William Knapp

William Knopp/Knapp was baptized on January 1, 1580/1 at Bures St. Mary, Suffolk, England. On January 11, 1606/7 at Wormingford, Essex county, England, he married Judith Tue, daughter of John Tue and Cicely (____). Judith was baptized at Wormingford on May 31, 1589.

William and Judith immigrated from Bures St. Mary to Watertown, Massachusetts in 1630, with the Winthrop Fleet. Many researchers have claimed that William Knopp and Nicholas Knapp of Watertown were brothers, but there is no evidence for this connection and much against. The most recent investigation of William Knopp shows no evidence of Nicholas Knapp in the family, or even in Bures St. Mary. The two differ in age by about twenty-five years, a full generation. William and Nicholas, despite residing in the same town for fifteen years, are never seen interacting in any way. Finally, although this would not normally be an important consideration, the town clerks at Watertown were consistent in spelling William's surname as "Knopp" and Nicholas's as "Knapp," suggesting that in Watertown the surnames were seen as distinct. Although William's descendants have adopted the surname "Knapp", the name is usually spelled "Knop(e)" or "Knopp(e)" in the records of England and early New England.

William came to America indentured to Sir Richard Saltonstall. William was a carpenter by trade. He is first mentioned in New England on November 30, 1630, when the Court of Assistants ordered that "whoesoeuer employeth Will[ia]m Knopp or his sonne in any work shall pay the one half of their wages to Sr Rich: Siltonstall, & whoeuer buyeth boards of them shall pay one halfe of the price to Sr. Richard, till the money hee hath disbursed for them be satisfied." On March 22, 1630/1, "It appears by Sir Rich: Saltonstall's note of disbursements that Will[ia]m Knopp owes him the sum of 19 5s., as was evidenced to the Court by Richard Browne & Ephraim Childe, being men indifferently chosen betwixt them to judge thereof." (These records suggest that William Knapp borrowed his passage money, and perhaps owed even more, from Sir Richard Saltonstall, and that he was hard pressed to repay his debt, what with all the problems of getting his family settled in the wilderness of New England.)

As one of the first settlers of Watertown, Williams was granted 30 acres in the Great Dividend on July 25, 1636. He was granted seven acres in the Beaverbrook Plowlands on February 28, 1636/7, and seven acres in the Remote Meadows, June 26, 1637. On May 10, 1642 William was granted a farm of ninety-three acres.

In the Inventory of Grants at Watertown, "William Knop, senior," held six parcels: homestall of sixteen acres; seven acres of plowland in the Further Plain; seven acres of Remote Meadow; seven acres and a half of upland beyond the Further Plain; thirty acres of upland in the Great Dividend; and one acre in West Meadow. In the Composite Inventory he held seven parcels; homestall of sixteen acres; seven acres of plowland in the Further Plain; eight acres of plowland in the Further Plain; seven acres in the Remote Meadows; seven acres and a half of upland beyond the Further Plain; thirty acres of upland in the Great Dividend; and a farm of ninety-three acres.

Judith (Tue) Knopp died probably in Watertown sometime before 1651. Soon after June 20, 1651, William married Priscilla, widow of Thomas Akers, with whom he signed a prenuptial agreement.

A carpenter, William performed contracts for repairs on the meeting-house until May 1, 1652, and the construction of an animal pound. William was the "poundkeeper," for which he received a small wage. He is often referred to as "Ould Knop" or "Father Knop" in the records.

William Knapp was never an officeholder, at either the local or the provincial level. He was, however, summoned before the General Court for several offenses against the law. On October 6, 1633 "Will[ia]m Knopp is bound in 10 to appear at the next Court, & to abide the censure of the Court for swearing."

Of a more serious nature, he was directed by the court on June 6, 1637, "upon pain of 100 & imprisonment, to bring in sureties within 8 days for his appearance at the next Quarter Court" for speaking against Governor Vane. The outcome of this charge is unknown. William was fined 5 on June 1, 1641 for selling beer for two years without a license. On November 13, 1644 the records of the court show that a fine of 5 for some unknown offence had been reduced to 20s. On October 7, 1651 he was again presented for his "scurulus and undecent words", this time to the schoolmaster. For this he was sentenced to pay 13s. 4d. or to spend two hours in the stocks.

