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Willett Family History

Willett Family History



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Published by nikki123willett
Willett Family History as researched by Monique Favreau Willett
Willett Family History as researched by Monique Favreau Willett

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Published by: nikki123willett on Sep 18, 2007
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As Researched by Monique Willett 
Forward by Her daughter – Veronique (Nikki) Willett
My mother spent hours researching the Willett family history. As I a child Iremember sitting quietly in a library while my mother researched books and historyto find any clues to the family (can you imagine being quiet at the age 5 for thatlong?). Much of her research also brought her to France looking up what happenedto the French Huguenots of the Willett ancestry. My mother’s family history wasnot as successful due to many of the wars that destroyed records. Funny enough,one thing she did find that in her ancestry and my fathers, at one time in historyeach family lived in the next town from each other and could have at one timepassed by or known each other. It truly is small world. The text below has againhas been left in the original writing by my mother. Those text noted in bold arereferences to the current Willett family descendents. After reading all this historyand knowing the arrival of our Family in the early days of America – I can’t saythat I am a Daughter of the Revolution, but I guess a
 Daughter of the Loyalists
The Willett Family has a Coat of Arms,
which hangs in the Fort AnneMuseum in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. Miss Gertrude Willett of Granville, adescendent of Walter Willett, donated it to the museum.
This Coat of 
Arms is thesame Coat of Arms that was granted in 1583 to Thomas Willett of 
Walthamstow, Essex, England
. Arms: Argent three bars gemelles, in chief threeLions rampant sable. Crest: Out of a Ducal Coronet or a Heathcock Volant sable,beaked and legged gules.
MOTTO: DIEU ET MON DEVOIR(Translation – God and My Duty)
(Note from Veronique Willett: My mother has a lot more history on theWillett family as existed in the late 1500s in England. In these notes, she told methat she had found some information that the Willett family was granted the coat of arms as they were part of the Royal Cloth Makers. I am also still trying to find apicture of the coat of arms itself. In addition, she also has notes from the de SteCroix, Prioleau and Gallaudet side. I am still tying to comprehend the notes to addit to this history.)
Thomas Willett in England
was one of the proctors General of the Court of Canterbury of the Arches in the city of London, and citizen and Cloth worker of London. His wife's name was
He had a son
and a daughter
. He had a Manor in Walthamstow. He was probably buried in the cryptof the church that is still standing. Don and I went there and saw the church, butwith the passing of the years, Walthamstow has become part of the greater Londonand is now a city. There was no sign of the Manor house and the beautiful countryas it must have been in his time. The will was written on the 20th of October 1593.
Edward Willett had a son, Thomas Willett,
who was
christened on the 5th of September 1571 at Saint Peter-Le-Poer,
Saint Peter-Le-Poer isamong the churches that were demolished in
 The present block of ground lying between STONE and PEARL Streets,Coenties Alley and Hanover Square, which constituted, in the 17th century, thesmall track situated East of the STADT HUYS and between HOOGH STRAETand the river shore became, at an early day, somewhat of an English quarter in thetown. Here in 1645,
Thomas Willett received a grant of land lying next to the'GREAT TAVERN'
a parcel of irregulate shape, averaging about one hundredand seventy-five feet in width, and extending from the road or HOOGH STRAET,to the river, a distance of something over one hundred feet.
Thomas Willett
, thegrantee of the HOOGH STRAET land, -
appears in 1643
, then being a young
man of twenty-two years
- as one of the English soldiers in the employ of theWest India Company.
Emigrated from the Shire of Essex in England,
heremained in New Amsterdam for several years, still apparently in the employ of theWest India Company. He was one of those who took part in the massacre of theIndians, by Director Kieft's orders on the night of 25 February, 1643 at Paviona.Upon the next day, he was one of the witnesses of the killing of the Dutchman,Dirck Straetmaker, and his wife, who in spite of warnings to the contrary hadinsisted on visiting the scene of the horrid butchery of the preceding night, wherethe bodies of the slain were still lying. He and his wife were there murdered bysome of the enraged Indians who had already begun to gather in the vicinity - theDutch soldiers being too far away to afford relief.
He married in 1643, Sarah Cornell.
Sarah Cornell was the daughter of 
Thomas Cornell who left from England to come to Boston in 1636
with thesecond Winthrop Expedition and Rebecca Briggs. Thomas Cornell, with hisfamily, had immigrated to America several years before, from the Shire of Essex inEngland. They had acquired from the Indians a tract lying just east of the BronxRiver. Here he established a plantation, which with those of his neighbors, JonasBronck and Edward Jessup, formed the outposts of civilization, near NewAmsterdam along the East River. Thomas Cornell's tract soon took the name of Cornell's Neck, and his farmhouse was situated nearly two miles southeast of the
present village of West Farms. Thomas Willett appears to have remained at NewAmsterdam for several years, still apparently in the employ of the West IndiaCompany. Although his ground-brief for the land on Hoogh Street was onlyobtained in 1645, there is evidence that he had built upon the plot before that time,his house occupying very nearly the site of the present building, No 48 StoneStreet, -now an old tea and coffee warehouse. He served under Governor Kieft.
Thomas Willett must have died within a year or so from the last mentioneddate, for in November 1647, his widow Sarah married Charles Bridges, of Canterbury.
He had two sons,
Thomas Willett and
William Willett
.Let us take a brief glance at the land at the time of the British occupation. Onthe West, lying between the Hudson and the Bronx rivers, was Colen Donck; nextcame Broncksland between Harlem and the Bronx; next to Eastward came theWest Farms; East of this track was Cornell's Neck; adjoining it on the NorthOostdorp, or Westchester, beyond on the Sound was Throgg's Neck; and North of Westchester was Pell's purchase of 1654. The only settlement or town in the wholedistrict was
and the settlers had an agreement with Pell, who claimedthe land to the East river, by which they were to pay him a certain annual rent. Thisthey failed to do and in acknowledgment of his right on June 14, 1664, theysurrendered into his hands all right, title, and interests in the lands. We havealready referred to Thomas Pell's purchase of 1654 and to his claim of ownershipof Westchester, which was admitted by the settlers. He now advanced the claim toall the land eastward of the Bronx River, as far as Richbell's purchase by theConnecticut authorities. He even tried to oust Mrs. Bridges, daughter of ThomasCornell, from her property at
Cornell's Neck,
which she had inherited from herfather.
She was Thomas Willett's widow
. The case was tried before a jurySeptember 29, 1665; Pell lost his case. The case was very important. It validated,under English law, every land, grants, conveyance, deed or patent given by theCompany of its officers, and secured to every holder of land the possession of hislot, farm, or track.It is almost impossible to locate with accuracy any of the early grants as theland marks often have disappeared entirely or have lost their identity with thepassage of many generations.
bounds of the Manor of Pelham are fairlywell defined. It comprises 9166 acres of which 6100 acres were bought byGovernor Leisler in 1688 for the Huguenot settlement of New Rochelle. On thefemale side the Willetts are descendants of Huguenots who settled in NewRochelle.

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