.

The number of investors was initially about fifty, but began to drop substantially as various internal disputes arose.  From a letter written in 1626, we learn the names of the remaining Merchant Adventurers:

John White Samuel Sharp Thomas Hudson
John Pocock Robert Holland Thomas Andrews
Robert Kean James Shirley Thomas Ward
Edward Bass Thomas Mott Fria. Newbald
William Hobson
[William COLLIER’s
mother-in-law was
Elizabeth HOBSON.]
Thomas Fletcher Thomas Heath
William Penington Timothy Hatherley Joseph Tilden
William Quarles Thomas Brewer William Penrin
Daniel Poynton John Thorned Eliza Knight
Richard Andrews Myles Knowles Thomas Coventry
Newman Rookes William COLLIER Robert Allden
Henry Browning John Revell Laurence Anthony
Richard Wright Peter Gudburn John Knight
John Ling Emmanuel Altham Matthew Thornhill
Thomas Goffe John Beauchamp
[son-in-law of
Edmund FREEMAN Sr.]
Thomas Millsop

For the first 7 years, everything remained in the “common stock,” owned by all the shareholders. The common stock would furnish the Pilgrims with food, clothing and tools. At the end of the 7 years, the shareholders (Pilgrims and merchant adventurers alike) would divide equally the capital and profits (lands, houses and goods).

In the meantime, the Pilgrims planned to engage in businesses such as lumbering and fishing, sending wood and fish to England to be sold.

In actuality, however, instead of sending back goods, the Pilgrims had to ask the merchant adventurers for even more money, again and again and again. The Pilgrims’ debt became very large very quickly. The merchant adventurers were NOT happy and the Pilgrims agreed to buy them out.

The year 1626 marked a change in the manner of negotiations between the Adventurers and the Planters. In November of that year a “Composition” was signed by forty-two Adventurers, William Collier among them, agreeing to recover from the Planters £200 a year for nine years. These names are preserved in Gov. Bradford’s letter-book heretofore mentioned. Shirley, writing from Bristol, Eng., 19 March 1629/30, says of William Collier,

“For Mr. Collier verily I could have wished it would have sorted his other affairs, to have been one of us, but he could not spare money, and we thought it not reasonable to take in any partner, unless he were willing and able to spare money, and to lay down his portion of the stock; however, account of him as a sure friend, both ready and willing to do you all the offices of a firm friend.”

In 1631, James Shirley, in a letter, mentions putting a certain sum into the brew-house of William Collier in London.

So beginning in 1628, the Pilgrims were to pay the merchants £200 a year until they had paid £1800.

By that time, with the extra money invested in the struggling little colony, the debt may have been as high as £7000. The merchants decided, however, that they would rather be sure of having some of their investment returned, instead of running the risk of losing it all.   After much financial problems, the flailing company reorganized in 1628, with James Shirley, Richard Andrews, John Beauchamp, and Timothy Hatherley, and a large group of Plymouth colonists buying out the remaining shareholders.

Although the money to be repaid was not nearly as much as they had borrowed, it was still a large amount of money for the Pilgrims. One of the ways they found to make the money they needed to repay their debt was through the fur trade, particularly the trade in beaver fur.

And where were the best furs to be found? In Maine, where Native Americans had been hunting beaver for generations. By 1625, the Pilgrims had established a fur-trading business in Maine with a permanent trading base on the Kennebec. They then extended operations farther north, moving into the Penobscot area, territory already claimed by the French. When the Pilgrims received their official boundaries as determined by the Warwick/Bradford Patent of 1629, a significant grant of land in Maine was included. This was as much “Plymouth Colony” as the town of Plymouth itself!

William in America

Evidence as to the time that William Collier arrived in the Plymouth Colony is furnished by three letters from England in 1633, — one from Emmanuel Downing [son of our ancestor George DOWNING] and another from Francis Kirby, dated 18 June, and the third from James Shirley, 24 June of that year.

