Thomas Carter

Thomas CARTER (1610 – 1676) was Alex’s 10th Great Grandfather, one of 2,048 in this generation of the Shaw line.

Thomas Carter Coat of Arms – Since Thomas arrived as an indentured servant, I picked the silver shield with a green chevron between three green cart wheels. rather than the blue shield with two gold lions combatant.

This genealogy took several revisions because there were three early immigrants to New England named Thomas Carter, each with wife Mary – one of Charlestown, one of Watertown, Dedham and Woburn, and ours of Ipswich and Salisbury.  (See the discussion below.)

We are not descended from the Cambridge educated Rev. Thomas Carter nor are we related to his wife’s father Rev. Timothy Dalton.  Instead our Thomas Carter came as a 25 year old indentured servant in 1635.     While Timothy Dalton was not our ancestor, his page is completed and someone might be interested.

Our Thomas Carter was born in 1610 in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England.    His date and place of birth comes from the ship’s manifest for the ship “Planter”, Nicholas Trerice, Master which departed from London 10 April 1635 and arrived in Boston on 07 June 1635. He came as a servant of George Giddings who settled in Ipswich, Mass.  Thomas was freeman in Ipswich on 2 May 1638.    He shortly moved to Salisbury and on 13 Mar 1638/39, “Thomas Carter, by order of court, was granted a lot upon his petition, his master testifying of his good service” [MBCR 1:255].    He married Mary [__?__] about this time.    Thomas  died shortly after writing his will on 30 Oct 1676 which was probated 14 Nov 1676.

Thomas was an original settler in Salisbury, Essex, Mass in 1639

Our Thomas didn’t marry Mary Dalton or Mary Parkhurst as is commonly reported.  (See the discussion below.) I found one undocumented source shows his wife to be Mary MURFORD born in 1610.

Children of Thomas and Mary:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Mary CARTER 6 Oct 1641 Salisbury, Essex, Mas Joseph LANCASTER (Lankester) 1663 in Salisbury, Mass. 1673 in Hampton, Rockingham, New Hampshire.
2. Thomas Carter c 1643 Salisbury, Mass did not marry
Margery Whitmore
14 Aug 1669 Salisbury, Mass
3. Martha Carter Feb 1645 Salisbury 1645 Salisbury
4. Martha Carter Mar 1647 Salisbury, Mass Thomas Tuxbury? or unmarried Living, unmarried in father’s will of 30 Oct 1676
5. Elizabeth Carter Apr 1649 Salisbury, Mass Had children (as stated in 1718 will of her brother Samuel [EPR 312:219]). Named in father’s will of 30 Oct 1676
6. John Carter 18 May 1650 Salisbury Martha Brown 1679 Salisbury 1697 Woburn, Mass
7. Abigail Carter 11 Feb 1652/53 Salisbury, Mass Stephen Flanders Jr.
28 Dec 1670 Salisbury, Mass
Living in 1747 at Salisbury, Ma.
8. Samuel Carter 25 Oct 1656 Salisbury, Mass Sarah [__?__] widow of Ephraim Brown
3 Apr 1703 Salisbury
25 Oct 1718 Salisbury
9. Sarah Carter 1659 Salisbury, Mass John Davis
8 Apr 1681 of Newbury, Mass
6 Mar 1696 Salisbury

Our Thomas is noted as a “planter” who received land in the first division of land in Salisbury. Another entry notes “he settled in Salisbury and was called a planter and proprietor” in 1639. In March of 1639, the General Court “granted a house lot to Thomas Carter”. He is noted as a townsman in 1640 and was taxed in 1650 and 1652. In summary, it would seem that our Thomas Carter was one of those “hardy souls” who chose to, not withstanding the potential hardships and hazards, leave England in 1635 leave England and come to New England.

It is not known what his circumstances were in England. He could have had financial or marital or political problems; chances are, being but 25 years of age, he came for the adventure and opportunity to establish a new life. In New England, he married, raised a substantial family and with no evidence to the contrary, we can assume that he was a responsible citizen, a righteous member of the church, and a dedicated father and husband.

