Monday, October 8, 2012

Thomas Blanchard of Goodworth Clatford and The Massachusetts Bay Colony *

[edited 19 March 2017]
Who was Thomas Blanchard, immigrant to Massachusetts?  Was he the son of a Huguenot refugee Pierre Jean who fled France and changed the course of English  history or was he of good old English stock?  It is doubtful that his father was the heroic Pierre.  This seems to be a fanciful story  and I can find no documentation to back up this supposed genealogy. Other serious Blanchard researchers have the same thing to say about old Pierre, so I think it's safe to put him in the junky genealogy pile. So I will start with what little is known about Thomas Blanchard and his English origins.

english origins
A search for Blanchards in Hampshire County, England shows records for people of this surname prior to the 1550s. This does not mean that there weren't Blanchards there before this, just one of the first records I can find using Find My Past. In 1549 a John Blanchard was buried in Goodworth Clatford. A Robert Blanchard was having children in Goodworth in 1550. Multiple other Blanchard marriages and deaths were recorded in Goodworth Clatford. [1] One Thomas Blanchard married Edith Smith on 4 Feb 1551 in Micheldever, Hampshire, some 13 miles from Goodworth Clatford.[2] Another Thomas Blanchard married an Alice Altane on 26 June 1578 in Ringwood, Hampshire.[3] Ringwood is only 30 miles from Goodworth. Clearly there were Blanchard families all over Hampshire, there is no need to look to France his ancestry when clearly his ancestors were English. 

Thomas was almost certainly born in England c. 1590, probably very near the village he lived in as an adult, Goodworth Clatford, which  is a small village about 2 miles south of the town of Andover in Hampshire County in the South of England. During his life Thomas would marry three times. There is no known record of his first marriage but we know her first name was Elizabeth, this is found in the baptismal records of some of their children. [4] Thomas and Elizabeth were married by 1620, based on the age of their first child whose baptism was recorded in the Goodworth Clatford parish register.  They would have seven children before her death and burial on 23 July 1636.[5] 

With small children all under the age of 16, the youngest child only two years of age, Thomas did as most widowers of that time and remarried ASAP.  On May 15, 1637 he posted the bonds of marriage to the widow Ann (Agnes) Barnes in St. Edmund's Salisbury, Wiltshire. Their marriage was recorded as:

Thomas Blanchard of Clatford, Co. South, yeoman, widower and Ann Barnes of St. Edmund's, Sarum, wid. Witnessed by Henry Byley of Sarum, tanner. [6]


St. Peter's Goodworth Clatford
Together they had one child a daughter, Agnes, baptized on 8 April 1638. [7] Thomas would have been around 52 years of age and Agnes his wife about 35.  So what or who would convince a man, who realistically was on the back half of his life, to leave everything he knew to start from scratch in a new country. That who was most likely Peter Noyes.

coming to america
Peter Noyes was a well to do farmer from the village of Weyhill, just to the northwest of Andover. Thomas' wife Agnes was originally from Penton Grafton, near Weyhill.  She was the daughter of Robert and Agnes (Gosling) Bent, and was baptized on 16 July 1602. Agnes had married Richard Barnes in Penton Grafton on 11 April 1630 and the couple had had two children, Richard and Elizabeth, before Richard, Sr. death.[8]  Agnes was living in the parish of St. Edmund's in Salisbury when she married Thomas in 1637.

Peter Noyes had decided by 1638 to check out the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He wasn't leaving for economic reasons and it doesn't seem as if he was leaving for religious reasons either, but in any case he sailed for America on the "Confidence" with his children Thomas and Robert and Margaret Davis, servants, John Rutter, servant, John Bent (Agnes Bent Barnes Blanchard's brother) and 80 pounds of their mother's money.  Apparently he liked what he found because a year later he was back in England and organizing the exodus of the Bent/Blanchardfamilies. [9]

The group traveled together to London and sailed on the "Jonathan" arriving on 23 June 1639. On board was: Agnes Bent, Thomas and Agnes Blanchard and their children including Richard Bent and Samuel Blanchard, Agnes' niece Jane Plimpton, and unnamed children and possibly servants.
Penton Grafton and Weyhill

