I'm writing about Thomas because he didn't live to come to New England, although I'm thinking he would have wanted to do so. There isn't much available about him but we do know the basics of his life. He was born 1567 in Hawkhurst, Kent, England. This is near the southeast coastline of England, and was known for smuggling activities in the 1700's. Hawkhurst even now is a small town with a population of 4400, so back then it was probably no more than a village.
Thomas was born to John Soole and Marie Whitfield, most probably. Records for this have apparently not been found, but it seems that every family history and genealogy state this as fact, and it certainly fits that these were his parents. If so, he may have had siblings Jane, Miles, Robert, James and Henry.
We don't know what Thomas did for a living, but we know a little about his family. He married Mary Iddenden (also seen as Indenden and even Ildenden,) daughter of John Iddenden and Christian Mercer, on October 15, 1598 The church would have been St. Laurence, which has been on the same site since about 1100. The church today looks much as it would have looked in the time of Thomas. Just think of how many baptisms, marriages, and deaths this church would have seen!
Thomas of course was living through the "Golden Age" of Queen Elizabeth I. She was the queen when he was born, and for the first 36 or so years of his life. But he was near the coast, so as a young man Thomas may very well have been involved in preparing to fight the army, or the navy, of the Spanish armada. This may partially explain why he was above the age of 30 when he married. People in his village may have been Catholic, in a time of great religious turmoil. I can see why people from Kent would have wanted to have come to the New World.
Thomas died sometime in or after 1614, and didn't get the chance to come to the New World. His daughter Sarah did, however. She had married Samuel Hinckley in 1617 in Hawkhurst, Kent, England and they arrived in 1635 on the ship "Hercules". They were accepted into local churches as members so they must have been Puritans. Was Thomas a Puritan also, one wonders?
Sarah's known siblings were Mary, Thomas, and Anne. Thomas and Mary may have had other children, because even if Thomas died in 1614, that is sixteen years of marriage, and four children would be a low number for that amount of time.
If Thomas left a will, it apparently hasn't been identified yet. I thought it was important to write this post, to remind us of the people "left behind" in England, due to age, infirmities, or lack of desire to come to the New World. The families just before the Pilgrims and the Great Migration went through a very trying time, too. That may have given their children the strength and desire to leave and make a home for themselves in the New World.
The line of descent is:
Thomas Soole-Mary Iddenden
Sarah Soole-Samuel Hinckley
Susannah Hinkley-John Smith
Samuel Smith-Elizabeth Pierce
Shubael Smith-Prudence Fitzrandolph
Mary Smith-Jonathan Dunham
Samuel Dunham-Hannah Ruble
Jacob Dunham-Catherine Goodnight
Samuel Dunham-Eliza Reese
Margaret Dunham-Harvey Aldridge
Cleo Aldridge-Wilbur Beeks
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger