Thomas Brattle, F.R.S.

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Thomas Brattle, F.R.S.

Birthplace: Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts
Death: May 18, 1713 (54)
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts
Place of Burial: Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Capt. Thomas Brattle and Elizabeth Brattle
Brother of Thomas Brattle; Elizabeth Oliver; Rev. William Brattle; Katherine Winthrop; Bethiah Parsons and 2 others

Occupation: Merchant, mathematician, astronomer; member of the Royal Society
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Thomas Brattle, F.R.S.

Thomas Brattle (1657–1713) was a well-educated and prosperous Boston merchant who served as treasurer of Harvard College, and was a member of the intellectually elite Royal Society.

Thomas Brattle was born 5 September 1657. He attended and graduated from Harvard College in 1676, later becoming treasurer of the college. He became a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts in 1672. He was the principal founder of the Brattle Street Church in Boston, with Dr. Coleman as the first minister.

In early October 1692 he wrote a letter to an English clergyman which was critical of the Salem witch trials. The letter was circulated widely in Boston at the time, and it continues to be studied for its reasoned attack on the witchcraft trials in Salem. Brattle presents a compelling argument against the legal premises and procedures involved in the afflictions, accusations, and executions, with a particular focus on the invalidity of spectral evidence in proceedings. He concludes by saying "I am afraid that ages will not wear off that reproach and those stains which these things will leave behind them upon out land."

Brattle died on 18 May 1713 at age 56.

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From [ the-history-of-harvard-university- volume-1-ala/1-the-history-of-harvard-university-volume-1-ala.shtml JOSIAH QUINCY -- HISTORY OF HARVARD]

Among those entitled to grateful remembrance for services and bounties to Harvard College, the name of Thomas Brattle is conspicuous. He was a merchant of Boston, distinguished for opulence, activity, and talent, and for the zeal and readiness with which he devoted his time, wealth, and intellectual power to objects of private benevolence and public usefulness.

He was born in 1657, was graduated at Harvard College in 1676, and died in 1713, at the age of fifty-six. He was chosen Treasurer of the College in 1693, and held that office twenty years, until his death. In the July preceding that event, he caused the settlement he had made with his predecessor, in 1693, and his own account of receipts and expen- ditures during the intervening period, to be entered on the records of the Corporation ; carefully specify- ing the particulars of the real and personal estate of the College, with the incomes of both ; thus giving the most authentic and satisfactory development of its property and pecuniary relations at that early period. Two years elapsed after his death before a successor was appointed. During the interval, his brother and executor, the Rev. William Brattle, at the solicitation of the Corporation, took upon himself the superintendence of the finances of the College. By the accounts of these treasurers, it appears that Thomas Brattle received, in 1693, from John Richards, his


predecessor, upwards of one thousand five hundred and fifty pounds, lawful money, personal estate of the College, and a real estate yielding one hundred pounds annual income ; and that William Brattle, his executor, delivered over to John White, his successor, in 1715, nearly three thousand eight hundred pounds, personal estate, and real estate, yielding two hundred and eighty pounds. Such was the accumulation of the property of the College, while its finances were under the management of these brothers.

From "An account of some of the descendants of Capt. Thomas Brattle" by Harris, Edward Doubleday, 1839-1919, comp Published 1867

" 21 (May 21st). The College Treasurer was inter' d at Boston sub monumento Pati'is, matrisque, arique ex parte {tit aiunf) certiori: senatu, Poftuloque Academico ftrceeunte feestru"

He was never married.

His will was presented for probate at Boston, May 23, 1713, and is as follows :

"In the name of God, Amen — I, Thomas Brattle of Boston, in y e County of Suffolk within Her Maj ts province of the Massa- chusetts Bay in New England, Esq r ., being at this time in bodily health and of a Sound disposing mind, but not knowing how Soon or Sudden my great Change may be, Do make this my last Will & Testament in manner following, that is to say, I first & principally Commit my Soul into y e hands of Almighty God my Heavenly Father of whose meer grace and mercy through y e Merits of Jesus Christ my Saviour, I hope for y e free pardon of all my Sins, & to Obtain Everlasting Blessedness. My body I Commit to y e Earth to be decently Interred, & all my dear Rela- tions and friends to y e care and blessing of Heaven. And as for such Worldly goods as it has pleased God to bestow upon me who am less than ye least of his mercies, I Will & Dispose thereof in such manner as I judge may be most beneficial as follows —

" Imp", my funeral Charges and just debts being paid & dis- charged w th all Convenient speed, I give and devise unto my brother William Brattle & his heirs forever All those my Messuages or Tenements in or near Brattle Street in this towne : whereof one is in y e present Tenure of Mr. Thomas Clarke, another in y e present tenure of Mr. Richard Draper, & a third of the widows Adkins & Lad, together with y e ps. of ground lying between y e Messuages of y e s d Draper & y e s d Adkins & Lad, on y e South side of Brattle Street aforesaid. Provided allways, & it is my ex- press Will & desire that there be paid annually on y e day of my decease unto my Sister Elisabeth Oliver Two third parts (only in case my Sister Mary Mico shall become a Widow, then to each of them One Third part) of y e clear Incomes of my s d Messuages, and ps. of ground, during their Natural lives.

