Thomas Besson

Thomas Besson (abt. 1615 - bef. 1679)

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Capt. Thomas Besson aka Beeson [uncertain]
Born about in Englandmap
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married in St. Mary, Leicester, Leicester, Englandmap
Husband of — married in Anne Arundel, Marylandmap
Descendants descendants
Died before in South River, Anne Arundel County, Maryland, British Colonial Americamap
Profile last modified | Created 14 Sep 2010 | Last significant change: 21 Apr 2019
06:06: Dusty Boren edited the data for Thomas Besson (abt.1615-bef.1679). [Thank Dusty for this]
This page has been accessed 2,565 times.



There is a great deal of uncertainty concerning Thomas Besson's origins. One old family genealogy has him born In France. Besson is a common French surname. Then we find that many online trees have him born in Devon, England (see 1. below). Even his surname is in question. One source posits that the name Besson is a variant of Beeston, an old Yorkshire place name and family name. However, having researched primary English records from the 1500s onward, the name Besson (also Beson, Beeson) can be seen to be well established without the letter T.

1. Thomas BESSON is said by some to have been born in Plymouth, Devon, England about about 1616. An examination of the baptismal records for Plymouth shows that a Thomas Besen was baptized on 11 Jan 1617 at St. Andrew, Plymouth, Devon, England. Father was Thomas. But, the records also show that this same Thomas Beson was buried the next day on 12 Jan 1617, also at St. Andrew. So, he cannot be the same person who emigrated to Virginia.
2. Another Thomas Besson/Beeson was born in Dartford, Kent county, England on 1 May 1615. His parents were Rafe (Ralph) Beeson and Joan Harnewood (various spellings) who married 24 July 1614 in Dartford. Ralph died before Oct. 1618. His widow remarried William Lee on 4 Oct 1618 in Dartford. William Lee died 20 August 1631. Nothing else is known about this Thomas Beeson. It should be pointed out that Dartford is only a few miles from London.
3. Another interesting possibility is the Thomas Beeson/Besson who married Anne Swanton 1642 in Lavenham, Suffolk, England. What makes this family so interesting is that they had a son Thomas who was baptized on 12 Jan 1647 in Lavenham. The Thomas Besson who emigrated to Virginia and later to Maryland is known to have had a first wife named Ann and a son named Thomas born about 1645. The parallels are striking.
In a court deposition on 10 Mar. 1674 in Anne Arundel County, Maryland he gave his age as 58. [1]
He may be the Thomas BESON mentioned on the ship's manifest below. However, I am doubtful because his age (24) does not comport with that given by Thomas Besson in his 1674 deposition. Thomas Besson would have been 19 in 1635. This would put Thomas' birth at about 1611. It would also make him 63 in 1674. This makes him a questionable candidate. It's doubtful that Thomas Besson would have been wrong about his age by five years.
The original lists of persons of quality; emigrants; religious exiles; political rebels; serving men sold for a term of years; apprentices; children stolen; maidens pressed; and others who went from Great Britain to the American Plantations, 1600-1700 : with their ages and the names of the ships in which they embarked, and other interesting particulars;
