Thomas Applegate, I

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Thomas Applegate, I

Birthplace: Potter Heigham, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom
Death: Died in Middlesex, Middlesex County, New Jersey, United States
Place of Burial: New York, Kings County, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of John Landed In MASS. Applegate; John Applegate; John Applegate and NN Applegate
Husband of Elizabeth Mary Applegate; Elizabeth Mary Wall and Elizabeth Mary Wall
Father of Thomas Applegate, Jr.; Batholomew Applegate; Bartholomew Applegate; John Applegate; Arien Applegate and 8 others
Brother of Ann Applegate; Clare Applegate; Ursula Applegate; Nicholas Applegate and Elizabeth Applegate

Managed by: Arthur Rexford Whittaker
Last Updated:

About Thomas Applegate, I


Source: Genealogical and Personal Memorial of Mercer County, New Jersey. This volume was published in 1907 under the editorial supervision of Francis Bazley Lee.

The founder of the Applegate Family in America was Thomas Applegate who left Norfolkshire, England and settled in Holland with a group of fellow Englishman during the Puritan disorders. About 1635, he came to Massachusetts Bay Colony and on Mar. 31, 1635, he was licensed for a year by the General Court to run a ferry between Weymouth and Braintree.

However, he lost the license when the canoe he was using as a ferry overturned and several persons were drowned. The following was taken from the official records of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Thomas Aplegate was "licensed on Sept. 2, 1635 to 'keepe a fferry between Wessagascus and Wolliston for which he is to have jd for any persons iijf a horse'". Thomas Aplegate was discharged of "keepein a fferry of Waymothe and Henry Kingman lycensed to keep said fferry at the pleasure of the Court". At the Quarter Court held Oct. 14, 1638, it was decided that, "Aplegate wch owned the canooe out of wch the 3 psons were drowned/& it was ordered that no canooe to be used at any fferry upon paine of 5' nor no canooe be mad in or iurisdiction before the next General Court upon paine of 10'". Also an order was appointed to be given to Richard Wright to, "have that canooe our of wch these persons were drowned". At the next Court held on March 5, 1639, Willi Blanton, Willi Potter, Robert Thorpe, Henry Neal, John Fitch, and Thomas Aplegate, appearing, were discharged with the admonition not to adventure too many in any boat. However, the record is confusing as Thomas Aplegate's canoe was ordered to be staved in by the court orders making it unusable; then the Court ordered that Thomas be given 29 shillings for his canoe, provided that he returned the arms he had borrowed and that they were in good condition.

Stillwell* cites trouble that Elizabeth Applegate, Thomas' wife had in the Massachusetts Bay Colony as follows: "She appears to have been one of the unfortunate persons who suffered from the ecclesiastical tyranny of that Puritanical age, for she was 'censured to stand with her tongue in a cleft stick for swearing, reviling, and railing'"(Boston Court Sept. 6, 1636).

These experiences were obviously too much for the Applegates and they left the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1640 and went to Rhode Island. There, Thomas appears to have engaged in several real estate endeavors and was identified as a weaver. Thomas was also involved in several Court suits. He sold his 15 acre farm on May 5, 1644 and probably left Rhode Island and came to New Amsterdam where he settled briefly at Flushing, Long Island. He was one of the original patentees there receiving a patent on Oct. 10, 1645. Thomas sold this patent and secured a patent of land on Nassau Island at Gravesend on Nov. 12, 1646 where he apparently remained the rest of his life.

At Gravesend, both Thomas and Elizabeth were caught up in court cases as they were apparently strong minded and believers in free speech. According to Stillwell, "this brought them(the Applegates) oppressive punishment from their neighbors. But such was the habit of the times. Few or none escaped from conflict of this sort. Their isolated life gave small opportunity on mental development on wholesome and broad lines, and their talk degenerated into gossip of a dangerous, personal nature, readily embellished and circulated over the convival cup at the tavern. The habit grew in the community till it became customary to air the most petty grievances in court, and the contest savored much of a pastime.

