Wood #2596

John Wood (1595-1655)

Born in England.  Arrived in New England perhaps as early as 1630, but certainly by 1636 and later appearing at New Amsterdam by 1640 and settling in Rhode Island by 1643 and

Margaret Carter ( -1643)

Born in England.  Probably arrived at New Amsterdam by 1641.

Wood #2596

I am descended from John Wood and Margaret Carter through both their son Thomas (indicated above) and their daughter Margaret[1].  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 (1595-1655).

John Wood is sometimes referred to as “the Mariner”, to distinguish him from others of the same name who settled in New England in the early colonial period.   He 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 in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam.  The most comprehensively documented treatment of this ancestor that I have found is a book by Bertha W. Clark entitled John Wood of Rhode Island and His Early Descendants on the Mainland (Crete, Illinois: self-published manuscript, 1966).


Theories of English Origins (speculative; requiring further research)

A drawing showing Old London Bridge with Southwark Priory (now the Cathedral) in 1616, in the foreground

John Wood’s life and descendents are well documented, but his ancestry is a subject of dispute.  We know that he was born in England about 1590-1600.  Nothing is known with certainty of his parentage, but theories abound.  On 28 Jan 1610/11 at St. Saviour’s in Southwark, England, a John Wood married Margaret Carter[2], and this John Wood is generally supposed to be John Wood later of Portsmouth, Rhode Island.  The following theories should be considered speculative, but are supported by some of the available evidence and may provide avenues for future research:

  • John Wood’s first wife, Margaret Carter, is the daughter of Richard Carter and Margaret Batte and sister of William Carter who married Susanna Downing.  This was the Susanna Downing who married (2nd) Francis Kirby, merchant and close friend of Gov. Winthrop.
  • John Wood is the son of Henry Wood of St. James, Clerkenwell (born about 1560) and Margaret Dynnes.
  • Henry Wood is the son of John Wood “Clothier” who died in 1577, and brother of John Wood “of Stratford” who died in 1615.
  • George and John Wood (Jr.), sons of John Wood “the Mariner” may have married married sisters in England, Ann Sherman and Judith Sherman, each a first wife.
  • Cousins of John Wood include Anthony Wood “Mariner” of Redrith (aka Rotherhithe and Southwark) and Robert Wood, both brothers-in-law to Capt. William Rainborow.  This also indicates both a family and a business relationship between the politically powerful Rainborow family and the Wood “Mariner” business.
  • This particular Wood family is directly related by both marriage and business to the Alefounder and Sherman families of Dedham, Essex, England, among others.
  • This particular Wood family descends from a line of well known “Clothiers” of high repute in 16th century Dedham, Essex, England.
  • John Wood was closely allied in the shipping business with the political families involved in the English Civil War, at least the families who either migrated to Massachusetts Bay or funded those who did. Families include: Downing, Kirby, Lake, Rainborow, Sherman, Winthrop and Wilbore.

Most of the known facts of John Wood “the Mariner” are recorded by Clark in the work previously cited.  Clark also examined several theories that have been advanced as to the identity of John Wood of Newport and Portsmouth and found that they do not stand up under investigation:

  • It has been thought that he was the John Wood early at Lynn, Massachusetts, since John Wood and Nicholas Brown had dealings at Lynn, and John Wood and Nicholas Brown had dealings in Rhode Island.  However town histories show that Nicholas Brown of Lynn lived in the part that in 1644 was set off as Reading, where he held various offices for many years.  He and John Wood were among the men of Lynn who signed a petition for Jane Armitage on 7 Sep 1643, at which time John Wood had been a resident of Newport for some time, while the Rhode Island Nicholas Brown had been of Portsmouth as early as 1639.
  • It has been said that John Wood of Rhode Island came there from Plymouth, Massachusetts, but Plymouth records show that John Wood of Plymouth married Sarah Masterson, and that he remained in that area until his death in 1675.
  • John Wood of Portsmouth could not have been the John Wood who came with Mr. Hull in 1633, aged 20, nor the John Wood who came on the Hopewell in 1635, aged 26, for John of Portsmouth had a son (and not his oldest one) who was born in 1620.  At that time the two Johns above were aged only 7 and 11.

