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An American Family History

Thomasin Fry Meigs

 
“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists."
― Franklin D. Roosevelt
 
 

Fry Family Table of Contents
Alternate spellings of Fry: Ffrey, Frie, Frey, Frye

 

The New Haven Colony was an English colony in what is now the state of Connecticut. The colony was from 1637 to 1664.

Connecticut's first European settlers were Dutch.

Thomasin (Thomasine or Tamazin) Fry Meigs was born on February 29, 1611/12 in England.

She married John Meigs (Meggs) about 1632 in England. John was born on January 29, 1611/12 in England. He was the son of Vincent Meigs. He was a tanner and currier.

The bequests in his will indicate they were a wealthy and educated family. He left substantial amounts of money and land to all his children. He left his books and writings to his son, John.

Their children included:
Mary Meigs Stevens (1633),
John Meigs (1641),
Tryal Meigs Ward,
Concurrence Meigs Crane, and
Elizabeth Meigs Hubbell (married Richard Hubbell).

Mary was born in England and Thomasin and John followed her sister, Mary Harris, to America soon after. The family first settled in Weymouth, Massachusetts, in 1639.

When Thomasin's brother, William Fry died in 1642, he left Thomasin’s son, John “Meggs" a kid. They moved to Rehoboth, Massachusetts in 1642 with Rev. Samuel Newman's company.

About 1644 they moved to New Haven and admitted as a freemanthere. In 1648 John bought a lot on the New Haven Green. He ceded this lot to the town in 1658.

About ten years later he settled in Guilford. On March 3, 1653/54 he was admitted as planter at Guilford when he bought a one hundred pound allotment.

According to Stile’s History of the Regicides, it was John Meigs who rode to New Haven to warn the regicides. 

They moved to Killingsworth a few years before John died. John wrote his will in 1671 and died on January 4, 1672 in Killingsworth, Middlesex County, Connecticut.

The Regicides are considered to be the fifty-nine Commissioners who signed King Charles I death warrant in 1649. After the restoration, three commissioners, John Dixwell, Edward Whalley, and William Goffe reunited in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1661.

Old Style Calendar
Before 1752 the year began on Lady Day, March 25th,. Dates between January 1st and March 24th were at the end of the year. Old Style (O.S.) and New Style (N.S.) are used to indicate whether the year has been adjusted. Often both dates are used.

Any man entering a colony or becoming a a member the church, was not free. He was not forced to work, but his movements were carefully observed to see if they followed the Puritanical ideal. After this probationary period, he became a "freeman." Men then took the Oath of a Freeman where they vowed to defend the Commonwealth and not to overthrow the government.

The Fry Siblings:
  • William Fry
  • Thomasin Fry Meigs
  • Mary Fry Harris
  • Hannah Fry Rawlins
  • Planter is an archaic term for a settler. Plantation was a method of colonization where settlers were "planted" abroad. A plantation is also the kind of large farm that was the economical basis of many American Colonies and owners of these farms were also called planters.

    Rehoboth, Massachusetts was settled in 1643. It originally included included Seekonk, and parts of Attleboro, North Attleborough, Swansea and Somerset in Massachusetts, and East Providence, Barrington, Bristol, Warren, Pawtucket, Cumberland, and Woonsocket in Rhode Island.
     

    divider

     
    A tanner treats animal skins to produce leather. After the tanning process, the currier dresses, finishes and colors the tanned hide.

    tanner
    A constable was an elected official who was responsible for keeping the peace. His duties were more limited than the sheriff's. He apprehended and punished offenders, helped settle estates, and collected taxes.
    Europeans who made the voyage to America faced a difficult journey of several months.

    Record of the Descendants of Vincent Meigs: Who Came from Dorsetchire  By Henry Benjamin Meigs

    Vincent Meigs was the sole representative of the first generation of the name in America. According to early histories he came here with sons Vincent (2), John (3) and Mark (4), (born 1609-12-14.) and the family of John, but it is not known when they sailed, nor from what port in England, nor on what ship. It is supposed, however, from other statements regarding the family that they sailed from Weymouth, England, about 1634-5.

