Boston Notarial Records

This volume contains the notarial records of William Aspinwall, Recorder of the Suffolk County Court from November 13, 1644, until October 1651.

William Aspinwall was the second to hold the office, the first being Stephen Winthrop, the fourth son of Gov. John Winthrop, who was Recorder from September 9, 1639 (being appointed by order of the General Court), until the choice of William Aspinwall, November 13, 1644, at a General Court of Election.

The following account of William Aspinwall was compiled by the late John T. Hassam, and forms part of the introduction to Liber X. of Suffolk Deeds, and by whose kind permission it is here republished.

It should be noted, according to the Julian calendar, which was in use at the time, the legal year began on the 25th of March, so that the date of the first entry in the records is November 20, 1644.

This volume, which is the thirty-second in the series of Boston Records, contains the notarial records of William Aspinwall from 1644 to 1651 inclusive. The work was commenced by William H. Whitmore, Esq., late Registrar of Boston.

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William Aspinwall probably came in the fleet with Governor Winthrop. He was of Charlestown in 1630, and of Boston after 1633. His name is the tenth in the list of original members of the First Church in Boston the covenant being dated Charlestown, August 27, 1630. His wife Elizabeth was the sixteenth in that list. He was the second in the list of thirteen who remained inhabitants in Charlestown in 1630. September 28, 1630, he was one of the jury impanelled to inquire concerning the death at "Mr Cradocks plantacon" of Austin Bratcher.

He was one of the Selectmen of Boston in 1636 and 1637, and was chosen deputy to the General Court in 1637 in place of Sir Henry Yane; but as he was a supporter of Wheelwright in the "Antinomian Controversy," and had signed a remonstrance in his favor, the Court deposed him from membership and banished him.

With others of "ye opinionists," thus disarmed, disfranchised, and banished, he joined in the movement to found a new colony in Rhode Island, and he was one of those who, on the 7th day of the 1st month, 1638, "solemnly in the presence of Jehovah," incorporated themselves "into a Bodie Politick" signing the compact at Portsmouth, Rhode Island. He was the first Secretary of the infant Colony.

But his life in Rhode Island was not destined to be a peaceful one and he soon fell out of favor there as well. He was in Connecticut in 1642, and was a witness in the case of George Spencer 5 at a General Court held at New Haven, March 2, 1641-2. He was restored to the Massachusetts Colony and quickly rose to prominence. At a General Court of Election held in Boston, November 13, 1644 he was appointed recorder of the court.

By his wife Elizabeth he had six children born in Boston, as appears by the Boston Records. He wrote numerous works during his life, which ended after 1662, where his last recorded record can be found in an letter from him written while in England.