Tolman #5262

Thomas Tolman (1608-1690)

Born in England.  Probably arrived in Massachusetts in 1635-36 and

Sarah (1610-1677)

Born in England.  It is possible that she died there, but she probably arrived in Massachusetts in 1635-36.

Tolman #5262

Thomas Tolman, son of Thomas Tolman, was born at Salcombe Regis, Devonshire, England on 9 Dec 1608 and died 8 Jun 1690.  There is a family tradition that places Thomas Toland on the Mary & John voyage of 1630[1].  This is a possibility, although not confirmed by any known passenger list.  It is more probable, given the dates of his church membership and admittance as freeman, that he arrived on a different ship in about 1635-36.

The Battle of Marston Moor, by J. Barker

The Battle of Marston Moor, by J. Barker

There seems to be a family legend that originated in the late 19th century that Thomas Tolman was descended from nobility.  There is a colorful tale in some accounts of a “Sir Thomas Toland” (his father?), a favorite of King Charles I, who commanded a regiment at Marston Moor[2], at which battle, according to the legend, this Sir Thomas Tolman unhorsed the nephew of King Charles in the fight, but discovering his identity, spared his life.  At the Restoration this act was the means of saving Sir Thomas Tolman from the loss of his family estates.  This appears to be a fanciful tale with no basis in fact.  All of the available evidence suggests that our Thomas Tolman came from humble yeoman origins, like most immigrants to New England at the time.

After his arrival in America, Thomas settled at Dorchester and owned land extending from the sea to the Dedham line.  At Dorchester, he located near Pine Neck (known as Point Norfolk in 1860), his house having stood within one hundred feet of Pine Neck Creek on the west side and on the north side within about two hundred feet, the creek forming there an elbow shape.  In 1852, the Old Colony Railroad Corporation removed the most of the cellar once belonging to his house.  The house in which his son Thomas afterwards lived, between what is now Ashmont and Washington Streets, was probably built by him.

The first mention of Thomas Tolman in Massachusetts is when he signed the church covenant at Dorchester, Massachusetts in May 1636.  The first mention of him in the Dorchester town records in an entry dated 31 Oct 1639:

It is ordered that Goodman Tolman’s house be appointed for the receiving any goods that shall be brought in whereof the owner is not known.

In 1652, at the direction of the selectmen of Dorchester, Thomas Tolman was given charge of a child of Henry Lake, whose wife, Alice, had died.  Thomas was to be paid a sum of money each year by the town for raising the child, and to teach him his trade.  By occupation, Thomas was a wheelwright.

Town records in 1654 show that Goodman Tolman was paid one shilling for the killing of a wolf.

Thomas was admitted a freeman on 13 May 1640, and at Dorchester he practiced the occupation of wheelwright.  He also owned also land in what is now Canton, Stoughton and Sharon.

It is likely that Thomas Tolman married (1st) Sarah [surname unknown] in England before 1630 and had a daughter, Mary Toland, and a son Thomas, before coming to America.  We don’t have exact birthdates of his children as many of the records of Dorchester, Massachusetts have not survived, and no relevent records been found in England.  Neither has any record been found in England or New England of the death of his first wife, or his marriage to his second wife Katherine, who died 7 Nov 1677.

Thomas’ will, dated 29 Oct 1688 and proved 5 Feb 1691, mentions the names of all of his children, as far as we know, including the daughters’ married names, and it lists Thomas as his eldest son.  The total value of his estate was £322.15.

The children of Thomas Tolman and Sarah are listed as follows (the birth order is not known):

  1. Mary Tolman, born about 1632 (probably in England) and died 14 Feb 1723 at Lynn, Massachusetts.  In 1650 she married Henry Collins (1629-1722).
  2. Thomas, born about 1633 and died 12 Sep 1718.  On 4 Nov 1654, he married Elizabeth Johnson, daughter of Richard Johnson, of Lynn, Massachusetts.  She died 15 Dec 1726.  Thomas was admitted with his wife into the Dorchester church on 17 May 17 1674 and was made a freeman in 1678.  Children: Thomas, Mary, Samuel and Daniel.
  3. Hannah, born 1640-42 and died 4 Aug 1729.  She married (1st) George Lyon and (2nd) William Blake.
  4. John, born about 1643 and died 1 Jan 1724/5 at Dorchester.  On 30 Nov 1666 he married (1st) Elizabeth Collins[3] and on 15 Jun 1692 he married (2nd) Mary Breck (widow of Samuel Paul).
  5. Ruth, born about 1644, married Isaac Royal and died 1 May 1681.
  6. Rebecca, born about 1647 and married James Tucker.
  7. Sarah, married Henry Leadbetter on 18 Mar 1659 and died 20 Apr 1722.

The lineage of Mary Tolman and Henry Collins (1629-1722) is continued under the heading of Henry Collins (1606-1687).

[1] Others who were possibly on that voyage: John Hoskins (1598-1648), my 9th g-grandfather, and family, Daniel Ladd, brother of Joseph Ladd (1620-1683) my 9th g-grandfather and John Mason (1600-1672), my 9th g-grandfather, and family.

[2] The Battle of Marston Moor was fought on 2 Jul 1644, during the First English Civil War of 1642–1646. The combined forces of the Scottish Covenanters under the Earl of Leven and the English Parliamentarians under Lord Fairfax and the Earl of Manchester defeated the Royalists commanded by Prince Rupert of the Rhine and the Marquess of Newcastle. During the summer of 1644, the Covenanters and Parliamentarians had been besieging York, which was defended by the Marquess of Newcastle. Prince Rupert had gathered an army which marched through the northwest of England to relieve the city, gathering fresh recruits on the way. The convergence of these forces made the ensuing battle the largest of the Civil Wars. On 1 Jul 1644 Rupert outmanoeuvred the Scots and Parliamentarians to relieve the city. The next day, he sought battle with them even though he was outnumbered. He was dissuaded from attacking immediately and during the day both sides gathered their full strength on Marston Moor, an expanse of wild meadow west of York. Towards evening, the Scots and Parliamentarians themselves launched a surprise attack. After a confused fight lasting two hours, Parliamentarian cavalry under Oliver Cromwell routed the Royalist cavalry from the field and annihilated the remaining Royalist infantry. After their defeat the Royalists effectively abandoned the north of England. They lost much of the manpower from the Northern Counties of England which were strongly Royalist in sympathy, and access to the continent of Europe through the ports on the North Sea coast. Although they partially retrieved their fortunes with victories later in the year in the south of England, the loss of the North was to prove a fatal handicap the next year, when they tried unsuccessfully to link up with the Scottish Royalists under Montrose.

[3] Elizabeth is the sister of Henry Collins, my 9th g-grandfather, who married Mary Tolman (see above).


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