3. THOMAS2 CLAPP (Nicholas,2 Widow Christian1) was presumably born in Sidbury, co. Devon, about 1609. In 1678 he testified that his age was "about 69 yeares." In 1630 his kinsman Roger Clapp of the neighboring parish of Salcombe Regis, co. Devon, went to New England, the forerunner of a large group of family emigrants. About the first of May in 1633 a ship left the port of Weymouth for the voyage to America. Governor Winthrop recorded that she arrived at Boston on July 24, "with about 80 passengers and 12 kine, who sate down at Dorchester. They were 12 weeks coming, being forced into
Dean and Chapter of Exeter.
† The Clapp Memorial, by Ebenezer Clapp. Boston. 1876, contains a vast amount of genealogical and biographical material about the Clapp emigrants and their descendants. It must be used with discrimination, however. All genealogies contain errors of fact and of judgment, but quite naturally this is particularly the case with publications of an early date.
90 The Ancestry of Joseph Neal
the Western Islands by a leak, where they stayed three weeks and were very courteously used by the Portugals." Weymouth was the convenient port for east Devon and it is reasonably supposd that among the voyagers who enjoyed an unexpected stay in the Azores were Thomas Clapp, his brother Nicholas, and his sisters Barbara; Redigon and Prudence, the latter the wife of their kinsman Edward Clapp, all of whom were soon afterward in Dorchester, where Roger Clapp had settled. Their younger brother John followed them a few years later.
Thomas Clapp's name appears on the Dorchester records in 1634, and in 1638 he was a freeman of the town. By 1639 he had moved on to Weymouth but his stay there was a short one. Wcymouth was in the throes of theological controversy. The local parson, Mr. Lenthal, believed that all baptized persons should be admitted to the church without further trial. For this liberal heresy he was called to account by government and retracted, but one of his chief adherents, Richard Silvester, was steadfast and, on being disenfranchised, moved to Scituate in the more tolerant colony of Plymouth. Thomas Clapp was one of a group of Weymouth men, including Thomas Rawlins, James Torrey and William Holbrook, who left Weymouth for Scituate at about the same time, and possibly for similar reasons.
In Scituate Clapp was propounded freeman on June 6, 1644, and admitted , June 4, 1645, and the latter year he served as constable. He purchased a farm of twenty-four acres from Mr. Timothy Hatherly in 1645. Uniting with the first church he became its deacon in 1647 and remained loyal to Rev. Charles Chauncey, his pastor and the future president of Harvard College, when a large portion of the congregation abandoned him to form a second parish where infant baptism, disapproved of by Mr. Chauncey, could be practiced. Happily Clapp lived to be a member of the committee of reconcilement which reunited the parishes in 1675 in a somewhat less controversial age. He was Scituate's deputy to the Plymouth General Court in 1649, and the town s overseer of the poor, the first appointed, in 1667.
It is probable that Thomas Clapp was married three times, the names of the first two wives being unknown. His third wife was Abigail (Wright), widow of Robert Sharp of Muddy River. Sharp died in 1655. After Clapp s death she married Capt. William Holbrook of Scituate. When Clapp's son Eleazer died in 1676 the papers dealing with the probate of his estate indicate
Clapp, of Scituate 91
that his only heirs by intestacy were his brothers Thomas and -Samuel. As. brothers and sisters of the half-blood did.. not in- -bent under the common law we can therefore say with certainty that Thomas, Samuel and Eleazer Clapp were sons of one moth-~ er, their father's first wife. The two children of- the third wife, Abigail, are duly recorded in the vital records of Scituate. This leaves three children, Increase, Prudence and Elizabeth, all mentioned in their father's will, who are with strong probability to be assigned to an unknown second wife.
