Descendants of George (aka Joris) Woolsey
GEORGE "JORIS" WOOLSEY (GEORGE SR21, WILLIAM WOLSEY1) baptized May 15, 1616 Church of St. Nicholas in Great Yarmouth died August 17, 1698 in NY - Jamaica, Queens, Long Island. He married REBECCA CORNELL December 09, 1647 in NY - New Amsterdam, New Netherland, daughter of THOMAS CORNELL and REBECCA (BRIGGS?). She was baptized January 13, 1629/30 in EN - Saint Mary the Virgin Church, Saffron, Walden, Essex, and died February 05, 1712/13 in NY - Jamaica, Queens
Rebecca CORNELL was baptized January 31, 1629/30, EN - Saffron-Walden, Essex. She was buried February 05, 1712/13, NY - Old Cemetery, Jamaica, Long Island
"Queens County, New York, was formed in 1683, prior to that time it was Long Island. It has been rather confusing, but Jamaica, Long Island, before 1683, and Jamaica, Queens, after that date. Jamaica, Long Island, is the county seat of Queens County, NY.
A MUST READ:
Myths & Facts of the Woolsey Family by Wilford W. Whitaker
THE TRUTH about the many Woolsey Myths such as:
- George Joris' father was Benjamin Wolsey who married Ovel Hook.
Parents of George "Joris" Woolsey
- "The first Woolsey history was written by Theodore W. Dwight, who corresponded with Theodore Dwight Woolsey and Mr. Bowne. They came to some terrible conclusions that have no basis in fact. Others have just copied their work and never really looked at it to "document" it.
- The WOOLSEYS in the US are NOT descended from Rev. Benjamin Woolsey, notwithstanding what the early researchers conjectured. There is NO Rev. Benjamin Woolsey born bef 1600. There was a Rev. Benjamin Woolsey of New York, but he was two or three generations later, and must have been the Rev. Benjamin Woolsey that became confused with the father of George Woolsey by some researchers. Our George Woolsey is the son of George Woolsey and Frances Roberts, of Norfolk, England, and Rotterdam, Holland.
- I have found no original document that will substantiate that George Woolsey, the Immigrant, was born in 1610. I have discounted that date, though it is common among the early researchers of the Woolsey family. He was christened 27 Oct 1616 but not in Ipswich, but in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England at St. Nicholas Church there. One researcher suggested that George was born in 1610 and then christened six years later, but that is highly unlikely, especially in a well-settled town with a large church, where they would take the new-born as soon as possible after birth, usually within a week or two.
- I have not been able to find any record that points to George Woolsey, the immigrant, as coming to America before 1643."
1999 Feb 6 from Wilford Whitaker
Subject: Birth of immigrant George Woolsey:
I then went back to the Yarmouth records with the 1616 date in hand and began to research them again, this time for 1616 and there, after hundreds of hours of Previous research, in the main parish church of Yarmouth, in St. Nicholas Parish, I found the record for which I had been so assiduously seeking. p. 85-86 "Christened 15 May 1616 Georg Wolsey of Georg & Frances." Subsequent research has turned up two older brothers in Yarmouth and possibly a sister in Rotterdam. I have not yet found the marriage of Georg & Frances Roberts, but I have found apprentice records of this George and two of his brothers in Yarmouth.
It is said that George lived until 1668 at Stdt Huys Lane, New Amsterdam, now 75 Pearl Street, New York City. He owned land in New Amsterdam, Flushing, Hempstead, and Jamaica, Long Island, New York, where he was the town clerk.
Tjaerts Wolcy (1616 - 1698) - Red Letter Dates in WOOLSEY History
1999 Oct 11 from Wilford W. Whitaker
New Amsterdam in 1649, George Woolsey, the Immigrant, owned Lot # 13, and Thomas Wiggins (Sr.) owned Lot # 21.
Land Records of the Woolsey Family in and around Jamaica, Queens County, Long Island, New York
Allotment of Meadow to the Early Families of Jamaica, Long Island
George Woolsey House 1655 - 1668
Allerton's Building a prominent feaure of the town; and in the autumn of 1656 we find George Woolsey....making a petition to the burgomasters for permission to retial wine and beer there. 'as many strangers apply to him fer lodgings.' a license....finally granted.....".
In Jamaica, in 1685, George Woolsey and Thomas Wiggins, Sr. et al, investigated one John Bates of Hempstead, who "hath thrust himself into the town."
In Jamaica, abt 1687, Mr. Woolsey, the Immigrant had 29 and 15 acres, George 2 Woolsey, 19 and 25 acres, and Thomas Wiggins 7 and 35 acres.
In Jamaica tax records for 3 Feb 1708/09 (this is the "Old Style" of keeping dates) we find:
Gersham Wiggins (a brother of Thomas Jr.)
