Captain William Trask & Roger Conant in 1626 “Old Planters” Founders of Salem, MA – kinfolk

Salem MA founder Roger Conant.jpg

Roger Conant, founder of Salem, MA

My father-in-law of sister-in-law of 3rd cousin 7x removed.

Henry Hudson Kitson created this Roger Conant statue and The Minuteman statue in Lexington.


Birth: 1592, England
Death: Nov. 19, 1679
Essex County
Massachusetts, USA

Roger Conant founded Salem, Massachusetts in 1626. On June 17,1913 a statue was built and dedicated to him and is still standing in Salem today. Conant built the first Salem house on what today is Essex Street.Son of Richard Conant and Agnes Clark(e)
Conant Christianed 09 Apr 1591 in East Budleigh, Devonshire, England
Husband of (1) unknown and (2) Sarah Horton, married 11 Nov 1618 at St. Ann, Blackfriars, London, England
Father of Sarah (died young), Caleb, Lott, Sarah, Joanna, Roger, Joshua, Mary, Elizabeth and Exercise (a son)
Sailed 1623 on ship “Ann” from England to Plymouth, MassachusettsHis suspected burial place is Burying Point Cemetery, Salem, Essex Co., Massachusetts, but it has never been determined with certainty.

Family links:
Richard Conant (1548 – 1630)
Agnes Clarke Conant (1548 – 1630)

Sarah Horton Conant (1598 – 1670)*

Sarah Conant (1619 – 1620)*
Caleb Conant (1622 – 1633)*
Sarah Conant Leach (1623 – ____)*
Lot Conant (1624 – 1674)*
Joanna Conant (1626 – ____)*
Roger Conant (1628 – 1672)*
Joshua Conant (1630 – 1659)*
Mary Conant Dodge (1631 – 1688)*
Elizabeth Conant (1635 – ____)*
Exercise Conant (1636 – 1722)*

*Calculated relationship
Burying Point Cemetery
Essex County
Massachusetts, USAEdit Virtual Cemetery info [?]Created by: Mindy Alarcon
Record added: Aug 29, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 5725134


elizabeth montgomery bewitched statue salem witch hunt.jpg

Salem Witch Hunt Statue of Elizabeth Montgomery from tv show “Bewitched”

Salem was founded in 1626 by Roger Conant and a group of immigrants from Cape Ann. At first the settlement was named Naumkeag, but the settlers preferred to call it Salem, derived from the Hebrew word for peace. In 1628, they were joined by another group, led by John Endecott, from the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Salem, located at the mouth of the Naumkeag river at the site of an ancient Native American village and trading center, was first settled by Europeans in 1626, when a company of fishermen from Cape Ann led by Roger Conant arrived. Conant’s leadership had provided the stability to survive the first two years, but he was immediately replaced by John Endecott, one of the new arrivals, by order of the Massachusetts Bay Company. These “New Planters” and the “Old Planters” agreed to cooperate, in large part due to the diplomacy of Conant and Endicott. In recognition of this peaceful transition to the new government, the name of the settlement was changed to Salem, a hellenized form of the word for “peace” in Arabic سلام (salaam) and Hebrew שלום (shalom). Samuel Skelton was the first pastor of the First Church of Salem, which is the original Puritan church in North America.

Salem included much of the North Shore, including Marblehead. Most of the accused in the Salem witch trials lived in nearby “Salem Village”, now known as Danvers, although a few lived on the outskirts of Salem. Salem Village also included Peabody and parts of present-day Beverly. Middleton, Topsfield, Wenham and Manchester-by-the-Sea were once parts of Salem.

William Hathorne was a prosperous businessman in early Salem and became one of its leading citizens of the early colonial period. He led troops to victory in King Philip’s War, served as a magistrate on the highest court, and was chosen as the first speaker of the House of Deputies. He was a zealous advocate of the personal rights of freemen against royal emissaries and agents.

1630 (Signified A Desire To Take The Oath)

Among those who arrived with Endecott on the Abigail in Salem, 1628:

Brackenbury, Brown, Davenport, Elford, Endecott, Gott, Laskin, Leach, Maurie/Morey, Puckett, Scruggs, Trask.

Immigrant logo

18. Captain William Trask immigrated from England & was Militia Captain of the Pequod War.

My 9th Great Grandfather.

