Saturday, August 24, 2019

Simon Thompson (1610-1675) of Ipswich, Massachusetts

Photo by Johannes Plenio from Pexels

english origins
Simon Thompson/Symon Tompson was born about 1610 based on his age (about 50) given at a deposition in 1660. This would give his a birth year of around 1610. Simon likely married and began his family in England. His ancestry in unknown. The name of his first wife is unknown. 

Simon and his unknown wife were the parents of two known children, both daughters: 

1. Mary/Mercy; who married Isaiah Wood in January of 1653. She was likely born about 1633 in       England. 
2. Sarah; who married Abraham Fitts in 1655 and was likely born in England in 1635. 

Simon is known to have been in Ipswich in 1638 when he was recorded as having received 20 acres of meadow and upland at the New Meadow. He later bought additional land and houses. He is recorded as being a rope-maker who lived near Rocky Hill. In 1640 he was named a 'Cowkeeper'. His name began appearing in court records as a juror in 1646. We know from 1652 court record that Simon had an apprentice. In 1654 he took a neighbor, John Leigh, to court for impounding his calves and won. John Leigh's name appears frequently in the records, he was not a nice person. 

His first wife died by 1656 and Simon remarried. His second wife was Rachel Glover, probably the sister of Henry Short's wife Sarah Glover. He (Henry Short) refers to his wife in a deal with Simon and the use of Sarah's inheritance.

In 1657, in response to orders by the General Council to get a handle on bad behavior during Sunday service, Simon was appointed to keep 'a watchful eye upon the youth'.

In 1660, Simon accused John Leigh of killing one of his pigs, at the same time a second man accused Leigh of killing his ox. 

In March of 1662, a woman named Mary Shefield charged that Mercy Thompson Wood's husband, Isaiah, had lured her into his barn and had his way with her. She claimed her child was the result. He, of course denied it. Other witnesses claimed it was that no good John Leigh who was really the father. But, another young woman, Mary Powell, also testified that Isaiah Wood was a cad and had put the moves on her as well. Mary Shefield was whipped for fornication. Isaiah was put in jail and ordered to pay 3d. a week for the upkeep of the child until a later court hearing. 

Simon and Abraham Fitts stood in surety to Isaiah Wood. In April of 1664, Simon was in court with Isaiah and he was ordered to pay 18d. a week for his child by Mary Shefield

In 1665, Abraham Fitts, took Simon to court, claiming he owned him  £40 which was promised if Abraham and Sarah Thompson Fitts moved from Salisbury to Ipswich. The case was pretty complicated and in the end Simon won. 

In 1666, Simon made his mark on an inventory he took for probate, he could not write his name. In 1668, three siblings, Joseph, Sarah and Rachel Brabrook, petitioned the court that Henry Short and Simon Thompson become their guardians. 

In 1672, Simon was in court to stand bond for his grandson Simon Wood who was charged with stealing a gallon of wine along with a second man. The wine was consumed and somehow a poor sheep got involved and found itself butchered. Simon was found guilty along with a host of others and was sentenced to be whipped  or pay a fine. 

Simon Thompson wrote his will in 1675. He named his wife Rachel, his grandchildren Mary, Simon, Samuel, William, Thomas, and Joanna Wood, grandson Abraham Fitts, and his daughter Mary Wood. Joanna Wood and Sarah Fitts are mentioned in an addendum presented to the probate court.  The inventory was taken of 20 November 1675. His total estate was valued at over £926, quite a sum. The will was presented to the probate court in March of 1676

It seems clear that he had no sons, at least none that lived to adulthood. Only his daughter, Mary/Mercy, was alive at the time of his death. He contracted his son-in-law Abraham Fitts to pay him an annuity of £6 per annum, which led to the court fight which he won.

See this blog article on Abraham Fitts, husband of Sarah Thompson.


*  (link to Hathi Trust edition of Records and Files of the Quarterly Court of Essex. year 1660 page 201)

* Great Migration Newsletter, V.1-20.(Online Database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2018.)

* New England Marriages to 1700. (Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2008.) Originally published as: New England Marriages Prior to 1700. Boston, Mass.: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2015.

* Great Migration 1634-1635, T-Y. (Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2012.) Originally published as: The Great Migration, Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volume VII, T-Y, by Robert Charles Anderson. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011.

*Essex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1638-1881.Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014. (From records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives.)

*Waters, Thomas Franklin, 1851-1919, John Wise, Sarah Goodhue, and Ipswich Historical Society. Ipswich In the Massachusetts Bay Colony ... Ipswich, Mass.: The Ipswich historical society, 190517.

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