650. Documentation for William Gayer
(1647 to 23 Sep 1710)
father of Dorcas Gayer
(29 Aug 1675 to 11 Dec 1747)



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William Gayer was born in 1647 in Devonshire, England.(1) He died 23 September 1710 in Nantucket, Massachusetts.(2) The parents of William Gayer are not known with certainty.(3)

William Gayer married
Dorcas Starbuck before 1675 in Nantucket, Massachusetts.(4) Dorcas Starbuck was born after 1635.(5) Dorcas (Starbuck) Gayer died 8 mo. 1696.(6) She was the daughter of Edward Starbuck and Catherine Reynolds.(7)

Children of William Gayer and Dorcas Starbuck:

i. Damaris Gayer was born 24 October 1673.(8) She married Nathaniel Coffin 17 October 1692.(9) He was born May 1671 in Nantucket, MA.(10) He died 29 October 1721 in Nantucket, MA.(11)

ii. Dorcas Gayer was born 29 August 1675 at Nantucket, MA.(12) She died 11 December 1747 in Nantucket, Massachusetts.(13) She married Jethro Starbuck 06 December 1694 in Nantucket, Massachusetts.(14)

iii. William Gayer was born 03 June 1677.(15) He married Elizabeth Gayer, a first cousin, a daughter of Sir John Gayer of England.(16) Elizabeth was born between 1677 and 1687. William Gayer, son of William Gayer and Dorcas Starbuck, died in 1712 or 1713.(17)

The will of William Gayer, father of Dorcas Starbuck, was written 21 September 1710 and it was probated 24 October 1710. The will was witnessed by Richard Gardner, Eleazer Folger, Eunice Gardner, Jabez Bunker, and Judith Gardner.(18)

“William Gayer, b. 1647 of Co. Devon, England, m. Dorcas Starbuck, and d. at Nantucket Island, MA on 23 Sept. 1710. In Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, Volume 28, Number 1, there is an article titled, "The Case of the Vanishing Ancestry", by Wallace Evan Davies. Mr. Davies disproves the contention that William Gayer, who had a brother Sir John Gayer, of Bombay, India and an unnamed brother, Richard, I believe, who was a mariner, were all descended from Humphrey Gayer. Humphrey Gayer's ancestors were supposed to go all the way back to Reginald Gayer who married Alice Courtenay, of Powderham Castle, co. Devon, England. This Reginald Gayer, though, was descended from an earlier Reginald Gayer, so that the Gayer line in co. Cornwall, England, which came through the younger Reginald's brother, did not go back to Royalty at all. William Gayer, b. 1647 of Plymouth, Co. Devon, England, was probably related in some way to the wealthy merchant Gayers. It may be that William Gayer's father and grandfather were named William, too. Two William Gayers are mentioned in the Plymouth, England town records, one in the early 1600s and the other in the 1640s. They were stone masons. So many people, who have posted genealogies on the Internet linking William Gayer, of Nantucket Island, MA back to Reginald and Alice (Courtenay) Gayer, really should look at Wallace Evan Davies's article in Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine.”(Duane L. Jones, Genealogy.com, Gayer Family Genealogy Forum, 12-30-2007)


From "Gayre's Booke, being A History of the Family of Gayre" Vol. IV by Lteut.-Colonel Robert Gayre and R. L. Gair (London: 1959), p. 62, in reference to the Humphry who m. Miss Sparke of Plymouth, gives evidence that his son John died without progeny and the line of Humphry ended in co-heiresses.

p. 64 of the same volume says that Dr. A.E. Gayer erred in making Sir John Gayer of Bombay a descendant of Humphry. Sir John's will mentions his brother, William in Nantucket. According to these authors, there is no such brother among the children of Humphry Gayer, or among those of any of his other (than Sir John Gayre of London) brothers.

Massachusetts Bay House of Representatives, 1703


The following Representatives took the oaths appointed, and repeated and subscribed the Declaration:

Island of Nantucket

William Gayer

The Veranda House Hotel History


In 1684, William Gayer built his Nantucket home atop Step Lane, a veritable stairway so named for its quick ascent from North Water Street to one of the highest points in town. Both a farmer and a Justice of the Peace, the Devonshire, England native was the first representative from Nantucket in the General Court after the island joined the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Though Gayer's family line ended with the death of his son, his home continued to stand, overlooking the harbor, with grace and majesty.

