HOME ~ Contact us

Moses Thurston and Hannah Johnson

(Deacon) Moses THURSTON. [Familytree].
Born in 1721 in Exeter, Rockingham county, New Hampshire (S6); son of Abner THURSTON and Shuah GILMAN.

Moses appears to have spent his youth at Exeter. (S6).

His occupation was a hatter.

As a young adult, Moses moved to Andover, Massachusetts. (S6).

He married (1) Hannah Johnson on 29 May 1744 at Andover, Massachusetts. (Vital records of Andover, Massachusetts to the end of the year 1849. Topsfield Historical Society, Topsfield, MA, 1849.). It is interesting to note that given the records that we have seen, Hannah was about five months pregnant with their first child when they were married. Perhaps this was something of a shotgun wedding. (S6).

Historical Manual of the South Church in Andover, Mass., August, 1859. (Andover: Warren F. Draper, 1859) [FHL fiche 6087365] on page 133 shows the following information:
Hannah (Johnson) Thurston (Moses) was received into the church on 11 May 1746 by profession of faith, and removed on 12 April 1752 by discharge to the church in Hollis, NH. (S1,S5).

Thus they lived in Andover from about the time of their marriage in 1744 to about 1752, and they then moved to Hollis, New Hampshire. In Hollis, they lived on a farm in the south end of that town that was partially in the town of Pepperell, Massachusetts. Their house is said to have been on the side that was in Peperell, even though they belonged to the community in Hollis. (S5,S6).

He was a deacon in the Congregational Church, as was his son Moses. It was said by a family tradition that he was translated, as Elijah the prophet was, and that his mantle fell upon his son Moses, who was a very devoted Christian and deacon in the church at Westminster, Massachusetts. (S1).

There is a tradition in the family that Moses moved to Cohoes, New York, and came back to stay with his son Moses before he died, but there is no evidence for this. (S1).

Miss Mary L. Chadwick of Jefferson, Vermont, a great granddaughter of Moses, says she has often heard her grandmother tell of going on horseback, sometimes two on one horse, the one behind on a pillion, to Cohoes to see her relatives. They carried their food in saddle-bags, thrown across the back of the horses, and their clothing in a round valise strapped on to the back of the saddle. It may be these "relatives" were connected with her father, Chadwick, which under the circumstances seems to be more probable. (S1).

Rev. Joseph Fuller of Vershire, Vermont, a grandson of Moses Thurston, says in a letter dated 25 June 1879:

When Mr. Crocker married one of his [Moses] daughters, my mother visited them and spent some time with them. She also spent some eighteen months with an uncle of hers in Newburyport, Mass. She said of them, 'they were grand folks.' Grandfather Moses Thurston used to visit us before my remembrance, but who his father was I never knew........This only I know, that my mother had kind, rich, and genteel kinsfolks by the name of Thurston in Newburyport.....She was in Newburyport when about eighteen.....Pepperell, Mass., joins Hollis, and I remember hearing mother say that the farm on which they lived was on the line between the two towns - partly in Pepperell and partly in Hollis. The house stood in Pepperell and the family record dates her birth in Pepperell; but they always attended church in Hollis and I presume their town relations were with Hollis." All this confirms me in the opinion that Moses was descended from Daniel Thurston of Newbury. (S1a).

He appeared on the New Hampshire census in 1775 in Hillsborough county. (S1).

His wife Hannah died apparently shortly before the Revolutionary War.

He was fifty-three in 1775 when the American Revoluton broke out. Moses Thurston of Hollis enlisted and served at the seige of Boston and in defense of Ticonderoga (S1), but this is probably his son Moses, but having lost his wife shortly before this could have given him greater inducement to enlist.

He married (2) Catherine EMERSON on 18 December 1777 in Hollis, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire.

He died on 6 (APR-S6,S7)(MAY-S1,S5) 1800 at Hollis, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire; and was buried in the Central Hollis Burial Ground at the Congregational Church in Hollis. Moses died suddenly of apoplexy while leading a prayer at a religious meeting. (S6).

WIFE (1):
Hannah JOHNSON. [Familytree].
Hannah was born on 31 March 1724 in Andover, Essex County, Massachusetts, the eldest daughter of Zebediah JOHNSON and Hannah Robbins.

