Thomas Tupper was born Bury, Sussex Co., England 28 (or 27) January 1578, the son of Henry Tupper. According to the Tupper Family Association, he grew up on a farm at Bignor (near Bury), West Sussex County in Southern England at the foothills of the South Downs and that Tupper descendants still live on this beautiful land. Thomas is my 10th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family.
Thomas Tupper was one of the “Ten Men From Saugus” who founded the town of Sandwich. I have read that Thomas was the only exception of the “Ten” who do not come off well as participants in early town government. In the case of the marshlands’ allocation, they show themselves as distinctly indifferent to the interests of their fellow townsmen. The ten founders declared themselves owners of all the marsh along the shores near their farms, forcing others to go much further away for salt hay. Not very welcoming or neighborly!
|Plaque at Sandwich Town Hall|
Thomas received a bequest from wealthy man named Dennis Geere who contract smallpox aboard the Abigail in 1635. Tupper was probably on that ship as well.
Thomas was a shoemaker by trade. Apparently he was also on crews of several boats from England to US, where he eventually decided to stay.
He is listed as a long-term Sandwich settler of the original 62 that came 1637-1640 and was the oldest man among those first settlers.
He was married three times:
First to Katherine Gator in 29 April 1622, Parish of Chelmsford, Essex County, England. He had children Katherine and Robert (who died in infancy) with her. She died before January 1628 when Thomas remarried.
Second, he married Susan Turner, a widow, on 25 January 1628/29, in Topsfield, Mass. and had Thomas (who died in infancy) and Robert, who married Deborah Perry and returned to England. She died in Topsfield in 1634, but I don’t have a source for that.
He married third widow Anne Hodgson on 21 December 1634. With Anne he had a son Thomas who grew up to marry Martha Mayhew and have a large family in Sandwich.
I descend from Katherine who married Benjamin Nye of Sandwich.
At age 65, Thomas was likely the oldest man in Sandwich listed as able to bear arms in 1643. He was allowed to solemnize marriages in Sandwich as a reputable senior and did lay preaching in town. He served the town in many ways. He was town clerk and deputy to the court. In 1644 the town meeting warned the selectmen to repair the meetinghouse and several people agreed to pay Thomas Tupper in corn "for as many bolts as would shingle the old meeting house." In 1645 Thomas Tupper was on committee appointed by court to investigate Kenelm Winslow's charge of injustice in his suit against John Maynard, but committee found charge untrue. In 1650 he was one of the men that improved the parsonage for Rev. Leverich. Part of committee of five men ordered at 21 November 1651 town meeting to make a levy of six pounds for the payment of the Clerk and the committees. Town Meeting 22 May 1652 committee of four men named, including Goodman Burgess Sr. and Goodman Tupper shall have power to call a town meeting. Served on committee of five men approved at the 13 May 1654 town meeting to buy Indian lands, the area of Manomet. The first selectmen found in Sandwich records were in 1667, and included Thomas Tupper Sr. In June 1676 a special committee of four was named, including Thomas Tupper, to take an account of the town's debts as a result of The Indian War.
The only black mark against him in records is when he was accused of “light and lascivious carriage” toward the adultress Anne Lynceford but was only admonished.
In October 1658 brought a new land regulation resulted in some of Thomas Tupper's land being taken for a dock and access road for the town (currently Harbor Street).
A map depicting 1667 settlers' home locations in Sandwich Village and Spring Hill shows Thomas lived on what became Dock Lane off Main Street on the right hand side near Tupper Road and Town Neck. The Jarves Street to Ox Pasture Neck area. His neighbors were Richard Bourne, James Skiffe, William Bassett and Nathaniel Fish. All but Fish are my direct descendants, showing how cozy neighbors were!
The Tupper House on the Back Street (later Tupper Road) seems to have been first occupied by John and Katherine Briggs (they are also my direct descendants) and their two children. Could well date from 1637 and was then taken over by Thomas Jr., the only son of Thomas Senior. It was tragically burned by an arsonist in 1921, just a year after the Tupper Family Association restored the house. A boulder marks the spot on Tupper Road, which is now a Memorial Park. The Tupper Family Association owned the house and after it was destroyed developed a Memorial Park where there is a stone marker in Thomas and Anne’s name.
The first reference to Mashpee lands occurs in Plymouth 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.
A Thomas Tupper was involved in mission work with Native Americans in the Herring Pond area. Although it seems likely this is his son of the same name, Thomas may have been involved earlier. Thomas Jr. was not ordained, but mastered the Indian language and was able to preach.
Thomas Tupper died Sandwich 28 March 1676, in his 98th year, a remarkably long life for that era. His death is recorded in Sandwich Vital Records: Thomas Tupper Senir: Deceased the 28th of March Anno Dom one Thousand six hundred seaventy and six; hee Died in the 98th yeer of his age, and 2cond month.
Anne Tupper’s death is recorded directly after her husband’s in Sandwich Vital Records: Anne Tupper, deceased the 4th of June 1676 in the 90th year of her age.
You can learn more about the Tupper Family Association at www.tupperfamily.org.
Eugene Stratton, Plymouth Colony, Its History and People 1620-1691, 1986
Barbara Gill, CCGS Bulletin, Spring 2005, article on The Ten Men From Saugus
Simeon L. Deyo, editor, History of Barnstable County, Massachusetts," 1890
RA Lovell, Sandwich, A Cape Cod Town, by RA Lovell, Jr., 1996
Thomas 1 Tupper and His Descendants, As Communicated by the Tupper Family Association, NEHGR, vol, 99, 1945