Captain William Trask.jpg

Birth: 1585
East Coker
South Somerset District
Somerset, England
Death: May 16, 1666
Essex County
Massachusetts, USA

He was a fisherman who came with the Dorchester Company to Cape Ann in 1624. He came on the Zouch Phenix from Weymouth, England. When the Dorchester Company folded they offered the fisherman the opportunity to return to England. He, along with others moved down the Massachusetts coastline to a place the Indians called “Maumkeg.” It later became a charter for the settlement. It became known as “The Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England.” In 1629, he was a member of the First Church in Salem. On October 19, 1630, he petitioned the court to be a freeman. On November 7, 1632, he appointed, along with seven others, to set boundaries between Roxbury and Dorchester. In 1634 he was made a Captain in the Militia.Family links:
Henry Trask (1630 – 1683)**Calculated relationship
Burying Point Cemetery
Essex County
Massachusetts, USA
GPS (lat/lon): 42.52049, -70.89235
Edit Virtual Cemetery info [?]
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Anonymous
Record added: Jul 08, 2016
Find A Grave Memorial# 166645167

128.William Trask427,428,429,430, born 1589 in East Coker, Somerset, England431,432; died May 16, 1666 in Salem, Massachusetts433.He was the son of 256. Nicholas Traske.He married 129. Sarah ? 1636 in Salem, Massachusetts434.
129.Sarah ?434,435, born Abt. 1608436; died Abt. 1667 in Salem, MA436.

