Tobey #5142

Francis Tobey (1602-1635)

Born in England.  Arrived in Massachusetts by 1634 and

Unknown Spouse


Tobey #5142

Not much is known of Francis Tobey, aside from the bare minimum details, and those are not well documented.  He was born about 1602 in England and died at Sandwich, Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts in about 1635.  Nothing is known of his wife[1], although it can be assumed that she was born in England.  The timing and circumstances of Francis Tobey’s arrival in Massachusetts are a mystery.

Francis Tobey may be the man described in a Tobey family genealogy written in 1905 as follows[2]:

“The earliest record of the name, in any of its forms, in New England is found in the annals of the General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony.  They relate to a man who seems to have been in the country only a few years, and who does not appear to have been related to the Sandwich or Kittery pioneers.

6th octobr, 1634, FRANCIS TOBY being fined 10£, hee is discharged of the same.

 The man was again before the Court in less than a year.

7th July, 1635, ordered that Francis Toby (for misdemeanor by him committed) shallbe bound to his good behavior and shall putt in suretyes for the same, or else to remaine in holde.

Whatever his offence the Court softened towards him, for we read

8th July, 1635, There is viii £ of Tobeyes fine of x £ remitted to him.

June 7, 1636, John Jobson, shipmaster, undertook and bound himself in a sum set of 10£ to answear for Francis Tobey and damage not exceeding 10£.

The same date Jobson was discharged from his surety, and the fact was again recorded under the date of  6 Sep 1636.

What was the offense?  The record does not intimate; very likely some mere informality, the breaking of some petty rule or ‘red tape.’  The laws of the Colony were so angular that even such orderly persons as Sir Richard Saltonstall, Ensign Jennison, Mr. John Humphrey[3], with many others, had fines imposed on them in those days.  The man was a person of some standing, we judge, for the notary Thomas Lechford has a record of a suit about an apprentice who had been placed by Francis Toby, of Rotherhith, county Surrey, shipwright in the year 1635, and we judge the two sets of records refer to the same person.  But he does not show himself here after Jobson extricates him from the mazes of Puritan law.  Possibly we might find by search that he was connected with one or more of the Tobies who came here and cast in their lot permanently with the people of New England; but there is nothing now known in this direction.”

The daughter of Francis Tobey and his unknown spouse is Ruth Tobey.  She was born about 1628 and died about 1705, both at Sandwich, Massachusetts.  About 1645, she was married at Sandwich to William Swift, born about 1619 and died 7 Jan 1704/05 at Sandwich.  Their lineage is continued under the heading of William Swift (1589-1643).

[1] Some sources indicate that Francis Tobey was married to a “Mary Cooke”.  If this is true, she was definitely not the daughter of Mayflower passenger Francis Cooke and his wife Hester Mahieu, as some have claimed.  Given the Mayflower connection, the lines of descent from Francis Cooke have been the subject of considerable research.  Francis Cooke arrived at Plymouth in 1620 with his son John, and it is known that Mary Cooke (daughter of Francis and Hestor) was born after 1623 when Hestor and their younger children arrived from England joined Francis and John in Plymouth.  Therefore, it is impossible that Mary could be the mother of Ruth Tobey (daughter of Francis Tobey), who was born in about 1628.  Known descendants of Francis Cooke through his daughter Mary were with her husband John Tompson, (1616-1696), whom she married at Plymouth in 1645.  Mary Cooke died in 1714.

[2] Tobey, Rufus Babcock. Tobey (Tobie, Toby) Genealogy: Thomas, of Sandwich and James, of Kittery and their Descendants (Boston, Massachusetts: Charles H. Pope) 1905, p. 9-11.

[3] This possibly refers to my 10th g-grandfather, John Humphrey (1596-1651).



  • James Wright

    There is no known evidence that Francis Tobey was ever in Sandwich, Ma. 1) Sandwich came into existence after July, 1637. There is no known evidence of European population of the area before 1637. 2)Thomas Tobey arrived in Sandwich between 1640 and 1650. No evidence of his parentage has been found. His history before 1640-1650 has not been found. 3) Francis purportedly died in Sandwich in 1635. However he appeared in court in MA in 1636. I have not been able to find a death record for Francis. Babcocks history of the Tobey Family records what seems to be known about Francis. Any new finds would be excitedly received by those searching the Tobey Genealogy.

  • James Noble

    Ephraim Francis Tobey.
    Botn 1602 Northampton, Northamptonshire, England
    Died 1635 Sandwich, Barnstable, Massachusetts, USA

    Father: Thomas Tobey,
    b. 1579, Plymouth, Devonshire, England
    d. 24 Mar 1697, Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

    Mother: Susannah Unknown,
    b. 1582, Northampton, Northamptonshire, England
    d. 1682

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