Notes for JOHN VASSALL: [The Loyalist of Massachusetts] p285 John Vassall, the first member of this illustrious family of which anything is definitely known, was an alderman of London, and in 1588 fitted out and commanded two ships of war to oppose the Spanish Armada. He was descended from an ancient French family traced back to about the eleventh century of the house of Du Vassall, Barons de guerdon, in Querci, Perigord.
John Vassall had two sons, Samuel and William. Samuel was one of the original patentees of lands in Massachusetts in 1628. His monument in King's Chapel, Boston, erected by Florentinus Vassall, his great grandson, in 1766, sets forth that he was "a steady and undaunted asserter of the liberties of England in 1628, he was the first who boldly refused to submit to the tax of tonnage and poundage, an unconstitutional claim of the crown arbitrarily imposed for which to the ruin of his family, his goods were seized and his person imprisoned by the star chamber court, the Parliament in July, 1641, voted him œ10,445:12:2 for his damages, and resolved that he should be further considered for his personal sufferings."
His name headed the subscription list to raise money against the rebels in Ireland, and his whole life was indicative of the energy and liberality which characterized many of his descendants.
His son, WILLIAM VASSALL, born about 1590, was the first of his name who came to America. He was an assistant in the Massachusetts Bay Company and one of the original patentees of New England.