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Thomas Snow, Please Stand Up

My ancestor Lucy Snow (abt. 1760-1795) married Gershom Hall and had a large family in Harwich, Massachusetts. But who were her people?

Online family trees attribute her parents to Thomas Snow and Hannah Lincoln. None of these trees include much proof of this connection other than a baptism record from Brewster, the town north of Harwich. This church list includes a child Lucy, daughter of Thomas Snow, jr., baptized in 1760.

This might offer good evidence of her father’s name, but then the question becomes, “Which Thomas Snow fathered Lucy?”. The name seems to be a very common one in colonial Massachusetts.

I have identified two, maybe three, men who might qualify. Before claiming one of them as my Lucy’s father, I must investigate each of these men to make a case for Lucy’s parentage:

  1. Thomas Snow, Junior. This man married Hannah Lincoln in Harwich on 31 January 1760. Afterwards, a Thomas Snow, jr. arrived almost immediately in Brewster, Massachusetts. The records of the Brewster Church mention him several times. On October 12, 1760, his wife Hannah received full Communion. Several of his children subsequently were baptized there including Lucy in 1760, Edward in 1763, Bethia in 1765, Hannah in 1769, and Priscilla in 1771. So far, I have no explanation for why this Thomas was called “Junior”.
  2. Capt. Thomas Rogers Snow. According to a cemetery marker in Brewster Cemetery, this man died in the West Indies on 27 April 1790 at age 54. He is buried with his widow Hannah [Lincoln] who lived until 1817. The person who manages his FindAGrave memorial claims he was born at Harwich on 19 Nov 1735. The Harwich records do include a Thomas who was born that day at Harwich to Nathanaell and Thankfull Snow. The Hall family entry in the Encyclopedia of Massachusetts agrees with this claim.
  3. Thomas Snow, Revolutionary War patriot. According to the DAR files, the Thomas Snow who served in Massachusetts was born at Harwich in 1734 and later relocated to Gorham, Cumberland County, Maine. He lived until 1825. His wife’s name was Jane Mague. A 1908 publication, Genealogical and Family History of the State of New Hampshire, discusses the Snow family, specifically the Thomas Snow who settled in Maine. It states he was born to Thomas Snow about 1730 in Harwich. It goes on to say he wed three times with the second wife being Hannah Lincoln and the third Jane Mague. It makes no mention of Revolutionary War service. A third source, a couple of Sons of the American Revolution applications, both claim the soldier Thomas was the son of Nathaniel, not Thomas. They go on to say he was the husband of Hannah Lincoln, and they make no mention of Jane Mague.

Were these one, two or three men? The profiles for #1 and #2 seem to match each other pretty closely. They seem consistent with the father of a daughter who lived at Harwich.

And what about the Thomas Snow who removed to Maine? He does not seem as close a fit, and I suspect he was a different Thomas Snow. But what are the odds that another Thomas also had a wife named Hannah Lincoln?

It seems the records of more than one man may have been commingled. It will take some research to sort this out. I can begin by creating a chart listing references to each man side-by-side. I can then compare their data to isolate similarities and differences and thus untangle this problem.

This approach will help me differentiate the men to find the most likely candidate for the one who fathered Lucy in 1760. If I am to verify a Mayflower lineage, I need to resolve the question of Lucy’s parentage.

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