Friday, August 14, 2015

Holbrook line: Thomas Joslin, Immigrant 1591-1660/61

I love it when I find so much information about an ancestor that it's hard to fit it all into one blog post!  This is definitely a case of "pick and choose" what I can reasonably expect my family to read.

Thomas Joslin was born at Roxwell, County Essex, in England late in 1591, the son of Ralph Josselyn and Mary Bright (or possibly Dorothy unknown).  Roxwell is a small village and was likely never much larger than it was in 1872, when it had a population of 986.  There is a church there that has been in existence since the 14th century, where Thomas would have been baptized.  Ralph, the father, is called a yeoman, so he was a respectable farmer who owned at least some land.  Thomas had at least 10 brothers and sisters, some of which were likely half siblings, so it was a large family in what was probably a small home.

Sometime about 1615, Thomas married Rebecca Jude, and they raised their family for about 20 years in Dedham and later in Barham, county Suffolk, England.  In between, they may have lived in Ardleigh, Essex county, because two of their children were baptized there.  The last child was baptized in Barham, but we are missing baptismal locations for some of their other children.  The question is, did they move, or did they simply take some of their children to other (family) locations to be baptized in the "home church"?

We do know that in April of 1635, the family set sail on the ship Increase to come to Massachusetts.  They brought with them Rebecca, age 18, Dorothy, age 11, Nathaniel, age 8, Elizabeth, age 6, and Mary, age 1.  They also had a maidservant, Eliabeth Ward, who may or may not have been a relative.
The family first settled at Hingham, and by 1647 were well enough established that they were being given small parcels of land (one and one half acre of fresh meadow, and three acres of land in Hockly Field.  Thomas also purchased land from Stephen Lincoln, and by the time he was ready to sell it, it was described as "our houses, barns, homestalls, outhouses and dwelling house and barns, orchards and gardens, with the homelot", about three acres in all.  At the same time, he and son Nathaniel sold additional land to George Lane and Thomas Collier.

Thomas and Rebecca's children were Abraham, Rebecca, Mary, Dorothy, Nathaniel, Elizabeth, and Mary again (the first Mary died soon after her 1619 baptism, and Dorothy died as a young woman.)

According to "Account of the Joslin Family", he was admitted freeman at Hingham in 1636, and was largely interested in commerce, owning several vessels that sailed between England and the Colonies, and was also proprietor of land in the towns of Lancaster, Hingham, and Sudbury.  He was described as a man of commendable habits, generous disposition, and great business ability, and was respected by the citizens for his excellent personal character. He was a selectman for the town for several years, apparently.

In 1654 the Joslins sold their land and moved to Lancaster.  We aren't told why they moved, but it must have seemed a better opportunity.  By this time, Thomas would have been 63 years old, and perhaps he went because Nathaniel was moving, and he wanted to be with his son and grandchildren.  Lancaster of course was very much a frontier town, but during the time Thomas lived there relations with the native Americans seem to have been peaceful.  Still, a 63 year old man may have had a hard time building a new home, unless he was able to have it built.

Thomas's will was written May 9,1660 and proved March 29,1661. He left his estate to his wife Rebecca, and land or money to each of his children.  He left little to his son Abraham, so he may have already given him his share of the estate.  His housing and lands were valued at 30 pounds.
Rebecca later remarried and disposed of the land according to (Thomas's) will.

I've used material from "Great Migration, Volume 4, page 117, "English Origins of New England Families Volume I," and New England Historical and Genealogical Register Volume 158" in writing this post, as well as bits and pieces from Wikipedia.

The line of descent is:

Thomas Joslin-Rebecca Jude
Nathaniel Joslin-Sarah King
Nathaniel Joslin-Esther Morse
Israel Joslin-Sarah Cleveland
Sarah Joslin-Edward Fay
David Fay-Mercy or Mary Perrin
Euzebia (Luceba) Fay-Libbeus Stanard
Hiram Stanard-Susan Eddy
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendents

Fun fact:  There are genealogies that say that our Thomas can be traced back to Gilbert Josceline, who was a contemporary of William the Conqueror.  Others say it isn't so, so take it with a grain of salt.  The dates seem to work, and it's fun to think it might be so!