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The Great Migration Begins: William Dady

Source: Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, Volume 1, A-F (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995).

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ORIGIN: Unknown




CHURCH MEMBERSHIP: Admitted to Boston church as member #122, shortly after admission of John WINTHROP Jr.; this would be late in 1631 or very early in 1632 [BChR 14].  On 14 October 1632 dismissed to participate in organization of Charlestown church [BChR 16].  Admitted as a founding member of Charlestown church, 2 November 1632 [ChVR 7].

FREEMAN: 1 April 1633 [MBCR 1:367].

EDUCATION: Signed deeds and will by mark.  Inventory includes books valued at 15s.

ESTATE: In 1635 William DADY was one of those who surrendered five acres of their ten-acre grants on Mystic Side [ChTR 14, 27].  On 22 June 1635 “Goo[dman] DADY was consented to have a houseplot next Goo[dman] BRACKENBORO” [ChTR 14].  In 1635 he was granted two hay lots [ChTR 19, 29, 32, 42].  On 23 April 1638 he was granted his lots on Mystic Side, with allotments of five, thirty and five acres [ChTR 36].

In the Charlestown Book of Possessions “William DADE” held eight parcels: half a rood on the east side of Mill Hill, with a dwelling house; two acres of arable land in the East Field; another two acres of arable land in the East Field; two milch cow commons; half an acre of meadow in Mystic Field; five acres of woodland in Mystic Field, No. 20; five acres of woodland in Mystic Field, No. 51; and thirty-five acres of land in Water Field [ChBOP 15-16].

On 6 October 1676 “William DAUDY of Charlestown … butcher” sold to Benjamin SWITZER of Charlestown, lastmaker, two parcels of upland and meadow in Charlestown containing about fifteen and a half acres [MLR 5:351].  On 30 April 1679 William DADY of Charlestown, butcher, sold to Joses BUCKNAM of Malden, planter, a parcel of marsh or meadow lying

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on Mysticside in Charlestown [MLR 7:117].  On 18 January 1677/8 “William DAUDE” of Charlestown, butcher, sold to John GREENLAND Jr. of Malden five acres in Malden [MLR 7:171].  On 26 February 1679/80 William DADY of Charlestown, butcher, sold to “my son-in-law Jno. GEORGE” of the same one small piece of ground in Charlestown [MLR 7:215].  On 6 April 1681 “Wm. DADEE with Martha my wife” of Charlestown sold to Thomas LORD one cow common in the stinted common without the neck [MLR 7:386].

On 29 May 1682 “Martha DADY relict widow to William DADY of Charlestown … deceased” sold to Peter TUFTS Sr. of Charlestown ten acres and a half in Charlestown [MLR 8:243].  On 28 March 1683 “Martha DAWDIE … relict widow … of William DAWDYE” of Charlestown sold to Joseph KETTLE, cooper, and Samuel KETTLE, potter, of Charlestown one and a half acres in the East Field in Charlestown [MLR 9:76].

In his will, dated 3 February 1681 and proved 20 June 1682, William DADY of Charlestown, butcher, bequeathed to “my beloved wife Martha DADY” his entire estate for life, but if she remarry her thirds only; after wife’s decease or marriage, to “my son W[illia]m DADY the new dwelling house wherein I now live and three acres of ground in the field, two acres of the said land … being between the land of Zacariah JOHNSON and John CUTTLER Junior and one acre more … being on the hill which I bought of Dannell SHEPERSON and also the salt marsh that lyeth by Georg BLANCHARD’s and five cow commons in the stinted common on this side Mistick Bridge and half of my eighth part in the mill and the half of both my woodlots on the other side Mistick Bridge with the ground belonging to the said house & barn”; to “my daughter Abigall DADY the little house in which now John MELVEN liveth with the ground as it is now fenced running down to John GEORGE’s ground and the other half of my eighth part of the mill and two cows commons in the foresaid stinted common on this side Mistick Bridge and the other half of the woodlots on the other side Mistick Bridge and also I do give her the use of the pump and to have liberty for water”; to “all my wife’s children by her former husband all the goods that she brought with her”; to “my beloved wife Martha DADY” a parcel of land which she may sell, and if there be £10 left in wife’s hands at her decease “I give it unto my daughter-in-law Mara MARCH”; if either son William or daughter Abigail dies without issue, then entire estate to go to the other, and if both die without issue, then estate to be divided equally among wife’s children by former husband; wife Martha DADY executor and John WHITMAN and William CLOUGH to be overseers [MPR Case #5721].