Hannah married Moses Thurston on 29 May 1744 at Andover, Massachusetts. Their first three children are recorded at Andover and are the exact dates that Brown Thurston (S1a) gives for the first three children of Moses Thurston and Hannah. After moving to Hollis, the children are christened in nearby Pepperell.

She died apparently shortly before the Revolutionary War, sometime between 1765-1777, in Hollis, New Hampshire or Pepperell, Massachusetts. (S6).

Hannah Johnson is not the same as Hannah Sewell:

It is often said that the wife of Moses Thruston was named Hannah Sewell, usually said to be the daughter of Samuel Sewall and Lydia Storer of York, Maine. First of all, it can be shown that she does not fit into the family of Samuel and Lydia.

The will of Samuel Sewall, dated 14 August 1762 and proved 10 July 1769, clearly shows that his daughter Hannah Sewell, by his wife Lydia Storer, married first Henry Sayward and second Richard Trivett. She is named Hannah Trivett in his will. (Pages 65 to 67, Book 12, Probate Records of York County, Maine, Alfred, ME, excert by Eben Graves: The will of Samuel Sewall, of York, dated 14 August 1762 and proved at the York County Probate Court 10 July 1769). He makes bequests to his sons Samuel Sewall, John Sewall, Joseph Sewall, Moses Sewall, David Sewall, Dummer Sewall and Henry Sewall. He also makes bequests to his daughters Lydia Mitchell, Mary Bragdon, Mercy Frost and Hannah Trivett, and to his beloved wife Sarah. Sarah is his second wife, Sarah Batchelder. Witnesses were Joseph Holt, Jeremiah Bragdon, and William Dunning. (S1,S3,S4).

Hannah (Sewall) Sayward had three children from 1740 to 1745, and with her second husband Richard Trevett had five more from 1750 to 1762. The births of her children overlap the children of Hannah (Johnson) Thurston, therefore, they are not the same Hannah. (S1,S3).

To recapitulate, concerning Hannah Sewell:
Hannah Sewall was born on 1 February 1722 in York, Maine; daughter of Capt. Samuel Sewall and Lydia Storer.
Hannah Sewall married Henry Sayward on 27 November 1739 in York, Maine, by Rev. Mr. Samuel Moody.
Hannah Sewall married Richard Trevett on 31 October 1749 in York, Maine, before the Rev. Mr. Joseph Moody.
Hannah Sewall died on 4 March 1809 in York, Maine, at the age of 87.

Rev. Moses Thurston Runnels (S2a), grandson of Moses Thurston and Hannah, who names the maiden names of mothers of Stephen Runnels and Cloe Thurston as being Sollis and Sewall. This seems pretty definitive in as much as he should have known his grandmothers, but it does not match with the will of Samuel Sewall information. Neither does it match with the marriage in Andover and the removal of Moses and Hannah from the Andover church to the Hollis church. Herein is an interesting conumdrum:
One grandchild of Moses and Hannah, according to grandson Rev. Moses Thurston Runnels, was named after a grandmother Sewell. Another grandchild of Moses and Hannah was named Johnston Thurston.

Allegations for Hannah being a Sewell instead of Johnson comes from basically two sources; Brown Thurston's Thurston Genealogies, and from grandson Rev. Moses Thurston Ruynnels. It is apparent that Hannah's maiden name being Sewell is just one of a number of their errors.

Stephen Spicer Ancestor research (S5) says:
Most accepted information on this line comes directly from Brown Thurston's Thurston Genealogies, yet this work, just in the family of Moses, has these errors:
From the above we see that Samuel Sewall and Lydia Storer did not have a daughter Hannah who married a Thurston. In an attempt to find evidence of a Hannah Sewell having married a Thurston I conducted the following research: SEWELL FAMILY STUDY. So far, no evidence for such a union is as yet found.

