Another Allen line immigrant, another set of questions. Was he, or wasn't he, killed in an Indian massacre? Why would a man 57 years old come to the New World, anyway? Was it to give his children a chance at a better life? Was it so he could practice his religion? Was it for economic reasons?
We do know something of Thomas's life. He was born (or christened) May 8, 1578 in Wood Ditton, Cambridge, England, and is believed to be the son of John Kilbourne and Anne, of the same location. It appears that Anne would likely have been a second wife, or at least a much younger wife, so he may have lived in a blended family. Wood Ditton was a small village near Newmarket, but the small village had a long history going back to the Domesday records. For a village to survive that long, there must have been some natural resources such as water or metal (or woods?) nearby.
As far as we can tell, he was not a Puritan, at least not in 1632, when he is listed as a church warden in the Church of England. He may, of course, have held Puritan sympathies and merely kept them quiet until he could go to New England. He married Francis Moody, daughter of George Moody and Margaret Chenery, on September 5, 1604, at Moulton, Suffolk, England. The couple had 8 children, and the youngest would have been about 10 when they immigrated. Just five of the children sailed with them on the "Increase" in 1635. One is known to have stayed in England and the other two may have also stayed, or they may have died young. Thomas was listed as a husbandman (farmer) on the ship manifest.
Various records say that the ship disembarked at Boston, but yet we see that the first noted residence of the Kilbourne family was in Wethersfield, Ct. We don't know whether they transferred to another ship for this part of the voyage, or whether they made an overland trip. Either trip must have been difficult for a couple in their fifties, although their older children must certainly have been a help. At this time, the Kilbournes were Puritans, so either they changed religions between 1632 and 1635 (which is certainly possible), or the church warden duty had been something enforced by the Church of England, which is also possible.
In Wethersfield, Thomas was granted or purchased several tracts of land, but there is no record of him after 1637. This has led to the speculation that Thomas was one of the 7 unidentified victims of the Indian massacre of April 23, 1637, when 200 native Americans carried out an ambush against the settlers during what is known as the Pequot War. This appears to have been not just a native vs. white man conflict, as the Dutch were allies with some tribes and the English with others, but the original source of conflict was between the tribes, as to which would control the trade of furs desired by both the Dutch and the English. Of course, it was more complicated than that.
Regardless of the cause, Thomas Kilbourne was not heard from after that date. His widow, Frances, did not marry again and appears to have maintained her own household, probably with help from her family. When she died in 1650 or 1651 (will written November 13, 1650 and proved June 1, 1651), she had a good sized estate amounting to about 336 pounds, which someone has calculated at being about $30,000 today. This included several tracts of land which weren't designated in the will, so there must have been an arrangement about that. Francis's estate also included books valued at 2 pounds, so it is likely that Thomas could read, and possibly Francis also.
In writing about Thomas, I find myself greatly admiring his wife. She kept the family together for roughly 13 years between the apparent death of Thomas and her own death. Thomas must have taught her well.
The line of descent is:
Thomas Kilbourne-Francis Moody
Mary Kilbourne-John Root
John Root-Mary Ashley
John Root-Sarah Stebbins
Sarah Root-Thomas Noble
Stephen Noble-Ruth Church
Ruth Noble-Martin Root
Ruth Root-Samuel Falley
Clarissa Falley-John Havens Starr
Harried Starr-John Wilson Knott
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook