of Charlestown, Massachuetts
The home of the Blanchards in England has been variously described as Penton, county Hampshire, England; near Andover, county Hampshire; and Clatford, county Southampton (2 miles south of Andover). All these descriptions point to the same area in the south of England.
Thomas' brother Joseph came to America first, probably shortly before his death, recorded in Boston in December, 1637. Joseph's wife, Ann, lived in Salem, and her death on 24 June 1662 was recorded at both Chelmsford and Woburn (GR 93:162)
Thomas Blanchard married three times. The identity of his first wife is not known, but she was mother of his surviving children, whose estimated birth dates range from 1622 (or between 1616 and 1618) to 1636.
Widower Thomas Blanchard married widow AGNES BENT Barnes at Salisbury, county Wiltshire, England, on 15 May 1637 (GR 68:107). On the marriage license he was called yeoman, widower, of Clatford, county Southampton; she of St. Edmund's, Sarum, widow.
Agnes Bent was baptized at Wayhill, county Southampton, England, on 16 July 1602 (GR 49:66). Her parents were ROBERT BENT and his wife AGNES GOSLING. Thomas Blanchard's mother-in-law Agnes (Gosling) Bent accompanied them on their journey to America.
Agnes (Bent) (Barnes) Blanchard's father, Robert Bent, was baptized at Wayhill on 29 September 1566 (GR 49:66). He and Agnes were married there on 13 October 1589 (GR 49:66). He was buried thereon 29 July 1631 (GR 49:66). His will, presented to Court on 30 August 1631 (GR 49:67), identified all his living children. The inventory of his estate totaled £ 107.1.2. (GR 49:67)
Robert and Agnes "Ann" Bent had the following children in England:
The journey on the Jonathan did not go well. Thomas Blanchard's mother-in-law was ill and confined to her cabin the whole trip. Her granddaughter, Elizabeth Plimpton, who was supposed to be her maid, was described as "a big girl" who "did little or nothing." Thomas became his mother-in-law's nurse, tending to her needs night and day. Meanwhile, his wife gave birth to their child, and died in childbirth. The passengers on board the Jonathan conducted a "gathering"--a collection of funds--to pay for a nurse for the newborn baby. However, the baby soon died. Before the ship could land, Thomas' mother-in-law also died. Thomas Blanchard's first task in this new land was to make provision for the decent burial of his loved ones. The Jonathan landed in Boston on 23 June 1639 (GR 60:373), with Thomas Blanchard, his four sons, his step-son, and his step-neice still among the living.
We know as much as we do about Thomas Blanchard's journey to America because his step-son, Richard Barnes successfully sued him in 1652 for £ 20, which he argued was due him from his mother's estate. Blanchard won a review and reversal of the decision the following year. The extensive court record (see below) provides many details of the journey and the family dealings.
Thomas Blanchard lived for a while at Braintree, and then moved to Charlestown. At some point between his arrival in America and his death he married for the third time. His third wife, who became his widow, was MARY SHRIMPTON.
Thomas Blanchard died at Charlestown on 21 May 1654 (GR 17:157). On 16 May he had spoken his last will and testament to his friends. They wrote it down and he marked it with his "X." Through his will we can see briefly into the mind of a man occupied with the concerns of an active dairy farm. For the full text of Thomas Blancher's will, see below. The inventory, taken 25 May 1654, revealed an estate of £ 562.09.08 (GR 17:157). The will was proved on 20 June 1654.
Thomas Blanchard's widow was still living on 17 July 1666, when her brother, Hnery Shrimpton, remembered in his will, "Sister Blanchett, widow, £ 5." (GR 15:78)
Thomas Blanchard and his first wife had the following children:
At a County Court held at Cambridge the 6th of the 2d mo: 1652:
Richard Barnes Plaintive against Thomas Blanchard Defendant for withholding a debt of Twenty pounds given him by his mother whiles she was a widow. The jury found for the plaintive, damages twenty pounds and costs of court thirty shillings.
