Ephraim Tinkham was baptized Barnstaple, Devonshire, 23 Feb 1617/18, son of John Tincombe. His mother’s name is not known. He is my 10th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family. His last name is spelled in quite a variety of ways.
Ephraim migrated to Plymouth, Mass., circa 1634. In about 1647 Ephraim married Mary Brown (sometimes Browne), likely in Plymouth. Mary was born in Plymouth, the daughter of Mayflower passenger Peter Brown and his wife Martha. She is listed in the 1627 cattle division with her parents and others.
Mary’s childhood was not without sadness. She was very young when her mother died, the Court placed her with John Doane. In 1633 when her father’s estate was being settled, it was directed that his widow Mary was to give 15 pounds to John Doane of Plymouth for the use of Peter’s daughter Mary, which he was to give to Mary at the end of her service with him.
Ephraim was an indentured servant, then later a planter, then a yeoman. One of the things I love about researching my Plymouth ancestors is seeing how taking such a huge risk of coming to the New World could reap such rewards. Ephraim went from an indentured servant to a man who owned considerable land, served his community in a variety of ways including Selectman, raised a large family with his wife Mary, and moved amongst respected members of society.
Ephraim and Mary had eight children born in Plymouth and Middleborough:
John who died young
I descend through Helkiah who was born in Plymouth on 8 February1655.
Ephraim was in the Plymouth section of those who had taken the oath of fidelity in 1657. In the Plymouth section of 29 May 1670 list of freemen as Sergeant Ephraim Tinkham. I have read he served in King Phillip’s War in 1675 but I haven’t found a source for that yet. Because of the dangers of the war, the Tinkhams and other Middleborough families abandoned their homes and returned to Plymouth. After the War, Ephraim remained in Plymouth but three of his sons lived on his Middleborough lands.
Ephraim signed his deeds and will by his mark. Perhaps he could read though as his inventory included "one Bible & other small books" valued at 17 s. He also conducted inventories for other people, including that of Mayflower passenger Francis Cook in 1663, so I would imagine that means he could write and add numbers.
On 2 August 1642 Ephraim Tinckhame was to have 25 acres of land for his indenture.
He served on the petit jury multiple times and on the coroner's jury once. He was sometimes named by the Court as someone who would lay out land to resolve disputes.
Ephraim served as a Plymouth selectman, surveyor of highways, and was on the Plymouth list of men able to bear arms in 1643. He was a Sergeant in the militia by 1666. His inventory included 6 guns and one rapier (sword).
|Sword in Pilgrim Hall Museum Collection attributed to John Thompson|
On 27 Oct 1647 Ephraim “Tinkeham” and Mary his wife sold to Henry Sampson of Duxbury all that third part of land of Peter Browne deceased, dwelling house and buildings in and upon the same...proved that Ephraim doth reserve to his own use all the fruit trees and liberty to remove them in convenient time, as also the use of all the housing for this winter. (PCR 12:146). This shows that his wife Mary was the daughter of Peter Brown.
He is listed as one of those that have interest and proprieties in the town's land at Punckateesett over against Rhode Island. (March 1651, Plymouth Town Records, 1:36).
On 1 June 1675 Sargeant Ephraim Tinkham was fined 40 shillings for coming into court drunk. So he wasn’t perfect after all!
Ephraim died between 17 January 1683/4 (date of will) and 20 May 1685 (date of inventory) in Plymouth.
Mary died after June 1685 when she is mentioned in Ephraim’s probate proceedings.
Ephraim’s will is reproduced in the Mayflower Descendant, volume 4 (1902). It mentions his dear and loving wife Mary Tincom, to whom he left his dwelling house in Plymouth with orchard, as well as land and meadows in Plymouth, Middleborough and Dartmouth. Also left land to his eldest son "Epharim," son Ebenezer, Peter, son Elkiah, son John and son Isaack. Daughter Mary Tomson to get 50 acres of upland in Plymouth near Momponsett. After wife's death children to split goods and chattels evenly, with Ephraim getting double portion. He already gave his six guns to his six sons. Mary to be executrix. Dated 17 January 1683. Signed with his mark: ET in presence of William Hoskins Sr and Jonathan Shaw Sr.
Inventory taken 20 May 1685, included one Bible and other small books, one great wheel, one little wheel, pewter platters, pots, porringers, salt cellar, spoons, earthenware, stoneware, a churn, washing tub, linens, lumber, iron tools, sickels, sythes, axes, hoes, a spade, (pitch)forks, cart, plow, tackling, 3 yoke of oxen, 3 steers, 8 calves, one bull, 3 yearlings, 23 sheep, 5 swine, 6 guns, one rapier. Housing and lands worth over 407 pounds, total 500 pounds 17 shillings 9 pence. Debts due from the estate over 5 pounds. By Nathaniel Southworth and Thomas Faunce.
Sources Not Mentioned Above:
Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins, 1995
Robert S. Wakefield, Peter Brown, Volume 7, Mayflower Families Series