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Thomas Sparrow (abt. 1601 - bef. 1659)

Thomas Sparrow
Born about in Hastings, Sussex, Englandmap [uncertain]
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died before in Anne Arundel County, Province of Marylandmap
Profile last modified | Created 28 Jul 2009
This page has been accessed 1,969 times.


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Thomas Sparrow was a Maryland colonist.


The origin of Thomas Sparrow has not been proved. There was a Thomas Sparrow born Mar 1601 in Hastings Sussex England, the son of Edward. He was christened 27 Mar 1601 at All Saints Hastings. [1][2]

Thomas Sparrow married Elizabeth Marsh. She was daughter of George Marsh from St.Marys Somerset and Margaret Harford. Her brother Thomas Marsh migrated to Virginia before 1637.

Thomas Sparrow emigrated to Virginia in the 1630s, before 1635, and had two children, Thomas born say 1626 and Elizabeth born say 1630. In March 1635 James Knott secured a grant of twelve hundred acres for transporting twenty three colonists including Thomas Sparow and Thomas Taylor. [Cavaliers and Pioneers, Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants 1623-1666, by Nell Marion Nugent] By 1638 Virginia sheltered more than a thousand Puritans, making up seven percent of the population. [Old Virginia, by Fiske][The Sparrows of Sparrow’s Point, by Margaret W Sparrow, in Maryland Historical Magazine, Winter 1990] In December 1640 Thomas Sparrow patented in his own right 300 acres in Lower Norfolk County on the western branch of the Elizabeth River for transporting himself and five others. This land was “to be doubled” when he had “sufficiently peopled and planted it.” In 1643 the new Governor arrived and in 1644 imposed a law forbidding Puritan worship and requiring them to attend the Anglican Church every Sunday and to pay tithes there. His own chaplain soon after converted to Puritanism. Indians attacked and killed about five hundred colonists. The Governor seized the Puritans ammunition and banished their ministers. [Book B, Lower Norfolk County, Virginia, 1646-1651, by Alice Granbery Walter] Puritans began to move away to escape this persecution. So many left that in 1645 the Virginia House of Burgesses passed an act forbidding colonists to leave for Maryland without permission. In the midst of this turmoil in April 1646 Thomas Sparrow was appointed constable of the Elizabeth River Parish, Lower Norfolk County.

On the execution of Charles I the burgesses passed a law denouncing the deed, proclaiming Charles II king, and making it illegal to in any way support the Puritan Parliament. The Protestant Govenor of Maryland, which had been created to establish a religiously tolerant colony, on land granted to Lord Baltimore by Charles I, was negotiating with Virginian colonists and offering land to settlers. Maryland passed an Act of Toleration in April 1649 allowing freedom on conscientious grounds. In Virginia persecution became more severe, In August 1649 the high sheriff presented eight members of the Puritan congregation, including Thomas Marsh, for refusing to attend the Anglican Parish Church in Elizabeth River. The Lower Norfok Court ordered them to conform by October. As a result more than 300 Puritans moved to Maryland and settled on the Severn and Chesapeake, an area which they named Providence. Marsh was cited by the Lower Norfolk Court for having “deserted this Collony and carried away many.” Among these immigrants was Thomas Sparrow. He retained his land in Lower Norfolk County, for later deeds still mention him. [Nugent…]

Thomas Sparrow is listed in Maryland patent records as immigrated to Maryland by 1649 where he claimed land in Anne Arundel County for transporting himself, his wife Elizabeth, Thomas & Elizabeth, his children, & John Dennis, his servant. He was dead by 1666.[3][Patents 2:76, $:97, 107] [First Families of Anne Arundel County, Maryland, 1649-1658, by Donna Valley Russell]

After the founding of Maryland in 1634, 3000 acres of this peninsula were surveyed for the first time in November of 1652. Thomas Sparrow, who actually lived in Anne Arundel County, received 400 acres in 1652 (and 600 more acres later) as a proprietary land grant from the second Lord Baltimore, Cecil Calvert, who was trying to attract settlers to what was then known as "the great northern woods." Richard Ewing, Samuel Withers, Thomas Thomas, Richard Owen, William Batten, Augustine Gillett, and William Blay also received land grants on the peninsula at the same time. In November 1652 the surveyor-general started marking off grants on the Patapsco River. He surveyed 400 acres for Thomas Sparrow on the south side. South Canton on Humley Marsh Creek and another on the north side on Old Road Bay at the mouth of Broad Creek running south to a marked persimmon tree on a point called Sparrow’s Point. . [The Sparrows of Sparrows Point, by Margaret W Sparrow in Maryland Historical Magazine] Sparrows Rest was surveyed for Thomas in consideration that he had transported himself, Elizabeth his wife, Thomas and Elizabeth his children, and John Dennis his servant, to this province in 1649. It was on the west side of Road River, beginning at south of Herring Creek, north to Netlefould Branch, containing some 590 acres. [abstracts of land records, Anne Arundel County, vol II, edited Rosemary B Dodd & Patricia M Bausell, ref Maryland Deed Book WT1, p 20] [History of Sparrow’s Nest School]

Presumably Thomas Sparrow senior was dead by 1659 and died intestate. Unless there is a will in Virginia. In 1659 his widow Elizabeth married Colonel Thomas Taylor, a prominent Quaker with close ties to William Penn. Colonel and Mrs Taylor patented 200 acres of South Canton in September 1659, stating that Thomas Sparrow deceased bequeathed 600 acres of Sparrow’s Nest to his son Solomon.


  1. "England, Sussex, Parish Registers, 1538-1910", database, FamilySearch ( : 7 December 2017), Thomas Sparrow, 1601.
  2. Find A Grave: Memorial #132267754
  3. The New Early Settlers of Maryland by Dr. Carson Gibb

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Comments: 3

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I have no certain evidence as yet, but think Thomas Sparrow -4 in this profile maybe Thomas Sparrow -1618 with a father Thomas Sparrow -1617
posted by Bruce Bennett
Even if there was such a baptism, I see no evidence whatsoever to connect Thomas Sparrow baptised in Hasting with this Thomas Sparrow in Virginia and Maryland.
posted by Bruce Bennett
Sparrow-376 and Sparrow-4 appear to represent the same person because: Same name, wife, and son. The 1620 birth date seems more likely correct. Both profiles show him arriving from England in 1649, but the one with the 1600 birth date also shows him residing in Maryland in 1620. Clearly, that is an error. If there is a date that can't be resolved, that item can be marked as uncertain in the data section, and both dates, and their sources can be shown in the bio section, with a note indicating more research/better sources are needed to be certain of the correct date.
posted by Fred Remus III

S  >  Sparrow  >  Thomas Sparrow

Categories: Anne Arundel County, Province of Maryland | Maryland Colonists