John Thompson
1651 Document

In the recent document that Genevieve Fraser uncovered and circulated to the Tommie list, several have tried transcriptions (including me). Mine was not very good, and I was having trouble with my program, so I had an excuse not to show how I had fared. I do have some comments to our researchers group, however, because I believe they have captured the intent of the document, very nicely.

1. We certainly owe another acknowledgment and our thanks to Genevieve Fraser for her contributions to our knowledge. I consider this document as being of major importance, even though we are having some difficulty in transcribing every word. Perhaps this is the very reason that it had not been done previously, to our knowledge, in the 350 years since it was written. I have taken parts from all four transcriptions (I had a few words to add), and hope no one takes offense.

2. The document, apparently written by John Thompson, appears to be renouncing any interest in Noddles Island, in Massachusetts Bay (Boston Harbor). This sale was made Jan 14, 1649/50, acknowledged by Amias and their heir Nathaniel, and again on the 26th of the 5th month, 1650, with possession to be given by Sept 1, 1651 (Suffolk Deeds, Lib 1, 122-123), acknowledged before Increase Nowell. This present document, if I am reading it correctly, could be dated May 27, and certified 26 July 1651. This would be the date it was acknowledged before Edward Rawson, Recorder. John's mortgage on Thompson's Island had become due at the end of May, 1651 (Suffolk Deeds, Lib 1, 117), and he could not pay, and was losing the Island.
3. Lines I and 2 may read as follows: Whereas it hath been ____that Jno Thompson of New England…….." These lines could mean exactly what they say-John had indeed moved his residence from Limehouse , England, to New England! We have previously speculated that this occurred in late 1650 or1651, but this is a clear statement, made in his hand, under oath, as recorded by Edward Rawson., who was the successor to William Aspinwall..
4. Lines 3, 4, 5, continuing: merchant, have a right____onto Noddles Island in New England, aforesaid. This sentence also tells us, in his words, one or two things. First, he is no longer a mariner, but is calling himself a merchant. He had used the terms 'mariner', or 'Master Mariner' many times in his documents previously. We are now sure that this is David's son, John, and are thinking, although we do not have all of the facts, that he is a merchant in New England, but he also may even be living on Noddles's Island. This last is total speculation, and probably has little importance, but one questions the need for a release of his rights to the Island, if he was not perceived as exercising these rights, in some manner. He had mortgaged Thompson's Island in 1650 and had to give possession at the end of May 1651 (Suffolk Deeds Lib 1, 117) shortly before the date of the registration of this document. These first few lines may be interpreted as lending credence to his having quit the sea, to having financial difficulties (he couldn't pay the mortgage, and was trying to establish a means of livelihood), and was having to move to a new location (both Thompson's Island and Noddle's Island were gone in a period of about two months). He had the place at Weymouth (History of Weymouth) and this may have been a last refuge. He lived in Weymouth, it would appear, from 1651 to late 1663, when he moved to Mendon, MA. He would have had to re-establish himself in Weymouth, quite promptly, in order to go through the process of becoming a freeman in 1653, which is a matter of record.
5. Lines 5-10 This statement is also fairly clear, as follows: "Now know all you whom it may concern that said John Thompson is ____ both for myself, my heirs and administrators, freely and wholly(?)____ for having my right or interest in said Noddles Island. He is waiving any future rights to the Island, which his step-father and mother were selling.
6. The last portion of this document is a little vague, but may be equally important. It may be simply that John had moved to Noddles Island, and a lawyer suddenly awakened to the fact that they needed some form of release from John. This release (if that is the correct word for the document) might tell us even more, but it is difficult. John used a bold hand in his writing, and the flourishes tended to complicate the reading, while leaving insufficient ink on the written words, in many cases.

Each of these responses made a contribution to the whole, and I would be interested in everyone continuing, trying their "best shot" (Nancy's words), and be sure that our transcript is accurate. I am astounded at how well everything goes together-when I first saw the document, I thought the chances of making any sense out of it were almost zero. Well done to each of you!

Incidentally, I would encourage everyone to access a copy of Gen's two papers in 'The Scottish Genealogist'. She gives us a source in one of her earlier notes. In addition to answering the questions we have had re David's ancestry ('a gentleman and a scholar'), and a ('scotchman') it is most interesting history and is well worth careful review, from that point alone. The fact that she is able to carry the family so far back in Scotland adds to the interest. She has done a tremendous amount of work, and the list of references really adds so much. I will be very interested in her upcoming third paper, and again congratulate her for her resourcefulness and dedication. Thank you Gen.

Jim Thompson