The Wilson family ancestry has been traced back as far as William Wilson, one of the early settlers of Massachusetts, who was married and died in Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts.
The earliest New England records indicate that William Wilson was born about 1610 probably in Dunnington, Lincolnshire, England. He and his brother, Theophilus, emigrated to Massachusetts sometime in 1635. According to Daniel Lines Jacobus, writing in The American Genealogist, Vol. 35, it appears that both the wife of William, Patience, whose maiden name is not known. and the wife of Theophilus, whose name is unknown, were pregnant at the time of the trans-Atlantic trip. Theophilus' wife gave birth on board ship to a daughter, who was named Seaborn and shortly after their arrival in Boston, Patience gave birth to a son, Shoreborn (Sherburne), b. 6 June 1635, in Boston.
There were four other children born to William and Patience Wilson: Mary, b. 11 Nov. 1637, bp. 21 Nov. 1637; John, b. Nov. 1639, bp. 9 Dec. 1639; Joseph, b. 10 Sept. 1642/43, and Newgrace, b. June 1645, d. 23 Sept. 1645.
William Wilson, who along with wife Patience, were admitted to the church 7 June 1635, was a joiner. He was also the keeper of the prison in Boston, his name appearing in the records occasionally.
As jailer, Wilson asked colonial officials for cloth to be made into blankets for the poor prisoners, this according to Massachusetts Archives.
William Wilson died in late 1645 or early 1646, probably in Boston. His widow received 23 Pounds from the county as wages for her late husband, and was directed to leave the jailer's house. It appears she too died a short time later, although no records can be found.
With the death of both of his parents, Shoreborn (Sherburne) Wilson was left an orphan and was apprenticed to a man in Ipswich, Essex County, MA, where his uncle, Theophilus, was living.
On 9 Sept. 1657, Shoreborn Wilson married Abigail Osgood of Ipswich. Abigail, b. in Ipswich in 1636, was the daughter of Margaret "Margery" Fowler and Christopher Osgood
There were six children of this marriage, Joseph, Mary, Samuel, John, Abigail, William, Deborah and sons both named Christopher.
Well known New England Wilson families researcher Ken Stevens notes that his data indicates that our ancestor, Joseph Wilson, born 1 June, 1660 in Ipswich, was not the Joseph Wilson who married Sarah Lord 24 April 1678 in Andover, Essex County, but rather it was his uncle, Joseph, who married as his second wife, Sara Lord, Sarah having saved her life by "confessing" to be a witch. Sarah died in 1727, age 79 years, which would indicate she was born about 1648, "either five years younger than the first Joseph or 12 years older than the other."
We would suspect that, based upon the data researched by Ken Stevens, the Joseph Wilson who is our ancestor, was in fact born 10 Nov. 1643. A son of that marriage of Joseph Wilson and Sarah Lord, John, was born 23 Feb. 1682 in Andover, and in 1716, John married Mercy Wright of Andover.
Born to John and Mercy Wilson was a son, also named John, b. 1720. He married Hannah Frie of Andover on 25 March 1742.
Joshua Wilson, a son of John and Hannah Frie Wilson, was born 10 Feb. 1743/44 in Andover. Joshua filed intentions to marry Dorothy Stevens 15 Sept 1773 in Andover. A child of that marriage was yet another Joseph Wilson, who was born 20 Aug 1781, in Andover, Essex County, MA. Joseph Wilson later moved to Charlestown, Suffolk County, MA. He married Mary Ames on April 5, 1805, in Andover.Children of that marriage included: Joseph Wilson Jr., b. Feb. 10, 1806, d, July 17, 1837; Eliza Wilson, b. June 20, 1808, d., May 17, 1852; Nathan Wilson, b. March 17, 1811, d. March 21, 1811; and George Wilson, b. April 18, 1813, d. April 13, 1855.
Joseph Wilson married his second wife, Lucy Boynton of Rowley, Essex County, MA, now Georgetown, Essex County, MA., Nov. 6, 1814. Children of that second marriage included my great, great grandfather, John Boynton Wilson, b. July 17, 1817, d. Aug. 1908; Charles Wilson, b. Feb. 14, 1819, d. May 19, 1816; Mary Ames Wilson, b. Dec. 13, 1820, d. Nov. 22, 1880, whose 1833 embroidery sampler is among our family possessions; Isaac Wilson, b. Sept. 27, 1823, d. July 13, 1879; Caroline Wilson, b. July 25, 1825, d. Jan. 11, 1829; Lucy Hannah Wilson, b. Dec. 19, 1828, d. May 12, 1832; and James Frederick Wilson, b. Sept. 1832.
We know more about my great great grandfather than most of the other Wilsons in our line. A Boston newspaper clipping, published in 1907, states: "One of the oldest citizens and residents of the Bunker Hill district is John B. Wilson, now in his 90th year, and who for more than 51 years has lived as his present home, 49 Monument Ave."
From that clipping, two leather fire buckets inscribed with his name, and a ceremonial sword presented by the Coeur de Leon Commandery, Knights Templar, which are all family possessions, we know John B. Wilson was a very active man in his community.
At the time of his death, he was the oldest member of the Bunker Hill Lodge of Odd Fellows. He was also a member of the Henry Price Lodge, F&AM, having been affiliated with the Masonic lodge for more than 46 years. He was a past commander of Coeur de Leon Commandery, Knights Templar.
He served as a member of the Charlestown common council and on the Board of Aldermen when the district was a city separate from Boston. He was a member of the Charitable Mechanic Association, serving six years on its board of governors and managing three of its exhibitions.
The newspaper notes that John B. Wilson became a carpenter and building apprentice at age 16, and after a few years working as a journeyman, started his own business with his brother, Charles, as a partnership. Upon the death of his brother, he continued the business until his retirement, about 1885. According to the newspaper, it was said that, "Many of Charlestown's most substantial buildings and residences were built by him."
He married Mary Ann Burckes of Waterford, ME, in 1844, and resided in Waterford for a time. They moved back to Charlestown, MA, where they had three children, Mary Jane Wilson, b. Oct. 13, 1845, d. Aug. 4, 1931; Joseph Martin Wilson, b. Feb. 7, 1855; and Charles Henry Wilson, b. 1862.
The two sons, Joseph and Charles, moved to the west where one was reportedly a lawyer in San Francisco and the other a government official. My great grandmother, Mary Jane Wilson, married Marcellus Day of Somerville.
The decendency from William Wilson can be found here.
More information about Ipswich and Andover can be found in the Essex County, MA GenWeb site, and by subscribing to the Essex-Roots email list discussion.
Additional information about other early Wilson families in New England and Ken Stevens series, Wilsons from New England, a book series, can be found on the web site of Jan (Wilson) Ramos.