Thomas Dewey

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ChartsAncestors of Wilford Ervie Billings
Thomas Dewey, son of Cornet Thomas Dewey and Frances (…), was born at Windsor, Connecticut, 16 February 1640.1,2 He died at Westfield, Hampden Co., Massachusetts, 27 April 1690,3 and was buried at Mechanic Street Cemetery, Westfield, Hampden Co., Massachusetts.3

Thomas married Constant Hawes, daughter of Richard Hawes and Ann (…), at Dorchester, Suffolk Co., Massachusetts, 1 June 1663.4,5

Property and Community standing: Thomas was a miller and a farmer in the Little River District. He was at Windsor as late as Jan 18, 1660 as he had then paid 6 shillings and was seated " in the long seats" in the meeting house. He moved to Northampton, Mass., where he was "granted a homelot, (Nov 12, 1662) of 4 acres upon condition that he make improvement of it with one year after the date hereof and possess it 3 years; more likewise a lot of 12 acres in some place where it may not hinder homelots;" was connected with a mill in Aug. 1666. He moved to Waranoak, then a part of Springfield, and under the direction of a settling committee appointed in Feb. 1665. He was first mentioned, July 6, 1666, as third in a list of twenty grantees of land; his part being 30 acres "on condition that they come there to dwell in their own persons by the last of May (1667) next; to continue there for five years and endeavor to settle an able Minister. His lands, with the others, were laid out April 24, 1667, on the South Side the Westfield river, and confirmed Jan. 9, 1668, with the following, being the first settlers on Main street, Westfield: George Phelps, Isaac Phelps, Capt. Aaron Cook, Mr. James Cornish, Moses Cook, Thomas Dewey, Thomas Noble, David Ashley, Mr. John Holyoke, John Osborn, John Ponder, John Ingersol and Hugh Dudley.

From here on, he because an influential citizen of the new town, as is evidenced by the positions of trust he was called upon to fill. The settling committee "ordered that Capt. Cook, Thomas Dewey, John Williams, John Sacket, John Ponder, David Ashley, and Mr. Cornish, shall view the land to be fenced and determine where the fence shall be set, what quantity there is and where each mans proportion shall be and this to be attended forthwith."

Again he was appointed on an important committee: "At a meeting at Waranoco 21st Jan. 1669. It is voted that James Cornish, George Phelps, Thomas Dewey, and Thomas Noble shall go to Sp;ringfield the first Tuesday in February next at a town meeting to propound to the town for the settlement of our place and affairs; in particular to determine where the line shall run between Springfield and us, and to appoint persons to lay out the bounds granted us by the Honored General Court and to allow us to be a township of ourselves and signify the same to the Honored Court, etc."

The Court having granted them an addition of six miles square of land, the town of Springfield appointed, Feb 2, 1669, Mr. James Cornish, John Root, Thomas Dewey, and John Sacket, or any three of them to lay out the aforesaid grant.

The only store in this neighborhood at this early period was that of John Pyncheon of Springfield, where Thomas Dewey had an account, as per following copy, from the original book in Springfield City Library, dated 1658 to 1669:
Thomas Duee Dr.
October 1663.
To 1d powder 00 02 06
To a flask and chaine 00 07 00
To severalls, Sept 21, (64) 00 07 00
Nov. 66.
To 6d of woole 00 07 00
To 1d of powder of John Taylor 00 03 09

The town of Westfield was incorporated May 28, 1669, o. s. The minister, Mr. Moses Fisk, having preached there for three years, left them and Thomas Dewey was sent to the Bay for another. On the 17th of Nov 1671, he was directed to the Rev. Edward Taylor, who had been instituted a teacher in Harvard college only the day before, but being advised by those in authority, he set out on the 27th, and reached his destination on the first day of December; They rode all the way on horseback, over a trail, guided by marked trees, and made the journey in four days. Small inducement was there for him to leave the cultured society around Harvard College for a frontier settlement of hardy Pioneers, struggling to keep the wolf and the savage from the door. But Christian duty triumphed, and with him came the best learning that the world could then afford. His influence was powerful and came to the rescue many a time when a crisis was impending. He was their minister, lawyer and doctor; baptized them; attended them when sick, wrote out their wills and performed their funeral ceremonies. He did not marry them, as the strict customs of the Puritans delegated that service to the magistrates and justices. Many of the towns at this early period were, for years, without any professional doctor, but Westfield was favored, for a while, with more than her share, until George Filer, who was a surgeon, became a Quaker and removed, probably to Shelter Island, in 1674. At a court held at Northampton Mar. 26, 1672, Capt. Cook, Mr. Joseph Whiting, and George Phelps were "allowed of to be Commissioners to end small causes at Westfield (not exceeding 40 shillings value) for the yeere ensueing." They were reappointed next year, and formed the First Court in town.

