William Barsham of Watertown (AKA: "William Burcham", "William Bossom", "William Bosson")

William Barsham was born circa 1610 in Colchester, Essex, England and died 3 July 1684 Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts of unspecified causes. He married Annabella Bland (c1615-1683) 1636 in Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts.


William Barsham came to Massachusetts Bay Colony in the Winthrop Fleet in 1630, (likely on the Mary and John), part of The Great Migration. Probably married about 1635. Made Freeman on 9 March 1636/37. Wrote codicil to original will on 15 April 1684.

1630 Winthrop Fleet


He was a passenger on the in the Winthrop Fleet in 1630, (likely on the Mary and John), part of The Great Migration. It was the largest fleet ever assembled to carry Englishmen overseas to a new homeland. It was a well planned and financed expedition comprising eleven ships that carried 700 immigrants from England to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The group, led by Governor John Winthrop, sailed from April to July of 1630. The fleet landed at Salem. Of the 700 on board, 200 died during the voyage, and 100 returned to England soon after arrival. Some of the 400 remaining settlers stayed in Salem, but many moved on to Boston, Watertown, or other settlements. .

Watertown Founders Monument

Watertown Founders Monument

He is listed on Watertown Founders Monument, commemorating the first settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts. The town was first known as Saltonstall Plantation, one of the earliest of the Massachusetts Bay Colony settlements. Founded in early 1630 by a group of settlers led by Richard Saltonstall and George Phillips, it was officially incorporated that same year. The alternate spelling "Waterton" is seen in some early documents.

It is believed that William Barsham traveled on Mary and John which arrived in Boston, some two weeks prior to the Winthrop Fleet.

Marriage and Family

The baptismal name of his wife was Annabel, but her family name is unknown. He died July 3. 1684. Children: 1. William. 2. John, born December 8, 1635. 3. Hannah, January 7. 1637-8. 4. Joshua. March 16. 1641. 5. Susan, January 28, 1641-2. 6. Nathaniel. 1644. 7. Sarah. 8. Mary, June 24, 1648. 9. Rebecca, December 12, 1657. 10. Elizabeth, July 29, 1659.

  1. John Barsham (1635-1698) - listed in 1683 will along with grandson William
  2. Hannah Barsham (1638-1710) - listed in 1683 will as "Hanna Spring"
  3. William Barsham (1638-1710) (refers to grandson / not found in will?)
  4. Joshua Barsham (1640-1683) - listed in 1683 will as "Joshuah Barsham"
  5. Susanna Barsham (1641-1672) - listed in 1683 will as "Susanna Capen"
  6. Nathaniel Barsham (1644-1716) - listed in 1683 will as "Nathaniall Barsham"
  7. Sarah Barsham (1646-1693) - listed in 1683 will as "Sarah Browne"
  8. Mary Barsham (1648-1735) - listed in 1683 will as "Mara Bright"
  9. Rebecca Barsham (1657-1717) - listed in 1683 will as "Rebecka Winship"
  10. Elizabeth Barsham (1658-1735) - listed in 1683 will as "Elizabeth Barsham"


Offspring of William Barsham and Annabella Bland (c1615-1683)
Name Birth Death Joined with
John Barsham (1635-1698)
Hannah Barsham (1637-1710) 7 January 1637 Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts 18 August 1710 Newton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts John Spring (1630-1717)
William Barsham (1638-1710)
Joshua Barsham (1640-1683)
Susanna Barsham (1641-1672)
Nathaniel Barsham (1644-1716)
Sarah Barsham (1646-1693)
Mary Barsham (1648-1735)
Rebecca Barsham (1657-1717)
Elizabeth Barsham (1658-1735)


Vital Records

1683 Will of William Barsham

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."

Research Notes

No link to father William

Some files show this William as the son of William Barsham who married Anne Yelverton immigrated and died in Massachusetts. We have seen no real evidence for this. LDS Ancestral files can be notoriously inaccurate and apparently are in this case. Many show this couple as the parents of the immigrant William Barsham of Watertown. Again, this is apparently bogus.

Researcher James C. Barton has identified a book, which may be the source of the misinformation, that shows this William Barsham as the son of William Barsham who m. Ann Yelverton tited, "Samuel Richardson (1602-1658) and Josiah Ellsworth (1629-1689) Some Descendants" compiled by Ruth Ellsworth Richardson. Ms. Richardson has no documentation for the claim. As Barton says, "No references, sources, or authorities are shown... Regarding this, the NEGHS wrote to me in answer to my specific question as follows: "It didn't take very long to establish that the book makes no documented and reasonably reliable case. In fact, it makes no case at all. It simply makes the statement; the relevant pages are enclosed. The book lists some five pages of research sources, essentially a bibliography, but there are no footnotes, and only a few source attributions."

Furthermore, The Great Migration Begins, by Robert Charles Anderson, a highly respected source, says Barsham's origins are unknown.

Barton notes

"It strikes me as amazing that people like Anderson (Great Migration), Faris (Plantagenet Ancestry), and Richardson (Magna Carta Ancestry), all in the past several years, were not able to find the connection to Watertown that Ruth Ellsworth Richardson found over 30 years ago. One might reasonably conclude there is no known record of any such connection."



Footnotes (including sources)