Mrs. Woolsey (widow of George)
Samuel Bayleys (husb of Hannah Woolsey, d/o George W. & Hannah Van Zandt)
Capt George Woolsey (s/o George, the Immigrant)
Benjamin Wiggins (prob brother of Thomas, Jr.)
Josiah Wiggins (prob brother of Thomas, Jr.)
Thomas Wiggins (husb of Rebecca Woolsey)
John Woolsey (s/o George, the Immigrant)
Thos. Woolsey (s/o George, the Immigrant)
2004 Feb 10 from Gerry Shepard:
The following is listed in NUCMC:
Author: Woolsey, George.
Title: Account book, 1693-1770.
Description: 1 microfilm reel.
Notes: Original is at Yale University Library. Accounts, 1693-1703, of general store in Jamaica, Long Island, kept by Capt. George Woolsey, continued by his grandson Melancthon Taylor Woolsey, 1740-1757, with personal accounts of the latter's wife, Rebecca Lloyd Woolsey, 1759 and 1766-1770.
Subjects: Woolsey, Melancthon Taylor. Woolsey, Rebecca Lloyd. Family -- New York (State) -- Long Island.
General stores -- New York (N.Y.) Jamaica (New York, N.Y.) -- Commerce. Account books. ftamc
Location: Glen Cove Public Library, Glen Cove, NY. Control No.: NYHV89-A1068
2003 Nov 14 from Wilford Whitaker
In corresponding with Cate Ludlum, Pres. of the
Prospect Cemetery Association, I mentioned that George Woolsey, our Immigrant Ancestor, owned land at "the Beaver Pond" in Jamaica, Long Island.
It is in this cemetery that I believe the early Woolseys, including our Immigrant Ancestors George 'Joris' Woolsey and Rebecca Cornell are buried. No stones for them have been found, but one is there of their son-in-law Thomas Wiggins [incorrectly spelled as "Niggins" in one of the articles.] The Woolsey land was on the "west side of Beaver Pond."
Link to Prospect Cemetery
2010 March 16 from Cate Ludlam
Subject: Prospect Cemetery Descendants - Woolsey - Wiggins
It has been some time since we last corresponded, and I hope this finds you well. Many good things have happened in the interim, not the least of which is a sizeable grant that enables us to move forward with a complete inventory of the markers with photos and a concurrent hand clearing of the grounds. Finally, we will be able to see it all, and needless to say, I’m very excited. I hope to write to you someday with a picture of the stone of Joris (George) and Rebecca Woolsey. I believe it lies under hundreds of years of mulch in our Old Burial Ground section, and if it is there, I am determined to find it.
If you haven’t seen our website lately, it is definitely worth a peek: Prospect Cemetery Association I hope you will follow our progress via the website. It isn’t on the site, but last May I accepted, on behalf of all concerned, the “Excellence in Historic Preservation Award” for restoration of the Chapel of the Sisters from the New York State Preservation League. The ceremony at the New York Yacht Club packed the Model Room. A night to remember!
I would love to meet you in person someday, as you have served to direct so many inquiries toward Prospect through your website. The Woolsey and Wiggins family members who have visited have been lovely people, and I hope to surprise their families, and yours, with our finds during the coming year.
President, Prospect Cemetery Association of Jamaica Village
HIST: BEAVER POND - JAMAICA
Paltisits, Hon. Victor Hugo, Litt. D. "The Dongan Charter to JAMAICA of 1686. It Antecedents and Implications." Historical Address. 29 Oct 1839. Jamaica, NY, printed for B. Gertz, Inc. 1940. "The people suffered from Indian ravages in the year of 1655. This prompted Director-General Stuyvesant to proclaim that the scattered settlers should form villages after the fashion of their New England neighbors. This resulted in a petition to him from several of the inhabitants of Hempstead, then called Heemstede, for permission to erect and build a town about midway between that place and Flatlands, then called Amersfoort. Stuyvesant and his council thereupon granted the petitioners "free leave to erect or build a town" upon such privileges and particular grants, called ground-briefs "as the inhabitants of New Netherland generally do possess in their lands; and likewise in the choice of their magistrates, as in the other villages and towns" heretofore erected on the west end of Long Island. A beaver pond in the neighborhood was called by the Indians Gemeco or Jemeco, and the first settlers wanted that name for their village. It was, however, first incorporated by the Dutch name of "Rust-dorf," meaning "Quiet Village," by a more ample patent of 1660. During a revolutionary uprising on Long Island, in 1663, certain Englishmen sought to seize the English settlements by proclamation of the English king, Charles II, and anglecized the names of the villages. So Jamaica or Rust-dorf was named "Crafford" or "Crawford." It was at this time that the First Presbyterian Church of Jamaica, in which we meet today, had its beginning as a "meeting-house" twenty-six feet square, in which Zachariah Walker preached."
DEED: Howland, op.cit, p. 11. recorded 19 Sep 1700. George Wollsey sells "for 14 lbs a certain pece or parcell of upland . . . which land did belong to my father George Wollsey late of Jamaica deseast, containg about 10 acres more or less"
LAND: Index & Deeds of Queens Co., L.I., NY, Liber A,B,C 1683-1765 by Alex Label. FHL film# 17873 B2:92.