The letter written by Emmanuel Downing is “To his very loving cozen Mr. John Winthrop at the Mattachusetts in New England,” and subscribed “Your very lovinge Uncle Em: Downinge.” He sent love to Mr. Collier among others.

Francis Kirby, in his letter to his friend John Winthrop, Jr., writes, “I hope you have received the goods I shipped in the Mary & John per Mr. Collier, wherin I sent all the things you wrote for but sope ashes & old musket barreles, which were not to be had;”

Shirley, too, stated, 24 June 1633, that his last letter was “sente in ye Mary & John by Mr William Collier,” etc.

After the partnership between the Pilgrims and the Adventurers was terminated, he came to Plymouth. He immediately took a prominant position in the Plymouth Colony and was Magistrate and assistant Governor of Plymouth Colony for 28 years. He was a businessman and assisted in the settlement of accounts with the Merchant Adventurers and handled the business of the colony. He was commissioner at the first meeting of United Colonies in 1643 and served on the Council of War.

He was among the first purchasers of land in Duxbury, Mass. and was the first settler in Duxbury. He was the wealthiest man in the colony, as he paid the highest taxes.” He settled in the southeastern part, near Standish and Brewster. He also had land west of North hill (granted 1635), and a tract called Billingsgate.

William Collier Timeline

1 Jan 1633/34 – Admitted freeman Plymouth

25 Mar 1633 – “Mr. Collier’s men” assessed 18s. in Plymouth tax list

27 Mar 1634 – “Mr. Will[iam] Collier” assessed £2 5s. The list numbered eighty persons. Of these William Collier and Edward Winslow had the same rate, the highest. The rates of the other seventy-eight were all under £2.

1 Jul 1633 – In allocation of mowing ground on reference is made to ground “that Mr. Collier hath”

1 Oct 1634 Committee to assess colony taxes, Wiilliam Collier was appointed with others on a committee to treat with the partners about trade, and, with Capt. Miles Standish, Jonathan Brewster, Wiilliam Palmer and Stephen Tracey for Duxbury side to lay out highways.

1635-37, 1639-51, 1654-65 – Plymouth Colony Assistant, In less than a year after Collier arrived in Plymouth Colony he was chosen Assistant to Gov. Bradford, From that time until 1665 He was appointed to that position of trust, with the exception of three years, 1638, 1652 and 1653, serving twenty – eight years in all.

5 Jul 1635 – Mr. William Collier was granted a parcel of land in the woods called North Hill, with some “tussicke march ground” The bounds to this land were set by John Alden, Christopher Wadsworth and William BASSETT as late as Feb. 1638/9.

2 Mar 1635/36 – Committee to lay out highways, for “Duxbery side,”. Committee to view farm land,

7 Mar 1636/37 – In list of freemen

6 Aug 1637 – William Morris, of Royston, in the county of Hertford, butcher, having been indentured 4 Apr 1637 to William Collier, gentleman, for five years, was, by the consent of Mr. Collier, assigned to “dwell and abide as a servant with Love Brewster, of Ducksborrow, yeom,” for the residue of the five years of service due to Mr. Collier. Love Brewster had become the son-in-law of Collier by marriage to his daughter Sarah, 15 May 1634.

6 Mar 1637/38 – Committee to set bounds for Scituate, The Governor, Mr. Prence, Mr. Collier, Mr. Alden, Mr. Browne and Mr. John Rowland were appointed, “to view that porcon of ground on the north side the Sowth River, and if they finde it more beneficiall for farmes to Scituate then to these pts, then to allot them; if not, to reserue it.”

1639 – In Plymouth section of list of 1639 (where his name is crossed out and reentered in the Duxbury section) In Duxbury section of lists of 1658 and 29 May 1670 (where his name is crossed out and marked “deceased”

4 Feb 1638/39 – Committee to view North Hill and set bounds,

5 Mar 1638/9 – The Court ordered Mr. Edward Winslow and Mr. William Collyer “to take a view of the heigh wayes towards Greenes Harbor and Scituate from Plymouth, and to cause them to be amended that are in decay, or to alter them to more conveniency and either of them to call one or two w’ them to do yt.”

