Hazard #11218

Thomas Hazard (1610-1680)

Born in Wales or England.  Arrived in Massachusetts in 1635, later settling in Rhode Island, and

Martha ( -1669)

Arrived in Massachusetts with Thomas in 1635, later settling in Rhode Island.

Hazard #11218

In addition to the line discussed here, there is a related line of descent through the sister of George Lawton, who married Elizabeth Hazard (1630-1711)[1].

A useful secondary source in researching the life of Thomas Hazard is The Hazard family of Rhode Island 1635-1894: Being a Genealogy and History of the Descendants of Thomas Hazard, with Sketches of the Worthies of this Family, and Anecdotes Illustrative of their Traits and Also of the Times in Which They Lived (Boston, Massachusetts: printed for the Author, 1895) by Caroline E. Robinson.

Regarding the ancient origins of the Hazard family, Thomas R. Hazard, in his Recollection of Olden Times (1879) has given an account of the family that goes back even beyond the name, its European founder being the Duke de Charante living about 1060, on the border of Switzerland.  Whether there is merit in this account, or whether it is merely interesting speculation, I cannot say.  Little is known of the early life of Thomas Hazard prior to his arrival in America.  There is a family tradition that he was originally from Wales.  He may, however, have been born in England or even Ireland (of English or Welsh parents), probably about 1610[2].  Many sources cite Nottinghamshire, England, as his place of birth.

Thomas was a ship’s carpenter by trade and was the first Hazard to arrive in America around 1635.  He was married first to Martha [surname unknown[3]], who died around 1669, and it is with this first wife that his four children were born, representing the second generation of the family in America.  His second wife was Martha Sheriff, the widow of Thomas Sheriff, whom he married in 1675. Apparently his children did not approve of his second marriage.  In 1675, Thomas filed a paper disclaiming any interest in the property of the widow, Martha Sheriff, whom he was about to marry, and in his will made the following year, he cuts off his son[4] and daughters with a shilling each and names his wife (whom he refers to as his “beloved yokefellow”) as sole heir to his estate and executrix. She died about 1691.  Despite his disinheritance, his son, Robert, later became the owner of large holdings in the Narragansett.

Thomas‘ name was first found in Boston in 1635.  He was listed as a freeman in Boston on 25 Mar 1636 or 1638[5].  Subsequently, he was among the first settlers of Rhode Island, when on 28 Apr 1639, he and eight other men signed the following contract, preparatory to the settlement of Newport, Rhode Island:

It is agreed by those whose hands are underwritten to propagate a plantation in the midst of the island or elsewhere, to engage ourselves to bear equal charge, answerable to our strength and estates, in common, and that our determination shall be by major voice of judge and elders, the judge to have a double voice.

The founders and first officers of the town of Newport were William Coddington, Judge; Nicholas Easton, John Coggeshall, William Brenton, John Clarke[6], Jeremy Clarke, Thomas Hazard, and Henry Bull, Elders; William Dyer[7], Clerk.  This occurred after a political fallout with Anne Hutchinson[8] and her followers[9].  As part of the agreement, Coddington and his followers took control of the southern side of the island.  They were soon joined by Nicholas Easton, who had recently been expelled from Massachusetts for holding heretical beliefs.  The settlement soon grew to be the largest of the four original towns of Rhode Island.  Many of the first colonists in Newport quickly became Baptists, and in 1640 the second Baptist congregation in Rhode Island was formed under the leadership of John Clarke.

On 5 Jun 1639, Thomas Hazard was named one of four “proportioners” of land in Newport, “the company laying it forth to have 4d an acre for every acre laid.”  On 2 Sep 1639, he was admitted freeman of Newport, and 12 March of that year, he was appointed a member of the General Court of Elections.

Thomas died in 1680 and was buried on his farm on the west shore of Aquidneck Island, north of Lawton’s Valley.

The children of Thomas Hazard and Martha (his first wife) are:

  1. Robert, born about 1635 in England or Ireland (or possibly even Massachusetts) and died 1710 in Rhode Island.  He married Mary Brownell 1658.  Mary is the daughter of Thomas Brownell and Anne Bourne, and her dates are 1639-1738/39.
  2. Hannah, born on 10 Jul 1637 in Boston, Massachusetts and died in 1685. married Stephen Wilcox 1657/58 in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.  The dates for Stephen Wilcox, born in England, are about 1634-1690.
  3. Martha, born about 1641 and married (1) Ichabod Potter and (2) Benjamin Mowry.
  4. Elizabeth Hazard, probably born in England about 1630 and died 1711.  In about 1647, she married George Lawton, whose dates are 1607-1693.  Elizabeth, who was much younger than George was George’s second wife.

I am descended from Elizabeth Hazard and George Lawton.  That lineage is continued under the heading of George Lawton (1607-1693).


[1] I am also descended through Elizabeth Lawton (1623-1718), who is the sister of George Lawton (1607-1693).  George Lawton was the husband of Elizabeth Hazard (1630-1711), discussed above.  This alternate line of descent is explained under the heading of George Lawton (1607-1693) and the heading for Robert Carr (1614-1684).

[2] On 16 Oct 1674 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island, he testified as to the corn mill at Pawtuxet in controversy between Stephen Arnold and Samuel Reape, calling his age sixty-four years.

[3] Some sources list her name as “Potter”.  She is mentioned by name (Martha) in Thomas’ will, and little is known beyond that.

[4] Codicil to Will; 6 Aug 1677, Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island. Recorded declaration: that whereas son Robert claims right to my lands by virtue of a writing as he saith by me formerly passed and given to him, &c. — this is denied. I, Thomas Hazard, do by these presents solemnly protest and affirm that I never made any writing, only in a will drawn by John Porter at John Lawton’s house about thirty years past, wherein if I had then deceased, being sick and weak, my said son was to have had my lands and my other children my movables; nor made any writing to said son only in a will 1669, Nov. 30, in which I appointe him executor, since which time have seen cause to make null and void, and do absolutely abolish the two will and have made another will dated 1676, Nov. 6.

[5] Sources differ on the dates.  He is listed as Thomas Hassord.

[6] Our 8th g-grand uncle (brother of Joseph Clarke, our 8th g-grandfather, discussed under his own heading).

[7] Our 10th g-grandfather, discussed under the heading of Mary Dyer.

[8] Our 10th g-grandmother, discussed under her own heading.

[9] He was not one of the followers of Anne Hutchinson and John Wheelwright, who had been disarmed in Boston in November 1637.  According to the 1640 list of inhabitants of Aquidneck, he was not admitted an inhabitant until November of 1638.  Therefore, he apparently did not leave Boston with the group that left Boston in May of that year.

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