Thomas Dow

Thomas DOW – (b) – (ca. 1615 – 1654) was Alex’s 9th Great Grandfather; one of 1,024 in this generation of the Miller line.

Thomas Dow - Coat of Arms

The coat of arms indicates that Thomas was an original immigrant from England. as Robert Percy Dow puts it in his Book of Dow: “No Dow in America has any right whatever to any arms and the whole idea is repugnant to our sturdy original yeomanry.  We are yeomen, neither noble or peasants, never Saxon serfs.  To say, as was said in a genealogical weekly newspaper, that the Dow arms are: Sable a fesse dancette crimine between three doves argent, is a lie, i.e., deliberately intended to deceive.  A number of families of Dow have received arms from the College of Heraldry, and the basis of all is the dove crest, the tree doves generally in a sable star, and the ribbon, generally with the word “patiens.”  A Scotch creest, figured in Fairbanks, is a pegasus rampant.  Those who have received Dow arms are of three classes, – have paid cash, had some mayoralty or petty preferment, or been polite to the King’s mistress.  There was no grant of arms to a Norfolk Dow, although some of them did enter the gentry by marriage to some heiress.”

Thomas Dow’s origins are not known.  The information that he was born  in 1613 at Runham, Yarmouth, Norfolk, England and was the son of  Henry Dow and Elizabeth March is wishful thinking based on a possible connection with a Henry Dow that emigrated in 1637 and lived near Newberry.  That Henry Dow had a brother Thomas, but that Thomas was 14 years too old and died in Runham.

The Book of Dow, Genealogical Memoirs of the Descendants of Henry Dow 1637, Thomas Dow 1639 and Others of the Name, Immigrants to America During Colonial the Bible of Dow researchers and Charles Percy Dow's alpha system for recording Dows is important to know

Thomas Dow first appears in  a list of the original grantees of Newbury, Mass in 1639 with his wife, Phebe LATLY, and at least one child.   The name Latly comes from Thomas’ will.  Most genealogies say Latly was her surname, but I think it is much more likely that it was  Phebe lately wife of Thomas.    Thomas died 31 May 1654 in Haverhill Mass.

Phebe Latly may have been born 1612, in Norfolk,  England.   After Thomas died, she married John Eaton on 20 Nov 1661 in Haverhill Mass. Phebe died on 3 Nov 1672 in  Saslisbury, Essex, Mass.

John Eaton  was born 1595 Hatton, Warwickshire,  England   His parents were Richard Eaton and Jane Hussey or William Eaton (1570–1600) and Elizabeth Sheapheard (1569–1636).  He married 26 Dec 1621 Age: 26 to Ann Crossman in Stratford, Warwickshire, England; 1640 Age: 45 to Mary Paine in Newport, Rhode Island; 26 Nov 1653 Age: 58 to Dorcas Greene in Reading, Middlesex, Mass; 20 Nov 1661 Age: 66 to Phebe Dow in Haverhill, Essex, Mass.   John died 29 Oct 1668.

John was witness to Thomas’ will. He was a cooper of Salisbury, who came to Haverhill 1646, was selectman 1648, thrice married, with 7 children, 6 surviving to become step children of Phebe Dow. They returned to Salisbury, where he died 29 Oct 1668  Salisbury, Essex, Mass, she 3 Nov  1672.

Children of Thomas and Phebe:

Name Born Married Departed
John Dow after 1633, not improbably 1638 Mary Page
23 OCT 1665 Haverhill
26 NOV 1672 Haverhill
Thomas Dow ca. 1640
Newbury, Mass
Dorcas Kimball 17 DEC 1668 21 JUN 1676 Haverhill
Stephen DOW I 29 Mar 1642 in Newbury Ann STORY
16 Sep 1663
3 Jul 1717
Mary Dow 16 APR 1644 Newbury, Mass Gilbert Wilford
1685 Bradford, Mass.
Martha Dow 1 JUN 1648 Newbury Joseph Heath
(Son of Bartholomew HEATH)
27 JUN 1672 Haverhill
Joseph Page
2 Dec 1673
Joseph Parker
19 Mar 1688
1707 – Haverhill, Essex, Mass

Thomas was poorer than most of his neighors for his whole estate was appraised at less than £96.  He lived 14 years in Newbury, during which time his children did not have sufficient nourishment.

1639 –  Thomas Dow first appears in  a list of the original grantees of Newbury, Mass.  There is a vague tradition that Thomas Dow came in 1637, but this seems error arising from the fact that Henry Dow came in 1637.  His house was in what is now called Newburyport, on the southerly side of Greenleaf’s Lane (now State Street) leading to Watt’s Cellar   Click to See Google Maps State Street Today

Looking Down State Street Newburyport in the future from a 1910 perspective

1639 –  Thomas was in Newbury  with wife Phebe and at least one child. His house was in what is now called Newburyport, on the southerly side of Greenleaf’s Lane (now State St) leading to Watt’s Cellar.

Newbury Plantation was settled and incorporated in 1635. The Rev. Thomas Parker and cousin Rev. James Noyes along with his brother Nicholas Noyes led a group of approximately 100 pioneers from Wiltshire, England. They sailed from the River Thames aboard the ship Mary and John, first landing in Agawam (now Ipswich) in 1634. They arrived the next spring at the Quascacunquen River, now the Parker River.  As of the  2000 census the population was 6,717.

22 Jun 1642 – Admitted as a freeman by the General Court by reason of the original grant of his Newbury homestead

After 1648 -Lived at Haverhill, Essex, MA. The town was founded in 1640 by settlers from Newbury, and was originally known as Pentucket, which is the native American word for “place of the winding river.” The town was renamed for the city of Haverhill, England, where many of the original settlers’ families were from.  As of the  2000 censusthe population was 58,969.

10 Nov 1653 – Thomas Dow bought a house and houselot of 9 acres in Haverhill.

Richard Ormsby of Haverhill to Thomas Dow of Newbury, house and house lot cont 4 a more or less, with all appurtenances and 5 accommodations for two and fifty pounds, tenn shilling to be paid as appears by a bill of sale which the aforesaid Thomas Dow has given me under his hand.

The Dow family lived in the North Parish area of Haverhill, now called Plaistow. they may have been buried in the North Parish cemetery that lies partly in Haverhill and partly in Plaistow…sometimes called State Line Cemetery.

29 May 1654 – He left a will Widow Phebe & 5 ch. mentioned. He was poorer than most of his neighbors, for his whole estate was appraised at less than 96 pounds. He lived 14 years in Newbury, during which time  his children had not sufficient nourishment.

31 May 1654 – Thomas Dow died at age 39 yrs. and his son, John Dow, inherited the family homestead.

29 May 1660- Thomas’ Newbury house was conveyed to John Bartlett (book 3, pg 177, Ipswich Series).  Thomas was dead by this time so that the date must be of a belated recording

Thomas’ will is nuncupative, made two days before his death:

“The last will and testament of Thomas Dowe as it was delevered or expressed by him on the 29th day of May being in ye yeare 1654. I, Thomas Dow, although weake in body yet of perfect memory i doe desire to submit my will, to God’s will and to dispose of my estate to my wife and children as followeth, leaving my wife to be the sole executor at present of all my vesable and personall estate. First I do give unto my loving wiffe Pheby my tow oxen that are now hers and mine and three young beastes beinge now one yeaxe and upwards ould and on cow and two swine and all my houseold goods to be at her disposinge for ever. Also my will is that my oldest son John Dowe at the age of twenty and one yeare ould shall ingioy as his inheritance al the land and housinge that I have bought in Haverhill and to pay in to his other brothers thomas and Stephen and to his 2 sisters mary and martha as I shall apoynt the house and land being thought to be worth three score pounds; my second son Thomas shal reseave at his age of 21 ten pounds or 5 pounds at his age and 5 pounds when he is 22 yeares and for my son Steven he shall reseave at his age of 21: or 5 pounds at 21 and 5 pounds at 22; as to my will is that John my son shal pay to his sister Mary and. his, sister Martha at theyre age of 21 ten pounds or 5 pounds apeace at 21 and 5 pounds apece at ther age of 22; as there brothers reseave theres.

