Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Manuscript Genealogy: William Willson (abt 1750-1801) of Harpswell, Maine & Descendants; Braintree, Massachusetts, Saint George, Maine, & Elsewhere - Pages 1-12

Pages 1-12 of a manuscript consisting of the genealogy of the ancestors, descendants and relatives of William Willson (about 1750-1801), also seen as Wilson, of Harpswell, Maine, and Saint George, Maine, compiled by William Blake Josephs (1854-1918) of Portland, Maine, in 1901 [with later entries]

The manuscript is discussed in installments, as noted below.

The manuscript measures approximately 7-1/2" by 5"and contains 201 numbered pages, with pages 182-183 and 199-200 missing.  William Blake Josephs wrote the vast majority of the information.

Note: most of the entries are unsourced, but information may have come from people with direct knowledge. Take all with a grain of salt, knowing there may be nuggets here not found anywhere else.

Be aware: the compiler used very little punctuation, including periods at the end of sentences, and was not careful about pronoun antecedents and spelling.  All of this makes some of his information difficult to nail down.

Toward the end are a few pages of entries in a more contemporary hand, perhaps entered by Joseph's widow Mary Jane (Blair) Josephs or one of their children. The missing pages are in this section.

From the title page, shown above, the manuscript contains:
  • earlier Willson genealogy
  • genealogy of William Willson of Harpswell, Maine, and Saint George, Maine
  • an account of the participation of William Willson (abt 1750-1801) in the Continental Army in 1777 and 1779, including names of many officers and men
  • families that married into the Willson/Wilson family, including sections on
    • Alexander family of Harpswell, Maine - back to David Alexander who came to Topsham, Maine, from Ulster, Ireland, in 1719 and was killed by Indians in the 1820s
    • Blake family of Harpswell, Maine - back to Jacob Blake, who published to Thankful Baley in 1776; Simeon Blake, who married Mary Wilson [daughter of William Willson (abt 1750-1801]; and John Blake, who married Jenny Webber
    • Clark family of Harpswell, Maine - back to Revolutionary War soldier Josiah Clark and his wife Sarah, who were in Harpswell as early as 1763
    • Josephs family - going back to Manuel Joseph Frates Govia, who dropped his last two names upon coming to the United States

Preface - be prepared to supply your own punctuation

Page 3
Having some family records and
wishing to preserve them is what led 
me to prepair this Book the early trad-
itions of the family herein quoted
have been handed down to me and
are Know doubt correct the principle
part of this work is the Military His-
tory of my great grand Father William
Willson his record of service in the Am-
erican Revolution i got from the 
Secretary of the State of Mass. (Maine
Was a part of Mass until 1820) this rec-
ord was taken from the Revolutionary
Archives of the State of Mass. The accou-
nt of the Battles he passed through
Was taken from the best works in pr-
int on the Revolutionary War Viz
Carringtons Battles of the American
Revolution, Lossings Field Book of
The Revolution. Paul Allen's History
of the American Revolution (Published
in 1819). Dr. Thatchers Military Jour-
nal. The part that relates to the 
Penobscot Expedition was taken from 

Page 4
Williamsons History of Maine also
Nathan Goulds History of Col Jona-
than Mitchells Reg. of Cumberland Co
The experience of the Regts to which Will-
iam Willson was attached was also his 
Experience so I have given the Battles
In detail which is very interesting rea-
ding especially that part which has refer-
ence to Cap Enos Stones Journal in
These few extracts it shows what beca-
me of the Prisoners taken by the British
in the Battle of Hubbardton Vermont it
can not be found in any history that
I ever saw. our Ancestor William Willson 
was one of the Prisoners


Chapter I - Ancestry - Early Wilson Familys
Chapter II - William Willson and Descendants
Chapter III - The Militia Co and enlistment into Continental Army
Chapter IV - Advance of Burgoyne
Chapter V - Evacuation of Ticonderoga; Battle of Hubbardton
Chapter VI - Capt. Enos Stones Journal
Chapter VII - Penobscot Expedition
Maine Historical Soc Safe [ page 174
Additional entries

 As noted above, this post contains pages 1 through 12 of the manuscript, shown below, with transcriptions.

Page 1, below - Title Page

William Willson of Harpswell, Maine, his Family and some of his Descendants
Also - What he passed through as a Soldier in the Continental Army in 1777 and 1779
and - three generations of Willsons who descended from the Willsons of Braintree, Mass
also - Genealogical Notes on other Familys Connected by Marriage with this Willson Family

by William Blake Josephs
Portland Maine November 1901

Page 3, above - Preface

Page 4 - Preface - see transcription farther above
Page 5 - Contents

Page 6 - Contents - see transcription farther above

Page 7 - Chapter I 
Chapter I - Ancestry - Early Willson Familys
The Ancestor of our Willson Family
Emigrated from the Isle of Jersey in
The English Channel to Braintree Mass
And married a Spear Just what date we
Do not Know the first of the family in 
Maine was Wm Willson* who [was
born in Braintree - crossed out] and came here probably
Before 1750 it is said that he lived in
Falmouth and Harpswell we do not 
Know the name of his wife but we are
Sure they had five children* perhaps mo-
re there names were William David
 Susannah Abigail and Mary [superimposed over Lydia, which is crossed out] (we find
In the records of the first Parish of Fal-
mouth that David Willson Son of Will
iam was baptised Jan 8 - 1775) of these
Five children we will say that David...

