Thomas Woolsey

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ChartsAncestors of Dora Myrtle Woolsey
Richard M. Nixon - Dora Myrtle (Woolsey) Smith
James Earl Carter Jr. - Dora Myrtle (Woolsey) Smith
Thomas Woolsey, son of George Woolsey and Rebecca Cornell, was born probably at New Amsterdam, New Netherlands, 10 April 1655.1,2 He died at Westchester Co., New York, in 1742, and was buried at Bedford, Westchester Co., New York.3,4

Thomas married Ruth (…) at Jamaica, Queens Co., New York, 11 January 1684.4,5

Thomas Woolsey first appears in the records of Jamaica in March 1678/9 as having 10 acres.6 Not long after, 20 Dec 1680, he was witness to a deed granting his brother George the lot and portion of meadow belonging to Bryan and Alis Newton.7

Several tax lists show Thomas and some of his family:
In "A List of the Towne Estate of Jemaica, Anno 1683" Tho Woolsey is shown with 1 horse (over 3 years), 10 acres, 1 head [males over 21?], and total estate of £40-00-00.8

A tax list apparently taken before 1698 as it includes his father "Mr. Woolsey", but not copied into the record until 1708, shows Thos Woollsey at £0-3s-6d-1q[farthings]-4w[wampon].9

Another tax list, recorded 4 Feb 1708/09 but probably taken before Rebecca Woolsey (Mrs Woolsey) had moved in with her son John in 1705, shows
Mrs. Woolsey £0-1s-9d
Capt. George Wolsey £0-7-3-1-1
John Woolsey £0-5-11-1-3
Thos Woolsey £0-5-5-1-1 10

1 Jan 1693/4 - John Dweke, Richard Oldfield, Samuel Denton & Daniell Smith were appointed to "gather the sumes promised to the minister and pay 1/4 each." Among the payers were:
Captin Wollsey 01 - 10;
Will: Creed 01 - 00;
Tho: Wollsey 01 - 00;
Gersham Wiggins 00 - 10;
John Wollsey 01 - 00;
Josias Wiggins 00 - 10;
Ben Wiggins 00 - 10;
John Bayles 01 -10;
Tho: Wiggins 00 - 12;
Johannas Williamson 00 – 04.11

21 Nov 1696, from "John Basford of City of New Yorke husband of Damaris Basford, eldest dau of Nate Lynos late of Jamaica, deceased," to "Thomas Wollsey of Jamaica fiveten sheep younge & olde as they are now in his posestion - do warrant and bind, etc."12

20 Jan 1701/2. He made an affidavit to the effect that Dr. Taylor was a material witness in the case of William Lawrence (guardian of John Lawrence), plt., vs. Rebecca Woolsey, widow.13

7 April 1713 - Thomas Woolcy was chosen as one of 4 trustees of Jamaica, Samuell Smith, Jonathan Watters, & Peter White being the others. The first three and Thomas Smith (replacing Peter White) were chosen again the next year. 14

The minister at Jamaica (of the Church of England, and commissioned by the Society for Propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts) was having difficulties in dealing with some of the dissidents of the town (and who pretty much were the town leadership), and was not being paid his salary which was mandated by the provincial government, as that was going to an independent preacher. On 6 Feb 1716, Thomas Woolsey, with others, signed a testimonial in support of the Rev. Thomas Poyer.15
We can with joy say the church hath increased very considerably, both in its number of hearers and communicants, by the singular care, pain and industry of our present laborious minster, Mr. Poyer, who, notwithstanding the many difficulties he has struggled with, has never been in the least wanting in the due execution of his ministerial function; but rather on the contrary, has strained himself in traveling through the parish even beyond his strength, and not seldom to the prejudice of his health, which is notorious to all the inhabitants, for almost seven years last past; in all which time he has not received one farthing of his salary allowed him by the laws of this Province; nor any private contributions (that by the nicest search we can find out) except, about £18, this country money, which was presented to him by some of his people, at his first arrival here, purely on account of the tediousness of his voyage from England and his having with his family been shipwrecked on the Island about one hundred miles from his parish; and at divers times since, gifts on the whole not amounting to £50.

