Thomas Safford

Thomas SAFFORD (c. 1605 – 1667) was Alex’s 11th Grandfather; one of 4,096 in this generation of the Shaw line.

Thomas Safford Coat of Arms

Thomas Safford was born  between 1599 and 1610 in England, perhaps in Ipswich, Suffolk. Some sources say he sailed on the Fortune in 1627 and was a freeman at Ipswich in 1630, though it seems to me that his early arrival has been not been proven. He married Elizabeth SUTTON about 1631.  Stories conflict whether they were married in England or Ipswich, Mass.  He was on the list of proprietors of Ipswich Mass 6 Apr 1641, and was admitted a freeman 19 Dec 1648.

Elizabeth Sutton was born in 1603 in Saffron Walden, Essex, England. Alternatively, she was born in Bromland, Somersetshire, England.  Her parents may have been Henry SUTTON and [__?__].  Elizabeth died on 4 March 1670 in Ipswich, Essex, Mass.

Note: There is much confusion about whether Sarah Lowe was married to Joseph Safford or John Safford. All Low family genealogy research says she was married to Joseph, but Safford research says Joseph was married to Mary Baker.  John is not mentioned in Thomas’ will, though according to records, he was still alive.

Children of John and Sarah:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Joseph Safford c. 1631
Isle of Wight, South Hampton, England or
Ipswich, Mass
Mary Baker
6 Mar 1658
29 Aug 1701 Ipswich, Mass.
2. John SAFFORD Sr. c. 1633 Ipswich, Mass Sarah LOW 1661
Ipswich, Mass
16 Jun 1708 Ipswich, Mass.
3. Elizabeth Safford c. 1635
Ipswich, Mass
 Unmarried 7 Apr 1672 Wenham, Essex, Mass
4. Mary Safford c. 1637
Ipswich, Mass.
Daniel Kilham (Son of Austin KILHAM)
Oct 1648
Wenham, Mass.
16 Jun 1676
5. Abigail Safford c. 1636 or 1639
Ipswich, Mass.
1666 Ipswich
6. Sarah Safford c. 1641
Ipswich, Mass.

Thomas Safford, was born in England and settled in New England at Ipswich before 1641. He was on the list of proprietors of the town April 6, 1641, and was admitted a freeman 19 Dec  1648. He bought a farm at Ipswich, thirty-two acres, of Henry Kingsbury, 8 Feb 1648. He was a subscriber to Denison’s allowance in 1640 and had a share and a half in Plum Island. He died in February, 1666-7. His will was dated 20 Feb, 1666/67, and proved 26 Mar 1667. He gave his farm to his son Joseph on condition of his care of the father and mother and paying certain amounts to daughters Elizabeth, Mary and Abigail.

Thomas Safford’s Ipswich Lot

Thomas married Elizabeth ——, who died March 4, 1670, at Ipswich. Their children were: Joseph, born 1631 or 1632, (he deposed March 29, 1692, that he was about fifty-nine or sixty years old,) was admitted a freeman 1682; married, March 6, 1660, Mary Baker; John,; Elizabeth, Mary, Abigail. (One of the daughters married Klum.)

His will was dated 20 Feb 1666/67, and proved 26 Mar 1667.  He gave his farm to his son Joseph on condition of his care of the father and mother and paying certain amounts to daughters Elizabeth, Mary and Abigail.

Be it known unto all men by these prsents. That I Thomas Safford of Ipswich in America in the County of Essex Husbandman (In consideration of the love & good Affection I beare unto my sonne Joseph Safford & other good Considerations mee thereunto moueing & also in Consideration of his help & care of mee hitherto) haue Bargained & sould & by these prsents doe bargaine & sell Aliene & Confirme vnto my Sonne Joseph Safford of Ipswich aforesaid & his heirs for euer.

