Posted By:Maurice Chaffee
Subject:Re: Thomas Chaffe's Arrival Ship
Post Date:February 03, 2006 at 10:22:30
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Forum:Chaffee Family Genealogy Forum
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Hi Glenn,
Sorry for the long delay. I just recently re-visited the Denver Library. I found several additional books on Hingham, MA (new Hingham). There are a lot of old history books written about the town as it is where Abraham Lincoln’s emigrant ancestors first lived in New England. They, along with many of the new Hingham residents can be documented as coming from old Hingham, in Norfolk County, England.
A little summary history of my notes about new Hingham from the available library books. The first residents arrived in 1633-34. However, the town was not formally apportioned as a “plantation” and lots distributed until 1635, when a group of 48 settlers came and a church was built by the first minister, Peter Hobart. He was from old Hingham. In the next three years, about the same number of settlers arrived, with most from old Hingham and surrounding towns. Between 1633 and 1639, some 206 persons settled there from old Hingham. Another source says that there were about 250 people in new Hingham in 1635 at the time of lot distribution, so not all of the authors agree on the numbers. Peter Hobart and his group arrived in New England in 1635 at Charlestown and moved that same year to Hingham by boat. Some of the people in this group were relatively well off and must have been freeman at the time of their arrival. The Rev. Robert Peck arrived in Hingham in 1638, during a period of religious strife in England, also from old Hingham, along with some 130 families. The list of surnames of these families includes Clapp but nothing close to Chaffe. The last of the old Hingham exodus was in 1638. No mention of any Chaffe surname confirms, I think, what we already know, that Thomas did not come from old Hingham.
The lists of surnames from the 1827 book by Solomon Lincoln seem to be based on accurately researched data from the records of Daniel Cushing, the third town clerk of Hingham, based on his “manuscript” and on then-existing town records. Thus, the reference to Thomas Chaffe and Thomas Clapp in the 1637 list of new residents is probably as accurate a list as we may ever find. I found no reference to a “Thomas Claff” in any of the references I examined. Maybe that is good, indicating that he may be our guy, per your ship records. A search in other records for “Claff” is definitely recommended..
A book on Plymouth Colony listed arrivals in the period 1627-34, with no name close to Chaffe being given. This source states that in 1630 Hingham was in the “Bay Colony” not “Plymouth”. I don’t know if that is meaningful information. Bear in mind that there were only 10 to 20 towns in all of Mass. in the 1630's and only a few thousand people. I will try to find similar histories for some of these other towns as time permits.
In summary, not a lot new. Our Thomas came from somewhere other than old Hingham and arrived sometime between 1635 and 1637. He may have come on a ship that originated in the old Hingham area but stopped for additional passengers in the Devonshire area. An early (1635 or so) date would be best if he were an indentured passenger, who could not buy land. The available ship records for all of New England should be examined for the years 1635-36 to see if any possible surname is present that could be that of Thomas Chaffe. The 1637 date would be best if he was able to pay for his passage and arrived as a freeman.
I still think that the best source of new information may be from researching the surnames of persons other than Thomas Chaffe arriving at Hingham in 1637, as listed in my previous message to this board. The point(s) of departure for these other families, and the ships they came on may be a good source of new information. If I learn anything new, I will post it. Just some ramblings. I hope there is something of use here.