Also I Pheby latly wife to Thomas Dow doe joyne my consent to this will of my husband in each perticular and for my son John Dow I doe fully and freely resigne up al my wright in the house and land when my son shall come to the age of 21 yeares ould. wittness my hand Prouided he shall pay to his brothers and sisters as his fathers will is. in witness hearof
The marke of John Eaton (P) Phebya (F) Dowe Theo: Shatswell This will was testified upon oath by ye witnesses in ye court held at Salisbury the (8) th off ye (2d) Mo: 1656.

John Eaton’s mark resembles a P and that of Phehe an F, both showing unfamiliarity with the exact shape of the letters. Nevertheless, an effort was made to claim that this mark indicated her name was Fenn. The actual writing was done by Shatswell, of whom it may be said that he frequently spells a word twice the same way. It is quite clear that the first two paragraphs were composed by him and written down in advance as sure to meet the requirements. One can imagine the unction with which he put in the word vesable; it had a good sound, looked erudite, almost a legal term, and would add dignity to any will. The rest, which does not parse, was surely put down word by word as spoken laboredly by the dying Thomas. The last paragraph may have been dictated by Thomas, his wife assenting by a nod from time to time but the final “prouided” is surely her own.

Hers was not a vast dowry, the cattle and household goods worth less than £10.  She had a home with her son John for seven years and that John made all the payments required in the will. After that, she married John Eaton, witness to the will. He was a cooper of Salisbury, who came to Haverhill 1646, was selectman 1648, thrice married, with 7 children, 6 surviving to become step children of Phebe Dow. They returned to Salisbury, where he died 29 Oct 1668 or 1 Nov 1682 – Salisbury, Essex, Mass, she 3 Nov  1672.

Research into Thomas’s Origins
The antecedents of Henry Dow, immigrant of 1637, being known, the searchers began by assuming that the two were brothers or near relatives. This gave them a pleasant outing in Norfolk Co with salary and expenses paid. They even failed to hit upon the item in Runham parish register showing that Henry Dow had a brother Thomas 14 years too old to fit the Newbury and that this Thomas had a family and died on his inherited property in Runham. Moreover, they ignored the obvious fact that, while Henry Dow had more than average education, Thomas Dow could not read; that for five years Henry and Thomas lived in adjoining towns and for ten years thereafter they were but 15 miles apart, without the slightest evidence that one knew of the existence of the other.

The investigators next turned to Wiltshire, because one Francis Dow had come from there and returned there; but he had an only child, Peter. This made no difference; they searched for some kinsman Thomas, disregarding as before that our Thomas could not read and Francis was of the landed gentry and mayor of a city. To Stratford they next went, because a Thomas Dow of Stratford had a wife Phoebe. They did not hurry to weigh the patent evidence. Simon Fenn, clothier of Dedham, Essex, bequeathed money Jan 16, 1609, to his dau Phoebe, wife of Thomas Dowe of Stratford. Jan 10, 1615, Phoebe got another legacy from a kinswoman, being then called Phoebe Dow, wid. This Thomas Dow is about 40 years too old to fit and some curious searcher has since located all his family in Stratford. The investigators were then compelled to turn to a general search, published probate records being the most accessible field. They prepared lists of wills, over 200 of them, from every county in England, of Dow, Doue, Dove or any other similar spelling. Results wholly negative. They scanned every legatee, in hope that they might find from some parish rec that such had a son Thomas. They found of about right age a Robert Dowe of London, Bridget Dowe, wid of Thomas, legatees of their sister, Ann Colston, wid of Bristol 1620. They canvassed William Dowe and Mary, his wife, of 1620, she the dau of John Cossie of Baudsey, Suffolk. James Deowe is a new spelling; he was an appraiser May 1620 in Beamister, Dorset. Robert Dowe was a legatee in Exeter 1620. Thomas Dow, witness to a will in Newburye, Berks, 1620, raised their hopes from coincidence in name of place, altho presumptive age forbade. The number of Dow in Ireland can be imagined from the circumstance that 12 Thomas Dows were buried in Dublin in a single year. In Scotland during the 50 years preceding 1639 the number of recorded Thomas Dows could not be confined to a page.

