Manchester #5624

English St George flag animationThomas Manchester (1620-1691)

Born in England.  Arrived in New England prior to 1639, when he was recorded as being of Quinnipiac, now New Haven, Connecticut.  He later settled in Rhode Island.

English St George flag animationMargaret Wood (1634-1693)

Probably born in England.  Her father was a ship owner, mate and possibly captain who participated in shipping supplies for the Winthrop Colony from about the 1636-50.  He may have first arrived in New England as early as 1630 with the Winthrop Fleet, but he spent subsequent years on various sea voyages and did not settle permanently in the colonies until several years later.  He probably brought his family to America in about 1641, and they may have settled first in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam.   She later settled in Rhode Island.

Manchester #5624

Thomas Manchester was born in England and migrated to New England in the mid-17th century.  In 1639, he was an early settler of Quinnipiac (later New Haven), Connecticut, and he later removed to Rhode Island.  Thomas was born about 1620 (possibly in Yorkshire, England) and died about 1691 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island.  Probably before 1650 he married Margaret Wood, who died about 1693.  She is the daughter of John Wood (1595-1655) and Margaret Carter ( -1643) of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, discussed under their own heading[1].

The following information was gleaned from a 1947 article in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register (Vol. 101, contributed by Alden C. and Rita C. Manchester of Takoma Park, Maryland:

“No English ancestry has ever been satisfactorily established, although it is rather generally supposed that Thomas Manchester may have been one of the settlers from Yorkshire, England who came to America in October 1638 with the non-Conformist minister Ezekiel Rogers[2].  It has also been suggested that Thomas is the son of Henry de Mancestre, and grandson of Hugo, Lord of Mancestre of County Warwick.  However, the NEHGR article cited above indicates “these both appear to be pure guesswork, and only noted as interesting speculations”.

Thomas removed to Portsmouth, Rhode Island before 1642 and on 25 Feb 1642, he was chosen to serve on the next jury.  He is first mentioned in the land records of Portsmouth on 25 Jan 1655, when he and his wife sold twelve acres of land to Thomas Wood.  On 10 Dec 1657, he shared in the land division and received eight acres at Portsmouth.  He also had a share in Dutch Island and Quononoquet Island and conveyed his interest in 1/300th right therein to Richard Sisson on 6 Jul 1658.  His homestead was built on his Portsmouth land.  
On 9 Jul 1691, Thomas deeded to his son John, his mansion and lands at Portsmouth, except the piece at the lower end, which had been previously deeded to his son Thomas (Jr.).  According to the deed, half was to be John’s on his brother Thomas‘ death, and the remaining half upon the death of his Mother, provided he pay to the sons Thomas, William and Stephen, ten shillings each, to Job twenty shillings and daughters Mary and Elizabeth ten shillings each.  John also received from his father his personal property, cattle, chattels, implements, bonds, sums of money, and whatever belonged to him at the time of his death.

Thomas served as town sergeant at Portsmouth from 1674 until his death.

The children of Thomas Manchester and Margaret Wood are listed as follows:

  1. Thomas Manchester (Jr.) (1650-1722), see below
  2. William, born about 1654 at Portsmouth and died in 1718 at Tiverton.  In 1692, he married Mary Cooke, the daughter of John Cooke and Mary Borden[3].  Mary Cooke was born about 1656 at Portsmouth.
  3. John, born about 1656 in Portsmouth and died about 1708 in Tiverton, Newport, Rhode Island.  He married Mary Grinnell about 1680 in Portsmouth.  She was born about 1660 in Portsmouth and died in 1703 in the same place.  She is the daughter of Matthew and Rose Grinnell.
  4. George, born about 1659 and admitted a Freeman of Portsmouth in 1680.
  5. Stephen, born about 1661.  He was admitted a freeman in 1684 and was one of the founders of the town of Tiverton, Rhode Island in 1692.  On 13 Sep 1684, he married (1st) Elizabeth Wodell, daughter of Gershom Woodell and Mary Tripp[4].
  6. Job, born about 1662.
  7. Mary, born about 1663.
  8. Elizabeth, born about 1663.

