THOMAS CASWELL [#182], d. prob. Taunton, MA Mar 1697, m. abt. 1647 MARY ____.
Thomas Caswell was an early resident of Taunton as in 1643 he was on a roster of the First Military Company of Taunton. This was a list of "all the males able to beare armes from 16 years to 60 yeares". He was most probably born in England, but it is not now known when he came to this country. He was probably not one of the original settlers of Taunton because he does not appear on the list of the 46 original purchasers or the list of 35 subsequent purchasers.
It is not known where in England Thomas came from but the Caswell name is common in the county of Somerset, and a large number of Somersetshire families settled in Taunton. In the parish of North Curry, Somerset on October 20, 1618, Thomas Caswell, son of Thomas Caswell, was baptised. This Thomas would be of the right age to be the Thomas of Taunton, but proof of a connection is lacking. If this is our Thomas, it would make him about 22 years old when he emigrated, not an unreasonable assumption. Thomas probably married in Taunton about 1648 to Mary ____. Mary's maiden name is unknown, but her son Peter, in a testamentary deed, made mention of his "aunt Bryant".[2/17:438] This aunt could be Mary's sister, but unfortunately her maiden name can not be established either.[5/35:111]
In 1651 Thomas and eleven other townsmen made up a panel of inquest into the drowning death of ten year old William England, servant to Joseph Wildbore, who accidentally fell out of a canoe on the Great River (now Taunton River). Thomas signed his name, "Tho: Caswell", to the verdict.[6/2:1756] The people of Taunton chose Thomas as hayward on March 11, 1655, apparently the only elected position he ever held. In 1657 "Tho: Casswell" took the Oath of Fidelity in Taunton.[5/36:79] In 1662 he served on the "Grand Enquest" for the Colony of New Plymouth.[6/4:14] In 1667 he was again called upon to serve with eleven others on a panel of inquest into the accidental drowning of Timothy Poole, to which he signed his name "Thomas Caswell"[6/4:171]
He served on several panels and committees which gives an indication of his good standing in the community. Starting with very little, Thomas acquired through grants and purchases several tracts of land totaling several hundred acres. His will and inventory show his land holdings to be sufficient to set up his sons and sons-in-laws on farms of their own.
Thomas settled on the land that had belonged to John Kingsley, an original proprietor who had moved to Rehoboth, MA. On December 28, 1659 he was granted 42 acres of land in Taunton, and there were nine in his family at the time. He and his wife and six children account for eight. The ninth may have been a servant, a child whose birth and death were not recorded, or some other relative. On the sixth of June 1668 Thomas was one of those to purchase shares in the Taunton North Purchase,[4/3:118] which was later set of as Norton, parts of Mansfield and Easton. Several years later he was also involved in the South Purchase, a four square mile tract bought from King Phillip and which now lies within the town of Berkley. Thomas was listed as a head of household in 1675, a year in which King Phillip was apparently having second thoughts about his earlier land sale to the English.
Thomas Caswell's name appears on a rate list dated October 16, 1683 to defray the expenses of plastering the meeting house, his comparitively large assessment being one shilling eleven pence. He was also assessed eighteen shillings as his proportion of the sum to be paid to purchase Mr. Danforth's land, according to an undated Taunton list.[5/35:113]
Also in 1683 the name of Thomas Caswell was included on a military document, and although this was probably Thomas Jr., an abstract is included here in order to give a flavor of the times. The Taunton Military Company was split at this time into four squadrons. The members of each squadron were to bring their fire arms to Sunday meeting once a month, each squadron taking a different sabbath. The court ordered that every soldier was to bring his arms when it was his turn with six charges of powder and shot and to be fined if he failed to do so. A steeper fine was to be imposed if he refused. Also, any member who stayed away from meeting because they would not bring their arms were to be summoned to court. Apparently the arms were necessary to protect the congregation against Indian attack.
