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The Descendants of William
not know William's birth date but some sources indicate he was born
in 1608 in the town of Sheen, later Richmond, in County Surrey,
England. His parents are sometimes reported to be David Dudley and
Joanna Arnold. We have not yet confirmed this information. Nothing is
known of Jane's birth or parentage, but she is said to have been "of
Wyseborough Green". Guilford records indicate that the couple had four
children. William, was born aboard the St. John on June 8, 1639; Joseph
was born in Guilford, April 24, 1643; Ruth was born in Guilford April
20, 1645; and Deborah was born in Guilford, September 20, 1647. Two
sources ascribe to them a fifth, unnamed child, but no records have
been found to confirm this birth. No mention of a fifth child is made
in William's will.
There is very
little of record
concerning William and Jane although he was apparently a substantial
member of the community. He was granted 3 3/4 acres of land on
Petticoat Lane (now Fair Street) for a home lot in the first division
of land. In subsequent divisions he was granted additional land and
eventually accumulated holdings of about 150 acres in various parts of
Guilford. William was a farmer and kept cows, horses, sheep, and oxen.
Upon his death, his estate was valued at 345 pounds, 3 shillings, 5
pence, a considerable sum in 1684.
that he became a
Freeman on June 30, 1650, at the same time as many others of the 25
original settlers. We have recently examined some old town records and
find that William was elected and served as Townsman on three
occasions, in 1653, 1656, and again in 1661. He was also chosen to "set
out highway" as needed, to "set out grounds for the mill's use" and to
set out fence for the young cattle. He also served as an appraiser of
estates on several occasions. It has been claimed by some that he
served as a representative to the General Court, but lists of those
Deputies do not include his name and town meeting records do not reveal
his ever having been elected to such a position. He may have been
illiterate. His will drawn up on December 22, 1679 and a codicil, drawn
up on July 25, 1683, were not signed, but marked and affirmed. His
signature does appear on the Guilford compact, but one or two persons
may have written it, like all the others. Similarities in the
signatures leads one to this possible conclusion. If he were
illiterate, it might explain why he never held public office as all
Freeman were expected to do.
died in Guilford
on March 16, 1684 following by ten years the death of his wife, Jane in
Guilford on May 1, 1674.
This is a condensation of
that was written for The Dudley Family Newsletter. For sources or
further information or to learn how to subscribe to The Dudley Family
Newsletter, E-mail Al Dudley.
This information was originally part of the
Dudley page found at http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Woods/3951/Biography.html