Thomas Blancher testifieth that Agnes Bent made her will and gave her estate to Richard Barnes and Elizabeth Plimpton and to pay five pounds to Elizabeth Plimpton and twenty pounds to Richard Barnes and gave ten pounds to John Bent and five pounds to Thomas Plimpton. the Rest to be divided between Richard Barnes and Elizabeth Plimpton. Deposed before me, INCREASE NOWELL. [Dated Nov 1, 1648, see GR 3:267]
I, John Rutter being of age 37 years or there about doe testify to this honored Court that Goodman Blanchard told me that he had twenty pounds of Richard Barns in his hand the which twenty pounds his wife did desire him to pay to her son Richard Barnes when he should be of age. Sworn in Court 5 (8) 1652.
William Marble and Elizabeth his wife aged 40 years a piece or there abouts do jointly and severally depose and say--That about a year since the said William asking what estate Richard Barnes had in his father Thomas Blanchard's hands the said Barnes answering he had none at all, but the estate that his mother and grandmother gave him was in his uncle's [John Bent] hands at Sudbury.
Thomas Eames of Medford aged 34 years or there abouts deposeth and saith That about the latter end of the month of October (51) as near as this deponent remembereth This Deponent and Richard Barnes were discoursing about some wood, and fell into some speeches about Thirty pounds which the said Barnes said he had of his uncle Bent or might have it when he would, but he said he made account to have Twenty pounds more the next Court, and this Deponent asked of whom he should have it, and Barnes answered that he should have it of his uncle Bent, and this Deponent asked him how he would come to have it, for this Deponent thought that that Thirty pounds was all that had belonged to him. And the said Barnes answered again and said That it was twenty pounds that his mother gave him, and this Deponent asked him how he could prove it and what evidence he had for it. And the said Barnes answered again That his father in law Thomas Blanchard had the bonds for it and would help him to get it.
[Extracts from] "Reasons of Thomas Blanchard for the Review of this Action."
Upon marriage of Thomas Blanchard with Agnes the mother of Richard Barnes the said Agnes having 30 £ estate gave 20 £ thereof to the said Richard her son and ten pounds to the said Thomas her husband.
This 20 £ was given to Richard Barnes by his mother before her marriage, and was put into the hands of John Bent her brother. John Bent upon his coming to New England put it into the hand of Mr. Peter Noyes. Mr. Peter Noyes being asked why he would take Richard Barnes his 20 £ with him to New England and leave the said Barnes in old England, Mr. Noyes said he would clear his hand of it and came the Tuesday following to John Bent's house, where also his mother dwelt, and laid down the money on the table in the presence of widow Bent, her son John Bent and his wife, and Thomas Blanchard; and then the said Widow Bent said that she would receive it, so Mr. Noyes and Thomas Blanchard went away for that time.
A little after Mr. Noyes received of Widow Bent 80 £ for land or . . . out of land, 20 £ of which was Richard Barnes' and so came for New England. About a year after Mr. Noyes returned to England and enjoyed his land again and became debtor to widow Bent for the 80 £. A little after Mr. Noyes, widow Bent and others came for New England and Mr. Noyes had the moneys viz the 80 £ still in his hand and since hath given account of it and hath paid it. It seems Mr. Noyes paid this money to widow Bent her executors viz to John Bent for Richard Barnes and to Elizabeth Plympton executors. . . .
When Agnes was near death in the ship she desired her husband Thomas Blanchard that when he came to New England, that he would endeavor that her children might have their own or their due, she knowing that it was in Mr. Noyes his hands for her son Barnes; her young child dyed shortly after in the ship. And her husband Thomas Blanchard promised that he would, and hath since endeavored it for her son Richard Barnes as appears, &c.
I Peter Noyes doe testify that I paid five pounds out of the estate of Agnes Bent by her order for the passage of Thomas Blanchard, wife, and also I lent Thomas Blanchard twenty shillings after I arrived at Boston by appointment of Elizabeth Plympton the now wife of John Rutter.
The testimony of John Bent is that he placed his mother and her 2 grandchildren before he came out of England; that she had sufficient in her own hand to discharge for her expenses and that she came over to New England within less then one year after I came over.
