Cliff McCarthy, 2016
Last Updated 17 November 2017
(Much of the following is extracted from The Shepard Families of New England, Vol. 1, by Gerald Faulkner Shepard and Donald Lines Jacobus.)
Thomas Shepard, born probably at Dedham, Mass., ca. 1635-37, was the son of Ralph and Thankslord (Perkins) Shepard. His gravestone says he died at Milton, Mass., 29 September 1719, in his 87th year, but his age at death is doubtless exaggerated, as it would make him born ca. 1633, and he did not accompany his parents to America in 1635. In November of 1684, he gave testimony in connection with the estate of Jonathan Wade of Ipswich, stating his age as about 48 and that he had lived ten or twelve years at Malden [Essex County Probate]. That would place his birth about 1636. The following comment appears in The Great Migration Begins:
“Thomas Shepard, the second child of this immigrant [Ralph Shepard], gave his age on 24 November 1683 as “about forty-eight years,” which would place his birth about 1635. Since he was not included in the passenger list when his parents and older sister sailed for New England in June 1635, he would have been born soon after arrival, suggesting that Thankslord (Perkins) Shepard was pregnant when she crossed the Atlantic.”
Early in his life, Thomas lived in Charlestown, where his father had bought lots in 1650/1. He was admitted to the church there 2 Sept. 1677 and dismissed to Malden, 31 Jan. 1689/90. He was listed as a freeman in Charlestown in 1680 and he served as Collector of the King’s Customs and Duties in Essex Co., Mass. in 1684. He also lived some years at Malden and Medford.
On 19 November 1658, Thomas Shepard married at Malden, Mass., Hannah Ensign, who had been baptized at Hingham, Mass., 6 July 1640, daughter of Thomas and Hannah (Wiborne) Ensign. The will of Thomas Ensign of Scituate, dated 16 July 1663, proved 9 June 1664; named his two living daughters named Hannah: one was identified as Hannah Shepard (our ancestor) and to the other daughter Hannah, unmarried, he gave a colt and “my great old bible that was my fathers.”
On 24 Jan. 1674/5, Thomas Shepard of Medford, farmer, bought from John Guppie of Charlestown land in that town with a mansion house, barn and outhouse, which he mortgaged back to the grantor as security that he would pay £16 per annum for life to Guppie and his wife Elizabeth or to the survivor. In 1679 he bought 37 acres in Charlestown. On 13 Dec. 1693, being of Charlestown, husbandman, he conveyed with Hannah, “my now married wife.”
Hannah died at Charlestown, Mass., 14 March 1697/8, at age 59, and Thomas married secondly, about 1699-1700, Joanna _______, who signed deeds with him in 1700, 1701, and 1713.
On 16 March 1700, he conveyed, as of Charlestown, yeoman, with wife Joanna, to Jonathan Tuffts of Medford; and on 23 Feb. 1701 they conveyed a wood lot in Charlestown to Thomas Willis. On 16 April 1703 he mortgaged to Peter Tuffts of Medford, to secure a bond of 100 pounds given by his son Jacob Shepard of Dorchester, the 25 acres and buildings he had bought (in 1675) from John Guppy. On 14 August 1705, as a farmer of Charlestown, he sold with wife Joanna, three wood lots and a parcel of salt meadow. Of Charlestown, yeoman, he bought three acres adjacent to his own land from Abraham Blanchard of Charlestown and Sarah his wife. On 20 May 1713, with wife Joanna, he sold to Joseph Blanchard his tenement in Charlestown on Mystic side, being 25 acres with house and barn. This last was clearly the property he had purchased from Guppy in 1675, and probably he moved to Milton soon after this. His son Ralph lived in Milton.
