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Thomas Dexter, Sr.[1]

Male 1606 - 1676  (~ 82 years)


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  • Name Thomas Dexter  [2, 3
    Suffix Sr. 
    Born Between 1594 and 1606  Great Bowden, Leicestershire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [4, 5, 6
    Gender Male 
    Died Between 26 Oct 1676 and 9 Feb 1676/77  Boston, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [7, 8
    Buried Kings Chapel Cemetery, Boston MA Find all individuals with events at this location  [4, 9
    Person ID I113997  My Genealogy
    Last Modified 16 May 2017 

    Father Thomas Dexter,   b. Abt 1568 
    Family ID F67768  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Mary Harper,   b. 25 Dec 1590, Great Bowden, Leicestershire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married 30 Jan 1612/13  Great Bowden, Leicestershire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Last Modified 24 Jan 2013 
    Family ID F67759  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Mary Parkhurst,   b. 1609, Sandwich, Barnstable Co., MA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married 5 Jan 1656/57 
    Children 
     1. Mary Dexter,   b. Bef 1617  [Stepchild]
     2. Mary Frances Dexter,   b. 1617, England Find all individuals with events at this location
     3. James Dexter,   b. Abt 1620, Sandwich, Barnstable Co., MA Find all individuals with events at this location
     4. Thomas Dexter, Jr.,   b. Abt 1623, Bristol, Somerset, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 29 Dec 1686, Sandwich, Barnstable, Massachusetts Bay Colony Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 63 years)
     5. Frances Dexter,   b. Abt 1626, England Find all individuals with events at this location
     6. William Dexter,   b. 1630, Alton, Wilts, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1694, Rochester, Plymouth, Massachusetts Bay Colony Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 64 years)
    Last Modified 16 May 2017 
    Family ID F48933  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • From Ancestry.Com Database: Full Context of The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-33

      THOMAS DEXTER

      ORIGIN: Unknown
      MIGRATION: 1630
      FIRST RESIDENCE: Lynn
      REMOVES: Sandwich by 1648, Barnstable by 1657, Boston by 1676
      OCCUPATION: Farmer.
      CHURCH MEMBERSHIP: Thomas Dexter Sr. was admonished for "sleeping in time of service," 4 August 1646 [EQC 1:101].

      FREEMAN: 18 May 1631 [WJ 2:442; omitted from MBCR 1:366 because of later disenfranchisement, but in original]. On 4 March 1632/3 the court ordered that "Thomas Dexter shall be set in the bilbowes, disfranchised & fined 40 for speaking reproachful & seditious words against the government here established, & finding fault to diverse with the acts of the Court, saying this captious government will bring all to naught, adding that the best of them was but an attorney, &c." [MBCR 1:103]; in the general amnesty of 6 September 1638 30 of this fine was remitted [MBCR 1:243]. Admitted freeman of Plymouth Colony, 1 June 1658 [PCR 3:136]. (Oath of fidelity, Barnstable list of 1657 (as "Mr. Thomas Dexter, Seni[o]r") [PCR 8:179]; Barnstable section of Plymouth Colony list of freemen of about 1658 (as "Mr. Tho: Dexter, Seni[o]r") [PCR 8:200].) In Barnstable section of freeman's list of 29 May 1670 [PCR 5:277].

      OFFICES: Plymouth Colony grand jury, 7 June 1652, 7 June 1659 [PCR 3:9, 162]. Committee to lay out a highway, 20 June 1654 [PCR 3:61]. Petit jury, 7 October 1651, 6 March 1654/5, 5 June 1656, 2 October 1660 [PCR 3:73, 200, 7:56, 79]. Committee to set the bounds between Sandwich and Plymouth, 1 June 1663 [PCR 4:40, 5:41]. Highway surveyor, Sandwich, 7 June 1648, 4 June 1650 [PCR 2:124, 155]. Committee to gather in the minister's maintenance at Sandwich, 1 June 1675 [PCR 5:172].

      ESTATE: Granted 350 acres in the 1638 Lynn land division [EQC 2:271]. On 24 October 1638, "Thomas Dexter of Lynne ..., yeoman ... for my natural love and good affection that I bear unto my son & heir apparent Thomas Dexter" granted him one mansion house and appurtenances, and one water mill, and six hundred acres of land, meadow and pasture to the said mansion house belonging "lying and being in Sandwich by the Indians heretofore called Shawme" in Plymouth Colony, and if "my said sone ... shall not think good to accept of the premises hereby granted, that I will pay him the sum of five hundred pounds upon reasonable demands" [Lechford 24-25]. On 30 October 1638, the previous deed was amended to include Thomas Dexter's gift of oxen, plough and a horse and to commit to writing the agreement that young Thomas would "pay or cause to be paid unto Mary Dexter & Frances Dexter his [Thomas the elder's] daughters, for and towards their portions the sum of one hundred pounds" each when the younger Thomas "shall enter into & upon the said lands ... after his marriage, or at such time as he or his executors ... shall demand & receive the said five hundred pounds, in case the said Thomas Dexter above bounden should marry a wife and die at sea before his return into these parts of New England, or not be well advanced in marriage according to the good liking of the said Thomas Dexter the father" [Lechford 34-35]. On 16 July 1639 Samuel Maverick of Noddle's Island, gentleman, and Thomas Dexter of Lynn, yeoman, bound themselves in the amount of 800 to pay William Hooke, merchant, 436 on 16 January 1639/40 [Lechford 116]. On 20 August 1640, Thomas Dexter of Lynn, yeoman, mortgaged the eight hundred acre farm in Lynn and twenty head of cattle to Humphrey Hooke for payment of a 500 judgment against Dexter [Lechford 285-86]. This debt was not easily paid, and Aspinwall recorded that "Alderman Hooke of Bristol, merchant" and "Tho: Dexter of Linn" in a difference over 440 due to Hooke agreed to have four men value "lands towards or in satisfaction of the said debt" 10 September 1643. On 30 June 1648, Thomas Dexter was described as "late of Lin & now of Sandwich" when he confirmed that he had assigned one hundred acres of plowland and five hundred thirty acres of pasture near Charlestown line to Samuel Bennet as ordered by Mr. William Hooke [Aspinwall 135-37]. William Hooke wrote of the matter to John Winthrop, indicating that he would give Dexter as much time as he could, but that his father pressed for the money [WP 4:274]. "John Frend" had Thomas Lechford record a list of "money due to me from my father-in-law Thomas
      Dexter" about spring 1641. It included over 100 borrowed from Friend prior to the marriage and "My wife's portion was to be 100. to be paid at the day of marriage w[hi]ch was in October 1639...." Evidently not being able to pay the various sums, Thomas Dexter bound the mill to Friend 26 June 1640 [Lechford 385]. Aspinwall recorded a bond of 80 from Thomas Dexter to John Fish of "Wroxall in the county of Warwicke" dated 7 November 1640 and another bond from Dexter to Fish for 60 dated 26 December 1640 [Aspinwall 235].

      In the division of meadow at Sandwich on 16 April 1640, "Mr. Thom[as] Dexter" was granted twenty-six acres "if he come to live here" [PCR 1:150].

      On 29 June 1640 "Tho: Dexter of Lynne" granted to Mathew Cradock of London, merchant, in security "for the payment of one hundred & fifty pounds unto the said Math: Cradock his farm at Linne w[i]th the appurtenances thereof" [SLR 1:15].

      On 22 December 1640, Samuel "Peerse" received 32 2s. for the use of Mr. Thomas Santley from "Mr. Thomas Dexter of Linne" [Aspinwall 144].

      At court 9 July 1644 "six acres of land lying by Farmer Dexter, given him by the town, challenged by Tho. Dexter by a former gift. It is agreed that he shall have the six acres near Mr. Holliock's twenty acres. He said that he bought one hundred and fifty acres, house and wares, at twelve pence per acre" [EQC 1:62].