So great a nuisance did it became, that the court finally for its own protection, passed a rule laying the expenses of a suit upon the plaintiff in the event of his failure to successfully prosecute his case". One such reference is the following: (Diggs, The Two Baxters of New Amsterdam, NYG & BR 8, 70). "One Thomas Applegate of Gravesend owned a farm there but seems to have spent much of of his leisure in the public stocks on the outside of Lady Moody's door. Scarcely had Stuyvesant returned from Hartford with his suite when Applegate was brought up for trial on a charge of slander. Sergeant Hubbard, who had accompanied George Baxter on several expeditions against the Indians, was 'plaintiff in ye behalf of his wife against Thomas Aplegate in an action of slander in saying ye plaintiff hath but half a wife.' 'Aplegate hee utterly denied that hes ever spake such wordes.' Thus the issue was joined and the Court consisting of George Baxter and his two fellow magistrates, call for the witnesses. Robert Clarke (whose daughter Bridget Clarke married Thomas Baxter ) being deposed saith that Thomas Aplegate, Sr., being some time at Manhattan, there waiting three days to have ye company of ye said Robert Clarke to ye plantation of Gravesend, on ye way as hee, his wife and said deponent come long, ye said defendant said: 'Heare' said hee, 'ye Governor Stuyvesant hath laved out your daughter for Ensign Baxter, but I hope you will be wiser'. 'Why' said ye deponet. Ye defendant replyed saying: 'hee is a beggerly scabb and most of his maintainance he hath in the place we are going to; and when he is there ye Serjant Hubbard hath but halfe a wife. Ye wife of Mr. Clarke of ye age of 48 being deposed witnesses the same. The defendant being questioned by the Court why and wherefore hee had given forth such slanderous reports and where hee could prove the truth of it, hee answered and said that hee never spoke ye words. Notwithstanding this, the Court directed him to stand att ye Public Post during ye pleasure of ye Court with a paper on his breast mentioning the fact that hee is a notorious slandalous person. 'Now is Open Court hee has confessed ye wrong done her in raising reports and was sorry for it and desired her to remitt it and pass it by; and she did and he gave her thanks'.

The magistrates who sat at this trial were George Baxter, Nicholas Stillwell, Sergeant Hubbard, and Robert Clarke, all interested persons. Poor Thomas Applegate did not have a chance; he gave a bond of 500 guilders to speak no more scandal. The very next record(1650) in this court is another complaint against Mr. Aplegate for slander, charged by Nicholas Stillwell who claimed that he had been maligned since Aplegate stated that if he (Stillwell) paid all his debts, he would have nothing left.

On Jan. 8, 1651, he was again before the magistrates, charged by Mrs. Robert Clarke with slander for saying Governor Stuyvesant took bribes. Mr. Robert Clarke, assistant magistrate, testified: Thomas said,'I cannot have my rights, ye Governor is bribed'; but said hee, 'now the Governor is going in to ye North (to Hartford) and if time would permit, I would goe in to ye North and I would lay him up fast and there I should have justice though I could have none here'. This being at ye same time ye Governor was in Hartford. "Bridget Baxter(Mr. Robert Clarke's daughter) being deposed witnesseth that this Thomas Aplegate, Sr., said in effect as her father abovesaid hath declared. Ye defendant said he never spake any such words. The court therfore do adjudge ye said Aplegate deserves to have his tongue bored through with a redd hot iron and to make a public acknowledgment of his great transgression therein, and never to have credit in way of belieff in any testimony or relation and meantime to lye in prison until further order from ye Governor. The above sentence being publicly read in our General Court in ye presence of most of ye inhabitants, ye said Aplegate did then and there publiquely acknowledge and confess he had slandered ye Governor in his untrue charging of him, and took ye blame and ye shame of it upon himself and did humbly request forgiveness of ye said Governor and that ye Court and ye town would intercede for him hoping it would be a warning to him and to others not to offend in like kind".

Fortunately for Thomas, he was pardoned by the Governor. Thomas married Elizabeth Wall. He purchased land from John Ruckman, one of the 39 original lots into which Gravesend was divided in 1646.

(Thomas Applegate, an Englishman, who was among the early settlers of Gravesend, and Nov. 12th, 1646, purchased of John Ruckman, a plantation in said town. Many of the early settlers of this town removed to New Jersey)

On Dec. 29, 1650, he sold half of his farm in Gravesend to Thomas Southard and his wife, Anna VanSalee. He apparently died either late in 1656 or early in 1657 as his wife was listed in the tax records in 1657.

Source: by Hugh E. Vores, P.O. Box 857 Charles Town, W. Va. 25414

The founder of the Applegate Family in America was Thomas Applegate who left Norfolkshire, England and settled in Holland with a group of fellow Englishman during the Puritan disorders. About 1635, he came to Massachusetts Bay Colony and on Mar. 31, 1635, he was licensed for a year by the General Court to run a ferry between Weymouth, MA and Braintree, MA.

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Thomas Applegate, I's Timeline

Potter Heigham, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom
Age 16
Gravesend, Livingston, New York, United States
Age 18
Norfolkshire, England, United Kingdom
Age 19
Parts of Holland, Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom
Age 21
Norfolk, , England
Age 21
Age 26
Nut Swamp, Monmouth, New Jersey, United States
Age 26
New York