7 Nov 1639 – William Collier subscribed to the agreement between the inhabitants of “Duxborrow” and George Pollard “late inhabitant of the town of Stokeclere, yeoman” and William Hiller of New Plymouth, carpenter”

1640 – Collier was called upon with others to view and lay out lots at Green Harbor or north of the South River. Among those to receive lands were William BASSETT, William Wetherell, the Southworth brothers, Thomas PRENCE and Daniel Cole. The name of Rexhame was given to the Green’s Harbor lands by 1641, but in 1642 that locality became known as Marshfield. The southeastern part of Marshfield retains the name of Green Harbor, the portion of the town, probably, to be first developed.

1641 – The relations between James Shirley and others in England with the partners in Plymouth had become trying. To the end of coming to an agreement, Shirley wrote a letter to Mr. John Atwood and Mr. William Collier, two of his special acquaintances, in 1641, —

“Sir,  My love remembered, &c. I have writte so much concerning ye ending of accounts betweexte us, as I profess I know not what more to write, &c. If you desire an end, as you seemeth to doe, there is (as I conceive) but 2. waise, that is to parfecte all accounts, from ye first to ye last, &c. Now if we find this difficulte, and tedious, haveing not been so stricte & carefull as we should and oughte to have done, as for my owne parte I doe confess I have been somewhat to remisse, and doe verily thinke so are you, &c. I fear you can never make a perfecte accounte of all your pety viages, out, & home too & againe, &c.

So then ye second way must be, by biding or compounding; and this way, first or last, we must fall upon, &c. If we must warr at law for it, doe not you expecte from me, nether will I from you, but to cleave ye heare, and then I dare say ye lawyers will be most gainers, &c.

Thus let us set to ye worke, one way or other, and end, that I may not allways suffer in my name & estate. And you are not free; nay, ye gospell suffers by your delaying, and causeth ye professors of it to be hardly spoken of, that you, being many, & now able, should combine &: joyne togeather to oppress & burden me, &:c. Fear not to make a faire & reasonable offer; beleeve me, I will never take any advantage to plead it against you, or to wrong you; or else let Mr. Winslow come over, and let him have such full power & authority as we mav ende by compounding; or else, ye accounts so well and fully made up, as we may end by reconing.

Now, blesed be God, ye times be much changed here, I hope to see many of you returne to your native countrie againe, and have such freedom & libertie as ye word of God prescribs. Our bishops were never so near a downfall as now; God hath miraculously confounded them, and turned all their popish & Machavillian plots &c projects on their owne heads, &c. Thus you see what is fitt to be done concerning our perticulere greevances. I pray you take it seriously into consideration; let each give way a little that we may meete, &c. Be you and all yours kindly saluted, &c. So I ever rest,

Your loving friend,
(Signed) James Shirley
Clapham, May 18, 1641

On the 15th of the following October articles of agreement were made between the partners, James Shirley, John Beacham and Richard Andrews, of London, merchants, and William Bradford, Edward Winslow, Thomas Prence, Myles Standish, William Brewster, John Alden & John Rowland, with Isaac Allerton in a trade of beaver skins and other furs of New England. Differences had arisen about the charge of two ships, “The White Angele, of Bristow,” and “The Frindship, of Barnstable.” John Atwood, with the advice and consent of William Collier, for and in behalf of James Shirley, and with William Bradford, agreed that Shirley should give release and William Bradford and others be bound for the payment of £1200 in satisfaction of all demands. The following year this “long and tedious bussiness came to some issue though not to a finall ende with all ye parties.”

1643 – Plymouth Commissioner to United Colonies,

1643 – Edward Winslow called “Mr. Collier” “my partner” in a letter to John Winthrop. Winslow also reported that “Mr. Collier [was]… absent to our grief” at the vote over liberty of conscience in Plymouth Colony in 1645.

