Also see Flagg 2005 ..............................ROD
Why, in a quarterly dedicated to Bigelow genealogy, should there appear an article about the Flagg ancestry? Two reasons: because three children of Thomas Flegg the immigrant married offspring of John Biglo (so that over half of all Bigelow descendants have Flagg ancestry), and because the two popular Flegg/Flagg genealogies have apparently erred in stating the parentage of Thomas Flegg of Watertown, Massachusetts.
Reader June Braman of Corvallis, Oregon, whose ancestry is through Sarah Bigelow (Asa 4 , Lt. John 3 , Joshua 2 , John 1 ), last summer attended a week-long seminar in genealogy, sponsored by New England -Historical and Genealogical Society. She had the use of their excellent library, and while researching, used the copy-machine to send us a forty-page extract from Genealogical Notes on the Founding of New England, by Ernest Flagg, 1926. These pages (pp. 401-440) thoroughly disprove the statement of the Flagg genealogies that Thomas Flegg was baptised in Whinbergh, Norfolk in 1615, son of Bartholomew and Alicia Flegg.
Concerning Bartholomew Flegg, the author states: "He was born about 1585 and resided in Whinbergh until 1619 when he moved to the adjoining parish of Shipdham...and continued there ten years until his death; and was buried there 7 March 1628/9. He left no will nor was there any administration of his estate." Therefore there is no list of heirs. He had five children baptised in Shipdham after 1619. Since Whinbergh parish registers prior to 1703 are lost, we have no way of knowing if there were any children, specifically Thomas Flegg, born there prior to 1619. Ernest Flagg continues: "For half a century it has been claimed in America that the emigrant Thomas Flegg was baptised _ Whinbergh or Shipdham in 1615." No such record exists.
The author does find proof that a Thomas Flegg was baptised in Hardingham, Norfolk, on 6 May 1621, and proceeds in the next few pages to establish that this child is the man who came to New England. He establishes the lineage for several generations.
Thomas Flegg (baptised 1621) was the youngest of the four sons of Allen and Nazareth - (Devoroys) Flegg. He was seven years old at his father's death and came under the control of his oldest brother Henry, with whom he probably lived during the next few years.
Here Ernest Flagg digresses to give us this historical background " In 1633 William Laud became archbishop of Canterbury.. and started to enforce conformity upon the Puritans... Matthew Wren became bishop of Norfolk in 1635, and his active persecutions of the Puritans caused a large migration of them to New England during the next two years. At the same time there was great economic and industrial depression in England and...young men joined this migration, not on account of religious motives, but with the object of bettering their material condition.
"In this category belonged Thomas Flegg, who lived in New England fifty years before... he became a member of the Puritan church in 1690. Among the emigrants to New England in 1637 were 25 families...whose records have been preserved, because the law required that lists be made of all persons leaving England."
Though many of the lists are lost, the Public Records Office in London has a list of 115 Norfolk residents licensed to pass to New England in April 1637 on either the ship John and Dorothy or the Rose. The family of Richard Carver of Scratby is named, and included three servants, one being "Thomas Flege age 21 years".
If Thomas were baptised in 1621, how could he be "21 years" in 1637? Flagg continues "It was customary for young unmarried men to engage themselves for two or three years as an employee of an older planter who would pay their passage to the New World...Thomas Flegg's age was probably deliberately over-stated to make him appear to be of legal age." In this way he would avoid detention, for the law was quite strict about minors trying to leave the country. "If Thomas Flegg were a large and mature-appearing youth of 16, he could have made a bluff as being of age." Ernest Flagg states that while Carver came from a parish five miles from Flegg's home parish, there is no other Thomas Flegg of the area who could have been the emigrant. Carver died in Watertown, Massachusetts in 1640, and the following year Thomas Flegg, having served out his term of indebtedness begins to appear on Watertown records. He did so until his death in 1698.
"The main evidence for claiming that Thomas Flegg baptised at Hardingham, Norfolk, England 6 May 1621 is identical with Thomas Flegg the emigrant in 1637 from Yarmouth to New England, is in the names given to his children. His oldest child Gershom, born 1641, bore a name given by several New Englanders to a first son born after arrival, the word meaning 'exile'. The second child, John, born 1643, was named for Thomas' grandfather, John Flegg of Shigdham. The third child Bartholomew, born 1645, was named for Thomas' brother Bartholomew (born 1619), and who is the only Flegg named Bartholomew found anywhere in Norfolk from 1400 to 1650, except the cousin Bartholomew" to whom later genealogists erroneously assign Thomas as a child. Flagg continues, "The fourth child, Thomas, born 1646, was of course named for the emigrant himself. It is possible there was an unrecorded child born in 1648; it has been claimed in the Flagg/Flegg genealogy that a William Flegg was born in this interval and was killed by Indians in an attack on Lancaster in 1675, but it was Bartholomew Flegg (born 1645) who met this fate. The fifth child, Michael, born 1653, was obviously named for another of Thomas' brothers, Michael (born 1615) of Reymerston. The sixth child, Eleazer, born 1653, had a Bible name then in vogue in New England. The seventh child, Elizabeth, born 1655 , was doubtless named for Thomas' grandmother, Elizabeth, second wife of John Flegg. The eighth child, Mary, born 1658, was of course named for her mother. The ninth child, Rebecca, born 1660, may have been named for Thomas' older cousin Rebecca, daughter of John Flegg of Whinbergh, the only woman of that name found in this family. The tenth child, Benjamin, born 1662, bore a name commonly given by Puritans to what they expected was a youngest son. But in this case there was miscalculation, as an eleventh child, Allen born 1665, was named for Thomas' father Allen Flegg.
"This extraordinary combination of names whereby Thomas Flegg of Watertown named his children for himself, his wife his father, two of three brothers, his only paternal uncle, his two paternal grandparents, and a cousin, cannot be coincidence...and together with eliminating any other Flegg, seems to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the emigrant Thomas Flegg was the same"Thomas, son of Allen 16 (John 15, Richard 14, John 13, James 12, William 11, John 10, John 9, William 8, Philip 7, Philip 6, Philip 5, Sir John 4, Sir John 3, Henry 2, Alger 1 ) and Nazareth (Devoroys) Flegg. Ernest Flagg cautiously adds that beyond Thomas' grandfather, he has certain doubts as to the linage but the entire Forty pages make fascinating reading.
One more proof remains : Thomas Flegg, like all colonists between the ages of 16 and 60, had to take part in military training. On 5 April 1681 he petitioned to be relieved of training, and from paying the annual 5 shilling fine for those unable to train. The implication is that in 1681 he was 60 years of age, i.e., born 1621, not in 1615, and thus eligible to be relieved on account of age.
Other records of interest concerning Thomas Flegg are that he owned a homestall of six acres, and a lot of twenty acres. He served as selectman eight times between 1671 and 1685, and as late as 10 July 1693, was chosen to serve on the grand jury. In 1659 he lost an eye by a gunshot accident. He made his will in 1697. From the third volume of published Watertown records, this last entry: "Thomas Flege an old man diceaced feb:6: 1697:8." Indeed he was an old man, a good seventy-six years old at the time of his death.
His widow Mary made her will on 30 December 1702, which was attested 21 April 1703, and inventory for distribution taken 25 May 1703. Her husband having previously bequeathed most of his property to their sons, Mary divided her movables and remaining property "equally among my daughter Mary Biglo, my daughter Elizabeth Biglo, and my daughter Rebecca Gook...the executor to have 3L 12s of my son Benjamin Flegg which is remaining to be paid me by my husband's will.' The executor was Samuel Biglo, the witnesses were Nathaniel Wilder, Ephraim Wilder, and John Warren. This brings to mind the questions was Mary the wife of Thomas Flegg a Wilder daughter?
After the deaths of Thomas and Mary, the family surname soon changed to the spelling Flagg, and is so used by all descendants in America today.
Children of Thomas and Mary (maiden name unknown) Flagg, all born in Watertown, were :
1 ..... Gershom, born 16 April 1641; died Watertown 6 July 1690; married 1668 Hannah Leppingwell.
2 ..... John, born 14 June 1643; died Watertown 6 Feb 1696/7; married 1670 Mary Gale. 3 children.
3 ..... Bartholomew, born 23 Feb 1644/5, died before 1697, as not named in his father's will; the article above states he was killed by Indians in 1675.
4 ..... Thomas, born 28 Apr 1646; died in Watertown 1719, married 18 Feb 1667/8 Rebecca Dix. 5 children.