George Woolsey of Jamaica on ye one part & John Woolsey of Jamaica on ye other part said George Woolsey for a sum of money sold unto John Woolsey all his right in a home lott in Jamaica in which John Woolsey & Mother now lives, bounded W by ye land of Thomas Cardale, S by a back street, E by Joseph Barton's lot & N by ye highway. 20 Mar 1705 - 15 Aug 1706 George Woolsey
Isaac Hicks and Thomas Cardall.
It appears that Prospect Cemetery is located "alongside the long gone Beaver Pond", where George Woolsey also owned some land and bequeathed it to his eldest son Capt. George Woolsey.
I believe that George 'Joris' Woolsey and his wife Rebecca Cornell, our Immigrant Ancestors, are both buried in Prospect Cemetery, though it is possible that Rebecca Cornell Woolsey may have been buried in the Grace Church Burial Ground, where she worshipped for many years.
Capt. George Woolsey is not buried in Prospect Cemetery, but towards the end of his life, he went to live with his son Rev. Benjamin Woolsey, at Dosoris [Glen Cove] where he is buried in the Woolsey Family Cemetery there.
Cate Ludlum's e-mail is: CateL@aol.com
Donations for the Prospect Cemetery Restoration Project may be sent to the following address:
Prospect Cemetery Association of Jamaica Village
c/o Karen Ansis, Treasurer
New York Landmarks Conservancy
141 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010
George was a cadet in Burgher Corp.
Our Firemen, A History of the New York Fire Departments - Volunteer and Paid by Augustine E. Costello, Author and Publisher, Copyright 1887. - Provided by Ray Nelson
Only 23 of the 58 chapters were reproduced on Deborah Breton's home page in 1997 before she was legally challenged about the copyright and stopped.
I quote here from Chapter 1 - pages 8&9. This would be in 1648, a year after Peter Stuyvesant became Gov. of New Netherlands:
"From this time forth it is ordered no wooden or platted chimneys shall be permitted to be built in any houses between the Fort and Fresh Water, but that those already standing shall be suffered to
remain during the good pleasure of the fire wardens...the following persons were appointed fire wardens: From the Council, the Commissary Adrian Keyser, and from the Commonalty, Thomas Hall, Martin Krieger, and George Woolsey. ...they are the first (New Amsterdam) fire functionaries.....
...George Woolsey, like Thomas Hall, was an Englishman. He came out as an agent of Isaac Allerton, a leading Dutch trader. The descendants of these men are to this day honored residents of this city." (end quote)
2003 August 25 from Heather E. Blair.
Two transcriptions of Isaac Allerton's will. He may have been the boss of George Woolsey in the tobacco business. George's accounts show up in the will:
Will of Isaac Allerton
Isaac Allerton's Will and Inventory, Transcribed from the original records,
by George Erneset Bowman, Vol 2:155+
George Woolsey Records
WILL: of George "Joris" Woolsey
GEORGE WOOLSEY [1616-1698]
Will written 2 Nov 1691 - Executed 22/23 Sep 1698.
PROBATE: George Wolsey WILL: filed 22 Feb 1698, Orange Co,NY. City Registers office, Queens, NY, NY. Dated 22 Day of Sep 1698. File location - At X-M, X-Block X- Liber A of Deeds.
In the name of God, Amen, I GEORGE WOLSEY of Jamaica in Queens County upon Long Island being at present weak of body but through Gods mercy, of sound memory and perfect understanding and considering ye frailty of humane nature ye certainty of death ye uncertainly of ye time do make and ordain this to be my last WILL and TESTAMENT as followeth, that is to say, first and principally I bequeath my soul to God who gave it cleaned from its sins and uniquely through ye meritts of my blessed Saviour and Redeemer ye Son Jesus Christ and my body to ye dust from which it was first taken to be decently and Christian like intered at ye discretion of my Executors here after named and as for ye worldly estate God hath endowed me with all I do give and bequeath as followeth; That is to say
1st. item - I give and bequeath unto my well beloved and eldest Son, GEORGE WOLSEY all my lott of land being at ye Beaver Pond within ye town of Jamaica aforesaid. To have and to hold ye said Lott of land with ye appurtenances there on being to him ye said GEORGE WOLSEY, his heirs and assigns to ye only proper use of him ye said GEORGE WOLSEY, his heirs and assigns forever,
2nd. item - I give and bequeath unto my well beloved Son, THOMAS WOLSEY all ye fifteen acre lott of land lying to ye westward of Anthony Walters home lott in Jamaica afor said to have and to hold ye said lott of land all ye appurtenances there unto being to him ye said THOMAS WOLSEY, his heirs and assigns to ye only proper use, benefitt and behoof of him ye said THOMAS WOLSEY, his heirs and assigns forever.