7 Mar 1642/43, 10 Jun 1650 – Committee to treat with Massachusetts Bay, The Court afterwards considered it proper to make further preparations for defence; and a committee, consisting of Mr. Collier, Mr. Winslow, Mr. Hatherly, and Capt. Standish, were sent to Massachusetts Bay to conclude on a junction with them in their present state of affairs ; and of this number Winslow and Collier were afterwards authorized to subscribe the articles of Confederation. This union was fully consummated and concluded, and the articles signed at Boston, May 19, 1643, Connecticut and New Hampshire being also included in the compact; and this era of the Confederate union of the Colonies, may be properly looked upon as the grand epoch, when the germ of the present American Republic first appeared in embryo.

Aug 1643 – Commissioners, Mr. Edward Winslow and Mr. William Collyer were ordered to procure a standard bushel and half-bushel measure, according to the Massachusetts Bay standard, that the measures be uniform. At the same August Court two each from Plymouth, Duxbury and Marshfield were appointed to revise the laws of the Plymouth Colony, “that such as are necessary may be established, such as are vnnecessary may be repealed, and such as are defective may be altered, and such as are wanting may be pared, and penalties to be fixed to eich law as far as may be; that upon the approbacon of them by the Court they may be confirmed at the Genall Court.”

27 Sep 1642, 10 Oct 1643, 1 June 1658 – Council of War – In 1643 constituted a council of war: the Governor, Mr. Winslow, Mr. Prence, Mr. Collier, Mr. Hatherly, Mr. John Brown, Mr. Wiihani Thomas, Mr. Edmund Freeman, Mr. William Vassel, Capt. Staudish, Mr. Thomas Dimmack, Mr. Anthony Thacher. A sale of moose skins was then ordered to furnish means for procuring powder and lead ; and then they passed the following order : ” The first Tewsday in July the ma^f^’s meete and eich Towne are to send such men as they shall think fit to joyne with them in consult about a course to saveguard ourselves from surprisall by an enemie.”

2 Jun 1646 – Coroner,

7 July 1646 – Committee to draw up the excise

1 June 1647 – The certificate of election of William Bradford and John Browne as Commissioners from Plymouth Colony was signed by William Collier, along with Myles Standish and William Thomas.

20 Dec 1648 – John Balden bound himself to “Mr. William Colliar of Duxburrow” for a term of five years, in return for which Collier was to give him “meat, drink and clothing, lodging and washing, and at the end of four years’ service … a heifer of two years old”

June 1649 – Committee for the letting of trade

6 Mar 1649/50 – William “Colliar” made over his right to a ten acre parcel of upland in “Duxborrow” to “my kinsman William Clark”

5 June 1651 – The court of agreed that payment should be raised for Mr. “Collyar” for his service as magistrate. They were still going about raising this money 29 June 1652.

3 July 1656 – Auditor

3 June 1657 – Committee to review the laws

7 June 1659 – At court, “In regard that Mr. Collyare, by reason of age and much business on him, cannot attend the country’s business at courts but with great difficulties, the Court have appointed the Treasurer to procure him a servant, and do allow him for that purpose the sum of £10”

6 Dec 1659 – At court “Josepth Prior” was summoned to answer the charge of Mr. William “Collyares” that Prior was guilty of “pilfering and purloining practices, and other unworthy carriages relating thereunto, viz. in alluring a young maid, a kinswoman to Mr. William Collyares, to help him … to sundry things pertaining to the said Mr. Collyare, without knowledge of or leave from Mr. Collyare or Mis[tress] Jane Collyare, his wife” . Mr. Collier was called to the next court to prosecute the case.

6 Dec 1659 – Upon the Court records appears the following:; — “Mr” Willam Collyare oweth the state of England the sume of £20″ Goodwin designated him as “the richest man in the Colony.”