5 ..... Michael, born 23 Mar 1650/1; died Watertown. 16 Oct 1711; married (1) 3 June 1674 Mary Bigelow, who died 3 Sept 1704; and (2) 27 Dec 1704 Mary (Lawrence) Earle. 3 children by first marriage.
6 ..... Eleazer, born 14 May 1653; died Concord, Mass. May 1722; married 10 Oct 1676 Deborah (Wright) Barnes. 3 children.
7 ..... Elizabeth, born 2 Mar 1655; died Watertown 9 Aug 1729; married 20 Oct 1676 Joshua 2 Bigelow. 12 children
8 ..... Mary, born 14 Jan 1657/8 (see Samuel link); died 7 Sept 1720, the death recorded in both Watertown and Waltham; married 3 June 1674 Samuel 2 Bigelow. 10 children.
9 ..... Rebecca, born 5 Sept 1660; died Cambridge Mass. 20 June 1721; married 19 Nov 1679 Stephen Cook.
10 ... Benjamin, born 25 June 1662, died Worcester, Mass. 3 May 1741; married about 1689 Experience Child. 9 children.
11 ... Allen, born 16 May 1665; died Watertown Oct 1711; married 12 Mar 1684/5 Sarah Ball. 9 children.
1... Henry Flagg, b ??
2... Michael Flagg, b 1615.
3... Bartholomew Flagg, b 1619.
4... Thomas Flagg, (see above), baptised 6 May 1621 at Hardingham,
Norfolk, England; d 06 February 1697 06 February 1697Watertown, MA.
On my trip to the Waltham and Watertown cemeteries in 1995, I noticed many
FLAGG headstones in Watertown, but was unable to link them to BIGELOWS. I
didn't photograph or record their locations. Maybe some other time......ROD
I have a Benjamin Flagg, Jr b 1698... this Benjamin's son??spouse: Child, Experience (1669 - )
From the M. J. Roman web page:spouse: Underwood, Mary ? (~1619 - 1703)
THE FLAGG FAMILY
THOMAS FLAGG [#318], maybe bap. Hardingham, Norfolk, Eng. May 6, 1621, d. Watertown, MA Feb. 6, 1697-8,[8/10] m. MARY ____, b. Eng. abt. 1619, d. 1703.
IMMIGRATION: Thomas Flagg sailed for America in 1637 and settled in Watertown. According to Charles A. Flagg of the Library of Congress, "The tradition of Thomas is that he loved a girl in station below his own. Their union was opposed by his family, so the two decided to emigrate, and did so, coming in two vessels which sailed in company, and marrying soon after their arrival. We do not know the maiden name of the wife Mary, nor the date of marriage".[1/18] English emmigration records state, "A Register of persons about to pass into foraigne parts. A.D. 1637. 13 Charles I. These people went to New England with William Andrews of Ipswich, Mr. of the John and Dorothy of Ipswich, and with William Andrews, his son, Mr. of the Rose, of Yarmouth. April 11, 1637. The examination of Richard Caruear, of Strathby, in the County of Norfolk, husbandman, aged 60 years, and Grace, his wife, aged 40 years, with two children, Elizabeth aged 18 years, and Susanna aged 18 years, being twynnes. Mor. 3 servants, Isaace Hart aged 22 years, and Thomas Flege aged 21 years, and one Marable Underwood, a mayd servant aged 20 years; goes all for New England, to inhabitt and remaine.".[1/19]
IDENTITY OF WIFE: It is open to speculation whether this Marable Underwood was the Mary whom Thomas married shortly after his arrival in New England. Mary may not have been in the company of Carver's family. She may not have even come on one of these two vessels. Of course all of this speculation rests on the assumption that the tradition of the family's disapproval of the marriage is, in fact, truth. In Bond's History of Watertown it is stated that Mary Flagg was born in 1619, which would make her two years younger than Marable Underwood.[1/20] Note that Thomas' will was witnessed by Thomas Underwood, who may have been a relation.