In his last years, William became a charge of the town. On March 25, 1655 he sold much of his outlying property to his son John for "sundry and good considerations" and 5 10s. Late in 1656, William applied for assistance to the selectmen of Watertown, who in turn proposed that he place his estate in the hands of his children in exchange for their support; if the children refused this proposal the town should undertake a similar agreement on the same terms. The children were apparently reluctant. During the last years of his life, the town leased out William's lands and reimbursed others for their assistance to him.

At Watertown selectmen's meeting, 11 Dec 1656:

Ould Knap being in want and complayning to the Select men they make this proposition, that if his children will take his estate into theire hands, & provide such necessaries for theire father and mother as is convenient, they shall have the sd estate for the performance thereof when theire father & mother cease to be, but if the said children refuse thus to doe, then the town will undertake the same, upon such tearms as the children should, & this to be fully concluded upon the next second day being the 15th of decem:

Court record "old Knap estate" December 1656.

This Court being Credible informed that old Knap of Watertowne, by reason of his age, and other infirmity, is so infeebled in his understanding and other naturall abilities, that he is either able to labor, nor yet capeable of a prudent improvement of what lands or goodes he hath yet left to releive his necessity, do therefore order that Henceforth no Bargaine made by the said Knap for the disposeing of any of his estate, shall henceforth be vallid and stand good in Law, unless it shalbe approved of by the Select men of Watertowne for the time being, and for that end this order to be forthwith published at some Publique meeting of the Inhabitants of that place, and this order to remaine in force untill the Generall Court shall please to take further order therein. Also it is hereby declared to be the true intent of the Court herein, that the select men above named, shall in no wise dispose of any of the sd Knaps esetate, without his Concurrance therein.
(At a County Court held at Charlestowne, Decemr. 30th 1656:)

William died at Watertown on August 30, 1659 "aged about 80 years." William wrote a defective will on July 5, 1655. The will was never proved, possibly because of the ambiguous language. The bequests made to the wife are unclear; if only 2 10s. was her intended legacy, the will would certainly have been challenged. The daughter Anne had died prior to the death of her father, but the will had not been modified to dispose of her portion. Elizabeth (Knapp) Buttery of Bures St. Mary refers to the will of her late father in her 1660 power of attorney. However, the remaining heirs in New England indicated in a deed, dated 1 April 1662, that he died intestate.

[illeg] this 5th of July 1655.
This is [the last] will and testiment of [Wil]l. Knope the Elder

After all [the ju]st debts of the aforesaid William Knope is Satisfy the estate that remains is to bee Equally devided Amongst [illeg.] children viz. William Knope John Knope James Knope Elizeath [sic] Knope Mary Knope Ane Knope Judeth Knope the house and land Adjoyninge to it and Cattell and Moveables viz I give unto my wife two pound tenn shillings.

William Knop

Richard Beeres
Richard Bloss
Nathaniell Salisbury

Court Record December 1658

Ephraim Child, Ri: Beers, and Priscilla Knap, are granted powr. of administration on the estate of Wm. Knap deceased

This Court doth order that the Constable of Water Towne shall deliver unto widow Knap her chest, with those things therein, and other her necessary household utensiils, which Jno Knap by attachment hath deteined from her.
(At a County Court held at Charlestowne, Decemr. 28th, 1658)

Bond of William Knopp, dated 20 June 1651.

