Friday, December 12, 2014

Allen line: Thomas Lamb, another immigrant ancestor

Thomas Lamb (Lambe) is another of our immigrant ancestors.  Although much is known about him, there are still some questions, because what would family history be without unanswered questions?  (One answer might be "finished!", but we are not anything close to being there yet.)

Thomas Lamb was born in Barnardiston, Suffolk, England in 1596 to Thomas and Elizabeth Aylett Lamb. He had two brothers, Edward and Samuel.  The next time we hear of our Thomas, he and his wife Elizabeth (possibly the widow Smith who married a Thomas Lambe in Shropshire, England in 1621, but that is still unproven) and at least two sons are in the Winthrop Fleet coming to the New World.  Thomas was a merchant, and also a Puritan, since he came in that fleet.

Thomas Lamb was one of the founders of Roxbury, receiving 18 acres of land there, between the Meeting House and the Stony River. His neighbors included John Johnson and Isaac Heath.  He took the oath of the general court on May 18, 1631 and became a freeman on October 19, 1631.  He was also one of the founders of the first church at Roxbury.

Thomas and Elizabeth had several children after arriving in Roxbury.  John and Thomas had come with them, and Samuel was born about a month after their arrival in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Their other children were Decline, Abiel, and Benjamin.  Elizabeth died during or just following the birth of Benjamin in 1639, and Thomas married Dorothy Harbittle soon after.  He needed a stepmother for all those children, and Dorothy appears to have been a good one. She also gave Thomas more children. 

It's unclear whether he acted as a merchant at Roxbury, but by 1633 he was opening the first quarry in New England, on the island of Squantom in Boston Harbor. There are additional reports about land acquisitions up until his death on March 28, 1646 of a "grate colde".  I would guess this was pneumonia.  His inventory at the time of his death was 112 pounds, 8 shillings, 8 pence, which didn't include the land he owned.  There was trouble with the estate, and it appears that there were still court proceedings in 1698, trying to prove who owned land that was contested between the Lamb descendents and those of Dorothy Harbittle's second husband, Thomas Hawley. 

I of course would like to know more about Thomas's life in England. How did he become a merchant, or was that designation given to him only in Massachusetts?  With his father dead when Thomas was just three years old, who cared for him and got him started in life?  Was it his mother's family, or a paternal uncle?  And when and how did he become a Puritan? 

Our line of descent is:

Thomas Lamb-Elizabeth
John Lamb-Joanna Chapin
Samuel Lamb-Rebecca Bird
Samuel Lamb-Martha Stebbins
Eunice Lamb-Martin Root
Martin Root Jr-Ruth Noble
Ruth Root-Samuel Falley
Clarissa Falley-John Havens Starr
Harriet Starr-John W Knott
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendents