Thomas Graves, ‘the Engineer’

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Thomas Graves, ‘the Engineer’

Birthplace: Gravesend, Kent, England (United Kingdom)
Death: after 1640
Perhaps, Gravesend, Kent, England (United Kingdom)
Occupation: Engineer, Surveyor, Mine and Fortificiation
Immigration Year: 1629
Returned to England: 1633
Managed by: Erica Howton
Last Updated:

About Thomas Graves, ‘the Engineer’

We know that this Thomas Graves had a wife & 5 children but we don’t know their names. He returned to England.

Often confused with: Thomas Graves of Hatfield, married Sarah: Thomas Graves, of Hatfield and THomas Graves, Admiral and Shipmaster, married Katherine Grey: Rear Adm. Thomas Graves

Thomas Graves, Engineer

Thomas Graves (1) may have been born about 1585. He was from Gravesend, Co. Kent, England. He was an engineer and city planner, laying out Charlestown and other towns in New England, but probably returned to England. He was probably born perhaps 1585, and had a wife and 5 children in 1629 when he signed a contract with the Massachusetts Bay Company.

This Thomas Graves has sometimes been confused with Rear Admiral Thomas Graves of Ratcliff and Stepney, England, who settled in Charlestown, MA, and died in 1653 in a sea battle with the Dutch in the English Channel. Thomas Graves, the engineer was of Gravesend, County of Kent, England, signed a contract with the Massachusetts Bay Company on 10 March 1628/9, arrived in New England in July 1629, and laid out Charlestown. Thomas Graves, the engineer, was clearly not the same as Rear Admiral Thomas Graves. In 1629 the engineer already had an impressive reputation for engineering, had traveled extensively, and had a wife and five children. He was older than the 24 years of age that the Rear Admiral was at that time.

Thomas Graves apparently went to Salem, MA in 1629 with Higginson. (It is interesting to note that the Thomas Graves who later became Rear Admiral was apparently master’s mate of the Talbot, which brought Higginson and Thomas Graves the engineer to Salem in 1629, and that he was master of various vessels both before and after that.) He was made a freeman 18 May 1631, and his property was listed as included in Cambridge (land now known as Lechmere Point) on 6 March 1632/3. In his contract, he asked to have the Mass. Bay Co. pay costs of transporting his wife, 5 children, and 2 servants, but there is no record of their actually arriving in the colony. The names of his wife and children are not known.

Крещение: 16 июн 1605  Stepney, London, Middlesex Co., England HISTORY: Came to America with Gov. Endicott's company Fact 10: Arriving in Salem in 1629, on the George Bonaventure


  • The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, Volumes I-III. (Online database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2010), (Originally Published as: New England Historic Genealogical Society. Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, Volumes I-III, 3 vols., 1995). Featured sketch of Thomas Graves. p. 805ff.for subscribers $ AncestryImage
  • Frothingham, Richard. "The History of Charlestown, Massachusetts" pub. CC Little and J. Brown, Boston. 1845. pp 15 - 31.see at link
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Thomas Graves, ‘the Engineer’'s Timeline

Gravesend, Kent, England
Age 55
Gravesend, Kent, England