Saturday, December 3, 2011

Surname Saturday - Ham

Richmond Island has a causeway attached
to the mainland at low tide.

William Ham was an indentured servant on the Speedwell.  This ship arrived in Maine in on 29 April 1635 with men bound for the fishing colony at Richmond Island off Cape Elizabeth.   This was known as the Trelawny Epedition, due to the patent granted to Robert Trelawny and Moses Goodyear in 1631.   Some of the indentured men ran away to other parts of New England, and one of those was William Ham.  He had a grant of land in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 1652, which was known as Ham’s Point.  His will was proved at Exeter, New Hampshire about 17 January 1672, and it named his daughter Elizabeth, wife of William Cotton, and his grandchildren, sons of his son, Matthew Ham:  William, Thomas and John.   William was known as “Old Ham”.   

In the second generation, Matthew Ham arrived in New Hampshire later than his father.  He had a lot in 1654 next to his father’s land in Portsmouth.  In 1656 he registered a cattle brand at Portsmouth, which was a capital “H”. 

John Ham, in the third generation below, may not be a descendant of “Old Ham”, even though there was a grandson named John in the 1672 will.  There are disagreements among the experts as to his place in the family tree.   He appears in the Dover, New Hampshire records.   His will dates from 29 September 1727, and so we assume he died sometime between that date and 19 February 1728 when his will was proved.

My Ham lineage:

Generation 1:  William Ham, born about 1600, died about 17 January 1672 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire; married 22 November 1622 at St. Andrew’s, Plymouth, Devonshire, England to Honor Stephen, daughter of William Stephens and Mary Woode.  Two children:
1. Matthew Ham (see below)
2. Elizabeth Ham, born about 1629, married William Cotton

Generation 2:  Matthew Ham, born about 1623 in England, died before 1667 when his wife remarried; He married about 1643 to Sarah Unknown.  She married second on 11 November 1667 to Tobias Taylor of the Isles of Shoals.  Matthew Ham was a fisherman on the Isles of Shoals.  They had four children:
1. John Ham (see below)
2. William Ham, married Sarah Dennett
3. Matthew Ham,
4. Thomas Ham

Generation 3:  John Ham, born about 1649, died between 29 September 1727 and 19 February 1728; married on 6 May 1668 in Dover, New Hampshire to Mary Heard, daughter of John Heard and Elizabeth Hull.  She was born 26 January 1650 in Dover, died 7 December 1706 in Dover. Nine children:
1. Mary Ham, born 2 October 1668; married John Horne
2. John Ham, born 1671; married Elizabeth Knight
3. Elizabeth Ham, born 29 January 1675; married Jeremiah Rollins
4. Joseph Ham, born 3 June 1678; married Tamson Meserve
5. Benjamin Ham, born 1693; married Patience Harford
6. Mercy Ham (see below)
7. Tryphena Ham; married John Tucker
8. Sarah Ham; married Thomas Downes
9. Samuel Ham

Generation 4: Mercy Ham, born 19 July 1708 in Dover, New Hampshire; married Richard Nason.
Generation 5. Richard Nason m. Mary Thompson
Generation 6. Mercy Nason m. William Wilkinson
Generation 7. Aaron Wilkinson m. Mercy F. Wilson
Generation 8. Robert Wilson Wilkinson m. Phebe Cross Munroe
Generation 9. Albert Munroe Wilkinson m. Isabella Lyons Bill
Generation 10. Donald Munroe Wilkinson m. Bertha Louise Roberts (my grandparents)

There is a sketch of William Ham in the Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire by Noyes, Libby and Davis, page 73.  There is a short sketch on John Ham in the New England Historic Genealogical Register, Volume 6, page 329 and a longer article on William Ham and his descendants in Volume 26, page 388- 394.

Famous descendants:   Brigham Young of the LDS church
Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. You should also read: “Observations on the Origin of William Ham of Portsmouth” by Neil D. Thompson, NHSOG Record 10 (1993):131-2. I descend from John Ham of Dover once; John Heard of Dover, twice, and Rev. Joseph Hull, three times. William Ham is one of my former ancestors.

  2. Martin, this is exactly why I mentioned the controversy over this line. I knew he could end up as a "former" ancestor someday... There are always branches being trimmed or leaves being added...Thanks for the source.

  3. Actually I thought I was descended from William through his daughter Elizabeth who married William Cotton. It's a long story. I've always discounted the John Ham/William Ham connection since John doesn't name a son either Matthew or William. It's too much conjecture for me.

  4. I love your blog posts. It often gives me hope on hopeless genealogy days! :)

  5. Do you know the birth place of William Ham? There are several locations identified. One is Aberdeen, Scotland another is Devon, England. I am related to the Ham's through John, son of Mathew.

    1. Barb, no one has been able to identify or verify William Ham's birthplace or origins. We must be cousins if we are both descendants of William, Matthew and John!