    Vincent was born in 1583 and tradition says he married a Miss Churchill. He was evidently a widower when he came to America. The family are first recorded in this country as at Weymouth, Mass., in 1639. From there they went with Rev. Samuel Newman's company in 1642, to Rehoboth, Mass., and about 1644, to New Haven, Conn. Vincent Meigs is recorded at New Haven, October 6, 1646, as neglecting to "trayn" on June 14, 1646, and was fined 2s. 6 p. "But if he bring proof that he trayned twice in one fortnight the fine is to be remitted." He is also recorded in the same year as being "an old man with only two children known to us."

    About 1654, the family of John with his father removed to East Guilford, (Hammonassett) and there Vincent built his home. . .

    Vincent Meigs died at Hammonassett, Dec. 1, 1658. His will, dated September 2, 1658, and said to have been written on his death bed, was probated December 2, following, and it is tradition in Madison that his was the first burial in Hammonassett Grave Yard.

    John Meigs, 2nd son of Vincent, is said to have been born near Bradford, England, 1612, and married in 1632, Thomasine or Tamazin Fry, of Weymouth, England, sister of William Fry and Mary Fry, who married Walter Harris, (who came to America in 1632 on the William Francis). It is conjectured that letters from Walter Harris sent back to England may have influenced the emigration of John Meigs and family, but there is no proof of this.

    According to [a] statement in Boston Transcript, date of August 22, 1900, the eldest child of John and Thomasine Meigs, (Mary), was born in England, in 1633. It is likely that the family left England soon after, and that all of the other children were born in America.

    . . . we find in 1644, that John is recorded in New Haven as having taken the oath of fidelity, and the same year is admitted a freeman. In 1648 he bought the lot known today as "Cutler Corner," on Church and Chapel streets, fronting New Haven Green, in the chief business part of the city,

    the lot along the fronts of which pass daily the greatest number of feet and on which towers the largest private building yet erected in the city.

    The conveyance of this property is on record and reads in this wise:

    William Jeanes passeth over to John Meggs his house and house lot lying on the corner over against the house of John Budd, and the highway.

    This property John Meigs owned for ten years, ceding it to the town in 1658, when he moved away.

    John was a tanner and currier by trade, and probably also a shoemaker, and being active in business accumulated property. He seems to have bought considerable real estate. March 3, 1653/4 he was admitted a planter at Guilford on his buying a one hundred pound allotment at Hammonassett. [Hammonassett was a part of the town of Guilford of that day, but soon came to be known as East Guilford, and later its territory was made into the town of Madison.] John Meigs bought from the agent of Thomas Jones, on March 4, 1667-8, the land on the east side of Guilford Green. . .

    One event of John Meigs' life should give satisfaction to the mind of every American, and that is the assistance he gave to the escape of the Regicides, or Judges, Whalley and Goffe. They were in New Haven, early in May, 1661, when the Commissioners sent with authority from King Charles to arrest them, made their appearance in Guilford with the King's orders and a letter from Gov. Endicott. They urged Gov. Leete's assistance to capture the Regicides, but by delays he forestalled their intention to proceed to New Haven on Saturday, and strict scruples would prevent any move in the search being made on the Sabbath. Early on the Monday morning John Meigs mounted his horse at Guilford and rode with all speed to New Haven, arriving ahead of the Commissioners, Kellond and Kirk, and warned Whalley and Goffe in time for them to escape. It is said that John Meigs conducted them to the Cave under West Rock at New Haven, where a bronze tablet on the face of the Rock records the fact of their concealment.

    Several times during his residence in New Haven, John Meigs, seems to have been in litigation with the authorities, and it is not strange that when the trouble arose between New Haven and Connecticut Colonies, he should have sided with the latter. He accepted the appointment of Constable for Guilford from the Connecticut authorities in defiance of the New Haven jurisdiction, and in many ways showed his independence.

    A Trainband (or training band) was the basic tactical unit of the colonial militia. Men were required to join the local trainband. In wartime, military units were formed by selecting men from the trainband.
    King Charles II ruled England from 1660 to 1685.