At a Town Meeting, Mar. 26, 1676. George Phelps, Thomas Gunn, Samuel Loomis, Isaac Phelps, David Ashley, Josiah Dewey, Nathaniel Weller, Thomas Dewey, John Sackett and Edward Neal agree to fence the North-east Field and carry on the improvement of this land in general.

Thomas Dewey and Thomas Root were appointed Fence Veiwers for the year ensuing Mar. 12, 1677, for the South field of the river.
Voted: __ That Thomas Dewey shall maintain a sufficient gate on the county road on the south side the river where it is or shall be ordered in lew of fence for that piece of land in the Fort Meadow that he bought of John Root, which he expected and agreed to perfom.

Mr. Dewey was a representative to Boston 1677-9, selectman 1677 and 1686, licensed by the court "to keep a Publique house of Entertainment," Sep. 26, 1676; took the freeman's oath Sep. 28, 1680; on a committee to locate the county road to Windsor, March 30, 1680, with Samuel Marshfield and Thomas Cooper of Springfield and David Ashley of Westfield; appointed cornet of Hampshire Troop at the General Court July 8, 1685; joined the Church May 9, 1680; served as juryman March 1675.

September 1686 Thomas Dewey of Westfield and Samuel Ely of Springfield were warned to renew their licenses to sell liquor. At the same term Thomas Noble petitioned that "the road for horses be laid without ye field for cars continueing as already it is." The committee appointed (Saml. Marshfield and Joseph Bedortha of Springfield and Thomas Dewey and Isaac Phelps of Westfield) reported that it was a small matter, only one place being bad and there Noble had made a bridge. He was instructed to finish the bridge and the town to pay him. At the fall term 1682, Lieut. Wm. Clark and Capt. Cook of Northampton were appointed to view the land Lieut. John Mosely claimed damages on when the Order for Compact Dwelling was carried into effect. The town of Westfield was given liberty to dispose of lands southwest of the Country road against the dwelling of Thomas Dewey, and were to layout the said road six rods wide on firm ground. She was also in Court for not providing a gauger and packer but was discharged when JOsiah Dewey gave good reasons, and Eleazur Weller was appointed gauger and packer for the town. Thomas Noble and Eleazur Weller were made freemen. The law for the suppression of excessive apparel seems to have become a deadletter, as the Selectmen of Springfield , Northampton, Hadley, Hatfield, and Westfield were presented for not assessing persons that work "silks and other forbidden apparel beyond their rank or what the law allows." They were ordered to meet in their rewpective towns and see to the execution of the laws. At the March Court 1683, James Cornish obtains a verdict against George Sexton for "wrongfully taking and using hay without leave," 40 shillings and costs of £1 7 shillings 6 pence for plaintiff, Samuel Loomis was present at the Court. These three men were allowed to keep public houses and sell liquor if they keep good order Saml. Ely of Springfield, Thomas Dewey of Westfield, Thomas Huxley of Suffield. Thomas Dewey Sr. and Nathaniel Bancroft claimed a damage of £5 from James and Joseph Sexton for their taking away a parcel of hay made by Dewey and Bancroft. The jury found the damage less than 40 shillings and gave the case to the defendants and their bill of charge 2 shillings apiece (26 September 1683).

It was voted by the town that Thomas Dewey shall attend at the next General Court to manage our petition to the Court formally and that the town will give him reasonable satisfaction for his necessary charges about the same that is our former petition to the Court respecting taxing soldiers.
Mar. 10, 1679. Thomas was again chosen "to plead the towns interest at Court if need require."
Mar. 5, 1680. Thomas Dewey and Nathaniel Weller were chosed "to apprise land or whatsoever may be necessary for the defraying of rates or other dues." May 16, 1677.
He was again interested in building mills and Dec. 17, 1680, the town "granted to Lieut. Mosely, Thomas Dewey, and 'Sergeant' (Josiah) Dewey to set a Grist and Saw Mill at the mouth of Two Mile Brook and so long as they maintain a grist mill the town grants them liberty to improve the low land of this side the brook."
On Feb. 1, 1681 he was chosed Constable.
"Mar. 14, 1683. The Committee of Militia and Selectmen did dispose of powder and lead to the several persons then concluded on the owners of said garrisons to return 12 or more as good when called for, it being taken out of the town stock.

