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BIOGRAPHIES

submitted by Douglas C. Huggett

THOMAS HALSEY

Mostly from
COLONIAL FAMILIES OF LONG ISLAND,
NEW YORK AND CONNECTICUT
by Herbert F. Seversmith

Thomas was in 1637, a resident of Kempston, Bedfordshire. In the Ship-Money Papers of 1637 - 1639 he was assessed for one pound, five shillings and nine pence.

Among the documents in the custody of the Clerk of Courts at Salem, Mass. is a copy of records showing the divisions of land of Lynn, Mass. in 1638. Thomas Halsey received 100 acres. It is evident, therefore, that Thomas came over after April 1638 and before the end of that year. He was a resident of Lynn during 1639 and most of 1640.

A number of colonists of Lynn had resolved to leave and to settle in another place and on 10 March 1639, Edward Howell with others contracted for transport to the future Southampton, Long island. Thomas was not, at the beginning, one of the adventurers in this project, but upon acceptance by the rest of the party and contribution of eighty pounds, he was included as one of them. The final agreement to settle Southampton was dated at Lynn, 17 April 1640, and the colonists arrived 13 December 1640, the settlers gave the local indians 16 coats and 60 bushels of corn for the land.

On 5 March 1646 Thomas was censured for 'hindering the quiet proceedings of the court and causing them to lose their tyme by his willful obstinacy. And for the unjust chargeing of the Court for Justefying the actions of Mr. Howe, for which offence he is required forthwith to make publick Acknowledgement, and to paye five shillings.' He refused to make acknowledgement, and was forthwith fined forty shillings. The fine was remitted by the General court on 3 March 1647.

He was listed as a perfect freeman, 8 March 1649, was Marshall for a rate for Southampton 5 October 1646 , and was chosen townsman in October 1650, November 1652, October 1657 and October 1659. With other able bodied men of the town he was a member of the military company or "train band."

An action of the case was brought against him by William Rogers, 20 October 1650, which was postponed to, 25 October 1650, the case was to be tried at the house of Richard Barrett. Rogers won damages of five pounds This was purely a civil case and Thomas lost no prestige from it in the eyes of his fellow townsmen, for on, 5 November 1652, he was chosen with others to act as a committee to partition the meadows of the town. In 1653 he was a member of a squadron to take care of whales cast upon the beach.

On 30 May 1654, the town ordered Thomas Halsey and Henry Pierson to lay out land granted to Thomas Vail in order to make up the latter's fifty pound allotment;Vail was to satisfy them 'for the paines.' Thomas got into difficulties with the court again, 3 June 1654, when he was fined five shillings for his 'contemptious cariage unto ye Court, at his departure.' The Rev. Robert Fordham was plaintiff in an action of trespass against Thomas Halsey on, 22 December 1654, the jury included Mr. Odell, Thomas Sayre, a distant cousin of his wife, John Howell, Edward Howell, William Rogers and Christopher Foster, among others. The jury found for the plaintiff for the tresspass in taking up the horse illegally, two shillings damage with increase of court charges. And the Jury 'meddle not with determining whose the horse is.' Thomas appealed to Hartford and was bound in the sum of forty pounds to prosecute there.

It appears from the records that Thomas Halsey was independent, impatient of courts and somewhat plain spoken in mind. The same motive which sent him from England, doubtless, made him suspect the jurisprudence of his day. Nevertheless, when his somewhat belligerent forwardness got him into trouble with his fellow townsmen in general, he backtracked. Thus, on 23 October 1655, and after a disagreement with the town as to the condition of his closes (neighbors) and where his cattle should be maintained, he apologized and paid the townsmen for their troubles in returning his cattle to closure.

He exchanged lands with Mr. Josiah Stansborough on 25 February 1657; was one of a committee which in May 1661 determined the town bounds between Southampton and Easthampton; and in September 1663 he was ordered, with four others, to collect all monies due the town, and to give proper receipts therefore. In the following November he was placed on a committee to perfect the title of the town of Southampton to its lands. He climaxed his civic duties by serving as deputy to the General Court at Hartford, Conn on 25 April 1664. One of his last services was to become a patentee of the town under the Gov. Andros patent on 1 November 1667.

Thomas left a will dated, 28 June 1667 and proved, 6 March 1679.

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This page was last updated January 14, 2004.