HOME ~ Contact us

(Gov) Thomas Roberts and Rebecca Hilton

(Governor) Thomas ROBERTS. Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. [CHART A1].
Born about 1600 in Woolaston, Gloucester, England; son of John ROBERTS and Cassandra ap RHESE. He was christened on 22 November 1612 in Cranbrook, England. {S8}.

Thomas Roberts was born in England about 1600, according to deposition. Rev. Dr. Everett S. Stackpole imparts the information he had learned on "excellent authority" that Thomas Roberts was apprenticed to a fishmonger of London, as "son of John Roberts, of Woolaston, Co. Worcester 29 April 1622, and probably came over at once, as an apprentice to Edward Hilton, and lived within a stone's throw of Hilton's house, on Hilton Point. He was not married at the time of coming over, but probably was married in 1627. The maiden name of his wife is not known, but there is a tradition she was sister of Edward Hilton. Further than that we know not. (S7).

Thomas Roberts, of DOVER, [NEW HAMPSHIRE] is said to have come with the Hiltons, which is very probable as he was a fellow member of the Fishmongers Co. of London with Edw. Hilton, both marked 'in New England' in a list of 1641. It is presumed that he is that T. R., son of John Roberts of Woolaston, apprenticed 29 Apr 1622. In 1639-40 he was elected 'President of the Court,' an office of agency for the Bristol Co., the proprietors of Dover, from which fact he is sometimes called 'Gov.' although the territory under his authority was only one town. (S7).

Signed the Dover Combination, 1640; gr.j. 1643, 1646, 1656. Various deeds, grants and suits Sewall's 'History of the Quakers' states that he rebuked his sons for their official cruelty to that sect. His name appears on Mr. Corbett's petition of 26 Jul 1665. It appears in Dover petition dated 'Northam, 4 1 month, [1640] concerning N.H. coming under the rule of Mass. before the patentees are heard from. His name appears on the 'Dover Combination.' He received lot #1 in the distribution of 20-acre lots laid out in 1642. He appears on the Dover tax lists of 19 Dec 1648, 8 Dec 1649, Dec, 1650. He is listed as a freeman able to vote, and having taken the oath of fidelity [no date]. He appears on the Dover tax lists between the dates of Jul 1657 and 1666. He was a member of the inquest for one Hannah Stokes 21 Sep 1674. He was listed in sham land grants surreptitiously entered into the Dover records as of 1659-60. He is listed in a document showing the distances of inhabitants to the old meeting house. [none of the afore-mentioned documents are displayed.] (S7).

As regards his ancestry the following may be of interest and worthy of preservation in these pages. In Mackenzie's book "Colonial Families of the United States" Vol. 2, pages 619 et seq. is given the genealogy of the Roberts family in England., and it is traced back to AD 1482, ten years before Columbus discovered his first island in the West Indies. (S7).

The Indian name of Dover Neck, where Edward Hilton settled in 1623, was Winachahanat or Wecohannet. The river and the place about the falls - where the chief settlement is now is - called Quochecho, or Cochecho. The only settlers there, says Quint, in the spring of the year 1623, " were Edward Hilton, William Hilton, and Thomas Roberts and their families. (S6).

He married Rebecca HILTON in 1627-1628 in Dover, Strafford Co, New Hampshire. He died 27 SEP 1673 at Dover Hill, Strafford County, New Hampshire.

That Governor Thomas Roberts was the son of John Roberts of Woolaston is clear (for those who have any doubts please consult www.glassenbury.blogspot.com). (S3).

In "The Visitation of Huntingdonshire" (1613), Camden Society, London (1849), p. 31 (pedigree of AP RHESE), there is a reference to a "John Roberts of Wolastone" who was the first of four husbands of Cassandra ap Rhese, the daughter of William ap Rhese (or Price), who was the son and heir of Robert and his wife Joan (the daughter of John Otter), and of Elizabeth, daughter and sole heir of Robert Latimer of Duntish. Robert ap Rhese was the son of Isaac & Joane, sister of Sir Reginald Bray, Knight & Counsellor tp King Henry VII. Isaac was the son of Juon ap Rhese and a daughter and co-heir of Wonton. Juon was the son of Mathew ap Rhese of Lan in Brecknock and of a daughter and heir of Radnall. And finally, Mathew was the son of Juon and a daughter and heire of Cradock. The pedigree also gives a long ascent of Joane Otter from Richard Washingley, who is mentioned in 1366. (S3).