To Thomas Dewey, 3 lbs. powder, 5 lbs. lead.
To Josiah Dewey, 3 lbs. powder, 11 lbs. lead.
To Mr. Taylor, 3 lbs. powder
To Thomas Root, 3 lbs. powder, 4¼ lbs. lead.
To widow Root, 3 lbs. powder
To Benjamin Mosely, 2 lbs. powder, 4¼ lbs. lead.

He was chosen "warden for the town ways" Feb. 2, 1686; and with John Sackett, Isaac Phelps, John Root, and Samuel Root was appointed "to measure the breadth of the town at the north end that we may have our bounds fuly set at the south end." Mar. 7, 1687; was on a committee, chosen Mar. 9, 1688, with Capt. Mosely, his son Samuel Dewey, Mr. Sexton, John Sackett, and Nathaniel Williams "to settle the Common Fence."

The following is the "Inventory of Cornet Thomas Dewey's Estate:"
£ sh.
"The house and homestead, 180 0
the house and homestead on ye west side ye way, 70 0
22 acres in ye meadow, 88 0
6 acres in ye neck, 20 0
a tract of land at ye old mill pond, 70 0
a tract of land at ye Great Marsh in Springfield bounds, 40 0
a tract of land at ye east side of ye mountain, 5 0
20 acres about ye New Mill, 10 0
a 1/14 part of the ketch, 20 0
the two mills, 90 0
2 yoke of oxen, 20 0
1 yoke of steers, 8 0
3 cows 12, 0, 5 young cattle, 10, 0, 22 0
2 yerling calves 2, 0, a spring calf 0, 10, 2 10
4 horses 20, 0, a mare and 2 colts 5, 0, 25 0
7 sheep 3, 0, 12 swine 9, 0, 12 0
cart plows sleds and all tackling for the team, 8 0
3 axes 3 hoes and peck ax, 1 8
a parcel of carpenters tools, 1 4
sickles forks sythes spade peas hooks beetle and wedges, 1 10
bed stead feather bed curtains and valience, 5 0
a trundle bed-stead cord & down upon it, 1 5
bedstead cord and down bed, 2 0
2 chaff beds and bedsteads, 3 5
coverlid curtains and vallience, 4 0
a bed rug and white rugg, 1 10
a woolen and 2 tow ruggs, 3 10
6 bed blankets, 3 0
10 pair of sheets, 10 10
2 pair trundle bed sheets, 1 10
6 feather pillows, 2 0
7 pair of pillow bears, 2 0
6 bolster 2, 10, Leaden ware 4, 0, 6 10
Leaden wooden earthen ware with other small things, 2 0
Brass and iron ware, 5 0
tramel tongs cob irons slice and gridiron, 1 10
branding iron sheep shears, 0 8
hatchets stilliards smooth iron and frying pan, 1 0
part of a barll of rum, 3 0
tow thread and box, 0 15
Bibles and other books, 1 10
14 chairs 1, 15, table linen and towels 4, 5 15
tables barells and other wooden lumber, 2 10
3 wheels and a reel, 8 10
arms and amminition 8, 10, 14 bags 3, 0, 11 10
pillion pillion cloth portmantle ladle bridle pistols holster and trooping
furniture, 9 10
wearing clothes, 8 0
£ 793 12
This inventory was sworn to by the widow of said deceased and administration is granted to said widow and to the eldest son of sd. deceased named Adijah and next son Samll, they giving bond of 1400 sh. for security of sd. estate.
Attests: -- Samuel Partridge Clerk.
"Feb. 19, 1690-1. This inventory of the Estate of Thomas Dewey above mentioned is here recorded in these records from the original on file.
Attests: -- John Holyoke Clerk."6

The Dewey's and the Mill - The year 1672 saw the completion of the second mill in town on Two Mile brook, Little River district, by Joseph Whiting and the three Dewey Brothers, Thomas, Josiah and Jedediah, and in December the town agreed to allow them the toll of one twelfth part of the corn they ground.

