Monday, July 23, 2012

Military Monday - Lieut John Tomson

John Tomson, of Dutch origin, came to Plymouth in 1622 at the age of six.  He was a prominent first settler of Halifax, Ma.  He grew to be 6’3” tall, a very unusual stature for this period in time.

Sight of  log home
 burned down by the Indians in 1675
He married Mary, daughter of Francis Cooke, who arrived on the Mayflower in 1620. Being a carpenter, he built a log home, the first to be built in Halifax, Massachusetts. It was here that they suffered greatly. The Indians that surrounded them would continuously threaten them and steal their cattle and crops. 

One frightening episode happened while Mary was cooking fish in her kettle.  The Indians forcibly entered the home brandishing a knife over her in an attempt to steal the fish. Mary fought back the attack with a splinter broom and drove them away. This was only but one incident of many for the family was in constant peril.

History tells us that they were heading to church one Sunday morning when John spied a large gathering of very angry looking Indians.  He made the decision to return home and quickly gathered their valuables and left.  They warned a neighbor, but he refused to leave.

Once down the road about two miles, John looked back and saw flames and smoke.  The Indians burned their house to the ground in 1675. This was at the beginning of the King Phillip’s War.  Their neighbor’s house was also burned to the ground and he had been killed.  John received the commission of lieutenant and commanded a company of 16 men.  

John died on June 16, 1696.  He and his wife Mary, my 7th great grandparents, are buried in Nemasket Hill Cemetery in Middleboro, MA up high on a hill.  His gravestone reads:

In Memory of
Lieut. John Tomson who Died June 16th ye 1696
In ye 80 year of his age
This is a debt to nature due,
Which I have paid and so must you

2 comments:

  1. Was John Tomson of Leiden, Netherlands, like some of the other people who came to Plymouth? A Walloon or of English origins?

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    Replies
    1. In reading "Early Settlers Before King Philip War", it tells us that John Tomson was born in the northern part of Wales in 1616. He came to America in 1622 at the age of six either on the Sparrow or the Charity and Swan. In reading further, it states that he is of Dutch origin, but doesn't seem to explain that comment.

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