Notes for William Trask:
The descendants of Captain William Trask, of Salem, Mass. form another branch of the Harris Family Tree.Bessie Trask (1844-1919), who married Arthur Welsford Harris (1871-1941), is a direct descendant of Capt. Trask.
Captain William Trask came to North America in 1624 as a passenger on the Zouch Phenix out of Weymouth, England.This ship was commissioned by the Dorchester Company to establish a community at Cape Ann, Mass.A group of fourteen had remained one year earlier, and the Zouch Phenix left another thirty-two, including William Trask.Cape Ann was not a good site, and the following year a new settlement was established down the coast at Salem.William Trask was one of the founders of Salem, and closely identified with the growth and development of its early settlement.He was active in the civil, military and church life of his community.
Apparently, his wife Sarah was living at the time of his death in 1666, although this doesn’t seen to be consistent with reference to a second wife.
They had six children, and it is through their fourth, William Trask, that we trace our family.He seems to have married a second time, and had two other children.
The Historical Context
In the early years of the seventeenth century England was state of turmoil.Circumstances in the reign of James I (1603-1625) were such that the King and the people were in constant opposition.This antagonism rose from religious, financial and military friction.Parliament no sooner convened than it was dissolved by the King when he didn’t get his own way.Men chafed under such rule and this in part resulted in the emigration of thousands of Puritans and the eventual flight of the Pilgrim Fathers to Holland and America.Despite high hopes when Charles I (1625-1639) succeeded his father, and the prevailing optimistic view that things would improve, Charles proved to be devious indeed and things went from bad to worse for the merchants, the military and the professional men of the towns.
There were problems in New England as well.The trek of English fishermen all the way across the Atlantic Ocean and back every season became more unsatisfactory as their facilities on the New England coast became more sophisticated.It was proving to be expensive to abandon small boats, drying flakes, salting and smoking apparatus, not to mention the enormous amount of time spent on the Atlantic coming and going.Therefore a permanent year-round colony with a settled population, which in addition would give proper attention to religious and civil matters, was regarded as a desirable solution by both businessmen and the liberal element of the Puritan Party in England.
The Dorchester Company
Great emphasis was placed on religion and this was really the incentive which compelled the energetic and far-sighted Rev. John White of Dorchester, England to devote his efforts to the organizing of this new colony.His concept differed from that of the Plymouth Colony as he considered separation from the Church of England to be evil and his colony was to be a place of refuge for men of moderate views.The Dorchester Company was the result of his successful promotion of this idea among the clergy and merchants.It was founded under a grant (or patent) from the Council for New England.Cape Ann was selected for the location of the new settlement.
The Dorchester Company was a joint stock company with a capital of some three thousand pounds.It had 121 members: 50 gentry from Dorset, 6 from Devon, 30 merchants mostly from Dorchester, 20 clergy, several widows and small businessmen, all with Puritan tendencies.It was responsible for sending out the people who would grow corn, hunt for venison, fish and foul and provide a settlement for the fishing industry.Roger Conant was the first governor.No doubt the company was the talk of the whole west country due the publicity circulated on the subject by its booster John White.
Since William Trask’s home was in Somerset near the border of Dorset, he would have heard of the Dorchester Company very easily.He was in his early thirties and no doubt already established by the time he heard of the Company’s plan to take Englishmen to Massachusetts.Evidence exists that he that he may have gone to Delft in Holland in 1623, perhaps to size up the Pilgrims.He made sure that he became part of that early phase of the Dorchester Company.Had he remained in England he would have had a rough time of it in view of what we know of his subsequent activities in Salem.He emerges as an outspoken citizen, soldier, politician and petitioner for all sorts of things.Today he would probably be writing letters to the editor.
Although the fishing connection was not very successful, the nucleus of a colony was nevertheless planted in New England.Ships had left 14 men at Cape Ann in 1623, 32 men in 1624, including William Trask.He came in the spring along with 14 others on the Zouch Phenix from Weymouth, England.
After a year, however, the original company back in England (often called the Adventurers) became discouraged to the point of dissolving the Dorchester Company, thus ending their connection to the Cape Ann Colony.All wages were to be paid and anyone who desired would be brought home to England.At this point Roger Conant and several others including William Trask moved to a more congenial site located slightly down the Massachusetts coast.Fortunately this proved to more suitable for farming and for a permanent settlement.It was called Maumkeg by the Indians.We know it as Salem.
Back in England John White was determined to continue his support and wrote promising a new patent to the group if they would stay on. For awhile the new name was the Joint Adventurers for Settling of Plantation in New England. Those who remained in Massachusetts were henceforth designated ‘the Old Planters’ and eventually were granted choice farm lands.
By the summer of 1627 the new community was thriving but the promised patent had not arrived.So John Woodberry (or Woodbury) and William Trask returned to England to obtain it.This explains why William travelled to New England twice.John Woodberry brought his family on his return, but there is no evidence as to when Sarah Trask, William’s wife, came to Salem.
John Endicott was chosen as the new agent to succeed Conant who nevertheless remained in Salem.The Company’s new name evolved into “New England Company for a Plantation in Massachusetts Bay” but this did not seem to catch on so they tried “The Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England”.This list of titles may thus be recognized as really the same company in different guises and need not cause confusion.
The writings of Gwen Trask provide a chronology of events of William Trask, which are incorporated into the above notes, or as follows.
In 1629 William was member of the First Church of Salem, and on 19 October 1630 petitioned the General Court of Massachusetts to be made a freeman.He took the oath the following May.That he was literate becomes apparent as many papers written and signed by him are accessible.He seems to have been a responsible citizen and as early as 7 November 1632 he was appointed (with several others) by the general court to set boundaries between Dorchester and Roxbury.1634 found William Trask on the committee to superintend the construction of fortifications and he was made captain of the Militia this year, in charge of the military defence of Salem.He was always regarded as a military man and was called Captain.
In 1635 Roger Conant, William Trask and three others were appointed overseers of land to set the boundaries of Newbury.This was also the year, the first of four, that he was elected Deputy from Salem to the General Court of Massachusetts.Also in 1635, five farms of 200 acres each at Bass River were granted to the ‘old planters’, one of whom was William Trask.He was sent to ‘apprehend rogues’ and overtook them at Piscataqua.He figured conspicuously in the Piquod War and served in the then wilds of Connecticut with the Eastern Regiment under the command of John Endicott, Col. andJohn Winthrop, Lieut. Col.; asWilliam Trask, Muster Master.
In 1637 William Trask laid out a farm for Mr. Humphrey, Deputy Governor.
He held the position of Captain of Militia in charge of the defence of Salem for ten years when the following directive was set down: “The chief military officer of the band should inhabit in or near the harbour and considering Captain Trask who hath been many years their chief officer dwells so remote from that part of the town as he cannot be helpful upon any such suden occasion, doth hereby discharge him of that office with due acknowledgement of his faithfil and former good service to the country.”This ties in with information regarding his homestead being being in what is now Danvers and a good way inland from the harbour side of Salem.
Captain Trask had several grants of land from the town in addition to the one of 200 acres.In 1636 he erected a mill for grinding corn on the North River at a place later called Frye’s Mills.In 1640 he had permission from the town to set up a tide mill and a fulling mill near his grist mill.On 6 June 1639 William Trask was specially mentioned and received 200 acres “in regard of much service”.Then in 1658 he was granted 400 acres in Pequod County (Pequot or Pequod is now New London, Connecticut).
On 8 June 1657 seats in the Meeting House were assigned to prominent persons for the first time : “Sergeant Porter should sit in the same seat with Captain Trask.”On 22 March 1658: “The foreseat in the gallery apart for William Trask (among several others).”
In 1661 in his 74th year he sent a petition on behalf of his associates in the Pequod War for recompense.This and many other legal papers related to William’s extremely full life are preserved in the Massachusetts Archives in the State House, Boston.His handwriting and style of expression could easily defeat even his most eager descendant at first reading but once one gets the key, the archaic spelling and structure become relatively readable.
At age 77, William died on 16 May 1666 and was buried with military honours.The Trask Burying Grounds was so called because it was next to the Trask Homestead and Captain Trask was probably buried in it (attempts to locate it in recent years have been unsuccessful).
He was survived by his wife, Sarah, whether the first Sarah, mother of the first five or six children or a second Sarah who may have been the mother of the last two or three is not certain.It is sure, however, that the first Sarah was the mother of William, thus the ancestor of the Nova Scotia Trasks.
More About William Trask:
Baptised: Dec 14, 1585, East Coker, Somerset, England436
Burial: The Trask Burying Grounds
More About William Trask and Sarah ?:
Marriage: 1636, Salem, Massachusetts437

