Thomas Scudder

Thomas Scudder[1, 2]

Male 1591 - Aft 1657  (> 66 years)

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  • Name Thomas Scudder 
    Born 1586/1591  Horton Kirby, Darenth, Kent, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    AFN 46XR-80 
    Reference Number 1024 
    _UID 7E87688E3C09D511A5C1205002C10000BFD7 
    Died Aft 30 Sep 1657  Salem, Essex, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Person ID I256  Scudder
    Last Modified 21 Apr 2013 

    Father Henry Scudder,   b. Abt 1560, Kent, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 5 Nov 1595, Horton Kirby, Darenth, Kent, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 35 years) 
    Mother Elizabeth Hale,   b. Abt 1564, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1617, Cobham, Kent, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 53 years) 
    Married Abt 1584  Kent, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    _UID 6986688E3C09D511A5C1205002C10000A978 
    Family ID F117  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Elizabeth,   b. Abt 1590, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 9 Sep 1666, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 76 years) 
    Married Abt 1610  England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    _UID 6F86688E3C09D511A5C1205002C10000AFD8 
    Children 
     1. William Scudder,   b. 1612/1615, Kent, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1655, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 40 years)
     2. John Scudder,   b. 1616/1620, London, Kent, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Bef 6 Jan 1685, Newtown, Queens, New York Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age < 65 years)
     3. Elizabeth Scudder,   b. Abt 1617/1622, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Sep 1682, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 60 years)
     4. Martha Scudder,   b. 1621, Kent, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 1650, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 29 years)
     5. Thomas Scudder,   b. Abt 1622/1626, Kent, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 14 Nov 1690, Huntington, Suffolk, New York Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 64 years)
     6. Henry Scudder,   b. Abt 1626/1630, Kent, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1661, Huntington, Suffolk, New York Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 31 years)
    Last Modified 7 Dec 2017 
    Family ID F120  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    Horton Kirby Parish, Kent, England
    Horton Kirby Parish, Kent, England

  • Notes 
    • Thomas and his brother, the Reverend Henry Scudder of Collingbourne Ducis, were born in the Darent Valley, Kent, England, in or near Horton-Kirby parish. Members of their family had lived there for almost two hundred years prior to their birth. It was there, according to family tradition, that Thomas married Elizabeth in St. Mary's Church. And it was there that Thomas and Elizabeth reared their children.

      We will not know why Thomas uprooted his family and migrated to the new world. The reasons are unknown at this time. Thomas had property in Kent, land and houses he inherited from his father. His brother was highly thought of as a clergyman. Although economic times were worsening in England, there is no evidence that Thomas was suffering.

      It is possible that Thomas may have departed Kent after 26 March 1637 to avoid possible loss of a suit for heavy damages against him. In Chancery Court in 1640, Sir Henry Neese sought damages from a clergyman named Chase, Mr. Chase's father and brothers, and Thomas and Henry Scudder. Sir Henry claimed that the Chases, in "pursuit of their malice against him," secretly conspired with Henry Scudder, clerke [this may be cleric, referring to Rev. Henry Scudder, Thomas' brother], and Thomas Scudder of Horton-Kirby, to deny Sir Henry access to various houses, to carry out their threat "to drive him out of that country."

      By the time of the 1640 Chancery case, Sir Henry had regained possession of Stone Castle and had recovered damages from the Chases through "five or six courts of law and equity." The apparent purpose of the 1640 action was to enable Sir Henry to recover additional damages to cover his costs.

      Thomas traveled first to the home of his brother, Reverend Henry Scudder, in Colingbourne-Ducis, and then to America. At some point in time, he transferred ownership of his property in Kent to Henry. He and his family arrived in Salem, Massachusetts, along with others of the great migration.

      Salem had been inhabited by English colonists for about 15 years before Thomas arrived with his family. In 1623 a group of colonists had attempted to set up a fishing establishment at Cape Ann, on the north shore of Massachusetts. The project failed but a few men led by Roger Conant did not give up and in 1626 settled in Naumkeag, which became Salem in 1629.

