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Thomas Miner

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Lieutenant Thomas Miner aka Minor, Myner
Born in Chew Magna, Summersetshire, England
Husband of — married in Charlestown, Massachusetts
Died in Stonington, Connecticut
This page has been accessed 2,147 times.

Categories: Puritan Great Migration | Stonington, Connecticut | Questionable Gateway Ancestors | Chew Magna, Somerset | Old Taugwonk Cemetery, Stonington, Connecticut.

The Puritan Great Migration.
This person migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).
If you are interested in this profile,
please check out the Puritan Great Migration Project!


Disputed Origins

In about 1683, Thomas received an essay purported to trace Thomas's ancestry back to the 14th Century. It also states that Thomas had 12 children: John, Thomas, Clement, Manasseh, Ephraim and Judah Miner and two daughters Marie and Elizabeth. (The two additional children are Judah and Elizabeth.)[1]

The 17th century "Essay" traces Thomas' ancestry to Henry Miner (d. 1359), who lived in the Mendippe Hills, Somerset, England, at a coal mine. In 1342 when King Edward III, preparing for war against the French, came through Somerset, he found that Henry had equipped his household and menial servants with battle-axes, making up a "completed hundred." The King accordingly awarded Henry with a coat of arms. The king's secretary complimented Henry's loyalty with a statement (in Latin): "The Ocean, though great rivers with many currents pay him tribute, disdains not also to receive the Lesser, if Loyal, Brooks which by one only Urne pour themselves into its bosome."

Although the "Essay" was accepted as fact for 300 years, recent research has called its veracity into question. In a 1984 article, John A. Miner and Robert F. Miner disputed the ancestry claimed in the "Essay."[2] The authors found that the earliest provable relative of Thomas was his great-grandfather William Mynard, who, in 1554 took a grant of a house and land in Chew Magna for the lives of himself, his son Thomas, and Thomas's wife Joan. The descent from William Mynard goes through son Thomas, a tailor who died between the date he made his will on October 20, 1573 and the date his will was proved, September 15, 1574. Clement Miner was the eldest son of Thomas. He had eight children, the last being Thomas, the subject of this profile. The name of Thomas's mother is unknown.


Thomas (1608 - 1690) was baptised 29 Apr 1608 Chew Magna, Somersetshire, England.[3]

His name was variously spelled Minor, Miner and Myner. Many of those surnamed Minor or Miner living in the United States are descendants of this Thomas of Chew Magna, England. [4]


He emigrated in 1632, from Chew Magna, England to New England where he became the progenitor of many descendants.

It is claimed that Thomas Miner sailed on the ship "Lyon's Whelp," part of the Higginson Fleet, which landed at Salem in 1629. Neither the Winthrop Society nor Robert Charles Anderson, in "The Great Migration Begins," shows Thomas as a passenger. Banks shows "Thomas Miner, 22 of Chew Magna county Somerset Charlestown" on the list of the "Lyon's Whelp's" passenger,.[5] and he cites the Higginson Journals and the Massachusetts Colonial Records, I, 395. The Higginson Journals contain no reference to Thomas Minor.[6]

The authors of an article about the early political climate in Charlestown show, in a chart, that Goodman Thomas Minor was in Salem in 1629 and that he became a church member in 1630. They included no sources for this information.[7]

Thomas was admitted to the church in Charlestown as a founding member in November 1632, and there is no record of him in America earlier. Coupling that with the fact that there does not appear to be any solid evidence that he was aboard the "Lyon's Whelp" leads to the conclusion that he did not arrive until 1632, as shown by Anderson. That something is oft repeated does not make it true.


He was in Charlestown, Suffolk, Massachusetts by November 1632 and for the birth of his son John in 1635. He relocated to Hingham, MA in 1636, where his son Clement was baptised in March 1637/38.[8] Thomas is listed as a Founder of New London, CT in 1645 and also of Stonington in 1652.


He was appointed chief military officer of the Mystic Train band in July 1665. During King Philip's war he served as a Lieut. He was referred to by that title in Feb and Apr 1676. In August 1676 he was called Captain, but is usually mentioned in later years as Lieutenant.[9]


Thomas kept a diary for the years 1653-1684. Although some of it is in cypher and contains many cryptic records of the lives of the Minor family members, you can read a transcript of the diary.


Thomas died on October 23, 1690, and is buried in Wequetequock Burial Ground, Stonington, New London, Connecticut, under a large wolf stone from his house, on which is cut:

"Here lyes the body of Lieutenant Thomas Minor aged 83 -- departed 1690" [10] You can see pictures of Thomas's gravestone (the oldest gravestone in Stonington), and the Minor monument at Find a Grave.