The same Thomas Poyer preached a sermon on the death of Rebecca Woolsey, Thomas' mother, aged 93, 5 Feb 1713. This sermon may still survive, but has not yet been located.16

His lands are mentioned as abutting other parcels in several deeds of Jamaica:
18 Sep 1695. Richard Gilderssleve - land on ye north side of ye path going to Jamaica & on y west by a lott of Thomas Wolles only a high waye between. 17

Between 1681-1683 Thomas Woolsey is shown with 10 acres. 6

23 Oct 1697, from Thomas Foster of Monmouth River, Co. of Salem, of West New Jersey, son & heir of Thomas Foster, late of Jamaica, to Benjamine Thurston of Jamaica, blacksmith all that moyety or eaquall halfe part of the home lott & ten acres adjoinginge being the westermost part beginning at Thomas Wollsey's land . . . .18

16 Nov 1700, from John Pruden quondam minister of Jamaica now inhabitant of Newwarke, Co Essex, East New Jersey, to Thomas Burrowes, yeoman of Jamaica, a lot lying Westward of the mettinge hse upon road that leads to New Yorke, fiveten acres Bounded by 10 acre lot formerly Edward Higbe's now in possession of Edward Burrows & partly by lot formerly belonging to Andrew Messenger now in tenur & poss of Thomas Wollsey on ye E & by a highway on N - Begin at NW corner of ye sd Wollsey's lott runing Westward under the hills by the highway. S to ye road to Newtown - . Wit: John Hubbert, John Pruden, Jr. John Pruden O.19

25 Jan 1709/10, in a survey for Samll Higbe, Nathan Smith and Wait Smith Jur for 34 acres bounded on the "north by Newtown line in part and part throw ye comans of Jamaica near the land fenced by Thomas Wollsey . . . ."20

His purchases and dispositions of property are recorded in numerous land records of Jamaica:
Brian Newton of Jamaica "in ye North Rydinge of Yorksier upon Longe Island" sold to "Thomas Wollsey bacherler inhabitant of ye said Jamaica" 10 acres bounded by Daniell Whittheads land, the highway on the north, Joseph Thirstones and Nicolos Eaverits on the east and by the commons on the south, 22 Dec 1780 though not recorded until 29 Dec 1699.21

Undated, but near 4 Jan 1698/9, Tho. Wolsie 13 acors of land in ye west fild 60 rods longe 34 rods broad Bound on ye north wt Yorke path on ye west with Mr. Ashman east wt Nicholas Everit on ye south wt Peter Stringham -22

11 Jun 1692 - between Daniel Whitthead, Esqr & Thomas Wollsey - Wollsey to occupy and enjoy a sartain ten acre lott Bounded front and reare on the Highways E by Thomas Wollsey & W by Ed Burrowes, provided sd Thomas Wollsey shall pay ore case to be paid unto Mr. Sollenes that marryed the widow Stenwick in New Yorke sum of 42 pounds before 1 Apr 1694 -
Dan'll Whithed & Tho. Wollsey - O
Wit: Edward Burrowes, Will Whitt, Peter Chek - Samuel Ruscoe, Clerk23

5 Apr 1694, Daniell Whitehead of Jamaica to Thomas Wollsey a ten acre lot in Jamaica, bounded east by sd Thomas Wollsey west by land of John Prudden south by King's Road ore Common highway & north to a highway betwext ye hills. Wit: Sam'll Ruscoe & Edward Burrowes and recorded 29 Dec 1699.24

29 Dec 1699, the land of Thomas Wollsey of Jamaica was recorded "as followeth, viz:
One lott of upland lyeinge to the westward of this Towne abovesd containinge fourten acers be it more ore less as it was laid out & bounded north by ye road leading to York & east by Anthony Waters & south by ye sd Waters & west by William Creed.

As alsoe one third partt of a thrty acer lott lyeinge southward of ye forsd lott & is bounded by Fredrick Hendricks one the east & John Lambertes on the west & north by the highway & soth by Jacob Ramson

As allsoe five acers of meadow lyeing at the hawtrees & bounded east by William Creed & west by Peter Hendriks being ye half of a ten acer lott

As allsoe one third partt of the home lott formorly my fathers

As allsoe the one third partt of a ten acer lott of meadow lyeinge att the further East Neck -

As allsoe the one third partt of a hill lott lyeinge above Samuell Millses.

