William Gaylord

The name of Gaylard or Gaylord or other variants was to be found widely spread throughout Somersetshire and some of the name dwelt in the adjoining counties of Dorset and Devon. The family were chiefly yeomen farmers, and were always so described in official documents. It is, therefore, desirable to note that the noble French ancestry given to William Gaylord in The History and Pedigree of the House of Gaillard or Gaylord is sheer nonsense.

William, of Crewkerne, Somersetshire, England, was born ca 1590 based on the estimated date of his marriage. The Parish Records of St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne (Somerset) have not revealed the name of William's wife, which is still unknown. But it did show that William Gaylord resided at Crewkerne at least from 1619 through 1624, and that three of his sons were baptized there. Where William Gaylord lived before 1619 and where he lived between 1624 and the time of his migration to New England in 1630 are still puzzles.

He migrated to America in 1630 from Crewkerne, Somersetshire, England on the Mary & John and became one of the first settlers of Dorchester, Massachusetts. He requested freemanship October 19, 1630 as "Will: Gallard" and was admitted as such on May 18, 1631 as "Willm: Gallerd".

The claim has been made that William Gaylord was made deacon of the Dorchester church before the Mary & John sailed, but it seems to be certain that he was deacon as soon as that ship arrived in New England. In the earliest town records all the acts of the town were signed by four men: John Warham, John Maverick, William Rockwell and William Gaylord. Warham and Maverick were the ministers of the church and Rockwell and Gaylord would seem to be the deacons. Also on August 26, 1633 William Gaylord and William Rockwell were appointed administrators to the estate of John Russell who had died in Dorchester and this is a function of a deacon. Neither William Gaylord nor his wife was admitted to the second church at Dorchester, organized late in 1636, clearly indicating that he retained his membership in the Warham church, where he continued as deacon after he moved to CT.

In 1638 he removed to Windsor, Connecticut where he speedily became a valuable and prominent citizen, serving as representative in 40 sessions to 1664. His occupation was a Planter.

William held many offices: He was on the Petit jury November 9, 1630; the committee on boundary between Boston and Roxbury, March 4, 1633/4; the Deputy for Dorchester to General Court May 9, 1632 (as "John Gallard"), September 2, 1635, March 3, 1635/6, August 1, 1637, May 2, 1638. Prior to the institution of selectmen in Dorchester, William Gaylord was one of the four men to sign town orders, January 21, 1631/2 through June 2, 1634. He was chosen selectman November 2, 1635 (attended meeting of June 27, 1636 as "Goo[dman] Gaylard"); chosen selectman January 2, 1636/7, for a six month term; chosen selectman January 2, 1637/8. He was appointed assessor, January 2, 1636/7. William served as Deputy for Windsor to the Connecticut General Court, 1639-1647, 1649-1662, and 1664.

On May 1, 1639 "William Gaylard of Windsore upon the river of Kennecticot in America, planter," acted as agent for John Warham and his wife in arranging the lease of lands in Dorchester. On July 29, 1639 "Will[ia]m Gaylard" of Windsor, planter, was surety for Thomas Marshfield of Windsor. Several sources speak of a John Gaylord in Dorchester early, and make him brother of William. The only evidence for this is a colony record of May 9, 1632 in which "Will[ia]m Felpes & John Gallard" are the Dorcehster delegates to a meeting which would form the beginning of the House of Deputies. Since William Gaylord was after this date regularly deputy from both Dorchester and Windsor, the more likely explanation is that this is a scribal error for William Gaylord, and that a John Gaylord did not exist in Dorchester or in Massachusetts Bay at this time.

Several entries in the records are found concerning his estate. He was ordered to build twenty feet of fence in the marsh, which implies ownership of one cow, April 3, 1633. He was granted two acres of meadow, February 1, 1635/6; granted two acres of meadow near Goodman Greenway, June 27, 1636; granted two lots, of five and a fraction acres each in the Neck and in the Cow's Pasture, March 18, 1637/8; granted Lot #76, six acres, in the meadow beyond Naponset. (On May 24, 1642 John Wiswall sold to Christopher Gibson "6 acres of meadow at Naponset ... being the 76 lot as it is recorded." In the Windsor land inventory on December 25, 1640 Walter Gaylord had a homelot of twenty acres; sixteen acres of meadow; fifty-eight rods in breadth by three miles in length over the Great River; thirty-nine acres near Pine Meadow; and a twenty acre woodlot upon the plains toward Paquannick (where he exchanged with Bigod Eggleston for eighteen acres adjoining to Rocky Neck).

William's unnamed wife died in Windsor, CT on June 20, 1657. William died there on July 20, 1673. His will dated January 31, 1671/2 was proved in September 1673.

I William Gaylord of Windsor, seriously considering my age, do declare this to be my last Will and Testament: I give unto my sone John Gaylord, his heirs & assigns forever, upon the these Conditions hereafter expressed, all my houseing & Home Lott & orchard as it Lyes, Bounded westerly by the comon high way and Easterly By the meadow, Notherly by the House Lott of Mr. Henry Wolcott & Southerly by the Land of my Daughter Hoskins, provided my sonn John Gaylord freely resigns up his propriety in his owne dwelling house & Barne & orchard & Land, viz., all that is now inclosed with in his fence on the west side of the high way to my grand sonn John Birge, to be to him and his heirs and assigns forever, imediatly after my decease. But if my sonn John shall refuse to make the exchange, then my will is that my grand sonn John Birge, his heirs & assigns forever, shall possess & injoy my house & Home Lott as it is bounded above. I doe also give unto my beloved sonn John Gaylord and my beloved grandsonn John Birge my meadow Lott in the Great meadow, containing by estimation 16 Acres be it more or less, to be divided between them. I doe give to my Grand Sonn John Birge one parcell of Land I bought of Mr. Hanaford, lying on the east side of the great river, being in bredth Tenn rodds, to run the whol Length I purchased. I doe give unto Hezikiah Gaylord, my grand sonn (whoe now lives with my sonn John) fower rodd in bredth of my Lott ove the great River that Lyeth next to the Land I gaave his father, ther to runn from the great River to the end of the Bounds. I doe give unto my sonn Walter Gaylord of my Lott on the east side of the great River, Ten rod in bredth, to runn ffrom the great River to the end of the Bounds, the Ten rodd to ly next to what I have given Hezekiah my Grand Sonn. I doe give unto my Sonn Samuel Gaylord of my Lott on the east side of the great River, Ten rodd in bredth, to lye next to what I hae given to Walter. To my son John I doe give the remaing part of my whold Lott on the east side of the great River, with the Barne Standing thereon, all that part of my Lott from what I have given to my sonn Samuel to Mr. Humphrey Pinneys Lott. And as for my daughter Elizabeth Hoskins, of whose dutifull & Tender respect to me I have had Good Experience and Great Comfort in having by this my will disposed of part of my estate to her sonn John (whoe hath and is a great help in supporting of me in my old age), I am not able to doe for her as otherwise I would, but as a token of my love to her I give her one of my Great Kettles, the brass or Copper one, which she pleaseth. I doe appoint my sonn John gaylord to be sole executor. And doe desire Capt. Benjamin Newbery and John Allyn of Hartford to be overseers.

Witness: John Allyn
William Gaylord
Benjamin Newberry

In a codicil dated 14 Nov 1672 "the Lord having lengthened out my life longer than I expected" he bequeathed "as testimony of my Fatherly affection, to my daughter Elizabeth Hoskins, one of my Cowes which she shall choose, and my brass skillett & a pewter platter & and large pewter bason & the bigger of the Brass milk pans; to my grandchild John Birge my bay mare and the great table and form in the fire room below.

Witness: Daniel Clarke
William Gaylord
Benjamin Newbery

In a later codicil dated December 18, 1672 he bequeathed to "his grandson John Birg" tools; to "my daughter Birge" a white and black hog.

The inventory of "the estate of Deacon William Gaylor who deceased July 20, 1673," was taken August 2, 1673 and totaled 296 17s. 6d., of which 230 was real estate: "his housing, homelot & pasture adjoining," 59; "16 acres of land in the Great Meadow," 80, "land on the east side of the Great River being 34 poles in breadth by the river," 68; "18 acres of land by Rocky Hill," 3; and "39 acres of land near Pine Meadow," 20. His inventory included "a box of books & a case of bottles" appraised at 2.8s.

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See lineage of Gaylord Family

Read the Biography of William's son Walter Gaylord

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