The Plymouth Colony Archive Project

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Joseph Rockett
of Rehoboth, Plymouth Colony

b: unknown, unknown
d:1683, Rehoboth, Plymouth Colony

Compiled by T.E. Delaney

University of Virginia, Anth 401B, Fall 1999


There is no surviving record of the birthplace of Joseph Rockett, or of any details of his emigration to Plymouth Colony. Because of Joseph Rockett's utter lack of presence in any Plymouth Colony records (i.e., not just Rehoboth), it is very possible that he and his family came to the colony as late as the 1670s. Perhaps they emigrated from England, or perhaps they migrated from the neighboring Massachusetts Bay colony.


There are absolutely no records of Joseph Rockett's parents or siblings. The archives do show that he was married twice, first to the woman referred to in his will as "his beloved former wife," and second to Mary Willmont. Joseph and Mary were married in early 1680.

Rockett had at least two children: Hanah Rockett and Mary Rockett (the latter born in 1683 after his death). It is very likely, although unprovable, that Hanah and Mary were half-sisters, Hanah born from Joseph's first wife and Mary from his second wife. Joseph's will states that "the linen which was his former beloved wife's.he gave unto his daughter Hanah," perhaps because Hanah was the daughter of his first wife.

Rockett had at least three brothers-in-law: Jonathan Fuller, John Willmont, and Thomas Willmont, Senior. Thomas and Jonathan were the authors of and witnesses to Rockett's nuncupative will. John and Thomas Willmont were undoubtedly the brothers of Rockett's second wife, Mary Willmont Rockett.


There is no evidence in the documentary records to suggest what Joseph Rockett's occupation(s) was or were. Rockett was probably literate, since, according to his probate inventory, his personal possessions included a Bible and several books (all worth six shillings).

Wealth & Estate

Joseph Rockett was by all accounts a man of very modest means. According to his probate inventory, his total estate was worth only about £48.45. Rockett owned no land, but did have one cow and two pigs, and crops including Indian corn, rye, and stalk flax.

Public Life & Civic Duties

There is no record of Joseph Rockett ever being involved in municipal government or civic affairs. He was apparently never admitted as a freeman in the colony.

Chronology & References

1680 January 5. Marriage of Joseph Rockett and Mary Willmont. [PCR 8:72]

1683 July. Death of Joseph Rockett. He left a nuncupative will.

1683 July 21. Burial of Joseph Rockett. [PCR 8:87-88]

1683 July 28. Nuncupative will of Joseph Rockett written and witnessed, by Thomas Willmont, Sr. and Jonathan Fuller. [Plymouth Colony Wills, Vol. 4, Part 2, Folio 140]

1683 October 5. Inventory taken of Joseph Rockett's estate, by John Peck and Nicholas Peck. [Plymouth Colony Wills, Vol. 4, Part 2, Folios 140-141]

1683 November 6. Inventory of Joseph Rockett's estate probated, by oath of his relict, Mary Rockett. [Plymouth Colony Wills, Vol. 4, Part 2, Folios 140-141]

1683 December 14. Birth of Mary Rockett, daughter of the late Joseph Rockett. [PCR 8:87-88]


Primary Sources

Plymouth Colony Wills and Inventories, Vols. I-VII, 1670-1685. Unpublished compilation, ed. Patricia E. Scott Deetz. Department of Anthropology, University of Virginia, 1999.

Records of the Colony of New Plymouth in New England [PCR]. 1855-61. Ed. Nathaniel B. Shurtleff and David Pulsifer. New York: AMS Press, 1968.