Salisbury was once territory of the Pentucket tribe of Pennacook Indians. It was settled by the English in 1638 as Merrimac,after the river, and incorporated in 1639 as Salisbury, after Salisbury in Wiltshire, England. The original roads at the center of the town formed a compact semicircle, which allowed the residents to get quickly to the garrison house in case of attack. Those roads still exist, though the shape today is triangular, being bounded by Elm Street, School Street and Bridge Road.

One of the two greatest fears at the time was the Naumkeag tribe of Indians, thus the men of the town took turns standing watch against a surprise attack, especially in the night time. The Naumkeags, however, had been decimated by plague, and the threat was not what it once might have been. The second threat came from wolves, which were plentiful, and which killed the livestock and dug in the graveyard. The original residents were given one small house lot near the center of town, and one larger planting lot just outside the center for farming. Families also owned large sections of “sweepage lots” near the beach, where apparently they harvested the salt marsh hay. At the time, the area was almost entirely unbroken virgin forest, which had to be cleared for the construction of houses and the planting of fields.

Mystery of the Three Thomas Carters

There were three early immigrants to New England named Thomas Carter, each with wife Mary – ours of one of Ipswich and Salisbury,  one of Charlestown,  and one of Watertown, Dedham and Woburn. Which was the passenger of 1635?

1. The passenger of 1635 was stated to be a servant of George Giddings, an unlikely status for a university graduate who would soon become minister of a New England church. Furthermore, a Thomas Carter admitted to freemanship on 2 May 1638 comes immediately after a sequence of five Ipswich men, and that town was the residence of George Giddings. This meshes nicely with the grant of land on 13 March 1638/9 to a Thomas Carter who had just finished his servitude [MBCR 1:255]. These evidences point to the Thomas Carter who, with wife Mary, began having children in nearby Salisbury in 1641, as the passenger of 1635.

2. Thomas Carter of Charlestown had several children who married in the 1640s, and so he must have married by about 1615 at the latest and thus would have been born by about 1590, making him too old to be the 1635 passenger [ Wyman 186-87]. This Thomas Carter was admitted to Charlestown church on 8 January 1636/7 and so is very likely the freeman of 9 March 1636/7 [ ChChR 9; MBCR 1:373]. Based on these dates, he probably came to New England in 1636.

This Thomas Carter was born in 1578 in Ipswich, Suffolk, England. His father was  James Carter (1552 – 1594). He married Sarah Hull 25 Jan 1597 in Watford, Hertfordshire, England . Thomas died 25 Jun 1652 in Charlestown, Middlesex, Mass.

3.  Another Thomas Carter (1620 – 1669) is first seen in Dedham records early in 1637, and a year or so later he is called “Mr. Thomas Carter also a brother of Watertoune” [ DChR 16; DeTR 1:29]. He was baptized at Hinderclay, Suffolk, in 1608, was a graduate of Cambridge, and later was minister at Woburn, where he died in 1684 [ Stevens-Miller Anc 112].

This Thomas Carter was born in 1620 in Wem, Shropshire, England.  His parents were Thomas Carter Sr. and Sarah Hull.  He married Mary Parkhurst in 1648 in Middlesex, Mass..  Thomas died 14 Jun 1669 in Salisbury, Essex, Mass.  Many genealogies state he married Mary Dalton, but this is an error.

More about Mary Dalton and Mary Parkhust

A Genealogy of the Descendants of Thomas Carter By: Howard Willston Carter This book contains the history and genealogy of the Thomas Carter family of Massachusetts.  Published by the author. Connecticut. 1909

Concerning the parentage of Mary, wife of the Rev. Thomas Carter. On page 17 it is stated that Mary, wife of the Rev. Thomas Carter, was in all probability a daughter of George Parkhurst Sr., of Watertown and Boston.