Clark presents and documents a theory that bears scrutiny, in light of the known facts, namely that John Wood of Newport and Portsmouth was a London seaman who had many dealing with the Winthrops (both with Gov. John Winthrop of Massachusetts and Gov. John Jr. of Connecticut) and with one of the Winthrop wives as well.  He was a seaman who was sometimes ship’s mate and sometimes manager and part owner of the craft on which be sailed, a man with his eyes always open for business opportunities whether as carrier, as buyer and seller of goods overseas, in the buying of land or the taking over of mortgaged property.

“John Wood’s pleasant relationship with Goverrnor Winthrop of Connecticut will, we think, explain why, a few years after his death, at the time of the bitter struggle between Rhode Island and Connecticut for control of the Narragansett Country, a son of John Wood, though a Newport townsman, was one of the chief agitators in favor of Connecticut control.  We think, too, that John Wood’s being part owner or manager of some of the vessels on which he sailed was what made it possible for him to bring a sizable and grown-up family into the colonies, seemingly with no record of clearance on the other side or of arrival here[3].”

John Wood was the Masters Mate, or possibly Captain, of the Bacheler, according to a letter written about 1636 by Gov. John Winthrop (Jr.) to his father.  This letter also mentions John Wood’s sons Frederick and George by name.  It is evident from the letter that Winthrop placed confidence in John Wood and his group, even though they had had ill luck on a previous voyage for him.  He is considered putting both the Bacheler and the Blessing under their management and had made some sort of tentative agreement with them about it, of which however, his Papers give us no further details.  The Blessing was a ship that had already helped make American history.  Hubbard[4] says: “The bark Blessing, built by Gov. Winthrop at Mistick in 1631 returned Oct. 2, 1634 from a voyage southward to the Dutch plantation upon Hudson’s river having made a further discovery of that [land] called Long-Island.”  Clark speculates that it is even possible – “very possible” – that John Wood was on that voyage, and that it was then that be made the acquaintance of Manhattan.  He was surely in that town and investing money there by 1640.

In 1637, in a letter transcript from Francis Kirby, merchant of London, to John Winthrop, John Wood is mentioned as Masters Mate of the Hector.

by Geo. Hayward, 120 Water Street, New York for D. T. Valentine’s “History of New York” – Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1852 by D. T. Valentine in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the Southern District of New York.

by Geo. Hayward, 120 Water Street, New York for D. T. Valentine’s “History of New York” – Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1852 by D. T. Valentine in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the Southern District of New York.

John Wood had considerable dealings with land on or near New York (New Amsterdam), principally involving a tobacco farm on Manhattan Island, which John rented from a Thomas Bescher.  Clark explains that tobacco was in those days a chief article of export, and the soil of Manhattan was especially adapted to its culture.  Between 1624-39, Van Winkle[5] says there were forty-five tobacco plantations on that island,  and there were others just across the river on Long Island.  Thomas Bescher owned two such farms. One was known as Farm No. 13 and was situated in the area known today as Chinatown, Little Italy and the Lower East Side.  The other was at Gowanus in or near present Brooklyn.  John Wood seems to have had an interest both plantations at different times.

The farm at Gowanus is of peculiar interest historically.  The earliest deed ever recorded in Brooklyn is of the transfer of this particular tobacco plantation from Thomas Bescher to Cornelis Lambertsen on 17 May 1639.  Apparently the land must have reverted to Bescher; since in 1640 have leased it to John Wood.

Within a few weeks after closing the deal with Wood, Bescher left New Amsterdam mysteriously, taking great pains, it would seem, to see that word got back that he was dead.  Things had been going from bad to worse for him, both in money matters and in family affairs.  He was deeply in debt, and his wife’s conduct was a public scandal.  John Wood evidently had no intention of himself working the farm he had leased of Bescher.  Slave labor, both Negro and Indian, was used on all such plantations, and one of John’s sons may have been left to supervise, while he went on with his merchant voyaging.

The next year, John Wood was again in New Amsterdam when on 27 Apr 1641, Thomas Bescher’s widow entered into a marriage contract with Thomas Smith, and John became their security for the payment of the many debts for which they found themselves responsible.  It was probably in exchange for his settling their tangled financial affairs that John Wood came into ownership of the farm, which until then he had been renting.  The plantation was certainly his three months later, when on 1 Aug 1641, Ambrose Lonnen gave note for 200 guilders to John Wood, for a house and plantation belonging to said Wood and situate on Long Island at the Bay of the North RiverJohn seems also to have rented for a time Bescher’s Farm No. 13 on Manhattan Island, for Nov. 20, 1639 Thomas Beeche [or Bescher] leased to Abraham Newman and Pieter Breyls (afterwards to John Wood) a house and tobacco plantation.  Van Winkle says this was Bescher’s  Farm No. 13, and this is probably correct, although there is the possibility that Bescher’s two farms may have been confused.  No date is given for John Wood’s lease.

It would seem to be at about the time John Wood disposed of his Gowanus plantation that he began buying property in Newport, Rhode Island, and since he bought first a homestead farm, it may be at this time that he brought his family to America.  The record of his first land purchase at Newport and of two grants from the town is wholly undated, but has been preserved in the State Archives at Providence.  It reads[6]:

Memorandum that John Wood of Newport bought and purchased of Robt Jeoffreys a parcel of land about fifty acres more or less for a valuable consideration given and received and is laid forth at the Hermitage alias Middletown bounded on the eastern end by land off Mr Sanfords on the northern side by Edward Robinson on the western end by the hieway 5 acres granted by the towne added thereto at the western end and one the southern side by the land granted to John Vaughan also parcel of land of 3 acres bordering upon Mr Hutchinsons[7] land is by the town consigned to the sd John being in number 58 and is the proper inheritance of the said John and his heirs for ever. Teste William Dyre[8] Recr.

The first dated items that describe John Wood as of Newport are both dated 7 Jun 1643 and relate to trespassing charges brought against John by John Richman and David Greenman.

Based on circumstantial evidence, Clark surmises that John’s wife Margaret and son Frederick died in the Maspeth[9] Massacre of 1643.  She explains her position as follows[10]:

“A great many English settlers were allowed by the Dutch of New Amsterdam to settle in the extreme western part of Long Island, over which they then had control, provided they gave allegiance to the Dutch.  On 28 Mar 1642, Rev. Francis Doughty of Taunton, Mass[achusetts], and a group of his associates on such terms bought 13,332 acres of land at Maspeth, which we judge to be fewer than ten miles from John Wood’s former plantation at Gowanus.  In the months following many Rhode Islanders joined in taking up land in the new settlement, prominent among them being Richard Smith, the famous trader of Cocumcuset (Wickford), R[hode] I[sland].  We think it likely that John Wood did so also, though we cannot prove this.  Our reasons for so thinking are: first, the way John Wood’s paths crossed, over and over again, those of Richard Smith; and, second, an item which we shall quote from the records of Massachusetts Bay:

“First: Richard Smith, like John Wood, is supposed to have come from Gloucestershire.   In 1637 Richard Smith was of Taunton; later we shall find that the Woods had ties with that town.  In 1638 Smith was admitted inhabitant of Newport; Newport was the town Wood chose for his first homestead in America.  In 1651 Roger Williams[11] spoke of Smith as being then at Portsmouth; John Wood had by that time removed to Portsmouth.  When after John Wood’s death, the great struggle arose over the suzerainty of the Atherton purchase in the Narragensett Country, the Rhode Island government accused five Rhode Island men of wanting the Purchase to be under Winthrop of Connecticut.  Chief among the five were Richard Smith and his son Richard; and John Wood’s son John was one of the other three.  So it seems to us likely that after Smith removed his family to Mespeth and became a very important man there, John Wood may have gone there, too, retaining of course his newly acquired Newport property.  This would be, probably, in the latter part of 1643, not long before the great Maspeth massacre.

“Early that year, on 25-26 February, to be exact, the Dutch of New Amsterdam, under Kieft’s direction, had attacked an Indian settlement, carrying off the corn they found and killing two Indians.  The Indians waited until September before taking their revenge; then fell on all the Dutch settlements (except Lady Moody’s), leaving them in ruins.  Of Mespeth, Updike says: ‘The Indians attacked the settlement and drove away the colonizers, who lost besides men – among whom was Richard Smith s brother John – their cattle, horses and all their other property’.

“Second: John Wood, as we know, handled much business for both Winthrop governors and doubtless for their governments as well.  Massachusetts Bay records include this item:

7 March 1643/4.  The debt of John Wood of twenty pounds is respited for two years in regard of his great losse.”

We do hot know when John Wood‘s first wife died or what may be the nature of this losse but we may speculate.  According to historical accounts, the Indians killed all those who did not succeed in reaching the fort and burned all the dwellings.  If at the time of the massacre John Wood was away on one of his long voyages and returned to learn that his wife and possibly their son Frederick had been among those who did not reach the fort and that his house and all his movable property had been burned, the kindly gesture of Massachusetts Bay Court would be most understandable.

John Wood appears further in the records as follows[12]:

  • 30 Jan 1645.  John Wood was one of five English witnesses (along with five Indian witnesses) to a deed which granted the Tantiusques Mine to John Winthrop (Jr.), located near what is now Sturbridge, Massachusetts.
  • Mar 1645.  John Wood was called as a witness in a case involving his neighbor, Robt. Robinson.
    • Sep 1645.  In the State Archives, on the same page as the undated memorandum of John Wood’s earliest Newport land, is a mutilated deed[13] which shows that John Wood of Nuport Road Iand bought + purchased of John Cranston of the same ile a parcel of land contayning 14 acres more or less for a valuable consideration given and received upon which surrender all claims or title therto of the said John Cranston is annulled and is laid forth by a parcel of land granted by the towne aforesaid to the said John Wood. Teste by William Dyre Recr.
    • On the same page, but quite separate from the two items quoted above, is the following land record: Memorandum that the towne of Nuport granted to John Wood 30 acres of land which he hath satisfied for the Threasy together with ten given to John Cranston as a servant as [illegible] for which allowed 14 in Nuport of a house lott is laid forth 5 acres by his 50 bought of Mr. Jeoffrey the rest amounting 39 acres more or less… to the sd John Wood his heires + assignee for ever…
    • 1646.  An action of the case com by William Withington plaintiff of Nuport agst John Wood of the same upon xx nobles damag Delayed till next Court find for the defendant costs.  This is the last date on which John Wood is referred to as of Newport.  He must have removed to Portsmouth soon after this for in July of 1648 he was admitted freeman of that town.  It was perhaps with view to this removal that he had the memorandum of his holdings in Newport made by the town recorder. There is no evidence that he bought land in Portsmouth before his purchase of a homestead there in 1649/50.   His son-in-law Samuel Jenney of Plymouth settled in Portsmouth probably about the time John Wood did, buying land of Thomas Hazard[14].  It may be that the Woods and Jenneys lived together for a time.  John Wood and Samuel Jenney became freemen on the same day.
    • 1648.  At the town meeting of 10 Jul 1648 [seventeen names are listed including Samuell Jenne and John Woode] were chosen for the Committe for the tryall of the general officers… theas whose names are aboue written are received fremen of the town of Portsmouth…
    • 1649.  John Wood was one of the twelve jurymen who served at the General Court of Tryals houlden at Warwick on 26-27 May.
    • Mar 1650.  There is a record of a transfer of land from Nicholas Browne of the towne of Ports[mouth] in Roade Iland for a valuabl Consideration in hand receiued to John Woods Senior of the same towne and place.

John Wood died at Portsmouth, Rhode Island in 1655[15].  He did not leave a will, but two records as to the settlement of his estate, one in Portsmouth Early Records, the other in the New England Register, give invaluable information about the family[16].

7 May 1655.  The Councell of the towne of Portsmouth according to the law of the Collonie for the legall disposing of the estate of John Wood deceast, not having left a will or testament haue chosen John Coggeshall Thomas Cornell Junior Cornell Junior James Babcock and William Hall to prise the landes buildings and fences and other apurtenances of the aforenamed deceast, who haue prised that which is in John Woods hand…

The document goes on to list his property and mentions his sons, Thomas Wood, John (Jr.), William, George the eldest son; Elizabeth Wood the late wife of the deceast[17] (appointed sole executrix); his daughters Susanna and Elizabeth, described as the two younge Children of the deceast[18].  The settlement does not mention his daughter Margaret[19] by name or the elder Susannah (by his first wife), both of whom were already married by 1655.

Of interest to our family is the fact that the document also mentions Richard Borden[20] as a member of the Town Council.

After John’s death in 1655, his widow Elizabeth married (2nd) Hugh Parsons, a widower whose land bordered on the Wood homestead.

