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Thomas Oliver

Also Known As: "Thomas Oliver", "of Salem"
Birthplace: Of, Norfolk , England
Death: before April 24, 1679
Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts
Immediate Family:

Husband of Mary Oliver and Bridget Bishop, Salem Witch
Father of Thomas Oliver, Jr.; John Oliver; Mary West; David Oliver, of Maine and Christian Mason

Occupation: Calender (paper maker)
Managed by: George Allan Jones
Last Updated:

About Thomas Oliver

From The True History of Bridget Bishop:

"Bridget Wasselbe married Thomas Oliver on July 26, 1666. Thomas had immigrated from Norwich in 1637, at the age of 36, with his first wife, Mary and their sons Thomas and John (Hotten, 1874 p. 295). They had a daughter Mary in Salem (Anderson, 1989). By the time he married Bridget he was a widower with three grown children, most likely 30 to 40 years her senior. It isn’t known if they met in England or in Massachusetts, as there is evidence that Thomas spent time in Norwich after he immigrated (Anderson, 1989). Bridget and Thomas had one child, a daughter named Christian who was born on May 8, 1667 (Green, 1981).

"The court records of Salem indicate that Bridget and Thomas had a tumultuous marriage and that Thomas beat Bridget. In January 1669, Bridget and Thomas were sentenced to pay a fine or be whipped ten stripes for fighting in public. A witness reported that Bridget’s face was bloody at one time and black and blue at other times and that Thomas complained that Bridget had hit him (Greene). In Puritan New England there was apparently no sympathy for a woman who was the victim of spousal abuse. Instead she was looked down on as being morally corrupt. The fact that Bridget refused to be subservient to Thomas and fought back was another black mark against her in Puritan society (Karlsen, 1987 & Reis, 1995 in Rickert, 2003).

Charges were brought against Bridget and Thomas again in 1677:

“Bridget, wife of Thomas Olliver, . . .for calling her husband many opprobrious names, as old rogue and old devil, on Lord’s days; she was ordered to stand with her husband, back to back on about an hour with a paper fastened to each of their foreheads, upon which their offence should be fairly written” (Greene, 1981).

"Thomas Oliver died without a will prior to April 24, 1679, the date Bridget was appointed the administrator of his estate (Green, 1981). The next year a neighbor accused Bridget of being a witch and she was arrested, though not convicted. He claimed she appeared to him as a specter (or evil spirit) and pinched him, and that she bewitched his horses and caused him mysterious pain. It was also rumored that she had bewitched her first two husbands to death."


May 2016, Geni member J Sherman notes:

Insofar as I can tell, Thomas Oliver is not the son of Thomas Oliver and Ann Ann Oliver. Thomas Oliver and Ann Squire are allegedly from Northamptonshire, while this Thomas Oliver is from Norfolk. Norfolk is around 100 miles away from Northamptonshire.

I found that in the baptism registry from Walcott, Norfolk,at All Saints Church, there is a baptism for Thomas Oliver on 16 Jan 1603. His parents are listed as Thomas Oliver and Aymye. Walcott is only around 18 miles from Norwich, which is where the marriage record is for Thomas Oliver and Mary Lehman. Their marriage is at St Andrew's in Norwich on 29 Jan 1626/27. Thomas is misspelled as Olinser.

For what it is worth, the Leman family name appears in the visitations for that area. Not sure if this is the same Leman family but we do know that Thomas Oliver appeared to have some resources, so it is possible. More research targeting this area is warranted.


  1. Anderson, Robert Charles. Bridget (Playfer) (Wasselbe) (Oliver) Bishop. American Genealogist (D.L. Jacobus). (Oct 1989), 64:207. "Thomas Oliver himself, Bridget's second husband, was also from Norwich (John C. Hotten, Original Lists of Persons of Quality [New York 1874], p. 295). There is evidence that Thomas Oliver returned to Norwich for a few years, and it may be that he became acquainted with Bridget at that time, resulting in her immigration to New England after the death of her first husband (Savage 3:311; Records of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Mass. [salem 1911-75] 3:385)."
  2. "Bernard Rosenthal, with the help of David Greene, corrected this mistake in "Salem Story," concluding that Bishop was convicted because of her wealth after her first (Sic: do they mean 2nd?) husband died."


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Thomas Oliver's Timeline

Norfolk , England
Age 33
Norwich, Norfolk , England
Age 35
Norwich, Norfolk, England
Age 36
Salem, Essex, Massachusetts
Age 39
Salem, Essex, Massachusetts
May 8, 1667
Age 66
Salem, Essex, Massachusetts
April 24, 1679
Age 78
Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts