Thomas Blossom

Thomas BLOSSOM (1580 – 1632) was Alex’s 11th Great Grandfather; one of 4,096 in this generation of the Shaw line.

Blossom Coat of Arms

Blossom Coat of Arms

Thomas Blossom was born in 1580 Little Shelford, Cambridge, England. His parents were Peter BLOSSOM (1535- 1597) and Annabel [__?__] (1549 – 1617). He married Ann HEILSON 10 Nov 1605 in St Clements Church, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England.  He began the journey in the Speedwellsister ship of the famous Mayflower, but the Speedwell had to turn back due to being unseaworthy.   Thomas later arrived in Plymouth Colony on the 2nd voyage of the Mayflower in 1629.  Thomas died in 1632 Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Genealogical notes of Barnstable families (1888) — The date of the death of Deacon Blossom is uncertain. Gov. Bradford, who was his contemporary, says he died of the malignant fever which pervaded in the summer of 1633. The accurate Prince copies Gov. Bradford’s statement and the careful Mr. Savage refers to Prince as his authority. Judge Mitchel says “about 1633.” Notwithstanding this array of authorities it can perhaps be demonstrated that Dea. Blossom died in 1632. In the tax lists for the town of Plymouth, dated Jan’y 12, 1633, N. S., (1632 O. S.), Dea. Thomas Blossom is not taxed ; but the Wid. Blossom is. The record now existing was made in March 1632/33, and proves conclusively that Dea. Blossom was dead when that record was made.

Thomas was married in St Clement's Church, Cambridge, England

Thomas was married in St Clement’s Church, Cambridge, England

Ann Heilson was born 23 Jun 1583 in Cambridge, England. Her parents were Cuthbert HELSDON (b. 1557) and Margaret ELSEDEN (b. 1563). After Thomas died, Ann married at Plymouth, 17 Oct 1633 to Henry Rowley of Plymouth and later of Scituate and Barnstable.   Ann died in 1691 in Plymouth, Plymouth, Mass.

Children of  Thomas and Elizabeth:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Child 15 Feb 1617
buried at Pieterskerk in Leiden
2. Child 12 Apr 1617
buried at Pieterskerk in Leiden
3. Son 15 Dec 1625
4. Elizabeth BLOSSOM ~1620 in Leyden, Zuid-Holland. Edward FITZ RANDOLPH
10 May 1637 Scituate, Plymouth Colony
John Pike  30 Jun 1685
 1703  in Piscataway, New Jersey.
5. Thomas Blossom 1623 Leyden, Holland Sarah Ewer
18 Jun 1645 Barnstable, Barnstable, Mas
22 Apr 1650
drowned off Nauset Beach
6. Peter Blossom 1630 Plymouth, Plymouth, Mass Sarah Bodfish
1 Jun 1663 Barnstable, Barnstable, Mass
 Jul 1706
Barnstable, Barnstable, Mass

The Blossoms lived first at Great Shelford, then possibly Little Shelford, and moved to Stapleford, probably about 1582. Thomas’ father described himself as a”husbandman” [small farmer] in a 1585 deposition, but as a “labourer” in his 1597 will, indicating a lower economic status. After his death, his wife married (2) Richard Bracher at Stapleford on Feb 6, 1597/98, and moved with him to Cambridge.The educated language of Thomas Blossom’s letters to William Bradford have led some to speculate that Blossom attended Cambridge University, but there is no mention of his name in university records.

Thomas Blossom arrived in Leiden before October 27, 1609. His occupation while there was not recorded.

In 1617 Thomas and Anne are living in Pieterskirkof Street in Leiden, Holland where three of their children are buried in a churchyard.

In 1617 Thomas and Anne are living in Pieterskirkof Street in Leiden, Holland where three of their children are buried in a churchyard.

Thomas Blossom, was a prominent member of Rev. John Robinson’s church from the time its members left Scrooby in Nottinghamshire, England.