In the 1691 Inspection Return, taken at the time of King William's War, "Thomas Caswell, sen" is shown as having been supplied with a gun, a cartouch box, powder, and bullets, while the following year his gun was pressed for Nathan Presbiter and valued at œ1. In 1693 Thomas served on a jury ordered by the town to lay out a road to William Hack's, the report of which he signed on May 27, 1693.[5/35:1134]
As for Thomas Caswell's land holdings, on November 27, 1649, at a town meeting, he was granted his second division, on the other side of Two Mile River opposite Thomas Coggins' land extending to the head of the great lots there. The wording of this grant seems to imply an earlier grant, possibly in the first division, but no record of this has been found. On December 28, 1659 he was granted forty-two acres for "9 Heads" (mentioned above), on which he paid a tax of 11 shillings and three pence. On January 3, 1660 it was said that Thomas Caswell's home lot shall extend in length as far as Shadrach Wildbore's land. The Proprietors' records list the lands in possession of Thomas Caswell Sr. on Jan. 8, 1665 as follows: his home lot, 6 acres, lying between Samuel Wilbore to the east and the widow Paul on the southwest; the addition to his home lot, being on the other side of the Great River, between Samuel Wilbore on the southwest and Mrris Farwell on the east; 4 acres of meadow on the other side of the Great River lying between two brooks, Walter Dean's meadow lying to the west of this tract on the other side of one of the brooks; one pond, called the "Stage Pond", being three acres lying between the Iron Works and the Four Mill Pond (called Titicut Pond); his "division", being 11 acres at the east end of the above meadow, bounded by James Bell's land on the east end and the Great River on the northwest, and extending to the Common on the south; and his "second division" of land, being 42 acres lying on the southeast side of his meadow, with "Plymouth path" on the west and the lands of widow Dean on the southeast, and extending to a little plain being a "common".[5/35:114]
Later, on March 22, 1669, Thomas was granted three acres of swamp on the Three Mile River "at a place where the beavers did dam up the water". On October 24, 1682 he was further granted thirty acres on John Kingsley's right and on December 23, 1684 he was granted two acres at a place called Pool's Brook, the western bound of which was the path that came from the Iron Works.[5/35:1145]
Thomas' will was dated September 28, 1691 with a codicil dated March 15, 1696-7 and was probated September 14, 1697. In it he mentioned his wife Mary and his six sons and daughters.[1/1:196] The inventory of the estate was taken March 30, 1697 and ammounted to 306.09.06.[1/1:197] On March 12, 1721-2 his son Thomas and daughters Mary Thrasher, Sarah Hoskins, Hannah Ramsdel, Elizabeth Leonard, Abigail Jones, and Esther Smith sold their rights in Thomas' estate to their brother Samuel.[2/14:316]