The children of John Wood “the Mariner” and Margaret Carter are listed as follows:

  1. Frederick?  The only possible mention of him was in the letter of Gov. John Winthrop (Jr.) mentioned above.  If he existed, he was not alive in 1655, when John’s estate was settled and George was identified as his eldest son.  He was probably older than George.  Clark speculates that he may have died in the 1643 Maspeth Massacre, along with his mother (see above).
  2. George, born about 1614-18 and died in 1664 by Witchcraft, as is suspected[21], according to the record of his death.  In 1660 at Saybrook, Connecticut he married (1st)1st [unknown] and (2nd) Ann, who married (2nd) Henry Rogers after George’s death.  Practically all his life after coming to America was spent on Long Island.  George had five children who lived to maturity: Jacob (1643) married Mary; John; Mary, married (1st)  Robert Peragoe and (2nd) Henry Peterson; George (28 Sep 1661); Ann married a John Tooker (Jr.).   After George’s death, his widow Ann married Henry Rogers, by whom she had a daughter Margaret who married Richard Clark.
  3. John (Jr.) born about 1620 died 26 Aug 1704 age 84.  He married (1st, in England) [unknown], (2nd) Anna and (3rd) Mary Peabody, born about 1640 and died 24 Jan 1719 age 78 in Middletown Rhode Island (daughter of John Peabody of Newport, Rhode Island).
  4. Thomas Wood, see below.
  5. William, born about 1634 and died 1695/6.  He married (1st) Martha Earle daughter of Ralph Earle and Joan Savage[22] and (2nd) Elizabeth, widow of Smith.
  6. Margaret Wood, married about 1649 to Thomas Manchester[23]Thomas and Margaret had eight children, and she died about 1693.  Their lineage follows the discussion of the descendants of Thomas Wood (below).
  7. Susannah, born about 1622 and married about 1647 to Samuel Jenney.  Samuel died 23 Mar 1670.

The children of John Wood and his second wife, Elizabeth (Hall?) are listed as follows:

  1. Susannah, born about 1647 died 1684.  She married (1st)  Josiah England and on 3 Dec 1677 he married (2nd)  2nd married on 3 Dec 1677 Ephraim Carpenter.  Clark  believes that Josiah England and Ephraim’s first wife were killed in King Phillip’s War (1675-1676).
  2. Elizabeth, married about 1672 to Isaac Doty.

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 (1595-1655).


Descent through Thomas Wood:

Thomas Wood, the son of John Wood and Margaret Carter, was the son born next after John, whose birth year was 1620.  He may like, his brother John, have remained in England for some years after his parents settled in Rhode Island, and may have married there.  The name of his first wife is not known.  He first appears in American records around the time of his father’s death in early 1655.

Clark notes his appearance in the colonial records as follows[24]:

  • 24 Jan 1655.  Thomas Wood bought 12 acres of land in Portsmouth of Thomas and Margaret Manchester, his brother-in-law and sister .
  • 7 May 1655.  At the distribution of his father’s estate there was given unto Thomas Wood that land which was his father’s lying in Nuport by the farm of William weeden being forty ackers more or lesse… which Land was freely given by the Townesmen of Newport unto John Wood of Portsmouth lately deceased.
  • 6 Feb 1656.  Nicholas Brown sold to Thomas Wood, both of Portsmouth, eight roods of land one rood wide from his land along Wood’s land, Wood agreeing to maintain a fence about said parcel of land at his own expense.
  • 4 Oct 1656.  Thomas Wood propounded to be receiued an Inhabitant.
  • 1 Jan 1657 Thomas Wood of Portsmouth sold unto Richard Tew of Newport Forty Acres lyinge within Newport…
  • 8 Jun 1657.  Thomas Wood is receiued an Inhabitant.
  • 10 Dec 1657.  The town of Portsmouth granted Thomas Wood eight acres and Nicholas Brown five acres.
  • 18 May 1658.  At the General Court held for the Colony at Warwick: Ordered that Samuel Sanford, Stephen Wilcocke, Christopher Almy[25], Richard Pearce, William Earle[26], William Foster, William Corry, John Almy[27], Thomas Woods and Thomas Kent being freemen of the Towne of Portsmouth are admitted freemen of this Colony.
  • 1659.  When Nicholas Brown sold to Ellexander Enos, Thomas Wood was a witness.  Both Brown and Thomas Wood signed with their marks.
  • 20 May 1667 (note the lapse of time[28]).  Thomas Wood was a witness when John Godfrey sold goods for £20 to John Allin, John Pecke and John Woodcocke.
  • 28 Apr 1668. This is the only date betweenn 1659-75 that Thomas Wood is known to have been at Portsmouth, noted in the following entry: The Earemarke of Thomas woods hi Cattell Is the left Eare a Croop and a flower deluce one the Right Eare of 14 yeares standinge and is Entred vpon Record [etc]…
  • 9 Apr 1675 Thomas Wood served on the Grand Jury at Portsmouth.
  • 5 Feb 1676.  Thomas Wood of Portsmouth for £12 bought 20 acres of land from Joseph Wheaton of Swansea.  Thomas did not remove his family to Swansea for at least two years – probably about the time his daughter, Elizabeth, married Samuel Wheaton, the brother of this Joseph, on 5 Dec 1678.
  • 1675-76.  At some time during these two years, Thomas Wood served in King Philip’s War and for this service was one of the fifty men who were given a hundred acres of land each in what became East Greenwich, Rhode Island.  Some plan for peopling this tract in the Narragansett Country had been under consideration as far back as 2 April 1672 when it was Voted that some persons be empowered by this Assembly to goe over to Narragansett and to take a view of such places there and thereabouts that are fitt for plantation and make inquirie of English and Indians who are the owners of or who laie claime to such lands, and signify unto them that the collony doeth intend such lands shall be improved by peoplinge the same; and that the persons do make returne of what they doe therin to the next Generall Assemb1y.  This was in 1672.  It Would seem that several years passed before the plan was carried out.  Perhaps it was felt that after King Philip’s War (1675-76) some recompense ought to be given to those who had fought in it that led to final action.  Others wanted such lands too, and on 1 May l677 we find that this Court doth declare that they will give unto the inhabitants of this Jurisdiction tenn thousand acres of land in the said Narragansett, or King’s Provinces to be equally divided amongst one hundred men, such as the court shall approve of… [Thomas Wood is named among others].
  • 14 Apr 1677.  Thomas Wood was one of four men chosen Deputys for the two Next Gen. Assemblys.
  • 1678.  This was probably the year in which Thomas Wood removed to Swansea, where two years earlier ho had bought a home.  This may account for the entry in the Treaswerr’s Book in 1678 in which Thomas Wood was rated for a tax of three shillings but did not pay it.
  • 7 May 1680.  Thomas Wood of Swansea and his wife Rebekah sold 12 acres of land in Portsmouth to Benjamin Hall of Portsmouth, Rhode Island.  This was evidently the 12-acre homestead Thomas Wood had purchased from Thomas Manchester in 1655.
  • 16 Aug 1680.  Again the Treasurer’s Book shows that Thomas Wood’s tax for the year was three shillings, and that he did not pay it.  On the same day, Thomas and Rebecca Wood sold eight acres of land in Portsmouth to Robert Hodgson of Portsmouth.
  • 7 Sep 1681.  Thomas Wood took the oath of fidelity.
  • 28 Apr 1686.  Thomas Wood was one of three Swansea men appointed as surveyors of highways.
  • 7 Feb 1689.  Thomas Wood was listed among the Rehoboth Proprietors not Inhabitants.
  • 1690.  Thomas Wood was appointed one of the two Deputies for Swansea.
  • 26 May 1691.  Thomas Wood and Zechariah Eddy were appointed surveyors for Swansea, for the Kecamuit side.
  • 14 Jul 1692.  Thomas Wood was appointed one of the seven fence viewers for Swansea.
  • 10 Feb 1697.  When Thomas Wood’s brother William died, administration bonds of £800 were given by Thomas (his mark) and two others of the family.
  • 11 Aug 1701.  Thomas Wood of Swansea, in consideration of the naturall affection + ffatherly Love which I have do bear unto my Naturall and well beloved son William Wood of Swansey and for Divers other Considerations deeds him 52 acres of land.
  • 7 July 1702.  Thomas Wood was chosen to serve on the petit jury.
  • 28 Dec 1702.  Thomas Wood of Swansea deeded two lots in Swansea to his sons, George and Jonathan, as a gift.  This deed was recorded on 10 Apr 1704, at which time Thomas was again described as deceasedThomas Wood‘s death seems not to have been recorded.  We know only that he was alive as late as 28 Dec. 1702, and that he was deceased as early as 4 Apr 1704, which latter date would seem to be the approximate time of his death.