      On 25 January 1646[/7] Thomas Dexter of Lynn, yeoman, sold to "Richard Ledder" for the use of the ironworks, all that land which by reason of a dam now agreed to be made shall overflow and all sufficient ground for a watercourse from the dam to the works to be erected, and also all the land between the ancient watercourse and the next extended flume or watercourse together with five acres and an half of land lying in the cornfield most convenient for the ironworks and also two convenient cartways that is to say one on each side of the premises as by a deed indented bearing date the twenty-seventh of January 1645 more at large appeareth [ELR 1:2].

      Administration was taken on the estate of "Thomas Dexter Senior" 9 February 1676[/7] by "Capt. James Oliver his son-in-law and Thomas Dexter Jr., his grandson" [SPR 12:16]. The grandson soon died and in court in November 1679 "Ensign Ri[chard] Woodde" was named in his place [SPR 12:16]. An inventory was sworn 25 April 1677 on the estate of "Thomas Dexter Senior late deceased in Boston and as far as is known" totalling 70 with no land, except "a claim of some lands" at Lynn, which were unvalued [SPR 12:138]. Capt. James Oliver and Thomas Dexter, Jr., administrators of the estate of selectman Thomas Dexter Sr., deceased, sued the town of Lynn and Thomas Laiton regarding the ownership of Nahant, appealing the Court of Assistants' ruling of 1 September 1657 [EQC 6:325]. The judgment was in favor of Lynn, 26 November 1678 [EQC 7:124-25]. The most telling evidence against Dexter was probably the deposition of about 1677 made by "Clement Couldam aged about fifty-five years" who said that "about thirty-four years since he lived with old Thomas Dexter and the latter coming from the town meeting told Mr. Sharp of Salem, in his hearing, that he had given up his right in Nahant to Line and the town had given him a considerable tract of land on the back side of his farm which would be of more advantage to him" [EQC 7:127].

      BIRTH: By about 1594 based on estimated date of marriage.
      DEATH: Boston after 26 October 1676 (when Samuel Sewall "had a very good supper at Mr. Dexter's" [Sewall 27]) and before 9 February 1676/7 (administration granted).
      MARRIAGE: By about 1619 _____ _____; not seen in New England records.
      CHILDREN:

      i MARY, b. say 1619; m. (1) in October 1639 John Friend [Lechford 385]; m. (2) Capt. James Oliver.
      ii THOMAS, b. say 1624; m. by 1649 Elizabeth _____ (daughter Mary b. Sandwich 11August 1649 [PCR 9:9]). (The marriage at Sandwich of "[blank] [blank]" to Mary Vincent on 8 November 1648 has been appropriated to this couple [PCR 8:6], but this may well belong in another family.)
      iii FRANCES, b. say 1626; m. Roxbury 29 December 1646 Richard Woody.
      iv WILLIAM, b. say 1628; m. Barnstable in July 1653 Sarah Vincent [MD 4:223].

      ASSOCIATIONS: At court in November 1651, John Fuller, aged thirty years, testified that "meeting his brother Dexter and Edward Brose at Boston they informed him that they were employed by the Lady Moodye to sell her farm ... afterwards being at Lynne, his brother Dexter told him that the farm was sold to Mr. King" [EQC 1:241]. How John Fuller might have been related to Thomas Dexter has not been determined. (Later, at Plymouth court 10 June 1662, Mr. Thomas Dexter, Senior, complained of Lt. Fuller and sundry other neighbors for pulling up a fence and turning in cattle [PCR 4:21-22]; this was almost certainly not the John Fuller of the Essex case.)

