Tosh #1358

William Tosh (1635-1685)

Born in Scotland.  Arrived in Massachusetts  probably in late 1651 or early 1652 and later settled on Block Island, Rhode Island in 1661 and

Jael Sullivan (1639-1685)

Born in Ireland.  Arrived in Massachusetts possibly in 1654 and later settled on Block Island, Rhode Island in 1661.

Tosh #1358

The first appearance of William Tosh (Macintosh) and Jael Sullivan (Swilivan) in New England is their marriage on 7 Dec 1660.  This was recorded in the town records of Braintree, Massachusetts.

Cromwell at Dunbar, painting by Andrew Carrick Gow (1848-1920), Tate Collection

William Tosh was born in Scotland.  His date of birth is not known with certainty, but it was probably about 1635.  He lived during the time of the English Civil Wars, which began in 1642 and ended in 1651 with the execution of King Charles I in 1649, abolishment of the monarchy and the establishment of the supremacy of Parliament over the king.  Although the term describes events as impinging on England, from the outset the conflicts involved wars with and civil wars within both Scotland and Ireland, as well as England.  In 1650, Oliver Cromwell invaded Scotland after the Scots had proclaimed Charles I’s son Charles II as king, and during this campaign his army fought the Royalists (mostly Scottish forces) under Charles II.  Decisive battles occurred at Dunbar (3 Sep 1650) and Worcester (3 Sep 1651).  At the Battle of Dunbar, the English Parliamentarian forces under Oliver Cromwell defeated a Scottish army commanded by David Leslie which was loyal to King Charles II, who had been proclaimed King of Scots on 5 Feb 1649.  As a result of the destruction of the Scottish army, Cromwell was able to march unopposed to Edinburgh. He quickly captured the Scottish capital, although Edinburgh Castle held out until the end of December.

Thousands of Scotish prisoners died in Durham Cathedral In 1650 following the Battle of Dunbar. This photo of the nave was taken in 2010.

The prisoners taken at Dunbar were force-marched south towards England in order to prevent any attempt to rescue them.  The conditions on the march were so appalling that many of them died of starvation, illness or exhaustion.  On 11 Sep 1650, the remnants (approximately 3,000 captives) arrived at Durham, where they were shut up in the city’s cathedral.  The jailers blackmailed the prisoners, withholding the food and coal meant for the Scots.  Desperate for warmth and food, the prisoners resorted to anything they could. They traded anything valuable that they had actually retained.  The Neville family tomb was ransacked, probably by those looking for valuables to trade.  The woodwork in the church, some of it dating from medieval times, was torn down and broken into bits for firewood.  While the prisoners were dying at alarming rates, the Parliament was discussing what to do about them.  Stephen P. Carlson, in The Scots of Hammersmith, has written, “The disposition of such a large number of prisoners presented the English authorities with a dilemma: to maintain them as prisoners would prove costly, and to release them could prove dangerous to the security of the Commonwealth.”

In a similar manner, about 8,000 Scots were taken prisoner in 1651 at Worcester or shortly thereafter.  Whether William was taken at Dunbar or Worcester, we cannot be certain.  Ultimately a scheme was devised to sell the prisoners into indentured servitude, and many of the captured Scots (including William) were deported to New England, Bermuda and the West Indies.  William was sent to Massachusetts on the John & Sarah, commanded by John Greene, who recorded the following entry at the time of departure:

London This 11th of November, 1651; Captain John Greene; “Wee whose names are under written freighters of your shipe the John & Sara doe order yow forthwith as winde & weather shall permitt to sett sajle for Boston in New England & there deliver our Orders and Servants to Tho. Kemble of charles Towne to be disposed of by him according to orders wee have sent him in that behalfe & wee desire yow to Advise with the said Kemble about all that may concerne that whole Intended bojage using you Jndeavo’s with the said Kemble for the speediest lading your shipp from New Eng; to the barbadoes with provisions & such other things as are in N.E. fit fo the West Indies where yow are to deliver them to Mr. Charles Rich to be disposed of by him for the Joinet accont of the freighte’s & so to be Retou’ned home in a stocke vndevided thus desiring your Care & industrje in Despatch and speed of the vojage wishing you a happy & safe Retourne wee remajne your loving friends…

In the ship’s manifest document, William is referred to as Wm Mackontoss.  In general, it appears that the English captors were not adept at translating the Scottish names.  At some point, William’s surname was “Anglicized” to “Tosh”.

