Thomas Pope was born in England about 1608 [according to Savage “In 1675, he was 67 yrs old” (Savage 3:459), but no source is cited] and migrated to Plymouth, Massachusetts about 1632. His origins are not yet known, but according to Franklin Leonard Pope the surname was popular in Devon, Dorset and Somerset and that it is not improbable that Thomas was a passenger on the Mary and John. He took the oath of fidelity at Plymouth in 1638 (PCR 8:181). He had some education based on his role in the community and that he signed his deeds, although he used his mark to sign his will, but perhaps that was due to old age or infirmity.
Thomas married, first, at Plymouth on 28 July 1637, Anne Fallowell (PCR 1:63), daughter of Gabriel and Catherine (Finney) Fallowell; she died before 29 May 1646 (and probably soon after the birth of their only child).
Child of Thomas and Anne:
Hannah who m. Joseph Bartlett
Thomas married, second, at Plymouth on 29 May 1646 Sarah Jenny/Jenney (PCR 2:98), born about 1625 to John and Sarah (Carey) Jenny who were Separatists at Leiden before coming to Plymouth where John was an important member of the colony and the town’s miller. Thomas and Sarah are my 10th great grandparents on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family.
Children with Sarah, all born Plymouth:
- Susanna, m. Jacob Mitchell, and in 1675 both were slain at Dartmouth by Philip’s warriors when they were heading for the protection of the garrison, where they had sent their children the day before
- Seth m. 1st Deborah Perry and 2nd Rebecca [__?__]
- Thomas, probably died young
- John, slain by Native Americans at Dartmouth with his sister and brother-in-law
- Sarah, m. 1st Samuel Hinckley; 2nd Thomas Huckins
- Joanna, m. John Hathaway
- Isaac, m. Alice Freeman
I descend through Seth; I wrote about him here.
I cannot imagine how devastating the loss of their children was for Thomas and Sarah and whether they regretted the decision to leave the safety of Plymouth to settle at Dartmouth in 1673. I wonder whether Sarah had any input into the decision to move. Native Americans were tried and executed or sold into slavery for these murders, which only compounds the sadness of this event for me (PCR 5:205, 5:244).
|Source: Dartmouth Week, Nov 18, 2018|
Thomas served his community in a variety of ways. He was Plymouth constable in 1645 (PCR 2:83) and surveyor of highways there in 1651 and 1652 (PCR 2:168; 3:9). He served in the Pequot War in 1637 (PCR 1:61) and was on the 1643 Plymouth Colony list of Men Able to Bear Arms (PCR 8:188). He also was appointed to committees to settle land disputes (PCR 3:142). He was a cooper by trade and was part owner of the grist mill at Plymouth (originally owned by his Jenney in-laws).
He also served on juries and inquests.
- On 22 July 1648 he along with eleven other men (including my ancestors John Howland, James Hurst, Francis Cooke, Richard Sparrow, Francis Billington, and William Nelson) conducted an inquest into the death of Allis and Richard Bishop’s child. The report states five of the men entered the house and saw much blood at the foot of the ladder leading up to the upper chamber and the body of a “woman child” of about four years of age with her throat cut with the bloody knife beside her. Allis confessed to them that she had murdered the child (PCR 2:132).
- On 26 July 1652, Thomas Pope served on an inquest into how Robert Wille/Willis liked at Winter Harbor in Saco came by his sudden death, He was bought ashore and no wound was found that could cause his death. He was up the greatest part of the night at the house of James Cole [a tavern keeper in Plymouth] with other fishermen drinking beer and strong waters and went on board the boat at almost the break of day, and fell overboard with endeavoring to hang his rudder and was drowned (PCR 3:15).
- 17 October 1656, on the inquest that viewed the dead body of Titus Waymouth and could find no would or bruise that would cause his death. He was a man often trouble with “stopings” tougher with drinking of cider was determined the cause of his sudden death (PCR 3:109).
- On 5 June 1672, Thomas Pope served on Grand Inquest but no details are given (PCR vol 5:91).
Thomas was involved in multiple land transactions as well as land disputes. On 6 Oct 1636 Thomas Pope was granted five acres “at the fishing point next Slowly Field” and he was allowed to build there. (PCR 1:45) On 7 Oct 1636 it was discovered that the place designated for this grant did not quite allow the full five acres (PCR 1:46). On 2 Nov 1640 granted five acres “in the South Meddows towards Aggawam, Colebrook Meddowes” (PCR 1:166).
On 29 August 1640 Thomas Pope sold to George Bonam “all that his house and land thereto belonging containing five acres and the enlargement since and all the fence in and about the same” (PCR 12:61). On 30 October 1652 Thomas Pope of New Plymouth, cooper, acquitted George Bonum of all debts owed to Pope (MD 1:132-33, citing PCLR 2:1:13).
On 17 May 1658 Thomas Pope of New Plymouth,, cooper, sold to Joseph Warren a parcel of marsh meadow at Eel River (MD 12:213-14, citing PCLR 2:1:212). On 24 March 1661 Thomas Pope of Plymouth, cooper, sold to Robert Ransome “all the right, title and interest he hath in his land at Lakenham…both upland and meadow” in exchange for “twenty-five acres of upland which lyeth with a parcel of upland belonging to Jonathan Pratt lying and being at a place called Acushenah with two acres of meadow which is yet unlaid out at Acushenah aforesaid” (MD 17:42, citing PCLR 2:2:86).