      COMMENTS: Mary Dexter, born at Barnstable 11 August 1649, was the child of Thomas Dexter the son of the immigrant, contrary to the statement of Savage.
      "Farmer" Thomas Dexter was a persistent presence in the Essex courts, frequently suing or being sued for debt and even shady practices. His son of the same name was often cited as well [EQC 1:36, 37, 52-54, 57, 62, 79, 83]. At an early date Thomas Dexter accused John Endicott of battery, and on 3 May 1631 the case was tried before a jury, which decided in favor of the plaintiff and awarded him 40s. damages [MBCR 1:86; see also WJ 1:64, WP 3:25-26].
      On 3 July 1632 the court ordered "that Thomas Dextor shall be bound to his good behavior till the next General Court, & fined 5 for his misdemeanor & insolent carriage & speeches to S: Bradstreet, at his own house; also, at the General Court is bound to confess his fault" [MBCR 1:97]; on 7 November 1632 4 of the fine was forgiven [MBCR 1:102].
      On 3 September 1633 the differences between John Dillingham, Richard Wright and Thomas Dexter were referred to John Endicott and Increase Nowell for arbitration [MBCR 1:108]. On 1 October 1633 Thomas Dexter was fined 20s. for drunkenness [MBCR 1:108]. On 3 April 1637 Thomas Dexter was one of the "ten men of Saugust" who were granted land to establish the town that would become Sandwich [PCR 1:57].
      In 1647, "Farmer Thomas Dexter" caused copies of a 1638 agreement between him and Richard Chadwell of Sandwich to be entered in the court records at Plymouth as they began arbitration of a debt [PCLR 12:148, 149].
      On 29 June 1641 Thomas Dexter Sr. was ordered to return the sack and its contents taken from William Harper [EQC 1:29]. He was in court against William Harper and arbiters were assigned to the case 25 January 1641[/2] [EQC 1:34]. He was still having troubles with Harpers, this time Richard, 27 June 1643 [EQC 1:55]. At court 27 December 1643, Thomas Dexter was presented for "evading justice in challenging cattle of Mr. Otley under execution, and putting others in their room" [EQC 1:58]. Robert Nash agreed to pay a considerable debt due Mr. Simon "Broadstreet" in beaver on behalf of Dexter, 4 November 1645 [EQC 1:87, 90].
      At court 31 March 1646 Samuel Hutchinson of Lynn sued Thomas Dexter, Sr., of Lynn, for assault and battery and won a 40s. judgement against Dexter [EQC 1:95]. The depositions of several neighbors who were going to work and passed "Goodman Dexters" said that Dexter struck Hutchinson "with the great end of his stick about twenty blows, that the man was a quiet man and that Goodman Dexter had no cause to complain" [EQC 1:100].
      At court 30 June 1657 Thomas Dexter sued the town of Lynn for trespass, claiming that he owned Nahant. Among the many depositions brought in regarding this case, "Christopher Linse" succinctly stated that "Thomas Dexter bought Nahant of Black Will or Duke William, and employed him [Linse] to fence part of it when he lived with Thomas Dexter." William Winter, aged seventy three years or thereabouts, remembered that "Black Will or Duke William ... came to my house (which was two or three miles from Nahant) when Thomas Dexter had bought Nahant of him for a suit of clothes" and asked him what he would give for the land Winter's house stood on [EQC 2:43]. The court found for the defendants. Thomas Dexter and his son-in-law Richard Wooddy appealled. He was ordered to record the bounds of his allotment at Conahassett 3 May 1653 [PCR 3:27]. He asked that someone go and set the bounds of his property at Barnstable, 4 October 1653. Eventually Governor Prence went, but there was no settlement of the issue, even as late as 1680 [PCR 3:41, 108, 4:133, 6:51].

      The Dexters were hard masters. Thomas Jenner found it necessary to write from Saco 6 April 1646 to John Winthrop asking Winthrop to see to the matter of a child of Mrs. Allin of Casco whose only son had been placed "by Mr. Tuckar and Mr. Cleaves" with "one Goodman Dexter of Lyn." "The truth is, the boy is used very hardly: I saw the youth at Dexter's own house most miserable in clothing, never did I see any worse in New England ..." [WP 5:77]. Dexter was heard to say over the dying body of young Thomas Fish, crushed in the collapse of a bank at the mill dam, that "It is too late to go to work today" [PCR 4:85].