Samuel Hides aged 42 years or there abouts deposeth and saith
That about thirteen years since this Deponent came over into New England in a ship with Thomas Blanchard and saith that there was an old woman lay in a cabin in the ship which this deponent doth not remember that she came forth all the time that she was at sea until she was brought forth to be buried, and saith there was a big girl there but this deponent did not see her do anything about the old woman or if she did it was very little. But this deponent doth well remember that he saw the said Thomas Blanchard do much about her and had light about her very much on nights until she dyed.
Thomas Gould aged 45 years or there abouts deposeth and saith. That about thirteen years since this Deponent coming over in a ship with Thomas Blanchard here into New England this deponent saw none nor knew none that had care of an old woman which this deponent apprehended to be the said Blanchard's mother in law, but the said Blanchard; there was a maid of some stature but this deponent perceived that she did little or nothing in cooking to the said old woman yet this deponent's cabin was over against them, neither did this deponent see her up on nights about her but this deponent well remembers that he saw the said Thomas Blanchard take much pains about the old woman as of his own family.
Frances the wife of Goodman Cooke of Charlestown aged 44 years or there abouts deposeth and saith.
That she this deponent came to New England in the same ship with Thomas Blanchard in the year 1639 and lying in the next cabin to him and his wife's mother saith that the said Thomas Blanchard did wholly take care and pains with his wife's mother all the way over (except some little help some time of a weak girl who was a kinswoman of hers) and the old woman what with her age and what with her sickness, for she was sick all the way his trouble and pains with her was such that it was unseemly for a man to do, but there was no other save that little helpless girl his kinswoman, and continued his care and pains with her all the way from London to Nantasket and endured very much with her until the ship came to Nantasket and anchored there and this deponent came away before she was dead.
At a County Court held at Charlestown 21 (4) 1653 Blanchard vs Barnes in an
action of Review--The 5th of October 1652.
I John Bent do testify that when my brother in law Barns was dead my father advised my sister to sell her right in some lands that came by her husband Barnes which she sold and it came to fourteen pounds and thereupon my father made it up twenty pounds upon this condition that she should reserve it for a portion for the boy and she consented thereunto. And further before Thomas Blanchard married my sister she told him of the twenty pounds which she had reserved for the boy and told him that she would not marry with him unless he would consent unto it and promise that the boy should have it when he came of age, to which Thomas Blanchard consented and promised that the boy should have twenty pounds when he came of age.
I John Groute do further testify to this Honored Court that I did hear Thomas Blanchert affirm in the Court at Boston that ye 20 £ given to Richard Barnes by his mother was in his hands and that did deliver it Mr. Peter Noyes on such a table in his house at Penton. This also I John Rutter do testify, further at another time he did say to me and to John Rutter that he had a writing under Mr Noyes his hands to show for it, and that he would go to Braintree and fetch it for me, but the next day when he came to us he told us that he did loose it by the way.
I William Marble Aged about 36 years testify that at the Court at Cambridge I heard Thomas Blanchard say "Brother Bent did not these eyes of mine and those eyes of yours see Mr. Noyes bring in Richard Barnes' 20 £ his mother gave him and lay it down upon a table in your house;" at which John Bent stood silent a little while and then replied, "Brother you are deceived," and after another little pause said, "it was in my mother's house."
|Received in payment for the freight of goods for John Waterman:||02||10||0|
|4 hds freight||03||00||0|
|3 packs 3 barrels||01||10||0|
|Received this 12th of April 1639 of Mr Peter Noyes the sum of fifty pounds for his one and family's passage to New England||50||00||0|
|Received more for freight of goods||08||10||0|
|Received more for meal and 4 ferkins of Butter and 2 cases of Liquors||17||18||0|
The testimony of us Inhabitants now of Newbury whose names are here under
written, who about thirteen years past came over in a ship called the Jonathan of London with Thomas Blanchard now of Charlestown, at which time his wife died in the ship. He was conceived to be very poor and in great necessity by reason of his wife's and his children's sickness, that the passengers made a gathering for him in the ship to help to put his child to nurse; his wife's mother also being sick all the while we were at sea and we knew no other man that looked to her but Thomas Blanchard, but there was a maid which was her niece tended her _____ _____ further I Anthony Somerby testify that about the time the ship came to Anchor in Boston Harbor the woman his mother in law died, And Thomas Blanchard procured to carry her to shore to be buried, I know no other man that was about it but he.