    John Endecott (or Endicott) was the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

    John endicott
    Governor John Endicott

    Boston was founded in 1630 by Puritan settlers from England.

     
     
    American colonists continued to use British monetary units, namely the pound, shilling and pence for which £1 (or li) equalled 20s and 1s equalled 12d. In 1792 the dollar was established as the basic unit of currency.

    Horse Terms
    Foal: less than 1 year old
    Yearling: between 1 & 2
    Colt: male under 4
    Filly: female under 4
    Mare: female over 4
    Gelding: castrated male
    Stallion
    : non-castrated male over 4

    Seals were used to authenticate documents and men were expected to have a personal die. Records in deed books are copies and signatures are usually in the clerk’s handwriting. The clerk drew a circle around the word “seal” to indicate that the original document was sealed.

    Record of the Descendants of Vincent Meigs: Who Came from Dorsetchire  By Henry Benjamin Meigs, "John Meigs"

    Meggs. John, Weymouth. He m. a sister of William Fry, who beq. to her son John in 1643. Ch. John b. 29 (12) 1641-2. (P. of M. p. 310.)

    Extract from the History of the Judges of King Charles I: Whalley, Goffe and Dixicell. By Ezra Stiles, Pres'dt of Yale College.1794. folio 51.

    The report to Governor Endicott, Boston, Mass., dated May 29th, 1661, by Thomas Kellon and Thomas Kirk, who were sent by him under instructions from Charles II, to Connecticut to find and arrest these three judges, "Regicides."

    They reported that whilst at Guilford, Connecticut,

    To their certain knowledge, one John Meggs, was sent a horse-back before us, and by his speedy going, so early before day, he gave them information, so that they escaped us.

    So important has this episode in history appeared in our times that at least two novels, "The Regicides," and "Judges Cave," have been written within the past two years, in both of which John Meggs figures as a prominent character.

    The following will serve to illustrate the tendency of John Meigs to patronize the Courts of Justice.

    In 1647, while living in New Haven, he had a law suit over the making of some shoes, his trade being that of a tanner and currier, also a dealer in shoes and doubtless a shoe maker. John sued one Gregory, of the same trade for damage done him from the unworkmanlike manner in which several dozen pairs of shoes had been made. John furnishing the leather and thread and carrying the shoes "ready cut out " to Gregory, agreeing to pay him one shilling per pair. Gregory upon testimony was convinced he had not done his part, but said, "Meigs encouraged slighting the work," while Meigs being called to propound his damage, instanced five particulars;

    1st, damage to his name;
    2nd, damage to Mr. Evance to whom he engaged to supply with goods;
    3rd, damage in having his wares turned back on his hand;
    4th, hinderance in his trade, people leaving on account of his trouble, shunned his wares;
    5th, money paid several men for satisfaction.

    The Court referred the matter to a Committee of shoe makers and tanners, who found both men " faulty " and ordered Meigs to pay a ten pound fine and give satisfaction to every person damaged, and Gregory to pay a fine of five s

    Copy of a Proceedings of a Regular Court held in Guilford, Dec. 4, 1657.
    John Meigs being called for on complaint that he came with his cart from Hamonasset late in the night on the Lord's Day, making a noise as he came, to the ofrense of many who heard it.

    Then appeared and answered that he was mistaken in the time of day. Thinking that he had time enough for the journey. But being somewhat more laden than he apprehended, the cattle came more slowly than usual, and so cast him behind, it proving to be more late of the day than he had thought. But he professed to be sorry for his mistake, and the offense justly given thereby, promising to be more careful for the time to come.

    The Court considered the promisees did see cause (seeing that the matter seemed to be done through surprisel and not willingly) to pass it over with a reproof for this first time, on his giving a public acknowledgment of his evil in so neglecting to remember the Sabbath, on the next lecture or first day, with all the aggravating circumstances in it.
    (Signed) William Leete.

    October 31, 1657, we find the case of Meigs vs. Chapman aud Parker, "in an action for tresspass." The case is interesting, and the spelling sufficiently so to entitle it to a place here. John Meigs claimed that after he had

    fenced his land at Athamonossook, were such an orderly fence, as was sufficient to keep out great cattell; yet the Defendants' hoggs came into his field & destroyed his corne.

    John claimed damages, and a witness whom he introduced testified to bringing out of the corn fifteen hogs belonging to Parker at one time, and to having seen,

    sundry other times the Defendants' hoggs in Corne doing spoile.

    The defendants put in a plea that the fence was insufficient and as they—Chapman and Parker—were strangers who lived in Saybrook, whence the "hoggs" must have strayed, the Court despatched viewers to examine the fence. The viewers reported to the Court that the fence was not " sufficient to keep out great Cattell." Thereupon, the Court decided that it could not relieve the plaintiff;

    but desired the defendants would consider the great losse the plaintiff sustained by their hoggs it that, therefore, in a neighborly way, they should considier to afford some supply, as themselves would desire in a like case. That amity & good agreement might be the better maintained betwixt the persons & Towns of Seabrooke and Guilford as formerly.

    John Meggs, Senior, this 11th May, 1668.

    Know All Men by these Presents: That I, John Meggs, Senior, of the new plantation of Hammonnasset. . .I do hereby freely fully give, grant, will and bequeath the said all unto myne only and beloved son, John Meggs, Junior. I say myne only son and heir, to be unto him and the heirs of his body forever to their owne use and I dispose to them, their administrators or assigns upon the decesse of me the aforesaid John Meggs, Sen., and do by these presents warrant my act and deed against whatsoever will, documents, deed or deeds divers contrary to what is here expressed and truly intended. That is to say what is expressed is what we shall clayme, and in case he died without heir or hope of heir this, my act and deede to be voide and to return unto myne dispose and to the true and faithful performance hereof.

    I have set my hand and seal the seventh of the firstt month of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and sixty-five or six.
    John Meggs.
    Read, signed and sealed and delivered as my act and deede in the prssence of
    Samuel Stowe.
    Joseph Wilcoxson.
    Elbazar Isbell.
    August ye 28th, 1671.

    The Last Will and Testament of John Meiggs, Senr., Deceased.

    I, John Meiggs, Senr., being of perfict Memory, though Sick of bodie, Do here Set down my last Will and Testament for the more quiett Settling of that Estate God hath given me, after I am dead.

    Impt: I Give unto My Son John, besids my farme Houses, Barne, upland and meadow with all yt to me blongs at Hamonastit now called East and in Guilford plantation which I have formerly made over to him by waie of Deed and past as my last lagacye, all my wrightings, Books and manuscripts. also my book of Marters Rolls, History of ye World, Bacons, Thomas Bacons, also Simpson's English Greek Lexicon, and Thams Dixonarye.

    Also to my Daughter Mary Stevens, I give fivety pounds in one Mare and part in Cattle and other part in Houshold Stuff all at ye prizes I have vallued them as will appear in a Schedule hereunto anexed this fivety pounds, it is my will to be made Sure to my Daughteer Mary, & after her Decease, to her Son Nathaniel or if he dye, to the next Brother, Suckseesively; if her Hssband Take This Estate into his hands, my will is that he Secure so much Lands to-wit: fifty pounds worth for The end aforesd.

    Also to my Daughter Concurance Crane, I Give my new Dwelling House or houses, Barn, home lott with ye pasture thereunto adjoining as also my planting field lott, four acres and half more or less, as also my Last Divition, not laid out though agreed to be on ye Long hill; as also my meadow at the Bridge at Hammonaset River, both The Lott I had from The Town and ye Lott That was Goodman Walmen adjoining. As also my Lott of meadow next my Neck Lott, the pomt of Meadow. Also I Give her my Land on ye the great Hamak, lymg next to Andrew Wards, all which I and and Houses I So give to my Daughter Crane, as to Remaine to her during her naturall Life, and after her Death to her Son John and his Children, not to be allienated, if he die Childless, to Returne to his sister Elizabeth, or if She dye Childless, then to Concurance his Sister and not to be Sold or alienated from them.