      "Mr. Thomas Dexter, Senior," brought eight debt suits to court 6 March 1648/9 with mixed results [PCR 7:43-44].

      Aspinwall = "A Volume Relating to the Early History of Boston Containing the Aspinwall Notarial Records from 1644 to 1651," in Reports of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, Volume 32 (Boston 1903)

      PCR = Records of the Colony of New Plymouth in New England, Nathaniel B. Shurtleff and David Pulsifer, eds., 12 volumes in 10 (Boston 1855-1861)

      PCLR = Plymouth Colony Deeds (from microfilm; Volume 1 has been published as Volume 12 of PCR)

      ELR = Essex County, Massachusetts, Deeds, microfilm copies

      EQC = Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts, 1636-1686, 9 volumes (Salem 1911-1975)

      Lechford = Note-book Kept by Thomas Lechford, Esq., Lawyer, in Boston, Massachusetts Bay, from June 27, 1638, to July 29, 1641, Edward Everett Hale, Jr., ed. (Cambridge 1885; rpt. Camden, Maine, 1988). Citations herein refer to the pagination as printed (and not to the manuscript pagination) and will therefore differ from the index entries of the 1885 edition.

      MBCR = Records of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, 1628-1686, Nathaniel B. Shurtleff, ed., 5 volumes in 6 (Boston 1853-1854)

      Sewall = The Diary of Samuel Sewall, Volume One 1674-1708, Volume Two 1709-1729, M. Halsey Thomas, ed. (New York 1973)

      SLR = Suffolk Deeds, Volumes 1 through 14 (Boston 1880-1906). Citations to later volumes are from the microfilm copies of the originals.

      SPR = Suffolk County, Massachusetts, Probate Records

      WJ = John Winthrop, The History of New England from 1630 to 1649, James Savage, ed., 2 volumes (Boston 1853). Citations herein refer to the pagination of the 1853 and not the 1826 edition, even though the index to the 1853 edition continues to use the 1826 pagination.

      WP = Winthrop Papers, 1498-1654, 6 volumes, various editors (Boston 1925-1992)
      -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---
      From Gail Ferris' notes:

      Per information from Kathy Mellen also a descendant of William and descendant of Daniel Dexter brother to my g,g.grandfather Aaron Dexter. Thomas Dexter, Sr. who was born in the vicinity of Bristol, England. He came to New England in 1630. He immigrated with three of his children, and settled on an 800 acre farm in Lynn, Mass. (Was also known as Thos. of Lynn). He built a bridge over the Saugus River and later a sawmill near the bridge. He was made a freeman of the Plymouth Colony in 1631. He got into a fight with Captain Endicott, who punched him. The good captain had to pay him 10#. From what Kathy read, Thomas Dexter, Sr. probably had a fierce temper as he was in 6 lawsuits in 1648 along. He lost his rights as a freeman for speaking seditious words against the government , and was arrested for beating a man to a pulp.

      However, according to other written documents I received from Carol (Dexter) Minson on Page 320 of GENEALOGICAL NOTES OF BARNSTABLE FAMILIES, a reprint of the AMOS OTIS PAPERS, orig pub in the Barnstable Patriot and Revised by D.F. Swift, Vol. l, F.P.Gross, Publishers and Printers, Barnstable, Mass. 1888. and I quote: "In 1657 MR. DEXTER (Sr.) took the oath of fidelity and was admitted a freeman of the Plymouth Colony June 1, 1658. For the succeeding 18 years he appears to have lived a quiet retired life, on his farm at Scorton Hill...during his life, he appears to have conveyed his mill and his large real estate in Sandwich to his son THOMAS (Jr.), and his W Barnstable farm to WILLIAM, retaining his Scorton Hill farm and his personal estate for his own use. The latter farm he sold about the year 1675 to William Trop and removed to Boston...last days with a married daughter, where he died in 1677 at an advanced age.

