Saturday, 8 October 2016

Our immigrant ancestors -- Thomas Butler (1781-aft 1819)

Much of my 3rd great grandfather Thomas Butler's life after his marriage on 7 Apr 1806 in Massachusetts to Mary Southwick (1788-1865) remains a mystery to this day. He wasn't considered part of the New England planter migration and settlement in Nova Scotia -- that era had passed by the time he migrated to Nova Scotia.

Massachusetts Vital Records
Thomas was born on 20 May 1781 in Falmouth on Cape Cod to Captain John Butler (1751-1794) and Parnel (or Pernal) Hatch (abt 1759-1842). He was the eldest of six children.

There is an unproven story passed down that Captain John served in the British Navy and was lost at sea.

At some point after their 1806 marriage, Thomas and Mary arrived in Nova Scotia, initially in Halifax. Was this Thomas a sailor?

Thomas and Mary had perhaps four sons. It's not known whether the two eldest were born in Massachusetts or Nova Scotia. However the marriage certificate of their third son, my 2nd great grandfather Samuel (1816-1887) to his second wife, Esther Lawson, notes that he was born in Halifax.

Thomas may have died around 1819, but documentation for that is difficult to find. His widow Mary remained in Upper Stewiacke, no doubt to be near her son and grandchildren, until she died in 1865.

I've traced Thomas' ancestry back five generations, to another Thomas Butler (abt 1617-abt 1689), who was born in England, and arrived in New England in about 1637, settling in Sandwich on Cape Cod. We don't know where in England that first Thomas was born.

There is another old Butler family in Massachusetts, this one on Martha's Vineyard, where the first recorded there was a Nicholas Butler (abt 1588-1671). There is no proven link between Nicholas of Martha's Vineyard and Thomas of Cape Cod, but perhaps Nicholas was a nephew? One of  Nicholas' Martha's Vineyard descendants -- yet another Thomas Butler (1654-1732) -- married a 1st cousins 9x removed of mine, Jemima Daggett (abt 1666-?), granddaughter of Governor Thomas Mayhew, who was the second immigrant ancestor that I profiled here.

There are many unsolved mysteries with this immigrant ancestor. Hopefully, there are records yet to be found in both Cape Cod and Nova Scotia that will explain all....eventually.

The never ending story continues....

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