Thomas Blossom

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Thomas Blossom

Cambridge, City of Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
Death 1633 (aged 52–53)
Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial Unknown
Memorial ID 34754607 View Source
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According to Robert Charles Anderson in "The Great Migration Begins" series by the NEHGS, Thomas Blossom, the immigrant English ancestor of the Blossom family in America, was b. circa 1580. "He was prob. the son of Peter and Annabel Blossom of Great Shelford in Cambridgeshire, England."

In addition, Thomas Blossom was not a Deacon of either John Robinson's remnant Leiden church after the sailing of the Mayflower or of the Plymouth, Mass. church. Robinson'[s brother-in-law, Roger White, was the deacon of the remnant church until Roger returned to England. Regarding being a deacon of the Plymouth Church, Anderson writes, which the maintainer of this memorial is in agreement:

• The claim that Thomas Blossom was deacon at Plymouth derives from Savage, but this appears to be a misreading of Prince, who was supposedly quoting Morton, but was in fact misquoting Bradford. In his history of Plymouth Bradford included an account of the infectious epidemic of 1633, and mentioned specifically Thomas Blossom, Richard Masterson and Samuel Fuller as dying in that year. He refers to Samuel Fuller's services as deacon, and this was apparently transferred by Savage to Blossom [Bradford 260]. Prince quoted most of this same section, but altered the sequence, although not enough to confuse the attribution of the office of deacon, and claimed Morton as his source; he mentioned Blossom and Fuller, but not Masterson [Prince 437]. Morton also paraphrased this same passage, but noted by name only Fuller, so he cannot have been the sole source for Prince [Morton 108]. To this confusing mix we must add Morton's account of the early history of the Plymouth church, in which he explicitly states that Richard Masterson and Thomas Blossom were named deacons after the death of Samuel Fuller [PChR 1:83]. But Bradford's language (on which Morton must have been relying here as well) carries the clear implication that Fuller died after Masterson and Blossom, and Samuel Fuller was still alive on 1 July 1633 to receive an allocation of mowing ground [PCR 1:14] whereas Thomas Blossom was already dead by that date. In this instance Morton seems to have misinterpreted Bradford in a different way, and his claim that Masterson and Blossom were briefly deacons at Plymouth should not be accepted. [Great Migration Study Project, the NEHGS: Sketch of Thomas Blossom.]

Thomas m. Nov. 10, 1605 at St. Clement's Chh. in Cambridge, England, Ann, dau. of Cutbert and Margaret Elsden (q.v. Heilsdon, Elsdon), bapt. June 23, 1583 as "Ann Elsden" at Soham Parish in Cambridge, England. It is unknown whether in February 1609 Thomas and Ann were residing in Amsterdam and became one of the 100 or so persons granted permission to relocate with Rev. John Robinson from Amsterdam to Leiden by May 1609. Thomas and Ann were living at the Pieterskerkof section of Leiden on Oct. 27, 1609 when George Rogers was admitted to Leiden University while living with the Thomas Blossom family.

On Mar. 12, 1610 (Dutch calendar, Mar. 12, 1609/10 English Julian calendar) Thomas gave wife Ann a power of attorney to sell her inherited property in Cambridge, England. On Apr. 18, 1618, in the only other notary document of record at Leiden that evidences Thomas was then residing in Leiden, he along with Jonathan Brewster (Elder William Brewster's son) and Robert Cooper witnessed the apprenticeship agreement between Edward Tilley and Robert Hagges. Unfortunately, Thomas' occupation is not stated in the document.

On Nov. 30, 1625 at Leiden, Thomas along with Frances Jessop, Richard Masterson, Thomas Nash and Roger Wilson of Rev. John Robinson's remnant Leiden church, wrote a letter to Gov. William Bradford at Plymouth, Mass. Thomas then wrote a personal letter to Bradford on Dec. 15, 1625 stating in part, "God hath taken away my son, that was with me in the ship, when I went back again; I have only two children which were born since I left you."

Thomas and wife Ann are believed to have arrived at Plymouth, Mass. with three children by 1629. Thomas d. at Plymouth before Mar. 25, 1633, the date the "Widdow Blossome" is listed in the 1633 tax list assessed 9 shillings in corn for the ensuing year. Thomas may have died considerably earlier as the preamble to the 1633 tax list (Mar. 25, 1633-Mar. 24, 1633/4) states:

"March 25, 1633. According to an order in Court held the 2d of January, in the seaventh yeare of the raigne of our soveraigne lord, Charles..." (PCR 1:9-11)

Charles the 1st became King of England on Mar. 27, 1625, and on Jan. 2, 1632/3 was then in the 7th year of his reign. Thomas Blossom was certainly deceased by July 1, 1633 when in a letter of that date, from Rev. Ralph Smith at Plymouth to Rev. Hugh Goodyear at Leiden, Smith included reference to Thomas as "our brother who now sleepeth." The widow Ann subsequently m. at Plymouth Oct. 17, 1633 as his second wife, Henry Rowley. She survived Henry and d. circa 1691.

Thomas Blossom and wife Ann Elsden had five known children b. either in England or Holland:

• i. An unnamed child who was bur. at St. Peters Church (the Pieterskerk) in Leiden Apr. 12, 1617.

• ii. An unnamed son who had accompanied the family from Leiden to England aboard the Speedwell in 1620 intending to sail to America, but due to the failure of the Speedwell and subsequent overcrowding of the Mayflower, the family returned to Leiden and this son died prior to Dec. 15, 1625.

• iii. Elizabeth Blossom, b. after May 1620 undoubtedly in Leiden, Holland, and d. in 1713 in America at present-day New Jersey; m. 1) May 10, 1637 in Scituate, Mass., Edward Fitzrandolph, who d. at Piscataway, NJ circa 1685. They had twelve children, three dying young. Elizabeth m. 2) Jan. 30, 1684/5 at New Jersey, Capt. John Pike, who d. Jan. 20, 1687/8 in Woodbridge, NJ. Edward and Elizabeth (Blossom) Fitzrandolph are the maternal ancestors of Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States.

• iv. Thomas Blossom, Jr., b. circa 1623 in Leiden, Holland, d. Apr. 22, 1650 by drowning off the coast of Cape Cod at Eastham, Mass.; m. June 18, 1645 in Barnstable, Mass., Sarah Ewer, dau. of Thomas Ewer and Sarah Learned, bapt. May 10, 1629 at Stood in Kent, England. They had one child, dau. Sarah.

• v. Peter Blossom, b. after August 1627 likely in Leiden, Holland and d. intestate in July 1706 in Barnstable, Mass.; m. June 21, 1663 at Barnstable, Sarah Bodfish, dau. of Robert and Bridget Bodfish, b. circa 1638. She d. after Dec. 3, 1704. Seven children of the family, two dying in infancy.

Revised/edited 7/13/2019

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