The Pynchon Family

Thomas Wilson was Secretary of State, and thus Queen Elizabeth would have to approve of Wilson’s marriage to Jane Empson, that made Thomas the stepfather of John Pynchon Jr. This line married into the Webb family, who are the only line to Shakespeare, and together they Colonized much of New England. Thomas heard of Queen Elizabeth’s desire to establish HER colonies in the New World. He had to know of the first attempts. He would gather together A UNITED FAMILY to go forth and qonquer this World, in order to keep it out of the hands of her mortal enemy, Philip von Hapsburg. This was – war! I suspect marriages were made in order to recruit the New Argonauts. The Radical Puritans would get the job done.

For sixteen years we have been exposed to the mythical and fictional whims of Dan Brown and the Sinclair family, along with a bevy of alleged scholars, have wormed their way onto our T.V. sets in order to claim the Knights Templar colonized the new world – and left a treasure on Oak Island. Not one of these imposters speak of the first Protestant Queen’s War of the Religious Worlds, because they know nothing about religion. These morons banned me from yahoogroups because I was steeped in Biblical knowledge, and, I kept asking them to give an example of the great things Jesus and Mary Magdalene & Company did in the world. Surely, if it was God’s Plan to unite them in sexual union. He had a Master Plan – for their offspring! These authors were furious! They thought I was a Christian because I quoted the Bible.

“They were Gnostics!”

“So! What did this HOLY gnostic bloodline – do?”

There were TWO HUMANS who had a Master Plan, and that was Philip and Elizabeth. Philip was very eager to put his seed inside Elizabeth, and have her born his baby. Did God and Son bless the Catholic religion, or, the Protestant religion? America was The Testing Ground. Whose holy seed, will take?

What is interesting, it is alleged Jane ‘Pynchon’ Empson remarried Thomas Wilson. I now wonder if Thomas had three wives. Why? His grandfather married Ada Antionette Erasmus, a princess of the Schwarzenberg family who are kin to the Hapsburgs.  Is it possible Queen Elizabeth wanted to create her own Habsburg lineage, and place it in the New World, thus, usurping the linage, and intentions of Philip? Cadet branches were used for this purpose. That Lord Zinzendorf is kin to Ada and Maximillian von Habsburg, suggests Royal Genealogist knew how bloodlines could conquer and take, and make, a new kingdom – with the help of major religions. Elizabeth would want to turn the tables on her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots. This is the foremost Game of Thrones. The Moravian Church may be a front for the funding of a new bloodline.

In the spoiler below, it is pointed out not many people would attend a symbols lecture. The truth is, the Browns eavesdropped on several groups I belonged to that did discuss symbols and names. I filed some of my name-code, my “rose line” in my late sister’s probate – not knowing we descend form the Wilson Priestly Line!

I threatened to turn my study into a historic-fiction-romance- thriller, three years before Dan’s famous book was published. Telling the faux scholars my sister was a world famous artist that signs her work ‘Rosamond’,  and that she is the granddaughter of Mary Magdalene Rosamond, filled this morons – with rage!

“Why don’t you leave us artists alone!” I shouted.

For this reason, my historic-fiction-romance will off Shakespeare, because, the Habsburgs made him an offer he could not refuse! William will be assassinated on stage while wearing a mask. The murder of Shakespeare explains so much. I will solve the riddle!,_Queen_of_Scots

Below, is a photograph of me taken before a large canvas of the Habsburg family who fled to America because Hitler wanted them dead. How ironic that the seed that sprang from Philip, alas was planted in the Protestant New World. Empress Zita described her family making soup from the dandelions that grew in their front yard. Their Protestant hosts refused to feed them.

I sent an e-mail to Karl Schwarzenberg informing him of the Wilson line to the Rosamond line. There is an attempt to erase this link, but, it is failing. With the writer, Thomas Pynchon, onboard The Quest, the hope I am utterly ignored, is futile. I will be sending THIS POST out to publishers and movie makers. How about Netflix, Showtime and HBO?

Note the white flowers that are strewn on the carped before the children, who seems to fade away. What does this symbolize?

Hit it Maestro!

John Presco

Copyright 2019

“Spain was the most powerful country in the world. Philip II ruled vast territories of land, and had unparalleled wealth from the New World. England was a small country, with little wealth, few friends, and many enemies. If Queen Elizabeth ever felt nervous about challenging the greatest power in the known world, she never showed it, and appeared to believe completely in the devotion and loyalty of her people. By believing in them, they believed in her.