The inventory of the estate of William DADY, taken 26 April 1682, was untotalled, and included “the thirty-two part of the Sea Adventer,” valued at £20, and real estate valued at £532 18s.: “the dwelling house and ground and barn,” £150; “the dwelling house now rented,” £55; “land

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one acre on the hill,” £20; “more or less two acres in the field,” £40 5s.; “an acre and a half of land in the field,” £20 5s.; “seven cow commons,” £35 8s.; “the new division land in the common,” £50; “seven acres of salt marsh by BLANCHER’s,” £42; “an eighth part of the tide mill,” £100; and “the two woodlots,” £20 [MPR Case #5721].

BIRTH: About 1605 (deposed 1679 aged seventy-four [MA Arch 69:256b], and died 1682 aged seventy-seven).

DEATH: Charlestown 10 April 1682, aged 77 [Wyman 271, citing gravetone inscription].

MARRIAGE: (1) Dorothy _____, who is first seen on her admission to Charlestown church on 31 August 1633 [ChVR 8].  Since she was not admitted along with her husband the previous November when the church was founded, the marriage probably took place early in 1633.  She died at Charlestown 8 April 1670 [ChVR 1:73].

(2) Charlestown 29 June 1670 “Elizabeth [sic] MARCH, widow” [ChVR 1:75].  She was widow of John MARCH of Charlestown, and her name was Martha, not Elizabeth.


With first wife

i    BENJAMIN, bp. Charlestown 24 March 1635/6 [ChVR 46]; no further record.

ii    NATHANIEL, bp. Charlestown 22 January 1636/7 [ChVR 46]; m. Charlestown 17 June 1663 Hannah MILLER [ChVR 1:44]; d. Charlestown 25 April 1665 [ChVR 1:49], and his inventory was taken 20 September 1665 [MPR Case #5720].  This couple had two children at Charlestown: Hannah b. 4 April 1664 and d. 5 April 1664; and Nathaniel b. 2 April 1665 and d. 6 December 1666 [ChVR 1:42, 46, 52, 56].  The widow m. (2) Charlestown 4 October 1667 John EDMUNDS [ChVR 1:24-25] and (3) Charlestown 22 May 1684 Aaron LUDKIN [ChVR 1:123].

iii    ZECHARIAH, b. Charlestown 16 May 1644 [ChVR 1:8]; no further record.

With second wife

iv    WILLIAM, b. Charleston 10 April 1671 [ChVR 1:80]; m. Bristol 28 January 1694 Sarah BEARCROFT [RIVR 6:Bristol:17].

v    ABIGAIL, b. Charlestown 31 October 1672 (mother erroneously given as “Elizabeth”)[ChVR 1:85]; named in father’s will, 3 February 1681.

COMMENTS: Previous writers have consistently divided the immigrant into two Williams, father and son.  Savage claimed that the William who

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had son William in 1671 was son of the immigrant, and also predeceased his father, yet in citing the will of the father he includes the bequest to son William, which is obviously contradictory.  Wyman gives the death date of the immigrant on 10 April 1682, but has him leaving no will, whereas he has no death date for the supposed son of the immigrant, but ascribes to him the will dated on 3 February 1681/2 and probated on 20 June 1682.

From the deposition of 1679 and the gravestone inscription we have consistent evidence that the immigrant was born about 1605 and died in 1682.  The dates of the making and the proving of the will squarely surround the death date for the immigrant, and in no record down to 1682 is any William DADY called “Sr.” or “Jr.”  The conclusion must be that the immigrant had two families, separated in time by more than thirty years and thus giving the illusion of an intervening generation.  This illusion could exist in part because no descendants of William DADY by his first wife survived beyond 1666.  The only William DADY of the second generation was the one born in 1671.

William DADY is in a list of those admitted as inhabitants of Charlestown in 1630 [ChTR 6], and he is also in lists of inhabitants compiled on 9 January 1633/4 and in January 1635/6 [ChTR 10, 15].

On 11 August 1679 “Wm. DADY aged 74 years” deposed that “in the year 1632 he did help to dig sod & carry it to build the fort at Charlstowne where it now stands” [MA Arch 69:256b].

On 4 February 1679 “William DAUDY and Martha his wife, & John DRINKER, in behalf of their sons: and Sarah MIRICK in behalf of her husband, all of Charlestowne” petitioned the General Court in behalf of their “relations [who] were taken by the Algerines the last year” [MA Arch 61:185].  On 24 May 1680 “Martha DADEY” petitioned the General Court, she “having one son in captivity with the Turks these eighteen months past … there being many others with him in the like bondage and that of New England birth, and your poor petitioner’s son fatherless,” but the General Court declined to act [MA Arch 61:210].  These petitions have been interpreted to apply to the William DADY who was previously thought to be of the third generation, but this William was born in 1671, and would not have been taken captive in late 1678, when he would be barely seven years old.  The language of the second petition, in which Martha DADY alone approached the General Court on behalf of her “fatherless son,” reveals that it must be one of her sons by John MARCH who was captured on a sea voyage.

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