3rd. item - I give and bequeath unto my well beloved Son, JOHN WOLSEY all ye my thirty acre lott of land lying to ye eastward by ye Little Plains runing within ye bounds of Jamaica a for said to have and to hold the said thirty acre lott of land with its appurtenances to use ye said JOHN WOLSEY, heirs and assigns to ye only proper use and benefitt and behoff of him ye said JOHN WOLSEY, his heirs and assigns for ever. I do also give and bequeath unto my said Son, JOHN WOLSEY after my decease, two oxen and all my wearing apperall.
4th. item - I do give and bequeath unto my well beloved daughter, MARY WOLSEY, one feather bed and bolster, two pillows, a pair of sheets and two coverlids to be delivered her at her day of marriage or is when she attains ye age of eighteen years, also one cow to be delivered her at ye same time.
5th. item - I give and bequeath unto my well beloved wife, REBECCA, all ye remainder of my land & tenements, good and chattels to have and to hold to her ye said REBECCA for and during her natural life, after her decease as followeth, that is to say all ye remainder of my house, land and meadow not already given. I do after my wifes decease give and bequeath ye same unto my three Sons, GEORGE, THOMAS & JOHN WOLSEY to be equall in portion without ye benefitt of joint tenancy or survivership and to usery of them, their heirs and assigns for ever and all my goods and chattels of what nature or kind soever ye shall be and remaine after my wifes decease, I give and bequeath unto my three Daughters, that is to say, SARAH HALLET, REBECCA WIGGINS & MARY WOLSEY to be equally divided between them.
6th. item - I do appoint, make and ordain my well beloved wife, REBECCA to be sole Executor of this my last Will and Testament, desireing all my children to behave themselves to their mother, lovingly each to other.
7th. item - Lastly I do hereby revoke, make void and null all former and other Wills and Testaments by me made and do appoint this to be my last Will and Testament.
As Wittness my hand and seal at Jamaica ye second day of November in ye year of our Lord, Jesus Christ 1691. [signed] George Wolsey (Seal)
Signed sealed and published in ye presence of: Thomas Willett - Daniell Whitehead - Andrew Gibb, Sr.
Queens County (S - - ) At a Court of Common Pleas held at Jamaica this 23rd. of September in ye tenth year of ye reign of William ye Third, by ye grace of God of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, King Defender of ye Faith and the last Will and Testament of ye within written, GEORGE WOLSEY deceased was forward by ye oaths of Capt. Daniell Whitehead and Andrew Bibb [Gibb?], witnesses there unto subscribed and dye Executor herein mentioned whereby authorized to sact and do what Exectors by law are impowered to do the giving in bond to bring into ye Court of Common Pleas for Queens County a true and perfect inventory of all and a list ye goods and chattels of ye said Testator. Entered the 22nd.day of Sept.1698. Per - A. Gibb (Clerk) Queens County (Seal).
2000 Oct 5 from Wilford Whitaker:
Our Immigrant ancestors George Woolsey and Rebecca Cornell had their two youngest children baptized at the Dutch Reformed Church in Flatbush, (Brooklyn), Kings County, Long Island, New York, in 1677. (See picture of Flatbush Church.)
More About GEORGE "JORIS" WOOLSEY:
Burial: Has Stone at, Oyster Bay, Queens, New York
Christening: May 15, 1616, St. Nicholas Church, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England at St. Nicholas Church
Grandmother REBECCA CORNELL Woolsey
Rebecca Cornell, the daughter of Thomas Cornel and Rebecca (Briggs) came to America in 1636. In December of 1647 Rebecca married George Woolsey. One can only imagine what the life of Rebecca was like in the settlement of New Netherland but easy I'm sure it was not.
At the approximate age of 43 tragedy strikes her family when her brother Thomas was hanged for the murder of her mother. The following story tells of the "Unsolved Murder" printed in booklet form in 1930 by the Old Stone Bank of Providence, Rhode Island.
AN UNSOLVED MURDER
Who killed Rebecca Cornell on the afternoon of Feb. 8, 1673, as she sat alone in her room in her home in Portsmouth? To this day no one knows for certain, yet one man, her son, Thomas, was convicted (on evidence that now seems wholey spurious) and executed for the crime. In those days when a defendant could have no counsel to argue his case, not a few innocent men went to their death, the victims of trumped up charges. Nowdays, a court would insist upon a minute autopsy upon the body and a rigorous investigation of all evidence before deciding the case and declaring a verdict. But let us examine the case in hand.
To begin with, the Cornell's as a family were well known in Portsmouth. Thomas Cornell, the father, had been admitted as a freeman in 1640, he received a grant for 100 acres within the settlement. To this estate his son Thomas succeeded.
