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Thomas Duston

Also Known As: "Thomas", "Dunston", "Durston", "Duston"
Birthplace: perhaps of, Devon, England
Death: before July 01, 1662
Haverhill, or, Portsmouth, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, Colonial America
Immediate Family:

Son of (No Name) and (No Name)
Husband of Elizabeth Button
Father of Elizabeth Green; Mary Dustin and Thomas Dustin, II

Managed by: Heather Anne Cummings
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Thomas Duston

Thomas Durston may have come from Devon County England with the Trelawney party which settled at Cape Elizabeth and Black Point (now Maine). He was there in July 1632 according to Trelawney Papers, but evidently returned to England before 1635 and came back to Maine again in 1639. He received a grant of 20 acres of land on June 19, 1654, reaching from Crooked Lane to Spruce Creek. He signed the Dover Combination in 1640. In November, 1652, his name was 12th on the list appended to the following: "We whose names are written under do acknowledge ourselves subject to the government of Massachusetts Bay". Quotes are taken from "Old Kittery", page 79, page 142-147; Haverhill Towns Records Vol. 11, page 51 and page 368.

He married Elizabeth Wheeler (daughter of John Wheeler and Ann Yoeman), baptized January 10, 1617 or 1618 in Salisbury, Wilts, England, died July 16, 1690, Haverhill, MA. She survived him & married Matthias Button next as his 4th wife.

Their children were

  • Elizabeth Duston, born 1645 at Kittery
  • Sara Durston, born January 21, 1650, and baptized February 17, 1650 (Parish registry) and
  • Thomas Durston, born 1652, St. George Wilton.

[the following edit is by Michael Brown]

It seems Thomas died circa 1662, with his widow being granted initially as administratrix of the estate. His son Thomas was eventually granted administration of his estate c. 1703. Furthermore, it is unlikely he was employed by Trelawney in the fishing and trading business at the young age of about 5 which is what he would be in 1632 if he was born in 1627. He must have been born at least several years earlier.

The supposed ancestry of Thomas Duston (c. 1606-1662), ancestor of the New England Duston/Dustins is NOT CORRECT. That data was found in the 1920's and thoroughly researched by the Duston-Dustin Family Association and they proved it was incorrect and deleted it from their records before publishing their first generation booklet.

This incorrect lineage tries to inject an extra generation into the Dustin family suggesting that Thomas Durston who married Elizabeth Burgess was the one who came to America and that their son Thomas Durston b. 1627 died in 1703. THIS IS INCORRECT.

The conclusion was first accepted prematurely because Thomas who came here was eventually married to an Elizabeth (Wheeler) and the Thomas in Wilton parish had a wife named Elizabeth (Burgess). Well, Thomas and Elizabeth are hardly rare names. It is also certain that the Thomas who came to American in 1632 with the Trelawney party was a single man as were most who came with that group.

There is no evidence that the Thomas Durston, son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Burgess) Durston bap. 1627 ever came to America. The phony lineage fails to point out that this Thomas Durston bap. 1627 had a had a wife named Joan and a child born in Wilton, England in the late 1640's when "our" Thomas Duston/Durston had already been living in New England nearly 20 years.

"Our" Thomas Durston/Duston made a deposition in 1661 that he was about 55 years old, which puts his birth at about 1606. Other records prove that "our" Thomas (b. abt. 1606) was married to Elizabeth Wheeler, not to Elizabeth Burgess. There was only one Thomas Duston in New England early, not two, and he was the one who was made a Freeman at Kittery on Nov. 16, 1652 and died between April of 1661 and July 1, 1662.

The idea there was a second Thomas b. 1627 d. 1703 is fictitious, created from misinterpreting records and speculation trying to force the Wilton parish Durston lineage "fit." It does not fit.

We have never been able to prove the parentage of Thomas Durston/Duston (c. 1606-1662) in England and perhaps it will never be proven. Unfortunately, this fictitious lineage has been accepted by many and posted on the Internet as "gospel" and it will probably never go away, but I can assure you it is not correct.

Chris H. Bailey, genealogist for the Duston-Dustin Family Association.


Bio notes: m. Elizabeth Wheeler child: Thomas Dustin Claire's 9th gg,; Emily's 10th gg;;Neva's 11th gg

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Thomas Duston's Timeline

perhaps of, Devon, England
May 3, 1645
probably York County, Massachusetts, Colonial America
Portsmouth, Rockingham, New Hampshire, USA
August 30, 1652
Dover, Strafford County, New Hampshire, Colonial America
July 1, 1662
Age 56
Haverhill, or, Portsmouth, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, Colonial America
December 9, 1933
Age 56
December 9, 1933
Age 56