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* 1st Governor of Martha's Vineyard

Gov. Thomas Mayhew was born 31 March 1593 in Tisbury, Wiltshire, England, United Kingdom to Matthew Mayhew (1550-1614) and Alice Barter (1560-1614) and died 25 March 1682 West Tisbury, Dukes County, Massachusetts, United States of unspecified causes. He married Abigail Parkhurst (1595-1630) 1615 in Wiltshire, England, United Kingdom. He married Jane Galland (1602-1666) 1634 in England.

Biography

Governor Thomas Mayhew, the Elder (March 31, 1593 – March 25, 1682) established the first English settlement of Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket and adjacent islands in 1642. He is one of the editors of the Bay Psalm Book, the first book published in British America. His assistant Peter Foulger was the grandfather of Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790).

Early Life

Thomas Mayhew was born in Tisbury, in the county of Wiltshire in England. He married Anna (also called Hanna and Abigail) Parkhurst, born about 1600, in Hampshire, England, daughter of Matthew Parkhurst. In 1621 they had a son, Thomas, the Younger, baptised in Hanna's home town of Southampton. Two years later they had another child, Robert Mayhew, baptized in Tisbury.

The family left England in 1631/2 during the Great Migration of Puritans that brought 20,000 settlers to Massachusetts in thirteen years. Through the agency of Matthew Cradock of London, Mayhew had been appointed to manage properties in Medford, Massachusetts, and to engage in trade and shipbuilding. In or about 1633, Mayhew's wife Anna died, and about 1634 he returned to England for a business meeting with Cradock. While in England, he married Jane Gallion (1602–1666), and brought her back to New England with him. Their daughter Hannah was born in 1635, and three more daughters, Mary (1639), Martha (1642), and Bethiah, followed.


Watertown Founders Monument

Watertown Founders Monument

He is listed on Watertown Founders Monument, commemorating the first settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts. The town was first known as Saltonstall Plantation, one of the earliest of the Massachusetts Bay Colony settlements. Founded in early 1630 by a group of settlers led by Richard Saltonstall and George Phillips, it was officially incorporated that same year. The alternate spelling "Waterton" is seen in some early documents.

Colonizing Dukes County

In 1641, while engaged in business ventures in the vicinity of Boston, Mayhew succeeded in acquiring the rights to the islands that now constitute Dukes County, Massachusetts and Nantucket County, Massachusetts: Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, and the Elizabeth Islands. He bought the County for 40 pounds and two beaverskin hats from William Alexander, the 2nd Earl of Sterling. To resolve a conflicting ownership claim, he also paid off Sir Ferdinando Gorges, thereby acquiring a clear title.[1]

Mayhew established himself as governor of Martha's Vineyard in 1642 and sent his son, Thomas the Younger, with about forty English families to settle there. He himself followed four years later. Together he and the younger Thomas established Martha’s Vineyard’s first settlement and called it Great Harbor, now Edgartown, Massachusetts.

1675 King Philip's War

From the beginning, Mayhew had worked to preserve the original political institutions of the Indians. Religion and government were distinct matters, he told the Indian chiefs. When one of your subjects becomes a Christian, he is still under your jurisdiction. Indian land was guarded against further encroachment by white settlers. So successful were these policies that during the bloody battles of King Philip's War, in 1675-1676, the Vineyard Indians never stirred, although they outnumbered the English on the island by twenty to one.

Death

When the venerable Governor Mayhew became ill one Sunday evening in 1682, he calmly informed his friends and relatives that "his Sickness would now be to Death, and he was well contented therewith, being full of Days, and satisfied with Life". His great-grandson, Experience Mayhew, a son of John, was only eight at the time, but he clearly remembered being led to the bedside to receive from the dying man a blessing "in the Name of the Lord". Matthew Mayhew, the eldest grandson, succeeded his military and civil duties. Rev. John Mayhew, the youngest grandson and grandfather of Jonathan Mayhew, continued his missionary work to the Indians. Thomas, another grandson, became a Judge of Massachusetts.


Marriage and Family

1st Marriage: Abigail Parkhurst

Thomas Mayhew was born in Tisbury, in the county of Wiltshire in England. He married Anna (also called Hanna and Abigail) Parkhurst, born about 1600, in Hampshire, England, daughter of Matthew Parkhurst. In 1621 they had a son, Thomas, the Younger, baptised in Hanna's home town of Southampton. Two years later they had another child, Robert Mayhew, baptized in Tisbury.

In 1657, the younger Thomas Mayhew was drowned when a ship he was travelling in was lost at sea on a voyage to England. Mayhew's three grandsons Matthew Mayhew (1648-), Thomas (1650-), John Mayhew (1652-), and other members of his family assisted him in running his business and government.


2nd Marriage : Jane Galland

In or about 1633, Mayhew's wife Anna died, and about 1634 he returned to England for a business meeting with Cradock. While in England, he married Jane Gallion (1602–1666), and brought her back to New England with him. Their daughter Hannah was born in 1635, and three more daughters, Mary (1639), Martha (1642), and Bethiah, followed.



Children



Offspring of Gov. Thomas Mayhew and Abigail Parkhurst (1595-1630)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Thomas Mayhew (1620-1657)
Robert Mayhew (1623-)



Offspring of Gov. Thomas Mayhew and Jane Galland (1602-1666)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Hannah Mayhew (1635-1723)
Bethiah Mayhew (1636-1678)
Martha Mayhew (1642-1717)
John Mayhew (1651-1688)









Siblings

Research Notes

Famous Descendants

He is the world-famous singer and song-writer Taylor Swift's 8th Great-Grandfather.

His descendant Jonathan Mayhew was a prominent 18th-century Boston clergyman who coined the phrase "No taxation without representation."


Residences

 






Footnotes (including sources)

‡ General




MainTour


  1. ^ Palfrey, John Gorham. History of New England. Little, Brown (1899), Vol. II, pp. 196-97.
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