All that my ffarme wherein I dwell Conteyning by estymation sixty Acres of vland & fresh meadow be it more or lesse with the howse barne & out howsing there vppon together with all the pffts priuiledges & Appertinances belonging to the same bounded as followeth vizt with the High way to mr Saltonstalls farme toward the Southeast the thick woods toward the Southwest the Riuer on the Northwest land of Robert Wallis on the Northeast & in the Towne of Ipswich Aforesaid. To haue & to hould & quietly & peaceably to enjoy & possess all the forementioned farme both vpland & fresh meadow Conteining sixty Acres more or lesse with all the howsing before mentioned & what euer priuiledges or Appertinances either doe or may belong vnto the same with out any lett mollestation or Interuption of mee the said Thomas Safford my heires executors Administrators or Assigns Laying any Claime thierunto in by or from mee or any of my heires executors or Administrators

Know also that in Consideration of the sealing & deliuering of this bill of sale I the said Thomas Safford haue reserved to my self the one halfe of the benefitt of the aforesaid farme to be paid to mee yeerly during my naturall life by my sone Joseph. And also if my wife shall out liue mee then my sone Joseph shall or Cause to be paid vnto her his said moother the fu__ some of Six pounds pr Annum yerely & euery yeere during her naturall life. And also my sone Joseph shall maintaine my eldest Daughter Elizabeth during her naturall life (except any other puidence pruent or she thinke good otherwise to dispose of herself) then my sone Joseph shall pay or Cause to be paid vnto said Daughter Elizabeth the full some of Twenty pounds she giueing a sufftient discharge. Also my sone Joseph shall pay or Cause to be paid to my daughter Mary after my decease the full some of five pounds. And Also to my daughter Abigaile the full some of fifteene pounds in three yeeres after my decease And for the performance of all & euery of these seuerall payments Anuityes & Legasies aforesaid at the seuerall times heere in this prsent writing specifyed my said farme abouesaid shalbe responsable. All these payments being pformed I the said Thomas Safford doe freely giue & make ouer my said farme vnto my sonne Joseph as is expressed in this bill of sale aboue written. In witness where of I the said Thomas Safford haue heere vnto sett my hand & Seale. Dated the Twentith day of February in the yeere of Grace Sixteene hundred Sixty & Six: 1666. [no signature]

WILL: Subscribed Sealed & att as the act & deede of the aforesaid Thomas Safford in the presence of us [no signature]


1. Joseph Safford

Joseph was born in 1631 or 1632, (he deposed 29 Mar  1692, that he was about fifty-nine or sixty years old,) He was therefore about eight years old when he crossed the Atlantic.  Married, 6 Mar 1660, to  Mary Baker;

Joseph’s wife Mary Baker was born 29 Sep 1637 in Ipswich, Essex, Mass. Her parents were John Baker and Elizabeth [__?__]. Mary died in 1681 in Ipswich, Essex, Mass.

Some sources say that Joseph was John SAFFORD Jr.’s (1662 -1736) actual father.

13 May 1667 – He was in court for striking John Lighton and was bound to good behavior, his brother John being the surety on his bond.

He served in King Philip’s War under Captain Nicholas Paige and on 3 Sep 1675, he was credited with £2 for his part in the expedition to Mount Hope.

1676 – Member of a jury of inquest.

1678 – A trial juror in the September term of the Essex County Court

1678 – He was admitted a commoner of Ipswich

11 Oct 1682 – Admitted Freeman

1697 – Selectman of Ipswich

1699 – He and eight other members of the church objected to the sale of the old meeting-house because it involved the loss of their pews, but to no avail, and in the new meeting-house he, with the comforting title of “Mr,” was given a seat

In 1694 and 1695 a group of Ipswich men, Joseph Stafford, Richard Smith, Meshach Farleyh, Matthew Perkins and Samuel Bishop bought from Capt. James Fitch of Norwich [later Major and son of our ancestor Rev. James FITCH] of Norwich in the Connecticut colony a tract of eighteen hundren acres which was later called Preston and on which three of Safford’s children settled.  Captain Fitch’s title to this land was extremely dubious.  After King Philip’s War he held it as a sort of trust for a small local tribe of Indians known as the Shetuckets to whom it had been guaranteed. When Fitch transferred the title to himself there were murmurs of disapproval among the more sensitive of the Norwich settlers, but nothing was actually done to restore what seems to have been, in bald terms. and by 1694 the title was regarded as good. [History of Norwich by Frances Caulkins, edition of 1866]

On 1 May 1707, Joseph Safford made a settlement of his estate with his two sons John and Samuel by deed, the sons to support their father and mother for the remainder of their lives.  John received the dwelling-house, barns, yards, gardens, pasture and meadow in Ipswich, and one-half of the household furniture and movables.  He also was to have one-half plus one-seventh of the dwelling, buildings and lands in the town of “Norwitch in ye Connecticut Colony.”