REF:  Bristol County Probate  Bristol County Deeds  Taunton Vital Records  Plymouth Colony Deeds  The Mayflower Descendant, 1985-1988  Plymouth Colony Records, 1855
1. Stephen, b. 15 Feb 1648-9, d. between 5 Jan 1711-2 and 25 Sep 1714, m. Taunton 24 Dec 1672 Hannah Thrasher (dau. of Christopher Thrasher), d. aft. 1714 Chil.:[5/36:4] 1) Stephen, b. Taunton 11 Dec 1673, d. aft. 19 May 1746, m. by 14 Apr 1730 Sarah ____; 2) Deborah, b. abt. 1765, m. 14 Nov 1716 Edmund Tilson (son of Ephraim Tilson and Elizabeth Hoskins), res. Plympton, MA; 3) Joseph, b. Taunton 18 May 1678, d. Berkley, MA 5 Aug 1775, m. abt. 1708 Love ____, d. Berkley, MA 20 Apr 1768; 4) Timothy, d. 1760-1767, m. abt. 1702 Sarah ____, res. Berkley, MA; 5) Peter, d. aft. 1 Jun 1757, m. Elizabeth Barney (dau. of John Barney and Mary Throop), b. Bristol, MA 4 Oct 1691, res. Tauconnuk, now Mt. Washington, MA and Nobleton, now Hillsdale, NY; 6) Ruth, unm. 25 Sep 1714; 7) Hannah, unm. 25 Sep 1714; 8) Lydia, unm. 25 Sep 1714
2. Thomas, b. 22 Feb 1650-1, d. Middleboro between 27 Aug 1725 and 7 Feb 1725-6, m. abt. 1674 Mary Jones, d. aft. 5 Sep 1728 Chil.:[5/36:9-10] 1) Benjamin, b. 16 Nov 1675, m. Taunton 17 Mar 1706-7 Mary (Hall) Briggs (dau. of Samuel Hall and Elizabeth White, widow of Samuel Briggs), b. Taunton 3 Oct 1672, d. bef. 11 Dec 1725, res. Norton, MA; 2) Thomas, b. Taunton 2 Jan 1677-8, d. bef. 27 Aug 1725; 3) Mary, b. Taunton 16 Mar 1679-80, m. Taunton 28 Sep 1699 Thomas Stephens (son of Richard Stephens and Mary Lincoln), b. Taunton 3 Feb 1674-5, res. Norton, MA; 4) James, b. Taunton 17 May 1681, d. aft. 27 Aug 1725; 5) John, b. Taunton 27 Jan 1683-4, res. Colleton County, SC; 6) Daniel, b. abt. 1692, d. Middleboro, MA 20 Apr 1788, m. abt. 1712 Mary ____, b. Apr 1695, d. Middleboro 20 Sep 1771; 7) Job, d. Newport, RI 5 Nov 1774, m. abt. 1722 Lydia Peckham (dau. of Phillip Peckham and Jane Blackwell), b. Newport 19 Mar 1705-6, d. Newport 1760; 8) Timothy, m. Scituate, MA 15 Apr 1723 Deborah Bowker (dau. of James Bowker and Mary), b. Scituate 13 Aug 1693; 9) Jared, d. aft. 27 Aug 1725, res. Newport, RI; 10) Hannah, d. aft. 10 Jul 1730, m.(int.) Norton, MA 5 Aug 1721 John Newland (son of Anthony Newland and Esther Austin), b. Taunton 12 Sep 1686, res. Norton; 11) Abigail, d. aft. 27 Aug 1725, m. ____ Allen; 12) Deborah, d. Easton, MA Aug 1726, m. Norton, MA 9 Jun 1726 John Austin (son of Jonah Austin and Thomasine Lincoln); 13) Joseph, m. Dartmouth, MA 16 Mar 1731 Mary Kirby (dau. of John Kirby and Rebecca Mosher), b. Dartmouth 16 Dec 1707, res. Dartmouth; 14) Abiah, unm. 27 Aug 1725; 15) Margaret, unm. 27 Aug 1725
3. Peter, b. 31 Oct 1652, d. between 1727 and 1737, m. bef. 7 Apr 1681 Hannah ____, d. aft. 9 Apr 1716 Chil.[5/36:128]: 1) Edward, b. Taunton 7 Apr 1681, d. aft. 28 Nov 1748, prob. never married, res. Taunton; 2) Sarah, unm. 4 Aug 1727; 3) Hannah, unm. 4 Aug 1727
4. Mary, b. 31 Aug 1654, d. aft. 10 Jul 1722, m. 15 Aug 1676 Israel Thrasher (son of Christopher Thrasher), b. Taunton 14 Sep 1648, d. aft. 12 Mar 1721-2
