BEACH, Thomas - I30701

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Beach Coat of Arms.jpg

The name BEACH signifies the shore of a sea, lake, or river. Those of the name who came early to New Haven are thought to be descended from the William the Norman, conqueror of England in the eleventh century. It is pointed out that the device upon this coat conveys no hint of war, but was doubtless bestowed because of moral and financial support of the dynasty rather than that of physical force. The motto, Tout en Bonne Heure, meaning in the good old French of the time, "All in good time," or "Everything in its proper season," seems, according to Elmer Taylor Beach, author of Beach in America[1], to carry further the idea of quiet dignity and repose, while the metals and colors used readily lend themselves to this interpretation, as blue is for loyalty, red for courage, and silver for purity. The writer just quoted goes into a brief explanation of some heraldic customs which are interesting and enlightening to those who have not before made a study of them, and some extracts are here presented:

Thomas BEACH

Thomas BEACH, the immigrant ancestor of the line here traced, is known, from records extant[2], to have been a brother of Richard Beach, an early settler at Watertown, Massachusetts, and later at New Haven, Connecticut. They are believed to have been brothers of the John Beach who settled at Stratford, Connecticut, and all three generally supposed to have been the sons of Reverend John Beach, of Devonshire, England.[3]

Richard Beach came from London in 1635, on the ship Elizabeth and Ann, and settled at New Haven as one of those who signed the "Fundamental Agreement" there on 4 June 1639. It is thought his younger brothers did not come with him, but arrived soon after. Donald Lines Jacobus, the eminent genealogist of New Haven, inclines to the opinion that the mother of these Beach brothers was an older sister of John Moss, also an original settler at New Haven, whose transfers of land and property indicate the close relationship of the two families.

Thomas Beach is first mentioned in the New Haven records 6 April 1646, and the following 7 March was made a freeman, taking the oath of allegiance.[4] His marriage to Sarah PLATT occurred there in 1652, and there is also recorded the birth of his first child.[5]

In 1654 he was offered an acre of land at Milford, on which to build a house, on "condition that he doe sett up and follow his trade" there. This trade is believed by the writer of Beach in America (44) to have been that of blacksmithing, but Mr. Jacobus in a monograph printed in 1926 (9), says Thomas Beach was a shoemaker. The colony at Milford began in 1639, and was then called Wepowang. It was begun by a group of forty one pioneers recruited mainly from Wethersfield, under the spiritual leadership of Reverend Peter Pruden.[6] Thomas Beach became one of the "after planters" of the colony, removing thither from New Haven in September, 164?. Francis Brown moved the family and household goods to the new location, "probably by water."

Thomas Beach lived in Milford until his death, except for, possibly, a short residence in Wallingford recorded by some writers.[7] His life was not a long one, however, for he died early in the year 1662, the inventory of his estate being taken on 31 May of that year, just four days after the birth of his youngest child. His estate was small, and its final administration, 13 June 1666, is the first recorded by the Court at Milford.[8]

Deacon Richard Platt, grandfather of the children, Assisted in caring for the little family, and at his death in 1684, remembered each of them in his will.

Sarah Beach was admitted to full communion in the Milford church, 3 May 1663. In 1665 she married, as his second wife, Miles MERWIN, administrator of her husband's estate. He was born in England, April, 1623, and died 23 April 1697. His first wife, Elizabeth (Baldwin) Canfield, born 10 July 1624, had died 20 July 1664.[9] Sarah bore him four daughters, and died 15 March 1670, after which time he married again.[10] He was likely the Miles Merwin who was in Windsor in 1648, bought and sold property there, and recorded by a writer in Memorial History of Hartford County (2: 5 54), as "living in 1684, but not in Windsor."

The Beach and Merwin children were merged into one family, and shared equally in the estate of Mr. Merwin upon his death in 105.[11]

CHILDREN of Thomas and Sarah.[12]

  1. Sarah, born 1 March 1653/4 at New Haven; married Samuel, son of Henry and Elizabeth (Bateman) Lyons, of Fairfield. He was born in 1655. After death of Sarah, he married (2) Hannah, daughter of Thomas and Mary (Harrison) Pierson, who survived him, his death occurring 1 February 1707. Three sons and two daughters were born to Samuel and Sarah Lyons, in Newark, New Jersey.
  2. JOHN born 19 October 1655; married Mary ROYCE.
  3. Mary, born 27 December 1657; died young.
  4. Samuel, born 5 June 1660; died, without issue, 9 September 1728. He married Abigail who shared, with his brothers and sisters, in the division of his estate, valued at 296 pounds. The record of this administration on file with New Haven probate records, is of great value in identifying some of the relationships of this Beach family, which have been greatly confused owing to similarity and repetition of names, and proximity of residence of the various families. His widow Abigail, married (2) 1734, Reverend Samuel Andrews, born 19 January 1656; died 24 January 1737. She died 9 September 1742, in the 77th year of her age.
  5. Zophar, born 27 May 1662. Removed to Newark, New Jersey, where he held many public offices and was a man of prominence. He married Martha, daughter of Deacon John Pratt, of Milford. Their four sons were born in Newark.

CHILDREN of Sarah and Miles Merwin:[13]

  1. Mary, born 1666; married Joseph Hull, of Derby, Connecticut. He was born 10 August 1652; died 1709 . She died before 1705.[14]
  2. Martha, born 1666; married 1685, James Prime.
  3. Hannah, born 1667; married 1683, Abel Holbrook.
  4. Deborah, born 1670; married Samuel Burwell, jr.


John BEACH, born in Milford, Connecticut, 19 October 1655, was left fatherless at the age of seven, and motherless at the age of fifteen. It is believed that he was taken in his childhood or early youth, into the care and home of his great uncle, John Moss, sen., of Wallingford, supposedly the brother of his grandmother Beach. The conveyance of large holdings of land from Mr. Moss "for naturall affection" to his "well beloved cousin," while that gentleman had a good sized family of his own, can hardly be accounted for otherwise than on the grounds of a relationship strengthened by a period of fatherly care. The conveyance of sixty one acres on 8 February 1689 calls the young man "John Beach of Wallingford, Planter."

Owing to the fact that his Uncle John Beach, of Stratford, had purchased land in Wallingford and perhaps lived there for a time, and that his cousin John Beach also lived in Wallingford, our John has been greatly confused with the others named, as well as with his own son John, who, like himself, was a deacon of the church. The records are not always clear, and thus some writers have attributed children to one of the John Beaches which really belonged in the family of another one. However, due to the indefatigable efforts of some members of the family, we are indebted for a gradual clearing away of some of the errors, and the establishment of facts.

From the Beach Family Magazine, issue of January 1926, from an article in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register for same month and year, by Donald Lines Jacobus, and from a Monograph prepared by the same eminent genealogist on the subject "Mary Beach," we glean the following data:
John Beach went to Wallingford in 16734, where he was, while still a young man, one of the "Sabbath Day Guards." His name appears on various records of the town, granting land "on ye plain" in 1682/3, more land in 1684, and in 1686 appointed "fence viewer," a position which in those days was of much importance since live stock was fenced away from crops and vice versa. In 1688 and 1704, he is granted more land, and in 1697 appointed "committee on highways." He was one of the original members of the church established at Wallingford in February, 1675, and became one of its deacons.[15] A "first planter" of the colony, he was one of its influential and substantial members.[16]

He married in December 1678, Mary, daughter of Jonathan and Mary (Spinning) ROYCE, whose surname was omitted from the records at Wallingford, but whose identity is abundantly established from records of wills, and settlement of estates, notably that of her father (New London County Court Records, volume for years 1689 1703, 31, 41), and of her brother David (New London Probate Journal 1: 13 1).

