Thomas Burgess was born in England about 1603, based on his age at death. This last name is spelled in a variety of ways including Burgis and Burge.
Thomas married Dorothy (Waynes?) in England about 1627, as they started having children ca 1628. This could be their marriage record: "Thomas Burgess and Dorothy Waynes (married at) Tanfield (co. York, England) in 1628." (NEGHR 118 (1964):323)
Date of their migration is not certain, but land was assigned to Thomas in Duxbury on 3 July 1637. He left for Sandwich later the same year, forfeiting land to Nicholas Robbins on 5 November 1638. Some early works, including Torrey’s New England Marriages, state they arrived at Salem/Lynn in the early 1630s, but I don’t know if that’s accurate. Thomas settled in the part of town later to become part of Bourne, now called Sagamore. He also had a farm at Manomet.
I haven’t found a lot of primary records on Thomas and Dorothy’s children. I believe they had five children:
Thomas, married Elizabeth Bassett and Lydia Gaunt, moved to Rhode Island
John, m. Mary Worden and settled at Yarmouth, Mass.
Elizabeth, m. Ezra Perry, lived in Sandwich and is buried near her parents
Jacob m. Mary Nye, lived in Sandwich
Joseph, m. Patience Freeman, settled at Rochester, Mass.
I descend from their son John as well as their daughter Elizabeth.
Thomas Jr. was featured in one of the rare divorces of the Colony. After 13 years of marriage to Elizabeth Bassett, they were divorced and he married Lydia, daughter of Quaker Peter Gaunt and got a fresh start in Rhode Island.
In Sandwich Thomas was associated with some of my other ancestors including Henry Feake, Edward Dillingham and Edmund Freeman. "He was a chief man among them," says Dr. Savage. Thomas was an original member of the church instituted there in 1638. He became a large landholder in Sandwich. The land was still in the family in 1863 when owned by by Benjamin Burgess.
Thomas served in a variety of public offices including road surveyor, Selectman and was Deputy to the Court at Plymouth for 11 years. At the 22 May 1652 Town Meeting, a committee of four men named to have power to call a town meeting, including Goodman Burgess Sr.,
In 1657 there were many complaints from the court against Sandwich people who were punished for their Quaker leanings. William Newland, a prominent citizen, was called to court for encouraging Thomas Burges to "let Christopher Holder, a Quaker, occupy his house." He expressed sorrow for what he had done and was released. This may have been Thomas Junior since he was in other records, showing some Quaker sympathies and he later married a Quaker.
Mr. Percival Hall Lombard of Bourne stated that the Plymouth Court had given Thomas Burgess Senior the original Aptucxet Trading Post site in 1652. Grant record not found. However PCR May 1655 gives Burgess the right to take 10,000 herring a year at his land on the river in addition to his regular share as a citizen. Another reference in July 1655 says James Skiffe had land at Mannomett, a small neck of land directly against Thomas Burgis' land where the company formerly had a trading house.
|Aptucxet Trading Post replica source: Bourne Historical Society|
The first reference to Mashpee lands occurs in Plymouith Colony Records in 1654. "The freemen of Sandwich viz Mr. John Vincent, Thomas Burgess, Thomas Tupper, Richard Bourne and James Skiffe desired some several parcels of land at the places following: viz some land by Marshpee Pond and 10 acres of meadow; some land by Santuit Pond to the value of one hundred acres; a neck of land by Cotuit River to keep cattle; certain meadow lying upon and about a place called Mannamuch Bay."
Thomas acquired land in Scusset (Sagamore) and also in the Aptucxet area of the old trading post. His four sons typified the very early spread from Sandwich to occupy land in new towns.
