|Birth: ||Aug. 27, 1592|
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Greater London, England
|Death: ||Jul., 1656|
Saint Michael, Barbados
Son of Captain John Vassall and Anna (Russell) Vassall of Stepney, Middlesex, England. He was born and baptized on the same day, 27 August 1592.
Brother of Judith (Vassall) Freeborne and Samuel Vassall, MP.
Husband of Anna (King/Kinge) Vassall. Their marriage licence is dated 9 June 1613.
Father of Anna Vassall (who died in infancy), Judith (Vassall) White, Frances (Vassall) Adams, Mary Vassall, Samuel Vassall (who died in infancy, twin of Mary), Colonel John Vassall, William Vassall Jr., Anna (Vassall) Ware, and Margaret (Vassall) Hubbard/Hobart.
A merchant-adventurer and member of the Massachusetts Bay Company, his name appears in the Charter signed by King Charles I. He arrived in Massachusetts in 1630 as one of the leaders of the so-called "Winthrop Fleet," which began what came to be known as "The Great Migration." He soon returned to England, but in 1635 sailed back to Massachusetts with his family aboard the "Blessing." He became an influential civil affairs officer.
He is the historically accepted author (possibly along with Major John Childe) of "New England's Jonas Cast Up in London" (1647), a significant political tract which exposed the Puritan leaders' political corruption, religious intolerence, and abuse of power in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He narrowly managed to escape the Colony and bring the manuscript with him aboard a ship to England where it was presented to members of Parliament (including his brother Samuel Vassall, MP). Former Plymouth Colony Governor Edward Winslow, whose religious intolerance made William Vassall his enemy, insisted that it was Vassall alone who wrote the tract. The two men were initially friends, as Winslow was the step-father-in-law of William and Anna Vassall's daughter Judith (Vassall) White.
A well-educated gentleman who was far ahead of his time, Vassall publicly supported true freedom of religion in British North America for Catholics, Anglicans, Puritans, Quakers, indeed all Christians regardless of denomination, as well as religious freedom for those of the Jewish and Islamic faiths.
It was through Vassall's son-in-law, "Mayflower" passenger Resolved White who married his daughter Judith Vassall, that Governor Josiah Winslow of Plymouth Colony (Resolved White's half-brother) eased persecution of the Quaker community of Plymouth.
Vassall passed away in St. Michael's Parish, Barbados, where he had built an estate after leaving Massachusetts due to the growing religious bigotry and corruption of power within the largely Puritan community.
His gravestone is lost, but he was likely laid to rest on or near the grounds upon which the Cathedral Church of Saint Michael and All Angels in Bridgetown, Saint Michael's Parish, Barbados was built to replace the original church which was constructed in 1665.
Today, his descendants may be found in North America (where he retained large tracts of land in Massachusetts), the Caribbean Islands, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. The town of Vassalboro in Kennebec County, Maine was named in his honour.
Requiescat in pace.
John Vassall (1544 - 1625)
Anna Russell Vassall (1556 - 1593)
Anna King Vassall
Judith Vassall White (1619 - 1670)*
Frances Vassall Adams (1623 - 1670)*
John Vassall (1625 - 1688)*
Samuel Vassall (1586 - 1667)*
William Vassall (1592 - 1656)
Note: Gravestone lost or destroyed. Added to database by a 12th great-grandson.
Cathedral Church of St Michael & All Angels
Saint Michael, Barbados
Created by: wildgoose
Record added: May 21, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 26975881
|Photos may be scaled.|
Click on image for full size.