This John Roberts would have been of the generation before the Visitation (1613), therefore perhaps not the father but grandfather of the Thomas Roberts who became Governor of Dover, New Hampshire, if this is the right Woolaston. (S3).

Sir Thomas Roberts had issue by his wife Frances James.(S4).

Their second son was Thomas Roberts, baptised at Cranbrook, Kent, October II 1590. He made his Will 23 November 1644 and it was proved by Walter Roberts 2 December 1647. In the Cranbrook Church Register there is an entry for a burial of a Thomas Roberts on May 3. 1645, which we may reasonably conclude refers to this man. His father had left him by Will the sum of £50 a year, which in 1641/2 became the subject of Chancery Proceedings {Charles 1st, R315}. In these proceedings reference is made to the complainant, Thomas Roberts, gentleman; to Sir Thomas Roberts, knight & baronet, his father and to Sir Walter Roberts. Peter Courthope is another party to the dispute. There are other Chancery Proceedings on more or less the same subject and with the same parties in 1641 {Charles 1st, R8/4} as in 1639 {Charles 1st, R38/50}. (S4).

The Will of this Thomas Roberts "of Glassenbury, Kent, Esqr." {ref: P.C.C. 247 Fines}, mentions Sir Walter Roberts and "the Lady Roberts" his mother. He was unmarried. and had no children. (S4).

Thus, the Thomas Roberts born in Woolaston, Worcestershire (about 1600) and emigrated to America, where he died in 1673 after having had issue through his wife (evidently married about 1627) Rebecca Hilton, cannot have been the second son, nor any son, of Sir Thomas Roberts of Glassenbury, Kent, and his wife Frances James. The various American and French web-sites which claim this relationship take into consideration neither the fact that their Tom Roberts was born in Worcestershire, the only claimed child of this Kent family to have been born there; nor that Worcestershie is a long way from Kent; nor that the Roberts of Glassenbury had no ancestral connection with that western county. Worcestershire is, on the other hand, nearer Wales, where Roberts was and is one of the commonest names, as is Thomas.

Neither have they taken into account the fact that the Irish Roberts of Glassenbury family of baronets (now resident in the USA) used to claim descent from the very same Thomas Roberts that the American websites claim. That descent was considered not capable of proof by Garter King at Arms, and accordingly a new Baronetage was created for the Irish Roberts family in 1809. The latest (1999) "Burke's Peerage" entry for the family claims no such descent. (S4).

The erroneous Woolaston-New Hampshire descent has been enshrined in the International Genealogical Index of the Mormon Church and is leading astray various amateur genealogists who do not have access to fuller sources. The probably reason for this is that, according to, amongst others, Col. J. W. Tyler, in his articles on the Kent and Sussex family in "Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica", vols. 6 & 7 (1927/8), various royal descents are traceable through this family, and thus the various web sites claim connections with Charlemagne and many many others. (S4).

Common sense, as well as a two volume typescript on the family in the Society of Genealogists library in London, show that neither the Irish Roberts nor the American ones, can claim descent from this Thomas, and that if there is some reason for believing that the Irish family may be a branch of the Kent and Sussex one, there is no reason to suppose that the American family is in any way connected to them. (S4).

29th May 2002: Please also look at the following succinct web site which proves that the father of the American Thomas Roberts of Woolaston was a John Roberts and not Sir Thomas of the Glassenbury family:www.imt.net/~toss/Roberts.html (S4).

The New England Historical Historical & Genealogical Register, Vol. 61 (1907), p. 199, provides an abstract of original records published by Rev. Dr. Everett S. Stackpole, a noted genealogist. He checked the original records of the Fishmonger's Company, London, and found Gov. Thomas Robert's father to be John Roberts ... Not Thomas Roberts…. Refer also to The Colonial Era History of Dover, NH by John Scales, p. 302; Mackenzie's book, Colonial Familes of the United States, Vol. 2, p. 619; and the Genealogical Dictionary of Maine & New Hampshire by Noyes, p. 589. Thus - the correction stating Gov. Thomas Roberts' father was: John Roberts of Woolaston. (S5).

When Mr. Roberts removed from Hilton Point to the neck he located his house on the high bank of Fore River, Dr. Quint, in his Memoranda, describes it as follows: "He located himself on Fore River, on land now (1851) forming a part of the Jerry Roberts estate; the spot is still identified. It is nearly in a direct line, east of the house now (1851) on that estate." The land had been in the continuous possession of the Roberts family to that time. (S7).

