Thomas Read (c.1626 - 1667)

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: England
Death: Died in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts
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About Thomas Read

Thomas Read

  • Birth: 1626 - Brocket Hall, Hertfordshire, , England
  • Death: June 25 1667 - Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, United States
  • Parents: Thomas Read, Mary Cornwall
  • Wife: Mary Brice
  • Children: Susanna Read, Aron Read, Remember Read, Abraham Read, Jacob Read, Isaac Read, Susannah Read, Elizabeth Read, Sarah Read, John Read, John Read, Mary Read, Jacob Read

Note:******Not too sure that he was the VII****

Salem was one of the earliest settlements in Massachusetts when it was first settled in 1626. It became an important early port, about sixteen miles north of Boston. It is probably best remembered today as the site of the Salem witch trials of 1692 in which nineteen persons were sentenced to death. The accused and accusers were mostly from Salem Village, now known as Danvers. Fortunately, members of the Thomas Read family do not appear in the records of these events. Salem is also remembered as the site of several novels by its native son, Nathaniel Hawthorne, who wrote there in the mid 1800's, after most of the Reads had move to other areas.

Thomas(1) Read was included on a 1636 list of landowners in Salem with a 10-acre lot. He was acknowledged as an inhabitant of Salem on 10 April 1637. On 25 December 1637, when marsh and meadow lands were allocated to the inhabitants of Salem, Thomas had three members living in his family, presumably himself, his wife and one child. On 25 June 1638, it was ordered that "Thos. Read shall haue halfe an acre of land lying by his other lot," and on 21 January 1638/9 there was "graunted to Thomas Read 20 acres of land to be layed out by the town."

Alice was probably Thomas' first wife, as Alice Read joined the Salem church 29 December 1640. Thomas and Alice had three sons and one daughter who were still living at the time of Thomas' death in 1667, according to the records of the administration of his estate. These records do not name their children and their baptisms do not appear in the church records.

Alice died sometime in the 1640's and Thomas' second wife was Mary, who joined the church 4 March 1648/9.

Thomas arrived in Salem when the great migration of settlers from England was at its peak. The great migration started with the Pilgrims on the Mayflower in 1620 and ended when the start of the English Civil War in the early 1640s cut migration dramatically. In this period approximately 20,000 settlers came to New England, with the largest numbers in the 1630s. About 200 people were in Salem in 1630 when Governor Winthrop's fleet arrived with 500 more. Dozens of settlers came to Salem each year thereafter and obtained grants of land. They busied themselves with building houses, clearing the land and planting crops.

A contemporary description of Salem published in 1635 follows:

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Four miles northeast from Saugus lieth Salem, which stands on the middle of a neck of land very pleasantly, having a south river on the one side and a north river on the other side. Upon this neck where the most of the houses stand is very bad and sandy ground, yet for seven years together it hath brought forth exceeding good corn by being fished but every third year; in some places is ver good ground, and good timber, and diverse springs hard by the seaside. Here likewise is store of fish, as basses, eels, lobsters, clams, etc. Although their land be none of the best, yet beyond these rivers is a very good soil, where they have taken farms and get their hay and plant their corn. There they cross these rivers with small canoes which are made of whole pine trees being about two foot and a half over, and twenty feet long. In these likewise they go afowling, sometimes two leagues to sea. There be more canoes in this town than in all the whole patent, every household having a water horse or two. This town wants an alewife river, which is a great inconvenience. It hath two good harbors, the one being called Winter and the other Summer Harbors, which lieth within Derby's Fort, which place if it were well fortified might keep ships from landing of forces in any of those two places.

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The early years in Salem were not comfortable. In 1637 eighteen men from Salem marched to Connecticut to fight in the Pequot War against the native Americans. These men included Capt. William Trask. On 1 June 1637 a very violent earthquake occurred. The winter of 1638 was severe with snow on the ground from 4 November 1637 to 23 March 1637/8. The following summer was very dry. The winter of 1642 was so cold that Salem harbor froze to Baker's Island. Corn was scarce in 1643 and people subsisted on mussels and clams. Another earthquake occured on 5 March 1643. In June 1646 "innumerable armies of caterpillars" arrived and destroyed nearly all the corn, wheat and barley. In June 1647 Salem suffered an influenza epidemic. Smallpox arrived in 1649.

The early land records in Salem are not complete, but Sidney Perley identified two parcels of land owned by Thomas Read in the North Field of Salem, shown as parcels 1 and 2 on the following map(Northfield Map in George's Pictures) adapted from that of Perley. Thomas' son Isaac subsequently owned parcel 1. Perley also identified parcels 3 and 4 as being land of his son Jacob in 1695. Living nearby were John Tompkins, who married Thomas' widow, Mary, and Robert Stone, presumably the father of Joane Stone, who married Isaac Read.

