Lieutenant William Bushnell

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ChartsAncestors of Wilford Ervie Billings
Lieutenant William Bushnell, son of Francis Bushnell and Ferris Quennell, was born probably shortly before his baptism at Horsham, Sussex, England, 3 February 1610/11.1 He died at Saybrook, Connecticut, 12 November 1683.2

William married Rebecca Chapman, whose ancestry is unknown (or not traced here), near Saybrook, about 1643.2,1,3

William Bushnell was married "according to an ancient document held by the Bushnell family but not now obtainable, to a sister of Robert Chapman" whose name is generally believed to have been Rebecca, though proof of that, the date of their marriage, and her death are not now in evidence.

William was a resident at Guilford Connecticut as were Francis the elder, and Francis Jr. On 12 Apr 1652, Daniel Sledd of London, executor of the will of his father Wm. Sledd, deceased, signed a power of attorney to his uncle, John Leigh of Ipswich, Massachusetts, whereby that man was authorized and requested to demand from Wm Bushnell, then of "Guilford in New England, sadler," a debt of £8 14s 6d for goods which Bushnell had bought of William Sledd, as shown by his accounts.

Evidently William was slow in paying this account for on 5 Oct 1666, this John Leigh, continuing as attorney for Daniel Sledd, authorized "Peter Blanchford of New London, to collect from William Bushnell, then of Saybrook, a debt of about 8-14, "long since due" and to sue there for if not paid. While one cannot really approve of the negligence of William in the non-payment of this account, it at least served a good end in proving to his descendants his places of habitation at these dates. He had evidently made the removal here shown before 1660, for in March of that year he is seen to have been constable of Saybrook and to have been collector of the colony rates in that vicinity in 1659 and 1660.

In Oct 1661, he was established as sergeant for the train band there under Lt. William Pratt and in May 1679, as William Bushnell, Sr. he was confirmed lieutenant of that body. He was nominated to be a freeman in 1667 and doubtless confirmed as such at the succeeding court for he was named as one of the freemen of Saybrook "already made" in Oct 1669. According to tradition he built the first meeting house and by record, he and his son built the second one. He received six shillings for mending the drum which called the people to worship and to town meetings, and ten shillings, six pence for making pikes, "presumably for the eight soldiers who flanked the meeting house door," but certainly for the public service and protection. By the will of Joshua Uncas, the Indian, dated in 1675/6, Wm. Bushnell received 2000 acres of land.

On 25 Jun 1681, either William or his son William bought of Thomas Adgate [second husband of Mary (Marvin) Bushnell who was earlier the wife of Richard Bushnell, deceased], land in Oyster River Quarter in Saybrook, which had belonged to the latter. At various dates down to 1682 William was appointed or chosen to fill different town offices such as Lister, Surveyor of Highways, Townsman and Leather Sealer or Inspector, the latter office being significant of his trade as a saddler, and in an appointment of Feb 1673, he is described as "Sergeant."

A deed dated 27 Apr 1692, and acknowledged 2 Jul 1696, conveyed land in the "planting field" at Saybrook, from John Bushnell to his kinsman William Bushnell of that place, which property had been bought on 7 Oct 1660, by Francis, grandfather of the grantor, from William Hide. This instrument and other similar evidence justifies our acceptance of the stated relationship between William and Francis and their common descent from Francis.

The inventory of William's estate was presented to the New London court on 24 Nov 1683, and administration was granted to his older sons, Joshua and Samuel until the succeeding September term of court at which time they were reappointed with the addition of William Dudley; also at that time a distribution was ordered to the children as listed. All the daughters but Lydia were given using a married name. No wife was mentioned in the settlement, doubtless having died previously.2,1,4,5


Rebecca Chapman b. 1616, d. 14 May 1703
  • Joshua Bushnell2 b. 6 May 1644, d. Jan 1709/10
  • Samuel Bushnell2 b. Sep 1645, d. 1727
  • Rebecca Bushnell2 b. 5 Oct 1646
  • William Bushnell2 b. 15 Feb 1648, d. 9 Dec 1711
  • Francis Bushnell+2 b. 6 Jan 1649, d. 1697
  • Stephen Bushnell2 b. 4 Jan 1653, d. Aug 1727
  • Thomas Bushnell2 b. 4 Jan 1653
  • Judith Bushnell2 b. Jan 1655/56, d. 17 Nov 1740
  • Abigail Bushnell2 b. Feb 1659/60, d. 30 Jun 1750
  • Lydia Bushnell2 b. 1661, d. 24 Aug 1753
  • Daniel Bushnell2 b. say 1663, d. Feb 1727/28
This person was last edited on28 Apr 2016


  1. [S1013] Mary Walton Ferris, Dawes-Gates Ancestral Lines: A Memorial Volume Containing the American Ancestry of Mary Beman (Gates) Dawes: Volume II: Gates and Allied Families (n. p., 1931), 1:745-746, further cited as Ferris, Dawes-Gates II.
  2. [S1013] Ferris, Dawes-Gates II, 2:163-172.
  3. [S1872] Clarence Almon Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700, 3 vols. (Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011), 260, further cited as Torrey, New England Marriages (2011).
  4. [S25] Herbert F. Seversmith, "Corrections and Additions to the Connections of Francis Bushnell," The American Genealogist 17 (July 1942): 31-32, further cited as Seversmith, "Corrections to Francis Bushnell."
  5. [S116] Herbert F. Seversmith, "Francis Bushnell of Horsham, Sussex, and Guilford," The American Genealogist 16 (Jul 1941): 45-49, at 45, further cited as Seversmith, "Francis Bushnell."