Thus, William was apparently one of 61 Scottish prisoners of war, who arrived in Lynn, Massachusetts as forced indentured workers in the iron works that were established around that time[1].  As the Massachusetts Bay Colony grew in the seventeenth century, colonists needed iron to build ships and houses. At first the iron came from England, but it was expensive and slow in coming. By the 1640s, America’s first successful ironworks on the Saugus River was pouring “pigs” (pig iron) and forging wrought iron. Now it is known as the Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site.  Despite successful iron production, the iron works was beset by financial difficulties beginning in the 1650s, which caused a dispersal of ironworkers throughout southern New England and as far south as New Jersey, helping to spread iron-making technology throughout the colonies.  Like many others in the struggling iron industry, William left Massachusetts around 1660.

 

Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site – Photos:

Jael Sullivan was evidently one of a shipload of Irish captives sent to New England in 1654[2], although little is known of the circumstances.

When a company of residents of Braintree, Massachusetts set out to colonize Block Island[3], off The Rhode Island coast, William Tosh and his wife, Jael Sullivan, accompanied them and where among the first settlers on the island.  They purchased the island from the colony of Massachusetts in 1660 and started from Boston in April 1661. They probably spent the winter in Taunton, Massachusetts, however, while surveyors worked to apportion the island’s acreage fairly among the subscribers. These 16 families arrived seeking to establish a democratic settlement free from religious persecution, and apparently they chose Block Island despite its harsh environment, hostile natives and poor soil, because of its isolation and lack of good harbors; they wanted a place where they would not be followed.

This is the historical marker placed at Cow Cove on Block Island, Rhode Island, the site of the first settlers' landing in 1661. Settler's Rock is the most northerly part of Block Island accessible to motorists.

This is the historical marker placed at Cow Cove on Block Island, Rhode Island, the site of the first settlers’ landing in 1661. Settler’s Rock is the most northerly part of Block Island accessible to motorists.

In 1911 and again on 17 Jun 1961, a monument was dedicated at “Settlers’ Rock” on Block Island with the following inscriptions:

Top:

SETTLERS’ ROCK REDEDICATED FOR THE TRICENTENNIAL JUNE 17th A.D. 1961

Bottom:

1661-1911 THIS STONE WAS PLACED HERE SEPTEMBER 2D A.D. 1911 BY THE CITIZENS OF NEW SHOREHAM, TO COMMEMORATE THE TWO HUNDRED AND FIFIETH ANNIVERSARY OF THE PURCHASE AND SETTLEMENT OF BLOCK ISLAND, BY THE FOLLOWING NAMED PERSONS, WHO LANDED AT THIS POINT

ORIGINAL PURCHASERS:
RICHARD BILLINGUM
/ SAMUEL DEARING /
NATHANIEL WINSLOW
/ TORMUT ROSE
/ EDWARD VORCE
/ JOHN RATHBUN[4]
/ THOMAS FAXSON
/ RICHARD ALLIS
/ PHILLIP WARTON
/ JOHN GLOVER
/ THOMAS TERRY
/ JAMES SANDS
/ HUGH WILLIAMS
/ JOHN ALCOCK
/ PETER GEORGE
/ SIMON RAY

ORIGINAL SETTLERS:
THOMAS TERRY
/ JOHN CLARKE
/ WILLIAM JUD
/ SAMUEL  DEARING
/ SIMON RAY
/ WILLIAM TOSH
/ TORMUT ROSE
/ WILLIAM BARKER
/ DANIEL CUMBALL
/ WILLIAM COHOONE
/ DUNCAN MACK WILLIAMSON
/ JOHN RATHBUN
/ EDWARD VORCE, JUN.
/ TRUSTRUM DODGE, SEN.
/ NICHOLAS WHITE
/ WILLIAM BILLINGS
/ JOHN ACKURS

Block Island, shown in red, off the coast of the State of Rhode Island. The island is part of Washington County, Rhode Island and is coextensive with the town of New Shoreham.

Block Island, shown in red, off the coast of the State of Rhode Island. The island is part of Washington County, Rhode Island and is coextensive with the town of New Shoreham.

