Welcome! I really enjoy exchanging information with people and love that this blog helps with that. I consider much of my research as a work in progress, so please let me know if you have conflicting information. Some of the surnames I'm researching:

Many old Cape families including Kelley, Eldredge/idge, Howes, Baker, Mayo, Bangs, Snow, Chase, Ryder/Rider, Freeman, Cole, Sears, Wixon, Nickerson.
Many old Plymouth County families including Washburn, Bumpus, Lucas, Cobb, Benson.
Johnson (England to MA)
Corey (Correia?) (Azores to MA)
Booth, Jones, Taylor, Heatherington (N. Ireland to Quebec)
O'Connor (Ireland to MA)
My male Mayflower ancestors (only first two have been submitted/approved by the Mayflower Society):
Francis Cooke, William Brewster, George Soule, Isaac Allerton, John Billington, Richard Warren, Peter Browne, Francis Eaton, Samuel Fuller, James Chilton, John Tilley, Stephen Hopkins, and John Howland.
Female Mayflower ancestors: Mary Norris Allerton, Eleanor Billington, Mary Brewster, Mrs. James Chilton, Sarah Eaton, and Joan Hurst Tilley.
Child Mayflower ancestors: Giles Hopkins, (possibly) Constance Hopkins, Mary Allerton, Francis Billington, Love Brewster, Mary Chilton, Samuel Eaton, and Elizabeth Tilley.

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Thomas Lewis (1633-1709) of Lynn, Northampton, Swansea & Mendon, Mass., and Bristol, RI and His Wife Hannah Baker

Thomas Lewis/Lewes was born about July 1633 in England. As an infant  “aged three quarters” of a year, he migrated with his parents Edmund and Mary Lewis of Ipswich and his 3 year old brother John on board the ship Elizabeth. The ship left Ipswich, Suffolk on 10 April 1634 bound for New England during the Puritan Great Migration. 

A Wikitree page forThomas has his baptism as 27 May 1633 at St. Mary at the Elms, Ipswich, Suffolk, England, son of Edmond and Mary Lewes, citing the church register. I have not seen this record myself. The family was first at Watertown and then Lynn where they lived by the sea. 

Thomas married “Hanna” Baker 11: 9 m: 1659 [11 November 1659] at Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts (Lynn Vital Records, 2:231]. Hannah was born about 1638, probably at Lynn, the daughter of Edward and Joan Baker. Hannah and Thomas are my 11th great-grandparents on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Ellis Davis’ side of the family.

Thomas was named in his father Edmond Lewis’ 1650/51 will. 

Thomas and Hannah had at least eleven children: 

i. Edward born 28 July 1660 [Lynn VR 1;237]; d 15 July 1662 [Northampton MA Vital Records in the Register, 3:176]

ii.Mary born 20 July 1663 [Northampton VR 1:5]; died 26 March 1686 [Rhode Island VR index 6:1-144]

iii.Hester/Esther born 9 Sep 1665 [Northampton VR 1:84]; married Jeremiah Finney at Bristol in 1684

iv.Thomas born 25 December 1666 [Northampton VR 1:7];  died 11 Jan 1666[/67] [Northampton VR 1:104]

v. Thomas born 29 April 1668 at Lynn

vi.Elizabeth born 7 Dec 1669 [Swansea VR 1:4]

vii.Persithe/Persis born 15 Jan 167[/72] [Swansea VR 1:16]

viii.Samuel Lewes born 28 April 1673 [Swansea VR 1:18]

ix.Hepsebah [I haven’t found her birth record but she is mentioned in deed from her father and in his will]; she married James Thurber at Bristol in 1706; died Bristol 11 Nov 1753

x.Joseph born 13 May 1677 [Swansea VR 1:9]

xi.Deborah born 19 March 1679 [Swansea VR 1:3]

George Lewis also gives them a daughter Hannah who married George Morey, but I need to find primary documentation to support this. I descend through Persis who married Robert Cushman.

Thomas moved around quite a bit within Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Perhaps it was to work on a variety of construction projects.

In 1661/2 Thomas and Hannah moved to Northampton, Hampshire County, where he had a four acre lot. Northampton is in Western Massachusetts, quite a distance from Lynn. He was chosen to assist in building a mill for the town in 1666. In 1667 he sold his homestead and land to Matthew Clesson and moved to Swansea in Bristol County.