“Though not a lord of the manor, the Pynchon family was included in the Heralds’ Visitations of Essex in 1612 and 1634 (though not in the earlier Visitation of 1558). Also, as seen earlier, after his grandfather’s death, William’s grandmother remarried Sir Thomas Wilson, Secretary of State under Queen Elizabeth. One of his cousins married Richard Weston, later first Earl of Portland and Chancellor of the Exchequer. So this family appears to have been on the fringe of the social class usually holding manors and serving as functionaries in their counties.”

JOHN PYNCHON was born in 1534 at Writtle, Essex, England. He seemingly established the family properties and prestige on a sounder basis by marriage to JANE EMPSON, a daughter of Sir Richard Empson. She also was born at Writtle, Essex, England, about 1534.

John died 29 Nov 1573 in England.

The widow Jane Pynchon married Sir Thomas Wilson, Secretary of State under Queen Elizabeth I. Her death occurred on November 10, 1587, in Essex, England.

Their only known son was JOHN PYNCHON JR. 

Two princely lines[edit]

At the beginning of the 19th century, the House of Schwarzenberg was divided into two princely-titled lines (majorats).[1] This division was already foreseen in the will of Prince Ferdinand (*1652 – †1703). However, the absence of two male heirs until Joseph II. and Karl I. Philipp inhibited the execution. The senior branch,which held not only the Palais Schwarzenberg in Vienna, but also the Dominions of Scheinfeld, Krumlov, Frauenberg and Murau, died out in the male line in 1979 upon the death of Joseph III of Schwarzenberg, who was the 11th Prince of Schwarzenberg. The cadet branch, which was established by Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg at Orlík Castle, continues to the present day.

The two branches have now been re-united under the current head of the family, Karl VII of Schwarzenberg, who is the 12th Prince of Schwarzenberg. He is a Czech politician and served as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.

Present Time[edit]

Due to the unification of the family-headship under Karl VII Schwarzenberg, the fidei commissa of both the primogeniture / Hluboka line and the secundogeniture / Orlik line came under the single ownership of the last-mentioned prince. Karl VII created in the 1980s the current structure of the family belongings. The German and Austrian properties from the primogeniture were embeded (with some exceptions) into the Fürstlich Schwarzenberg’sche Familienstiftung (Princely Schwarzenberg Family-Foundation) based in Vaduz. The art collection, which includes the painting The Abduction of Ganymede by Peter Paul Rubens or an important collection of works by Johann Georg de Hamilton, is held in the separate Fürstlich Schwarzenberg’sche Kunststiftung (Princely Schwarzenberg Art-Foundation). The Czech property of the secundogeniture is held privately. The members of the family follow careers in the private or military sector.

John Wilson, Kt. MP

Gender: Male
Birth: 1450
Cupar, Fife, Scotland
Death: February 13, 1492 (42)
Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Place of Burial: Cambuslang, South Lanarkshire, Scotland, United Kingdom
Immediate Family: Son of John Wilson and Antoinette Erasmus
Husband of Margaret Harvie
Father of Sir Thomas Wilson, of Strubby; Archibald Wilson and John Thomas Wilson

Thomas Wilson, MP MP

Gender: Male




Graphic, by US Gen Net

Generation 1


Generation 2
WILLIAM PYNCHON (mar. Elizabeth Stevens)


Generation 3
JOHN PYNCHON (mar. Jane Empson)


Generation 4
JOHN PYNCHON (mar. Frances Brett)


Generation 5
WILLIAM PYNCHON (mar. Anna Andrews)


Generation 6
JOHN PYNCHON (mar. Amy Wyllys)


Generation 7
MARY PYNCHON (mar. William Whiting)





Generation 1

NICHOLAS PYNCHON, born about 1496 in Wales or possibly in London. His wife, AGNES, was born about 1500 at Writtle, Essex, England.

Nicholas became the Lord Mayor of London in 1532. He owned property in Writtle, Essex. Whether he obtained this property from his own family, or by his wife’s inheritance, is unknown.

He made his will on 15 February 1528 in London, Middlesex county, where he died in 1533. Some time thereafter, his widow remarried.*

* Agnes remarried Sir John Clerk of North Weston manor. His second wife had died in February of 1534.

Sir John was the son of William Clerk of Willoughby, Warwickshire. As the inscription on his brass [tomb] records, he “toke louys of Orleans duk of longueville…prisoner at ye Jorney of Bomy by Terouane”, better known as the Battle of the Spurs, on 16 August 1513, for which exploit he was knighted. Shortly before his death, he rebuilt the 14th century manor house of the Quartermain family, which was sold by his descendant about 1750 and demolished about 1800, apart from the kitchen wing, of which a fragment remains embedded in the modern farmhouse. He died on 5 April 1539. We don’t know of Agnes’s death.

The above is from The Monumental Brass Society.