5. John, b. 31 Jul 1656, d. Norton, MA 1713-1714, m. Taunton 26 Nov 1689 Elizabeth Hall (dau. Samuel Hall and Elizabeth White), b. Taunton 28 Oct 1670, d. Norton 4 Nov 1739 Chil.[5/36:132-3]: 1) John, b. Taunton 17 Jul 1690; 2) Elizabeth, b. Taunton 16 Nov 1691, d. aft. 5 Mar 1754, m. Norton (int.) 27 Aug 1711 Samuel Bailey (son of John Bailey and Sarah White), b. Scituate, MA Aug 1690, d. Norton by 5 Mar 1754; 3) Samuel, b. Taunton 6 Oct 1695; 4) Josiah, b. Taunton 1 Jun 1696, d. btw. 2 Mar 1721-2 and 11 Oct 1723, res. Norton, MA; 5) Jedidiah, b. Taunton 7 Nov 1700; 6) Bethiah, b. Taunton 14 Jun 1705, d. prob. Norton bef. 6 Jul 1738, m. Norton 12 Jan 1726-7 Henry Witherell (son of John Witherell and Susannah Newland), b. Taunton North Purchase (now Norton) 26 Jan 1703-4, d. Norton aft. 1778
6. Sarah, b. 31 Nov 1658, d. aft. 26 Mar 1730, m. 3 Jul 1677 William Hoskins, b. 30 Nov 1647, d. Taunton 1730
7. William, b. 15 Sep 1660, d. aft. 14 Mar 1727-8, m. bef. 1686 Mercy Lincoln, b. Taunton 3 Apr 1670, d. aft. 6 Jun 1752 Chil.[5/37:14-18]: possibly 1) Catherine, b. abt. 1687, d. Hingham, MA 2 Apr 1761, m. Hingham 15 Feb 1703-4 Thomas Jones (son of Joseph Jones adn Patience Little), b. Hingham 15 Aug 1679, d. Hingham 19 Mar 1723-4; probably 2) Joanna, b. abt. 1689, d. aft. 7 Apr 1746, m. Hingham, MA 12 Jun 1707 Benjamin Tuells (son of Richard Tuells and Martha), b. Boston 13 Nov 1678, d. Dighton, MA prob. 5 Oct 1745; 3) William; probably 4) Jotham; 5) Lydia, b. abt. 1696, d. Lisbon, CT 25 May 1790, m(1) Norwich, CT 8 Oct 1713 John Read (son of Josiah Read and Grace Holloway), b. Norwich 15 Aug 1679, d. Norwich 16 Apr 1768, m(2) Norwich 23 Nov 1769 Capt. Isaac Mathews; 6) Seth, b. abt. 1698; 7) Mercy, d. aft. 25 Dec 1764, m. Norwich, CT 12 Nov 1723 Daniel Longbottom (son of Daniel Longbottom and Elizabeth Lamb), b. Norwich 19 Mar 1694-5, d. Norwich 9 Sep 1753; 8) Mary, d. aft. 12 May 1740, m(1) Norwich 30 Apr 1724 William Read (son of William Read and Anna Stark), d. Norwich 13 Aug 1727, m(2) Preston, CT 1 Jul 1729 Isaac Cady (son of Nicholas Cady and Patience Redland), b. abt. 1706, d. prob. Preston btw. 7 Feb and 17 Mar 1729-30, m(3) btw. 1 Feb 1731-2 and 5 Apr 1740 ____ Burnham; 9) Elkanah; possibly 10) Elizabeth, d. aft. 31 Oct 1765, m. John Williams (son of Emmanuel Williams and Abigail Makepeace), d. btw. 6 Mar 1775 and 5 Sep 1780; possibly 11) Charity, d. aft. 21 Sep 1742, m. Middleborough, MA 1 Apr 1731 Electious Reynolds (son of Electious Reynolds and Mary Pease), b. Middleborough 21 Feb 1706-7
8. Hannah, b. 14 Jul 1661, d. aft. 12 Mar 1721-2, m. Daniel Ramsdel, b. Plymouth, MA 14 Sep 1649, d. bef. 1722
9. Samuel, b. 26 Jan 1662-3, d. between 1728 and 1741, m. bef. 1691 Ruth Bobbitt, b. Taunton 7 Aug 1671, d. aft. 20 March 1727-8 Chil.[5/37:21-22]: 1) Samuel, b. abt. 1692, d. aft. 10 Feb 1770, prob. d. Taunton Oct 1771, prob. unm.; possibly 2) Stephen; 3) Henry; 4) Ebenezer; 5) Nathaniel; 6) Damaris, b. abt. 1703, d. Taunton 25 Mar 1773, m. abt. 1723 Samuel Wilbore (son of Samuel Wilbore and Sarah Phillips), b. Taunton 26 Mar 1695, d. Taunton 21 Mar 1772; 7) Mehitable, d. aft. 26 Apr 1737, m. Henry Richmond (son of Joseph Richmond and Mary ANdrews), b. abt. 1690, d. Taunton aft. 24 Jul 1751; 8) Ruth; 9) Ann; 10) Joanna, b. abt. 1712, living in Mansfield, CT 15 Mar 1792, m. Norwich, CT 5 Feb 1745-6 Jacob Jones (son of Abraham Jones and Naomi Foster?), b. Taunton abt. 1702, d. Mansfield, CT bef. 17 Jun 1791; 11) Rebecca