by John Camden Hotten
Passinger wch Passed From Ye Port of London
24 July 1635
THEIS under-written names are to be transported to Virginea imbarqued in the Assurance . . . examined by the Minister of the Towne of Gravesend of their conformitie in or Religion. the men have taken the oaths of Allegeance & Supremacie.
p. 112
Thomas Beson 24
It's more likely that Thomas was one of the emigrants mentioned below.
ROBERT FREEMAN, Merchant, 700 acs. in Chichahominy Riv., James Citty Co., 11 Sept. 1638, p. 597. S. W. upon sd. river, into the woods N. E., beg. where land of Francis Barrett ends. Due for trans. of 14 pers: John Moore, Wm. Rebell, Robert Drewry, Robert Haywood, Jon. Markedon, Jerimiah Slye, Robert Selbee, Math. Dixon, Tho. Moore, Georg Whitaker, William Charles, John Chappell, Tho. Besson, John Pricker.
THOMAS STEGG, Merchant, 1,000 acs. Chas. City Co.,
... 18th, 1640, p. 694.
Being a neck of land between the old mans Cr. & Queens Cr. on the Sly. side, etc. 200 acs. being formerly granted unto Thomas Wheeler & later assigned unto Patrick Kannaday, Mariner, by James Turner & Thomas Harris, assignees & attorneys of sd. Wheeler, & by Kannaday to Stegg.
Due by order of court dated Oct. 15, 1640 & for trans. of 8 pers: Richard How, Richard James, Thomas Robinson, John Gulton, Silvester Ward, Tho. Bessen, Tho. Oliver, Richard Ricroft, Rich. Haslewood, Georg Potteete, Tho. Pattman, Nich. Woofed, Willi. Panell, Humphry Chapman, Rowland Demson, Tho. Penton.
Thomas Woodward, Senior & Thos. Woodward, Junr., his sonn, 2500 acres on the N. Side of the Paspetanke River [This is modern day Passapatanzy Creek in King George county. At the time it was in Westmoreland and then Stafford county.], beg, at the head of the easternmost branch of Aranews Cr. etc., towards the head of the North River.
25 Sept. 1663, p. 98 (592).
Trans. of 50 persons: Eliz. Elaerton, Xpher. Davis, Richard Marr, Edw. Rycroft, Hen. Greene, Tho. Patman, Jno. Brathwite, Tho. Robinson, ---- Morris, ----Hilliard, Tho. Oliver, Nich. Woford, Ja. Charlton, An. Bring, Wm. Lovet, Mary Spencer, Jno. Hollum, Rich. Wyatt, Mohan Hogan, Kat. Kadlin, Jno. Rich, Robt. Chambers, Tho. Hamton, Ma. Lenox, Row. Denson, Rob. Shepard, Sil. Ward, Jno. Barker, Hum. Chapman, Tho. Beffin (mistranscribed, should read Bessin), Ja. Murdah, Geo. Petit, Tho. Gilnett, Leo. Hathorne, Wm. Thomas, Rob. Walters, Jno. Simpson, Jno. Partridge, Tho. Carver, Jeff. Mumford, Mary Cross, Jno. Olton, Rich. Hamond, Rich. James, Mary Simons, Alex., Frizell, Wm. Hazelwood, Wm. Famill, Tho. Clement, Arspell Forstive, Dan. Fenny.
Note. It should be pointed out that some of the names on the transportation list for Thomas Stegg in Charles City County also appear on the transportation list of Thomas Woodford in (old) Westmoreland county in 1663. The reason for this is unclear. Charles City and Westmoreland county are not close to one another. One lies on the Potomac and the other on the James River near Jamestown.
It should also be noted that the date of a headright claim was rarely the date of transportation. It could be many years between the two events. Sometimes headrights were transferred to second or even third parties long after the fact.