In 1881, Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Chapman moved to Nantucket. Tired of the ceaseless farm work along the rocky shore of the Long Island Sound, the couple sold their farm and invested part of the proceeds in Gayer's property. The couple intended to spend their retirement in relative seclusion, but the festive community of Nantucket Island soon changed their plans.

Shortly after the Chapmans arrived, news of a grand reunion of Nantucket's historic Coffin family began to spread. One of the original purchasers of the island in 1659, the Coffins were well known for their kindness and progressive thinking. During periods of extreme racial tension, they treated Native Americans and European settlers with equal respect and later fought for the abolition of slavery.

How to feed and lodge the hundreds, or possibly thousands, of visitors for the reunion was a problem for the small town. A house-to-house solicitation was made, and every room that could be made available was appropriated. Even the quiet farmers Chapman were persuaded and to their surprise, they found it a pleasure to entertain.

Guests, too, loved their stay with the Chapmans. Their desire to return to the spacious, beautiful home the following summer inspired the Chapmans to build a viewing platform on the harbor side of the property. The summer of 1882 marked the return of old friends and the acquisition of many new ones.

Their new life of hospitality and friendship was an exciting alternative to the idleness Mr. and Mrs. Chapman had originally planned. They purchased more property to accommodate the needs of their visitors. The open platform, so loved as a perch for admiring the island, was duplicated, then triplicated to provide multiple breathtaking vantage points of the harbor. Soon, a sign bearing the name "The Veranda House" was erected on Step Lane.

Today, The Veranda House stands as one of Nantucket's landmarks. Its white porches welcome incoming ferry passengers to the island and its terraced garden stands as a reminder of the steep origins of Step Lane, whose slope has since been tamed.

Walking Directions to The Veranda House

From Steamship Authority at Steamboat Wharf

Walk straight up Broad Street and take your second right onto North Water Street. We are quite visible at the top of Step Lane on your third left.

From HyLine at Straight Wharf

Walk straight out of the HyLine and take your first right onto Easy Street. Follow this until you dead-end into Broad Street. Take a left onto Broad Street and then take your second right onto North Water Street. We are quite visible at the top of Step Lane on your third left.


REFERENCES

1. Johnson, Carol Clark, Genealogical History of the Clark and Worth Families, page 134; Savage, James, Savage, Dictionary of First Settlers of New England, page 136, GAYER, * SAMUEL, Nantucket, rep. soon after the new chart. of 1691. WILLIAM, Nantucket, m. Dorcas, d. of Nathaniel Starbuck, had Damaris, b. 24 Oct. 1673; Dorcas, 29 Aug. 1675; and William, 3 June 1677. His w. d. a. 1696; and he d. 23 Sept. 1710, hav. had ano. w. but no ch.; The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 162 vols., 1847-2009., pages 297-302, July, 1877, “The Gayer Family”, Communicated by William C. Folger, Esq., of Nantucket, Mass., Corresponding Member of the N.E. Historic, Genealogical Society.

2. Nantucket, Mass., Vital Records to 1850, 5 vols. Boston, 1925-28, 2:503, (Hereafter NVR), Gayer, William of Devonshire Co., Eng., h. Dorcas (d. Edward Starbuck 1st and Cathatrine), h. Mary Conde (wid., of Boston, “No chn.,” “mother of Peter Coffin’s wife”), 23d, 7 mo. 1710, P. R. 38.

3.
The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 162 vols., 1847-2009., pages 297-302, July, 1877, “The Gayer Family”, Communicated by William C. Folger, Esq., of Nantucket, Mass., Corresponding Member of the N.E. Historic, Genealogical Society; From "Gayre's Booke, being A History of the Family of Gayre" Vol. IV by Lt-Colonel Robert Gayre and R. L. Gair (London: 1959), pages 62 and 64.

