William Aspinwall was born circa 1602 in England and died circa 1663 Cheshire, England of unspecified causes. He married Elizabeth Goodyear (1606-c1650) 1628 in England.

William Aspinwall [1] was an Englishman who emigrated to Boston with the Winthrop Fleet in 1630. He played an integral part in the early religious controversies of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

1630: Winthrop Fleet Migration


This family were some of the 700+ Passengers of the Winthrop Fleet which sailed from England to settle the Massachusetts Bay Colony at Salem in 1630 under the guidance of Gov. John Winthrop. It is reported that during the first year nearly 200 of these colonists died and another 100 returned to England. The remaining settlers either stayed in Salem or moved on to Boston or Watertown.

1636: Antinomian Controversy


In 1636-1638, Massachusetts Bay Colony, this family were Free Grace Advocates (AKA: Antinomian Controversy) which caused great religious and political strife in the colony. It pitted most of the colony's ministers and magistrates against some adherents of the Free Grace theology of Puritan minister John Cotton. The most notable Free Grace advocates, often called "Antinomians", were charismatic Anne Hutchinson, her brother-in-law Reverend John Wheelwright, and Massachusetts Bay Governor Henry Vane. In the summer of 1637 their opponents led by Gov John Winthrop won back political control of the colony. The following trial led to the banishment many of the leaders of this movement.

William Aspinwall joined himself with the adherents of Anne Hutchinson and John Wheelwright (1593-1679), aided in drafting their famous petition, and departed with them to Rhode Island. He was at Portsmouth NH in 1638, where he signed the covenant of formation, but he moved to the New Haven Colony in 1641.

Return to Boston

By 1642, Aspinwall had rehabilitated his relations with the Boston authorities, and he began to acquire employment there recording official documents. In 1643, he joined the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts. It was declared by the Boston court in 1644 that Aspinwall "shall be a public notary for his jurisdiction," and he continued at this post until 1651. As a skilled surveyor, he joined a group of Boston merchants on an unsuccessful expedition up the Delaware in search of furs. He was one of Boston's delegates to the Cambridge Synod of 1646.

Relations ran afoul for Aspinwall again in Boston, and in 1652 he sold his property and returned to England where he was living in Cheshire as late as April 13, 1662. Upon his return to England he became one of the Fifth Monarchists, a radical religious sect that had a brief existence in the turmoil of the Commonwealth of England.


Aspinwall published theological tracts following his return to England. He compiled the Boston Book of Possessions listing the property of every freeman of the city. His notary records were published in 1903 by the Boston Record Commissioners as A Volume Relating to the Early History of Boston Containing the Aspinwall Notarial Records from 1644 to 1651.[2]

Marriage and Family

  1. Mary Aspinwall (1628-1676) - md Dea John Cove of Cambridge MA.
  2. Edward Aspinwall (1630-1630) - born soon after parent's arrival in New World, but lived only two weeks.
  3. Hannah Aspinwall (1631-)
  4. Elizabeth Aspinwall (1633-1723)
  5. Samuel Aspinwall (1635-)
  6. Ethian Aspinwall (1637-)
  7. Dorcas Aspinwall (1639-)


Offspring of William Aspinwall and Elizabeth Goodyear (1606-c1650)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Mary Aspinwall (1628-1676) 1628 England 14 November 1676 Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts John Gove (1632-1704)
Edward Aspinwall (1630-1630) 26 September 1630 Massachusetts, United States 10 October 1630 Massachusetts, United States
Hannah Aspinwall (1631-)
Elizabeth Aspinwall (1633-1723) 30 September 1633 Dorchester, Suffolk County, Massachusetts 10 April 1723 Dorchester, Suffolk County, Massachusetts Ammiel Weeks (1631-1679)
Samuel Aspinwall (1635-)
Ethian Aspinwall (1637-)
Dorcas Aspinwall (1639-)


Research Notes

  1. We dispute the findings of GENI and state that there is NO proven ancestral connection to Lord William Thomas Aspinwall.

See Also


  1. ^ Bremer. "Aspinwall, William". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/76217.  (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  2. ^ "A volume relating to the early history of Boston, containing the Aspinwall notarial records from 1644 to 1651". Retrieved 2008-07-17. 

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Footnotes (including sources)