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Thomas Wiggins Sr. (abt. 1630 - aft. 1689)

Thomas Wiggins Sr.
Born about in Battersea, Surrey, Englandmap [uncertain]
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married 27 Aug 1649 in Reading, Middlesex, Massachusetts Bay Colonymap
Descendants descendants
Died after in Jamaica, Queens, Province of New Yorkmap
Profile last modified | Created 22 Dec 2016
This page has been accessed 1,000 times.



"Wiggins, Wiggin, Thomas, Lynn, 1649. Worked for the Iron Works Co.; carted coal, helped build the finery chimney, etc. He m. at Reading 27 (6) 1649, Sarah ---. Rem. to Rustport (s/b Rustdorp), N.Y.; deposition, 1660. [Es. Files.] Distinguish carefully from Capt. Thomas Wiggin, the eminent pioneer of New Hampshire."[1]


We find the marriage of Thomas Wiggins and "Sarath" in the Middlesex County court records (note -- as opposed to in an established church), Aug. 27, 1649 in Reading.[2]

Lynn, Hammersmith Iron Works

We also find some more certain record of his participation in building the iron works (now known as the Saugus Iron Works).

He may have been recruited for the iron works by John Winthrop Jr. and could have sailed in 1643:

"(1641) The mission took longer than Winthrop had anticipated—he was not able to sail home to New England until a year and a half had passed. During that time he succeeded in recruiting a number of investors, who formed themselves into the 'Company of Undertakers of the Iron Works in New England.' These investors were not only Puritan merchants of wealth, but included clergymen, brewers, drapers, merchant tailors, contractors for military supplies, two public officers, physicians, and three ironmakers. He also recruited several skilled workers, and ordered tools and materials."[3]

It is difficult to know certainly, in part because "as with Braintree, early records of the Hammersmith ironworking operation are meager. The Lynn local records are lost. The first mention of Hammersmith workers in the Essex Court records is in Dec. 1647. It is not until 1650 that we find extensive documentation."[4]

In 1653, he and others sued the Undertakers of the Iron Works for debt and won. The Iron Works failed.

"Court, 27 : 7 : 1653....Mr. John Gifford, agent of the Iron Works v. Mr. John Beax and Company. Account. Extensive findings on records. Damages, ~1,363, 14 s., 5 d. [The Iron Works at Hammersmith and Braintree to Mr. John Becx and Company, debtor,Bill. Balance of account delivered to Henry Webb, to Thomas Wiggin, to carting gravel to mend the flume, to carting crooks for ye furnace wheels, work about ye furnace beam, making ye chimney, work at ye slittin mill, account of Francis Prrrye, his team and son fetching stuff for ye furnace wheels and work with goodman Jenckes[5] in ye slittin mill, ..."[6]

Thomas seems to have soon after decided to make a fresh start, selling his property gained 25 April 1655.

"271. Know all men by these p'nts that I I Thomas Wiggins of Line for & in Consideration of the sume of thirtie & fiue pounds by me in hand receiued of Thomas Savage doe graunt Bargaine & sell vnto him the said Thomas Savage one fiurnace Bellowes, wheeles, floudgates Dame pond & all matterialls & appurc'es as it is now there & app'taineing too & about the said flurnace also two old houses 8 two hundred Acres of Land next adjoyning & lying about the said ffurnace which aforesaid flfurnace houses & land and pond was obtajned & Levied by vertue of a execution graunted against the Estate of Mr John Bex & Company vndertakers of the Iron workes at a Court held at Salem the Last of November to haue & to hold the aforesaid ffurnace & houses & Land with all the appur'ces & priviledges therevnto belonging & being vnto him the said Thomas Savage his heires executors & assignes without Molestation from any pson for euer In witnes whereof I haue herevnto set to my hand & seale this twenty & fifth day of Aprill One thousand sixe hundred fifty & fiue the marke T of Thomas Wiggins & a seale before Signed sealed & deliued before vs Joseph ewett John Hawthorne. This deede was acknowledged by Thomas Wiggins the 22th May 1656 before me daniel Gookin Entred & Recorded 5th June 1656 p. Edw Rawson Recorder."[7]

This life story is entirely consistent with the rumor that Thomas was born in Battersea, just across the Thames river from Hammersmith, the town in England from which many of the iron workers are said to have hailed.[8]

The Lynn/Hammersmith/Saugus ironworks are one of the subjects around which the National Parks Service has created lesson plans in their series, Teaching with Historic Places, called "Saugus Iron Works: Life and Work at an Early American Industrial Site". Readers may also enjoy Saugus Iron Works. The Roland W. Robbins Excavations, 1948-1953.


By 1656, there are indications he was in the area of Rustdorp, also coming to be called Jamaica Township. Thomas Wiggins (as of 1680, referred to as "Senior")[9][10]) appears in records from the town's founding in the 1650s under the New Netherland government, whereby residents of the area petitioned the governor for a township to be carved out of Hempstead to be governed more as was the custom of Fort Amsterdam and Brooklyn, etc.

While Thomas is not on the formal list of petitioners for Rustdorp in 1656,[11] he must have been one of the "rest" to which the petitioners referred, since he was among those for whom lots were to be laid out (his in the north quarter) in Novembr ye 25th 1656.[12]

We might speculate as to why he wasn't an original patentee, yet still was granted a lot. Could he have been recruited to the town for his foundry experience?

On 11 Feb 1661, he signed a promise to look out for Quaker activity in the town: "Wee whose names are underwritten doe by these presents promise and engage that iff any meetings or Conventicles off quakers shall bee in this Town off Rusdorp that wee know, wee will give infformation to ye aughtority set up in this place by the Governor and alsoe assist the aughtority off the Town against any such person or persons Called quakers as need shall require. Witness our hands this 11th off Ffebruary 1661[13]

One may find Thomas in numerous records in first two volumes of Josephine C. Frost's Records of the Town of Jamaica.


Thomas' male children seem to have been born from the mid-1660s to around 1770. These dates are all guesses within that range. See notes regarding reasoning over the brothers' birth dates.


  • Sarah Wiggins, b. ? m. William Creed[14]
  • Elizabeth Wiggins, b. ? m. ___ Smith[15]


  • Thomas Wiggins, b. abt. 1665
  • Gersham Wiggins, b. abt. 1667
  • Josias Wiggins, b. abt. 1668
  • Benjamin Wiggins, b. abt. 1669


Beginning in Oct 1702, Thomas Jr. begins distributing land to his siblings as per his father's deed of 20 Feb 1688/89.

"Thomas Wiggins eldest son & heir of Thomas Wiggins, dec'd, late of Jamaica and Josias Wiggins (one of ye younger brothers of the first named Thomas Wiggins) whereas Thomas Wiggins father of the said parties Thomas & Josias by his certain deed of 20 Feb 1688/89 for the natural love he bore unto his son Josias Wiggins did grant...tract... at Little Neck & contains 30 acres + 1/4 part of all his allotment of meadow ground & 1/4 part of all the rest of his lands - sd Thomas Wiggins sold unto Josias Wiggins all of tract in Jamaica + 10 Apr 1706 Thomas Wiggins 8 Aug 1707 Rebecca Wiggins"[16]

We infer that Thomas Sr. executed his will 20 Feb 1688/89, and so represent him as having died "after that". 20 Feb 1688 (O.S.) is 1 March 1689 (N.S.).


Reasoning on Children's Dates

The family left many records in Jamaica. A few become critical in placing birthdates on the brothers.

First, their father seems to be first referred to as Thomas Wiggins Senior in 1680, and it's clear that Thomas is the eldest son, so we start with Thomas around 1664-1666.

Two younger brothers, Gersham and Josias are witnesses 5 Jan 1685/4, so they must have been fourteen or older then.[17] Josias and Benjamin must have been at least sixteen before 22 Jul 1690, when they purchased land.[18]