Thomas the 2nd, like his father, was a man of honor and consequence in the colony. He was several times a deputy from Portsmouth to the General Assembly in Newport, and was placed in many positions of public trust. In February 1673, we find him living quietly on his Portsmouth farm with his family, made up then of himself, his wife, two sons, his mother (a widow of 73), and two hired men. His mother occupied a first floor room, which contained a fireplace and had both an inside and outside door. Thomas had been married twice, having four sons by his first wife. It was two of these sons who were left at home at the time of the murder, but the wife mentioned was Sarah, the second wife.
To proceed on Feb. 8, 1673, Rebecca, the mother, was found dead on the floor of her room, her cloths burned and her body severely scorched by fire. Taking the first testimony of Thomas Cornell and one of his hired men, Henry Strait, a coroner's jury returned a verdict that she had come "To her untimely death by an unhappy accident of fire, as she sat in her room." However, a further examination of the body disclosed a wound on the upper part of her stomach, and the jury gave out as a revised verdict that she came to her death because of both fire and the injury, but incriminated no one. As the case stood, it was a mystery until rumors began to circulate concerning trouble in the past between Thomas and his mother. Magistrates took up the inquiry and prosecuted Cornell on the strength of it. He was arrested and bound over to the superior court. Indicted on March 12, tried and convicted on the same day, sentenced to be hanged on May 23, pending the execution of the sentence. He was kept chained, manacled and guarded by four men by day and eight men by night. In the addition, a warrant was issued for the seizure of his estate. There was no chance for him to escape, and he died on the gallows on the appointed day.
Thomas Cornell did not confess anything, but strangely enough, before his execution, his friends presented a petition in his behalf to the General Assembly requesting that he be buried next to his mother. Would a murderer naturally desire to be buried next to his victim? The Petition complicated the mystery. The General Assembly did not grant it, but gave his friends permission to bury him on his own farm, provided they made his grave within 10 feet of the common road where the colony would be at liberty to set up a monument on his grave. Otherwise he would have to be buried near the gallows. As a further mark of leniency the Assembly, released his estate after his death, naming the town council of Portsmouth as executor.
Another odd aspect of the case was the vote of the General Assembly after the execution to record all the proceedings and testimonies involved in the case in the "Book of Trials". This was not testimony given at the actual trail, but such information and affidavits as were procured at the inquest or later by magistrates. Some of this testimony was peculiar, as we will go through it briefly.
On Feb. 8, the afternoon of the murder, Thomas Cornell spent two and half-hours with his mother in her room. Engaging her in conversation after which he came out into the adjoining room and began to wind a quill of yarn. Before this was half wound he was summoned to supper with his family and two hired men. After supper he sent his son Edward to ask his grandmother if she would have her milk boiled for supper. The boy went, discovered the fire in the room on the floor, and came running back to get a candle and give the alarm. Henry Strait ran into the room followed by the boy with the candle and then by Thomas Cornell and his wife. The hired man saw the fire and raked it out with his hands, and then in the faint light shed by the candle saw a human body on the floor. Supposing it to be an Indian, drunk and burned, (a rather odd supposition) he shook the body and spoke to it in an Indian language. At that moment Thomas Cornell saw the body and exclaimed, "Oh, Lord! It is my mother!"
The body was lying on its left side, with its back to the bed and face towards the window. Its cloths were part woolen and part cotton but only the woolen part was burned. There was no evidence of fire about the bed, except that the curtains and valance were partially burned. Lastly the outer door was fastened.
Thomas Cornell maintained that his mother's cloths had caught fire from hot coal falling upon them from her pipe as she smoked in her chair, but no pipe or pieces appear to have been found on the floor. If that happened, she should have been able to extinguish the fire herself or at least call for help. That hypothesis does not consider the evidence of the fire about the curtains and valances. Who extinguished those, things so highly inflammable? Thomas Cornell would hardy have left the room with the fire going unwatched, thus imperiling his own house!
Now for the testimony of the hired men: One said that usually both the children were with the grandmother in the evening but that they had not gone to her room on the evening of the murder. Futher, the grandmother, when well, usually ate with the family, being sent for. Henry Strait testified that he had even asked Thomas Cornell why his mother was not at the table that evening and that the latter replied it was because they were having salt mackerel, which she could not eat. "But," said Strait; "She used to be called at other times when they had mackerel."
Further testimony was to the effect that Rebecca Cornell had had a claim against her son for overdue rent. Some said sharp words had passed between them and others that she had been threatened by her son and forced to do menial services. At one time she had hinted at suicide and at another declared that in the spring she was going to live with her other son, Samuel, but feared that she might be made away with before then. Finally, one witness who accompanied by Sarah Cornell, had visited Thomas Cornell while he was in jail asserted that the wife and husband had conversed apart and that he had heard one say to the other "If you will keep my secret, I will keep yours."
Such is the main bulk of the testimony. There is one more episode in the case, however and it might well be mentioned. Four days after the murder the brother of Rebecca Cornell testified that the ghost of his sister had appeared at his bedside and spoken to him twice, calling attention to her burns and wound and implying that she had been murdered. Strange as it seems, according to the Cornell Family Genealogical records, this bit of flimsy testimony had the most to do with the indictment and sentencing of Thomas Cornell.