      The Massachusetts Bay Colony was issued a charter by the king in 1629 giving the colony the rights of autonomy and self rule. The colonists were intent on establishing a commonwealth where the Puritan Church could exist and their rights would be upheld. They intended to worship God without the interference of the bishops of the Church of England and rejected anyone who did not follow their principles.

      Ministers began arriving in 1629 and began the job of organizing their churches. It was becoming clear that Salem was separating from the Church of England. In August the covenant was accepted. There was little in the way of organization that resembled the Church of England; the Book of Common Prayer was conspicuously left out of worship.

      The land within Salem Town was not fertile, but expansion into surrounding areas through land grants produced agriculture. One of the areas of expansion was Salem Village. The first real steps toward an independent township for Salem Village was in 1638.

      In the 1630's there was a threat of charter revocation and the colonists responded by preparing a defense. Roger Williams, in an act of defiance cut the cross out from the English flag. It would not be reinstated until 1680, in the years after King Phillip's War when the colonial leaders sought to re-institute discipline.

      The 1630's saw population expansion, the controversy over Anne Hutchinson, and the Pequot Indian War. The growth of population was due to the repressive government of King Charles I in England. Anne Hutchinson defied the ruling authority by criticizing the doctrine of the elect. She amassed a large following and was eventually driven out of Massachusetts to Rhode Island. From there she went to New York where she and her family were killed by Indians. The Pequot Indian War was the first time the colony as a whole was engaged in war with Indians and the first instance of Indians using guns against the white settlers.

      In the 1640's the high rate of immigration slowed considerably. The main reason for migrating to New England was gone. The Puritans were in power in England and the persecution had ended. It was necessary for the colony to develop her own system of trading and increase exports to maintain her position. The colonists were self-reliant and did not turn to England for help. From the beginning Massachusetts was determined to run her affairs her way and claimed sovereignty. She would not acknowledge the right of the King to revoke her charter. By 1640 Salem would be the second most important colonial town next to Boston. In 1643 the colonies formed a confederacy.

      Under Cromwell in the 1650's England left the colonies to themselves and during this time they prospered. The church was the most prominent organization in the towns and by 1655, Salem was considered a well organized and well governed community in addition to being an extremely important trading port.

      When Thomas arrived in Salem, he probably lived in a village, beyond which were his privately owned fields. The typical village was composed of houses grouped around a plot of land held in common by the community. The dominant structure on the common was the meetinghouse, where the pastor, the most important figure in the community, held long Sabbath services. The meetinghouse of the chief village of a town (in New England a town corresponds to what is usually called a township elsewhere in the United States) was also the site of the town meeting, traditionally regarded as a foundation of American democracy.

      In practice the town meeting served less to advance democracy than to enforce unanimity and conformity, and participation was as a rule restricted to male property holders who were also church members. The first mention of Thomas in Salem is 25 December 1637, when "Goodman Skudder" was granted two quarter acres of marsh and meadow land at one of these town meetings. The term used to describe him, "Goodman," means that he was in good standing in the community; a member of the middle class.

      In his will dated 30 September 1657 and probated 29 June 1658, Thomas named his wife, Elizabeth, his sons, John, Thomas, and Henry, his daughter, Elizabeth Bartholomew, and a grandson, Thomas, son of Thomas' son, William. He divided his goods equally among the heirs, except for a cow which he left to his wife.

  • Sources 
    1. [S103] Thomas Scudder (T) of Salem, David B. Scudder, comp., (Scudder Searches (Arlington, VA: The Scudder Association, 1989)), Vol. I, No. 2, p. 6.

    2. [S631] International Genealogical Index (R), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (Copyright (c) 1980, 2002, data as of February 15, 2003).

    3. [S247] Ancestral File (R), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (Copyright (c) 1987, June 1998, data as of 5 January 1998).

    4. [S275] Tentative Pedigree Chart of Thomas (T) of Salem and the Reverend Henry Scudder, Simon Skudder, comp., (Scudder Searches), Vol. IV, No. 2, p. 4.