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The Willets family of Long Island

Descendants of Richard Willets
    Richard Willets was born in 1618 in old England.  He was baptized in 1619. He may have been a native of Butcombe, county Somerset, England. His parents may (possibly) be John and Elizabeth (Buver) Willets.  It is usually stated that he came from Bristol, or some other, west English port.  However, he is sometimes mentioned as being from Worchester.  This Worchester assumption is based on the fact that his wife Mary Washburne was from Bengeworth, county Worchester, England.  The largest known family group that spelled their name Willets lived at Kemerton, county Gloucester, in England.  Glouchester is just north of Bristol and county Somerset.  A Henry Willets died in 1591 at Kemeerton, a Julyan in 1598, and a Robert in 1639.  At his marriage, Richard described himself as of Bristol.  Dutch custom would have us believe he was born at Bristol.  But one needs to be careful; Richard may have not understood the significance of the question, and described the English port he had departed the "old" world from, instead of answering the question of where he was born.
    It is thought that Richard Willets left his native England about 1640 (age 22).  If he was from Glouchester, he most likely left from Bristol. He sailed to New England where he may have settled at Rhode Island for a brief time.  In 1643, he settled at the predominantly English settlement at "Hempsteede", [Hempstead], Long Island, which was under Dutch rule.
    Richard Willet/Willetts, Sr. had come from the western part of England to the American Colonies in 1645, with his brother Thomas Willets.  They were cousins of Capt. Thomas Willett (1610) who came to Plymouth in 1629 from Lyden, Holland.  Capt. Willett led the British forces when they took over New Amsterdam, which they re-named New York.  Capt. Willett was the first English mayor of the town now re-named New York in 1664. Capt. Thomas Willett died 1674 at age 64 at Swansea, Massachusetts. Lewesham, the Willets home in England, was near Wales, although the early family had been in Hertfordshire, England. Richard Willetts, our Progenitor in America, and his brother, Thomas Willett, came to Boston ca. 1640. Then settled in New London, Connecticut and then Richard and Thomas moved to Long Island when it was part of New Amsterdam, under Dutch rule, by about 1647. Richard Willetts was an original proprietor of Nassau County, Long Island He became a surveyor of highways in 1659 at the town of Hempstead. He and his family lived  at Hempstead until he died, ca. 1665. Richard Willetts was listed in 1657 at Hempstead, being found on the town tax rolls, and was found listed, having 6 cattle, 6 milch cows, and 28 acres of land. Only 12 others paid more taxes than did Richard Willetts, Sr.
    Before 1650 Richard Willetts had married Mary/Martha Washbourne, the daughter of William and Jane Washbourn, earlie settlers of Oyster Bay, L.I.  In 1657 Richard Willetts was one of those present at the reading of the will of his father-in-law, William Washbourne, the will being read by the town clerk, John James. In 1658 Richard Willetts was one of those present when court was held 18 April 1658.  Richard Gildersleeve was Magistrate, and Richard Willetts, John Hicks, and Robert Forman were assistants.  At this session of the court two local wives, Mrs. Joseph (Mary) Scott, and Mrs. Francis Weeks were fined 20 guilders and cost, for attending a Quaker meeting. (Ref. Bunker's L.I. Genealogies) in 1659 Richard Willetts was appointed surveyor of highways for Nassau County. In 1662 Richard Willetts was chosen Townsman by vote of the people. He evidently died by 10 June 1665, when his widow, Mary Willetts made returns, counting for six horses. On 24 day of March 1666 the widow Willets, lately of Hempstead, now of Oyster Bay, sold to Joseph Williams, of Hempstead, the home lot and housing next to the lot of Joseph Langdon, on the north side of it, said home lot and housing "I did lately dwell in." In 1667 Mary, widow of Richard Willetts, bought a portion of her brother in law's Oyster Bay Patent, he being Robert Williams, married to Sarah Washbourne.  Mary Washbourne Willetts then settled at Jericho, Long Island near Oyster Bay. Mary Washbourne Willetts joined the Society of Friends, the Quakers, and became a minister, and had meetings at her house.  For this she suffered "distraint of property by the English authorities, for non payment of a Ministers' and Church Rates. (Bunker) She died 17 January 1713 at Jericho, Long Island, New York.  Her burial place is uncertain. Leah Blackman, historian of Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey, wrote: "The Willits (Willetts), were Quakers, and people of respectability. Most of them throughout the various generations having closley adhered to the Quaker faith.  Many of the Willits have been wealthy, and an unusual numer of them possessed of considerable means (wealth).  Several of the old time Willits were magistrates, appointed by the Sovereigns of England to the American Colonies." The Washbourne line of Mary/Martha Washbourne Willetts is "our ancestral line" which ties all of us, her descendants to the royal houses of England and much of Europe.