20th of June 1651
Know all men by these presents that I William Knapp of Wattertowne Carpenter doe bynd my selfe my heire and Assygnes unto Prissilla Acres of the same Town Widdowe and to Charles Chadwicke of the same Town husbandman as a frend in trust in the sum of Twenty pounds for the payment of [ten pounds] unto the heires and Assynes of they sayde rissilla Acres at they death of the sayde William Knapp or Prissilla Acres or wich of them shall firste depart this lyfe then they said Tenn pound shalbe due unto the sayd Prissilla or her Assygnes and to Charles Chadwicke as a frend in Trust unto whom I give full power to Aske Demannd and receive the sayd Tenn pound and to have full power so to doe as I my selfe or my Assygnes and That they sayd Charles Chadwicke when he has received this Tenn pound shall pay it or cause it to be payd unto they Assygnes of they sayd Prissilla Acres Then this present obligation shalbe voyd or els shall stand in full power force and vertue and this Tenn pound is to be paid in money or cattell by an apprisment

Wittnis my hand
In the presence of
Samuell hosier
Charles Chadwicke
William [his mark] knopp

Widow Released from Administration 5 April 1659

The Widow Knap, is released from the power of an Administratrix upon the estate of her husband Wm. Knap deceased.
(At a County Court held at Cambridge Aprill 5th, 1659)

The inventory of the William Knopp estate, valued at 130, was taken 31 August 31, 1658, and it includes a note from John Knopp to his "mother" for 1 5s. 0d. The creditor was apparently his stepmother, Priscilla; she received the money as part of her settlement at the court held at Cambridge on 5 Apr 1659, along with 10 as payment for a note she held from her late husband. The note, dated 20 Jun 1651 and almost certainly a prenuptial agreement, was payable to Priscilla upon the death of William from his estate, or was to be paid by William to Priscilla's heirs if she should die first. Priscilla presented the note at the court of 5 Apr 1659, receiving in return for it a total of 11 5s. plus the use of one-third of the lands of her late husband during her lifetime, as well as a moiety of the rest of the moveable estate after the debts were paid. The balance of the estate was divided among the surviving children or their heirs, with the eldest son receiving a double portion.

Inventory dated August 31, 1658, sworn April 5, 1659.

August 31th 1658
An Inventory of all th' estate of Willm. Knap, late of Water-Towne, deceased, by us whose names are here under written, the day and yeare above written.

Imp[rimis] his Wearing Apparroll 2 pr of breeches, 1 jackett, 1 old shirt 00-14-00
one Table 00-03-00
2 formes one Chayre 00-02-00
4 Wedges, 2 beetle rings 00-10-00
1 hamer a shave, a pr pinser some old Iron 00-06-00
1 gridIron pr Tongs pr cobIrons and a frying pan 00-09-00
1 halbord a smoothing Iron 1 spitt 1 frying pan 00-04-00
2 Iron potts and 2 pr potthookes 01-00-00
2 kettles 2 skillits 1 ladle 01-00-00
eight pewter dishes 2 qt pots, 4 cups, 2 salts 01-03-00
some other old pewter 00-02-00
1 powdering tub 1 barr 2 tubs, 1 pale 00-06-00
3 Wooden cups 12 trenchers 2 lbs leadweight 00-02-00
1 Spinning Wheele and a reel 00-03-00
1 bible 00-06-00
1 Cubbard 1 Chest 1 box and a table 01-06-00
1 featherbed 1 bolster 1 pillow, 1 coverlett 03-00-00
1 flocke bed and bolster 2 pillowes, 2 blankett an old covering and a bedstead 01-08-00
1 Table 1 forme 3 old tubs 3 Trayes, 1 earthen pan an old sive 00-06-00
2 bushell Wheat 1 bushell Indian 00-10-06
2 Cowes 07-10-00
for rent of Cowes 01-12-10
In rent for the farme this yeare 05-00-00
It[em] hops and Apples due from Samuel Hosier 01-00-00
The house and land 100-00-00
Will[iam] Dr. to th'estate 00-09-00

Mich Bairstow, Charles Chadwicke, Ri: Beers

an old How 2 old axes, old wimble pert. auger 00-00-00
halfe a bushell of pease 00-02-00
one sheete and earthen pott 00-05-00
a Wooden platter and Tray 00-02-00
Mault 00-01-06
2 Wooden dishes and gally pott 00-01-06
2 flocke boulsters 00-07-00
a Chest which chest that is above but what is in it wee could not come to see Mustard Seed 00-01-08
pitch forke sives and old bale for a paile 00-01-00
John knap to his mother 01-05-00
Widow knap 4 bush of Wheate 00-16-00

