The Walcotts were involved with the Salem Witchcraft trials as closely as the Putnams. Their problems with Salem began a few generations earlier with a Walcott who marched to a different drummer and, for the sake of his faith, caused disturbances in his own way.
William Walcott was born 1608 in Devon, England
Married Alice Ingersoll the daughter of Richard Ingersoll and his wife Agnes (Ann) Langley
Died 21 July 1644 Salem, Essex, MA
William and Alice’s children were:
1. John Walcott born about 1632 Salem, Essex, MA married Mary Thorley and died 30 September 1690, Springfield, Hampton, MA
2. Alice Walcott born Salem, Essex, MA married Ralph Hutchinson
3. Abraham Walcott born Salem, Essex, MA married Ruth Hooper
4. Jonathan Walcott born Salem, Essex, MA married 1. Mary Sibley and 2. Deliverance Putnam
5. Elizabeth Walcott born Salem, Essex, MA, probably died young
When I first began to research the William Walcott, I thought “Oh, oh, another bad boy.” In 1642 William Walcott was whipped for his idleness by the Salem, Massachusetts Court. Their records note " William Walcott for refusing to bring his child to the ordinance, neglecting willingly family duties, etc." 'William. Walcotts wife children & estate committed to Richard Inkersell his father in law 27:10:1643 to be disposed of according to God and the said Wm. Walcott to bee & remained as his servant.'"
Next I found William Walcott being banished from Salem. But when I learned that there was a law passed in the colony that “banished” all those who opposed infant baptism near the time that William left Salem, I began to wonder if maybe he was a part of the growing “Antinomianism” movement that Anne Hutchinson was preaching in Boston and which caused her to be banished to Rhode Island. (See Line 10.1) Antinomianism was the belief that grace and faith alone were the only things necessary for salvation; that through the acceptance of God’s grace religious law was no longer necessary. They believe in Sola Fide, faith alone. If William Walcott was indeed of the antinomianism it might explain his “idleness” was of a religious nature rather then a physical nature. It may also have been why he disappeared from Salem by 1644 when the law regarding infant baptism was passed.
My next discovery was that the “neglecting” of his family was indeed related to Antinomianism as Roger Williams, the founder of the Baptist movement, was censured and banished at the same time for advocating adult baptism among other beliefs. William’s neglect was probably in regards to his “neglect” of baptizing his children.
Roger Williams fled Salem and along with Anne Hutchinson and her family founded the colony of Rhode Island. Roger Williams had left England, as did many of the original settlers of Massachusetts, in order to preach freely. He arrived in Salem as early as 1631 as the pastor of the church in that town. He spent a short time preaching in Plymouth but returned to Salem. However, his theology troubled the people of Salem and he was forced to flee Salem and the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The local Indians in what is now called Narragansett Bay befriended him and he was able to buy land from the Narrangsett Chiefs, Canonicus and Miantonomi. He called his acreage “Providence” in gratitude to God.
William Aspinwall, the “public notary” for Boston made several references to a William Wolcott, assumed to be my ancestor.
“Valentine Hill granted a tre. of Attr. (power of attorney) to Joseph Grafton (a Salem merchant ship owner) to recover & Receive the Bills of Tristram Dodge, William Woolcot & William Davies or any other in Newfoundland with absolute power &c.” Another entry of the same year records that Ambrose Butland of Tarmond in Devonshire, mariner, gave to Nicholas Butland of Tarmond his power of attorney to collect from 'Wm Wolcot of Stoke near Tingmouth in Devonshire, sometimes mr of the ship called Goodwill and Prosper of London in the full and just summe of ten pounds sterl committed to him of trust by the said Appearer in fferry land in Newfoundland about 3/4 of yeare hence...'
A William Walcott was found in Maine in 1651 as a shoals witness. The next year Salem records declare “means were taken by the court to preserve his estate” indicating that he had not returned to Salem. In that same year Robert Goodell of Salem owned 30 acres of land that had originally been William Walcott’s. Whether William died in Maine or returned to Salem is not known. He did however, leave a troubled legacy in his heirs and certainly to his son Jonathan.
1. Internet Ray Parsons http://members.tripod.com/ray970
2. Internet Rick Ingersoll http://wwwmy-ged.com/db/page/inger/465
3. Massachusetts and Maine Families by Walter Goodwin Davis
5. Torrey Supplement Edited by Melinde Lutz Sanborn
6. New England Marriages Prior to 1700 by Clarence Almon Torrey
7. Familytreemaker.com "Ancestors of Colby Heisig Tilleton"
8. "The Walcott Family of Salem" by John B. Wolcott, internet, http://members.nbci.com/XMCM/wolcott/salem.htm
9. "The Great Migration Begins" Richard Ingersoll
10. "The Parents of Jonathan Hayens of Newbury and Havenhill, Massachusetts, and Some of their descendants" by Mrs. William C. Clark, of Elkins Park, Penn. the American Genealogist" #107, Vol. XXVII no. 3, July 1951, page 129
11. Roger Williams Family Association http://www.rogerwilliams.org/biography.htm