William Collier

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William Collier, whose ancestry is unknown (or not traced here), was born before 1585.1 He died at Duxbury, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts, between May 1670 and July 1671.1

William married Jane Clark, whose ancestry is unknown (or not traced here), at St. Olave, Southwark, Surrey, England, 16 May 1611.1,2

In England, William Collier first appears in the records when he was apprenticed for eight years and entered and sworn in the Grocer' Company of London, 16 Aug 1609. John Arnold and William Hurdman, pewterer, were sureties for him for two years beginning 15 Aug 1612, and he became a partner with "Mr. Monger" and sworn as a free brother of the Grocers' Co., 3 Mar 1627/8.

William is mentioned as one of the Adventurers by Gov. Bradford, who also states of Isaac Allerton that "in the first two or three years of his employment, he had cleared up £400 and put it into a brew-house of Mr Collier's in London. . . . Collier is one of the few adventurers to immigrate to Plymouth. Stratton describes them as
. . . a group of business men. . . who ventured capital into this particular New World settlement in the hope of great profits. The settlers got one share in the company for each man and woman above the age of sixteen. The Adventurers, some of whom were undoubtedly of Separatist or least Puritan persuasion themselves, were nonetheless hard-nosed entrepreneurs, and they obtained one share in the company for each £10 they invested to transport and provision the settlers. Captain John Smith identified the Adventurers as about seventy gentlemen, merchants, and craftsmen, venturing widely varying sums of money, some great and some small.3

He had come to Plymouth by 1633 where he was admitted Freeman, 1 Jan 1633/4. He was later included in the freemen lists for Plymouth, 1633 and 7 Mar 1636/7, and for Duxbury in 1639, 1658, and 1670. In the last list, his name is crossed out and marked "deceased."

In 1637, "William Morris, of Royston, in the county of Hertford, butcher, having been indentured 4 April 1637 to William Collier, gentleman, for five years, agreed to switch this service to Love Brewster of Ducksborrow."

He had removed to Duxbury by 1639 when he was one of those subscribing to an agreement between the inhabitants of "Duxborrow," George Pollard "late inhabitant of the town of Stokeclere, yeoman," and William Hiller of New Plymouth, carpenter, 7 Nov 1639.

Edward Winslow called "Mr. Collier" "my partner" in a 1643 letter to John Winthrop, and in 1645, Winthrop reported, "Mr Collier" [was] "absent to our grief" at a vote over liberty of conscience in Plymouth Colony.

He was not on the "able to bear arms" list of 1643, so was probably over age 60 by then, and likely born a couple of years earlier than estimated by Anderson.

On 20 Dec 1648, John Balden bound himself to "Mr. William Colliar of Duxburrow" for a term of five years, and in return Collier would provide Balden with "meat, drink and clothing, lodging and washing, and at the end of four years' service. . . a heifer of two years old."

At Court, 5 Jun 1651, they agreed that payment should be raised for "Mr. Collyar" for his service as magistrate. A year later they were still going about raising this money, 29 Jun 1652.

He held many offices and appears to have been a highly valued and respected citizen of the colony, to the extent that on 7 Jun 1659, "regard that Mr. Collyare, by reason of age and much business on him, cannot attend the country's business at courts but with great difficulties, the Court have appointed the Treasurer to procure him a servant, and do allow him for that purpose the sum of £10." However, this may not have turned out well. It's not certain that "Josepth Prior" was the servant, but later year on 6 December, that man was summoned to answer the Collier's charges that Prior was guilty of "pilfering and purloining practices, and other unworthy carriages relating thereunto, viz: in alluring a young maid, a knswoman to Mr. Wiliam Collyares, to help him. . . to sundry things pertaining to the said Mr. Collyare, without knowledge of or leave from Mr. Collyare or Mis[tress] Jane Collyare, his wife." Collier's civic activities and offices include:
Plymouth Colony Assistant: 1635-37, 1639-51, 1654-65
Plymouth Commissioner to the United Colonies, 1643
Coroner, 2 Jun 1646
Auditor, 3 Jul 1656
Plymouth Colony committee to assess colony taxes
Committee to lay out highways for "Duxbery side," 1 Oct 1634
Committee to view farm land, 2 Mar 1635/6
Committee to view North Hill and set bounds, 4 Feb 1638/9
Committee to treat with Massachusetts Bay, 7 Mar 1642/3
Council of War, 27 Sep 1642, 10 Oct 1643, 1 Jun 1658
Committee to draw up the excise, 7 Jul 1646
Committee for the letting of trade, 8 Jun 1649
Committee to review the laws, 3 Jun 1657 (this last indicates he had considerable education)

His property is alluded or referred to in several instances:
"Mr Collier's men" were assessed 18s in Plymouth tax list, 25 Mar 1633
"Mr. Will Collier", assessed £2 5s., 27 Mar 1634
In the allocation of mowing ground, reference is made to ground "that Mr. Collier hath," 1 Jul 1633
"William Colliar" made over his right to a ten-acre parcel of upland in "Duxborrow" to "my kinsman William Clark," 6 Mar 1649/50
"William Collyare" deeded to "my son-in-law Daniell Cole of the town of Eastham. . . yeoman, all that my right, title and interest of and into the Purchase Land commonly so-called lying and being upon Cape Cod. . . at Satucquett, Namscekett or Paomett both upland and meadow land with all and singular the appurtenances, rights, privleges and immunities belonging thereunto. . . .viz: all the woods, commons and privileges of blubber."
The court agreed to a grant of 30 or 40 acres of land for "Mr. William Colllyare" for "that grand cild who is now serviceable unto him," 2 Jul 1667.
On 2 Mar 1668/9, the court granted him 50 acres in the tract at Namassaket.

He died intestate, and on 5 Jul 1671, the court appointed Gov. Mr. Constant Southworth, Mr. Thomas Clarke, and "Benjamin Bartlett," or any three of them to administer the estate of "Mr. William Collyare," deceased. "Daniell Cole" was ordered by the court to have all such particulars out of the estate of "William Collyare" that are extant.1


Jane Clark b. say 1590, d. aft. 28 Jun 1666
  • Mary Collier1 b. 18 Feb 1611/12
  • Hannah Collier1 b. 14 Sep 1613, d. bef. 31 Aug 1625
  • Rebecca Collier1 b. 10 Jan 1614/15
  • John Collier1 b. 18 Mar 1616/17, d. bef. 24 Aug 1618
  • Elizabeth Collier+1 b. 9 Mar 1618/19, d. aft. 20 Feb 1678/79
  • John Collier1 b. 23 Mar 1619/20, d. bef. 6 Aug 1625
  • Catheren Collier1 b. abt. 1621/22, d. bef. 13 Jan 1621/22
  • James Collier1 b. 16 Mar 1622/23, d. bef. 24 Aug 1624
  • Martha Collier1 b. 28 Mar 1624, d. bef. 30 May 1625
  • William Collier1 b. abt. 1624/25, d. bef. 12 Aug 1625
  • Lydia Collier1 b. 8 Mar 1625/26, d. bef. 12 Mar 1625/26
  • Ruth Collier1 b. abt. 1628
This person was last edited on2 Jan 2021


  1. [S676] Robert Charles Anderson, The Pilgrim Migration: Immigrants to Plymouth Colony: 1620-1633 (Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2004), 128-133, further cited as Anderson, The Pilgrim Migration.
  2. [S1872] Clarence Almon Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700, 3 vols. (Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011), 355, further cited as Torrey, New England Marriages (2011).
  3. [S86] Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony: Its History & People 1620-1691 (Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry, 1986), 20, further cited as Stratton, Plymouth Colony.