Children of William Trask and Sarah ? are:

i. Sarah Trask438, born Jan 01, 1634/35 in Salem, MA438; died Dec 26, 1696 in Boston, MA.438; married Elias Parkman Oct 13, 1656 in Salem, Mass.438; born Nov 05, 1635 in Dorchester, England; died Aug 18, 1691 in Wapping, London, England439.
More About Elias Parkman and Sarah Trask:
Marriage: Oct 13, 1656, Salem, Mass.440
ii. Mary Trask440,441, born Nov 01, 1636 in Salem, MA; married (1) John Loomis Oct 13, 1656 in Salem, Mass.441; died Abt. 1685 in Salem, MA441; married (2) Daniel Batter Bef. 1685.
More About Mary Trask:
Baptised: Jan 01, 1636/37


More About Daniel Batter and Mary Trask:
Marriage: Bef. 1685
iii. Susanna Trask442, born Jun 10, 1638 in Salem, MA; married Samuel Aborne Feb 19, 1663/64.
More About Susanna Trask:
Baptised: Oct 1638


More About Samuel Aborne and Susanna Trask:
Marriage: Feb 19, 1663/64
64 iv. William Trask, born Jul 19, 1640 in Salem, Essex, Mass.; died Jun 30, 1691 in Salem, Essex, Mass; married (1) Ann Lynn Putnam Jan 18, 1666/67 in Salem, Massachusetts; married (2) Anna ? Aft. Nov 1676.
v. John Trask442,443, born Jul 13, 1642 in Salem, MA; died Nov 29, 1729 in Salem, MA443; married Abigail Parkman Feb 19, 1661/62 in Salem, Mass.443; born Abt. 1646 in Windsor, CT; died Abt. Aug 08, 1677 in Salem, MA.
More About John Trask:
Baptised: Sep 18, 1642, Salem, Mass.


More About John Trask and Abigail Parkman:
Marriage: Feb 19, 1661/62, Salem, Mass.443
vi. Elizabeth Trask444, born Jul 21, 1645.
More About Elizabeth Trask:
Baptised: Sep 24, 1645


trask family desk sothebys auction N08710-225-lr-1.jpg

This one-drawer chest descended in the Trask family of Salem and was probably originally commissioned by John Trask (1678-1737) around the time of his marriage to Hannah Osborne (1679-1721). It descended through three generations of their family to William Blake Trask (1812-1906), who donated the piece to the New England Historical and Genealogical Society in 1902. An article by William published a year earlier shows the chest in the Boston Street house in Salem of his great-great-great grandfather, William (1640-1691), one of the founders of Salem. Another one-drawer chest attributed to the Symonds shop may have originally been owned by Hannah Osborne Trask or her brother John Osborne (1671-1744) (see Willoughby, fig. 9, p. 177). A genealogical chart showing possible lines of descent for these two chests is illustrated in Willoughby, fig. 6, p. 175.

A Flag, a Cross and a Sword

by Robert F. Huber

The Shallop Elizabeth Tilley flying the flag of St. George

The Shallop Elizabeth Tilley flying the flag of St. George

When the Howland Society’s shallop sailed from Plymouth to Maine in August 2003 the tiny ship was flying the flag of St. George — the flag created a furor in the early days of New England.

It wasn’t a pretty flag — a red cross emblazoned on a field of white — but it did belong to the king of England and was used by the Royal Navy. The trouble was that it had been given to the king by the Pope as a talisman of victory.

The trouble erupted on a cold October day in 1634. Captain William Trask was drilling his train-band in the fundamentals of military operations. Onlookers in Salem saw the men carrying the flag proudly.

John Endecott who had been the first governor of the settlement at Salem saw it and was horrified.

He believed that the red cross… “was a superstitious thing and a relic of antichrist.”

Roger Williams, the outspoken Plymouth preacher, supported Endecott’s contention that the flag “savored of popery” and was “a badge of superstition.”

John Winthrop, governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, agreed that the cross in the banner “was the image of an idol, and the greatest idol in the church of Rome.”

