Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Allen line: Thomas Graves, Immigrant 1585-1662

I've written earlier about John Graves, who was the son of Thomas.  I didn't write about Thomas at the time because the information about his father appeared to me to be mixed up with that of at least one and possibly two other Thomas Graves, and I didn't want to get them confused.  Some of what I write here may possibly still be wrong, but it seems that our Thomas has been more clearly identified and he is certainly an interesting person. 

Thomas Graves was born (or christened) October 19, 1585 at Gravesend, Kent, England.  I have seen his parents listed as Thomas Graves and Sarah Malter, but have not located documentation for that so an this point I'm considering that his parents are unknown.  Gravesend was an interesting town as Thomas was growing up.  It was on an estuary of the Thames River, so was closely connected with the sea.  Gravesend had a long history, including a chantry built in 1384 that is still standing, and a Tudor fort built in 1543.  It was a bustling town. 

Thomas was an educated man, although his name is not found at either Cambridge or Oxford.  It's possible that he was an apprentice to someone who shared his own knowledge with Thomas, or perhaps he attended some other school, perhaps even on the Continent.  At any rate, he acquired the knowledge to become an engineer, and in 1629 he signed a contract with the Massachusetts Bay Company in which he represented himself as skilled in the discovery of mines, in fortifications of all sorts, in surveying, and in various other similar occupations.  He and his wife, five children, and two unnamed servants sailed to Salem, Massachusetts in 1629, on the ship "George Bonaventure."  He had married Sarah Whiting in England, and their five children were all 16 or older when they came to America as a family. 

He apparently held some offices of note in Massachusetts Bay Colony, and became a freeman in 1631.  It's not known when he and the family went to Hartford, Connecticut but they were there in 1645, and stayed for about 16 years.  He was granted at least three pieces of property there, and of course had a dwelling.  Perhaps for religious reasons, and perhaps because his skills were needed there, the family except for son Nathaniel emigrated to Hatfield, Massachusetts in 1661,  By this time, Thomas and Sarah may have been living with son Isaac, or perhaps they were just there until a home could be built for them. 

Thomas died in Hadley on or just before November 1, 1662 (burial date) and Sarah died about four years later.  Apparently there are estate papers but I've not been able to locate them-yet.  He was approximately 76 years old, and had been in America since his middle age.  I honor especially those ancestors who were willing to start over in a strange land, and then again in a new settlement, when they could have stayed in England and lived their lives.  It took courage and vision, and those are reasons enough to give Thomas honor.

The line of descent is:

Thomas Graves-Sarah Whiting
John Graves-Mary Smith
Mary Graves-Edward Stebbins
Sarah Stebbins-John Root
Sarah Roote-Thomas Noble
Stephen Notble-Ruth Church
Ruth Noble-Martin Root
Ruth Root Samuel Falley
Clarissa Falley-John Havens Starr
Harriet Starr-John Wilson Knott
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants