- Born: 19 Oct 1598, Homersfield, Suffolk, England
- Christened: 16 Jun 1605, Stepney, London, Middlesex, England
- Married (1): 15 May 1615-1622, Charlestown, Suffolk, Massachusetts, USA
- Married (2): Abt 1630, Ratcliff, Stepney, Middlesex, England
- Married (3): 14 Jan 1645/46, Farmington, Hartford, Connecticut, USA
- Died: 1 Nov 1662, Hatfield, Hampshire, Massachusetts, USA
- Buried: 31 Jul 1663, Charlestown, Suffolk, Massachusetts, USA
Ancestral File Number: 7MSH-18. User ID: 4844/4852.
ANCESTRY.COM 3 Aug 2000
Database: Massachusetts Applications of Freemen, 1630-91
Date, Name, Residence, Original Source, Comment
19 Oct 1630, Mr. Tho. Graves, Col. Rec., Vol. I. pp. 62, 63.
18 May 1631, Mr. Tho. Graves, C. R., Vol. I. pp. 73, 74.
ANCESTRY.COM 13 Aug 2000
Database: The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-33
ORIGIN: Gravesend, Kent
FIRST RESIDENCE: Charlestown
RETURN TRIPS: Apparently left New England in 1633
OCCUPATION: Engineer. On 10 March 1628/9, Thomas Graves of Gravesend, Kent, gent., signed a contract with the Massachusetts Bay Company, in which he claimed to be skilled in the discovery of mines, in "fortifications of all sorts," in surveying, and in various other similar specialties [MBCR 1:30, 32-33, 390-91; Young's First Planters 53-54, 56-59, 152-54].
FREEMAN: 18 May 1631 (as "Mr. Tho: Graves") [MBCR 1:366].
EDUCATION: Clearly a well-educated man, given the wide range of his skills, but he did not attend Oxford or Cambridge. He was said to have travelled widely [Young's First Planters 153]. He wrote a brief letter back to England about his early assessment of New England [Higginson 109].
OFFICES: Appointed commissioner to act with Endicott and to assist him in military matters, 17 April 1629 [MBCR 1:37j, 361, 387; Young's First Planters 144, 194].
ESTATE: 6 March 1632/3: A committee appointed by the General Court agreed "that all the ground impaled by Newtown [i.e., Cambridge] men, with the neck whereon Mr. Graves his house standeth, shall belong to Newtown ..." [MBCR 1:102]. This land was long known as Graves Neck, and is the area now referred to as Lechmere Point.
MARRIAGE: In his contract, asked to have Company pay costs of transporting his wife, five children, and two servants [MBCR 1:32-33; Young's First Planters 58].
CHILDREN: Five children, as noted immediately above; no certain evidence that wife or children actually came to New England.
COMMENTS: This Thomas Graves, the engineer, is frequently confused with Mr. Thomas Graves, shipmaster, who later settled in Charlestown. This second Thomas Graves made frequent voyages across the Atlantic, bringing passengers from England. He settled in Charlestown about 1639, and returned to England to participate in the Civil War, where he attained the rank of Rear Admiral [TAG 32:14]. Frothingham makes a careful distinction between the two, and cements his case by reproducing the very different signatures of the two men [Frothingham 139-40]. From Francis Higginson's account, it would appear that the second Thomas Graves was master's mate on the Talbot, which brought Higginson and Thomas Graves the engineer to Salem in 1629 [Higginson 119].
In the list of those admitted as inhabitants of Charlestown in 1629 we find "Mr. Graves who had charge of some of the servants of the Company of Patentees with whom he built the great house this year for such of the said Company as are shortly to come over which afterwards became the meeting house" [ChTR 3]. Charlestown agreed with Mr. Graves to "model & lay out the form of the town with streets about the hill which was accordingly done and approved of by the Governor" [ChTR 3]. Thomas Graves does not appear in the list of inhabitants of Charlestown of 9 January 1633/4, nor in the various grants of land in the years immediately following, so he presumably departed from Charlestown (and from New England) sometime during 1633.
Winthrop tells a strange story which may relate to this man: "Mr. Thomas Graves, a member of Dorchester, and a very understanding man, would needs leave the church, and go to Virginia against all counsel, etc. He and his wife and divers of his children died, and his whole family was ruined about a year after. Only one daughter escaped, who, being left a maid with a good estate, married after to that apostate, Nathaniel Eaton, who, having spent all she had, fled away, and left her miserable, 1646" [WJ 2:342]. Winthrop does not date this entry, so we do not know just when this Thomas Graves is supposed to have gone to Virginia. It certainly cannot be the shipmaster of Charlestown, and there is no record of a Mr. Thomas Graves of Dorchester in Massachusetts (unless Thomas Graves the engineer joined the Dorchester church in the earliest years, for which we have no records). The father of the woman who married Nathaniel Eaton was a Thomas Graves who arrived in Virginia in 1608, and is well-documented there right down to his death in late 1635 or early 1636, so he cannot be the engineer [Virginia M. Meyer and John Frederick Dorman, eds., Adventurers of Purse and Person, 3rd ed. (Richmond VA 1987), pp. 325-28].