The case caused a great deal of feelings among the people of the colony, as well it might and its true solution remained a mystery. Two years later it was revived briefly in the indictment of Sarah Cornell, the widow of Thomas Cornell for either perpetrating the crime or "for being abetting or consenting thereto" it may not be wrong to assume that her acquittal was in a large measure due to public sentiment. There had been time to do a whole lot of sane thinking since the hanging of Thomas Cornell. The people had reasoned to question the high handed proceedings, which rushed his execution. Whether Thomas Cornell was actually guilty or not we cannot say. The "Friends Records" say that "Rebecca Cornell, widow, was killed strangely at Portsmouth in her own dwelling house". But they name no murder. Even we, who are not lawyers, would question much of the evidence. While one prominent
lawyer, once asked about the case, simply said, "there was no evidence".
Sarah Cornell, wife of Thomas Cornell, Jr., probably thought the same, for she named a daughter, born after her husband's death, "Innocent". Undoubtedly as a living protest against her husband's unjust execution, which was rather typical of the time. - Source of Information: John T. Pierce, Sr., 52 Cedar Ave., Portsmouth, R.I., 02871 (As of June 1987) and Steven Alsip, Corbin, KY
Rebecca Cornell Woolsey's Depositon
Provied by Wilford Whitaker
(Deposition as to her mother's state of mind, which reveals a great deal of the state of mind of Rebecca Cornell Woolsey)
We find so very little regarding women's innermost thoughts in the 1600's that it is with great wonder and renewed appreciation that I found this deposition of Rebecca Cornell Woolsey [wife of our Immigrant Ancestor, George Woolsey]. As she was attempting to give the state of mind of her mother [Rebecca Briggs Cornell] prior to the time that Rebecca Briggs Cornell was "murdered", Rebecca Cornell Woolsey actually gives us a deep insight into her own state of mind. Although this deposition is rather dark and foreboding, and disturbing as to her own state of mind, she faces the issue honestly and gives us her frank opinion. As we read it, we must remember the circumstances: her mother had recently been attacked and her body burned. Her brother Thomas Cornell had been charged with the crime. Thomas Cornell's second wife had been charged as an accessory. It was not a happy time in their lives, and Rebecca Cornell Woolseys statements reflect that period of turmoil and trouble.
HIST: Records of the General Court of Trials, Newport Court Book A, May 1673. Newport, Newport County, Rhode Island. Fiske, Jane Fletcher, transcriber. Rhode Island General Court of Trials 1671 - 1704. Boxford, Massachusetts. 1998. p. 31. [This deposition was taken 10 Apr 1673 at Flushing by Robert Coe, Justice of Peace.] The Deposition of Rebeca Woollsey is yt wn shee was last at Rhod-Island with Her Mother Mrs Rebeca Cornell falling in discourse one with Another, the Deponts Mother tould her Daughtour Woollsey that shee looked very poorly and the Depont told her Mother shee had cause soe to doe; her mother did Aske her why; the Depont told her Mother, yt shee had, had the smal pox, and yt shee was very much Afflicted and Troubled in mind, and yt shee was sometimes Perswaded to Drowne her selfe, and sometimes to stabb her selfe. Soe the Deponts Mother told her Daughter that shee must pray to God, and he would helpe Her. The Depont told Her Mother, shee did often call upon God, and he did here her, so wn the Depont had done with this Discorce, the Deponants Mother told her Daughter that shee had beene divers yeares possest with an evill spirit, and that shee was divers times Perswaded to make away with Her selfe, and yett the Lord was pleased from time to time to preserve her. The Depont told her Mother, that shee would tell her Brother Thomas of it, and her Mother charged her not to tell hime, soe shee did not tell hime: And further sayes not. ffloshin [Flushing] 10 Aprill 1673 - This Testimony taken before me Robert Coe Justice of Peace
As one reads this remember the following:
Rebecca Cornell Woolsey was 43 years old when she made this deposition. She would live for another 40 years after making this statement. She was also four months pregnant. She had just lost one daughter, Mary, (for whom the daughter she was now pregnant with would be named) and it is possible that her youngest son William had died before 1673, although we don't know his exact death date.
Her mother's advice to her was to ". . . pray to God, and he would helpe Her." Rebecca, having just lived through a small pox epidemic [that killed one of every three that came down with it, including several of her neighbors], replied that ". . . shee did often call upon God, and he did here [hear] her, . . ." Even though ". . . shee was very much Afflicted and Troubled in mind, . . ." Rebecca Cornell Woolsey relied on a great faith in God to overcome her adversities.