John Beach died in 1709, the inventory of his estate being made on 26 April of that year, his oldest son, Thomas, named as administrator, and his widow Mary as guardian of the two minor children, John and Samuel. The two surviving daughters were already married at the time. His widow Mary married (2) 27 November 1718, John ATWATER, born at New Haven, 1 November 1654, and who died at Wallingford in 174 8. His first wife was Abigail Mansfield. Mary's eldest son, Thomas, married John Atwater's daughter Hannah.

CHILDREN, born at Wallingford:[17]

  1. LETTICE, born 24 December 1679; married William WARD.
  2. Mary, born 11 January 1681/2; died 1 September 1688.
  3. Hannah, born 17 March 1683/4; died 21 December 1749; married 5 August 1708, Sergeant Eliphalet Parker, who died in 1758 aged 76.
  4. Thomas, born 14 February 1686/7; died about 1752. He settled in Milford soon after the death of his uncle Samuel Beach in 1728. He married (1) 9 May 1711, Hannah, daughter of John and Abigail (Mansfield) Atwater, born 17 December 1690 at Wallingford. He married (2) Ruth ???? Thomas Beach was the father of a large family.
  5. John, born 15 October 1690; died at Goshen, Connecticut, 9 May 1773. He married (1) at Wallingford, 18 August 1715, Sarah, daughter of William and Mary (Lathrop) Tyler, born 25 November 1697 at Wallingford; died there 18 July 1716. He married (2) 22 February 1717, Mary, daughter of Samuel and Sarah (Baldwin) Royce, born 17 February 1695; died in Goshen, 27 October 1767. This John Beach marrying a Mary Royce, as did his father John, added to the confusion about this family. This Mary Royce who married John Beach, jr., was an own cousin of her husband's mother, although more than thirty five years younger. She was the daughter of Samuel Royce by his late marriage, while the elder Mary Royce was a daughter of Jonathan Royce by an early marriage. John Beach was a deacon of the church, a man of personality, influence, and considerable business ability, and was greatly respected in Goshen, where he lived. He was the father of twelve children, and gave each one a farm when he or she married. Numerous descendants are living in Litchfield County, and in Goshen there is a large monument to his memory.
  6. Samuel, born 29 December 1696; settled in Goshen; married (1) 29 April 1718, Phebe, daughter of William and Mary (Lathrop) Tyler, born 28 October 1700 at Wallingford; died there 19 February 1731. He married (2) 23 March 1732, Hannah, daughter of Joseph and Hope (Cook) Benham, born in December 1708, who survived him, and married, secondly, Noah Wadhams.

Lettice BEACH

Lettice BEACH, born in Wallingford, Connecticut, 24 December 1679, married 14 December 1701, Captain William WARD, son of Andrew, and grandson of Andrew the Commissioner.

  1. Beach in America, Elmer Taylor Beach, 8
  2. New Haven Colony Records, November, 1652
  3. New Jersey Genealogies, Lee, 4: 1424.
  4. Genealogies of Central New York, Cutter, 1: 446.
  5. New Haven Vital Records, printed, 1: 10.
  6. Memorial History of Hartford County 2: 43 8.
  7. Connecticut Genealogy 2: 1144.
  8. Reverend John Beach and John Sanford and Their Descendants, Rebecca D. Beach, 1898, 144.
  9. Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America, Lineage Book 14 39; 17: 83.
  10. Monograph of Mary (Royce) Beach, Jacobus, 9.
  11. Connecticut Genealogy 2: 1144.
  12. Beach Family Magazine, January, 1926.
  13. Descendants of Thomas Beach of Milford, 1912, 4
  14. Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America, Lineage Book 16: 46.
  15. History of Goshen, Hibbard, 421.
  16. History of Cheshire, Josiah Perkins Beach, 34; Beach in America, Elmer Taylor Beach, 95.
  17. Connecticut Genealogy 2: 1144; Beach in America, 94, 95; Beacb Family Magazine, January, 1926.