Thomas Weston, Ironmonger, of London & America

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Thomas Weston, Ironmonger, of London & America

Birthplace: Rugeley, Staffordshire, England
Death: between May 01, 1646 and November 23, 1647
Bristol, City of Bristol, England (Plague)
Immediate Family:

Son of Ralph Weston, of Rugeley, Gent. and Anna Weston
Husband of Elizabeth Weston
Father of Elizabeth Conant
Brother of Sir Richard Richard Weston, of Hageley, Knt., MP; Jane Brandreth; Simon Weston and Andrew Weston

Occupation: Merchant Adventurer, Colonist
Managed by: Erica Howton
Last Updated:

About Thomas Weston, Ironmonger, of London & America

Thomas Weston , merchant-adventurer, was baptized on December 21, 1584, at Rugeley, Staffordshire England. He was admitted to the Ironmongers Company of London in 1609.


He was the son of Ralph Weston and Anna Smythe.

Thomas Weston married Elizabeth Weaver by October 17, 1623. She was a daughter of Christopher Weaver and Anne Green.

They had one child:

  • Elizabeth, born about 1630. She married Roger Conant before January 22, 1661/2. They had two children. Roger Conant died in June 1672

family notes

From page 133 of Massachusetts Bay Connections By Judy Jacobson

Ralph and Anna (Smyth) Weston had five children. Their son Richard was knighted and became Baron of the Exchequer. Simon was a gentleman who became a draper at St. Chad's Shrewsbury. Andrew became an Ironmonger at St. Chad's Aldgate. In 1609 Thomas was also admitted as an ironmonger. Coldham called Thomas "an enterprising and colorful rogue.". Actually, that was a more virtuous description than Thomas deserved.

From page 169 of Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society By Massachusetts Historical Society

About 1620 Weston married Elizabeth, the daughter of Christopher Weaver, merchant, sometimes of Stamford in Lincolnshire and sometimes of London, belonging to a good Welsh family, from Presteign in Radnor. His wife was Alice, the daughter of John Greene 4 of Market Overton in RutlandShire. Christopher Weaver died at London, and his will, describing him as of Stamford, was filed in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury in 1648 (74 Essex). His son, John Weaver of Stamford and North Luffenham, was a prominent Puritan, served in the Long Parliament, was Commissioner for Ireland under Oliver Cromwell, and later a member of Richard Cromwells Council of State.5

  • 1. Weaver pedigree in Maddison, Lincolnshire Pedigrees, 1046, 1047, from Heralds College Ms C. 23. link to 1047 "Elizabeth [Weaver] married Thomas Weston of London, merchant"
  • 4. Weston's relative, Richard Greene, came over in charge of the Wessagusset colony, and died at Plymouth. Winslow calls him a brother-in-law of Weston; he was probably a cousin of Westons wife.
  • 5 Dictionary of National Biography, Lx. 90. His appointment as Commissioner for Ireland may explain the hitherto unsolved enigma of why Elizabeth (Weston) Conant, a niece of John Weaver, lived in Ireland from 1652 to 1684; see p. I 7 2 , infra.

brief biography


In early 1622, he began the colony of Wessagusset (Weymouth) which failed by March 1623 He left New England for Virginia, and by 1640, Maryland. Westons ctivities in regard to the Plymouth colony are detailed in William Bradford's history - "So, Mr. Weston had come hither again, and afterward shaped his course for Virginia, and so for the present I shall leave him."

Thomas Weston often figures in William Bradfords History and Robert Cushmans letters. He was an Adventurer (or Merchant Adventurer), promoter and capitalist, and being a citizen and ironmonger of London. One derogatory comment recorded about him from records of the time was that: He was eager to reap quick profits from the New World, and not very scrupulous about the means.

On March 1, 1622, Weston was to deliver a cannon to the Council of New England but sold it instead to a Turkish pirate and pocketed the money. Weston was declared an outlaw from the Crown. On May 31, 1622, the Council for New England ordered the forfeiture of Weston ships and did so immediately

According to C.M. Andrews in the book Colonial Period, these remarks were recorded about Weston: "Weston, after squeezing all he could out of the Pilgrims, became a planter and burgess in Virginia, where he made trading and fishing voyages to the Maine coast. After being arrested more than once for breaking the Colony's laws, he went to Maryland, acquired new property, and returned to England.