  1. Edward, b. 1521.
  2. WILLIAM PYNCHON, b. 1523. He also died in Writtle. He married Elizabeth Stevens.
  3. Robert, b. 1525.
  4. John, b. 1527.





Generation 2

The ancestral village of the Pynchon family was Writtle, near Chelmsford, in Essex, England. WILLIAM PYNCHON was born there in 1513. The family name was spelled in various ways and is thought to be Norman in origin.

William was a yeoman, and married about 1545, ELIZABETH STEVENS. She was born at Writtle about 1515, the daughter of Richard Stevens. As is typical, little else is known of her.

Elizabeth died in 1552 possessed of substantial holdings. William died at Writtle on September 5th, in 1553.

The only known child of William and Elizabeth Pynchon was JOHN PYNCHON.



Generation 3

JOHN PYNCHON was born in 1534 at Writtle, Essex, England. He seemingly established the family properties and prestige on a sounder basis by marriage to JANE EMPSON, a daughter of Sir Richard Empson. She also was born at Writtle, Essex, England, about 1534.

John died 29 Nov 1573 in England.

The widow Jane Pynchon married Sir Thomas Wilson, Secretary of State under Queen Elizabeth I. Her death occurred on November 10, 1587, in Essex, England.

Their only known son was JOHN PYNCHON JR.



Generation 4

JOHN PYNCHON JR. was born in 1564 at Writtle, Essex, England. He inherited the family properties at Springfield, England, upon his father’s death in 1573 at the age of nine. He was educated at New College, Oxford, and received his bachelor’s degree there in 1581 at the age of seventeen.

When he died in 1610, John Pynchon, “gent.”, provided in his will that William, his eldest son, should receive, during the remainder of his wife’s life, a portion of the rents and profits of certain lands and tenements in the parish of Writtle, and after her death, all the houses, lands, and tenements of decedent in Springfield and Widford, all in Essex.

It is possible that William married first a young woman of the surname Orchard, of whom nothing is known.

On October 3rd, 1588, he married FRANCES BRETT. She was born about 1568 at Terling, Essex County, England, the daughter of Thomas and Jane Brett.

John Pynchon died on the 4th or the 12th of September, 1610, at Springfield, Essex, England. One source states that Jane died before 13 November 1610 (which I feel is the more probable death date); a second source states she died 1676 in England.

All born at Springfield, Essex, England

  1. WILLIAM PYNCHON, born in December, 1590. He married Anna Andrew.
  2. Peter Pynchon, born about 1592.
  3. Annes Pynchon, born about 1594.
  4. Frances Pynchon, born about 1596.
  5. Jane Pynchon, born about 1598.
  6. Alice Pynchon, born about 1600.
  7. Isabel Pynchon, born about 1602.
  8. Susanna Pynchon, born about 1604; married (-) Platt.





Generation 5

The Emigrant to America



WILLIAM PYNCHON was born around December 26th or 27th, 1590 at Springfield, in Essex, England. The Winthrop Society states his birth was around December 27, 1590.

Springfield lies some 30 miles NE of London, near Chelmsford, the shire town or county seat as we know it. The ancient parish church of Springfield lies across the little Chelmer River. Near the church are several mansions of the landed gentry.


Not that far from the medieval era, land ownership in England was very complex with lordships, manors, sub-manors, parishes, tenements, fealty, and more. The relationship between the lords, squires, tenants, and freeholders could also be complex. A very good example of this could be found in the book called, “The Forest” by Rutherford.

Everyone knew his place and everyone was greeted by name. The gentry, of course, held a privileged position, and administered the daily affairs of the parish and their own estates. They provided employment, meted out justice, and drilled with the trainbands. As long as time was known, the rural people wanted and expected the men of wealth and good birth to be their leaders.

The Pynchon family belonged to the armorial gentry of Essex. They owned acreage at Writtle and Springfield, but we have no evidence that Pynchon was a “lord of the manor”. The manor court records, in fact, show that William Pynchon, “gent.” [gentleman], did fealty to the lord for certain lands inherited from his father called Varneswell Fields and Varneswell Moores, which had been conveyed to his father in February 1596/97.

The manor of Writtle, held by the Petres, was one of the largest in Essex and included no reference to William Pynchon in its Manor Court Rolls. What is to be seen is a May 1st, 1612 document, where a cousin (Sir Edward Pynchon) released to William all rights in some farms and other lands in the parishes of Writtle, Broomfield, and Chignall St. James. Cousin Sir Edward Pynchon was lord of the Manor of Roman’s Fee (probably identical with the Manor of Turges), one of the nine sub-manors of Writtle.