1660 – Mr. Collier was licensed to sell “strong water” to his neighbors in Duxbury; and it can be justly considered that one, who is well known to have been one of the wealthiest among them, would not have selected this as a means of gain, but rather at the instance of the magistrates, who well knew him to be a sober and discreet man, and one who would not be likely to sufffer any transgression of their laws.”

3 Oct 1662 – “Mr. Collyare” complained that the records of his grant at the North Hill were lost and could not be found, and the court ordered that the land be viewed and the report of it be recorded

2 July 1667 – The court agreed to a grant of thirty or forty acres of land for Mr. William Collyare’s grandchild, “that grand child who is now servicable unto him”

2 Mar 1668/69 – The court granted him fifty acres in the tract of land at Namassakett

5 Jul 1671 – The court appointed Gov. Mr. Constant Southworth, Mr. Thomas Clarke, and “Benjamine Barlett,” or any three of them to administer the estate of “Mr. William Collyare,” deceased

29 Oct 1671 – The court ordered that “Daniell Cole” was to have all such particulars out of the estate of “William Collyare” that are extant

He was one of the fifty-eight Purchasers [PCR 2:177].


1. Mary COLLIER (See Gov. Thomas PRENCE‘s page)

3. Rebecca Collier

Rebecca’s husband Job Cole was born 1605 in St Olave Southwark, Surrey, England. His parents were James Cole (1584 – 1630) and Mary Deleble (1584 – 1605). Job died 5 Jun 1672 in Eastham, Barnstable, Mass

The will of Zaccheus Cole of St Olave, Southwark, citizen and grocer of London, named mother Frances, brothers Nathaniel, John and Daniel Cole, and appointed brother Job Cole executor. The location of Zaccheus Cole in the same parish as William Collier, Job Cole’s future father-in-law, makes it likely that this is the correct family.

Will of John Cole, proved at Plymouth 7 Jan 1637/38, names brother Job Cole, sister Rebecca [possibly Job’s wife, Rebecca Collier], Elizabeth Collier, and “my brother Daniel” and and left legacies to “each of Master Collyer’s men,” Edward, Joseph, Arthur, Ralph and John. Partly on the basis of this document Stratton suggests that Job Cole may have been one of “Mr. Collier’s men” who appear in the Plymouth tax list of 25 March 1633. If this is the case, then Job Cole was probably included in the household of William Collier in the tax list of 27 March 1634, less than two months before Cole married Collier’s daughter.)

Job Cole, apprentice in New England of William Collier and then his son-in-law, was likely the brother of Zaccheus Cole. This connection and others are discussed in TAG 42:119-21.

Job Cole Timeline

28 Oct 1633 – The estate of Richard Lanckford owed Job Cole 3s. 9d.

18 Feb 1634/35 – Job Cole owed the estate of Thomas Evans an unspecified amount

4 Jun 1638 – Granted “a parcel of land on Duxborrow side, when they are viewed,”

2 Jul 1638 – Granted forty acres upland, with some meadow, at Green’s Harbor

6 May 1639 – The service of Thomas Gray was transferred from John Atwood to Job Cole

3 Mar 1639/40 – Admitted Freeman in Plymouth

1639 list of Plymouth freemen – Job Cole is entered first in the Duxbury section, then is crossed off and added to the Yarmouth section of the same list He is then found in the Eastham section of the lists of Plymouth freemen of 1658, 29 May 1670 and 1683/84

2 Mar 1640/41 – Duxbury constable (replaced during the year)

6 Jun 1643 – Plymouth grand jury

1643 – In Yarmouth section of Plymouth list of men able to bear arms

5 Jun 1644 – Deputy for Yarmouth to Plymouth General Court (apparently replaced during the year),

7 Jun 1648 – “Naussit” [Eastham] constable

2 Oct 1650 – “Jobe Cole of … Nawsett” sold to Thomas Chillingsworth of Marshfield, shoemaker, land at Marshfield, being about forty acres of upland and six acres of meadow.

