Sunday, February 12, 2012

Baptized at Westminster Abbey – Paul Thorndike

B. about 1642 in (probably) Salem, Massachusetts
M. 28 Apr 1668 in Beverly, Massachusetts
Wife: Mary Patch
D. before 2 Jan 1698 in Beverly, Massachusetts

Paul Thorndike had the unusual distinction of being born in Massachusetts, living for a time among family in England, then deciding to go back to the colonies. He was born to John Thorndike and Elizabeth Stratton in about 1642, probably in Salem, Massachusetts. He was the middle child amongst six sisters. Paul's parents had migrated to America from England during the 1630s. It is believed that his mother died when he was in his teens.

When Paul was about 20, he appears to have traveled to England. Paul's uncle, Herbert Thorndike, was the Canon of Westminster Abbey and a noted theologian. Paul stayed with his uncle on the grounds of Westminster at least for awhile. He was said to have been baptized into the Church of England at the Abbey on April 18, 1663, which his uncle likely influenced him to do.

Paul's father and youngest sisters also traveled to London in 1668; his father died shortly after arriving and was buried in Westminster Abbey. Uncle Herbert died four years later and mentioned Paul's sisters in his will, leaving them an inheritance as long as they didn't return to America. But Paul wasn't in Herbert's will, because he had returned to America before his father and sisters made the trip over. The tone Herbert took with the sisters suggested that he objected to the religious views of the Puritans. Paul must have made a decision to choose a Puritan life over the Church of England.

On April 28, 1668, Paul married Mary Patch in Beverly, Massachusetts. Between 1669 and 1684, they had seven children. Paul was a selectman at the first town meeting of Beverly, Massachusetts when it broke away from Salem to become its own town in 1668. He was a surveyor of highways in 1674. In 1694, he was chairman of the committee to settle the boundary between Beverly and the town of Manchester. Paul was commissioned as "Lieutenant of the Foot Company” under Captain William Dixey in 1677, and became a captain himself in 1689.

As the only son of his father, Paul inherited a large amount of land, which he increased during his life. He died in Beverly before January 2, 1698, when his estate was valued at over £450. There was a promontory along the Beverly shore named after him — it was known as “Paul’s Head." The place was renamed "Hospital Point" during the 19th century.

Descendants of Paul Thorndike include John Kerry.

1. Mary Thorndike – B. 8 Jan 1669, Beverly, Massachusetts; D. 31 Dec 1732, Beverly, Massachusetts; M. Robert Morgan (1670-1762)

2. Elizabeth Thorndike – B. 14 Oct 1670; D. 12 Jun 1727; M. Isaac Woodbury (~1636-1694)

3. Hannah Thorndike – B. 14 May 1673

4. John Thorndike – B. 22 Jan 1675, Beverly, Massachusetts; D. 23 Mar 1760, Beverly, Massachusetts; M. (1) Joanna Larkin (1673-1716), 20 Apr 1696, Beverly, Massachusetts; (2) Christiana West, 30 Mar 1718, Beverly, Massachusetts; (3) Abigail Conant, Jun 1732

5. Paul Thorndike – B. 17 Apr 1677, Beverly, Massachusetts; D. 14 Feb 1742, Beverly, Massachusetts; M. Mary Batchelder, 11 Dec 1701

6. Martha Thorndike – B. about 1682; D. 2 Mar 1782

7. Herbert Thorndike – B. 1684; D. 6 Jan 1762

Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-33, Robert Charles Anderson, 1995
Biographical sketches of representative citizens of the state of Maine, 1903
Historic homes and places and genealogical and personal memoirs relating to the families of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Volume 2, William Richard Cutter, 1908
Research of D.G. Weymouth [former website]
GeneaStar: Famous Family Tree and Genealogy [website]


  1. According to the information that I have; "Mary (Patch) married (MRIN:771) Paul THORNDIKE Captain-1193, son of John THORNDIKE-1854 and Elizabeth STRATTON-1855 (MRIN:776), on 28 Apr 1668 in Beverly, Essex, MA. Paul was born in 1643 in Ipswich, Essex, MA. He was christened on 18 Apr 1662 in Westminster, Middlesex, Londodn, England. He died on 28 Apr 1698 in Beverly, Essex, MA."

  2. Thank you for your comment. In doing my blog, I've been trying to evaluate what dates are correct for an event in a person's life based on what I see in the various books and records online. If there is inconsistency amongst several sources, I either have to decide which one seems correct, or state that the exact date isn't known. For Paul Thorndike, there were several places where his birth date wasn't an exact date, so I went with "about 1642." I gave Salem as the place, but I'm going to add the word "probably" to the town name. For his death date, I wrote "January 2, 1698," but now I see that this was the date his will was administered, so I'm changing it to "before 2 Jan 1698." The date of "28 Apr 1698" seems like a typo that got cloned in many places, since April 28th was the date he was married in 1668. Thanks again for your comment. I really do appreciate it.

  3. How are you actually related to him? He is my 8th great grandfather.The Thorndike name carried as far as my mother.

  4. Paul Thorndike is my 9G grandfather. He must have thousands of descendants!