|Thomas Willett biographical notes (8)|
Stuyvesant was forced to exert himself to the utmost in defense of Dutch claims, and he was wise in employing Englishmen as his agents. The treaty was signed at Hartford, on the 19th of September, 1650, by Symon Bradstreet and Thomas Pence for the English, and Thomas Willett and George Baxter for the Dutch. Stuyvesant's arbitrary methods had made him unpopular among his own people and some discontented Dutch complained of him to the home government for thus employing Englishmen to represent Dutch interests, but with all the light we now have it does not seem possible for him to have done better, and it is interesting to note that a hearing on
both sides, the treaty was finally approved at the Hague on the 22d of February, 1656. This treaty recognized the right of the English under the
Government of Hartford to all of Long Island east of Oyster Bay, and made the boundary on the north side of the Sound near the present line between Connecticut and New York” (Cornell, page 243).However, Captain Thomas Willett had not changed his allegiance, or permanently settled in New Amsterdam. He did keep a house there, but he had an extensive business, ships, and a warehouse, all of which had to come under his personal eye. At this time, there were no inland roads. All travel between Boston and New Amsterdam would have been done exclusively by ship. There were few inns along the way, and most towns had only ordinaries to look after the traveller. On
March 7, 1647/48 Thomas Willett was made Captain of the Plymouth Company of Militia. He succeeded Captain Miles Standish, that “little stovepipe” who had died.
On June 6, 1649, he was made a surveyor of the highways. And on July 4, 1649, he and four others leased the trade of the Kennebec for three years on the same terms they formerly had. This shows that Captain Thomas Willett had business interests in Kennebec, Penobscot, and the Maine coast well into his old age.
From 1651 until 1664, he was a magistrate of the Plymouth Colony; Thomas Southworth was Lieutenant, and William Bradford, Jr., Ensign. On April 6, 1653, Willett was a member, with eight others, of the Council of War. He was appointed to keep part of the powder and shot. He and Captain Miles Standish were named to lead the English expedition against the Dutch, in the first so called Dutch War. However, peace was declared before the forces took to the field.
Captain Willett kept a residence in New Amsterdam. In 1655, he was one of the 320 taxpayers. He owned several ships, and perhaps one or all of them were ocean-going vessels. In 1651, he purchased the frigate Palomne; he was bondsman for Edmond Scarborough, late of Accomack County, Colony of Virginia, for £5,000 in 1655; and about the same time purchased the ship Abraham’s Sacrifice; he also owned the New Netherlands.
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Updated Mar 2014
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