Thomas Nelson: First Generation America

Thomas Nelson

Thomas Nelson Immigrant First Generation America died on a return trip to England on Business.

The above grave Marker is his sixth child and third son, Thomas Nelson who died 5 Apr 1712 Rowley, Massachusetts.

Here is the First Generation, Thomas Nelson’s Family Tree.


Thomas Nelson b 27 Jun 1601 Cottingham, East Riding of Yorkshire, England; d 6 Aug 1648 in England on a return trip to the motherland; m (1) 27 Jan 1627 in All Saints Church, Yorkshire, England; daughter of Philip and Dorothy Hill Stapleton, she b 11 Aug 1608, d 27 Sept 1637 Pannall, Yorkshire, England; he m (2) 1642 Joan/Joane Dumer/Dummer in Rowley, Essex, Massachusetts; A marriage contract was signed on 15 Dec 1641 by Thomas Nelson and Richard Dummer of Newbury, uncle to Joan; in steed of her father Thomas Dummer of Badgely, England

Children of Thomas Nelson and Dorothy Stapleton

1. Thomas b 26 Nov 1628 Cottinghan,Yorkshire,England; d 27 Nov 1628 Cottingham,Yorkshire,England

2. Katherine b 18 May 1630 Cottingham,Yorkshire,England; died young before 10 Nov 1637

3. Mary/Marca b 10 Apr 1632 Cottingham,Yorkshire,England; d 6 Aug 1636 Cottingham,Yorkshire,England

4. Dorothy b 19 Nov 1633 Cottingham,Yorkshire,England; d 13 Jan 1634 Cottingham,Yorkshire,England

5        Philip b 22 Jan 1634 Cottingham, Yorkshire, England; d 19 Aug 1691 Rowley, Essex, Massachusetts( See future post)

6. Thomas b 14 July 1636 Cottingham,Yorkshire,England; d 5 Apr 1712 Rowley,Essex,Massachusetts; m Ann Lambert

Children of Thomas Nelson and Joan Dummer

7. Mercy b 26 Dec 1643 Rowley, Essex,Massachusetts

8. Samuel b 1646 Rowley, Essex,Massachusetts

9. Mary b 1648 Rowley, Essex,Massachusetts; d unknown

One source mentions a son, John, who died young, no year of birth mentioned.

The year after his first wife’s death, Thomas set sail with the Ezekiel Rogers Company aboard the ship, “John of London.” They arrived in Boston Harbor and wintered there in 1638. They settled a piece of land between, Newbury and Ipswich, known now as Rowley,Massachusetts. Thomas is listed on the passengers list but no mention of his children, Thomas and Phillip. His sons were mentioned in the Rowley Massachusetts History of the Early Settlers as immigrating with their father.

Thomas was one of the wealthiest of men in the Roger’s Company. In the first allotment of land, he received thirty-six acres of upland in the Mill Field area of town. Twenty-six were for personal use and ten acres for the purpose of building a mill. He built the first grist mill and saw mill in town on Mill River. The grist mill, later known as “Glen Mills,” remained in operation until a fire in 1916.

Thomas was made a freeman on the 23 May, 1639. He was appointed by the court, in 1640, along with Edward Woodman and William Paine to view and settle the boundary between Hampton and Colchester (Salisbury) which was done. He was a court representative in 1641. Thomas, as chairman, along with three others was appointed by the town in 1643 to survey the town and register house lots to all inhabitants. The smallest amount of land of one and half acres went to those who did not pay for the land. Those who paid for land were proportioned in relationship to payment. Thomas received a six acre lot near Bay Road and the road to Newbury, not far from the common land section of town.

In regards to the date of marriage to his second wife, Joan Dummer, I found no marriage date. I did find mention of marriages as early as 1638 and 1642, but no documentation other than a marriage contract dated, 15 Dec 1641, found in the files of the Quarterly Court Records of Essex County, Massachusetts, Volume 11, 1658-1662, as mentioned above. The contract was sealed and delivered in the presence of Richard Saltonstall, Thomas Nelson, Ezekiel Rogers and William Wakefield.

A notation in Winthrop Journals, in 1643, states “our supplies from England failing much, men began to look about them, and fell to manufacture of cotton, whereof we had store from Barbados, and hemp and flax, wherein Rowley to their great commendation, exceeded all other towns.” It should be noted that John Pearson arrived in Rowley about 1643 and erected the first “fulling” mill in New England.

His will date 24 Dec 1645; “being by providence called to make a voyage to old England” with a codicil made in England 6 Aug 1648, proved 21 Oct 1649, mentions his wife Jane, “my mill, mill house, etc, in Rowley, also all that ground lately occupied by Joseph Wormell, eldest son Philip, son Thomas, youngest son Samuel born since will was made, daughter Mercy and any other child that my wife may have ( a daughter, Mary, was born in 1648.) Richard Bellingham and Uncle Richard Dummer were executors. Mr. Ezekiel Rogers and Mr. John Norton were overseers.

“The History of Rowley” sights the Essex Deeds, 4 Ips, 190, 5 Ips 148 and 5 Ips 484 in regards to Thomas’s widow Joan and younger children, being in Stoneham, County of South Hampton in the year 1654. “The Book of Grants” mentioned Mr. Thomas’s children being in England in the years 1661-1662. His daughter, Mercy married John Stroke of Rumsey,England. His son, Samuel died in England without issue before 1676.