Some of the facts leading to that conclusion are here given more in detail. On the Parish Registers of Ipswich, Suffolk County, England, are found the following baptisms:– Phebe, dau. of George and Phebe Parkhurst, Nov. 29, 1612. Mary, dau. of George Parkhurst, Aug. 28, 1614. Samuel, son of George Parkhurst, Feb. 2, 1616/17. Deborah, dau. of George Parkhurst, Aug. 1, 1619. George, son of George Parkhurst, June 5, 1621. John, son of George Parkhurst, Oct. 19, 1623. Abigail, dau. of George Parkhurst, Jan. 1, 1625/6. Elizabeth, dau. of George Parkhurst, May 18, 1628. Joseph, son of George Parkhurst, Dec. 21, 1629.

In the so-called “Dalton Deed” (Reg. xxvii, p. 364), Ruth, widow of the Rev. Timothy Dalton, conveys by deed dated March 22, 1663/4 certain property to her “constituted heir,” Nathaniel Bacheller, he paying her a certain sum down, and agreeing to pay the sums mentioned below to the persons named, after her death: To Deborah Smith, wife of John, £50 To Elizabeth Merry, wife of Joseph, £20 To Phebe Arnold, wife of Thomas, £20 To Joseph Parkhurst, £20 To George Parkhurst, £20 To Mary Carter, wife of Thomas (Carter of Woburn), £20

The identity of the six names in the two lists is striking, but in addition to this, at least three of the persons mentioned in the Dalton deed are known to be children of George Parkhurst Sr. Nathaniel Bacheller, the grantee above, had married Deborah, dau. of the above John and Deborah Smith.

In 1669 George Parkhurst Jr. writes Bacheller concerning the money coming to him from “my aunt Dalton,” which letter Bacheller endorses as from “my uncle, George Parkhurst.” Joseph Parkhurst also wrote Bacheller about the money coming to him from “my aunt Dalton.”

Hence George, Joseph and Deborah must have been children of George Parkhurst Sr. As to Ruth Dalton, wife of Rev. Timothy Dalton, from all the facts known to the writer it would seem that she was not a sister of George1 Parkhurst, but was more likely a sister of his first wife, Phebe.

No record of the first wife is found in America, though he again married, about 1643, Susanna, widow of John Simpson. Unfortunately no record of the marriage of Rev. Thomas Carter and his wife Mary has been found, and the same is true of the marriage of George Parkhurst and his wife Phebe, as also of Rev. Timothy Dalton and his wife, Ruth.

Another fact, although perhaps not of great weight in proving the identity of Mary, wife of Rev. Thomas Carter, is that four of her eight children had the same names as those of children of George Parkhurst Sr., who it should be remembered was a resident of Watertown, where the Rev. Thomas Carter was located at the time of his marriage. A fifth child was named Thomas, probably for the father, thus leaving only three children whose names, so to say, are unaccounted for. Further, it may be stated that there is no birth or other record of a Mary Dalton, dau. of Philemon, brother of Rev. Timothy Dalton.

More About George Giddings

Emigrant George Giddings (1609-1676) “The Complete Book of Emigrants, 1607-1776

(Goodwin), formerly of Clapham, Beds., England. Principal heir of his father who left about 30 acres of land. Described himself as a yeoman on his marriage bond, although on the embarkation papers, he is described as a husbandman. He emigrated with various members of his wife’s family on the Planter, embarked 2 April 1635, at the Port of London. The ship left after April 11, 1635 and arrived in Boston on Sunday, June 7, 1635. Probably had Puritan sympathies. From

He arrived with servants Thomas Carter 25, Michael Willmson 30, and Elizabeth Morrison 12, cert. from St. Albans, Herts, Eng., came in the Planter April 2, 1635.  Settled at Ipswich; propr.; frm. Sept. 7, 1638. Memb. Court valuation com. 13 May, 1640; deputy, town officer.

More About Our Thomas Carter

EDUCATION: Signed his will by mark.

