William Sterling[1]

Male 1637 - 1719  (82 years)

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  • Name William Sterling 
    Born 1637  Hertford, Hertfordshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 22 Jan 1719  Sterling City, Lyme, New London, Connecticut, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Sterling Cem, Sterling City, Connecticut, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Person ID I23546  32 Generations
    Last Modified 11 May 2016 

    Father David Stirling, of Hertfordshire,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Family ID F40423  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Elizabeth Sawtell,   b. 1 May 1638, Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 Feb 1675, Haverhill Essex County, Massachusetts, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 36 years) 
    Married 1659  Haverhill Essex County, Massachusetts, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
     1. Richard Sterling,   b. 5 Aug 1663, Rowley Essex, Massachusetts, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
    Last Modified 18 Jun 2018 
    Family ID F15108  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 

      The following is an excerpt from "Supplement to the Hess Family in Ameica 1984" by Barbara Allison. Barbara has researched these families for many years.

      38. William 6 Sterling[1] (David, #76) was born circa 1632 at London, England.[2] He first married Elizabeth Sawtelle, circa 1659.[3] Elizabeth died 6 February 1675, in Haverhill, Massachusetts.[4] After the death of Elizabeth he then married Mary Blaisdell (see #39), the daughter of Ralph Blaisdell and Elizabeth Parker, on 19 December 1676 in Haverhill, Essex Co., Massachusetts.[5], [6], [7] After the death of Elizabeth he married Ann (Nichols) Neale, (the widow of John Neals), 24 April 1683, in Haverhill, Massachusetts.[8], [9] William died on 22 January 1719 at Connecticut.

      The first mention that has been found of William in New England is in the Essex County Records at Salem, Massachusetts, where the names of five children are given as born at Rowley Village at Mirrimack. The village refered to as what is now Bradford, on the opposite side of the Merrimac River from Haverhill, where William lived many years.[10] Good Starling[11] was taxed three shillings and ten pence, in Rowley, between the years 1660 and 1664.[12]

      William is called Mariner in the early records. He was also a ship carpenter and a miller.[13] He bought land of Stephen Kent of Haverhill in 1662 and settled north of the land belonging to the orphan Wilson children, near the Rowley line. In this year of 1662, there was deeded to John Remington of Roxbury, Carpenter, from William Sterling of Rowley, 80 Acres of Rowley land, south of Mirimack River and on its bank.

      William then settled on a ridge east of Haverhill, on the Merrimac River and near a small stream called Little River, which passes under what is now Washington Square. Here he probably had a house and a mill. There was also a spring on his ground which supplied his family and his neighbors with water.

      A ferry across the Merrimac River, established in 1647, was operated from this land of William’s. The same old ferry, one of the oldest in the country, still plies its small boats and does a brisk business in spite of the cars which cross the bridge.

      In the early spring of 1669, William sold his Rowley property to Stephen Kent, with a provision the "Road to ye Ferry be open for euer."[14] This has so far been observed.

      At the same time, Kent sold to William Sterling for 104, a house, barn, and orchard near the homes of Kent and Remington. At this sale, Hilliard and Henry West were witnesses; both Salem seamen and traders. Possibly William built ships at Haverhill for the coast trade, as he afterward did at Lyme, as Haverhill is at the head of tidewater and sloop navigation.

      Sometime before the year 1683 the town conveyed to William Sterling a lot of about twelve acres. On this ground he erected a house, which stood for many years as an inn. The city hall of Haverhill now stands on its site. This house where William lived for some years was a two-story structure with a door in the center of the front facade and a hallway running through, a typical colonial residence of the period.[15]

      The town conveyed to William Sterling, a ship carpenter, this lot of about twelve acres before 1683. He sold to Francis Wainwright eleven acres of it (that part above the house), April 24, 1683, and it soon after came into the hands of Capt. John Wainwright. Mr. Sterling conveyed the rest of the lot and the house to Capt. Wainwright and removed to Lyme, Conn.