NOT A SERVANT FOR LONG: It is probable that Thomas was not a servant in the usual meaning of the word because soon after his arrival he was a land owner and later served as a Selectman. This was a post of real honor in the early days, and the social distinctions were closely observed. It is most probable that the relationship of servant was for the duration of the voyage only as he may have been too young to travel on his own.[1/1819]
ENGLISH ORIGINS / MOTIVATION FOR MIGRATION: In 1633 William Laud became archbishop of Canterbury and soon started vigorous measures to enforce conformity upon all the puritans. His most energetic assistant was Matthew Wren who became bishop of Norwich in 1635 and whose active persecutions of the Puritans caused a large emigration of them from Norfolk and Suffolk to New England during the next two years. At the same time there was great economic depression in England, and a large number of young men also joined in this emigration, not on account of religious motives, but rather with the object of bettering their material condition and prospects. Since Thomas didn't formally become a church member until June 22, 1690, he either belonged to this last group or, if you prefer, he left the country for love.[6/4378]
CIVIC RECORDS: Thomas Flagg was very active in town affairs. He was chosen in 1651 to view fences and to prosecute the order about swine;[2/1:28] 1661 chosen surveyor;[2/1:74] constable in 1663[2/1:76] and 1686;[2/2:24] selectman in 1671,[2/1:102] 1675,[2/1:121] 1676,[2/1:125] 1678,[2/1:132] 1679,[2/1:144] 1682,[2/2:10] 1686,[2/2:22] 1687,[2/2:28] 1688;[2/2:33] town appraiser in 1674;[2/1:118] and commissioner in 1669[2/1:96] and 1688.[2/2:35]
REAL ESTATE: In the first inventory of grants and possessions in Watertown, taken in 1639, Thomas Flagg is shown as having a homestall of six acres bounded south with the highway, north by Joseph Bemis, east by Robert Harrington, and west by Edward How. He also had twenty acres of upland being a great Divident in the first division, lot 16.[5/1:38] He held the same lands in the third inventory, taken about 1646.[5/1:124]
WILL / ESTATE: Thomas Flagg's will was dated March 5, 1697, proved Feb. 16, 1697-8, and was witnessed by John Mixer, Thomas Underwood, and Shuball Child. In it are mentioned his wife Mary, sons Thomas, Michael, Allen, Benjamin, and Eleazer, deceased son Gershom, daughters Mary Bigelow, Rebecca Cook, and Elizabeth Bigelow, and grandson John Flagg.[4/9:285] The inventory of the estate was taken by Abraham Browne, Zacheriah Cutter, and Edward Harrington and recorded Feb. 16, 1697-8. It amounted to 75.10.0. Stated in this document was Thomas' death date of Feb. 6, 1697-8.[4/9:288]
WIFE'S WILL / ESTATE: Mary's will was dated Dec. 30, 1702. She left her whole estate to be equally divided among her three daughters Mary Bigelow, Elizabeth Bigelow, and Rebecca Cook. She also mentioned her son Benjamin Flagg and made her "Son Samll. Biglo" to be her executor. The will was witnessed by Nathaniel Wilder, Ephraim Wilder, and John Warren.[3/10:629] "Watertown May 25:1703. an account of moveable Estate Left in ye house of Benjamin fflegg by Mary fflegg late of watertown, and Relict of Tho: fflegg" was taken by Jonathan Sanders and Caleb Church. It was sworn to by Benjamin Flagg and his wife Experience and amounted to 16.16.10.[3/10:685] The estate was divided and paid in equal shares to Stephen Cooks, Samuel Bigelow, and Joshua Bigelow.[3/10:687]
ENGLISH ORIGINS: In  it is stated that Thomas Flagg of Watertown was the Thomas Flagg baptised in Hardingham, Norfolk on May 6, 1621. This would make the age in the emigration record incorrect, but, in the work, that is explained away by the strict laws of the time protecting masters from the absconding of indentured servants. The emigration inspectors might be suspicious about minors trying to leave the country unaccompanied by relatives or not in the custody of masters who could show their legal articles of apprenticeship. Thus Thomas may have been able to avoid possible detention if he was a large or mature looking sixteen year old bluffing his way past the inspectors. Thomas does not appear to have been from the area that Richard Carver lived in as there were no Flagg marriages in the Ormesby and Yarmouth area from 1590 to 1650. The main evidence for connecting Thomas Flagg of Hardingham with Thomas of Watertown is the similarity of names in the two families, which evidence does sound overwhelming. A few examples of Thomas of Watertown's children are Bartholomew, possibly named for Thomas' brother; Michael, a not very common name at the time, maybe named for another of Thomas' brothers; and Allen, the name of Thomas' father.[6/4389] Note that the only other Bartholomew Flagg in Norfolk county is another possibilIty for Thomas' father. The trouble with connecting with Thomas of Hardingham is that Thomas of Watertown was a land owner by 1639, and it seems unlikely he could have held property under the age of 21. On the other hand Massachusetts men were required to participate in military training between the ages of 16 and 60. On April 5, 1681 Thomas Flagg petitioned to be relieved from training, which fits in well with a baptism in May of 1621.[6/439]
For the possible ancestry of Thomas Flagg, refer to the chapter on overseas ancestors.
