Thomas Wilder

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Thomas Wilder, whose ancestry is unknown (or not traced here), was born at England, about 1618.1 He died at Lancaster, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts, 23 October 1667,1,2 and was buried at the Old Common Burial Ground, Lancaster, Worcester Co., Massachusetts.3

Thomas married Anna Eames, whose ancestry is unknown (or not traced here), at Charlestown, Suffolk Co., Massachusetts, April 1640.4,5,6

The original Book of the Wilders, and a revised version compiled and printed in 1998, suggest (strongly, but without evidence) that this Thomas Wilder was a brother of Edward Wilder of Hingham. Holman, in 1948, pointed out there was no proof of Thomas' ancestry or relationship to Edward. The later editors of the Book of the Wilders chose to remain in denial of Holman's findings, though they made reference to her work. It remained for the Hansens to publish a DNA study that thoroughly disproved the relationship and lay the matter to rest.7,8,9

Thomas Wilder was in Charlestown by 1638, where he was named as proprietor in 1639, admitted to the church 30 March 1640, and admitted freeman of the colony, 2 June 1641. He bought land in Charlestown, 27 October 1643, and sold land there, 1647 and 1654. Wife, Anna was admitted to the church there, 1650.

Aged about 33 on 17 June 1654, he gave testimony in court, and on 2 and 21 June 1659 he was aged about 40 when he gave depositions. He was a juror at Charlestown, 15 September 1658.

He removed to Lancaster about 1659 where he was a selectman, 26 June 1659, and subscribed to the "Orders" the following July. He was active in town affairs there in 1663. His burial in the old Burial Ground is marked by a modern cenotaph, but the inscription is apparently incorrect.

When "Robert Meeres," of Boston, made his will, 20 Feb 1666, he named "My Beloved Brother James Johnson And My Brother Mr. Thomas Wilder" overseeres. The two are known to not be church bretheren. It's known that James Johnson was the brother of the testator's wife, Elizabeth. Was the wife of Thomas Wilder born a Johnson or was there some other relationship?8,3

Thomas left a will dated 22 April 1666, and proved 4 Mar 1666/7:
Theis presents wittneseth the Last will and testament of mee Thomas Willder of Lancaster in the Countie of Middlesex in new England husbandman, being weake in body, but of a good and sound memorie, And a Competent measure of natural understanding,

first I doe herby Comit my body to the dust And my soule to almightie god that gave it, And after my body orderly and decently buried,

first I herby Constitut and apoynt Ann my Loving wife and my sonn Thomas wilder my Executors, As also my Honoured [friend] Major Willard my dearest pastor master Joseph Rowlandson And Ralph AHoughton my overseers of this my Last will as aforesaid, to see this my said will truly and faithfully pformed, according to the true intent theirof,

first as touching those outward blessings the Lord in mercie hath betrusted me with, it is my earnest desire that the family and estate may be kept together soe long as it may be thought convenient by the Executors and overseers aforesaid or the major part of them, And soe to be disposed of according to their discresion as aforesaid, to gether with theis directions after mentoned:

first with Respect to be had to my wifes Comfortable being during her natural Life

2 that my sonn Thomas wilder to have a double portion, And Libertie to keep and improve his owne Estat Either in Catell, or of the Estate, which he now stands posesed of,

And the Rest of my Children namly John nathaniell Elizabeth and Ebenezer to Receive portions at such time as my aforesaid executors and overseers shall se they have need of it, And are capable of making improvement of it, whether it be in Lands or other Estae,

And as for my daughter marie, for as much as see hath allreadie Received a Competent portion and is already provided for, yet nothwsanding it is my desire shee should have sum what, according to the discretion of my Executors & overseers aforesaid, with Respect to be had to the blessing of upon the Estate, in Reference to all my Childrens portions aforesaid,

And if any of the aforesaid my overseers shall by the providence of god be taken away by death or otherwise that then forthwith the other two together with my Executors, shall chuse an other in his place, and so successively that the number aforesaid may be Continued to manage the betrust aforesaid Comited to them,

And in witness wherof I have herunto put my hand and seale this 22 of ii: mon: 1666

Thomas Wyellder

Witnesed by Simon Willard Joseph Rowlandson Ralph Houghton

The inventory, made 28 November 1667 by John Prescott and Richard Wheeler, totaled £405 18. 09d., sworn to at Boston, 4 Mar 1667/8 by the executors, Ann Wilder, widow, and Thomas Wilder, her son.8


Anna Eames b. abt. 1618, d. 10 Jun 1692
  • Mary Wilder1 b. 30 Jun 1642
  • Captain Thomas Wilder1 b. 4 Sep 1644, d. 7 Aug 1716
  • John Wilder+1 b. abt. 1646, d. abt. 1718
  • Elizabeth Wilder1 b. abt. 1648
  • Ebenezer Wilder1 b. abt. 1651
  • Lieutenant Nathaniel Wilder+1 b. 3 Nov 1655, d. 31 Jul 1704
This person was last edited on16 Sep 2017


  1. [S245] Winfred Lovering Holman, Ancestry of Colonel John Harrington Stevens and his wife Francis Helen Miller Vol 2 (Concord, New Hampshire: Rumsford Press, 1952), 43-44, further cited as W. L. Holman, Stevens Ancestry Vol 2.
  2. [S907] Henry Stedman Nourse, The Birth, Marriage, and Death Register, Church Records and Epitaphs of Lancaster, Massachusetts, 1643-1850, two vols. (Clinton, Massachusetts: W. J. Cooper, Printer, 1890), 1:13, further cited as Nourse, Vital Records of Lancaster.
  3. [S907] Nourse, Vital Records of Lancaster, 2:408.
  4. [S763] Joan S. Guilford, The Ancestry of Dr. J. P. Guilford: Volume II: Seventeenth Century–New England Colonials and a Few Eighteenth–Century Immigrants (Orange, California: Sheridan Psychological Services, 2003), 378-381, further cited as Guilford, Guilford: Vol II.
  5. [S1872] Clarence Almon Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700, 3 vols. (Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011), 1671, further cited as Torrey, New England Marriages (2011).
  6. [S1903] William Montgomery Clemens, American Marriage Records Before 1699 (Pompton Lakes, New Jersey: Biblio, 1926), further cited as Clemens, American Marriage Records.
  7. [S1901] Donald F. Hanson and Michael F. Hansen, "DNA Resolves a Wilder Family Mystery," American Ancestors 11 (Spring 2010): 46-48, further cited as Hansen and Hansen, "DNA Resolves a Mystery."
  8. [S16] Mary L. Holman, Ancestry of Colonel John Harrington Stevens and His Wife Francis Helen Miller (Concord, New Hampshire: Rumsford Press, 1948), 43-44, further cited as Holman, Stevens-Miller Genealogy.
  9. [S674] Moses Hale Wilder, Edwin M. Wilder, Harold K. Wilder and Justin E. Wilder, The Book of the Wilders (Revised): A Further Contribution to the History of That Branch of the Wilders Who Immigrated to Massachusetts about 1638, 3rd printing (Goshen, Indiana: Justin E. Wilder, 1998), B II, further cited as Wilder, et al, Book of the Wilders (Revised).