Person:Thomas Carter (3)

Rev. Thomas Carter, (of Woburn, MA)
  • HRev. Thomas Carter, (of Woburn, MA)1608 - 1684
  • WMary Parkhurst1614 - 1687
m. Bef 1640
  1. Rev. Samuel Carter1640 - Bef 1693
  2. Judith CarterBef 1642 - Bef 1678
  3. Theophilus Carter1645 - 1649/50
  4. Mary Carter1648 - 1688
  5. Abigail Carter1649/50 - 1676
  6. Deborah Carter1651 - 1667
  7. Timothy Carter1653 - 1727
  8. Thomas Carter1655 - Aft 1722
Facts and Events
Name Rev. Thomas Carter, (of Woburn, MA)
Gender Male
Christening[1] 3 Jul 1608 Hinderclay, Suffolk, England
Marriage Bef 1640 Massachusetts, United StatesBased on birth of eldest known child
to Mary Parkhurst
Death[2][5] 5 Sep 1684 Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States
Reference Number? Q7788262?
See Carter in Massachusetts for an overview and distinction of four Thomas Carters of Massachusetts during this time period.

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.[3]



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..."

More Reading

For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Thomas Carter (Puritan).

  1. Holman, Mary Lovering; Winifred Lovering Holman; and Helen Pendleton Winston Pillsbury. Ancestry of Colonel John Harrington Stevens and his wife, Frances Helen Miller: Compiled for Helen Pendleton (Winston) Pillsbury. (Concord, New Hampshire: Rumford Press, 1948), p. 112.

    The Rev. Thomas Carter was baptised 3 July 1608, Hinderclay, Suffolk, came to New England in 1637, was first a minister of Dedham and Watertown and settled in Woburn in 1642.

  2. Johnson, Edward F. Woburn Records of Births, Deaths, and Marriages . (Woburn, Massachusetts: Andrews, Cutler & Co., 1890-1919), vol. 2, p. 30.

    CARTER, Mr. Thomas, s. of ---, [died] Sept. 5, 1684.

  3. Bond, Henry, M.D. Family Memorials. Genealogies of the Families and Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts, Including Waltham and Weston (1855): To Which Is Appended the Early History of the Town. With Illustrations, Maps and Notes. (Boston, Mass.: Little, Brown, and Company, 1855), p. 1048.

    Between 1637 and 1647, Mr. Thomas Carter and Mr. Henry Greene settled in Watertown, and received grants of Land. In the list of possessions, they are both styled Elders. He was ordained the first minister of Woburn, Nov. 22, 1642.

  4.   Worthington, Erastus. The history of Dedham : from the beginning of its settlement in September, 1635 to May, 1827. (Boston: Dutton and Wentworth, printers, 1827), p. 11.

    "When the spring opened [1638], several of the settlers being members of the Watertown church, the Pastor of that church was desired to dismiss a portion of them, together with Mr. Thomas Carter ... so the foundation might be laid of a 'christian society among us.' This request was not complied with, - the Pastor of Watertown objecting ... July 1641, I find a record stating that divers brethren and sisters of the Watertown church residing among us 'were received, Mr. Phillips, their Pastor, and Mr. Carter, and Mr. How, elders, testifying in their favor.' Mr. Cater afterwards became minister of Woburn. What office was designed for him here, at that time, had he chosen to come, does not appear."

  5. Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States. Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871. (American Ancestors, 2014), Case 4044: Thomas Carter 1684.

    6 Sep 1684: Noncupative will given by testamony of Jabez Fox confirms deeds of gift to his three sons including reservations to his wife, mentions Eldest sonn Samuel, his three sons & his daughter Mary. Appended is the memorial of Mary Carter ye Relict & ye Three sonns of Mr Thomas Carter that the legacy mentions referred to his 3 Grandchildren Jn'o Smith, Thomas & Deborah Fyfield. Signed by Mary Carter, Thomas Carter, Samuel Carter, and Timothy Carter.
    29 [Sep?] 1684: "Inventory of the Estate of the Reverend Mr Thomas Carter Late ye Pastour of the Church of Christ at Woburne Deceased the 5th of Sep't 1684".

  6.   I removed the birthdate of 6 Mar 1609/1610 in Hinderclay, Suffolk, England. Although it is mentioned in various sources, such as Source:Mannen, Bertha Klicka. Leaves from the Prescott Family Tree, p. 93, it appears to be some sort of amalgamation of the Hinderclay baptism in 1608 with the Planter age giving birth about 1610 and doesn't seem to have any credibility.