" Item, I give & bequeath unto my brother Edward Brattle Two hundred pound, to my Sister Elisabeth Oliver Three hundred pound, to my sister Katharine Winthrop Two hundred pound, & in case she shall become a Widow again, One hundred and fifty pound more, & to my Sister Mary Mico Four hundred pound, & in case she shall become a Widow, One hundred pound more. Item, I give & bequeath unto each of my Nephews & Neeces, namely, Elisa- beth Keeling, Nathan 1 , James, Brattle, Peter, Sarah & Mary Oliver, W r illiam & Mary Brattle (now Smith) & John, Katharine & Bethiah Eyre, a ring of twenty shillings & Fifty pound in money, & to my brother Joseph Parson Thirty pound.

"Item, I give unto his Excell cy Joseph Dudley, Esq r ., & to (my Cousen Dudley) his Lady, unto my Cousen Jonathan Tinge, Esq r . & his wife, & to my Worthy Kinsman Paul Dudley, Esq r . a ring of twenty Shillings ; unto my Cousen Willard, Wid w of y e late Rev d M r Sam 1 Willard dec d five pound, & to my good Kinsman M r Josiah Willard five pound & a ring.

"Item, I give unto my Cousens Cutler & Long of Charlestown fifty shillings apeece, & to y e Rev d M r Simon Bradstreet, Minister there, five pound, & to each of my Cousens, namely Anna Smith,



John Quinsey, Anna Holman, Shepard & Margarett Fiske, & Mercy & Sarah Oliver a ring of twenty shillings. Item, I give unto M r William & Elisabeth Whetcomb & M rs Hannah Davis fourty shillings apeece, to M rs Margaret Davis also fourty shillings & to y e rest of her Sisters twenty Shillings apeece.

"Item, I give unto M r Thomas Clarke, M r John Kilby, M r Rich- ard Draper, M rs Elisabeth Macarty & Henry Newman, Esq r a ring of twenty shillings apeece. Item, I give and bequeath unto Harvard College in Cambridge in New England Two hundred pound to be laid out in a purchase, or otherwise improv'd on very good security toward y e maintenance of Some Master of Arts there and Especially of such a one as is best skill' d in y e Mathematicks & shall by all proper methods endeavour the Improvement thereof, as by reading and teaching y e same, & making Observations & Communicating them to y e Learned abroad, as in some measure I have done, respect & preference being evermore given to such as are or shall be akin by blood unto me above and before all others. Item, I give unto y e Rever d President & each of the Fellows of y e s d College a ring of Twenty shillings, & to the present steward thereof one of fourteen or fifteen. Item, I give & bequeath unto the Rev d M r Benj n Colman the worthy Pastor of y e New Church in Brattle Street a ring of twenty shillings & five pound in mony. Item, I give, dedicate & Devote my Organ to the praise & glory of God in y e s d Church if they shall accept thereof, & within a year after my decease procure a Sober person that can play skil- fully thereon with a loud noise ; otherwise to y e Church of Eng- land in this towne on y e same terms & conditions, & on their Non acceptance* or discontinuance to use it as aboves d unto y e College,

  • Elliot, Cara. "This House which I have built: The Foundation of the Brattle Street Church in Boston and Transformations in Colonial Congregationalism". Gettysburg The Gettysburg Historical Journal. link Retrieved February 2017.
  • Bridgman, Thomas; Everett, Edward (1856). The Pilgrims of Boston and their descendants. New York: Appleton & Co. p. 249. Retrieved 30 April 2009.
  • Kennedy, Rick (2000). "Brattle, William". JSTOR 365919
  • Reference: MyHeritage Family Trees - SmartCopy: Feb 13 2017, 3:55:59 UTC
  • Reference: Find A Grave Memorial - SmartCopy: Feb 13 2017, 5:20:18 UTC
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Thomas Brattle, F.R.S.'s Timeline

June 20, 1658
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts
May 18, 1713
Age 54
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts
May 18, 1713
Age 54
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States