William Muncy, the Immigrant
Munsey-Hopkins Genealogy (full document, OCR text unformatted)
Munsey-Hopkins Genealogy Part 1 (PDF 10MB)
The first reference to William Muncy in American occurs in Patchogue, New York in 1678. Patchogue is a village in the township of Brookhaven, and is located about 14 miles from Setauket on the south shore of Long Island. In the clerk’s records at Patchogue there is mention of a William Munsey in the records of a drawing for town lots in 1678. Respected genealogist D.O.S. Lowell, in his book “A Munsey-Hopkins Genealogy” (1920) described the circumstances under which William Muncy’s name appears:
In the record of a drawing for 50 town “lotts” we find the following list:
- not william muncy ould John
- Mr. Woodhull 1 blank
- Zachary Hawkins 1 blank
- William Sallier 1 blank
- Andrew Miller 2 blanks
- Thomas Smith 1 blanketc. etc.
Evidently after “william muncy’ had been written, the word “not” was inserted before “william”; then both words (“not william”) were lined through rather clumsily with a pen, and “ould John” was written after “muncy.” What should we infer from this? First of all, that there was a William Munsey in the mind of the scribe, and probably in the vicinity; second, that he was not the man who drew for the lot; and third, that “old John” Somebody drew (a blank, doubtless), and “not william muncy.”
Lowell goes on to explain that “ould John” should not be attributed to an “ould John Muncy” but rather to “ould John” Thompson who is frquently referred to in Patchogue town records.
Mr. Lowell is incorrect in attributing “ould John” to John Thompson. Brookhaven records have frequent references in drawing for lots attributed to “Francis Muncy & Old John Thomas.” Evidently at some time both John Thomas and Francis Muncy received a one-half share as proprietors, and in future lot drawings they combined Muncy and Thomas as a unit for drawing, assuming that each would get one-half of the share drawn. There are references in the records where it is listed as “Muncy & Old John Thomas.” (He was referred to as “ould John” to distinguish him from his son John Thomas, not because he was ancient. Referring to a father as “old John” in lieu of John Senior was common at the time. )
There is no further mention of William Muncy in the Brookhaven records. Interestingly of the list drawing for lots cited above, ALL of the others were residents (proprietors) of Setauket. They may have been drawing for lots to relocate, to add to their personal property, to provide a better location for the whale oil trade, or for resale.
Who was this William Munsey?
He disappears from the Brookhaven records but he almost certainly is the William Munsey who appears as a witness on a deed in 1686 in Oyster River (now Durham) New Hampshire. At that time he lived in Kittery, Maine, but later moved to Dover, New Hampshire and was a cooper by trade. He accidentally drowned in 1698. William Munsey married Margaret (Clement?) about 1675, three years before the drawing for lots in Patchogue. He had three children: William, Margaret and John.
The genealogy of William Munsey is covered in “A Munsey-Hopkins Genealogy” by Daniel Ozro Smith Lowell, privately printed in Boston 1920. A William Muncy was born to John and Martha Muncy in Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire, England in 1644 and could have been a brother to Francis Muncy. After his birth record in 1644, he disappears from the Waterbeach records. There is no record of a marriage or burial in Waterbeach or in any other village in Cambridgeshire. Given the fact he isn’t listed in any more Waterbeach or Cambridgeshire records it is certainly possible that he moved away.
William Munsey probably came to America in the mid-to-late 1660’s or early 1670’s, and probably came as an indentured servant. After his indenture ended, he may have moved to Long Island seeking to establish his family in a growing community in which some family lived.
Finding that land acquisition was more difficult on Long Island, he relocated to Maine and New Hampshire near his wife’s family who was establishing a new community in that area.
Much more research needs to be done on William Muncy (Munsey) to establish the facts.