4.
The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 162 vols., 1847-2009., page 297, July, 1877, “The Gayer Family”, Communicated by William C. Folger, Esq., of Nantucket, Mass., Corresponding Member of the N.E. Historic, Genealogical Society; NEHGR, page 98, “Notes on the Dover Combination”, January 18??, “2. Dorcas, m. William Gayer: dau. Damaris m. Nathaniel Coffin, and they were ancestors of Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin.”

5. Savage, James, Dictionary of First Settlers of New England, 136, WILLIAM, Nantucket, m. Dorcas, d. of Nathaniel Starbuck, had Damaris, b. 24 Oct. 1673; Dorcas, 29 Aug. 1675; and William, 3 June 1677. His w. d. a. 1696; and he d. 23 Sept. 1710, hav. had ano. w. but no ch.

6. NVR to 1850, Deaths, page 326, Gayer, Dorcas, first w. William of Devonshire Co., Engl., d. Edward Starbuck 1st and Catharine Reynolds, ____, 8 mo. 1696, P.R. 38; The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 162 vols., 1847-2009., pages 297-302, July, 1877, “The Gayer Family”, Communicated by William C. Folger, Esq., of Nantucket, Mass., Corresponding Member of the N.E. Historic, Genealogical Society; NVR to 1850, Deaths, page 542, Starbuck, Dorcas [dup. w. Jethro], 11th, 10 mo. 1747, C.R. 4. [Dorcas Jr., w. Jethro (s. Nathaniel and Mary), d. William Gayer and Dorcas (Starbuck) (first w.), 11th, 10 mo., a. 72, P.R. 38. W. Jethro, 10th, 11 mo., P.R. 63.].

7. NVR to 1850, Deaths, page 326, Gayer, Dorcas, first w. William of Devonshire Co., Eng., d. Edward Starbuck 1st and Catharine Reynolds, ___, 8 mo. 1696, P.R. 38.

8.
NVR to 1850, Births, page 83, Gayer, Damaris, d. Will[ia]m, Oct. 24, 1673. [w. Nathaniel Coffin (s. James and Mary), d. William and Dorcas (Starbuck) (first w.), 24th, 10 mo. [dup. 2 mo.[, P.R. 38.]

9.
The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 162 vols., 1847-2009., page 193, ??, 1927, “Memoirs”, “Nathaniel, 1671-1721, who married Damaris Gayer, daughter of William and Dorcas (Starbuck) Gayer”; NVR to 1850, Marriages, page 298, Coffin, Nathaniell and Damariss Gayer, 17th, 8 mo. 1692. Intention not recorded. [Nathaniel, s. James and Mary (Severance), and Damaris Gayer, d. William and Dorcas (Starbuck) (first w.), P.R. 38.]; NEHG Register, July 18??, page 262, Births, Deaths, etc, in Nantucket, “Nathaniell Coffin and Damaris Gayer were married 17th: of ye 8th mo: 1692; by me Willm Worth Justice of ye Peace.”

10.
NEHG Register, “The Coffin Family”, April 1870, Vol. 24, page 305; NVR to 1850, Births, page 312, Coffin, Nathaniel, h. Damaris (d. William Gayer and Dorcas (Starbuck)), s. James and Mary (Severance), ___, 3 mo. 1671, P.R. 38.

11.
NVR to 1850, Deaths, page 174, Coffin, Nathaniel, h. Damaris (d. William Gayer and Dorcas (Starbuck)), s. James and Mary (Severance), 29th, 10 mo. 1721, P.R. 38.

12.
NVR to 1850, Births, page 83, Gayer, Dorcas, d. Will[ia]m, Aug. 29, 1675. [Dorcas Jr., w. Jethro Starbuck (s. Nathaniel and Mary), d. William and Dorcas (Starbuck) (first w.), 29th, 8 mo., P.R. 38.].

13.
NVR to 1850, Deaths, page 326, Gayer, Dorcas, first w. William of Devonshire Co., Eng., d. Edward Starbuck 1st and Catharine Reynolds, ___, 8 mo. 1696, P.R. 38.