William is listed as a “Settler” but not among the original “Purchasers” of Block Island.  Nonetheless, William became a man of prominence there and was made a freeman in 1664 and Constable in 1667. By the time William died (in 1685) he had become a prominent citizen, and his property then inventoried shows 
that he was a well-to-do citizen as well, having 263 acres of land and a dwelling-house, estimated at £288. The children of William Tosh and Jael Sullivan are listed as follows: William (1659-1691), Marcy/Mercy (1663- ), Daniel (1664-1706) and Sarah Tosh (1666-1717).

The daughter of William Tosh and Jael Sullivan is Sarah Tosh, born 1666 in New Shoreham, Rhode Island and died there also in 1717.  On 23 Jan 1691 she married Nathaniel Mott was born 30 Aug 1661 at Braintree, Massachusetts and died December 1717 at New Shoreham.  Sarah was Nathaniel’s second wife.  He married first  Hepzibah Winsley on 29 Nov 1682.  Nathaniel is the son of Nathaniel Mott (1631-1675) and Hannah ShooterSarah’s sister Mercy/Marcy married John Mott, the brother of Sarah’s husband, Nathaniel.  The wife of Nathaniel’s brother, Edward, is Penelope Niles, who was married first to Sarah’s brother, William.

The births of twenty-two persons bearing the name of Tosh were recorded in the records of Block Island, Rhode Island through 1735, and all are descendants of William Tosh and Jael Sullivan.

The lineage of Sarah Tosh, and Nathaniel Mott is continued under the heading of John Mott (1603-1694).



[1] The iron works were established by John Winthrop Jr. (son of Governor John Winthrop of Massachusetts) in 1641. Capital for the scheme was raised by 1643, construction began in 1644 and iron production began in 1645.  The site was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.  The site of the iron works is now known as the Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site (Saugus, Massachusetts) under the administration of the National Park Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the restored facilities are open to the public.

[2] This is from “The Genealogy of Nathaniel Mott of Scituate and His Sons” in Genealogies of Rhode Island Familes (Vol. I, p. 711-14) by G. Andrews Moriarty, and he does not cite his source for this information.

An image of Massachusetts colonists attacking the Eastern Niantic in the Pequot War of 1637 (from "History of Pilgrims and Puritans", Vol. 3 by Joseph Dillaway Sawyer)

An image of Massachusetts colonists attacking the Eastern Niantic in the Pequot War of 1637 (from “History of Pilgrims and Puritans”, Vol. 3 by Joseph Dillaway Sawyer)

[3] A good resource for the history of the island is History of Block Island, Rhode Island  by S. T. Livermore (Bridgewater, Massachusetts) 1877. Though its inhabitants have never been very numerous (in 1662, natives on the island numbered somewhere from 1,200 1,500, and as of the 2000 census, the population was 1,010 inhabitants), Block Island has played a somewhat larger role in American history (and the history of our family) than might be expected of a remote coastal island. The first full-fledged war waged against natives by English settlers in New England (the Pequot War) began there. In 1634, Western Niantic Indians defended their tribe by killing John Stone, a renegade Boston man, who was known for stealing Pilgrim vessels, near the mouth of the Connecticut River. Despite the fact the man was trying to kidnap native women and children to sell as slaves in Virginia, the colonists became furious (partly due to earlier Indian atrocities against settlers on the mainland by a related tribe). The English demanded that the Pequot Indians (who spoke for the Western Niantic) surrender his killers. This was refused and began the slide towards war. In the summer of 1637, the Western Niantic killed another Boston man, the trader John Oldham, near Block Island. Without consulting the Connecticut colonists, Massachusetts, in August, sent a punitive expedition of ninety men under John Endicott to Block Island with instructions to kill every Niantic warrior and capture the woman and children, who would be valuable as slaves. The expedition was ordered by Massachusetts Governor Henry Vane to “massacre all of the Native men on the island”. The expedition killed fourteen Eastern Niantic and burned their village and crops. The English burned sixty wigwams and the corn fields. They also shot every dog, but the Niantic fled into the woods, and the soldiers only managed to kill fourteen of them. Deciding this punishment was insufficient, Endicott and his men sailed over to Fort Saybrook before going after the Pequot village at the mouth of the Thames River to demand one thousand fathoms of wampum to pay for the murder of John Oldham and some Pequot children as hostages to insure peace. This incident is seen as one of the initial events that led to the Pequot War.

[4] My 8th g-grandfather, discussed under his own heading.

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