At the 1 December 1669 town meeting held at Swansea, Thomas Lewis was admitted an inhabitant and member of the township and was to have a 12 acre lot. On 9 Feb 1670 Thomas was granted two acres in a land division, assigned to the second of three ranks. His brothers Nathaniel and Joseph also settled Swansea and were in the same 1670 land division, both in the third rank which received one acre. 

Thomas’s brother Joseph was killed at Swansea in 1675 during an attack by Indians on townspeople walking home from church. Some historians state he was the first white man killed in King Philip’s War. He was about 29 and left a wife and two young children. Perhaps this is what led Thomas to leave Swansea.

Thomas was active in Swansea town affairs. He was elected selectman in 1672 but was on the move again as he is mentioned in Bristol, Rhode Island records as early as 1681. Then he was at Mendon, Worcester County, Mass., where he was taxed in 1691 through 1693. In 1693 he was elected a Mendon selectman but declined the position. 

In 1692 Thomas Lewis of Bristol sold land at Swansea to Captain John Andrews. He again sold land there in 1701 [Book of Possessions of Swansea, p 9]. It seems his living in Mendon and Swansea overlap.

On 9 Jan 1695/6, Thomas Lewis was involved in a peaceful resolution of a land dispute. He refers to himself as from Bristol and the dispute is about meadow he owned at Mendon with Abraham Staples and gave permission to others to settle the issue. [Annals of Mendon, p 129]

On 23 Dec 1704 Thomas and his wife Hannah executed a deed of gift for “good will and affection” to daughter Hepzebah Lewes, giving her the north part of their dwelling house in Bristol. (Bristol Co Deeds vol 4, p 319)

The will of Thomas Lewes of Bristol [Bristol Co Probate Records 2:257]:

"In the name of God, Amen, I Thomas Lewis of Bristol in ye County of Bristol in New England, being aged and very Infirm, and not knowing when or how soon I may be Removed out of a Chaingable world, to prevent Jarrs & Contentions after my Decease do make constitute and ordaine this to be my last Will & Testament in manner and form following ; that is to say, I commend my Soul into ye hands of God and body to ye earth to be decently buried at the Discrefion of my friends, and as to my temporal estate which it hath pleased God of his mercy to lend me, I give bequeath and bestow in the following manner, Viz :

After my ffuneral Charges and Just Debts are payed and sattisfyed by my Executrix hereafter mentioned, give and bequeath unto my aged and beloved wife all my whole estate both Reall and personal after my decease During her natural Life with full power and Authority by Virtue of these presents to make sale of ye whole my Two acre lott in Bristol with the Dwelling house thereon except what I have before given by deed of Gift to my Daughter Hepzebath or any part or parsell of my said lott to such person or persons who shall appear to purchass the same hereby Impowering of my said wife Hannah Lewis to make, sign, seal and fully to Execute a good and sufficient Deed and Legall Convayance of the said two acre lott or any part or parcell thereof so sold as aforesaid for her necessary & Comfortable livelyhood.

During her natural life and after her Decease what shall be Remaining of my estate to be Derided to and among my Children in as Just and equal proportion as may be according to the direction of the law in such case made and provided, having a regard allwayes to what any of my Sons or Daughters have had formerly of my estate before my decease.

And of this my Last Will & Testament I constitute and ordain my Beloved wife Hannah Lewis my sole Executrix Hereby making null & voydd all other and former Wills Legacies or Executors by me in any wise before this time named willed or bequeathed and in Testimony hereof I Thomas Lewis have hereunto sett my hand and fixed my seal the Eleventh day of August, A. D. 1708. Thomas Lewis [Seal]"

Proved 6 July 1709 when it was presented and sworn to by his widow Hannah Lewis. 

Thomas died 26 April 1709, aged about 76 years, in Bristol [Rhode Island VR index 6:1-144].

On 22 April 1710, widow Hannah Lewis sold one half of the two acre lot of Bristol land with her dwelling house and barn to Nathaniel Byfield. It was bounded east on High Street, South on Queen Street, and West by the land of Thomas Lewis, being the other half, and northerly by the land of Nathaniel Byfield.

Hannah Baker Lewis died [17] January 1717 in Bristol. [Rhode Island Vital Records index 6:1-144]

Sources Not Listed Above:

Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins, 2005 

Nelson Baker (based on research of) The Essex Genealogist, “The Lynn Descendants of Edward Baker,” 18:148

George Harlan Lewis. Edmund Lewis and Some of his Descendants, Essex Institute: Salem Massachusetts, 1908

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