Now I’m really getting interested in manors and sub-manors, which see to me to be like little kingdoms. If you want to read more about manors and the manor system, visit the following links:

The following web links feature Writtle, Essex, England, and Wraysbury Village where William Pynchon lived the last ten years of his life:


Though not a lord of the manor, the Pynchon family was included in the Heralds’ Visitations of Essex in 1612 and 1634 (though not in the earlier Visitation of 1558). Also, as seen earlier, after his grandfather’s death, William’s grandmother remarried Sir Thomas Wilson, Secretary of State under Queen Elizabeth. One of his cousins married Richard Weston, later first Earl of Portland and Chancellor of the Exchequer. So this family appears to have been on the fringe of the social class usually holding manors and serving as functionaries in their counties.

His first wife was ANNA ANDREW, the daughter of William Andrew, a member of an old Warwickshire family. She was born between 1592 and 1600 at Twiwell, County of Northampton, England.

Judging by his published works, including extensive knowledge of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew writers, theological doctrines, and English law, his biographers have unanimously regarded him as a “gentleman of learning and religion”.

A descendant, Dr. Thomas R. Pynchon of Hartford, stated:

“William Pynchon was educated at Oxford, matriculated at Hart Hall, afterwards Hertford College, October 14th, 1596, when he was eleven years old. It was then the custom to send boys to the Halls of Oxford at an early age. It was, no doubt, here that he acquired his familiarity with Latin, Greek and Hebrew, and accumulated those stores of theological and patriotic learning that he drew from later in life in writing his various works. He was in 1624 one of the church-wardens of Springfield Parish in England. Married Anna Andrew, daughter of William Andrew of Twiwell, County Northampton. Was one of the principal projectors of the settlement of New England. A patentee and assistant named in the charter of the colony of Massachusetts Bay, granted by Charles I, March 28, 1628. Sailed from the Isle of Wight March 29, 1630, in the fleet of three vessels that carried the charter over. Founded Roxbury the same year and Springfield in 1636. Returned to England in 1652 and in 1653 bought lands in Wrasbury, County Bucks, near his Bulstrode relations in the adjoining parish of Horton, and directly opposite Magna Charta Island in the Thames, and the field of Runnymede. He died October 29, 1662, and was buried in the Wrasbury churchyard.”


Records found in the Essex Quarter Sessions Rolls reveal that Pynchon was a churchwarden of Christ Church in Springfield in January 1619/20 and in December 1624. In Essex County, along with the county of Suffolk, Puritanism predominated.

Please see this link for a very brief, but excellent, two paragraph explanation of Puritans and Pilgrims. From History of the United States of America, by Henry W. Elson (New York: MacMillan Co., 1904) ch. IV, pgs. 103-111. The online book was transcribed by Kathy Leigh on her USGenNet website.

William was acquainted with certain Puritan country gentlemen and city merchants of London who, together, formed the Massachusetts Bay Company when King Charles I granted them land. This was to become the Massachusetts Bay Company. It was, primarily, a commercial enterprise.

How would William Pynchon have become interested in the Massachusetts Bay Company project? Chelmsford was the center of a strong Puritan group which certainly would have played some part. He was a close neighbor in Essex of the famous minister, Thomas Hooker, who took many with him to Massachusetts and then to Connecticut; but there is no evidence that he, or personal friendship with him, was of any influence. Political considerations may have played a part, as seen in his later writings. He was a visionary and no doubt saw an unlimited capacity for wealth in the New World, certainly leaning toward the business end of things along with being a Puritan.

William Pynchon was a patentee and an assistant named in the Charter forming the Massachusetts Bay Company in New England. He took the oath as assistant on May 13, 1629, and regularly attended the meetings of the General Court and of the Court of Assistants. In August of 1629 he signed The Cambridge Agreement.

Twelve leaders of the Company pledged to emigrate with their families to New England, agreeing to leave before March 1, 1630.

William Pynchon paid £25 for his share of stock in the Massachusetts Bay Company, and received a receipt for his payment. This receipt is preserved in the archives of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

In October, 1629, William helped draw up articles of agreement between the Adventurers remaining in England and those intending to remove. He was again elected an assistant on October 29th when it had been decided to transfer the government to New England.

It was his task to accumulate the weapons and ammunition for the Winthrop fleet. Before leaving England, he disposed of some of his Springfield holdings. As a shareholder of the company he was entitled to 200 acres and 50 acres for each servant he would bring with him.

Pynchon left England on March 29, 1630. The Winthrop Society recognizes him as one who sailed in 1630 with The Winthrop Fleet. It is possible, even likely, that he sailed with John Winthrop and the charter. He brought with him his wife and three daughters. His son, John, crossed later.


