An American Family History

William Fiske and Bridget Muskett

Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts
Wenham, Essex County, Massachusetts

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.

William Fiske and Bridget Muskett married about 1641 in Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts.

Their children included: Deacon William Fiske, Samuel Fiske, Joseph Fiske, Benjamin Fiske, and Martha Fiske.

William died in 1653.

Bridget married Thomas Rix, of Salem, on November 3, 1661.

Thomas and Bridget's son was Theophilus Rix (1665).

Thomas Rix became indebted to the town of Salem and had to sell his house and shop to meet the debt. After that he lived near the lower end of Elm Street. He bought land in Rockingham County, New Hampshire in 1670, but sold them the next year. He went to Preston, Connecticut to be with his son James and died there on October 30, 1718.
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.

Surgeons in colonial America were often barbers who used their cutting tools to perform surgery.
Physicians were university trained.
Midwives assisted women in childbirth.



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.

from Historical Collections of the Essex Institute

The Fiskes, who have resided in Wenham, occupied farms situated in the western part of the town, and probably seldom or never lived in any other portion of the place; and when they left to settle in the adjoining towns, it was in the immediate vicinity of the original settlement ; namely, in the north-east corner of Danvers and south-east side of Topsfield.

On the right hand of the street, leading from the centre village to Topsfield, is a lane which leads down to the great swamp, where there is a site of an old residence (tradition says) that a family of Fiskes once occupied; and on the southern side of and some distance from the street, and nearly opposite this lane, in a small cemetery, where some of the Fairfields are buried, is an ancient tomb which has always been called the Fiske tomb.

The following account of William Fiske and his posterity has been compiled from county, town, and church records, monuments in cemeteries, and recollections of the elder members of several branches of the family, unless other sources are noticed.

(1) William [Fiske], published accounts say, married a Bridget Muskett, in Pelham, England, and had five children, but only one of whom I find any identified record of birth or baptism, though probably the sons, if not the daughter, were all born in Wenham; as Rev. John Fiske, in his will, makes a small bequest to this brother's eldest son William, and to his brothers. Mr. Fiske died intestate, probably, about September, 1654, as an inventory of his estate was taken 16th 7 mo., 1654; and his widow afterward married a Rix, and was alive in 1674, as Rev. John made her a legatee, also calling her the mother of his brother William's children, but does not mention the Christian name of her or her Rix husband.

Mr. Fiske joined the church in Salem, 2d 5 mo., 1642, and the next year, probably after the month of May, he, it is said, was made freeman of Wenham. He was the first town clerk, and several times was chosen by the town to represent the town in the legislature of the colony, and held other trusts, but died in prime of life. His children were,

2. William, baptized in Salem, 4th 4 mo., 1643.
3. Samuel.
4. Joseph.
5. Benjamin,
6. Martha.

Essex County, Massachusetts was created on May 10, 1643 by the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, when it ordered "that the whole plantation within this jurisdiction be divided into four sheires."

from Historic Homes and Institutions by Ellery Bicknell Crane

He married 1643, at Salem, Massachusetts, Bridget Muskett, of Pelbam, England. After his death she married, November 3, 1661, Thomas Rix, of Salem, surgeon.

The children of William and Bridget (Muskett) Fiske were:
1. William, married Sarah Kilham.
2. Samuel, of whom later.
3. Joseph, born in Wenham; married Elizabeth Haman.
4. Benjamin, born in Wenham; married Bethusha Morse.
5. Martha.

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©Roberta Tuller 2023
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