One can only turn to evidence drawn from Thomas and Phebe themselves. There is nothing in the religion of either to afford a clue, for there was but one church in Haverhill, and Newbury. Thomas Dow was as religious as his neighbors, but this proves nothing except that he was a Puritan in Massachusetts. Could he be a Scotchman? The Scotch Dow were never an independent family; many of them were in Clan Buchanan, but there were some in almost every clan, indicating that the name was assumed by individuals without any concert whatever. The investigators did not look up any Scotch records; hunting would be like seeking a needle in a haystack. There was a Thomas Dow of Berriehell of Tullibagles, Methven Parish, near Perth, who made a will Aug 19, 1609, but he had no son Thomas; and there were a score of Thomas Dow within a few miles. There was no Scotch migration to America for many years after this, but this does not preclude the possibility of some individual getting from Scotland to England and joining a party to America. Moreover, any Scotchman joining a party of emigrants would be a marked man, living socially more or less apart.

An idea that our Thomas Dow of Newbury possessed a distinctive plaid or tartan is based wholly. on a misunderstanding. Over 20 years ago a lady of Dow descent while visiting Edinburg was shown a Dow plaid and bought a quantity, distributing samples to such Dows as she knew or subsequently met. Some one who knew of the interest taken in the identity of Thomas Dow suggested that this might be his plaid and so the story grew. There are now some who assert positively that this plaid was worn by Thomas Dow of Newbury. This is absolutely untrue. It is well known that the canny Scotch manufacturers keep lines of plaid labelled to suit any name ever known in Scotland. There are plenty of retailers who will supply a plaid for any name and will swear the Schmidts or O’Flahertys have worn it for a thousand years. The patterns are generally chosen with some care, so this particular plaid is a variant of the Buchanan. A few years ago experts looked at it once again. None admitted knowing it. Only a few were bold enough to call it a fake. One said plainly that it was a fabrication, not a true tartan, and was designed recently as resembling and varying from the Buchanan.

Whatever presumptive evidence there may be (and there may not be any) comes from the will of Thomas or the attached words of Phebe his wife. Here and there a phrase faintly suggests the language or national canniness. Phebe’s name was either Latly or Latty. The exact wording in the will seems to be “I, Phoebe Latly wife of Thomas.” A photographic copy proves that latly begins with a small l. It also shows the cross bar of the t prolonged, as tho the writer began to write latty when his ink failed. One author believes her name was Latty, because that is a name, while Latly is not. Perhaps this couple came from that part of the Highlands where Thrums might be, perhaps truth is stranger than fiction, perhaps Sir James Barrie is unwittingly a better genealogist than we, and Rob Dow, literary sawyer of Thrums and Aaron Latta, weaver of Thrums, are the true kin of this Newbury and Haverhill couple. This entails an unwelcome suggestion, as there was at the time no Scotch migration. Thomas, gillie, might have married Phebe, dairy maid, and had a son John; not liking his outlook, might have crossed the border and joined a Puritan party to America. In those days a runaway gillie was hauled back as ignominiously as a negro in 1850. If there was a runaway of this kind, it would be likely that the man would take a new name for concealment; if so, Dow was a common and general name, not attributable to any one clan or locality.


 i. John Dow – ba

John’s wife Mary Page was born 3 May 1646, 4th child of John Page and Mary Marsh of Hingham, later of Haverhill.   John died intestate 3 Apr 1673, widow Mary swore to the inventory of his estate (£174-1-0). On 14 Jul 1673 she married again to Samuel Shepard.  Mary had 7 children by Samuel Shepard of whom the youngest married Samuel Dow (adk).

