Sunday, August 9, 2020

Thomas Davis and Christian Bellshire; Immigrants to New England

English Origins
Thomas Davis is believed on strong circumstantial evidence to be the son of John and Agnes Unknown Davis of Acton Turville, Gloucestershire a parish of Chipping Sodbury. Agnes was not Agnes Chandler. This was a different couple. Thomas and Agnes had the following children, known from his will. Samuel, Thomas, James, and a daughter Sarah. James had two sons, James and John, also named. At the time of its writing, John Davis was married to a Sarah Reede. The date of death of Agnes is unknown. 

Summary of the will of John Davis:
- my son Samuel...
- my son Thomas...
- James and John Davis, sons of my son James...
- Sarah, daughter of my son James...
- Sarah my now wife...
- remainder of estate to son James who is to be excecutor.

Abstract of will of JOHN DAVIS, Acton Turville, 1626:
In the name of God Amen, I, John Davis of Acton Turville in the countye of Glouc., yeoma', sycke in bodye but of good and p'fect memory, do make thys my laste will and Testament in manner and form following. My bodye to be buryed in ye Churchyarde of Acton Turville aforesaide. It' I gyve unto my sonne Samyll in regard of one cowe whych . . . Item I gyve unto my sonne Thomas twelve pence. Item I guve unto . . . sonne twelve pence. Item I geve unto James Davys and John Davis my sonne James his sonness...shillings a peece. I gyve unto Sara my sonne James his daugher (ten shillings?). Item I gyve unto Sara my nowe wyfe on coffer. ffurther my will is that I...which I gyve unto my Sonn Samyll in regard of his...him bymy executor when he have served his apprentis...not then to remayne to my sonne James his children. It'l al the est of my goods moveable and unmoveable andye executorsyeare of my sonne James Davys whome I make my executor of this my last will and testament. Also I do Intreate and Apoynt will p'formed...Apryll 1626.
The marke of John x Davis. Wytness to this will John Sloper"

James Davis of Haverhill, Massachusetts in a known son of John Davis of Acton Turville. This seems to cement the relationship between Thomas and the Davis' of Acton Turville. 

Thomas is believed to have been born about 1603 and married Christian Bellshire in Chipping Sodbury, Gloucestershire, England on 14 November 1622. This would put Thomas at age nineteen, a bit on the young side for marriage but it seems to check out. 

Joanna b. about 1625, married Oct. 1645 George Corliss, 4 Oct. 1687 James Ordway
Joseph b. about 1627, d. 15 Nov. 1671, unmarried and childless.
Mary bp. 29 March 1629 Chipping Sodbury, nothing further

coming to new england
Thomas Davies, Sawyer, of Marlborough, sailed on the James in 1635 out of Southampton. He had two children; Joanna and Joseph. He first settled in Newbury before removing to Haverhill where he was known to be by 1641 where he became a freeman on 2 June. He was not only a sawyer but also a mason, and was known as a yeoman. Although he owned books, he made his mark on various documents. 

Like most men of the time, Thomas performed his civic duties, serving on juries, both petit and grand, commission to end small causes and once served as constable. He would have served with thl local militia until he was dismissed in 1662. This was usual for men when they reached about age 60 or so. 

He owned and sold various properties and in 1661 he deeded land to his son Joseph adjoining his in Haverhill. When he died on 27 July 1683, the majority of the value of his estate was in property.

Christian died in Haverhill on 7 April 1668. Thomas lived a good long life and died at about age 80 on 27 July 1683.


Chase, George Wingate, 1826-1867. The History of Haverhill, Massachusetts: From Its First Settlement In 1640 to the Year 1860. Haverhill [Mass.]: Published by the author, 1861.

Great Migration 1634-1635, C-F. (Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2008.) Originally published as: The Great Migration, Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volume II, C-F, by Robert Charles Anderson, George F. Sanborn, Jr., and Melinde Lutz Sanborn. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001.

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