Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Allen line: Thomas Starr 1565-1640 Immigrant

How hard can it be to write about the very first ancestor I ever heard about, back when I was a pre-teen or early teen-ager?  A family genealogist, unidentified, had researched the Starr family and an aunt gave us a copy of her discoveries as a Christmas gift.  (Although, now I wonder how much of it was her work and how much was a compilation; still, it was and is precious to us). 

But when I actually sat down to write about him, there is much less information than I expected to find, and some of it is contradictory, as is often the case.  His father was Thomas, his son was Thomas, and hehad grandsons named Thomas, so it's easy to see how facts could be a little confusing, and confused. 

Thomas Starr was born about 1565 in New Romney, Kent, England.  His father was Thomas Starr who served as mayor of New Romney for a short period of time, and it appears that his mother's name was Agnes.  Our Thomas was a mercer, a dealer in textile goods, generally silks, velvets, and fine materials.  He would have supplied the well-to-do of the towns of Cranbrook and Ashford, which are the two towns where most of his children were baptized.  It is likely that Thomas and his wife Susan or Susannah made the first move, from New Romeny to Cranbrook, because of economic reasons.  They may have moved a second time because they had become Puritans, and Ashford was a center for people with these beliefs.

Thomas and Susan gave names to their children that are on trivia games and lists of "amazing" names, but they surely didn't intend to give their children a fleeting moment of fame.  They were names chosen because they meant something to the family, even if we are a bit puzzled by some of them now.  Their children were Jehosaphet, Comfort, Nostrength, Moregift, William, Mercy, Suretrust, Standwell, Judith, Truth-Shall-Prevail, Joyfulle (also seen as Joyfoole), Constant, and Beloved.  I hope someone called them "Bub" or "Sis"!  It does give us a glimpse into the mindset of Thomas, though. 

His son Comfort, a surgeon, seems to have been the first of the family to make the trip to Massachusetts, in 1637, and his parents are believed to have come in 1637, although I've seen one guesstimate as 1633.  At any rate,  it was still early in the history of the colony.  Thomas would have been somewhere between 68 and 72 years of age, so perhaps he expected more of his family to come also, or maybe the religious pressures in England were just beginning to be more than he could deal with. 

We know little of his life in Boston except that he is believed to have died in Dorchester in late 1639 or early 1640.  His estate in New England was small, about 69 pounds, but he still owned lands and buildings in England which helped his family live more comfortably than some. 

We have two lines of descent from Thomas:

Thomas Starr-Agnes
Comfort Starr-Elizabeth Watts
Thomas Starr-Rachel Harris
Samuel Starr-Hannah Brewster
Thomas Starr-Mercy Morgan
Mary Starr-John Chester
Thomas Chester-Sarah Eldridge
Bathsheba Chester-Jonathan Havens
Betsy Havens-John Starr
John Havens Starr-Clarissa Falley
Harriet Starr-John Wilson Knott
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants

The second line is the same through Thomas Starr and Mary or Mercy Morgan.  Then it's
Thomas Starr-Jerusha Street
John Starr Mary Sharp
John Starr-Betsy Havens
and continues on from there.  So John and Betsy would have been distant cousins.