[Endorsement] Att a County Court held at Cambr Apr. 5 1659, Ephraim Child and Leift. Ri: Beers admrs to Wm Knap, appearing in Court and being Sworne do say that is a true Inventory of th'estate of Wm Knap deceased

Court Record 5 April 1659

Ephraim Child, and Leift. Ri: Beers attested on oath unto the Inventory of Wm Knap deceased.
(At a County Court held at Cambridge Aprill 5th, 1659.)

Court Record 15 April 1659

In refference to a divission of th'estate of Willm. Knap deceased, This Court doth order that priscilla the relict of said Willm. Knap, shall have one third part of her husbands lands and houses, dureing her life according to the law of dowries, and her debt of Eleven pounds and five shill: pd her out of the moveables, and the one moyty of the rest of the moveable estate, that shalbe remaineing when all debts are pd. And the rest of the estate to be divided according as the Law in that case provides, vizt. to his Eldest sonne a double porccon, and to the rest of his Children equall shares, and in case any of them be deceased, their Children shall have such their shares.
(At a second sessions of the County Court held at Cambridge October 15, 1659)

Accounting of sales with receipt of widow

of what is paid out and ould Knops estate s d
Imprimis to John knop 1 bed and covering and blankett 01-08-00
In aples 00-16-00
to will. knop 00-14-00
to Simont Stone for the widow 00-14-00
to ould barnes 00-03-00
young barnes 00-02-06
to John Coolig 00-02-06
to Nath: Coolig 00-03-00
to John Fiske 00-03-00
Mr. Danford 00-06-00
the recording of ould knops death 00-01-00
the Funerall charges 01-01-00
In expences at Left beires 00-06-06
to the widow 11-05-00
pd to the towne 06-00-00
More dew to the towne 05-11-03
to pay the towne
1 Dam: hester 01-00-00
in ould pewter 00-02-00
5 small pewter dishes 2 saults, 2 rugs 1 qt. Pot 00-16-00
more 1 habburd 1 spitt 00-03-00
1 gridiron, tongs cobirons 00-08-00
1 hamer Shave ould Iron 00-06-06
4 wedges, beetle rings 00-10-00
2 formes and chayre, table 00-05-00
1 skillit 00-01-06
1 ould bedstead and cupard 00-12-00
loste in the cowes 04-10-00

Reced. by me Priscilla knap, the late wife of will. knap, upon the 18th of Aprill (59) of the administrators of the goods of the sd william knap the some of eleaven pounds and five shillings, which is the some given unto the sd Precila, by the apoyntment of the Court held at Cambrig and by vertew of the same, I the sd Precilla doe acquitt and discharg the sd administrators, of the sd some of 11-5s.

wittness my hand
Precilla [her mark] knop

In presence as wittnes
Mich: Bairstow
William Bond

Division and Receipt of Heirs April 1660

Impri[mis] a bed: boulster, covering pillow 03-10-00
3 pewter dishes 00-07-00
one Iron pott and hookes 00-11-00
wheele and weele 00-03-00
a peck and bag and 2 trayes 00-05-06
a bible, 2 wooden dishes earthen, pan and pott 00-08-00
a chest, a qt. pott, a sheete, pease, mault 01-07-00
2 wooden dishes, gally pott 2 flock boulsters 00-13-00
mustard seed 00-01-08
by Lefft Beeres 3 bu. of wheat and a peck at 00-13-00
one skillet 2 blanquetts 00-05-00
2 kettles and ladell 01-00-00
hops at 8d the pound 00-13-04
by one Iron pott and pot hookes and tramel 00-16-00
1 powdring tub, 1 cowle, 1 keeler, 1 barell a frying pan, 2 trayies 00-08-06
a box and treanchers a smoothing Iron 2 lb. Lead 00-04-00


