William Bunker

William was baptized on June 17, 1648 at Tingrith, Bedfordshire, England and came to America with his parents. William, then 10 years old, was with his father when he drowned at Topsfield. He came to Nantucket with his mother and step-father, Richard Swain and settled at the east end of the island. William's first houselot was included in that of his step-father, as he was a minor at the time of the allotment.

William was the first Bunker to actually live, work and die on Nantucket. History records that William raised sheep in addition to his other means of livelihood. On April 11, 1669, William married Mary Macy, daughter of Thomas Macy and Sarah Hopcott. Mary was born on December 4, 1648 at Salisbury, MA.

A few years later William was allotted ten acres north of No Bottom Pond. The lot set off to him was bounded on the north by the road which is the present West Chester street extended, and which was the first road established, with a westerly boundary by the land of William Worth. After his decease, which occurred June 26, 1712, the Proprietors allotted to his heirs land in lieu of land of theirs taken for a Town House. At the west end of this hill was erected the first school-house mentioned in the Records. William was appointed keeper of the jail in 1668.

There is an interesting tradition concerning William and his wife, Mary. Their residence was quite isolated from his fellow islanders. Early one night, after the family had gone to bed, the house was surrounded by Frenchmen in search of plunder. A vessel had been sighted in the afternoon a short distance from the shore, but as that was not an uncommon circumstance no special attention had been paid to it. In the evening the large oven was heated with a blazing fire and the light from it served as a beacon to the marauders. England and France at that period were at war with each other. Late in the evening the toothsome rye and Indian bread, pumpkin pies and other culinary niceties Mary Bunker had baked were taken from the oven and were left smoking and odorously hot when the family retired. Suddenly a door was lifted from its hinges and in walked the undesired and unwelcome visitors.

"Nothing could be more grateful to the wretches than the contents of that oven spread in profusion around them, and 'nothing loth,' they purloined the whole batch. Nor did they stop here; they took beds and bedding, clothing, and, indeed, everything which their rapacity demanded, and then added to their insolence by demanding that the good farmer himself should go on board their craft which they had left near the shore, and pilot her into the Vineyard Sound. William had no alternative but to go, and after an absence of a few days, he returned to his distressed family. Mary was a woman of indomitable perseverance, and she sustained herself throughout the loneliness of that memorable night, and after surveying their rifled tenement, cast around her that she might repair the ravages as best she could. Her friends did not forget her necessity, and she had cause to remember their kindness, even though she was heard to say that the loss of her twenty pair of sheets was never wholly repaired."

George's will dated June 22 1712, probated August 5, 1712, mentions wife Mary, sons George, Jonathan, Benjamin, Jabez, Thomas, and Peleg, and daughters Jane Bunker, Ann Paddock, Abigial Bunker and Mary Bunker.

Mary outlived her husband and died at Nantucket on March 10, 1729 at age 80.

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See lineage of Bunker Family

Read about William's 3rd great grandfather, Roger Bunker

Read about William's great, great grandfather, William Bunker

Read about William's great grandfather, Oliver Bunker

Read about William's grandfather, Timothy Bunker

Read about William's father, George Bunker

Read about William's son, Peleg Bunker

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