Thomas Blossom was one of the founding fathers of America.
Thomas and his wife Anne Blossom were among the first Puritan settlers in New England.
Most historians believe Thomas was born in Little Shelford around 1580 and lived in Great Shelford and Stapleford, Cambridgeshire before moving to America.
Thomas Blossom married Anne Elsdon on November 10, 1605, at St. Clement Church, Cambridge and had six children.
Thomas Blossom emigrated to Leiden in Holland around 1609.
In 1620, he was part of the original Pilgrim Fathers emigrating to America for greater religious freedom. You will have heard of the Mayflower. Thomas and Anne were on the accompanying ship, the Speedwell which started to sink 300 miles off Lands End.
Thomas Blossom and his family sailed from Gravesend in March 1629 aboard the Mayflower (not the original ship) and arrived in Salem on March 15, 1629. They settled in Plymouth where Thomas was a Deacon or Elder until he died of the “infectious feaver” of 1632/3.
His American descendants include three former Presidents - Barack Obama and George W. Bush senior and junior. (Obama's mother was descended from Thomas Blossom's daughter, Elizabeth).
Thomas Blossom was one of at least seven children born to Peter Blossom and his second wife, Anabel. The Blossoms lived in Little Shelford, Great Shelford and Stapleford. According to Robert Charles Anderson in "The Great Migration Begins" series by the NEHGS, Thomas Blossom, the immigrant English ancestor of the Blossom family in America, was b. circa 1580. "He was prob. the son of Peter and Annabel Blossom of Great Shelford in Cambridgeshire, England."
According to Wikitree, Thomas Blossom was born by 1580, based on the date of his marriage. The place of his birth may have been Little Shelford, Cambridgeshire, although neither registers nor transcripts exist before 1600.
According to Rootsweb, Thomas Blossom was possibly one of at least seven children born to Peter Blossom and his second wife, Anabel . "The Blossoms lived first at Great Shelford, then possibly Little Shelford, and moved to Stapleford, probably about 1582. Peter Blossom described himself as a ”husbandman” ( a small farmer) in a 1585 letter, but as a “labourer” in his 1597 will, indicating a lower economic status.
There is currently no primary proof that Peter Blossom was the father of Thomas Blossom. However, circumstantial evidence suggests it is so
. Peter died in 1597 while living in Stapleford. His will mentions four children but not Thomas. .
In 2009, when an article linking Thomas Blossom with Stapleford, Cambridgeshire appeared in the Sunday Telegraph, (Aug 3 2009), a debate arose about the origins of Thomas Blossom. It would appear that Peter and Annabel had five 5 children. There are records of the baptisms of the first four children but not Thomas, the youngest, in Great Shelford according to genealogy.com.
There is speculation that Thomas Blossom was born in Wisbech in 1580. Mr. Barrar in the Cambridge News (4/15/2009) postulates that Thomas Blossom was born 13 years earlier to a wealthier Blossom family near Cambridge.
However, more significant is a letter in 1854 from another Thomas Blossom (a later descendant and a missionary in Tahiti) to his son concerning the Blossom family's longevity and history for an insurance application.
In the letter, it refers to the family as far back as the reign of Charles I, and describes its forefathers as being "two brothers John, a soldier who served in Cromwell's Parliament's Army and died aged in Hotham. And his brother Thomas who joined the Pilgrims and sailed to the Plymouth Colony having many posterity in Boston, New Haven and New York."
This letter confirms that Deacon Thomas Blossom was the son of Peter and Anabel Blossom of Great Shelford.
Thomas Blossom married Anne Elsdon on November 10, 1605, at St. Clement Church in Cambridge and had six children.
Thomas Blossom emigrated to Leiden in Holland around 1609. In 1620, he was part of the original Pilgrim Fathers emigrating to America for greater religious freedom.
The Mayflower and the Speedwell were to sail as companion ships to America. The Speedwell was a little ship of 60 tons, which had been purchased and fitted out in Holland for the Pilgrim congregation. She sailed on July 26, 1620, from the port of Delfthaven, for Southampton, where the Mayflower had been waiting for a week with passengers from London. It was found that the little Speedwell needed repairs before putting out to sea.
The two vessels then set sail for their long voyage, but the Speedwell proved leaky and both vessels put into Dartmouth for further repairs. Then, once more, they sailed together and progressed some 300 miles westward from Land's End, when the captain of the Speedwell complained further of his boat's unseaworthiness. Again, the two vessels turned back, this time putting into Plymouth, and here it was decided to dismiss the Speedwell after a redistribution of passengers and cargo. The 'Speedwell' set sail from Southampton, on Aug 5, but about 300 miles from Lands End, England, the ship had to turn back as it was leaking.