Deacon Clapp died in Scituate April 20, 1684. His will, made the day before his death, was proved June 4, 1684. He states that he is "in ye 87 yeer of my age," but this is an exaggeration or an error of ten years. To his wife Abigail he left the use and profits of all his houses and lands and his orchard for life, with strict injunction against waste, also £10 in silver in the hands of his son Samuel Clapp, also two feather beds and their furnishings, the best brass kettle, a skillet, an iron kettle, an iron pot, two pewter basins, four pewter platters, six napkins, a table-cloth, twelve trenchers, a long chest, two boxes and as many other small things as she desired up to the value of 30s. She was to have three cows, six sheep and a horse, which after her decease were to be divided among her children. To his son Thomas Clapp, all his apparell, both linen and woolen, his shoes, stockings and hats, and a double portion of the lands after Abigail Clapp s death. To his son Samuel Clapp, two committee lots and a single portion of the lands. To his son Increase Clapp, two young cattle and a single portion of the lands. To his daughter Elizabeth King, £7, the best brass pan, a bed and its furniture and a single portion of the lands. To his daughter Prudence Clapp, two cows, the second brass pan, a feather bed and its furniture, £7 in movables and a single portion of the lands, and she to have her residence in his house until his wife s death. To his daughter Abigail Clapp, £5, two cows and a single portion of the lands. To his daughter Mary Tilden,* three sheep and two lambs. To his grandchild Elizabeth, a sheep and a lamb. Executors: sons Thomas Clapp and Samuel Clapp. Appraisers appointed in the will: friends John Briggs, Nathaniel Tilden, John Buck, Sr. Witnesses: John Wetherehl, Israel Turner. The inventory contained property valued at £351.t
* This was Mary (Sharp), wife of Nathaniel Tilden and daughter of Abigail (Wright) (Sharp) Clapp by her former marriage.
† Plymouth County Probate, 4(2): 129, 133, 134.
Thomas Clapp, immigrant, born in Dorchester, England, 1597 was son of Richard Clap of Dorchester, and brother of Nicholas Clapp, an immigrant settler of Dorchester, Massachusetts Bay Colony, known to genealogists as"Nicholas of Dorchester." These two brothers were cousins of Edward and Roger Clapp, sons of William Clap, the younger, of Salcombe-Regis, Devonshire, England, and this gives us Richard Clap of Dorchester England, and William Clap, the elder of Salcombe, England, as brothers. The name is probably of Norse origin, if we take it to be derived from Clapa, as Osgood Clapa, a famous Danish nobleman, was a prime favorite of Hardacanute, an early English king; or it may be a cognate form of some ancient gothic word, as we find the German name Klapp of frequent occurrence. ----
Thomas Clapp, the immigrant, arrived in Boston, July 24, 1633, probably on the ship which arrived from Weymouth, England, that date. He was probably accompanied by his brother Nicholas and cousin Edward. Another brother, John, arrived much later. Thomas removed to Dorchester in 1634, and became a freeman of the town and of the colony 1638, and the same year removed to Weymouth, a town of recent establishment, having been set apart by the general court out of the plantation of Wessaguscas, September 2, 1635. He appears to have tarried in the new town but a short time, ---He appears in the town of Scituate, as a deacon in the First Church, 1647, and as deputy in the general court 1649, and when the town meeting petitioned the general court for an officer to take care of the poor of the town he was made overseer in 1667--the first record we have of an "overseer of the poor" as a town officer in Scituate. He had grants of land in Hingham, but may not have resided there. He went to Weymouth and thence to Scituate. He appears to have been Scituate as early as 1640. As deacon of the First Church, over which Rev. Charles Chauncey was minister (1641-53, he was a witness of the difficulties that beset the pastor and parishioners of the church that led to its division at the establishment of the Second Church. Previous to his leaving Massachusetts Bay Colony he appears to have been a disciple of Richard Sylvester and of Mr. Lenthail, the minister who advocated the admitting of any baptized person to membership in the church without further examination, and Thomas Rawlins, James Torrey and William Holbrook went: with Richard Sylvester to Plymouth Colony, settling in Scituate about the same time Thomas Clapp removed to that town, and it is probable the question of baptism moved all these men to seek freedom in the Pilgrim Colony. (It appears that there was a 30 year controversy between the First and Second Churches in Scituate) and in 1675, Thomas was selected one of three members of a committee from the First Church appointed in 1673 to carry a letter containing news of reconciliation to the Second Church, so long desired by the peaceloving of both congregations. His sister Prudence married her cousin Edward Clapp. The family name of his wife Abigail is not known. He died in Scituate, April 20, 1684, greatly respected, a useful and enterprising man blessed with a good wife, eight children and length of days, having attained the ninety-seventh year of his age. The children of Thomas and Abigail Clapp were: Thomas, born in Weymouth, March 15, 1639; Increase, Samuel, Eleazer, Elizabeth, Prudence, John and Aigail, all born in Scituate. Elizabeth, our grandmother, married Thomas King (Jr).