Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Would-Be Merchant – Thomas Newberry

B. about 1594 in Devon, England
M. before 1619 in England
Wife: Jane (or Joan) Dabinott *
D. about 1636 in Dorchester, Massachusetts
Emigrated: 1634 on the ship Recovery**

Thomas Newberry migrated to America with money, and seemed to be planning to set himself up as a merchant, but died before he could carry this out.

Thomas was born in Devon, England in about 1594 and was baptized on November 10th of that year in Yarcombe. His parents were Richard Newberry and Grace Matthews, and he was said to be descended from royalty. Thomas was one of nine children. By about 1619, he married Jane (or Joan) Dabinott and bewteen 1620 and 1640, they had seven children.*

There is a record of Thomas in England on March 31, 1634 saying that he was of Marshwood Vale (a section of Dorset) and was preparing to leave for New England on the ship Recovery.** On September 3rd of that year, he was admitted to the church in Dorchester, Massachusetts as well as made a freeman. In 1635, he was a representative to the General Court. Thomas held some status as a man of wealth. He was referred to with as "Mr." in some places, and with the suffix "gent." on other records. 

In 1635, Thomas was preparing to join the expedition to found the settlement of Windsor, Connecticut, but he seems to have become ill and didn't go. He received a land grant on December 17, 1635 and the inventory for his will was taken January 28, 1636, so he died in Dorchester between those dates. His estate was valued at over £1,520, including £300 of land in England. Amongst his personal items were "quantities of cloth and other dry goods far beyond those needed for a single household," suggesting that he was likely setting himself up to be a merchant. He was about 41 years old when he died. The family went on to settle in Connecticut and Thomas' widow married Reverend John Warham.

Famous descendants of Thomas Newberry include Gerald Ford, Rutherford B. Hayes, First Lady Ellen Wilson, Nancy Reagan, Bess Truman, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Bob Barker.

1. Joseph Newberry – B. about 1620, Dorset, England; D. about 1686

2. Sarah Newberry – B. about 1622, Dorset, England; D. 16 Jul 1684; M. Daniel Clark (1610-1680), 18 Nov 1641

3. Benjamin Newberry – B. about 1624, Marshwood Vale, England; D. 11 Sep 1689, Windsor, Connecticut; M. Mary Allyn (1628-1689), 11 Jun 1646, Windsor, Connecticut

4. Mary Newberry – B. about 1626, Dorset, England; D. 29 Aug 1688; M. Daniel Clark (~1622-1710), 13 Jun 1644

5. John Newberry – B. about 1629, Dorset, England; D. about Dec 1647

6. Rebecca Newberry – B. about 1632, Dorset, England; D. 21 Nov 1688; M. John Russell (~1627-1692)

7. Hannah Newberry – M. Thomas Hanford

*Some sources say Thomas' wife died in 1629 and he married a woman named Jane Dabinott, a cousin of his first wife, by whom he had his youngest two children.
**Some say the Newberrys migrated on the Mary and John
in 1630. If so, they must have returned to England by 1634.

The Newberry Family of Windsor, Connecticut, Frank Farnsworth Starr, 1898
Encyclopedia of Connecticut biography, American Historical Society, 1917
Genealogical Notes on the Founding of New England, Ernest Flagg, 1926
GeneaStar: Famous Family Tree and Genealogy [website]

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