Thomas Wood‘s children who were born after he removed to Swansea were all carefully recorded in the town book, but not those who were born earlier, and they present very real problems, which Clark explains[29].  She concludes that his eldest son was named John, and from the existing records infers that as of 1674-75 this John was a man with a family, probably born about 1650.  He settled at East Greenwhich, Rhode Island on land that Thomas Wood had received for his service in King Philip’s War.  Thomas had another son, John, born in 1663[30].  Clark offers the following scenario:

“It is very probable that Thomas Wood‘s first wife had died, and that he had married next into a Rehoboth family, which could account for his absence from Portsmouth and for his a acquiring Rehoboth land, perhaps as an inheritance from his wife’s parents.  Surely she was someone of the Baptist Rehoboth-to-Swansea group with which Thomas’s family was later to be so closely identified – an Allen, a Fuller, a Peck, a Bowen, a Wheaton, a Mason or an Easterbrook perhaps.  Only someone far more conversant with early Rehoboth land changes will ever fall upon some clue that will identify her.  Whoever she was, she had died before Thomas married his last wife, Rebecca.”

Thomas probably married Rebecca at about the time he removed to Swansea, that is 1676-8 or thereabouts.  Clark speculates that she may have been Rebecca Hall of Portsmouth, who was mentioned in her father’s will of 1673.  We know that Thomas’ wife Rebecca must have been many years his junior, since Thomas was at least 65 years old when their youngest child was born.

Thomas Wood‘s known children by his first wife (her name unknown) are listed as follows:

  • John of East Greenwich
  • Elizabeth (though she may have been daughter of the second wife).

The known children of Thomas Wood and his second wife (her name also unknown) are listed as follows:

  • John, born 1663.  He married (1st) Bethiah Mason[31] and (2nd) Charity (Thurber) Miller.
  • Thomas, born 1664.  He married Hannah Rider.
  • Abigail, born 1666.
  • William, born 1670.

The known children of Thomas Wood and his third wife Rebecca (Hall?) are listed as follows:

  • George, born 30 July 1679.  He married Rebecca Daggett.
  • Jonathan, born 20 Nov 1681.  He married (1st) Elizabeth Thurston and (2nd) Anne Carr.
  • Hannah, born 8 Feb 1684/5.  She is probably the Hannah who on 19 Nov 1715 married, as his second wife, Peter Taylor of Newport and Little Compton.  He was born in Jul 1661, the son of Robert and Mary (Hodges) Taylor.  Peter had married first Elizabeth, the daughter of John and Eleanor Peckham.  She died 24 May 1714.  Hannah bore five children.  Peter died in 1736.  One of Hannah’s children, Rebecca, married John Coe, the grandson of William and Elizabeth (Alden) Peabody, thus giving all her descendants Mayflower ancestry.
  • Margaret, born 1 Mar 1687, a twin.  On 21 May 1715 at Swansea she married John Page.
  • Sarah, born 1 Mar 1687, twin to Margaret.  Either this Sarah was later called Susannah or Sarah died young and an unrecorded Susannah was born.  She died in 1748.  It was as Susannah Wood that on 17 Jun 1714 at Swansea she married John Baker of Swansea and Rehoboth (Barrington).  He was born 27 Jun 1687, the son of John Baker and Hannah Polley, and he died about Jun 1767.  We know that the Susannah Wood who married John Baker was daughter of Thomas Wood and Rebecca, because George Woods (above) who married Rebecca Daggett, in his will named as his executors my well-beloved brother William Wood of Swansea and my well-beloved brother John Baker of Rehoboth.

The lineage of Susannah Wood and John Baker is continued under the heading of John Baker (1633-1695).


Descent through Margaret Wood:

The line of descent through Margaret Wood (daughter of John Wood and Margaret Carter) is discussed under the heading of Thomas Manchester (1620-1691).


[1] John Wood and his wife, Margaret Carter, are my 9th g-grandparents through their son, Thomas Wood.  They are also my 11th g-grandparents through their daughter, Margaret Wood (1634-1693):

Wood #11250

[2] Clark comments on this marriage record as follows (p. 2): “There is no real evidence that this was the John Wood later of Rhode Island, but the name, the date, and the place would suit that John admirably, and the more especially since the latter’ s only daughter by his first wife whose name is known with certainty was also Margaret – the Margaret Wood who married Thomas Manchester.”

