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This Thomas Carter appeared in Watertown about 1637 where he was an elder of the Church, and was then ordained the first minister in Woburn in 1642.
Emigrated on the Planter
"Carter Genealogy," Communicated by Aaron Sargent, Esq., of Somerville, NEHGR, vol 17. pp 51-
1. Thomas Carter was born in 1610, and came from Hertfordshire, England, in 1635, in the Planter(*), having received his degrees at St. John's College in 1629 and 1633; resided in Dedham and Watertown, and was ordained minister of Woburn, Nov. 22, 1642, and died there Sept. 5, 1684. His wife Mary [sic] died March 28, 1687.
(*)NOTE: This was subsequently argued against; the Thomas Carter who came on the Planter (listed as age 25, a servant of George Giddins, see NEHGR, p. 14:304) is supposed to have settled in Salisbury. See Source:Anderson, Robert Charles. Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Vol. II, p. 30.
Will of James Carter of Hinderclay
"Genealogical Gleanings in England" by Henry F. Waters, NEHGR, Vol. 39 (1885), p. 335:
"JAMES CARTER of Hinderclay in the County of Suffolk, yeoman, Saturday, 8 Sept. 1655. "I give unto the children of my brother Thomas Carter who now is in the new England, to every of them Tenn pounds apeece as Conveyniently as the same may bee raysed out of my parsonall Estate." To the two sons of my brother William Stubbs of Harleston, by his late wife who was my sister, and his two daughters by her, &c. To Frances Edwards, my wife's kinswoman.
"Commission was issued 24 October, 1655, to Mary Carter widow of the said James Carter. Aylett, 391.
"[The Thomas Carter mentioned was probably Thomas of Sudbury, who died Aug. 14, 1659. There were at least two others who may have been the man, viz., Rev. Thomas of Woburn, who died Sept. 5, 1684 (REGISTER, xvii. 51); and Thomas of Charlestown, who died about 1652. (Wyman's Charlestown, i. l86.)-EDITOR"
Source:Cutter, William Richard. Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Massachusetts, Vol. 2, p. 1357, makes the somewhat misleading statement of Rev. Carter and his wife Mary that, "Their children are mentioned in the will of James Carter...". This is true only in the collective sense. All we know from the will is that there was a Thomas Carter in New England with children. It may be useful to keep the NEHGR editor's warning in mind.
Robert Charles Anderson seems to accept that this will refers to Rev. Carter, citing Source:Holman, Mary Lovering. Ancestry of Colonel John Harrington Stevens and His Wife, Frances Helen Miller, p. 112. Anderson mentions this while covering Thomas Carter of Salisbury, and Holman was covering Thomas Carter of Charlestown, i.e., neither was actually studying Rev. Carter of Woburn. Holman merely asserts that Rev. Carter was baptised Hinderclay 3 Jul 1608 without providing any evidence to establish that connection.
One might suppose that a minister went to college, so Rev. Carter may well be the Thomas Carter who "graduated at St. John's College, Cambridge, England, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts, in 1629, and Master of Arts, 1633." But according to Source:Stearns, Ezra S. Genealogical and Family History of the State of New Hampshire, or other sources where that information came from, that is the Thomas Carter who came from St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England on the Planter in 1635. In other words, through out, there is a very sloppy chain of evidence, with facts from the various Thomas Carters contaminating facts from other Thomas Carters.
[Note: The NEHGR editor made a typo in reporting a death date of 14 Aug 1659. The Thomas Carter who died 14 Aug 1669 (i.e., not 1659) was Thomas Carter Jr. of Salisbury. Also, Anderson suggests the myth of a Thomas Carter of Sudbury probably originates with Savage, as a confusion with Thomas Carter of Salisbury (based on the children Savage attributes to him).]
To quote a website that summarizes nicely: "The birthplace and the parentage of the Rev. Thomas Carter, first minister of Woburn, Mass., cannot be stated with certainty, but there is no reasonable doubt that he was a native of Suffolk County, England, and there is ground for the belief that he was the son of James Carter, yeoman, of Hinderclay..."
For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Thomas Carter (Puritan).