Note: Rootsweb.com World Connect, David email@example.com Ibid. Little is known of William Haskell's life except that tax records suggest he was a blacksmith by trade and was a churchwarden, the principal lay officer of the parish, of the Charlton Musgrove Parish in 1627/28. According to church records, he was buried on 11 May 1630 in the church cemetery (that is now the front yard) of St. Stephen's Church in Charlton Musgrove, Somerset, England. The original grave may have been marked by a stone laid flat, but no evidence of the marker or burial site remains.There is no certain record of William's parents and siblings other than he had a brother, Mark, who was about ten years older. Mark remained in England, married a woman whose first name was Melior, and moved from Charlton Musgrove to Penselwood, the next parish east, in 1635. Mark's niece, Cecille, who also remained in England, stayed with them in Penselwood until she married 30 July 1637. Mark was born between 1565 and 1568. Ref: (1) "Chronicles of the Haskell Family" by Ira J. Haskell, Ellis Printing Co., Lynn, MA, 1943; and (2) "Chronicles of the Haskell Family: The English Background and First Generation" by Mrs. Marion S. Anderson, published as a preliminary extract of a larger work in preparation in "Haskell Journal: The Journal of the Haskell Family Association", v8, #4, 1992.William Haskell was from a branch of the Haskell family that lived in the northernmost part of Dorsetshire -- in Motcombe, a sub-parish of Gillingham, which had a nearby protected forest and a manor described during the reign of Elizabeth I as "...Her Majesty's Park and Forest of Gillingham". The Gillingham/Motcombe Haskell's were a separate branch who were blacksmiths. Both William , born about 1578, and his older brother Mark, born about 1568, worked as underkeepers of game at separate locations around Gillingham and were joint tenants in Motcombe, as shown in the manor surveys from 1600 to 1610. During this time they paid an extra property tax for "forges" indicating that they made their primary living at the family trade of blacksmithing.After the death of Elizabeth I and the accession of James 1, Gillingham was deforested and laid down to pasture, becoming "...one of the richest expanses of grazing land in the west of England." The resulting economic changes apparently forced Mark and William to move elsewhere. About 1610 William moved to Charlton Musgrove, Somerset, some 30 miles from Motcombe. There he assumed a copyhold (or other type) of tenancy to which Elinor, his wife, may have had inheritance rights. Mark followed shortly after and in a 1618 deposition describes himself as '...of Charlton Musgrove, Somerset, yeoman age 50... ". The probability is that William was also a yeoman. In 1621 Mark and William paid taxes and tithes as joint tenants. In the mid-1620's both Mark and William served terms as overseers of the poor for the parish. On the overseer's accounts Mark's "signature mark" is shown as "M M" and William's mark "W W". Ref: "Richard Window, William Haskell and Subsequent Owners of a 1651 Grant of Land in the Walker Creek Valley of West Gloucester, Massachusetts" by Howard V. Williams, published in "Haskell Journal: The Journal of the Haskell Family Association", v9, #2, p 560, 1993.Haskell surname data in court and parish records that go back to the early Sixteenth Century provide the earliest evidence of Haskell residence for key Dorsetshire manors of Fontmell Magna in 1513, Motcombe in 1520, Melbury Abbas in 1523, and Cann in 1523. At the time, Haskells were living in these parishes, but nowhere else in all England, substantiating the claim that all Haskells have a single geographic heritage. From these key manors in Dorsetshire, the Haskell family spread to other villages in Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire, and Hampshire, and then to other countries: USA in 1635, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand in 1850, and South Africa in 1898. Ref: "Origins of the Haskell Family: Earliest Parish Recorded Dates of Haskell Family Residence in Towns and Counties of Great Britain", compiled by N. H. Haskell and W. A. Haskell, in "Haskell Journal: Newsletter of the Haskell Family Association, v3, #3, 1986. William and Elinor [Foule] Haskell had seven children. NOTE: the children's birthdates given here are baptismal dates as recorded in the Parish Registers of St. Stephen's Church, Charlton Musgrove, Somerset. According to common practice at the time, children were baptised as soon as possible after birth. Some recent family trees in the FTM World Family Tree series show an eighth child, John, born 1 March 1628/29 (an apparent twin of Joan) but there is no record to support this.
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