To Samuel went the lower side of the tillage land in Ipswich, the other half of the furniture and movables, and one-half minus one-seventh of the Norwich property.  Houses were to be built for both sons.  They were to keep their sister Mary for life if she reminaed uncarried and to pay their sisters Sarah Kimball (£9:3:0), Elizabeth Brown (£8:5:0) and Hannah Safford (£20)

Children of Joseph and Mary:

i. Mary Saffordb. 20 Feb 1661; unmarried in 1701

ii. Joseph Safford b. 11 Aug 1664; d. before 1701

iii. Sarah Safford b. 20 Mar 1666; In 1701 she was Sarah Kimball, probably wife of Caleb Kimbal who was born in Wenham  in 1665 and had a wife Sarah who died 20 Feb 1731/32.

iv. Elizabeth Safford b. 3 Aug 1670; In 1701 she was Elizabeth Brown, probably wife of John Brown who had a wife Elizabeth bu 1696 and moved to Preston.

v. John Safford m. 11 Jul 1702 to Abigail Martin  He is often mixed up with his cousin and our ancestor John SAFFORD Jr. (1662 -1736)  We are not descended after all to the Abigail Martin that testified that she was afflicted by 13 different people in the Salem Witch Trials when she was a teenager. (See John Jr.’s page for details)

The tombstones of both Abigail and John are still existing in the Ames Cemetery.

John’s cousin John Safford (1673 – 1739) Ames Cemetery  Lisbon New London County Connecticut

Salem Witchcraft Trials

Our John Safford Jr’s cousin John Safford’s wife Abigail Martin was a supposed a target of witchcraft and testified that she was afflicted by 13 different people in the Salem Witch Trials when she was a teeenager.  John married Abigail in 1702, 10 years after the witch trials were over.

At the grand jury she testified against Samuel Wardwell. She signed three indictments, those of William Barker, Sr., Mary Barker, and Mary (Osgood) Marston.

Aug 1692 – a month before the arrest of Mary and Hannah, Joseph Tyler and Ephriam Foster filed a complaint against John Jackson, Sr., his son John Jackson, Jr. and John Howard of Rowley of acts of witchcraft against Rose Foster and Martha Sprage of Andover. About the same time, Moses Tyler and Samuel Martin accused Elizabeth Johnson and Abigail Johnson of using witchcraft to afflict Martha Sprage and Abigail Martin, also of Andover.

In 1692, Samuel Martin, 47, husbandman; his wife, Abigail; and children were living in the north part of Andover. Abigail  was pregnant with their seventh child.

8 Jan 1692 – Ralph Farnum II, who was Samuel Martin’s step-brother, died at Andover. John Farnum and Ralph Farnum III, both sons of Ralph II, testified against Martha (Allen) Carrier on June 28 and again on July 30.

25 Aug 1692 –  Samuel Martin and Moses Tyler filed a complaint against Willian Barker, Sr., Mary Barker, and Mary (Osgood) Marston for afflicting Abigail Martin, Jr., Rose Foster, and Martha Sprague. Mary (Osgood) Marston was the daughter of Christopher Osgood. On August 25 at their examinations, Mary Bridges, Jr., Sarah Bridges, Hannah Post, and Susannah Post were charged with afflicting Abigail Martin Jr., Rose Foster, and Martha Sprague.

30 Aug 1692 –  Elizabeth (Dand) Johnson confessed that she afflicted Sarah Phelps and three of Samuel Martin’s children and that her sister Abigail (Dane) Faulkner and Sarah Parker joined with her in afflicting them.

about 31 Aug 1692 – Sarah Wardwell, Sarah Hawkes, Mercy Wardwell, William Barker, Jr., and Mary (Ayer) Parker were complained of for afflicting Abigail Martin Jr., Rose Foster, and Martha Sprague.