REF:  Flagg Family Records - Norman G. Flagg, 1907  Watertown Records, 1894  Middlesex County Probate (First Series Docket 7783)  Middlesex County Probate (First Series Docket 7789)  Watertown Records, 1894 (Lands, Grants and Possessions)  Genealogical Notes on the Founding of New England - Ernest Flagg, 1926  Records of Births Marriages and Deaths, First Book - Watertown Records, Vol. 1, 1894  Births, Marriages, and Deaths, Second Book - Watertown Records, Vol. 2, 1900
1. Gershom, b. Watertown April 16, 1641,[7/8] d. Lamprey River, NH July 6, 1690, m. April 15, 1668 Hannah Leppingwell, b. Woburn, MA Jan. 6, 1647-8
2. John, b. Watertown June 14, 1643,[7/10] d. Watertown Feb. 6, 1696-7,[8/9] m. Watertown March 30, 1670[7/33] Mary Gale
3. Bartholomew, b. Watertown Feb. 23, 1644[7/11]
4. Thomas, b. Watertown April 28, 1645,[7/12] m. Watertown Feb. 18, 1667-8[7/30] Rebecca Dix, b. Watertown Feb. 18, 1641-2[7/9]
5. William?, b. abt. 1648, d. Lancaster, MA Aug. 22, 1675
6. Michael, b. Watertown March 23, 1651-2,[7/16] d. Watertown Oct. 16, 1711,[8/44] m(1) Watertown June 3, 1674[7/38] Mary Bigelow, b. Watertown March 18, 1648,[7/14] m(2) Watertown Dec. 27, 1704[8/20] Mary Earle
7. Eleazer, b. Watertown May 14, 1653,[7/17] d. May 21, 1722, m. Oct. 10, 1676 Deborah Barnes
8. Elizabeth, b. Watertown March 22, 1656-7,[7/19] d. Watertown Aug. 9, 1729,[8/98] m. Watertown Oct. 20, 1676[7/41] Joshua Bigelow, b. Watertown Nov. 5, 1655[7/18]
9. Mary, b. Watertown Jan. 14, 1657-8,[7/20] d. Watertown Sept. 7, 1720,[8/66] m. Watertown June 3, 1674[7/38] Samuel Bigelow, b. Watertown Oct. 28, 1653,[7/17] d. aft. 1720 (1731?[8/93])
10. Rebecca, b. Watertown Sept. 5, 1660,[7/22] d. Newton, MA June 20, 1721, m. Watertown Nov. 19, 1679[7/46] Stephen Cook, b. England 1647, d. 1738
11. Benjamin, b. Watertown June 25, 1662,[7/24] d. May 3, 1741, m. Watertown Sept. 26, 1690[7/62] Experience Child, b. Watertown Feb. 26, 1669[7/32]
12. Allen, b. Watertown May 16, 1665,[7/26] d. Watertown Oct. 1711,[8/46] m. Watertown March 12, 1684-5[7/55] Sarah Ball, b. Watertown July 11, 1666[7/28]
Note: I have a bunch of Flagg's in the file that are spouses to other marriages.. that may be connected to this family if we go down a generation or two.
The following Links probably won't work, but are posted for info only..............................ROD 2005
Subject: Flagg and Bigelow
Date: Sat, 16 Dec 2000 14:22:36 EST
From: Richard W. Flagg BigboyNJ1@aol.com
My name is Richard W. Flagg and I am a direct desendent of Thomas Flagg and I have one cousin that is still married to a Biglow, so I guess we have been tied together for over 370 years in America. I once gave my cousin Chester Bigelow in Mass a Bigelow line back as far as 300AD years. How many Americans today go back to Thomas Flagg 1637?