NameCapt. William Traske652
Birth1585, East Coker, Somersetshire, England
Christening14 Dec 1585, East Coker, Somersetshire, England640 Age: <1
Immigration1624, Cape Ann, Massachusetts Age: 39
Immi MemoShip "Zouch Phenix"
Death16 May 1666, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts Age: 81
Mother??? ???
Marriagebef 1634
ChildrenSarah (1633-1696)
 Mary (1636-)
 Susanna (1638-<1720)
 William Jr. (1640-<1691)
 John (1642-1729)
 Elizabeth (1645-)
Notes for Capt. William Traske
For history see accounts by William Blake Trask.652,653 This is also discussed in the beginning of Gwen Guiou Trask.654 Rhode Island Genealogical Records says he was the son of William and grandson of John Trask of East Coker, and that he was baptised there on 14 Dec. 1585.655

He was one of the thirty founders of the First Church in Salem, listed in the Covenant of August 6, 1629. The town granted 1000 acres on 25 Jan. 1635/6 to a group of five old planters: Capt. William Trask, John Woodbury, Roger Conant, Peter Palfrey and Roger Conant. He lived on the road from Bass River to Balch's Tavern.

Considerably more detail may be added.


ORIGIN: East Coker, Somersetshire

OCCUPATION: Soldier. In a petition to the General Court in 1661, he states "wheras your petitioners understand that several gentlemen have lands granted and laid out at the Pequots country that was; and others are likely put in for more who it may be never sweat so much for it as some of us bled on it..." [NEHGR 6:370].
CHURCH MEMBERSHIP: In the list of Salem church members admitted before the end of 1636 [SChR 5].
FREEMAN: Requested 19 October 1630 (as "Mr. Will: Traske") [MBCR 1:80].
EDUCATION: Wrote a strong and distinctive hand [NEHGR 6:370].
OFFICES: Deputy, 1637 [STR 1:45]. Captain of the militia, 1634 [MBCR 1:120]. Salem lot layer, 1635, 1636, 1637, 1643, 1648 [STR 1:10, 16, 44, 124, 155]. Overseer for bridgework, 1645 [STR 1:141].
ESTATE: With John Woodbury, Mr. Connant, Peter Palfrey and John Balch, he received one of five farms of two hundred acres apiece at the head of Bass River 25 January 1635[/6] [STR 1:12]. He "freely relinquished" this farm 18 April 1636 [STR 1:17].
Granted 100 acres "next to the Long Pond" in the 1636 Salem land grant [STR 1:19, 27]. Received one acre of marsh and meadow in the grant of 25 December 1637, with a household of seven persons [STR 1:103].
He requested and was allowed five acres of meadow near to Mr. Johnson's farm 9 November 1637 [STR 1:58]. He was granted half an acre of land adjoining the new mill 11 October 1640 [STR 1:108].
On 19 August 1639 the town granted "Captain Trask... leave to set up a tide mill upon the North River, provided he make passage for a shallop from half flood to full sea" [STR 1:101]. He was slow in doing this and on 29 June 1641 the court admonished him [EQC 1:27-8].
In his will, dated 15 May 1666 (with undated codicil) and proved 28 June 1666, "William Traske Senior of Salem" "though weak in body" made the following bequests: to "Sarah my wife" the north end of my dwelling house, fruit of the orchard, a little spot for a garden, ú16 per year for her life, and a cow; to "my son William" the meadow between the upper and lower mills and also the upper mill pond; to "my two daughters Sarah & Susan" ú16 each; to "my daughter Mary" ú26 within three years; to "my grandchildren" 10s. each; "my two sons William & John" executors and residuary legatees. Codicil allows that all household stuff kept "so long as my wife lives" and after her death "my daughter Mary" to have the great brass pan and "my son William" to have "my bed and bedding that I now lie upon" [EPR 2:48-49].
The inventory of the estate of "Capt. William Trask" was taken 15 June 1666 and totalled ú364, of which ú260 was real estate: "house, upland and meadow," ú160; and the mill, ú100 [EPR 2:49].
Ownership of the mill and the surrounding plain was a subject of great controversy in the August 1686 term of the Essex court [EQC 46:21].

