Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Allen line: Thomas Gunn 1605-1681

First, there is a wonderful website with pages and pages of interestingly written information about our immigrant Thomas Gunn.  It is at thomasgunnfamily.com/1st-generation/ and I urge my readers  to read as much of that as they are willing to do.  Not only does it give a lot of information about Thomas's life, but it also tells some compelling stories and gives a good background for many of our ancestors, not only Thomas Gunn.  Compared to that narrative, this is a very condensed version.

It's believed that Thomas was born in 1605, possibly around the area of Dorset, England, but so far records have not turned up to document that.  The 1605 date is given because John Winthrop Jr. treated Thomas in 1666 and said he was then a man of about 61 years of age.  If Dorset was indeed the place of his birth, the most likely industries that he would have been involved in as a young man were either maritime, or sheep farming.  Neither one showed much promise at the time economically, and Thomas may also have been a Puritan when he sailed for America.

It's not known for sure when Thomas came to America but "Great Migrations" gives him an immigration date of 1634.  The Thomas Gunn site mentioned above says he came in 1629.  At any rate, he would have been a young or youngish man when he came.  He settled in Dorchester, part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and was made a freeman there in 1635, meaning he was at least 21, of proper religious beliefs, and had property worth 20 pounds.  He may not have been completely happy, because he soon joined Rev. Thomas Hooker's group and went to Connecticut in 1636, where he is recognized as one of the first founders of Windsor.  He may have married before making the trek to Windsor, and his wife's name may have been Elizabeth.  It has been suggested that her last name was Browne, but that seems to not have been proven yet. 

Thomas and his wife had four or perhaps five children in Windsor.  One or perhaps two daughters named Elizabeth died young.  John, Mehitable, and Deborah survived into adulthood.  Thomas was a respected man in Windsor as he raised his family.  He frequently served on the petit jury, and was also several times either a defendant or a plaintiff in court cases.  He moved on to Westfield, Massachusetts before 1669, and again helped establish a town in a wilderness. 

Westfield was extremely fortunate during King Philip's War in 1675-1676 to have escaped a direct attack by the natives.  Westfield had been told to send their women and children to Springfield for safety, and the town refused, deciding instead to stay, plant their crops, and keep vigilant watch. 
Thomas would have been one of the soldiers at the town, as he did not ask until 1678 to be relieved of his militia duties due to his infirmities.  He would have been 73 years old at the time, so we can infer that up to this time he had been healthy enough to satisfy his military obligations.

Thomas died at Westfield February 26, 1680/81.  His wife had died in 1678.  The estate was left to his son John with 5 shillings given to daughter Deborah.  (Her husband, Timothy Thrall, had been given several parcels of land earlier).  Daughter Mehitable received 20 pounds, with each of her four children receiving 5 pounds, and the balance went to son John.  The estate was valued at 349 pounds, of which 254 pounds was the house and several parcels of land.  Thomas had done well for himself.

I was unable to locate an occupation for Thomas, but we know that he farmed.  If he had other interests or business ventures I have been unable to find them.  He was another ancestor who worked hard, raised his family well, and helped build America, by helping to found two towns that still exist today.   

The line of descent is:

Thomas Gunn-possibly Elizabeth
John Gunn-Mary Williams
Mary Gunn-Samuel Root
Martin Root-Eunice Lamb
Martin Root Jr.-Ruth Noble
Ruth Root-Samuel Falley
Clarissa Falley-John Havens Starr
Harriet Starr-John Wilson Knott
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Their descendants