There is conflicting information in various sources on the life of Thomas Follansbee. My plan for this post is to build a short biography from the various sources with a view to eliminate errors and generate additional information from readers who may be able to fill in some blanks.
GENEALOGICAL AND PERSONAL MEMOIRS
Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts. Vol IV published 1908
“(I) Thomas Follansbee, immigrant ancestor, born in Hamsterly, Durham England, about 1640, came to America when a young man and settled at Newbury, Massachusetts, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He married first, before 1672, Mary , and second, Sarah , who died probably November 4, 1683, at Newbury, and he married third, April 4, 1713, at Newbury, Jane Mossman, of Boston. He was of Portsmouth in 1665 and 1671 ; of Newbury in 1677 and later. He was the ancestor of all of this name in America, so far as discovered. He was living as late as 1713 and probably in 1721. Children: 1. Rebecca, born about
1660; married November 22, 1677, Thomas Chase (2). 2. Anne, married, November 10, 1684, Moses Chase; she died before 1713. 3. Mary, born about 1667; married December 1, 1686, Robert Pike; second, about 1691, William Hooke. 4. Thomas, born about 1671 ;mentioned below. 5. Francis, born October 22, 1677. 6. Hannah, born April 10, 1680.
Birth and Parentage A.D. 1637
Thomas Follansbee was born on 20 April 1637 in Durham, England. Many family trees at www.ancestry.com list his parents as Henry Follansbie and Jane Gibbon. I have yet to find any real confirmation, their names on any documents, or listed by himself. I leave Henry and Jane as possible but unconfirmed for now. They were not listed anywhere until a few years ago when they started popping up on a family tree or two, it appears the family tree sharing on ancestry.com has propagated to many family histories on the internet and not one of them with any documented proof.
First Marriage- A.D. 1659 (22 yrs old)
There is clear proof for Thomas’ first marriage to Mary Bradford on 25OCT1659 in London. London Metropolitan Archives has a photocopy of the marriage entry at St. Andrew, Holbron. Sounce is London Metropolitan Archives, St Andrew Holborn, Register of marriages, 1559 – 1698, P69/AND2/A/002/MS06668, Item 001. It should be commented that some lists have Thomas marrying three times. Mary, Sarah and Jane. I think there are only two marriages. I think Mary is Sarah. There are only two records to be found, one in England in 1659 and one in America in 1713. On his first wife Mary Sarah or Sarah Mary..whichever.. I believe that his two daughters Mary and Sarah are names after their Mother.
Rebecca, b. 1661. Jane b. 1665, Mary, b.1667 during the trip these girls were quite young 6 years old, 2 years old and an infant. I am still investigating at the time, since I do not have an exact date for the birth of Mary, I suppose she could have been born in the U.S. However I am not inclined to think Sarah travelled from England to Newbury Mass. on a 2 – 4 month sea voyage, but who know.
Travel to America A.D. 1667 (30 yrs old)
Recorded in U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s, we have Thomas landing in Newbury Massachusetts in 1667.
Children born in America 1668-1677
I think the new home agreed with Thomas. He was quite busy populating the Follansbee name having four more children possibly five if Mary was born in the U.S. These five minions were Anne, B. 1668, Hanna, b. 1680, Thomas b. 1674, Francis b. 1677
Barbados A.D. 1679 (42 yrs old)
We do have a record for Thomas Ffollinsby at Barbados recorded in the U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration lists index , 1500’s to 1900’s. There is another record for a Folinsby in Barbados. It is a record of burial for an Alice Folinsby wife of Thomas Folinsby at St. Michaels in Barbados. Both the arrival date and burial dates are 1679. I wonder if this is a family vacation. There are multiple Folinsbys in Barbados at this time. While Alice is recorded as the wife of Thomas, I think it is his sister. Below is a cut and paste from the online publication of The Original Lists of Persons of Quality; Emigrants, Religious Exiles, Political Rebels, Serving Men sold for a term of years, ; Apprentices, Children Stolen, Maidens Pressed, and others who went fro Great Britain to the American Plantations. 1600-1700.
2nd Marriage A.D. 1713 (76 yrs old)
We have paper showing the intended marriage of Thomas to Jane Mosemore (Moseman).
One Last Voyage A.D. 1726 (89 yrs old)
We reach the end for our Immigrant Fore-Father, Thomas Follansbee. I have not found any records that would indicate why he left England. I take the position that it was for Religious Freedom. It would be a safe assumption that Thomas was a Puritan. The American Colonies during this time (and the two that he lived in) were Puritan through and through. The Puritans were champions for their religious freedom but persecuted those who did not agree with them. Quakers, Jews, Catholics and others were run out, hanged, and not tolerated. For Thomas to live, work, and raise a family in Massachusetts and New Hampshire it would be safe to lean heavily towards viewing him as a (non-separatist) Puritan.
He was a joiner (carpenter) <cite reference> and is recorded as working on a local school and church. Little else is known of him. Photography was experimental for another 100 years and would not be “invented” officially until 1839. I have not found any paintings or carving or any other likeness. As far as we know, Thomas Follansbee is the Patriarch of all American Follansbees. If you have any resources to share, please comment below.
-Joshua E. Follansbee
*This will be updated as I progress in researching and verifying dates, names and locations.