Origin of William Hammond

Several authors have attempted to identify the origin of the William Hammond who died in Swansea in 1675. Frederick S. Hammond who authored the extensive two-volume Hammond family genealogy (published 1902- 1904) suggested that he was a grandson of the William Hammond of Watertown MA. He states that the William Hammond who died in Swansea MA was buried in Watertown, and that the births of William's children were recorded in the Watertown records. Both of these statements have proven to be completely false. Every written historical account of the early skirmish of King Philip's War in which William Hammond was killed states that William Hammond was buried in Swansea. The records for the town of Swansea, as reported to the Colony, also contain the burial of William Hammond in Swansea the day following his death.

With the circulation of information on CD Rom by the makers of the Family Treemaker genealogy soft wear, this apparent misinformation is being widely circulated. The ancestral chart of our William Hammond of Swansea on Family Treemaker's CD Rom of European Ancestors shows that our William Hammond was married in 1658 in MA and b. about 1635 in Lynn MA, a son of a William Hammond who was the son of William Hammond of Watertown MA. There is no evidence to support this.

Likewise, the ancestral file of the LDS Church now has the same ancestral lineage as the Family Treemaker CD Rom for William Hammond who d. in 1675 in Swansea.

While is is possible that William Hammond was the grandson of William of Watertown, it is somewhat doubtful as William Hammond of Watertown failed to mention in his will any children of his son William (who was by then deceased), but mentions other grandchildren.

A very thorough explanation of some of the possible connections of William Hammond with other New England Hammond families can be found in the article written by Eugene Zubrinsky, "The Hammonds of Rehoboth and Swansea, Massachusetts, Register 149(1995): 211 -229. For a summary of the the information in this article on possible origins and connections of William Hammond to other Hammond families, click here.

I receive occasional mail from persons who bring to my attention the fact that my William Hammond's ancestors are available from these other sources. While I keep an open mind, and am myself very interested to find out more about the origin of William, I am unable to leap at these very speculative connections. I would be very pleased if anyone can point me to one primary record that shows some connection of William Hammond to other New England Hammond families.

I find it most interesting that William Hammond's first appearance in the colonial records shows him as a witness on a deed which was also witnessed by John Miles, Jr. (the son of Rev. John Miles, the Baptist minister who was ejected from his church in Wales). John Miles was instrumental in founding the Town of Swansea, and William Hammond was most likely in the company of John Miles when he witnessed the Indian deed. William Hammond was garrisoned in the home of John Miles when he ventured out on the mission that resulted in his death. In my search for the origin of William Hammond I have done extensive reading on the history of the Baptist Church, the events surrounding King Philip's War, and the general history of the Towns of Swansea and Rehoboth. I have searched the records of the Baptist Church which John Miles brought with him from Wales on the chance that William Hammond may have been a member of the church in Wales and accompanied John Miles when he came from Wales. Unfortunately, William Hammond was not among the early church members in Wales. William Hammond was undoubtedly well acquainted with the Indians, and may have been serving as a guide for John Miles when he witnessed the Indian deed. It is my belief that William Hammond probably joined John Miles somewhere in MA and accompanied him to the Rehoboth/Swansea area. The origin of William Hammond might be found someday by following the trail of John Miles.

I would welcome any assistance in trying to locate any record of William Hammond before 1668. I'm sure there may be somewhere an answer to this puzzle. It just hasn't been found yet. Where did William come from? Do you have any ideas? I would be happy to receive your suggestions.

Rita Jacobs

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