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John Wilcocks

Devon Notes & Queries, vol. I, (January 1900 to January 1901), p.102.


W.A. Wilcox

Prepared by Michael Steer

This query seeks information from readers about a potential connection between John Wilcocks, tobacco importer of Plymouth, Devon, and John Wilcockes of the New Netherlands, today’s New York State. Some speculative information is provided on the Wilcox/Wilcockes families of the early North American colonies. The extract, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.

Note 65. JOHN WILCOCKS. From the Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, 1634-1635, it appears that John Wilcocks, apparently of Plymouth, and others, had license for the sale in divers towns in Devon and Cornwall, of tobacco which they were importing from St. Christopher's. They petitioned to be allowed to land their tobacco at Plymouth instead of London. Can someone give me further information regarding him? May he have been the John Wilcockes concerning whom there are some twenty-six references to be found in the Dutch records of New Netherlands, now in the office of the Secretary of State at Albany? The earliest reference is under date October i6th, 1642, and the latest under July lyth, 1648. He appears during this time to have made his residence at Fort Amsterdam, and he traded with the Indians at Rhode Island. He sold his post in the Narragansett country to Roger Williams. He traded also with the Swedes on the Delaware. There is reason for thinking he traded also at Accomac, Virginia. He sold a ship named "Abigail " to Jan Evans, of New Haven, merchant. He seems to have been unlettered, somewhat convivial and hot-headed, but a man of energy, a large trader, and of many good qualities. In an affidavit dated August 7th, 1647, he is said to be thirty-three years old. There was an Edward Wilcox at Aquidneck, Rhode Island, in 1638. May he have been the Edward Wilcockes mentioned in Visitation of Leicestershire, Harleian Soc., Vol. XIII, as thirty-two years of age in 1619? And if so, may this Edward have been the father of John mentioned above, of Daniel, of Little Compton, 1634, and of Stephen of Portsmouth, 1655? The names in the Visitation of Leicester County are Rodolphus, William, Robert, Thomas, Galfredus, Edward, and Richard. The Aquidneck Edward disappears here after 1638. Among his grandsons are two Edwards, two Thomases, and a William. In the next generation are two Edwards, four Thomases, two Roberts, and three Williams.

Scranton, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.                    W.M. A. WILCOX.