In 1620, the “Mayflower” and the “Speedwell” were to sail as companion ships for America. The “Speedwell” was a little ship of sixty tons, which had been purchased and fitted out in Holland for the Pilgrim congregation. She sailed July 26, 1620, from the port of Delfthaven, about twenty-four miles from Leyden, for Southampton in England, where the “Mayflower” for a week had been waiting with a partial list of passengers from London.

The Speedwell had a colorful history.Originally named Swiftsure, she was built in 1577 and took part in the English defeat of the Spanish Armada. She was renamed Speedwell in 1605. At sixty tons she was only a third the size of Mayflower.

The ships shown in this seascape are the approximate size of the Pilgrims' ill-fated ship, the Speedwell. -- Ships in Harbor (Dutch seascape) By Abraham VerWer (1585-1650).

The ships shown in this seascape are the approximate size of the Pilgrims’ ill-fated ship, the Speedwell. — Ships in Harbor (Dutch seascape) By Abraham VerWer (1585-1650).

It was found that the little “Speedwell” needed repairs before putting out to sea. Repairs were made at considerable expense and delay. The two vessels then set sail for their long voyage, but the “Speedwell” proved leaky and both vessels put into Dartmouth for further repairs. Then once more they sailed together and progressed some three hundred miles westward from Land’s End, when the captain of the “Speedwell” complained further of his boat’s unseaworthiness. Again the two vessels turned back, this time putting into Plymouth harbor, and here it was decided to dismiss the “Speedwell” after a redistribution of passengers and cargo.

Referring to this event, Governor Bradford wrote:

“So, after they had took out such provision as the other ship could well stow, and concluded what number and what persons to send back, they made another sad parting, the little ship (the “Speedwell”) going to London, and the other (the “Mayflower”) proceeding on her voyage.”

This grievous and discouraging work was performed by September 6, 1620, and eighteen persons returned in the “Speedwell” to Leiden by way of London, where the leaky boat was sold.  Later, it was speculated that the master of the Speedwell had intentionally sabotaged his ship to avoid having to make the treacherous trans-Atlantic voyage.

William RINGMary RING and Thomas BLOSSOM were  among the passengers who could not fit aboard the Mayflower when the Speedwell was deemed unseaworthy.

At Dartmouth, on August 17th, after leaks forced the ship into port, one of the separatist leaders,  agent Robert CUSHMAN wrote that

‘“Poor William RING and myself do strive who shall be meat first for the fishes, but we look for a glorious resurection.”

When the “Mayflower” set out alone on September 6th, Thomas, William and Mary were not aboard.

Mayflower and Speedwell in Dartmouth Harbor' Plymouth (Ma)-Pilgrim Hall Museum eslie Arthur Wilcox (1904-1982)

Mayflower and Speedwell in Dartmouth Harbor’ Plymouth (Ma)-Pilgrim Hall Museum – L eslie Arthur Wilcox (1904-1982)

Thomas Blossom remained with Pastor Robinson, who continued to shepherd the flock until such time as the Society was able to send over to America others of the congregation.

Two such embarkations took place prior to the death of the pious old preacher in 1625, and the remaining members embarked in subsequent voyages about 1630. The ship “Fortune” in November, 1621, brought over twenty-five members of the church besides children; and in August, 1623, the “Ann” and “Little James” carried across sixty more church members in addition to children.

The Pilgrim church in Leyden and its transported membership at New Plymouth in America continued as one body. The branch in the New World never chose a pastor so long as Pastor Robinson was living. During the interim, Elder Brewster presided over the spiritual concerns of the struggling congregation at Cape Cod until 1629. He had been one of the foremost pioneers in the Nottinghamshire movement in England, which resulted in establishing the Separatists’ Society in 1607. From 1589 to September, 1607, he had been postmaster at Scrooby by appointment from Sir Thomas Randolph, Comptroller of all Her Majesty’s Posts.

