Meet the Planters – Thomas Millet

Meet Thomas Millett


The last of the planters to come to Brookfield and probably the one who had the shortest stay, was Thomas Millett, who succeeded John Younglove in the pulpit. He was the first man to have come to Brookfield to settle, having already acquired the distinction of Freeman.

The ancestry of Mr. Millett, can be traced back several generations in England. His was a family which was highly respected in Marazion, a town about three miles from Penzance, County Cornwall, England. The first member of the family of whom we take note was William, High Sheriff of the county during the reign of Elizabeth 1. Among the children of William was Henry, the father of Thomas.

Thomas was born in Chertsey, Surrey, England in 1605, son of Henry and Joice (Chapman) Millett, and spent his boyhood in England. At the age of 16, he was bound to Robert Emory of Fetter Lane for 10 years, and was freed on October 3, 1631. On May 1, 1629, Thomas married Mary Greenoway, daughter of John and Mary. Their first two children were born at St. Saviours, Southwark, County Surrey in England. The first, John, died in infancy, but the second, Thomas Jr., came to America with his parents. The Milletts, Thomas Sr., aged 30, Mary aged 29, and Thomas Jr. aged 2, set sail from London in April 1635, on the “Elizabeth”‘ William Stagg, master, and arrived in Boston in midsummer of that same year. They had been certified as conforming to the requirements for immigration by the minister of St. Saviours.

Thomas settled in Dorchester soon after his arrival in America and lived there for about 20 years. The remainder of his children were born there between 1635 and 1647. Mary and Thomas Sr. were members of the church of Dorchester before 1639. Thomas took his oath of freeman of the colony while an inhabitant of Dorchester.

In 1655, “Mr.” Millett, a title which he was entitled to bear, bought of William Perkins, who had been a teaching elder in the church at Gloucester for several years, all the property the latter owned in the town. He also succeeded Mr. Perkins in his religious office, but was not an ordained minister. Court records furnish information that he was engaged in the work of the ministry, and that he was not always remunerated as was his due. In 1668, he was listed as a selectman of Gloucester. In that same year, he bought of James Travis, (later to be his neighbor at Brookfield), a house and land.

Thomas and Mary Millett came to Brookfield sometime after March 31, 1674. All of their children were settled in and about Gloucester, and did not remove with their parents. They received a grant of a home lot of 20 acres and 10 acres of meadow. Not being an ordained minister, he was not allowed the ministry lot at Brookfield. After the death of Mr. Millet, Samuel Warner, then of Dunstable, made a deposition on March 26, 1678 certifying that Millet had bought land in Brookfield, and that he had also been granted lands by the town. On June 3, 1675, while residents of Brookfield, Thomas and Mary Millett gave consent to the sale of a house and land on Town Neck in Gloucester, to Francis Norwood.

The Millets removed from Brookfield before August 1675, and so were not present at the siege. They probably returned to Gloucester, since he still owned real estate in that place. He died before September 26, 1675, when his will was presented for probate. The inventory of his estate was valued at 128.1 pounds, and was left “in his wife’s possession.” It included a house, with adjoining lot, and marshland in Gloucester; 24 acres of upland and marshland near Gloucester; one cow and ten sheep; wearing clothing worth 3 pounds, 6 shillings; linen and bedding worth 5 pounds; and, books worth 17 shillings.

Mary died on June 5, 1682, and in the agreement of her children (dated September 27, 1682), about the division of their father’s estate, “Sarah, widow of John, has 12 pounds for the tending of their mother, Mary Millett, late deceased”. The homestead at Brookfield did not appear in the inventory of the estate of Thomas, since it was considered worthless at the time because of the devastation. However, it did remain in the family and was sold by Nathaniel to Captain Thomas Baker on February 21, 1710/11.