      Cornet James Pecker of Haverhill was an inn holder and had kept a public house in town for several years. He bought this estate of Capt. Wainwright, 16 May 1717. Mr. Pecker apparently erected a brick dwelling house just south of the old house soon after his purchase and removed to it. Some years later he turned over to his son John the business of a public house and resumed his original occupation of farming. He conveyed this estate, with the houses and barns, to John, 14 February 1729-30.

      John Pecker conveyed the old house and a small lot to Grant Webster of Haverhill, a trader, 26 March 1748, and just four years later Mr. Webster sold them to Benjamin Harrold of Boston, brazier.

      Mr. Harrod died about 1781 and his son Joseph came into possession of the property and for many years conducted there in the inn known as the "Mason's Arms," its sign board consisting of a painting representing the Freemasons' arms. Here Washington stayed on his visit east in 1789. Mr. Harrod died and his heirs conveyed the premises to Phineas Foster, a merchant of Boston, 13 January 1830. Mr. Foster died soon after and 31 December 1836, his heirs sold them to James H. Duncan.

      Mr. Duncan conveyed the house and middle of the lot to the town 8 May 1847. The house was then demolished and the townhouse built upon the site the same year.

      John Pecker lived in the brick house and died possessed of it in 1757. A part was assigned to the widow as dower and the rest was occupied by Matthew Soley as a tavern in 1763. This house was situated on Main Street, about a hundred feet southeast of the city hall. Subsequently passing through many vicissitudes of conveyances, inheritances, mortgages and sheriffs' levies, the title finally came into the hands of John White just before the great fire of Sunday, April 16, 1775, in which the house was destroyed.

      After the death of Mary, William then married 3d, in Haverhill, 24 April 1683, Mrs. Ann (Nichols) Neale of Salem, widow of John Neale, whom she m. in 1672. He was baptized 24 January 1657/58, and died 11 November 1679. By this marriage Ann was the mother of: John, born 15 April 1673, died before 1700, married Martha Skerry; Thomas, born 14 February 1675; Joseph, born 4 December 1677; Rebecca, born 23 February 1679. (Driver Gene., p. 444.)

      John Neale was the son of John and Mary (Lawes) Neale. The "inventory of his estate was taken Nov. 24, 1679; it ammounted to 221, 00s 10d returned by Ann, the relict and administratrix; mentions son John to have 40; Thomas to have 20; Joseph 20 and dafter Rebecka, 20."

      "A Petition of Ann Neale mentions that there is land to be given to her husband at the decease of his mother (who is now living) by his father's will and also land given to him by his grandfather in his will four years after the decease of my husband's mother, the value of both peaces of Land is 145 ."[16]

      William Starling and Ann Neale made the following marriage contract:

      "Whereas, there is an intended marriage between William Sterling of Haverhill, and Ann Neale, widow, of Salem, and in order to the consummation thereof; in order to the settling of things between them, relating to their outward estate:"

      "1st. They have mutually agreed as followeth: that what estate in house and land the said Ann is possessed of for her use and her children, as administratrix to estate of her former husband, John Neale, shall be and remain to her and her children and assignees and that said William Sterling shall have noe right, title or interest therein; only the rent and improvement of ye said houses and land to be to the use of said William and Ann, after their marriage and soe long as they shall live togeather as man and wife."

      "2nd. That for what household goods and moveables the said Ann shall bring with her on marriage, shall be to their use and mutuall comfort togeather, while they both survive togeather; and if the said William decease before ye said Ann, and leave her a widdow, that then the said Moveables return to ye said Ann: but if please God to give them a child or children, that shall then be surviving, at her decease, shall be and remain to those children to be and belong to her and her children by her first husband, what shall be remaining of ye said estate."

      "3d. It is mutually agreed by and between them, that if it shall please God that he, ye said William, depart this life and leave ye said Ann a widdow, that she shall have and hold and injoy to her use, the third part of all ye estate of ye said William, in house and lands according as the law directs, soe long as ye said Ann shall live a widdow; but in case of her marriage with another man then that third is to return to ye heires of ye said William.

