Person:William Thomson (34)

Rev. William Thomson
b.Est 1633
d.Aft 1665
m. 19 Nov 1655
Facts and Events
Name[1][2] Rev. William Thomson
Gender Male
Birth[1] Est 1633 Estimate based on Harvard graduation and date of marriage.
Degree[1] 1654 Harvard College
Residence[1] 1655 New London, New London, Connecticut, United States
Marriage 19 Nov 1655 Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United Statesto Katharine Treat
Residence[1] 1664 Surry, Virginia, United States
Death[1] Aft 1665

The Career of Rev. William Thomson

"Class of 1653. … William Thomson, B. A., if, as seems probable, a son of the Reverend William and Abigail Tompson, of Braintree, now Quincy, Massachusetts, was born in England, probably in Lancashire, and came with the family to Boston in 1637. …

From 1654 to 1656 he preached at Springfield, Massachusetts, where he received a call to settle, which he declined.

December 20, 1656, according to a manuscript diary of Thomas Minor, mentioned by Miss Caulkins and J. Hammond Trumbull, 'Mr. Tomson came to Misticke.' "The ' Mystick and Pawcatuck men,'" writes Trumbull, 'had as yet no distinct town organization, and Mr. Minor, with others of them, went to meeting in New London when the weather permitted. Sunday, March 15, 1656-7, Mr. M. notes: 'The Sacrament was administered. Mr. Tomson and his wife came.

'In the disputes about' colonial 'jurisdiction, Mr. Tompson sided with the Massachusetts party, at the head of which was Capt. George Denison of Mystick,' and in October, 1657, he appears as one of the signers of a memorial from the 'Inhabitants of Mistick and Paaquatuck' to the Massachusetts government, complaining of aggressions by Connecticut.

September 19, 1657, the Commissioners of the United Colonies, acting for the Society for the Propagation of the Colonies, acting for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel In New England, mention Thomson and others 'alreddy entered to fitt themselues by Improueing Interpretors to gitt Skill in the Indian Language,' and to be encouraged 'in theire labours and Indeauors to Instruct the Indians therabouts resldeing especially Robin and his companie.'

Trumbull says: 'Mr. Thomson preached occasionally to the planters as well as to the Indians; 1659, 'June 12, Sunday, Mr. Tomson taught at Mr. Burrows' [house, near Mystick]. After this he probably removed to New London where he bought a house.'

According to the Commissioners' returns to the Corporation in England, 7 September, 1659, ten pounds had been paid 'To Mr. Willam Tompson whoe studdieth the Indian Language,' that he may, as subsequently added, 'teach and Instruct the Pequotts and other Indians elswher as hee may haue oppertunitie.'

In 1660 he received another ten pounds, and in 1662 twenty pounds, 'for teaching the Indians about New London and the Pequott Countrey,' — also, in 1661, twenty pounds for teaching Indians in the Colony of Plymouth; the payment in each instance, perhaps, being for the preceding year.

September 18, 1663, the Commissioners say he 'hath desisted the worke and hath his sallary abated'; whereupon Robert Boyle, the Governor of the Corporation, remarks: 'Wee are troubled att Mr Tompsons neglect in this busines which Gaue you good occation to abate his sallery.' Miss Caulkins says: 'After 1661 the stipend was withheld, with the remark, that he had 'neglected the business.

March 14, 1 660-1, he was made freeman of Connecticut.

According to Miss Caulkins, 'Thomson left New London in feeble health in 1663, and in September, 1664, was in Surry county, Virginia.' But Savage states, that, 'in 1664, he gave his wife all his property by deed,' being 'near death and about to make a voyage to Virginia.' It appears, moreover, that, 11 October, 1664, he made a tender of property to the Court of Magistrates at Hartford for the liquidation of a debt, and the records of the General Assembly at Hartford, 13 October, 1664, say: 'Whereas, Mr. Wm. Thomson, of New London, is remoueing himselfe from thence to Virginia, and is indebted by Bills the sume of Twenty nine pounds, seven shillings and fower pence, which Bill is in the hands of John Packer, This Court orders the Constable of New London to secure so much of the estate of Mr. Thomson in his hands, as it shall be apprized by indifferent men, and the sayd Constable is to keep it in his hands, till he hath order from this Court or the Court of Magistrates, to dispose of it to the right owner which is according to Mr. Thomson's tender to the Court of Magistrats.'

I find nothing later respecting him, except the notice of a letter which he wrote at Pixford Bay, Virginia, 29 June, 1665, authorizing his 'Loving brother, Mr James Treat of Wethersfield,' to make sale of property in New London. His illness, which perhaps incapacitated him for laboring actively among the Indians, and may also have been the occasion of his indebtedness, probably terminated fatally soon afterwards; a probability strengthened by a document in the Suffolk County Probate Office, in Boston, dated 2 May, 1667, containing 'Articles of agreement betwixt Mrs Anna thomson, widdow of Mr William Thomson of Brantrey and Mr Thomsons Children concerning the Estate,' etc., in which Samuel appears as the oldest son, and no William is mentioned.

It is remarkable that there is no star, denoting his death, either in Mather's Magnalia, or in the Catalogue of Harvard Graduates issued in 1700.

November 19, 1655, while Thomson was preaching at Springfield, he was married, at Boston, to Katherine, daughter of Richard Treat, of Wethersfield, Connecticut. As Treat's will, dated 13 February, 1668-9, makes no mention of this daughter, unless perhaps by another name, she may then have been dead."[2]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Richard Treat, in Jacobus, Donald Lines, and Edgar Francis Waterman. Hale, House and Related Families, Mainly of the Connecticut River Valley. (Hartford: The Connecticut Historical Society, 1952)

    "Rev. William Thomson, of unascertained parentage, a graduate of Harvard (1653). They settled in New London, and he was missionary to the Pequot Indians. He went south for his health, and in 1664 was in Surry County, Va.; perhaps d. in or shortly after 1665."

  2. 2.0 2.1 Sibley, John Langdon. Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Cambridge, Mass.: C.W. Sever, 1873- 1885)