13 Aug 1651 – “Job Cole of Eastham” sold to Christopher Wadsworth of Duxborough “a house and land lying against a place called Morton’s hole with meadow and fencing.” Rebecca acknowledged this deed

6 Jun 1654 – Eastham surveyor of highways

8 Jan 1680[/1?] Samuel Cole of Eastham sold to Samuel Smith of Eastham “all that my parcel of meadow or marsh ground lying and being in the township of Eastham … which was granted unto my father Job Cole by the town”

5 Apr 1710 – The Barnstable judge of probate ordered that “whereas it appears to me that there is some land & meadow laid out lying at Little Billinsgate in Eastham to the name or heirs of Job Cole late of said Eastham now deceased & not yet settled or legally disposed of and it appearing to me that Rebecca Nickerson widow daughter of said deceased hath not had anything material of her deceased father’s estate and was at some charge in supporting of her mother after the decease of her father the said land and meadow is therefore settled upon and ordered unto the said Rebecca Nickerson”

4. Sarah Collier

Sarah’s first husband Love Brewster was born 1611 in Leyden, Holland. His parents were Elder William BREWSTER and Mary WENTWORTH. Love died 31 Jan 1650 in Duxbury, Plymouth, Mass.

Sarah’s second husband Richard Parker was born 8 Aug 1609 in London, Middlesex, England. His parents were William Parke and Mary Manning. He first married 1628 in St Butolphs, Middlesex, England to Margery Crane (b. 1595 in London – d. 31 Mar 1656 in Cambridge, Mass.) Richard died 12 Jul 1664 in Cambridge, Middlesex, Mass.

At about 9 yrs. old Love Brewster came to Plymouth, MA from England aboard “The Mayflower“. He  became a freeman and was a volunteer to fight in the Pequot War of 1637, but at that time, volunteers from his county were not needed. He raised his family in Duxbury, Mass, volunteered for the milita under Captain Myles Standish and lived out his life in that town. His wife Sara survived him for about 30 more years. Together they had 4 children.

Love’s servant Thomas Granger,  (1625? – September 8, 1642) was the first person hanged in the Massachusetts Bay Colony (the first hanged in any of the colonies of New England being John Billington) [Our family relationship  to Billington isn’t especially close, he was Richard MARTIN’s  daughter-in-law’s grandfather, but the first Englishman to be convicted of murder in what would become the United States is a noteworthy black sheep.]

Granger the first known juvenile to be sentenced to death and executed in the territory of today’s United States.   Graunger, at the age of 16 or 17, was convicted of “buggery with a mare, a cowe, two goats, divers sheepe, two calves, and a turkey”, according to court records of 7 September 1642

Graunger confessed to his crimes in court privately to local magistrates, and upon indictment, publicly to ministers and the jury, being sentenced to “death by hanging until he was dead”. He was hanged on September 8, 1642. Before Graunger’s execution, following the laws set down in Leviticus 20:15 (“And if a man shall lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death: and ye shall slay the beast”), the animals involved were slaughtered before his face and thrown into a large pit dug for their disposal, no use being made of any part of them  .An account of Graunger’s acts is recorded in Gov. William Bradford‘s diary Of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647.

Will of Love Brewster, Oct. 6, 1650:

“The last will and Testament of Love Brewster Deseassed exhibited at the general Court holden at New Plym: the 4th of March 1650 upon th e oath of Captaine Miles Standish