They arrived at Boston in the summer. One third of the emigrants and half of the cattle perished. In a letter sent to supporters in England, Thomas Dudley wrote about the Puritans’ arrival in Massachusetts in the summer of 1630.

In April 1630 we set sail from old England with four good ships. And in May following, eight more followed, two having gone before in February and March, and two more following in June and August, besides another set out by a private merchant. These seventeen ships arrived all safe in New England, for the increase of the plantation here, this year 1630.

Our four ships, which set out in April, arrived here in June and July, where we found the colony in a sad and unexpected condition, above eighty of them being dead the winter before, and many of those alive, weak and sick. All the corn and bread among them all hardly sufficient to feed them a fortnight, insomuch that the remaining of 180 servants we had the two years before sent over, coming to us for victuals to sustain them, we found ourselves wholly unable to feed them.

But bearing these things as we might, we began to consult of the place of our sitting down, for Salem, where we landed, pleased us not. And so to that purpose some were sent to the Bay to search up the rivers for a convenient place; who, upon their return, reported to have found a good place upon Mystic; but some other of us seconding these to approve or dislike of their judgment, we found a place we liked better, three leagues up Charles River.

It was decided, for our present shelter to plant dispersedly, some at Charlestown which stands on the north side of the mouth of Charles River; some on the south side, which we named Boston, some of us upon Mystic, which we named Medford; some of us westward on Charles River, four miles from Charlestown, which place we named Watertown; others of us, two miles from Boston, in a place we named Rocksbury; others upon the river of Saugus, between Salem and Charlestown; and the western men, four miles south from Boston, at a place we named Dorchester.



Upon arrival in New England, Pynchon settled first at Dorchester, but within a short time removed to Roxbury, an adjoining settlement. He was possibly a principal founder of Roxbury and was “one of the first foundation of the church” (Savage) in that town, though I have not seen his name in any history of either.

From April until December 1631, a scurvy epidemic devastated the region and about 200 perished. His wife, Anna, died on 30 August 1630 even before the ship that brought her to New England began its return journey.

After some years he married the Widow Frances Sanford Smith. She was described by Eliot as the “grave matron of the church at Dorchester”. She is said to have been a fitting companion for an educated man having the attainments of Mr. Pynchon. Her son by her first marriage, Henry Smith, a “godly, wise young man,” later married William’s daughter, Anne, and figured prominently in the settlement that became Springfield.

As a member of the Massachusetts Bay Company, William Pynchon served as:

  • Assistant — 1630-36, and again 1642-50/51. The Court of Assistants was then the principal judicial body in the plantation. He participated extensively in hearing and determining civil and criminal causes.
  • Treasurer — 1632-1634.
  • Member, Commission for Military Affairs — March 1634/35.




In the Spring of 1636, Pynchon, his family, and the other settlers, uprooted to settle at Agawam on the Connecticut River. Two months later, William and two others bought the land on both sides of the Connecticut, signing the deed on July 15th with two of the “ancient Indians of Agawam,” and others.

They paid the eighteen fathoms of wampam*, eighteen coates, 18 hatchets, 18 howes, 18 knifes for the land.

* One fathom was nearly two meter.
* Evidently, the composition of his name – Wruththena – indicated that he was a “prince in embryo”; hence, he received two extra coats.

William was now the northernmost trader on the Connecticut River. He had a warehouse and conduted business with the settlers and Indians for necessities such as various kinds of cloth, thread, ready-made coats, spoons, salt and other scarce foodstuffs, knives, hatchets, tin looking glasses, tobacco boxes, scissors, brass kettles, mackerel hooks, needles and pins. With the Indians, he traded for furs.

Only William Pynchon and Henry Smith (his son-in-law) became permanent settlers, staying more than fifteen years. Mr. Pynchon’s leadership held the settlement together, “at greate charges and at greate personall adventures.”

Since he was the town magistrate, and actually held almost all official offices, he held the power to decide punishment for offenses, but he leaned more toward moderation than other Puritan officials.

(Click on this picture to see a larger view)


On 14 February 1638/39, the Agawam planters met and voted Mr. Pynchon to be their first magistrate. In June of 1641, he was officially commissioned by the General Court. The Indians called the settlers “Pynchon’s men”.

William was the most powerful figure in the Connecticut Valley, and maintained friendly relations between the Indians and his settlement by a conciliatory policy, treating them as independent. The Indians had confidence in him, and were readily guided by his wishes.