(1659) January 2d wee whose names are under written, have recd. by the hands of the administrators apoynted by the Court, (in refference to the estate of our deceased Father Will. knop of Watertown) of Lefft. Beers and Ephraim Child, the Full portion of all such goods as they had in there hands, and do acquitt the sd administrators both wee and our heires for ever, them and theire heires, as being fully satisfied with what we have rec'd and doe give full power unto John knop to take all that now is our pts out of the estate yett remaining either of goods or Lands

In witteness
William knapp [mark]
James knap
Thomas Smith
Nicholas Cady [mark]

Aprill 2d (1660) delivered to John knap

a flock bed a boulster 4 blanquetts and a covering 01-08-00
Will knops debt 00-14-00
Sam: hosiers debt 01-00-00
in divers things in the house 01-10-00
in pewter 00-16-00
a shave 00-01-00


Receipt of John Knop, April 1660.

April 2d (60)
Reced. by me John knop, by the hands of the Administrators of the deceased Will. knop the full some of five pounds nine shillings, which is in full of all the estate comitted into the hands of the sd administrators I say reced. by me this present day above mentioned.

Robert Jenison
[his mark]
John knop (his mark)

Court Record April 1660

Ephraim Child, and Leift. Ri: Beers, admrs., on the estate of William Knap deceased, presenting to this Court an acct. of the said estate, their accounts are allowed and passed by the Court.
(At a County Court April 3, 1660)

New Administrators Appointed December 1662

Ephraim Child, and Sergt. Beers are discharged of their administration to the estate of old Wm. Knap of Water Towne, and Jno. Coolidge and Henry Bright are impowred in their stead, by mutuall consent of both partyes
(At a County Court held at Charlestowne, Decembr. 16, 1662)

