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We often hear “there were four brothers who came to America”, one of the popular genealogy myths that is often disproven. The myth is that there were four Trask brothers: Henry, John, William and Osmond. All the these Trasks left records and descendants in Salem and Beverly, Massachusetts, but there is no proof they were all brothers or even kin.
Osmond Trask married Elizabeth Gully on 22 May 1663 in Beverly, Massachusetts and had six children who all married and left descendants. John, Henry and William Trask lived in Salem. Captain William Trask arrived first on “Zouch Phenix” in 1624, as the military leader of a Dorchester Company fishing station on Cape Ann. It is very likely he made several trips back and forth across the Atlantic in the early 1620s. He settled in Salem and had six children. Pope and Savage attributed some of Henry Trask’s children to William Trask, so be careful when looking up his family record. There is a Trask Burial Ground in Peabody, Massachusetts (formerly Salem).
In the records it states that William Trask operated a windmill for grinding grain. According to the Great Migration “Ownership of the mill and the surrounding plain was a subject of great controversy in the August 1686 term of the Essex court [ EQC 46:21].” In the Great Migration Begins, Robert Charles Anderson does not think that Henry Trask is a relation to William, and I tend to believe his conclusion over other books. Anderson also states that “The mill was a lasting bone of contention with some of his neighbors, and at court 30 November 1652 Capt. Traske was presented for having no suitable weights in his mill [ EQC 1:274]. “ and other matters in court to do with the windmill. This windmill and the land it sat on would be in present day Peabody, Massachusetts.
Will of William Trask, SR.
The will of William Trask, sr., of Salem, was proved in the court held at Salem June 28, 1666. The following copy is transcribed from the original instrument on file in the office of the clerk of courts at Salem, volume XI, leaf 134.
Thee pents testifie That I william Traske senior of Salem hauiug at this time my sense & memory Though weake in bodie do make this my last will & Testament this 15th of may 1666
Imprimis I giue unto Sarah my wife the north end of my dwelling house during the tearm of her life I doe allso apoint that shee hall haue some of the fruit of the orchard for her owne use & a little spot for a garden if shee desires it during the time of her life
Item I giue unto Sarah my wife sixteene pounds p annum to bee paided unto her yearelie for her maintenance during the time of her life, & allsoe I giue her a cow, which cow is to bee sommerd & winterd for her, by the executors during the time of her life
Item I giue unto my son william all the meadow that lyeth vpon the side of the riuer betweene the upper & the lower mills & allo the upper mill pond to william
Item I giue unto my two daughters Sarah & Sussan sixteene pounds a peice
Item I giue unto my daughter mary twentie ix pounds & this to bee paid out of my estate by my executors in the space of three yeare after my decease
Item I giue unto my grandchildren 10s a peice
Item I doe apoint my two sons william & John to be executors of this my last will & testament giuing them all the rest of my estate to bee equalli deuided betweene them
William m Traske senior
Item as concerning my household tuff I apoint that none of it hall bee made away or disposed of so long as my wife liues but she to haue the free use of it as formerly & after her decease I giue vnto my daughter mary the great brasse pan & to my on william my bed & bedding that I now lye upon & the ret to be devided as above said in the presenceSignum
William W Traske senior
Joseph O Boice
My Trask Lineage:
Generation 1: William Trask, son of Nicholas Trask, born 14 December 1585 in East Coker, Somersetshire, England, died before 18 May 1666 in Salem, Massachusetts; married to Sarah Unknown, and she died after 1666. Six Children:
1. Sarah Trask, born January 1634 m. Elias Parkman
2. Mary Trask, born January 1637 m. John Loomis
3. Susanna Trask, born 10 June 1638 m. Samuel Eborne
4. William Trask (see below)
5. John Trask, born 18 September 1642, m1 Abigail Parkman, m2 Mary Clarke
6. Elizabeth Trask, born 21 September 1645
Generation 2: William Trask, born before 19 September 1640 in Salem, died before 26 March 1691 in Salem; married first on 18 January 1666 to Ann Putnam, daughter of Thomas Putnam and Ann Holyoke, born 25 August 1645 and died 14 September 1676 in Salem; married second to Anna Unknown (my ancestress).
Five children with Ann Putnam:
1. Ann Trask, born 1668 m. Isaac Brooks
2. Elizabeth Trask, born 16 March 1670 m. Benjamin Hanson
3. Sarah Trask, born 1672 m. John Williams
4. William Trask, born 7 September 1674 m. Ann White
5. Susanna Trask, born 3 November 1676 m. Jonathan Fuller
Four children with Anna:
1. John Trask, born 1678 m. Hannah Osborn
2. Mary Trask (see below)
3. George Trask, born January 1691
4. Elizabeth Mary Trask
Generation 3: Mary Trask, born March 1683 in Salem, died before 1767 in Danvers; married on 8 January 1710 in Salem to John Southwick, son of John Southwick and Hannah Follett, born on 13 December 1688 in Salem, died before 7 October 1771. Seven children.
Generation 4. George Southwick and Sarah Platts
Generation 5. Mary Southwick and Robert Wilson
Generation 6. Mercy F. Wilson and Aaron Wilkinson
Generation 7. Robert Wilson Wilkinson and Phebe Cross Munroe
Generation 8. Albert Munroe Wilkinson and Isabella Lyons Bill
Generation 9. Donald Munroe Wilkinson and Bertha Louise Roberts (my grandparents)
For more information:
EQC (Essex Quarterly Court Records), many entries
The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620 -33, by Robert Charles Anderson, Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995, Volume 3, pages 1834-1837.
The Essex Genealogist, Volume 21, pages 24 -27.
History of Salem, by Sidney Perley, Volume 1, pages 94 -96 for a sketch of the early generations of the Trask family.
Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo