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THE FLAGG FAMILY
THOMAS FLAGG, maybe baptized Hardingham, Norfolk, England May 6, 1621, died Watertown, Massachusetts 6 February 1697-8,[8/10] married MARY ____, born England about 1619, died 1703.
Thomas Flagg sailed for America in 1637 and settled in Watertown. According to Charles A. Flagg of the Library of Congress, "The tradition of Thomas is that he loved a girl in station below his own. Their union was opposed by his family, so the two decided to emigrate, and did so, coming in two vessels which sailed in company, and marrying soon after their arrival. We do not know the maiden name of the wife Mary, nor the date of marriage".[1/18] English emigration records state, "A Register of persons about to pass into foraigne parts. A.D. 1637. 13 Charles I. These people went to New England with William Andrews of Ipswich, Mr. of the John and Dorothy of Ipswich, and with William Andrews, his son, Mr. of the Rose, of Yarmouth. April 11, 1637. The examination of Richard Caruear, of Strathby, in the County of Norfolk, husbandman, aged 60 years, and Grace, his wife, aged 40 years, with two children, Elizabeth aged 18 years, and Susanna aged 18 years, being twynnes. Mor. 3 servants, Isaace Hart aged 22 years, and Thomas Flege aged 21 years, and one Marable Underwood, a mayd servant aged 20 years; goes all for New England, to inhabitt and remaine.".[1/19]
It is open to speculation whether this Marable Underwood was the Mary whom Thomas married shortly after his arrival in New England. Mary may not have been in the company of Carver's family. She may not have even come on one of these two vessels. Of course all of this speculation rests on the assumption that the tradition of the family's disapproval of the marriage is, in fact, truth. In Bond's History of Watertown it is stated that Mary Flagg was born in 1619, which would make her two years younger than Marable Underwood.[1/20] Note that Thomas' will was witnessed by Thomas Underwood, who may have been a relation.
In 1633 William Laud became archbishop of Canterbury and soon started vigorous measures to enforce conformity upon all the Puritans. His most energetic assistant was Matthew Wren who became bishop of Norwich in 1635 and whose active persecutions of the Puritans caused a large emigration of them from Norfolk and Suffolk to New England during the next two years. At the same time there was great economic depression in England, and a large number of young men also joined in this emigration, not on account of religious motives, but rather with the object of bettering their material condition and prospects. Since Thomas didn't formally become a church member until June 22, 1690, he either belonged to this last group or, if you prefer, he left the country for love.[6/4378]
Thomas Flagg was very active in town affairs. He was chosen in 1651 to view fences and to prosecute the order about swine;[2/1:28] 1661 chosen surveyor;[2/1:74] constable in 1663[2/1:76] and 1686;[2/2:24] selectman in 1671,[2/1:102] 1675,[2/1:121] 1676,[2/1:125] 1678,[2/1:132] 1679,[2/1:144] 1682,[2/2:10] 1686,[2/2:22] 1687,[2/2:28] 1688;[2/2:33] town appraiser in 1674;[2/1:118] and commissioner in 1669[2/1:96] and 1688.[2/2:35]
Thomas Flagg's will was dated 5 March 1697, proved 16 February 1697-8, and was witnessed by John Mixer, Thomas Underwood, and Shuball Child. In it are mentioned his wife Mary, sons Thomas, Michael, Allen, Benjamin, and Eleazer, deceased son Gershom, daughters Mary Bigelow, Rebecca Cook, and Elizabeth Bigelow, and grandson John Flagg.[4/9:285] The inventory of the estate was taken by Abraham Browne, Zacheriah Cutter, and Edward Harrington and recorded 16 February 1697-8. It amounted to 75.10.0. Stated in this document was Thomas' death date of 6 February 1697-8.[4/9:288]
Mary's will was dated 30 December 1702. She left her whole estate to be equally divided among her three daughters Mary Bigelow, Elizabeth Bigelow, and Rebecca Cook. She also mentioned her son Benjamin Flagg and made her "Son Samll. Biglo" to be her executor. The will was witnessed by Nathaniel Wilder, Ephraim Wilder, and John Warren.[3/10:629] "Watertown May 25:1703. an account of moveable Estate Left in ye house of Benjamin fflegg by Mary fflegg late of watertown, and Relict of Tho: fflegg" was taken by Jonathan Sanders and Caleb Church. It was sworn to by Benjamin Flagg and his wife Experience and amounted to 16.16.10.[3/10:685] The estate was divided and paid in equal shares to Stephen Cooks, Samuel Bigelow, and Joshua Bigelow.[3/10:687]
For the possible ancestry of Thomas Flagg, refer to the chapter on overseas ancestors. REF:  Flagg Family Records - Norman G. Flagg, 1907  Watertown Records, 1894  Middlesex County Probate (First Series Docket 7783)  Middlesex County Probate (First Series Docket 7789)  Watertown Records, 1894 (Lands, Grants and Possessions)  Genealogical Notes on the Founding of New England - Ernest Flagg, 1926  Records of Births Marriages and Deaths, First Book - Watertown Records, Vol. 1, 1894  Births, Marriages, and Deaths, Second Book - Watertown Records, Vol. 2, 1900  The History of Watertown - Henry Bond, 1860 http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mroman/flagg.htm
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Thomas Flegg appears to have sailed to the colonies in 1637, aboard a ship called the Rose, apparently as a servant to Richard Carver. He landed in Watertown, Massachusetts. He was not a Puritan, but came because he wanted to marry a woman -- presumably Mary -- below his social rank.
