Thomas  Miner

Thomas Miner (1608 - 1690)

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Lieutenant Thomas Miner [uncertain] aka Minor, Myner
Born in Chew Magna, Somerset, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Son of and [uncertain]
Husband of — married in Charlestown, Massachusettsmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Stonington, New London, Connecticut Colonymap
Miner-637 created 4 Jun 2012 | Last modified | Last edit: 14 Oct 2017
03:19: T Counce edited the Biography for Thomas Miner. (Add one-place-study code) [Thank T for this]
This page has been accessed 5,134 times.

Categories: Puritan Great Migration | American Immigration | Stonington Connecticut-Study | Stonington, Connecticut | Chew Magna, Somerset | Wequetequock Burial Ground, Stonington, Connecticut.

The Puritan Great Migration.
Thomas Miner migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).
Join: Puritan Great Migration Project
Discuss: pgm


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."
"The purported coat of arms for the Minor family (NEHGR 13:161-164) was in 1984 demonstrated to be illusory (NEHGR 138:182-85; NYGBR 115:163-65); this latter article contained new research on the immediate antecedents of Thomas Minor in Chew Magna.[2]

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."[3] 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' mother is unknown, according to Robert Charles Anderson and according to John A. and Robert F. Miner, in the most recent published sources.[4][5]


Thomas (1608 - 1690) was baptised 29 Apr 1608 Chew Magna, Somersetshire, England, the youngest son of Clement Miner and his wife (name not recorded).[4]

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. [6]


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,.[7] and he cites the Higginson Journals and the Massachusetts Colonial Records, I, 395. The Higginson Journals contain no reference to Thomas Minor.[8]

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.[9]

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.[5] 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.[10]


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" [11] 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.


  1. John, bp Charlestown 30 Aug 1635; m. Stratford 19 Oct 1658 Elizabeth Booth.
  2. Clement, bp Hingham, March 1637/8; m1 in Stonington 26 Nov 1662 Frances (Burcham) Willey; m2 20 Feb 1672/3 Martha Wellman; m3 after 1681 Joanna ____.
  3. Thomas, bp Hingham 10 May 1640; bur 22 April 1662.
  4. Ephraim, bp Hingham 3? May 1642; m 20 Jun 1666 Hannah Avery.
  5. Joseph, bp Hingham 25 Aug 1644; m1 23 Oct 1668 Mary Avery; m2 Bridge (Cheseborough) Thompson, widow of William Thompson.
  6. Manasseh, b New London 23 Apr 1647; m 26 Sep 1670 Lydia Moore
  7. Ann, b New London 28 Apr 1649; d 13 Aug 1652 (poss.)
  8. Mary, b abt 1651; d Stonington 24 Jan 1666
  9. Samuel, b 4 Mar 1652/3; m 15 Dec 1681 Mary Lord.
  10. Hannah, b Stonington 15 Sep 1655; m 22 Oct 1672 Thomas Avery

Additional children may have included (per Savage): Judah, Elizabeth and Eunice. But this interpretation may have come about due to the difficulty in deciphering Minor's diary.

Research Notes

He is no longer a gateway ancestor, removed category.


  1. Alexander Cunningham, An Herauldic Essay on the Surname of Miner
  2. Anderson (1995), p 1265
  3. Miner & Miner, Vol. 138, Pages 182-185
  4. 4.0 4.1 John A Miner and Robert F. Miner, The Curious Pedigree of Lt. Thomas Minor, John A. Miner and Robert f. Miner, Vol. 138, Pages 182-185, at 183-184
  5. 5.0 5.1 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 1264
  6. The Minor-Miner Families - Sixth Generation (web site; accessed 14 Dec 2014)
  7. Charles Edward Banks, The Planters of the Commonwealth in Massachusetts, 1620-1640, Boston, MA: Genealogical Publishing Co., Boston (1930), Page 61
  8. Young, Alexander. Chronicles of the First Planters of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay (Charles C. Little and James Brown, Boston, 1846) Page 213: Francis Higginson's Journal of his Voyage to New England
  9. 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
  10. Anderson, p. 1262
  11. #S-206 "Created by: Ken Childers, Record added: Feb 07, 2003, Find A Grave Memorial# 7158439
  12. Anderson (1995), p 1265, citing various original records
  • The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, Volumes I-III. (Online database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2010), (Originally Published as: New England Historic Genealogical Society. Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, Volumes I-III, 3 vols., 1995). Thomas Miner, page 1262
See also:
  • The Diary of Thomas Minor, Stonington, Connecticut, 1653-1684, New London (1899)
  • John A. Miner, The Lyon's Whelps, the Descendants of Thomas Miner, 1608 1900, Winchester, Massachusetts, University Press (1950)
  • The Curious Pedigree of Lt Thomas Miner, by John A. Miner and Robert F. Miner, database online at NEHGS, NEHGR Vol 138 (1984), pages 182 - 185
  • Repository: The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1847-. (Online database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001-2013.)
  • 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.
  • Miner Descent, database online, Lt Thomas Miner and his descendants, with three generations of his ancestors as presented in NEHGR Vol 138
  • Thomas Minor Family History

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No known carriers of Thomas's Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests.

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Images: 3

Thomas Minor - Original Gravestone from 1690
Thomas Minor - Original Gravestone from 1690

Thomas Minor Founders Monument, Stonington, Conn.
Thomas Minor Founders Monument, Stonington, Conn.


On 2 Aug 2016 at 06:27 GMT William LeGro wrote:

Two sites of interest:

Thomas Minor Society

Worcester Polytechnic Institute This site has a photo of Thomas Minor's gravestone pictured above and is also cited as a reference on this page. That reference is from the Sixth Generation, but the site includes previous generations, based on town, church and cemetery records and on Thomas Minor, Descendants, 1608 - 19812 published in 1981 by John Augustus Miner (1919-2004).

They have detailed and differing lineages - argh! The WPI comports with what I have (which is what a cousin gave me).

It also seems that the Minors spelled their name with an "-or" rather than "-er" - as shown on the gravestone above and the ones I've seen in Lebanon, Maine.

On 11 Feb 2016 at 01:16 GMT Mona (Minor) Combra wrote:

On 11 Feb 2016 at 00:00 GMT Mona (Minor) Combra wrote:

I'm confused is claimed that Thomas came over on the Lyons Whelp yet there is a monument picture that I found online that clearly reads in it's dedication that he came aboard the Arabella. You can view the picture that I am speaking of if you click on the area to the left of where I type now under the heading of burial and then click on the Find A Grave link ...the third picture down reads very clearly that he came aboard the Arabella...Upon further research I found this link~

On 3 Jan 2015 at 16:40 GMT 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 2 Dec 2012 at 14:05 GMT Karen Leigh (Johnson) Grady wrote:

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

On 7 Sep 2012 at 22:27 GMT 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.

Thomas is 15 degrees from Kevin Bacon, 15 degrees from Karen Tobo, 15 degrees from Queen Elizabeth II Windsor and 13 degrees from Isabella I de Castilla y León on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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