10. Elizabeth, b. 10 Jan 1664-5, d. aft. 12 Mar 1721-2, m. Taunton 1 Jun 1685 Uriah Leonard, b. Taunton 10 Jul 1662, d. aft. 12 Mar 1721-2
11. Abigail, b. 27 Oct 1666, d. aft. 10 Jul 1722, m. Taunton 6 Apr 1696 Joseph Jones, b. Taunton 5 Jul 1664, d. between 1722 and 1729
12. Esther, b. 1 Jun 1669, d. aft. 10 Jul 1722, m(1) Samuel Smith, b. Taunton 15 Oct 1666, d. Taunton 1718, m(2) ____ Fisher
Eng. Historical & Genealogical Register, Vol 17 P. 235
Mesa Lib Ref. # US-B2-26
Thos Caswell Jun: his children's age
Benjamin born 16 Nov. 1675,
Thomas, born 2 Jam 1677,
Mary born 16 March 1679,
James born 17, May 1681,
John born 27, Jan. 1683
Arms-Argent three bars gemelles and a mullet for difference, sable.
Crest- A dexter arm embowed in mail proper holding a cross crosslet fitchee or.
The family of Caswell is of considerable antiquity in Wales and in the neighboring county of Herford. Sir Thomas Caswell, a knight of the Holy wars, was buried at Leominster Long. Subsequently Sir George Caswell had very great estates in that community and represented Leominster in several Parliaments. He left two sons, John and Timothy. John, the eldest, left one son, John, father of the Rev. Robert Caswell, and Timothy, youngest son of Sir George, left a son, George Caswell, of Secombe Park, Herts. These were the common ancestors of all the Caswalls or Caswells, as the name was known, who settled in Herford originally. In their coat-of arms- they used the mullet or star of five points showing their descent form a youngest son, the crest is distinctive of knights who fought in the Holy Wars.
I. Richard Caswell, Esq., of London, married Mary Slany, daughter of Richard Slany, Esq., of County Salop, (official name of Shrop) and among their children were Thomas and George, the third and fourth sons.
II. Thomas Caswell, believed to be a son of Richard of London, was one of the first settlers in Taunton, Massachusetts, which was incorporated in 1639. He reached the colonies about 1640, believedly form Somersetshire, England, and in 1668 was one of the original purchasers of the "Taunton North Purchase." a tract which now includes Easton, and parts of Mansfield and Norton, Massachusetts. The name of this wife has not been learned, but his descendants in this country are numberous, as he was the father of ten children: I. Stephen, born February 15, 1649. 2. Thomas, born February 22, 1651. 3. Peter, born October 31, 1652. 4. Mary, born August 31, 1654, married Israel Thrasher. 5. John, born July 31, 1656, married Elizabeth Hall. 6. Sarah, born November 30, 1658, married William Haskins. 7. William, born September 15, 1660. 8. Samuel born January 26, 1663. 9. Elizabeth, of whom further. 10. Abigail, born in 1666.