John was a cooper of Haverhill; freeman in 1666; on muster roll of Ensign Moses Higgins, assigned to sixth garrison.  The sons of Thomas Dow were not strong, possibly early privations worked against the,.  John prospered moderately, for he made all payments charged to him in hs father’s will, kept his own land was able to buy the allotment made in the fifth division to one Coffin.  He and his brother Thomas appear as signers of the petition for the pardon of Major Robert Pike (son-in-law of Joseph MOYCE), a high minded man always in trouble with the authorities for denouncing the witchcraft persecution and supporting the right of free speech by lay preachers in the absence of regular preachers.

Children of John and Mary:

i. Mary Dow – baa – b. and d. Haverhill Apr 1663

ii. Joseph Dow – bab – (20 Sep 1669 – 16 Mar 1688/89) Unmarried.  Joseph chose his uncle Onesiphorus Page as his guardian in 1686.  Apparently Joseph was entitled to some overlook property, for seven years after his death, 4 May 1696, Samuel Shepard and Mary, his wife formally refused to administer Joseph’s estate.  After considerable delay it was administered by his cousin Samuel Dow (bcb) and the property was divided among his surviving aunts  and uncles.  This argules that John Dow (bac) was not living and had no heirs.

iii. John Dow – bac – (6 Nov 1672 – ) Not mentioned in Hoyt’s Old Families

2. Thomas Dow – bb

Like this brother John, Thomas also died when a young man.  He was only 36 years old when he died 21 Jun 1676, his will was probated 14 Nov.  He started towards prosperity; was able to buy land in 1662.  It does not appear he was admitted a freeman.

Thomas’ wife Dorcas Kimball was born in 1649.  Her parents were Henry Kimball and Mary Wyatt.  Her grandparents were Richard KIMBALL who married second Margaret Cole (widow of Henry Dow (a))  Dorcas survived Thomas by eight years.  Apparently, she did not serve as executrix, for the estate was administered by Henry Kimball, another brother, and receipts for all legacies were made to him.

Thomas Dow Jr - 1 Source: Ancestry of Charles Stinson Pillsbury and John Sargent Pillsbury (1938)

Thomas Dow Jr. - 2

Children of Thomas and Dorcas:

i. Thomas Dow – bba – b. 23 Oct, d. 4 Nov 1669

ii. Henry Dow – bbb – b. 5 Mar 1670/71.  In his will his father gave this child to Joan, wife of John Haseltine.  this step must have had the consent of Dorcas.  From Henry comes a large posterity, roughly one tenth of all the (b) Dow family.

iii. Dorcas Dow – bbc – b. 27 Feb 1672; d. 3 Apr 1673

iv. Phoebe Dow – bbd – b. 20 Sep 1674; m. 16 Jan 1695 to Samuel Smith (Topsfield record) Seven children.

3. Stephen DOW I – bc –  (See his page)

4. Mary Dow – bd –

Mary’s first husband Gilbert Wilford was born about 1640 in England. He was originally of Bradford and later moved to Haverhill. Gilbert died 28 Apr 1676 in Haverhill, Mass.

Martha’s second husband Matthew Clarke was born about 1652 in Haverhill, Mass. He married Martha 2 Apr 1679 in Haverhill to Matthew Clarke.  A statement in a genealogical periodical that Matthew was son of Elder James Clarke of Londonderry is not correct. Matthew died 6 Jun 1715 in Haverhill, Mass.

Mary Dow was presumably stepmother of the Londonderry pioneer, and James Clarke  b. before 1679 was probably grandfather of Elder James.

Children of Mary and Gilbert:

i. Mary Wilford – bda – b. 18 Nov 1667 in Bradford; m. 17 Dec 1684 in Haverhill to John Corliss, son of George CORLISS and Joanna DAVIS ; m2, 23 Jan 1702/03 in Haverhill to William Whittaker.

John served in King Philip’s War, under Lieutenant Benjamin Swett, June 1676, also August 1676 . He owned at least one slave, Celia. In 1798 John’s house was valued at $350. He inherited the farm from his father, George Corliss and lived there all his life.