OFFICES: Essex grand jury, 10 April 1666 [ EQC 3:315].

ESTATE: On 13 September 1667, “Tho[mas] Carter of the town of Salisbury …, planter,” mortgaged to “Mr. Richard Cutt of Portsmouth … my now dwelling house & orchard adjoining thereunto … being within the bounds of Salisbury aforesaid near unto the Pawwaus River” [NLR 2:92]. In his will, dated 30 Oct 1676 and proved 14 Nov 1676,

“Tho[mas] Carter of the town of Salisbury” bequeathed to “my beloved wife the use & improvement of all my lands, meadow, marsh & upland, & housing during her natural life, provided always that if she marry again then one-half of all my said lands, marsh & meadow shall be delivered unto my two sons forthwith she to choose which half she thinks good to have”; to “my son Jno. Carter all my housing & the one full half part of all my upland … also the one full & complete half part of my great division of land above the mill, as also all that part of my marsh at Brushie island … as also my addition of the first higgledy piggledy lots of salt marsh … as also my two acre lot of marsh lying at a place called the rocks as also my lot of marsh in the bareberry meadow with the addition … as also that lot of marsh near Fox Island which I exchanged with Oneze: [Onesiphorus] Page for my lot at Mr. Hall’s farm, as also three cow commonages with all after divisions belonging thereunto”; to “my son Sam[ue]ll Carter the other half of my upland next Mr. Bradburie’s land, as also the one full half part of my great division of land above the mill, as also my six-acre lot of cow common marsh & three cow commonages & the remainder of my marsh lot at the beach upon the northermost side of the dead creek next to Brushie Island”; to “my daughter Mary,” £5; to “my daughter Martha,” £5; to “my daughter Elizabeth,” £5; to “my daughter Abigail,” £5; and “to my daughter Sarah,” £5; “my well beloved wife Mary Carter sole executrix” [ EPR 3:97-98].

The inventory of the estate of Thomas Carter, taken 13 November 1676, totalled £245, of which £165 was real estate: “housing and the land adjoining thereto and commonage,” £110; “16 acres meadow,” £50; and “a piece of outland above the mill,” £5 [EPR 3:98].


1. Mary CARTER (See Joseph LANCASTER‘s page)

2. Thomas Carter

My suspicion that the Thomas Carter who married Margery Whitmore was born on 8 June 1655 in Woburn, Mass and was the son of Rev. Thomas Carter and Mary Dalton.  A 1682 first marriage makes more sense for the younger Thomas.  Also Margery died in Woburn, the hometown of the other Carter family.

Thomas’ wife Margery Whitmore was born 9 Sep 1668, Cambridge, Mass. Her parents were Francis Whitmore and Margaret Harty. Margery died 5 Oct 1734 in Woburn, Middlesex County, Mass.

There are a number of confusing statements regarding a Thomas Carter of Sudbury. Savage assigns the births at Salisbury, and the 2 May 1638 freemanship, to a Thomas Carter of Sudbury, but this must be a simple typographical error. The printed version of Torrey makes this same mistake, presumably following Savage, and then gives Salisbury as the final residence for the Woburn minister; this was probably an attempt to deal with the reality of the Salisbury records. There was a Thomas Carter of Sudbury some decades later, but he was a much younger man and not one of the immigrants of the 1630s.

4. Martha Carter

Martha’s husband Thomas Tuxbury? or unmarried.   Named in father’s will of 30 Oct 1676 and still unmarried at age 29.

Some argue neither she nor anyone who could be her child or grandchild is named in the 1718 will of her brother Samuel because the Martha Tuxbury named in that will is not called sister [EPR 312:219].)

6. John Carter

John’s wife Martha Brown was born 5 Jul 1654 in Salisbury, Essex, Mass. Her parents were William Browne and Elizabeth Murford. Martha died 4 Jul 1717 in Salisbury, Essex, Mass.