This passage is from the log of the Mayflower: "Deacon Thomas Blossom and his son were well known as of Pastor Robinson's flock at Leyden. They returned moreover to Holland from Plymouth, England (when they gave up the voyage) via London."
Thomas and his family returned to Leyden until he and others emigrated to the Plymouth Colony in 1629.
Thomas Blossom and his family sailed from Gravesend in March 1629 aboard the Mayflower (not the original ship) and arrived in Salem on March 15, 1629. They were brought to Plymouth by boat and lived there where Thomas was believed to be a Deacon or Elder.
According to the Famousamericans.net website, Thomas Blossom was a deacon of the Church of Plymouth, and a correspondent of Governor Bradford, who speaks of him as one of "our ancient family in Holland." The Church records describe him as being "a holy man and experienced saint," and one " competently accomplished with abilities."
Thomas Blossom died of the “infectious feaver” of 1632/3.
1580: Born in Little Shelford, Cambridgeshire
1605: Married Anne Elsdon at St Clements Church, Cambridge, England
1609: Thomas Blossom moved to Leyden (Leiden), Holland.
1620: First attempt to sail to America on the Speedwell failed.
1629: Thomas and his family sailed to Massachusetts.
1632/3: Thomas died in Plymouth, Massachusetts Bay Colony
In 1625 Thomas Blossom joined in signing a letter dated 30 Nov 1625, from Leiden Separatists to (William) Bradford, Governor of Massachusetts and he was the sole signer of a letter of 15 Dec 1625, to Bradford. In the December letter he deplores the difficulty the Leiden people had in reuniting with the Separatists in Plymouth and he states that the only way the Leiden group could join the others would be with the means coming from Plymouth.
1633: In his history of Plymouth, Bradford included an account of the infectious epidemic of 1633, and mentioned specifically Thomas Blossom, Richard Masterson and Samuel Fuller as dying in that year.
1633: That Thomas Blossom died before 1 Jul 1633, is confirmed in a letter of that date from Rev. Ralph Smith, in Plymouth, to Rev. Hugh Goodyear, in Leiden, referring to "Tho: Bloso[m] our brother who now sleepeth".
1633: The tax list of 25 Mar 1633, includes an entry for Widow Blossom, so Thomas' death would have taken place before that.
The Editor of the littleshelfordhistory.com website welcomes any further information about Thomas Blossom's English links. Please contact Editor David Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org
Marriage 1: Anna (OR Ann) HELSDON; (OR Elsdon, Elsden, Heilsdon, Heilson, Alston and many other surname
b. about 1583-1590, Leyden/Leiden, Holland, (OR more likely England)..
Married: 10 Nov 1605 in St. Clement's, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England (OR Leiden, Zuid, Holland, the
1. Elizabeth Blossom, b: 1620 in South Leiden, Holland, Netherlands.
2. Frances BLOSSOM b: Abt. 1591-1622, in Parham, Somerset, England.
3. Thomas BLOSSOM Jr,. b: about 1620-1625, in probably. Leiden, Holland. Thomas married Sarah Ewer, 18 Jun
1645, at Barnstable. Edmond Freeman performed the ceremony, as noted by Rev. John Lothrop.
4. Peter Blossom, b: about 1627, in Leyden, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands.
(Thomas Blossom's widow, Anna, married 2: 17 Oct 1633, Henry Rowley and lived in Scituate.
Plymouth Church Records, Vol. I and II, 1620-1859
The 5th Chapt:
When the Church Came away out of Holland they brought with them one deacon Mr Samuell ffuller whoe officiated in that office amongst them vntill his death hee was a Good man and full of the holy speritt; hee died before our Reuerend Elder
before Named; And the Church saw Cause to Chose two others to that office: Richard Masterson and Thomas Blossom
two holy men; whoe were experienced saints; the said Richard Masterson haueing bin officious with prte of his estate for
publick Good; and a man of Abillitie as a second steuen to defend the truth by sound argument Grounded on the
scriptures of truth; and the other alsoe Competently accomplished with abillities in that behalfe these two blessed saints
liued not longe after they were Cosen but Changed this life for a better within a little time one after another; about the year
1626 if I mistake not.
1. Title: Massachusetts State Records. Page: Lineages of Members of the National Society of the Sons and Daughters of
the Pilgrams, Vol. II, Edward J. Merkle, 1988, Genealogical Publishing, Baltimore, MD., p. 167.
2. Title: Anderson, Robert Charles, The Great Migration Begins; Immigrants to New England 1620-1633; Great
migration study project (Boston, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995); pp. 182-184.
3. Title: Holmes, Frank R., Directory of the Ancestral Heads of New England Families 1620-1700 (Baltimore,
Genealogical pub. co., 1923). p. xxv.
4. Title: Sanborn, Melinde Lutz, Torrey's Supplement to New England Marriages (Baltimore, Genealogical Pub. Co.,
1991.), p. 33.