After Pastor Robinson died, in 1625, Thomas Blossom wrote sorrowfully to Governor  William Bradford of this event and of the distress of the church, and strenuous efforts were put forth by the Pilgrim congregation to bring over to America the remainder of the parent Society in Leyden.


Kind salutations, &c. I have thought good to write to you, concerning the cause as it standeth both with you and us; we see, alas I what frustrations and disappointments it pleaseth the Lord to send in this our course, good in itself and according to godliness taken in hand and for good and lawful ends, who yet pleaseth not to prosper us we see, for reasons best known to himself: And which also nearly concerns us to consider of, whether we have sought the Lord in it, as we ought’ or not; that the Lord hath singularly preserved life in the business to great admiration, giveth me good hope that he will (if our sins hinder not) in his appointed time, give a happy end unto it.

On the contrary when I consider how it pleaseth the Lord to cross those means that should bring us together, being now as far off or farther than ever, in our apprehension; as also to take that means away, which would have been so comfortable unto us in that course, both for wisdom of council as also for our singular help in our course of godliness, whom the Lord (as it were) took away even as fruit falleth before it was ripe, [he means Pastor John Robinson] when neither length of days, nor infirmity of body, did seem to call for his end. The Lord even then took him away, as it were in his anger, whom if tears would have held, he had remained to this day.

The loss of his ministry was very great unto me, for I ever counted myself happy in the enjoyment of it, notwithstanding all the crosses and losses otherwise I sustained.

Yet indeed the manner of his taking away hath more troubled me, as fearing the Lord’s anger in it, that, as I said, in the ordinary course of things might still have remained, as also, the singular service he might have yet done in the church of God.

Alas, dear friends, our state and cause in religion I by his death being wholly destitute of any that may defend our cause as it should against our adversaries.

That we may take up that doleful complaint in the Psalm, that there is no prophet left among us, nor any that knoweth how long.

Alas I you would fain have had him with you, and he would as fain have come to you; many letters and much speech hath been about his coming to you, but never any solid course propounded for his going; if the course propounded the last year had appeared to have been certain, he would have gone though with two or three families.

I know no man amongst us knew his mind better than I did, about those things; he was loath to leave the church, yet I know also, that he would have accepted the worst conditions which in the largest extent of a good conscience could be taken, to have come to you. For myself and all such others as have formerly minded coming, it is much what the same, if the Lord afford means.

We only know how things are with you by your letters, but how things stand in England we have received no letters of any thing, and it was November before we received yours. If we come at all unto you, the means to enable us so to do must come from you.

For the state of our church, and how it is with us and of our people, it is wrote of by Mr. White.

Thus praying you to pardon my boldness with you in writing as I do, I commend you to the keeping of the Lord, desiring, if he see it good, and that I might be serviceable unto the business, that I were with you.

God hath taken away my son, that was with me in the ship, when I went back again; I have only two children which were born since I left you: Fare you well.

Yours to his power,


Leyden, December 15, Anno 1625.

On May 1, 1629, six vessels left the shores of England with a passenger list which included the bulk of the Leyden congregation, all bound for New England.  Thomas Blossom and his family were on the Mayflower, the second Pilgrim ship of that name, with Captain William Peirce in command.   Also onboard was fellow Speedwell passenger, Mary RING,  her husband William having died in the interim.  Several weeks earlier some servants had been dispatched on the Talbot.

By and large, it was “but a weak company,” Sherley apologized, “yet herein is a good parte of that end obtained which was aimed at.” As the majority of passengers on both ships were Puritans recruited by the recently organized Massachusetts Bay Company, the vessels did not proceed to Plymouth, but to Naumkeag; here Captain John Endecott had arrived with the Puritan vanguard about a year before, immediately coming into conflict with Conant and Lyford, soon driving both out. After some delay the Saints were fectche to Plymouth by boat. This group of pilgrims included Thomas Blossom,  who arrived with his wife and two young children.

Thomas Blossom became Deacon of the Church at Plymouth and was called “a holy man and experienced Saint”.

