An American Family History

William Fiske

Wenham was first settled by English Puritans. The church was formed in 1644 with John Fiske as pastor.

The town clerk was one of the first offices in colonial America. The clerk recorded births, marriages, and deaths.

William Fiske was born about 1613 in England. His parents were John Fiske and Anne Lantersee.

He emigrated to America in 1637 with his brother, Rev. John Fiske. He first settled at Salem where he received a grant of land. He became a member of the Salem church on July 2, 1641.

He married Bridget Muskett about 1641. Their children and life together are described in detail in the section on William and Bridget Fiske. They settled in Wenham.

Children of William Fiske (Fisk)
and Bridget Muskett

Bridget Muskett and Thomas Rix

  • Theophilus Rix
  • He was admitted freeman on May 18, 1643 and was the first chosen town clerk in 1644. He was elected Representative to the General Court of the Commonwealth from 1647 to 1652.

    He died in 1654.

    Any man entering a colony or becoming a a member the church, was not free. He was not forced to work, but his movements were carefully observed to see if they followed the Puritanical ideal. After this probationary period, he became a "freeman." Men then took the Oath of a Freeman where they vowed to defend the Commonwealth and not to overthrow the government.

    Wenham, Essex County, Massachusetts was settled in 1636. The first settlers called it Enon or Salem Village. It was officially set off from the Town of Salem on May 10, 1643.




    from Historic Homes and Institutions by Ellery Bicknell Crane

    William Fiske, second son of John (7) and Anne (Lantersee) Fiske, born in England about 1613; came to America in 1637, and settled at Salem, Massachusetts, where he received a grant of land, and was admitted a freeman, May 18, 1642, and a member of the Salem church, July 2, 1641.

    Soon afterward he removed to Wenham, Massachusetts, where he was first town clerk, and then clerk of writs from 1643 to 1660. He was a representative to the general court in 1647, and until 1652. He was one of the most honored and prominent citizens of the town of Wenham. He died September, 1654 in testate.

    Old Style Calendar
    Before 1752 the year began on Lady Day, March 25th,. Dates between January 1st and March 24th were at the end of the year. Old Style (O.S.) and New Style (N.S.) are used to indicate whether the year has been adjusted. Often both dates are used.

    from The Fiske Family by Albert Augustus Fiske

    William Fiske, who emigrated to America in 1637, in company with his brother, Rev. John Fiske, was born in England about 1614, and was there married to Bridget Muskett, by whom he had several children. He was admitted freeman (at Wenham") in 1643, and chosen town clerk of the same during the following year. He was elected Representative to the General Court of the Commonwealth in 1647, and continued in that office by annual election till 1652. He appears to have enjoyed to a large extent the confidence and respect of his townsmen, but was cut short in his career by death, in 1654, in the prime of his life, under forty years of age; having, during the eleven years of his residence in Wenham, repeatedly served in all the positions of trust within the gift of the people.

    He died in testate, and therefore most probably of some sudden and acute disease. Letters of administration were granted by the court to "widow Bridget Fiske" in July, 1654, by which provision was made for the following five children, therein named — William, Samuel, Joseph, Benjamin and Martha. William, the eldest of these, was born in 1642. Other children may have been born previous to this date, but must have died young. The above named were evidently the only living heirs at the time of their father's decease. No records of births, marriages or deaths were kept on the town books of Wenham before 1686. . .

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    ©Roberta Tuller 2023
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