Winthrop has probably confused two stories. Quite possibly Thomas Graves the engineer departed Charlestown in 1633, and headed south, for Virginia or one of the Caribbean Islands, and soon lost his family and estate; and when Winthrop heard of Eaton's activities in Virginia he recalled this Thomas Graves and combined this story with the father of Nathaniel Eaton's wife, of whom he had no independent information. In one story, then, Winthrop could moralize about two men who had abandoned New England and suffered in consequence.
ANCESTRY.COM 14 Aug 2000
Database: THE PIONEERS OF MASSACHUSETTS
GRAVES, Mr. Thomas, gent., of Gravesend, co. Kent, an expert in mines, minerals, fortifications and surveys, made a written agreement with the Mass. Day Co. in Eng., March 5, 1628, for transportation of himself, his wife, 5 children, a boy and a maid servant; was app. a memb. of Gov. Endecott's Council, and came with him to Salem. Rem. to Charlestown; laid out the town before the coming of Winthrop. Frm. May 18, 1631. One of the com. to lay out the town of Woburn in 1640, and one of the first town officers there.
Database: THE PIONEERS OF MASSACHUSETTS
GRAVES, Mr. Thomas, sea-captain, b. June 6, 1605 at Ratcliffe, near London, res. at Charlestown in 1638. Adm. chh. with wife 7 (8) 1639. Made report concerning stormy weather in the Downs 12 (4) 1644. Had charge of ship Tryall 3 (10) 1645. [A.] Rear-admiral. He m. Katharine Gray; she d. 21 (12) 1681, ae. above 76. Ch. Rebecca adm. chh. 9 (5) 197.
Ancestral File v4.19 (AFN: 7MSH-18) Born 19 Oct 1598 Homersfield Suffolk England, Christened 16 Jun 1605 ?Cambridge Middlesex MA, Married Spouse: Mrs Sarah GRAVES(AFN: 1CHK-MMV) 1615/1622 Hatfield Hampshire MA, Sarah STEADMAN (AFN: 8QRD-V9) 15 May ?1682 (sic) Charlestown Suffolk MA, Katherine GRAY (AFN: 8PPT-GQ) Abt 1630, Moses VENTRUS (AFN: 1MNT-F6B) 14 Jan 1646 Farmington Hartford CT, Died 1 Nov 1662Hadley Hatfield Hampshire MA.
Ancestral File v4.19 (AFN: 1FHM-ZLS) Born 16 ?Jan ?1605 (sic) Limehouse Middlesex England, Christened 16 Jun 1605 Stepney London Middlesex England, Died 1 Nov 1662 Hatfield Hampshire MA, Buried 31 Jul ?1653 (sic)<1663 Charlestown Washington RI.
Ancestral File v4.19 (AFN: 8PPT-FK) Born 6 Jun 1605, Christened 16 Jun 1605 Stepney London Middlesex England, Died 21 Dec 1681 Charlestown Middlesex MA, Buried 8 Aug 1653 Suffolk England.
1. Immigration; 1629, Charlestown, Suffolk, Massachusetts, USA. From Gravesend Kent England,
Apparently left New England in 1633
2. Freeman; 19 Oct 1630, Charlestown, Suffolk, Massachusetts, USA.
Thomas married Sarah STEADMAN, daughter of Isaac STEADMAN, Sr and Elizabeth, on 15 May 1615-1622 in Charlestown, Suffolk, Massachusetts, USA. (Sarah STEADMAN was born in 1590-1597 in , , England and died on 26 Dec 1686 in Hatfield, Hampshire, Massachusetts, USA.)
Thomas also married Katherine GRAY about 1630 in Ratcliff, Stepney, Middlesex, England. (Katherine GRAY was born in 1605 in Ratcliff, Stepney, Middlesex, England, died on 21 Feb 1680/81 in Charlestown, Suffolk, Massachusetts, USA and was buried on 23 Feb 1680/81 in Charlestown, Suffolk, Massachusetts, USA.)
Thomas also married Moses VENTRUS on 14 Jan 1645/46 in Farmington, Hartford, Connecticut, USA. (Moses VENTRUS was born before 1625 in Farmington, Hartford, Connecticut, USA.)