See page 152 - William Willson and Elizabeth Spear were married in Boston Oct 1 - 1747 She may have been a daughter of Nathaniel and Thankful (Woodward) Spear born Jan 4 - 1728* their children were baptised in Boston. Elizabeth bap Sept 18 - 1848
Susannah bap April 10 - 1757
This was taken from the New England Historical & Gen Register Vol 61 - 1907 Page 131.
I believe the above is our ancestor for he married a spear of Braintree they had a son Nathaniel Spear Wilson who died with throat trouble Jan 3 - 1775 aged 3 yrs the other names are also the same as in our ancestors family. *in Braintree Mass
there were 6 children the last being Nathaniel Spear Wilson

Note: although not stated, David Willson is No. 1 in a list of the 4 siblings discussed in this chapter. The genealogy of another sibling, William Willson, great grandfather of the compiler William Blake Josephs, and other descendants, takes up the bulk of the manuscript.

Page 8
Married May 4 - 1789 Lettice Orr daugh
ter of Clement Orr of Orrs Island They 
First lived on Baileys Island. His
Land run from Lowells Cove near the
Great White rock on the western shore
Across the Island to Casco Bay on the 
Eastern shore in all about 20 acres he
Moved from Baileys Island to the up
per end of Orrs Island and settled there
On a lot of 100 Acres that was set off 
By Joseph Orr the owner of the Island
To one Matthew Biles a Minister of
Boston in settlement of a claim. Biles ne-
ver occupied it - so David WIllson went
There and took possession and he built 
Him a house on the East side of Long
Cove in a very pretty spot after liv-
Note 1 - Clement Orr and his two brothers
Joseph and John came from Ireland to 
Boston they came to Harpswell about
1740 and settled at first upon the 
Neck about 1748 Joseph bought what is 
now known as Orrs Island and he and 
Clement went there to live

Page 9
ing there awhile he moved farther down
The Island where he lived until he
Died which was about 1825 to 1828 his 
Wife survived him dying in 1852 at
The great age of 88 years David and Lett
ice Willson had 13 children as foll-
ows (not in order of birth) Deborah died young. Betsy died young. Betsy. Deborah. Margaret. Mary. Lettice. Sarah; Harriet Clarissa; David. Richard O. and John
Clark of these Sons David and Rich-
ard O. moved East to the Town of Har-
rington and were among the Early Set-
tlers there. John Clark remained on 
Orrs Island he had quite a lot of property
Leaving each of his six sons a good
Farm where they still live the place that 
John Clark lived on as his homestead
Was the old Joseph Orr homestead the house Is an old fashioned gambrel roof of 
one Story it was the first frame house
built on Orrs Island it was built about 1756
Mr Orr lived in an old fashioned Gar-
rison Log House before building the 

Page 10
Frame house which set a little to the
South east of the frame house this place
Is now owned by his son Bradbury G.
Wilson it is visited by hundreds every
Summer it is Known in Mrs. Harriet Beech-
er Stow’s story of the Pearl of Orr’s Island 
As the Kittredge Cottage and John Clark
Wilson was Cap Kittredge spoken of in
The story

2 - Susannah
She married Mar 1 - 1775 James
Flood Jr of Falmouth Neck (now Portland) 
They were married by the Rev Samuel Deane Mr Flood was a Revolutionary Soldier
A member of Capt David Bradish Co of Fal
Mouth in 1775 as far as we know they lived there life time in Portland the records of Port
Land give them eight children five boys
And three girls as follows
Nathaniel       5  Ann
Abigail            6  David
James Jr.      7  Susannah
Edmond         8  John

Page 11
They were burnt out in the great conflag
ration of Oct 18 - 1775 when Capt Mowat 
Burned the Town they rebuilt on Essex
St (Franklin) in 1784.

3.  Abigail
She married Benjamin Rolfe prob
About 1776 to 1780 and as far as we Know
Lived and died in Portland he died about
1800 and she about 1825 the records of St. Pauls Church (Episcopal) give them seven
Children they being baptised in 1796 there 
Names were as follows
Benjamin [pencil addition: b. Jan 18 - 1780]
William Mills
Esther Winslow

They have lots of descendants
In and about Portland the son William
Mills [William Mills Rolfewho was born in Dec 1787 died in 
Sept - 1887 lacking Just three months of 
The century mark (100 years) which was
a ripe old age.

Page 12 
4 - Mary [Lydia crossed out]
She married John Clark of
Harpswell a brother to Martha Clark
The wife of William Willson when fi-
rst married they lived in Harpswell but 
In 1795 with other Familys of Harpsw-
ell moved to St. George Maine where they 
Lived raised families and died and
have numerous descendents still living
There - they settled on what is 
Known as Clarks Id [Clark Island in Saint George, Maine] they had
a large family of Children Viz
1. John married a * Linikin
2. Martha married Elish Hall
3. Lettice married Ephraim Wall
4. Betsy married David Pierson
5. Mary married Caleb Stover
6. Marian married Nathaniel Seavey
7. Serena married Joshua Watts
8. Ann married John Willard
9. Catharine died young

*See page 167  - [Page 167 lists the 8 daughters and 4 sons of John Clark and wife Mary Linikin: Vinia - Sarah - Lucy - Eliza - Eleanor - Julia - Catharine - Harriet - Benjamin - Levi - Jackson - James. James married Sarah, daughter of Josiah Wilson]

If you have information on any of the people discussed above or have noted errors in transcription that need correcting, please leave a comment or contact me directly.

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