“Town History of Rowley,Essex,Massachusetts” by Thomas Gage

 “Town History of Sutton,Merrimack,New Hampshire” Page 829 – 842

“The Family and Genealogical History of the first Families of New Hampshire” by Ezra Stearns, 1908 Volume 4

 “Town o fGoffstown History” by Henry M Nelson

 “History of Essex County Massachusetts with biographical sketches of many Pioneers and Prominent Man” Volume I Philadelphia JW Lewis & Co. 1888

 Descendants of Thomas Nelson

 A great online link for e-books–%20History&c=x

 Records of the Quarterly Courts ofEssex County,Massachusetts, Volume 11, 1658-1662 (Marriage Contract)

 Rowley Vital RecordsMassachusetts, Early Settlers of Rowley,Massachusetts

 Passenger list for the “John of London” Ship

 Winthrop’s Journals

 Essex Deeds, 4Ipswich, 190; 5 Ips 148; 5 Ips 484

 Plantagenet Ancestry: A study in Colonial and Medieval Families, Volume III, 2nd edition 2011, by Douglas Richardson, Kimball G Everingham, editor, page 275

 Early Settler’s of Rowley,Massachusetts, compiled by George Brainard Blogette, A.M. Revised. Edited and Published by Amos Everett Jewett, page 242-243, page 152-152


19 thoughts on “Thomas Nelson: First Generation America

  1. Hello,
    I am a descendant of Capt. Phillip Nelson through my grandfather’s Merl’s family. He was from Cherokee, Iowa. & Moved to Montana in the early 1900’s. His Great Grandfather David Lovell Nelson migrated from Florida, Mass to Iowa after the Civil War. David Lovell’s 6th Great-Grandfather was Thomas Nelson. I’ve been researching for months now & have been fascinated by the amount of records of our Rowley, Ma Colonial family roots. Thanks for your postings here & links to Facebook.

    Carl Robert Nelson
    Spokane, WA


    1. I have been away. Sorry for the delay in response. I went to Rowley a few months ago and plan to go back with a working camera to take photos of the graves. I haven’t finished all my Nelson research yet. I will post when I have confirmation. You can -mail me at if you have any questions.


    1. Here is a link to Find A Grave where you can get the transcription. They have a different angle of my photo along with the front entrance of the cemetery. It is the Old Rowley Burial Grounds next to the town hall in Rowley, Massachusetts. Many of the Nelsons from Sutton NH are buried in the old Sutton burial ground. It is the dirt road next to the old church off rte 114 South Sutton, New Hampshire. I haven’t transcribed the markers yet. They are very old and starting to crumble. Asa Nelson, Philip Nelson, and the Quimby lines are there. I hope this helps.


    1. The gravestone photo you have on the site for Thomas Nelson (1601-1648) is actually his son Thomas Nelson’s gravestone (1635-1712). Thank you for posting this information along with the sources, very helpful. Regards, Karen (Nelson) Conaty


      1. Thank you for the feedback. I will have to recheck my photo notes and go back to Rowley for confirmation. I make every attempt to put the correct information out there. Do you know where the father is? What source do you have that states this is the son grave stone not the father’s?


      2. The gravestone reads that he died in 1712 at the age of 77 so it has to be Thomas (1635-1712). Thomas Nelson (1601-1648) died in England. Hope this helps. Regards, Karen


      3. Karen, Thank you. For some reason my last update didn’t hold. I have updated the information of this blog. That it is his son’s, Thomas Nelson (1635-1712) grave. Thomas Nelson (1601-1648) actually died en-route to England on a business trip.


  2. My great grandfather was John William Nelson, of Northampton County, North Carolina.

    Believe he is kin to the Thomas Nelson, governor of Virginia, whose father was Thomas “Scotch” Nelson.

    I have in possession a family tree of a William Nelson, born 28 Dec 1690 in Saint Paul, Canterbury, Kent, England and died 1710 in Richmond County, Virginia. Married Frances Burroughs, and their child was named James Nelson, born 1709, Richmond, Virginia, died before 8 Aug 1796 in Spotsylvania County, Virginia.

    Within that family tree is also listed the Thomas Nelson this blog is about.

    I am well aware of a connection between my Nelson great grandparents and that of Thomas “Scotch” Nelson and Thomas Nelson, the Virginia governor, at the time of the American Revoluntionary War, at Williamsburg, Virginia.

    In this tree there is a note regarding a possible connection between the Massachusetts Nelson’s and the Virginia Nelsons. One should also look within the Nelson family of North Carolina, around Northampton and Hertford Counties.

    My grandfather was William Cleveland Nelson, of Northampton County, NC.

    Thank you for any comments.


  3. Thank you Ms Gussie for your response. And please be aware also, that my great grandfather John William Nelson married into the famous Colonel Joseph Bridgers, of Isle of Wight County, Virginia. A lot of information online about this Colonel, whose so was a general in the American Revolutionary War. The family was one of the best Colonial America families produced at the time.

    Love your design for your website.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My grandmother, Letha Nelson (married name Zegarra), is a descendent of Thomas Nelson. I have some of her geneology but it’s not very complete. I’m looking forward to reading more of your work.


  5. you have as no 9 child Mary born 1648 as being married to John Haseltine, That Mary is actually daughter of Philip & Sarah Jewett) Nelson. I am confused about Thomas & Joane (Dummer) Children some have Mercy, Samuel, Mary, but also a son John has been mentioned occasionally. Any ideas???


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