About Thomas Minor
John Minor, the founder of the Thomas Minor Society and author of “An Ancestral Narrative” wrote that in 1629 when Thomas departed England at the age of 21, there was little to excite a young man about his future there. Most countrymen had no financial security since the land they farmed or the shops where they worked were controlled by a few wealthy landlords. Wages were barely sufficient to feed and clothe their large families. Housing was cold in the winter and hot in the summer.
Thomas was the youngest of eight children without hope of any support or inheritance. Life was controlled by two authorities, the government, and the church. Thomas was listed as a planter on the records of The Lyon’s Whelp which left the Thames, Gravesend, England on April 25, 1629, along with five other ships, George Bonaventure, Four Sisters, Lyon, the Mayflower, and the Talbot.
The leader of the expedition Reverend Francis Higginson sailed on the Talbot with his wife and eight children and documented the trip before his death in 1630.
The Lyon’s Whelp was not a large ship, displacing 120 tons as compared to the 200 tons displacement of the Mayflower. The Lyon’s Whelp made several stops where they picked up passengers and provisions along the coast on their voyage to Lands’ End. It is not known at which stop that Thomas Minor boarded the Lyon’s Whelp, but they finally departed across the ocean for New England on May 13, 1629.
Imagine spending 47 days confined on a crowded ship, subject to rough seas, poor sanitation, and limited provisions. Arriving at the landing of Salem on June 29, 1629, there were no organized towns when they arrived and no constructed buildings. These early settlers relied on each other and trade with the natives to survive.
From the landing at Salem in 1629, Thomas moved on to the Boston area known as Watertown, then to Charlestown. The formation of the First Church in Charlestown in 1632 lists Thomas Minor as a founder, along with Abraham Palmer (Walter Palmer’s brother) and Grace Palmer.
In 1633 Thomas became a freeman, indicating that he was no longer under any legal constraints. This possibly could explain how he was able to afford the voyage to the new world. On April 23, 1634, Thomas married Grace Palmer and their first child, John, was baptized in 1636.
The young couple then moved to Hingham, MA where Clement, Thomas, Ephraim, and Joseph were born. Manassah, Ann, Marie, Samuel and Hannah would soon follow.
Thomas moved his family to the New London area, and helped establish that town, eventually moving to and helping to establish the area that would be called Stonington, CT. It was there that he settled permanently as a farmer, learned to speak the local native language and translated for missionaries with the Indians.
Thomas and Grace both died in 1690 and are buried in Wequetequock cemetery in Stonington, Connecticut.
The Ten Children
We are descended from six of these. The four listed in gray had no issue.
- John (1635-1719)
- Clement (1639-1700)
- Thomas (1640-1662)
- Ephraim (1642-1724)
- Joseph (1644-1712)
- Manassah (1647-1728)
- Ann (1648-1652)
- Marie (1651-1660)
- Samuel (1652-1682)
- Hannah (1655-1721)