The following is the agreement of the proprietors: "This testifies an agreement betwixt Joseph Whiting, and Thomas Dewey, Josiah Dewey, and Jedediah Dewey, as followeth:
"That is to say conserning the Say Mill and Corn Mill that now stands upon Two Mill Brook, being fully finished as we are Mutely concerned do wholly discharge each other of all charges past about said mills and we further agree from this time to bear equal charge in reparing and doing what may be necessary about the mills and to receive equal benefit; and if any should desire to sell his part, the rest of the owners are to have the refusal of it; we further agree that the mills shall stand where they now are for 20 years except we shall see cause to remove them sooner; and to the above said agreement we bind ourselvs, our heirs, executors, administrators, or assigns as witness our hands this __ __ day of December, 1672.
Witness: "Joseph Whiting,
"Isaac Phelps, Thomas Dewey,
Benjamin Dwight. Josiah Dewey,
Jedediah Dewey."

At a town meeting help "Dec 10, 1672. On a motion of owners of the Mill to give the 12th part of the corn they powder both English and Indian it is granted by the town vote that it shall be so till the town see cause to alter.
"Dec. 30, 1672. Granted to Thomas Dewey, Josiah Dewey, and Jedediah Dewey 40 acres of land about the mills taking in that land which the water is ponded on in part for the use of the Mills.
"Thomas Dewey, Josiah Dewey, and Jedediah Dewey hath granted 10 acres a piece whereas all is upon the account of making the mills.
"This may certify whom it may concern that we whose names are here subscribed being the copartners with Joseph Whiting, the owners of the Grist Mill and the Saw Mill in Westfield, do declare that there is agreement made between the four partners that if any are desirous to sell his part, the rest of the owners are to have the refusal of it; but understanding that Mr. Whiting hath made sale of his part of the mills to Capt. Aaron Cook as appears by his demands desiring our consent that he might enjoy Mr. Whiting's part with us, We declare to all that we neigher do nor shall at any time consent that the said Capt. Cook shall be any copartner of have any share with us in the said mills.
Thomas Dewey,
May 10, 1676. Josiah Dewey,
Jedidiah Dewey."

The Deweys had an extended litigation in the Court respecting their mills on Great Brook, then known as "two mile brook," (we know of no other reason for the old name unless of its being two miles from the town center). We have seen the completion of their first mill in Dec., 1672. Joseph Whiting had built one before near John Sacket's house (Springdale), but owing to the sandy soil was troubled to keep the water ponded and made an agreement with the Dewey brothers on above date to share in their mill and give them the refusal if he wished at any time to sell his part; the mills were to stand twenty years. But he sold out to Captain Aaron Cook and the Deweys entered a protest May 10, 1676, and refused to recognize the Captain's claim. The town afterwards granted Whiting 50 acres for his part in the mills. The following taken from Church Records gives the causes of the case at law; it is entitled:
"Brother Thomas Dewey's Case.
"The Dewies formerly having a grant to set a Saw mill upon two mile brook and ye land about ye pond they made grants for their encouragement when they had set up their mill, Mr. Joseph Whiting being engaged to set up a grist mill and finding when he had set up one on ye brook by ye hill as we go to Northhampton, the lands being sandy, not to h=old water agreed with them to take a fourth part in their saw mill allowing after ye proportions for their charges, and that they should have 3 fourths in ye grist mill and so they set it on ye same dam and On Mr. Whitings going away in time 3 parts of ye mills come into Thomas Dewies hand and now ye Corn mill being worn out, he and his brother Josia being encouraged by work allowed them from ye town to ye making ye dam and a way that was something difficult and also hazardous to spoile their work by letting ye water of ye brook away at ye mouth of two Mile brook where they had found a Rock to found their Dam upon, they were at charges to build a New Mill, and had set it up, and a swift mill it was. But that great flood ye sumr next after in August broke a passage their way, from Great River almost to their mill brook wch was judged to require 30£ and 40£ in work to make it up again. Now in this Pinch Brother Pomeroy and some other had a grant to set a saw mill on ye Brook above theirs, so, as it was judged, it would take away two thirds of their water proved a temptation too Hard upon Brother Thomas Dewey so that he went one morning and cut down their Dam and hid their tooles. Of ye irregularity of wch fact being convinced from a sermon preached on this occasion on 1. Corn. 12, 19. He confesst his fault and put up this following acknowledgmt wch was read and accepted of 2d 9m 1683 by ye church being Lords day.