    To my daughter Tryall Ward, I Give my House and orchard and my grass plott at Guilford as also my Meadow at the Salt Roles, Eight acres more or less, lying next adjoining William Sewards, as also yt island of meadow, lying at the harbour or Mill Creek Mouth. That island of Meadow, lying at the Harbours or Mill Creeks mouth, yt formerly Serjent Jones's and the half of yt meadowing adjoining to it, her husband having bought The other half allready of Son John. As also I give unto her That five acres of upland more or less That lyes on ye South Side of ye sd meadow butting upon it, as also I give her my last Division of meadow, lying next Richard Hubbels and ye North Side of the Creek against part of that meadow, her Husband bought of Jonathan Dunin, alias Singeltarye. Lastly I give her also my Neck Lott upland & Meadow as it is bounded and Recorded, and all this to Remaine to her During her natural Life and not to be altered or changed and after her Death to be her Sun Andrews, or if he die and have no Children then to Returne to his next Brother John and his seed.

    Memorandum. To my Nephew Mary Hubble, as her Mother's portion, She being dead, I give Thirty pounds to be paid out of my movabells Estate, part in Cattle and part in House-holdsstuff with this provisoo, She being obedient to her Grand-Mother, and hving with her to the day of her, to-wit: her Grandmother's Death.

    Lastly none of these Legacys are to be Demanded as due during the Life of my wife unto whom I give all my a Estate Except my foresdfarme at Hamonasitt aforemention to her ye with all ye Rest of my Estate not here mentioned, whom I make my Sole Executrixs of all my Estate for her owne use as aforesd: but not to give, Sell or alter the property of the Estate

    Witness, John Meiggs.

    Josoah Hull,
    Jonas Westover,
    Joseph Willcokson
    June ye 4th, 1672, proved

    ye is an archaic spelling of "the."
    King Charles I ruled England from March 27, 1625 to 1649.

    Cattle were vital to a household and an important legacy.
    Unweaned cattle are calves.
    Female cattle are heifers and cows (had a calf).
    Male cattle are steers (castrated) and bulls.
    Oxen
    are trained draft animals and are often castrated adult male cattle.

    Horse Terms
    Foal: less than 1 year old
    Yearling: between 1 & 2
    Colt: male under 4
    Filly: female under 4
    Mare: female over 4
    Gelding: castrated male
    Stallion
    : non-castrated male over 4

    A plaintiff (plt, plte, plt is a person who brings a case against another.
    A defendant (def tf) is a person accused of a crime or someone challenged in a civil case.

    In contracts and pleadings usually people and things mentioned before are designated by the term said (sd ) for clarity. Aforesaid (afd, afsd, aforesd ) means it was already mentioned.
     
     

    This civil disobedience was an early example of the shift to Enlightenment thinking. Enlightenment philosophers such as John Locke said that the people gave the power to the government. Before that people believed that God gave the power to the government and that it was heresy to challenge it.

    Early American Colonists and pioneers had to make everything necessary for daily life and skilled craftsmen were essential.


    Life of Josiah Meigs by William Montgomery Meigs published by J. P. Murphy,1887

    John Meigs, the son of Vincent, moved from New Haven to the East End of Guilford, and later to Killingworth, upon its settlement, and died there January 4th, 1671-2, leaving a comfortable estate. His trade was that of a tanner and currier, but he was originally also a dealer in shoes and doubtless a shoemaker. In his latter years, he was probably only engaged in farming, and it seems that he must have been a man of education, for his will bequeaths manuscripts and several books, among others, a Greek and a Latin dictionary.

    A record of that ancient day tells us that he was on one occasion of eminent service to the unfortunate hunted regicides, Whalley and Goffe, and probably the means of saving their lives. Very early one Monday morning in March, 1661, he mounted his horse at Guilford and rode with speed to New Haven as a messenger to warn these fugitives that their pursuers were at Guilford, and were on the point of hurrying to New Haven to seize them and carry them off to certain death. Meigs arrived ahead of the pursuers, and the regicides, warned in time, hastened away to another of their mysterious hiding places.