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Why, in a quarterly dedicated to Bigelow genealogy, should there appear an article about the Flagg ancestry? Two reasons: because three children of Thomas Flegg the immigrant married offspring of John Biglo (so that over half of all Bigelow descendants have Flagg ancestry), and because the two popular Flegg/Flagg genealogies have apparently erred in stating the parentage of Thomas Flegg of Watertown, Massachusetts.
Reader June Braman of Corvallis, Oregon, whose ancestry is through Sarah Bigelow (Asa 4, Lt. John 3, Joshua 2, John 1), last summer attended a week-long seminar in genealogy, sponsored by New England -Historical and Genealogical Society. She had the use of their excellent library, and while researching, used the copy-machine to send us a forty-page extract from Genealogical Notes on the Founding of New England, by Ernest Flagg, 1926. These pages (pp. 401-440) thoroughly disprove the statement of the Flagg genealogies that Thomas Flegg was baptised in Whinbergh, Norfolk in 1615, son of Bartholomew and Alicia Flegg.
Concerning Bartholomew Flegg, the author states: "He was born about 1585 and resided in Whinbergh until 1619 when he moved to the adjoining parish of Shipdham...and continued there ten years until his death; and was buried there 7 March 1628/9. He left no will nor was there any administration of his estate." Therefore there is no list of heirs. He had five children baptised in Shipdham after 1619. Since Whinbergh parish registers prior to 1703 are lost, we have no way of knowing if there were any children, specifically Thomas Flegg, born there prior to 1619. Ernest Flagg continues: "For half a century it has been claimed in America that the emigrant Thomas Flegg was baptised _ Whinbergh or Shipdham in 1615." No such record exists.
The author does find proof that a Thomas Flegg was baptised in Hardingham, Norfolk, on 6 May 1621, and proceeds in the next few pages to establish that this child is the man who came to New England. He establishes the lineage for several generations.
Thomas Flegg (baptised 1621) was the youngest of the four sons of Allen and Nazareth - (Devoroys) Flegg. He was seven years old at his father's death and came under the control of his oldest brother Henry, with whom he probably lived during the next few years.
Here Ernest Flagg digresses to give us this historical background " In 1633 William Laud became archbishop of Canterbury.. and started to enforce conformity upon the Puritans... Matthew Wren became bishop of Norfolk in 1635, and his active persecutions of the Puritans caused a large migration of them to New England during the next two years. At the same time there was great economic and industrial depression in England and...young men joined this migration, not on account of religious motives, but with the object of bettering their material condition.
"In this category belonged Thomas Flegg, who lived in New England fifty years before... he became a member of the Puritan church in 1690. Among the emigrants to New England in 1637 were 25 families...whose records have been preserved, because the law required that lists be made of all persons leaving England."
Though many of the lists are lost, the Public Records Office in London has a list of 115 Norfolk residents licensed to pass to New England in April 1637 on either the ship John and Dorothy or the Rose. The family of Richard Carver of Scratby is named, and included three servants, one being "Thomas Flege age 21 years".
"The main evidence for claiming that Thomas Flegg baptised at Hardingham, Norfolk, England 6 May 1621 is identical with Thomas Flegg the emigrant in 1637 from Yarmouth to New England, is in the names given to his children. His oldest child Gershom, born 1641, bore a name given by several New Englanders to a first son born after arrival, the word meaning 'exile'. The second child, John, born 1643, was named for Thomas' grandfather, John Flegg of Shigdham. The third child Bartholomew, born 1645, was named for Thomas' brother Bartholomew (born 1619), and who is the only Flegg named Bartholomew found anywhere in Norfolk from 1400 to 1650, except the cousin Bartholomew" to whom later genealogists erroneously assign Thomas as a child. Flagg continues, "The fourth child, Thomas, born 1646, was of course named for the emigrant himself. It is possible there was an unrecorded child born in 1648; it has been claimed in the Flagg/Flegg genealogy that a William Flegg was born in this interval and was killed by Indians in an attack on Lancaster in 1675, but it was Bartholomew Flegg (born 1645) who met this fate. The fifth child, Michael, born 1653, was obviously named for another of Thomas' brothers, Michael (born 1615) of Reymerston. The sixth child, Eleazer, born 1653, had a Bible name then in vogue in New England. The seventh child, Elizabeth, born 1655, was doubtless named for Thomas' grandmother, Elizabeth, second wife of John Flegg. The eighth child, Mary, born 1658, was of course named for her mother. The ninth child, Rebecca, born 1660, may have been named for Thomas' older cousin Rebecca, daughter of John Flegg of Whinbergh, the only woman of that name found in this family. The tenth child, Benjamin, born 1662, bore a name commonly given by Puritans to what they expected was a youngest son. But in this case there was miscalculation, as an eleventh child, Allen born 1665, was named for Thomas' father Allen Flegg.