Thomas Manchester (Jr.) (son of Thomas Manchester and Margaret Wood) was born about 1650 in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.  He died in 1722 in Portsmouth.  Before 6 Jan 1678, he married Mary Browning (or Brownell), daughter of Nathaniel Browning and Sarah Freeborn, discussed under their own heading.  Mary Browning was born about 1652 in Portsmouth and died there on 7 Nov 1735.

Thomas Manchester (Jr.) and Mary Browning had several children at Portsmouth, Rhode Island, including Thomas Manchester (1681-1761).  On 6 Sep 1714, their son Thomas married Sarah Earle, born 18 Dec 1696 and died about 1727.  She is the daughter of William Earle (1666-1715) and Hephzibah Butts (1675-1722).  The daughter of Thomas Manchester and Sarah Earle is Judith Manchester, born about 1720.  She married Thomas Brightman (Jr.), the son of Thomas Brightman and Penelope [surname unknown], who was born 20 Nov 1718 in Little Compton, Rhode Island.  The couple was married on 6 Nov 1741.  Their children are listed as follows: Elizabeth Brightman (1742- ) see below, Martha (1743- ), George (1746-1796), Pardon (1750- ), Sarah (1752-1822), Phebe (1754- ), Hannah (1756- ), Thomas (1756- ) and Arnold (1763- ).

The lineage of Judith Manchester and Thomas Brightman (Jr.) is continued under the heading of Henry Brightman (1650-1728).

[1] I am descended from John Wood and Margaret Carter through both their son Thomas and their daughter Margaret.  The two lines of descent do not reconnect until 1857, with the marriage of Henry Fayette Hamlin to Harriet Allen Clarke.  Both Henry and Harriet were descended from the immigrant progenitor of this line in America, John Wood, “the Mariner”.

[2] Ezekiel Rogers (1590-1660) was an English nonconformist clergyman, and Puritan settler of Massachusetts.  He was a son of Richard Rogers, who held the living of Wethersfield in Essex, and younger brother of Daniel Rogers.  He graduated M.A. from Christ’s College, Cambridge in 1604 and became chaplain in the family of Sir Francis Barrington in Essex and later at Rowley in Yorkshire.  In 1638, after seventeen years of service, Rogers was discharged from his post as rector of Rowley, after he had refused to read The Book of Sports.  Believing the future of Puritanism was at stake, he left for the New World with the members of twenty families of his congregation.  He arrived in New England in December 1638 with the families on the ship John of London and wintered at Salem, Massachusetts.  The first printing press brought to America came on board the ship with them, with the printer Stephen Daye.  Theophilus Eaton and John Davenport were then setting up their colony at New Haven.  They tried to enlist Rogers, but without success.  Early in the spring of 1639, he and most of these twenty families settled in the town of Rowley, Massachusetts, which was incorporated on 4 Sep 1639.  Rogers was the pastor at Rowley until his death on 23 Jan 1661.  He was three times married: first, to Sarah, widow of John Everard; secondly, Elizabeth Wilson, daughter of John Wilson of the First Church in Boston and thirdly, to Mary, widow of Thomas Barker.  He left no children.

[3] Mary Cooke (1656-1716) is my 9th g-grand aunt.  John Cooke (1630-1691) and Mary Borden (1632-1690) are my 10th g-grandparents, discussed under the heading of Thomas Cooke (1600-1677).  I am a descendant of their daughter, Sarah Cooke (1658 – 1735).

[4] Elizabeth Wodell (1667-1697) is my 9th g-grand aunt.  Gershom Wodell (1642-1684) and Mary Tripp (1646-1716) are my 10th g-grandparents, discussed under their own heading.  I am a descendant of their daughter, Mary Wodell (1665-1732).



One comment

  • Cathy Edwards

    Thank you for a very interesting article about Thomas Manchester and his family. Much more interesting than just a bunch of dates. I too claim Thomas Manchester and Margaret Wood as ancestors.

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