Saturday, March 17, 2018

Surname Saturday ~ WILKINS of Dorchester, Lynn, and Middleton, Massachusetts


Bray Wilkins (about 1610 – 1702), my 10th great grandfather, is of unknown origins, although family tradition says he was from Wales.  He was at Dorchester, Massachusetts as early as 1633, and he joined the church there in 1640 and is recorded as “Brave Wilkins”. The baptisms of his first six children are recorded at Dorchester.  In 1654 he removed to the church in Salem.  Later, in 1689, Bray Wilkins and his wife were dismissed from Salem so they “might be a church of themselves” at Salem Village, which later became the town of Danvers.  He lived at “Wills Hill” which became part of the town of Middleton, adjoining Danvers.

One of Bray Wilkins granddaughters had a husband who was hanged as a witch in 1692.  His son Thomas had a daughter named Margaret who married John Willard.   The Wilkins family had not approved of Willard’s marriage.  They testified against him during the witch hysteria, which led to his arrest and he was eventually found guilty.  Willard was blamed for the death of young Daniel Wilkins “bewitched to death”.  He was also blamed for killing a Lydia Wilkins and one of Philip Knight’s children (Philip married Bray’s daughter Margaret, my 9th great grandparents).  Bray Wilkins testified in early August 1692 about his kidney stones and blamed Willard for the death of his grandson Daniel Wilkins.  On 19 August 1692 John Willard was hanged along with John Proctor (also my 10th great grandfather), Reverend George Burroughs, Martha Carrier, and George Jacobs (also my 11th great grandfather).   

I descend from Bray’s daughter, Margaret (1648/9 – after 1710), my 9th great grandmother, who married Philip Knight around 1668.  She had nine children born in Topsfield, Massachusetts, all baptized on the same day, 24 May 1691.  Her husband was a “husbandman” or farmer. Her daughter, Elizabeth, my 8th great grandmother, married Samuel Towne (from the same Topsfield TOWNE family with three accused witches - Rebecca (Towne) Nurse, Mary (Towne) Eastey, and Sarah (Towne) Cloyse.) 

Some WILKINS resources:

The Family of Bray Wilkins “Patriarch of Wills Hill”, by William Carroll Hill, 1943.

The Great Migration Begins,  by Robert Charles Anderson,  1995, Volume III, pages 1991 – 1994.

The American Genealogist, Volume 60, pages 1 – 18 and pages 101 – 113.

My WILKINS genealogy:

Generation 1:  Bray Wilkins, born about 1610 maybe in Wales, died 1 January 1702 in Middleton, Massachusetts; married about 1636 to Hannah Way, daughter of Henry Way and Elizabeth Bachelor.  Eight children.

Generation 2:  Margaret Wilkins, baptized on 10 February 1648/9 in Dorchester, Massachusetts, died after 1710; married about 1668 in Topsfield to Philip Knight, son of Philip Knight and Margery Williams.  He was born about 1646 and died after 1724.  Nine children.

Generation 3:  Elizabeth Knight m. Samuel Towne
Generation 4:  Rebecca Towne m. Stephen Johnson
Generation 5:  Ruth Johnson m. Richard Cree
Generation 6:  Stephen Cree m. Hannah Smith
Generation 7:  Sarah Cree m. James Phillips
Generation 8:  Hannah Phillips m. Thomas Russell Lewis
Generation 9:  Hannah Eliza Lewis m. Abijah Franklin Hitchings
Generation 10:  Arthur Treadwell Hitchings m. Florence Etta Hoogerzeil
Generation 11:  Gertrude Matilda Hitchings m. Stanley Elmer Allen (my grandparents)


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, “Surname Saturday ~ WILKINS of Dorchester and Middleton, Massachusetts”, Nutfield Genealogy, posted March 17, 2018, ( accessed [access date]). 

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