"This extraordinary combination of names whereby Thomas Flegg of Watertown named his children for himself, his wife his father, two of three brothers, his only paternal uncle, his two paternal grandparents, and a cousin, cannot be coincidence...and together with eliminating any other Flegg, seems to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the emigrant Thomas Flegg was the same"Thomas, son of Allen 16 (John 15, Richard 14, John 13, James 12, William 11, John 10, John 9, William 8, Philip 7, Philip 6, Philip 5, Sir John 4, Sir John 3, Henry 2, Alger 1 ) and Nazareth (Devoroys) Flegg. Ernest Flagg cautiously adds that beyond Thomas' grandfather, he has certain doubts as to the linage but the entire Forty pages make fascinating reading.
Other records of interest concerning Thomas Flegg are that he owned a homestall of six acres, and a lot of twenty acres. He served as selectman eight times between 1671 and 1685, and as late as 10 July 1693, was chosen to serve on the grand jury. In 1659 he lost an eye by a gunshot accident. He made his will in 1697. From the third volume of published Watertown records, this last entry: "Thomas Flege an old man diceaced feb:6: 1697:8." Indeed he was an old man, a good seventy-six years old at the time of his death.
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OF WATERTOWN, MASSACHUSETTS,
TO GERSHOM FLAGG5(BORN 1730)
OF LANCASTER, MASSACHUSETTS
The Genealogical Dictionary of New England Settlers states that "Thomas Flegg of Watertown (Massachusetts) came as servant of Richard Carver from Scratby in the hundred of East Flegg, County Norfolk, a few miles north of Yarmouth, where they emigrated 1637."
'' At all events, I am told by those who have examined the Watertown records that Thomas was not a very good Puritan, that he fell under church discipline more than once, so whatever the cause of his emigrating, it evidently was not for conscience's sake."
These people went to New England with William Andrews of Ipswich, Mr. (Master) of the John and Dorothy of Ipswich, and with William Andrews, his son, Mr. of the Rose, of Yarmouth.
April 11, 1637. The examination of Richard Carucar, of Strathby, in the County of Norfolk, husbandman, aged 60 years, and Grace, his wife, aged 40 years, with two children, Elizabeth aged 18 years, and Susanna aged 18 years, being twynnes.
(From manuscript preserved in the State Paper department of His Majesty's Public Record Office, England).
Whether this "Marable Underwood" is the "Mary", who married Thomas Flegg soon after his arrival in Massachusetts is a matter of conjecture; for Thomas' sweetheart may have crossed the ocean in the other ship, or may not have been in Carver's family, if on the same vessel. Dr. Bond's History of Watertown states that Mary, wife of Thomas Flegg was born 1619, which would make her two years younger than "Marable" was said to be.
As to the location of Thomas Flegg's real estate holdings in Massachusetts, we find in Dr. Bond's History of Watertown:— "Thomas Flagg (Fl egg) of Watertown, as early as 1641; died 1698; proprietor of two lots in 1644, one of which was the great Dividend lot of 20 acres granted to John Rose; the other, a homestall of 6 acres, bounded S. by Main St., W. by E. How, N. by J. Bemis, E. by R. Harrington." And on page 1092:— '' The next west of Harrington was the 6 acre homestall of Thomas Flagg(Flegg), and it was probably his permanent residence. He was not the original grantee of it, nor do the records show to whom it was granted.'' A map of the original allotments of land in Watertown is included in the History above quoted, and shows that Thomas Flegg's homestall of six acres was in the extreme south-west part of Watertown, one-half mile north of the Charles river and almost adjoining the town of Waltham, being on the "Sudbury road", now Main Street.
Thomas Flegg was never admitted "freeman", but was "released from training April, 165-, by paying the Co. 5s. per annum, and was fully released therefrom by the Court 5 April 1681, when his eldest son was 40 yrs. old." He died 6 February, 1698. and was probably buried in '' The Old Graveyard of Watertown,'' situated at the S. E. corner of Mt. Auburn Street, and Grove Street, that being the only cemetery in the vicinity of Watertown until 1704 (see Hist, of Watertown, p. 1043).
The will of Thomas Flegg, dated 5 March, 1697 and proved 16 February, 1698, mentions only a part of his children, namely, the sons Thomas, Michael, Allen, and Benjamin, and the daughter Rebecca Cook (the eldest son Gershom was already dead).
From "The Flagg Family" by Norman Lucius Flagg, 1907,
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