[3] Clark, p.1.

[4] William Hubbard. A General History of New England: From the Discovery To 1680 (published 1815).

[5] Edward Van Winkle. Manhattan, 1624-1639 (published 1916).

[6] Rhode Island State Archives: Colonial Records, Part I, vol. 1, p.10.

[7] This could be William Hutchinson (1613-1675) my 10th g-grandfather or one of his sons.

[8] William Dyer (1609-1672), my 9th g-grandfather, is discussed under the heading of his wife, Mary (Barrett) Dyer (1607-1660).

[9] The area known today as Maspeth was chartered by Dutch and English settlers in the mid-17th century. Maspeth is today a small community in the New York City borough of Queens, bordered by Woodside and Sunnyside to the north, Long Island City to the northwest, Greenpoint, Brooklyn to the west, East Williamsburg, Brooklyn to the southwest, Fresh Pond and Ridgewood to the south, and Middle Village and Elmhurst to the east. It was the first European settlement in Queens. The settlement was leveled the following year in an attack by Indians, and the surviving settlers returned to Manhattan. It wasn’t until nine years later, in 1652,  that settlers ventured back to the area, settling at a place slightly inland from the previous Maspeth location.

[10] Clark, p. 5-6.

[11] My 10th g-grandfather, discussed under his own heading.

[12] Clark, p. 6-9.

[13] Notes entered in the margin show that the land was bought on 18 Sep 1645 and that the deed was recorded on 15 Sep 1646.

[14] Thomas Hazard (1610-1680) is my 11th g-grandfather, discussed under his own heading.

[15] Clark notes (p. 9) ” ‘C.R.M’, in an old issue of the Boston Transcript genealogical pages gives 1 Mar 1655 as the date of John Wood’s death. We wish we knew where C.R.M. found this. John Wood surely died at about that time.”

[16] Clark, p. 9-10.

[17] The widow, Elizabeth is also called moother in law (i.e. step-mother) to George, the eldest son.

[18] Based on the terms of the settlement, it is apparent that Suasanna and Elizabeth were not yet 16 years of age in 1655.

[19] Presumably she is the person referred to as John (Jr.)’s Sister Manchester, to whom John (Jr.) was obligated under the settlement to make annual payments for the land in his possession at the time of John (Sr.)’s death.

[20] Richard Borden (1595-1671) is my 11th g-grandfather, discussed under his own heading.

[21] The meaning of this comment is unclear.

[22] My 10th g-grandparents, discussed under their own heading.

[23] Clark (p. 13) notes that in the same year and in the same cathedral church at Southwark, London that John Wood married Margaret Carter, a Rebecca Manchester married a Thomas Cooke.  So it may be that the Manchester and Wood families were acquainted before coming to America.

[24] Clark, p. 33-38.

[25] Probably my 10th g-grand uncle through his sister, Anne Almy (1627-1709), discussed under the heading of William Almy (1601-1677).

[26] My 9th g-grandfather, discussed under the heading of Ralph Earle (1606-1678).

[27] Probably my 10th g-grand uncle through his sister, Anne Almy (1627-1709), discussed under the heading of William Almy (1601-1677).

[28] Thomas Wood had been absent from Portsmouth for several years, so far as records show. Later (in 1689) he was described as a non-resdent proprietor of Rehoboth. Clark (p. 35) thinks he may have been living In Rehoboth in the years that he was absent from Portsmouth. Clark notes further that 1667 was the year a group of Baptists in Rehoboth founded the town of Swansea, where Thomas Wood’s family eventually settled. The history is explained further under the heading of John Myles (1621-1683), my 9th g-grandfather.

[29] Clark, p. 39-41.

[30] It was not unusual for our Woods to have two children of the same Christian name in the same family, but by different mothers.  Thomas’ father also had two daughters, both named Susannah.

[31] She is the daughter of Sampson Mason (1625-1676), my 9th g-grandfather, making her my 8th g-grand aunt.


One comment

  • Angela (Wood) White

    I am interested in learning more about this. I am a descent of John and Margaret. Our line is from William according to the information my father gave me.

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