Elder William Horsford
d.aft 1655 England
m. 21 Jan 1620/1
Facts and Events
He was at Dorchester 1630; freeman there 1634; came to W. early; his wife died... and he married (2) wid. of Henry Fookes, and subscq. ret. to Eng. [A Joanna H. died 18 Sept. 1640 may have been sister (or daughter) of Wm.]
From Ye Horseford Booke
In the spring, on Apr. 16, 1636, a company again started from Dorchester and made permanent settlement at Matianuck. At first the town was called Dorchester but at the court of Feb. 21, 1636-7 Dorchester became Windsor. William Horsford was one of the early settlers. He was Commissioner to the General Court in 1637 and was a ruling elder of the First Church of Christ in Windsor. This church is said to be the oldest evangelical church in America and with exception of the Southwark church of London the oldest orthodox Congregational church in the world.
In 1639 William Horsford was granted a lot 20 rods wide on the east side of the main street or common road quite near the Palisado. The Foulke lot was west of the Palisado and after William Horsford married the widow of Henry Foulke he moved to the Foulke property giving his own lot to his son-in-law, Stephen Taylor. A thoroughfare from the main road to the Foulke place was known as Horsford's Lane.
William Horsford who with John Witchfield and John Banker, the schoolmaster, served the Windsor church as ruling elder was called in 1653 to be minister of the church in Springfield, succeeding Rev. George Moxon. A record in an account book [of John Pynchon] of Springfield under date of Feb. 16, 1653 reads as follows: ffor Mr. Horsford's maintenance50, 00, 00 pounds ffor bringing up Mrs. Horsford's goods 4, 08, 00 pounds
The stay at Springfield was not long. in 1653-54 William returned to England, his wife Jane following him in Aug., 1655. He died at Tiverton, County Devon, Eng., but the date is not known.
The old town records of Dorchester, Mass. have several items relating to William:
He made two wills; the first, not witnessed, is dated Aug. 27, 1650. This will is in his own handwriting and is shown in facsimile... It reads as follows:
August 27, 1650
I Will Horsford do mack this as my Last will and testament. I give to my wife Jane Horsford halfe my dwelling house haft my Barn and Half my cow house during the time of her life. I give all so unto my wife that medowe I bought of Elyas Parckman lying in ye lytell, medow, during her life, also I give unto on hoge halfe the apelles that grows in the orched this yeare, 5 bushelles of wheat 10 bushelles of Indyan corne all so she is peaceably to in joye the Lands that wear her ownen be fore my maryag only halfe anacker of the orched which lys by the hie way going into the medow wch is specified on wryting I give to my sonne John Horsford. He I mack my executor and do give unto him all my Lands housing catell goods and debtes. What housing I have given to my wife during her life I do give to my sonn John after my wifes life and all such lands as my wife do in joye during her life which was given to my wife at my marryag, specified on wryting, I do give to my sone John and his ayres after my wifes life and in case my sone dye be fore his mother and I have no children or child either bourne or in the wombe to in joye the sayd lands and housing I do then give yt to my too daughters children equally to be devided; I do give to my daughters ten pounds apece to be payd in 2 yeares time my son is to pay my debtes if he takes the executor shop.
William Horsford (Not witnessed)
A second will is dated 6 September 1654:
I do bequeath unto my son John Horsford all my estate in Windsor. I do appoint him to discharge my Bill into court for Richard Samwais his children, as also a bill under my hand to my wife for about L40 if my wife stays in New England but I hope she will come to me in England.
It is probably that this second will was recorded after William's death. The estate was in litigation for some years and was finally settled in 1674.
It has been asserted that the father of William Horsford was Job Horsford; on what authority this rests is not known. William's English family connections have not been determined with certainty.
From the Cooley Genealogy
William Hosford1, Immigrant, in Dorchester, Mass., 1633; Freeman Apr. 1, 1634, when his name is spelled Horseford. (He may have been the son of William Horsford of Dorchester, Co. Dorchester, England, Gentleman, whose will dated June 30, 1621, was proved Jan. 25, 1622, in England; the will contains no genealogical information.) His name, along with that of Henry Wolcott, Esq., appears on the records of 1640 as "the first settlers of Windsor," 5 years after their removal from Dorchester. His first wife, whose name is unknown, d. Aug. 26, 1641, Windsor, Conn.; he m. (2) Jane, the widow of Henry Fowkes, and removed to Springfield, Mass., where he preached from Oct. 1652 to Oct. 1654. After several years he and his wife returned to England, where in 1656 he gave land at Windsor, Conn., to his two children; his wife also gave land to the Church in Windsor, and to her husband's children. In 1671, Jane (Fowkes) Hosford was in Tiverton, Co. Devon, England. The place and date of her death and that of her husband, William Hosford, are not known.