Thomas Besson married (1) Anne Pecke, married 5 November 1635, St. Mary, Leicester, England[1]

Thomas Besson married (2) the widow Hester Caplin Sutton, born Abt. 1630 in , Anne Arundel Co., Md. [2]


Child of Thomas Besson and Hester is Anne Besson, born Abt. 1658 in Anne Arundel, County, Md; died Bef. 1692 in Anne Arundel, County, Md; married Nicholas Gassaway Abt. 1672 in , Anne Arundel, Md. [citation needed]


Type: Arrival
Date: 1649
Place: Maryland[3]

See notes below: Arrival in Virginia seems to have been 1638 and his settlement in Maryland, 1649.

From: "Cavaliers and pioneers; abstracts of Virginia land patents and grants, 1623-1800


Date: 15 OCT 1677
Place: South River, Anne Arundel, Maryland, United States


In the Name of God Amen the 15th day of Octobr 1677 In the 46th yeare of the dominion of Caecilius x--. I Thomas Besson the Elder of South River in Ann Arrundell County being sick & weake in body but of sound & perfect memory praise be given to god the the same and knowing the uncertainty of this life on Earth & being desirous to settle things in order doe make this my last will & testamt in manner & forme foll[owing] That is to say first & principally I commend [my] soule to Almighty god my Creator hopeing for full pardon & Remission of all my Sinns & [be] saved by the pretious blood death & merritts of Jesus Christ my Savior & Redeemer & my body to the earth from whence it was taken to be buried in such decent & Christian manner as my Exx hereafter named shall be thought [in margin] & convenient And as touching such worldly Estates as the Lord in mercy hath sent me my will & meaning is the same shall be Imployed and bestowed as hereafter by this my will is Expressed & first I doe Renounce fully? & make voyd all wills by me formerly made a[nd] declare & Appointe this my last will & testam[ent]. I give & bequeath unto my Sonne John Besson to him & his heires for ever that parcell of Lande Adjoyning to my Sonne Nicholas Gassaway but if my said Sonne dye before he Comes to age then the said Land to goe to the next heire. Item I give & bequeath unto my Sonne William Besson to him & his heires for ever that parcell of Land betwixt my Sonne John Besson lands & the Little Necke, but if my said Sonne dye before he Comes to Age then the said Land to goe to the next heire.

Item I give & bequeath unto my Sonne Thomas Besson the younger sonne to him & his heires for ever all the Land between David Steward Line & the branch of the little Necke, but if in Case he the said Sonne Thomas Besson dyes before he Comes of age then the said Land to goe to the next heire.
Item I give & bequeath unto my daughter Martha to her & her heires for ever the young mare Nobsye Coult with all her Increase but if in Case the heifer Eareling which was came? in the yeare 1676 with all her Increase but if in Case she my said daughter dyes before she Comes to Age to fall to the next heire.
Item my will is that my Loving wife Hester Besson shall have the use of the Plantacon I now Live on either to build & Cleare what she shall have Occasion for during her life.
Item all my Rest of my Estate my Just debts being first satisfyed I give and Bequeath unto my Loving wife Hester Besson & my Children above menconed to be Equally devided between them.
Item my will is that Every & Each of my children aforesaid shall have an Equall benefitt share & priviledge in the Orchard which is on the Plant. I now live on & the fruite which shall yearly Produce for five yeares after they Come to full age Provided they see that theire be a sufficient Fence Keepe aboute the said Orchard during the said time.
Item I Constitute & Appointe by Loving wife Hester Besson to be the sole & whole Exx of this my last will & testament my Loving sonne Thomas Besson the Elder Overseer of my sole estate In Witness whereof I have hereunto sett my hand & seale the day & yeare first above writtn.

Signed sealed In the Presence of Tho Besson Sealed
Edward Burges
Robert X Ward
John Greene

April 29 1679 This day Came before me Edward Burgess Robert Ward John Greene the Witnesses of the a foregoing Will & Oath did make that they did see the aforesaid Will by the testator signed sealed & delivered & declared to be his last Will & testament William Burges[4] [5]

Potential Gateway Ancestor

Thomas Besson appears to be a potential gateway ancestor who has a rather illustrious (but unproved) pedigree with a trail to Surety Baron, William Mowbray. There is some question as to the parentage of Thomas Besson and his lineage that places his potential Gateway ancestor statue in question.


[[2]] states he was transported to Virginia by Robert Freeman, a merchant, and subsequently, he and his family immigrated to Anne Arundel, Maryland.

Thomas BESSON immigrated to Anne Arundel Co., MD where he demanded 600 acres "for transporting himself and family" in 1649 into the province and since that time 3 servants Thomas JONES, Robert SAWLY, Alecia CROWDER. (3) He received a patent on the 450 acre tract Bessenden that was stated as transportation of "himself, Ann his wife Thomas and Ann his Children and Edwd COX his Servant." (4)

That his daughter Ann was born before 1649 would dispute Harry Wright Newman's belief that Ann was not born before 1658, or the mother of her husband Nicholas GASSAWAY's eldest children born about 1668 and 1670. (10) Newman apparently believed that Hester was the only wife of Thomas BESSON, and since they were not married before 1658, concluded that BESSON's daughter Ann was not born before then. If that were true, she would have been too young to have been the mother of Nicholas GASSAWAY's eldest children. Newman had apparently not seen the patent for Bessenten, which in combination with his demand for that land, showed that Thomas BESSON had a first wife Ann, and his daughter Ann was born by 1649 when he transported her into MD.