His death and burial He died in Bristol of the plague between May 1, 1646 and November 23, 1647. He was presumably still alive when William Barwick of Bristol deposed that Weston had come to London in June 1645 on the ship Trewlove, and also before November 23, 1647 when Christopher Weaver allowed a generous bequest to his daughter, the widow Elizabeth Weston, for "her better advancement in marriage." William Bradford recorded: "He died afterwards at Bristol, in the time of the wars, of the sickness in that place"



As agent for the merchant adventurers investment in the Mayflower voyage, Thomas WESTON played an instrumental part in the incident of the MORE children of Shropshire, who had been taken from their mother?s home in 1616 in a dispute centering on her supposed adultery. The children had been held incommunicado in Shropshire for four years and then brought to WESTON and were held at his home in Aldgate, London, for some weeks until the Mayflower was to sail. They were then given over to the custody of three senior Pilgrim officials for the voyage to the New World. Three of the four children died the first bitter winter in Plymouth. Only Richard MORE survived.

The exact burial location of Thomas Weston and his wife Elizabeth is unknown.



Thomas Weston

  • BAPTIZED:21 December 1584, Rugeley, Stafford, England
  • DIED:before 7 November 1647, Bristol, England
  • MARRIED:Elizabeth Weaver
  • PARENTS OF THOMAS:Ralph Weston and Anne Smith
  • PARENTS OF ELIZABETH:Chistopher Weaver and Alice Greene CHILDREN:
  • 1.Elizabeth (b. unknown; d. unknown; m. Roger Conant Jr., c1655, Marblehead, MA)

Thomas Weston is an interesting character in relation to his importance to the Mayflower's voyage to America. He was the man almost entirely responsible for organizing and funding the joint-stock company which was how the Pilgrims managed to pay the enormous costs of removing to America.Without Weston's help, the Pilgrims probably never would have made it to America. But at the same time, Weston's self-serving interests and sometimes illegal and immoral business deals would cause the Pilgrims much distress and worry.

In 1609, Thomas Weston joined the Ironmongers' Company (akin to a union). He became a merchant, and made a number of early investments. In 1615, Thomas Weston sent an agent by the name of Edward Pickering to Holland to trade goods, made by the Pilgrims, such as cloth. In 1617, Weston came to understand the Pilgrims wanted to remove to America, and he saw a potential profit to be gained by the utilization of American resources. Weston and the Virginia Company organized a joint-stock agreement with the Pilgrims. In 1619 Weston was arrested for an unrelated customs violation, and fell into some legal trouble. However, the plans of the voyage continued.

He also got a group of "strangers" together to also make the Mayflower voyage to America for additional labor and to help defray expenses. Christopher Martin was appointed treasurer and ordered to buy provisions, which he did--but without anyones consent, help, or permission, and he later refused to say how he spent all the money.

After many disagreements, Weston and the Pilgrims finally were able to get things organized enough to get the Mayflower underway to America. The first winter of 1621 was so hard on the Pilgrims, that the Mayflower when it returned was not loaded with trade goods as had been planned, so the investors were quite disappointed. Another ship, the Fortune came in November 1621, and was loaded with goods--but Spanish pirates took over the ship and stole everything on its return to England, so again the investors were left without a return.

Meanwhile, in March 1621, Thomas Weston was found to have done a much more serious crime--selling an English cannon to some Turkish Pirates. In July 1622 all his assets were seized by the King's officers. But Weston had fled to America, on the ship Charity just months before. In 1624, the trial proceeded without him. Weston planned to start the Wessagussett Colony, settling in Massachusetts Bay, and brought with him a number of colonists.

Weston and his colonists arriving on the Charity and Swan came totally unequipped for their environment, and spent some time begging off the Plymouth Colony.

