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EARLY AMERICAN HISTORY

    The only contemporary record of the emigration of our patriarch Zachary was found among a bundle of miscellaneous manuscripts that turned up in the Public Record office, London in 1870. These were sent to the New England Historic & Genealogical Society and first published in their Register, Volume XXV, January 1871. This passenger list was later included in Hotten’s book (see Appendix for full title). It lists a company of 106 persons emigrating from Somerset & Dorset to New England under the care of the Rev. Joseph Hull (misspelled Hall), a 40-year old minister who was accompanied by his wife, seven children & three servants. The list included the following:

Zachary Bickewell aged 45 yeare
Agnis Bickwell his wife aged 27 yeare
John Bickwell his sonne aged 11 yeare
John Kitchin his servant 23 yeare

As noted in the article on the spelling of the Bicknell name (see Appendix), spelling at that time was very random. There is no doubt that this is our forebearer Zachary Bicknell. Agnes’ age also seems to be in error. As the records of Braintree, MA show that Agnes was 45 years old at her death on 9 Jul 1643, she would have been 37 years old rather than the “27 yeare” listed when she emigrated.

    The Rev. Joseph Hull’s company sailed from the seaport of Weymouth in Dorset on 20 Mar 1634/5 bound for New England. After a voyage of 46 days, the ship cast anchor on 6 May 1635 before Governor Winthrop’s village of Boston. On 8 Jul that year, the General Court of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay passed the following order relative to this group: “There is leave graunted to 21 familyes to sitt downe at Wessaguscus”. The small colony of Wessaguscus, began as a trading post in 1622, was appreciatively strengthened by the arrival of such a large group and thus in September 1635 the colony was termed a plantation, changing its name to Weymouth after the port in England from which they had sailed. (see article about name of ship in the Appendix).

    Zachary built a home on twenty acres of what is now Middle Street in East Weymouth, MA but that our patriarch soon died, probably in 1636, is evinced by the 9 Mar 1636/7 record of William Reade purchasing said house & lot from Richard Rocket (Rockwood) and his wife Agnes (Bicknell) Rocket, the sale to be confirmed by the child when he came of age. John would have been about thirteen years old at this time. Agnes became the mother of a second son, John Rockwood, born 1 Dec 1641 in Braintree, MA.

    We are able to construct an outline of our ancestor’s English family from the wills of his parents printed in the 1913 Genealogy. His father’s will was dated 15 Nov 1620 and probated 8 Jun 1621, his mother’s dated 28 Dec 1621, probated 1624. Zachary’s parents are both buried in the churchyard of the Barrington church as are our ancestors for many generations. I have included a photo of this church taken during my August 1980 visit. The ancient gravestones are so moss-grown and weathered that it is no longer possible to decipher them, but the Somerset Record Office did yield the date of Zacharie Bicknell’s burial on 4 May 1621.

Father:   Zacharie Bicknell. Had brother Richard
Mother:   Johan (Joanna) Bicknell
Children:
Thomas
Rebecca   m#1 Clarke, two children:    John & Margerie
          m#2 Dillieng
John      three children: Zacharie, Ellen, Elizabeth
Mellonie  m. Warde, two children:    Marie, Zacharie
Zachary   b. about 1590, emigrated to New England with
          wife Agnes (Anne) and son John in 1635.

Green’s Muster Rolls for County of Somerset 1569 lists Zachary Bicknell, an archer, living in the tithing of Barrington, South Petherton Hundred, County of Somerset in 1569. This is probably our forebearer’s father.

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