BIRTH: Baptized East Coker, Somersetshire, 14 December 1585, son of Nicholas Trask [NEHGR 54:279] (deposed aged seventy-seven years on 29 November 1664 [EQC 3:207]).
DEATH: Salem between 15 May 1666 (date of will) and 18 May 1666 (when Salem selectmen ordered that "the soldiers that attend Capt. Trask to his grave shall have some allowance to make them drink" [STR 2:68]). (William Trask's date of death is given in some sources as 15 May 1666, but this does not appear in any record. Although the codicil to his will is not dated, it need not have been made on 15 May 1666.)
MARRIAGE: By about 1634 Sarah _____; she died after 15 May 1666 (date of husband's will).
i SARAH, b. say 1634; m. 13 October 1656 Elias Parkman [NEHGR 55:322], son of ELIAS PARKMAN. (This marriage record does not appear in the town records, but is in a private record published in 1901; see COMMENTS in sketch of ELIAS PARKMAN.)
ii MARY, bp. Salem 1 January 1636/7 [SChR 16]; m. by 1659 John Loomis [NEHGR 55:323-24, citing original depositions then in private hands].
iii SUSANNAH, bp. Salem 10 June 1638 [SChR 16]; m. Salem 19 February 1663[/4] Samuel Eborne. (On 18 June 1660 William Trask Sr. sued Thomas Robbins for "defamation, in saying that Susan, daughter of said Trask, ran after everybody and was common for everybody, etc." [EQC 2:224].)
iv WILLIAM, bp. Salem 19 September 1640 [SChR 18]; m. (1) Salem 18 January 1666 Ann Putnam, who d. Salem 14 November 1676; m. (2) by about 1678 Hannah _____ [NEHGR 55:324-27].
v JOHN, bp. Salem 18 September 1642 [SChR 19]; m. (1) Salem 19 February 1662[/3] Abigail Parkman, daughter of ELIAS PARKMAN; m. (2) Salem 13 February 1717/8 Mary Clarke.
vi ELIZABETH, bp. Salem 21 September 1645 [SChR 20]; no further record.
ASSOCIATIONS: Osmund Trask, born about 1627, appeared in Salem by 1649. Since the given name Osmund appears frequently in the Trask family of East Coker, Somersetshire, the home of William Trask, the two men were very likely closely related, but the exact degree of kinship has not been determined.

COMMENTS: Some sources state that William Trask was in New England prior to 1628, and accompanied JOHN WOODBURY on his mission to England in the winter of 1627-8. This seems to be based solely on the following passage from Hubbard:

With Mr. Endicot, in the year 1628, came Mr. Gotte, Mr. Brakenberry, Mr. Davenport, and others, who being added to Capt. Traske, and John Woodberry, (that was before this time returned with a comfortable answer to them that sent him over,) went on comfortably together to make preparation for the new colony, that were coming over" [Hubbard 109].

If we read this carefully, we see only that Trask had arrived before Endicott; but we know that Woodbury made his return in 1628, and so Trask presumably came in that earlier ship in 1628. The passage also states clearly that it was Woodbury (and not Woodbury and Trask) who was sent over to England. Although it is not impossible that Trask had been in New England before 1628, nothing in this passage supports that interpretation, and so we conclude here that William Trask arrived in New England in 1628.
Although there is no record that William Trask was ever admitted a freeman of Massachusetts Bay Colony, he must have been, given the many colony offices he held. This is the only case known to date of an omission from the Massachusetts Bay list of freemen at this early period.
Savage and Pope both include as children of this man Mary, born 14 August 1652, and Ann, born 14 April 1654. Reference to the published Salem vital records shows that these are children of a Henry Trask and his wife Mary, of no known relation to William Trask. This led Savage into several further errors regarding the matrimonial status of William Trask.
Captain Trask was an easy-going, popular commander; not a man for details or day-to-day management. As a soldier he was not terribly demanding, and in the battles of the Pequot War, was much outshone by his lieutenant, Richard Davenport. Even Johnson, in his Wonder-Working Providence, passes over Trask in favor of Davenport's exploits.
He may also have been easy-going about grinding his corn, for the court admonished him 27 September 1640 to "be more careful about grinding and toll-taking" [EQC 1:20]. He did not correct things promptly and was fined "for want of a toll dish, over toll, bad grinding, want of beam and scales hung up, and suffering Peter Simes to grind, the court having before disallowed it," 28 February 1642[/3] [EQC 1:51]. The mill was a lasting bone of contention with some of his neighbors, and at court 30 November 1652 Capt. Traske was presented for having no suitable weights in his mill [EQC 1:274].
"Capt. Willi: Traske" was fined £5 for "neglecting the execution of his warrant" in some matter 8 September 1642 [MBCR 2:27].
He also ran a relaxed trainband, "neglecting" to train three times and drawing an official reprimand 25 January 1641[/2] [EQC 1:35]. He had some difficultly with Mr. William Hathorne, perhaps of a political nature, which eventually saw him replaced as the Captain at Salem. A rather transparent "difficulty" was discovered and the court decided, "Whereas the town of Salem, lying so open to the sea, is in great danger of sudden attempts by a foreign enemy, and therefore great care is to be had in these dangerous times, it is ordered, the chief military officer of the band that should inhabit in or near the harbor. This Court, considering that Capt. Traske, who hath been many years their chief officer, dwells so remote from that part of the town as he cannot be helpful upon any such sudden occasion, doth hereby discharge him of that office, with all due acknowledgment of his faithfulness and former good service to the country, and do hereby appoint Mr. William Hathorne to be Captain of the said military company...," 1 October 1645 [MBCR 2:133].
With others, he let his cows forage in the common corn fields and was fined for it 27 December 1642 [EQC 1:49].
When the Salem meetinghouse seating was shifted, Sgt. Porter was directed to sit in the seat with Capt. Trask, 8 June 1657 [STR 1:201]. “656
Last Modified 18 Feb 2010Created 4 Jul 2012 using Reunion for Macintosh