III. Elizabeth Caswell, daughter of Thomas of Taunton, Massachusetts, was born January 10, 1665, and married, June I, 1685, Uriah Leonard. (Leonard VIII).
(196). Will of Thomas Casewell Senr. Of Taunton dated Sept. 28, 1691. To my eldest son Stephens Casswell the land whereon his house now standeth and my land at Skunk Hill. To my second son Thomas Casswell six acres of land in the great plain, other lands of mine now in his possession and one half quarter part of my share in the North purchase. To my third son Peter Casswell sixteen acres on the south side of the highway opposite where his house now standeth. To my fourth son John Caswell "a Pond Called the ftage pound" also one half quarter part of my share in the North purchase. To my fifth son William Caswell the land whereon his house now standeth and the land called the Neck, also ten acres of land at "Thinn Swamp" and three acres of swamp at the old Beaver Dam. To my sixth son Samuel Caswell my house wherein I now dwell with my orchard, meadow and other land, all my land on the north side of the highway as far a James Bell's land, except a little piece where my son Peter Caswell's house stands which I formerly gave to my said son Peter. Also I give to said Samuel forty-six acres of my fifty acre division lying at Cotly between the land of Isacce Dean and Shadrach Wilbor's land. To my loving wife Mary one quarter of my share in the North purchase, the use of all my moveables within my house, and the westerly lower room in my house during her widowhood. My son Samuel Caswell to be sole executor, he to take care of and provide for his mother and maintain her during her widowhood. To my daughters Mary, Sarah, Hannah, Elizabeth, Abigail and Hester the one half of my share in the North purchase to be equally divided among them. To my daughter Hannah wife of Daniel Ramsdell one heifer of a year old. Witnessed by Shadrach Wilbore, Samuel Wilbore and Joseph Wilbore. "Pofcript" dated March 15, 1696-7: Where-my share in the North purchase has since been sold for the sum of L12, each money my son Samuel made us of, my will is that he pay the ___of L12 to those of my children to whom said share was given, in protion as expressed in the will. Codicil witnessed by Elizabeth X Briant, ____X Leonard and Samuel Danforth. Joseph Wilbore one of the witnesses made oath to said will at Bristol, Sept. 14, 1697 and Shadrach Wilbore another witness "Did * * make oath to the Tone: and Effect of Joseph wilbore his oath: and Samuel wilbore was present and did signe as a witness at the same time: Since Deceafed", at Taunton. Oct. 9, 1697. The same day Mr Samuel Danforth and Elizabeth Briant testifyed the truth of the above will before John Saffin Judge of probate. John _______ Registr: Entered Oct 30, 1697 by John Cary Registr: Inventory of above estate taken March 30, 1696-7  by Israel Thresher, Josep Richmond and Henry Andrews, and presented at court Taunton Oct. 9, 1697 by Samuel Caswell executor before Jn Saffin, John Cary Registr: Entered Oct. 30, 1697 by John Cary Regist rm : Amount of inventory, L306..09..06
At date of incorporation (of town of Taunton) in 1639 the name of Thomas Caswell appeared in the list of its hoseholders & proprietors Like the other original settlers he probably came from Taunton, in Somersetshire, England his will was admitted to probate in 1697.
The Historical & Genealogical Register Mesa, Az. Lib
B2 Vol. 31 p. 253
Census Records | Vital Records | Family Trees & Communities | Immigration Records | Military Records Directories & Member Lists | Family & Local Histories | Newspapers & Periodicals | Court, Land & Probate | Finding Aids