J. D. Warfield stated that as shown by Thomas BESSON's will, that Nicholas GASSAWAY married his daughter Hester. (11) While BESSON's will did show that a daughter married Nicholas GASSAWAY, her first name was not given in the will. While Thomas BESSON's second wife was named Hester, there is no evidence of his having a daughter of that name.

Thomas BESSON secondly married after 1658 to Hester, widow of Henry CAPLIN. (12) A widow did not normally wait too long to remarry, and it was stated that the lands of CAPLIN were in the occupation of BESSON until CAPLIN's daughter Elizabeth married Thomas WATKINS, the marriage of Thomas BESSON to Hester was probably about 1658.

Thomas BESSON died in Anne Arundel County between 15 Oct. 1677 and 29 Apr. 1679. (5) After his death, his widow Hester married to Thomas SUTTON. (7)

Thomas BESSON and first wife Ann had children: 1. Thomas BESSON (4) (the elder)(5) b. say 1646; (13) m. Margaret SAUGHIER

5 Mar.8 [year blank, ca. 1677]

2. Ann BESSON4 b. say 1648; (13) m. Nicholas GASSAWAY5, (6); d. before 1692 (9)

Thomas Besson is mentioned in the will of Wiliam Burges, of Anne Arundell, Maryland dated 11 July, 1685. This was in reference to land that Burges had purchased from Thomas Besson [6]

Descendants of Capt. Thomas Benson/Besson listed in publication; link below.


  1. "England, Leicestershire Parish Registers, 1533-1991," database, FamilySearch ( : 6 June 2018), Thomas Besson and Anne Pecke, 5 Nov 1635; records extracted by findmypast, images digitized by FamilySearch; citing Marriage, Leicester, Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom, page 104, citing the Record Office of Leicestershire, Leicester, and Rutland, Wigston, UK.
  2. Maryland Marriages, 1634-1777, Capt. Thomas Besson, Hester
  3. Source: #S-474356798 Page: Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s Note: Data: Text: arrival date: 1649 arrival place: Maryland APID: 1,7486::1401403
  4. transcript of Thomas Besson's Will
  5. original will of Thomas Besson
  6. "Genealogical gleanings in England. Parts I-xxiii,xxv"

Also See:

  • Archives of Maryland 51:155.
  • Peter Wilson Coldham, The Complete Book of Emigrants 1607-1660, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., 1987), 156-157.
  • Maryland Patents Q:69, FHL microfilm 0,013,064.
  • Maryland Patents Q:404-406, FHL microfilm 0,013,064.
  • Thomas Besson will, MD wills 10:42-45, FHL microfilm 0,012,843.
  • Anne Arundel Co., MD land records WH4:295-299, FHL microfilm 0,013,208.
Thomas Besson "with the consent and approbacon of hester my wife" gave a gift of 160 acres of Bessenden to "my beloved sonne in law Nicholas Gassaway and Anne his now wife" on 19 Oct. 1672.
  • Thomas Besson account, MD Inventories and Accounts 7a:125-127, FHL microfilm 0,012,919.
Thomas Sutton had married the executrix Hester. In the 1680 account she askedfor an allowance for a heiffer given as per will to Martha Aldridge and a mare called Nobsey.
[See #5 where these were willed to Thomas Besson's daughter Martha Besson].
  • "Jones Bible Records," Maryland Historical Magazine 14 (1919): 75-79.
From the birth of the first child of Thomas and Margaret in December 1667, the marriage was probably in either 1667 or 1666
  • Source: Nicholas Gassaway will, MD wills 2:228-231, FHL microfim 0,012,841.
  • Source: Harry Wright Newman, Anne Arundel Gentry, Volume 1, 2nd Ed., (Annapolis: Newman, 1970), 149.
  • Source: J. D. Warfield, The Founders of Anne Arundell and Howard Counties, Maryland,(Baltimore: Kohn & Pollock, 1905).
  • Source: Archives of Maryland 51:261-262.
  • Source: Estimate from emigration in 1649, and Thomas having a first child born in 1667.
  • Source: Estimate from marriage between 1677 (in #5) and 1680 (in #7), and Nicholas and Martha having a child born as late as 1706 (#15).
  • Source: F. Edward Wright, Anne Arundel County Church Records of the 17th and

18th Century, (Westminster, MD: Family Line Publications, 199-).