Witnesseth these psents that I Love Brewster of Duxburrow in New England and in the goverment of New Plym: being in pfect memory doe ordeaine & appoint this to bee my last will and Testamente And first my will is that if the lord shall please to take mee out of this life that my body bee buried in a decent mannor and that my funerall expences bee taken out of my whole estate; Next my will is; That all my Just and lawfull debts bee paied out of the Remainder of my said estate allso I give unto my Children that is to say Nathaniell, William, Wrasteling and Sara each of them a kettle and further my will is that my three sonns shall have each of them a peece that is to say a gun; allso I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife Sara Brewster all the Residue of my whole estate both goods and Chattles and land at Duxburrow for her bringing up of her and my Children the time of her life and after her decease I doe give the aforsaid lands to my eldest sonn and heire apparent Nathaniell Brewster and in Case god should take him away out of this life without Issew I give and bequeath the said lands to Duxburrow to my second sonn William Brewster and in like case to my youngest sonn Wresteling Brewster; And for those books I have that my wife would destribute them to herselfe and Children at her discresion allso my will is and I doe by the same give unto my three sonns equally to be devided amongst them all such land as of Right due to mee by Purchase and first coming into the land Which was in the yeare 1620 allso I doe make Constitute and appoint my beloved wife Sara Brewster sole executrix of this my last will and Testament in Witnes Whereof I have put to my hand and Seale this sixt of october 1650

Winess heerunto
Love Brewster
Myles Standish”.

6. Elizabeth Collier

Elizabeth’s husband Constant Southworth was born 1615 in Leyden, Sholland, Netherlands. His parents were Edward Southworth and Alice  Carpenter .  His paternal grandparents were Sir Thomas Southworth and Rosamond Lister.  His maternal grandparents were our ancestors Alexander CARPENTER and Priscilla DILLEN.  Constant died 10 Mar 1679 in Duxbury, Plymouth, Mass.

Constant Southworth Pedigree

Constant, born in Leyden and was about fourteen years old when he came over in 1628 with his brother Thomas. Settled at Duxbury, was a volunteer in Pequot war, 1637. Had five daughters and three son. He was for seventeen years deputy from Duxbury and for sixteen years was the Colony’s treasurer. Was commissary in King Philip’s war although then sixty-one year old.

Constant’s Public Service

2 Jan 1637/8 – Freeman. In Duxbury section of Plymouth Colony lists of freemen of 1639, 1658 and 29 May 1670

7 Jun 1659 thru 3 Jun 1668 – Colony treasure.

7 Jun 1670 thru 5 Jun 1678 – Assistant Plymouth

3 Jun 1652, 6 Apr 1653, 7 Jun 1653, 6 Jun 1654, 8 Jun 1655, 3 Jun 1656, 1 Jun 1658, 7 Jun 1659, 6 Jun 1660, 2 Oct 1660, 4 Jun 1661, 3 Jun 1662, 1 Jun 1663, 8 Jun 1664, 7 Jun 1665, 5 Jun 1666, 5 Jun 1667, 3 Jun 1668 – Deputy (from Duxbury)

7 Mar 1653/54, 3 Oct 1659 Deputy (from Plymouth)

2 Mar 1640/41, 1 Jun 1641, 5 Jun 1644 – Duxbury constable,

1643 – In Duxbury section of Plymouth Colony list of men able to bear arms

5 Jun 1644 – Grand jury,

4 Jun 1645, 3 Jun 1656, 6 Oct 1659, 1 May 1660, 13 Jun 1660, 2 Oct 1660, 5 Feb  1660/1, 1 Jun 1663 – Committee to divide lands and settle ways

7 Jul 1646 – Ensign

1 Jun 1647, 8 Jun 1649, 4 Jun 1650, 5 Jun 1651 – Committee member

Jun 1649 – Committee to treat the letting of the trade

6 Jun 1654 – Committee to supply towns and soldiers

7 Aug 1655 – Committee to organize the mending of: Joanses River bridge

5 Mar 1655/56 – Committee to consider the trade at Kennebeck

1 Jun 1658 – Committee to oversee the building of a house of correction

1 Jun 1658, 2 Apr 1667, 2 Jul 1667 – Council of war

1 Mar 1658/59 – Committee to negotiate the ownership of Hogg Island with Rhode Island

6 Oct 1659 – Committee to settle the bounds of Taunton

10 Jun 1662 – Duxbury invoicer of liquors, powder, shot and lead

1 Jun 1663 – Committee to settle the bounds of Sandwich and Plymouth

27 Jul 1664 – Committee to organize the mending of Barstowes Bridge

3 Oct 1665 – Committee to oversee the purchase of lands from Indians

1 May 1666 – Committee to organize the mending of Penquine Hole.

5 Jun 1678 – Committee to revise laws

Constant’s Estate

6 Oct 1636 – Land was granted to Mr. William Bradford “for Constant & Thomas Southward, the land now in occupation of George Sowle”