  1. Hannah THURSTON. Born 10 September 1744 at Andover, Essex County, Massachusetts. She died of fever on 5 September 1758 in Pepperell, Middlesex County, Massachusetts; and was buried in the Central Hollis Burial Ground, Hollis, Hillsborough Co., New Hampshire. (Vital Records of Pepperell, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, MA). She is not the Hannah who married John Wheeler (see below).
  2. (Deacon) Moses THURSTON. Born on 9 July 1746 (said also to be 7, 11, and even 7 June. 11 July by S7.) at Andover, Essex County, Massachusetts. He married Esther BIGELOW on 28 April 1768 in Westminster, Worcester County, Massachusetts. When Moses filed for intentions to wed Esther Bigelow on 9 November 1767 in Westminster, Massachusettas, he was listed as "of Newbury, Mass." He and his family were still residents of Hollis, NH/Pepperell, MA at the time. Perhaps he was sent to go live with relatives at Newbury as a young man. The Thurston Genealogies does give a short story of him boarding in a house at some point in his youth. Moses settled with his wife in Westminster, Massachusetts and remained there. Like his father before him, Moses was also a hatter by trade and a deacon in his church at Westminster. Moses served in the Revolutionary War. Two days after the Battle of Bunker Hill, on 19 June 1775 Moses Thurston of Hollis enlisted in Captain Ruben Dow's company, Col. William Prescott's Regiment. They joined the Seige of Boston, determined to drive the British from Boston once and for all. On 6 October 1775 he is on the Return Roll of men of Capt. Dow's company, and Col. Prescott's regiment from the seige of Boston. (S1). He was also at Fort Ticonderoga in 1777. He died on 29 June 1809.
  3. Shuah THURSTON. Born 15 July 1748 at Andover, Essex county, Massachusetts. She married Andrew Savage CROCKER, not Benjamin Crocker as indicated in The Thurston Genealogies, on 10 September 1769 in New Hampshire. Shuah and her husband settled at Haverhill, New Hampshire, probably soon after their marriage. She died on 19 February 1827 in Haverhill, Grafton County, New Hampshire.
  4. Gilman THURSTON. Born on 19 July 1750, possibly at Andover, Massachusetts, but said to be at Hollis, Hillsborough county, New Hampshire. Gilman probably died young, unmarried.
  5. Mary THURSTON. Born (24 July 1752)(29 July 1753-S7) in Hollis, Hillsborough county, New Hampshire. She died as an infant, on 6 June 1753 in Hollis, Hillsborough county, New Hampshire; and was buried in the Central Hollis Burial Ground.
  6. Lydia THURSTON. Born 6 July 1756 in Hollis, Hillsborough county, New Hampshire. She was christened on 11 July 1756 in Pepperell, Middlesex county, Massachusetts She died as an infant, on 28 October 1757 in Pepperell, and was buried in the Central Hollis Burial Ground in Hollis, Hillsborough county, New Hampshire.
  7. Chloe THURSTON. Born (in 1758)(on 15 July 1748-S7), probably at Hollis, New Hampshire. She was christened on 16 April 1758 in Pepperell, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. She married Stephen RUNNELS (on 7 December 1780-S6)(in 1782-S2a) in Hollis, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire. He was of Haverhill. Stephen was a Revolutionary War soldier. He moved to Hollis, New Hampshire in 1777. He was a blacksmith. The family lived in Hollis, New Hampshire until 1789, when they moved to Vershire, Vermont. He died suddenly on 22 July 1798 in Vershire, Vermont. After her husband's death, Chloe moved to Fletcher, Vermont, where her brother Peter was living and then to Topsham, Vermont, where her husband had once owned land. She died on 13 December 1807 in Topsham, Orange County, Vermont.
  8. Lydia THURSTON. Born about 1760 in Hollis, Hillsborough county, New Hampshire. She married Abel Conant sometime between 1788-1791, probably in Hollis, New Hampshire. (He was born on October 3, 1755 in Hollis, Hillsborough Co., New Hampshire and died on May 2, 1844 in Hardwick, Caledonia Co., Vermont. Wadleigh (S6) says: There is as yet no proof of who Lydia Thurston Conant's parents were. As far as I know, no other researcher or source has postulated that she was the daughter of Moses and Hannah Thurston. But, she was born at the right time to have been named after a deceased older sister, and also the fact that she lived in Hollis, married the step-son of Moses Thurston and named her child Moses Thurston Conant is too much to ignore. It is not clear though why her baptism was not recorded in Pepperell with her other Thurston siblings. It is probable that she was baptized in Hollis, of which I do not think there are surviving baptism/birth records for that time period. Lydia Thurston married her step-brother, Abel Conant, who had recently lost his first wife. They lived in Hollis until the year 1813, when they settled at Hardwick, Vermont. Lydia was still living there in 1850, when she was enumerated as being 90 years of age. She died on 1 August 1856 in Hardwick, Caledonia county, Vermont.
