Thomas Whitman was born in England in
1629.1 "the oldest
son of the Ancestor (John), was about twelve
years old when he came with his mother and some
others of the children, about 1641, to settle in
From that time till of age, as may be presumed, he labored with his father upon the farm at Weymouth. In 1653 he was made free at Boston, being then twenty-four years of age, and a church member of course. On 22 November 1656 he married Abigail, daughter of Ensign Nicholas and Martha Shaw Byram, who probably came over with his father, as they were made free at the same time, and settled in the neighborhood of each other at Weymouth. An intimacy, undoubtedly, subsisted between families, and this match may be believed to have been mutually satisfactory.
Thomas at first settled in Weymouth; but in 1662 sold his farm there, as did his father-in-law, Nicholas Byram, and they both removed to Bridgewater, twelve miles south of Weymouth, where each settled himself upon a valuable tract of land, in the easterly part of the town, then in a state of nature.
That selected by Thomas Whitman was what has since been called Whitman's neck, containing about two hundred acres, and lying between the rivers Sautucket and Matfield, and coming to a point at their junction. A more eligible situation could not have been selected. There he resided fifty years, until his decease in 1712 aged eighty-three years. His first dwelling-house there was in front of the one occupied by Dea. John Whitman and his son Alfred, and about half-way between that and Sautucket river."
"The inhabitants of Bridgewater were greatly harassed by the Indians in the time of Phillips war, which commenced in 1675. It was then an interior town in the Colony of Plymouth , and presented a young unguarded settlement and frontier to the temptation of savage fury. The tradition is that all the houses not garrisoned or stockaded, and at a distance from the village, save one, were burnt. The one not burnt is said to have been Nicholas Byram's. This house was situated where Capt. Isaac Whitman lately dwelt and remote from the village. This was probably the place of refuge of Thomas Whitman and his family, and of the other neighbors, where their preparation for defence may have deterred the Indians from attempting an assault. There is a tradition, however, that this house was saved, from favor to the owner, on account of some favor before received by the Indians from him. But this may be reasonably doubtful. It is a trait scarcely characteristic of Indian warfare."
"Thomas Whitman had three sons and four daughters. His will, dated 1711, mentions three daughters as then living; and after reciting that his sons had been provided for by deeds of conveyance, makes them, after the decease of their mother, his residuary legatees. John was the executor of this will. The widow of Thomas survived many years and until very aged, and made a will disposing of considerable personal estate and appointed Nicholas her executor. The character of Thomas, like that of his father, must have been enterprising and adventurous, and his habits those of industry and frugality. The estate which he was enabled to parcel out among his children was valuable. His privations in early life were those of a settler in a wilderness country, and his disasters from Indian depredations and barbarity were severely afflicting. Those in succeeding generations, who have enjoyed unmolested the fruit of his labors, privations and sufferings, have not too often called to mind with filial reverence the debt of gratitude due to such a progenitor. With the exception of John, there are no records of the birth of any of his children."
"(Mr. Wm. Latham of Bridgewater has furnished me some facts regarding the various homesteads built by Thomas Whitman. The first house, built about 1663 and undoubtedly a log cabin, was burnt by the Indians in 1676. The second, built in 1676, was occupied but few years; this was also, probably, a log cabin. The third was built in 1680, and was occupied by four generations, and was the birthplace of thirty-six children..... In June, 1801, Dea. John raised his new house, and in September of the same year, the old house was sold to David French and by him moved to Satucket on the Plymouth road, where the frame still stands.)"