Sunday, September 30, 2012

Thomas Clarke of Plymouth

My 9th great grandfather was Thomas Clarke of Plymouth Massachusetts, who arrived on the ship Anne in 1623.

He was believed to be son to John Clarke, who was an early settler of Jamestowne, Virginia.  I've written a page dedicated to the compiled research on John here.

Depending on who you believe, it is stated that either John or Thomas was a master ship mate of the Mayflower

According to this site, the History of the Town of Duxbury, declares that it was actually Thomas Clarke who was the Mayflower ship mate.

A memorial posted next to Thomas' gravesite in Plymouth also repeats this tradition:

A volume published in 1881 entitled "Clarke-Clark genealogy: records of the descendants of Thomas Clarke of Plymouth" by William W. Johnson, addresses the question of whether it was Thomas who was the ship mate of the Mayflower.  It holds that Thomas' grandson Nathaniel had always carried that tradition that it was his grandfather who was the ship mate in question, and that Clark Island in Duxbury Bay is named for Thomas.  I wonder if there was some kind of family dispute back then regarding whether it was Thomas or his father...?


This volume provides a poem written about Thomas which appears to back up the Mayflower ship mate hypothesis:

As with any family tradition, the one that is most flattering is the most often repeated.  I'm certain that anyone who has claimed descent from either John or Thomas (or both, if we are to believe their mutual kinship), has likely carried forward the idea that their ancestor was a Mayflower ship mate.  There appears to be a lot of writing supporting either hypothesis.

Thomas's son, John Clarke of Plymouth, married Sarah Smith and relocated the family west to Lyme, Connecticut, situated on the Connecticut River.  John and Sarah were the forebears of the entire Connecticut Clarke family, a vast and complex family group with many descendants still in the same area today.

For more about what has been written about John Clarke, potential father to Thomas, please read here.


  1. estate sale book I purchased by Jean Ingelow the birthday book inside information detailing Thomas Clarke it reads Thomas Clarke came to Plymouth in 1623 in the brig Anne. He was Deacon in the first Church of Plymouth for forty years and died in 1697 age 98 his monument is on burial hill "Plymouth" his son john born 1645 . his son john born 1685. his son William born 1717. his son Ebenezer born in 1742. his daughter Elizabeth my grandmother born February 28, 1770. this book is full of names and history and a photo taken in 1880 young girl Elizabeth A. Childs born 1875 died 1890. If you have any interest in acquiring this book Ezra

  2. I just found out from grandmother that Thomas Clarke is one of our ancestors.