Saturday, February 1, 2014

Thomas Holcombe and The Great Puritan Migration

Historians often use 1620 as the date for the start of the Great Puritan Migration, also the Great Migration. It was then that 101 passengers sailed the Mayflower to settle at what they called Plymouth Harbor. Nine years later, in 1629, King Charles I, who had a strong distaste of Puritans, dissolved Parliament in order to prevent the Puritans from working to make any political changes. This dissolution of parliament remained in effect for 11 years, a period known as The Personal Rule. In 1640, when King Charles I needed funding to support his military he called on the Short Parliament, which lasted for three weeks. This ended his Personal Rule, as well as the Great Puritan Migration.

Ship The Mary and John
It was likely in either 1630 aboard the ship, The Mary and John, or in 1633 aboard the ship, Thunder, when my 9th great grandfather immigrated to America from England as part of this Great Puritan Migration. Because ship passengers lists were not a requirement of the time, we may never know when and on what ship Thomas Holcombe actually arrived in New England. The Mary and John Clearing House has, through historical evidence, created three possible passenger lists for the Mary and John, which sailed from Plymouth, England on 20 March 1630, and landed in what is now Dorchester, Massachusetts on 30 May 1630. List A includes passengers that were certainly or most likely on board (including his pastor, John Warham, and many members of his church), list B includes probable passengers, and list C includes possible passengers. Thomas Holcombe, age 25, from either Dorset or Somerset is currently listed on list B along with his wife, Elizabeth . It has also been suggested that he sailed on a ship called The Thunder, which was commanded by John Tilley and sailed in 1633. In my opinion, I would lean more toward him arriving via The Mary and John.

No matter how or when Thomas Holcombe first came to America, we do know he was residing in Dorchester, Massachusetts on 4 May 1634 when he took the following Oath of a Freeman:
“I, Thomas Holcombe, being by God's providence an inhabitant and freeman within the jurisdiction of this common weale, do freely acknowledge myself to be subject to the government thereof, and therefore do hereby swear by the great and dreadful name of the ever-living God that I will be true and faithful to the same, and will accordingly yield assistance and support thereunto, with my person and estate, as in equity I am bound, and will also truly endeavor to maintain and preserve all the priviledges and liberties thereunto, submitting myself to the wholesome laws made and established by the same. And further, that I will not plot nor practise any evil against it, nor consent to any that shall be so done, but will timely discover and reveal the same to lawful authority now here established for the speedy preventing thereof. Moreover, I do solemnly bind myself in the sight of God that when I shall be called to give my voice touching any such matter of this State, wherein Freemen are to deal, I will give my vote and suffrage as I shall in my own conscience judge best to produce and tend to the public weale of the body, without respect of persons or respect of any man.”
It is also known that Thomas Holcombe owned land in Dorchester, Massachusetts as he is recorded in the Report of Commissioners of Boston as selling his “house and lands to Richard Joanes” on 12 Aug 1635.  Thomas Holcombe moved to Windsor, Connecticut.

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