In 1633 an “infectious fevoure”  probably smallpox, had swept the town, raging throughout the summer. More than twenty people died — both of Brewster’s daughters, Fear ALLERTON and Patience PRENCE ; Cuthbert Cuthbertson and his wife Sarah (Allerton); Francis Eaton, the ship’s carpenter of Bristol, who had lost his first wife in the General Sickness and since been married twice; John Adams of the Fortune company; and Peter Browne, “Goodman” John Goodman’s partner when they had gone hunting deer with a sickle and had their dreadful encounter with “lyons”.

The church lost all three of its deacons, “anciente friends” from Leyden days–Thomas Blossom, Richard Masterson and the faithful Samuel Fuller, their doctor, “who had been a great help and comforte unto them,…a man godly and forward to doe good being much missed after his death.”

17 Oct 1633: Anne remarries to Henry Rowley, a widower with small children.

1634: Elizabeth’s family moves to Scituate, MA and Henry is elected freeman.

Jan 8, 1634/35: Henry and Ann are listed as members of John Lothrop’s church.

In 1639, the family moved with Rev. John LATHROP  from Scituate to Barnstable.


1. and 2.

Leiden Pilgrim Burials

Leiden Pilgrim Burials include Thomas Blossom’s children 1617

3. Son

The son buried 15 Dec 1625 in Leiden was  among the passengers who could not fit aboard the Mayflower when the Speedwell was deemed unseaworthy.

4. Elizabeth BLOSSOM (See Edward FITZ RANDOLPH‘s page)

5. Thomas Blossom

Thomas’ wife Sarah Ewer was born 10 May 1629 in Ware, Hertfordshire, England.  Her parents were Thomas Ewer (1593 – 1638) and Sarah Learned (1604 – 1652). Sarah died 17 Jun 1645 in Plymouth, Mass.

Thomas and Sarah were married 18 Jun 1645, by Major John FREEMAN at the house of Thomas Lothrop in Barnstable. She was a
daughter of Thomas Ewer, deceased, of Charlestown, and was then residing with her mother.

Thomas was a landholder in 1647, and he and his brother Peter had a lot granted to them in partnership at Cotuit. Thomas does not appear to have been a householder. He resided in the easterly part of the town, and after his marriage, probably at the house of Thomas Lothrop, who was father-in-law to his wife. He was a mariner, and at the time of his death was on a fishing voyage. He and another Barnstable man, Samuel Hallet, were drowned at Nauset, April 22, 1650.

Children of Thomas and Sarah:

i. Sarah Blossom b. 1647 in Barnstable, Barnstable, Mass.

ii. Peter Blossom b. 1650

6. Peter Blossom

Peter’s wife Sarah Bodfish was born 1638 in Sandwich, Barnstable, Mass. Sarah’s parents were Robert Bodfish and Bridget [__?__].   Sarah died 3 Oct 1704 in Barnstable, Barnstable, Mass.

Peter removed with his father-in-law to West Barnstable about 1650. His farm, containing forty acres
of upland, was on the east of the Bursley farm, and separated from it by Boat Cove and the stream of fresh water emptying into it. On the northeast it was bounded by Thomas Sharv’s marsh and the land of Henry Rowley, and on the southeast by the farm of Mr. Thomas DEXTER, Sr. He owned twelve acres of meadow. A part of his land is now [1888] owned by his descendants.

Peter died about 1700, intestate. His estate was settled Oct. 5, 1706, by mutual agreement between his widow Sarah and sons Thomas, Joseph and Jabez, and daughters Thankful Fuller and Mercy Howland

Children of Peter and Sarah:

i. Mercy Blossom b. 9 Apr 1664 Barnstable, Barnstable, Mass.; d. 1670.

ii. Thomas Blossom b. 20 Dec 1667 Barnstable, Barnstable, Mass.; m. Dec. 1695 to Fear Robinson. Fear’s father was John Robinson of Falmouth, and her great grandfather was Rev. John Robinson of Leyden.