7 Sep 1692 – Abigail Martin Jr., and Ralph Farnum III were members of the afflicted circle at the Andover touch test. Abigail (Wheeler) Barker and Mary (Lovett) Tyler were indicted for practicing and exercising witchcraft against Ralph Farnum III on Sep 7.

22 Sep 1692 – Mary (Ayer) Parker, widow of Nathan Parker, was hanged at Salem.  Her daughter Sarah had been imprisoned by August 19. Another daughter, Hannah Parker, had married, in 1682, John Tyler, brother of Moses Tyler. A third daughter, Elizabeth Parker, had married in 1684 John Farnum, who was the brother of the afflicted Ralph Farnum, III.

Abigail Martin and John Bridges v. Samuel Wardwell ( Essex County Archives, Salem — Witchcraft Vol. 2 Page 29 ) xxx
the deposetion of Abigell Marten of Andavr Aged about sixteen years this deponant Testifyeth and sayeth that some time last winter: Samuel wordwall being at my fathers house: with John farnom: I heard said John farnon ask: said wordwall his forteen; wh[ich] he did: and told him that: he was in love with a gurll: but should be crost; & should goe to the Sutherd: which said farnom oned to be his thought: said wardwell further: told he had like to be shot with a gon: & should have a foall of from his hors or should have: which: said farnom , after oned that he told Right:

And further I heard him tell Jeams bridges his forten: that he loved a gurll at forteen years ould: which: said bridges: oned to be the truth: but could not imagin how said wordwall knew: for he never: spake of it: John bridges father of said jeams bridges sayeth: he heard Jeam say I wonder how wordwall cold teell so true

Jurat in Curia,
by both
(Reverse) Abiga’l Martin & James Bridges Depo’ Vers Sam’l Wardwell
Primary Witchcraft Documents
Indictment of Mary Barker, for Afflicting Abigail Martin

Indictment of William Barker Sr., for Afflicting Abigail Martin

Deposition of Abigail Martin & John Bridges v. Samuel Wardwell

Martin, Abigail v. Mary Barker

Martin, Abigail v. William Barker, August

Transcript: (Warrant for Arrest of William Barker, Sr. , Mary Marston and Mary Barker , Aug. 25, 1692)

Transcript: (Examination of Mary Marston )
Case: Mary Marston
martin she said the devil did it for her Said Abigail martin being in a choakeing fitt, Mary Lacey … and the 28th of the month she afflicted Abigail martin , And martha Sprague on the Saturnday

Transcript: (Confession from Prison of William Barker, Sr. )
Case: William Barker, Sr. and a Sabbath day my Shape afflicted Abigail Martin and at night afflicted … Martha Sprague and Abigail Martin . Elizabeth Johnson and Abigail

Transcript: ( Abigail Martin and John Bridges v. Samuel Wardwell ) Case: Samuel Wardwell Executed, September 22, 1692
Abigail Martin and John Bridges v. Samuel Wardwell ) the deposetion of Abigell Marten … Jurat in Curia, by both (Reverse) Abiga’l Martin & James Bridges Deposition
Case: Death Warrants Folder and Census of Prisoners (May – July 1692) Eliz. procter May. Lydia Dastin . Wido’ of Rede 2 d. Susannah Martin of Amesb’r . Dorcas … pudeater 11 In Salem Prison Easty Dele’ Hobs Abigail. Hobs
Case: Mary Barker the Body of Abigaill Martin of Andivor at and within the Township of Andivor aforesaid
Case:  (January – May 1693) and against one Abigail Martin of Andover aforesaid by w’ch said wicked Acts the said Abigail Martin

Transcript: (Case of Mary Barker )  (January – May 1693)
the body of Abigail Martin of Andivor at and within the Township of Andiv’r afores’d by w’ch said … wicked acts the said Abigail Martin the day aforesaid in the year afores’d And at divers other
Transcript: (Examination of Rebecca Johnson )
Case: Rebecca Johnson ‘d Rebecka Johnson afflict Abigail Martin & Alice Booth Alice Booth saw the same s’d Johnson afflict
Transcript: (Examination of Mary Barker )
Case: Mary Barker Foster and Abigail martin which she did upon saturday and sabath Day last, she said she
Transcript: (Examination of William Barker, Jr. , Second Version)
Case: William Barker, Jr.
of Martha Sprague Rose foster and Abigail Martin , which he did not deny but could not remember
Transcript: Superior Court of Judicature: Witchcraft Trials (January – May 1693)
Case: Additional Documents 1692-1750
and against one Abigail Martin of Andover aforesaid by w’ch said wicked Acts the said Abigail Martin … Elizabeth Johnson, Sr. Abigail Barker Mary Tyler