      If both items are to be true, it sounds as if Thomas Dexter, Sr. had a change of heart and the fierce temper was brought under control and he lived a quiet life after 1658 or probably even before. Anyway somewhere between 1648 and 1658 he must have had a change in attitude. Possibly just mellowing with age.

      He was buried in his son-in-laws tomb in Kings Chapel Cemetery in Boston, Mass.
      -------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------
      From Genealogy of the Dexter Family in America by Warden and Dexter:
      "Of the early life of Thomas Dexter, the first ancestor of this line of Dexters to arrive in this country, but little is known. He came either with Mr. Endicott in 1629 or in the fleet with Governor Winthrop in 1630. He brought with him three of his children at least, and several servants, but as there is no record of his wife, it is presumed that she died before they sailed from England. There is some reason to believe that they belonged in the neighborhood of Bristol, England, for in the years that folloed he had considerable dealing with people who lived there. In 1640 he gave a mortgage of his 800-acre farm at Lynn to Humphrey Hooke, alderman of Bristol, Eng.

      He had received a good education, and wrote a beautiful hand, as papers now in existence will show; was a man of great energy of character, public-spirited, and ever ready to contribute to the support of any enterprise he thought to be of interest to the colony; always independent, and fearless in the expression of his opinions. Such were the leading traits; but it must be admitted says one writer, "that his energy of character bordered on stubbornness and his independence of thought on indiscretion and self-will."

      In 1630, in the prime of his life and with ample means, he settled on a farm of 800 acres in the town of Lynn, MA. He had many servants, and was called "Farmer Dexter." The house was on the west side of the Saugus River, about where the iron works were afterward erected.

      In 1633 he built a bridge over the Saugus River and stretched a weir across it, and a little later built a mill near by.

      He was greatly interested in starting the iron works, which were the first to be built in this section of the country, getting the iron ore from the Cape. He interested English capital in the enterprise and became the general manager. Some years later, becoming convinced that the enterprise could not prove satisfactory, he withdrew.

      He became a freeman in 1631, but soon lost the honor, for he was disfranchised on the 4th of March, 1633. He had many quarrels and many vexatious lawsuits. In 1631 he had a quarrel with a Captain Endicott (afterward Governor), in which the Salem magistrate struck Mr. Dexter, who had him complained of in court at Boston. Mr. Endicott said in his defense: "I hear I am much complained of by Goodman Dexter for striking him. Understanding since it is not lawful for a justice of the peace to strike, but if you had seen the manner of his carriage with such daring of me, with arms akimbo, it would have provoked a very patient man. He has given out that if I had a purse he would make me empty it, and if he cannot have justice here, he will do wonders in England, and if he cannot prevail there, he will try it out with me here at blows. If it were lawful for me to try it out at blows and he a fit man for me to deal with, you would not hear me complain." The jury gave Mr. Dexter a verdict of 10 pounds.

      In 1633 the court ordered Mr. Dexter to be set in the bilboes, disfranchised and fined 10 pounds for speaking reproachful and seditious words against the government here established.

      Mr. Dexter, having been insulted by Samuel Hutchinson, met him one day on the road, "and jumping from his horse bestowed about twenty blows on the head and shoulders of Hutchinson, to the no small danger or deray of his senses as well as sensibilities." These facts would indicate that Mr. Dexter was not a meek man.

      In 1637 he and nine others obtained from the Plymouth Colony court a grant of the township of Sandwich. He went there and built the first grist mill. He did not remain there long, however, for in 1638, he had 350 acres assigned to him as one of the inhabitants of Lynn. He remained in Lynn until 1646. About this time he purchased two farms in Barnstable, one adjoining the mill-stream and afterwards occupied by his son William and the other farm on the northeastern declivity of "Scorton Hill." His dwelling was siturated on the north side of the old county road, and commanded an extensive prospect of the country for miles around. Here he lived a quieter life, yet could not keep entirely free from lawsuits, for in 1648 he had no less than six lawsuits in court, all decided in his favor.