Many others in Salem, Plymouth, Boston and other colonies echoed these sentiments, but it took bold action by a bold man to face the issue squarely.

John Endecott cut the offending cross from the flag with his sword.

The emperor Constantine started using the flag with the cross as a military emblem and was intended to ward off hostile forces. Church leaders felt the “superstitious belief” that the emblem had power to protect troops made its use “unacceptable.”

Some more moderate leaders such as Thomas Dudley and Thomas Hooker expressed the belief that the reformation “had succeeded in weaning people from the idolatrous use of such symbols and that the cross on the flag could be accepted as a national emblem.”

The men in power were worried, fearing the London authorities would consider Endecott’s action a slap in the king’s face. An investigation was begun and the results were turned over to the General Court. Endecott was “admonished” and banned from holding public office for a year. He was then jailed. But Endecott was no dumb bunny. He was released the same day after admitting his errors.

As for Roger Williams, the General Court ordered him to “depart out” of our jurisdiction with in six weeks.

This little tempest in a teapot had a happy ending.

Endecott was elected governor of Massachusetts Bay several times and died in office. And Roger Williams fled to Rhode Island and founded Providence. He too became a governor.

And more than 400 years afterward, when the Elizabeth Tilley sailed with her crew of Howland descendants the flag of St. George was flying proudly.


The Essex colony started at Cape Ann in 1623 with a party led by Thomas Gardner and John Tylly. For this party, there were two ships with 32 people who were to settle the area commercially. About a year later, this party was joined by a group from Plymouth led by Roger Conant. These efforts, funded by the Dorchester Company, which withdrew its funding after 1625. In 1626, some of the original party, as many left to return to England or to go south, moved the settlement, in hopes of finding more success, to Naumkeag. This settlement worked out and became Salem.[3]

According to the Essex Institute, the list of old planters, in 1626, who were in Cape Ann before the move were as follows:

Roger Conant – Governor, John Lyford – Minister (went to Virginia, instead of Naumkeag), John Woodbury, Humphrey Woodbury, John Balch, Peter Palfray, Walter Knight, William Allen,[4] Thomas Gray, John Tylly, Thomas Gardner, Richard Norman (and his son), William Jeffrey, and Capt. William Trask.

William W. Trask, Sr.

Also Known As: “William Traske”
Birthdate: December 14, 1585
Birthplace: East Coker, , Somerset, , ENGLAND,
Death: Died May 16, 1666 in Salem, , Essex, Massachusetts, USA,
Place of Burial: Peabody, Trask Burial Ground, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family: Son of Nicholas Trask, Sr. and Christyan Nicholas Trask
Husband of Sarah Traske
Father of Henry Trask; Sarah Parkman; John William Trask;William Trask, Jr.; Susannah Trask; Mary Trask; Ann Trask; Eliza Traske; Elizabeth Trask and Eliza Trask « less
Brother of Agnes Traske; Johanne Traske and Joan Traske
Occupation: Soldier, miller/soldier/ capt. ma bay coloney

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John Hathorne kinfolk who was a magistrate judge during the Salem Witch Hunt trials. Folk Figure. Born the son of Anne Smith and William Hathorne, a magistrate and merchant. He married Ruth Gardner about 1675, and became book keeper for his father’s business. He expanded his interests and bought a ship, a wharf, and a liquor license, and became a wealthy man. In 1681, he was granted a tract of land along the wharf to build a warehouse, his business traded to England and the West Indies. He was also appointed a justice of the peace of Essex County. In 1687, he was appointed a member of the council of assistants, a body meant to mediate disputes. In early 1692 when accusations of witchcraft began in Salem Village, he and magistrate Jonathan Corwin were called in to interrogate both accusers and accused to determine if there was cause for a trial. He was said to have been harsh and accusative in his questioning. In May 1692, he was appointed to the panel of the Special Court, and was regularly in favor of convicting those accused. His questioning always seemed to begin with a presumption of guilt. In a departure from tradition, he was known to badger those under examination to confess and to name others as well. The special court was replaced in 1693 by the Superior Court of Judicature, on which he was not seated; it cleared most of the accused. In 1702, he was appointed to the Superior Court, and sat for ten years. His career also included a role in the militia, in which he was promoted to colonel in 1711. He died at the age of 76. His great-great-grand son was author Nathaniel Hawthorne.






One Response to “Captain William Trask & Roger Conant in 1626 “Old Planters” Founders of Salem, MA – kinfolk”

  1. Oath of a Freeman – Elias Parkman & William Trask – Ancestors | Parkman Genealogy Says:

    […] […]

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