Eighth Great-Grandparents: Thomas and Margaret (Clements) Wallingford

Way back on June 19, 2016, I mentioned that my seventh great-grandfather James Goodwin had married Margaret Wallingford. Since that time, I’ve been exposed to some of the awesome work of the Great Migration study on AmericanAncestors.org, which has led me to more ancestors and more stories. Today, I’ll pick up the story with Margaret’s parents, Thomas Wallingford and Margaret Clements; and again, the information is to the best of my knowledge.

Thomas was born July 28, 1697 in Bradford, Essex County, Massachusetts. He was the youngest son and fifth child of John Wallingford and Mary Tuttle.

On March 2, 1716, Thomas bought land from Daniel Gordon of Kingston, NH; I assume this land was in Dover, Strafford County, New Hampshire, because the following year he married Margaret Clements (daughter of Job Clements and Abigail Heard) there. They subsequently went on to build their family. The following are Thomas’ children that are ascribed to Margaret:

  • Margaret, born in Dover; married James Goodwin, circa 1740; died February 1803 in Berwick, York County, Massachusetts (now Maine)
  • Hannah, born May 5, 1720; married _____ Brown
  • Judith, born March 25, 1722
  • Ebenezer, born July 21, 1724; married Mary Wentworth
  • Abigail, born September 30, 1726; married Edward Sanders

It was sometime after Abigail’s birth that Margaret died, for by February 18, 1728 Thomas had remarried a woman by the last name of Pray (some assume her name was Mary).

At this point, Thomas’ public life began to pick up, He was a selectman in Dover for various years between 1733 and 1748. He also served as a representative in the colonial assembly between 1739 and 1748. One interesting story I found was that during a session on February 13, 1744, “Cyprian Jeffrey, of Portsmouth, storekeeper, made an assault upon him and drawing his knife said ‘he would cut his (Wallingford’s) throat, if he got forty men to do it.’ ” Jeffrey was arrested but later, when Thomas complained of the attack to the House, admitted his wrongdoing. Thomas forgave him after Jeffries paid “costs”. What precipitated all this, I have no idea!

In 1748, Thomas took the most significant office of his life: judge of the Superior Court in Dover. The FamilySearch Wiki seems to indicate that there are no court records archives prior to 1773, so I don’t know if I’d ever be able to see what kind of cases he was involved with.

By 1755, Thomas was married yet again to Elizabeth (Swett) Prime. Supposedly Elizabeth was the inspiration for naming the land on which they lived: “Madam’s Cove”. This land was along the Newichawannock River (today, the Salmon Falls River), kind of across from the mouth of the Great Works River.

Thomas died on August 4, 1771 in Portsmouth, Rockingham County, NH at “Capt. Stoodley’s”. Though I couldn’t pin down exactly who Capt. Stoodley was, I strongly believe that it might have been James Stoodley who ran a tavern in Portsmouth (which still stands and has been moved to the Strawbery Banke Museum campus). After all, it makes sense that this would be a place that Thomas could stay in Portsmouth if he had business there.

Stoodley’s Tavern. Courtesy Library of Congress

Thomas was buried on August 6 in what is now the Old Town Cemetery in Rollinsford, Strafford County, New Hampshire. His wife Elizabeth was also buried there, having died on December 3, 1810.

I was surprised to read that Thomas died intestate, for he had a lot of land throughout New Hampshire and what is now Maine. It seems that my ancestor, Margaret (Wallingford) Goodwin, inherited quite a bit of land in New Hampshire and in Berwick, York County, Massachusetts. (I wonder how she ultimately disposed of all that land?) There is a good summary of his extensive estate was divided here, but it would be good to look at these records myself someday.

One significant point I want to make is that these records reveal that Thomas was a slaveholder. His estate reveals four names:

  • Richmond
  • Phillis
  • Dinah
  • Cato

I don’t think that these slaves were ever freed, although it’s believed that Cato actually fought in the Revolutionary War.

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