On 2 August 1659 there was a controversy between Thomas Pope and William Shurtleff concerning bounds of the ends of the men at Strawberry Hill or Reed Pond in Plymouth.. My ancestors Mr. John Howland, Francis Cooke, and John Dunham Sr. were appointed to clear up the case. (PCR 3:169)
On 3 June 1662 Captain Willett was appointed to purchase Saconett Neck lands of the Indians which was to be granted to servants and others that are ancient freeman. If land could not be procured, they would have liberty to look some other place for their accommodation. Thomas Pope was one of 24 men on the list (PCR 4:18).
On 7 Feb 1664/5 Land dispute amongst Plymouth neighbors John Barnes against Thomas Pope, and Thomas Pope against Gyles Rickard. Accused each other of encroachment, trespasss by cutting wood and making highways over Barnes land. Two men appointed to investigate.
In 1673, Thomas Pope and others petitioned the Court for a grant of land at Saconnet (now Little Compton, Rhode Island) but the grant did not work out and they were told by the court to look for another location. He secured a large tract on the east side of the Acushnet River at Dartmouth, tradition says by direct purchase from the Indians. More likely it was land included in previous purchase by Bradford, Standish, etc. from the sachems Wesamequen and Wamsutta on 29 Nov 1652 (which in June 1664 by order of court was called Dartmouth). At a 7 March 1652 meeting, the township was divided into 34 equal shares and it is probable that Thomas Pope may have acquired one of these shares. Records show that his mother-in-law Mistress Jenney and some of her sons were also early settlers at Dartmouth. After the 1675 attack during King Philip’s War, the settlers fled for the safety of Plymouth and the town was burned to the ground. After a few years many did return, including Thomas Pope.
On 5 July 1677 Thomas Pope of Dartmouth, cooper, made a deed of gift to “Seth Pope my eldest son” of “all that my one-half share or portion” at Saconett (PCLR 4:140).
On 32 Oct 1680 Thomas Pope of Dartmouth, cooper, sold to Charles Stockbridge of Scituate, cooper, “all that my one fourth or quarter part of a grist or corn mill” in the town of Plymouth, along with one-fourth of the implements and the three acres of land associated with the mill, and also “one small piece of land containing twenty-six rods” (PCLR 5:187).
On 2 Nov 1680 “Thomas Pope Senior and Seth Pope both of the town of Dartmouth” sold to David Lake their share I the grant of land at Saconnet, divided and undivided, the divided part amounting to one hundred acres (PCLR 5:78).
Court records indicate that although Thomas was an important member of the community he was also a bit of a hothead. At court on 6 Oct 1659 Thomas Lettice sued Thomas Pope for abusive carriages (PCR 3:173). On 5 Oct 1663 Thomas Pope and Gyles Rickard Sr. were presented for striking each other, and that Thomas took wood belonging to Rickard and also struck Rickard’s wife, resulting in Thomas being fined 20 pounds (PCR 4:48). John Barnes’ May 1665 complaint stated Thomas Pope had trespassed, and Thomas countered that Barnes had struck his son while striking their horse (PCR 3:89). On 7 June 1670 Thomas Pope was fined for vilifying the ministry (PCR 5:39). Perhaps these issues are what prompted him to remove to Dartmouth, somewhat unusual since he was over 60 years old.
In his will, dated 9 July 1683 and proved 2 Nov 1683, Thomas Pope bequeathed to “my son Seth as an addition to what I have formerly given him ten shillings in money, also I give unto my grandson Thomas Pope all that my twenty-five acres of upland and two acres of meadow lying and being on the west side of Acushnett River;” “my son Seth shall…pay three pound sterling unto my grandson Jacob Mitchell when he comes to age of twenty-one years;” to “my daughter Deborah Pope five pound in money and to each of my other daughters five pound apiece in money, also my meadow lying at the South Meadows in Plymouth or the value of it I give to be equally divided amongst all my sons and daughters;” to “my son Isacke all my seat of land where I now dwell with all the meadows belong thereunto,” except that if he died before twenty-one years without an heir, this land to go to “the sons of my son Seth;” son Isaac to be residuary legatee (MD 18:130, citing PCPR 4:2:50).
The inventory of “Thomas Pope of the town of Dartmouth late deceased,” taken 4 Aug 1683 by Thomas Tabor and Arthur Hathaway, totaled 274 pounds, of which 130 pounds was real estate: “the housing and the seat of land belonging thereunto,” 100 pounds, “25 acres of upland and 2 acres of meadow lying on the west side of Cushenett River,” 10 pounds; and “7 acres of upland and 7 acres of meadow at Plymouth,” 20 pounds (MD 18:131, citing PCPR 4:2:51). Other items in his inventory included two oxen, two steers, 5 cows, half a yearling, 4 calves, two horses, swine, two guns, crop of corn, sheeps’ wool, 32 pounds in money, and disturbingly an Indian girl valued at 10 pounds.
Thomas Pope died at Dartmouth in 1683, between 9 July (date of will) and 4 August (date of inventory). His wife Sarah had predeceased him as she is not mentioned in his will. Where they are buried is not known but according to Franklin Leonard Pope before the Acushnet Cemetery was laid out circa1711, an acre of the Taber farm, half a mile or more north of the bridge on a point of land projecting into the river, had been set apart for a burial ground, and it is there that Thomas Pope was probably buried.
Sarah Jenney Pope predeceased her husband as she is not mentioned in his 9 July 1683 will. She likely died at Dartmouth.
Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins, 1995
Franklin Leonard Pope, “Genealogy of Thomas Pope of Plymouth,” NEHGR vol 42, Jan. 1888
Torrey’s New England Marriages to 1700
James Savage, A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, 1860
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