Thomas and his wife were likely passengers on the ship Lyon that arrived in Salem, Essex County Massachusetts in 1630. He settled in Winisimet (now Chelsea) Massachusetts and in 1631 established the first ferry service from that town to Boston, Suffolk County Massachusetts. He is said to have used the surname Williams in England
ORIGIN: Hatherup, Gloucestershire (or vicinity) MIGRATION: 1630 FIRST RESIDENCE: Winnissimmett OCCUPATION: Ferryman. On 18 May 1631 "Tho Willms hath undertaken to set up a ferry betwixt Winnettsemt & Charlton, for which he is to have after 3d. a person, & from Winnettsemt to Boston 4d. a person" . FREEMANSHIP: Requested October 1630 (as "Thomas Willms alias Harris") and admitted 18 May 1631 (as "Thomas Williams") . OFFICES: Coroner's jury, 18 September 1630 on the body of William Bateman (as "Thomas Williams") . ESTATE: Thomas Harris died before land records were maintained, and left no will. He does not appear in the lists of early Charlestown residents, or in Boston records, so it is likely that he supported himself solely by his ferrying operations. Examination of the land records of WILLIAM STITSON might show that some land was earlier held by Thomas Harris. BIRTH: Born about 1590 in or near Hatherup, Gloucestershire, son of William and Agnes (Mason) Harris . DEATH: Prior to 1634, when Stitson took over the ferry between Boston and Winnissimmet. MARRIAGE: By about 1613 Elizabeth _____. She married (2) WILLIAM STITSON , who took over the ferry operation. Her death is given as 16 February 1669/70, aged 93 ; she was more likely a decade younger. CHILDREN:
i ANNA, b. about 1613 (d. Reading 7 September 1697, aged 84); m. by 1635 Elias Maverick, son of Rev. JOHN MAVERICK .
ii JOHN, b. say 1616; m. (1) by about 1645 Bridget _____ (eldest child b. by about 1645 ); m. (2) Rowley 24 October 1677 Elizabeth (Rowlandson) Wells; m. (3) Alice _____, who survived him .
iii THOMAS, b. about 1618 (deposed aged about forty in 1658 ); m. Ipswich 15 November 1647 Martha Lake .
iv WILLIAM, b. say 1620; m. (1) by 1645 Edith _____ (first child b. Rowley 1 July 1645); m. (2) by Lydia (Wright) Smith, daughter of Thomas Wright and widow of Joseph Smith .
v ANTHONY, b. say 1622; m. by 1651 Elizabeth _____, who survived him and was named in his 1651 will .
vi DANIEL, b. say 1626; m. by 1651 Mary Weld (first child b. Rowley 2 April 1651), daughter of Joseph Weld (on 19 May 1652 "Daniell Harris and Mary my wife, one of the daughters of Captain Joseph Weld of Roxbury ... late deceased" sold to John Weld land that had been bequeathed to her by "her said father Joseph Weld" ).
ASSOCIATIONS: Nephew Richard Iles also resided at Winnissimmet. COMMENTS: Three documents are critical for defining this family: the 1639 will of Richard Iles of Winnissimmet; the 1680 deposition of William Stitson; and the will of William Stitson. Iles was nephew of Thomas Harris, and may have come with him in 1630; in his will he names his cousins Thomas Harris, William Harris, Anthony Harris, John Harris, Anne Maverick and Daniel Harris, giving 20s. to each, and also a coverlet to "my aunt for her pains and her love" . (A discussion of this will by T. W. Harris is helpful, but must be used with care .) On 15 June 1680, Deacon William Stitson testified that Thomas Harris kept the ferry from Boston to Winnissimmet and Charlestown forty-nine years ago, and that he married Harris's widow . In his will of 2 April 1688 William Stitson bequeathed to "John Harris, Thomas Harris, William Harris, Daniel Harris, and Anna Maverick, relict widow of Elias Maverick, deceased, the children of my first wife" . In some early records, Thomas uses the double name "Williams alias Harris" or simply the surname "Williams." The reason for this is not known, and his descendants used only Harris, the ancestral surname. No records of Thomas Harris in England have been found other than the mention in his father's 1599 will. Since the Winthrop Fleet was assembled mostly from East Anglia and London, one would expect to find evidence of the marriage of Thomas and the baptisms of his children in these areas rather than in Gloucestershire. Davis suggests, however, that Harris came on the Lyon, which sailed from Bristol and not from London. (The only reliable account of this family is in Walter Goodwin Davis, The Ancestry of Bethia Harris ... , pp. 3-34.)
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Father: William Harris
Mother: Agnes Mason
Hatherop, Gloucestershire, England
April 11, 1661
Chelsea, Suffolk Co., Massachusetts, USA
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