The distinctiveness of Springfield’s Indian policy has been largely overlooked. Springfield’s location on the periphery of Puritan society contributed to it developing a significantly different Indian policy. The manner in which Springfield and its founder William Pynchon related to and viewed its Indian neighbors was very uncommon in Puritan society. This claim can be well defended. Firstly, Pynchon had a much broader conception of Indian sovereignty and independence than other Puritan leaders. He did not fully accept that God’s grace and the King’s charter gave the Puritans full and final legal authority over the heathen Indians. Secondly, Springfield’s land policy was beneficial to both the Indians and the settlers. The earliest settlers did not employ force or phony legal doctrine to take possession of the land. Instead, title to the land was obtained in a fair and equitable manner. Finally, it can be argued that the treatment of Indians in the Springfield courts was generally fair and impartial.

The respect accorded to the Indians by their European neighbors should not be misinterpreted, however. The earliest Europeans in Springfield were not great humanitarians. There is nothing in the records to suggest that they were more noble or kindhearted than their counterparts in other Puritan towns. In fact, Pynchon and his townspeople probably accepted the Puritan notion that the Indians were corrupted by the devil and therefore less godly then themselves. Instead, Springfield’s fair and just Indian policy was simply a pragmatic response to its location on the fringes of Puritan society. More than other Puritan towns, Springfield had to maintain good relations with its Indian neighbors. Inimical relations would have endangered Springfield’s fur trade and, more significantly, its security. In short, Springfield was compelled to treat the Indians with unusual fairness and justice. Regardless of their motives, the records clearly show that in matters of judicial procedure, land acquisition, and commerce, the earliest European settlers of Springfield followed a remarkably considerate and just policy in their dealings with the Native inhabitants of the area.

From “Springfield’s Puritans and Indians: 1636-1655” by Marty O’Shea, which appeared in the Historical Journal of Massachusetts (Winter 1998). Click here to read the whole article on the FindArticles website.


On the 14th of April, 1641, the people voted in a general town meeting and changed the name of the town from Agawam to Springfield in honor of his birthplace in England. The General Court recognized the town as Springfield in 1641, and the State of Massachusetts has recognized our ancestor as the Founder of Springfield ever since. For some unknown reason, he was not made a “Freeman” of the Colony until the 11th of August 1642, because he certainly was working in the capacity of one.

Added here, only because it fits here in the timeline of William’s life, is a little snippet in his own words. The Massachusetts Collections has preserved some of William Pynchon’s letters. There is a letter dated Springfield, October 19, 1648, in which he alludes to Mr. Ludlow’s visit at his house, and to some fault he found with the construction of some orders that had been prepared, to which he added this sage conclusion. “But often tymes it fals out that a man may be one of the 20 that will find fault, & yet be none of the 20 that will mend them.”


William Pynchon was the prosecuting magistrate in a case of witchcraft that pre-dated those in Salem, Massachusetts, by 70 years. It was the case of Mary Parsons, who circulated a report that a widow named Marshfield was a practitioner of witchcraft. Mrs. Marshfield began an action against Mrs. Parsons, and Magistrate Pynchon found Mrs. Parsons guilty of slander and sentenced her to receive 20 lashes from the constable, or pay £3, which was paid with 24 bushels of Indian corn.

An interesting painting by the Deerfield, Massachusetts, artist George Fuller at the Memorial Hall Museum is his “Examination of Witnesses in a Trial for Witchcraft” (1884). The painting belongs now to the Art Institute of Chicago, but has been digitized and is to be seen at the Memorial Hall Museum and on its website.


William visited London in 1650 and published a theological book entitled “The Meritorious Price of our Redemption”.

(Click on this picture to see a larger view)

The book’s appearance in Boston astonished and offended the General Court. Some said the title page itself was sufficient to prove the heretical nature of the arguments. William was received on his return with a storm of indignation. The Court passed a resolution on October 15, 1650, condemned the book, ordered that it should be burned by the public executioner, and summoned the author to appear before them at session the next May.

Copies of the book were burned the next day. Only four copies have survived, one of which is preserved at the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum. In addition, a day of “fasting and humiliation” was proclaimed in order for the populace to consider how Satan had prevailed among them by “drawing away some . . . to the profession and practize of straunge opinions.” Satan’s influence in the colony was growing and Pynchon’s book was the proof of that!

Boston officials burning Mr. Pynchon’s book.


William appeared before the Court in May 1651 and the case against him was discussed among the colony’s freemen; but because he was a powerful man of influence, he would be treated in a rather careful manner. After this meeting, Pynchon retracted some of his statements, claiming they had entirely misunderstood his meaning. He was not then condemned but was sent back to Springfield in a “hopefull way” to reconsider his views and make a full retraction, and the case was continued until the next General Court in October of 1651, when a decision would be reached. William neither gave in nor went to Boston October 14th, when the Court met. Ten days later, the court rendered a judgment ordering him to appear the next May of 1652 for judgment and censure of the Court.