      His greatest lawsuit was with the inhabitants of Lynn over his ownership of the land where Nahant now is. This land Mr. Dexter bought of the Indian Chief Pognanum, or "Black Will," paying for the same a suit of good clothes. This he fenced in and used it to pasture his cows. The title to this was disputed by the other inhabitants (1657) who, if his claim was denied, would share in the division of the land. The result was a defeat for him and his heirs, although they kept it in court for over thirty-eight years.

      In 1657 Mr. Dexter took the oath of fidelity. He was admitted freeman of Plymouth Colony on June 1, 1658. For the next eighteen years he lived a quiet, retired life on his farm. During the later years of his life he appears to have conveyed his mill and his large real estate in Sandwich to his son Thomas, Jr., and his West Barnstable farm to his son William, retaining his Scorton Hill farm and his personal estate for his own use. He sold this last mentioned farm in 1673 to William Troope (Throope).

      He then removed to Boston, that he might spend the remainder of his days with his daughter, who was the wife of Captain Oliver. He died there in 1677, and was buried in the Oliver tomb in King's Chapel burying-ground.

      Taken all in all, he was one of the foremost men of his times. He had faults; and who has not? No attempt has been made in this to veil them. He was not one to hide his light under a bushel, and in estimating his character we must inquire what he did, not what he might have done. Who did more than Thomas Dexter to promote the interest of the infant colony at Lynn, with the building of the weir, the bridge, the mill and the great iron works? Who did more at Sandwich and at Barnstable, where he built bridges, mills and roads, improvements that the public took interest in? For these acts he is deserving credit, and they will forever embalm his memory.

      As to religious matters, he was a member of the Puritan Church, yet tolerant and liberal in his views."
      -------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------
      From a Genforum posting:
      Plymouth records, 3 Apr 1637, is thus granted permission to settle Sandwich, the fourth town in the Plymouth Colony: It is also agreed by the Court that these ten men of Saugus, Edmund Freeman, Henry Feake,THOMAS DEXTER,Edward Dillingham, William Wood, John Carman, Richard Chadwell, William Almy, Thomas Tupper & George Knott shall have liberty to view a place & sit down & have sufficient lands for three score families upon the conditions propounded to them by the Governor & Mr. Winslow.
      ---------------------------------------------------------------------
      From WWW.FamilyHistory.Com:

      The Dexter Surname Message Board
      Message #217 Thursday, September 28, 2000
      Subject: Dexter origin
      Posted by: Barbara Schwartz

      Hi Todd, Thomas Dexter mortgaged his farm to a few people at the same time. I have looked at Bristol records on line with no results but I am going to order some films from the Family History Center to see if they might have more information. I have a book on the Iron Works with some information about Thomas Dexter. According to the people at the restoration he only owned the land and never actually became involved in the iron works. He did build a grist mill with his son William in Barnstable and with his son Thomas in Sandwich. I have been there and they have quite a bit of information on the family. I just found a prviously unknown sister of my great grandfather William Dexter. His sister Ann Marie married Caleb Brooks in Ontario in 1834 with her brother Willima as a witness. His sisters Abigail and Lydia had also gone to Canada and married brothers John and William Noyes. I am trying to prove that William and his siblings are the children of Seth Hathaway Dexter in Randolph VT but there are no birth records for them. I do have a probate record that mentions William's younger brother Sereno so I am getting closer to proving this.
      THOMAS DEXTER - was a farmer, and lived on the west of Sau-
      gus river, near the Iron Works. He was admitted a freeman,
      in May, 1631. He owned eight hundred acres of land, and was
      called, by way of excellence, "Farmer Dexter." He was a very
      active and enterprising man, and built a mill and a weare across
      Saugus river. Among his speculations, he purchased Nahant
      of the Indian chief, Poquanum, called "Black Will," for a suit
      of clothes; which occasioned the town an expensive lawsuit in
      1657, another in 1678, and a third in 1695. He became one of
      the first proprietors of the town of Sandwich in 1637, and pro-
      moted its settlement, but did not remove at that time. He had
      a son Thomas, a grandson Richard, and a great-grandson William;
      but none of his descendants remain at Lynn