6 Apr 1640 – “Constant Southwood and Thomas Southwood, his brother … [were] granted fifty acres apiece of upland … at the North River, with proportionable meadow ground”

10 Nov 1646 – William Hillier of Duxbury, carpenter, sold to Constant Southworth of Duxbury, planter, his right in “the mill at Duxbury standing upon Stonie River being in partnership between him and Georg[e] Pollerd late of Duxbury,” being a half share

2 Feb 1646/47 – Constant Southworth sold to William Bradford of Plymouth “all his lands & meadows lying at the Island Creek”

26 Feb 1648 – “Constant Sowthworth of Duxbery and Thomas Sowthworth of Plymouth his brother” sold to Francis Godfrey of Duxbury, carpenter, one hundred acres of land at the North River

7 Jun 1665 – “A competency” of land was granted to four men, including “Mr. Constant Southworth” at Namasskett

In his will, dated 20 Feb 1678/79 and proved 7 June 1679, Constant Southworth Esq. of Duxbury bequeathed to

“my dear and loving wife Elizabeth Southworth for and during the term of her natural life my dwelling house with the outhousing and mill belonging unto it and all my uplands and meadows” in Duxbury or Marshfield, along with £50 and some furniture;

to “my son Edward Southworth after the decease of my aforesaid wife Elizabeth my aforesaid dwelling house with the outhousing and mill belonging to it and all my upland and meadows” in Duxbury and Marshfield, along with £12;

to “my son Nathaniell Southworth the one half of my share of lands that lyeth near Taunton called by the name of the freemen’s lands”;

to “my three daughters Marcye Freeman, Allice Church and Mary Alden my other one-half of the freemen’s land”;

to “my daughter Elizabeth Southworth” moveables “provided that she do not marry Willam Vobbes,” otherwise to have 5s.; to “my daughter Presilla Soutworth” moveables;

to “my son Willam Southworth” moveables; to “my grandson Constant Freeman all those my lands and meadows that I have at a place commonly called Pawomett” in Eastham;

to “my sons Edward and Nathaniell and daughters Elizabeth and Presilla equally all my part of the profits that shall or may arise by the fishing at the Cape”;

wife Elizabeth to be sole executrix and residuary legatee, to be assisted by sons Edward and Nathaniel.

The inventory of Constant Southworth, taken 15 Mar 1678/79, was totalled, but the arithmetic is incomprehensible and impossible. A list of real estate, without valuation, was appended: “about twenty-five acres of land in the town of Duxburrow whereon standeth his dwelling house and barn and one grist mill”; “a parcel of land at the North Field the quantity we know not”; “several parcels of meadow lying in the towns of Duxburrow and Marshfield about 12 acres’; “one share of land in a place commonly called the freemen’s land near Taunton”; and a “parcel of land and meadow at a place commonly called Paomett in the town of Eastham” .


A historical sketch of William Collier (1925)



History of the town of Duxbury, Massachusetts : with genealogical registers”


This entry was posted in 13th Generation, First Comer, Immigrant - England, Line - Shaw, Tavern Keeper and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to William Collier

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  7. Anna says:

    I believe this William Collier to be my family as well and I believe his brother John Collier is my 4th Great grandpa. If you are interested in finding more on this family, search for John Collier, Manchester township, Indiana.

  8. Jan E. Hughes says:

    William Collier to his parent Abraham Collier 1550 seems to take my Covell family line from the settlement of Colebrook NH back to the 15th generation — my grandchildren as 15th Gen from Abraham Collier.

    Thanks for all the work done and shared here!

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