Deed, Heirs of William Knap to John Knap, 1 April 1662

To All People to whome these presents shall come, Greeting. Whereas William Knap lae of WaterTowne in the County of Midd. in New England, who died intestate, was in his life time seized of one messuage or tenement scittuate, lying and being within the bounds and limmitts of Watertowne, above named, conteyneing one dwelling house and barne, with orchard, yards, and lands adjoyneing by estimation about eighten acres more or lesse, and is bounded with the Country Highway on the north, Edmund Bloyse on th'east, Wm. Barsham and Thomas Fanning on the South, and on the west with the land of Jno. Sawine, with all previledges and appurtenances to the same apperteyneing or in any wise belonging, The which was by the Court of the said County held at Cambr. october 15th 1659 divided to Priscilla Knap his relict widdow, one third part of the said message or tenement dureing her naturall life, and the remainder there of together with the Reverssion of the sd widows thirds was divided unto and between William Knap, Jno, Knap, James Knap, Mary Smith, Judeth Cady, children of the said Wm. Knap, together with the Children of John Philbricke deceased, being the grand Children of the said William Knap deceased, Also whereas the aforesaid William Knap, James Knap, Thomas Smith, husband of the aforesaid Mary Smith, and Nicholas Cady, Husband of the aforesaid Judeth Cady, Joyntly and severally for vallewable consideration to them in Hand payd to their full content and sattisfaction by John Knap their Brother Have granted bargained and sold assigned, enfeoffed, and confirmed to the said Jno. Knap their respective shares and parts in all that above named messuage or tenement (excepting only their interest in the reverssion of the widowes third), Also whereas the said Jno. Knap hath by one deed by Him and Sarah his wife signed and sealed, and bearing date novemr. 26th 1661, granted bargained, and sold, aliened, enfeoffed, and confirmed, th'one moyty of the said messuage or tenement to Nathaniel Coolidge of the same Towne Taylor, the said moyty or one halfe part comprehending and conteyneing as well the parts and shares purchased by the said John Knap of his Brethren William Knap, James Knap, Thomas Smith, and Nicholas Cady, as also the part and share of the said John Knap, Now this witnesseth that the said William Knap, James Knap, and Elizabeth his wife, Thomas Smith and Mary his wife, Nicholas Cady and Judeth his wife, for themselves, their Heyres, Executors, and administrators, them and everie of them, do fully, cleary and absolutely confirme and release unto the said Nathaniel Coolidge His Heyres and assignes forever, All that their estate, right, title, or interest, in or unto the abovesd, messuage or tenement, being the late mansion place of their father Wm. Knap deceased, with the lands adjoyneing and bounded as above said. Further also know ye that the above named William Knap, John Knap and Sarah his wife, James Knap and Elizabeth his wife, Thomas Smith and Mary his wife, Nicholas Cady and Judeth his wife, for and in consideration of a vallewable Summe or Summes of money to them well and truly payd by the above named Nathaniel Coolidge, the receite whereof they the said William Knap, Jno. Knap, James Knap, Thomas Smith, and Nicholas Cady do acknowledge and therewith to be fully satisfied and contented, and thereof and of everie part and parcell thereof, do fully, cleerly and absolutely, exonerate, acquitt, and discharge the said Nathaniel Coolidge his Heyres, Executors, and administrators forever by hese presents, Have granted, bargained and Sold, Aliened, enfeoffed, and confirmed, and by these presents do fully, cleerly, and absolutely, grant bargaine and ell, alien, enfeoffe, and confirme, unto Him the said Nathaniel Coolidge, All their right, title and interest that they either have or might claime in the reversion of th'one third part of the above named messuage or tenement assigned unto Priscilla the relict widow of the aforenamed Wm. Knap deceased as is above premised, To Have and to Hold all the above named released, granted, and bargained premises, or Hereby meant, mentioned, or intended to be released, granted, bargained, and sold, unto Him the said Nathaniel Coolidge His Heyres and assignes forever, to his and their only propper use and behoofe, And the said William Knap, John Knap and Sarah his wife, James Knap and Elizabeth his wife, Thomas Smith and Mary his wife, Nicholas Cady and Judeth his wife, for themselves, their Heyres, Executors, and administrators of them, and of everie of them, do covenant, promise and grant to and with the said Nathaniel Coolidge His Heyres and assignes by these presents that He the said Nathaniel Coolidge his Heyres and assignes shall or may at all times, and from time to time for ever hereafter, Have, Hold, occupy, possesse and injoy the premises in and by these presents granted, bargained and sold, aliened and released, and everie part and parcell thereof without the lett, trouble, expulsion, distrubance, contradiction, or deniall of them the said William Knap, John Knap and Sarah his wife, James Knap and Elizabeth his wife, Thomas Smith and Mary his wife, Nicholas Cady and Judeth his wife, their Heyres, Executors, administrators and assigns of them, or of either of them, or by any other persons lawfullie claimeing and haveing any right, title, or interest in or unto the above named messuage or tenement by, from, or under them or either of them, In witnes whereof the above named William Knap, Jno. Knap and Sarah his wife, James Knap and Elizabeth his wife, Thomas Smith and Mary his wife, Nicholas Cady and Judeth his wife, Have hereunto put their Hands and Seals the first day of April, In the yeare of our Lord God one thousand six hundred sixty and two.

William Knap his mark and a seale, Jno. Knap and seale, Sarah Knap her mark and seale, James Knap and seale, Elizabeth Knap and seale, Thomas Smith his mark and seale, Mary Smith her mark and seale, Nicholas Cady his mark and seale, Judeth Cady her mark and seale.

Signed sealed and delivered by Wm. Knap, James Knap and Elizabeth his wife, Thomas Smith and Mary his wife, Nicholas Cady and Judeth his wife, In presence of Jno. Jackson, George Read, John Babern his mark, Thomas Danforth.

Signed, sealed and delivered by Jno. Knap and Sarah his wife, In presence of Joseph French, Daniel Markham.

March 31, 1662. Acknowledge by Wm. Knap, James Knap and Elizabeth his wife, Thomas Smith and Mary his wife, Nicholas Cady and Judeth his wife, and afterward by Jno. Knap and Sarah his wife, to be their Joynt act and eed, Signing, Sealing, and delivering the same before mee

Thomas Danforth

Aprill 30th 1662 Entred and Recorded


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