During many years, in early times, there was a road along the bank of the river, from the road that went from High Street down to Beck's Slip (1640), later known as Hartford’s Ferry, to a point north of the Thomas Roberts Sr., residence, as the records say, up to the sheep pasture, and there were several houses along the road or lane as it was called.(S7).

At the March 1640 elections, Thomas Roberts was chosen Governor or President of the Country in place of Gov. John Underhill. He held that office until Dover (then Northam) came under Massachusetts rule in 1642. (S7).

Later he held various minor town offices; he was a regular member of the church for many years, but was inclined to be liberal in his views, so when the Quaker missionaries came to Dover he favored giving them a fair hearing and opposed having the women whipped, as they were by order of the court. (S7).

In 1670 he gave land to sons John (5) and Thomas (12), and in 1671 half his remaining estate to his daughter Sarah Rich. (S7).

Thomas Roberts made his will, dated 27 Sept 1673.(S7). Since it was probated 30 June 1674; he probably died in 1674, as it was the custom to probate the wills soon after the death of the testator. He left a wife named Rebecca, giving his homestead to Richard Rich and naming him his executor, names children: John b. ab. 1628. Thomas b. ab. 1635. Hester, m. John Martyn (7). Anna m. 1st. James Philbrick (1), m. 2d William Marston (11). Elizabeth m. Benjamin Heard(2). Sarah m. Richard Rich.(S7).

The oldest cemetery in Dover is in this section of Dover Neck, between the Hanson Roberts Farm and High Street. Here are the graves of all the first settlers; very few of them are marked. Gov. Roberts' grave is in the northeast corner, and now has a slate stone, suitably inscribed, that marks the spot; just west of it is the marked grave of his grandson's grandson. (S7).

Rebecca HILTON. [PC T4-15], [CHART A1].
Born about 1602 at Wearmouth, Durham, England; daughter of Mark Roger HILTON [F15222].

It is thought that she came to New England with her brother.

She married Thomas ROBERTS about 1620.

She died (27 SEP 1673-S2) in (Dover, Stafford County, New Hampshire-S1)(Boston, Massachusetts-S2).

CHILDREN of Thomas ROBERTS and Rebecca HILTON:
  1. John ROBERTS. Birth : 25 MAR 1621 Glassenbury, Kent, England. Death : 21 JAN 1695 Dover, Strafford Co, New Hampshire.
  2. Jane ROBERTS. Born about 1627 at Dover, Strafford County, New Hampshire. She married James PHILBRICK about 1644. She died about 1648 at Dover, Strafford County, New Hampshire.
  3. Thomas ROBERTS. Birth : ABT 1633 Dover, Strafford Co, New Hampshire. Death : ABT 1703 Dover, Strafford Co, New Hampshire.
  4. William ROBERTS. Birth : ABT 1634 Dover, Strafford Co, New Hampshire. Death : ABT 1675 New Hampshire.
  5. Esther (Hester) ROBERTS. Born in (1628-S1)(1637-S2) in Dover, Strafford County, NH d: December 06, 1687 in Piscataway, Middlesex, NJ. She married John MARTIN.
  6. Anna ROBERTS. Born (about 1631-S1)(1639-S2) in (Dover, Staffordshire, England-S1)(Dover, Strafford County, New Hampshire-S2). She married James PHILBRICK [F3804] in (1649)(1657). She died (about 1667-S2)(after 19 JUL 1668-S1) at Hampton, Rockingham County, New Hampshire.
  7. Elizabeth ROBERTS. Birth : ABT 1641 Dover, Strafford Co, New Hampshire. Death : ABT 1701 Dover, Strafford Co, New Hampshire
  8. Sarah ROBERTS. Birth : ABT 1643 Dover, Strafford Co, New Hampshire. Death : OCT 1692 Eastham, England



Rebecca Hilton and Thomas Roberts
Anna Roberts and James Philbrick
Joseph Philbrick and Tryphena Marston
Ester Philbrick and Amos Rand
Ann Rand and Thomas Shannon
Sarah Shannon and Jeremiah Leavitt
Jeremiah Leavitt and Sarah Sturtevant
Sarah Pricscilla Leavitt and Jacob Vernon Hamblin
Ella Ann Hamblin and Warren Moroni Tenney
Clive Vernon Tenney and Minnie Williams
Mildred Ella Tenney and Glenn Russell Handy
Deborah Lee Handy and Rodney Allen Morris