Sensing himself in some little danger, though not a man of fear of conflict, he was now old and had no stomach for a huge legal battle or more serious contentions. He stood to lose his fortune, his property, and be left in disgrace and ruin. On September 28th, 1651, he conveyed to his son, as a gift, all his lands and buildings on both sides of the Connecticut River. His land grants from the town totaled about 280 acres. William also installed John as successor to his vast business interests. His son was now the largest land owner in Springfield.

Though the exact date is unknown, William Pynchon and his wife, returned to England. His daughter, and son-in-law Henry Smith, followed early the next year. None ever returned. It is unknown if the Bay Colony prosecution was dropped or if his departure was in continued defiance of the authorities, but he never made a satisfactory recantation of his “errors”.

Only two of William’s family remained in Springfield: his son, John, daughter Elizabeth, and her husband, Elizur Holyoke. John took on the magistracy which had been his father’s. He would stay out of dangerous discussions of theology for the rest of his life.

William established himself at the rural village of Wraysbury on the Thames, near Windsor, with his wife and one of his daughters, Anne Smith. Anne’s mother-in-law, the Widow Frances Sanford Smith, was now married to William Pynchon, so was also her step-mother.

William was able to spend the last ten years of his life pursuing theological study and writing, which were his passion. Oddly, now back in England, he was in conformity with the Church of England. In 1655, he revised his book, “The Meritorious Price of Man’s Redemption, or Christ’s Satisfaction discussed and explained,” with a rejoinder to the Rev. John Norton’s “answer”. Other works of his pen include “The Jewes Synagogue” (1652), “How the First Sabbath was ordained” (1654), and “The Covenant of Nature made with Adam” (1662).

William’s wife died on October 10th, 1657 at Wraisbury, on the Thames, near famous Runnymede, in County Buckinghamshire. William died at the same place on October 29, 1662 (aged 72).


My chief executor is at present absent.

  • To Elizabeth, Mary and Rebecca Smith, daughters of my son Master Henry Smith, and to his son Elisha Smith, twenty pounds apiece, to be paid by my son Mr. Henry Smith at the time of their marriage, as he did unto Martha Smith, out of a bond which he owes me, of two hundred and twenty pounds;
  • to my daughter Anne Amith the rest of the said bond (220li) with the overplus of interest.
  • To the children of my daughter Margaret Davis, of Boston in New England, deceased, videlicet unto Thomas, Benjamin and William Davis, ten pounds apiece to be paid by my son Mr. Henry Smith.
  • To my son Master John Pynchon, of Springfield in New England (a sum) out of the bond which he owes me of one hundred and six pounds, dated 15 April 1654.
  • Whereas my son Mr. Henry Smith hath promise to pay unto me his debts which have been long due to him in New England and a horse of his at Barbadoes, for the satisfaction of an old debt that he owes me, in Quarto Vellum Book, in page 112, I bequeath them to the children of my son Master Elizur Holioke in New England &c.
  • To the poor of Wraysberie three pounds.
  • Son Mr. John Pynchon of Springfield in New England to be executor, to whom the residue, provided he pay to Joseph and John Pynchon and to Mary and Hetabell Pynchon twenty pounds apiece.
  • Mr. Wickens, citizen and girdler of London, and Mr. Henry Smith of Wraysbery to be overseers.
  • Friend Mr. John Wickens to be my executor touching the finishing of my administration business concerning the estate of Master Nicholas Ware in Virginia, whose estate is thirty pounds in a bill of exchange to Capt. Pensax and about eighteen thousand of tobacco, in several bills made over by Mr. Nicholas Ware to Capt. John Ware of Virginia &c.
  • To beloved sister Jane Tesdall of Abington twenty pounds; to sister Susan Platt twenty pounds, as a token of my cordial love; certain clothing to Mary, Elizabeth and Rebecca Smith.

[The above was divided for easier reading. The will was published in the Historical and Genealogical Register.]


  1. Ann Pynchon was born about 1618. She married Henry Smith, a “godly, wise young man” who figured prominently in the settlement of the plantation of Agawam. Ann and Henry Smith had two children: Mary and Hannah.
  2. JOHN PYNCHON married Amy Wyllys of Hartford. She was the daughter of Connecticut’s early governor, George Wyllys.
  3. Margaret Pynchon was born about 1624 at Dorchester, Dorset, England. She married at Springfield, on 6 December 1644, Capt. William Davis of Boston, born about 1620 at Dorchester, Dorset, England. She died on 3 July 1653 at Boston, Suffolk County, Mass. Capt. Davis died 17 May, 1676, at Boston, Suffolk Co., Mass. He was a wealthy and enterprising Boston apothecary, and was chosen deputy from Springfield several times.
  4. Mary Pynchon was born about 1622 in Essex, England. She married Elizur Holyoke on 20 November 1640, born in 1613 at Tamworth, Staffordshire, England, the son of Edward Holyoke and Prudence Stockton. She died October 20th or 26th, 1657, at Springfield, Hampden Co, Mass. He died at the same place on 9 Feb 1675/76.