The 10th of July 1663
Memorand: That Thomas Burge senr of the Towne of Sandwich in in the Jurisdiction of Plymouth in New England plantor Doth acknowlidg that for and in Consideration of a valluable sume; to him already payed by his son in law Named Esra Perrey of the Towne aforsaid in the Jurisdiction aforsaid plantor; hee hath bargained and sold enfeofed and Confeilmed and by these prsents Doth bargaine allianate sell enfeof and Confeirme unto the said Esra Perrey the one halfe of a Certaine tract of land lying and being att a place Called Mannomett in the Jurisdiction aforsaid; which said Tract of land was purchased by Captaine Standish by the appointment of the Court of Josias of Nausett an Indian Sachem; in the behalfe of the said Thomas Burge as appeers by a Deed bearing Date the third Day of march Anno Dom 1652 and is bounded to the southwards by the marked tree by the marsh and from that tree to a fresh brooke and from the said tree to another marked tree to the Nortwards; which said tree stands to the Eastward of the sad Esra Perreys house; to have and to hold the one halfe of the whole said Tract of land both upland and meddow with all and singulare the appurtenances belonging therunto; unto the said Esra Perrey to him and his heires and assignes for ever; The said halfe of the said Tract of land; both upland and meddow soe bounded as aforsaid with all the said Thomas Burge his right and Interest therin or belonging therunto or to any pte or pcell of the said halfe share; with all and singulare the appurtenances belonging therunto; to appertaine to the onely proper use and behoofe of the said Esra Perrey hee his heires and assignes for ever;
The 10th of July 1663
Memorand: That Thomas Burge senir: of Sandwich in the Jurisdiction of Plymouth in New England in America plantor Doth acknowlidge that for and in Consideration of a Considerable sume to him already payed by Leiftenant Josias Standish of Sandwich aforsaid in the Jurisdiction aforsaid hee hath freely and absolutely bargained and sold enfeofed and Confeirmed; and by these prsents Doth bargaine allianate sell enfeofe and Confeirme unto the said Leiftenant Standish one quarter pte or one pte of foure of a Certaine Tract of land lying and being att a place Called Mannomett in the Jurisdiction aforsaid which said Tract of land was purchased by Captaine Standish by the appointment of the Court of Josias of Nausett an Indian Sachem; in the behalfe of the said Thomas Burge, as appeers by a Deed bearing Date the third Day of March anno Dom: 1652 which said Tract is bounded to the Southward by the marked tree by the marsh; and from that tree to a ffresh brooke; and from the said tree to another marked tree Northward which said tree stands to the eastward of Esra Perreys house; To have and to hold the one quarter pte or one pte of four of the said whole tract of land both upland and meddow with all and singulare the appurtenances belonging therunto unto the said Leift: Josias Standish to him and his heires and assignes for ever; The said quarter pte or one pte of foure of the said tract of land bounded as aforsaid both of the upland & meddow with all the said Thomas Burge his Right title and Interst of and into the said quarter pte of the said tract of land; with all and singulare the appurtenances belonging therunto; To appertaine to the onely proper use and behoofe of the said Leift: Josias Standish to him and his heires and assignes for ever unto the onely proper use and behoof of him the said Leift: Josiah Standish to him and his heires and assignes for ever;
The 10th of July 1663
Memorand: That Thomas Burge senir of the Towne of Sandwich in the Jurisdiction of Plymouth in New England plantor Doth acknowlidge that hee hath & Doth by these prsents fully freely and absolutely give graunt allianate make over enfeofe and Confeirme unto his son Josepth Burge one quarter pte or one pte of foure of all that whole tract of land which Captaine Standish bought for him, by the appointment of the Court; of Josias the Indian Sachem of Nausett which said tract is lying and being att Mannomett in the Jurisdiction aforsaid; and is bounded as in the Deed of the sale therof bearing Date the third Day of March 1652 is expressed; To have and to hold all the said Thomas Burge his Right and title of and into one quarter pte or one pte of four of the said land; unto the said Josepth Burge to him and his heires and assignes for ever; the said one quarter pte or one pte of four of the aforsaid whole tract of land both upland and meddow with all and singular the appurtenances belonging therunto; and to appertane unto the onely proper use and behoofe of him the said Josepth Burge to him and his heires and assignes for ever;
Thomas died 23 February 1684/85 in Sandwich. (Sandwich VR) He was 82 years old. His gravestone was imported from England. Amos Otis Esq wrote "this was the only monument set up for any pilgrim of first generation." His original, broken stone was replaced with a slate stone in 1917 by his descendants. It reads: "Thomas Burgess, Born in England, settled in 1637 in that part of Sandwich now called Sagamore. Dyed Feb. ye 13, 1685, aged 82 years."
|Thomas Burgess' gravestone at Sandwich|
Thomas’s will was written 4 April 1684. After wife's death, son Thomas of Rhode Island was to receive 5 pounds, son Jacob the house lot, dwelling house, barn, outhouses, upland, "all that belongs to my homestead dwelling," and a meadow. After Jacob's disease, all to go to his son Thomas. Jacob to pay grandson Thomas, son of John, 10 pounds when 23 years old. To son Joseph: two lots that adjoin his land and give 5 pounds to his son John. If land refused, give to son Ezra Perry (Son- in- law). Also to Ezra, all other lands that lie above said two lots. To dear wife, all moveable estate. Sons Ezra and Jacob executors. Dated 4 April 1684, witnesses Thomas and Martha Tupper.
Dorothy died 27 February 1687 at Sandwich. (Sandwich VR) Thomas and Dorothy are buried together at the Old Burial Ground in Sandwich. Her stone reads: "Dorothy, widow of Thomas Burgess, dyed Feb. ye 27, 1687." I visited there in 2000 and it’s a very pretty cemetery, with a picturesque mill pond complete with a pair of swans.
E. Burgess wrote that the first five generations of Thomas’s descendants were Congregationalists of the "Puritan stamp." His descendants settled from Maine to California, as well as Nova Scotia, and were mostly devoted to agriculture but some were seaman.
Sources Not Listed Above:
E. Burgess, Burgess Genealogy, Memorial of the Family of Thomas and Dorothy Burgess and were settled at Sandwich in the Plymouth Colony in 1637, 1865
Katharine Hiam, Burgess Genealogy, Descendants of the Four Sons of Thomas and Dorothy (Waynes) Burgess...Whose Parents Were Settled in Sandwich in 1637, 1997. This work updates the earlier volume above and I believe it does have some errors.
RA Lovell, Sandwich, A Cape Cod Town, 1984