Thomas Norton/Grace Wells

Thomas Norton/Grace Wells

September 3rd, 2011

THOMAS NORTON  (1582-1648)

GRACE WELLS (1610-1669)


                                                            SHIP:     “St. John”               

      YEAR CAME TO AMERICA:     1639

   FAMILY MEMBERS ON SHIP:     Thomas, Grace, children Ann, Grace, John, Mary, Abigail, Thomas


Thomas Norton was born to William Norton and Dionise Cholmeley, abt 1582 at Sharpenhoe hamlet, in the parish of Streatley, Bedfordshire, England.[1]  William and Dionise’s other children were John, Elizabeth, Francis, Hugh, Daniel, Phebe, Richard all born in Sharpenhoe, Bedfordshire, Eng. 1584-1600.

Grace Wells was born abt 1610. There is an undated will in the Bedfordshire Record Office for a William Wells of Nether Deane in Bedfordshire, with a wife Grace who had a son John who had a daughter Grace who was also mentioned in the will.  She was born abt. 1610-1613 and could “almost certainly be the Grace Wells who md. 5 May 1631 to Thomas Norton in Shelton, Bedfordshire.”  [2]

Thomas and Grace were married 5 May 1631 in Shelton, Bedfordshire, England.  They had children; (1) Ann mar 1649 to John Warren; (2) Grace mar William Seward; (3) John died 5 Mar 1704 and mar Hannah Stone; (4) Mary born 7 May 1630 at Deane, Bedfordshire, England mar Samuel Rockwell in 1658; (5) Abigail mar Ananias Trians in 1667. (6)Thomas who married Elizabeth Mason died 1712.

Thomas was a Miller and was warden of Reverend Mr. Henry Whitfield’s church in Ockley, Surry, England.[3]

Thomas and Grace immigrated to America. They came on ship “St. John” commanded by Captain Russell and sailed from England on May 20, 1639 and landed June 1639 in Boston  and at New Haven July 10, 1639.  This was the first ship of the Reverend Whitfield’s company of immigrants who started communal living for the first winter in Guilford; the building is now a museum. “The second ship arrived July 15th 1639.  Thomas and Grace were said to be on the first ship according to the John Stone Family Genealogy.[4]  1892 Record Summarizes First Norton Family Settlers of America”.

Thomas was one of the signers of the first compact 1 Jun 1639.

Thomas died 7 Aug 1648 at a young age leaving widow Grace, son Thomas, John and daughters Ann, Grace, Mary, and Abigail.  Grace Wells Norton married 2nd in 1660 Francis Bushnell of Horsham, England.  They were married at Guilford, Connecticut.

Francis Bushnell was christened 8 Jan 1609 at Horsham, Sussex, England and died 4 December 1681 at the age of 72 at Saybrook, Connecticut.

Grace died sometime after 1669.

[1] “Families of Early Guilford, Connecticut,” Talcott,Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1984, page 856.

[2] has a dispute that John is her father because of DNA testing.

Carol Williams 801-785-4454 called she said her family family came to Maryland and my Grace Wells came to Boston and is not the same family as my Thomas Norton and Grace Wells.

[3] ahdavis2721962 comment.


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