Thomas Grey of Plymouth, Massachusetts

Thomas Grey ‘Gray’ ‘Graie’
of Plymouth, Massachusetts
July 1620 – 7 June 1654

Thomas ‘of Plymouth, Massachusetts’ GREY (1620 – 1654)
is my 10th great grandfather

Richard ‘of Stansted Mountfichet’ GREY (1637 – )
son of Thomas ‘of Plymouth, Massachusetts’ GREY and my 9th great grandfather

Richard GRAY (1655 – )
son of Richard ‘of Stansted Mountfichet’ GREY and my 8th great grandfather

James GRAY (1687 – )
son of Richard GRAY and my 7th great grandfather

Charles GRAY (1728 – )
son of James GRAY and my 6th great grandfather

William GRAY (1754 – 1830)
son of Charles GRAY and my 5th great grandfather

Richard GRAY (1798 – 1877)
son of William GRAY and my 4th great grandfather

Charles GRAY (1830 – 1898)
son of Richard GRAY and my 3rd great grandfather

Mary Ann MUMFORD (1853 – 1916)
Illegitimate daughter of Charles GRAY and my 2nd great grandmother

Ernest James JANES (1888 – 1942)
son of Mary Ann MUMFORD and my great grandfather

Rosie May JANES (1930 – 1997)
daughter of Ernest James JANES and my grandmother

Thomas Grey was baptized on the 16th July 1620 at St Mary the Virgin, Stapleford Tawney, Essex, England he was one of eight children belonging to John (b. 2 February 1588/9 – d. 4 February 1658) and Elizabeth Grey (b. 1590 – d. 1654).

A lot of myth has been written about how Thomas Grey arrived in Plymouth, Massachesetts in the year 1643, these accounts have been passed down through history and at times have become very muddled.

What is clear is that he arrived in Plymouth on board the ship ‘Recovery’, alongside two of his brothers John Grey (b. January 1613 – d. after 1643) and Edward Grey (b. 15 April 1623 – d. 30 June 1681).

Edward Grey is the most famous of the brothers and has many American descendants, including Vincent Price.

Grave of Edward Gray
Grave of Edward Gray

One of the stories written claims that their Uncle Alexander Grey (a merchant) smuggled them onto the ship so to claim the family fortune and yet another simply says that a friend in England helped them on-board so that they could claim property/land which rightfully belonged to them.

I think I have a long way to go until I discover the full facts about their story.

But before Thomas Grey sailed for Plymouth, he left behind a completely different story, one that has been lost and was only found by searching the parish records, Thomas was married to Joane or ‘Jane’ (both spellings have been recorded) and they had four children Anne, Richard (my 9th great grandfather), Mary and the youngest Thomas Grey who was born the same year that his father set sail in 1643, there is no record that the family went with him, so maybe he thought he would eventually return.

The Merchant Adventurers (the following is an abstract from a public story on-line, no author has been given)

The ship “RECOVERY” sailed from London in the summer of 1643. It was a trading vessel owned jointly by three London merchants, one of whom was, Alexander Graie. During that rough passage of approximately 65 days three passengers of particular interest were on board: a John Graie aged 28, Thomas Graie, aged 23, and Edward Graie, aged 17. Such are the facts…

Arrivals in the Plymouth colony at this time were screened to include only “useful” people…to a large extent “gentlemen.” Plymouth Colony records record the arrival of the brothers Edward and Thomas Gray . Thomas did not remain long at Plymouth. His death was recorded in Tiverton, Rhode Island (age 34) in 1654. There does not appear to be any record of how he died. But Plymouth records are full of references “Edward Gray… arrived in Plymouth circa 1643… and became a merchant, among the wealthiest in Plymouth Colony.” He did not arrive without means. Both he and his brother had sufficient money to finish their apprenticeships and set up in business very quickly. This would suggest that Edward and Thomas’s older brother or another relative had “set them up” with some inheritance after all, and then apparently returned to England.

Thomas and his brothers are interesting characters, and if anyone has any more information about them I would love to hear from you. It’s very likely that somewhere a book exists and I need to read it.

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5 thoughts on “Thomas Grey of Plymouth, Massachusetts

  1. Amazing! So you could have been an American if he’d ever sent for his family! And I could be English if my ancestors hadn’t left. Great story.

    • Very true and very sliding doors because a single decision can change the course of history for everyone.
      I still have a lot more work to do on this line, and I’m going to spend the next couple of days seeing what else I can find.

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