John Corliss fought in King Philip’s War under Lt. Benjamin Swett in June & August, 1676; took the oath of allegiance, November 28, 1677. From the Essex County Quarterly Courts Records, 4:193: “John Corliss deposed that he heard Joseph Davis send to Pecker to raise the flood gates when the sawmill at Haverhill was lost in the 1668 flood and Ensign James Pecker was charged with responsibility.

ii. Martha Wilford – bdb – b. 18 Jan 1669; m. 7 Feb 1694/95 to Joseph Greely.

iii. Ruth Wilford -bdc – b. 5 May 1672; m. 12 Jun 1694 in Haverhill to Thomas Ayer.  He and daughter Ruth killed by Indians.

iv. Nathaniel Wilford – bdd – b. 20 May 1675; d. 1706; Unmarried

5. Martha Dow – be –

Martha’s first husband Joseph Heath was born about c. 1645 in Newbury. His parents were Bartholomew HEATH) and Hannah MOYCE. Joseph died 1 Dec 1672, Killed by Indians on the Andover road.

Martha’s second husband Joseph Page was born about 1647.  His parents were John Page and Mary Marsh. Joseph died Feb 1683.

Martha’s third husband Joseph Parker was born 14 Oct 1659 in Andover, Essex, Mass. His parents were Joseph Parker and Mary Stevens. He married Martha 19 Mar 1689 was killed a year later by Indians while in his hay field 3 Aug 1690 in East Parish, Haverhill

Whose posterity rejoined the line two generations later (Phoebe Heath beaa m. Richard Dow bcde) surely endured vicissitudes tending to create a race of brave men. m. 27 Jun 1672 to Joseph Heath.  While she was carrying an unborn son, her husband was ambushed and killed by Indians on the Andover road 1 Dec 1672.  Martha married again 2 Dec 1673 to Joseph Page  Martha married a third time 19 Mar 1688 to Joseph Parker.   Thus Martha was widow thrice before she was 43. many years later Joseph Heath in his will gave to his son Samuel land “set aside to my mother Parker as her right of dower in Jospeh Page’s estate.”  Martha had one by first, rest by 2nd.

i. Joseph Heath – bea –  b. 23 Mar 1673 Salem, Rockingham, NH, four months after his father was killed; d. 11 Jun 1714 – Haverhill, Essex, Mass  Some sources say he married Hannah Bradley, but I think Hannah married Josiah Heath, son of Josiah HEATH and Mary DAVIS.

ii. Phebe Page – beb – b. 17 Nov 1674 in Haverhill; marriage intentions published 14 Oct 1685 to Joseph Tucker, son of Morris Tucker

iii. Joseph Page – bec – b. 23 Nov 1676; killed by Indians 4 Aug 1704; no children

iv. Hannah Page – bed – b. 5 or 12 Feb 1678; m. 27 Nov 1696 to John Dow (adb)

v. Martha Page – bee – b. 14 Feb 1680; m. 19 Dec 1700 in Haverhill to Matthew Herriman

vi. Thomas Page – bef – b. 12 Apr 1683; d. 5 Jun 1683 in Haverhill

vii. Ebenezer Page – beg – b. 9 May 1684; soldier in Salisbury; killed by Indians 24 Jun 1707


The Book of Dow, Genealogical Memoirs of the Descendants of Henry Dow 1637, Thomas Dow 1639 and Others of the Name, Immigrants to America During Colonial Times. by Robert Percy Dow 1929

Dedicated to all Dows Everywhere

Ancestry of Charles Stinson Pillsbury and John Sargent Pillsbury (1938) By Holman, Mary Lovering, 1868-1947; Pillsbury, Helen Pendleton Winston, 1878-1957

Thomas Dow 1: Source: Ancestry of Charles Stinson Pillsbury and John Sargent Pillsbury (1938)

Thomas Dow 2

Thomas Dow 3

Thomas Dow 4

This entry was posted in 11th Generation, Immigrant - England, Line - Miller, Pioneer and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Thomas Dow

  1. Pingback: Stephen Dow | Miner Descent

  2. Pingback: Origins | Miner Descent

  3. Pingback: Bartholomew Heath | Miner Descent

  4. Pingback: Stephen Dow II | Miner Descent

  5. Pingback: George Corliss | Miner Descent

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