Monday, July 4, 2011

Line 8.1 Thomas Putnam Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble

It started with Cain and Abel. Brother against brother; neighbor against neighbor. While the Puritans had a heart for God, they also were human beings full of jealousy and bitterness. The bitterness that started between neighbors ran through brothers and their sister, setting the stage for an evil influence.

Thomas Putnam was 7 March 1615 in Ashton Abbots, Buckingham, England the son of John Putnam and his wife Priscilla (possible Deacon)
Married 1. Ann HOLYOKE and 2. the widow Mary Veren
Died and buried
Thomas and Ann Putnam’s children were:
1.   Anne Putnam born 25 June 1645 Salem, Essex, MA; died 14 November 1676, Salem, Essex, MA married William Trask
2.   Sarah Putnam born before 30 July 1648 Salem, Essex, MA
3.   Mary Putnam born 17 August 1649 Salem, Essex, MA; probably died young
4.   Thomas Putnam born 12 March 1650/51 Salem, Essex, MA; died May 24, 1699 married Anne Carr
5.   Edward Putnam born 04 July 1654 Salem, Essex, MA; died 10 March 1746/47; married Mary Hale
6.   Deliverance Putnam born 05 September 1656 Salem, Essex, MA; died 16 December 1699; married Jonathan Walcott
7.   Elizabeth Putnam born 30 August 1659 Salem, Essex, MA; died 06 August 1722; married Joshua Bailey
8.   Prudence Putnam born 28 December 1661 Salem, Essex, MA; died 20 September 1721; married 1. William Wyman and 2. Peter Tuffs (who was the brother of my ancestor Mercy Tuffs)
Thomas and Mary Putnam’s children were:
   9. Joseph Putnam born 14 September 1669 Salem, Essex, MA; died May 1724; married Elizabeth Porter

Thomas Putnam was the eldest son and child of John Putnam and his wife. He was born in Ashton Abbots, Buckingham, England and immigrated to the North American English colonies sometime before 1640 with his parents and siblings. It can be speculated that the Putnams came to Massachusetts in order to worship freely as puritans. There was little reason for them to leave England as John Putnam had a fair sized estate inherited from his father Nicholas Putnam. The Putnams certainly sound like good respected Puritans in the Salem records so the best bet on the reason for coming to the New World was to worship God in the Puritan way.

    Thomas Putnam’s first wife, Anne Holyoke was the daughter of Edward Holyoke and his wife Prudence Stockton, daughter of Rev. John Stockton, was rector of the Kimcote and Walton parish for nearly 35 years. Thomas and Anne Putnam had eight. When Anne died, Thomas married his second wife Mary the widow of Nathaniel Veren and trouble began to brew.

After coming to Massachusetts, Lt. Thomas Putnam and his first family first lived in Lynn, Massachusetts, although Salem granted him "fifty acres [of upland] and five acres of meddow." In 1640 His father, John received a one hundred acres grant at this time.

Thomas was admitted to the church in 1643 but still had dealings in Lynn when the General Court declared: "Mr. Thomas Layghton, Edward Burcham, & Thomas Puttman are appointed by this Courte to end smale causes for ye towne of Lynne for ye yeere ensewing" 18 June, 1645. 

Unlike his father, Thomas stayed busy in the town’s affairs. He became a Lieutenant on Oct 8, 1662. He was a grand-Juryman in Salem and later a constable. He was the first parish clerk of Salem. He was “Layer out of Highways”, “Inspector of Bridges.” He shared an office with his son-in-law Jonathan Wolcott (Jonathan and Deliverance Putnam Wolcott were my ancestors):  "… Lt. Thomas Putnam and Jonathan Wolcott supply the place of deacons for ensueing;" However, from the beginning there was a divide in Salem between “Salem Village” and “Salem Town.” The relationship with Thomas and his children of his first marriage became estranged in 1666 when he married as his second wife, the wealthy and influential widow of  Nathaniel Veren. This marriage made him a very wealthy man, bringing in property from far away Jamaica and Barbados. He enlarged his house and this was where is son and only child by Mary was raised. In 1682 Lt. Thomas Putnam is the wealthiest person in Salem Village. Mary had connection to Salem Town, which divided the strongly religious Putnams further because of the more worldly nature of the inhabitance of Salem Town.

Thomas wrote his will in February of 1682/3. It was proved in Boston three years later on 8 July 1686. Thomas gave estates to each of his children, Thomas Jr., his oldest son and young Joseph, his only child by Mary Veren, received the greatest shares.  The children of Anne Holyoke, while receiving an inheritance felt slighted that their young half-brother had received an unfair amount of the inheritance. The eastern half of his property was left to Thomas, and the western half to Joseph. Edward got a smaller estate in the town, on the western side of St. Peter's Street, to the north of Federal Street. There wasn’t much love lost between the children of Anne Holyoke and their stepmother as they felt she and her friends had pressured Thomas Sr. into giving the youngest of his children a larger share of the estate then what was normally given a youngest child.

The children by his first wife attempted, unsuccessfully, to break this will, claiming that undue influence was used to obtain for Joseph more than his share of the estate.  Mr. Charles Upham in his Salem Witchcraft thus sums up the character and position of Thomas Putnam in contrast with his brothers "Possessing a large property by inheritance, he was not quite so active in increasing it, but enjoying the society and friendship of the leading men lived a more retired life.  At the same time he was always ready to serve the community when called for as he often was, when occasion arose for the aid of his superior intelligence and personal influence,"

Thomas Putnam died 5 May 1686, leaving in his wake the unfolding story that haunts Salem, Massachusetts to this day.

1. New England Marriages Prior to 1700 by Clarence Almon Torrey
2. "Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England" by James Savage
3.  The Devil Discovered, Salem Witchcraft 1692 by Enders A. Robinson
4.  Salem Vital Records, Vol. III, Deaths
5. Salem Vital Records, Vol. II, Marriages
6. A Register of the Ancestors of Door Eugene Felt and Agnes McNulty Felt compiled by Alfred L. Holman
7. "England Ancestry of John Putnam of Salem, MA" by G. Andrews Moriarty Jr., The American Genealogist, Vol. 15, p. 8-15, 1938
8. Genealogical And Personal Memoirs Relating To The Families Of Boston And Eastern Massachusetts. Prepared Under The Editorial Supervision Of William Richard Cutter, A. M.
9. Find a Grave,
10. Salem Witchcraft: With an Account of Salem Village and A History of Opinions on Witchcraft and Kindred Subjects  by Charles W. Upham, Frederick Ungar Pushing Co., New York, fourth Printing 1969 (originally published 1867)
11. The Will of Thomas Putnam (Sr.)

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