  1. Pope, Charles H. The Pioneers of Massachusetts: A Descriptive List, Drawn from Records of the Colonies, Towns, and Churches, and Other Contemporaneous Documents. Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co, 1965, 496 ( It would be nice to know more about the 1660 deposition. Who gave it? Where? If William, he had already had land allocated for him in Long Island by then.
  2. "Massachusetts Marriages, 1695-1910," database, FamilySearch ( : 4 December 2014), Thomas Wiggins and Sarath, 27 Aug 1649; citing reference ; FHL microfilm 0873745 IT 2.
  3. "John Winthrop, Jr. Sets Sail for England To Finance Iron Production in the New World," The Schiller Institute, July 2013 (
  4. The ESTABLISHMENT of the IRON INDUSTRY in AMERICA (for “Pre-American Ancestry of Our Leonard Ironworkers”, Bill Barton's Genealogy Web Pages, (; referencing Records of the iron works at Lynn, Mass., 1650-1685 (inclusive) [microform]. "Company of Undertakers of the Iron Works in New England," Harvard University - Baker Library (
  5. Joseph Jencks (or Jenckes) was head of the effort to construct the forge in Lynn. See also "Joseph Jencks (1632-1717)," 25 November 2014, FamilySearch..
  6. Perley, Sidney. The Essex Antiquarian: A Quarterly Magazine Devoted to the Biography, Genealogy, History and Antiquities of Essex County, Massachusetts. Salem, Mass: Essex Antiquarian, 1897. 10:81 (
  7. Suffolk Deeds Liber. II, ROckwell and Churchill, Boston 1883, 271, 272 (
  8. National Park Service, U.S., "Saugus Iron Works: Life and Work at an Early American Industrial Site. Determining the Facts. Reading 2: An Ironworks Community," Teaching with Historic Places, internet resource, (
  9. 20 Dec 1680: the first yet located record referring to Thomas, our proband, as Thomas Wiggins Senior; Richard Everits bill of sale from Wil Creed, 20 Dec 1680, 'Frost 1:187 (
  10. He is also referred to at times as "Goodman", which is an address of some less stature than "Mister" in the day, perhaps reflecting his original status in the colonies as a laborer?
  11. Council Minutes 1655-1656, p. 276 (
  12. Frost, 1:3-4, "ye Town have devided ym selves into squadrons..." (
  13. Frost 1:105-106 (
  14. Frost, 2:287-288 (
  15. Frost, 2:325 (
  16. Woolsey Genealogy Website, citing Deeds of Queens Co., Long Island, NY Liber A,B,C. FHL film# 017873. B2:139.
  17. On 5 Jan 1685/4, Gersham and Josiah Wiggens are witnesses for Edward Higbe, Frost, 1:283-4 (
  18. Lassey Cokse and Wooley Swanson to Josias and Benjmin Wiggins, 22 Jul 1690. Frost, 1:325-6 (


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1687 Wait Smith husbandman to John Carpenter Jr. land w/dwelling house which sd Wait Smith bought off Samuell Davis more or less butted Nehemiah SMiths lot on n. by Nath. Denton Jr. on east by Thomas Smith Junior on s. excepting land b/t William Creed & Wait Smith.
posted by Daphne Maddox
If Elizabeth Wiggins Smith had land next to William Creed, then this land he bought of Samuel Smith could be said land.
posted by Daphne Maddox
interesting that apparently Gerhsam married a Harrison... "Gresham married Mary Wiggins (born Harrison)."
posted by Daphne Maddox
"MARGARET HARRISON of Battersea Surrey, widow, 10 December 1641, proved 4 March 1641, Kinswoman Johan Wiggins, wife of Thomas Wiggins the elder. To her children, that is to say Mary Samuel Sarah Francis Martha and Edmund at one and twenty or day of marriage. To Anne Husband at one and twenty. To Anne White and her daughter Elizabeth Cox both of Martin. John Hester of Shiplack ,Goodwife Husbands, and to Alice Andrewes in New England five pounds. To Thomas Andrewes his five children, Thomas, John, Samuel, Nathaniel and Elinor ten pounds apiece. My son in law Robert Heyborne and Katherine his wife. Son Richard Floyd's two daughters Sarah and Martha and the child my daughter goeth with. Twenty poor widows of Henly upon Thames. Son Thomas Andrewes to be executor. Richard Andrewes one of the wit
posted by Daphne Maddox
I wonder if this Thomas and "Johan" Wiggins, mentioned by Margaret harrison widow of Battersea, are of interest?
posted by Daphne Maddox
the mystery deposition could be "Deposition William Howard as to Capt. Savage's agreements. February 4, 1660" Company of Undertakers of the Iron Works in New England. Records of the iron works at Lynn, Mass., 1650-1685 (inclusive). : A Finding Aid, Baker Library, Harvard Busines School (
posted by Daphne Maddox
The "deposition" (actually a power of attorney) of Thomas of Rustport is found in Essex Deeds, Vol. I, p. 80 (200):

[I'm looking for a John Wiggins who m. Ruhammah Marble about 1668 in Lynn by the Capt. Marshall mentioned. This John could be the 'youth of 15 yrs. passeng. in the Speedwell from London to Boston 1656' (Savage) and/or connected to this Thomas.]

posted by Patrick Griffith

Rejected matches › Thomas Wiggins I (1615-1691)

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