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as the Dutch settlements in New Amsterdam. He was also active in civic affairs, and on March 7, 1647/8, was made captain of the military company of Plymouth, succeeding Myles Standish. Thomas was in new Amsterdam in 1650, acting as agent for Peter Stuyvesant, the last Dutch Governor of New Netherland. Thomas was in Plymouth again in 1651, when he was elected to the responsible office of assistant Governor of Plymouth Colony, and he held this position until 1665, when he was needed for another task.

At this time, England and Holland were having troubles which extended to the New World. England claimed the entire region of New Netherland, on the basis of John Cabot's explorations. Charles II granted the area to his brother James, Duke of York, and in 1664, four ships of the Royal Navy were sent to America to dispossess the Dutch along the Hudson. Capt. Willett was assigned to accompany the expedition as agent for Plymouth, and to give advice, which his acquaintance with the Dutch from early childhood qualified him to do. It has been suggested that this role was a betrayal of confidence, since he had been “hospitable entertained there”, and “honored as one of Governor Peter Stuyvesant's trusted agents”. The Dutch were overawed by the English show of force, and New Amsterdam was captured without resistance. Thomas mad a good impression on the English commissioners, and at their request he resigned his office as assistant Governor of Plymouth, in order to help them, and after the English government was established, Capt. Thomas Willett was proclaimed on June 12, 1665, as the first English mayor of New York City. This evidently pleased the Dutch, as it is said that “his conversation was very acceptable to them”, and that “such was the confidence of the Dutch in Willett, that they selected him as a referee to settle their controverted boundary wiith New Haven”. (Baylies: A Memoir of Plymouth Colony pp.7, 60)

Thomas Willett served as mayor for two years, and in 1667 returned to his home in Swansea, Mass., west of Plymouth. Here he had been active in negotiating with the Indians for their lands, and “soon acquired som influence among them.” He was also a Commissioner of the Confederated Colonies. (Ibid, pp.7,8)

Thomas Willett died at Swansea and was buried at the head of Bullock’s Cove, in what is now East Providence, RI. His tombstone gives the date of his death as August 4, 1674 “in the 64th year of his age”. His will dated April 26, 1671 and probated on August 12, 1674, left bequests to his four sons, two daughters, a brother-in-law and the church of Rehoboth. His wife Mary died on January 8, 1699.
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