FIRST RESIDENCE: Watertown
OCCUPATION: Possibly a carpenter, as he was involved twice in assessing work on building the meetinghouse, 10 December 1652, 14 October 1654 [WaTR 1:29, 31, 38], and on 19 January 1662/3 was to determine the repairs necessary to the Mill Bridge [WaTR 1:75]. In his will he gave to son Nathaniel "all my working tools and my furnace kettle"; a furnace kettle could be used to melt metals, especially lead, so William Barsham may also have found work as a glazier, producing leaded windows.
CHURCH MEMBERSHIP: Admission to Watertown church prior to 9 March 1636/7 implied by freemanship.
FREEMAN: 9 March 1636/7 [MBCR 1:372].
EDUCATION: Signed his will on 28 August 1683 with a firm and distinctive hand, and signed the codicil on 15 April 1684 with a shaky but still legible hand. Bequeathed his Bible to daughter Hannah Spring. Inventory included "four old small old books" valued at 5s.
OFFICES: Gave evidence in death of Austen Bratcher, 28 September 1630 [MBCR 1:78]; petty jury, 19 September 1637 [MBCR 1:203].
Chosen Watertown selectman, 22 December 1652 [WaTR 1:31]; chosen "clerk of the market to seal weights and measures," 26 February 1655/6 [WaTR 1:45]; committee for the proprietors of the farms, 6 October 1662 [WaTR 1:75].
ESTATE: "William Bassum" granted thirty acres in Watertown Great Dividend, 25 July 1636 [WaBOP 4]; granted three acres in Beaverbrook Plowlands, 28 February 1636/7 [WaBOP 5]; granted three acres in the Remote Meadows, 26 June 1637 [WaBOP 10]; granted a farm of eighty-eight acres, 10 May 1642 [WaBOP 12]. In the 1644 Watertown Inventory of Grants, William Barsham held five parcels: homestall of twenty-eight acres, Great Dividend of thirty acres, three acres [Beaverbrook] Plowlands, three acres Remote Meadow, and six acres of upland at the Town Plot [WaBOP 83]; in the Inventory of Possessions he held one parcel: twenty acres of upland [abutting his homestall] [WaBOP 118]. In the Composite Inventory he held five parcels: homestall of forty-eight acres, Great Dividend of thirty acres, three acres Remote Meadow, three acres [Beaverbrook] Plowlands, and a farm of eighty-eight acres [WaBOP 26].
In his will, dated 28 August 1683 (with codicil of 15 April 1684) and proved 29 August 1684, William Barsham bequeathed to son John a two-year old heifer and the "vantage" [increase], four ewe sheep and £5 in silver; to "William Barsham the son of my son John Barsham" twenty shillings in silver; to son "Joshuah Barsham" twenty shillings in silver and "my good musket"; to son "Nathaniall Barsham ... all my working tools and my furnace kettle"; to daughter "Hanna Spring" a cow, four ewe sheep, £3 in silver and "my bible"; to daughter "Susanna Capen" a cow, four ewe sheep, £3 in money and "my joined chair"; to daughter "Sarah Browne" a cow, four ewe sheep, £3 in silver and "my great armed chair"; to daughter "Mara Bright" a pair of oxen, four ewe sheep, £3 in silver and a great armed chair; to daughter "Rebecka Winship ... my farm of seventy-two acres"; to daughter Elizabeth Barsham "my farm of sixty-four acres"; to last two daughters, Rebecca Winship and Elizabeth Barsham, four acres in Thatcher's Meadow and all household stuff not previously mentioned to be divided between them; in a codicil of 15 April 1684 he bequeathed to "my daughters Hannah Spring, Susanna Capen, Sarah Browne, Mary Bright and my son John Barsham to each of them twenty shillings apiece" [MPR Case #1329].
The inventory of "the estate of William Barsham who deceased the 3d of July 1684" was taken 5 August 1684; no total of the values was made, but the inventory did include £26 in real estate: "seventy-two acres of land called farm land," £10; "sixty-four acres of land called farm land," £10; and "four acres of meadow in Thatcher's Meadow," £4 [MPR Case #1329].
BIRTH: By about 1610 based on approximated date of marriage.
DEATH: Watertown 3 or 13 July 1684 "widower" [MPR Case #1329; WaVR 55].
MARRIAGE: By 1635 Anabel Smith alias Bland, born say 1615, daughter of John Smith alias Bland [TAG 61:20-21]; d. by 23 August 1683 (not named in husband's will).
COMMENTS: The dates of birth for the last two children are obviously too close, and Savage has corrected the year of birth for Elizabeth to 1659, but given the long gap between Mary and Rebecca, the more likely solution is that Rebecca was born in 1656.
Bond gives William a son William "mentioned in his father's will," and is followed in this by Savage. Bond must have misread the will, which refers to "William Barsham the son of my son John Barsham." Joshua apparently never married, and Nathaniel had no children, so the only grandson with the Barsham surname was this William, son of John.
William Barsham refers to his daughter Sarah only as "Sarah Browne," and on this basis various Brown families have claimed her as the wife of some man with an otherwise unidentified wife Sarah. In Torrey's index "Sarah [Barsham?]" is suggested as the wife of John Brown of Reading (as his second wife, the marriage taking place on 14 November 1681) and of William Brown of Salem and Marblehead (the marriage taking place by 1669).
When Sarah Barsham's brother Nathaniel made his will on 10 May 1716 he, like his father, referred unhelpfully to "my sister [worn] Brown," but also in his probate packet was the following deposition:
William Bond, Jonas Bond and Hepzibah Bond do testify & say that we being all related to Capt. Nathanill Barsham and very conversant at his house both formerly and lately we do well remember that many of his relations who were sister's children lived with the said Capt. Barsham many years, some a longer, some a short time, as namely Abigail Spring, Susannah Spring, Andrew Mansfeild, Bethiah Mansfeild and Nathanill Brown [MPR Case #1328].
The affiants were related to Elizabeth Bond, Nathaniel Barsham's wife, and the first two relations named were children of John and Hannah (Barsham) Spring. This document proves that the Sarah Barsham who married Samuel Mansfield in Lynn was this daughter of William Barsham, and that she married second a Brown, by whom she had a son Nathaniel. Samuel Mansfield died in 1679, and "the father of Samuel Mansfield, and the father of the wife, with the consent of the wife, chose and empowered Mr. Thomas Laughton Sr., Andrew Mansfield and Nathaniel Bersham to divide the estate" [EPR 3:306-07]. The chronology eliminates William Brown of Salem and Marblehead as a candidate for Sarah's second husband, as that man was supposed to have married her by 1669, far too early.
The record of the second marriage of John Brown of Reading comes from the vital records sent to the county clerk for recording, and not from the town records. This entry gives the date of the marriage, 14 November 1681, but not the surname of the bride. John and Sarah Brown of Reading did have a son Nathaniel, born 22 April 1688, who in turn named one of his daughters Bethia, presumably for his elder half-sister [TAG 30:16]. Reading and Lynn at that time shared a common boundary, and a number of close relatives of Samuel Mansfield lived in Reading in this same time period. These clues all add up to the conclusion that this John Brown was the second husband of Sarah Barsham.
When William Barsham made his will his daughter Rebecca had been married to Edward Winship for just over three months. This explains the bequest to her of two parcels of land and half the household goods, which must have been her marriage portion, as it was equal to the legacy received by her younger, unmarried sister, and more than what was received by the other married daughters.
BIRTH: Based on marriage date