  • Source: Abstracts of the Testamentary Proceedings of the Prerogative Court of Maryland: Volume II: 1670-1674. Libers: 5, 6, V. L. Skinner, V. L. Skinner, Jr.

Genealogical Publishing Com, Jun 1, 2009

  • Source: De Bernardy's Index Register, for Next of Kin, Heirs at Law, Legatees, and of Unclaimed Property, in Great Britain, the Colonies, and on the Continent, from 1754 to 1856, Constantine William DE BERNARDY, W. J. Golbourn, 1860, page 19
  • Repository: #R-997357889 Title: Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s Author: Gale Research Publication: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc, 2010.Original data - Filby, P. William, ed. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s. Farmington Hills, MI, USA: Gale Research, 2010.Original data: Filby, P. William, ed. Passenge
  • Repository: Name: iOS Application Address: http://www.iOS Application Note:
  • Source: Repository: #R-997357889 Title: U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 Author: Yates Publishing Publication: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004.Original data - This unique collection of records was extracted from a variety of sources including family group sheets and electronic databases. Originally, the information was derived Note:
  • Source:Repository: #R-997357890 Title: Ancestry Family Trees Publication: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Original data: Family Tree files submitted by Ancestry members. Note: This information comes from 1 or more individual Ancestry Family Tree files. This source citation points you to a current version of those files. Note: The owners of these tree files may have removed or changed information since this source citation was created.

Research Sources

  • "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch ( : 30 December 2014, Thomas Besen, 11 Jan 1618); citing SAINT ANDREW,PLYMOUTH,DEVON,ENGLAND, index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 0896648 IT 2
  • Source: "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 11 May 2016), Francisci Beeston in entry for Thomas Beeston, 18 Dec 1619; citing ILKLEY,YORK,ENGLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 599,156. (Possible confustion between the two Thomases ?)
  • "England, Devon, Parish Registers, 1538-1912," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 4 November 2017), Thomas Besen, 1617, Baptism; from "Church of England parish registers 1538-1911," database and images, findmypast ( : n.d.); citing Devon, archive reference , images provided by FamilySearch International.
  • "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch ( : 6 December 2014, Thomas Besson, 01 May 1615); citing DARTFORD,KENT,ENGLAND, index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 396,472, 396,473.


Paula Marksman, Maude Randol


WikiTree profile Besson-21 created through the import of Dennis Family Tree.GED on May 23, 2012 by Laurie Lamb.

This profile was auto-generated by a GEDCOM import. Besson-36 was created by Tom Watkins through the import of Tom Watkins Direct.ged on Nov 7, 2014.

See the Changes page for the details of edits by Laurie and others.

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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Thomas by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Thomas:

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Thomas Besson Information
Thomas Besson Information

Thomas Besson Biography
Thomas Besson Biography

Thomas Besson Information
Thomas Besson Information

Besson Family in Baltimore Maryland Records
Besson Family in Baltimore Maryland Records

Will of Thomas Besson, page 1
Will of Thomas Besson, page 1

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On 27 Oct 2018 at 01:03 GMT P Kreutzer wrote:

Marriage Record from St. Mary, Leicester, Leicester, England, between Anne Pecke and Thomas Besson, married May 11, 1635

source: England, Select Marriages, 1538-1973, Author, Ancestry, FHL Film #585273, 585274, 942 B4PRS V.64 The Registry of St. Mary, Leicester, in the county of Leicester, Vol. 61-65, p. 130: Thomas Besson and Anne Pecke 5 Nov 1635

On 1 Aug 2018 at 22:54 GMT Darien (Stadden) Anonymous wrote:

Besson-69 and Besson-3 appear to represent the same person because: I am sorry to have caused difficulty, I unwittingly created an identical Besson. I propose a merge.

Thank you.

On 24 Apr 2015 at 13:51 GMT Sara (Vergara) Freer wrote:

Besson-3 and Besson-36 appear to represent the same person because: These appear to be the same person- both came up as matches on my import and seem to be the same.

Thomas is 18 degrees from Amy Gilpin, 14 degrees from Joshua Slocum and 13 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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