14.
NEHGS Register, pages 262 and 264, Births, Deaths, etc., in Nantucket, July 18??, “Jethro Starbuck & Dorcas Gayer were married ye 6th Day of ye 10: mo 1694: by me Willm Worth Justice of the Peace.”; NVR to 1850, Marriages, page 539, Gayer, Dorcas and Jethro Starbuck, 6th, 10 mo. 1694. Intention not recorded. [Dorcas Jr., d. William and Dorcas (Starbuck) (first w.), and Jethro Starbuck, s. Nathaniel and Mary (Coffin), P.R. 38.]; NVR to 1850, Marriages, page 396, Starbuck, Jethro and Dorcas Gayer, 6th, 10 mo. 1694. Intention not recorded. [Jethro, s. Nathaniel and Mary (Coffin), and Dorcas Gayer Jr., d. William and Dorcas (Starbuck) (first w.), P.R.38.].

15. NVR to 1850, Births, page 83, Gayer, Wil[ia]m, s. Will[ia]m, June 3, 1677. [William Jr., h. Elizabeth (“his cousin,” d. Sir John Gayer of England), s. William and Dorcas (Starbuck) (first w.), 3d, 6 mo., P.R. 38.]

16. Ibid.


17. NVR to 1850, Deaths, page 327, Gayer, William Jr., h. Elizabeth (“his cousin,” d. Sir John Gayer of England), s. William and Dorcas (Starbuck) (first w.), _____, “1712 or 1713,” P.R. 38.

18. The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 162 vols., 1847-2009., page 301, July, 1877, “The Gayer Family”, Communicated by William C. Folger, Esq., of Nantucket, Mass., Corresponding Member of the N.E. Historic, Genealogical Society.



APPENDIX A

Will of William Gayer
(1647 to 23 September 1710)


From Nantucket County Records of Wills, Book I, page 28. Vol. XXXI. 27

I, William Gayer, of the Island of Nantucket, being sick, but of sound mind and memory, make this my last will. Unto my son William Gayer, one Share of land on the Island of Nantucket, with all the privileges belonging (if my sd son shall ever come hither again). To my dau. Damaris Coffin, one eighth part of a share of land on the Island of Nantucket, of that land I had of my father in law, Edward Starbuck. I give to my Daughter, Dorcas Starbuck, one Eighth part of a Share of [said] land. My part of the Island of Miskeget to my sd Daughters, Damaris Coffin and Dorcas Starbuck, Equally to be divided between them. To my house keeper, Patience Foot, one Cow & fourty Sheep with Commonage for them, as also half of the barn & try house, with half the garden, half of the land and fence about my dwelling house, half the lot and fence towards Monomoy, the horse pasture Excepted, as also the west Chamber and Garret, and half the leanto of my now dwelling house. I give to Africa, a negro, once my servant, twenty Sheep and Commonage for them and for one horse, as also the East Chamber of my now dwelling house, and half the leanto, and the other half of my barn and try house, with the half of all the lands and fence about my house, and the half of the lot towards monomoy. I will that my dau. Damaris Coffin have the use of the rest of my Dwelling house, if she should come hither to live. My two Daughters, Damaris Coffin and Dorcas Starbuck, Joynt Executrices of this my last will & testament. Sept. 21, 1710.

In the presence of William Gayer
Richard Gardner, Eleazer Folger Junr, Eunice Gardner,
Jabez Bunker, Judith Gardner

Probated 24 day Oct. 1710. James Coffin,

Judge of Probate
Eleazer Folger Regr.




APPENDIX B

Will, in part, of Sir John Gayer
brother of William Gayer of Nantucket, Massachusetts



I, John Gayer, of Bombay, Knight, in perfect health, do make this my last Will and Testament. My Body to be Interred at the Discretion of my hereafter named Executrix, and if I die in India, in the tomb of my former Wife. Debts discharged, I give as followeth. Unto my Brother William Gayer, of the Island of Nantucket, one Hundred Pounds Sterling. Unto his son William Gayer, my Nephew, now in the East Indies, Eight Thousand Pounds Sterling. . . . In witness Whereof I have set my hand and Seal in Bombay Castle, 5th of October, 1710.
John Gayer

In presence of us, where no stampt paper is procurable, etc. etc. etc.

William Aislabie, William Barnes, Abraham Barnot,
Richard Wilmer, John Hill.

A true Copy from the Original Witnesses, John Eaton Dodsworth, James Osborne, William Gayer, Richard Bull.