    John Meigs had four daughters, but only one son, John, who returned about the time of the death of his father to the East End of Guilford, and died there in 1713. This second John had several children, the second of his sons being Janna. Janna lived and died in the East End of Guilford, was a captain in the Guilford train-band, and represented that town in the General Assembly of Connecticut several times: both he and his father, John, were coopers and farmers. He died in 1739, leaving a large estate and a large family. One of his sons, Timothy, graduated at Yale in 1732. Return, the father of the subject of this sketch, was Janna's fifth child and fourth son.

    It does not seem that the immigrant members of the family were so saturated with the puritanical spirit, as was possibly advisable in a settler in the colony of New Haven. Though this is not known of the eldest immigrant, Vincent, yet it may be safely said of his son John, for he was frequently in hot water with the authorities of that most blackly puritanical colony, and took an active part against her in the contest with Connecticut.

    On one occasion at Guilford, he was complained of to the authorities for noisily driving his cart along the road late in the night on the Lord's Day; he appeared and explained (the Court Records tell us)

    that he was mistaken in the time of the day, thinking that he had time enough for the journey, but being somewhat more laden than he expected the cattle came more slowly than usual and so cast him behind, it proving to be more late of the day than he had thought. But he professeth to be sorry for his mistake and the offence justly given thereby, promising to be more careful for time to come. The Court considering the premises did see cause (seeing that the matter seemed to be done upon a surprisal and not witting or willingly) to pass it over with a reproof for this first time, enjoining a public acknowledgment of his evil in so neglecting to remember the Sabbath, on the next lecture or fast day, with all the aggravating circumstances in it.

    Decidedly, this first John did not get along well with the authorities of his adopted home, but the case was different with the second John and with Janna. They appear to have been of some importance in the affairs of the colony, and held positions both of a religious and political nature.

     

    A cooper makes wooden barrels and casks.

    .cooper

    Understand the Puritans better:

    Early European settlers in the American colonies were mostly farmers and craftsmen. They had to work hard to provide daily neccesities for themselves.
     
     
     

    from Genealogical and Family History of Western New York, Volume 3
    edited by William Richard Cutter

    Richard Hubbell, the founder of this family, was born in England in 1627 or 1628, died in Connecticut, October 23, 1699. It is not known exactly in what year he emigrated. His first American record is of date, March 7, 1647, when he took the oath of fidelity to the government of the New Haven colony. In 1654 he was admitted a planter at Guilford, Connecticut. In 1662 he was tried for sedition against the colonial government, having joined Dr. Bray Rossiter in the signing of two political papers, which were offensive to the authorities of the colony. He afterward removed to Fairfield county. Connecticut, where in 1685 he was one of the proprietors of the town of Fairfield. His final place of residence was within the present limits of Bridgeport. He was a planter and extensive landowner, a leading citizen, and apparently had some knowledge of surveying.

    He married (first) in 1650, Elizabeth, daughter of John and --- (Fry) Meigs, who died before 1673. Her grandfather, Vincent Meigs, was an original emigrant, who settled at Weymouth, Massachusetts, but removed to Connecticut. He married (second) but of this wife nothing is known, save the initial "E" on her tombstone, and the year of her death, 1688. He married (third) contract dated April I6, I688, Abigail, widow of Joseph Walker, who died in 1717.

    Children, eight by first, four by second, two by third, wife:
    1. John, born 1652, died in 1690; married Patience.
    2. Richard, born 1654, died in 1738; married (first) November 5, 1685, Rebecca Morehouse, (second) October 12, 1692, Hannah Sillway.
    3. James, born 1656, died December 12, I656.
    4. Samuel,
    5. Elizabeth, born November 16, 1659; married Joseph Frost.
    6. Ebenezer, born 1661, died in 1698; married Mary Harris.
    7. Mary, married James Newton.
    8. Martha, married, April 24, 1687, John Wakeman.
    9. Samuel, married Elizabeth
    10. Abigail, married Samuel French.
    11. Sarah, died December 17, I726; married, June 25, 1699, Josiah Stevens.
    12. James, born in 1673, died in October, 1777; married Patience ——.
    13. Joseph, born in I689, died in 1700.
    14. John, born in April, 1691, died April 8, 1774; married, November 6, 1711, Anna Welles.

    There were two sons named Samuel, each of whom married, and had descendants to the present day.