      4th. It is alsoe agreed mutually, that in case ye said Ann should depart this life before ye said William, and shall leave a child or children, by ye said William, that what moveables as above brought by her shall be and remain to her children; but in case she shall have no child by ye said William, that shall then be surviving, then what of those goods or estates, that shall be then remaining to be to the use & delivered up into ye possession of her children by her former husband:" "memorandum, -- it is to be understood, that when any of ye said Ann, her children by her former husband, shall come to age and demand their interest in ye land and housing aforesaid, that they are to have it delivered to them; and so the proportion of rent or improvement thereof no longer to be expected by ye said William."

      "5th. And, lastly, it is mutually agreed upon by and between ye parties above said, that whatever debts or legacies are due from the estate to any person or persons, whatsoever, or whatever is owing to the estate from any person, the said William Sterling is not to be at all concerned with, or liable to make any payments in that kind out of his own estate.

      And it is further agreed, upon ye consumation of marriage as aforesaid, that ye said Ann may bring with her, her two youngest children, whom ye said William is free to take with her, his said wife, and maintain upon his own cost and charge, upon and in consideration of, in and by these articles before expressed."

      "In witness whereof ye parties aforesaid, William Sterling and Ann Neale have sett to their hands, this two and twentieth day of March, Anno Domini 1682-3

      In the presence of
      Hilliard Veren. John Norman. Jeremiah Neale."
      (Salem Town Records.)

      William Sterling married his fourth wife in Lyme. With her he made the following agreement:

      "Where as there is A contract of marriage intended between Mr. William Sterling of Lyme in ye Colony of Connecticut and ye weidow Mary Sayer of ye same town, it is mutually agreed between them, first is that all of ye estate, both Reall and personall: which ye sd weidow Mary Sayer is now owner of shall be and remain in her sole possion and be desposed at her pleasure, as she shall see meet after ye consumation of marriage with ye sd Sterling, notwithstanding any custom or law to ye contery, and that all dispossals by her made shall stand vallid and good."

      "2nd. Ye sd Sterling doth hereby ingage to his sd wife that duering her life she shall injoy all his estate, both lands and chattels and if it pless god to grant him a child or children by her the sd child or children shall injoy ye sd estate for them and their heirs for ever; In testimony whereof they have her unto set their hands January ye fifth -- 170 5/6.

      Signed sealed and MARY SAYER [Seal]
      delivered in ye presence of us
      Moses Noyes, Senior
      Moses Noyes, Junior
      John Noyes." (Lyme Town Records.)

      Mrs. Mary Sayer or Sawyer was b. Nov. 17, 1674, dau. of Hugh Hubbard of New London (about 1670), said to be from Derbyshire, England, who m. in 1673, Jane, dau. of Cary Latham. Mary married 1st, Ichabod Sayer of New London, in 1697. (Savage's Gene. Dict.) She gave the following release of her husband's estate:

      "Where as by the covenant within written Mrs. Mary is during her life to enjoy all ye estate both land and chattels of her husband Mr. William Sterling, it is agreed and consented to by ye sd Mary Sterling that if ye sum of fourteen pounds in money be paid to her after her husbands deceas by his excutors togeather with the house hold goods after specified besides what was her own before, Viz The set of curtains, three pair of sheets, a meal log, a meet Tub, an iron pot, a quart puter pot, and a cupple of poeringers and the lumber about ye houss as all so a cow with her increose which given to her when it was a calfe, that she will except it as full satisfaction and quit her clame to the rest of her husbands estate both lands and chattels in testimony wherof she hos set to her hand and seal January ye 7 17 15/17.

      MARY SAYER [Seal]
      Signed and sealed
      Moses Noyes.
      Moses Noyes, Jur."
      (Lyme Town Records.)

      This release was given a couple of months after William and Mary Sterling made a deed of their property to William's son Daniel, probably in order to facilitate the settlement of the estate.

      Two years after William's death, Mary gave the following receipt:

      "Where as there was a writing made to Me, Mary Sterling of Lyme, that after ye Decease of my honored husband, Mr. William Sterling, I should be paid the sume of fifteen pounds in money and some other consideration, I ye sd Mary Sterling, do here by acknowledge that I have received full satisfaction for all that was due me, or that I might demand on my own account, what so ever, from ye estate of my sd Husband deceased, or from Mr. Daniel Sterling, and I do hereby ocquit and discharge Mr. Daniel Sterling and his heirs from all dues and demands whatsoever, and the estate of my sd husband, as witness my hand and seal in Lyme, Feb. ye 8th 17 20/21

      MARY STERLING" [Seal]
      (Lyme Town Records.)