Once the Wessagusett colony started, they had another problem. Weston's men had no regard for the Indians, and treated them very poorly--often stealing rather than trading, killing rather than talking. When the Indians complained to Plymouth, the Pilgrims sent Myles Standish to set the settlers straight. He was not too successful, for they did not change their ways. Famine set in, and the colonists began stealing even more corn from the Indian's fields.

A group of angered Indians decided in early 1623 they would rid the entire region of Englishmen, both Wessagussett and Plymouth. Massasoit, always a friend and ally of the Pilgrims, warned them of the plot, and so the Pilgrims sent Captain Myles Standish to Wessagusett to stop it before it . His men found and killed Wituwamat, Pecksuot, and captured one other conspirator who was hanged. The coup was over. But the Wessagussett settlers had had enough, and packed up and went home or to other occupations. Weston had already abandoned Wessagussett for present-day Maryland in the Virginia Country.

Weston continued to be wanted by English authorities and for several outstanding civil suits which he had avoided by staying away from English authorities. Weston was in England for a short while in 1643 during the English Revolution making tobacco trades with merchants in London.He spent some time in Cork, Ireland as well, where his daughter became a member of the church there. Weston lived out the remainder of his years on his 1250-acre estate in present-day Maryland, dying in 1647.



Thomas Weston, first scout and founder of Weymouth, Massachusetts

Thomas Weston was a merchant from London and his idea of a North American colonial settlement was that it be foremost a commercial venture, consisting of single, able-bodied men. This thought had brought about discord from the Plymouth colonists. But Weston was not a Puritan or a Separatist, and felt the Mayflower expedition was fraught with peculiar religious views and encumbered with women and children. That's how he had come to odds with the Mayflower Pilgrims. For him, that expedition did not have favorable negotiations. Weston had no return on his money, so he obtained his own land patent and set his sights on trade and investment returns in the new settlement.

The Sparrow sailed as forerunner from London to select the settlement site. They chose a place the natives called Wessagusset. Two moths later, in late June 1622, the Charity and the Swan left London to meet with Weston. The Swan was to be used by the colonists, and the Charity was to journey back and forth between America and England with supplies for the settlers and marketable products to be sold in London.

Winter arrived and supplies were insufficient. They arranged with Plymouth for the Swan to voyage around Cape Cod to obtain Indian corn. Richard Green, who was the leader of the Wessagusset Colony at the time, had taken sick and died. Therefore, Miles Standish, from the Plymouth Colony led the trip, which yielded 26 hogsheads of corn. John Sanders [Saunders] took charge at Weymouth. After food supplies diminished, he asked Plymouth authorities for permission to take corn from Indians by force. His request was refused. He sailed north for supplies and never returned, and Thomas Morton had taken his place as the new leader of the Wessagusset Colony.

The colonists were in distress. Phineas Pratt stole away to Plymouth where he discovered the Pilgrim army of seven ready to thwart an Indian plan to destroy both settlements. Plymouths John Winslow had cured Chief Massassoit of a serious sickness; in return the chief warned Winslow of the plan. The Weymouth massacre followed.

Some of Weston's colonists sailed north on the Swan, led by John Saunders; others went to back to the Plymouth Colony. By summer, 1623, there was nobody left from this maiden settlement. Ten died from famine, two had been killed, and one badly wounded. The three men that sought refuge at the Indian camp were the last remaining, and were tortured to death by the Indians. Thomas Weston appeared later in Plymouth Colony, a broken man, mentally and financially. He had been shipwrecked, robbed by Indians and left to die. Arrested by Governor Gorges (who had recently arrived at Plymouth) four months after his return, Weston was charged with neglect in his colony and with selling weapons that were supposed to have been used for the defense of the colony. Weston denied the first charge, but confessed to the second. After consideration, Gorges released Weston "on his word".

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Thomas Weston, Ironmonger, of London & America's Timeline

December 21, 1584
Rugeley, Staffordshire, England
December 21, 1584
Rugeley, Staffordshire, England, United Kingdom
Perhaps, England
May 1, 1646
Age 61
Bristol, City of Bristol, England