Further Nicholas Noyes testifies that old Goody Bent came up from Andover to London in a wagon with the carriers, And Thomas Blanchard took care of her and her goods from Andover to the ship and she was with Thomas Blanchard's family about a month in London, and that there was a gathering among Christians in England to help him over.
taken upon oath in the court held at Ipswich this 28th of (7) 1652
[From the Essex County Court Files].
I, Thomas Blanchard, of Charlestown, being weak in body, but through mercy in sound memory, do make this my last will and testament. Unto my wife, Mary Blanchard, and my son, Nathaniel, the use of the new end of my dwelling house, and the dairy house during the life of my wife; also, unto my wife, eight cows, whereof three or four are called and known by the name of her cows, also I give unto my wife, free summer feed and winter store or food for the said eight cows, or so many other cows to be kept and provided for, by my Executors in all respects in matter of food among their own cows. I give unto my wife, fifty bushels of corn a year, during her life, to be paid by my Executors yearly, at of before the first of the 2d month, in wheat, rye, peas, barley, and Indian, in equal proportions; also, I give my wife one of the beds I now lie on, with all things appertaining there unto, as also one third part of all other my household stuff (excepting the bedding) to be set out, or apportioned by my overseers. I give my wife, my old mare, the aforesaid cows, household stuff and mare to be her and her heirs forever. I do dispose and betrust Benjamin Tompson, unto and with my wife to provide for, and bring up in learning (at her own pleasure) so as to fit him for the University, in case his parents please to leave him with her, and she live to that time. I give unto my son, Samuel, besides all former
gifts now in his hands, the sum of four score pounds, whereof thirty pounds to be paid in cattle, upon valuation of my overseers, at or before the first of the 9th month next after my decease, and ten pounds in corn, at or before the first of the second month following, and ten pounds a year, in cattle or corn, at or before the first of the tenth month, for the space of four years following. I give unto my sons George and Nathaniel, all my farm, housing and appurtenances after my decease, unto them and their heirs forever, excepting as before expressed, to the use of my wife. I give unto my grandchild Joseph Blanchard, my two teat heifer, to be kept for his use by my son George, hos father. I give unto my Reverend and well beloved friend Mr. Mathews, one cow, and to the church of Malden one cow, and to Jno. Barrit 40s. I give unto my son Nathaniel, my colt to run with the dame until the first of the 10th month next; also, I give unto Nathaniel, my six working oxen, but Buck and Spark to be none of the six, and to George, my horse. All other my estate of what kind soever not before disposed of, I give unto my sons George and Nathaniel (my debts and funeral charges first discounted) who I do make joint executors unto this my last will and testament. I appoint my well beloved friends, Mr. Edward Collins, and Mr.
Joseph Hills my overseers, to whom as a remembrance of my love, I give 10s a
piece, beside what my Executors shall allow for their pains on their ccasions; whom also I do appoint and empower to apportion the land and estate hereby disposed of as need shall be, and to settle all other things that may be of doubtful understanding, as to them shall seem just, and equal, for the establishment and preservation of peace, love and unity among all my relations.
The mark of THOMAS X BLANCHARD & seal
In the presence of
William Sargent, the mark of Jno. Barrett, Joseph Hills
Memr: that we, Edward Collins and Joseph Hills, who took in brief notes from
Thomas Blanchard's mouth the particulars expressed in this will, did understand the reservation of his wife's dwelling in the house, and provision for eight cows to be during the time of her widowhood and not otherwise: witness our hands this 22 3d month, 1654.
Information on this family can be found in the following sources:
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