General and President Ulysses S. Grant is a lineal descendant through Thomas' son, John Miner.

Note N175pg 216 Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England

Note: 1. Thomas was baptized "Thomas Mynor".
2. The ancestry of Thomas Minor, or Myner (1608) presents a major problem for some. The "Herauldical Essay Upon the Surname of Miner" was accepted as authentic for over 300 years. This manuscript is held by the Connecticut Historical Society. It is a work of art, but probably is a work of creativity. Research in 1979 failed to substantiate it. Therefore, all claimed ancestors of Thomas prior to those listed below are at best questionable:
Clement Myner -- father
Thomas Myner -- grandfather
William Myner -- great-grandfather
3. Thomas, the immigrant, spelled his name "Minor" when he arrived in the colonies in the "Lyon's Whelp" June 14, 1630. When he later received the "Essay", for some time he changed the spelling to "Miner" to conform to the spelling in the "Essay". Some of the descendants changed the spelling, some didn't. Spelling frequently changed back and forth. He apparently finally settled for "Minor" as his gravestone, mentioned below, indicates.
4. Thomas was of Charlestown, Massachusetts 1632. He was one of the church founders in Frothingham and Budington, freeman March 4, 1634, removed to Pequot, New London in 1643 and then to Stonington soon after1645 where he was Deputy to the General Court 1650. William Chesebrough induced him to join William in 1652 and Thomas removed to Mystic in 1653, where he spent the rest of his days.
5. Thomas was successively Magistrate, Deputy, Selectman, Chief Military Officer and Town Clerk. As Captain of Militia he did good service in the Indian Wars.


  1. Alexander Cunningham, An Herauldic Essay on the Surname of Miner
  2. Miner & Miner, Vol. 138, Pages 182-185
  3. John A Miner and Robert F. Miner, "The Curious Pedigree of Lt. Thomas Minor," in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1847-. Vol. 138, Pages 182-185, at 183-184
  4. The Minor-Miner Families - Sixth Generation (web site; accessed 14 Dec 2014)
  5. Charles Edward Banks, The Planters of the Commonwealth in Massachusetts, 1620-1640, Boston, MA: Genealogical Publishing Co., Boston (1930), Page 61
  6. Alexander Young, "Francis Higginson's Journal of his Voyage to New England: 45 Days - Summer of 1629," in The Chronicles of the First Planters of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, 1623-1636. (Dec 2014: no longer at that URL)
  7. Ralph J. Crandall and Ralph J. Coffman, "From Emigrants to Rulers: The Charlestown Oligarchy in the Great Migration," in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1847-. Vol. 131, 1977, Pages 1-32, 121-132, 207-213 at page 130
  8. Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: immigrants to New England, 1620-1633 Vol. II, G-O, Boston, MA:The New England Historic Genealogical Society, (1995), pages 1262
  9. Anderson, p. 1262
  10. #S-206 "Created by: Ken Childers, Record added: Feb 07, 2003, Find A Grave Memorial# 7158439
See also:
  • John A. Miner, The Lyon's Whelps, the Descendants of Thomas Miner, 1608 1900, Winchester, Massachusetts, University Press (1950)
  • Gary Boyd Roberts, Ancestors of American Presidents, Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society. Preliminary Edition by Carl Boyer, 3rd, Santa Clarita, California 1989. Also the 2009 edition.
  • Stephen Foster, "Not What But How--Thomas Minor and the Ligatures of PUritanism", in Puritanism: Transatlantic Perspectives on a Seventeenth-Century Anglo-American Faith, edited by Francis J. Bremer (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1993) pp. 30-54.

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On January 3, 2015 at 16:40GMT Timothy Wilder wrote:

Myner-4 and Miner-637 do not represent the same person because: Myner-4 lived two generations earlier than Miner-637

On December 2, 2012 at 14:05GMT Karen Leigh Grady wrote:

Children of Thomas and Grace: John, Thomas, Clement, Manasseh, Ephraim, Judah, Marie, and Elizabeth

On September 7, 2012 at 22:27GMT Alan Butchino wrote:

Thomas was baptised 29 Apr 1608 Chew Magna, Somersetshire, England

From the Pigrims Ships List. Thomas sailed, with the Higginson Fleet of 6 six ships, from Gravesend, England on 5 Apr 1629 bound for the Massachusetts Bay/Charles River. He is on the passenger list for the ship Lyon's Welp arriving in Salem Harbor June 1639. Thomas was baptised 29 Apr 1608 Chew Magna, Somersetshire, England.

Thomas is listed as a Founder of New London and also Stonington.

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