5. Title: "The England and Holland of the Pilgrims" London,1906; reprint, Baltimore 1978. Dexter, Harry Martyn, and
6. Title: "Governor William Bradford's Letter Book" Boston, 1906, Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants.
7. Title: "Mayflower Descendant" Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1899-1937 [on microfiche]
8. Title: "Of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647" by William Bradford. Published by Massachusetts Historical Society, 1912.
Ford, Worthington C., Editor.
9. Title: "Plymouth Church Records" 2 volumes, (New York, 1620-1623; reprint, Baltimore, 1975.
10. Title: "New England Historical Genealogical Register" Subscription Journal, 101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA
11. Title: Plymouth Colony, Its History People, 1620-1691. Author: Eugene Aubrey Stratton, FASG.
12. Barclay, Florence H. "Blossom-Davis-Walley". The American Genealogist, vol. 64, no. 2, April 1989, page 113.
13. Coddington, John I., & McLean, Maclean W. "The Blossom Family of Cambridgeshire, England, and New England". The American Genealogist, vol. 63, no. 2, April 1988, pages 65-77.
14. Hills, Leon C. "Passengers on the Mayflower 1629". History and Genealogy of the Mayflower Planters and First Comers to ye Olde Colonie, 1936, 1977, pages 86-87.
15. McClure, C. P. "Thomas Blossom". Randolph - Pangburn, Pangburn Society of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, 1910, pages 12-14.
16. Otis, Amos; revised by Swift, C. F. "Blossom". Genealogical Notes of Barnstable Families, F. B. & F. P. Goss Publ., Barnstable, MA, vol. 1, 1888, pages 75-79.
17. Pope, Charles H. "Blossom". The Pioneers of Massachusetts, Genealogical Publ. Co., Baltimore, 1900, 1965, page 56.
18. Randolph, L. V. F. "[Thomas and Anne Blossom]". Fitz Randolph Traditions, New Jersey Historical Society, 1907, pages 128-132.
19. Stratton, Eugene A. "Blossom, Thomas". Plymouth Colony, Its History and People 1620-1681, Ancestry, Salt Lake City, UT, 1986, page 246.
1 Early New England Families, 1641-1700, John Pike (m. 1638), pp. 1-2.
2 New England Ancestors Magazine, 2009, Vol. 10.1, p. 32.
3 New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 1943, Vol. 97, p. 276.
4 The American Genealogist, 1988, Vol. 63, pp. 73-77.
5 The American Genealogist, 1955, Vol. 32, p. 40.
1. ↑ Thomas Blossom, in Anderson, Robert Charles. The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633. (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995).
BIRTH: By about 1580 based on date of marriage; he was probably son of Peter and Annabel (_____) Blossom of Great Shelford, Cambridgeshire [ TAG 63:73]. (See MD 39:181-82 for another, less likely proposed parentage for the immigrant.)
DEATH: Plymouth before 25 March 1633 [ PCR 1:11].
MARRIAGE: St. Clement's, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, 10 November 1605 Anne Elsdon [ TAG 63:70]; she married (2) Plymouth 17 October 1633 HENRY ROWLEY (as his second wife) [ PCR 1:16].
2. Savage, James. A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England: Showing Three Generations of Those Who Came Before May, 1692, on the Basis of Farmer's Register. (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co, 1860-1862), vol. 1 .
[Blossom] "THOMAS, one of the Pilgrims, wh. came from Leyden to Plymouth, but being on board the Speedwell, was disappoint. of passage in the Mayflower from Eng. and soon went back to encourage emigra. of the residue. A s. wh. came and return. with him, d. bef. Dec. 1625, and two other ch. had been b. in the interval. See a good let. from him to Gov. Bradford in Young's Chron. of the Pilgr. 480. He came again, 1629, prob. in the Mayflower, if the below. name would attract the few for Plymouth, when the larger part of the fellow-voyagers with Higginson were bound for Salem; was deac. and d. after short possessn. of the land of promise, in the summer of 1633. Prince, Annals, 437, of Ed. 1826. His wid. Ann m. 17 Oct. of that yr. Henry Rowley; and d. Elizabeth m. 10 May 1637, Edward Fitzrandle."
"Genealogical Guide to the Early Settlers of America" page 46, at the Lincoln Library, Springfield, Illinois.)
Thomas Blossom, one of the Pilgrims, who came from Leyden to Plymouth, but being on board the "Speedwell" was disappointed of passage in the "Mayflower" from England, and soon went back to encourage immigration of the residue. He came again in 1629, probably in the "Mayflower." By his wife Ann, he had Thomas, and perhaps others.
Details of Blossom’s involvement on the original Mayflower trip
Genealogy links mentioning Thomas Blossom
Other sections on the Little Shelford history website