William Nickerson II1

M, b. 1604, d. between 30 August 1689 and 8 September 1690
FatherWilliam Nickerson b. b 15 Dec 1571, d. a 1621
MotherAlice (?)
     William was born in 1604 in Norwich, County Norfolk, England. In 1621. William was an apprentice tailor to his father. He was admitted a worsted weaver & freeman in Norwich 18 May 1632. William married Anne Busby, daughter of Nicholas Busby II and Bridget Cocke, on 24 June 1627 in Norwich, County Norfolk, England. On 15 April 1637, William & his wife, Anne, with their family, departed from Yarmouth, England aboard the ship, "John & Dorothy" or the "Rose", under the command of Captain William Andrews, bound for New England. Listed among the passengers were William Nickerson of Norwich, weaver aged 33 years & Anne, his wife aged 28 years, with four children: Nicholas, Robartt, Elizabeth & Anne. They arrived at Salem, Massachusetts on the 20th of June. It is believed that the reason Nicholas & others left Norwich & went to New England or other places across the seas, was a direct result of the actions of Bishop Wren of Norfolk. The bishop persecuted & made life unendurable for any non-conformist. During his tenure of two years & four months, 3,000 workers, most of whom were trade craftsmen, left the country for safer environs..2 Soon after their arrival in Boston, 2 May 1638, William took the oath of freeman. Two and a half years later, though, he was again taking the freeman's oath, this time in Plymouth Colony, where he apparently had chosen to settle. Over the years William, true to his nature as a non-conformist, found himself at odds with the religious leaders of the colony. Undoubdtedly, his most radical act was in the purchase of Monomoit from the Indian sacum and chief Mattaquason. This was in direct conflict with the laws of the colony. His first purchase was in the early part of 1656, over the next eighteen years, William and his children, ignored the law and court ruling to the contrary, and moved into Monomoy and established a settlement there. Chief Mattaquason lived in his teepee close to the home of William and they maintained a close comfortable relationship over the courses of their lives. Finally in 1673, all legal barriers were finally removed and William received a clear title to Monomoy, both from the Indians and from the colony. The settlement remained one of Nickerson family members only for nearly another twenty years, before other families trickled in to take up residence. In 1686, William, showing great trust and confidence in his daughter, Sarah, and putting his house in order, signed over to her the management of his landed properties. William departed this life between 30 August 1689 and 8 September 1690 in Monomoit, Barnstable County, Massachusetts. On 30 August 1689, a deed was recorded showing the sale of property by William Nickerson and his daughter, Sarah Covell, to William Nickerson Junior for the sum of 50 pounds. On 8 September 1690 Sarah Covell deeds property on her own account. He was buried there at Monomoit in Burial Hill. Burial Hill is a hill on William's farm that he and his daughter, Sarah, laid out as a buial site and which Sarah deeded over to the town. Monomoit was incorporated in 1712 and then took on the name of Chatham. The Nickerson Family Association Genealogy has a summary of William's life:
“Thus passed a man of intelligence, education and great energy and strength of will. The difficulties of planting a frontier settlement in the wilderness would have appeared insuperable to most men of sixty. His indomitable will and perseverence were exemplified in the spirit with which he fought through the Courts to final victory to acquire undisputed title to his lands. His expressed principle was: 'For I desire not to wrong any man of his just rights, nor would I be wronged" myself'.”.

Important Notes: In examining the lives of this generation of Nickersons, it must be remembered the extreme conditions under which they lived. These true pioneers moved into a wilderness where they were the only white families. They lived among Indian neighbors and maintained cordial relations with them. They had to clear heavily wooded forests which were also covered with tangled thickets, even harder to clear than the trees. Men and women had the tasks if starting from scratch, whether it be clothing, food, shelter, crops or any other items they wanted or needed. It meant back breaking and exhausting work day in and day out with little time for social gatherings. Getting together usually meant working together on a large project, being a harvest, a barn raising, or any one of many large undertakings that needed to be done. And since the only folks in their settlement were siblings, their father and their families, gatherings were only the family getting together.


Anne Busby b. b 2 Feb 1607/8, d. a 18 May 1686


  1. [S290] Nickerson Family Association, The Nickerson Family, page 15 - Page 15 - William Nickerson, born about 1604, was founder of the family in America, founder of the Town of Chatham, Massachusetts, and is #1 in this genealogy.
    Page 16 - William Nickerson , born about 1604, Norwich, England, son of William and Alice (________) Nickerson; died between 30 August 1689 and 8 September 1690 at Monomoit, Mass., and is buried at Burial Hill, now Chatham Port, Mass.
    Whether the family settled there for a few years is not known but in 1641, they moved to Yarmouth, Massachusetts. He first bought land at Monomoit, Barnstable County from the Indians in 1656. A few years later, they moved from Yarmouth with their children's families to begin the settlement of the present Chatham in the area which is now Chatham Port.
    - History of Chatham, Massachusetts - by William C. Smith, 1917.
    - Plymouth Colony Records
    - Yarmouth, Massachusetts, Vital Records
    - William Emery Nickerson papers at NEHGS
    - Mayflower Descendant
  2. [S739] Peter Wilson Coldham, The Complete Book of Immigrants, 8-13 April 1637, examination of those intending to embark in the "John and Dorothy" of Ipswich, Mr. William Andrewes, and the Rose of Yarmouth, Mr. William Andrews, for New England. William Nickerson of Norwich, weaver aged 33, and Anne, his wife aged 28 with four children: Nicholas, Robartt, Elizabeth & Anne, to Boston to inhabit.