      Mrs. Mary Starling witnessed a deed of sale, 24 April 1706, and on 7 September 1714, deeded to her "beloued son Moses Sawyer," the portion of his father's estate due him. (Ibid.)

      Haverhill, where William Sterling lived for twenty-eight years, from 1669 to 1697, was first settled by twelve men from Ipswich and Newbury in 1640.

      Peace and prosperity reigned in the settlement until 1675, at which time it had grown to rank twenty-fifth among the fortynine towns in the Colony. King Philip's War, the most general and destructive ever sustained by the infant colonies, broke out in 1675. A meeting was held in Haverhill, Feb. 19, of this year, to take steps for protection against the Indians and to complete the fortifications around the meeting-house, begun several years before. The meeting-house was built in 1648, and was the only place of worship of the settlers until 1699, when a new one was constructed. This church stood to one side of the central portion of what is now Pentucket cemetery. Back of it was laid out in 1660 a burial ground which is now a part of the Linwood and Pentucket cemeteries. Here undoubtedly were laid to rest William's first and second wives and those of his children who died in Haverhill.


      [1] . Albert Mack Sterling. The Sterling Genealogy, Crafton Press (1909) New York, Vol. I, pp. 241-249.
      [2]. The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. VIII, p. 53.
      [3] . Clarence Almon Torrey. New England Marriages Prior To 1700, p. 706.
      [4]. David W. Hoyt. The Old Families Of Salisbury And Amesbury, Massachusetts, p. 322.
      [5] . Clarence Almon Torrey. New England Marriages Prior To 1700, p. 706.
      [6]. Walter Goodwin Davis. Nicholas Davis Ancestry, pp. 59-66.
      [7]. Robert Charles Anderson, George F. Sanborn Jr., Meline Lutz Sanborn. The Great Migration - Immigrants To New Engand 1634-1635, Vol. I, )A-B), p. 321.
      [8]. James Savage. A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England - Showing Three Generation Of Those Who Came Before May 1692, Vol. IV, p. 173.
      [9]. Clarence Almon Torrey. New England Marriages Prior To 1700, p. 706.
      [10]. Comments: Bradford was settled in 1649; the name was changed to Mirrimack in January 1672, to Bradford (J.D. Kingsbury, ’83. Memorial History of Bradford). Another Rowley Village on the Merrimac was what is now called Boxford, which was settled in 1645. Its name was changed in 1686. (Sidney Perley ‘80, History of Boxford).
      [11]. Comment: "Good" is a contraction of the obsolete term "goodman," a term inferior to that of "Mister."
      [12]. N.E. History Genealogy Register Vol. XV, p. 254.
      [13]. Albert Mack Sterling. The Sterling Genealogy, Vol. I, p. 242.
      [14]. Salem, Massachusetts Records, Vol. 2, p. 169.
      [15]. The history of this building is given in the Essex Antiquarian, Vol. III, pp. 167-168.
      [16]. Essex Inst. Hist. Collection, Vol. III, p. 63.
      [17] . David W. Hoyt. The Old Families Of Salisbury And Amesbury, Massachusetts, p. 322.
      [18]. Clarence Almon Torrey. New England Marriages Prior To 1700, p. 258.
      [19] . Clarence Almon Torrey. New England Marriages Prior To 1700, p. 706.
      [20] . David W. Hoyt. The Old Families Of Salisbury And Amesbury, Massachusetts, p. 322.
      [21]. David W. Hoyt. The Old Families Of Salisbury And Amesbury, Massachusetts, p. 322


      He married 3) Ann Neale (widow) of Salem, MA.

  • Sources 
    1. [S1282] v32t0167.ftw.
      Date of Import: Jul 20, 2002

    2. [S623] GEDCOM file imported on 28 Sep 2004.