Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tufts Ancestry

Most Tufts in America can trace their ancestry to Peter Tufts who came to America before 1638. He was clearly from England and according to Herbert Adams, the most thorough researcher; he was the son of Peter and Elizabeth Tufts of County Norfolk.  Adams devoted a large section of his book; Tufts Kinsmen to his research and conclusions including how the name came to be and Peter’s ancestry. I will save that story for another blog. I somehow like to just accept he was from England and leave it at that but there is much more to the story.

Other Tufts did come from England and from other places including Peter’s sisters who came to Malden and Charlestown Massachusetts possibly with Peter. Another early record states that a John Tufts did come to Hingham but apparently left no further record and may have died with no issue.

Peter’s sister Elizabeth married Thomas Lynde Jr. so many Lynde families can claim Tufts ancestry as well as the family of Peter’s sister Mary who married George Fowle who had eleven children. The first record of Peter was when he was admitted as a Freeman in Charlestown in 1638. The search for the ship he came on may never produce a result as the records are few but he may have come with his sister and the Lynde family in 1632 in the Griffin. Peter was certainly a man of some status as he had the capitol available to purchase several lands and farms and became a large landholder in what is now Medford and Malden but then was Charlestown or Mysticside. Peter was a farmer and also held some town offices including running the ferry across the Mystic river. He made enough money from this to purchase more land including some in Brookfield Massachusetts.

Peter married Mary Pierce and had a large family in Charlestown. The brick home he had built still survives as the oldest brick building in America. It can be seen on Riverside Avenue and is not far from Bell Rock Cemetery where Peter and many other family members are buried. Peter left many records I will share later.

PETER TUFTS, Goodman, yeoman, planter, ferryman, tythingman

b. 1617 in Tibenham, {Norfolk} England

d. 13, May 1700 in Charlestown [Somerville], {Suffolk} Mass.

m 1646 in Charlestown, {Suffolk} Mass.

to MARY PIERCE, Gudie, Mother

dau. of Thomas and Elizabeth (?) Pierce

b. 1626 in England

d. 10, Jan. 1702/3 in Charlestown [Somerville], {Middlesex} Mass.

had 1) Peter, 2) James, 3) Henry, 4) John, 5) Mary, 6) Jonathan, 7) Jonathan, 8) Martha, 9) Elizabeth, 10) John, 11) Mercy, 12) Sarah, 13) Persis, 14) Lydia



b. 1612 in Tibenham, {Norfolk}, England

d. 2, Sep. 1693 in Malden [Melrose], {Middlesex} Mass.

m. 1646 in Charlestown, {Suffolk} Mass.

to THOMAS LYNDE, Jr., yeoman, Selectman, Ensign, soldier KPW

son of Dea. Thomas and Margaret (                ) Lynde            

b.      Jan.   1612 in Dunstable, {Bedfordshire}, England

d. 15, Oct. 1693 in Malden [Melrose], {Middlesex} Mass.

had        1) Thomas (Jr.)                  b. 25, Mar. 1647 in Charlestown

2) John                 b. 1648 in Malden, Mass.

                3) Elizabeth        b. 20, Apr. 1650 in Malden, Mass.

                4) Joseph            b. 13, Dec. 1652 in Malden, Mass.

                5) Mary                                b.1654 in Malden, Mass.



b. 1614 in Tibenham, {Norfolk}, England

d. 15, Feb. 1676 in Charlestown, {Suffolk} Mass.

m. 1638 in                       

to GEORGE FOWLE, tanner

son of John and Hannah (Fuller) Fowle *

b. 27, Jan. 1610 in Sandhurst, {Kent} England

d. 19, Sep.1682 in Charlestown, {Middlesex} Mass.

had 1) Hannah                   b. 1638 in Concord, Mass.

       2) John                          b. 1639 in Concord, Mass.

       3) Mary                         b. 24, Nov. 1640 in Concord, Mass.

       4) Peter                         b.   2, Dec. 1641 in Concord, Mass.

       5) James                       b. 12, Mar. 1642/3 in Concord, Mass.

       6) Mary                         b.   9, Feb.  1644 in Concord, Mass.

       7) Abraham                 b. 1647 in Concord, Mass.

       8) Isaac †                      b. 1648 in Charlestown, Mass.

       9) Zachariah b. 1651 in Charlestown, Mass.

     10) Jacob                        b. 1653 in Charlestown, Mass.

     11) Elizabeth                 b. 27, Jan.    1655/6 in Charlestown, Mass.



  1. Since Peter arrived in the 1630's, I guess you could say he was one of the original Puritans, who arrived only a decade after the Pilgrims. That's quite an honour for Peter to have owned what became the oldest brick building in America!

  2. Could you please share your sources for the information in this post? I am a descendant of Peter Tufts Sr. and writing a history paper about the house. Thank you!

  3. Janika, Most of this information is a short version of several pages of Tufts Kinsmen 2010 published by Herb Adams and the Tufts kinsmen Association. It can be found in several libraries and Historical Associations around Boston and can be ordered at my book order page. Records of Peter and the house can be found in many books. Several genealogies were also written. Newspaper searches may result in more about the house as it has been recognized over the years and has been subject of preservation efforts.

    1. Thank you! I will check for the Tufts Kinsmen publications. Did you hear that the Medford Historical Society put the Peter Tufts house up for sale last year? I'm not sure if it has sold yet, but wish a descendant could buy it. If you google Peter Tufts house in Wicked Local Medford, I think the announcement will come up.

    2. Janika, I was aware the house is for sale. I's hard to maintain for the Historical Society I guess. I also would like to see it owned by a descendant or see it as a museum but wishes won't buy a new roof and paint. A google book search for Tufts and Medford will get a lot of references to check as well as blogs on the web.

  4. I am so confused. Elizabeth and Mary Tufts were born in 1612 and 1614, respectively. Their father, Peter was born in 1617. Their mother in 1626. Something is wrong!!!!

  5. I cannot wait to thoroughly read through all of your info! The first Peter Tufts is my 12th Times Great Grandfather and I'm just starting to dip my toes into my ancestry and finding all of this information out over the last few weeks ! Im thankful that you have done all of this research and look forward to reading it ! I bet somewhere down the line we are distant cousins. I live in Nova Scotia where some tufts migrated to tufts cove in Dartmouth NS

    1. Sounds good Brittni. Send me an e-mail and I'll give you some advice I have for beginners. Make sure you check the Nova Scotia Tufts chapters too. Tom Tufts ttuftsy@comcast.net