Children of GEORGE WOOLSEY and REBECCA CORNELL are:
||SARAH WOOLSEY, b. August 03, 1650, NY - Flushing, Queens; d. August 18, 1734, NY - Newtown, Long Island; m. CAPT. WILLIAM JR HALLETT, December 01, 1669, NY - Newtown; b. 1648, CT - Greenwich; d. 1729.
||CAPT. GEORGE II WOOLSEY, b. October 10, 1652, Flushing, Long Island, New York; d. January 19, 1739/40, Dosoris, Long Island, New York; m. HANNAH VAN ZANDT, 1678, Jamaica, Long Island, New York; b. Abt 1655.
||REV THOMAS WOOLSEY, b. April 10, 1655, Hemsted, Long Island, New York; d. February 11, 1741/42, Bedford, Westchester, New York, ; m. RUTH BAYLES/BAYLIS, January 11, 1683/84, Jamaica, Queens, Long Island, New York; b. Abt 1664, Queens/Flushing, Long Island, New York; d. 1739, Westchester County, New York. Thomas is buried in Union Cemetery, Bedford, Westchester, NY.
||REBECCA WOOLSEY, b. February 13, 1658/59, New Amsterdam, Long Island, New York; d. November 18, 1731, Jamaica, Long Island, New York; m. THOMAS JR WIGGINS, Abt 1686, Jamaica, Queens, New York; b. 1656; d. 1728, buried NY - Jamaica, Long Island - Prospect Cemetery.
||JOHN WOOLSEY, b. January 12, 1660/61, Flushing, Queens, New York; d. June 10, 1721, Jamaica, Long Island, New York; m. ABIGAIL, 1705, Queens County, New York.
||MARY WOOLSEY, b. March 19, 1663/64, Nieu Amsterdam, Long Island, New York; d. Bef. 1673.
||Burial: Probably Old Jamaica Cemetery, Jamaica, New York
Christening: March 19, 1663/64, Dutch Reformed Church, Nieu Amsterdam
Source: Wilford W. Whitaker
||WILLIAM WOOLSEY, b. October 12, 1665; d. Bef. 1691.
||Notes for WILLIAM WOOLSEY:
Received the following from:
From: Wilford W. Whitaker:
Date: Tuesday, March 16, 1999
Subject: George Woolsey, Immigrant - Backbone of the Woolsey Family
The following was received 1 Jul 1998 from Harry Macy, Editor of the NYG&BR: New York Public Library, Rare Books and Manuscripts Division James Riker Papers, Memoria vol. 30, p. 187. "Extracts from an old manuscript book formerly belonging to Capt. William Hallett of Newtown (who died in 1729 age 81) and now in possession of one of his descendants, Marvin R. Briggs of New York, 1851." An Acount of the agees of Mr George Woolseys Children - William Woolsey was born in Jamaca on ye Isleand Nassau October ye 12 1665.
More About WILLIAM WOOLSEY:
Baptism: June 30, 1678, Flatbush, Long Island, New York
Burial: Probably Old Jamaica Cemetery, Jamaica, New York
||MARRITJE (MARY) WOOLSEY, b. September 08, 1673, Jamaca on ye Isleand Nassau, Long Island, New York; d. Aft. 1731; m. CHARLES WILLIAMSON, February 24, 1700/01, New York City, New York, New York.
||Notes for MARRITJE (MARY) WOOLSEY:
16 Mar 1999 from Wilford W. Whitaker:
Subject: George Woolsey, Immigrant - Backbone of the Woolsey Family
The following was received 1 Jul 1998 from Harry Macy, Editor of the NYG&BR: New York Public Library, Rare Books and Manuscripts Division James Riker Papers, Memoria vol. 30, p. 187. "Extracts from an old manuscript book formerly belonging to Capt. William Hallett of Newtown (who died in 1729 age 81) and now in possession of one of his descendants, Marvin R. Briggs of New York, 1851." An Acount of the agees of Mr George Woolseys Children - Mary Woolsey was born at Jamaca on ye Isleand Nassau September ye 8 1673.
[What we have here are two Mary Woolseys, the first died before 1673. The second Mary, born 8 Sep 1673 was bapt with her brother William 30 Jun 1678 "of reasonable age". This second Mary, www thinks, married Charles
Williamson in New York City, in 1701.]
11 Oct 1999 from Wilford W. Whitaker:
Subject: Mary Woolsey, d/o George, the Immigrant
I found two wills which finally completes the family of George Woolsey and Rebecca Cornell, though more research is needed on each of their children. [Eardeley, William A. D. "Records in the Office of the County Clerk at Jamaica, Long Island, New York, 1680-1781 : Wills and Administrations, guardians, and inventories." Filmed by G. S. of Utah 1940. Microfilm of typed manuscript at the Queens Borough Public Library in Jamaica, New York. ncludes index. p. 79.]