The above parcells of land & Meadow with an adition of meadow alsoe lying at ye east sid of the Great Island at the further East Neck - - the 29 of December 1699."25

Although the next deed was not recorded until July, and not verified and entered into the books until December, the property was surveyed and laid out "upon ye acount or right of "Gorg Wooley Thomas Wooley & John Wooley bounded north by land laid out to Nathaniell Denton south by marked trees eas & west by comman land . . . ."26
21 Feb 1711/12, from Georg Woolcy Thomas Woolcy John Woolcy of Jemaica in Queen County on Nasaw Island & in ye Province of New York of ye one partee to Samuell Denton of ye same place of ye other partee witnesseth for consideration of nine pounds ten shillings corrant of New York acknowledge [sell to] Samuell Denton all that peice parsill or lot of upland in ye bounds of Jemaica containg seven acors be ye same more or less butted & bounded as followeth bounded south by ye rode that lead down to New York or Cuntry rode & east by commons land and west by common land also and north by common land or Nathaniell Denton warrent for next seven years - hath set their hands and affixed thire seales ye day etc
Signed sealed & delivered Gorg Woolcy
in presents of Thomas X Woolcy
Wait Smith his mark
Nehemiah Smith John X Woolcy
Memorandum that on ye 25 day of Jul 1712 appeared his mark before me Richard Olfeild one of Her Maigs Justeses for the keeping of the peace for Queens County ye with in named Gorg Woolcy Thomas Woolcy & John Woolcy and did acknowlidg the with written instrument to be their own vollintary act and deed Tes. Richard Olfeild A true coppy of ye orignall deed entred & compared this fift day of Desember 1712 by me per Nehemiah Smith - Cler27

He and his wife are named in two aditional deeds of Jamaica:
19 Mar 1717, from Thomas Woolsey, yeoman, of Jamaica & Ruth his wife to John Gray, yeoman, of Jamaica, for £240 the home lott of Jamaica, where sd Thomas now dwells, bounded west by Thomas Smith, south partly by county road leading to New York & partly by sd Smith, east by land in Possession of Eliz. Waters & by Samuel Thurston's land & north by David Wright & Samuel Thurston, containing 30 acres as now within fence in possession of sd Thomas Woolsey with one certain piece of land in Jamaica on the hills Northward of ye sd premises bounded west & north by Joseph Smith, south by David Wright & east by Thomas Thurston - 8 acres in fence and all houses, etc.
Thomas Woolsey
Recorded 1 Apr 1718.28

19 May 1718, from Thomas Woolsey of Jamaica, yeoman, & Ruth his wife to Richard Betts for £80 19 acres as inclosed by the fence now standing in Jamaica bound north by the highway which leads from Jamaica to the New York Ferry, east & south by land of Daniel Waters & west by land belonging to sd Richard Betts.
Thomas X Woolsey
Mary Waters, John Cornell Ruth X Woolsey. Recorded 1st [Sep?]ber 1719.29

He had moved to Bedford, Westchester Co., by 5 Jul 1721, when his earmark was recorded: a cropp on ye left ear and two slits in ye cropp and a slitt in the top of ye right ear.30

"Woolsey's Farm" is mentioned in several deeds and patents of Bedford, Westchester Co., and it is presumed that Thomas is the owner of this farm. As shown below in the deed of 1740, Thomas had bought 1280 acres from Peter Mathews of New York. A yeoman farmer with two square miles of land would be known well enough to not need any qualification as to who owned that farm in any contemporary deeds, though it would certainly be helpful to us today.31 The deed from Mathews has not been found.