He resided at West Barnstable.

iii. Samuel Blossom b. 1669 Barnstable, Barnstable, Mass.

iv. Sarah Blossom b. 1669 Barnstable, Barnstable, Mass.; d. 1671.

v. Joseph Blossom b. 10 Dec 1673 Barnstable, Barnstable, Mass.; m1. 17 Jun 1696 to Marv Pinchon; m2. Mary [__?__]

vi. Thankful Blossom b. 1675 Barnstable, Barnstable, Mass.; m. 1700 to Joseph Fuller

vii. Mercy (Mary) Blossom b. Aug 1678 Barnstable, Barnstable, Mass; m. 13 Dec 1700 to Shubael Rowland

viii. Jabez Blossom b. 16 Feb 1680 Barnstable, Barnstable, Mass.; m. 9 Sep 1710 to Mary Goodspeed


The Pilgrim’s Leiden

Genealogical notes of Barnstable families  Being a reprint of the Amos Otis Papers originally published in the Barnstable Patriot in 1861; Revised by Charles  F. Swift Largely made from notes made by the author (1888)

This entry was posted in 13th Generation, Dissenter, First Comer, Immigrant - England, Line - Shaw and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Thomas Blossom

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  2. Ellis Grist says:

    My family name is Grist. — maternal family – Grinolds — wife was Fishel. I have no knowledge of Blossom in my ancestry, even though I am a anthropologist.

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  6. Cliff Baggett says:

    History and life can be changed by a step to the side or a missed opportunity at a given point of time. If a life in 1620 was lost or saved it could change a family line and history completely. What might have been if….

    A question is does close count just in horse shoes or does it count in history too? And if someone was to ask “Was your ancestor a Pilgrim and come over on the Mayflower?” My answer would be “Yes and No or No and Yes.” The first question depends on your view of history and the second you may not understand at first although it answers the question honestly.
    What history did and how it changed what might have happened to our family goes back to before the time of the voyage of the Mayflower in 1620 just as what happened to the people who did sail the Mayflower. One falling domino affects all the others.

    Our ancestor that is directly connected to the 1620 voyage of the Mayflower is Doctor Thomas Blossom and his wife and children. He and his son were scheduled to travel on the Speedwell in company with the Mayflower, but when the Speedwell failed to sail after two efforts he and his son were left on the dock watching the Mayflower sail off into history. He returned to his wife in Holland where his son passed away.

    It was nine years later that he, his wife, two sons and daughter Elizabeth sailed on the Mayflower (either the first or second Mayflower) to join his friends. With the hard winter that met his follow travelers and the crew of the Mayflower in 1620 where nearly 50% were lost it is quite possible that Thomas and his son may have also fell ill. If so then his daughter Elizabeth being born in 1620 would not have come to the new world.

    Elizabeth then would not have married Edward Fitz Randolf and their daughter not marry a Bloomfield and their daughter not marry a Salyer/Sallier and their offspring’s would not have a daughter who married a Risner would had a daughter who married a Baggett.

    Without the first domino all the others may not have fallen in line.

    So the answer is those who can trace their family to Dr.Blossom can say “Yes our family were Pilgrims and yes they came over on a ship called the Mayflower.” And it is possible our families may not exist if they had arrived in 1620.

    • Timothy j Marks says:

      I also would not be here as well! I trace my lineage through E. Blossom as well!

    • Nedra Nichols says:

      Thankfully, Thomas had to return to Leiden. Had he not, his son Peter would not have been born and I and the rest of my family would not have ‘arrived’.
      (Thomas was not a ‘doctor’ he was a deacon in the church)

  7. Dian Blossom Williams says:

    Life is full of “what ifs.” Better to focus on “What is.” – Dian Blossom (now Williams) and direct descendant of Thomas Blossom

  8. Daryl Karl says:

    Can anyone tell me where Thomas Blossom lies in rest?

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