William Hersey was my ninth great-grandfather. Born 1596 in Reading, Berkshire, England, he died March 22, 1658 in Hingham, Massachusetts. The son of Nathaniel and Anne Hersey, he married first Margaret Garves on January 1, 1615 and second Elizabeth Croade in England in 1631 and then arrived in Hingham in 1635. Some documents claim William and Elizabeth married in New England, but since they were both from England and he arrived in 1635, that is unlikely. It appears Elizabeth arrived after giving birth to daughter Elizabeth in 1636 back in England.
Margaret gave him three children in Reading, England, only one of whom survived to have issue: Gregory, b. Nov 19, 1616, had one son Robert who died in England, no issue.
Nathaniel b. Jan 13, 1617 d. Jan 16, 1617
Cecilie b. Jan 17, 1619 d. Dec. 7, 1619
Some notes say Margaret died 1623 but I have not found any death documentation beyond notes in various genealogy lists.
Elizabeth gave him at least six children – William (1632-1691), Elizabeth (1636-1719), John (1640-1726), James (1643-1684) and two daughters, Frances and Judith, for whom we do not have dates.
Daughter Elizabeth (my 8th great grandmother) married Moses Gilman, Judith married Humphrey Wilson and Frances married Richard Croade.
The Pioneers of Massachusetts 1620-1650
This is the will of William Hersey:
A memorial in Hingham Cemetery for William and his wife Elizabeth:
“We Herseys are descendants of William Hersey who came to America, from England in 1635. Francis C. Hersey has researched the progenitor of the Herseys in America:The earliest record of the Hersey family- which can be obtained is the name of a certain Sir Malvicius de Herey in the year 1210. The family appears to have come originally from Flanders, and I find that a Hughe de Hersey was Governor of Trou-Normandy in 1204. Edward I held another Hugh when a minor, i. e., took all his rents until he came of age. There is a Count Hercé-Maine, France, running from the year 1550. Sir Malvicius married Theophania, daughter and co-heir of Gilbert de Arches, Baron of Grove, and from him descended the family of Herey of Grove, one of the first families in the County of Nottingham.Branches of this family appear to have settled in several of the southern counties of England; one in Oxfordshire, another in Berks, and so forth, and they appear always to have been among the leading county families. The name is found in Sussex, England, in 1376 to 1482, owning property seven miles round. In Warwickshire there is a village which still bears the name Pillerton Hersey or Herey, The Herseys of Grove only show, it direct descent in the male line down to 1570, but the branches in Oxfordshire and Berkshire go to 1794, at which date a son-in-law took the name Hersey, and these branches in England come down to the present time through him.
There are numerous Hearseys, Hersees, Hearses and Herseys to be found, and a number of entries. are in the registers of London churches, including Thomas Hersey, his wife, Eliza, and family of five children, Richard, Elizabeth, Thomas, John, and Joan, all of. whom died of the plague at Wandsworth, London in 1603. The name of Robert Hearse occurs as minister of Trinity Church, London, in 1578. There are branches of the family to be found in India, where they own land fifty miles by fifteen in the province of Oude. The arms of English Hereys are “Gules, a chief argent”; crest, “a Moor’s head wreathed on a coronet.”
In the year 1635 Richard Herey, aged twenty-two, sailed from London for Virginia in the ship [unclear] and in the same year William sailed for New England. This last named settled in Hingham, Mass., and the records of that town clearly prove his identity. Savage’s “Three Generations of Settlers” says that the William Herey who left England in 1635 had a daughter Judith born in England who was married in 1663 to Humphrey Wilson. The records of the town of Hingham show that Judith, daughter of the William who settled there in 1635, was baptized in Hingham, July 15, 1638, and was married to Humphrey Wilson in 1663, as stated by Savage. This William was undoubtedly the son of Nathaniel Herey, who died in Reading, Berkshire Country, in 1629; his children were William, born 1596, and Thomas, born 1599. I find no male issue of Thomas after 1672. The children of William, probably born in England, Gregory, Prudence, Nathaniel, William, Frances, Elizabeth, and Judith, the four latter accompanying their father to America. Gregory had one son Robert, who died in England leaving no issue, and Nathaniel left one son and one grandson; the latter probably died in England about 1794, without male issue. There is no record of burial in England of Nathaniel’s son William, showing that he must be the emigrant of 1635 who settled in Hingham, same year. Thus the present American branch of the Hersey family, who descended from William, are able to establish their connection through Nathaniel with the English Berkshire family, and to trace their ancestry back to Sir Malvicius de Herey, who lived in the reign of King John.
The Richard Herey who sailed for Virginia could not have belonged to the Berkshire branch of the Herey family; no trace can be found of him in America, and it is probable that be died without issue.
About 1786 William Graham, of Netherby, Cumberland, England, married a Miss Hersey (American branch) and had a son William. This is a baronet’s family, and one of them was Viscount Preston in 1688.
From my genealogical researches I have arranged a Hersey Tree, starting with William, who settled in Hingham in 1635.”
(From: Their Story by May Hersey )