12 Jan 1729/30, Thomas Woolsey of Bedford, Westchester, N.Y., yeoman, with the consent of wife Ruth, and sons William, Jonathan, Richard, and John Woolsey sold to Henry Dusenbury of Rye, yeoman, for £105, N.Y. money 12 Jan 1729/30 in the 3rd year of George II:
"All that a certain parcel . . . of land . . . in . . . Bedford . . . & is part of the lands granted by Peter Mathews (who was one of ye pattentees of said township's New Purchase) unto ye said Thomas Woolsey . . . bounded . . . bounded as followeth beginning at ye northwest corner at a stake . . . from thence runing southerly on a strait line one hundred & forty one rods & twenty links & a half of ye chain to another stake set up at ye southwesterly corner from thence runing easterly on a strait line to an heap of stones at ye southeast corner one hundred & seventy rods from thence runing northerly on a strait line one hundred & forty one rods & twenty links & a half of a chain to a stake set up at ye northeast corner & from thence on a strait line one hundred & seventy rods to ye first above mentioned stake where it first began, bounded westerly by Fauconiers West pattent . . . wch. is the west bounds of Bedford Pattent & northerly easterly & southerly yt. is three sides thereof by land belonging to ye said Thomas Woolsey & his above named sons containing . . . one hundred & fifty acres English measure"
Thomas Woolsey his mark, Ruth Woolsey, William Woolsey, Jonathan Woolsey, Richard Woolsey, John Woolsey. Witnesses: Hugh Hunter, Richard Pullen.
On 17 Nov 1730 Hugh Hunter swore before Wm. Willett, judge of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas, that he saw every one of the above execute this deed. Entered by W. Forster, clerk.32

Made 16 Jul 1740, but not recorded until 1755, Thomas Woolsey of Bedford, Westchester, N.Y., yeoman, "for ye good will and efectoin which I have and doe bare my son John Woollsey of Bedford" gave
All that the two folowing peices or persels of land which are part of and included within ye bounds of twelve hundred & eighty accrees of land which I purchased of Petter Mathews of ye city of New York, gent and is lying . . . within . . . Bedford one peice hearby conveyed is bounded as foloweth begining at ye south east corner of my son Jonathans northernmost peice of land and runs south eleven degrees east thirty five chains and fifty(?) links to my son Richards northeast corner thence along Richards line west eleven eleven degrees south thirty eight chains to ye stake with stones thence north eleven degrees west seven chains & fifty links to a stake with stones thence west eleven degrees south forty two chains to ye line of Bedford Township thence north eleven degrees west twenty five chains to my son Jonathans land thence east eleven degrees north to whare it began containing two hundred & thirty one acrees the other peice begins at ye south east corner of my son Jonathan's southerly peice and from thence runs south eleven degrees east eleven chains & seventy five links to my son William Woollseys land thence west eleven degrees south thirty seven chains and twenty five links to Dusinburys land thence north eleven degrees west eleven chains & seventy-five to my sd son Jonathans land thence east eleven degrees north thirty seven chains & twenty five links to where it began containing forty three accrees and three quarters
     Thomas Woolsey his mark.
16 Jul 1740 "in ye fourteenth year of His Majastys reign"
Witnesses: George Denis, Samuel Purdy. Acknowledged 1 Sep 1740, before Samuel Purdy, Esq., one of the judges of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas. Recorded 8 Mar 1755, by John Holmes, Clerk.33

His gravestone was preserved, buried for about a century, and not unearthed until 1976. It was apparently left behind in the village graveyard when the bodies of the Woolsey family were removed to the Bedford Union Cemetery in the 1800's.

The headstone is shown here:


Ruth (…) b. say 1664, d. 1739
  • Thomas Woolsey4 b. Dec 1684, d. bef. 1721
  • William Woolsey4 b. 30 Jun 1687, d. 7 Mar 1771
  • John Woolsey4 b. 1691, d. Nov 1751
  • Jonathan Woolsey4 b. 1695, d. 1754
  • Elizabeth Woolsey4 b. 24 Jun 1696
  • Richard Woolsey+4 b. 1697, d. bt 1779 - 1782
  • Mary Woolsey35 b. 1697, d. 1782
  • Deborah Woolsey36 b. 1709
This person was last edited on3 Jan 2021