7. Abigail Carter

Abigail’s husband Stephen Flanders Jr. was born on 08 March 1647 in Salisbury, Mass.  His parents were Stephen Flanders and Jane Sandusky.  Stephen diedprior to 29 May 1689, in  Salisbury, Mass.

8. Samuel Carter

Samuel’s wife Sarah [__?__] was born 1652 Salisbury, Essex, Mass, She first married 1675 in Salisbury, Essex, Mass to Ephraim Brown (24 Jun 1650 in Salisbury – 7 Jun 1693 in Salisbury) She married, as her third husband on 05 Oct 1719, Benjamin Eastman.  Sarah died in 1738.

Samuel’s will was dated 13 October 1718 and probated 01 December 1718.

In his will Samuel Carter of Salisbury, yeoman, made bequests to Sarah Carter, beloved wife; Martha Tuxbury; Abigail Flanders my well beloved sister; well beloved sister Sarah Davis; cousin Thomas Flanders; sister Mary Lankester’s children; well beloved sister Elizabeth’s children; cousin John Carter; Thomas Carter son of my cousin Thomas Carter; witnesses Ephraim Browne, Jacob Browne and Jarvis Ring Jr. [EPR 312:219].

9. Sarah Carter

Sarah’s first husband John Davis was born 15 Jan 1645 in Newbury, Essex, Mass. His parents were John Davis and Elinor Milford. His grandparents were Thomas DAVIS and Christian COFFIN John died 1727 in Amesbury, Essex, Mass

In his will of 13 October 1718, Samuel Carter of Salisbury, yeoman, made bequests to Sarah Carter, beloved wife; Martha Tuxbury; Abigail Flanders my well beloved sister; well beloved sister Sarah Davis; cousin Thomas Flanders; sister Mary Lankester’s children; well beloved sister Elizabeth’s children; cousin John Carter; Thomas Carter son of my cousin Thomas Carter; witnesses Ephraim Browne, Jacob Browne and Jarvis Ring Jr. [EPR 312:219].)

Sources: References:PH7:138; PH19:87-88,159; PH48:93; PH87:918; PH07:90; PH217:141; FH105:24-26; NEHGR:V3:95.

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11 Responses to Thomas Carter

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  8. Debb says:

    I would really if you get to this page like to have a chat about the Carters.

  9. Tor Welch says:

    I thought (now, think) I’m descended from the George Parkhurst side of this tangled web; but now I’ll have to do some further research in the Thomas Carter side. We’ve recently moved – so most of my genealogical files are in boxes hidden deep in the garage . . .

  10. SF says:

    Hello I am showing a possible 4th Thomas Carter. Perhaps some light can be shed on him for us. Thomas Carter
    BIRTH in Ipswich, Suffolk England
    DEATH in Charlestown, Middlesex MA

    1 daughter,
    Mary Carter
    1618 – 1673
    BIRTH Devon England
    DEATH Stratford Connecticut.

    1 son,
    Paul Brinsmade
    BIRTH 1649 • Stratford, Fairfield, Connecticut, USA
    DEATH 15 MAR 1696 • Stratford, Fairfield, Connecticut, USA

    Elizabeth Hawkins
    BIRTH APR 1659 • Farmington, Hartford, Connecticut, USA
    DEATH 15 MAR 1696 • Stratford, Fairfield, Connecticut, USA

    I could go on…

  11. Michelle Carter Donati says:


    You provided information at length about why Rev. Thomas Carter was married to Mary Parkhurst, not Mary Dalton. (I agree.)

    Later in your article, while discussing Thomas Carter of Salisbury, you say that his second child, Thomas Carter, was not the Thomas Carter who married Margery Whitmore and was born on 8 June 1655 in Woburn, Mass and was the son of Rev. Thomas Carter and Mary Dalton. (I agree, EXCEPT that Rev. Thomas Carter did not marry Mary Dalton!) as you had already explained earlier, Rev. Thomas was married to Mary PARKHURST. They had a son, Thomas, born June 8, 1655 in Woburn. That Thomas married Margery Whitmore.

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