Some of the Descendants of
of Marshfield, Plymouth Colony
Much of the information on this website concerning the Thomas Family can be found in the following source, which traces all descendants of William Thomas. It can be found in many genealogical libraries or borrowed through Inter-Library Loan:
Raymond, John Marshall. Thomas Families of Plymouth County, Massachusetts. Itasca, Ill.: Thomas Family Publications, Harlan Carter Thomas, pub., 1980.
WILLIAM1 THOMAS was born in Britain about 1573, based on his age at death. Perhaps he was born at Wiltshire, England, on 8 January 1573, the son of John Thomas, who was born abt 1547 in Wiltshire (AWT f1073). Little is known about his wife. Their only surviving child was born in 1606. She had died before her husband and son emmigrated to America.
The monument on William Thomas' grave calls him, "one of the founders of New Plymouth Colony." But he was not one of the early settlers. He was one of the "Adventurers"--today we would call him an entrepreneur. He was a London merchant, perhaps of Welsh origin, who with others funded Plymouth Colony, with a two-fold intent: (1) they wanted the Pilgrims' religious experiment to succeed; (2) they wanted a return on their investment.
The first record of William Thomas in America was dated 2 November 1636, when William and his son Nathaniel took over from John Winslow the indentured service of Edmund Weston (Thomas 271). William and Nathaniel probably arrived a short time before this. William's name appeared on a list of Freeman of Plymouth Colony compiled on 7 March 1637.
In 1641 William Thomas was living in Barnstable, Plymouth Colony, from which Town he was elected as delegate to the Colony's General Court (Thomas 271). However, he was recorded as one of the eleven founders of the Town of Marshfield (Thomas 271), and soon returned to that Town. William Thomas served the Colony as an "Assistant" from 1642 until his death, except for the year 1645. Plymouth Colony had a group of about a half dozen men elected annually as Governor's Assistants; they were the Governor's closest advisors, functioning something like a modern "Cabinet." In 1643 William Thomas served on the Colony's Council of War. On 27 February 1643/44 the Town Meeting of Marshfield elected him Moderator. Some claim that this was the first Town Meeting in New England to elect a Moderator.
William Thomas wrote his will on 9 July 1651. For the full text of William Thomas' will see below. He died at Marshfield on 4 August 1651, aged nearly 78. The inventory of his estate, taken on 26 September 1651, not including real estate, totalled £ 375-07-00. His will was presented to the Colony Court on 7 October (MD 10:162-64).
Nathaniel Morton, in New England Memorial described William Thomas as a man who,
served in the place of magestry, in the jurisdiction of Plymouth, diverse
years. He was a well approved and well grounded Christian, well read in the Holy Scriptures and other approved authors, and a good lover and approver of godly ministers and good Christians, and one that had a sincere desire to promote the common good both of church and state.
William Thomas had the following child:
- Capt. NATHANIEL2 THOMAS, Sr. b. at England in 1606
William Thomas' will
Mayflower Descendant 10:162-63
July the 9th 1651
I William Thomas of Marshfield in the Jurisdiction of New Plymouth, being weak in body but of sound mind and memory do make this my last will and testament in manner and form following:
first I commit and commend my soul into the hands of Almighty God trusting in the riches of his grace and mercy in Jesus Christ that he will receive it to himself whensoever he shall please to end my days here; and my body to be decently buried in the place appointed for that use believing the Resurrection thereof at the last Days to be united again to the soul and with it to enjoy eternal glory .
And for the disposal of my outward estate I do hereby give and bequeath unto my son Nathaniel and to the heirs of his body lawfully begotten the farm which I now live upon with all the appurtenances thereof; only first I do hereby reserve unto my daughter his now wife the third part thereof to be enjoyed by her; in case she shall survive him during the term of her natural life; and also I do hereby give and bequeath unto my grandchild Nathaniel Thomas the house commonly called the old house with the orchard thereto adjoining and the land fenced into the house as also all the meadow lying next to it which is within a creek which runneth to the sluice near the Eagles' nest and also where the sluice stands; And further I give him all the upland from the said house lying on the left hand of the way as we go to Duxburrow as far as my land reacheth; all which is to be enjoyed by him after the decease of his father; And for the goods and Chattels I do hereby give and bequeath two third parts of a trunk of fine linen unto my son Nathaniel and my daughter his wife; and the other third part my will is shall be divided between their three daughters, Mary, Elizabeth, and Dorothy, and reserved for them; only before it be thus divided into three parts the three tablecloths hereafter expressed shall be taken out, further I give unto my daughter a stitch of Taffeta gown and also a Chamlett gown and a fair red petticoat; further I give unto my grandchild Nathaniel an horse foal now sucking on the mare also to my grandchild Mary Thomas a featherbed a bolster and a pillow with two pillow biers, further I give to the Church of Marshfield a Diaper Tablecloth of nine feet long also I give unto James Pittney two bushels of wheat also I bequeath unto Mr. William Collier an heifer which he shall choose out of three which I now have; and to his wife a Diaper Tablecloth of nine feet in length; Also I bequeath to Edward Buckley a silver beer bowl and to his wife a Diaper Tablecloth of nine foot in length; further I give unto Edward Bumpase a bushel of wheat; and for all the rest of my goods and Chattels I do hereby give and bequeath them to my son Nathaniel whom I do hereby acknowledge the heir of my body lawfully begotten and also make and constitute the sole executor of this my last will and testament. Further I do hereby appoint the above named Mr. William Collier and Edward Buckley the overseers of this my said will and testament in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year above written.
William Thomas his mark and (seal)
Henry Drayton his mark
Information on this family can be found in the following:
Additional reference abbreviated above:
- Raymond, John Marshall. Thomas Families of Plymouth County, Massachusetts. Itasca, Ill.: Thomas Family Publications, Harlan Carter Thomas, pub., 1980. pp. 249,262,271. (Thomas)
- Davis, William T. Ancient Landmarks of Plymouth. Vol. 2: Genealogical Register of Plymouth Families. Boston: Damrell and Upham, 1899. p. 262.
- Savage, James. Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England. Boston, 1860. vol. 4, p. 282.
- Mayflower Descendant. Boston: Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants. vol. 10 pp. 162-64. (his will) (MD)
- Ancestry World Tree. http://www.ancestry.com/ancestry/search.asp
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