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Subject: [GENMASSACHUSETTS] Thomas Purchase - Maine & Lynn,Mass. - Great Migration Begins. Part 4 of 5.
Date: Sat, 28 Oct 2006 22:15:15 EDT
Subject: Thomas Purchase - Maine & Lynn, Mass.
Source: The Great Migration Begins.
Immigrants to New England 1620-1633.
Thomas Purchase was a curious combination of competence and forgetfulness.
As one of the first Commissioners in Maine, he quickly dropped from the ranks
of leadership and was soon being
gently pursued for debt. His large land holdings do not seem to have been
profitably managed and his defenses in court were always inadequate. If his age
as stated by his widow is close to accurate, Thomas Purchase would haven
been in his mid-fifties at his first known marriage, about sixty when he sat
with the other Commissioners, in his seventies when he attempted to leave his
debts behind, eighty when he married his last wife, and about one hundred when
he indicated in his Will that he was in "good health." As un-
likely as this may seem, a birth for Thomas Purchase about 1577 would be
consistent with what is known of his presumed siblings.
On July 7, 1684, several Indian sagamores reported that "near three-score
years since, Mr. Thomas Purchase, deceased, came into this country as we have
been well-informed. [YLR 4:14-15] Taken literally this would indicate that
Purchase had arrived shortly after 1624. We have no record of him in New England
before 1630, and although he may well have been on the coast of Maine a year
or two before that, he was probably not in New England so early as the mid
On February 27, 1647, Stephen Oliver, citizen of Exeter, merchant, gave John
Kelly power of attorney to collect from Thomas Allen, formerly of Braunton,
but now residing across the seas, £15, and John Treworthy formerly of
Kingsweare, Dartmouth, England, now residing elsewhere £38. 2s. 8d. and one half
pence, and Thomas Purchase, formerly of Dorchester, (England) but now residing
acrosss the seas £121. 4s. 10d. [Aspinwall 147-48].
On July 14, 1640 the court at Saco (Maine) ordered that "our well beloved
Mr. Thomas Purchas" should appear before them, but he did not appear. The court
being "credibly informed that he hath conveyed the greatest part of his goods
and chattels out of this Province, being engaged to diverse persons several
sums of money" the provost marshal of Maine was ordered to seize him if he
could be found and attach his goods if he re-
fused to appear [MPCR 1:55-56] Richard Vines wrote a detailed letter dated
"Accominticus" August 21, 1640, to (John) Winthrop, describing the situation
and stating that besides the debt there was "one other matter of great moment
I have against him, which I forbear to prosecute or mention till I speak with
yourself." [WP 4:276]. At the next court, September 8, 1640, Giles Elbridge,
merchant, and Hugh Yeo, merchant, sued Thomas Purchase "nine years since"
and also for a new fowling piece purchased by Gardner for Purchase about
six months later. Thomas Purchase came to court and pleaded that he knew
nothing about the warming pan and that Richard Tucker had never asked him to
pay for either
that he could remember, but that George Cleeves, now co-partner with Tucker,
"hath asked the defendant causelessly for a piece and warming pan", but had
legally acquitted Purchase of all causes. The jury found against Purchase
nonetheless. [MPCR 1:64-65].
To be continued Part 5 of 5 - p.1534.
Transcribed by Janice Farnsworth