  1. [S1740] "An Acount of the agees of Mr George Woolseys Children", New York Public Library, Rare Books and Manuscripts Division, James Riker Papers, Memoria Vol. 30, "Extracts from an old manuscript book formerly belonging to Capt. William Hallett of Newtown (who died in 1729 age 81) and now in possession of one of his descendants, Marvin R. Briggs of New York, 1851", 187.
  2. [S823] John Ross Delafield, Delafield: The Family History, two vols. (New York?: p.p., 1945), 644-646, further cited as Delafield, Delafield.
  3. [S1766] Publications Committee, Town of Bedford, Westchester County, New York: Historical Records, Ten volumes, subtitles vary, (Bedford Hills, New York: Town of Bedford, 1966-1980), 8:iv,8,393, further cited as Bedford, Bedford Historical Records.
  4. [S817] Wilford Whitaker and Carolyn Woolsey Wilkerson, Woolsey Genealogy Website, online, Descendants of Thomas Woolsey 1655 - 1742. Hereinafter cited as Whitaker and Wilkerson, Woolsey Genealogy.
  5. [S1872] Clarence Almon Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700, 3 vols. (Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011), 1721, further cited as Torrey, New England Marriages (2011).
  6. [S1739] Josephine C. Frost, Records of the Town of Jamaica, Long Island, New York, 1656-1751, 3 volumes, (Brooklyn, New York: Long Island Historical Society, 1914), microform copy: FHL Film/Fiche #928518 (v. 1-2), #928519 (v. 3), Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1:122, further cited as Frost, Records of the Town of Jamaica.
  7. [S1739] Frost, Records of the Town of Jamaica, 1:153.
  8. [S843] Peter R. Christoph, The Dongan Papers 1683-1699, Part 2, Files of the Provincial Secretary of New York During the Administration of Governor Thomas Dongan (Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 1996), 289, further cited as Christoph, Dongan Papers.
  9. [S1739] Frost, Records of the Town of Jamaica, 2:438-440.
  10. [S1739] Frost, Records of the Town of Jamaica, 2:440-443.
  11. [S1739] Frost, Records of the Town of Jamaica, 1:375.
  12. [S1739] Frost, Records of the Town of Jamaica, 2:371.
  13. [S1777] Kenneth Scott, Records of the Chancery Court: Province and State of New York: Guardianships 1691 - 1815 (New York: Holland Society of New York, 1971), 1, further cited as Scott, Chancery Court of New York: Guardianships.
  14. [S1739] Frost, Records of the Town of Jamaica, 3:433-435.
  15. [S1775] Henry Onderdonk, Antiquities of the Parish Church, Jamaica, (including Newtown and Flushing) Illustrated from Letters of the Missionaries, and other Authentic Documents, with a Continuation of the History of Grace Church, to the Present Time (Jamaica, New York: Charles Welling, 1880), 32-33, also in Documentary History of New York, III-277, further cited as Onderdonk, Antiquities of the Parish Church, Jamaica.
  16. [S1775] Onderdonk, Antiquities of the Parish Church, Jamaica, 40.
  17. [S1739] Frost, Records of the Town of Jamaica, 1:411.
  18. [S1739] Frost, Records of the Town of Jamaica, 1:247-249.
  19. [S1739] Frost, Records of the Town of Jamaica, 2:8-9.
  20. [S1739] Frost, Records of the Town of Jamaica, 3:13.
  21. [S1739] Frost, Records of the Town of Jamaica, 2:59-60.
  22. [S1739] Frost, Records of the Town of Jamaica, 1:320.
  23. [S1739] Frost, Records of the Town of Jamaica, 2:61.
  24. [S1739] Frost, Records of the Town of Jamaica, 2:60-61.
  25. [S1739] Frost, Records of the Town of Jamaica, 2:62.
  26. [S1739] Frost, Records of the Town of Jamaica, 3:85.
  27. [S1739] Frost, Records of the Town of Jamaica, 3:92-94.
  28. [S1761] Jamaica, New York, Queens Co., New York, Deeds/Conveyances, C-Land-168-169, FHL film #1414477, further cited as Queens Co. Deeds.
  29. 1761,C-Land: 211-213, FHL film #1414477
  30. [S1766] Bedford, Bedford Historical Records, 3:98.
  31. [S1766] Bedford, Bedford Historical Records, 1:134-5, 2:219, 220, 224, 225, 230, 231, 236, 238, 239, 3:240, 241.
  32. [S1766] Bedford, Bedford Historical Records, 2:240.
  33. [S1742] Alexander Lobel, "Index [of] Deeds of Queens County, Long Island, Libers A,B,C, and Abstracts of Deeds in the Queens County, New York Register's Office, Libers A-D, 1683-1765", Queens Borough Public Library, Jamaica, New York, microform copy: FHL Film/Fiche #17873, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, 4:42-43, further cited as Lobel, "Index and Abstracts of Queens County Deeds."
  34. [S1766] Bedford, Bedford Historical Records, 8:iv.
  35. [S817] Whitaker and Wilkerson, Woolsey Genealogy, online,
  36. [S817] Whitaker and Wilkerson, Woolsey Genealogy, online,