To say that it is was not a good journey is a gross understatement. Fifteen days into the crossing Agnes Blanchard died, sometime later her "infant" died.  This could possibly have been little Agnes born in 1638. Thomas nursed his ailing mother in law the entire journey only to see her died as they pulled into the harbor at Boston. He carried her body onto land for burial. [10]

where is thomas
Peter Noyes, John Bent and John's nephew, the now orphaned Richard Barnes, returned to Sudbury. Peter would have a very successful life, playing a prominent role in the development and running of the town. For whatever reason Thomas did not follow them and struck out on his own.  He is rather hard to pin down and does not appear in very many of the colonial records. In 1642 his name is in the probate record of one George Brown, he helped to inventory his estate. Would it be safe to assume that he lived in Newbury at that time?  Other suggest he was in Braintree from 1540 until 1650, but it is a long way to travel, over 49 miles, from Braintree to Newbury to inventory an estate. And I do not think they would ask a stranger to come inventory an estate. [11]

remarriage
Thomas remarried at some point, his third wife's name was Mary and very little is known about her. [12] Based on an item in the will of Henry Shrimpton of Boston, proved in 1666, who left his sister the "widow Blanchette" some money, and that in the probate of his will Thomas owed a debt to "Mr. Shrimpton", it is speculated that his third wife was Mary Shrimpton, sister of Henry. [13] Others say she was Mary Maverick. The first settler on Noodle Island was a man named Samuel Maverick. He was an Episcopalian and a royalist, but  he was there prior to the 1630 arrival of the Winthrop fleet, so the new colony tolerated his presence for a while.  He eventually left around 1645 and eventually died in New Amsterdam.  Thomas Blanchard's wife is said to have been of "Noodle's Island".  So this is probably where the connection was made. In the end we don't know what her surname was. [14]

Thomas is known to have been in Braintree which was first incorporated on May 14, 1640. In the book of Braintree town records, Thomas witnessed the sale of a house by Henry Flint and Dr. John Morley in 1648. This is the only entry for Thomas Blanchard in the Braintree records, if he bought, owned or sold land there it was not recorded. [15] 

click on map and find Wellington Point
On Feb. 12, 1650-51 the Reverend John Wilson sold to Thomas a 200 acre farm that at that time was in Charlestown, but is now in an the town of Medford in an area once known as Wellington Point. The land was along the Mystic River. Thomas and Mary lived on this farm until his death in 1654. Thomas was about 65 at his death, it is not known what became of Mary. [16]

going to court
Much of what is known about Thomas and especially the events that occurred on the "Jonathan" is the result of court cases concerning the inheritance of Richard Barnes, the son of Agnes Bent Barnes, Thomas' second wife. On April 4, 1646 Thomas Blancher(d) petitioned the Governor and his Assistants in Boston concerning his stepson Richard. The petition stated that Ann Barnes of Way-hill in Hampshire gave to her son Richard Barnes 20 pounds sterling and that his grandmother Agnes Bent gave him 16 pounds sterling. The said sums were committed to John Bent (his uncle) with whom said Richard hath been maintained hitherto since his coming into New England which is about seven years. Thomas Blancher(d) having received said Richard Barnes as his apprentice withall undertaking, the Guardianship of said Richard during his nonage desires said John Bent to give his security to said Barnes for the delivery to him of the said sums of money at his age of 21.  Signed by Thomas Blanchard and John Bent. [17]

Thomas testified in court on 7-9-1648 concerning the will of his second wife, Agnes Bent Barnes.  Agnes gave her estate to her son Richard Barnes and her niece Elizabeth Plimpton.  Richard was to get 20 pounds, Elizabeth 5, and her brother John Bent was to receive 10 pound and Thomas Plimpton five. Whatever was left was to be divided between Richard and Elizabeth. This was sworn in front of Increase Nowell and witnessed by Peter Noyes.

On 6 Feb 1652 Richard, now aged 21, took Thomas to court to recover his 20 pounds. Many folks testified about the death of Agnes' first husband, how she came by the 20 pounds, about the voyage, etc. these included fellow passengers, John Bent, Peter Noyes, and Elizabeth Plimpton. This court case reveals most of the details known about the death of Agnes and her mother and the events that took place on board the Jonathan. The jury found for Richard.

Thomas' children were:
George b. 1620 d. 18 March 1700 in Malden
Thomas Jr. bp. 12 Oct. 1623 d. Feb 1651 in Charlestown [18]
Mary bap. 15 Jan 1626 at Goodworth Clatford no further mention
Steven bap. 22 June 1628 no further mention
Samuel b. 30 August 1629 d. 1707 Malden (ancestor) [19]
Nathaniel b. 1632 d. 1676 lived in Braintree and Weymouth [20]
David bap. 2 Feb 1633/4 no further mention [21]

RIP
Thomas only lived on his Charlestown farm for a short three years. He was by then in his sixties. He wrote his will in 1654. Both his widow Mary and his son Nathaniel would live in the house. Mary was to have eight cows and that were to be fed and cared for. He made provisions for her food, stating that she was to recieve 50 bushels of corn per annum. He made bequeaths to his sons George and Samuel and his grandson Joseph. He died the 21st of June 1654. Mary's fate is unknown. 

