bapt:04-25-1589     Yardley, ENG
marr:08-29-1610     Yardley, ENG
died:09-05-1659     Wethersfield, CT
marr:08-29-1610     Yardley, ENG
died:01-    -1654/55Wethersfield, CT


THOMAS GILBERT was born in Yardley parish, Worcester County, England, about eight miles NW of Birmingham, England. He married ELIZABETH BENNETT in Yardley, and the records of the baptisms of all of their children (except Sarah) are there between 1612 and 1629.

THOMAS lived first in Mt. Wollastin (Braintree, MA), then Windsor, Hartford and Wethersfield, Hartford, CT, where he died on Sep. 5, 1659.

ELIZABETH BENNETT was born in England and died in Hartford, CT, in January, 1654/55. Some sources state that she was the fifth person to be convicted of witchcraft in Connecticut, and was probably hanged. More recent studies shed doubt on that theory, and instead suspect that woman (known as Lydia) to be the second wife of Thomas, Jr.

The earliest mention of THOMAS GILBERT in any New England record is found in Boston Town Records (vol. 2, page 49 of the printed records). This is a record of grants of land to 32 men at Mt. Wollaston, formerly in the town of Braintree, but now within the limits of Quincy, Massachusetts. The record in part is as follows:

The same 24th day of twelfth month February 1639/40 [note: at that time, March was still the first month of the year]... and at the same meeting there was granted to Thomas Place of Mount Wollystone for five heads 20 acres there upon the covenant of 3s per acre.... The like to THOMAS GILBERT of the same for 7 heads 28 acres there upon the same covenant of 3 shillings per acre.

THOMAS GILBERT's name stands eighth in the list of grantees, a position presumably of no significance. The expression "seven heads" means that his family consisted of the husband, wife, and six sons, the female children not being considered in the grant. He had also a servant or employee named Joel Jenkins. It thus appears that THOMAS GILBERT with his large family and a servant was engaged in farming upon a grant of new land within the limits of the present town of Quincy from 1639 to 1646 (date of a petition against him; see next paragraph) or a little later. In 1668 the heirs of Thomas Gatlive of Braintree sold to Lieut. John Holbrook all their rights to the mill, mill-ponds, water and water courses, commonage, feedings, messuages, tenements or dwelling houses, together with 40 acres of upland lying near the said mill within a common fence, bounded with the said mill brook and pond toward the north and easterly with the land of Goodman Gilbert. [Suffolk County Deeds , vol. 5, p. 526.] Lands of GREGORY BELCHER are mentioned in this deed. As the site of the mill is known, the location of Gilbert's land can be approximated.

The site of the mill is marked at "Fort Square" (Granite and Pleasant Streets) in Quincy, Massachusetts and was probably directly north of Gilbert's land. There is a small "Gilbert Street" nearby. See the blueprint of land grants at Old Braintree, 1640–45, drawn in 1940 by Waldo C. Sprague of the Quincy Historical Society.

A petition of 14 of the men of Braintree, dated May, 1646, was addressed to the General Court "for the prswading or forcing Thomas Gilbert either to forbeare feeding yt iland or upland with certaine medowes of their environs, or else to lett it on reasonable termes to the petitioners." The Court determined that an order of Court made in 1643 applied to this case. [See Records of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, vol. 2, p. 49 and vol. 3, p. 67.]

Around 1651 three of THOMAS's sons, Jonathan, John and Josiah, moved from Braintree to Wethersfield (now Glastonbury), Connecticut, and leased a farm from Lt. John Hollister of Nayaug. At an unknown time THOMAS [Sr.] (and presumably his wife) also moved to Wethersfield and assumed the operation of the farm. Thomas was clearly in Wethersfield by August 17, 1658. On that date a petition signed by him and others in support of Lt. Hollister was presented to the Governor and Magistrates of the Connecticut Colony.

Governor John Winthrop, Jr., who for many years was governor of Connecticut, son of the Governor John Winthrop who was founder of Massachusetts, practiced medicine as well as politics. His medical journal has been preserved. In it is an entry indicating that Winthrop attended or prescribed for THOMAS GILBERT in his illness in 1659 and giving his age as 77 years (while his age reckoned from the Yardley baptismal records would be 70).

The inventory of the estate of THOMAS GILBERT, accepted by the court on October 4, 1659, is on file at the State Library, Hartford. There is a copy of it, made in 1663, in volume two of the records of the Particular Court and Probate, page 127, probate side. The other documents concerning this estate are also copied in this volume, the original papers having perished.

The estate of THOMAS [Sr.] consists of 78 entries with a total value of £189.7s.6d. It included: 16 cattle, 5 oxen, 3 horses, 11 pigs, bees; amounts of wheat, corn, oats, hemp, cheese; and a large assortment of tools and farm implements. Household effects were a bed, three pillows, bedding, a chest with "waring clothes wolen and lin'g"; a "forme" [table?], two stools, one chair, wooden ware, tubs, spoons, and trenchers [flat boards that served as plates], earthenware, tinware, pewterware, brassware. It also included a bible; it is possible that THOMAS or his wife could read. Charges against the estate include:

Payd of this to Mr. Hollister for rent due him
      from the estate for 59 [1659]
To charges of funeralls for him and wife 9:17:06
To what payd Rich Treat for a debt due 5:06:10
To a debt payd JONATHAN GILBERT 29:03:10
To severall other debts due from ye estate pd 54:19:05
To payd Obadiah & others for worke about the
      preserving of things & Thrashing, etc.
To what payd John Bernard: Dicks & Hayward 2:05:00
To Josiah Gilbert as a Legacy 7:00:00
To Obadiah Gilbert as a Legacy 7:00:00
To what R Hollister is to have left on the farme 20:00:00
Leaving a residue of 19:08:07

The sume of Nineteen pounds and eight shillings & seven pence is to be divided To JONATHAN, Thomas, Ezekiel and John Gilbert, three pounds seventeen shillings and Ten pence apiece & to Sarah Jenkins Three pounds seventeen shillings & three pence: to by payd when they shall com & demand it of the sayd JONATHAN GILBERT and John Gilbert. ...

All seven of THOMAS's adult children are mentioned in the probate of his estate. It would be interesting to know why only Josiah and Obadiah were left legacies of £7.


  born marr died
all children born in Yardley, Worcestershire, England
  wife Mary James
  wife Lydia _______
  wife Catherine Chapin
  husband Joel Jenkins
  wife Mary White
  wife Amy Lord
Ezekiel 02-17-1621/22   aft -1664     
child     11-03-1624     
  wife Elizabeth Belcher
  wife Mary Harris
  wife Elizabeth Burr