  9. (Deacon) Peter THURSTON. [Familytree]. Most sources say that Peter was born on 10 December 1761 in Hollis, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire. This is impossible since he was christened on 16 November 1760 in Pepperell, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. (S5,S6). So he was born about November 1760, probably on 10 November. He married (1) Eunice CHADWICK on 22 April 1787. He married (2) Hannah BUTLER, widow WHEELER, in 1802. He died on 29 August 1827 in Granville, Licking County, Ohio; and was buried in the Old Colony Burial Ground, Granville, Licking County, Ohio.
  10. Joseph THURSTON. Born probably at Hollis, New Hampshire. He was christened on 2 June 1763 in Pepperell, Middlesex county, Massachusetts. He is said to have married Polly Melvin and lived in Canada before settling at Colchester, Vermont, where he died.
  11. Phoebe (Phebe) THURSTON. Born on 14 February 1765 at Pepperell, Middlesex county, Massachusetts. She was chriestened on 17 February 1765 in Pepperell. She married (Rev.) Stephen FULLER on 7 October 1788 in Newbury, Orange County, Vermont. She died on 29 October 1856 in Vershire, Orange county, Vermont.
  12. Hannah THURSTON. Born about 1768, probably in Pepperell, Middlesex county, Massachusetts. She married John Wheeler not long after 21 September 1788 perhaps in Charlestown, Sullivan Co., New Hampshire. (He was born on October 31, 1768 in Charlestown, Sullivan Co., New Hampshire 32 and died on May 12, 1813 in Granville, Licking Co., Ohio 14. He is buried in the Old Colony Burial Ground, Granville, Licking Co., Ohio.). It has usually been said that the Hannah Thurston who married John Wheeler was the daughter born in 1744. Yet that daughter died unmarried in 1758; not to mention that the age of the older Hannah would have made this virtually impossible. This Hannah was probably the youngest child of her parents, named after her deceased older sister. Hannah Thurston and John Wheeler filed intentions to marry in 1788 in Charlestown, New Hampshire, and Hannah was listed as a resident of Haverhill, New Hampshire where her sister Shuah was then living. It is not known where the marriage actually occurred. They moved soon after to Littleton, New Hampshire, where they remained until about 1800, when they moved to Fletcher, Vermont. Between 1803-1810, they had moved to nearby Fairfield, Vermont. In about 1813, they moved to Granville, Ohio, where her husband and son John died soon after. Hannah appears to have been living in the household of her son Wilder in 1820. It is not known what happened to her after this date, and she is not buried next to her husband in the Old Colony Burial Ground in Granville. Hannah and her family are also supposed to have lived at Lake Memphremagog (which is in southern Quebec and northern Vermont) before moving to Ohio, yet no other sources seem to corroborated that. If that is true, they only lived there for a brief period of time (this would have been in or near the town of Newport, in Orleans County, Vermont, unless of course they went to Canada.). She died after 1820, probably in Licking County, Ohio.

WIFE (2):
Catherine EMERSON.
Catherine EMERSON was born on (2-S6)(20-S5) December 1718 in Reading, Middlesex County, Massachusetts; daughter of Peter EMERSON and Ann Brown. She married (1) Josiah Conant of Hollis, New Hampshire. He died in 1756. She married Moses THURSTON on 18 December 1777 in Hollis, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire. She and Moses Thurston had no children together, but she brought to the marriage three step-children: Josiah, Abel and Catherine Conant. Catherine was a distant relative of Ralph Waldo Emerson. She died on (2-S6)(29-S5) August 1809 in Hollis, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire.


Moses Thurston (1721-1800) and Hannah Johnson
Peter Thurston (1760-1827) and Hannah Butler
Thomas Jefferson Thurston (1805-1885) and Rosetta Bull (1809-1880) 
Peter Franklin Thurston (1851-1886) and Mary Ann Spendlove
Harriet Thurston (1872-1945) and George William Williams 
Minnie Williams (1896-1981) and Clive Vernon Tenney
Mildred Ella Tenney and Glenn Russell Handy 
Deborah Lee Handy and Rodney Allen Morris