"Tho. Dewies Acknowledgmt.
"In respect unto ye cutting down ye Dam and hiding ye tools I do here before God and his people acknowledge yet since I did it God hath brought me to see my Irregularity and Dishonr all proceedings therein, as a thing offensive under may considerations, wch made me grieved in my spirit, yet ye Adversary should get such advantage against me and to beg of God to pardon the will thereof. And having in point of satisfaction for ye Damaged ones, agreed with ye owners. I before ye people of God and especially ye Church whereof I am an unworthy member, to lay by whatever Offences they may have taken hereat, and to help me with their prayers, yet God may show himself gratious to me herein, and for ye time to come to defend me against all overbearing temptations."

The first case came up 31 March 1685, the Deweys vs. Joseph Pomeroy, Samuel Taylor, John Sacket, John Williams and Nathaniel Williams, for unlawfully keeping a dam on two mile brook, beyond the liberty formerly granted to them and contrary to the grant of said Deweys whereby they, the Deweys, were damaged 20£, by the stoppage of the streem. Verdit for the plaintiffs; liberty of the street; all incumberances to be removed by the defencants who were to pay costs of 3£, 3 sh. 6d. They appealed, except John Williams, who appeared to be not concerned, and gave bond. But forfeited soon by sawing at the new say mill making the water run down an inch below the dam at the Dewey's corn mill. They were sued, ordered to pay costs, but appealed. Then Sacket etc. sued the Deweys for seizing their mill, but received a verdict only for costs of the court. The Deweys obtained execution on the land the upper mill stood on and the remainder of the amount on the owner's estates: this routed the upper mill and all parties came to the following agreement, 21 April 1685; each were to have their own proper charges; the Deweys to have the land for their charges; the owners had the liberty to use the mill until the beginning of October and then desist and give up all rights to the same; the Deweys were to remit the 50£ given them by the Court, discharge all bonds and obligations, and "give eight days work a a hand and team and six days with an hand towards removing" the mill to some other location. Samuel Marshfield, Thomas Noble and Edward Neale, witnesses. Pomeroy finding the Court against him had sold the land the February before to William Sacket who sold to George Saxton who was intending to back Pomeroy. "This matter being so foul" that Josiah Dewey drew up a complaint against Pomeroy and handed it to the minister, after failing to persuade him. Pomeroy was called before the church, made a confession and was forgiven.7


Constant Hawes b. 17 Jul 1642, d. 26 Apr 1703
  • Thomas Dewey8 b. 26 Mar 1664, d. 8 Mar 1690
  • Adijah Dewey8 b. 5 Mar 1666
  • Mary Dewey b. 28 Jan 1668
  • Samuel Dewey8 b. 25 Jun 1670
  • Hannah Dewey8 b. 21 Feb 1672
  • Elizabeth Dewey8 b. 10 Jan 1676
  • James Dewey8 b. 3 Jul 1678, d. 27 Feb 1682
  • Abigail Dewey+4 b. 14 Feb 1681, d. 20 Dec 1747
  • James Dewey8 b. 12 Nov 1683, d. 5 May 1686
  • Israel Dewey8 b. 9 Jul 1686
This person was last edited on28 Apr 2016


  1. [S2281] Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, Volumes I–III, 3 vols. (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995), 1:537-39 (Thomas Dewey), further cited as Anderson, GMB.
  2. [S507] Adelbert Milton Dewey, Louis Marinus Dewey, William T. Dewey, Orville C. Dewey and George Dewey, Life of George Dewey, Rear Admiral, U.S.N., and Dewey Family History, Illustrated (Westfield, Mass: Dewey Publishing, 1898), 229, further cited as Dewey, et al., Dewey Family.
  3. [S1706] National Youth Administration, A List of Gravestones in the Mechanic Street Cemetery: Westfield, Massachusetts (Typescript ed., Westfield, Massachusetts: Westfield Athenaeum, 1939), 48, further cited as NYA, Mechanic Street Cemetery.
  4. [S507] Dewey, et al., Dewey Family, 850.
  5. [S1872] Clarence Almon Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700, 3 vols. (Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011), 448, further cited as Torrey, New England Marriages (2011).
  6. [S507] Dewey, et al., Dewey Family, 230-240.
  7. [S507] Dewey, et al., Dewey Family, 231-234.
  8. [S507] Dewey, et al., Dewey Family, 240.