Meet the Planters – Parsons

The following information is taken from Dr. Roy’s Book.

Descendants of Thomas Parsons have a different descendant chart than Dr. Roy. Please send us your direct descendant list, if you would like, and we will put it on the site.

Meet Thomas Parsons

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The genealogy of the Parsons family has been extensively studied and written about by several authors, but none of them seem able to agree on the early history of this family. For practical purposes, we are actually concerned only with Thomas Parsons, who settled at Quaboag Plantation in 1665 and his immediate family. The following is offered as the most probable family succession as deduced from careful study of the various genealogies written on the subject.

The first Thomas Parsons of which we know was Great Milton, Oxfordshire, England. He married Catharine Sydenham and had Thomas, Hugh and Richard. The latter Thomas married Judith Garbrand of Oxford and their only child was Thomas, who was knighted by Charles I in 1634. He was also of Great Milton but married Catharine Radcliff of London. The children of Sir Thomas and Catharine were Robert, Thomas, Richard, Anthony, and six daughters.

Thomas, aged 30, son of Sir Thomas Parsons, sailed on January 2, 1634/5 in the Merchantman Bonaventura, James Ricrofte, Master, bound from London for New England. In 1639, he is found as a proprietor at Boston. On June 28, 1641, he was at Windsor, Connecticut Colony, where he married Lydia Brown and where he was to make his permanent home. She bore him eleven children between May 21, 1642, and May 1, 1661.

He appeared as an owner on the Windsor book of Town Ways in Palisado Plot on March 17, 1650/1; in 1662, he agreed with the Town to maintain the Rivulet Ferry; he was a soldier in the Pequot War in 1637 for which he was rewarded with 50 acres in Windsor for his services; he died in Windsor September 23, 1661.

Of the eleven children of Thomas Parsons above, the third was Thomas, who was the one with whom we are immediately concerned in relation to the settlement of Quaboag Plantation. He was born at Windsor on August 9, 1645 and probably spent most of his live there until his removal to Quaboag in 1665, where he was certainly one of the first arrivals. It seems strange that he should have come to Quaboag from an entirely different direction than the other early settlers. He was single at that time, and there seems to have been no common denominator between the Ipswich group and he, other than his distant cousin, John Pynchon.

He did become a permanent settler at Quaboag, even though the records of his marriage and the births of his children would seem to belie this fact. He married Sarah Dare on December 24, 1668, at Windsor and probably brought his bride back to Quaboag with him at that time. His three children were born during his residence at Quaboag. It is quite probable that they were born there but recorded in Windsor (his native town), a custom which was not uncommon at that time.

Proof of his early arrival at Quaboag is found in the account book of John Pynchon with the following entry: “Thomas Parsons of Quaboag Dr., December 28, 1666. To resting in D book July 16, 1666 01 17 00″.

This places him at Quaboag at least as of the date of the ledger entry and most likely prior to July 16, 1666. This account extends till July 16, 1669 on which date Thomas made an agreement with John Pynchon recorded as follows: “Thomas Parsons Cr. July 16, 1669 by a brown heifer, four years old in January next, he is to bring her to Springfield at Michalstide, or else if she prove now with calf, he is to winter her for the calf she now goes with: If she prove not with calf, and be there all winter, he is to winter her for 10 shillings”. Here is a typical barter arrangement between merchant and farmer.

The event which no doubt changed his way of life and caused him to establish himself in a homestead at Quaboag was his marriage to Sarah Dare in December of 1668. This marriage was short lived, with the death of Sarah on June 14, 1674, probably at Brookfield, but recorded at Windsor. During these five and half short years, they were blessed with three children, Sarah born October 12, 1669, Hannah born October 3, 1671, and Thomas born January 2, 1673/4. Sarah lived to adulthood, marrying Henry Stiles at Windsor in 1698, but Hannah died at Brookfield before 1674. Thomas, Jr., was born January 2, 1673/4.

That Thomas was a farmer is fairly well-established by the entries on the credit side of his account, many of which are for such items as pork and hogs, in addition to the entry previously mentioned for the wintering of a heifer. He is also credited for nine and a half days “work at the mill trench” and for “spinning of yarn for me 45 yard at 20 shillings and four yards cotton wool 16 yards five shillings four pence so it is 20 19 00″.

The debit side of the ledger records his share of the purchase of Quaboag, (01 05 00—a single house lot and ancillary lands) on December 11, 1672. In 1673 and 1674, he is charged for having his rye, Indian corn and wheat ground at the Quaboag mill by Goodman Ayres. During this same period, he purchased household staples—run, bacon, butter, peas, oats, etc. from Mr. Pynchon. This account was settled by “acot” on September 20, 1682 and the balance carried forward to another book.

Thomas was a respected member of the community and was considered to be a responsible person by the authorities at Springfield as evidenced by the following: “December 18, 1673, Thomas Parsons, John Ayres: Junior also: Samuel Kent: of Brookefeild Took the oath of fidelity to the government”.

And also the following entry in the court record. “This court doth order that the same committee appointed take the opportunity and join with John Ayres Sr. and Thomas Parsons of Brookfield to take survey of a brook that runs down by Corporal Coy’s and to determine the place where Country Road shall be over that brook. And that they acquaint the selectmen there with their determination and that then the selectmen make that a sufficient bridge be made there for passage over that brook in place you determine”.

This entry is dated March 31, 1674, and is found in relation to the construction of the Hadley Path.

At the time of the destruction of Brookfield, Thomas was in residence with his daughter Sarah age 6 years and Thomas Jr. age about 1-1/2 years. No doubt, he fled as soon as possible and returned to Windsor, where he is found in 1675 on a list for a special tax for the support of a ferry across the river. On this list, he is classified and assessed as a “single man with Horse” (widower would have been more appropriate).

On January 1, 1676/7, the Committee for Suffield granted him 50 acres of land “allowed to go down to the Great River”. This lot was located on Feather Street in Suffield. On March 9, 1681/2, he was one of those privileged to vote in the regulation of town affairs at the first town meeting. This locates him at Suffield.