My Blanchard line with links:
Thomas Blanchard of Goodwith Clatford
Samuel Blanchard and Mary Sweetser
Jonathan Blanchard and Anne Lovejoy
Benjamin Blanchard and Mary Abbott
Benjamin Blanchard and Keziah Hastings
Jonathan Blanchard and Hannah Chadwick
James Blanchard and Phebe Carter
Chloe Blanchard and Samuel Thornton

Sources:
[1] "Hampshire Burials," index, Find My Past (findmypast.com : accessed 19 March 2017) general search for Blanchard.

[2]"England Marriages 1538-1973," index, Find My Past (findmypast.com : accessed 19 March 2017) seach for Thomas Blanchard. (marriage of Thomas Blanchard and Edith Smith)

[3] "England Marriages 1538-1973," index, Find My Past (findmypast.com : accessed 19 March 2017) seach for Thomas Blanchard. (marriage of Thomas Blanchard and Alice Altane)

[4] "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JQX6-18V : 6 December 2014), Thomas Blanchard in entry for Nathaniell Blanchard, 22 Jul 1631; citing GOODWORTH CLATFORD,HAMPSHIRE,ENGLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 1,041,258, 918,606.

[5] "Hampshire Burials," index, Find My Past (findmypast.com: accessed 19 March 2017) search for Elizabeth Blanchard.

[6] "Sarum Marriage License Bonds," index, Find My Past (findmypast.com : accessed 19 March 2017) search for Thomas Blanchard.

[7] "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NKNK-QBX : 30 December 2014), Agnes Blanchard, 08 Apr 1638; citing GOODWORTH CLATFORD,HAMPSHIRE,ENGLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 1,041,258, 918,606.

[8]"Parish Records St. Michaels Weyhill," index, Freereg (freereg.org.uk : accessed 19 March 2017) search for Agnes Bent.

[9] Sumner Chilton Powell, Puritan Village, The Formation of a New England Town, (Middleton, Connecticut : Wesleyn University Press, 1963) 3-20.

[10] "Passengers and Vessels  to America," The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. 32 (October 1878) 407-411, digital images, American Ancestors (http:www.americanancestors.org : accessed 20 March 2017).

[11] Probate Records of Essex, Mass Vol. 1, 1635-1681, (Salem : The Essex Institute, 1916) 23.

[12] "Abstracts of Early Wills," The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. 17 (April 1863) 156-157, digital images, American Ancestors (https:www.americanancestors.org : accessed 21 March 2017). Thomas Blanchard of Charlestown named his wife Mary in his will.

[13] "Abstracts of Early Wills," The Register, 157.

[14] Judy Jacobsen, Massachusetts Bay Connections, (Baltimore : Genealogical Publishing Company, 1992) 83.

[15] Samuel Austin Bates, Records of the Town of Braintree, Massachusetts 1640-1793, (Randolph, Massachusetts : Daniel H. Huxford, Printer, 1886) 3.

[16] Thomas Bellows Wyman, The genealogies and estates of Charlestown : in the county of Middlesex and commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1629-1818, vol. 1, (Boston : D. Clapp, 1879) 88.

[17] "Our Retrospective Review," The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol 9 (October 1855) 371, digital images, American Ancestors (http:www.americanancestors.org : accessed 20 March 2017). brief article on Barnes.
"Passengers and Vessels  to America," The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. 32 (October 1878) 407-411, digital images, American Ancestors (http:www.americanancestors.org : accessed 20 March 2017).

[18] "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JQX6-18V : 6 December 2014), Thomas Blanchard in entry for Nathaniell Blanchard, 22 Jul 1631; citing GOODWORTH CLATFORD,HAMPSHIRE,ENGLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 1,041,258, 918,606.note: surname was spelled Blanchet.

"England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JQXG-36Y : 30 December 2014), Mary Blanchet, 15 Jan 1625; citing GOODWORTH CLATFORD,HAMPSHIRE,ENGLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 1,041,258, 918,606.

[19] "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J71X-L9L : 6 December 2014), Samuell Blanchard, 30 Aug 1629; citing GOODWORTH CLATFORD,HAMPSHIRE,ENGLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 1,041,258, 918,606.

[20] "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JQX6-18J : 6 December 2014), Nathaniell Blanchard, 22 Jul 1631; citing GOODWORTH CLATFORD,HAMPSHIRE,ENGLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 1,041,258, 918,606.

[21] "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NK6V-SYD : 6 December 2014), David Blanchard, 02 Feb 1633; citing GOODWORTH CLATFORD,HAMPSHIRE,ENGLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 1,041,258, 918,606.


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