As I climb further and further back into my family history, I find that there are less primary sources and more derivative and authored sources. I know that this can be “dangerous” in that what I try to determine what to write about. So I preface this and other stories set in colonial and early American times with that phrase I love on my tax return: this is all “to the best of my knowledge”. I am completely open to learning new and better information!
The following is Thomas’ story, leaving out the details of his many children (which I will cover in the next post):
Thomas Strong was born in the mid- to late-1630s, probably in Hingham, Massachusetts Bay Colony, the oldest child of John Strong and Abigail Ford. He was the first child in this line born in the New World.
Thomas seems to have spent much of his childhood in Taunton, Plymouth Colony, then the family moved to Windsor, Connecticut Colony. It was in Windsor where Thomas became a man and served as a trooper in 1658 under Major Mason. Thomas also had to have met his future wife, Mary Hewett (daughter of Reverend Ephraim Hewett or Huit and Isabel Overton) in Windsor. (As a side note, Reverend Huit’s gravestone is known to be the oldest legible gravestone in Connecticut.)
In 1659 Thomas (going along with most of his family) moved from Windsor to Northampton, Massachusetts Bay Colony. He must have returned to Windsor at the very least to wed Mary Hewett on December 5, 1660.
In Northampton, Thomas (like his father) became a part of community life. He was a member of the Church of Christ in Northampton. In July of 1666 he helped with the building of a mill in Northampton.
On February 20, 1770/71 Thomas’ wife Mary died, leaving him with their five children under the age of ten. I’m sure that his extended family in Northampton came alongside Thomas to help with the children, but they didn’t have to do so for long. On October 10, 1671 he married Rachel Holton (daughter of William Holton and Mary Winche). Thomas and Rachel went on to have at least ten more children of their own.
As a farmer, Thomas donated bushels of wheat to Harvard College between 1672 and 1673. On February 11, 1679/80 he, along with others, was sworn into office as a “tithing man”, a church official who was in charge of the morals of the community.
On October 3, 1689, Thomas died in Northampton. I imagine that, like his parents, he is buried at Bridge Street Cemetery in Northampton, although I have nothing that proves that.
After Thomas’ death, Rachel married Nathan Bradley of East Guilford (now Madison), New Haven County, CT in May 1698, and moved there with her younger children.