Children of John Safford and Abigail Martin

a. Abigail, 1703
b. Joseph, b 1704/5,   He was one of the first founders of Bennington, Vt. and is buried in Bennington. He is buried at the church cemetery there surrounded with his family.
c. Charity Safford?  b. 1708 –
d. John, 1711. d. 1789
e. Solomon, 1713; d.  1795
f. Sarah, 1718; d.  1729

vi. Thomas Safford d. Jun 1676

vii. Samuel Safford b. Jul 1678; m1. Elizabeth [__?__]; m2.  Hannah [__?__] Oct

viii. Hannah Safford b. 11 Jan ; unmarried in ; m.  8 Oct 1705 in Ipswich to James Tyler of Preston

2. John SAFFORD Jr.  (See his page)

John moved to Preston and had his children born and married there.  Many genealogies state that John was the son of Joseph Safford instead of his brother John.

4. Mary Safford

Mary’s husband Daniel Kilham was born 15 Mar 1620 in Dennington, Suffolk, England. His parents were Austin KILHAM and Alice GOODALE. Daniel died 21 Mar 1699 in Wenham, Essex, Mass.


From Phoebe Tilton, 1947 by Walter Goodwin Davis

Genealogical and family history of the state of Maine, Volume 3  By Henry Sweetser Burrage, Albert Roscoe Stubbs
p. 1286-1287

This family traces its American ancestry from Thomas Safford, the immigrant, to Ipswich, Massachusetts Colony, through a long line prominent in the formation and advancement of the growth of the American colonies, and on the record of each the verdict: “He did what he could for the betterment of the human kind with which he was brought in contact” is true and just. From the English ancestral records we find that the surname occurrs frequently in the early part of the thirteenth century and appears to be of Saxon derivation. The name appears in the inscription engraved on the seal of an ancient town on the English coast, and reads as follows: “Sigillum Burgensium de Saffordia.” It also appears among the lists of immigrants who came from England to the Colony of Virginia between 1613 and 1623.
(I) Thomas Safford was born in Suffolk county. England, and first appeared in Ipswich, Massachusetts Bay Colony, prior to 1630. He owned land in Ipswich before April 6, 1641; was made a freeman by the general court of Massachusetts Bay Colony, December 19, 1648. He died February 20. 1667, having before his death made provision for the certain support of his widow and unmarried daughters, directing that a fixed amount should be paid to them annually out of the first proceeds from the product of his farm of sixty acres and this annuity to be continued during the life of his widow and her dependent daughters. His widow, Elizabeth, died March 4, 1671. in Ipswich. Their children were: 1. Joseph, born in Ipswich in 1631. 2. John, see forward, and the three daughters for whom provision was made in his will were: Elizabeth, Mary and Abigail.

Historic homes and institutions and genealogical and personal …, Volume 1 edited by Ellery Bicknell Crane

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5 Responses to Thomas Safford

  1. Pingback: John Safford Sr. | Miner Descent

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  5. D Safford says:

    I have been following this site for many years, and would be interested in discussing Thomas and his line in greater detail with the architect of this document via email.

    Some of the key points are:

    – I’ve read many works printed in the 1800s that reference the Sigillum burgensium de Saffordia being present in the colonies from 1613. Edward Stanley Safford specifically talks about this too in his book. I put forth an idea on some genealogy sites that it may be a place name originating from Seaford as opposed to a Saxon name. I am still searching records…
    – Pouring over all the known ship lists and passengers, I discovered a Christopher Safford appears to be the first of our name (though perhaps not our line). Packratpro was kind enough to provide a citation. I believe he is worth looking into as a potential relative of Thomas.
    – The John Jr. confusion which I am pleased to see has been ironed out for all of us! As well as untangling the second+ generation of Josephs.

    If I don’t hear from you all I would like to say is thank you for your work.

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