As “now Resident in Milton,” Thomas made his will on 10 April 1719. He died on the 29th of September and the will was proved on the 22nd of December 1719. The will states:
“In the Name of God, Amen, the tenth day of April 1719, I, Thomas Shepard, now Resident in Milton in New England being aged and weak of Body but of a perfect Mind and Memory, thanks be given to God therefore, calling to mind the Mortality of my Body and that it is appointed unto all Men once to dye, do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament. That is to say, First and Principally I give my Soul into the hands of God that gave it, and my Body I Recommend unto the Earth out of which it was taken, to be buried in decent Christian Manner at the discretion of my Executor hereafter named, nothing doubting but at the General Resurrection I shall receive again the same Body by the Mighty power of God. And as touching such worldly Estate wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me in this life I give demise and dispose of the Same in the following manner and form. Imprimis, I give unto my son Thomas Shepard nine Pounds and ten shillings in need Cattle, and Swine which he formerly had of me and with that an equal share with my other Children in my Remaining estate. Also I give unto him twelve pounds which I paid for him to Samuel Whitemore which twelve pounds is to be over and above his equal proportion. Item I give unto my other Children viz. Ralph Shepard and John Shepard’s Heir, David Shepard and Jacob Shepard’s Heirs and Isaac Shepard an equal Share in my Estate after my Decease. Item I give unto my Daughter Hannah Blanchard’s Children forty Shillings of my Remaining Estate to be equally divided Amongst them. And I Do hereby Constitute make and Ordain my beloved Son Ralph Shepard my Sole Executor of this my last Will and Testament, and I do hereby utterly disallow Revoke and Disannul all and every other former Testaments Wills Legacies and Executors by me in any way before named willed and bequeathed Ratifying and Confirming this and no Other to be my last Will and Testament. In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and Seal the day and year above written. Thomas Shepard and a Seal. Signed Sealed Published. Pronounced and Declared by the said Thomas Shepard as his last Will and Testament in the presence of us the Subscribers, Nehemiah Clap John Shepard Jabez Searle
signed John Boydell”
Children of Thomas & Hannah (Ensign) SHEPARD
THOMAS SHEPARD was born Abt. 1636 probably in Dedham, MA, and died 29 September 1719 in Milton, MA. He married (1) HANNAH ENSIGN 19 November 1658 in Malden, MA, daughter of THOMAS ENSIGN and HANNAH WIBORNE. She was born Abt. 1640 probably in Hingham, MA, and died 14 March 1697/98 in Charlestown, MA. He married (2) JOANNA Abt. 1699, by whom he had no children.
Children of THOMAS SHEPARD and HANNAH ENSIGN are:
i. THOMAS SHEPARD, d. 18 April 1726, East Haven, New Haven Co., CT; m. HANNAH BLANCHARD, 7 December 1682, Charlestown, MA; b. Bef. 11 September 1681.
ii. RALPH SHEPARD, b. January 1666/67 at Malden; m. MARY.
iii. JOHN SHEPARD, d. 9 March 1690/91, wounds recieved at Quebec; m. PERSIS PIERCE, 26 May 1690.
iv. DAVID SHEPARD.
v. JACOB SHEPARD, d. 1715; m. MERCY CHICKERING, 22 November 1699.
vi. HANNAH SHEPARD, b. 13 April 1681; m. JOSEPH BLANCHARD.
vii. ISAAC SHEPARD, b. May 1682 at Charlestown; bp. 2 July 1682; d. June 1724; m. ELIZABETH FULLER, 31 December 1702.
- Johnson, Stanley F., Shepard Family, The, (Oakland, CA, 1966), “Electronic.”
- “Nineteenth-Century Heroines, Part Two: Reform, Religion, Education and Women’s Clubs,” NEHGS NEXUS, Vol. VII, No. 6, December 1990.
- Roberts, Gary Boyd, Notable Kin, Vol. 1, (Santa Clarita, CA: Carl Boyer, 3rd, 1998).
- Shepard, Gerald Faulkner, compiler, Jacobus, Donald Lines, ed., Shepard Families of New England, Vol. 1, (New Haven Colony Historical Society, New Haven, CT, 1971).
- Will of Thomas Shepard, dated 10 April 1719, proved 22 December 1719, “Massachusetts, Wills and Probate Records, 1635-1991,” at http://www.Ancestry.com
- Wyman, Thomas Bellows, Genealogies and Estates of Charlestown, Massachusetts, 1629-1818, (New England History Press, Somersworth, NH, 1982, originally published in 1892.).