Next to



Banks, Charles E. The Planters of the Commonwealth…, 1620-1640. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1961. At SUTRO Library, San Francisco, May 2007; Call #F 67 B19 1961.

Bremer, Francis. John Winthrop: America’s Forgotten Founding Father (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003).

Bridenbaugh, Carl, ed. The Pynchon Papers, Vol. I: Letters of John Pynchon (Boston: The Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 1982).

Bridenbaugh, Carl, ed. The Pynchon Papers, Vol. II: Selections from the Account Books of John Pynchon, 1651-1697.

Colonial Justice in Western Massachusetts 1639-1702, The Pynchon Court records.
A collection of cases and rulings brought before William and John Pynchon of Springfield, Mass.

Connecticut Valley History Museum. Springfield, Massachusetts.

Drake. The Town of Roxbury: Its Memorable Persons and Places (1878) 12.

Armytage, Frances and Juliette Tomlinson. The Pynchons of Springfield. Founders and Colonizers (1636-1702) (1969) p. 15.

Burt, Henry M. The First Century of the History of Springfield Vol. I (Springfield, Mass.: Henry M. Burt, 1898) p. 80.

Green, Mason A. Springfield 1636-1886 (C. A. Nichols & Co., Publishers, 1888).

New England Ancestors of Forrest King

Innes, Stephen. Labor in a New Land: Economy and Society in Seventeenth-Century Springfield (Princeton University Press, 1983).

Innes, Stephen. The Pynchons and the People of Early Springfield.

Konig, Michael F., and Martin Kaufman, eds. Springfield 1636-1986 (Springfield Library and Museums Association, 1987).

Letter to Sir H. Vane, from Gov. Endicott and his council of Assist. 3 Mass. Hist. Coll. I. 35.

Lockridge, Kenneth. A New England Town, The First Hundred Years: Dedham, Massachusetts, 1636-1736 (New York, 1970) p. 76.

Massachusetts Historical Society Proceedings, Vol. III, p. 105.

McIntyre, Ruth A. William Pynchon. Merchant and Colonizer 1590-1662 (1961) pp. 10-11, 21.

Morrison, Samuel Eliot. William Pynchon, the Founder of Springfield, (1931).

The New England Quarterly, 60/2 (June 1987) 296-299.

Shurtleff, Nathaniel B., ed. Records of the Massachusetts Bay in New England 1628-86, Vol. III (Boston, 1853-54) p. 215.

Smith, Joseph H., ed. Colonial Justice in Western Massachusetts (1639-1702): The Pynchon Court Record (Boston: Harvard University Press, 1961).

William Pynchon Papers, 1640-1647.
Massachusetts Historical Society: Ms. N-760
One narrow box of papers related to Pynchon’s defense against charges by the Connecticut General Court related to his trading of corn with the Mohawk Indians of the Connecticut River Valley (now Mass.). The charges maintained that Pynchon raised the price of corn for his own economic gain. Included here is Pynchon’s defense to the Church of Windsor, Conn. from which he sought public support after being fined by the General Court. The Church was unconvinced by Pynchon’s attempted defense.

Zuckerman, Michael. Peaceable Kingdoms: New England Towns in the Eighteenth Century (New York, 1970) p. 219.


Cambridge Agreement – The Winthrop Society.

History of Springfield, Vol. II.


The Winthrop Society

American Centuries

Hampden County US Gen Net

The Winthrop society

Soldiers in King Philip’s WarSoldiers In King Philip’s War From 1620-1677, by George Madison Bodge, 1906. An online book. It draws from the ancient account books of Mr. John Hull, Treasurer-at-war of Massachusetts Colony, from 1675-1678. Webmistress Debbie Jeffers, a USGenNet website.

Home Page Colonial America: From Exploration through the American Revolution

History of the United States of America, by Henry W. Elson (New York: MacMillan Co., 1904) ch. IV, pp. 103-111.
A very brief, two-paragraph explanation of Puritans and Pilgrims. The online book was transcribed by Kathy Leigh on her USGenNet website.

The Terry Family website — the webmistress also is descended from William and John Pynchon.

Lesson 4 in American Centuries.

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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