By his own word, my 5x great-grandfather, Beriah Thomas (1742-1836) was born in the town of Simsbury, Connecticut.
That he [Beriah] was born in Simsbury in the State of Connecticut and is ninety years old since last February [born Feb 1742], has no record of his age – that he lived in a place called the Nine Partners in the County of Dutchess, State of New York during the Revolutionary War – since that period has been in West Stockbridge, County of Berkshire, Massachusetts and in Grand Isle Vermont from whence he removed to Chazy aforesaid whence he now resides and has resided twenty years last March.
Simsbury is a very old town, having been settled in the 1630’s and incorporated in the 1670’s. They do have a fair amount of records from the early days, so I wrote to the Simsbury Historical Society to ask them about Beriah’s birth and his family. There was no 100% answer, but they had a lead on a couple that was married in the right time and place to be possible parents to Beriah:
Beriah Thomas is not listed in the First Church records for Simsbury (one of the best local sources for that early time period). He is also not listed in the DAR publication, Simsbury Soldiers in the War of the Revolution. There is a Sarried Thomas listed. Beriah may have been living elsewhere by that time and served in a military unit from another area. [He was in Nine Partners, Dutchess County, NY]
In town there were a couple of Thomases in approximately the time period. John Thomas married Abigail Griffin March 27, 1735. Abigail Thomas, their daughter, was born October 2, 1736.
There are a few other documents and trees I’ve managed to find that list John Thomas and Abigail Griffin as the parents of Beriah Thomas. In fact, here’s one sent to me by the Chazy Historical Society. It’s from the 1960’s and lists the relationships mentioned:
This document was sent to the Chazy Historical Society by a John Soule, who said Beriah Thomas was his 4x great grandfather (so, born around 1940, likely). This was sent about June or August 1967. Courtesy of the Chazy Historical Society. It shows that Mr. Soule believed John Thomas and Abigail Griffin of Simsbury, CT were the parents of Beriah Thomas.
I can’t know why Mr. Soule believed this, so as it is it’s just another piece of circumstantial evidence. The quest to prove this relationship goes on. Abigail Griffin’s lineage is known back to her immigrant ancestor, Sergeant John Griffin (1608-1681), so that would be exciting if some additional documentation could be found.
There are some FHC films of Simsbury Records which might help:
|Town records v. 1-2 1670-1713||Family History Library US/CAN Film||1314486 Items 1-2|
|Town records v. 2 1/2 1693-1720||Family History Library US/CAN Film||1451348|
|Town records v. 3-4 1719-1832||Family History Library US/CAN Film||1314486 Items 3-4|
The other interesting tidbit I’ve found recently was regarding an Oliver Thomas.
He crossed my radar because in the 1790 Census for East Stockbridge, Massachusetts [where Beriah can be found], he is the only other Thomas in that Census. I did some digging on Fold3.com and it turns out this Oliver Thomas was also in the Revolutionary War, and per his pension statement he was born in 1743 [one year difference from Beriah]. It’s a bit of a longshot since Oliver served under Captain Orange Stodder in Colonel Joseph Voce’s Regiment of the Massachusetts Line for the term of three years, and not in the New York Militia as Beriah did. Still… the last name, age, veteran status, and appearance in the East Stockbridge Census alongside Beriah make him a possible candidate for being Beriah’s brother.