From "New York Marriages" I had found the marriage of Mary Woolsey and Charles Williamson in 1700. Some of the researchers named her as a grandchild of George Woolsey, the immigrant, but I couldn't place her anywhere, so I put her down as the youngest daughter of George Woolsey. Remember, she was not of age in 1691 when George Woolsey wrote his will. This was rather tentative and I wasn't sure, at first, but it was the best choice at the time, and as Rebecca Woolsey Wiggin's will, above, shows, it was the correct choice. I don't have very much on Charles Williamson. He probably was of Jamaica, at least for a while. He was a witness to the will of William Blinkley, of Jamaica, 12 Nov 1707, with Samuell Denton and Thomas Cardale. It is possible that he is an older brother? of Dorcas Williamson, who md William Woolsey.
Mary Woolsey, b 8 Sep 1673, at Jamaica, Island Nassau, New york, md 1700, New York, Charles Williamson. Their children:
1. Mary Williamson, b abt 1703, New York [named after her mother]
2. Rebecca Williamson, b abt 1706, New York [named after her grandmother] (end quote)
#2. Marritje (Mary) Woolsey, born 8 Sep 1673, at "Jamaica, On Ye Isleand Nassau", Long Island, New York. She with her brother William were baptized 30 Jun 1678 (not as infants) at Flatbush, Long Island, New York. (For the complete births and baptisms for the family, see my earlier postings.)
So, when her father's will (above) was written, she was two months shy of being age 18. So now, I still had a Mary, but the questioned remained "what happened to her?" Did she die? Was she married?
Early on, I had found in "New York Marriages" the marriage of one Charles Williamson to Mary Woolsey 24 Feb 1700/1701. I didn't pay much attention to that because I thought that Mary (#1. born 1664) was probably too old to be this marriage, so I assumed she was of the 3rd generation, which "shows-to-go-yah" that one never should "assume" anything in family history.
But, after studying this problem for awhile, and concluding that there must have been two Marys, I thought that the Mary who was born in 1673, was a good possibility for the above marriage to Charles Williamson. So I added him to the family data base, but it was still supposition on my part. Supposition, that is, until I found the following:
PROBATE: Eardeley, William A. D. "Records in the Office of the County Clerk at Jamaica, Long Island, New York, 1680-1781. Borough Public Library in Jamaica, NY. Includes Index. Liber C:129: Will of Rebecca Wiggins of Jamaica, a widow: . . . To my sister Mary, wife of Williamson and her two daughters, viz: Mary Williamson and Rebecca Williamson. Dated 15 Aug 1731; proved 18 May 1733."
Now this will was made by Rebecca Woolsey, d/o George the immigrant, who was the widow of Thomas Wiggins, of Jamaica, Queens County, New York, and sister of Mary Woolsey, above.
So it is no longer supposition, and we have the following: Mary Woolsey, b 8 Sep 1673 at Jamaica, bp 30 Jun 1678, at Flatbush, died sometime after 1731 (more research needs to be done, looking for death of Mary Williamson) and married 24 Feb 1700/1701 to Charles Williamson.
Charles Williamson must be some relation to Dirritje (Dorcas, Dorothy) Williamson who married William Woolsey. More work needs to be done here.
In 1704 John Woolsey made a deed to Charles Williamson. I need to find this deed.
On 15 Apr 1705, Charles Williamson made a deed to John Woolsey. I also need to find this deed.
Charles Williamson and Mary Woolsey had two girls:
1. Rebecca Williamson, b abt 1703, Jamaica
2. Mary Williamson, b abt 1705, Jamaica
(Looking at these two names, reminds me of the Dutch naming custom, then pretty much in effect.) Rebecca, 1st dau, named after her maternal grandmother Mary, 2nd dau, named after her mother. (A short family, but consistent, never-the-less). So there you have the family of Mary Woolsey, d/o George, the Immigrant. I believe this is correct, and possibly quite complete.
I would appreciate your input and further research notes if you have anything to add or dispute.
- Wilford Whitaker
PS: "Mary Woolsey mentioned in her father's will, which was written 2 Nov 1691: "4th item - I do give and bequeath unto my well beloved daughter MARY WOOLSEY one feather bed and bolster, two pillows, a pair of sheets and two coverlids to be delivered her at her day of marriage or is when she attains ye age of eighteen years, also one cow to be delivered her at ye same time."
More About MARRITJE (MARY) WOOLSEY:
Christening: June 30, 1678, Reformed Protestant Dutch Church, Flatbush, Long Island, New York
SOURCES OF INFORMATION: Wilford W. Whitaker, 6094 Glenoaks, Murray, UT 84107-7661, 801 263 0432; Steven Alsip of Corbin Ky., who used research material from "A Woolsey Family of America 1623-1975" by Donald C. Hart of Santa Cruz, Calif.; Compenium of American Genealogy; Family of George Wood Woolsey & Sarah Nelson written by daughter Hester Woolsey Brewer in 1939; LDS Library; The Wolsey/Woolsey Family of America a manuscript by James W. Woolsey in 1904; and Family Data of Joanne Grider Spulniak compiled by Jimmy D. Woolsey of Oklahoma City, Ok.;
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