CARRIER, Thomas (Morgan) 1
- Born: 1626, , , , Wales, United Kingdom
- Marriage: ALLEN, Martha on 7 May 1664 in Andover, Essex, Massachusetts, United States
- Died: 16 May 1735, Colchester, New London, Connecticut, United States aged 109
Ancestral File Number: HNGL-86.
Text taken from: http://www.htnp.com/vol05/quarter4/42carrie.htm
The Strange Story of Thomas Carrier, Part 1
The Historic Adventures of Thomas Carrier
By Kevin Tulimieri MARLBOROUGH- One of the most bizarre stories in the history of Marlborough is the amazing tale of Thomas Carrier and his wife Martha Allen Carrier. Their story is full of many tragic twists of fate which put the Carriers at the center of more than one historic episode in their troubled times. Thomas was born in Wales, England, in about 1626. Carrier family tradition states that he was a member of the Royal Guard, the bodyguards to the King of England. Thomas would grow to reach 7' 4" and would have been a perfect choice for the Guards, who were chosen by size and strength. Later in life, Thomas' physical ability would become the subject of local legend.
The Carrier story actually begins in 1625, when Charles I, the son of King James I of England, succeeded to his father's throne. James I was a firm believer in the divine privileges of the Kingship and passed those beliefs onto his son. This philosophy created much conflict with England's Parliament, which believed more in the rights of the people. But the real trouble began in 1629, when Charles I dissolved the Parliament and continued to rule without its assistance for the next 11 years. The pressures on the country were too much and Civil War erupted in 1642. In 1646 Charles I fled to his ancestor's land in Scotland for protection. One year later, the Scottish Army turned
Charles I over to the English Parliamentary Army. A trial was held by the Parliament and Charles I was sentenced to death. The former King was beheaded in public on January 30, 1649. The Carrier family tradition states that Thomas Carrier's work as a Royal Guard had led him to act as headman in place of the regular executioner.
The son of Charles I, Charles II, fled from England and was proclaimed rightful King and coronated in Scotland on January 1, 1651. Nine months later, the young King was defeated by Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell took the title of Lord Protector and Governor of the Commonwealth but refused the title of King. In 1658, Cromwell died and was succeeded by his son Richard. The demands of leading a country were too much for Richard and in 1660 Charles II was again crowned as King. Charles II agreed to pardon all political offenders except the regicides and judges of King Charles I. In May, 1660, the House of Commons ordered the arrest of all the judges. It is historical fact that the day before the warrant was issued, two of the judges, Major General William Goffe and his father-in-law Major General Edward Whalley, set sail for America. Under assumed names they boarded the Prudence Mary and headed to New England where they would spend 30 years in hiding.
Estimates on Carrier's arrival in New England vary, but it was sometime near 1665. His first stop was Cambridge, Massachusetts, although he would soon move to the village of Billerica. The public records of Billerica state that; "Carrier, Tho., 'vulgarly called Morgan' was in town in 1674.... 1676 the Selectmen ordered the constable to give notice to Thomas Carrier, alias Morgan Welchman, that the town was not willing he should abide here, as an inhabitant, and that he forwith depart with his family or give such security as shall be to the content of the Selectmen on peril of 20S per week, while he abide without leave, first had and obtained, which is according to an ancient towne order amongst us." The warning from the Billerica Selectmen was a standard response to newcomers, having the purpose of protecting the inhabitants against future responsibilities. There is no record that Carrier was ever forced to pay the 20 shilling fee either.
The records do not clearly indicate why Thomas bore the alias, an unusual activity at the time. The Carrier family genealogy states that he may have arrived with the traditional Welsh name, Morgan ap Carrier, ap being a prefix meaning "son of." However, a record of the trial of King Charles I, written in 1660, indicates that a "Thomas Wogan" was one of the signers of the King's death sentence. It is possible that Thomas (Morgan) Carrier escaped the order for arrest because of a messy signature, the 1660 author mistaking the last name Morgan for Wogan. The family genealogy goes on to state that, since he was known as Morgan to the English, he may have used the name Carrier to help him reach New England.
Another report which may make a possible connection between Carrier and the regicides comes from Dr. Stiles, President of Yale University in the 1700s. Stiles recorded from the diary of Major General William Goffe, a list of nineteen men "Condemned and in the Tower, but" reports Goffe, "Morgan was not in the Tower."
The next mention of Carrier comes in November, 1677, when he and his employee John Levistone were assigned to cut brush in Billerica. Finally, Carrier took the "Oath of Fidelity" on February 4, 1667-8 and was officially recognized as an inhabitant of Billerica. After Carrier was accepted into the community it is interesting that he was listed as being the second highest taxpayer in the community.
At this point it seems that Carrier moved three or four times between Billerica and Andover. In accordance with standard procedure, Carrier received the usual warning from the Andover Selectmen. In 1672, while in Andover, Carrier met Martha Ingalls Allen, who was 20 years younger than himself. In 1674, the couple was married and after the birth of their second child in 1677 they moved back to Billerica. There are conflicting reports about the couple's activity between 1684 and 1690. Some records have the Carriers paying taxes in North Billerica and others claim he was a taxpayer in Andover. A reference in "New England Families" by Wm. R. Cutter may shed some light on the unstable situation; "The Carriers found the Puritans of Massachusetts unfriendly, unkindly and eventually hostile."
After Martha's father died in October, 1690, the Carriers moved back to Andover to be with her elderly mother. What happened next would result in accusations of witchcraft and tragedy for the Carrier family. It was the beginning of the witch hysteria started in Salem and this dark episode of history would effect the Carrier family deeply. The details of this sad event and the lives of the Carriers in Marlborough will be the topic of next week's story, "The Strange Story of Thomas Carrier, Part 2."
Carrier Genealogy 1986
Remembering the Witch Hunt's Victims by Laura Shapiro, Newsweek, August 31, 1992
Thomas married Martha ALLEN, daughter of Andrew ALLEN and Faith INGALLS, on 7 May 1664 in Andover, Essex, Massachusetts, United States. (Martha ALLEN was born in 1643 in Andover, Essex, Massachusetts, United States, baptized in 1643, died on 19 Aug 1692 in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, United States and was buried on 19 Aug 1692 in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.)