In December 1643 Thomas was a plantiff in court, accusing certain men of placing their cattle in the north cornfields and he complained that Robert Tike had stolen wood from him.

Thomas was probably a captain in the militia. The town records of 23 February 1646/7 mention a "barrall of powder for Capt. Tho. Read," and the town records of 30 May 1649 mentioned that one barrel remained in the hands of Mr. Read.

With the consent of his wife, Mary Read, Thomas Read, of Salem, planter, conveyed six acres of land in the Northfield to Richard Richards on January 1666/7. He signed the deed with "his marke" and confirmed it 11 February 1666/7.

Thomas did not leave a will, but the inventory of his estate, dated 5 April 1667, gives us an idea of the way the family lived and their possessions that were considered to be of value. it includes one house with 35 and 1/2 acres of land, 3/4 acres of salt marsh, two cows, one horse, and a mare colt, two oxen, one heifer, three swine, bedding and bedstead, apparel, flax, two chests, odd lumber, and iron pot and skillets, pewter, a warming pan, iron tools and plow irons, a comb to dry hemp, a sled, one "calef" and one cart and boxes. Mary brought the inventory to the court on 25 June 1667. She was appointed administratrix and was ordered to pay to the eleven children, when they came of age or were married, 20 shillings each, with the eldest to have 40 shillings. She was not to make sale of any of the houses or land without advice of the court or the selectmen of Salem and when she died the estate left was to be divided equally. On 19 March 1667/8, Mary, "the Relick of Thomas Read," sold a piece of land of about 100 rods to John Pudney with the consent of the selectmen.

The probate records mention that Thomas had three sons and one daughter by his first wife and seven children by his second wife, including sons 20 and four years old and daughters 17, 14, 12, 10 and 1-1/2 years. The baptismal records of the Salem First Church can be aligned to the ages of children of Thomas and Mary listed in the probate records. Some of the Read children baptized in Salem during this period were called sons or daughter of "Sister Read" and others called daughters of Thomas Read in the church records. All can be accounted for as having the above ages or as having died.

Mary suffered a great deal of sadness. Four of her children died at young ages. The year after her husband's death, she had troubles with her two teenage daughters. As discussed below, Susanna became involved in a court case when she accused her employer of assault. Daughter Mary became pregnant and was brought to court for fornication. Two years later, her eldest son, Aaron, was killed in a hunting accident.

The town records of 19 November 1669 refer to a "small spot of land belonging to the widow Reade lying without the North Neck fence near to Samuel Ebourne Sr.'s house" and authorized her to sell it if she needed to "for her necessities." In a 1670 court record, "Widow Read complained that Robert Pease withheld her thirds of about sic acres of land which her husband Thomas Reade was possessed of in his life time while she was his wife." The court ordered Hillard Verrin, Henry Skerry Sr. and John Tompkins to lay out her thirds according to law.

On 6 April 1673 a spot of land near Samuel Eborne was laid out to widow Read and on 13 April 1673 the town voted to "satisfy the widow Read for the highway that crosses through her ground" by Samuel Eborne's. She sold a parcel of land near the home of Samuel Ebourne Jr. to John Pudney on 23 April 1673.

She married John Tompkins Sr., a widower, in September 1673. Tompkins had been a neighbor in the Northfield of Salem. Mary and John Tompkins Jr. were named administrators of the estate of John Tompkins Sr. when he died 23 June 1681. As shown below, Mary was still alive on 14 December 1687. -------------------- I have no substantiation of this link from Jacob back to Thomas.

3. Thomas Captain3 Reed (Thomas Colonel2 Reade, Thomas Sir1) was born Abt. 1630 (Source: Stanley W. Reed, Reed Genealogy.), and died 1669. He married (1) Unknown Reedfirstwife. He married (2) Mary .

Child of Thomas Reed and Unknown is:

4 i. Abraham4 Reed, born Abt. 1650.

Child of Thomas Reed and Mary is:

+5 i. Jacob4 Reed, born August 07, 1662; died Bef. April 08, 1745.

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Thomas Read's Timeline

1626
1626
England
1640
1640
Age 14
Essex, Massachusetts, United States
1640
Age 14
Salem, Essex, Massachusetts
1648
March 18, 1648
Age 22
Essex, Massachusetts, United States
1648
Age 22
Britain (UK)
1649
September 23, 1649
Age 23
1650
1650
Age 24
1651
June 15, 1651
Age 25
1653
April 10, 1653
Age 27
1655
May 13, 1655
Age 29