      History of Lynn, Essex County Massachusetts: Including Lynnfield,Saugus, Swampscott, and Nahant. 1629-1864; Lewis, Alonzo 1829,
      Newhall, James R. 1890; p. 119

      Spouse also noted as Elizabeth Barsbie
      THOMAS DEXTER - was a farmer, and lived on the west of Sau-
      gus river, near the Iron Works. He was admitted a freeman,
      in May, 1631. He owned eight hundred acres of land, and was
      called, by way of excellence, "Farmer Dexter." He was a very
      active and enterprising man, and built a mill and a weare across
      Saugus river. Among his speculations, he purchased Nahant
      of the Indian chief, Poquanum, called "Black Will," for a suit
      of clothes; which occasioned the town an expensive lawsuit in
      1657, another in 1678, and a third in 1695. He became one of
      the first proprietors of the town of Sandwich in 1637, and pro-
      moted its settlement, but did not remove at that time. He had
      a son Thomas, a grandson Richard, and a great-grandson William;
      but none of his descendants remain at Lynn

      History of Lynn, Essex County Massachusetts: Including Lynnfield,Saugus, Swampscott, and Nahant. 1629-1864; Lewis, Alonzo 1829,
      Newhall, James R. 1890; p. 119

      Spouse also noted as Elizabeth Barsbie
    • (Research):Was Mary Harper the mother of his children, and not Mary Parkhurst?

  • Sources 
    1. [S1484] jontoddgibsoncase, Jon Todd Gibson Case.

    2. [S356] Genealogy of the Dexter Family in America, William A. Warden and Robert L. Dexter, (The Blanchard Press, Worcester Mass, 1905 Reproduced by Higginson Book Co., Salem, Mass Order from WWW.Higginsonbooks.com), 6-9 (Reliability: 3).

    3. [S363] Warden, comp., William A., Genealogy of the Dexter Family in America:Descendants of Thomas Dexter, Warden, William A. and Robert L. Dexter, comp., (Name: The Blanchard Press; Location: Worcester, Mass; Date: 1905;), p. 5-9 (Reliability: 3).

    4. [S299] Gail Ferris Genealogy Report, Gail Ferris , (Compiled 1975 by Elvira Dexter w. of Gerald Dexter Elvira corresponded with Judith Rush on this genealogy. Maxine Schauer in CA entered the data into FTM.).

    5. [S356] Genealogy of the Dexter Family in America, William A. Warden and Robert L. Dexter, (The Blanchard Press, Worcester Mass, 1905 Reproduced by Higginson Book Co., Salem, Mass Order from WWW.Higginsonbooks.com), 5 (Reliability: 3).

    6. [S212] Dexter and Related Families of the Upper Delaware Valley, Richard Orvis Eldred & Iona Irene Popielarz, (Gateway Press, Baltimore MD, 1994 Correspondence and book orders to: Iona Irene Popielarz 56 Sharrer Rd. Port Murray, NJ 07865 (908) 832-7968), LOC 94-72779., 2 (Reliability: 3).

    7. [S1520] Savage, James, A Genealogical Dictionary of The First Settlers of NewEngland, Savage, James, (Name: Little, Brown and Company; Location: Boston; Date: 1861;), p. 45 (Reliability: 3).

    8. [S879] Pope, Ed., Charles Henry, The Pioneers of Massachusets, A DescriptiveList, Pope,Charles Henry (Ed.), (Name: 1986 Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc.;), p. 188 (Reliability: 3).

    9. [S363] Warden, comp., William A., Genealogy of the Dexter Family in America:Descendants of Thomas Dexter, Warden, William A. and Robert L. Dexter, comp., (Name: The Blanchard Press; Location: Worcester, Mass; Date: 1905;), p. 8 (Reliability: 3).