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Cochoit Working 8

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Name and Origins

Thomas Stafford of Warwick, Rhode Island is the immigrant of this family. His origins, birthplace, and parents are unknown. He is usually said in many secondary sources to have been born about 1605 in Warwickshire, England. No evidence has been found to support the assertion that he came from Warwickshire. It may be related to a claim from a descendant that he had "the old coat of arms brought over by the first Stafford ... and bears the inscription 'The Stafford Family of Warwickshire'."[1] There is no actual evidence in the way of wills, baptisms, deeds, personal associations, family, land ownership, etc. to suggest he was from Warwickshire, so a search for his origins should currently include the whole of England.
He is often said in secondary sources to have immigrated in 1626 and build the first grist mill in Plymouth. Again, this must be challenged. Contemporary records showing a Thomas Stafford in Plymouth have not been found. Even if a Thomas Stafford can be identified in Plymouth, there would be no reason to suppose he is the same Thomas Stafford who appears in Rhode Island in 1638. The 12 year gap in records is too large and would almost be proof they are different men.
The first actual record of Thomas Stafford in New England is when he was admitted as an inhabitant of the town of Newport on 20 May 1638.[2]
On the roll of freemen in Warwick in 1655.[3]
Served as deputy of the General Assembly for Warwick in 1673.[4]

Birth

Born: 1605.
This date appears unsupported by primary records. It appears in mid-18th century works and has been repeated in many secondary sources.


Errors

It has been said in print that Thomas Stafford claimed to be the son of Roger Stafford, 15th Baron Stafford. Roger Stafford in 1637 had put forward his claim that he was the rightful heir to Barony of Stafford following the death of his cousin, Henry Stafford, 14th Baron Stafford. This claim by Roger was disputed, though eventually Charles I paid Roger £800 to renounce his claim and surrender the title to the king. If Thomas was the son of Roger Stafford, he would have a rightful claim to the barony as selling a barony has been held to be unlawful and invalid.
The first problem is, no contemporary evidence has been found that Thomas Stafford ever actually made such a claim.
The bigger problem is that Roger Stafford never married and had no children.[5] He died leaving a will which names his sister as his only heir.[5][6] The House of Lords investigation into the Barony of Stafford states that he died a bachelor.[7] There is no evidence of any kind that Roger Stafford left any children.


Post

Thomas Stafford was born in 1605 in Warwickshire, England. He immigrated to Plymouth in New England where he built the first grist mill. He claimed to be the son of the unfortunate Roger Stafford (b. 1572) who was unable

to prove that he was the son of Richard Stafford, who was the son of Henry Stafford, created Baron Stafford.

Questions: Is there any evidence he was born in 1605? None of the many sources mention a deposition where he might have given his age, nor can I find one. The date is a little early for someone whose first child was born in 1634.

Is there any evidence he was from Warwickshire? I find no actual evidence in the way of wills, baptisms, deeds, personal associations, family, land ownership, etc. to suggest he was from Warwickshire.

Did he really arrive in Plymouth in 1626 and build a grist mill? Are there any records at all of a Thomas Stafford in Plymouth this early?

Sources

  1. Benedict.Genealogy of the Stafford. (1870). page 4.
  2. Bartlett.Records of the Colony of Rhode Island ... vol. 1. (1856): page 92.
  3. Bartlett.Records of the Colony of Rhode Island ... vol. 1. (1856): page 302.
  4. Bartlett.Records of the Colony of Rhode Island ... vol. 2. (1857): page 508.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Cokayne. Complete Peerage, vol. XII part 1. (1953): page 187.
  6. "England, Cheshire Probate Records, 1492-1940," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FGBG-LMG), Roger Stafford, 1641; citing Smallwood, Record Office, Chester. image 109 of 782.
  7. Great Britain House of Lords. Journals of the House of Lords, volume 46. (1808): page 651-652.
Source list:
  • Austin, John Osborne . One Hundred and Sixty Allied Families (1893): page 218. Ancestry.com link.
  • Bartlett, John Russell. Records of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence ... volume 1 1636-1663. (Providence, 1856): page 92.
  • Bartlett, John Russell. Records of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence ... volume 2 1664-1677. (Providence, 1857): page 508.
  • Benedict, Henry Marvin. A Contribution to the Genealogy of the Stafford Family in America. (1870). Ancestry.com link.
  • Cutter, William Richard. New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial: A Record of the ..., volume 1 (New York, 1913): page 417.
  • Munsell, Joel . "The Stafford Family" in Collections on the History of Albany, vol. III. (1870): page 440.
  • Cokayne, George Edward and Geoffrey White ed. Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Vol. XII part 1: Skelmersdale to Towton, 2nd edition. (London, 1953): page 187.
  • Great Britain House of Lords. Journals of the House of Lords, volume 46. (1808): page 651-652.
  • Stafford, Ernest Nean. Laban Stafford, his Ancestors and Descendants. (1962). Available on Internet Library link.




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